30 Minutes That Will Shape The Next Ten Months Of Your Life

This is a community article contributed by Mark Creese from Barry, South Wales.

The timer hits zero minutes to go.

My laptop is plastered with post it notes.

Every scenario has been meticulously prepared for.

The importance of what will follow cannot be underestimated.

And so, the draft for the 2015/16 Fantasy Football season begins. How well I’ll do won’t help me pay the mortgage, enhance my career or make my girlfriend love me more, but we all know why we do it. Why we daydream of a Vardy hat trick, Myhill penalty heroics or a Geoff Cameron assist.

Bragging rights.

I finished second last year, meaning I and eight other friends were pathetic failures to the one footballing genius in our group. What did he do differently? Gambling on a kid called Kane when I begged Falcao to pretend it was two years ago - inspired. Dropping Di Maria for Ki Sung-yeung – a decision from the gods.

I cannot fail again.

The beauty of the draft, as we’re aware, is that no-one has the same player, meaning after the second round of picks the quality of player doesn’t so much decrease, as plummet to the ground like Felix Baumgartner. You place your success entirely in the feet of the unlikeliest of heroes.

How do you approach this dilemma? Do you concentrate on having a good spine to the team – goalkeeper, centre back, a midfielder and a striker of a good standard? How about ignoring defence altogether and taking the Keegan approach? What if I’m positioned in the middle of the draft picking order – the Sahara, the dead zone.

I am. Slap bang in the middle. A guarantee that Hazard, Sanchez, Costa, Kane and Rooney are already gone. No back to back picks, no preferable position in the waiver queue. What. Is. The. Point.

Post it notes are frantically crumpled up. It becomes crushingly apparent that I haven’t prepared for any scenario, let alone all of them.

Before I know it I have half a team. Depay, Payet, Wijnaldum, Ayew and Mitrovic. Not a single Premiership ball kicked between them. Not so much a risk, as wearing seal swimming shorts among sharks. Can you get seal swimming shorts? I digress.

You cannot underestimate the stress during these 30 minutes. No-one wants to be thrashed by their friends. No-one wants to put their trust in Van Wolfswinkel, yet like choosing a raisin Revel, it will, inevitably happen to one of us.

The draft finishes, we frantically WhatsApp (we’re cool) and realise we’ve all done as badly as one another. The script is written, heroes and failures chosen. Who will belong in which category not yet known.

Welcome to the next ten months. Welcome to Draft Fantasy Football.

by Mark Creese

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