Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Just a Fanstasy (Oh Oh Oh Oh)

One of my favorite Drunkards, Bill the Butcher aka Raghead, was a bit puzzled by my post about the Puppy Bowl X Fantasy Draft.

So I get to post more pictures of Puppy Bowl.
OMG, puppies!
Bill asks:

I'm sorry, what is fantasy football? I have no idea. Is that football as in, y'know, football, or American " " " " " " " " " " football " " " " " " " " " ?
Sir, what are you suggesting with all those quotation marks?

I think the doge meme is hilarious, OK? Bite me.
First, yes, football, as in American football. I don't know why we call it that, either. I know the rest of the world uses the word to describe what we call soccer, and I don't know why we do that, either. We're just bastards over here, OK?

Also, 'Murica.
Still, your question is a valid one: What is fantasy football?

I shall endeavor to explain.

American football is a sport that involves elaborate plays carried out with split-second timing by multiple athletes working together. The statistics of any individual on the team are as dependent on the performance of his teammates as they are on his own skills. That's why American football, while a brutal, visceral sport, also is a game of finely-honed strategy and almost balletic precision.

Fantasy football, on the other hand, is...well, here's how Wikipedia describes it.
Fantasy football is an interactive competition in which users compete against each other as general managers of virtual teams built from real players.

OK, forget Wikipedia. That's a stupid definition.

Fantasy football is like the stock market. You have a lot of companies that make things and provide services and work very hard to be successful. Then you have a bunch of investors who don't lift a finger except to buy stock in those companies. And they watch the performance of those companies very carefully - not to see if they're well run or the employees are happy or the products they make are of high quality.  No, the investors only care if the companies make money. If they do, the investors declare victory. If they don't, the planet is plunged into global recession.

But the investors are OK, and that's the important thing.

In fantasy football, the investors are the "owners" of virtual "teams" who have no "life." They cherry-pick individual players from all the NFL teams to create their rosters. Then they flat-out pretend that the weekly performance of their players isn't critically influenced by their real-world teammates, coaches, field conditions, rivalries, etc. Instead they aggregate the statistics of each player in isolation from any of the factors that football an exciting, dynamic team sport. Whichever "team" puts up the best statistics wins.

All the excitement of taking a freshman statistics class,
with even less chance of getting laid.
Folks who participate in fantasy football take it very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that often they don't actually bother to watch any real-world football games. After all, why should they? In the real world their teams don't exist, only actual professional teams playing a real sport in real time. What fun is that?

I am not making this up, Bill.

Fantasy footballers will tell you that tracking artificial statistics of contrived teams is just as exciting and emotionally engaging as following the real games they don't bother to watch because they interfere with calculating how well their fake teams would have done if they had actually played a game and also with pretending their fake teams actually played so they can calculate how well they would have done if they had.

At least D&D geeks have good weed and don't whine about how
they only lost because their wizard got a groin pull in the 3rd quarter.
So that's fantasy football. Me, I'm going to play some fantasy solitaire now. That's where I put all the cards in the correct order before I deal them and see if I win. It just adds an extra layer of excitement that way.


  1. Since I'm pretty sure American football predates handball, and since American football involves mostly carrying the ball I'm not sure why they didn't call it "handball". Possibly that sounded too close to "handjob", which I'd be willing to be an enormous amount of money predates any other sport. And the implications would obviously cause discomfort for large men who spend a lot of time wearing tights and patting each others' asses.

  2. "All the excitement of taking a freshman statistics class,
    with even less chance of getting laid."

    That's a classic line for the ages if there ever was one.

    I'm still wallowing too much in the novelty of having AN ENTIRE BLOG POST dedicated to me to be able to get my head round the idea of tracking artificial statistics of contrived teams. I think I'll go lie down a while and see how that works.

    (Actually, it's midnight here, and I have a brutal day coming up tomorrow, but that's as good an excuse as any.)

    Thanks again. Or, since I didn't thank you before, thanks first time.

  3. Oh yeah, before I hit the sack, here's what I like to call American, um, "football":

    Two herds of bison butting heads over a coconut.

    Poor bisons, they don't even have horns on their helmets, though. I'd really go for that. :|


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.