It's football season! And you know what that means: it's Fantasy Football season!
Bore everyone to tears with game recaps! Enrage wives and girlfriends by spending too much time doing research! Turn leisurely Sundays into stress-filled angerscapes of regret and frustration. I can't wait!
I've written about my relationship with Fantasy Football before, even going so far as to consider skipping the birth of my child to attend my draft. That was a choice I didn't end up having to make, thankfully, and it resulted in one of the best days of my life: the day I won my league!
These days, almost everyone I play Fantasy with has kids, and since everyone with kids wishes they had better kids, I thought I'd imagine what the top picks in a Fantasy Parenting draft would look like.
Fantasy Parenting Rankings
1. A totally healthy, totally happy kid
Like Fantasy Football's Adrian Peterson, the Fantasy Parenting Draft has a consensus #1. No one is passing that up.
2. A kid who sleeps 'til 10 a.m. every morning
4. A kid who is already potty-trained
If I had the 4th pick, I'd be more than happy with whichever of those three happened to be left.
5. Free college tuition
Total boom or bust pick: college may well be obsolete in fifteen years. But if not, it will cost a FORTUNE. Too much upside to pass this one up with the fifth pick.
6. A kid who LOVES playing by himself, quietly
I love this pick. I could see it going as high as 3rd, really. A quiet kid is almost as good as getting extra sleep.
7. Painless vasectomy
One of the most controversial picks of the draft. You may never need a vasectomy, or worse, you may eventually decide to get it reversed! But like the homer who needs the Patriots' 3rd string RB and reaches to get him, some joker always panics and grabs this one early, usually right after their kid has pissed them off. For me, it's a last-ditch option and I wouldn't go near it until round 8, at the earliest.
8. A kid who cleans up after himself
This just never seems to pan out. Let someone else make this mistake.
9. An athletic/musical/scholastic prodigy
Another high-risk, high-reward pick. Even if it pays off early, could cause a lot of headaches down the road.
10. A kid who eats his dinner without a fight
Solid late first-rounder. Nothing flashy, but consistent year after year. So long as you have a lot of mac and cheese in the house.
First-round dark horse: Tim Tebow
Let's face it, the guy needs a home. And I'm sure his manners are impeccable.
Sleepers: A kid who likes "The Wire"; a kid who never talks back; a kid who falls asleep in the car; a kid who never whines; no tantrums; a kid who can see you eating junk food but NEVER WANTS it himself; a kid who hates children's music and only listens real, quality stuff; a kid who never wakes up in the middle of the night; a kid who isn't interested in your iPad or computer.
Obviously, this list is totally subjective. Like any fantasy league, how you devise your rankings depends largely on the format. Do you have more than one kid? Maybe a vasectomy is a good early call. Got a nanny or grandparents around to help? Then you might not need to take the kid-free vacation. Just know your league, go with your gut, and don't get so caught up in results that it stops being fun.
Just like with being a good fantasy football player, being a successful parent takes preparation and hard work, but nobody really knows anything, and it basically all comes down to luck.
Read more from Mike Julianelle at Dad and Buried.