Life Lessons from Fantasy Football

Last year, I wrote about my first year of playing fantasy football in a new league at Centre Grove UMC. We’re playing again this year, and I’m learning that some of the tips for playing fantasy football are also good life lessons.

Do your homework.
Doing your homework begins in the preseason. A numbers of fantasy football sites/sources publish/print “draft kits,” which include preseason rankings and projections of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers, and team defenses.

In fantasy football, doing your homework is important so that you are able to draft the best team possible. Preparation is crucial in life, as well. For Christ-followers, it means constantly being intentional about developing your spiritual growth. It means developing your God-given gifts/talents. Preparation is about doing today what will make you more productive/fruitful tomorrow.

Sort through all the information.
In fantasy football, you have to guard against information overload. A Google search on “fantasy football” returns nearly 68 millions results! You could easily spend every spare moment browsing fantasy football sites, even good ones. So, you have to learn to sort through it all to find the information that’s most helpful to you. Last year, I listed some sites I relied on at the time. Some are the same this year, but, really, one of the best sites is Fantasy Football Librarian, which provides (daily) links to good fantasy football sources.

Life can get pretty complicated, too. And there’s all kinds of knowledge and advice out there, much of it conflicting. You have to learn to sort through it all to find what’s most helpful!

Go with your gut.
After doing all of your homework and sorting through all the information to find the best advice, you still have to make your own decisions in setting your lineup each week and about which players to drop and/or add. Sometimes, you can make informed decisions (decisions based on research), but other times, it’s simply a gut call!

Similarly, in life, you pray and seek God, gather all the good information/advice you can, but in the end, you have to make the decision!

No regrets.
This one’s tough. In fantasy football, it doesn’t matter how good you are, how good the information, or how lucky you are, you are going to make decisions that blow up in your face. Maybe they were bad decisions. Many times, they may be good/right decisions, but it just didn’t play out the way you thought it would.

Last week, I agonized over whether or not I should pick up a running back who was expected to fill in for an injured starter. I still think I made the right decision by not picking him up or playing him based on the available information at the time, but it didn’t play out according to the information and the player had a great day (he’s on my roster this week).

It’s that way in life, too. We can’t spend too much time wallowing in despair because a decision we made didn’t turn out well or even made things worse. We have to move on and be ready for the next challenge.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Fantasy football is a game after all. But for those of us who are competitive, it’s easy to take it too seriously! Someday (hopefully soon), I want to John Ortberg’s, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box.

In life, as in fantasy football, there’s only so much you can control. You make the best decisions possible, based on what you’ve read, or what think or feel, but in the end, there’s only so much you can control, so don’t take yourself too seriously!

Stay alert.
Things are constantly changing in the NFL. Players get injured and backups become starters. Players don’t live up to expectations. Players get suspended. To make sure you roster the best team possible each week, you have to stay on top of things. In life, too, things can change in an instant. We have to stay alert. Incidentally, that was a lesson Jesus drove home to his followers on more than one occasion!

Be patient … but not too patient.
This area is tricky because it’s a matter of timing. It deals with the question when do you give up on a player who’s not performing. It’s about putting together the best possible team for (1) the immediate future, AND (2) down the road.

Sometimes I’m not patient enough with my players. Last year, I led our league in “moves,” which means I dropped and added more players than the other 11 teams in our league. I’m leading again this year as I’m always looking for those players who are breaking out or who are given new opportunities to play. Sometimes those decisions turn out well, sometimes they don’t (or at least not right away). Sometimes, they produce later in the season but usually by then, they’re on someone else’s roster! 😉

It’s a bit of a balancing act and there’s a fine line between being patient and being too patient.

Well, I’m sure there are other life lessons (and fantasy football tips). Feel free to add your lessons/tips in the comments below.

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