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It has a certain Marty McFly-in-Back to the Future-esque quality to it: What happens when NFL players partake in fantasy football? Is it kosher to draft yourself? If you draft a teammate, are you considered to be in possession of "inside information?" And what happens when Redskins tight end Chris Cooley's fantasy team faces an opponent who has ... Chris Cooley?
Fantasy Plus surveyed the NFL ranks to find out. Here's what we learned: For everyone who, like Broncos safety John Lynch, simply has "no clue how fantasy football works," there are a half-dozen fantasy addicts such as Shawn Barber. We'll let him, and others, explain.
This will be my fifth year in my league. I started it with nine friends who I grew up with in Richmond. We call each other all the time and talk trash. I just go by instinct, and I've won three of the four years. My only rule is that I can't draft guys on my team. But once the season starts, if one of them becomes available, I can pick him up on waivers. I ended up with LJ [ Larry Johnson] last year [they were teammates on the Chiefs]. He was huge for me. But I never told him I had him in my league. I was like, 'Nice game, LJ,' and inside I'm thinking, I needed that one.
Sometimes people ask, 'Hey, man, should I draft you on my fantasy team?' I say, 'Hell, yeah, I think you should.' You're always going to say yes. But there are people who have told me, 'Hey, man, I drafted you last year and you sucked!' Every day, all day, everywhere I go, I hear it. I felt sorry for people, the way I played [32 catches, no TDs in '05]. People get real serious about it. It's their life.
I've always had a blast playing. I try to have a couple of Internet teams, and my friends do a league. I've been playing since I was a sophomore in high school. I lost in the playoffs last year because I had such a good game against Dallas [for his opponent's fantasy team]. I'd rather catch a touchdown in a real game than have my fantasy team win!