Fifteen years ago when we first launched GetSportsInfo.com one of the staff’s early writers, Tom Pellegrino, came up with this feature article. The concept is simple every fantasy football in America has a least a few of these characters or some resemblance of them in their leagues.
These people all exist in the same social experiment that is fantasy football. This is the fun part of the league. If you just drafted and played the games, that’s not fun. Leagues fail because of that. You need villains, heroes, and all of the characters in between. You need to make it personal among your friends, family, and co-workers, that’s what make fantasy football so great: the ability to take this great game to another level through these relationships.
*Let me be your assistant fantasy coach this season. Plans start at less than $1 per week.
Over the years I have revisited Pellegrino’s list on several of my radio shows and added and modified his list as new ideas came. Here’s an updated list of characters you are sure to find in your fantasy league:
He’s the bad guy of the league. He’s won the championship before and often more than once. He’s shrewd, good, tough, and he knows it. And everyone in the league hates him, and he knows that too. He causes you to not really work together, but to work against him. In order to have a good league, your league needs to have at least one Darth Vader. And if you are the league’s Darth Vader, feel good about it. It’s a great thing that you are part of the reason that the league is fun.
THE BLACK CAT
He’s the guy that seems to always have a team where four of his first six picks get hurt within the first weeks of the season… EVERY YEAR! He’s worse than the SI cover jinx, and the Madden curse combined. You want this person to draft people that are not on any other fantasy teams that you own; and it’s a bonus for him to draft people on teams that you hate. He’s the same guy that scavenges the waiver wire early and often to piece together a random team every week. Be fearful of this guy though, because just as you are thinking, “Yeah, but who has Mike Tolbert on his team for his 3-TD game?” The answer: The Black Cat, the week he played you.
UNFROZEN CAVEMAN FANTASY PLAYER
If his team were the same five years ago, you could etch his name on the trophy now. But instead of the 2012 versions, he has the 2017 versions of Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Antonio Gates. But since he’s been frozen for five years, he hasn’t noticed that these guys are far from their prime form. He will defend his picks by saying, “If they are anything close to the way they were three years ago… LOOK OUT!”
Have you seen the Best Buy commercial where the guy celebrates his team’s fantasy player scoring a touchdown against the NFL team he roots for? Well, that’s the guy. He’s the guy that cannot discern which is better, the “W” for his fantasy team, or the “W” for his NFL team. And if you have to think it about it, seek help. He’s the guy you don’t want to sit next to when watching your favorite NFL team.
He’s the opposite of Benedict Arnold. He’s the Bengals fan with AJ Green, Andy Dalton, Giovanni Bernard, Tyler Eifert, Isaac Curtis, James Brooks, Rudi Johnson, Ickey Woods, Jim Breech, Boomer Esiason, Bob Trumpy, and Carl Pickens on his team. And while it helps his rooting interest, it does not translate into a solid fantasy football strategy. He also might not necessarily show up to the draft prepared. “Well prepared” for him means borrowing a pen and a piece of paper.
CRAPPY TRADE MAN
He’s the guy that hopes that you didn’t notice that the guys he’s trying to trade you are broken or suck. He’s the guy that tries to get Antonio Brown for Kyle Rudolph, Justin Tucker, and the Chiefs’ defense. And then does not get why you do not want to make the deal. So then he “sweetens” the deal by throwing in Ben Roethlisberger, but he’ll want you to add Russell Wilson. When he gets no taker, after offering the same deal to the rest of the league, he’ll end up dropping Tucker during his bye week. That’s when you attack. No, that does not mean pick the person up, rather to the guy who dropped him say, “How did you drop the greatest kicker in NFL history?”
THE WALKING NO-TRADE CLAUSE
He’s the opposite of Crappy Trade Man. In a way, he’s even worse. He has a glaring need, he has someone you could really use, and you have someone he needs.
You make the offer. Nothing.
You even sweeten the deal. Nothing.
You make your absolute best possible offer. Nothing.
You bribe him. Nothing.
You buy him season tickets. Nothing.
You use calculus to prove that the deal will work for both sides. Nothing.
You bring in Mike Clay, Jeff Ratcliffe, Greg Cossell, Cris Collinsworth, and Merril Hoge to break the deal down. Nothing.
You try the Jedi mind trick. Nothing.
You threaten to hit him with a boat oar. Nothing.
You actually hit him with a boat oar. Nothing.
He thinks that you must be trading him crap and what he has must be very good. He’s so afraid to pull the trigger that he refuses to use the waiver wire to drop a player that sucks to get another player. Y’know? Just in case.
He’s the guy that needs constant clarifications on the rules. And he acts like this is all news to him. “So let me get this straight.”, he’ll say, “You can keep two players between one year and the next, right? What if I kept Jameis Winston, Alshon Jeffrey, Two guys that aren’t even on my roster, LeSean McCoy, DeAndre Hopkins, and Greg Olsen? Would that work? Why not?” He also is the guy that tries to start five running backs, instead of using any wide receivers. He’s perpetually looking for an angle that just isn’t there.
