The Jex Dex: The beautiful game of fantasy football

This past weekend, as Calvin Johnson was making a mockery of the Dallas Cowboys’ defense, I could do nothing but smile. Why would I be so happy that the man they refer to as “Megatron” led the Lions to a win, when I’m not even a Lions fan?

I had made sure that he was on my fantasy team and that his quarterback also made my roster. Johnson went crazy and had 329 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was also tackled inside the 5-yard line on three different occasions. No big deal for the Georgia Tech alumnus.

I have gotten “serious” about fantasy football. I say serious because there was a time in my teenage years when I was just obsessed with the drafts. I went from football to basketball and even hockey. How that even works, I still have no idea.

Fantasy football isn’t all smiles, rainbows and unicorns for me. Last year I was the best manager in my league, or so I thought. I entered the playoffs with only two losses and had a matchup with a guy who had only won one game all year. I got handled by him, and the last two teams I played hammered me as well.

I ended up taking last place after dominating the season. I learned in that moment that it’s truly not how you start, but how you finish.

This year I made a resolution all the way back in January that I wouldn’t let that happen again, ever. I would watch Matthew Berry religiously and take some time out of my busy schedule to do some mock drafts, just so I was on my toes and ready for the draft. Winning the league doesn’t bring a trophy or even money, but it brings the pride that I will be able to hold that title over my friends’ heads for the next seven months.

One of my philosophies, or the way that I manage, is trying to find those players who slip through the cracks. One guy, for example, would be Bilal Powell for the New York Jets, who at one time was leading the AFC in rushing. He wasn’t a hot commodity, but held down the fort while C.J. Spiller was, and still is, trying to get back from an ankle injury. I have since dropped Powell, because now he is battling with two other running backs to get carries.

I have also learned that the teams with the best drafts, or so it seems, don’t always have the greatest seasons. Of course, each team is going to deal with injuries, but it is your depth that can carry you to the top.

That was my problem last year. My whole running back corps got injured heading to the playoffs. Which meant I put my title hopes in the hands of youngsters in pass-happy offenses. Don’t rely on the draft. Always keep reliable players on your bench in case of injuries or bye weeks.

As the second half of the season is upon us, it is time to get ready for a playoff push. With players like Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree coming off the disabled list soon, they could be your key to winning the title. Enjoy the journey, and remember, winning isn’t everything — unless it’s fantasy football.