OPINION: Putting the fantasy back into fantasy football


Fun fact: a tenth-level half-elf bard is not an appropriate pick when drafting a fantasy football team. As it turns out, the fantasy part in fantasy football is a total misdirection.

As a self-proclaimed nerd who can name all the original 151 Pokémon — shout out to the “Pokérap” — I find it extremely difficult to name a single football player.

So, imagine my disappointment when I found out that Josh “The Flash” Gordon was not the savior of the universe, but instead the wide receiver for the New England Patriots. By the way, I couldn’t tell you what a wide receiver does; my assumption is receiving the ball in a wide area.

If by now, you haven’t gotten on board this dork-train full of references, buckle up, because this nerd is tackling football — the fantasy kind.

For me, football has never been as exciting as sitting at a table with four other dudes in wizard hats and capes, rolling dice and trying to cast spells like prestidigitation. We preferred the mystical over the mundane, because to us guys, hitting each other over a ball was boring.

That means playing fantasy football has never been on the agenda. Why play a game consisting of characters I don’t know, with mechanics that are less forgiving than “Dark Souls?”

However, there’s still something appealing about building camaraderie and competition through fake sportsball.

Sci-fi nerds, fantasy geeks, and Potter-heads — just because you lack that general football knowledge doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fantasy action. Just don’t get your hopes up on drafting for Gryffindor.

The one thing you should keep in mind is that you won’t win unless you roll a natural 20, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had in the game.

Don’t know which players to choose? That’s fine, auto drafting is a thing and is basically like selecting “random” in “Super Smash Bros.” You could get an Ike, or you could get a Luigi, or worse, a Bowser that just retired.

Auto drafting is also great for those chaotic evil types who just want to revel in chaos, because they can completely mess up veteran players’ game plans.

Or you could be that doofus in the league with a roster of only kickers and name your team The Kickers Supreme. Actually, that’s a really good band name. Don’t steal it, I’ve already called dibs.

Furthermore, if you do want to win, there’s a simple solution for that: ask another member of your league what to do.

Football fans are essentially nerds, and they want to share that nerdiness with you — just like you probably want to share yours with anyone who’s interested. Let them share with you. Ask them how to fix your lineup with that Luigi of a quarterback you have.

You’ll eventually learn the real secret to playing fantasy football — other than sneaking a wizard into your roster. It’s a card game with similar mechanics to pokemon or yu-gi-oh, and just a sprinkle more of realism.

Every player has stats and status conditions, some are better than others in certain scenarios, and if you fall for your opponent’s trap card, you could lose a valuable player.

Give fantasy football a chance, and maybe if you’re lucky, you can send your league to the shadow realm.