Whether you really have a life, you're in too many leagues already or you just don't want to join a certain person's Fantasy Football League because they are a dork, you need to have the Pandora's Box of heavy rationale ammunition ready to go when "that moment" arises.
Manny Stiles is here to help!
Maybe you're too nice, maybe you don't want to hurt their 'feelings', maybe you're too cool to be associated with the dorks, maybe it's your boss, maybe you just don't know the person well enough to share their fantasies... the time will come when you have to turn down an invite to join a FFL.
When 'Fantasy > Reality' it always = Dorks
It's true for television, it's true for dungeons, it's true for dragons and it's true for sports; especially Football.
Let's face it; a little interactive fun can be had with any form of entertainment nowadays. But is it necessary? Everything is "reality" based these days. You can go to online poker tables, you can watch a peep show online, and you can even slap Grand Theft Auto into your game console and kill more people than Hitler. They have TV shows based on every form of employment - Verminators, Sunset Tan, what's next, Toll Booth Operators? They even have a series dedicated to the annual Madden tournament. Are we SO starved for entertainment? To think that Caveman spent his days peering at his god, the sun reaching across the dome of sky while foraging and hunting and only took clubbing an unsuspecting female and dragging her back to the cave as his only form of entertainment... Modern Man, my ass!
Personally, my brand of fantasy sports stars myself, my wife and a moderate flock of her slutty, bi-sexual friends... After all, sex is the "sport for all seasons". I say if you're going to have fantasies, the least you can do is make them count!
But I digress from the sleaziest common denominator for a moment.
Why FFL is a cancer to your NFL fanhood
It happens EVERY year. Even dedicated fans end up in situations they could avoid by living in "reality" in lieu of chasing fantasy. One (or more) of their FFL studs is scheduled to face their favorite team. It's a no-win proposition.
There's no way you can root for your team to win AND have the opposition do well. Not with a clear conscience! EVERY point you are rooting for against your favorite team is one more drop of your blood on the contract that sells your fanship soul to the Devil. Get your 30 pieces of silver and order your eggs 'Benedict' from now on, traitor...
If a stud FFL player shreds your team, that will have longer lasting effects than just that week. Don't kid yourself. REAL football is a game of momentum. If your stud RB exposes your favorite team's weakness don't come crying to me the next week when another team exploits the same weakness! After all, you got kharma lurking around every week of the schedule.
When you have a favorite team, THAT is all that should matter to you. Don't sway your allegiances with pretend football.
And since it is your favorite team, that means you're likely to have several of those players on your roster as well. That means your stud FFL RB is shredding your defense, or keeping you QB off the field or shutting down your WRs, etc.
You're screwed even more if your "stud" FFL player is also a division rival - if so, are you stupid or what? Just remember, EVERY NFL game your favorite team plays could have lasting effects and impact in the playoffs - a.k.a. When FFL doesn't matter anymore! Do YOU want to be the person that remembers how your Fantasy RB won week 5 for you when your team is one win out of the playoffs?
If a butterfly’s wings can cause damage, imagine what batting your eyelashes at your favorite team's opponents does...
"I'm tired of winning."
- This is really a downright lie disguised as a reason. No one ever gets TIRED of winning. But it can get boring beating the crap out of imitation brand football fans. Truth is, there are more fantasy football players than knowledgeable football fans. What's the fun in beating people who can even say T.J. Houshmandzadeh's name right, let alone people who don't know what city/conference/division/country the Bengals play in?
- Backfire Potential: The 1908 Chicago Cubs said the SAME thing.
"I'm tired of losing."
- Maybe true, maybe a cop out, but always easy to sell. No one wants to congregate with a sourpuss loser. The more you whine about how you always lose, the more likely people around you will fall into your cone of loserdom.
- Backfire Actuality: The 2008 Chicago Cubs will say the SAME thing.
"I don't like the scoring system of your league"
- Follow it up with "Head to head sucks compared to total overall points." or vice versa and then a "besides, QBs count for more than team depth in your setup" or ask "How many TEs can you start?" If they answer one, say you like three. If they say two, tell them you hate Tight Ends completely. You get the idea.
- Backfire Likelihood: The dork will do anything to get you into their league - including changing the scoring format.
"I'm very lazy/too stupid to get the rosters set in time."
