Fantasy sports are role-playing games for people who believed they were too cool to get into Magic: The Gathering in high school. For those of us who participate, the draft is both an unofficial holiday and serious business. These three hours determine which carefully constructed roster of talented athletes will be making up for our own woeful athletic shortcomings over the course of the next three months. In theory, it's a pretty tough thing to screw up. But that doesn't stop these guys from trying:
The Fantasy Veteran is constantly explaining to anyone who will listen that football is the most popular fantasy sport because it requires the least amount of skill. He'll reference championships he's won in baseball, basketball and hockey, and will claim that whatever the most obscure sport he's ever played in his "fantasy career" (he'll pretend he's joking when he calls it this) is by far the most fun. He makes everyone else in the league feel a little less alright about themselves by referring to everyone as fantasy GMs, or fantasy owners, and if he's not the commissioner of your league, he's got lots of helpful advice for the poor bastard who is.
The first time anyone makes a pick he disagrees with (this will include approximately all of them) he'll be the first to joke that they might be spending too much time with their girlfriend. He's less likely to mention the connection between his extensive fantasy prowess, and the fact that women describe his general demeanor as rape-y.
Whereas the Fantasy Vet "can't believe you took Maurice Jones Drew because it's a non-PPR league," this guy can't believe you took Jones Drew ... because he was his very next pick! This guy finds it absolutely mind blowing that two friends using the same finite pool of news and statistics, would end up liking the same elite player. If it's a live draft, he'll be glad to show you his copy of the Top 200 Fantasy Players he printed off of ESPN.com, where he's marked 176 of the names with what looks like a cross between Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and a finger painting by a retarded child. Of course, it's tough to feel too much remorse since he grunts and hisses about at least one pick that was stolen from him in each round.
He has a vague notion of what the National Football League is, and he's pretty sure it has something to do with sports. He'll make his presence known in the third round when he starts asking after the availability of whichever long-retired player was most recently on Dancing With The Stars. When you invited clueless guy into your league a few years back, you were hanging precariously at nine participants with the draft 14 hours away and you needed to get to 10.
The superfan shows up for the draft wearing his favorite team's jersey, and might give off the impression that he was drafted by them in the off-season since he uses the first person plural when referring to how good "our offense looks." He will be utterly shocked and irrationally outraged when you take his team's best player one pick ahead of him in the early rounds. But the late rounds are where the super fan really does his damage. He's spent the summer reading up on how his team's fourth string wide receiver might be due for a break out season, and seems wholly unaware that every beat sports writer in every NFL city in the country is writing that same article about their team's fourth string wide receiver. The most surprising thing about the Superfan is how shocked he'll be when his team sucks. Sure, it would be mathematically impossible for him to win the league without his home team becoming the first in the history of the NFL to average 15 touch downs a game, but man, he had a really good feeling about "our offense" this season.
Let's Hurry It Along Guy starts heckling everyone who takes over 30 seconds to make a pick soon after the second round winds down. His tactic ends up making the draft an hour longer with all the time people spend asking him to kindly shut the fuck up, but he doesn't care. It's all about letting people know that he's got somewhere very important to be on a weekday night at 11PM.
You may recognize him from his work as "The Guy Who Went Perfect in His Dad's NCAA Office Pool" last March. This player will compete in your draft because he's friends with the other people in the league, but he'll go out of his way to talk about how he's not really taking your league seriously because there isn't any money on the line. If there is money on the line, he's in some other league with a $7,000 buy-in, and he'll remind you several times throughout the draft that in his other leagues, he's got a much better team and has a shot at winning "some big dough."
He won't say much during the draft, but every couple of rounds he will make a point to tell another player what an awful pick he just made. "Awful pick, bro," or "He sucks, that's a terrible call," are the most common variations of his go-to line. If anyone ever calls him on being an insufferable asshole, he'll usually claim that he's just "trying to rattle a few cages." But no matter how much he claims to be the Sun Tzu of Fantasy Football, Awful Pick Guy is usually just an asshole.
The Guy Who Drafts Ricky Williams will snag him in the eighth or ninth round and then boast about what a steal the pick is, and how this is the year Ricky stays healthy and puts it all together. When Ricky inevitably pulls his hamstring in the second game and then fails a drug test in mid-October, this guy will complain about how his team would be so much better if not for injuries and suspensions. You'll recognize the Guy Who Drafts Ricky Williams from your fantasy baseball and basketball drafts, where he was The Guy Who Drafted Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Guy Who Drafted Grant Hill, respectively.
The Funny Guy can be expected to draft Jeremy Shockey fairly early and name his team "The Shockers," or draft Michael Vick and call his team The Electric Pit Bulls. This year he'll definitely be drafting the Bears' Adrian Peterson and then later offering him up in trades for first rounders. He'll also be drafting players with funny names, like Steve Breaston, Chad Ochocinco and Visanthe Schiancoe. When asked why he drafted Breaston so early, he'll likely tell you, "He was the breast available option."
There are excusable reasons to miss your fantasy draft. Guys have kids, get married, their wives find out about their kids and leave them. But there's always that one guy who can't be bothered to be at a computer for three hours out of the year, every year. Yahoo! or ESPN will make all of his selections for him, and he'll spend the rest of the season bitching about how he was "totally going to take (insert whatever player kicked his ass the previous Sunday)." His list of "guys I was totally going to take" contains at least 15 players who were gone by the fifth round.
Stats Guy likes to tell you that "the late rounds are where you can really get a lot of value if you know what to look for." He was thinking about taking the same quarterback as you "until I realized that he has a sub-.500 completion percentage against the Cover 3." Usually, his apparent belief that Chris Mortensen and Ron Jaworski don't have shit on him stems from the fact that he's read the 2009-2010 pro football prospectus from cover to cover. The amount of fun you'll have in your draft will be inversely proportional to how many guys have shelled out the $12 for this statistical tome. If there are multiple Stat Guys, they will spend the first 15 minutes of the draft locked in an ideological battle over the Law of 370 as it pertains to Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner before moving on to countless other statistical debates that it would be literally impossible for anyone else in the league to give less of a shit about. The good news is, the only statistical probability that seems to come true year after year is that the Stats Guy never ever wins.
With additional reporting from Sean Mcgrane.
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