Fantasy Football: How to not finish last in your league

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images) /
1 of 4
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions, Golden Tate (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

There are hundreds of articles written every year about how to win your fantasy football league. Let’s take a few minutes to meditate on finding satisfaction in mediocrity.

People at large—but Americans in particular—place a huge amount of emphasis on being first. Our biggest cultural event is a football game which crowns a champion, the loser of which is soon forgotten. We play overtime to avoid ties in our games, sometimes competing until the wee hours of the morning for the sake of avoiding the ambivalence of drawing.

We attend premieres, we host awards shows, we stand in line for the newest phones, we even comment “first” on YouTube videos, all in the name of staking some claim to having done something unique. We have an obsession with going first, first place, first kisses, first impressions, the first person on the moon, first glances and first things first.

Of course, It is all in vain.

We strive for uniqueness, but there is nothing new under the sun. “Look on my works, ye, Mighty, and despair!” we say. We may be first this time, but in time the pennants will wear, the trophies will corrode, your fantasy football league will be deleted from its server and we ourselves will eventually fade beyond memory and into dust, where “nothing beside remains, and the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

More from Detroit Jock City

What does this mean for us, then? It means that your participation trophy is not a symbol of your failure to win, but rather a reminder to you that you were present, that you participated, and that by participating you shared in the experience of being alive. An experience that is fleeting and ought to be treasured.

We can’t all be winners. In order for the super to exist, there must be the normal. Someone has to marvel at Superman. For the performance to go on, someone must applaud the actors. There is only room for one at Position Zero.

Mediocrity is a blessing and we should all be thankful. It doesn’t come with the trappings of glory, but it also shuns its pitfalls: the pressure to repeat success, the targets of jealous opposition and the attention of those who wish to see you fail. There is a certain satisfaction to anonymity that we would do well to embrace.

Of course, no one wants to finish last. Last place is where bad tattoos happen. It is where ridicule and scorn await like seething monsters at the bottom of Dante’s Inferno and nobody wants that. Even if that loss will eventually fade in time as the universe falls victim to entropy, embarrassment sticks to us much longer than success, as our friends will remind us by asking “you remember when…?”

Let’s be alive together. Let’s glory in being part of something larger, a supporting member of a cast of billions in the powerful play that goes on. Let’s also not embarrass ourselves.

Here’s how not to finish last in your fantasy football league in 2018.