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Conflict of Interests: Who Should You Root For in the Fantasy Playoffs?


(Antonio Brown has been fantasy gold this season, but he may lead to some football fans’ conundrums, Courtesy Getty Images)

You did it. You’re here. You’re in the thick of an intense race to your league’s fantasy football championship.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

But what doesn’t feel so good is your conflict of interest. You have players on your fantasy team facing players on your favorite NFL team.

It’s a problematic conundrum that affects many fantasy owners each year.

So what do you do? How do you handle starting Cam Newton against your Falcons in week 16? What about starting Emmanuel Sanders against your beloved Bengals?

I’m here to help. Listen to my thoughts on what is the correct way to root in the final weeks of the NFL regular season.

Let’s get this straight right off the bat. No one likes that guy who roots for their fantasy running back to gash their favorite team’s front seven in order to win their fantasy game.

But it’s oh so hard to root against Antonio Brown when he’s on your fantasy team, yet you’re a Jets fan needing a Steelers loss in order to have a chance of making the playoffs.

During the regular season, there’s been many times where I’ve had a player on my fantasy team face my favorite team. How did I deal with it? It’s simple. I didn’t necessarily rejoice when my player scored a touchdown or broke a 20-yard gain, but there was a little silver lining to my team getting scored against.

Let me be honest, though. I didn’t need huge games out of players facing my favorite team because I usually had a good enough week from my other players to win. I’m not trying to be cocky, I’m just saying.

The difference between week four against a lowly opponent and week 16 and the championship is pretty large. Obviously, there’s a whole lot more riding on week 16 than in week four.

So I admit, it’s a much different animal this time of year.

My favorite team is in the heat of the playoff battle. I also own three starters on my fantasy team that are bitter rivals to my favorite team. All three players of mine will start in my week 16 championship game, but should I root for them to score five touchdowns combined and account for a plethora of fantasy points?

Since my players are not directly facing my favorite team, and my favorite team has clinched a playoff spot, I will be rooting for my fantasy players.

That scenario is simple, but what about when your player is facing your favorite team in the championship?

I will not have to deal with that situation this weekend, but for those who do, think with me.

If your player is playing your favorite team, and your team has clinched a playoff spot or is eliminated, I don’t see anything wrong with rooting for your player while rooting for your favorite team.

But the sticky situation comes when your team is in the thick of the playoff picture and hasn’t clinched. Your team also is facing your fantasy team’s quarterback. Now what?

Don’t be a hypocrite. I repeat, do not be a hypocrite.

When it comes down to it, what would you rather see happen? Would you like to see your favorite team hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February, or have bragging rights over a few friends for a while?

If you’re a true fan, you’d want to see a Super Bowl championship attached to your favorite team’s name.

Is one player going to decided the fate of your fantasy championship chances? Probably not.

If you’re lucky enough to have a great team to root for, take advantage of it. Enjoy being a fan of a team that’s not the Browns or Lions. It’s a lot easier to improve your fantasy team than it is for your NFL team to improve.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a “true” fan root against their favorite team, all so their kicker will score enough to keep their championship hopes alive.

Fantasy football is a blast. But don’t let it override your fandom for your own franchise. Fantasy football is fantasy. The playoff push and playoff weekends matter way more and carry far more weight.

Put a fantasy football championship on one side of a scale, and put a Super Bowl championship on the other. If your want for a fantasy championship outweighs your desire for a Super Bowl title, you’re not a real fan of your NFL team. It’s that simple.

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. I take my fantasy football very serious, but not as serious as my love for my favorite team.
Good luck to your fantasy team this weekend, but more luck to your NFL team (as long as they aren’t facing mine).

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