Guest Blogger: Author Laura Chapman

The 2016 NFL season kicks off this week, and for me that marks the start of something equally significant: fantasy football.

I have a complicated relationship with fantasy football. We began our tumultuous on-again off-again relationship four years ago. My then-co-workers invited me to join their league. It’s also possible I wheedled the invite out of them, but it was four years ago, which basically makes it ancient history. I approached that first fantasy season like you would any new relationship–with a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and even a bit of fear.

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The league commissioner walked me through a mock draft and explained the rules of the game. I felt pretty good about the whole thing until I experienced my first draft and realized I had no idea what I was doing. That paired with the scathing automated draft report card I received from Yahoo inspired me to write the Queen of the League series.

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My goals that first season were simple. I wanted to gain some knowledge and experience to write a book and then make it to the play-offs, which I did. I accomplished the first–though I’ll never feel like an expert–and I took my team to the post-season. But after I lost in the semi-finals to a person who hadn’t set a line-up most of the season, I decided that wasn’t enough. No, I wanted to win.

It’s a goal I’ve had every year since with every team I’ve managed. And every year, with every team (all six of them as I doubled up on leagues for three years) I’ve fallen short. One year, I made it to the finals only to succumb in that final round and win the silver medal. That’s the closest I’ve come to the ultimate prize, and after a while, losing takes its toll.

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Last year, when I failed to take either of my teams to the play-offs, I realized I needed to do some soul-searching. I almost quit straight-out. I’d already questioned doing fantasy football that year, because we’d lost some of that love and feeling. It was only natural to have the same thoughts during the past off-season.

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But as usual, once players returned to camp and pre-season football geared up, I found that familiar sense of longing for victory. Could I do it this year? Could this be my time to take a team all the way? It was a complete 180 from where I found myself last January, but once you’ve fallen for fantasy football, it’s hard to give up.

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Rather than call it quits completely, this season I’m only managing one fantasy team. I also promised myself I wouldn’t overdo the prep work like I did my second season, but I wouldn’t go in blind like I did last year. Granted, I skipped doing a mock draft, a choice I only regretted about half-way through my live draft last Sunday when my plan went to the wayside and I had to take players I knew little about.

Despite my pre-draft laziness, I managed to put together a scrappy team of players who might have the power to take me to the championship circle. This year Yahoo! gave my team a B- saying “That’s not bad! It’s not great, either.” Here’s who I’m counting on to lead me to victory:

Cam Newton – quarterback
Ryan Tannehill – quarterback
A.J. Green – wide receiver
Doug Baldwin – wide receiver
DeSean Jackson – wide receiver
Vincent Jackson – wide receiver
Tavon Austin – wide receiver
Eddie Lacy – running back
Melvin Gordon – running back
Ameer Abdullah – running back
CharlesSims – running back
Gary Barnidge – tightend
Dwayne Allen – tightend
Mason Crosby – kicker
Pittsburgh – defense

We’re in this to win it. At least until I tinker with my team by surfing the waiver wires and making trades with my fellow league mangers. And who are we kidding? I already admitted I didn’t know some of the players on my team, so I have a healthy dose of skepticism. Still, you never know. Here’s hoping this year doesn’t lead to another heartbreak.

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I’ll be back next week along with a couple of my fellow authors to share some of our favorite football watch party foods. Until then, wish the Dread Pirate Rodgers (yeah, that’s my team name) and I luck in our first week of competition.

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Laura Chapman is the author of the Queen of the League romantic comedy series. First & Goal and Going for Two are now available from Marching Ink. Three & Out will be available later this year. When she isn’t hard at work penning her next novel or pulling her hair out over a fantasy football line-up, Laura enjoys baking, crocheting, and binge-watching Netflix with her cats, Jane and Bingley.

She will be back on Chick Lit Plus throughout the football season. In the meantime, you can follow her misadventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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1 Comment

  1. September 8, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Thanks for having me on the blog today!

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