Saturday, October 28, 2006

FANTASY FOOTBALL


This year, I have finally joined the world of fantasy football geeks. I know what you might be thinking: "What! Not another fantasy football geek; say it ain't so, Jones..." I have to confess that such would have been my reaction to a similar announcement not so long ago. I have come to discover, though, that fantasy football is both worthwhile and entertaining. And, since I am now participating, I no longer deem it to be the domain of geeks who have nothing better to do with their time.

Truth to be told, I've been curious about fantasy football for some while now. For several years, I 've heard others talking about how much fun it is. I've heard them speaking with great enthusiasm about "their" teams and "their" players. I've heard them agonizing about whether to use one particular NFL star or another in their "starting" lineup for that week. I've heard them debating about whether they should drop a player, pick up a free agent, or whether they should seek a trade with another player in their league. It all sounded very mysterious and involved.

Although I was interested in fantasy football, and curious about it, I didn't really know how to get involved. I have to thank my friend and colleague Curtis Moutardier for finally getting me over that hurdle. Curt is a self-professed fantasy football guru. He has been a fantasy owner for several years now and, as I understand it, he won his league last year. Upon some prompting from him, I finally decided to bite the bullet and join. The result is that I've been enjoying this NFL football season more than I have any other in recent memory.

In fantasy football, each participant acts as the owner of his or her own team, competing against the owners of other teams within the same league. In the fantasy league, games are won or lost each week depending upon how the actual NFL players performed in their games that week.

For the uninitiated, here's basically how it works: Once a group of players has agreed to participate in a fantasy league, a draft is held before the start of the season. Each player drafts players from various offensive positions. They also select one or two defenses. In our league, we selected twelve offensive players, and two team defenses each. Those selected on draft day comprise the owner's initial roster.

Once the rosters have been set, league play begins, coinciding with the NFL action. Each week, I have faced a different fantasy owner within my league. Although each owner has 14 positions on his roster, he can only start seven for each game: One quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, and a defense. Points are awarded based upon how each of the owner's players performs during that particular week. It thus becomes a matter of great fun and strategy deciding which players to start in your lineup each week.

There are various web sites that host fantasy leagues. The league in which Curt and I play is hosted by CBSsportsline.com. My good buds Rags and Bret are in a different league on Yahoo Sports. There are many to choose from, as the leagues have been popping up everywhere.

The season started out great for me. I began the season going 3-1. I was fortunate to have been able to draft Tom Brady of the Patriots and Torry Holt of the Rams, and they have both been true stars for me thus far. Unfortunately, I have lost my last three games in close contests, and my team now sits at 3-4. I'm planning on a big comeback though, beginning this week. My opponent (or should I say victim) this week is fellow lawyer and recent fantasy enthusiast John L. Grannan.

If you have ever thought about getting involved in a fantasy league, I would recommend it. It definitely helps to enhance the viewing of NFL games in general. Whereas I used to be primarily interested in watching the Bengals, Colts and Bears, I am now interested in watching many teams because of the impact that the other games may have upon my fantasty league.

Wish me luck. If the fortunes smile my way, Curt might be saluting me as the new league champion this year.

Skoal!

--The Meatbe


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