Fantasy football is beloved in this country, with a reason for its popularity being that literally anyone with an internet connection can play (and win) it. Women happen to belong to that list of humans with internet access who can enjoy fantasy football. So ESPN's women's sports vertical, ESPNW, decided to write some patronizing ass shit for women to get them ready for the fantasy football season.
ESPNW, the home of fantastic women's sports coverage from the likes of Graham Hays, Mechelle Voepel, and a host of others, brought in The Williams Sisters (not the tennis ones, but rather the creators of HerFantasyFootball.com) to write a series of fantasy football columns to advise women heading into this year.
We'll ignore the fact that ESPN thinks women couldn't use the fucking armada of other fantasy football resources they make available in print, on television, and online for a moment. After all, who am I to assume off the bat that women shouldn't be dishing out fantasy football advice. Let's check out what The Williams Sisters have to say.
[opens up the Williams Sisters' Top 200 Player Rankings]
Alright, so they named the top ranked players in their list "Marriage Material." That's a little patronizing, but we're keeping an open mind here. They also made clear that they would not be drafting Ray Rice, which is good. So far, this is good stuff, and I would go out of my way to read this. Let's keep going through their work, shall we?
Oh God no.
This is the most patronizing ass shit I've ever read. The same patronizing shit that's being spewed all over the web leading up to this season, only this time it's on a leading women's sports web site that shouldn't be assuming its audience needs to be patronized. Let's investigate a little further.
If you're going to play the game, you have to play the game. Which means having a strategy to outwit, outdraft and flat-out crush the people you're drafting with. Here are 11 must-knows to help a fantasy rookie dominate a draft.
This first paragraph got me kind of pumped. Let's flat out crush some motherfuckers!
1. Drunk Drafters = Good News For You (Well, Unless You Get Drunk, Too)
Make sure everyone has a safe way home ... but there is no shame in trying to get others tanked. Just limit yourself, so you don't wake up in bed with Eli Manning for the season.
That's right, ladiez, you'd better not get too drunk while drafting your fantasy team or you'll be completely incapable of following the pre-draft rankings just like every other drunk person drafting their fantasy team (like me!). This is great advice from ESPNW here. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go listen to some ESPN Radio.
[listens to fifty consecutive Buffalo Wild Wings fantasy football draft ads in five minutes, each touting their 20 macrobrews on tap, shuts of the radio before Sedano and Stink comes back on]
2. Make The Draft A Home Game
If your league drafts at a bar or restaurant, come prepared and turn the place into your own. Get there early so you can make sure outlets are accessible so you can plug in your computers and phones. Bring a power strip just in case. If you're drafting at a house, try to convince everybody that it should be your house.
For added effectiveness, combine tip two with tip one by getting the person whose house you're drafting at drunk. Then get them to sign the deed to their house over to you. Then it's time to PROTECT THIS HOUSE.
Also, if you bring your own personal power strip to Applebee's for your fantasy football draft, you should be waterboarded, regardless of gender.
3. It's OK To Cheat Sheet
And please, use cheat sheets to avoid making the ultimate cardinal sin: Taking three minutes to make your pick, then announcing that you want Frank Gore...who had been selected a half-hour earlier. Cross off every player selected and keep the draft moving.
Who is the commissioner of this fantasy league? Three minutes per draft pick? That's enough time to get drunk, then sober up by the fourth round, completely eliminating the need for rule number one.
But, yeah, picking players who can still be picked is an optimal fantasy football strategy.
4. Read Your League's Fine Print
If picking someone who's already been picked is aggravating for the rest of the league, then not reading your league settings is a good way to torture yourself for four months.
What I've learned through one third of this column:
- Don't drink, or Roger Goodell will suspend you from your fantasy football league
- Flip your friends' houses and carry lots of electrical equipment
- Pick players who haven't been picked
- Know the rules to stuff you do
5. Have A Good Pain Threshold
Before a draft, know your injury reports. Who's limping? And how long will he be limping for?
There are literally player alerts that pop up when you scroll over players' names in online draft lobbies. Not only is this tip obvious and insulting to readers, but it's also obsolete.
6. Everybody Picks A Running Back Early (And So Should You)
It's cliché at this point, but it's cliché for a reason. You probably should take a running back in the first round.
Because people, especially women, shouldn't try to buck stupid cliches and do the best thing for their team. Just stick to the script, toots, and ignore the fact that Peyton Manning is going to score another 400 fantasy points this season.
7. Don't Sleep On Sleepers
This rule applies double if you broke rule number one and got drunk during the draft. You could be sleeping on Eli Manning!
8. Handcuffs Are Good!
Let's start basic: What is a handcuff? A handcuff is the backup player to a starter, most commonly used in reference to running backs.
It's a good thing I'm not a woman, or I would have assumed they were talking about the kind Christian Grey used in Fifty Shades, which was the greatest literary work of our time, by the way. [Note: author has not read a book since high school, because he is a giant shithead]
9. Draft A Backup QB, But Only In The Later Rounds
If you can get Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers early on, go for it. After that, pretty much every quarterback scores about the same amount of points.
But don't draft Manning, Brees, or Rodgers too early. The running backs would be upset!
10. Byes Matter ... But Not That Much
In the first few rounds, take the best player available. But once you get down to your second or third picks within a position, pay attention to who's off when. You're going to need to hustle if you draft both Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery (each of them has a bye in Week 9), or Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris (byes in Week 10).
In addition to drafting players that haven't yet been drafted, you will also want to draft enough players to have a team each week. I know, it's hard to make sense of all this with the generator you brought to TGI Friday's buzzing in your ear. Just try to get through this with me.
11. Trust Your Intuition
There is nothing like a woman's intuition. You can only pick the best player available for so long. You don't want to end your draft without drafting someone you like and feel good about. When it gets down to the rounds where everyone is pretty even, pick the guy from your home team or the guy with the best name or the guy who just stands out to you for no obvious reason. Sometimes those guys end up being a sleeper and one of your more consistent players. After all, women know best.
Oh, for fuck's sake.
I'd say I'm disappointed by this level of pandering by a women's sports site that produces absolutely comprehensive coverage of women's sports, especially college sports. I would say that, but they are also run by the same company obsessed with Michael Sam's showering habits and are talking about a sport run by people who thought you'd buy a pink Ray Rice jersey for $59.95.
For ESPN's women-oriented fantasy football coverage, like all of my fantasy teams, there's always next year to not embarrass yourself.