David Trinko: Fantasy football can be family fun

I thought I knew a lot about professional football players as we went through so many names during our family fantasy football draft.

Then I was schooled, when I saw one of my fellow owners select Andy Janovich as a running back with a surprise pick.

It was a surprise pick because, in six years as a professional football player, Janovich has 17 carries for 55 yards. You probably had more than that carrying your groceries in the past year. For some reason, even though he’s a backup with the Houston Texans, Janovich is on a fantasy football roster now.

Before you blast this as a bad pick by someone with the mentality of an 8-year-old, I’d point out this was actually the choice of my 8-year-old daughter. It was one in a series of unconventional moves made in the first draft in the Trinko family fantasy football league.

If you don’t know what fantasy football is — and frankly, half of our family didn’t — it’s a bit of a math problem. You earn points each week based on a player’s individual game statistics, usually by the number of yards or touchdowns. While there’s some knowledge involved about who’s generally good and what matchups are good for a particular person, it also involves an immense amount of luck.

My 15-year-old daughter proposed creating a family league. She’s a pro at this point, as she’s played fantasy football for five years now with me in a Lima News league that originated way back in the 1990s. She took on the role of commissioner of this new league and convinced her three sisters and mother to join in the fun.

The stakes are fairly low. We decided the winner gets to decide where we go out to dinner one night when the season’s over.

Half the fun is naming your team. Most of the team names are inside jokes or versions of people’s nicknames. My team name is a bit on the nose, “Dad’s Jokes.” I figured it was a good way to defend myself if my team stunk.

It’s my wife’s first year of fantasy football, but she also joined a league at her job. She’s probably heard me talk about it enough to learn by osmosis — not that I’m particularly talented in it. Our league keeps longtime stats, and over the course of time my teams have won about as many games as they’ve lost.

It’s a fun way to watch pro football. It gives you a reason to cheer for teams and players you normally wouldn’t care that much about. You’re more aware of some of the details of the game when you’re watching games. I’ve found I’m more likely to watch games not involving my beloved Chicago Bears if I have a fantasy player or two involved.

That’s how Thursday night’s NFL opener between Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams felt for all of us. We each had a player or two involved in the game, and after every play you heard someone asking if that play benefitted Josh Allen or Cooper Kupp or Stefon Diggs. It was fun for all of us to be involved.

Incidentally, that same 8-year-old happened to draft Stefon Diggs, who scored 18 points for her team after catching for 122 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. It’s enough to make me wonder if she knows something about Janovich I don’t.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

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David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.