The Zen Approach To Fantasy Football

andy pechContributor IAugust 12, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - 2009:  Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

Summer suns reveal the souls of men, shined down on a calm lake where a bass dances and bends across silver reflections. Days end in lazy admiration of our good lives here in America. We grill steaks in secret marinades and listen to baseball on the radio. As the day cools, we are held transfixed by the muffled sounds of the neighborhood children, the thump of a basketball from a game of one on one and the whirr of spinning tires as some boys cruse past on their bicycles.

For many of us, our most distant sports memories are also our most vivid. We remember trying to hit only homeruns, when right field was an automatic out, pitchers-hand and ghost runners. We remember our Nerf footballs, games of fly-up, touch usually ending up tackle, skinned knees and grass stains. These are the connections which make us sports fans, drawing us back year after year, allowing us the pure excitement of ultimate victory but more often humbling us through defeat.

Such is the case with true football fans. It is not the draft, contract negotiations, the statistics and the hype which pulls us in. Competition is what we crave and both victories and defeats are what we savor. Do true football fans watch the draft and look at stats? Sure, but only in anticipation of the game. In the end, nothing matters but the players’ performances in that game on that day.

To the casual observer, it would seem that fantasy football is a game played only by statistics freaks. After all, you can put your team together by looking at player statistics from the previous year and choosing the players who performed well. That is one way of doing it and you will probably be successful following this pattern, but it is possible to tread down another path.

There is only one thing we can say for sure about the upcoming NFL season, no one knows what is going to be. Although statistics can give us a pretty good idea of what might be, players get injured and balls bounce in random ways. How many of us were thinking New England Patriots??? Sure you were.

Let us take a moment to return to our childhoods and back before the days of the internet and video games. Remember trading cards? Do you remember when you were not swapping cards with your buddy, Beaver, because you wanted a complete set but because you wanted your favorite players. I had a buddy who worshipped Jimmy Zorn because they were both left handed. He’d trade you anything for a Jimmy Zorn.

Because it is possible for everyone in your league to get their hands on the information of the past and because it is oh so very hard to predict the future, it is your “personal” football knowledge, knowledge you’ve collected since you first started watching and playing the game, which you must utilize to your advantage in fantasy football.

Ask yourself the following questions:

-          Who do you think is good? Don’t look at the statistics. Who do you think is good?

-          What’s important at the position and who has it? Speed? Strength? Savvy?

-          How will the team do? Don’t just look at individuals.

-          Do you even like the guy? Every time I draft a player I don’t like, I get burned.

-          Do you have a feeling? Listen to your little voices. If you don’t, you’re not really playing.

My Zen Picks for this season:

Mark Sanchez, NY Jets


 I think he seems like a cool dude and cool dudes make good quarterbacks. Ii also like the moves the team has made around him and I like the idea of throwing a rookie quarterback into the fire.

William Percy Harvin III, MN Vikings


Wasn’t he the eighteenth president of the United States? He’s a burner and it would seem possible fate would land the next Randy Moss in the Twin Cities. Can anyone get him the ball?

Jermichael Finley, GB Packers


He looks and acts like a premier tight end. The Packers always have a great tight end. If the Packers learn how to score in the red zone, Finley will be in the Pro Bowl.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears


I always liked Jay Cutler and sooner or later he is going to live up to my expectations. He might have to throw the ball to fans in the stands in order to do it.


Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders


Why not take a crazy shot on this guy and perhaps on this team? Something tells me this team is going to have an offense running all over the place in every direction. There may be some big numbers worth being a part of if you can pick the right players.