Fantasy football: it’s serious business.

There I sat, staring at my computer screen in disbelief. My hands were shaking, beads of sweat gathering on my brow. Disaster had struck, and the ramifications of this were beginning to dawn on me with the strength of a thousand suns. How could this happen? Who was to blame for this? Would life ever be the same again?!

…These were the questions I was asking myself after I missed my fantasy football live draft.

The previous season, my draft was a master class in cunning strategy. Some of my picks were so deeply considered; they came right before the deadline. Others were automatic, organic – they took place immediately.

But now I was looking at a team I didn’t recognise. The autodraft had yielded such dubious results as two Cleveland Browns wide receivers, one of whom, Kenny Britt, I didn’t even realise was still in the NFL. The defences were okay; a formidable duo of Pittsburgh and Oakland, and I somehow ended up with Justin Tucker as my kicker like I seem to every year.

Most alarmingly; there was a distinct lack of Tennessee Titans at my disposal. Last year, I decimated opponents with a potent trio of Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Delanie Walker. It was pure nepotism, sure, and I lived and died with the success of the Titans’ offence, but it was marvelously good fun.

This time, I only landed Walker. He felt lonely, abandoned. Like a Blockbuster video store, or an autograph opportunity with Virgil.

I had to fix this immediately.

My first priority was to secure the talents of Marcus Mariota; a dual-threat QB who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and has a vastly improved array of receivers to play with. A one-to-one swap of Mariota with Kirk Cousins seemed feasible; their projected stats were fairly comparable, though Cousins rated a little higher overall.

But initiating a trade suggests a desire, and I feared a counteroffer would empty my coffers before my wheeling and dealing was complete. I had to sweeten the pot just enough to push the trade through. My eyes shifted down the roster towards Cameron Brate. The Tampa Bay tight end was clearly expendable with Walker entrenched as the starter, and an upgrade over my trade partner’s current options.

It seemed as good an offer as any, so I pulled the trigger and anxiously awaited the response. It came several days later, and was a resounding ‘no’.

No counter. No reply. No Cajun sausage for little Homer. The trade was outright rejected, which was as clear an indication as any that Honolulu’s favourite son would not be making the journey to superstardom (aka my fantasy squad, Spaceballs the Team).

There was no time to lick my wounds, however. I had to press on regardless.

DeMarco Murray was going to be a much harder task. His first year in Tennessee was a career revival, punishing opponents in a system tailor-made for him. Somehow, this particular team had also netted Aaron Rodgers – an insane one-two punch that suggests that all of the other GMs had been napping during the draft as well.

It was going to cost a king’s ransom in talent to pull this off, and the crippling enormity of this was leering at me like a knife-toting thug in an alleyway. Needless to say, I was not going to come away from this situation unscathed.

The first step was substituting a sufficient running back to take Murray’s place. My starting back, Spencer Ware, tore his PCL just days before, making him a non-starter, in a painfully literal sense. That left me with a motley crew of Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy and the newly signed Danny Woodhead. Ingram was the obvious choice, but I needed a lot more.

This took me to my receivers, a position of strength for my team. And there he was: Odell Beckham, Jr. The mercurial wideout for the New York Giants was poised for another big year, destined to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark again and act as a reliable redzone target for Eli Manning. With Dez Bryant also on the squad, I could take the hit.

I wasn’t done, though. Using simple psychology, I reasoned that a trade with three pieces would automatically appear more enticing than a trade with just two. So the Oakland defence was thrown into the mix, like a cheap prize in a cereal box.

It was time to bite the bullet. Trade submitted. The waiting game began once again.

Hours. Days. Weeks.

I would love to reveal to you how that trade panned out, but the simple truth is that now, with only a few days left until the season begins, I’m still waiting for a response, and have a deadline to adhere to.

As it currently stands, my attempts at subterfuge have been strongly rebuked, with no amount of sugarcoating yielding tangible results. I’m left to assume that this season is doomed to mediocrity, and we may as well forego it entirely, placing it amongst such luminaries as the 1994 MLB season, or the NHL lockout of 2004.

It just goes to show that attention to detail is paramount in this wild, frenetic game of fantasy football. Woe betide all who neglect their imaginary responsibilities.

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