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JOEY HEADSET: “Get Your Roster On - A Guide to Fantasy Football”

Drunk BitchesYou can't get away from it: Fantasy football is everywhere. You probably have friends who play...and if you don't have any friends, it's pretty likely you're already playing. Hell, I play in thirteen different leagues, and I don't even LIKE fantasy football. Yet, I do enjoy spending my Saturday nights obsessively checking injury reports and re-shuffling my rosters. Trust me, this is way better than getting drunk and talking to girls.

Touché, drunk bitches.

A lot of people ask, "where's the FANTASY in fantasy football?" This is a perfectly reasonable question. Personally, the only fantasy I have relating to football involves the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, a desert island and a giant tube of Astroglide. Sometimes, if I've been drinking, Tom Brady is also there. I'd rather not go into details about that. Anyway, this game is called Fantasy Football for the same reason Dungeons and Dragons is called a Fantasy Role Playing Game: because Fantasy Football is set in a thrilling fictional world of swords, magic and mystery! Dragons, wizards, elves, Norwegians -- they're all in the game, along with your favorite professional football players.

NFL fans who are new to fantasy football often have a hard time adjusting their strategy to the fantasy elements of the game. For example: most fans agree that the Chicago Bears have one of the strongest defensive lines in the league. But can Chicago's D-line withstand the awesome force of a Fireball cast by a 13th level Magic User? Certainly not! Well, not unless they had each equipped a +2 Jockstrap of Fire Resistance – a very sensible choice, considering the prevalence of Pyromancy in the West Coast Offense.

If you are just getting started in fantasy football, here are some guidelines you should follow when drafting your team and setting your roster. Follow these tips and you'll not only dominate your league, but you might even secure access to the Mystical Power Crystal of Ul-goreth:

TerrelQB Charisma: Be sure to draft a quarterback with a high Charisma ranking. Obviously, many QBs use Charisma as their "dump stat" (most notably, Arizona's Kurt Warner). However, passers with a CHR score of 16+ get big bonuses in pass protection from their linemen, as well as increased performance from their receivers. Remember: no player wants to sacrifice their body for a quarterback who's a total dick.

Heal that Hammy: If you drafted Terrell Owens, Steve Smith or Hines Ward, make sure your team cleric has memorized several Cure Tweaked Hamstring spells. The same goes for your Healerback, if you're still playing with the old 2.5 rulebook. Also, if you drafted T.O. you might want to equip him with a Ring of Ego Suppression.

Smashmouth Defense: Members of the Barbarian character class are popular choices when drafting linebackers. However, most leagues do not allow Barbarian defenders to wear helmets or to bring their giant warhammers onto the field. Also, Barbarians tend to get penalized more than most character classes. Nothing brings out a shower of yellow flags faster than an inside linebacker devouring the entrails of a tight end he just disemboweled after a tackle. Smart fantasy players often select linebackers in the Rogue/Thief player class. They are great at "stealing" errant passes and do double damage when sacking quarterbacks from behind.

Home Team Advantage: When setting your roster, never underestimate the edge teams gain when playing on their home field. Road teams must contend with a variety of obstacles: everything from crowd noise and unfamiliar terrain to pit traps and magical runes that summon demons from the 5th Infernal Plane. Consider San Diego's season opener at Oakland. LaDainian Tomlinson is probably the best running back in the league. But even he will have a hard time gaining yardage if he triggers the poison dart trap Oakland has set on the 50 yard line. Similarly, you won't see Chargers TE Antonio Gates hauling down many passes in the red zone if he gets dismembered by the Giant Spiders that live in the visiting team's locker room at McAfee Coliseum. (Rob Ryan, Oakland's defensive coordinator, is known for his masterful use of arachnoidal blitz packages.)

Fantasy football has been bringing together jocks and geeks almost as long as atomic wedgies and locker room swirlies. Join a league today, and experience the competition, the camaraderie and the lost productivity that's certain to undermine the American economy. After all, those 11 year old sweatshop workers in China don't have much time for fantasy football. Those crazy kids are just too busy – too busy making EVERYTHING YOU OWN.

For more Joey Headset: www.joeyheadset.com
September 10, 2006.