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Life of a First Time Fantasy Football Owner
When I first signed up for a fantasy football league, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew a lot about football and the players in the different teams around the league in general. I always cheered for certain players I liked and wished other players would run into the goal post during games like Terrell (TO) Owens. So when a friend of mine asked me to join his fantasy football league, I thought all I do is watch NFL games on Sundays.
A few weeks later I received a confirmation email to go online and register my team name and set up my account before the fantasy league draft. Once I set up my account I noticed that you can sort the players in any order you want on your team. It seemed easy; I found players who are usually good playmakers but after the 50th guy there were still 300+ names to sort through so I left them alone.
The draft was now two weeks away and I was paying more attention to the preseason football games just to make sure the players I wanted to draft looked good during the regular season. I also looked specifically at wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks. If they’re drafted in the first round of the real NFL draft, you know they have a good chance of seeing playing time if the guy ahead of them on the depth chart goes down with an injury.
Now that it was draft day and my research was done, I finally made a list of all the players I wanted to draft. With the second pick of the draft, I selected QB Tom Brady from the New England Patriots, Brian Westbrook (Eagles), Ryan Grant (Packers), Cedric Benson (Bengals), Darren Sproles (Chargers), Ernest Graham (Buccaneers) and Leon Washington (Jets). For receivers I picked Reggie Wayne (Colts), DeSean Jackson (Eagles), Eddie Royal (Broncos), Devin Hester (Bears) and Donnie Avery (Rams). I only drafted Owen Daniels (Texans), a defense the Patriots and a kicker David Akers (Eagles). With my last draft pick I chose Jake Delhomme (Panthers) as my backup quarterback because Brady had been sidelined all previous year.
Going into the season I thought I had a good team and was excited to see how the first week would go. One feature of fantasy leagues that I’ve learned drives you crazy is scoring predictions, which I now know not to trust. For my first game I was favored to win the game 101-92 and I felt like a draft whiz, playing for the first time and already feeling like I was going to win my first game.
When the first week of the NFL season started, I often wondered what was going on with my players while watching the game on TV. Then I remembered someone said you could add a stat tracker that gives you up-to-date player stats for all games, but for less, or you could check the NFL Network channel between 1 and 4pm games. So every time I jump on the channel to see how my players are doing, it feels like I’m the actual owner of the team minus all the money and luxury booths.
After the 1 o’clock games I logged into my ESPN fantasy football account to see what time my other players were. Then I noticed that the website already has a stat tracker that gives you live scoring for your players up to the minute. When the 1 o’clock games ended I was down 60 to 35 and it wasn’t looking good now I was predicted to lose 101 to 89. I had 4 players left and the other team had 5 so I was there for the entire 4pm game. Needless to say, my wife was not too happy, constantly looking at my laptop while watching games on TV. At the end of the day I was up 94 to 84 and we both had one player left in Monday night’s play. I was sure I would win but I had learned the other day that fantasy football scores can turn bad quickly.
After I got home from work on Mondays, I fulfilled my fatherly duties by making sure the kids’ homework was done, helped make dinner, and made sure the kids spent time with the family before bed. By the time the game started, my laptop screen was already open so I could track my players’ scores throughout the game. I won my first game 106 to 89 and felt like the proud owner. After the first week I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next week to start.
Over the next few weeks I learned that when the team is on their bye week so is your player, which I wasn’t prepared for (I know I’m stupid). I lost my next three games before deciding I needed to make some trades to improve my team, so I traded QB Jake Delhomme and TE Owen Daniels for TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) and RB Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers). I then waived WR Avery and picked up WR Mike-Sims-Walker (Jaguars) off the free agent list. Since the trade I have won two straight games and am 3-3 heading into week seven.
As much as I don’t look at stats on my laptop, I only check the game 5 times now which I think is reasonable although my wife says that’s too much. I can see now why year round fantasy football has become so popular. I followed the other teams to see if I could figure out who would make it to the Super Bowl before choosing to make sure I was home to watch my favorite team play on Sunday. Now I not only watch my favorite team every Sunday, but also enjoy the up and down roller coaster ride of watching my fantasy team perform every weekend.
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