He likes football. He seems relatively intelligent. And he just wants to try out this crazy fantasy football thing that the young people seem to be talking about these days. So he drafts. And his team has every player on it that seem good (because they have TV ads, are talked about on TV or radio, and have lots of sound bites.) So his roster has players that are NFL good, but not really fantasy good (Eli Manning leaps to mind). He winds up going 4-9 in his first year, and hosting the league for the Super Bowl party. In every league, The Rookie always takes a beating, and then they get smart, and mix in well. But that first year…
THAT #@$&!%* GUY
I hate That #@$&!%* Guy. That #@$&!%* Guy is guy that is involved in every major controversy in the league. He’s the guy that thinks he got hosed on the draft order. He’s the guy that realizes he made a dumb trade, and wants it reversed; TWO WEEKS LATER. He’s the guy that thinks that league is specifically designed to destroy his team and rob him of his money. He thinks that every trade is an assault against his fantasy football empire. He thinks that the waiver system is football aristocracy and pure fascism. He’s the guy that calls you at 1:15pm on a Sunday while you are at a football game, out-of-town, or a family reunion out in the middle of nowhere and nowhere near a computer to inform you that the changes he wanted to make were not allowed because the games just started, but he SWEARS that he hasn’t watched a second of football (yet, they person he wants to start the game just caught a 90-yard bomb for a touchdown, but that’s just a huge co-inky-dink) AND DEMANDS THAT YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW! He threatens to quit the league mid-season thus giving you the dreaded odd number of teams. You cringe when your caller ID says it’s him. He’s just That #@$&!%* Guy!!!!
Believe it or not, doubles as “The Whipped Guy”. He’s the guy that keeps hitting refresh on his computer screen to see if that 4-yard run from LeSea MCoy got him anything. Mainly because he’s either A) beyond obsessed with fantasy football; or B) his significant other is thinking about other ways he could have spent $20-500 rather than on your stupid stat game. He’s like a stock market day trader, constantly seeing what a tiny occurrence did to his score instead of waiting for SportsCenter or looking around online at nine at night like the rest of us. He does this because if he has to report that he lost a fantasy football game, it will start another fight about money.
Routinely last in the waiver wire priority order, The Flipper has two or three moves to make every week. His roster on the first week of the season looks vastly different than his roster at the end of the season. Usually he has about six of the same people.
He’s the guy that takes the phone calls. He sets up the rules, interprets the rules, and runs the league. And he deals with Flipper, Day Trader, The Rookie, The Lawyer, That #@$&!%* Guy, Crappy Trade Man, and Darth Vader all at the same time. And he’s the one drinking Pepto Bismol like they’re cold ones by Week Twelve.
Every league has a Speed Bump on draft day. In leagues that draft at bars you may have multiple speed bumps. The Speed Bump is the person whose turn to draft you can’t wait to come up for because you’ve got to pee. He’s the reason the commissioner has to add a draft time rule and start displaying a clock on draft day. In auctions they’re the guy that always offers up a bid at the very last second after “going once, going twice”. Even in online drafts the Speed Bump waits to their 89th second on the 90-second clock to make a pick. The worst speed bumps are in slow drafts where you better believe they’re going to take at least eight hours to make every single pick.
She is the owner that everyone laughed at the commish when he asked if she could get in the league, but soon nobody wants to lose to. Losing your fantasy game is bad enough, but losing to her is the worst…and she lets you know it. She is the league’s biggest smack tackler and most shrewd manipulator. Her trading skills don’t follow the norm so she is hard to read. The worst part is that even if she does struggle you can’t talk smack back because you’ll only look like a jerk.
THE RETIRED GUY
This guy just retired and has a little too much time to spend on fantasy sports. Not only does he play seven teams seasonally, but he sets like 25 daily lineups a week. He’s not a professional playing for an income nor does he make a ton of money doing it. He simply has too much time on his hands. This guy gets pissed when you don’t reply back to trade offer within minutes and soon will be trying to call you to ask you why you haven’t responded. They are the league’s most stubborn player and the one most resistant to change. He’s still arguing to keep things as a TD-only league just like we did in 1993. He’s the one that needs help with the league website every year and has to have everything repeated back due to bad hearing. None of it matters though because he’s just happy to be back for another fantasy season.
Here are some recent additions from my radio listeners…
The “Yes Dear” guy brings spouse as only female who helps (tries) draft the team
The “Pimp” brings hot girlfriend to run the draft board as a distraction for other teams
The “Awful Pick” guy. Not because his picks are necessarily awful, but he berates everyone else’s picks with a line like: “awful pick bro”. What makes it most amusing is that this guy always finishes in the bottom half of the league.
The “Biff Tannen” guy. (From Back to the Future) He’s horrible at trash talking, not clever, and has a horrible team, but he’s the most obnoxious owner in the league.
*Follow Dan Clasgens on Twitter at @DanClasgens and join the conversation.
–Photo from FantasyTrophies.com