Before this NFL season, I had never played fantasy football. I never really understood the motivation behind it, and it never occurred to me that so many people play it because it might actually be, well, a lot of fun.
In reality, the whole reason I started playing was out of boredom. I was sitting at my computer, desperately wishing the football season would go ahead and start already when I noticed an advertisement for fantasy football. All of the sudden, I was struck by a desire to get at least some football in my life. Even if it was, as Billy Joel once said, just a fantasy.
I, now purpose driven and excited about this new idea, happily clicked my way through a dozen sign-up pages which requested everything from my date of birth to my power tool preferences.
After happily indicating Coleman as my preferred drill manufacturer, I was finally given the opportunity to choose from one of the hundreds of free leagues. Without any knowledge of the way any of this worked, I selected an Auction Draft league that bore the uninspiring moniker "XFL."
I poked my way around the page for a while and discerned that my leauge's draft was in two days. Disappointed that I wasn't able to do more, I went back to YouTubing Barry Sanders highlights.
Two days passed, and to be completely honest, I had totally forgotten that I had ever signed up for a fantasy leauge. I would have have completely missed the draft, actually, had it not been for the fact that I check my email semi-regularly and I had evidently signed up for email notifications.
After hastily entering the Draft room with only minutes to spare, I proceeded to pay $66 for LaDainian Tomlinson and $65 for Brian Westbrook. Upon realizing that I had spent over half of my allotted $200 on two players, I didn't pick again until the sixth round. After the draft, I had two full-time starters on my roster; Westbrook and Tomlinson.
At this point, I was either blissfully unaware or completely in denial of the fact that I would not win a single game with my current roster. As the season started, it became painfully obvious that my team sucked. I was losing games in a fashion that can only be described as talented, going down by scores of 107-34 and 96-23 in my first two games.
By the third game I was desperate, and, as all bad fantasy owners are wont to do, I began scouring the free agent market for hidden gems. It was here that an uncanny streak of luck hit me.
There, unclaimed and waiting to be snatched up, was the recently crowned-as-a-starter Kurt Warner. With him, I picked up the Steelers defense and special teams, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski, and New York Jets running back Thomas Jones.
At receiver, I made a dynamite trade of LaDainian Tomlinson for Steve Smith, and before I knew it, I was looking less like the Miami Dolphins and more like the New York Giants.
After dropping the third game, I pulled out a tie. At 0-3-1 many people would forsake the season. But not I! I would never surrender. Suddenly, wins began to show up left and right, just like defensive linemen in the Detroit Lions backfield. Since then, I have won nine straight games, making my team 9-3-1 going into the playoffs and tied for the second best record in the league.
And this, folks, is how free agency saved me from my rookie mistakes, and, one full season under my belt, I am actually feeling like I'm pretty good at fantasy football.
The moral of the story is, if at first you don't succeed, scrap your crappy roster and hope Kurt Warner is unsigned and available to save you.