Life lessons help shape the character of an individual, however, the lesson is only valuable if it’s applied. Let’s journey down memory lane to see what lessons we can apply to help us win our Fantasy Football leagues in 2021.
Reimagine in your mind where you were in 2016. Now, welcome all of those feelings and emotions from that year. The year of 2016 sticks out in my memory because of the unpredictability of each day. It was spewing with remarkable events, loss unimaginable, legendary comebacks and unforgettable lessons. We saw a thread of rare earth altering spectacles throughout the world in the realms of politics, entertainment, sports and more. I don’t want people to have so much recent bias for 2020 that they forget 2016 was vicious. If there is a poll for worst year in recent memory, 2016 takes home the award in unanimous decision while the audience boos, throwing with tomatoes while it runs off-stage.
The losses of David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Arnold Palmer are only a few of the celebrity deaths that took a psychological toll on us. (I know I mentioned Christian McCaffrey being Fantasy Football’s Willy Wonka in my last article, but Gene Wilder is also another name that’s remembered from 2016) Sprinkling on top: The Presidential Election. Cleveland 3-1 Finals Comeback Against the Warriors. Extreme Weather. Exploding Cell Phones. Zika and the Rio Olympics. The Rise of Clowns. Harambe. Mass Shootings and Terrorist Attacks. Racial Tensions. Opioid Epidemic. This year was one for the history books and one for our therapists.
On a global scale, 2016 was one that felt like Murphy’s Law in full effect: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” On a personal scale, that law was present in my life, and I wasn’t exempt to the series of unfortunate events that occurred.
I went through a cycle of events in my love life, which made me feel like I’m on the inner eye wall of Hurricane Matthew. I’ll provide some context. Not only that, but I’m 21, in Metro Atlanta, essential worker by day and aspiring musician/DJ at night. Certified lover boy, who’s full force into the dating scene looking to explore the possibilities of the open ocean. At this checkpoint in my life, my mind was in a “Live Fast, Die Young” state.
There were no plans to settle anything down, and I faded any notion of being in relationships. However, the unpredictability of 2016 sniped me as a first-person shooter and Cupid was the trigger man. All it took was a possibility that I wasn’t preparing for. The one relationship I entered made everything feel like slow motion, tunnel vision locked on love. Everything felt so calm, so peaceful. I was only in the eye of the hurricane.
A severe breakup, after dating for a second time attempting to relive old memories, led to that series of unfortunate events: isolating from what’s normal, going through depression and suicidal thoughts, drowning out by the smoke inhales of THC, mentally questioning myself, examining my life direction, dwelling on past outcomes unable to look ahead towards the future with any enthusiasm. I could go into full detail on every action that took place, but I would rather give you the main ideas and lessons learned from those experiences. More importantly, show you how life experiences and fantasy football correlate.
Occasionally, it’s not about what You can see; it’s about what You can’t see. The unknown. Some people fear it, some question & others run fearless into that dark abyss. The unknown is important because it makes you step out of what’s comfortable to embrace the awkward. Since I love asking why, there’s beauty in the unknown.
It’s worth noting that the unknown can drive people crazy in their thoughts, which leads to infinite cycles of debating every possible scenario. Every so often the answer is in your face. Other times, the solution is more complex than we understand. The lightbulb moment comes when the unknown reveals itself to you and the whole truth is center stage.
What I saw in my relationship, at first, was the antics this person was inflicting on me, drama, conflict of interest, lack of understanding and more. All of these stunts leading to my reactions, which I’m ultimately controlling.
The truth was: They had no power over how I reacted to their behavior. I knew love is patient & love is kind. I didn’t know, at the time, that love is blind.
Love isn’t blind because we don’t see the differences between us; Love is blind because, when falling deeply, the other vantage points are missing from heightening emotions you’re feeling.
