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This is my third year playing in ESPN.com's Alice In Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League. I am by no way a "stats guy," and thus, my first year was so-so and I only half-heartedly played. I hoped to luck into a win from time to time.
By year two, Jerry Cantrell, lead guitar player of Alice in Chains and league watchdog, pretty much demanded that I get my "head in the game over here" and learn a thing or two about how to draft, and to "play my own guys, dammit." (My nephew -- a 14-year-old at the time -- was pretty much playing my team for me. Hey, I had a better chance of winning with the young Andrew McKagan at the helm.)
I ended up in Jerry's living room for that second-year draft, and actually learned a ton, had a great draft, had fun and learned just how to "play my own guys, dammit." I came pretty darn close to winning it all last year, too.
By the time this season's draft came along, I was fairly confident. And when newcomer Sean Kinney's "Team Nosering" drafted a kicker in the second round, I felt confident that I was rising in the ranks, would be a sage old-schooler in our league and really start to dominate things around here with my draft choices.
I lost the first game of the season, and had the same result the next week. When I lost again in Week 3, I started to think of which players I could trade for other players. No one of seeming relevance was available. Week 5, I was 0-for-5. By Week 6, yep … still winless.
A fantasy football guru from a famous sports-radio show then suggested that I just trade my whole team. "What have you got to lose?" he said to me. He was absolutely right, and I put my whole team on the block.
Suddenly, I had Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow as my starting guy (instead of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger), and traded Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall for Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. In real life, of course, these would be highly suspect moves to make.
As I usually do, I wrote this ESPN column on a Sunday night. And as of this writing, my "Team McKagan" is in a fairly commanding lead. The guy's team that I am playing does have Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice playing on Monday night, but, hopefully for me, Rice won't single-handedly score 24 fantasy points. No. It's looking pretty good for ol' McKagan right now. (Editor's note: Team McKagan hung on for a 105-87 victory over AIC singer William DuVall's Team DuVall.)
I guess it goes to show that in fantasy football you could very well be that chimpanzee picking stocks for your financial portfolio … and still come out ahead. You just never know, eh?
So when it comes down to it I am a very competitve, Type A guy. I want to succeed in all that I do: work, family/fatherhood, athletics, friendships and health. And I will do the work ahead of time to reach satisfying plains within reality.
I'm also very "Seattle" when it comes down to old and new sports villians and rivals.
With all of that being said, fantasy football must be somewhere else in my minds-eye because I have no problem picking up a Denver Bronco as "my" quarterback (despite the Broncos being a former, bitter AFC West rival of the Seahawks). It also didn't ruin my day when I went 0-6 (if the same happened with the Mariners, Seahawks or Huskies, my wife would take our girls to her mom's house for "the weekend").
And speaking of bad teams; how about them Seattle Seahawks? Wow. Not to mention our adversaries, the Cleveland Browns. What an awful NFL showing by both teams last weekend. Just awful. What now, Seattle? What now? …
Musician Duff McKagan, who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and has his autobiography out now, writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.