Fantasy football changed my life. No longer is a football game just another game. The implications of individual statistics now affects the way I enjoy NFL football games. No longer do I focus on the schemes, ebbs and flows, inevitable chaos, and beautiful order of a perfectly executed drive or defensive stop. I am here to remind you that it is okay to sit back, enjoy a game, and relax from the resounding pressure that fantasy football can put on a person.
With fantasy football playoffs quickly approaching, the original intention of this article was to give advice to those of you trying to make that final playoff push and set up for a run at glory and the unprecedented trash-talking that a championship bestows. I realized that I probably do not have any advice that will be eye-opening to any of you that pay attention to the NFL (In my 10-person league I am tied for 5th in the league standings). My only tip is to start Mohamed Sanu, but otherwise go with the projections and take a deep breath. When leaving your lineup selection up to the projections, you will no longer feel the burden of making the tough decisions and possible regret from starting the wrong player.
On Monday, I tuned in to ESPN for the highly anticipated matchup between the undefeated ‘Niners and the Seahawks, led by MVP-frontrunner Russell Wilson. The game had huge implications for the NFL, but my immediate focus was on the Seahawk’s Tyler Lockett. My fantasy team had a decent lead, but with Lockett still to play for my competitor, I found myself rooting against him. He was unfortunately injured in the game, so my worry went away and I was left with just a football game to enjoy. The game was excellent throughout, and I could not help but appreciate the effort of the ‘Niners defense to stifle Wilson. Perfectly timed blitzes followed by camera shots of the spirited ‘Niners defensive coordinator were impressive even to infrequent NFL watchers. On top of that, Wilson made some plays that made me realize why he is the MVP frontrunner, and the unscripted drama at the end of the game cannot be understated. This was a football game that reminded me why I fell in love with watching the sport.
I believe fantasy football is great for bringing extra excitement to every fan and team for the NFL, but do not forget to sit back and enjoy two teams doing their best to win a game (the Bengals might be the only exception). The Monday Night Game inspired me to really appreciate the little details that a football game has to offer. From the play-calling to the fantastic individual contributions of lesser known players, finding enjoyment in the NFL should not stem from the wins and losses of your fantasy team, but from the team you root for and the appreciation of the work that each person in the organization puts into every week of preparation. I wish everyone good luck in their endeavours to manage the best fantasy football team possible, but if you are feeling down, do not forget to sit back and realize that fantasy football is not the only reason for watching the NFL.