Football is not merely a fantasy. It is a real sport. Real things happen.

I am a reformed and former Fantasy Football enthusiast, so I apologize for all the obsessed toes I'm about to step on, but allow me a brief rant against the game.

As my interest in Fantasy Football over the course of 6-7 years went from passionate learner to hyper-obsessed self-proclaimed professional (though I'm pretty bad at it), I noticed that my knowledge and appreciation for the game suffered. I went from merely one league to two, to three, to as many as four, at which point it became nearly impossible to distinguish who or what to root for on any given Sunday. The only constant was that the Redskins needed to win (fantasy consequences were irrelevant) but beyond that the game had become a blur for me in that it was impossible to track which of my players needed to succeed in order for me to emerge victorious in four separate leagues. Do I really want Chad Johnson scoring a touchdown against my Steelers' defense? Or did I even start the Steelers' defense this week? On which team?

Another complaint I have is that fantasy production does not necessarily compare to actual on field worth. While this is generally true, I'm sure that Peyton Manning and Ladanian Tomlinson are the best QB/RB in fantasy leagues and reality, it isn't always the case. Fantasy Football production is often dictated by circumstance as much as the individual player. A familiar example here would be Clinton Portis' decreasing fantasy value given the emergence of Ladell Betts. Intelligent fantasy owners view RBBC (running back by committee) wearily, because it devalues both runners. In the best case scenario, one runner takes ever increasing portions of the carries -- and thus yards and touchdowns and fantasy points -- away from the premier back. In the worst case, the runners nearly split carries thus making both backs virtually worthless merely from a fantasy perspective. Clinton Portis, at 26 years old, hasn't suddenly become a worse running back than he was a year ago. He has simply found himself in the backfield with another distinguished runner. That's good news for the Redskins, bad news for Fantasy owners who want to scoop Portis.

Let me caveat my final criticism by finally admitting that I like fantasy football. I have a "Fantasy Football" section, and this post is going in it. I'm looking forward to the Hogs Haven Fantasy Football League, hopefully hosted by Burgundy and Gold and TexSkins. I also anticipate the rest of the HH regulars to take part, thus utilizing Fantasy Football as a means of increasing community here. So make sure you guys sign up in August (I think?). FF has played a valuable role in increasing the popularity of the NFL both generally and for me specifically -- I became an obsessed NFL fan after I became an obsessed Fantasy Footballer.

Caveat over. Football is first and foremost an actual game played by actual people. There exists an army of analysists capable of commentary on unending mountains of data and news. Worthwhile content exists in the NFL world that is independent of Fantasy Football, and presumably websites such as NFL.com would be the place to find said content. As NFL.com regulars are likely familiar, they cycle three front page stories at any given time, and typically only one of them is devoted to FF. That's changing. As of this moment all three front page stories are devoted to Fantasy Football, with headings such as:

As if the Colts didn't already offer enough options for fantasy football owners, Michael Fabiano has moved Joseph Addai up to No. 7 in his latest one-man mock draft.  Full Story
Steven Jackson is the up-and-comer, while Larry Johnson is the proven veteran. So who should go first? Michael Fabiano answers all the big player debates.  Full Story
Troubled by your fantasy football league? Let NFL.com and fantasy expert Michael Fabiano help with player rankings, draft strategies, trends to follow and more. Fantasy Kit
It's just too much, guys. Fantasy Football is interesting in so far as it relates back to a game I love, it is not an end in and of itself. It exists to supplement my love of the NFL; not the other way around. There are hundreds of incredibly well written internet resources for Fantasy Football and Fantasy Sports generally, including our own Fake Teams. I go to NFL.com for NFL coverage, no offense to Michael Fabiano.

Rant over. Let me have it in the comments section.

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