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High Stakes Journal: Heart Palpitations and the Longest Week in Fantasy

On any given Sunday of NFL football, it’s pretty common for my iPhone to chime repeatedly with messages from the three other guys with whom I share our FFPC Main Event high-stakes fantasy football team. What’s not common is for me to field fantasy-related text messages from my dad, a decades-long NFL fan with almost no knowledge of magic football.

All it took to spur his interest was for his son to have a shot at a quarter-share of the $250,000 FFPC grand prize, which our team has a legitimate shot to win after next weekend’s conclusion of the three-week championship round.

In the first quarter of the Patriots-Steelers game, in which our starting tight end Rob Gronkowski was playing, my dad texted, “Did Gronk catch any balls yet?” (At that point he had caught only one pass for two yards.) My dad knows only that Gronk is on our team, and not that each of his receptions would be worth 1.5 points, due to the FFPC’s weighted tight end scoring. Baby steps.

My friend Matt, one of the other co-owners, said his wife’s sudden intense interest in fantasy football caused her to be visibly upset when our starting receiver Jarvis Landry dropped a TD pass. Matt’s son was yelling when the Vikings threw a play-action TD at the goal line instead of giving it to our running back, Latavius Murray. My own 8-year-old son has caught the fever, asking me, whenever the name of any offensive skill position player is announced on TV, “is he on your team?”1

With every point at a premium, you can imagine the pandemonium when the Steelers needed just a field goal from our starting kicker, Chris Boswell, to send the game to overtime and the prospect of more points from Gronk and/or Boswell…

And the dismay when Jesse James caught a touchdown that eliminated the hope of overtime…

And the elation when that TD was overturned. And the further elation when Ben Roethlisberger looked to spike the ball on third down for a would-be chip-shot field goal…

And the descent into agony when Big Ben instead THREW AN INTERCEPTION.

And, finally, the heart palpitations when we checked the championship round leaderboard before the Sunday night game to see that, at that point, we were in first place. As for my dad’s reaction:



OMG, indeed, Dad. OMG.

So this is what it’s down to: One team got enough from Dak Prescott and Jared Cook in the Sunday night game to overtake us by 1.8 points. The top 10 remained mostly unchanged after Monday night. We had the fifth-highest score in Week 15, and we did it without owning Todd Gurley or Kareem Hunt, the week’s top players. We didn’t even play our best possible lineup – Devin Funchess and his 2.9 points was our week’s biggest dud. Furthermore, we lost nearly a half-game of playing time from Davante Adams when he was concussed on a blindside hit.



This week, we likely won’t have Adams, but in his place, we have a rested Ezekiel Elliott about to face a defense that just gave up 170 total yards and four TDs to Gurley. We have top players on several teams that are either still fighting for the playoffs or jockeying for home-field advantage.



We are in a position I never, ever thought we’d be in. The overall Main Event winner is typically the team that posts its highest scores of the season three weeks in a row, which is basically like rolling dice and trying to hit snake eyes three straight times. We’ve hit it twice.

This time next week, we could be celebrating a share of $250,000.



  1. Sadly, I’m in so many leagues that the answer is typically “yes,” which seems very confusing to him. Also, he might just be trolling me.  (back)

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