I grew up with the NY Giants in my backyard. When I was 21 years old, I relocated to San Diego and allowed the Chargers into my life. It was the days of Dan Fouts and Air Coryell. I was popular with the boys not because I loved football but because I understood the game. Of course, cooking up pot roast sliders for pre-game tailgating didn't hurt either. Let's face it, attending a pro football game is exciting, especially when your team is HOT.
Today, I live in Los Angeles. Probably a good thing we don't have a pro team (although I hear talk) because commuting is always awful and the price of tickets would be more than my first car payment.
So what does a girl do here during football season you may wonder. Well this year, my husband hired me as the manager of our very first fantasy football team. I heard of fantasy football but had no idea how it was played. With only two days before draft night, I logged on yahoo.com/sports fantasy website and did some quick learning. I admit, I was tempted to purchase Fantasy Football for Dummies, however the investment of money and time was more than I was willing to spend.
Our 12 team league was scheduled to draft players at five o'clock pacific time which meant that while Jim was commuting home, I would be selecting our team. The other team managers on the league kept sending advice, bad advice. "Pick your kicker first," one said. Another wrote, "yes, pick kickers early and pick several..you'll need them." This chatter inspired me to not only create a good fantasy team, it set the tone for me to play this game to win.
I'm not sure how the commissioner set up the draft, but our team had the first draft spot. You bet, I drafted Adrian Peterson! Then it seemed like forever before I was allowed another pick. With each team allowed ninty seconds or something like that for each pick, this draft went on for hours. What really surprized me is how much time each of the other team managers spent before they made a selection. I, on the other hand, made quick and decisive selections. Was this a sign that I was a novice and in over my head? I don't know, but I do know I had consumed a full bottle of wine by the end of the draft session.
Week 1, Adrian Peterson proved why he was the #1 fantasy draft pick. He racked up 37 points. In addition to Adrian, my fantasy team consisted of Tony Romo, Reggie Wayne, Santonio Holmes, Derrick Ward, Visanthe Shianco, David Akers and the Pittsburgh Defense. We not only won, we scored big points Week 1 and that was all I needed to become addicted.
Week 2, my team lost and I was crushed. We were playing an undefeated team Week 3 and I was determined to win. I found some free agents that looked promising, Jermichael Finley and NYG's Steve Smith. We won.
Week 4, I dropped Derrick Ward and replaced him with Ricky Williams who had been racking up points while on my bench. It was the same week we subscribed to the Red Zone. Let me tell you, between fantasy football and the Red Zone, Sunday football was elevated to new heights. If you love football, you MUST subscribe to the Red Zone.
And so it went, I was in a fantasy football frenzy. Week after week, I read all the websites, fantasy player updates, determined to win. By Week 9, we suffered our fourth loss to the second place team. Week 14, we played the number one team who was 12-1 and suffered their only loss to us in Week 3. Once again, they endured a second loss. YEAH! We had now entered the playoffs and the first challenge was to beat the second ranked team. The second ranked team was tough, they had scored the most points in the league during the season. We had the second most. I was obsessed, I researched every fantasy website I could find. I added Jerome Harrison to my roster. Although I did not play him, we won the Semi-Final.
Week 16, the Final Game. Our opponent had only lost two games all year, and both to us. I really didn't want to end up the team that won the battles but lost the war.
I found playoffs more challenging. Would Romo continue his hot streak or subcumb to the December/Jessica Simpson curses? Maybe Alex Smith would be a better choice against the Detroit Lions. Ricky had gotten me to the playoffs, should I bank on him or would Jerome break out again vs. a poor Oakland Rush Defense? Every fantasy website and blog suggested not playing Reggie Wayne, but with Garcon and Gonzalez out, it seemed certain he would be a key player and I had no doubt Indy would go for 17-0.
Well, I did play Reggie and Ricky.
When Ricky left the game injured. I was injured too. When the coach benched Reggie and Payton, I not only saw their disappointment, I felt it too.
I was smart enough to drop the Pittsburgh Defense and play Atlanta. My opponent was even smarter playing Roddy White.
Then I watched as Donovan McFabb earned my opponent 29 points. So here, this life-long NY Giants fan was actually rooting for Tony Romo to score big -- all the time knowing that if Dallas won, the Giants were history. Romo did ok, but with his receivers dropping so many balls, I felt his frustration. Sunday ended with our opponents scoring a total of 111 points and our team had 79 points and one player left.
Monday Night it all came down to my Number 1 Fantasy Draft Pick, Adrian Peterson. Adrian, Adrian. By fourth quarter I was crazed, Adrian was scoring. I could hear the fat lady getting ready to sing. Our fantasy team was now at 104 and only needed 7 points to tie. And yes, with a tie we would win.
OMG, OT! I was screaming AP, AP, RUN. All I wanted to do was jump on Adrian's back and run with him. I practically tripped over the coffee table watching him leap in the air. It was my defining moment, I knew why Adrian was the #1 Fantasy Draft Pick, he and I had a great season.
I swear to you, when I saw that ball being pushed out of Adrian's hands, I truly felt his pain. We lost 104 vs. 111 - that missed touchdown cost the Vikings and it cost my fantasy football team the Final win. Adrain, what if you and I had done things differently........ I don't know, but there is always next year and I'm sticking with Adrian.
Fantasy Football has been fun.
PS: My optimal team earned 131, my opponents 116.
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