If you're anything like me, and chances you are if you're reading this, then you almost look forward to fantasy football more than the actual NFL season itself. Don't yell at me, I said almost.
Once late August rolls around, you gather your friends and have your draft. You strategize, print out cheat sheets, and figure out whom you're going to take with your first round pick.
Then, you draft, set your lineups and such, then compare your team with your buddy's and tell him he's an idiot for taking Rudi Johnson with his first pick. It's standard procedure, really.
At the mid-season point of the season, I got to thinking: I really, really love fantasy football. The research, the drafting, the bragging. It all adds up to one of the funnest hobbies a mid-20-year-old could have (or someone who refuses to go outside).
I tried my hardest to think of the five best things about fantasy football. You know, everything that makes it so great, everything that's making it into the profitable industry that it is today. There's more than five, so I'm picking and choosing the five that are the best to me. I love fantasy football, and will do it until i no longer have the mental capacity to use a computer.
5. Bragging/talking trash to your friends: This one's great. What's better than pummeling your best pal's team (when all of his studs are on a bye), then ripping into him about how he knows nothing about pro football? You know it pisses him off, and you know he's going to try to get you back. It creates a really fun rivalry among friends, especially if there are some Benjamins involved.
4. Rooting for players you normally couldn't care less about: This is a love/hate relationship. It's fun to be cheering for a backup running back that you only have in because your starter's injured. Why else would people care about Mewelde Moore, Tim Hightower, or Dominic Rhodes? I mean, really, these guys all suck, but have a fan base when they're in a fantasy team. It's as beautiful as it is ugly.
3. Rooting for guys you DO care about: I have a huge bias toward the Green Bay Packers. So, I draft a lot (probably too many), and when I start them, it's double the satisfaction when they succeed. Aaron Rodgers on a one-yard touchdown sneak wouldn't piss me off like it would with Ryan Grant on their team. It adds to the personal satisfaction, and isn't that what it's all about?
2. Proving to yourself you know football: Being Nostradamus would be pretty cool, but let's face it, you have a better chance of predicting the weather in Michigan than you do a sleeper in a fantasy league. But the times you're right, it's almost euphoric. Starting LenDale White over LaDainian Tomlinson might sound stupid, and it is most times, but watching LenDale stampede for an 80-yard touchdown when you called it is beautiful; makes a man feel good about himself, doesn't it?
1. Loving a game more than you thought possible: I love football just as much as the next guy. I'm one of those nerds that watches every pick of the draft, all the analysis, reads all of the magazines... A serious kind of nerd. It's almost a part-time job researching and planning for a fantasy draft, and keeping track of everything during the season. And to win what? 50, 100 bucks? It's far more than that, it's about pride, it's about proving to your friends and to yourself you know football. Why? Because you love it more than everyone else.