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A few years back, all members of the Justus League* started a Fantasy Football league. Levels of football knowledge ran the gamut:

My dad brought almost 70 years of arm-chair quarterbacking into the league. Before the draft and mid-week before each round, my darling nerd-ed out with player research. On the other end of the spectrum, my mom played along just to be a part of the group. Claire, my teenage niece, just picked all Patriots players because of her love of Cape Cod and the New England area.

I fell somewhere in the middle. I knew the names of popular players and had a general idea of who to draft. I did not, however, understand how the points in fantasy football were awarded. While winning would have been fun, I never considered that as a reason to play.

My dad and I drove to Green Bay and back in one weekend to see Brett Favre play the Arizona Cardinals in Lambeau.

When the preseason games started up this year, I bemoaned not having a fantasy league. We didn’t have one last year, and I didn’t enjoy the games nearly as much. It’s more difficult to get excited about football season when your team is rarely on TV. (If I may introduce you to myself – an Arizona Cardinal fan, born and raised in East Tennessee. Don’t ask. I have no clue how that happened either.)

I didn’t whine to anyone but Jay. Thankfully, my nephew, Charlie messaged the family asking to form a league. We only had a couple of days to draft once the league was formed, so once again I didn’t research my team well. I made sure to pick Lamar Jackson first. I picked up as a second-string QB as a fluke a few years ago, much to my delight when he set my fantasy points total on fire. The rest of my team is okay, but not great.

Brett Favre, in the red zone, circa 2006

I started this season out with a loss. Then Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson showed up in a big way last week, giving me my first victory of the season.

We still haven’t decided on a punishment for the person who finds themselves at the bottom of the standings come to the end of the season. Jay wanted to do the Waffle House challenge, but the teenager refuses to agree to anything that would sacrifice that much of his weekend. But even if we end up with just an embarrassing Facebook picture as punishment, I’m glad to have the league this year.

Having a bit of skin in the game helps me care about professional football. It gives me a reason to care about the games and provides conversational fodder for the family. I’m a winner no matter what.

Because I love both teams, I cheered for whoever was on offense during this game.

But, it would be extra sweet if my CheezHeads could pull out an upset victory against Jay’s Team Ertz this week. Heck, I’m enjoying just being favored to win 51% to 49%!

Have you ever joined a fantasy league? I’d love to hear about your fandom – which NFL team do you root for? Each person in the Justus League supports a different team. I nerd out to the reasons people pick the team they claim as their own.