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Life Without Fantasy Leagues

I’m too busy these days to be in any football fantasy leagues or even picking games for that matter; this after two years of being steeped in fantasy action. My Sundays have really changed. As have my Mondays and many of my Thursdays.

For the uninitiated, this fantasy football stuff is really all-consuming. It’s one of the reasons NFL TV ratings are through the roof this year. Additional millions upon millions of people are now picking players and carefully monitoring their stats in a highly addictive endeavor that has created many more football widows than anyone ever imagined possible.

I played in the type of fantasy league in which you go up against 19 other random people on a sports web site, picking 11 players; 2 QB’s, 3 HB’s, 3 WR’s, etc.etc.. And I also picked games; one contest in which you pick winners straight up, and the most challenging of all which involved picking against the point spread and then ranking the games 1-16.

My performances were mixed. Not-so-good on the more traditional fantasy league stuff. Average on straight up picks. Pretty darned good against the spread. For me, the joy in this was the prognosticating formulas I invented…spread sheet after spread sheet crunching numbers, probabilities, etc. (actual such spread sheet above).

So with 11 players I was monitoring and two sets of picks to worry about, every single game on Sundays and Mondays and often Thursdays, carried some kind of implication; some kind of test of my forecasting abilities. It was riveting.

Absent the fantasy leagues and the picks now…I find I just don’t give a shit. It’s oddly liberating. I have so much more time. My clothes are cleaner because I’ll actually do some laundry. I’ll take leisurely walks through the grocery store. I read books.

The only games I really care about these days involve the Redskins and the Cowboys. And it is so simple. Here’s my new formula:

Redskins Win= Happy Robert
Redskins Lose= Sad Robert
Cowboys Win= Sad Robert
Cowboys Lose= Happy Robert

I have a moderate interest in the New York Jets because I actually watched a couple of those HBO reality shows about Jets training camp and the Jets coach is such a jerk that I like seeing them get their hats handed to them. Which hasn’t happened much. The Jets are actually pretty good.

And the Eagles are interesting, of course, because they traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins and you have that drama playing out now between Philly Quarterbacks Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.

But unless they’re playing Washington, I just don’t care anymore about Payton and Eli Manning, Carson Palmer or Aaron Rogers. I don’t have to go through stats on cheap, obscure kickers or study team defenses. And I find a lot of the statistical analysis I used to spend hours on…is total bull.

Yes, things are much, much simpler now. Primal, even. The stat-freaks, for example, obsess about how the Redskins defense gives up X amount of yards per game, making them one of the worst in the NFL. Now- I look at points allowed and the number of stretchers brought on the field.

Yeah, they give up a lot of yards, but not many points. And they’ve put at least 14 opposing players on the disabled list in the last three games. See, now that’s a defense. And not a stat that counts in fantasy leagues, last I checked.

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