Point-Counterpoint-Countererpoint: What’s the best fantasy sport?

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Andy: With baseball returning this spring, it marks the end of my fantasy dead zone, which lasts from the last college bowl game to March Madness/regular season baseball. I’ve been playing fantasy sports for nearly ten years now, and I’ve dabbled in all sorts of leagues in that time. Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, professional sports, college pick ’ems: I’ve dabbled in the fantasy meats of the sports deli counter. These days I’m strictly NFL, MLB, bowl pick ’em and March Madness.

With that being said, I open the first edition of “Point-Counterpoint-Countererpoint” up to my fellow editors: which fantasy sport is the most fun to play. Before we get into our selections, I would like to nominate the aforementioned sports as finalists. But, I nearly excluded basketball (NBA) from the list.

The reason I wanted to exclude it is because, when you really get down to it, many of the stats used are irrelevant. Field goal percentage? Three pointers made? Yawn. Why would I spend hours of my life scouring the waiver wires comparing the free throw percentages of Sasha Vujacic and Sasha Pavolvic? They’re both named Sasha, and both of them increase the level of bitchass-ness on my team, “TheChocolateHotdogs,” regardless of some random percentage. That’s the best thing about baseball, they have enough meaningful statistics to keep me involved.

Danny: I’m not as experienced as you in fantasy sports. I decided to wait until I was really ready to play. That being said, I’ve attained quite a bit of variety over the last few years as a fantasy player. From baseball, football and basketball to pick ’ems, hockey and golf, I play the popular and the unpopular.

Before I unleash my pick, I have some beef with you, Andy. First, Sasha Vujacic is on my fantasy basketball team this year. Yeah, I’m in 18th place (UPDATE: 19th) in a 20-team league – you wanna fight about it? But if fantasy sports are your thing, it’s exciting when the Lakers play a Sunday night game, they are up by 20 and Vujacic is launching threes all over the place. A few categories can swing on his desire to shoot the few times a week that Kobe will give the ball up. Plus, it’s tough to decipher the difference between the NBA’s yawn-inducing statistics and those of baseball. A few of the categories in every fantasy league aren’t going to be that exciting. It’s just something you have to deal with. But that’s not my (counter)point.

Of the actual season-long fantasy sports, because NCAA March Madness pick-em’s are the world’s greatest creation, pro football is the best. It’s good for those intense, overzealous competitors who check the wires every day and care enough to pay for live stats. But it’s just as good for those who only want to make a pickup when someone gets hurt, are interested but not invested, and it can make their Sundays just a bit more exciting. It’s a diversion, whereas the sports with daily games (baseball, basketball, etc.) need to more of an obsession to be properly played.

Josh: To be honest I never did fantasy sports in the way that we have defined them until I got to college. I guess you can consider March Madness picks a fantasy endeavor but I never really thought of it that way. It’s like someone born in Canada who has dual citizenship — you were born there but you’re technically still an American. I don’t really know where the hell to put you. Plus, as much as fantasy sports keep you in contact with friends and is a good way talk trash, I don’t follow the whole deal as closely as my peers do. I do other things. I’ll participate in fantasy leagues but I don’t live and die by them.

With that being said, I feel as though the best is fantasy football. It goes a whole season so you can invest some time into it but with one game a week, your best case scenario is to set your roster once a week and that’s it. We are a nation with a short attention span and fantasy football is the most conducive to that span in my opinion. I don’t have to sit by my laptop and settle myself down five times a week when someone good comes off waivers. With football I only have to do that once a week. Therefore, fantasy football = best fantasy sport because it requires me to do the least.

Andy: Danny: “I decided to wait until I was really ready to play.” I didn’t know you treated your fantasy sports like your virginity. Cute. But I am going to go the other way and say fantasy baseball is my favorite sport to play. And not because my baseball squad “DowntownLesterBrown” won it all last season, but because I can’t handle the highs and lows of fantasy football.

This past NFL season I was humming along, watching my team compete in the top half of the league when Reggie Bush goes down. Then Chris Chambers takes a tumble. My season was effectively over by week 5. That’s it. Five weeks of fun, 11 weeks of getting treated like Dane Cook’s comedy specials: straight trash.

Fantasy football is a crap shoot, whereas fantasy baseball is like making beautiful music. Last season I had Big Papi go down for at least half the season. Then, like fantasy football, another player having a big year, Xavier Nady, goes down for a good amount of time. But did my team’s ass flap in the wind? No. We rebounded like Dwight Howard playing 1-on-1 with Joakim Noah. Fantasy baseball is more rewarding: the daily tinkering, the match-ups, it’s a thinking man’s game.

As Denzel Washington once said, “This shit is chess, it ain’t checkers.” He might as well have been talking about fantasy sports.

Josh: Highs and lows of fantasy football? I can see how that is true. But you (and I) were also fans of the OC and that show had many more emotional highs and lows than fantasy football. Not sure how that applies to my point but just go with it.

Fantasy baseball requires foresight, strategy and other left-brain applications. And yes I can see how that can be rewarding. But here is the thing- I have always felt that fantasy sports are our generation’s version of “Dungeon’s and Dragons.” Honestly as fun as it is, I feel like something that is prefaced with the word “fantasy” shouldn’t require so much involvement. I can say the same thing about football as well but as I stated before, with my attention span that teeters between that of a 3-year old and a gerbil, I feel like football works better for me. Because if I don’t do well, I’ll be taken out my misery Old Yeller style.

And in the end, the world revolves around me and nobody else. True story. My mommy told me so.

Danny: Andy, you would go the other way (like a bisexual). Zing! While you make good points about why fantasy baseball is a thinking man’s game full of chess and no ass flappage and the like, you just make the point for Josh and I. Fantasy sports are nothing more than a diversion and yet another arena in which to talk shit with your friends. I’d rather spend a little time on my fabricated fantasy team and the rest of my day doing other unproductive things that also have no benefit to society.

I like fantasy football more than the rest because it doesn’t have to become a part of your everyday life for you to succeed. You could dabble in fantasy football every day, or twice a week, and your fortunes might not change. In baseball, basketball and the rest, you would get blown away if you are inactive for more than a few days at a time. And that’s just not the spirit of fantasy sports. It’s not a training ground for future general managers, no matter how much you (or Matthew Berry) want it to be.

The Verdict: Fantasy football wins 2-1, because this is America and football > baseball.

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