Cleat Geeks

The Art of Fantasy Football

FantasyFootballStreetSignThere’s always a connection with everything. No matter how long the route, I believe that everything that goes on today can be connected together, somehow, some way. When I was running this idea through my head, I was trying to decide if people would see the correlation of these ideas, if they would make sense to anyone besides myself. I’m going to try to put my view on fantasy football into your head the best way possible. It’s different, it’s strange, but I believe it’s authentic and for that, I think you’ll enjoy this.

 

Fantasy sports are everywhere. The most popular among all of them is undoubtedly fantasy football. People cannot get enough of the game within the game, an industry that has created jobs, communities and circulated money across the country. It’s really a fantastic idea and it’s a gift that keeps on giving. For most people, fantasy football is simply a hobby. It’s something they look forward to at the end of every summer, something people with office jobs do with their co-workers or a friend group in high school organizes year after year. The game itself has become a tradition, just as football has truly become America’s sport.

 

fantasyfootball2There’s levels of dedication to this game we all love. There’s those that draft a team and have to be reminded to set their lineup weekly, if they do at all. There’s those that do some research and hope to have a good team but quickly stop caring if things don’t go well. Then there’s those like myself who obsess all off-season long, doing as much as possible to prepare. When the season comes, we read weekly updates, scavenge the waiver wire, and pound other owners with trades to improve our roster. We are savages, crazy in every way possible and probably care about this game way more than we should. I believe those who become more involved are the more creative of the bunch, the ones that are willing to work for a beautiful end product. You see, fantasy football is an art.

 

Most fantasy players have a specific platform they prefer, whether it’s NFL.com, ESPN or Yahoo!, we have a preference. All of these websites do the same thing when it comes down to it, they organize building blocks for every league. The players we draft are the pieces to our creation, a product that is far from finished after we draft. I’m not demoralizing these players to pawns of a game, but hear me out and look at this game through my perspective for a second.FantasyFootball7Center

Talking about the hardcore players more specifically at this point, we draw a blueprint in our off-season readings, making lists of players we want to target and when. We create the foundation of our work when we draft, giving us a starting point for the rest of the season. From then on, we mold and form our team week after week as we prepare for our opponents the same way the players do. We examine match-ups and which player has the favorable situation as we run down our “start or sit’s.” It’s a meticulous job, one that may literally leave owners in bed at night, pondering over what our decision will be.

Week after week, we take a similar yet always different route to Sunday. We build our lineup to score the most points, always taking new information into consideration. One win here, another the next week as we try to climb to the top of the standings. Our team is our project, our escape from every-day life. Who we draft, pick up, trade for or even drop is a reflection of ourselves. The work that we put in to shaping our roster is sometimes overlooked as so many of us enjoy it, not realizing how much time we really spend. When we put together a winning season, we feel good. The project is coming together. The end goal is that our piece of work culminates in a championship, a true masterpiece.FantasyFootball6

This idea of connecting fantasy football to the concept of an ongoing work of art came to me when I was listening to Kanye West. Somebody who maybe says too much at times, I still believe that he is an absolute genius. The man has accomplished so much and his music was the first music that I truly fell in love with. Anyway, Kanye’s latest album, The Life of Pablo has been release one on platform, then on another, and continually updated after release, “fixing” songs by changing beats, removing features or adding in ad-libs. It’s a piece that is not perfect and never will be, but Kanye continues to work on it, even when others may see it as “good enough.” The Life of Pablo, in essence, is being treated the same way we treat our fantasy teams. Even when we win a few games in a row, we look for improvement. We keep reading our weekly updates from our favorite analysts and we still hound our buddy in the next cubicle for his top WR.

So this “living, breathing, changing, creative expression” of ourselves is yes, our fantasy football team. The team comes to life on several days of the week as we tune into games to watch our players perform. They are part of our unit that we assembled. Sure, millions of people have that player in their league, but to us, they are a member of our team. We mold this team week after week and then invest our time into the games, watching, hoping for a positive performance. Our work comes to life, bringing every emotion imaginable. We truly are in-touch with our team.

FantasyFootball1Something that the fantasy world has given the NFL is a league-wide interest. Myself, being from the Chicago area and a die-hard Bears fan, would normally never care about the Colts playing in Jacksonville. When Blake Bortles is my quarterback and I need him to score at least 17 points, the situation changes. People tune into games far more often than watching their favorite or local team. People watch games that, without fantasy football, would have absolutely no relevancy. That is the magic of fantasy football, people. The game within a game that unites all football fans. Knowledge and opinions are spread far more than ever before because of the way people are invested into players that they may normally never watch perform. The league has been united, team after team, player after player, all because we love fantasy sports.

 

FantasyFootballLooserFantasy football has done so much for the game, so much more than people realize. Because of it, football news never stops and quite frankly, we don’t want it to. There is NEVER too much information on the game because we will never stop wanting to know more. The art of fantasy football is one that we create year after year, molding and continuously changing to perform the best we can. The team is an expression of our beliefs and opinions, a literal living, breathing work of art. When the season ends, we can either frame the masterpiece or throw in the garbage. Either way, we will start prepping for the following piece of work coming next fall, using this never-ending fountain of information that may never stop circulating. We as a country have found an addiction and it has been nothing but healthy for the NFL and the fans. We are interested and invested so much more than ever.

 

It’s a game, it’s a hobby, it’s just for fun. We as people have made it so much more than that as it has become a tradition. Invest yourself as much as you’d like, but remember: your team is a reflection of yourself. Your team is a work of art. Your team can become a masterpiece.

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