Zen and the Art of Losing in Fantasy Football

A lot is written these days about Fantasy Football and all of the different strategies that one can utilize to win their league. This is all fine and dandy if you are looking to win your league, but what about those of us who are not interested in winning? Since there is an inexplicable absence of losing strategies available for Fantasy Football I thought that I would share with you my methodology for losing year after year. You may be wondering what a blog-writing accountant knows about losing Fantasy Football so let me show you my resume (or a close resemblance) that will undoubtedly quash any questions you may have about my authority on this subject:

2001 – 2007 – Leagues won = 0, Leagues lost = 224

2008 – Present – Leagues won = 2, Leagues lost = 127

For those not wanting to do the math, the above statistics equate to a winning percentage that is worse than the games that Tim Tebow and/or Rex Grossman started.

Case closed.


I hate you Rex!


My career is still this much better than Tim Tebow’s

It is important to note at the beginning that I will not provide you with any easy ways of losing your league (i.e. drafting Tim Tebow as your QB or leaving Jim Brown in your lineup even though he hasn’t played in the last 30+ seasons) but I will provide you with a roadmap that will make it seem as though you are trying to win but, in fact, will lead to yet another painful, frustrating and hopeless losing fantasy football season. A word of warning to those of you who typically win your Fantasy Football leagues but want to experience the thrill of losing: the following steps are not easy to pull off. In fact, some take many years of practice. So don’t be discouraged if, for the first couple of years of following my methodology, you continue to win. Losing only comes with hard work, dedication and a full measure of luck. If you continue on the path that I lay out you will achieve your goal and experience all the feelings that come along with losing.

I would also like to issue a disclaimer before I begin: As you can see from my records above, I have actually won two Fantasy Football leagues over the last 12 year. It was not intended but something that happened through no fault of my own. Rest assured, however, that these anomalies on an otherwise unblemished record have not detracted from my pursuit of perfecting the following plan of ineptitude.

The first step for any fantasy football strategy (winning or losing) is preparing for your draft. It is important to form a draft strategy that is based on the latest news, notes and tidbits one can find from any and all available sources. It is also important to talk to fellow league members in order to glean any information that may help you with your draft strategy. With all the hard work you should have put into creating your strategy it is important that you don’t abandon said strategy too hastily if things aren’t going your way. My rule of thumb is to stick with my strategy until the first pick of the draft.

Having abandoned your draft strategy it is important that you then sweat profusely and mutter expletives under your breath. While doing this you must also, and here is where it gets tricky, pick a player that is sure to get hurt, or at least have a Tebow-esque season after shattering all records for his, and all other, positions the year before. This can take many years, if not lives, to master unless you are blessed, as I am, with an innate ability to accomplish this year after year with little to no effort. Here are a few examples of picks that I have made in the past (the first year represents the year before the player was on my team and the second year, obviously is when he was on my roster):


Ricky “The Funk Doobiest” Williams – 2002 = 1,853 yards rushing & 18 TDs, 2003 = 1,372 yards rushing & 9 TDs (not only was his production way down but I drafted him in a keeper league which prompted him to retire in 2004)


Daunte Cullpepper – 2004 = 4,717 yards passing & 39 TDs, 2005 = 1,564 yards passing & 6 TDs

brady hurt

Tom Brady – 2007 = 4,806 yards passing & 50 TDs, 2008 = 76 yards passing & 0 TDs

Aaron Rodgers, Shea McClellin, Isaiah Frey

Aaron Rodgers – 2012 = 4,295 yards passing & 39 TDs, 2013 (through 11 games) = 2,218 yards passing & 15 TDs

Jamal Lewis – 2003 = 2066 yards rushing & 14 TDs, 2004 = 1,006 yards rushing & 7 TDs (I have to note that this was a particularly good pick-up on my part as I traded a draft pick for him in order to replace Ricky Williams as the future of my football team)

Steve McNair – 2003 = 3,215 yards passing & 24 TDs, 2004 = 1,343 yards passing & 8 TDs

Michael Vick – 2011 = 3,303 yards passing & 18 TDs (589 yards rushing), 2012 = 2,362 yards passing & 12 TDs (332 yards rushing)

I could give many more examples but I feel like I would be bragging. One interesting thing to point out in the list above is the number of Quarterbacks listed. While I believe my ability to pick QB’s that will have a significant drop off in production (either due to poor play or injury) is an ability I was born with I believe that if one is really motivated enough they too, with a little luck and a lot of following my example, can make these types of picks. In fact, you will know when you have reached the pinnacle of bad picking when you are bestowed by your fellow Fantasy Footballers with the distinction of having a curse. My QB curse is something I take pride in and continue to foster each and every year.

Now, I’ve been asked from time to time how one knows if one’s draft picks will lead one to the promised land of last place and I can only answer by stating, “Your goal will be reached when you no longer have to ask” (had to work a zen-like reference in somewhere to justify this post’s title).


Zen calligraphy representing the number of wins I typically get in Fantasy Football

With your draft complete there is little work left to do if you have drafted properly; time and luck will take care of placing your team in last place (or at least out of the playoffs). If, however, you find that, despite your best efforts in the draft, your team has turned out win after win, don’t panic – there are still ways to get your team out of its slump. A simple way to do this is using a method called “chasing”. Most of your league members probably mock “chasing”, which can be defined as picking up a player the week after they had a monster game, but this is only because they follow the advice of “winners”. I’ve used the “chasing” method several times throughout my Fantasy Football career and have found it works like a charm. The key to “chasing” is not unlike the draft strategy in that you are going after a player who had a good week (it’s even better if it’s the only good week the player has had in their 10 year NFL career) and add them to your roster, after which they are sure to never score another fantasy football point for the rest of the season. The one nuance to this move is that in order for it to truly have the impact you are looking for you must also drop a player who has done nothing up to that point in the season but will almost certainly have weekly record-breaking performances once he is off of your roster. The only feeling better than pulling off a good “chase” move is pulling out a losing season at the last possible second.

Besides the two fantasy football leagues that I have won, again through no fault of my own, I came close a number of times of wrecking my losing percentage, but, do to my quick thinking and grasp of bad judgment, I was able to prevent this from happening. An example of this happened just last year when I found my team somehow making the playoffs with a 7-6 record. Knowing that my team was solid enough to lose I made minimal changes in the first round only to be foiled by the Seattle Seahawks’ defense having a record-breaking game and, therefore, pushing my team into the second round. Pushing aside the panic I felt after this victory I dug deep inside of myself and, in one of the most inspiring moments of my life, found a new QB (Josh Freeman – Benched Andrew Luck), WR (Danny Amendola – Benched James Jones) and defense (Detroit Lions) that prevented any possibility of winning a third Fantasy Football league. If I had not had the confidence in myself to make such bold moves and left my team the way it was I may not be writing this post right now.

Think about that for a moment.


Fool me once shame on me. Fool me twice, Seattle? Not when it comes to losing in Fantasy Football!

u lions

Thanks to Suh and Co for, once again, not meeting expectations!

Though there is more I could teach and more examples I could give I think it is important that people find their own way after being given a general path to follow. With any hope you, dear Fantasy Football reader, will be one of those.

Categories: Humor, Sports

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