|Fantasy Sports 101|
by Adam Geiger
A rookie's survival guide
There comes a time in every sports fan's life where the lure becomes too great, the scent too sweet. How it has avoided you to this point is a mys- tery, but now it has you, and good luck trying to escape.
You thought it would be simple. You've seen commercials glorifying it, heard friends conversing over it, and now you can't help but feel the need to be part of it. Welcome, my friend, to fantasy sports.
So, now that you've decided to make the plunge into the unknown, where do you start? You may be lucky enough to have a true friend in the league, one who is willing to divvy up their veteran fantasy know- how, but in most cases you'll be left to fend for yourself. Some rookies may consider themselves experts, and actually have the nerve to con- tinue with their normal lives on the days leading up to the draft (Fantasy Blunder 1: Fantasy Sports require life altering attention).
Ah yes, the draft, a chance to put the woes of last season behind or, for the lucky few, to set out on a quest for a repeat of last season. For some, the draft will be a complete success. A perfect pitching staff, a stud back- field, or four top 10 scorers. These individuals will almost certainly be content with leaving their roster be, and will likely ride out their players until the bitter end.
For the others, the frenzy begins. As a rookie, you might be happy with your team. You don't seem to under- stand why the league message board constantly badgers you for having Jon Kitna as your starting quarter- back. But you love the Lions, so hav- ing Kitna on your team was a must (Fantasy Blunder 2: Draft with your head, not your heart).
However, lucky for you, all hope is not lost. You did manage to grab some running back from Seattle, and despite all the trade offers you received, by the grace of God he was on your starting roster for week one.
That was of course, until your beloved Lions nearly pulled off a stunning upset. That running back from Seattle looked terrible, and failed to earn you a single point. In your infinite wisdom, you trade away your week one failure for Roy Williams (another Lion!) and Ahman Green, and look forward to week two (Fantasy Blunders 3 and 4: Week's one and two mean about as much as the first day of class - and NEVER trade away a top three player.)
As the season progresses, you realize a few things: 1) The Lions are indeed as bad as everyone says, 2) Being in last place sucks, and 3)… that Shaun Alexander sure knows how to score touchdowns.
Of course, you find yourself alone in the basement at season's end. The guy with Alexander has the league trophy, and you have been put under probation for next season after such a ridiculous trade.
But through it all, you had fun. As the losses piled up, so did your knowledge, and with a little luck, you feel you might be ready for the big time next season. So, you post an apology for your poor performance on the message board (Fantasy Blunder Number 5: There is no such this as a bad move. You always knew what you were doing, and it's your players' fault you came dead last), and return to the outside world, searching for long-lost loved ones, and sunlight.