Is Fantasy Football A Social Glue Or Soul Crusher?

I’ve played fantasy football for 13 years now and I’ve noticed a few trends. What industry experts tout as “A great social glue of friendships,” I’ve come to find that fantasy football does a better job at reaching into your chest, pulling your heart out, and taking a bite while your soon-to-be lifeless eyes gaze in a combination of terror and wonder.

Although it worked out well for Indy, there’s only one champion at the end of the year. The rest of us are left like the Browns, licking our wounds and drafting the next iteration of Johnny Manziel to right the ship for next year.

We’re left to wonder – is it all worth it or not?

One Good List dissects the 7 stages of a fantasy football season

1 – Excitement

With each August comes the closing of our favorite countdown – “__ days until football season!” We’ve finalized which leagues we’re committing to this season, scheduled draft dates, and listened to more podcasts at work than our boss should realize.

Fantasy football is back, baby, and we’re damn glad to have it!

2 – Hope

I can’t tell you how many of my teams I’ve ‘loved’ immediately following draft day (actually, I can – it’s 13). All the blogs read, shows watched, and podcasts listened to had paid off as I stole so many great players in the early and late rounds. At that point I typically tout my squad’s depth and firepower to just about anyone who will listen which typically does wonders toward strengthening friendships.

A championship is easily in view while driving home on draft day, but treat cautiously – hope is fleeting and it’s not a strategy.

3 – Justification

If you’re a decent study and drafter, and you catch a little luck along the way, either Week 1 or 2 will yield you a victory. At which time, all of your draft day philosophies will have been ‘proven’ accurate. While you stack win one and scour the waiver wire, you start pondering where in your house your wife will let you display this trophy. The rest of the season is a formality in Stage 3.

4 – Shock

Whether it’s an injury to your top draft pick or two losses in a row, adversity will come at some point during a fantasy football season. How you handle it, let’s be honest, doesn’t really matter. You could try a trade with one of your new deeper friendships or take a stab at claiming Kenny Pickett in his rookie season. However, while Kenny’s may produce more points per game than Justin Field’s first 3 weeks, we’ll come to find that any move you make will be the wrong one.

Of course you could trust all of your draft prep and just hang onto backup Justin Fields, but you’re in shock and need a win. Scared money don’t make money, am I right?

5 – Refocus

The player you just traded for will certainly yield 25% more points than the one you traded away. And if he doesn’t, the guy you picked up off waivers will take care of it instead. No worries. Either way, you’re hovering around .500 at the midway mark and all you need is a win next week to get back on track.

6 – Baseless Optimism

This year you went all in. You purchased the NFL Sunday Ticket, made trades while on the clock at work, your career record is better than mediocre, and you’re due for a win. You only need three wins in your last three games to make the playoffs and you know what? Yep, you can talk yourself into jumping back onto that bandwagon. Go get ’em, Champ!

7 – Apathy

Remember that three game stretch where you needed to win out? Well, you lost the first two and tied the second. The season’s over and guess what? You didn’t even have to negotiate with your wife on where to put a trophy boasting your high-school friend’s sexual reference of a team name from when he won the ‘Ship last year. Winning.

It’s cool anyhow. You tell yourself that it’s just a ridiculous game, doesn’t really mean anything, and you never really cared about winning anyhow. You even consider just not coming back next year. But then the offseason hits. And much like a woman who goes through a terrible pregnancy with nausea, headaches, and general uncomfortability, give it a year or two and she’ll forget all about it. She’ll decide to have another just like you’ll respond to comissh’s text with a, “Of course I’m in!” come July.

Should We Continue Subjecting Ourselves To Another Fantasy Football Season?

Hell no.

Remember all of the hours you ‘spent’ (read: wasted) watching games you otherwise wouldn’t care about and activities you either didn’t go to or weren’t focused at, and just quit now. Yes. Pick up your phone and text your league commissioner the following:

“Hey, _____. I’m out for fantasy football next year. Works getting busier and (surprise) we’re having a baby! Sorry to bail but I wanted to let you know early. Let’s do a lunch next week though. We’ll catch up.”

You just saved 300 hours and built a better friendship. If that’s not a life hack I don’t know what is. Take that, Tim Ferriss

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