This guy was fine until fantasy football drove him to stab pins into his face.
It’s that time of year. Days are shorter. Winter is beginning to set in. You’re ready to quit fantasy football forever, and you really mean it this time. Each and every November, millions of fantasy football players begin to feel their seasons (and their preseason buy-ins) slip away. Sundays cease to be days of rest and become days of furious anger and desperate howls to god (or Peyton Manning) to just help you win this damn stupid game. It’s not worth it. It’s time we band together and just quit. Here are some of the many reasons why.
1. Trading Doug Martin Only To Watch Him Turn Into Doug “HOLY HELL, WATCH HIM GO” Martin
This has happened to all of us. You trade a promising young guy who has yet to have a truly transcendent game. Then BOOM. Young guy explodes in an orgy of fantasy points. This year’s case study: Doug Martin.
In one of my fantasy leagues I traded the Tampa Bay rookie for LeSean McCoy. The trade seemed like a no-brainer. Sure, Martin had upside, but he’d yet to show himself as a definitive number-one running back. Meanwhile, McCoy is a feature back. You know what happend next. Doug Martin turned in a 251-yard game with four touchdowns. That’s good for 51 points in a standard fantasy football league. It’s also good for a sore hand from punching a wall.
2. Getting Beat By A Defense
Defenses in fantasy football are usually talked about as a joke. Anyone who picks one too high in your draft is laughed out of the room and mocked for months. But then there comes that fateful night when you’re winning your matchup by 14 points and all your opponent has left to play is his defense. You feel pretty good about it, only to watch the Bears put up 350 points on 17 interception returns for touchdowns. And then you have to have a conversation with your foreign-born neighbors who want to know why you’re screaming, and then you have to explain the idea of fantasy football to them and it sounds so stupid when you say it out loud and they act sympathetic but you know they’re just filing it away as a reason they made a mistake in emigrating to this fast-declining country. They should have just moved to Shanghai like their uncle said.
3. Idiot Coaches Ruin Your Shit
Michael Vick. Jeremy Maclin. DeSean Jackson. LeSean McCoy. All of these guys should be fantasy studs. This year? They’ve all been disappointing because their offensive line consists of two coat hangers and an old book and their fans hate them and there’s just generally a “televised execution” feel to all of their games. When a whole team full of stars turns into fantasy death, it’s fair to point your finger toward the Mustache of Perennial Failure that coaches all of them. Damn you, Andy Reid. Damn you.
4. The Vexing Enigma That Is Chris Johnson
If Chris Johnson had just sucked again this year, it would have been understandable. Players fall off. Skills diminish. It’s part of the game. So when Johnson got off to a remarkably horrendous start this year (50 yards per game and zero touchdowns over his first six games), it was almost a relief. Finally, we could let go. And then CJ went and averaged 140 yards and a touchdown in the last four weeks. Can you trust this guy to carry your fantasy team? Is he back or is this a mirage? Who knows, but your brain hurts from thinking about it and you’re getting to the point where you’d rather use your Sundays to catch up on Downton Abbey. Lotta ins and outs on that show. Easy to miss something if you aren’t giving it your full attention. You know, you never thought you’d like that kind of hoity-toity PBS stuff that much, but you gotta give it to them, it is a hell of a television program.
5. Scoring The Second Most Points In Your League And Still Losing
Is there anything worse than having a good week, only to find that the one guy in your league who had a better one happened to be playing you?
6. Being A Good Football Player Doesn’t Make Someone A Good Fantasy Player
Calvin Johnson is a beast. If you asked any NFL GM to pick one receiver to start a franchise with, chances are they’re picking Megatron (with some apologies to Larry Fitzgerald). And yet this season he’s been a pretty woeful fantasy option. He hasn’t been bad in real life. In fact, he’s currently on pace to catch for more yards this season (1,731) than he did in 2011 (1,681). But for whatever reason, Johnson is struggling to get into the end zone this season. He’s only scored twice, which means he hasn’t helped out your team, Show Me Your TDs, nearly as much as he’s helped out the Detroit Lions. Fantasy football has stupid rules.
After making a career of platooning running backs, Mike Shanahan has finally found one guy to give his team’s carries to in Alfred Morris. But that doesn’t mean that fantasy owners will soon forgive the Super Bowl–winning coach for all the years of splitting fantasy points between backs and killing fantasy seasons. We’ve all been there. Just needing 10 points from a Shanahan (or Carolina Panther) running back only to have the other guy get all of the points and make us cry. It’s infuriating. Fantasy football has created a situation where fans despise a guy who’s won two Super Bowls because of his effect on imaginary games. Why do we do this? It’s stupid.
8. It Turns You Into A Concussion Truther
Concussions are a serious issue in football. The brain trauma that these guys experience will have lasting and damaging effects on their lives. As fans, we know this and are comforted by the precautions the league has started taking to protect the players. And yet, if you were a Darrius Heyward-Bey fantasy owner when he went down with a concussion earlier this year, none of that mattered. Fantasy football strips you of your humanity. It turns you into an unfeeling despot reigning over a factory of points. When one of the cogs breaks, you don’t care how, you just want it fixed immediately. You need your points. And that’s how you end up screaming at a TV. “The NFL needs to stop babying these assholes! When did this become soccer?” What a stupid thing to say.
9. It Makes You Hate Your Friends
The number of people I know who have gotten in real, honest to goodness fights over fantasy sports that have long-lasting impacts on actual friendships is astronomically high. If you play fantasy football for money, and as a result don’t hate someone that you used to like, you’re not playing for enough money. Like elections and Zooey Deschanel, fantasy football is designed to push us apart.
10. You End Up Actually Spending A Few Of The Finite Hours You Have On This Planet Watching Kansas City-Oakland
The only way anyone should have watched that game is if they had a child playing in it.
11. You Are Being An Asshole
You spend every Sunday checking your phone, getting disappointed, checking your phone, and getting excited only to be disappointed. All you do all day is scream at various flashing screens. You yell at your wife and dog when you really want to be yelling at Matt Stafford. This is not a recipe for a happy life. Like The Walking Dead, it’s inevitably going to end in an untimely death. (High blood pressure is a real-life zombie. The more you know.) We’d all be happier and healthier if we just stopped. So let’s stop.
But not right this second. Maybe later. After this season. Just one more season, and then I’m done. So do you know any waiver wire running backs? Anybody? How about a receiver? I’d settle for a great tight end sleeper. Help me. Help me.
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Someone explained fantasy football to me recently. Being a big-fat nerd (Ok, I’m actually a very fit nerd, but anyway) I immediately saw it as outfitting my barbarian’s equipment or memorizing a day’s spells or ordering magic cards, plus metrics that play out in real-time but are completely out of your control. It’s kind of interesting but I gave up carrying spell cards and all that stuff years ago and can’t see why I’d go back to studying all that rubbish again as an adult. That and I wouldn’t spend four hours at a game table anymore. But hey, at least now sports nerds are nerdier than I am and I’m more fit. Not hatin. You like what you like. It’s a statistics game. I’d have been into it years ago too.
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