My first fantasy football team featured Wayne Chrebet, Brian Griese, and Michael Westbrook. My first fantasy team sucked.
But sucking was irrelevant at the time, because the only wager involved pride. I wager my pride without thinking twice regularly on Saturday nights at local drinking establishments, so doing it in a random public league with Internet folk I didn’t know and would never know was easy. That changed later when money began to make leagues matter, but when I first stumbled upon a fantasy football league while surfing around to find the closest place to pick up tackle for a fishing trip (no, seriously), the addiction was immediate.
Over a decade later, I get to write about it now.
We’ve changed things up a bit around here, and we’re about as excited as Bill Gramatica after a successful field goal attempt minus the torn ligaments. We hope you like our new place dubbed 100 Yards and Running. All we need now is a beer-stained pool table and a friend who thinks he makes really great salsa, and this will be my standard Sunday setup, but every day. Yes welcome, and please, step inside.
Here in our new digs, fantasy is our primary reality. Now relax, I know change is scary. So allow me to explain where we’re headed with the new content and the new direction.
Grab some floor space. No couches yet or seating of any kind. Sorry.
If you haven’t heard, fantasy football is sort of a big deal. But there may still be face-painted hardcore pigskinners who have read this far into the introductory post of a new football blog, thinking that they’re football fans, but not fantasy football fans. But the two can only barely be separated.
Fantasy football becomes an unhealthy obsession for many of the same reasons that Sundays in the fall are filled with little more than couch sitting and TV watching. It provides an outlet for what it is to be a fan.
The fan – or at least any fan who’s even moderately curious or analytical – asks questions, and wonders. When those questions mount and the snowball begins to form, we have the foundation for a discussion. Fantasy football compartmentalizes that discussion, and turns it into a competition.
Who will have a better sophomore season between A.J. Green and Julio Jones? Which running back who’s recovering from a serious injury – specifically, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson – is set to have the better year? When/if Mike Wallace returns, will Antonio Brown still outshine him?
Surely you’ve asked those questions too, right? For some there are answers, and clear cut ones. But many others remain questions, and it’s the process of attempting to find answers instead of the result that feeds the addiction. At its core then, the foundation of fantasy football is exploration and investigation.
Then there’s the instinctive urge to compete. We want to best our best buddies, and maybe even beat our pastor. And again, money is always a motivating factor too. But although it may be subconscious, I think there’s a far more dominant pull.
There’s a need to inquire, and find supportable, often statistical answers to questions like those above that were otherwise just the basis for another bar debate. When a definitive answer emerges, there’s glory and vindication. There’s victory.
So the game we play is a reflection of an internal debate already taking place. Football fans want to know answers, and so do fantasy football players. The difference? One asks, while the other experiments, investigates, and explores.
So let’s ask questions together. A lot of them, and I mean that quite literally.
We’ll have reoccurring posts and regular content, but during the grind of sifting through the news of the day and deciphering its impact on your fantasy team, there will be many posts that ask and dig into questions. Is Victor Cruz’s 2011 production sustainable? See, you’re wondering now.
And what of that regular content? Oh, it’ll be regular. And it’ll be spectacular.
Vodcast: Paul Brothers and Joe Fortenbaugh will review the weekend that was on Monday, channeling your anger when Aaron Rodgers breaks his right leg. Then on Thursday they’ll do it again, this time previewing the weekend ahead and recommending who should start, and who should sit.
Five questions: Every Wednesday during the season we’ll have a digital conversation with a fantasy expert, which is the best job title this side of coffee salesman.
Pizzola’s Picks: This one’s taking it back to the old school for the hardcore fans under the Goal-Line Stand format (all eight of you). It’s not all fantasy around here, and we like to bet on stuff too. A few years ago our very own Rob Pizzola checked in once a week with his knowledge of gambling and football, and he returns now to combine the two and maybe make you some money. Or not, but worse case this will be the most fun you ever had while losing a few sawbucks. Pizzola will make weekly picks every Friday prior to the weekend, and before the Monday and Thursday night games.
Weekly expert player rankings: We’ll compile the weekly rankings of four experts to give you a wide variety of opinions as you set your lineups.
Trend Spotting: Is Brandon Marshall getting fewer deep balls than expected even with Jay Cutler as his quarterback? How often are the Jets using Tim Tebow, and in what situations? Trends. Questions. Answers?
Journey to the deep: Do you especially hate sunlight and find yourself in a deep league where seemingly every player in the history of football is owned? Options, we got’em.
Weekly Props: We’ll dabble in irreverence weekly as it pertains to outcomes on a football field. No, not the kind in which we wonder whether or not Calvin Johnson will have over or under 5.5 receptions, or if LeSean McCoy will finish with over or under 94.5 yards. I want the over/under number for how many times Lauren Tannehill is shown on camera during a Dolphins game, or how many times we see the bare nipples of an overweight Raiders fan. Because I think about that stuff, you know. Nipples.
Trading post: We’ll suggest realistic and possible trades to improve your team based on the current value of the players involved. Or unrealistic and absurd trades. Whichever.
The Brittle-o-meter: Did that stud first-round running back just snap a muscle you can’t pronounce and didn’t know existed? We’ll round up all the injury news, forecast how long that RB will be out, and give you suggested alternatives.
Panic Attack: Separating fact from fiction weekly, we’ll decide whether or not there’s a legitimate reason for concern following poor performances.
And much, much more, including fearless predictions for weekly production that will be mocked relentlessly later, reflections on the Sunday, Monday, and Thursday that was and the fantasy implications ahead, breaking down stat splits, and of course, full coverage of the draft season which is happening now.
But while we’re transitioning away from the old Goal-Line Stand format that focused mostly on the NFL’s endless churning news cycle and commentary on the events of the day, some of that will remain, but with some tweaks. I’ll still opine and provide commentary whenever I’m inspired, but newsy posts will mostly be reincarnated as fantasy news. We’ll tell you that Jason Witten’s spleen is bleeding and generally doing things inside of his body that spleens aren’t supposed to do. But we’ll also tell you how that effects your fantasy team, if Witten should be moved down a few notches on your draft boards (yes), and how far.
There will be times when there’s pressing news that warrants immediate coverage with no fantasy spin. Since, for example, it would have taken a truly excellent jerk to find a fantasy angle when Chad Johnson’s domestic incident first broke, that’s when we’ll chuck a fastball down the middle. Also, our “What the Hell?” category tag has been packed in the moving boxes, and it’s somewhere around here. All work and no play makes Sean something something, so we’ll keep the irreverence and absurdity rolling and make sure that if a woman sues the Cowboys because her seat is too hot, you know about it. Hey, we take pride in our investigative journalism around here.
Our tape guru Alen Dumonjic is not only staying on board, but he’s doing so in a greater capacity. He’ll now dazzle you three times a week. And I’m still here, which is good. Right? Right.
So how ’bout we stop writing about writing about fantasy football and such, and get going, because the pizza’s getting cold, you guys. Alright pass the Pabst, let’s do this.