By Brooks Roland

I’m just gonna come right out and say it. My name is Brooks (Cue the obligatory group of people saying “Hi, Brooks!”). And I’m a fantasy football addict. Not just a fantasy player, but an addict. I’m one of those guys that looks forward to fantasy drafts as much as I look forward to the start of the actual football season. Now that doesn’t mean that I only watch football to see how my fantasy players are doing. Far from it. But I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t changed the way I watch football, as well as my attitude toward games that don’t involve our Buccaneers.

Working in the sports radio business, we obviously have to be on top of what the Bucs are doing day in and day out, but we also have to keep our hands on the pulse of what’s going on throughout the NFL. While I have an interest in what’s going in the league, fantasy football or no fantasy football, playing in fantasy leagues helps enhance my interest in other games, because there’s an emotional investment in what’s going on. For example, if I’ve got Calvin Johnson or Victor Cruz on one or more of fantasy teams, you can bet that my interest in the first Monday night game of the year between the Giants and Lions has skyrocketed.

When I first started playing fantasy football in 2006, I laid out a few ground rules for myself. Among them were that I would never draft any players from the Falcons, Panthers, or Saints, due to their status as the Bucs’ division rivals. I also had a rule that I would never start a player on my roster if they were playing the Bucs that week. Needless to say, these rules did nothing but hold me back and I always found myself out of the playoffs. So I went against my ground rules, and in 2010, which was also the first year I took part in multiple leagues, I finally made the playoffs. I haven’t looked back, throwing those old rules out the window, taking part in at least four leagues every year, and willingly drafting players from the other NFC South teams and starting some of them against my beloved Bucs.

Some people might say, “You’re not a true fan!” after reading the previous paragraph. I say that’s ridiculous. I will NEVER root for my fantasy teams over the Bucs. But if a player on my fantasy team is the best available option, and they’re going against Tampa Bay, I’m not afraid to start them. I won’t root for them, but I’m not afraid to start them. I never thought I’d be able to do it, but I can honestly say that I have successfully separated my rooting interest for the Bucs from my rooting interest in my fantasy teams. It’s crazy, but it can be done!

Besides playing because I like having a vested interest in games that don’t involve the Buccaneers, the main reason why I love playing is the competition. The bragging rights. Being able to talk smack to your friends and show them how much better you are at managing a team than you are. Draft day in fantasy football is so much fun, especially if it’s a live draft. You, a bunch of friends, beer, food, trash talking, and having a good time. That’s what it’s all about. And if you win a championship at the end of the year, it makes it that much sweeter.

If you’ve signed up for our draft parties at Buffalo Wild Wings over the next couple of weekends, be ready to have a blast. If you’ve never been, you’re in for a treat. And If you showed up last year, you know how much fun it was. Not to mention, it’s a great reminder for me why I play fantasy football every year; because it’s a whole lot of fun! I’m looking forward to seeing you guys out there!

Brooks Roland is currently the producer for Out of Bounds, which is on 7-10 pm Monday-Friday on 98.7 The Fan. Follow him on Twitter @BrooksR987 and on Instagram at brooksr987


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