How I became a fantasy football addict

December 5, 2011

The headline may be a little dramatic, but it’s sort of true, none the less. Here’s the story of how it all began.

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Background info for those who don’t know:

I’m a sports fan. Love baseball, football and hockey. As far as football is concerned, I basically looked at football sunday as a day to watch the game and lounge around in my pj’s. For years it was a running joke that I only watched the first half of the Vikings game, then I took a nap until 4th quarter was almost over. I knew who key players were from around the league, mostly only the big names though, QBs and RBs and some WRs. I knew the major penalties and the basics of football. But never paid much attention to other teams unless they were playing the Vikings.

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Back in August, @Bnizz81 (Brian) asked me if I wanted to join his brother’s fantasy football team. They needed more people and were apparently really desperate. (Kidding.) So I decided to join. I spent weeks four days researching players, stats, listening to fantasy football radio shows (yeah, they exist) and going over who I wanted on my team.

The night before the draft Brian and I sat at the kitchen table, with computers, lists of player rankings and probably beer. I would waiver from “I’m just going to go with the best available player” to “no, I need a damn strategy, if I get the 10th pick I’m picking a quarterback, but if I end up some where in the middle, I’m picking a running back.” I’d ask Brian about players I’d never heard of and I’d highlight the ones I wanted, adding an “L” next to the late rounders, and “LS” for “late sleepers.” I felt proud, I had a plan and super secret codes. And I even named my team “The Girl” (because when I beat a guy, they’d have to say “The Girl kicked my ass today.” and also, I was the only girl in the league at the time) I was ready.

Then came our draft. Tables were set up, computers everywhere and of course food and beer. I think I got the 4th pick (I can’t really remember). And we began.

It was going so fast and finally it was my turn. I grabbed Ray Rice.

I’m pretty sure I grabbed Fred Jackson next, then Ben Roethlisberger. 6 hours and a 12-pack later, I had my team.

Wk 1 team, no longer have players oulined in red

A couple weeks later, the season began.

Prior to the first Sunday: I set my line up and let it go. I actually didn’t obsess about it too much simply because I knew I had a killer team. (Ok, I probably did obsess about it a little. I was a girl in a fantasy football league with people I knew, unlike those other leagues where you don’t know anyone, and there’s money on the line. I had something to prove.)

First game day: I watched most of the games. We had food laid out and I spent most of the day watching games and periodically checking my score. (I didn’t want to get too excited).

This went on for a few weeks. Then it started to turn ugly. I went from “periodically” checking my fantasy score, to being obsessed with it. Three minutes into a game I’d be pissed (jokingly, of course) if Ben hadn’t thrown for two dozen yards already. My phone would be nearly dead by the end of the early games from checking my score so much, it was a good day if it lasted until the late afternoon games. Then came the redzone phase. On my cable it’s not in HD so that kinda sucks, but I’d flip between the Fox game, the CBS game (if there was one) and the red zone. This went on all. day. long. I’d even wake up early to watch the fantasy football show on ESPN 2. I became an addict.

Sunday nights I’d stay up until waaay passed my bed time to watch SNF and of course the same thing on Monday (although, if I didn’t have players, I’d head to sleep early.)

Then came the injuries and bye weeks.

First it was Dan Carpenter’s busted leg. I wasn’t too worried, picking up a kicker isn’t a big deal.

The bye weeks. They were rough. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Then the most devastating injuries: Jahvid Best and Fred Jackson. I thought it was all over. I picked up Jonathan Stewart to replace Best and C.J. Spiller to replace Jackson. They’ve been ok. But I really miss having Best and Jackson.

The most challenging part of my fantasy team has to be my quarterback situation. If I started Ben, Fitz would have a killer game, or if I started Fitz, Ben would have a killer game. I even got so pissed at Fitz (after his billion dollar contract ruined him) that I dropped him and picked up Orton a few weeks ago. Out of spite mostly. And partially because I hated having to pick between two decent quarterbacks every week. I eventually picked up Fitz again, because I missed the heartbreak and failure, apparently.

Now, we’re heading into the playoffs. I’m 7-5 (most of my losses happened during the bye weeks). I think I’ll plan to keep my line up almost exactly how it is. But that will definitely depend on who I’m playing and how I decide to manage my QB situation. If you follow me on Twitter you know every Sunday I ask “Should I start Ben or Fitz?” I don’t expect that to change through the playoffs.

Week 12 lineup

In the end, I’ve realized that fantasy football has helped me be a better fan. I can more easily spot pass interference, offsides and holding calls before the ref even blows the whistle. But there’s a dark side, many conversations are now starting to revolve around football. Not just on Sundays but everywhere. I’m beginning to forget what the hell we talked about before all this fantasy football stuff started.

My next struggle after the playoffs: deciding which players I want to keep for next year.





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2 Responses to “How I became a fantasy football addict”

  1. brainlemon Says:

    I’m delighted you have taken to fantasy so well. It really does make following football even more enjoyable. You see games and stats you would normally not give a crap about and suddenly react with joy/sorrow. I’ll admit to getting way too into it sometimes!

    I also did fantasy baseball last year, which was quite a different experience. It requires much more work, I ended up checking in the morning and afternoon at least every day. But it is a ton of fun too. Maybe now that you’ve jumped into the fantasy world, you might want to try baseball next year.

    • Candice Says:

      I don’t even know if I could handle fantasy baseball. There are way too many games to keep track of everything and everyone, I could see it totally consuming my life. However, may give fantasy NASCAR a try next year. Just to learn more about the sport and drivers. But the NASCAR season is really long, so that’s a serious commitment too.


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