Most of my life, I have steered clear of fantasy sports, mostly for one reason: I can't stand it when fans root against their own teams because an opposing player is on their fantasy team.
I was bound and determined not to be in a position where I was rooting for an opposing player to torch the Browns, Indians or Cavaliers for my own selfish agenda. As we in Cleveland all know, opposing players (John Elway, Michael Jordan, David Wells) need no additional incentive to take Cleveland out behind the woodshed, certainly not from Cleveland's own fans.
I got bitched out of my only foray into fantasy baseball four years ago because one of my league-mates took offense to my hoarding of Indians players. He accused me of being a slobbering homer. In reality, I snapped up Cleveland players because in that league (Internet-based and comprised of people scattered around the northeast quadrant of the country), I usually was the first to notice trends and upswings among Indian players.
Like it worked that well. I finished sixth out of eight teams.
After that, I made up my mind I hated fantasy sports, and was never going to get involved in another fantasy league again.
Then one of my local friends said some guys from his church were putting together a fantasy football league this year. He asked me to join.
I sighed. What was I going to say? No? It wasn't going to be a fight to the death, like some leagues. Just some guys playing fantasy ball for fun.
One more try, I thought to myself. If this turns out bad, no more fantasy sports.
Well, it turned out quite good for starters. Armed with draft picks Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens, my team is tied for first place in my division through four weeks.
But my running game is sparse, and that is what is causing me some consternation this week.
Julius Jones is my only reliable running back, with Bears rookie Cedric Benson a distant second. The Bears play the Browns this Sunday, and I am kind of backed into a corner of hoping Benson puts up some nice numbers against Cleveland to give me a chance of staying in first place.
I find myself thinking "gosh, if Benson puts up 75 yards and the Browns still win, my day will be perfect."
I hve become just like those bar room fantasy braggarts who watch a 49ers-Cardinals game like nothing else matters because Marcel Shipp is on their fantasy roster.
I have become everything I loathe.
Shame me, Browns. Win by 21 points and stuff Benson at the line of scrimmage every time he touches the ball. Use my selfishness to spark a playoff run. Go on, I deserve it.