Since the turn of the millennium, not a year has gone by where I didn’t dedicate large chunks of my life to fantasy football.
When I made the trek to Colorado after graduating college, fantasy football was the “in” for me to make new acquaintances. No matter how things were going with me and my old lady, I knew my roster would love me unconditionally. Through all the highs and lows, fake football was there for me.
But, as with most relationships that blossom in high school, familiarity breeds contempt. Fantasy football became less and less enjoyable to be around.
Maybe it’s because the stakes in my real life began to dwarf any stakes my fantasy league could offer.
Maybe it’s because the exclusivity of the experience subsided as everybody and their mom started signing up to play. I use the term “mom” literally here.
Maybe it’s because you can’t wave a stick without somebody offering you their “expert” advice. Oh, that trophy on your desk you won after winning your six-person league qualifies you as a football guru? To paraphrase the late, great Phife Dawg, I don’t need a statue to tell me how nice I am.
After years of losing its luster, fantasy football became a chore for me more than anything else. A chore with little payoff. I watched football before fantasy sports came along, so it’s not something I need to enjoy the game. And if you really think about how much time you spend each week managing your roster, that $500 payout means jack squat.
Depending on where you’re at in your career, that 5-10 hours a week equates to hundreds of dollars in salary and a ton of opportunities lost. Seriously, think about what your time is worth and then look back at how much of your life you’ve invested in fantasy sports. Actually, don’t do that as your head might explode.
On top of all that, fantasy football culture was/is ruining my football watching experience. If somebody told you they had an invention that forced you to watch Jacksonville Jaguars games, you’d tell the inventor to kill it with fire. Fantasy football is like that friend that has terrible tastes in TV shows, but swears if you give The Big Bang Theory a shot you’re going to like it.
If being forced to track god-awful teams and games wasn’t bad enough, you have to hear about everybody else’s experiences tracking god-awful teams and games. You can’t hide from it.
You want to refill your water jug at work? Welp, get ready to have a water cooler chat with Carol in HR about her last-second fantasy loss, a loss due to Roberto Aguayo (RIP) missing his fifth extra point against the Cleveland Browns.
Want a preview of your favorite team’s upcoming game? Get ready to sit through hours of dedicated fantasy football programming before ESPN breaks down the actual games.
Free from the shackles of fake football, I’m looking forward to enjoying the season without having to worry about all the little things fantasy football forces you to stress out about. No more checking my phone constantly to see if my RB2 healed from his turf toe injury. No more waking up at 2:00 AM to see if my waiver-wire pickups went through. And, most importantly, no more “cheering” for players on teams I despise.
Everything I just said aside, do you really want to spend the last NFL season in human history worrying about whether or not you should target a running back or wide receiver for your FLEX position? We’re one tweet away from World War III, after all.