I’ve thought for awhile now that the language used to describe our fantasy players is kind of gross. Someone blows his knee out and we talk about the “hit” we’re going to take this week. A guy takes the week off for his father’s funeral and he’s a dick because he didn’t tell us until we’d already set out line-up for the week. Pretty selfish.

Then this morning, I watched this amazing interview Hannah Storm did with my new guy, Rashad Jennings: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=13860032
 After my league gave me a C on my picks, mostly because I waited until the 37th round (or something) to pick a running back, I finally did some finagling to get this guy so it was kind of fun getting to know him today.

And he said something interesting about fantasy owners: “I would never in my life work for someone who speaks to their employees like half of them speak to their employees.” The whole industry “dehumanizes” players, he says.
And you know what? He’s right.

I don’t know you at all, Rashad. You told Hannah that you play chess. And like Frank Sinatra. Neither of these things came out in your interview. You had a rough early high school career and your take naps in a hyperbaric chamber because it healthfully prolongs your career. That did not come through with your combine scores.

Why didn’t you tell me these things? You ARE more than a rating and a percentage. You’re funny and adorable, obviously, but I can probably glean from your shirt (cleverly captioned “My off day looks like your work day.”) that you’re my kind of guy. Potentially a fantasy star and someone I won’t feel like taking a Purell bath after adding you to my team.

So, Rashad, I anticipate you doing a lot for me in the coming weeks. Even though, as a Packer fan, I taste a tiny bit of bile in adding a Giant to my roster, I’m really going to make the effort to be a better virtual boss. I’m going to read up on my guys. Find out where they went to college—at the very least. Learn a bit about their style. Who do they play well with? Do they shy from hits or launch themselves headlong? Do they celebrate a touchdown with Sharpies and finger guns blazing or are they all Barry Sanders style and grace?

I might even bake a cake. Bust the port wine cheese out. A little something to show my team how much they mean to me. Aaron, Mason, James, and the Packer defense already know each other but it might be nice if I learned a bit about how Amari likes Oakland. I could tell him my sister lives there so if he ever needs a ride to the airport, ya know… I could bring Darren Sproles and Derek Carrier together, get them on an Apples to Apples team and show them that rivalries ain’t nothing.

Because it’s clear. The more I get to know my guys, the more I fall in love. Hannah Storm and her mad journalism skills have opened my eyes. I’m a boss. I need to be a better boss. My virtual employees will kick real life ass if I just make a little effort.

Rashad Jennings, you are my employee of the month. Now, as your boss, I just have to avoid that sexual harassment claim my “I heart Rashad” cake will likely initiate.

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Meredith Short
Writer, Packer Fan, Utterly Underqualified Fantasy Football Consultant. Growing up in Green Bay made Meredith into a life-long Packer devotee and consumer of cheese curds. She was a three-sport athlete until college and fancied herself a real sports aficionado—right up until the night she met her future husband, the Rainman of sports trivia. The same night she met Voodoo Brown, she fell for Chris, winner of beer pong, spouter of sports stats, and the only dude at the bar with a collared shirt. She tech writes for the government, has published a comic and a book, and writes grants for non-profits—qualifying her not one iota to write sports. Today, she watches football, engaged in the action and occasionally commenting on Jordy’s forearms or so-and-so having a pretty good season, while Chris runs phone, laptop, and multi-screen TV tracking every number trackable. And this year, they’re both playing fantasy. Will his hard work and savant status win out or will this be like Preakness 2004 when she picked every race based on cutest horse name or prettiest silk? And won. Watch and learn. Or at least watch.

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