Welcome to what should be the fourth but is actually only the third edition of “Sports R Dumb!” I apologize for not posting last week, I hope you all didn’t miss me too much.
So, what’s dumb this week? Fantasy football.
Fantasy football has caused me more grief than just about any other event so far in my life. The ups and downs, highs and lows. Countless hours spent scouring the waiver wire looking for the next big thing. For what?
When I first started playing, fantasy gave me a reason to care about some of the other games. I was a pretty early adopter of this new phenomenon, starting my first team back in 2004. Since then, there has been exponential growth in the fantasy game. In 2014, there were 33 million people playing fantasy football. In 2015, that number has climbed to 54 million.
Holy hell! That’s a lot of people. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), the average fantasy player spends $465 per year on their fantasy teams. Well, that’s me. This year, I’m in four separate leagues. Three of them have buy-ins of $100, and one is only $20. Oh, I’m also in a weekly league that is $6 per week and redrafts every Wednesday. That puts me at a total of $362 so far in 2015.
Many people argue that fantasy sports qualify as gambling. However, according to the FSTA, fantasy sports are in fact NOT gambling. According to them, it is a game of skill, and I’m inclined to believe them. Sure, there is certainly some luck involved. But a good fantasy player will spend a lot of time doing research. For example, when Jamal Charles tore his ACL back in week 5, the very first thing I did was go to the Kansas City Chiefs’ website to find out who the backup was. I knew they had Knile Davis, I also knew Davis wasn’t very good.
After a little bit of research, I found that some second year undrafted free agent named Charcandrick West was in line to be the new workhorse for the Chiefs. Perfect. My team is light on running backs this season, so this guy has some potential. I immediately placed a waiver claim on West in all four of my leagues. “Nobody else is going to think of this guy,” I thought.
I was mostly right. Until that following Tuesday, when I go to ESPN’s fantasy football page and see a huge write up on West. “DAMN IT, NOW EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT MY GUY!” Fortunately, I still got him in two of my four leagues, so hope was not lost.
After a disappointing two weeks, I rolled the dice and started West for a third time.
Jackpot! West carried the ball 22 times for a total of 110 yards and notched his first career touchdown.
So why are fantasy sports dumb?
As a Seahawk fan, I’m constantly finding myself deciding between my fantasy team and my real team. Say I’m playing against a guy who has Marshawn Lynch…This creates a moral conflict. Obviously, I want my real team to win, but ideally I’d like them to win without Marshawn Lynch getting any touchdowns.
Secondly, I have a habit of not starting players on my team if they are playing against the Seahawks. Eddie Lacy was my first round pick this year, and Seattle played Green Bay in week two. That means Eddie Lacy is on the bench (not the best example, as Lacy has been hot garbage this season).
So why play? I don’t know. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. I’m a competitive person, and I like to think fantasy sports test my knowledge. If I actually know what I’m talking about (I sometimes do), then I should be able to field a winning fantasy team. And I have for the most part. Through 7 weeks, I’m 4-3 in three leagues, and…gulp…2-5 in the league I host. Shit.
Last week was especially agonizing. My division is very weak this year, and I was playing the division leader. Win and I tie him for the division lead, lose and my season is all but over.
Heading into Monday night, I was up 4.2 points. My opponent only had his kicker to go, Justin Tucker (Baltimore). Baltimore was on the road in Arizona. Ok, I have decent odds. Just need Tucker to have an off night or only kick extra points. Nope. A 40 some yard field goal and an extra point gave Tucker 5 points. I lose. I’m 2-5. I hate fantasy football. Fantasy football is dumb.
A northwest native, AJ is a returning college student finishing his journalism degree. He loves everything Seattle sports, and plans to carry that enthusiasm into the sports section of the Spectator this year.