My dabblings in the SABRworld and determination to make sense of the senseless may lead you to assume I'm some sort of fantasy stalwart. You'd be wrong. Sure, I'll dominate a Yahoo public league or two, but when push comes to shove, when the nerdy rubber hits the road, I'm fucked. That doesn't mean you should ignore my sage advice. If it will make you feel better, I'll add expert, guru, or Grand Rotodragon to my Blogger title for some instant fantasy credibility. You can trust me, I finished second last in the Jays blogger pool last year!
Instead I'll offer fantasy advice for the advanced fan. Fantasy advice that will allow you to sleep at night, field a competitive team, keep your fandom liberated, and let you have a good time doing it. Don't worry about tipping your hand to the other feudal lords in your league, you weren't going to win anyway.
- Understand the point of the game: Obviously the purpose of fantasy sports is insulting your friends and work associates. If you don't talk trash constantly during the draft, what are you doing? Consulting charts and graphs? For what? If you need to win a fantasy baseball league for bragging rights over your friends, you obviously need to find a group of functional alcoholics and befriend them. If you're the type of degenerate that gambles hard-earned money on fantasy baseball, you should just give it straight to me instead. You've got a lot riding on the ligaments and tendons of Caribbean millionaires, I'm a much better cause.
- Beware the homer pick: Everyone knows the danger for picking a player from your favorite team: you're already invested so heavily, why make it worse? There is no need to die two deaths when the Jays lose, why put yourself through that? Additionally, you'll cheer for the Jays forever while dudes on your fantasy teams come and go. Remember that when you're hoping the Jays "only beat Joba 1-0, with a home run from Vernon Wells."
Note: Roy Halladay is obviously exempt from this rule. He wins every start anyway and is way above the law.
- When sleeping with the enemy, doublebag that shit: It is inevitable, as a Jays fan, that you will end up with Red Sox or Yankees on your team. They score many runs, it's in your nature as a baseball dork. Never forget you'll have to reconcile your hatred for them as The Opposition with your desire to send boastful emails to your close friends.
The key is to take stock of your immediate reaction when the player's name first enters your head; if you want to throw up, pass and deal with the jeering. When drafting closers, remember that Mariano Rivera is a necessary evil. A divine force harnessed and enslaved by Satan himself, committing crimes against nature only out of duty. Jonathon Papelbon is an irredeemable douchebag that I'd rather felate than cheer.
- It's never too early to draft Ichiro: During a GROF-based draft a few years ago, El Leal sent the following message to the Reverend as our live draft progressed:
IF LLOYD DOESN'T PICK ICHIRO HERE, I'LL EAT MY HAT.And draft him I did. With that very pick, without any hesitation. Because cheering for players you actually like will bring you much more pleasure than hoping Michael Cuddyer can bust out of his 6 game homer slump. A obvious as this rule may seem, it comes with an important corollary.
- If you love someone, let them go: Loading your team with mancrushes and feel-good stories may sound good, but there is a terrible downside; the off-year. Once you develop the personal bond between overweight fantasy baseball owner and flashing name on computer monitor, you can never go back. You will turn a blind eye to your charge's shortcomings, only to have him submarine your entire season, fostering resentment. Worse yet, it may dent the fake relationship you'd built over thousand and thousands of Sportscentre highlights. You're not the man I thought you were Jeff Francoeur, and now my team's in last.