- Works great if you can also rattle off a few instances where you forgot to sit your QB on his bye week or when you forgot to put him back in after the bye week. Ask why kickers and defenses are necessary. Explain how you party like crazy EVERY Saturday night and don't get up (or go to bed) until the early games start (This works great if you live in the Pacific time zone where games start at 10am). Also add in that you don't have computer access during the week ("Work blocks Fantasy websites!") to set your rosters up ahead of time!
- Backfire Conceivability: Relatively low. Nothing trumps truly aggressive laziness. A sit-in, picket signs and a megaphone add that special touch to your passionate apathy.
"I'm an absentee owner. I never make trades and I don't adjust my rosters for bye weeks."
- True or not, make it seem like not only will you forget to set your lineups, you WILL remind everyone every Tuesday morning of that fact. Insist that you will be smug if you win and twice as smug when you lose.
- Fuel for the Backfire: Manny Stiles asks you to join his annual do-nothing autodraft league.
"I'm in too many leagues already."
- This works in any situation, but beware that if you're going to have to interact with the person throughout the FFL season, you better be prepared to handle the onslaught. They're going to want to talk to you about FFL. If you really are in too many leagues, then it's no biggie. If you aren't in any leagues and didn't want to join theirs SPECIFICALLY because they are a dork, you better be ready to explain the status of your other leagues.
- Backfire Inherence: No brainer - If the dork asks you how your teams are say you don't want to talk about your teams because they are all in last place. Mope, mumble incoherently, kick the air and saunter away.
"Fantasy Sports are my addiction and I'm ready to overcome it!"
- Explain how more than half your paycheck last year went to fantasy magazines, 1-900 hotlines and online projections. Explain how you met ___(football player's name here)___ and told him how he would have won week 11 for you if he would have had three more yards and go into detail then how he beat the shit out of you. Explain how you were fired from your last job because you were managing 14 leagues instead of doing the work they were paying you to do. Add in that "on the positive side", too many FFLs helped you overcome your black tar heroin "issue" and your veins have never looked better. Of course that was before the crack... but now you're "only" huffing ether and drinking homemade absinthe.
- Backfire Chances: None. No one wants a crackhead OR an ether binger in their FFL. If they inquire about the homemade absinthe, just say it's merely "wormwood mixed in rubbing alcohol" and if they want to try some they gotta get their own absinthe spoon first! (Trust me, this works!)
"I get screwed in the draft every year!"
- True or not, even though it is, this is the best and worst part of FFL. It's like Christmas morning and you know you're unwrapping so many presents - you just hope they're not all itchy sweaters and unmatched argyle socks. No matter what you do, you're gonna get a sock or two...
- Maybe you get screwed by your draft slot, maybe you get screwed by bad luck, maybe you get screwed by your very own ineptitude... stop drafting players who have retired, are severely injured or are recently deceased!
- Draft day is one of THE only two true redeeming factors of fantasy sports (the other is winning). It's not only where you create your dominance or get screwed into a roster of sweaters and socks, it's also when - if done in person - you get to party. Either you get too drunk, you get somebody else too drunk or everyone gets too drunk. Then the pain sets in...
- Inevitably, right off the bat 2-3 owners have already lost their season. Bad picks, dumb picks, 'tricked into' picks. Another 2-5 owners are scrambling for trades as you're building a scale model Lombardi trophy out of aluminum foil. Once the draft is over and all the socks and sweaters are handed out, you're stuck with the post-draft depression. This is the roster you must create magic with... Sure, winning will ease the dullitude but the funnest, most promising part of the whole season is behind you... and you get to sit and wait to hear who on your roster gets injured first.
- Backfire Predeterminations: The dork lets you have the first pick and it's not a serpentine draft. Then you need to fully commit to freeking out over the tremendous pressure of the number one pick. Scream "It destroys people! I can't handle it", and then yell "No, No, Nooooooo!" over and over while tearing your clothing and pulling out hair from various locations on your body.
"Sorry, my computer crashed. It must be all that porn!"
- Easy, timely and will usually clear the room of any questioning.
- How it could backfire: If they are REALLY into porn and suffer no shame from asking you about your porn.
"I have a new girlfriend/boyfriend, etc."