That wake-up call came through like one of those early morning rumblings of your ringtone waking you up out of deep slumber. Those calls where you already anticipate something being wrong before you even process the buzz of your cell phone. When your stomach churns & then falls like the drop of a roller coaster from 300 feet (ca. 91 meters). The soul on the other line bears a voice that speaks a truth that’s not processing because that possibility (Her perspective) didn’t exist in my thoughts. My actions from her perspective were just as damaging to her world. I had to face the reality that, in her story, I was the Villain.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” — Harvey DentThe Dark Knight, Film, 2008
Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombshell is now dropping on the 21-year-old MoonVibes.
It wasn’t about what I knew, or the story I told myself. There was truth and then there was whole truth. What matters most was the story I am avoiding acknowledging, and what I didn’t know.
I’ve known myself for 27 years, and I still haven’t figured myself out. Every day is an opportunity to dive into the unknown of who I am. I’ve known fantasy football for many years, and I still haven’t figured fantasy football out. Every day, I’m accessing the unknown of the world of fantasy. Since there’s an unlimited range of possibilities, I can’t break myself down to a science, nor can I attempt to break fantasy football down to a formula. There are too many ranges of outcomes and the possibilities are endless.
As an analyst in the fantasy sphere, I could talk up any player in the league and make them feel untouchable. I just have to involve the right statistics and dismiss the ones that don’t help my point. This works in the opposite way when attempting to dissuade you from a player. The word that you need to remember is narrative. Through the help of stats, I can convince you of what I believe by creating the narrative. We see it all over the media and broadcasting world daily.
I can shape your perceptions of a player/team based on the narrative that I give to that player/team. For me, I’m good at manipulating the stats to tell whatever story I want the public to know. In this misinformation age, I’m reminding you of my point. It’s not about what you know all the time; it’s about the pieces of the story that you don’t know that reveal the whole truth.
If I’m pro Lamar Jackson, I can convince you that this season will be his biggest season to date in the NFL by mentioning the additions in the receiving core (through free agency & draft), include stats like 2 straight 1000 yard seasons, 3 straight years of 5 or more Rushing TDS, his record as a starting QB being 31-10(without mentioning that he’s 1-3 in the playoffs, and 0-2 at home in playoffs).
If I’m anti- Lamar Jackson, I could talk about his completion percentage, his below-average pass attempts per game, the Ravens run heavy scheme, or his QB 10 finish in 2020(totally dismissing the Ravens dealing with COVID-19 protocol issues, Lamar’s 26/9 touchdown-interception total, his recent MVP season in 2019. You get the point).
In 2016, the amount of misinformation in fantasy football, politics, entertainment, media and more was a migraine. In 2021, the same migraine is present, only it’s becoming normal. The main idea remains: telling the consumer a side of the story aligning with what they think. No one is exempt because we all fall victim to highlighting and leaving out the information supporting our beliefs.
There’s so much information to get your hands on as we approach the 2021 NFL Season. Advice coming from men and women in different roles, who are way smarter than I am. All of them trying to convince you why we are overvaluing this player or why this player is due to bust. What I’ve learned through the lessons of my life is:
It’s All Opinionated.
My job is to take the puzzle pieces that we have as fans of the NFL while looking at the bigger picture, so you can win your leagues every year. So, what is your job? Take notes, watch the games, find the analysts aligning with your vision, develop trust, continue to mock draft and most importantly, you have to explore the unknown by questioning everything you’re presented with.
What do the following players all have in common?
Tyreek Hill. Stefon Diggs. Mike Evans. Allen Robinson II. Brandin Cooks. Amari Cooper. Will Fuller IV.
It’s normal to say, “MoonVibes, that’s easy. They all are Wide Receivers in The NFL.” That response would be truth. It’s an absolute fact. Where things get testy is when I mention that there are insane narratives with the players I’m listing above. I could go into their individual stats, injuries, 2020 season or even break down splits of their fantasy games over their careers to prove which one is the better receiver. Yet, none of those would be what they all have in common. You gave me the truth, I’ll give you the whole truth. All the players listed above are age 27, and they all have different perspectives of their play in the fantasy world because of narratives.
