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I like football, but I'm not a huge football fan. I pretty much take it or leave it until the playoffs. However, a close friend of mine was starting a fantasy league and she asked me if I'd like to join. I'd said of course, but it was more for the social aspect than to show off my knowledge of football, which is pedestrian, at best.

For those of you who don't know, fantasy football works like this: The game starts with a draft where each of the participants selects players for his "team" from a list of active NFL players. Points are scored based on how each player on your team performs in real life. For example, if Kurt Warner passes for three touchdowns, you'd get points for those touchdowns. You also get points based on yardage, field goals, intereceptions, and other considerations. Each week, you play a different participant and his group of players. At the end of the season two winners are determined, one based on win-loss record, the other based on total points scored (of course, one person could win both catagories). Everybody who wants to play antes up a few bucks and the winners split the pot.

For my part, I found a website with last year's stats for all the NFL players, imported them into an Excel spreadsheet and used the game's scoring algorithm to calculate how many points that player would have scored last year. I did this more out of laziness more than anything else. I really didn't have time to research the players before the season started, and my knowledge of football is not so great that I could go into the draft cold. So I spent about half an hour searching the web and about half an hour building my spreadsheet.

When it came time to draft my players, my sole draft criteria was selecting the player who had scored the most points last year based on the fantasy algorithm and who was still available to be drafted. That's it. Strictly mechanical. No emotions or hunches involved. I just followed the screen, picking the guy with the most points who was still available.

We just ended week three on monday night. Thus far, I'm 3-0 and leading the league in points scored. Although some people are hot on my heels, I'm CRUSHING a couple football gurus who live and die by the sports page. Yet what I did was so simple and took far less time than actually watching sports. Heck, I had never even heard the names of half the guys I drafted. Jimmy Smith? Wasn't he on LA Law? Anyway, he had three touchdowns last week...

It's too early in the season say for sure, but at this point it appears that simple, emotionless screens have value beyond investing. There is a gloating value that money simply cannot buy.
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