- Or really freek them out and say you have a new girlfriend AND a new boyfriend! This requires a decent amount of self-confidence and security in your true sexuality to pull off properly. Or severe narcissism. Then they won't ask you to join their fantasy basketball team, either!
- Backfire Implications: The dork is so smitten by your open sexuality and coolness that they want to join your dirty love harem. Easy way out - Look them up and down really slowly and say "I might be half-gay, but I could never be THAT gay"... (The half-gay part is the part that loves you some you).
"getting married", "new baby", "new house", "new job"
- These are things that say "No thanks, dork. I'm an emephing adult." without the subtleties. You know, these are the things that are supposed matter more than games of fantasy anyway.
- Backfire Guarantee: Your new spouse/child/house/job destroys your life and then you look back years later and wish you'd have just played more fantasy sports while you had the chance...
"I'll join your FFL if you join my new church. Do you like the taste of goat's blood?"
- Have this next line ready - "Our religious practices are protected by the Constitution, so we get to eat the unborn goat fetuses without prosecution OR persecution! Try to avoid this one with overt Raiders fans.
- Serious Backfire Alarm: You might end up auguring national sporting events if you try this on the wrong person.
"I haven't kept up with the NFL in years!"
- You know this one's a lie. But you gotta sell it. Mention that Marshall Faulk is due for another good season. Spin a yarn about how weird it will be to see Daunte Culpepper throwing to Randy Moss on the Raiders. Once you get a few of these gems out, keep 'em coming! "I can't believe Drew Bledsoe's durability", "Mike Ditka saved the Saints", "Terrell Davis is the MAN!"
- Backfire Quotient: The dork hasn't kept up either and agrees with your insights. You're on your own here!
"I don't have time to design a cool team logo this year."
- You have enough fake football team names to last three lifetimes and more than enough logos to start three new leagues on your own. Hell, half of the fake team logos you've designed have already been printed into T-shirts and your sewing wizard mother-in-law has already pumped out home and away, a third alternate (purple leopard fur with sequins for the numbers) and even retro jerseys in your size with your fantasy team's logo (Stone Crunk Ultrapimps, for instance) on it - from each of the last 4 years!!! You have window decals of your past fantasy teams still on your car. And your new personally fitted helmet should arrive in the mail any day to add the homemade decals you've had sitting around for the past two months.
- OK, maybe this one's just me!
"I don't want to jinx my favorite players this year."
- Madden, Chunky Soup and Jessica Simpson have NOTHING on you! Every year you draft guys from your favorite team(s) and WHAMMO! They are either hurt, maimed, rendered suddenly ineffective, stop taking steroids, shot at while at a strip club, "accidentally" OD on sleeping pills, arrested for running a dog fighting ring, bit by a snake, injure their sternum while getting the Heimlich maneuver after choking on Chunky soup, or are suspended for dropping their whizzinator during the drug test. No matter what the situation, it will happen to YOUR players.
- Backfire Possibilities 1: I know a guy who was a human jinx to his FFL so one year he wanted to spare his favorite team by purposely picking players from division rivals to jinx them. Not only did he win the league utilizing his rival's players but his favorite team (who was considered a Super Bowl contender in the pre-season) lost their QB in week 4, went 5-11 and their coach quit midseason (knowing he was getting fired) while a division rival went to the Super Bowl unexpectedly.
- Backfire Possibilities 2: This is CODE RED worst case scenario... YOU start to date Jessica Simpson.
"It was my Dad's dying wish that I never play fantasy sports ever again"
- Your Dad wanted you to get out of lots of things.
- Backfire Inevitability: If your Dad is still alive, this might kill him. Besides you're a sick, twisted individual and therefore we'd make great friends!
"My significant other will withhold fornication/copulation/sodomy/hot dinners if I join another league."
- Meanwhile, you go join another fantasy league with your significant other's friends instead of the dork's league.
- Backfire Potential: If significant other hears about this, they just might hold it to you, then you have to go out and cheat on them to get even... that can get messy and expensive.
"I'm focusing on rooting for my real team this year and dedicating myself fully. No misdirected allegiances and no traitorship THIS season!"
- This really is the best excuse. What FFL person is going to question you once you explain that you're a REAL football fan with no time for 'games'? Most FFLers are in Fantasy leagues to make the NFL a more interesting experience, but they'll never get the feeling of being a TRUE fan. In their face!
