On one hand, fantasy football is great for the sport. It expands fan interest well beyond games involving, or affecting, their favorite teams. It generates higher ratings. It makes more money.
On the other hand, fantasy football warps and bastardizes the game. It creates conflict for fan rooting interests. It further commoditizes and dehumanizes the men who play the game.
As to that last point, the notion of players as game pieces and not actual people causes plenty of fans to harass players who aren’t helping their fantasy teams win. Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, who has missed six games with a hamstring injury, has a message for anyone who doesn’t like the fact that he’s not helping their fantasy teams.
“My health is wayyyy more important than you winning your fantasy games,” Jefferson posted on Twitter. “It doesn’t matter how many times y’all flood my dms talking about me selling your team. I DONT CARE.”
Damn straight. Jefferson shouldn’t play until he’s sure that he’s 100-percent healed. And the thing about hamstring strains and other soft-tissue injuries is that, when you think they’re healed, they’re still not healed.
Jefferson won’t, and shouldn’t, return until he’s fully healed. And to any fantasy football players who don’t like it, tough shit. When you play fantasy football, you assume the risk that some of the players you “own” will be injured.
Do you think they want to be?
They want to play and play well far more than you want them to. So leave them alone. Or, better yet, if you don’t understand these basic realities of fantasy football, maybe it’s time you got a different hobby.