This year marks my second year playing fantasy football and my first year caring about it. As a noob, I don’t have much advice about how to win in your fantasy football leagues, but I’ve learned quite a bit about how to lose. No, not just lose. How to lose spectacularly.
So if you’re playing fantasy football ironically or have some sort of weird fear of success, then here’s a foolproof plan to make sure your fantasy team goes down in a blaze of glory.
Begin with a minimal understanding of the sport of football.
Let me start out by saying that I feel genuinely bad whenever I fulfill a female stereotype, because I don’t want to further the preconceived notions that all women share these traits just because I happen to be a terrible driver, bad at math, and afraid to kill the centipede that’s living in my apartment.
But the truth is, I personally have never had any interest in football. I know many women who do, but it’s never been my thing. And that has really formed the foundation for my successful failure. If you want to be the worst at fantasy football, you’re going to have to know the least.
Draft players based on their names or personalities.
If you follow rule #1, you won’t know a ton about the “players” or their “performance,” so instead of researching, choose your players based on the character traits they would bring to your team. No, just because you draft Michael Vick does not mean that he’s going to come to your house and play with your dogs, but that’s no reason to let his actual talent weigh in more than his criminal past. Drafting players based on who you’d want to hang out with will make sure you end up with a team of lovable losers.
Rely completely on ESPN predictions.
Since ESPN apparently has experts that spend their time performing complicated algorithms to predict the performance of each player, you would think that their thinking is more accurate than your approach, which, if you’ve been following the rules so far, is probably a pretty simple system called “guessing.” But if you stick closely with ESPN’s forecasts, you’re almost definitely going to end up with not just losses, but awesomely bad losses. Continue to do it anyway, though, since it will comfort you to know that the fantasy football experts would also be running your team into the ground.
Move to a new time zone and get consistently confused about when games start.
Since your natural instinct is probably to check your lineup and make last minute changes before the games start, a great way to stop yourself, and maintain your position at the bottom, is to move to a confusing time zone, like Central or Mountain, where published times about when games start almost never apply. That way, when you go to check your roster at 12:15 and notice that Peyton Hillis is out with strep throat, you can’t possibly change him before the 1:00 game starts because, where you are, that game starts at 12:00. Make sure you do this every week, so that you can feel like a genuine idiot over and over.
Forget who’s on your team so you actively root against yourself.
This won’t actually make your team any worse, but it will make the feeling of loss that much more poignant. Spending an entire game rooting for one player who’s doing really well takes the loss to a new level when you realize he’s not actually on your team or, better yet, you kept him on your bench because ESPN predicted he’d score -3 points.
Talk trash based on your performance in the first game, even though you still don’t know how to play fantasy football.
Despite your best efforts, you might actually have a pretty good first week. Go ahead and assume that this performance is not a fluke, but rather a testament that your perfect storm of no football knowledge, terrible draft and total dependence on ESPN is actually the perfect strategy. Make sure you talk a lot of trash to the rest of your league about this. Get cocky. And then, when your week-by-week performance begins to look like this, you can really revel in your race to the bottom.