Given that I’ve actually been referred to as the “anti-Christ” at points in my life, it should be no surprise that I find the seven deadly sins absolutely gripping. But for now, we’ll simply focus on the more micro level and discuss the seven deadly sins of Fantasy Football.
We could probably come up with seven new sins (i.e. taking a kicker in the 10th round), but we already have a good base to work with, so no need to create new sins. As a reminder, the seven deadly sins are Sloth, Gluttony, Vanity, Jealousy, Lust, Greed, and Wrath.
And why should you even care?
Well, how many times have you prayed to the fantasy gods? Even if it was “just this once”, I’m willing to bet you have. And I believe the fantasy gods do exercise their own system (sense?) of karma. So if you’re committing some of these sins, the fantasy gods might not smile on you too readily. And we all hate when the fantasy gods curse us.
With that in mind, let’s take a dive into the dark abyss that is the seven deadly sins of Fantasy Football.
Seven Deadly Sins of Fantasy Football
I’m starting with Sloth first and foremost. In my humble opinion, this is by far the most common and worst sin you can commit in fantasy football. Because it can affect both you and the rest of your league in multiple, pathological ways causing far more damage than nearly any other sin.
Let’s start with being lazy in your draft prep. Not only do you hurt your chances of success, but you also could start a huge ripple effect that disrupts the competitive balance of the league. And as that ripple spreads, it could weigh far too much in the direction of another owner who unnecessarily benefits from your laziness.
But that’s not the only place that sloth shows up in leagues. It’s the lack of effort and energy to do anything in a timely fashion. This means not trying to figure out trades, thereby snuffing out the lifeblood of most leagues. It means not responding to trade offers in a timely manner and leaving other league members hanging. Sometimes it is even being too lazy to even set an active lineup, thereby making a mockery of the standings. And there are countless other examples I could list here, but won’t. You know them.
And I know how easy it is to commit this sin in fantasy football. Please don’t.
Gluttony is more of a “gateway sin” for fantasy football. The sin itself is not so bad, but it so often leads to other sins. No need to gobble more than you need. This comes in various forms.
One of the better-known ones is playing in an insane amount of leagues so much so that you end up committing other sins. You end up being lazy or greedy for example by playing so many leagues.
Or perhaps you are one of those players who likes to devour all the quarterbacks in a draft. Your pride makes you think you can trade them and make your team suddenly a powerhouse instead of a team with six quarterbacks. You’re wrong.
Please keep your appetite in check.
Unlike Pachino’s John Milton above, vanity is not my favorite sin, especially in the way it manifests itself in fantasy football. And one of the best examples of this is the “peacocking” that happens by the “experts” in the fantasy football industry.
For those unfamiliar with “peacocking”, it can usually be found in published industry mock drafts. An “expert” simply drafts a player far earlier than they should so they can later claim/write that they were in on them “first.” It’s essentially a big ego exercise.
Vanity, or Pride, also causes us to think we are the smartest in the league. And this self-absorption causes us to send ridiculous trade offers or think we know what another owner wants. Vanity forces us to want to “win the trade.”
Instead, think of a trade negotiation like ordering a single pizza… but a multi-topping pizza that you and the other owner have to share. Maybe you both like pepperoni, but he/she wants sausage and you want bacon. Or even though the other owner likes bacon, they already have plenty of bacon. And they’re looking for perhaps a healthier topping option. Think less of yourself and more of what works for both of you. But that would require you to be less vain.
Jealousy might be the most common but often harmless sin in fantasy football. We all want what others have. “Oh, he has the first pick? That lucky S.O.B!” “How come that team always seems to have the top waiver wire priority? I have to have that!” “I want my name on the league trophy instead of his!”
All of these feelings are actually okay to have. But it is when we start doing malicious or stupid things in response to that envy, that is an issue. But others are going to have more success or luck than you, at least sometimes. Just try to keep your envy in check.
D'Onta Foreman is a waiver-wire gem 💎
— ESPN Fantasy Sports (@ESPNFantasy) November 11, 2022
On second thought, lust might be more common in fantasy football than jealousy. We all become far too infatuated with the “bright shiny object” that is some stud rookie player or a waiver wire gem.
And far too often we are either overzealous or make decisions to our detriment. Take the example above. Do you know how many touchdowns Foreman had after this posted on November 10th? One. Not exactly a waiver gem. However, that lust to grab that body off the waiver wire and suck it dry for all of its fantasy value can leave us quite empty. Try to contain your lust.
Greed is extremely similar to Gluttony. The difference is that Gluttony refers to your appetite, while Greed is more about the excessive desire for money. Let’s simply say that there are a number of DFS and gambling sites out there for football that prey on our need to acquire more money.
But greed can overcome us in other ways. I’ve seen far too often where an owner’s greed blinds him into refusing to split the final Super Bowl pot. I’m not saying you should automatically do this if offered to split. But don’t let your greed eliminate the possibility of considering the offer. Far too often owners will chase the money without doing a thorough analysis of the matchup.
Wrath might be the one sin I am the least guilty of as it just seems petty to me. The simple definition of wrath is revenge. It is uncontrolled anger, rage, and hatred. Wrath often ensues if our pursuit of some of the other deadly sins like greed is thwarted or threatened.
One of the most common examples of wrath in fantasy football is the owner who claims and subsequently drops every single kicker on a Saturday so no one can pick up a bye-week replacement kicker on a Sunday. So uncool. Trust me when I tell you that the fantasy gods frown on such behavior
Or wrath can manifest itself in other destructive ways. For example, we are so intent on never letting a player disappoint us again. We don’t want our Pride to suffer again. And we take our “revenge” by never drafting that player again. And we all know what happens. Said player goes off to have a career year but is now on someone else’s team!
Wrath might actually be the most harmful of the seven deadly sins of fantasy football. But I would try to avoid any and all of them if you can!
Got other examples of sins in fantasy football? Hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) with your thoughts.
For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
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