Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fantasy Football with My Son

My second grader caught the fantasy football bug this summer, and, as a result, we entered into 2 leagues, one at espn.com and one at sikids.com. Both leagues are different, and we're faring much better in one than the other.

So let's go to the one where we're not faring so well -- espn.com. We entered a ten-team league, and this league has teams playing "against" one another every week. The computer automatically drafted for each team, and the computer program isn't nuanced -- it simply takes the best player on the the board. You activate a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a wide receiver or a running back in an extra slot, a tight end, a team (for defensive and special teams points) and a kicker. Which was all well and good, except the draft gave me 1 quarterback and about eight running backs, among them Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson and Edgerrin James. The sole QB was Chad Pennington (since released), and I had to scurry to build depth on the wide-receiving corps since 2 of my top wideouts were Javon Walker (injured) and Jerry Porter (in one of Dante's circles of football hell).

Anyway, we're now 3-4 in the league, despite the anomaly of having scored the second or third highest amount of points. The problem is that during certain weeks our team fared well, only to have the team we're matched up against in a "game" fare better. And it's not a case of our team having played bad defense; the other team's players simply had good weeks on offense, period. We've rallied well and hit the waiver wire aggressively, although we missed out on Derek Anderson, picked up Wes Welker but then let him go (to get Patrick Crayton). One was a bad non-move, the other a bad move. Still, we're in the hunt, and that's what matters. Working the waiver wire is pretty fun, although not every team is into the game as much as we and a few other are.

The SI Kids league is more fun and kid-friendly. Basically, you can cut your team each week and activate a new one. We're in a 100-team league, and we're in fourth place, as the Darwinism suggests that you make sure you have Tom Brady and Randy Moss on your team each and every week, and then you look for players who are playing teams with bad defenses. There's a salary cap here ($75 million), so you can't load up on all the big names, but Adrian Peterson costs a paltry $5.75 million or so when compared to the $11 million or so that Brian Westbrook commands. The key is watching the schedule and now seeing who plays St. Louis and Miami, among others. We're within striking distance of first place, and the most fun thing is that we do it together.

I do confess that I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but participating with my son is fun and we've learned the NFL a lot better than we otherwise would have had we not joined these leagues. Basketball, of course, is up next, and participating in an NBA Fantasy League is particularly a good thing if you're a Philadelphia 76ers fan, where the reality won't be too pretty this year.

But first thing's first -- we have a bunch of roster spots to fill because we have a lot of players who have a bye week this week.