People often ask me, “Paul, your Fantasy Football team (“The Radical Lefties”) player acquisition process appears to be pure random selection, yet is noticeably worse than if you just got drunk and threw darts at a list of players. What is your secret?”
First, I’d better explain fantasy football to my international audience*, who may be less than familiar with “America’s sport.” Football is a “game” in which two groups of genetically-altered chemically-enraged primates don heavy protective gear and try to break each other’s knees. The “team” that scores the most “touchdowns” without getting tagged for “murder” is the winner. The losing team is eaten by feral “hogs.”
In fantasy football, you pick the players that you think will be the most successful in their position each week and won’t break your heart again and again and again. (I’m looking at you, Aaron Rodgers. You’re dead to me, hear that?) If you’re more successful than that week’s opponent, you “win.” If not, life is meaningless and empty until the next Sunday, when you go through the same agonizing hellish nightmare of disappointment and frustration all over. At the end of the season the player with the hottest girlfriend wins.
Got it? Ok. Let’s proceed.
In my system, each player is numerically ranked based upon a super-secret set of criteria. The higher their ranking, the more likely I am to grossly overbid on them, ending up with one incredibly expensive superstar who inevitably disappoints (YOU’RE DEAD TO ME, RODGERS!), a tight end who breaks a toe in the Season Opening game, and a bunch of has-beens playing for the JETS.
My SECRET System
Player plays football professionally: +1
Player is not currently in prison: +2
Player has 0 felony convictions: -2 (Football isn’t for sissies.)
Player had a crippling injury in the pre-season that I forget about: +4
Player has no visible neck: +1
The “Madden Curse:” -5 (The player has been cursed by vengeful witchdoctor John Madden.)
Player’s coach has a well-known foot fetish: -3
Player’s dating Jessica Simpson: -5 (that goddamned tramp ruined Tony Romo)
Player’s coach is a zillionaire but still shows up for games dressed like the Unabomber: -2
Player’s supermodel wife makes him wear a Little Lord Fauntleroy haircut: -2
Player has a working knee: +2 per knee
Player is a Fighting Uruk-hai: +5
Player plays in a state which denies women access to basic reproductive healthcare: -2
Player my wife hates: -10
Player my wife threatens to divorce me if I pick**: -100
Player’s team has a backup quarterback who everybody likes better than the starter: -2
Player is a canny veteran: +3
Player is well beyond his prime: -3
Player is an enthusiastic rookie: +3
Player is woefully inexperienced: -3
Player has a hilarious made-up name: +2 (DuSteve, LaTed, Roethlisberger)
Player’s team’s home city has recently suffered a major natural catastrophe that makes everybody pull for them in the mistaken belief that a Super Bowl victory will mean more to the citizens than, say, timely FEMA aid: +1
CBS fantasy football commentators say player is a “must pick”: -3
Player is on a team with sissy mascot: -1 (dolphin, cardinal, Rex Ryan)
Player is secretly gay and is out to prove he’s as vicious a sociopath as any straight guy: +3
Player did well at the “combine***”:+2
Per pound of steel pin holding together neck and spine: -1
Player’s team plays in a domed stadium like little girls: -3
Player is Aaron Rodgers: -1,000,000 (YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID RODGERS)
Using the above numbers I carefully note each player’s ranking. Once the auction begins I immediately get into an idiotic bidding war with Jeff Briggs and run totally out of money. Then I get no more players until the 12th round.
It’s an elegant system and I’m hoping for great things this year. Go Lefties!
*I’m looking at you, guy from Saudi Arabia. Also you Canadians.
**Michael Vick the dog-murderer.
***An ancient religious ritual that assures a bountiful harvest for all.