Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How To Win Your Fantasy Football League

With apologies to fantasy experts, stat geeks and all wanna-be gm's, winning your fantasy football league isn't as difficult as you think.

Yep. I auto-drafted my players and didn't even spend a second thinking about my team and won my league.

The Back Story
I played fantasy football once before, when I worked in Knoxville at WBIR-TV in the late 90's.  This was in the pre-internet days.  Fantasy football was a freaking full-time job.  Setting lineups, making trades, you know how it goes. Beating.

Fast forward five years.  I'm working for the Dallas Cowboys and a local sports reporter approaches Emmitt Smith in the locker room.

"Hey Emmitt, how do you feel?" asked the reporter.

"Fine, man," Smith replied.

"Sweet!" the reporter almost shouted.  I'm trying to figure out whether to start or sit you against the Eagles this weekend."

If looks could kill, this reporter would have been dead.  Emmitt gave the reporter the ultimate visual "F-U".

Add to that, the constant fantasy football dialog I endured during football season year after year and, I'm sorry, I just thought it was dorky.

The Fantasy Football Project
In effort to create engaging, compelling content for The Fan Sports Show, the CBS11/TXA21 sports department created a fantasy football league this Fall for TV purposes.  We would briefly discuss it on the air and promote our website as a place to find exclusive content and expertise. Riveting, right?

I decided to get involved since, at the time, I was the host of The Fan Sports Show but I did it with a caveat: only if I didn't have to think about it and spend a single second focusing on lineups, trades, etc.

Our "commissioner", the great Mike Marshall AKA the Machine, ensured me I wouldn't have to put more than five minutes worth of thought into the entire process of managing my team, the Inarajan High Governors.  (named it after a village in Guam where I lived for six months out of college as the sports director for KUAM-TV).


I autodrafted my team.  I automatically set my lineup every week.  I don't think I made a trade.  I wouldn't know.  I never looked at my roster, league standings or who I was playing.

Turns out, my team didn't suck.  On the contrary, it kicked ass.  Or so I was told.  Remember, I didn't pay attention to it.

In fact, Steve Dennis had to text me Sunday morning to let me know that we were playing each other for the league championship.

And look what happened.

I won.  Or should I say the Inarajan High Governors and CBSSports.com's Auto-GM won the whole freaking thing for me but who gives a crap!  I WON!

Now, I no longer work at CBS11/TXA21.  I don't have the opportunity to rub my victory in my colleagues faces, except maybe on Twitter, but I do think the victory means something.

For one, it hurts the credibility of the services provided by many of the "fantasy football experts".  I know people who actually PAY MONEY to subscribe to expert newsletters and follow their advice.  You don't need to shell out a cent for expertise or spend so much time agonizing over lineups that it becomes a full-time job.

More importantly, it's a lesson: perhaps fantasy football IS about the camraderie, the verbal jabs, the celebration of the victory and, to steal from ABC Sports, the agony of defeat.  It's fun to play fantasy football, not so much the beatdown of the weekly game itself but fun to experience the season with your friends in your league. That is what makes the experience so rewarding.

Crap, I didn't even experience the majority of the season with my league after leaving CBS11/TXA21 but I still had fun rubbing my success in their faces.

So who did I have on my team?  Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles and 4 kickers.

I think.
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