Fantasy Football: To Retire or Not?

Richard O'NealSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2009

SUNNYVALE, CA - JANUARY 22:  A jogger runs by the Yahoo logo on a sign outside of the Yahoo Sunnyvale campus January 22, 2008 in Sunnyvale, California. Yahoo is poised to lay off hundreds of employees in hopes of increasing profits and boosting its stock price. No date is set for the layoffs but it is likely that the notice will come around January 29th when the company reports quarterly earnings.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Every year at this time, I get a fiery desire in my stomach.  That competitive nature comes back and the sports talk begins:  Football season is near, which means fantasy football is about to start.  For some reason, this year seems different to me.  I find myself contemplating on whether or not I should even sign up this year.  Should I hang up the keyboard and mouse or go another year?

I started playing with a Yahoo! Sports fantasy football league back in 2002 and quickly found that it was an exhilerating experience.  I've been there ever since and done it every year.  To date, I've compiled a 91-64-2 record with an 81 percent winning percentage and have captured five league championships, with the 2008 season being my most recent two. 

My Wins and Losses from 2002-2008

2002: 6-7-1 (League Title)

2003: 10-3

2004: 11-2-1

2004: 10-4 (League Title)

2005: 7-4

2006: 4-9

2006: 8-4 (League Title)

2007: 3-11

2007: 8-5

2007: 6-8

2008: 10-4 (League Title)

2008: 8-3 (League Title)

In the real world, players and coaches alike tend to stay on a little too long and overstay their welcome, tarnishing their legacy; ahem, Brett Favre!

There are things about the essence of fantasy sports that add an enjoyment factor to the competitive edge that many bring to the leagues.  Fantasy drafts are always fun because of the research and analysis that goes into each pick; the potential for a person to select a gem or a huge bust is often intriguing.  No one knows exactly how their team is going to perform due to all the factors that weigh in on making the draft pick and when. 

People probably cried themselves to sleep when Tom Brady went down in Week 1 last season while I was feeling just fine with my Drew Brees pick.  Or they bought in to the hype of Derek Anderson, only to be disappointed.  Let's not even get into the Larry Johnson or Marc Bulger failures of last season, two guys that have been reliable in the years past. 

Although the uncertainty can be stressful, it can also be rewarding. 

Let's also get one thing straight, I don't do fantasy leagues for money, that's not my cup of tea.  I'm in it for the competition and the desire to win. 

Maybe from 2008 to 2009 I've shifted from my usual competitive sports nature to someone who just likes to watch football and leave it at that. 

The game of fantasy football has taught me a lot.  It's taught me to watch for things in games that I didn't watch before, it's taught me about stats that I didn't care about and it's taught me to better appreciate teams that I previously had no interest in. 

With the season getting under way in just a few weeks, my decisions will have to be made very soon...but hey, there's always fantasy basketball right?