Adrian Peterson works for me, or at least he did this season. This would have been impossible to envision even a few short years ago, and would still be impossible now if not for the invention of fantasy sports. Now I can sit at home and overthink how I want to "use" my players each week. I can sit Peyton Manning on the bench and pretend I'm Jim Caldwell if I want. I can put out the Arizona defense against Green Bay and get zero points for it. I can ride a hot wide receiver like Andre Johnson to a fantasy "Super Bowl" title and start all over again next year by drafting a team based on this year's statistics and a bevy of suggested "studs", some of whom bombed out this year and caused me intense pain and quite a few trips to the waiver wire.
Jamaal Charles came up big for me this year after Steve Slaton busted out and then was carted off on injured reserve. Terrell Owens was either feast or famine. Any wide receiver who matched up against Darelle Revis this year was summarily benched, no matter if his name was Moss or Ochocinco or Jackson. My quarterback position was a revolving door of Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, David Garrard, and Vince Young. And I came *this* close to going to the fantasy playoffs. If not for some missed field goals, some blowout games where my wide receivers weren't used, a couple of total busts from Jeremy Shockey, and some misplaced trust in LeSean McCoy (when Leonard Weaver had a career game), I may very well have a championship in my hands right now.
And I've already started for next season. The big map is up on my wall, with names being moved around on a daily basis. Do I take a quarterback first or go with the tried and true choice of a running back. My first running back this year was Ryan Grant and it was hit or miss what he would do. I also had Joseph Addai and with all of the comeback victories by the Colts sometimes he would disappear from games. Luckily he still scored a bunch of touchdowns for me. Yes, for me. So next season I will re-evaluate. Who had a bad year? Is Slaton worth a pick up or is he best to be left aside? Will Peterson's fumbles hurt his numbers enough for me to worry? Can I get Chris Johnson if I don't have the first pick overall? How? Is McNabb worth my time or would I be better served trying for someone like Jay Cutler?
The glory of fantasy football is its addictive value. Just having that kind of power (and the devastation of picking the wrong guys) can spur you on to play in multiple leagues, to second- and third-guess yourself again and again, and to keep coming back for more. Even when you finish well out of the playoff race you can look to the next "big thing", to playing that waiver wire one more time, to a guy coming out of nowhere and having that big game.
And you can hope that when he does, you didn't have him riding your bench.