A Healthy Fantasy Life - the key to success!
In his 2020 Fantasy Football review, Norman Bún looks at how a balanced lifstyle and a review of priorities led him to unexpected success:
Another Fantasy Football season in the books and for me, the most successful year to date. I attribute the success to strong drafts, research, trading and following my gut. Contributing to this website alongside the many people who work hard to make it what it is was an honor. Being a husband, father and faith filled man, creating a balanced life and pouring myself into what matters most is my goal. Yes, I spent a little too much time on Fantasy Football and the NFL this season, but keeping a healthy fantasy life was something I made a conscious effort to do. It worked out well, for the most part.
Moving across the U.S. three years ago was a challenge. From California to the Carolinas was a huge change. Yet, there was no doubt that it was the best decision for my family. Fantasy football allows me to stay connected to old friends and valued relationships, which seemed more important than ever after the move. Fantasy football once consumed me, which made Sundays a roller coaster of emotions. It wasn’t good. I decided that there must be a mind shift. This game needed to stay exactly that, a game. There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, but honoring my family and living with integrity matters to me above almost all things. Was it coincidence that following the shift I was more successful? I don’t think so.
Four leagues felt just about right, especially since one was a charity league. Having two young children, a tight budget and a wonderful wife who I desire to stay connected to, this number was perfect. Here is a brief breakdown: 1 Yahoo league which I am the commissioner (12 team, PPR, 3 Keepers, 5 years in), 1 MFL Dynasty League (10 team, PPR, 10 plus years in), 1 Sleeper League (10 team, bonus scoring, first year) and lastly the ESPN charity league (12 team, .5 PPR, second year). Clearly, the dynasty league is close to my heart as well as my Yahoo league. I have good friends and acquaintances in both, which makes things tricky and fun.
Injuries are rough every year. This season it felt magnified, as Covid was also in the mix, ready to sabotage my teams. Certain players underperformed or couldn’t stay on the field. A few players that hurt my chances were TY Hilton, Myles Gaskin, Tarik Cohen, Kenny Golladay and a few others. I was lucky that my studs held up for the most part. Players like Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Lamar Jackson, Travis Kelce and Stefon Diggs. Those names were the reason I made it to 3 out of 4 championship matches. I missed out in the charity league, losing in the first round of the playoffs to a very high score. I missed the bye week by two points. Some things just aren’t meant to be.
Last season I made it to 2 of 3 championships and lost them both. That was tough. Not having Cook and Henry championship week in my dynasty league hurt bad, they were the reason I made it to the ship’! This season I was the favorite to win in dynasty, (I had won 15 straight match ups amazingly enough!) the underdog in Yahoo and a coin flip in Sleeper. I ended up getting destroyed in Yahoo, despite scoring well. My opponent had David Johnson, Mike Evans and Deshaun Watson. I lost a close one in Sleeper and won convincingly in the MFL. Although the final score showed a decisive victory, there was some drama.
The commissioner in the MFL dynasty league is the most knowledgeable, savvy fantasy football manager I know, we were also in each other’s weddings. We have had our differences in the past and I’ve questioned some of his tactics, but he is a loyal, lifelong friend. Oddly enough, I faced off against him in 2 of the 3 championships this season, he has made the championship the last 6 out of 7 years in our dynasty league. My team has made it to 3 out of the last 7, this being the second time we have faced off.
The match started and as the first set of games came to a close, I had a comfortable lead. His big guns, Mahomes and Tyreek were good, not great. By the afternoon games all I needed was decent performances from guys like DJ Moore, Robert Woods and Jared Goff. Those three let me down big time! After a late touchdown by CeeDee Lamb, I was short about 30 points, with Derrick Henry and Stefon Diggs still to play. That sounds like an easy task, but as we know, it’s not over until it’s over and crazier things have happened.
The stress consumed me! I just wanted it to be over, yet the deficit was just enough to hang heavy on my mind. The thought of my streak coming to an end in the finals and my big dogs letting me down played with my emotions. I was a mess. Henry played the Sunday night game vs Green Bay in the snow, perfect for running the ball! As my nemesis, Aaron Rodgers (I’m a Bears fan), proceeded to dismantle the Titans, he also took the ball out of Henry’s hands. With a lousy game script, Henry ended up with a woeful 9.8 points! I needed 18 points out of Diggs or I would end up in 2nd place. Yikes! I had to come to terms with losing and find peace within myself. A bit over dramatic, right?
Yet, as Monday rolled around, getting through the day without obsessing over the game proved difficult. I decided I was gonna be a dedicated fan that evening and root for my guy. That was all I could do, so that’s exactly what I did. The Bills faced their long time division rival, the New England Patriots. Stephon Gilmore would not be playing, which allowed me to breathe easier. Allen started hot, but wasn’t throwing to Diggs. He was getting blanketed by the N.E. cornerback. He had 1 catch for 1 yard after the first quarter. If Allen would only listen to me and throw it to my boy! In the second quarter he did just that. With his secondary read, he hit Diggs for a glorious 50 yard touchdown! It all but sealed my title. A few catches into the 3rd quarter and it was over. Diggs ended up adding a few more TDs and I ended up blowing away my opponent, as Stefon finished with a whopping 41.5 points, his largest weekly point total of the season.
I do my best to keep a healthy fantasy life but it’s work. Letting go of things out of my control is a must for me, whether in fantasy or in my daily life. When I choose to live a certain way, things don’t always go my way, but the outcome is always what it is supposed to be. I lost 2 out of 3 championships this season, which stinks. I did make the playoffs in all four leagues and making it to three championship matches was a big success. Finding victory in the one that meant the most to me is what I’ll leave this weird season with.
Dynasty teams take strategy, know how and risks must be taken. Some of my best moves in the off season were trades that were rejected by my fellow league mates! Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, but it doesn’t hurt to have Diggs on your side. I paid an arm and a leg for him a few years ago and this year he paid me back with a belt. I hope you had a solid fantasy season and if not, remember, if we make it to next year, that is a blessing in itself!