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Fantasy Football: I'm Out

(originally written 12/9/20)

I've been in Fantasy Football for five seasons now.

In my first year of participation in the Alter Ego Dynasty, 2016, I finished 6-7, but still won my weak division. (We were the 2020 NFC East of our time, you might say.) Didn't fare well in the playoffs, but that was okay.

In my second year, 2017, I somehow won the championship trophy after going 10-3 and eking out a 0.28-point win over the 2016 champ in the Semifinals. Todd Gurley was an absolute beast for me that December; I will always pull for him.

I was 8-5 and a playoff participant in both 2018 and 2019, though a second trophy proved elusive. Still, I figured I had this Fantasy thing down pat. After all, entering 2020 my team, Greatest Detective, was 32-20 with four playoff berths in four years. Most moves paid off. Quality players were always available when needed.

My 2020 season kicked off with a Week 1 win. True, it was against a dude who wasn't trying, but I would have triumphed anyway. The win didn't feel special at all. I was a perennial championship contender doing what I was supposed to do. What I was used to doing.

But then I lost the next week. And the next. And the next. And the next.
Still, I didn't worry all that much.
Until the injuries and COVID forced me to.

One by one I lost Zach Ertz, Deebo Samuel, Myles Gaskin, Corey Davis and others to (insert ailment). 

In 2017, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and A.J. Green were key contributors to my title.
In 2020, Jeffery gave me literally nothing; he was injured, then invisible. Green, returning from a major injury, usually gave me nothing until I sat him. Then he'd inevitably produce. Then I'd return him to my lineup...and get more nothing. The ultimate tease.

Basically, for several weeks, I had maybe two players (one of them a kicker) I could count on. In Week 10, I scored 42.99 points. Yes, I was trying. 
I lost in Week 12 to the non-trier who was 0-11 before deciding to give a crap.
I lost in Week 13 to a guy who didn't even set two spots in his lineup.
Again, yes, I was trying.

Who'd have guessed I'd drop 12 in a row after that season-opening victory? Nobody.

Enjoying football on Sunday/Monday became a thing of the past; I'd instead sit around moping over the struggles of my Fantasy team.

Eventually, I decided it was time to step away. I'd clearly lost my touch, and in a Keeper league, overhauling my aged and unreliable roster would be a challenge I just wasn't up for. Football fans are supposed to look forward to Sunday, and I couldn't see myself doing that if saddled with a substandard Fantasy team.

It was truly a great ride. The league is run by someone I consider a good friend, and leaving him with an additional hole to fill sucks, but otherwise I have no regrets about the experience. I can still clearly remember the night of the 2017 Semifinals, being glued to Monday Night Football as Atlanta's Julio Jones —the only thing standing between me and the Finals—did his thing. I sat there as nervous as I'd been since my child's delivery.

The nerves didn't relent until Jones missed a late catch that would have clinched the win for my opponent—instead, I earned the 0.28-point victory. It's tough to verbalize the magnitude of Gurley's impact that year (46.5 points in the Semis, 47 more in the Finals as half my team sputtered around him). He was as valuable as valuable gets.

In closing—lest I ramble on for another four paragraphs—I'll simply say so long, Alter Ego Dynasty and so long, Greatest Detective. You made Sundays/Mondays that much more interesting and increased my football insight by at least 30% over these past five years. You were fun, challenging and rewarding. I'm sure I will miss you in 2021 more than I realize now. 

And who knows, maybe one day I will pull a Jason Witten and leave retirement...

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