By DFW member Ravage – Dave Richardson

And in the beginning there was a pencil, paper, and a daily newspaper.

That’s what I used in the first league I started in ’96. This made for a very busy Monday and Tuesday. After work on Monday I would spend the night going through one of the Milwaukee papers or the USA Today, if you could find one. It could be a challenge to find the box score for the Monday night game. I could buy as many as 3 newspapers trying to find that box score. By the time I finished the final scores for that week’s games it was late Tuesday and I still had to copy the results and get them out to all of my league members. It was the best two days of the week for me.

Information was limited when I started playing in 1995. Before your draft you bought one or two of the 3-4 fantasy football magazines that were available, at least available at the local Walmart where I lived. It was wise to be careful when you bought those mags because at that time some only ranked for TD leagues. Most went to print before the NFL draft. You tried to glean something from ESPN but they talked very little about the borderline players.

I went so far as to cut out all the box scores each week and tape them in a notebook. I did this for two reasons. First it was very easy to make a mistake in scoring so once every few weeks you’d get a call from somebody that claimed their scoring was wrong from the week before. Sometimes different papers didn’t coincide with the scoring so you had to make sure everyone knew that X paper was first option and Y paper was second option if X paper didn’t include a box score. The other reason I saved all those box scores is so that I could figure out why some guy I had heard little of got 6 receptions for 80 yards in week 5. Was it a growing trend? Was he taking over a starting spot? Was he worth picking up or a one week wonder?

The rosters were generally small and a lot of leagues were 8 or 10 owners so you made due. In most leagues though, scoring was what we would probably call boring, 1/25 passing, 1/10 rushing, 6pt/rushing or receiving TD, and 3 or 4pts/passing TD. Touchdown only leagues were on the downtrend at that time. So even with the limited information we had we could make a winning team with a little work.

Leagues are much different now sometimes you even hear owners complain about how easy it is to find information on players. Any noob with a computer can find the information to compete in a league. I’ve seen some owners that never did adjust to the computer age. They still used the fantasy magazines as their main source of information at the draft. Those owners aren’t playing any more because they rarely even made the playoffs. They are the same owners who complained the loudest, saying there is Too Much Information (TMI) now, yet they failed to turn the computer on. I do remember falling into that category for a time. If there is “TMI” anyone can win. Then I thought, buck up and do a little more work ya pansy.

You can easily find one hundred sites that will give rankings for any type of league. Looking for a fantasy football forum? Just type it in and see how many hits you get. You can pay for quick info or do a little work and get about the same thing. Many sites are now available to host your league and you can do it free or pay a fee, depending on what you want to get out of it. Some of those sites even recommend starters if you desire. In a world of “TMI” what are you to do? Do you just say, well this isn’t any fun any more?  No! Being the wise football geeks we are we change everything. Let’s do a keeper league. Hey if we add PPR that would add another challenge. Let’s make each team start 3 WR’s. I know a flex position. Other than the top one or two TE’s suck, group them in with WR’s. No, TE’s are better now let’s use that position again. Let’s do an auction league. Now let’s make that league a keeper, you can keep who you want but this year you pay more for them. Hey, let’s do an IDP league.

Then we hit the mother-load, IMO, let’s do a dynasty. Huh, what’s a dynasty?  You get to keep everyone, if you want, then do a rookie draft every year. Now this sounds interesting. I was instantly hooked. It didn’t hurt that the orphan team I took over had Peyton, Priest, and TO. I had a winning record that first year but I made too many mistakes to really be a threat. I won that league twice in the interim but am in rebuild mode right now. Only one other owner is left from that 2004 season.

Do we still complain about TMI? Sometimes us old farts do, but it’s still a lot of fun. You often never even meet the guys who are in your leagues. One thing I do miss is a live draft. I haven’t held a live draft since that league I started in 1996 ended. We may have more information. We’ve changed our scoring, rules, and even the types of leagues we play but easier access to info doesn’t mean worse. It’s just different now.