"You are a degenerate, and possibly a terrible, amoral human being. Embrace it."
Very early in C.D. Carter’s tome “How to Think Like a Fantasy Football Winner”, he gives you a options. You can be a degenerate, or you can be a loser. Hey, at least he’s giving you a choice.
Here’s what I don’t like about fantasy football advice. There are two tacts that I see a lot. Tact one is “use this theory and you will win”. Another one is “because of my fantasy prowess, I never lose”. Carter, Denny to some, doesn’t go this way. He lets you know that no matter what you do in fantasy, there will be losses, and some will be extraordinarily painful.
Why would you want to buy a book that tells you that you’re going to lose in fantasy? I can sum it up from the Moody Blues song “The Story in Your Eyes”. “We’re part of the fire that is burning. From the ashes we can build a better day.” You have to know why you’re losing, not always fate and stupid kickers and garbage-time touchdowns. Realize where you’re going wrong and how you can be a smarter, more sober fantasy player.
Imagine that you have a “plan” to avoid quarterbacks until at least the eighth round of your redraft. If Aaron Rodgers is still around when your pick comes up in the fifth round, do you deviate from the plan? By Daunte Culpepper’s ghost, you better. This is the lesson from Chapter 2, Comfort is King. We sometimes create these relatively simple draft plans to limit our options, which usually end up limiting our chances to win. You have to remain flexible.
In Chapter 3, “Your Lizard Brain Is Wrecking Your Fantasy Team”, Carter continues his dominatrix ways, telling us we are weak and beating us senseless and we love it. Our “lizard brain” brings up emotions, like reminding us that Dez Bryant is no good and has screwed us in the past, so we pass up on taking him in his breakout year. This part of our brain keeps us from taking risks on unproven players who are set to have a big opportunity and greatly outperform their draft spot.
What might be most impressive about Carter’s book is that he doesn’t use the word “zombie” until page 34. Man, it would suck being zombie Ryan Mathews, getting pulled by your zombie coach when you were five yards away from delicious brains.
Chapter 4 is all about learning to lose. Man, have I learned that lesson. Wait a second, you’re supposed to change the way you act due to losing? Well, maybe I need to read that one again. It hurts to self-evaluate and see that in my case, the decision process I used to come up with “Jay Cutler is a better draft option than Peyton Manning or RGIII” last year might need to go back into development. I had good reasons against Peyton, a year after four neck surgeries and almost as old as me (I am old) and RGIII being a rookie and rookie QBs to date had been inconsistent options. The problem with my thought process was that the sure, steady thing was Jay Cutler, a QB who’s had one Top Five finish in seven NFL seasons.
Chapter 5 is when Carter goes all out with the name-calling. The chapter’s about selective deception, and he tells a story about making a trade for Pierre Thomas minutes after news came over regarding a Darren Sproles injury. The person he traded with had no idea about the Sproles injury news. Carter uses the words “scumbag”, Low-down weasel”, and “soulless” in the chapter. He has a lot of poker analogies in the book. When you’re about to go all-in with a pair of threes, you’re not going to tell everyone else at the table what you have to be a “good sport”. In fantasy football, information advantage is getting smaller and smaller, so use what you have.
In Chapter 6, Carter tells you to go after the “small stack”. In short, try to take advantage of the slow starters in fantasy. If a team starts 0-4, desperation can lead to trade opportunities. He’s telling us that in fantasy football, empathy is for pansies. Empathy, which is the ability to feel another’s pain, does us no good when the goal is fantasy domination.
Carter’s final portion of the book is some advice from Donald Rumsfeld. I won’t spoil it here. He concludes (Denny, not Rummy) that fantasy football is meaningful and meaningless at the same time. It is a game, a pastime that we take on with our ever-shrinking free time. Very few of us, if anyone, is playing the game for a living. Let’s keep that in mind when a personal fantasy feud leads to Game of Thrones-style violence. I think even C.D. Carter would consider this too much.