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Picking Your League's Partners
A Social Darwinist’s Look At Fantasy Football Success

In determining the success of your participation in fantasy football leagues, a lot of emphasis has been put — and this should not come as a shock to any of you — on picking the right fantasy players for your team. The draft, weekly pickups, trades — all of that nonsense that your girlfriend wife or life partner just doesn’t understand — these things are all secondary to the first order of business: Who you are playing against.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading occasional updates on preseason rosters, depth charts and the like but only now have experienced an epiphany as to the first measure of success in fantasy football — seeking out weak, easily influenced playing partners to compete against in your league. I mean, if there’s no competition, how hard should it be to win you league and a few hundred (maybe even a thousand) bucks to boot?

In “The Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin theorizes that natural selection has been the main, but not exclusive, means of modification of species. Very astute, Charles.

Soon after, Social Darwinism became a popular belief in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere. Social Darwinism states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer, an elitist philosopher whose questionable ethical ideas received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

Fortunately, these same theories are applicable to fantasy football, and I have taken some key elements of Darwin’s philosophy and transmuted them to be applied before you and the rest of the animals begin the selection. Darwin’s first four chapters will suffice to make my point and aid in finding the four main types of creatures to seek out in your quest for dominance.

Variation Under Domestication
There are plenty of people out there with whom to play fantasy football. There are gurus and seasoned veterans who have been playing in leagues since the days of the enormous cellphone in the mid-to-late 1980s, there are the stalwarts who took up “FFing” in the early 90s, and there are the moderately successful bloodhounds who sniffed out the game by the turn of the millennium.

You want none — I repeat, NONE — of those sanguinary fiends in your league. A lot of them are unmarried and have committed a large portion of their existence to strength of schedule analysis and other techniques that, in the long run, will make your head spin. Look for married, domesticated men who might think they have enough free time to play fantasy football but are, in fact, just fooling themselves and heading straight to Home Depot after work.

Also, seek out guys in new relationships that spend most of their free time canoodling with their chick. In other words, if one of your buddies tells you he is in love, ask him to play fantasy football in your league and drive him to the draft yourself.

Variation Under Nature
Like I said before, stay away from bachelors if you can. One great way to do that is to start by looking for women who have something to prove and may want to become the doormat of your fantasy league. There are essential elements to successful fantasy football that women just will not understand. Chicks are definitely fierce enough, they just don’t understand football in its larger, metaphysical sense. They also suck with stats.

You can find girls to play fantasy football anywhere, but look for them at sports bars. They are there to get drunk and pick up guys, and your offer to play fantasy anything will most likely be incorrectly perceived as an advance. If it doesn’t turn your stomach to do so, tell them how important it is for you to meet women who you respect on a level playing field. You might even get some nookie if you play you cards right.

Struggle For Existence
In Darwin’s third chapter, he states that “Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual...”

Start by looking for defective minds — even in fantasy football circles. You’ll know who they are because they’ll come out with ridiculous remarks that baffle the mind and inspire the Alpha-male inside you to attack. Here are a couple sample comments that are clear giveaways...

What they say: “I’m drafting Ricky Williams in the first round. I’m sure he’ll be with somebody by the end of the year.”

What you should think: This is the same retard that took Barry Sanders for three straight years based on rumors of a comeback. Get him there on draft day and sit beside him. Pass him a few Tostitos scoops with salsa to keep him happy and discuss how much you want them to put that commercial with Bill Walton, Kareem and Dominique back on the air.

What they say: “I’m drafting my tight end early this year. There are so many good ones out there, I’m thinking about taking two of them.”

What you should think: Does he have any siblings that may have inherited the same genes?

Natural Selection
Darwin says “Let it be borne in mind in what an endless number of strange peculiarities our domestic productions, and, in a lesser degree, those under nature, vary; and how strong the hereditary tendency is.”

Humans are, indeed, filled with strange social peculiarities. There are also guys who possess some of these social peculiarities that can seriously conflict their preparation for the draft and the first few weeks of the season. Golfers are among these individuals. Before you e-mail me with remarks about how wonderful golf is and how I shouldn’t talk smack about the game, realize this: I’m a 9-handicap who has struggled with some of the very same issues I am discussing.

There’s just no way to play 18 holes before noon on a Sunday morning and have the proper frame of mind for successful fantasy football. My skills are advanced enough that I have developed some techniques for balancing the two, but most mortals are incapable of multitasking in such a way. Many golfers also play fantasy golf, success at which is in no way commensurate with success in fantasy football. These guys tend to be a little fanatical, and as soon as the weather turns sour, all bets are off as to what they are capable of doing. You’ve been warned.

In closing, there are number of last minute characteristics of the feeble fantasy football opponent you should look for in determining the right league makeup for your inevitable dominance. These will be short, to the point, and without explanation. Other than chicks, married guys, dumb people and golfers, look for opponents with any or all of the following: more than three children, pedicures, large lawns, three jobs, head injuries, basic cable TV, overactive bladder and/or irritable bowel syndrome, priapism, New York Jets season tickets, and lots of overalls.

Stay away from opponents with no children, manicures, townhouses, no job, head injury settlement money, satellite dish, large liver, Viagra prescription, New York Giants season tickets and goatees. I hope this has been a help to all of you fantasy football inhabitants on the verge of extinction.

Keeping it real at the top of the food chain...