Against my better judgment, I’m in a fantasy football league again this season.  my team is much stronger this year since I decided to abandon my “contrarian” strategy of last year and go the more conservative route of doing what the fantasy experts recommend.

Even so, it’s scary to me how addictive it is.  I never understood how anyone could be addicted to gambling, but I’m starting to see.  You get a thrill when some random player you picked off of waivers does well, and are frustrated when you 1st round pick under-performs.  But it’s not like there’s anything you can do about it.

I suppose it’s more like stock picking than  gambling per se.  There’s some element of skill to stock picking; you have to have a decent grasp of business and the economy to be able to have sustained success.  But after that, both stocks and fantasy football are all about 90% luck.  And when you consider that everybody in my league is reasonably knowledgeable about football, that’s practically the equivalent of it being 100% luck.

Case in point: everyone knew Peyton Manning would, barring injury, be good this year.  He’s been good basically every year of his career.  But it’s not like it was unreasonable to think, back in August, that Aaron Rodgers might be better.  No one could have expected this record-shattering pace from Manning.

It’s an amusing little diversion, don’t get me wrong.  It can make watching the games more interesting.  But from the perspective of a video gamer, who has heard that his pastime is “unproductive” and “a waste of time”, I can at least say that with video games, you can influence the outcome–that seems like it’s a bit more worthwhile then spending time trying to win a competition you have no control over.

Moralists rail against most forms of gambling,

Their fingers they wag, and implore us and beg us

To see to it we never decide to go rambling

In places like Monte Carlo, or, Lord help us, Las Vegas.

But the most sinister game of chance that I’ve seen

I was able to play in my home by myself.

It’s referred to as “Fantasy Football”, and I mean

To say it’s as bad as some dice or cards on a shelf.

Well, I picked out my players in the pre-season draft

After poring o’er pages of prognostic palavers;

But by the third week, all my choices looked daft,

My runners were hurt, and all my receivers on waivers.

All the “experts” whose advice I naively did seek

Told me that I’d win based on the stats they projected

Which were based on what happened last week—

But things never, oh never, went as they expected!

Oh, you should rather pull slot machine levers

Or hit on 19 in a game of Blackjack,

Than go out and start  “hot” wide receivers

Or pick up the alleg’d “workhorse running back”.

I tried to get clever in order to trick ‘em

And my strategy became downright contrarian,

When I heard a name and was told “never pick ‘em!”

I’d snap him right up, dropping the stars I was carryin’!

But my efforts all were completely for naught;

My “sleepers” got stuffed by opposing noseguards

While the star I had dropped then went out and caught

17 passes for well over 200 yards.

I’ve had quite enough of this mad game of chance,

I don’t think knowing the sport helped me out in the least;

I could go and play baccarat or roulette in France

And I think my odds of success would be greatly increased!