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When fantasy meets reality in sports

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Taber Times

By Greg Price
Taber Times

After a hiatus of a few years from fantasy football, I have once again entered the arena for the 2017/2018 gridiron make-believe season.

To get in the right set of mind, I binge watched the whole seven-season run of The League which features a handful of friends whose good-natured competition at fantasy football gives way to a win-at-all-costs mentality that spills over into their personal relationships and the workplace.

I used it as a template for any possible smack talk that may be occurring in the upcoming football season.

I’ve started off strong enough, being the only team left in the 12-team league of Taberites to have a 2-0 record after two games, recording the most points with 237 in two blowout victories.

Remaining as humble as ever in my quest for the Loser Leave Town League Championship, I have only recounted a handful of times of how I was able to snag Kareem Hunt with the 35th overall pick (the highest point getter after two weeks in fantasy football). Perhaps posting a picture of Ned Beatty’s experience in the movie Deliverance on the fantasy football website and comparing it to what Kareem Hunt and his three hundred yards of total offence and three touchdowns did to my opponent in Week 1 was taking things a little overboard.

I’ve already probably taken the role of a blowhard Donald Trump in my fantasy football pool after a waiver-wire fiasco in which I snatched up a few key players, not knowing the settings had defaulted to a free-for-all instead of by priority to give everyone an equal chance for teams lower in the standings.

While the glitch was quickly fixed with absolutely no pushback or complaint from myself to the commissioner (fake news), I’m sure with being the team that has taken the early lead in the standings, there is a target squarely on my back.

But in the world of fantasy sports, better to be the villain everyone is chasing than the guy who drafted a player that had a season-ending injury well before the draft was held.

I’d like to claim some sort of mastery in the art of fantasy football, but let’s face it, there is just as much luck as there is skill attached to it.

Due to a break in my Internet connection, I accidentally had two spots on my team autodrafted (Ben Roethlisberger and Denver Broncos Defence).

I just happened to have a player both weeks that blew up with three touchdowns scored in a single game.

I’ve already jettisoned nearly a quarter of my roster from crappy drafting and worked the add/drop feature and waiver wire with wreckless abandon.

Just as fortune as come my way early in the season, it can just as quickly leave as some teams have realized with injuries ravaging their rosters or first-round picks underachieving (I’m looking at you Le’Veon Bell, Jordan Howard and DeMarco Murray).

But it has added a new wrinkle to my Sunday football viewing, giving more enjoyment and meaning to games I could have cared less about.

I mean, the Los Angeles Rams versus the San Francisco 49ers this Thursday? Really?

Pffftt… oh wait, I may have to start Rams rookie Cooper Kupp in place of an injured 50/50 Jordy Nelson.

It has made for some weird situations already where I’ve watched with glee my quarterback throw two touchdown passes in Week 1, but neither of them to two receivers that were started by my opponent in Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

The anomaly happened again in Week 2 where I was sad to see a quarterback I was going up against in Derek Carr throw three touchdown passes, only for it to switch to euphoria when I saw that all three were to my starting receiver in Michael Crabtree.

I cringed when I watched my beloved Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon as some of the purity was taken away as I was also worrying about my Denver Broncos defence. Yes, hoping for a 10-7 Cowboys victory because of fantasy football made me feel a tad bit dirty in that I was watching the game in the wrong way.

There is also that empty feeling you get when you leave a player on your bench that far outpaces a player you started. There I was watching the San Francisco 49ers/Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday and a smirk came across my face when two Seahawks drives stalled in the red zone (20-yard line in).

Why you ask?

I had just picked up the Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh off the waiver wire and three points for a field goal are a lot better than one from a converted touchdown. So yes, fantasy football has both added and taken away from my enjoyment of the game in certain aspects so far in the 2017/2018 season.

But, overall, it is something fun that adds a new facet to my viewing of my favourite sport to watch right alongside hockey.

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