It’s that time of year again, early August, which means almost every fantasy enthusiast is receiving invites from their colleagues, cousins and college buddies to join a season-long fantasy football league.
I hate it.
I’ll tell you how many season-long fantasy football leagues I actually want to play this year: one.
That’s it. It’s the same league I’ve been playing for 8 years with my closest friends. And the only reason I give a damn about it on Sunday afternoon is because we have a trophy and four-figures in prizes on the line.
Ever watch football with a guy who has every player on the field on at least some roster somewhere so no matter what happens it’s a good thing for that guy? These are the most annoying people ever to watch sports with because they are exposed to everything. Every touchdown scored is a good thing for them in some league somewhere (and they’ll be sure to fill you in on the precise details as it happens, but don’t bother uttering a peep of what you’re rooting for, they’re not listening).
To me, that’s not exciting. But that’s the problem with season-long leagues: you don’t have ultimate control over the players on your roster.
Some people like the randomized nature of the season-long format where you have little control over which high-value players you’ll have on your roster. And while snake drafts with friends can be fun, if you sign up to play in multiple season-long leagues you spend more time on Sunday afternoon furrowing your brow and looking at your browser to try to figure out if the touchdown you just saw was an overall net positive or negative for you.
For this very reason, I try to stick to starting the same core group of players on DraftDay despite perhaps having 25 lineups in play. I want the touchdown I just saw on TV to be either clearly good or clearly bad for me. If it’s not immediately obvious which it is, then why the hell am I even watching? Isn’t the whole point of fantasy sports to enable the viewer to be directly exposed to the performance of the players on the field?
Because of the surplus of season-long leagues that exist each season, I am rooting for the season-long fantasy football model to endure a sharp decrease in popularity in favor of the daily fantasy model. Most people only join multiple leagues so they can participate in the draft anyway, so it makes sense that my wish will eventually come true when people realize they can do drafts all season (and for real-money!) and not just once at the start of the year.
I’m tired of the emails from people I barely know asking if I want to join their $20 fantasy league. If the average season-long league provides 14 weeks of play, that’s an average weekly buy-in of $1.43. It’s just hard to get motivated to care about something like that unless it’s the only league you’re playing all year.
I’m also tired of having to avoid otherwise decent people on Sunday afternoons just because of how intolerable it is to watch football with them. I’m annoyed just thinking about it. When you join a bunch of leagues and spend all Sunday afternoon patting yourself on the back for another player who scored a touchdown for you, it makes people want to avoid being around you. You become social kryptonite for football-viewing get-togethers.
If I seem harsh, I apologize, but I’m the kind of guy you should be thanking for helping to keep fantasy football an exciting and social experience. Overly-committed season-long format enthusiasts have turned fantasy football it into a sloppy wasteland of confusion and inebriation from the high of being able to justify every touchdown as having been good for some reason.
So no, I don’t want to join your stupid season-long league. And I wish you’d quit signing up for so many of them yourself and get serious about what you’re rooting for.