By Mark Nagi
I’m writing this article at 2:24 a.m. on Wednesday, December 9, a few hours after the final NFL game of the week.
Baltimore beat an awful Dallas team tonight 34-17, but that’s not the big news. I’m here to type a rambling, hopefully, coherent piece on why fantasy football should be banned from American society.
I know what you are thinking… “Mark, that could never happen. It is a billion-dollar business that is played by millions of sports fans.” Well, look here good sir or madam. I’m not here for your logic. I’m just here to deal with my emotional pain yet again.
I’ve been playing fantasy football fairly consistently for 25 years and have yet to win a title. I’ve been kept out of the playoffs, lost postseason games and a couple of championship contests in every possible way.
Running backs a yard away from a touchdown who can’t cross the goal-line. Quarterbacks getting hurt at the worst possible moment. Opposing players having hall of fame weekends. Me making awful decisions on who to start and who to sit. You think it up and I probably have felt that anguish.
This year I am in three leagues. Yes, three. Don’t judge me.
In one league I’ve been solid all year long… until the final weeks of the season. Tonight, I needed another league matchup to end up my way and it ended in the opposite direction. By one point. In another league, I was terrific… until the final weeks of the season. I needed something similar to happen in an opposing game… and was kept out of the playoffs by two points.
Full disclosure. I didn’t even watch the Ravens/Cowboys game because I assumed that something like this was going to happen, and I hoped that somehow not watching would turn karma in my favor.
I was wrong.
But all is not lost just yet. In my third league I likely have earned a first-round bye (still waiting for final ESPN confirmation), but let’s be honest. I have no confidence that I can win the final two games of the year. It doesn’t matter that my team is stacked with Russell Wilson (third-ranked quarterback), Dalvin Cook (top-ranked running back), Adam Thielin (fifth-ranked receiver) and Travis Kelce (top-ranked tight end). I’m just waiting for them to all quit the sport minutes prior to kickoff and announce they are opening a juice shop.
It isn’t about the money. I certainly can’t exactly buy a private island with the $100 first prize. And I realize that it is insane for me to care this much about basically what amounts to a make-believe team.
That “insane” word works well here. The famous quote goes as follows. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Year in and year out I’ll play fantasy football and year in and year out I’ll lose in soul-crushing fashion. And I know that I’ll be back again in 2021.
This time of year, I actually do take solace when I hear the stories of other awful fantasy football failures. By no means am I a man on an island. To those poor folks that read this article and have similar bad beats, just know this…
You aren’t alone. Keep hope alive.