Fantasy Files: My 24 Hours in the AUFL

What’s it like to be in a fantasy league that’s been together since the beginning of the millennium? Let me tell you, it does not lack for drama. I mean, who would I take with my first-round pick? Because I was one of two owners to not keep a QB, would the other owners grab them early to taunt me? Oh, you meant the real-life drama. Here’s a summary of our league in the past week: dismissal, death, dog, drinking, dismissal.

All fantasy leagues have rules that are the unwritten sort, and they can be applied liberally. As a commish and as a league, change is inevitable and oftentimes there are no correct decisions to make. Last Saturday, as we worked out our keepers, one decision we made on the fly and changed as needed, our new owner from last year bailed on the draft. Rule one is you must make the draft, especially if you’re the new guy, or our Defense Against the Dark Arts position.

The plan was to get at the draft spot by 11 and start the draft at high noon. We were in a hurry and the draft started at 11:30. The guy who had the #2 overall pick the last two years moved up to #1 and got C.J. Spiller. Did I mention that our league doesn’t like to trade? C.J. Spiller, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Marshawn Lynch were not kept because we have a one keeper per position rule and they could not be traded.

On Monday, we found out that our champion from 2012’s father died and the funeral would be Saturday, otherwise known as draft day. After considering the somewhat tasteless e-mail suggesting that Chuck be kicked out of the league, we adjusted. He would retrieve the trophy when he got back to town and he would share his draft list with my dad.

My dad naturally stole my first round pick of Darren Sproles, and the guy before me took Reggie Bush. I got Lamar Miller with the pick. I can’t say I was thrilled. The guy who stole Bush cursed at me when I took Eddie Lacy with my second pick. It’s the third year in a row that I have taken an Alabama rookie RB.

In every draft, there are instant regrets/what ifs. With my third pick, Rob Gronkowski was on the board. In my many mocks with the FBG App, Gronkowski went no later than the early second round. I knew my draft wouldn’t go for that. I didn’t have a second WR, so I took Dwayne Bowe instead. When my fourth pick came around, Daryl Richardson was still on the board. Would I take my RB4 to get a WR3? I went with Cecil Shorts. Both picks were probably “safer” options, and on draft day with such small benches, upside is in order. I have no stats to back this up, but I bet the steady, so-called safe picks do better than the ones that get the blood racing.

As we gathered for an unhealthy dinner at the Tilted Kilt and an evening of poker on the eve of our draft, we found out that our hosts had to take their dog in for emergency surgery. Our new owner showed up, took on the Larry King’s wife role well and actually won some money. For us, the show must go on, no matter the outside circumstances.

I knew who my QB1 was going to be from the start. Peyton Manning went in the first round, to the guy who kept the Bears D instead of Mike Vick. Vick was my guy. I’m thinking about my redraft team, as this is our final year before a complete redraft in 2014, as the best possible team in week one, at least in terms of my starters. You don’t know who’s going to get hurt and who’s going to emerge. You can guess. I know Vick’s starting in week one, and he’s likely to rally my team to victory against the Redskins on Monday night, even if the Eagles don’t actually win the game.

I had three excellent beers yesterday. Beer number one was Delirium Tremens Nocturnum. It’s the dark version of an already dark beer and honestly I probably didn’t enjoy my amazing beers as much as I should have because of the rapid rate in which we consumed everything. I did make a smart move by turning down “penalty shots” and just drinking beer. Beer two was a St. Bernadus Tripel and number three was the Corsendonk Brown Ale.

The draft took about four hours, as usual, and when it was over it was a little sad. Families arrived for the post party and we played our annual touch football game in the backyard. The room shifted as kids arrived and families hung out, seeing each other for the first time in a year in most cases. People change a lot in a year, and kids are the most obvious example.

Do I like my team? My wife jokes, and the joke gets wearier every year, that I always say I have the best team when I get home. I didn’t say that I had the best team in the league when I got home this year.

Our “Spinal Tap’s Drummer” position in the league struck again, almost as quickly as the guy spontaneously combusted in the movie. We ended up back at 11 owners, through events so stupid, human, and honest that I don’t want to get into it. This result put a damper on what usually is the most anticipated day of the year, even more so than the first NFL Sunday.

Predictably, as I got home to watch Titans/Falcons, a game that started at 8 p.m. my time, I fell asleep right before the opening offensive snap. I woke up about 12 hours later. I didn’t feel hung over, as is the case most years. After a week plus of a stomach bug that I will say was finally vanquished by Belgian Trappist beers, I was glad to feel normal. Of course I didn’t feel normal, and most of it had to do with my amazing, frustrating, and thoroughly unpredictable fantasy league.

My final draft results:

Keepers Trent Richardson, Dez Bryant, Jimmy Graham, pick 1.11 and so on.

1.11: Lamar Miller
2.02: Eddie Lacy
3.11: Dwayne Bowe
4.02: Cecil Shorts
5.11: Mike Vick
6.02: Mike Williams
7.11: Bilal Powell
8.02: Carson Palmer
9.11: Ravens
10.02: EJ Manuel
11.11: Greg Zuerlein
12.02: Justin Tucker
13.11: Bucs
14.02: Julius Thomas

It is important to note that we have to have the following roster after the draft: 3 QB, 4 RB, 4 WR, 2 TE, 2 D, 2 K. Otherwise, I would have drafted a lot more RBs and WRs.

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