Fantasy football attracts its share of casual players, that 12th league member whose only criteria for playing was that they happened to be available the night of the draft. But for others, it’s a way of life, birthing an army of diehards (if you had the wherewithal to click on this article, you’re probably one of them) who devour hours of weekly content, consuming as many podcasts, projections and rankings as their schedule permits. I play fantasy to win and I bet most of you do too.
We don’t often discuss fantasy football etiquette, because, thankfully, most players respect the game—and each other—enough not to sabotage their league-mates. This rant I’m about to go on may come off as sour grapes, because the faux pas committed came at my expense. Is there anyone more self-involved or insufferable than the guy who complains about his fantasy team? Talk about a first-world problem. But hear me out on this one, because I think it’s an important talking point.
Like everyone amid our current Omicron outbreak, my roster heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs was a disaster, an injury and COVID-depleted mess held together by a MASH unit of scarcely-owned backups and other discarded parts. But, staring off in the distance like a lake in an endless desert, was Rashaad Penny, the rare late-season difference-maker fantasy owners dream about. I woke up heartbroken to find, hours after submitting my waiver claim, that Penny had been snatched up, not by my opponent but by another league member who didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
I’m as ruthless as anyone when it comes to free-agent auction bidding and deadline-day trades, but what purpose did this serve besides raising a defiant middle finger to everyone still playing? If your league doesn’t have safeguards in place to prevent this, perhaps it should. Spite and pettiness may be tolerated, or even encouraged, in the warped parallel universe of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm (can you imagine playing in a fantasy league with the self-proclaimed “Social Assassin”?), but neither trait has a place in fantasy football, a game that’s meant to bring people together, not divide them.
I’m not here to lecture anyone on the “integrity” of fantasy football, but come on—you wouldn’t lick the last Krispy Kreme and put it back in the box. That’s just rude (not to mention unsanitary). Fantasy players have enough chaos to deal with right now without having to worry about “spite adds” and other stunts aimed at spoiling the league for whoever is left standing.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me present to you our penultimate episode of the Audacy Sports Fantasy Football Show with Chris Emma and Jordan Cohn joining me to discuss the rise of Lions rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, Duke Johnson’s redemption and what to make of Tampa Bay’s injury-ravaged receiving corps, among other topics du jour. Good luck to everyone in the fantasy semis and remember, if your team’s been eliminated, don’t even think about hitting the waiver wire in search of reinforcements.