Hey everyone. So, I’ve been working on this one for a few days now, and I’m pretty proud of it. I’m looking for some feedback before I try to get it published elsewhere, so any comments, critiques, additions, subtractions or advice would be greatly appreciated. I’d love to hear what you think…
Since Week 1, it’s been lurking around the corner. In the back of our heads we knew it could be true. But we chose to stay optimistic, naive even. However, entering week 14, with fantasy football playoffs beginning, it’s time for all of us to face the boogeyman, the potential 2011 NFL Lockout.
The NFL Players Union advised its members this week to be ready for it in March. Owners are still unwilling to negotiate. And neither group is worrying about the thriving subculture that the NFL has created.
Fantasy football has over 30 million owners. That is 30 million dedicated fans that are watching NFL games. And not just of their favorite team, but of the individual players they own. With the number of fantasy players increasing drastically over the last few years, it is obvious that the NFL Owners and Players are not taking the fan into consideration.
What can we do to combat this… well, I don’t know. What I do know is that we need to start planning ahead. So it is time to unionize as fans and owners. It is time for us to stand up and say, “Fine, you sissies go off somewhere and argue about the money we are feeding you.” It is time for us to develop our fantasy alternatives. Cold turkey is not an option.
Plan A) The Obvious: Fantasy Baseball, Basketball, Hockey
The fantasy NFL season routinely runs from the second week of September to the first week of January. So by playing Fantasy Baseball (last regular season game on Sept 28th), Basketball (begins the last week of October), and Hockey (begins second week of October) we manage to cover all the ground left by the Holdout.
- With about 80% of all fantasy sports players opting for football, it would be a refreshing change of pace and strategy to see a few million new faces in these sports.
- The leagues and systems are already in place on fantasy sites, so no extra work is necessary.
- Large number of televised games allow you to pay close attention to your players, keeping interest high.
- Virgins to the head-to-head style or Roto play would see a few bumps and frustrations, and those who solely focus on the NFL won’t know much about the teams or players.
- Many of hardcore fantasy footballers don’t know much about the sports of players will have to rely purely on statistics and advice columns for information.
- Loss of competitive edge and excitement if you don’t truly care about the sport you are playing.
Plan B) Going beyond Pick’em: Translating NFL Fantasy to the NCAA
Since EA Sports can’t use the names of players, a little retooling of the fantasy football form we all know and love will have to occur. But it has been done. There are small circles that exist where this game is taking place.
Rather than drafting players at each position, the owner will draft entire positions from the BCS teams. For example, rather than drafting Adrian Peterson with your first pick, you would draft the Oregon Running Back Squad.
- Easy transition as the scoring format would stay the same.
- College is far more stat-heavy than the NFL, so there will be more interest each week, upholding the competitiveness of fantasy football.
- A transition to College Football will be easier to digest for Fantasy Football players than switching to another professional sport entirely.
- Though the system is already set up, it is hardly mainstream, so unless ESPN or another fixture adopt the system, there will be a lot of math involved for owners.
- With so many teams to choose from, and the lack of parity in college football, drafting will take intense strategy and there is a chance for fantasy teams to be unevenly matched.
Plan C) Across the Pond: Adopt the Other Fantasy Football
The Premiere League offers solace for the neglected Fantasy American Football owner. I won’t even begin to pretend that I know anything about the sport or the fantasy format, but I can’t imagine that it is a far cry from the Fantasy Football layout we all know and love.
Also, America could use a little reintroduction to soccer. Maybe it will act as a good bit of PR that we desperately need. Especially after losing a World Cup bid to Qatar, a country that many of us thought was actually some kind of kitchen utensil or Japanese weapon. Perhaps following the Premiere League for a season wouldn’t hurt.
- Everyone starts out on a pretty even playing field, having to get used to the system, scoring, and players.
- The league starts in August and will completely eclipse the NFL season.
- Already popular overseas, Fantasy Premier League is already laid out and available.
- Games are never televised on major American networks, so interest will likely be lost throughout the season if you can’t watch your players.
- Almost guaranteed that a high percentage of owners at the beginning of the year will abandon their team throughout the year, making the game less competitive.
- Soccer is not football. Americans simply aren’t very big fans.
Plan D) Keep is Social: Small Group Fantasy Alternatives
Colleges have Facebook, businesspeople have the office, we all have Twitter. So why not find a way to imagine these things into a competition? Social Fantasy would be a very personalized specific form of the game. One can choose to play a pick’em style format or go more in depth as a head to head game with playoff system.
Categories on Facebook could consist of status updates, word usage, pictures, and comments. Office Fantasy could examine the efficiency of workers by using departments as positions, or turning common work tasks into statistics.
- Though it takes some thought and planning, this allows for endless possibilities and creativity.
- You update your fantasy team at work anyways, so why not make it a game?
- Productivity likely suffers, unless it is a very competitive office environment.
- No layout or ground rules already established, so being lazy is not an option.
- Not exactly a pound-for-pound alternative to football.
Plan E) To the Playground: Kicking it Old School with some Pee Wee Football
The teams are everywhere, and essentially laid out into divisions. It would just take some vast organization and a hell of a lot of research to make this possible. Just contact members from surrounding teams, and have everyone attend games and keep stats. Crunch the numbers on Sunday, and you’re good to go.
The rules are the same as Standard Fantasy Football, except little Dylan Keller from your daughter’s 4th grade Reading class is replacing Drew Brees at your QB position. Ethically, this is probably a bit of a gray area, so maybe leave the gambling aspect out of it, but it’s a refreshing change of pace from your normal Sunday routine.
- You can feel good about yourself for supporting local sports programs and children’s organizations.
- The season is a little shorter, but runs mostly parallel to the NFL season.
- With a number of age ranges to choose from, you can own multiple teams, or combine all of them if your league has 12 or more players.
- Can’t expect the same stat lines as you would in the pros, so catagories might have to be altered slightly. Rather than passing yards, you can include ‘grass eaten’ or ‘missed tackles.’
- Suspicions will likely be raised if you aren’t a father of one of the kids playing.
- 8-year-olds playing football is borderline unwatchable.