Have you ever tried to listen to someone talk about their fantasy football team? It usually sounds something like this:
“Yeah, Drew Brees had a huge day to help me come back, so I just needed 5 points from Peyton Barber to win, but he only got me 3. Ugh, brutal. So now I’m 1-2 with bye weeks coming up next week…”
Your eyes usually start to glaze over, and you offer platitudes like, “No way?” and “That sucks, dude.” That’s because—say it with me—nobody cares about anyone else’s fantasy football team. It’s one of the main tenets of fantasy football.
That said, like many of you, I play fantasy football. I’ve been playing for about 15 years, and it has dramatically changed the way I consume football. While the Redbirds are still my first priority on gameday, I also usually have RedZone streaming on my laptop while the Redbirds game is playing on my TV. I’m in a half-dozen leagues, I’m commissioner for several, and I get almost as much satisfaction from a fantasy win as a Cardinals win.
So, yeah, fantasy is a big part of my football life. I can speak on the topic with not-inconsiderable experience and more than a little affection.
That said, Revenge of the Birds is not a fantasy site. No one is coming here for projections, sit-start recommendations, rankings, etc. There are other, better sites for that kind of content—ESPN and Yahoo, for example. No one cares about your fantasy team here on RotB.
But it would also be foolish to ignore the impact of fantasy football on the NFL as a whole—so were going to write a bit about fantasy football here this week.
There are two stories gaining national traction revolving around fantasy football and the Arizona Cardinals in particular that offer some interesting insight into the intersection of fantasy and reality. These stories highlight that fantasy tenet that no one cares about anyone else’s fantasy team—especially NFL players and teams.
NFL Players Don’t Care About Your Fantasy Team
The first story is a smaller one centered on our very own Kyler Murray. In the Meadowlands on Sunday, Kyler had his least productive day as a pro, going 14/21 for 104 yards with no TDs (adding only 28 yards on his 10 carries). That was good for a piddling 6 points in a standard fantasy league.
So if you started him (as I did in one league), you weren’t too happy about the performance. That’s fine, I get it—Kyler’s low fantasy score possibly cost you your matchup. A little saltiness is understandable.
Just don’t be like this guy on Instagram. (Warning: NSFW language.)
This guy decided to comment on Kyler’s “Big road W” post by saying “you f***ed me over in fantasy bro.” Imagine the sheer myopic idiocy it must take to publicly comment on an athlete’s post about your fantasy team—which, again, no one cares about.
NFL players are at the top of that list. Including Kyler Murray.
His response? An instantly iconic “I could give 2 sh*ts.”
Kyler had just played a tough road game in soggy conditions and gutted out a close win. He didn’t care about his numbers, just like this guy shouldn’t have if he was a Cardinals fan. (And I somehow doubt he was.)
Me? If you care—and you don’t—playing Kyler over Jared Goff directly cost me my matchup. Did it bother me at all? Not in the slightest. I was just happy for the Cardinals W.
The lesson? See the header above: NFL players don’t care about your fantasy team. But you know who also doesn’t care about your fantasy team? Actual NFL teams.
NFL Teams Don’t Care About Your Fantasy Team
A bit of background: DJ had been banged up the previous couple weeks with several minor ailments (ankle, back). He went into the Giants game with a “Probable” designation… and proceeded to play all of 3 snaps, netting 1 carry for 2 yards and a big, fat 0 in standard fantasy leagues.
That allowed Chase Edmonds to run rampant over the Giants, resulting in this tweet from the Cardinals’ social media account:
|￣￣￣￣￣￣ |— Arizona Cardinals ⋈ (@AZCardinals) October 20, 2019
| YOU |
| SHOULD’VE |
| STARTED |
| CHASE |
| EDMONDS |
| IN |
| FANTASY |
| ＿＿＿＿＿__ |
It was this innocuous tweet that caused Matthew Berry, the erstwhile Talented Mr. Roto, a married family man of 49 years, to go off on this utterly unhinged, childish rant:
I think Berry is trying to enter Denny Green/Jim Mora/Mike Gundy territory here… except about fake sports. Even Stephen A. Smith’s rants are actually about real sports.
Scratch that, this is more like Alex Jones than anything else—I thought I had accidentally clicked on an InfoWars video at first. He’s practically frothing at the mouth about an injured player and a harmless tweet from a team’s social media account. All that’s missing is a tin foil hat.
And the rant makes about as much sense as InfoWars. He practically spits, “Screw you, Arizona Cardinals Twitter handle!” just moments before bragging about how many likes he got on a tweet. Way to rage against the machine, buddy.
The he rambles about the Cardinals’ record over the past several years as if the Cardinals have been an irrelevant, perpetual basement-dwelling team in recent years. We’ve had some down years, yes, but we’ve also made a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship Game in the past dozen years.
But speaking of irrelevant, perpetually basement-dwelling teams, Berry is an avowed Washington fan—that’s right, the team that has one playoff win in the 21st century and just fired its head coach midseason. Pot, kettle, etc.
Berry finishes by spouting off some random junk about turning Kyler into a “game manager” (he must not have seen the rain-soaked game nor the previous week’s game when Kyler was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week) and tries to use point differential to diss Kliff Kingsbury’s credentials on offense (does he know Kliff doesn’t coach defense?).
He just comes across as a sniveling lunatic over how an organization handled an injured player. The whole rant was unprofessional and embarrassing—and it makes me glad I predominantly go to Yahoo to play fantasy and for analysis. You’d never see Scott Pianowski making a clown out of himself like that. (Although it must be said that guys like Mike Clay and Eric Karabell do a good job over at the Worldwide Leader.)
There’s another lesson here, and it’s an easy one if you’ve been paying attention: NFL teams don’t care about your fantasy team—nor your fantasy podcast. Do better next time, Matthew Berry.
I complained a bit last week that the Cardinals weren’t getting much attention from the national media. Well, now they are—albeit for the wrong reasons. Who cares if Kyler or DJ didn’t put up huge fantasy scores like they were projected to. The bottom line is the Cardinals got their third-straight win and are a .500 team. Enjoy the win indeed, whiny fantasy players and analysts be damned.
Can the Redbirds get a fourth-straight win in New Orleans this weekend? The odds are against them, but maybe Kyler and DJ can put up some big numbers and carry the team to a huge road upset—and help fantasy managers in the process.
But if they don’t?
Remember that it’s just fake football. Don’t have a meltdown on social media if they underperform. You’re an adult; you’re better than that.