Skip to main content

Fantasy football - it's about more than just the individual

I read Dave Zirin's 9/16 commentary from the LA Times, The fantasy that's ruining football, and could not disagree more with some of the uninformed statements he made in the opinion piece. At one point, Zirin states, "Fantasy football worships at the altar of individual achievement, an unholy distortion of what football is all about" - this man clearly has never made a single fantasy football decision in his life. You don't decide to start a WR until you consider the health and skill of his QB; you don't draft a RB in the early rounds that has a porous offensive line; and you certainly take into account a team's matchup and what kind of defense you'll be facing before making your decision on QB for the week. The choices you face in who to start and who to sit each week revolve around the team as a unit; there's a reason I am loathe to starting someone from the ATL this year.

The second erroneous statement from Zirin came here: "There is no fantasy metric for an individual defender like Sanders." Wrong again. Heard of an IDP league? Leagues can either be comprised entirely of individual defenders or IDPs can be drafted as the defensive element of your fantasy team. Honestly, this is the one place where I think individual achievement is stressed more than playing as a team - an IDP can be the one bright spot on an otherwise ugly defense and yet you're rewarded handsomely for his fluke INT returned for a TD. Personally, my favorite kind of fantasy defense arrangement would be to have a team D/ST and then a handful of IDPs to achieve that team/individual balance.

Finally, Zirin suggests that "the numbers act as a moat between fantasy owner and the actuality of the game" and that fantasy leads to disengagement from the game and the players. Zirin, ever been to Yardbarker? And perhaps seen the blogs from a variety of professional athletes? I'd hardly call that disengagement.

I do agree with Zirin that fantasy football has changed the way that many of us view pro football. There are certainly more people watching the NFL every weekend now that they have a stake in the outcome via fantasy (and the NFL is eating it up)...but I disagree that it has taken away "true fans" from the sport. I am a bigger Broncos fan now than ever; my buddy Ethan is going to wear his Heath Miller jersey and pull for the Steelers even if he's got the opposing D that week; and the Fantasy Football Goat, who has played fantasy football for 17 years now, is certainly not going to stop his lifelong fandom of the Vikings just because of a one-week matchup.

So to Zirin I say, accept the fact that fantasy football is here; it may change the pro football world in small ways but ultimately will only strengthen the number of true football fans out there. Give it a try, Zirin, you won't go back.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Back on the fantasy wagon

With my library conferences behind me (for a few weeks at least), I can now concentrate on fantasy football again. If you happen to be a librarian and are interested in how my co-presenter and I tied together fantasy football and information literacy, check out my co-presenter’s blog . Though I imagine most of you would much rather catch up on the following football news and thoughts for the week: I remain a bit dazed and confused by my certainty last summer that Cedric Benson was going to rock my RB2 world in 2007. Didn’t happen and now he’s moved onto ankle surgery, alleged intoxication and resisting arrest on boats. Awesome. You can practically taste Matt Forte’s value skyrocketing here. In fact, wondering about rookie RBs in general? Well then check out FF Xtreme’s The Day After: Ranking the Rookie Running Backs . I love reading articles or stats that challenge my preconceived notions – The Fifth Down’s Chad the Completion Percentage Machine does just that. No offense to thos

Streaming Defenses - Week 16

Don't know about you all, but in our house this week is just chock full of events, visiting with family, and getting organized for our upcoming time off over the holidays. Lots of scrambling going on around here and attempts to install some sense of gratitude in my boys. What am I grateful for this season? Many things but let's start with Bob. Bob has been my fantasy football rock, coming back week after week to post. Hats off to you, Bob, and thank you for your diligent work and research. So here he is with this year's final streaming defense post.  Well it’s the last week of the Fantasy Football Playoffs in most leagues, and my last post of the season. I hope you all found these posts useful. And if I failed you, you have to murder a lot more experts before you get to me. I myself have had a terrible playoff season. I’m out of all but one of my leagues due to the weird games the last two weeks. Between weather that didn’t materialize to normally consistent players co

A hiatus

Update:  It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you all that yesterday, August 30th, I delivered our stillborn daughter, Caroline Mary. This has been an almost surreal and definitely heartbreaking experience and I appreciate the support in each and every one of your notes. Caroline will be honored and loved always. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your thoughts and prayers - they mean the world to our family. I have been a very poor blogger this month and feel I owe you all an explanation, particularly as this is crunch time for draft prep. I hope this is not too personal of a look into my life since I know most of you are just here for the football. I am nearly 18 weeks pregnant and we have learned that our baby (a little girl!) has triploidy, a chromosomal abnormality that means she has three copies of every chromosome instead of the normal two. The doctors have explained that it's a completely random occurrence and fairly rare that she has made it this far along, but tha