"I have better things to do"
- Of course you do. We all do.
- Backfire Warning 1: No you don't.
- Backfire Warning 2: If you use this line on a boss (or the like), they WILL find you some "better things" to do right away.
"I'm not jinxing, reverse jinxing, double-blind jinxing or Triple Sideways Lindy Dogdare Pinky Swear jinxing my team this year."
- Not a bad way to go, it's noble and pure; especially if you're a Cowboys, Jaguars, Titans, Chargers, Seahawks, Jets, Buccaneers, Redskins, Eagles, Broncos, Vikings, Texans, Bengals, Ravens, Bills, Cardinals, Browns, Saints, Panthers, or Packers fan. If you're a Patriots fan, you're screwed because I am DEFINITELY jinxing them again this year anyway...
- Backfire Supposition: If your favorite team is the Falcons, Bears, Rams, Lions, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders or Dolphins, you're not fooling anyone; not even yourself.
"I'd rather bet on the games than take your cash"
- In for-money FFLs, this is a no-brainer. You're obviously the gambling type in which a few hundred bucks from some computer geek FFL players wouldn't raise a single goose bump or you're such a crappy gambler that you're out of cash and waiting for a possible payoff three months down the road is a slow death. A half-decent gambler can earn more winnings at the sportsbook/bookie in the 1:00 games in one weekend alone than a FFL player can winning three leagues at once!
- People who need to add cash to make fantasy games more relevant are the worst gamblers there are. Adding a monetary stake to fantasy based games is lame. Not only are they crappy sports fans, but they make crappy gamblers too. Why not just put Madden in the Playstation, play CPU vs. CPU and bet on the outcome?
- Backfire Affirmation: You can lose more in one Sunday than can make all year; especially if you're REALLY stupid.
"Isn't it bad enough that I already ______(fill in the blank)______ more than you?"
- This is the catch all. Not only does it rid you of the effort of managing a FFL team with someone you'd rather not deal with, it also rids you of a person you'd rather not deal with! Point out their most glaring weakness and explain why it's oddly enough your God-given talent. It not only switches the focus from FFL to their self-perceived inadequacies, but it also forces them to hate you. Two birds with one stone if you ask me. Works great in the job setting.
- Backfire Expectation: The meaner you are to someone, the more likely they will have something spectacular happen in their life. You don't know how many people I degraded that later won lotteries and/or huge lawsuit payouts. Upside - they are still dorks. Downside - they can afford to hire a hitman.
"I'm on ArmchairGM.com so much that it's an unfair advantage"
- Self explanatory. You know your shit and can pretend to know the rest by stealing/"editing" everyone else's ideas here!
- Backfire Deja Vous (Yes, Vous): You're reading articles posted from the wrong authors (read: people who are in a FFL WITH you) that are only written to undermine YOU.
Q. What will you miss most by not being in a FFL?
A. Pretending. That's about it...
If you have a chat function in your league, you might miss out on some quality smack talk but that's it (or you could save it for AGM)!
No fake trophies. No pretend championship rings. No "league records" to break...
Q. What will you Gain by Not being in a FFL?
A. Actually watching and enjoying REAL football. One string attached, no crossed wires and no spiteful allegiances.
Living in Fantasy = Individuals gain meaningless yards in a blowout loss and you reap the points. BUT you end up watching the Dolphins lose to the Bills 54-13 JUST to see if your backup tight end does well. Even though you didn't play him this week, you are scouting him to see if you should get another tight end instead. This rots your brain.
Living in Reality = the star guy who would have been on your FFL team does crappy but makes a crucial downfield block on the winning score and your favorite team wins. You glow at the fact that his block meant more than any of his 19 yards receiving did. BUT you don't care what happens in the Sunday Night game because instead of watching it to see how the kicker you would have had on three of your seven FFL rosters does, you're going to go get laid instead.
The Tao of Stiles
If you're good friends with someone, you will have fun no matter if you're in a FFL together or not. Good friends always understand.
But if you join a FFL with a dork, they WILL think you are friends...forever. You have not only been warned, you have been given a copious supply of emergency exits from the burning building. Sure, there's more that I could have and probably should have added, but this should get you through the typical flirtations of any FFL dork.