Last Week's Question – Variations in
Fantasy Football Leagues
In last week’s column,
I mentioned that the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s
Profile of the average fantasy football participant struck a little
too close to home for my taste. My response to that average profile
was to request that people participating in leagues that bucked
the “average” trend write in to tell me about what
made their leagues exceptional.
The responses cut two ways. On the one hand, I received notes
from all kinds of different people in all kinds of different leagues.
But on the other hand, I received an overwhelming number of responses
from guys just like me who thought it was kind of funny and kind
of creepy that they so closely fit the “average” profile.
I’ll start with the exceptional leagues to give readers
an idea of the variation that’s out there. Although I did
not hear from an all-female fantasy league, I did get a note from
someone who participates in an even more interestingly exclusive
league. Tad of Washington, D.C. wrote in to tell me about a league
that is strictly for deaf participants. The entry fee is $200
plus $150 for bids—with a $1200 championship prize. Too
rich for my blood.
Another “exceptional” league sets itself apart not
because of the demographic to which the members belong, but the
place where they can be found on Sunday afternoons. Wayne of St.
Louis wrote in to tell me about the “Personal Seat License
What sets us apart from other fantasy leagues is the fact that
we all have seats together at the Eddie Dome, section 428GG (1-9).
We have been together since day 1; we tailgate 6 hours before
any game time (yes, 6 AM at noon games and we are not the first
ones there). We have a blast trash talking Fantasy football before
and after, and “interesting” trades have been made
before and after games. We have a couple of cell phones with internet
access and stats are flowing freely up and down the aisle. I watch
the game, cheer loudly for the Rams and have “game day”
(ESPN) going on my headset. If anyone scores, that information
is passed on and spread throughout our section rapidly. By the
way, our game day gear consists of Rams hard hats; “full”
face paint, Rams Jerseys, etc. We have women and children lining
up for us to face paint them before the game. It is a great atmosphere!
Tailgating and Fantasy Football are a great combination at the
Eddie Dome in STL.
I asked Wayne how he handles it when his fantasy running back happens
to be playing against the Rams and breaks for a long TD. His response
was that he cheers “quietly.” You’ve gotta love
stuff like that—even if it would drive the Jimmy Kimmels of
the world nuts.
I told readers last week that I wanted to know about it if they
had their drafts “while ice fishing in February.” No
one seems to have their drafts under such inhospitable circumstances,
but I did hear from one fellow (who shall remain nameless, lest
his wife should happen across this page) who has his drafts in conditions
that we can only call the opposite of uncomfortable. According to
Mr. Nameless, what sets the Riverside Fantasy Football League apart
from others is:
For the last 10 years we have been drafting in suites
in Las Vegas. The draft is always held on the Saturday night before
the opening Sunday. For the last 3 years, we have gone to a gentleman’s
club (what else do you do in Vegas?) on Friday night for some
entertainment, and before leaving we will arrange for one or two
of the ladies to be at our suite for the draft the next night.
During the draft, the ladies are used as runners. All the owners
will write their picks on slips of paper and hand them to a lady
to then write their pick on the draft board. The best part of
this......is that they're nude while doing it!
All I wanted when I asked my question last week was to find out
about folks who might not fit the average profile of the fantasy
footballer. I didn’t expect the responses I received to be
calculated assaults upon the sensibilities of “true”
football fans who hate fantasy for diving fan loyalties. Even less
did I anticipate the sort of response that would outrage the family
values segment of America. C’est la vie.
Readers may also recall that I asked for feedback from folks who
thought their leagues were among the longest-lived in fantasy football
history. The most impressive response I received along those lines
came from Mike in Washington:
Our Fantasy Football League may very well be one of the most tenured
in the nation, dating back to 1974. I remember because it was
Dan Fouts' second year in the NFL, and I drafted him. During those
early years, in a “scoring only league,” where TD
passes count for 6 points, and yardage bonuses were unheard-of,
if you didn't have Dan Fouts, you were fighting for 2nd place
money, or worse, for almost the next decade, until the next QB
phenom came along.
These were the most interesting and varied answers I received in
response to last week’s query. But I was positively overwhelmed
with feedback from people who wrote in to say they were white, male,
in their mid-30s, and earning a figure not far from the FSTA average.
So why did they write in?
Because they all think that what sets a league apart from other
leagues isn’t the number of women in the league (or even whether
the women are wearing clothes), but the way the score is tallied
or the way the league is structured. I never cease to be amazed
at the astonishing variety of scoring systems that there are throughout
the country. Plenty of these systems are seductively thoughtful,
but I don’t have room to tackle them in this week’s
This Week's Question:
Since I’ll put off my survey of responses explaining how
particular scoring systems and league structures set certain leagues
apart, I’ll invite those who want to get in their two cents
on the question to write in this week.
Last Man Standing (Courtesy of Matt)
Trap Game: All divisional games
Note to self, don't assume that teams picked by experts are going
to run away with their divisions. Last week was a perfect example
of why they “play the games.” New Orleans played an
inspired game against a team many consider a Super Bowl contender
from the NFC, the Carolina Panthers, while the 49ers showed the
world that the Rams, while great on Turf, are beatable any given
This week the NFL has given fans divisional matchups in all but
a few games. That said, always be careful in Last Man Standing
pools when picking these games.
#3 New York Jets over Miami (0-1):
The Jets played embarrasingly against the Chiefs and deserved
to lose the game, but they are supposed to contend for a playoff
spot, and this week they play a team that really is one-dimensional
(strictly defensive). If they can stretch Dolphins deep, which
Denver couldn't, the Jets should win this in a tight game of divisional
opponents. The Dolphins are playing tougher than most expected,
but these teams know each other well and the advantage goes to
the home team in this divisional battle.
#2: Pittsburgh at Houston (1-0):
Willie Parker had a phenomenal opening day against Tennessee,
and week 2 should be no different against a Houston defense that
has a hard time against a power run and a balanced passing game.
While Houston is going to try and show that they are an improved
team over last year, Bill Cowher's new weapon should control this
game and take the Texans' crowd out of the game early.
#1: San Francisco and Philadelphia
The 49ers played a perfect game to beat the Rams, but the Eagles
are home and they are angry. This is a game that the Eagles should
walk away with just on talent alone. Unlike the Rams, these Eagles
are not going to be surprised knowing that someone from the NFC
will be 2-0 this week.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question or to share your LMS picks, please email
me no later than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football