This fall, for the first time ever, I played fantasy football. And I almost won it all. My brother-in-law Adam organized a league of his friends, and Eri's fiance and I also joined (although neither of my sisters participated). We did the Yahoo version, which is pretty easy, and I signed up for the the automated draft because I was attending a wedding while it was scheduled. I did some manipulations- moved Randy Moss way up the list because I predicted he would have a great year with the Pats (and how right I was! That move certainly paid off.) and blacklisted a couple of my least favorite players: Terrell Owens and Peyton Manning. I know, I know; it's bad policy to ban good players from your fantasy team for personal reasons, but I'm too much of a sports fan to stomach rooting for someone who is a nemesis of the actual team I follow. I ended up with a solid squad- Moss, Chad Johnson, Joseph Addai- and later traded for Brett Favre and Dallas Clark. At the end of the regular season, I finished in first place. I had a bye for the first round of playoffs, and then lost in a close semi-final to none other than Ryan, Eri's fiance.
I enjoyed my first season as a fantasy football manager and will do it again. I'm a Patriots fan, but I like watching any decent NFL game (unlike baseball, where I will watch the Red Sox, but that's pretty much it), so it was fun keeping up with my players. Although it does change a little bit how you view the game- for example, I was at an airport bar watching a Giants game and my tight end Jeremy Shockey caught a long pass on the one yard line. The Giants fans cheered, whereas I shouted something akin to "Score the touchdown, you stupid motherf*&^r!" The other patrons were alarmed. I know some people get a little too obsessed with their fantasy teams, but it was a minor time commitment for me- just keep track of injuries and performance, and set the lineups the day before the first game of the week. Another positive is that it is really fun to talk to other fantasy owners about their teams, with the negative being that the non-fantasy owners listening will become bored to the point of tears.
Due to my success at NFL fantasy football, I joined and NBA fantasy league set run by commenters on Dan Shanoff's sports blog. Since I am a huge NBA fan and actually know a lot about basketball, having played it dreadfully for many years, I thought I would do well. I used my normal method of selection, barring players I can't stand (Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd...I have a strict No Rapists, No Wifebeaters policy.) and ended up with a talented team: LeBron, AI (I'm okay with weapons and marijuana charges), Tony Parker, Tracy McGrady. A formula for success? Not quite. In our league, points are tallied daily, so you have to adjust your lineup every day based upon who is playing that night. I just can't keep up, and end up resetting my lineup only two or three times a week. That, and the injuries can be killer. I'm currently in last place with little hope of climbing out of the hole.
I think I've learned my lesson- the NFL is made for fantasy football, but as for the NBA, I'm better off just watching the Celtics.