You know that guy in your fantasy football league who is always bragging, complaining or suggesting rule changes that only benefit him? Well, he pisses me off, too. This time of year, we remember what it is about some players in our keeper leagues that made us want to treat him like Dewie the Bear treated Jackie Moon in “Semi-Pro”. There are the players you want to beat, and then there are the players you want to beat down. We all know the types. And I’m sure you’re (at least) one of them, because I know I am. Which one(s) are you?
THE PLAYERS YOU WANT TO BEAT
The Patriot: This guy wakes up and recites the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the United States of New England every morning like he was in elementary school. He won’t draft anybody from the Colts even if Peyton Manning’s available in the third round, and every fall he drafts Jamal Lewis too high because Lewis won him the league in 2003. Chances are he’s overweight, he has the team logo tattooed somewhere you never want to see and his wife is a little concerned about how much he loves Tom Brady.
The Stranger: Like Sam Elliott in “The Big Lebowski”, this guy doles out sage advice over a beer at the local watering hole. He takes the league seriously but not seriously enough that he won’t flat out tell The Patriot, “Dude, you’ve gotta drop Jamal Lewis. He hasn’t been that good in five years.” He’ll tell you to pick up a sleeper like Donald Brown instead. He’s likely got a wife and two kids at home, and fantasy football is his oasis in a desert of soggy diapers.
The Gambler: This guy’s in at least 10 fantasy leagues. He’s in a pick ‘em pool. He’s buying squares left and right. He’s got $100 on Brandon Tate catching more than 1.5 passes. He says insane stuff like, “If they can intercept this 2-point conversion, take it to the house, recover an on-sides kick, score a quick touchdown and miss the extra point, I’m buying lunch.” He’s fired up because Marion Barber rushed for a TD, but pissed because he scored on the Giants’ defense. Neurotic as hell, he’s a heavy smoker (but they’re definitely not victory cigars).
Muhammad Ali: The ultimate smack-talker. His team name is Mike Vick’s Dogg Pound or something unfit for print. If your quarterback tears every ligament in his body, you’ll wake up to an e-mail from this guy with the YouTube footage of the player’s limbs snapping like an ‘80s bracelet. When he’s got you beat, he’ll text you one word: “Next.” He’ll send a league-wide update: “Did anybody notice that my great grandmother scored more points last week than all of Sam Elliott’s wide receivers combined? She’s only been dead since 1929; Sam, on the other hand, died Sunday, when I destroyed him.” He’s a 5-foot-4, 145-pound cyber-bully.
The Commish: He actually looks like Michael Chiklis from the TV show. He wears a Brett Favre jersey, only it says “The Commish” on the back for one simple reason: Every spring, he claims he’s never going to run the league again, only he comes back every fall. And he thinks that’s hilarious. He organizes the draft party, where his wife makes a mean 47-layer dip and he devours two large pizzas before the third round. He always makes the right rulings on trades, he never lets arguments get too out of control and he spends the entire offseason thinking of new wrinkles for the coming year. Oh, and he’s never won the league.
THE PLAYERS YOU WANT TO BEAT DOWN
The Whiner: Everybody’s got excuses, but this dude has all of them. Always in last place, he constantly explains why he’s not in first. “If Tom Brady didn’t go down with a knee injury, if Terrell Owens had caught a couple more of those dropped passes, if the Giants gave the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw on the goal line more often and if Garrett Hartley hadn’t used Adderall, I’d be winning this league right now.” He’s got more hair on his shoulders than his Costanza-like forehead.
No-Show Moreno: The guy who never checks his team after Week 1. Yet, he shows up for the draft party every year, gets loaded and promises he’ll actually try to win the league this season. Then he disappears. Somehow, he’s gotten the No. 1 pick four of the last five seasons, but Chris Johnson is sitting on his bench all winter. It’s not like this guy is working 90-hour weeks; he’s a day trader who works from home and sits on his laptop all day. It makes no sense. And when everybody calls on Sunday, reminding him to set his lineup, he won’t pick up the phone. Four hours later, he’ll mass text everyone: “Sorry, was enjoying a nice little Sunday with my girl!”
Pooper Scooper: He picks up all the crap that everybody else drops and somehow wins the league with a chain of impossibly lucky events in the playoffs. You drop Visanthe Shiancoe in Week 5, Pooper Scooper swoops in, and good ole Shiancoe ends up with 566 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. You give up on Ricky Williams after two weeks, Pooper Scooper cleans up the mess, and Ricky rips off 1,121 yards and 11 scores like one of his bong hits. Two years ago, he started Matt Cassel in Weeks 15 and 16 and by some miracle got 563 yards and seven TDs out of the deal. Much like a silent-but-deadly, he quietly makes a big impact.
Mark Cuban: His trade offers are so lopsided in his favor, it’s not even funny. How about his kicker for Aaron Rodgers? Or his defense for Maurice Jones-Drew? You tell your buddies in the league, and they all say the same thing: “He does that to me, too. All. The. Time.” He offers you six guys for Drew Brees, and not one of those players is a quarterback. When you ask him where the hell you’re supposed to put all of them on your roster, he says, “Just drop a couple.” Oh, so Pooper Scooper can snag them? And Cuban pulls this move as well: He’ll pick up the Adrian Peterson that played for the Bears and offer him up for Randy Moss, hoping you won’t notice. This is the same guy that punches you in the arm as hard as he can every time he sees you.
Martha Stewart: He’s getting insider information from every website known to man, and he’s paying for it. Literally. At the draft, his printouts nearly destroyed the Amazon Rainforest. He takes the maximum allotted time to make each pick, crosschecking the entire Web. When he drafts Ryan Mathews in the second round, everybody says, “Who the heck is Ryan Mathews?” Martha’s response: “Oh, you’ve never heard of Ryan?” Yup, they’re on a first-name basis, and Ryan turns out to be a top-10 running back. The week you’re facing Martha, he’ll pick up somebody like Tim Hightower, who will without a doubt total 200-plus yards and four touchdowns. The worst part? Afterwards, he’ll post, “Too bad you didn’t pick up Hightower this week.” He defines douchiness.
This year, when you’re getting together with your buddies for your annual draft party, know your enemies. It’s half the battle. In fact, it just might help prevent a Web war from turning into a “Peter Griffin vs. The Chicken”-type brawl in your real life. Good luck. Sincerely, Pooper Scooper.