In this era of fantasy athletics, there are always going to be fantasy winners and fantasy losers. You strive to be a winner, but more often than not you lose. And you don’t know why.
Lucky for you, we’ve got your answers.
From sleepers to sure-things, we all make mistakes. The first step towards success is admitting we’ve made mistakes, correcting those mistakes, and moving forward from those mistakes.
Nobody is perfect and we all have our flaws. Together, we can overcome just about anything. Even Tarvaris Jackson.
On to the list…
11. Your sleepers are still sleeping
The “experts” told you to take chances on guys like Josh Morgan, Derrick Ward, and Nate Washington. Whoops. Guess they were wrong.
The same fantasy gurus who sold you a copy of their preview magazine for $7.95 will never print an admission of their ignorance (All Our Fantasy F*ck-Ups: 2009 would be a nice gesture), and you will never get the first three weeks of your season back.
What the hell are you supposed to do with a timeshare running back and two pass catchers that can’t catch colds? Your flex position is a black hole and to the rest of the owners in your league, you look like a sadder, fatter version of Eric Man-gina.
Sleepers, my ass. These guys have one foot in the grave and they’re doing their best to drag you to the nether world with them. Show them the waiver wire and you might be able to salvage the next few months. Good luck.
10. You drafted Jake Delhomme
I drafted Jake Delhomme in the final round of a draft this year, waived him before the start of the season, and my team is still 0-3. That’s how cursed Jake Delhomme is.
Remember when Delhomme used to be good? He led the Panthers to the Superbowl for God’s sake, and looked to be on the verge of superstardom in the NFL.
Fast forward a couple years and Delhomme is still completing his fair share of passes. Only these days, he’s hooking up with safeties instead of wideouts and linebackers instead of tailbacks.
The guy can’t seem to find players wearing his team’s jersey (maybe he has an aversion to teal), and appears destined to put up negative points on a week-to-week basis.
Suffering the same fate as Marc Bulger, Delhomme will likely drag out his demise for three, maybe four seasons before Carolina wises up to the fact that he reeks of ballsack sweat and couldn’t thread the needle in a jayvee game. Don’t let him fool you for quite so long.
9. The ratio of blacks to whites on your team is less than 4:1
There are only three positions on any given fantasy team where white guys should be employed: kicker (naturally), tight end (most of the time), and quarterback (more often than not).
If you have a white receiver not named Wes Welker (Wes Welker-types, or “Welkertypes,” don’t count), you’re toeing the line of decency.
If you have a white running back, God save your team.
Even taking chances on Mexicans, et al, can be risky. Tony Gonzalez is solid, but outside of that you’re asking for trouble. Just ask any fantasy owner who ever employed one or more of the Gramatica brothers.
The secret to winning fantasy championships is simple: Stock up on black guys. Consider it affirmative action.
8. You’ve been snake-bitten by the Scarlet Letter
In literature, the scarlet letter stands for adultery.
In fantasy football, the scarlet letter entails injury.
Fantasy football owners cringe every time they see scarlet letters next to any of their players’ names. Give me a P, Q, D, O, or worst of all, IR (twice as many letters, twice the severity), and chances are I won’t feel so hot about my team’s chances.
From “probable” to “injured reserve,” injuries can ravage a fantasy team much faster than they tear through a real-life locker room.
One Adrian Peterson high-ankle sprain can signal the end of your season, despite who you might have in reserve, proving just how fragile a roster of 16 superstars really is.
7. Your running backs are part of a timeshare
The vogue trend in the NFL usually spells doom for fantasy football players. Enter the “running back by committee” plague.
It seems there are few head coaches left that entrust the rock to one, solitary individual.
Instead, teams like to turn the ball over to a handful of mediocre dashers and darters for five-to-ten carries per game each.
Discovering that your No. 1 back is in a timeshare situation can be a painful experience.
Imagine if you found out you won the lotto, only to discover that fifty other people won, too.
Or pretend that the nachos you just bought for lunch were deemed an appetizer for the whole table.
