Saturday, December 31 – 8:15 PM
I’ve never been more jittery watching a football game than I was this past Monday night. You see, it was the championship game in my money league, the league consisting of college friends that I have competed in for eight years now, making two previous finals appearances yet coming up short both times, most recently last year. I had a slim lead entering the Saints-Falcons contest with Roddy White, Jimmy Graham and John Kasay going up against the duo of Michael Turner and Marques Colston. And when Colston caught that early touchdown pass, my stomach sank. Here we go again. But then Graham scored a touchdown. Then White caught a pass, then another, then another. And it was all over, at last.
I’ve never been more upset with a fantasy draft than I was back on September 4th. How would this team even make the playoffs, let alone compete for a title? I had completely mismanaged my auction dollars, overpaying for Ben Roethlisberger and having to settle on Joseph Addai as my RB2. What a disaster! And the more I stared at my roster and compared it to the rosters of the other teams, the more disgusted I got. This would be a brutal season. Or so I thought.
The ironic thing is that my messed up running back situation was what prompted me to go to $4 on Michael Bush. Little did I know that Bush would prove to be one of my best value picks in over a decade of playing fantasy sports. While Addai did almost nothing for me (which I kind of expected all along), Bush became a mainstay in my lineup, stepping up in Darren McFadden’s absence to give me RB1 level production out of my RB2 slot. Funny how some things turn out.
I can safely say that this entire experience has changed me as a fantasy owner. I’m as guilty as anyone of post-draft self-criticism, whether it be football or baseball. “Let’s see, I’m really strong at shortstop but whoa, my third baseman is awful. And my pitching? I have the worst No. 3 starter in the league. And only one other team has a worse fourth outfielder,” I’d mutter to myself. Maybe it’s because I can’t wait for the actual season to start, but I spend way too much time doing this sort of stuff. There’s a reason why some wise person once said that championships aren’t won on paper. Look at the 2011 Phillies. Or this year’s version of the Eagles, the self-proclaimed Dream Team. How did that turn out? So from now on, I’ll draft my team, knowing that I prepared well and that I did the best I could, and then let the season play out. There will be plenty of times when my resolve will be tested, when I’ll feel the urge to second-guess myself, but I’ll resist it.
Call it a New Year’s Resolution.