Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fantasy Football

(note for international readers - I'm talking about American football, not Association football/soccer)

After my experience with Fantasy Golf (I got up to the 61st percentile before finally losing interest 1/2 way through the season), I had been convinced that I have no business doing fantasy anything. It seemed to require more mental bandwidth than I was willing to give to any project of this sort.

Then I was suckered into the abyss called Fantasy Football.

There are a few important differences between Fantasy Golf and Fantasy Football:

1) My friends roped me into this one. As a result, there is a greater social factor to participation than in Fantasy Golf. Draft Day - we went to a bar with our laptops (how geeky is this) and did a face-to-face participatory draft. Smack talk is so much more satisfying when you can see the facial reaction of the recipient.

2) Because my friends roped me into this, there is more encouragement (enforcement) for participation. They constantly remind me to check my lineups and make sure that I have people who are actually PLAYING in my lineup (unless that person is playing against me, in which case they become suddenly silent....)

3) There are more people to keep track of. In Fantasy Golf - you have 4-8 people. 4 playing, 4 on the "bench". In the league that I'm in, I have playing: 1 quarterback, 3 wide receivers, 2 running backs, a tight end, a kicker, and an entire defense (thankfully - we don't have individual defensive positions in this league). On my bench I have some running backs, 1 wide receiver, and 1 quarterback. That reminds me, I need more wide receivers......

4) It's easier to pretend that skill is involved. In Fantasy Golf, unless you are playing with Tiger Woods, it's a gamble to see whether you get points. The golf gods seem to smile or frown at a particular player at random. In Fantasy Football, past performance is a better indicator of future performance - LaDanian Tomlinson's (San Diego Chargers) current stats notwithstanding.....

5) There are more variables. In Fantasy Golf - it's the player against the course. In Fantasy Football, you have to look at the individual matchups for practically every game that week. Of course - if you are fortunate enough to have a super-good person playing to their potential, you'll get lots of points no matter what. Sadly - I don't have super-good people playing to their potential (Drew Brees (QB - New Orleans Saints) - I'm talkin' to you!!!!)

I can see why most of the men in the office love playing fantasy football. It gives them an excuse to slack in front of the TV for an entire day (and Monday night) while keeping track of statistical minutia. Add a beer (or two) and you have most of my male friends' idea of a blissful day. To add to the appeal, they can then spend the entire week "researching" (i.e.reading sports headlines) for the next week's matchups and talking avatar smack to each other.

I know that I am learning more about football than I ever really cared to playing Fantasy Football. I'm sure there are some more advanced skills I'm practicing as well (making decisions based on research?). Right now, those escape me....

If you'll excuse me - I have to double-check my lineup for week 4.....

1 comment:

Tom Kuhlmann said...

It'd be interesting to see if this could be transferred into some sort of work place training. My guess is that you'd get little participation in "fantasy CEO" but perhaps you could use fantasy football to teach skills relevant to work.

1.The use of metrics to make decisions
2.Social networking and team building
3.Making adjustments when things don't go right
4.Problem solving skills