After years of playing America's favorite make-believe pastime, we all know it's a crapshoot. No matter how much research you do...
"Philip Rivers looks good; this is the year!"
No matter how much time you invest in setting your lineups...
"Seriously, who the hell do I play at the flex?"
Odds are you'll be pulling your hair out by Week 3. You can have a really solid draft only to instantly have your season derailed by unpredictable injuries, slumps and murder investigations.
Here are 9 ways to not ruin your fantasy football season:
1. A Savvy Team Name
You can lose every single game this year but still carry the coveted title of best name in the league. When it comes to naming your team, skip current events and pop culture references that will fizzle out in a few months, such as:
- Miley Cyrus-ly Injured
- Carlos Danger Zone
- Everybody's Twerking for the Weekend
Stick with football player puns and alliterations that will stand the test of time. Strive to be the next "Somewhere Over Dewayne Bowe." Some examples:
- Cromartie's Kids
- Medulla Amendola
- Back That Asomugha Up
The more obscure the player, the more likely you'll delight everyone with your whimsy. If you can't think of a good one, just go straight-up fantasy on 'em and let your nerd flag fly. I'm talking "Uruk-hai Rook-hais," "Touchdown TARDIS," and "Team That Shall Not Be Named."
2. Roster Makeover
Great names should extend past the team and trickle all the way down to the players on your roster. If you're going to spend the entire season griping to everyone about how your guys let you down, why not make the process more enjoyable?
Ditch pedestrian-sounding names and go with ones that are fun to pronounce (since you'll be bringing them up every chance you get). Getting pissed at someone named "Doug Martin" just seems mean. Cursing BenJarvus Green-Ellis at the top of your lungs? Now that's entertainment.
3. Avoid the Waiver Wire
Scouring through the lists of unclaimed players is like trying to find good produce at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Skip the extra headaches and ride out the season with your original crew. If Will Smith and Martin Lawrence taught us anything in the 90s, it's that you ride together and you die together. Solidarity! Those projected points may seem appealing, but so do all those apartments on Craigslist... until you actually go and view them.
If you want to make moves, stick to trades. What's better than pestering someone via Gchat during regular work hours until they crack -- or cornering a friend at a party and begging them to accept your "legit" trade of the Jacksonville Jaguars Defense for Drew Brees? If you do insist on using the waiver wire, I recommend treating it like the actual show The Wire:
- Closely monitor everyone's moves and map out the rosters on a cork board, complete with photographs and stats.
- Go after the 1st place team like they're a drug kingpin. What's that? Avon Barkdale's RB has a bye week coming up? Hit 'em where it hurts and pick up the best available guy like he's the stash house.
Who's your daddy now?
4. Fantasy vs Reality
The line between fantasy and reality should always be blurred. It's the difference between having your season play out like a catchy summer jam and having it turn out like a total VMA train wreck.
It's simple: maintain allegiance to your favorite team. As a rule of thumb, don't roll with any rival players. I grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan and can never stomach seeing a New York Jet on my roster (although nowadays who can, amiright?!). It's bad enough when your real team loses. Add cheering for a sworn enemy for a few measly fantasy points? That's suspect.
5. Apps on Apps
There are tons of great apps out there for fantasy football that provide breaking news and score updates. If you have a significant other, though, think twice before downloading one. Commitment, nurturing, meeting needs, attention to detail, and planning for the future are all key...and I guess the same can be said for a relationship. You can't have both. Don't worry guys, she'll totally be waiting for you in January.
6. Beware of the Ladies
Women are fantasy football fans, too. If there are female owners in your league, proceed with caution. They either know a lot about the game and are going to be wrongfully underestimated -- or they're just doing it for fun, don't really care, and will end up winning the championship because of this.
7. Believe in Yourself
Nothing is worse than heeding the advice of an online "guru" only to have it backfire on you. Trust your gut and feel like a million bucks when you end up making the right move. On the flip side, let the mistakes be yours and yours alone. This way you can take that violent rage directed at a stranger and turn it inward. Fantasy Football, "Where Self-Loathing Happens!"
8. Peace Be Da Journey
To loosely quote Herm Edwards, WE PLAY TO HATE THE GAME! Things aren't going to work out. It's unavoidable. Even if your season is ruined, don't let it ruin your life. There are a few ways to help take out the frustration. Play Madden. Set the difficulty to Rookie and go Bill Belichick on the A.I. by running up the score. Do it yourself and go play some actual football -- but be careful out there, though. There's a reason we go the fantasy route in the first place.
9. Just (Don't) Do It
Don't play fantasy football at all. Instead, root for your real team and enjoy the sport by watching and attending games. That's still a thing, right?
Written by Eddie Mujica. This post originally appeared on The Second City Network.