Tyreek Hill, or Cheetah, has been in the public eye over the last few seasons with the recent success of the Kansas City Chiefs. This has elevated his play and changed the narrative surrounding Hill. Once perceived as a special teams gadget guy, he’s rewriting the script on his wide receiver 1 skills, playing with Patrick Mahomes every week. The whole truth: Hill finished as a Top 12 WR in Fantasy in 4 of 5 seasons since entering the league. 2019 was his only down year, where he dealt with a shoulder injury. (Hill still finished WR28)
Will Fuller has never had a 1000 yard season in his career; His ADP(Average Draft Position) is WR 37 after finishing WR 25 in 2020. The whole truth: Fuller has never played a full 16 game season since arriving in the league.
Mike Evans has had a 1000 yard season in every year of his career; his ADP is WR 11 and Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs are being drafted before him. The whole truth: Mike Evans has played 15 or more games in every year besides 2019. Evans has finished in Top 8 WR in each of the last three years(that includes having Jameis Winston as the QB). Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God: Mike Evans has 7 total 1000 yard seasons and the next closest on the list are: Brandin Cooks (5), Amari Cooper (5) Tyreek Hill (3) Allen Robinson (3) Stefon Diggs (3).
Stefon Diggs has a narrative that he’s turned over to a new chapter in his career after being traded to Buffalo. The 2020 season would prove that truth, since Diggs led the entire league in catches. The Whole Truth: Diggs was a top 20 receiver with Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, with Adam Theilen as his partner in crime. The only top 5 WR season of his career came this past year for the Buffalo Bills, when Stefon Diggs bet on himself and proved he didn’t need a partner in crime in the receiving core.
For a receiver that always has the narrative that he’s injury prone, Amari Cooper continues to put doubters to shame. He played all games in 2019, 15 in 2020, and he’s battled through pain, posting 1000 yards in 3 straight seasons. People knock Cooper because of the lack of touchdown production for America’s team. The whole truth: Cooper has 19 touchdowns since arriving in Dallas. That’s the total number of touchdowns He scored while playing for the Oakland Raiders. He’s been with each team 3 seasons.
Brandin Cooks, Mr. Bow and Arrow himself, has seen a lot of disrespect because of the narrative surrounding the journeyman wideout. More teams played for means more question marks about Cooks impact on the teams he’s been a part of. Honestly, if you don’t last in New England, it puts you in a complicated perception around the league. Then, there are the injury concerns that are pure comedy. The whole truth: Brandin Cooks has played 12 or more games in every year of his career besides his rookie season in 2014. He’s put up 1000 yards in 4 different locations(New Orleans, Los Angeles, New England & Houston). Cooks finished as WR 16 in 2020. His ADP for 2021: WR 34.
Allen Robinson doesn’t need a good quarterback to put up over 100 catches or crack the 1000 yard threshold, but his desires for a new contract have him wishing for a good quarterback. Robinson believes that his play is worth being paid as the top WR in the league. The whole truth: Allen Robinson has seen 151 targets in 4 out of 7 seasons of his career. Two in Jacksonville and two times in Chicago. The quarterbacks Robinson had to endure include: Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, Chad Henne. Did you know that he played with Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenburg at Penn State? Talk about horrible quarterback luck. Allen Robinson has back to back top 12 finishes in the last two years (WR12). His ADP in 2021: WR15.
Fantasy Football is a multi-billion dollar industry incapable of reducing to a formula. It relates more closely than people think to our daily lives. Through applying lessons from my 2016 love life and beyond, I’m able to see the bigger picture from a drone shot view to help us filter through this information.
Your prosperity in Fantasy football isn’t going to be based on how many podcasts you listen to, how many YouTube videos that you binge, how much research you take in, how much data that’s provided and all the articles that you encounter. You will win by questioning everything and discerning what you believe and what you don’t believe from the information that’s provided to you. Our success is going to be based on how well we sift through the game film, stats, numbers and opinions to figure out: What is Truth & What is the Whole Truth?