Fantasy Football

Week 13 was the final week of the regular season in fantasy football.

my best week of the season! i went 8-2-1 (i’d gone 8-3 twice).

four of my eleven teams are headed to the playoffs.
i had three teams finish tied for first in their five-team divisions, two of them made the #2 seed for the playoffs.

my best team went 9-4.
two teams came in last at 2-11.
overall, i went 59-82-2.

it was my first time playing fantasy sports. was fun. yes, i’ll have fewer teams next year but not for the reason everybody assumes. it wasn’t too much work. i was surprised too. most weeks, i wished there was more to do. the first four weeks were about learning how it worked and putting together “set” lineups. the next four weeks were about learning there was no such thing as a “set” lineup – especially this season, with all the upsets.

at the beginning of the season, i was checking my teams five or six mornings a week. by Week 5, i’d learned that this was not necessary. but i ‘m a rookie, i might be wrong, so i kept that pace anyway. by Week 8, i was bored with checking my teams and having nothing to do half the time or more.

turned out three times a week was perfect for the ten ESPN.com teams – twice a week was sufficient – and three or four times a week was enough for my one NFL.com team.

i’m thinking next year i’ll go with three to five teams, depending on how many leagues i’m in with friends.

i have one fantasy hockey team and two basketball teams. the jury is out on those fantasy sports. my initial impression is that the hockey teams have too many players and the basketball teams don’t have enough. i can’t say that i’m “into it” yet. the drafts were interesting as was setting the lineups the first week or so. since then, not so much. but again, i’m a rookie at this. maybe as we get deeper into the season it will become more interesting. i really don’t know. as big a baseball fan as i am, i expect fantasy baseball will be just like the hockey and basketball – interesting at the beginning and maybe at the end. sometimes real life sports are like that too.

when i was working, i was curious about fantasy sports but didn’t have the time. when i retired, i was still curious but just not interested enough. the only reason i tried fantasy football this year was a friend in my neighborhood talked me into joining the league she runs.

she really had to twist my arm too. i ignored the email invitation. the weekend before the season started, she knocked on our door to find out why i hadn’t joined. “i’m not really interested,” i told her. she was taken aback. “i thought you’d be all over that,” she said. but she wasn’t taking no for answer. (she really needed one more team to complete her league, the draft was two days away.)

that night i sat down to start figuring out how it worked – i’d never even looked at a fantasy sports site before. i don’t like the NFL.com fantasy set-up and their website really sucks. right away my process became – have one window open with my team on the NFL site and a second window on the ESPN fantasy site to do my research.

the NFL site was clunky and annoying while the ESPN site was easy and fun. so i joined a league on ESPN too. and then a second one. and a third. i went through the draft process. then an idea for a writing project about fantasy football came to me and i joined a few more leagues on ESPN.

now i had one team on the NFL site and seven or eight at ESPN. then i read that the first ten teams on ESPN were free. what the heck, if i’m this close to ten, i might as well have ten!

turns out those last few teams were just redundant. while their line-ups all looked different at the start, by Week 4, when you have some idea of who is having a good season and who isn’t; and you’re dealing with players getting injured or just joining the team after injury; and players with bye weeks…you end up checking the waiver wire and signing the same players over and over again. by Week 9 or so, you have the same guys on team after team.

but even as i was adding teams i knew that i wouldn’t do it this way in the future. this was a one-time only deal. it worked for the research i wanted to do but when i do it next year, just for fun…with my schedule and my level of interest, i think three teams would be perfect. that’s what i’m planning to do on the ESPN site next year. if my friend has her league again and another friend starts one, i’ll join, but five teams is definitely going to be my limit. that’s about where the redundancy begins.

once i let my friend talk me into fantasy football, i knew i would try the other sports at least once. so as i sat down on that last weekend of August to prepare for my first draft, i knew i was committing myself to fantasy sports for at least a year. at this point, my expectation is that a year from now i’ll still be playing fantasy football but i won’t bother with the others. i think once will be enough on the others. once might be too much, in fact. but hey, i’m a rookie, what do i know?

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