Scott Stanford: A fantasy gone astray

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The burning question is, "Should I ditch David Boston for Curtis Martin?"

Don't get me wrong -- I don't have a shot at winning the Homie Bowl, the championship of the Homie Fantasy Football League. I have traded and stumbled my way to a 4-6 start this year. I can make a run at the playoffs and win back some of the money I have wasted. But the Homie Bowl is out of reach. Unless Anguan Boldin and Derrick Mason perform a whole lot better than they have to date, I will miss the championship game for the fifth straight year.

The smart money is on the dude in Bryan-College Station who calls his team the "Trailer Park Pimps." I think the Pimps have won the past two championship games, which only goes to prove I'm no longer the biggest geek in our fantasy league.

Don't get me wrong -- I used to be an enormous geek. Back before ESPN, Yahoo and CBS Sportsline, I spent my Mondays poring over the sports pages to tally the scores for my league. I not only kept track of the points for all the players in the league, but also for all the players in the NFL. It was just my newspapers, my Xcel spreadsheets and me.

This data-crunching kept me on top of things. I knew who the up-and-coming players were. I was the one who picked up Rod Smith when nobody outside of Arvada knew who he was. I'm the one who figured out that bonus points for long touchdowns made receivers more valuable than running backs. I won three straight Homie Bowls. I was cool.

My wife didn't think so, even if I once used my Homie winnings to buy her a giant Crock-Pot and a vacuum cleaner. Nope. She would come home from work to find me crunching fantasy numbers at the computer. She'd just shake her head and make the "L" shape with her index finger and thumb.

But that was then. Back when the draft required a pencil and a legal pad, not to mention 12 guys, beer, a grill and some meat.

Nowadays, all drafting is done online. We're spread across the country with our fantasy magazines on the floor, praying our dial-up connections stay connected, lest the computer draft Danny Kanell or Jarious Jackson for us.

We used to get together on draft day and talk lots of smack. Nowadays, we type chat smack. That's OK, but inevitably somebody types "lick" where he meant "kick." At least I think he meant "kick."

I started the season 0-2, before bouncing back to 2-2. Then came the four-game losing streak. That's when I purged my roster, ditching Peyton Manning for Trent Green, Rudi Johnson and Corey Dillon. Tiki Barber went for Joey Galloway and somebody I can't remember. I claimed Steve Smith, traded him for Michael Pittman and then sent Pittman packing for Derrick Mason. I made some more trades not worthy of repeating.

Everybody else in the league wants my head for trading Culpepper to the Pimps for, as one other owner put it, Brad Johnson and an old gym shoe. But no matter, I have won two straight and if I can just get Curtis Martin for David Boston, I have a shot to win $47.50, give or take $20. I could get my wife a Fry Daddy or something by Ronco with that kind of cash.

Not that she's impressed. She's making that "L" sign again while I type this. At least I hope it was the "L" sign.

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