So fantasy football kicked off last night. I’m not going to lie: this is not rocking my socks off…yet. At least, not like baseball. In part, this is because I have no fucking idea what I am doing. Give me a CI or MI any day, but a W/T or W/R? What the hell is that? I just don’t know football like I know baseball. I am obviously familiar with the studs and stars, major story lines, team drama, latest arrests for assault or driving under the influence, as well as any sex fetish tape related to the Jets. But I don’t know details. And, in my opinion, to kick ass at fantasy sports, it is all about the details – knowing who is available, who you should target, what your weaknesses are, and how to stay one step ahead of your opponents. I have now mastered this for baseball, but I started with a much stronger foundation of knowledge; football could ultimately be a disaster. I am prepared for it and tempering my sore-loser tendencies.
My team, Rex Ryan’s Fantasies – named after its sister squad, Joe Girardi’s Braces – is seemingly strong. Like with baseball, I did not participate in the draft; instead, for my rookie season, I let the computer go to town for me. Hopefully it didn’t do quite as shitty of a job as it did during baseball season, because I will not be as adept at fixing it. I have solid running backs in Frank Gore and Ray Rice (along with Darren Sproles and Felix Jones). My tight end, Jermichael Finley, is also awesome. More importantly, he has a totally bitchin’ name (as if his parents were huge fans of the Jackson 5 and combined The Gloved One with his loser brother’s name to create Jermichael magic). I am proud to have a convicted felon on my roster in Plaxico Burress. In fact, our team slogan is “It’s not over until we shoot ourselves in the thigh. Literally.” As long as he stays healthy, Plax excites me; I think he is going to have a big Fuck-You-and-Welcome-Back-from-Prison Party on the field. But I also have his nemesis, Eli Manning, as my starting quarterback, and that, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me. Nevertheless, the season has only been one-day long and I am already losing – something that I have not experienced this year in baseball.
Speaking of baseball, this is the second week of the playoffs, and Joe Girardi’s Braces is rolling right along. After winning the regular season by 48 games and going undefeated in head-to-head match-ups, we were gifted with a first-round buy. And heading into tonight’s games, I am currently up 11-0 for the week. It is much closer than the score reads, however; some categories are still too close for comfort. Am I worried? Um, no. I am still angry at Jimmy Rollin’s groin and Nelson Cruz’s hamstring for their untimely injuries, though. Dustin Ackley and Brett Lawrie have been filling in perfectly (both players are going to be household names in the near future), so I really can’t complain. I picked up Stephen Strasburg about a month ago and just let him sit on my disabled list until he was called up – which, I can’t help thinking, was rather brilliant. He was lights-out unhittable on Monday. I wish I could keep my entire team next season (only on the condition that Strasburg shaves the ridiculous beard of pubes off of his chin); I am that attached and proud of them.
Next week is the championship, and barring any disasters, my team will probably play my good friend Dylan’s. He has my favorite team name in our league, "Byrnes When I Peavey." Dylan eked into the playoffs in the sixth and final spot, and he has been kicking ass ever since. I should be excited that the championship will pit my powerhouse against his scrappy believers – but I am not. I am fully aware that, with one bad week, my house of cards – albeit, a sturdy house made with super glue and cement – can come crashing down. This is how Duke or the Yankees must feel; when you are expected to win it all, when you should win it all, it sort of ratchets up the stress and takes the fun out of it. There is just tremendous pressure to perform – and I am inanely talking about my fake team here. Nevertheless, I have the talent to win, no doubt. And I should win, on paper. But that means nothing. My 48-game cushion was erased when the playoffs began. But it seems sort of dumb that a head-to-head championship can be decided by whose pitchers have two-starts or whose players are being rested by their real-life managers in the final week. Still? Not worried. Call it cockiness, but I would like to think it is more like factually based confidence. I write that with a smirk.
Last night, when I was stressing over my cluelessness concerning fantasy football, I g-chatted Dylan to ask some questions. Part of our conversation went as follows:
JHop: You only set one roster for the week in fantasy football? Like, once a position is used, it’s gone for the week? I feel like I am missing something here. This seems MUCH more boring than fantasy baseball. I also have no clue what I’m doing, but whateverDylan: I believe that's how it works...You set your lineup for the week, that's thatJHop: Super lameDylan: I mean, most games are all in one day... plus they play 1/9th the games they do in baseball....So it’s like, 1/9th the work...HahaJHop: Sigh, I will not be anywhere near as proficient as I am in baseball. Speaking of which, you have a good lead this week! Dylan: Yesssss. 7-4. And all my guys pitch this weekend. We’ll see what happens next week. I'm looking forward to it... You've been undefeated all along. I'm gonna make the Patriots out of you.JHop: Lololol. You are the David Tyree of fantasy baseball. JHop: Briiiiing it. Although, I will say, I fear your team more than Curley’s.Dylan: Haha good. Fear the Peave.This was after he graciously explained what those ridiculous W/T and W/R positions are, as if those symbols should make sense to a casual participant. Regardless, I am really going to miss fantasy baseball. I was hoping that football would tie over my obsessive craziness until next April, and it still might, but I have to sit down and figure shit out first. Until then, I will continue to bask in the success of Joe Girardi’s Braces, while simultaneously fearing The Peave. But I will be damned if anyone is going to compare me to the 2008 New England Patriots and live to brag about it. I come from the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, fools. And we are going undefeated, all the way, baby.
A big thanks (and good luck) to The Peave. I hope you all have great weekends, stay safe if you are in New York City or D.C., and please check back on Monday.