I grew up watching my Birds every Sunday and depending on my level of depression I stuck around for the 4 pm game if we had one in our region. Monday’s mood was dictated by the Eagles’ performance and I agonized for a week until they had their shot at redemption. Then I joined a fantasy football league and my depression and agony remained, but I could either double down with a bad fantasy performance or salvage a bad week with a good fantasy win. I didn’t mention the weeks where the Eagles won and my fantasy team won because at the time it was really one or the other, rarely both.
We’ve all come a long way since then (cough Super Bowl 52 cough and a fantasy trophy or two on my shelf). To embark on the journey that is fantasy football I realized I would be cheering for players that weren’t my beloved birds, and worse, my mortal enemy could have my favorite Eagle on his/her roster!? INSANITY, who would partake in such traitorous behaviors? As horrible as that sounded, my love for Sundays overrode my better judgment and I jumped in and haven’t looked back. Thus began my journey as a homer and if you still don’t know what that means, google searches lead me to this definition, “being blindly devoted to your favorite sports team,” aka obsessively loyal and borderline crazy (in the best way of course).
The most difficult part of fantasy football for me, besides the fact that there’s so much luck involved (it’s a lot of luck don’t let people tell you otherwise), is deciding when I feel like I can draft an enemy player. For me, enemy players include the following:
- Any Dallas Cowboy, ever. Some highlights of the worst include Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and you will never see Zeke on any team of mine.
- Redskins and Giants. Honestly, I’ll take one when they are truly dreadful because someone still needs to score even though they will never win. I’ve had Jordan Reed in the past because Jay Gruden will never lead that team out of purgatory (this excludes Eli Manning, forever banned. You never have faith in anyone you’ve watched fumble forward a ball in a crucial game when he was untouched sliding to the ground.)
- Patriots players except for Gronk (RIP) and James White because those two can ball and aren’t named Tom Brady. Sony Michel was so inconsistent for me last year, people are high on him but I just can’t bring myself to trust Patriots running backs.
- Any Lions running back, historically these backs have never, EVER, performed well, I’m looking at you, Theo Riddick!
I know this automatically makes me a bad fantasy football player, but I physically cannot wake up on a Sunday and route for Dak. I look at this situation as a challenge, adding some strategy to fantasy drafting. Also, now you can extra hate on your enemy players on Sunday for your NFL team AND your fantasy team’s sake! Trust me, it’s more fun than you think when your friend is counting on Odell Beckham Jr. and he throws a classic temper tantrum to go along with a stellar, one catch for 5 yards LOL!
I like to compare my loyalties to the likes of Leslie Knope and Michael Scott, true pioneers in homer-ism. If you lived in Pawnee, you would never draft someone from Eagleton (unless Eagleton became overrun with raccoons then, of course, it’s acceptable- see the loophole in these scenarios?)! If you worked at Dunder Mifflin Scranton you would never want Corporate on your volleyball team (if only Pam didn’t sprain her ankle) or any human being from Utica (go home, Karen!)!
Let’s cut to draft day and you are faced with the tough decision in round 1 of division rival player or others. The truth is the rankings only get you so far anyway, and the players are comparable a few picks in either direction. This means you can take some risk or even go after a specific player that you maybe had your eye on or fits a position of need. The draft offers flexibility, not to mention the NFL is a 32-team league so unless you consider all 31 other teams as rivals there should be plenty of players in the pool left for the taking. I’m not encouraging going off-script completely, come prepared to the draft with some idea of players you’d like at certain positions but if you love your NFL team then by all means draft accordingly.
You’ll know early in the season if you have a contender or pretender (yup, I’m that corny) and the same goes for your NFL team. Don’t let Sundays make you crazy, I have found myself bartering with the football gods on more than one occasion for an Eagles win in exchange for a fantasy loss in a season that was all but over for my fantasy squad, but far from it for my beloved Birds. We need to find happiness wherever we can in the world we are living in, so DO YOU GIRL! If you are a die-hard fan you will always wrestle with homer-ism, my advice, embrace it!
*UPDATE– Had my first fantasy draft and successfully avoided enemy players in case you were concerned. One more draft to go!