Which Type of Fantasy Football Owner Are You?

Sean HojnackiFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

Which Type of Fantasy Football Owner Are You?

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    Are you an amped-up zealot, or more like one of those normal people receding into the background?
    Are you an amped-up zealot, or more like one of those normal people receding into the background?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Like signs of the zodiac or a band of survivors during a zombie apocalypse, fantasy football reveals a whole host of hidden personality traits in the participants, from courage to cowardice and intelligence to ignorance. With fantasy football's popularity increasing each year, all that fantasizing costs employers billions of dollars as employees trawl the waiver wire for hidden value and bye-week plugins during work hours.

    But all fantasy owners were not created equal.

    According to a 2011 research paper in the Journal of Sport Management titled "For Love or Money: Developing and Validating a Motivational Scale for Fantasy Football Participation" by Brendan Dwyer and Yongjae Kim, four things serve as the chief motivators for fantasy owners: gambling, social interaction, competition and sheer entertainment.

    Each of the four motivators appears twice across these eight archetypes of fantasy footballers, helping account for both the broad scope of fantasy sports and the panoply of personalities drawn to it. While this list does not take the form of an online personality quiz (such as "Which Saved by the Bell Character Are You?"), you will easily be able to identify not only the mold you are cut from, but that of every other player in your league.

The Absentee

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Motivation: Social Interaction (briefly)

    The Absentee remains blissfully ignorant, and his preening desire to be included in the fantasy league with his friends drastically outpaces his actual enthusiasm for managing a fantasy football team from week to week.

    While some in the league pore over stats and break down matchups, The Absentee will be sitting at home building a ship in a bottle, or perhaps just watching a million different ice bucket challenge videos. In fact, some of these players do not even seem to own a computer and clearly don't understand how to move players into the lineup on the mobile app.

    The Absentee will be around for the draft (maybe) and will probably post some really annoying smack talk in early September. They'll be nothing but a faint memory by the time the autumnal equinox arrives. "What? They play football in October?"

The Hometown Hopeful

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Motivation: Entertainment

    Let's see, are there really three wide receivers on the Buffalo Bills worthy of inclusion on the same fantasy roster? No, of course not, but you have to respect this owner's ardent fandom.

    Everyone has that friend who's a Pittsburgh Steelers fan despite hailing from Houston or Chicago or some such. For that member of the fantasy league who owns the full gamut of terrible towels—from washcloth to beach towel—essentially every player on his favorite real-life football team is supposedly poised for a breakout season and will yield tremendous production for the fantasy homer.

    You simply cannot explain to this person the downside to drafting, for example, Le'Veon Bell in Round 3 (see: LeGarrette Blount). The Hometown Hopeful will be too busy sticking his fingers in his ears so he doesn't have to listen to the facts while loudly singing an off-key version of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells." 

The Sunday-Morning Agonizer

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Motivation: Gambling

    The Sunday-Morning Agonizer was likely among those who wrote an impassioned op-ed after Yahoo's fantasy football servers went down on a November 2012 Sunday morn. The gist of her screed: "I got 20 bucks riding on this league!"

    A typical Sunday for these Agonizers involves sitting in front of the computer screen from 10 a.m. ET until 12:58 p.m. debating which WR to play, delving into all the statistics, internet chatter, random tweets and tea-leaf reading as they search for a reason to play Mohamed Sanu over Andre Roberts.

    The Sunday-Morning Agonizer never trusts her gut, which is one of the strongest muscles in the body, and she will make a hasty roster change at the final moment, which often backfires. She who hesitates has lost that week's matchup in fantasy.

The Ignoramus

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    Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

    Motivation: Social Interaction

    OK, so the league needed a 12th team, but who let the commissioner's husband's cousin join? While The Ignoramus may indeed be a big football fan, his favorite team is probably a Division III college squad because he went to Bowdoin. (Go Polar Bears!)

    Most leagues have at least one of these players: the butt of jokes, acceptor of lopsided trades and possessor of the least amount of football knowledge in the league. ("What's a 'buy week' about? Do I have to buy new players?")

    Occasionally, this person also has a fantastic autodraft and winds up with a fearsome team that marches mercilessly to the finals. Such are the vicissitudes of fantasy football.

The Nostalgic

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Motivation: Entertainment

    As if locked in a basement bomb shelter for numerous years, The Nostalgic remains resolutely stuck in the past, and his football knowledge gets updated roughly once per decade. When someone refers to the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, The Nostalgic nods thinking: "Oh yeah, they beat the New York Giants like 15 years ago. That was some defense!"

    While some folks claim that NFL stands for Not For Long, there are fantasy GMs who insist on drafting veterans based on name recognition and not much else. They do not watch much football, but they remember the big names: "Peyton Hillis was on the cover of Madden. He's good, right? And which team is Michael Turner on?" They still think the Dallas Cowboys have a dynasty coached by Jimmy Johnson.

    This person will also be almost completely ignorant of injury news, and will express horror shortly after the draft when he finds out Reggie Wayne suffered a torn ACL last season and might never come back to form.

The Texas Oil Tycoon

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Motivation: Gambling (in every sense of the word)

    A fool and his money are easily parted, but The Texas Oil Tycoon enjoys the thrill of the chase. This owner likes proposing wild trades to everyone in the league, every week, right up until the deadline. These are often of the wacky four- or five-player variety conceived late at night. Basically, just imagine the Rich Texan on The Simpsons, and veto all his trade proposals.

    This type of owner likes to have fun, but it's not just about entertainment. He enjoys outdoing his competitors in all aspects of the game. These riverboat gamblers typically try to have the wittiest team name—for 2014, the clear winner is "Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles"—and they will spend the entire season offering similarly amusing trades.

    How about Matt Schaub and Matt Bryant for Matt Ryan and Matt Forte? Um, how about not?

The Grass Is Always Greener

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    Brian Ach/Associated Press

    Motivation: Competition

    Fueled by too many high-sodium snacks and stacks of handwritten fantasy notes gleaned from the analyses of Matt Miller, Matthew Berry and Andy Behrens, this person holds the opinion that you lose 100 percent of the moves you don't make, except she can never actually decide on a move. These are the owners costing employers billions of dollars each year.

    Grass-Is-Always-Greener GMs are too smart for their own good and fall victim to the dreaded medical condition of paralysis by analysis, which is not covered under the Affordable Care Act. This person spends hours checking the waiver wire and comparing the dregs among committee running backs, but rarely pulls the trigger.

    Even when she does add a player following agonizing deliberation, she sometimes drops the person just picked up after a change of heart from reading a critical blurb. Worse still, she has a knack for dropping a player in advance of a breakout week due to sheer impatience and lack of foresight. This person plans ahead and hyper-analyzes bye weeks for all waiver candidates, but she has serious trouble committing. Significant others, beware.

The Wily Veteran

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    Motivation: Competition

    The Wily Veteran approaches the fantasy football season without humor or hesitation, and following the draft, his remorseless assault on the league will begin in earnest. This type of owner, though often understated and nerdy, regularly undresses fellow managers in trades.

    The Wily Veteran pounces on a player's backup on waivers within minutes of an in-game injury occurring. And that week his backup tight end off waivers scored two touchdowns on three catches? That was because the Wily Veteran knew the Arizona Cardinals allow more points to opposing tight ends than any team in the league. Plus, the starting safety for the Cards tweaked a quad in practice that week.

    The Wily Veteran enjoys winning the main pot at the end of the season, but he enjoys the self-satisfaction from beating his competitors even more. He sees several moves ahead and always competes for the playoffs. He's like the New England Patriots, always successful and widely despised for it.