Yep, it’s kind of like that.
As kids, we learn to appreciate sharing. But as fantasy football owners we realize how truly sucky sharing can be.
6. Your D/ST lost to the Detroit Lions
Yes, that’s right Washington Redskins defense and special teams. I’m calling you out.
Nobody in the past year-and-a-half can understand what you’re going through right now.
The only people who lament your plight worse than, say, Jim Zorn, are the fantasy owners out there who took a chance on you losers.
5. You have more than one member of the following teams on your roster: Detroit, Oakland, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Cleveland
There’s barely an excuse for having just one member of any of these ballclubs, let alone two, or God forbid three.
Even though there is often very little correlation between good NFL teams and good fantasy players, there does happen to be a heavy correspondence between bad NFL teams and equally bad fantasy duds.
If Jamal Lewis is toting the rock in your backfield, you have issues.
If Matthew Stafford is under center, you might need help.
If Chaz Schillens is split out wide, you’re in serious trouble.
Stay away from these real-life franchises and your fantasy team will be better off for it. Or spend the rest of your life drawing comparisons to Al Davis. It’s up to you.
4. You have a player with multiple surnames in your starting lineup
There is one, and only one, exception to this rule: Maurice Jones-Drew. Outside of MJD, there is no excuse for having a member of the All-Hyphen Team in your lineup.
I don’t care if we’re talking Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Sims-Walker, Darrius Heyward-Bey, or even LaRod Stephens-Howling. If these players’ parents had any intention of them being fantasy superstars, they wouldn’t have bestowed upon them more than one last name. It’s just a simple fact.
Face it, it’s a wonder these guys even became football players in the first place. With last names like that, they’re probably better off as accountants, women’s rights advocates, or entire law firms.
Fantasy stud? I don’t think so.
3. Your team is comprised of the best players from Madden….Madden ’01, that is
From Isaac Bruce to Torry Holt to Edgerrin James, there are a handful of guys out there who used to be great football players.
There are also a handful of fantasy owners who feel it’s in their best interests to add these guys to their squad.
Perhaps clinging to a memory of days gone by, holding on for sentimental value, or simply in desperate need of a player whose name rings a bell, fantasy owners make the mistake of giving these aging vets chance after chance.
The fact is people age. And nobody ages quite as quickly as a football player.
If you’re still waiting for Priest Holmes’ reemergence or Rich Gannon’s comeback attempt, keep waiting. There are thousands of players out there who can help you win fake ballgames. And few of them were featured in Madden ’01.
2. You only go after “character guys”
The Seattle Seahawks are an organization notorious for prioritizing character in an athlete. How many Superbowls have the Hawks won? That’s right, zero.
If you want to win ballgames, good moral fiber isn’t usually part of the equation. Winners tend to be cocky bad-asses that have a chip on their shoulder and want to destroy all who they come in contact with. It’s science.
If you aren’t stocking up on divas, loudmouths, and jerkoffs for your fantasy squad, chances are you aren’t winning too many games.
Enigmas like Brandon Marshall and Terrell Owens might cause trouble in real life, but in fantasy they’re worth holding on to.
Likewise, decent human beings like Brian Griese and Jon Kitna might hang on forever in the NFL thanks to their leadership and good attitudes, but they have zero value in the fantasy world.
You can afford to stay away from the serial babymakers/crack dealers (Travis Henry), gun toters (Plaxico Burress), and statutory rapists (Chris Henry), but anything less than a felony usually means it’s A-okay to add a certain player to your team.
1. You’re a Tarvaris Jackson fan
There are few players since the dawn of time that have spelled doom for a fantasy football franchise quite like Tarvaris Jackson.
If Jackson so much as sniffs your roster, you’re ultimately going down like a ten-buck hooker with narcolepsy and kneepads.
Don’t let your fandom, your idiocy, or your allegiances get in the way of rational decision-making.
Stay away from Tarvaris Jackson. Heed my words. You’ll be better off for it.