It’s not an overstatement to say it’s been an absolutely brutal season so far in the NFL. Three of the best players of their generation are out for extended periods. In one day, Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. broke his ankle and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt fractured his tibia. That was plenty bad enough, but the very next week, Packer Aaron Rodgers, who is probably the best quarterback playing the game right now, fell awkwardly while being tackled and ended up with a broken collarbone. The health of the players is paramount, but plenty of fantasy football team owners are upset for other reasons as well. Football fans know it’s not exactly a kind, gentle sport, but it feels especially cruel in 2017.
This doesn’t have to be the end of your fantasy football season, though. If your league get-togethers are more depressing than usual, they don’t have to be. You can acknowledge how many injuries there have been and still continue to play on and have some fun with things. Fantasy football is supposed to be fun. Aaron Rodgers would want your league to enjoy itself (as long as you don’t constantly Tweet at him for “ruining” your season, because that’s just dumb).
Bring the bling
You’re never going to have a Super Bowl ring. Heck, you’re never going to have a Super Bowl runner-up ring (yes, those are actually a thing). But you can still bring home some hardware if you finish first in fantasy football this year. Even if your team’s best player is injured, don’t lose hope. There’s a good chance that everyone else’s best player is injured now or will be by the time the season is over, because it just seems like it’s going to be one of those years that makes people wonder if civilized societies should still play football. Ask everyone in your league to pitch in a few bucks for a fantasy football trophy that will be awarded to the winner at the end of the playoffs. You can even buy a trophy for the person who finishes last. It won’t be as nice as the winner’s trophy, but hey, a trophy is a trophy. If you really want to take things up a notch, consider buying a ring for the league winner. After all, ring rhymes with “bling,” so it must be fate, right?
If you’re languishing at the bottom of the standings, you can still play for something. Make a bet with one or two other owners with bad teams. Don’t make the stakes too high (you don’t want to have to buy your friend Bobby a brand new Toyota or something), but make it something you actually want to avoid. Maybe the lowest finisher has to dress up in the jersey of his most hated team. Perhaps the loser has to take the rest of the league out for drinks. The bet can be as silly as you want it to be. In fact, goofiness is encouraged. Between injuries and protests, there’s been enough seriousness this football season to last the next decade.