If you're the Jim Caldwell of your fantasy league, it may be time to quit.
Are you contemplating retiring from playing fantasy football? Then read this column.
Do you finish closer to last place than first place in your fantasy league on a yearly basis? Is your fantasy squad considered the St. Louis Rams of your league? Do you often think that you would be better off gardening, stamp collecting or spending time with your family on Sundays rather than slaving over football stats?
If these questions haunt you more often than Andy Reid’s play calls, your team is either 2-10 after a dozen weeks or your significant other has told you that the relationship is over unless you quit fantasy football.
A lot of football lovers are seriously wondering why they are wasting their precious time on fantasy. Why devote so many hours and so much energy to a hobby that saps the life out of you when Jay Cutler breaks a thumb or the NFL takes away a tackle from Paul Posluszny.
This season has had a lot of fantasy football owners scratching their heads more often than Troy Polamalu, including yours truly. After a 2010 campaign where I won both of my leagues and thought I was smarter than Bill Parcells and Mike Ditka combined, I am pulling a Philip Rivers and struggling mightily. If I miss the playoffs in a league I may just say I played with an injury the entire time, like a bruised pinkie.
So if you are questioning whether or not you should be involved in fantasy football in 2012, here are a half-dozen signs that you should never play fantasy football again!
You Fielded an Incomplete Lineup Numerous Times During the Season
Bye weeks come out of nowhere, right? I mean, they are only plastered on every fantasy magazine, fantasy website, NFL schedule and show. So, were there weeks where you actually forgot your kicker, defense and/or tight end were on bye and you never picked up a replacement?
It’s always wonderful having a Nick Mangold-sized zero from a guy in your starting lineup, and doubly wonderful when it’s because you used a player whose team had the week off. If you are having problems paying attention to who is actually playing on your team, you might want to take up fly fishing.
You Ruin the Careers of the Players You Draft
Are you the type of person who passes your bad luck onto the people you meet? When you catch a cold, does everyone you come in contact catch it, too? When you crash your car do you take out 14 cars with you? Are you thought of as the black cat among your friends?
If the players you draft perpetually suffer season-ending injuries, you might want to do pro football players a favor and steer clear of fantasy for fear of putting them all in the poor house.
If your draft this year consisted of Jamaal Charles, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Fred Jackson, Tim Hightower, Miles Austin, Kenny Britt, Nate Kaeding and any other player on the San Diego Chargers, you are a jinx worse than any John Madden video game cover could cause and should take up sewing immediately.
You Are Spending Way Too Much Time Figuring out Your Starting Lineup
Fantasy football is not as hard as you think. It is nowhere near as difficult as fantasy baseball, hockey or basketball, where players play several times per week, not once a week. But with the way some people hem and haw about their fantasy lineup decisions you would think they are trying to solve Greece’s financial problems.
Filling out your lineup should not take you as long as filling out your federal tax form. Most of your team should just run itself. If you have decent quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, you should be playing your tops guys all the time.
Most fantasy owners carry just one tight end and kicker and replace them only when they are on byes. And defenses you can switch in and out depending on matchups. I think I average about two lineup changes a week and it takes all of five minutes to figure out who’s starting and who’s sitting.
If picking your lineup is a grueling weekly endeavor right up there with clipping your toenails, fantasy football is probably too difficult for you and you should move onto underwater basket weaving.
You Realize Everyone in Your League Knows More About Football Than You Do
You ever hear of the old poker adage that if you cannot find the fish at the poker table than the fish must be you? Same holds true in fantasy football.
Having a hard time conning someone into trading you a top-flight running back for Tyler Palko? Does the guy you want in every round of every draft always get picked before your turn comes up? Does the rest of the league clamor about players like Chris Ogbonnaya on the league message board and you have no idea who they are talking about? These all are signs that you are the least knowledgeable person in your league and should shift your attention to bingo on Sundays.
You Picked Up Matt Leinart, Thinking He Could Stay Healthy and Save Your Season
I know Leinart was the 14-karat-gold necklace of last week’s waiver wire. He was talked up by many fantasy pundits like Jim Cramer talks up a stock. Sure, ignore how bad Leinart was in the past with the Arizona Cardinals! He has learned how to be a QB from Kurt Warner and Matt Schaub, and with Andre Johnson to throw to and Arian Foster distracting defenses, Leinart will be a goldmine down the stretch!
If you needed Leinart out of necessity and were not banking on him to be Warren Moon, I do not fault you. If you bought into some of the hype and believed he was going to bring you to the fantasy promised land, you are dumber than Stevie Johnson.
Leinart completed 10 passes for 57 yards (throwing deep downfield was never his strong suit) and a touchdown before exiting his first start as a Texan with what appears to be a major injury. Now all the Leinart owners who thought he would be a savior have to place their halos over some other quarterback’s helmet from here on out. These owners should also consider more church, less football possibly on future Sundays.
You Do Not Recognize the Football Players Who Appear on The League
Finally, fantasy football owners have a weekly show geared to them that doesn’t have the annoying Matthew Berry on it (although he guest-starred on one episode a few weeks ago). The League is in its third season on FX and revolves around the participants of a fantasy football league, although many of the plots have nothing to do with our favorite hobby.
Don’t be discouraged if some of the show’s gross sexual jokes fly over your head like an errant Rex Grossman pass. What you should be worried about is when one of the characters cracks wise about Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Gates and you have no clue as to who they are referring to.
Example: In Season Two, when Cleveland receiver/returner Josh Cribbs made a cameo, did you say, “Who’s that?” when you watched the show? I am sure millions did not know who Cribbs was, so you would not be alone, but those millions are not all fantasy football owners. Many were probably people who stumbled upon the show while searching for Sons of Anarchy. You should know who Cribbs is if you play in a fantasy league.
There you have it, fantasy folks! If four or more of these six signs apply to you, it is time to strongly consider other options in 2012. If only three or less of these signs apply to you, though, feel free to give fantasy football another chance next year!