News & Analysis

Fantasy football: One heck of a distraction

Dec 24, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs the ball against the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)

This story sounds more emotional than I think it really is, but then again, I lived it, so maybe from outside it will resonate more.

My wife gave birth to twins back on October 20. Though we live in Lexington, she did it in Cincinnati, because one of the twins had a congenital heart defect that required surgery. In fact, he had several — coarctation of the aorta, atrial septal defect, multiple ventricular septal defects, persistent left superior vena cava, parachuting mitral valve. I’ve learned a lot of words in the last year.

As it stands today, he’s mostly okay. There will be another surgery in the next month or so, and assuming that goes as expected, he’ll be a fully normal and ready-to-go little dude after that. But on October 24, I wasn’t so sure. Because October 24, that twin — Lucas — spent the entirety of the time from just before 9 a.m. until just after midnight in the operating room, and my wife and I spent it in the waiting room.

That’s a tense time, as I’m sure you would guess. Most people didn’t bother us much, because the only thing that makes interminable waiting worse is having to answer infinite “how’s it going?” texts that you don’t know the answer to.

One person didn’t hold to that, though. J.R.

J.R. is in my primary fantasy league. We’ve never been close as friends, really, just leaguemates — it was an old work league, and we barely overlapped there, so we don’t even know each other that well. But as fate would have it, J.R. and his wife had a baby a week before we did, and his baby had a heart defect as well, and … well, long story short, he and I ended up spending a lot of time in rooms about 20 feet apart in the Cardiac ICU of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. (His little girl is doing well also, for now.)

So, “I've been there” in full effect, J.R. was and is in a special place when it comes to “bugging” us in the waiting room. So when he asked how it was going, I didn’t mind keeping him updated, even if it was 6 p.m. and the surgery was supposed to be over by then but they had found another defect and were keeping him on bypass and who knows how much longer it’ll take and …

“And hey,” J.R. followed up, “if you need the distraction, how about that trade offer I sent?”

I lived out of the hospital for two months. Obviously, most of that time was spent on Lucas. But man, J.R. timed that fantasy trade talk perfectly. This game isn’t as important as we sometimes make it out to be, but it’s one hell of a good distraction sometimes.

(And I traded Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Philip Rivers, and Duke Johnson for Chris Hogan, Will Fuller, Drew Brees, and LeSean McCoy. And I made the finals.)

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