Welcome to the first edition of an experiment we're going to try here at SB Nation Fantasy.
I once wrote: "Fantasy football stories are like poker stories: everyone has one and no one wants to hear about someone else's. So, as you sit in your office telling a colleague how you would have won your Week 1 matchup if only DeSean Jackson didn't get tackled on the three-yard line, just know that he's not listening. He's only waiting for you to finish your story, so that he can tell you how he would have won his own matchup if he started Jason Elam instead of Lawrence Tynes."
Because of that basic fact, we've decided that the best way for me to do a weekly recap of a fantasy football season and not bore every single reader is to focus not on the wins and losses or the sits and starts, but rather the personalities, the interactions, and the effect that fantasy football has on our daily lives. I'm aware that even with those conditions, having such a weekly discussion without boring you is indeed a lofty goal I may still fall short of, well short of. In fact, who am I kidding? You've already stopped reading and moved to whatever site is the closest to porn that your work computer will allow. However, for those of you who end up back here because that site gave you a "Warning: See Administrator" message and you panicked and clicked the back button as fast as you could ... welcome.
For this first, um, episode(?), let me give you a little background and tell you about the preseason goings-on. Then, we'll catch up over the next couple of weeks to real-time as quickly as we can.
I'm not sure why anyone names leagues -- seriously, has anyone ever asked you what your fantasy football league's name is? -- but ours is the Saving Private Buddy Ryan league (named a decade ago by Randy, more on him later).
As far as the major characters, let me mention five besides myself. I'd love to be able to give you details on all 11 other owners, but, like most fantasy players I'd guess, I don't really know all of them that well. Different people brought participants they knew from work at the beginning and then, when we needed replacement owners, we had times we were so desperate for a warm body that we overlooked that the relationship of the new guy to other owners was tenuous.
We also had a couple of occasions where we overlooked the fact that the new owner's competency was questionable. For what it's worth, I like playing against owners who have a clue, especially if you don't know the guy. If he's incompetent and you don't know him, chances are it's someone else who's trading him Sidney Rice for Ray Rice or able to get Larry Fitzgerald for F. Scott Fitzgerald. In any case, what I know about half the owners in our league comes from the third-hand knowledge I get from the guys who brought them in. I actually think that Jimmy, the Commissioner, got Tom, the newest owner, off the street or maybe from some Internet chat room. When I asked about Tom, Jimmy changed the subject in a really weird way, the equivalent of me asking what time it was and him saying "Asparagus."
Speaking of Jimmy, I'll start with him. He's a good guy, and his real flaw is that he always wants everyone to be happy. As Commissioner of the league, that's just not going to happen all the time. Sometimes people are pissed, especially in a keeper league, which ours is. When owners in last place start dumping, there are going to be trades where one top team gets a steal in terms of this year and the other top teams are ticked off about it. That's just how it works. Jimmy always wants to smooth things over, which I respect. But, you just have to say "no" or "get over it" and move on or you'll go crazy. This character strength/flaw bleeds over into everything Jimmy does. Come to think of it, Jimmy became Commissioner because no one else wanted the job.
Dave is the guy in the league you can't trust. Outside of fantasy football, he's a great guy, fun to be around, you can usually count on him, and he gets perks to things through his sales job. Every now and then, he'll get good tickets to something, and if you buy the food and drinks, he'll keep calling you when free club tickets come up. But if you are hanging out and, out of the blue, Dave offers you a trade, you can be pretty sure he just got an email that his player is injured. Dave's the guy that proposes rule changes every year depending on his keepers. "Hey, I just had a great idea. Let's increase the points per reception, it'll be cool." What do you know, Dave's keeping Wes Welker this year.
Next is Randy. Randy is one of just two single guys in the league. He changes his team name every year depending on pop culture and it reminds us of exactly why he is single. Honestly, if you think that naming your team Bounty-quicker-picker-upper-Gate is funny beyond the first time you hear it and you want to tell every woman you meet about it, chances are you are going to be single. That being said, enough women like it on the first hearing that it works pretty well for Randy. He's definitely the only guy I know who uses fantasy football to pick up women. He'll go to bars where female fantasy football players hang out, find someone he likes, and pretend to have the same players as they do. It's a surprisingly decent strategy. The only time it backfired on him is when he actually started dating one of these women and he had to trade all his starters to get Maurice Jones-Drew so she wouldn't figure out that he lied about having MJD.
Will is Jimmy's brother-in-law. Did I mention Jimmy's a really good guy? Yeah, such a good guy that no one has the heart to tell him that Will really shouldn't be in a fantasy football league. Will drafted a defense in the fourth round this year and a kicker in the eighth--"What? All my other starting slots were full." Honestly, I'm not sure if he's ever seen a football game. Like I said, Jimmy's a good guy and we really needed someone the year Will came in. We just do our best to keep Will away from Dave. Thankfully, Will believed us when we lied and told him that Dave's "sales" job is really a front for some sketchy, possibly criminal activity and the less interaction he has with Dave the better. Dave believed us when we lied and told him that Will may or may not be in a cult.
And then there's Adam. We almost went to an online draft because of Adam. Adam comments on every draft pick. He's confident he knows far more than you ever will about football. He thinks it's cool to throw out facts about high school players hoping that one day they will be in the NFL and he can say "Remember? I told you about that guy!" Adam cannot understand why he never wins. He believes the world conspires against him. He comes back to the league each year even though he talks in December about never playing fantasy football again because "it's all luck." Coincidentally, Adam also likes to complain about not getting promoted even though he knows "more about the company than [his] boss will ever know."
Speaking of Adam, the only major event to report from this year's draft involved Adam, who was still upset over having finished last in his division last year. He hadn't paid his dues from last year, and Jimmy -- nice guy, that Jimmy -- was kind enough to write me a check for winning before getting Adam's money. Needless to say we were all on Adam about making sure to bring his dues to the draft. Adam showed up, mentioned Jamaal Charles' injury eight times over the course of two minutes, and produced a bag holding just over $220 in quarters and dimes. Fun times. Adam also revealed that his plan was to do it in pennies but apparently that was "heavy" and "too much of a pain in the ass."
Everything else that night went pretty much according to history. Will tried to draft Roddy White in the 13th round and seemed genuinely surprised that he had been taken. Adam assured us all that our teams sucked. And Randy, who gave a nickname to everyone's pick as if he were Chris Berman's less funny brother, brought some woman who didn't say much and I'm pretty sure stole a stapler from the conference room in Jimmy's office. The new guy, Tom, was a bit creepy, but friendly and brought beer, so he's got that going for him. I think he thinks we all hang out together far more than we actually do, but no one seemed particularly interested in disappointing him. Yet.
That brings you up to speed on the cast of characters. Each week I'll bring you whatever adventures and calamaties fantasy football brings about for me and them. In the spirit of SB Nation community, we'd love to hear about some of the more insane members of your own fantasy football league in the comments below.