POSTED ON NOVEMBER 11, 2009:
What's the Point?
Fantasy Football has dominated for years, but why?
The Honest Truth. You tell me: Where is the human interest story in covering FF? The personal story of how you won or lost a game against someone we do not know? Pass.
Attention Fantasy Football players: This column has been custom built for you. Even if you do not dabble in the game, I'm sure you know someone who does and probably takes it a little too serious.
Let me preface this by saying: There is no worse topic in sports writing or reading than fantasy football blather.
It's a quandary. To a man (or woman -- yes, they play, too) you cannot find a more polarizing topic. The passion for playing the game is only matched by the terribleness of discussing it.
Here are several reasons why FF makes for terrible sport's fodder. Yes, I realize the ensuing column contradicts everything I just explained, but please bare with me on this one.
When is the last time you talked FF with someone who had the exact same scoring system? Points per reception or no points per reception? That is the question. Does your quarterback get four or six points for a touchdown toss?
How about starting lineups? Is a tight end required? Individual or team defenses? A flex player? Two quarterback system?
League owners across the nation cannot agree which week to hold the fantasy football championship game.
The above issues make someone else's advice lousy. Why listen to "Joey Second Place" spew "knowledge" when he plays in a 12-team league, and I conquer an eight-team league. If you don't think there is a difference, come donate... errr... compete with me.
You know what else is annoying. Silly gimmicks that have been done and redone and were never that original. Sleepers/Bust. Stock Up/Stock Down. Me Likey/Me No Likey.
If you are going to run your FF tidbits online, at least offer an engine for players to sign-up and play. Cbssports.com, espn.com, yahoosports.com and a plethora of other reputable sites give fantastic insight, and, get this, the opportunity to play the game on their Web sites. Interesting concept.
Telling someone Ryan Moats is a good pick up after he scores three touchdowns does not make an expert.
There is zero value in FF chat outside of your league. Next time you are sitting in a bar, mention your FF team to the guy next to you. Here is how the conversation will go: Neither will care about the other guy's gut-wrenching, last-second loss.
You will take every attempt to explain how you knew Ray Rice and Matt Schaub were due for huge years. You will spend five minutes explaining your scoring systems to each other. You could care less what he said. It has no effect on your team. It will be a sucky conversation.
A wise man once told me there was no value in covering mixed martial arts in a daily mainstream newspaper. Without saying as much, the insinuation was that MMA coverage would not boost readership or revenues. You know the bottom line.
An even wiser man once told me the lifeblood of newspapers would be the human interest stories.
You tell me: Where is the human interest story in covering FF? The personal story of how you won or lost a game against someone we do not know? Pass.
Watch this. Just look at how awful the next two paragraphs sound.
I've played FF since 1998. My team name has not changed in the past ten years. I've won two championships in a highly competitive league throughout the past five years. I would have a third trophy, but I lost to a girl because Chris Chambers caught a 15-yard out with 30 seconds left to play in a 10-point loss on Monday Night Football.
One owner in my league has six Chicago Bears players on his team. He is 2-7. Another owner has five Minnesota Vikings on his team. He is leading his division. I've scored more points than any team in the league, yet sit on the cusp of missing the playoffs because of bad match ups. Yes, FF at its highest level brings considerable amounts of luck into the game.
Now tell me where the value is in that? Do I feel better? A little. Maybe I should have said something FF-related such as... Trade Tony Romo while you still can. He tanks in December and will sink the Cowboys. Don't let him end your title run.
If you are dead set on running FF info, be creative. I Bing'd (take that Google) "fantasy football rankings" and the result yielded close to seven millions hits. Seven million sites telling me how to set up my lineup.
Separate yourself from the "Start/Sit" genre. It's OK to think outside the box. You've been given permission to write about a subject no one wants to read about. Have fun with it! Do I have several ideas? Of course. Am I giving them out for free? Not today.
Here are two final words of advice on FF. Buy a magazine in July. Shuffle a few rankings around such as, "Terrell Owens is a head case. He signed with Buffalo and their noodle-arm quarterback. I think I'll slide TO down my board and let someone else draft the big name."
The second important item? Watch more football. Do you trust your eyes or the eyes of a couple of guys playing in a league different from yours?
Next week. The fantasy is over.
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