As someone who has played fantasy football for many years (including 10 as commissioner), I certainly know the pleasure and pain the game induces. I’ve had all the “bad beats,” close wins and miracle finishes, which makes the game so fun…and maddening.
But nothing could prepare me for the ultimate fantasy football experience—owning a team with my wife.
Fantasy football, for me, has always been a solitary endeavor. But, when my wife asked for help in her fantasy league at work, I was intrigued. I thought, “This could be a lot of fun!” Then I thought, “This has a 12.36 percent chance of ending our marriage.”
You see, guys always think they’re right when it comes to sports, right, fellas? So, if I’m right all the time and I want to draft a player but my wife wants to draft a different player, what then? I think that percentage just crept up to 12.89 percent.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my wife, Kristen, is no dummy when it comes to football. She was born and raised in Indiana and came of age when the Colts drafted Peyton Manning. She knows her stuff. But, the potential for friction between a fantasy vet and a fantasy rookie is high, and when it’s your spouse, well…looks like we’re up to 13.02 percent.
With excitement, enthusiasm and a healthy pinch of fear, we begin the journey of world domination for team “Hoosier Mama!” (I told you she was an Indiana girl.) Right away, we face the most common conundrum facing fantasy football owners—heart vs. head.
Every fantasy player has that moment when they need to decide whether to pick guys from their favorite teams or the best player available at that time. I’m from Chicago so when I first started playing fantasy football, I couldn’t pick a Packer or Viking; I wanted to draft a bunch of Bears. You want to support the team you love, right? Let’s just say I didn’t win much in those early years. I learned that even though I wanted the Bears to win, I couldn’t pass up drafting Aaron Rodgers over Rex Grossman. Call me crazy. I started listening to my head over my heart, which made me a much more successful owner.
In Kristen’s case, her decision-making is firmly rooted in the “heart” category. Heart has clear mandates to how her team would be structured. It would be up to me as “head” to use reasoning and statistics to convince heart to make the most prudent decisions to create a winning team. Good luck with that!
Heart laid down two rules-- First rule: We would be drafting Peyton Manning. Non-negotiable.
Head has no problem with drafting Manning. He is obviously a great player who should be a fantasy stud. Heart, however, wanted to draft him in the first round. Here’s where head has to rear itself (ugly, or otherwise) and say, “Look, Heart, I love me some Peyton Manning too, but no one will be drafting Manning in the first round, probably not the second. Why don’t we take a top running back in round one, then Manning in round two?” Heart will say, “Oh, head, you’re so wonderful looking out for us! Yes, let’s take Manning in round two, you big beautiful Head, you!” Heart can be so sweet and understanding.
Heart’s second rule: We will not be drafting any players from the Patriots, Saints, Eagles or Cowboys.
Oy. This one is a bit trickier. Heart’s mortal enemies are the Patriots (Colts’ rival), Saints (beat Colts in the Super Bowl), Eagles (QB is a dog killer) and Cowboys (because everyone hates the Cowboys). Here is where head says, “Look, Heart, baby doll, I know how you feel about these teams, but they have some of the top offensive players in the league! Can’t you bend this rule for me?” Heart’s response is, “You want me to be happy don’t you? You want me to love my fantasy team? You want to have sex again in your lifetime?” Heart flashes a wicked grin and says, “No Patriots, Saints, Eagles or Cowboys, right?” Head says, “Of course, my dear. Whatever you say, dear.” Heart can be sweet and understanding, but she definitely knows how to get her way.
At the end of the day, you have to do what makes your heart happy, in life and in fantasy football, so if your significant other wants to draft a team of 15 kickers, just smile and say, “Yes, dear.”