An apology for years of ineptitude in drafting

By Dave Fultz

All right guys, I’ve been putting this off for a couple of weeks just to see if I could get my teams to rebound, but as usual I’m at the bottom of my league looking up.

Of course, I’m talking about my fantasy football league and the absolute ineptitude that I’ve displayed managing it again this season.

Year after year, I ruin the careers of promising young men who are in the prime of their lives just because I draft them for one of my fantasy sports endeavors.

Whether it’s baseball, football, or basketball – OK, I was kidding, nobody plays fantasy hoops – athletes can somehow sense that they are on my teams and subsequently have the worst year of their careers. I’m like the Madden Curse or the SI Cover Jinx, only I affect more athletes every year than both of them combined.

It’s an epidemic that should probably have its own telethon by now. Here are just a few examples:

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After the Cubs’ improbable playoff run in 2003, guess who drafted both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in 2004?

In 2005, Greg Maddux has less than 15 victories for the first time in 17 seasons. Guess whose fantasy baseball team he played for?

Guess who drafted Clinton Portis with the number three overall pick in 2004 when he had just five rushing touchdowns in 15 games?

One of my fantasy baseball leagues from some years ago was made up of all Cubs fans. They jokingly offered me the first three picks in the draft if I promised not to take any Cubs players because they were all too familiar with my track record.

Every year I do my best to prepare for each draft, and I always draft carefully. But somehow, I end up fighting a losing battle by midseason.

Of course, this season is no different. In the fantasy football league that all of the DI Sports staff is competing in this year, I am trying to hold my own and I’m about to move up – yes, up – to 3-4 and into the middle of the pack in this league.

My team in another league, one that I’m in with family members and some friends, is an absolute mess.

I drafted Matt Leinart as my sleeper quarterback; he is out for the year. I drafted new Texan Matt Schaub to serve as Leinart’s backup; he also went down this week.

I got Cedric Benson in a later round in what looked like an absolute steal, and he has been among the biggest busts of this season. And to add to all of those guys, Marvin Harrison, Shaun Alexander, Benjamin Watson and Kurt Warner (whom I picked up when Leinart went down) have missed time due to injuries this year.

Now, I don’t want to blame it all on the players that I draft or sound like a big complainer. Like I said before, I just kill athletes’ careers when I draft them.

My team, the Bleacher Bums, is about to fall to 1-6 in this league, and I’ve scored less points than all but one other team in the league. The Bums are now on their third starting quarterback and could possibly set records for ineptitude this season as I still have my “everyone-on-my-team-has-the-same-bye-week” week coming.

Everyone in the league knows I’m a sportswriter and everyone (rightfully) gives me my lumps any time they get the chance.

My uncle Ed’s girlfriend Katie was tossed into the draft at the last minute because we needed a 12th team, and she is sitting comfortably in second place. Now Ed and Katie (both recent graduates of Illinois) are coming back to Champaign for Homecoming this weekend, and I’ll surely hear about the Bums all weekend.

This column is my throwing in the towel on any fantasy football-related conversation this weekend, and it should also serve as my heartfelt apology to any and all athletes my fantasy sports habit has affected in the past.

I’m quite possibly the worst fantasy coach in history, but I just can’t help myself from competing year after year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check the waiver wire.

Dave Fultz is a junior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected].