The Symptoms of Fantasy Football Addiction

By: Matt Wilhite | October 20, 2016

Obsessions take many different forms. We are a culture of addictions and obsessive behaviors. Whether it’s through social media and our desire to be liked, or if it’s one’s obsession with finishing fourteen straight episodes of
Breaking Bad, we are a society wired with a primal urge for more. We want more money from our jobs, more friends, or a better body. Hell, we even obsess over getting more retweets, or finding a better Instagram filter for that picture of our dessert. So, it only seems natural for a game as universally adored as fantasy football to be an obsession so easily taken on.


The most interesting part about becoming obsessed with fantasy football is the fact that you are pretty much consciously aware of your irrational behavior the entire time. You recognize the pointlessness to the game and yet you still choose to enter the void. If you are someone, however, who may be suffering with this affliction, there are signs to help you figure out if you too have fallen down the rabbit hole:

You Begin to Hate the League Commissioner

I’m sure at one point you and your commissioner were good friends, and I’m so sorry that you had to end that friendship over all of this. Clearly, though, the commissioner doesn’t have your best interests in mind or otherwise you wouldn’t be doing so poorly this season. Are you playing in a PPR (points per reception) league but drafted a bunch of players who catch the ball twice a game? Well, clearly he was an idiot for setting the league up like that because right now you’ve got a lineup with touchdown-dependent receivers and running backs that don’t catch the ball. Oh, but your other league isn’t PPR? Well, that might be worse because every single week you’re getting beat by the receiver with 45 receiving yards and sixteen receptions, which is clearly, also, the commissioner’s fault.


There is No Such Thing as Too Many Trades

If you were someone who drafted perfectly, and no one on your team was ever injured, then please feel free to set me up with the real estate agent that got you’re a quaint little house on fucking Easy Street. For the rest of you, there is a high likelihood that anyone you ever valued on your fantasy team tore every ligament in their knee two quarters into their first game, and now you are forced to start trading other players away to fill the gap. Although, you never just send just one trade proposal; it’s, usually, more like seventeen trade proposals until someone finally accepts the worst trade you could think of. Did you trade away your second best wide receiver and tight end for a better running back? Great, now you have to come up with a trade to get a better tight end, slowly moving the puzzle pieces around until you have convinced yourself that you are now better off. You have become the “this is fine” meme of fantasy football, and you don’t even know it.


Your Relationship to Each of Your Players is a little too “Close”

If, with every time a player of yours gets hurt or is let go, it feels as though you have a mini-funeral going on inside you, your fantasy football obsession is in full swing. It’s a very painful experience to let go of a player who didn’t live up to your expectations, and to essentially break up with that player pulls on your heartstrings a little bit more each time. You think to yourself, maybe if I give Allen Hurns just one more week he can turn it around. The targets are there and he’s playing against Cleveland. How bad could he be? The rationale seems to make sense, to you. Then, they disappoint you and, once again, you are trapped in the same glass case of emotions as the previous week.


Waiver Wire Wake-Up Calls

If any of the questions I’m about to ask apply to you, your obsession is more than likely beyond treatment:

Do you wake up at 4am to check whether or not the player you tried to pick up off of waivers was successfully grabbed?

Do you spend countless hours internally debating the order in which you should place your claims on other players, in an attempt to not make a life-altering mistake that may lead to you ruining the rest of your existence on this planet?

Do you spend a ridiculous amount of time, strategically looking for players that you know other owners in your league won’t pick up because this couldn’t possibly be paranoia and everything happening here is extremely healthy and normal behavior?

Does the unsuccessful attempt at grabbing a player off the waiver wire lead you into a deep, dark depression, mumbling the words, “I need you Cameron Meredith,” over and over again?
Ah yes, the waiver wire remains the epicenter of all fantasy football pain and torture. It is an endless cycle of doubt and self-hatred, and nothing could fuel your obsession more than this terrible, beautiful, magical, terrifying place. You could find the next great football player, or end up with a fifth string running back in the span of four days, and if you continue to lose games it will only fuel your exponentially increasing hate for the rest of your friends in the league.

There is no known cure for fantasy football obsession; all you can do is recognize it and accept that it’s there. Maybe, one day they will find a cure for people like you and me, and we won’t have to play Sarah McLachlan songs while we trade away Cam Newton just to find a running back that doesn’t have a pulled hamstring. There may be hope for you yet, because the cure for addiction is always rooted in acceptance of the problem. Well, we can dream, at least…