Draft Kit

The Loyalty Gods of Fantasy Football

OK, it’s taken me a couple days to get over the Redskins’ gut-wrenching loss to the Cowgirls on Monday night.  But I’m back.  I got an email from a reader, and fellow Redskins fan, with the following question that may be applicable to others out there:

“Can you be upset after the fact if your loyalty wasn’t rewarded? I sat Dez Bryant in fantasy for Ochocinco because he was playing the Redskins and part of me didn’t feel right about playing him. I ended up losing by 1.5 points which is less than the difference between Bryant and Ochocinco’s production. Also, going into the MNF I was winning by 5.5. points, but [my opponent] had Santana Moss so I was actively rooting for him to do well.

Was it the right move to sit Bryant or can you play him and just hope he doesn’t do that well?”

Well, as I told “aharper12”, there are no Fantasy Gods out there to give rewards for being loyal to your favorite team.  Playing a member of the opposing team, however, is not necessarily disloyal.  You have to take a step back and ask yourself before you join a fantasy league–can I separate my feelings for my favorite team and treat fantasy like a business?  What are your priorities?  Most football fans I know do feel some sense of conflict of interest rooting for guys they normally despise, but can you prioritize your loyalties?

If I am in a competitive league, and one guy sits his best player on a certain week just because he’s playing the home team, that’s bogus.  In a league with head-to-head match-ups, you’re handing the other team a victory, whether or not he deserves it.  If you can’t separate your priorities, then you should consider that before you draft a team and not draft opposing players from your division.  Or just don’t play fantasy football at all.

If there’s a case where two players are equally matched, then, by all means, go with the one you can feel good about rooting for.  In this instance, I think “aharper12” could argue that Bryant was coming off an injury, and that Brady was going to put up big numbers, so Ochocinco may have been a viable start, but I wouldn’t make that mistake twice.

Hopefully you have built a team where the performance of one guy doesn’t make a difference to each weekly outcome–that way you can justify not rooting for everyone in your fantasy lineup.  But do your league a favor, and always start your most competitive squad.

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