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From the Brink of Delirium
Fantasy Footballer’s Sedentary Life in an Upstate New York Village

I began playing fantasy football with a partner in an eight-team league of West Palm Beach, Florida residents when I got out of college in 1998. While the Internet and other media forms have since expanded the game to the limits of the Earth — and maybe beyond, for all we know — the game has remained basically the same right here in upstate New York, Greene County.

Sure, in our league we have some rule changes once in a while. But empirically speaking, all you really need is Internet access to play the game, for Gates’ sake. That allows all varieties of human life forms to participate, squabble about mid-season trades that make or break championships, and generally appreciate the fine malaise that is fantasy football addiction.

I can see them out there — Those that we do no speak of without consulting first for up-to-date statistics (which I will from now on abbreviate using the acronym TTWDNSOWUNFLCOMFFUTDS, and even further abridgment).

While the knowledge base here in Greene County is pedantic, at best, TTWDNSOWUNFLCOMFFUTDS possess both skills and technique that could crush the inhabitants of my poor village to bits — crumbled teams of third-string running backs, injured receivers with ACL tears, heavily-concussed quarterbacks, blocking tight ends and assorted Gramaticas.

Yes, there are those that live in my village who have big heads, group together in compounds on Route 81 Hill, have season tickets to the Giants and a decent understanding of fantasy football, but they are no match for TTWDNSOWUNFLCOM... or the assorted brands of apocalypse that they will bring upon us if we dare enter their domain.

We wear white wife beaters and jean shorts to distinguish ourselves from TTWDNSOWUN...who wear golf shirts of blood red sackcloth and have gabardine trousers the likes of which we have never seen.

Oh, how the football gods have smiled upon TTWDNSO..., but scorned us with low waiver priority, random retirements in keeper leagues, not to mention scads of hellfire and brimstone (the new team colors for the Atlanta Falcons).

Okay, enough of the bad references to M. Night Shamalyan’s latest disappointment, and back to my point — or was there one.

I tend to encourage change in fantasy football leagues. I believe in gradual development of scoring rules, yearly discussion of roster size issues and similar analysis that breeds increased competition and more participation.

While we have a loosely-organized system for developing the rules, the commissioner of my league — a large-skulled friend who I have known since he was about four — sees fit every year to come up with some hair-brained scoring scheme to crown himself champion.

The trend of scoring analyzation started years ago, when we tried to balance the scoring for all positions. While it never works, we have been left with a complex but balanced scoring system that places a lot of importance on defense. We’re an IDP league, and have in years past required five individual defensive players — of any position — on the starting roster. And no, having Deion Sanders, or Charles Woodson has NEVER helped, since defensive players can only accumulate points on defense.

This year, big-head came up with a rule to require one DL, one LB and one DB, with two defensive FLEX positions. I like it, since draft day tends to become 12 guys pouring through linebacker cheatsheets looking for safe picks.

This draft day, look for ways to improve your league. It’s not too late, and it might make the season more interesting by encouraging more trades with larger rosters. I know the draft can get long with 20 or more rounds, but it’s only one day out of the year and you don’t really need to get home that badly.

Set up some new rules and try to vote them in with a league majority. Or you could come play in my league and just deal with the wrath of an autocratic, power-hungry league commissioner who also happens to have an enormous noggin. Like the Black Sheep said, the choice is yours.