Last week, I gave some of my closest friends and family the great honor of choosing my starting lineup for the prestigious fantasy football team I have been cultivating throughout the fall semester. I sought out the advice from neither the athletic elite nor seasoned fantasy football veterans, but rather the people I see every day in my classes, home, and family group message.
I chose to make this move in my last-ditch effort to add to my measly victory record. I had pulled out all the tricks in the book: from spending hours listening to ESPN analysts on television to sitting down with pen and paper in hand looking at last year’s statistics to getting into heated discussions with my most seriously committed fantasy competitor friends. With only a few weeks remaining in the semester, I decided in a rage-filled impulse to drop my entire team and start from scratch.
I knew very well that when I took part in this experiment, I would likely risk a potentially successful week, as well as my dignity. However, a small part of me thought that maybe, just maybe, there was a chance that my randomly chosen team would have some shocking, immense success that I would be able to brag about to all of my friends who lost hours of sleep looking for the most statistically sound athletes.
I was wrong. Oh, I was very wrong. I gave a massive amount of trust to people whom I loved, but who had no business making choices for a fantasy football starting roster. It would be like the president inviting all of his college drinking buddies to become his senior policy advisers. It was fun for a hot second, and then it was disastrous.
Despite the fact that my housemates are some of the strongest women I know, their fantasy picks were utterly weak. And while my grandmother can make a mean spicy chicken chili, her roster did not bring any heat. And as for my youth group members? Their dedication to faith did not translate to commitment to the team.
The results were downright humorous. My friends ended up choosing two players on my starting roster who were injured and one who was marked for questionable health for whimsical reasons such as the color of the team’s jerseys or general attractiveness.
When I was unable to pick up one of my suggested players from the waiver wire, it was met with “If we can’t have him, then I don’t want anybody in his spot,” from my peer who chose the player.
Similarly, one of my running backs had a BYE week and I carefully attempted to explain how he was not able to play this week. I was then falsely accused of trying to make my own picks and ruin the integrity of the experiment, so in the name of good sportsmanship, I allowed my running back with the BYE week to “play.” With one running back unable to be drafted from the waiver wire and one with a week off, this resulted in a team without a single running back, a rather crucial position.
What ultimately turned out to be the biggest surprise was the success of not one but both of my grandmother’s picks for quarterback and for my defensive team. Tom Brady, my grandmother’s reluctant pick for quarterback, had 29 points, one of the best he has had all season. My defense, the Minnesota Vikings, ended up being the top ranked defensive team/special team for Week 8 having decimated the Chicago Bears resulting in their eighth consecutive week holding the opposing team to fewer than 17 points.
However, like any sports team, even the strongest of players cannot carry an entire team. While grandma pulled her own and then some, she was unable to lift the weight of the others who did not bring their A-game, and ultimately, it led to the tragic downfall of the team. I admire the blind confidence that each member of my advising “coaching staff” had in the fantasy football process and their own picks, but handing over the reins to my own team took more self-restraint than I will likely ever regain.
Brittney Bulawa is a senior staff writer and columnist. Follow her on Twitter: @britbulawa.