More Fantasy Football Depression

By Mark Nagi

Folks, if there is one thing that I have learned in my 50 years on this planet, its that it is better not to care. You don’t get hurt that way.

Every year I play fantasy football… in multiple leagues, and (almost) every year I lose in new and emotionally painful fashions.

Two years ago, I finally won a league, and I have been playing since the mid-1990s. That’s a Derek Dooley-esque level of failure. I remember thinking before then that all I wanted was to win a league once. Just once.

Well, I did. And that wasn’t enough. I got greedy and I wanted that feeling again.

I’ve lost when my players have done nothing and lost when my players have been great, but the other team has been simply better. I’ve lost when I’ve made awful lineup decisions. I’ve lost when my opponents got a miracle late game play.

This year? I found new ways to finish without the prize.

In one league I helped my friend Kate set her lineup in the quarterfinals. Was this a case of me trying to be a good friend? No, it was not. I figured if she won, I’d have a better chance of beating her team in the semifinals.

Well, it backfired. She got 29 points out of someone named Zay Jones and I lost. Zay Jones. I would have won the league title had I just kept to myself. Instead, Kate won.

There’s a lesson here, kids… don’t help people.

But that wasn’t the worst.

In another league, I made it to the finals. I had the best team all season long.

Then, before Week 17’s games got underway weird things started happening.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has been a force this year, and worthy of my first-round draft pick. But… the Titans game against the Cowboys meant nothing in the standings… so they didn’t play him.

Ok. That’s bad. Not devastating but bad.

My second-best running back is Tony Pollard of the Cowboys. Figuring that they could easily beat the Titans without him, Dallas decided to give him time to heal his injuries.

Ok, things are starting to hurt.

My quarterback was Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, a living and breathing fantasy football standout. His injuries that were supposed to be a thing of the past two weeks ago stuck around, and he didn’t play either.

My top three guys. Out of action.

As you could imagine, I would get absolutely throttled in the league championship game.

Writing this article serves as a form of therapy without the copay, so I appreciate you reading it. If you play fantasy football, some of these tales likely sound familiar.

What I can’t figure out… is why this matters so much? Every year I do this, and (almost) every year I end up saddened. Fantasy football is a way to stay connected to friends that I never see who live a thousand miles away. It’s supposed to be fun. There isn’t huge money involved. Winner gets $100 in the second league I wrote about.

I don’t have an answer for why this silly pursuit takes up so much of my time and mental energy, but it does.

And now I’ll stew about the 2022 season… right up until the 2023 season begins.