Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Sweet, Sweet Fantasy

Odd Encounter of the Week: Question Concerning Fantasy Basketball

No one likes Fantasy NBA. The number of people who like Fantasy NBA is even lower than the number of NBA fans. Yeah, that few.

Part of the reason people don't like fantasy basketball is because of the absurdity of the concept. This follows for all fantasy sports. People choose players to create their own team, then follow the players' stats but not the actual outcomes of the games. In the grand scheme of things, an actual sporting event is irrelevant. That renders fantasy sports absurd beyond words. Furthermore, any fantasy that does not involve dragons, castles, and/or members of the opposite sex has not earned the title "fantasy."

The reason even many sports fans neglect fantasy basketball is because it is not fantasy football. For whatever reason, fantasy football is the pinacle of fantasy sports. My roomate (and, more importantly, blog profile interest) Nate recently asked me if I thought fantasy basketball was better than fantasy football. I responded in the affirmative. Fantasy NBA scores across 12 statistical categories whereas Fantasy NFL is primarily determined by touchdowns. Ergo, fantasy basketball requires more strategy and expertise, making it "better."

Though Nate has taken a lot of junk from me in our ten years of friendship, the look in his eyes and the silence of his response let me know that, at that precise moment, he ceased having any respect for me.

Imagine my ecstasy then to visit "Redeeming Prufrock" this morning and find that a comment had been left asking a legitimate question about Fantasy NBA. Quick, someone take a picture.

My dear friend from Mississippi, Wilson Notthevolleyball, asked the secret to finding satisfaction through fantasy basketball. Someone actually cares! Someone besides my ex-roomate, affectionately called "El G," who used to stay up until 4am making statistical spreadsheets for Bill-Walton-knows how many players. El G knew MY team better than I did. I tell you this because he is a jolly fella and won't mind the embarrassment and shame that should be directed his way for this revelation.

So at the request of Wilson and to the dismay of all intellectual readers everywhere, I relay my three secrets to long-term fantasy basketball fulfillment:

3) Avoid injury. I'm not talking about carpal tunnel here. I mean avoid injury for the players on your team. Zero's in the stat column for long periods of time will destroy your position in the standings, as well as your morale (listen up, Yao Ming and Lamar Odom). Oh, and double-barrelled middle fingers to the crowd as a player leaves the court is not encouraged - although my boy Josh Smith only got a $25,000 fine, not a suspension. He can afford the fine; I can't afford him to miss games.

2) Persevere through the first year. It takes a while to get the hang of it, especially if you come from a fantasy football background. My first year with basketball, I drafted all scorers thinking "touchdowns" were what was needed. Wrong. I got pounded every week, winning the points category but losing just about everything else. I finished 7th that year, was 2nd last year, and am currently in first place. You will improve as you go, and winning breeds contentment.

1) Hold constant vigil. As Wilson noted, you must choose your starters every day depending on which team is playing. Beating people to good players on waivers also helps (Knick David Lee has been a rebound monster for me this year), but you must be fast - especially with guys like my old roomie lurking around. Finally, keeping tabs on your team will hopefully keep them from flipping off 20,000 people. This hasn't been proven yet; all I know is that when I let my guard down, the birds took flight.

(Ed.'s Note: Reason #1 is why I will not be playing fantasy NBA next year, as it breeds an unhealthy lifestlye, bordering on addiction. A good life motto is: Go hard or go home. In this case, going home is the wiser choice).

So there you have it, my three secrets to fantasy basketball fulfillment. Always remember when the world tosses hate the way of fantasy hoops, take heart and comfort from the relevant words of Mariah Carey (with an assist from ODB): Fantasy basketball, it's so deep in my daydreams; it's just a sweet sweet fantasy, baby.


Jeff said...

that's awesome

Wilson said...

So the guy trying to convince me to play(or keep playing I guess) fantasy basketball is leaving the very same game?

Oakley said...

So what do you get for being Number One in Fantasy Sports???

Jeff said...

a plaque stating "#1 dork"

Pauline said...

Thanks for writing this.