Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fantasy Football Fever Foreva!

Sad but true story, I had this blog almost entirely written on August 13th. Then I got busy with hanging out with Bean and going on misadventures with other cool and attractive people. Anyways, one thing led to another and now it's two weeks later. I'm going to update every day this week to apologize for my horrible, horrible tardiness. Without further adieu, let me get this article underway!

Basically, it's a Led Zeppelin joke.
Well it's (the end of) August and the world is burning in the summer heat, rather than melting outright. That means it's time to get excited about the baseball pennant race! And also fantasy football! This year, I've decided to release my writing for the Iron Dirigible Fantasy Football league on the blog as well as posted on the website/facebook. This may come as a surprise to you, but when I focus on my writing, I tend to be somewhat verbose. I figure I might as well make the English Muffin Power Hour the home for all my spontaneous 1,000 word essays and other musings. But first, I suppose I should give you some background so that you might understand the rich history of Iron Dirigible football.

Stopping a Balrog is easy. A linebacker? Not so much.
Actually, nix that. First, I should explain what fantasy football is. It's not football with more enchanted swords, wizards, and Helms of +3 Invisibility (although that would help Jay Cutler get sacked less frequently). It's essentially a form of super gambling for bragging rights with your friends. Rather than betting on teams to win a game, you "bet" on players to do well in a season. At the start of the year, you draft sixteen players (scattered around the key positions in football) for your team. Every week, you select nine of them (again, based on position) to start each week in a game played against another team in your league. You score points when the player you started does quantifiable good things (such as gaining yards and scoring touchdowns) and lose points when they do quantifiable bad things (like fumble the ball and throw an interception, or fumble the ball, recover it, and then throw an interception). So fantasy football is like super gambling because rather than making the relatively easy bet on who would win a given game, you have to make long term decisions about players as well as make short term bets on who will do well this particular week. For example, Calvin Johnson is a much better wide receiver than Kenny Britt is. But if Matt Stafford is hurt and the Titans are playing the porous defense of the Texans, you'd likely be better off starting Britt. Of course, the fun is that the game is inherently unpredictable. You never know when superstars like Peyton Hillis or Arian Foster will emerge and take the league by storm (for a season, at least). Anyways, back to league history.

The league was started in 2007, because a lot of my hall-mates from First Year were in a league together and they looked like they were having fun. The league has 8 teams and plays a 13 game regular season, followed by a 3 game playoff. Rather than bore you to death with the history of the league, I'll just tell you about each of the owners and some of the running jokes and interesting stories from their many battles.

The Hunterian Velociraptors- You wouldn't be reading this if it weren't for my love of shameless self promotion, now would you? The watch words of the Velociraptors is "Consistency." This isn't a consistency of strategy since I change my draft plan every year. Nor is it a consistency of the roster, since I average about twenty cuts & waiver acquisitions on my team annually (which only has 16 players to begin with). I consistently get 8 wins a year in the regular season. No more, no less. When I average 90 points a game, I got 8 wins. When I had the third highest scoring season in Iron Dirigible history, 8 wins. Also, I consistently draft last or next to last despite setting the draft order to "Randomized".

Team Gray- Team Gray is led by my friend Dorian. The philosophy of Team Gray is to be the most nondescript team in Iron Dirigible, a feat that's been achieved four years running now. He always drafts in the middle and has finished with 6 losses three years in a row now. I'm not saying that there is a very realistic chance that Dorian's team is in league with The Beast and will one day rule mankind for seven years in a fiery post-apocalyptic way, but I am implying it.

Team Tune- This team is run by Mighty Tune, Mathlympic Champion and Bane of AP Physics. His team is famous for pulling a three year hustle where he lulled the league into a false sense of security by finishing near the bottom of the barrel two years in a row, and then cobbled together the best record in the league using nothing but a screwdriver, three paperclips, and the remnants of Steven Jackson's knees.

Team McLovin- Team McLovin is run by Dylan, who is Bill Belichick's will made manifest. Regardless of draft position, Dylan is apt to have all the Patriots talent worth having. This included the preternatural ability to avoid Randy Moss like the plague last year and embrace Wes Welker's severed ACL. Unfortunately, Belichick had forsaken Dylan last year as Dylan had more points scored against himself than any other team.

West Katzen Maus Munchers- This team is run by my cat, Baron Wolfgang der Mausenheimmer, Lord of West Katzen, Bane of Birds, Scourge of Squirrels, and Conqueror of the Blighted Mauslands. Because he lacks opposable thumbs, the Baron must dictate his decisions to my dad, the Warden of West Katzen. Unfortunately, the Baron has been very pro-cat in his decisions, at a time when the Panthers, Bengals, and Lions are in last, last, and dead last respectively.

Vandy Pimpmasters- I'm fairly certain that Doug, the eponymous Pimpmaster, is also a witch. Or at the very least in league with otherworldly spirits. Two years ago, despite finishing with the worst record in the league, he won the championship. Last year, he somehow had the foresight to draft Arian Foster (who wound up being the best RB in fantasy football despite never starting a game before) and added Peyton Hillis to his team off waivers (which is right up there with "The Sorting Hat Also Has a Magic Sword In It" in terms of lucky breaks). Then he still managed to win the championship despite scoring a mere 68 points (think of fantasy scores like you would grades in college; you just can't win with a 68!) in his first playoff game. It helped that I only scored 60.

Belmont Godfearers- Here is the main reason for the significant delay in the publishing of this blog. I don't mean that Bean is indirectly responsible because he offers up so many chances for adventures. For example, last week a wizard visited him and wanted to hire him on as a professional burglar for a band of dwarves. I mean that I couldn't find the words to convey just how terrible Bean is at fantasy football (and not through lack of effort). Bean is cursed. Not only is he the only team to never have a winning season in 4 years, but he ruins the lives (or at the very least, careers) of the players he picks in the 1st & 3rd round of the draft (and occasionally the 2nd round too).

I could go into detail about how cursed he is, so I will.

But not in this update. I’m running too long as it is. In fact, as of this sentence, I’ll have written over 1,300 words about a subject I’m not entirely sure anybody outside of the league cares about.