Saturday, October 27 – 7:18 PM
What is it about fantasy football that attracts even the more casual fans of the sport? It’s simple. Unlike fantasy baseball, managing a football team isn’t a 24/7 job. Put in your waiver claims once a week, make sure all your starters are healthy and make sure they aren’t on byes. Then on Sunday, you get to sit back and hope that your team can perform well enough to pull out the W. Of course, if the team you’re facing performs poorly enough to deserve the L, well, that would be fine too. Pretty straightforward stuff, right? Yeah, there is some thought that goes into those all-important start/sit decisions. Team X ranks first in the league in stopping the run, so you might not want to play your non-elite running back against them. Team Y is an offensive juggernaut, so starting the opposing defense is asking for trouble. Maybe I’m crazy but I have for the most part followed the approach of starting my best players, regardless of the matchup. Each week, you either win or you lose. There’s no in between. And I’d rather lose with my better player in my lineup. Maybe I’m oversimplifying a game that is in fact more complex and worthy of deeper statistical analysis. I just don’t see it.
Luck plays a role in every fantasy sport, but it’s the randomness of the head-to-head points format that drives us purists nuts. I play in only one head-to-head points baseball league, and it’s not because I care for the head-to-head points system. Rather, this league is an NL-only keeper league with unique contract rules, a welcome diversion from all of my other leagues. The problem with football is that there’s no choice. Head-to-head points or bust. Or maybe there is a choice.
I’ve always wondered about a rotisserie-style football league. And while perusing the internet a few weeks ago, I learned that roto football leagues do exist. I’d be more than willing to try one out. The luck factor would be minimized and, for the most part, the best team would win. So why hasn’t roto football gained more traction? I’ll tell you why. It’s boring. There’s something about being glued to your TV on Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights and Monday nights, all the while knowing the score of your fantasy matchup and knowing exactly what it would take, whether it be one more reception, 12 more rushing yards or a 40-49 yard field goal, to earn the win.
About a month ago, the commissioner of one of my leagues, clearly fed up by the fact that he was 0-3 but ranked in the top half in total points, floated out the idea of modifying our standings system for next year. Each week, every team would receive a win or loss depending on their head-to-head matchup and an additional win or loss depending on whether or not they ranked in the top half of the league in total points for that week. A reasonable compromise, I first thought, "Nah, either make no changes or have every team play every other team each week. The compromise plan was too arbitrary. I would vote against it."
Turns out that my vote didn’t even matter. In less than an hour, six of the other 11 owners had already voted against the proposal, pointing out that luck will always be a big part of the game but that it’s also a big part of what makes the game fun.
Fantasy football is flawed. Accept it and have fun.