By Karissa Morton
I’ve always been skeptical of the NFL. It was usually on my parents’ television on Sundays, but I don’t remember my dad ever professing to be a fan of any particular team, nor did he camp out in front of the games all day, hollering at the screen like many dads do. Sports in general were never a big thing in my house, with the exception of March Madness—which probably explains why I spend the entire year counting down until the start of the tournament (ahem, 176 days).
I proclaimed to like football in high school, but in reality, I didn’t know the first thing about the game. What I actually liked were the small, overly-rich cups of hot chocolate I’d buy from the concessions stand—the ones that would inevitably give me heartburn for hours after I’d finished them. It wasn’t until undergrad that I became an actual football fan. Even though I didn’t go to the University of Iowa, I fell madly in love with Hawkeye football in 2009.
Accordingly, I’ve spent the past few years being an obsessive NCAA football fan. If I couldn’t find friends to go with me, I’d march myself out to Champps decked out in black & yellow, & hoot & holler alongside bunches of perpetually-drunk middle-aged men. When, this summer, someone in my group of friends suggested we do a fantasy football league, I tentatively agreed, but was more excited about picking the perfect team name & mascot than actually playing. (And you have to admit, being called Team Aaron Purrrrrnandez—with a mascot of a kitten holding a handgun—is pretty great. The MFA at work, folks!)
I spent about thirty minutes reading up on players prior to the draft, & had only one rule for myself: Don’t draft Cam Newton. (Granted, this had far less to do with Cam Newton himself than it did with the infernal hatred I harbor for Gene Chizik.) I pulled third place in our draft of eight, & was told this was a good position. Let me walk you through the rest of my draft logic:
1. Take Vikings players. Minnesota is close to Iowa.
2. Take players whose names I knew from the NCAA. Minus Cam.
3. Take players whose names I’d heard while watching ESPN at the gym.
4. Take players from teams close to BG so I’d get to watch their games.
5. Take Reggie Bush because he’s hot.
6. Take Blair Walsh because he’s hot.
By the end of the draft, I had no idea what I had… besides Reggie Bush & Blair Walsh. When I took a screenshot of my roster & posted it on Facebook, the general consensus was that I’d gotten really fucking lucky, so I went into Week 1 feeling like a king. Turns out my questionable logic worked out okay for me. The guys I picked just because they were hot (Reggie Bush, Blair Walsh) ended up scoring me 33 points in Week 1, & the “I’ve heard these names on ESPN” guys (Matt Ryan, Ray Rice) ended up netting me 31.
If I would have totally bombed Week 1, I might not be in the position I am now—utterly consumed by fantasy football. After Week 1, I thought my team was invincible, & so only made one move—playing Jordy Nelson. He turned out to be the only thing that saved a little bit of my pride Week 2… when the Steelers defense bagged me NEGATIVE THREE points, & Ray Rice & Reggie Bush both ended up hurt after scoring me one & six points, respectively.
Of course, I panicked. I’m the only girl in my league, & as such, felt irrationally responsible for representing everyone with a vagina (or the spirit of a vagina) everywhere. I refused to let down all female-kind by getting my ass handed to me again! Accordingly, Week 3 was the week of doing absolutely nothing but reading up on which free agents I should try to nab. (This, of course, was after Justin so kindly explained to me what in God’s name a “waiver wire” was.)
I first realized that I needed to get rid of the Steelers at all costs, & upon seeing my good ol’ Vikings available, made a mad dash. I wanted Knowshon Moreno, but drunkenly mentioned this at the bar the night before the claims went through, & what did this do but remind someone ahead of me in the waiver that, hey, he kinda wanted Moreno, too! This let James Starks fall to me which looked like I came out golden… uh, until he ended up getting hurt this week. (Seriously, what is going on with the Packers right now?!)
This weekend was rough. I drank my requisite 6,142 ounces of BWW Bud Light on Sunday & pouted, sure I was screwed. I mean, only three starters earned me double digits? James Starks & Vincent Jackson got hurt early on? I was done for. Buuuuut then I looked at my opponent’s roster. The curse of this draft, Colin Kaepernick, was his starting QB. Paired with sad showings from Marshawn Lynch & Martellus Bennett, I somehow pulled this one out. My 79 measly points managed to save my pride for one more week.
Side note: I’ve started watching The League on Netflix. I keep thinking I should use League-esque tactics paired with my wily female ways (ha) to get the players I want… like a TE who’s not Greg Olsen. But alas, I just keep getting drunk & threatening to punch the rest of my league in their dicks if they don’t do what I want. My rate of fist-to-groin connection is not that great after a whole bottle of vodka, so for now, I’m stuck with Olsen’s tight end (which is admittedly much better to look at than his face—does anyone else think this guy kinda looks like a bear?) for another week.
Lessons Learned: Draft-through-Week 3:
1. Drafting the hot players works. This has now been scientifically proven.
2. The Steelers are bad. Very bad.
3. Don’t remind the rest of your league about the fact that waiver claims go through at 4:30am. They will go home from the bar at 3am & take Knowshon Moreno from you.
4. At any given moment, the players have no goddamn idea if they’re going to play or not. Do not listen to Reggie Bush when, on Twitter, he says he’s going to play, & put him as your starting RB. 20 minutes before the game starts, you will have to scramble to replace him because he lied to you.
5. Threatening to dick punch the rest of your league really boosts your morale after a loss. I recommend trying it next week if you aren’t doing so hot. Report back.