I love this time of year.
Baseball pennants and fantasy titles with teams bouncing from first to third to second back to first, and then down to third again.
In the mean time, football season is right here and that means the last couple of weeks have been littered with fantasy drafts.
Oddly, somehow I have found myself in four fantasy football leagues. And, though I can indeed play fairly competitively when I want to, since I spend so much time really looking at baseball and numbers so I mostly play football just for fun. I don't pay attention to the transactions like I do baseball, aside from trying my best to not play players who are too injured from week-to-week.
Which does not mean I don't like winning, or drafting the best team I can.
But, as with baseball, I love watching football, and in my house one of the best times of the year is a cold Sunday with my perched on the couch with the dogs lying about, while Diane is sitting at the other end, reading about various animal diseases. Since the weather is chilly, it means a fire is going, and also means I am concocting some soup or other ideally warming winter meal to tide us through the long day of the NFL schedule.
Since I do indeed have players scattered around from team to team, of course I can enjoy a Julio Jones 87-yard TD reception, just as much as I dread a Jay Cutler interception.
I do have to admit, though, it does make it more fun to watch and root for "my guys," if you know what I mean.
Anyway, over the past week-plus, I have indeed been drafting in my four leagues. Two of the leagues did slow drafts over a few days, and one was a live draft where I preset my picks (all three of these set ups were from the terrific MyFantasyLeague.com run by our compatriot Mike Hall) and with the help of Commissioner Zola, fielded an interesting team, albeit not one I might normally have walked away with. Which kind of makes it fun for me in a different way.
But, in the league run by my friend Michael Duca, hence forth known as the "Utter Genius League" for whatever reasons, I hunkered down last Monday evening and actually selected my team live, in real time.
Now, I had already faced what I thought would be the conundrum in Utter Genius, having drafted Ray Rice four years ago, Arian Foster three years ago, and Cam Newton last year.
For, we had always been allowed a pair of keepers so while I spent the summer thinking I would probably keep Rice and Foster, making a trade for a high pick was a possibility, and the pairing of Newton with one of my RB's for my Smith Brothers (I had both Steve and Torrey last year) team made this year's prospects very bright indeed.
And, then the league voted to drop down to one keeper, coupled with I got the 12th pick in a 14-team league.
So much for advantage, though I did keep Foster.
Anyway, after all the freezes, and the first twelve picks were spoken for, the top tier of Quarterbacks had all pretty much been nabbed making that slot thinner than Running Back, so I took Marshawn Lynch with my first pick, and took Wesley Welker with my return selection, following up with Miles Austin and then Aaron Hernandez.
That meant I had made six picks and had no signal caller. But, all was ok. I thought I could take Jay Cutler or Carson Palmer with my next pick, and follow up with Robert Griffin III.
But that is when things went awry, as both were taken before my pick, and then Andrew Luck was nabbed as well, meaning whatever plan I had was sort of gone.
In the end I did take Palmer, gambling that the Oakland vertical game would be complementary, and would up with Russell Wilson as the crapshoot backup who can scramble. I also gambled on a bunch of other rookies like Isaiah Pead, Michael Floyd, and Brian Quick to go with the Bears defense and the usual clutter.
It was kind of strange for in the past I have indeed been able to sneak the likes of Foster or Newton by the league, but this time, nada.
Still, as long as they stay healthy the offensive possibilities seem pretty good.
At least good enough for Sunday on the couch with home made cheddar biscuits and chowder.