*CFL, Fantasy Football.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it yet, but a few years ago I started a CFL Fantasy Football League. At first, it was my buddy Steve and I, and gradually it grew to upwards of 17 players. 16, this year. I’d have to take a look at the trophy I picked up but I’m pretty sure we’ve done five seasons, six including this one, not counting last year (which never came to be).
Now most people have heard of Fantasy Football, made popular by our southern neighbors, and the National Football League (NFL). But this is the Canadian variant, which is quite-a-bit different. Notwithstanding the actual game itself (longer field, wider field, three downs, safeties, rouges, etc.) the big differences in fantasy is 1) picking new players each week, with all players available to choose from and 2) there’s no built-in “head-to-head” feature, just cumulative points for the entire season.
So that’s what we play for is whoever gets the most amount of points. This year, the season is 16 weeks long, and currently I’m just approaching 1300 points. As I write this, the third game of the week is underway, with two more to go tomorrow. All my players have already started or are currently playing, with just one more playing tomorrow. I’m in second place, behind my dad, who’s about to crack 1300. The calculations are quite tricky, but right now I’m pretty sure he’ll hold onto the lead, but as he texted me earlier today, it’s not over until the final whistle.
For those not familiar – every week you pick a QB, at least two running backs, two receivers, a flex (either a running back or receiver) and a defense. Each player costs a certain number, with better players usually more expensive, and there’s a salary cap ($40,000) which limits you from picking all the best players.
It’s been an up-and-down season. What I do is run an ‘optimizer’, which takes projections provided by TSN and automatically calculates the optimal lineup which gives the highest projected points within that salary cap. Usually ranging between 80-100 points, and then I massage it a bit from there. It only takes about 5 minutes, which is much easier than scouring over a million articles a resources to try to pick players from the hip. And it’s treated me well – I got time with the family, friends, building a church, vacation, anniversary trips, camping, etc. and it actually landed me in first coming into this week by a narrow margin (a touchdown).
I had to give myself a little grace, and surrender it, as I’m pretty competitive and it would be easy to get lost in the weeds trying to outsmart the optimizer. Honestly some of the most fun is the weekly chats or texts with my dad, and other friends in the league, and running the league (aka being the “commissioner”).
I figured out a way to bring-in a head-to-head component, where I match up different people every week and play them against eachother. Whoever gets more point in that week gets a h2h win, 2 points, and then we see who wins that in addition to the total points. This year it was neat – we had a dad win the h2h, with his son coming in second place, which is currently where we stand in the total points (my dad getting first, and me – his son – coming in second).
There’s a bit of a narrative every week and every season. The Top 3 in total points gets their name on the trophy, which was my goal for this year. That’s part of the “accept the 80%” idea, instead of trying to get 100% in everything. And getting the name on the trophy this year looks like almost a sure thing, as sure as anything is in this game. I’ve managed that every year since the league began -> second the first year, first, tied for first (with my dad), second (behind my dad), first and hopefully second this year.
But honestly, it’s a bit more than that. I discovered a few years ago that it’s important to find something to bring you together with family, and friends. Otherwise it’s easy to start ‘drifting’ apart. Some people are really good about being intentional and calling people every week, not me. So something like this is a good excuse to stay in touch. So talking my dad into trying it was a great move, and gave us a reason to text or call, and that inevitably led to us seeing how everything else was going – how’s work? How’s the baby? How’s mom? How’s Amber?
I tried brewing beer / craft beer with my brother, mild success there. You might recall a post I did on marathon running with my buddy Eric, who I text quite often, and who I went to the soccer game with in Edmonton (among 18 other people) just a couple days ago. For my wife and I – not that it would be easy to drift apart – it’s restoring the Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, or a host of other things.
Here’s to another year! Time to go get another plaque made up 😀