News & Analysis

The small world of fantasy football advice

Aug 19, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) passes the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bears won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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.)

Doing what I do — even as the editor and not one of the technical experts — I inevitably field questions from friends, strangers, and anyone else who happens to need fantasy advice. When I was sleeping in the hospital at my newborn, just-had-heart-surgery son’s bedside, I woke up one morning to the respiratory therapist, who had come in to check on the boy, waiting patiently for me to finish sleeping so he could have me set his starting lineup.

That’s not a complaint, mind you. Just one of those things. It’s fun to tell people what I do and see the reactions. One season, a few years ago, my buddy from my hometown Travis — a football fan, but not a fantasy guy at all — spent the season asking me for advice for a friend of a friend of his. Basically, I spent all year helping set the lineup for a friend, three times removed.

All this despite the fact that my team that season was just slogging along that year. I was winning, but my the skin of my teeth — weekly wins by 5 points at a time. I got to the playoffs as the 2 seed despite barely outscoring my opponents on the season. This was not my primary league, but it was one I wanted to win for pride reasons. It was run by a kid who worked at my wife’s restaurant, and who had happened to go to my high school some 10 years after me. He had told all his friends about how he knew this expert, and they should have me in the league for street cred, or whatever. So I cared about it, even as I scuffled along and barely made my way. Sometimes, that’s the dirty little secret of fantasy analysis — either you’re guessing along with everyone else (just slightly more educated-ly), or you make the right choices and you still lose way too often to even pretend to be that quote-unquote “expert.”

Still, that season, I made the playoffs. This was 2014, and between injury and ineffectiveness, my quarterbacks heading into the dang playoffs were Mark Sanchez (then the Eagles backup thrust into action) and Kyle Orton (finishing up his career in Buffalo). Still, I played the matchups and lucked into the right opponents and kept going. I made the finals, despite the fact that I’d have lost every single playoff week against any other playoff opponent.

I guess that counts for something. But I wasn’t feeling like some grand expert that winter, especially when Travis texted me to ask for advice for his friend’s friend.

“He almost didn’t want to ask you,” Travis said, “because he’s not too scared of the guy he’s facing in the finals. That guy’s quarterbacks are—” I can almost hear the snickering. “—Mark Sanchez and Kyle Orton.”

That was when I remembered that Travis’ friend’s friend was a member of a church in my hometown, and was much younger than me, and could easily have gone to school with my wife’s employee. No, I did not offer that guy advice that week. Sorry, friend, best of luck.

(I won the title. Viva Mark Sanchez.)


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