Fantasy Football, Anyone?

When I was in junior high and high school, I thought I wanted to be the first woman head coach in the NFL. I watched football all the time, studied the plays, knew all the signals that the officials used (my favorite, for some reason, was the signal for clipping), and went to see Wildcats in the theater (I now own it on video :). Somewhere along the line that dream died, probably when I went to college and got more interested in college football. I stopped watching NFL games consistently in favor of SEC matchups and New Year's bowl games. Of course, at some point I lost interest in all college games that didn't involve the University of Georgia, too, and by that time I'd lost touch with the NFL.

Anyway, the first year Al and I started going out I noticed that Sundays were taken up with football. Al had a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket, and he'd often watch several games at once on his giant TV. I tried to get interested, but I had trouble following games with all the constant channel-changing, so I'd usually just go out and do my own thing while he manned the remote.

By the following year I'd realized that fantasy football was the reason Al was more interested in watching snippets of several games rather than all of one—when you follow specific players, how they're doing matters more than the outcome of any one game or the fortunes of any one team. That year I was working in the kitchen while Al participated in a live fantasy draft in the dining room, and I advised him to take Peyton Manning for his QB. He waffled, but I said I had a good feeling about Manning, so with his time on the clock ticking down, he followed my advice.

That year, Al won his league, mostly thanks to Peyton Manning.

The next year we moved to Philadelphia a couple weeks into the NFL season. I didn't have errands to run (or a car to run them with) while Al watched football on Sundays, and in any case, I was starting to feel left out of all the football frenzy. I wanted to watch too, and with the same fervor that Al did. Al suggested I join a public fantasy league so I'd have a vested interest in watching. It turned out to be a brilliant idea—I was hooked on football again in no time. (I also ended up with the best record in my league, though I lost in the second round of the playoffs.)

I played my first full season last year, again in a public league with an auto-draft feature. For the uninitiated, "auto-draft" means the league's computer chooses players for all the teams in the league based on either a ranking that each team manager specifies, or based on a general ranking of players based on the previous year's stats (e.g., Peyton Manning was ranked #1 this year). I did the same this year, choosing auto-draft again mainly because I see how much work Al puts into preparing for his live draft (which he's doing right now, incidentally), and I wasn't sure I'd have time to work that hard.

I am curious about the live draft, however, and while Al and I like playing in different leagues (because we can both have some of the same players on our rosters, and because I think Al likes having a second roster—mine—to mess with), we wanted to try playing against each other. For that reason, we started a custom league on Yahoo! that will employ a live draft. If you're interested in trying out fantasy football, are already in a league but want to try a live draft, or just want a second shot at drafting Peyton Manning or Shaun Alexander, we'd love to have you in our league, which is called the cherrypickers. Just click the link to join. Our draft is scheduled for Friday, September 2 at 6:45pm EDT (3:45pm PDT).

Posted by Lori in sports at 9:44 PM on August 28, 2005