It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s time for Fantasy Football Finals, the most anticipated event of the weekend (I understand that only roughly 2 out of every 10 of you are in your finals, but if an estimated 40 million people participate in Fantasy Football, then 800,000 people is still a good sized audience). This Saturday, in most standard Fantasy Leagues, week 16 is the final match-up of the season (as to avoid good teams resting their best players for the playoffs, commonly known as the Manning Rule), and I am here to give you some sound advice if you want to succeed. But before I continue, let me just preface that I am not going to tell you who to start/sit or add/drop. That is a job for experts. Experts like the guys up in our war room. Actually, what I am here for today is to give you some advice on something a little more important: What to choose as your team name this weekend.
There is a feeling in sports: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.” Well the same can be said about Fantasy: “If your team’s name is good, you feel good…et cetera”. Which is why it is crucial that, if you want to come out victorious this weekend, you must put as much thought into your name as you do scouring the waiver wire. “But Kevin, why would I change my name now?” Well, because in less than a week, trophies all over the country are going to be engraved with the champions name, and do you really want to be remembered as the team with the lackadaisical name? Or worse head into the championship with a name based off a player on the IR? That’s like starting a player on a bye week. But this mistake is very avoidable, and all you need is a little guidance.
As far as I’m concerned there are three types of Fantasy Names:
1.) Inside Jokes that no one else but the 9+ others in your league would get. Examples range from poking fun of someones previous fantasy football foibles to commenting on how someone in the league recently “let themselves go”. I cannot give you advice on these, and to be honest you are better than that. You took Gronkowski in the 8th round, I know you are more creative than that.
2.) Football Puns that play off common terminology. The breakdown of these is pretty straight forward. It’s some combination of: [Your Name]+[Football Terminology]=Fantasy Team Name. Examples include “Kyle’s Coffin Corner” and “First and Ted”. Now depending on the level of creativity involved, some of these can be very clever. But remember, there are only so many years you can go as “Tommy’s Touchdown Maker’s” and not make it look amateur.
3.) Topical/Pop Culture References – similar to “Football Puns”, but with a much more open-source formula. The goal here is to take a fairly well known saying or phrase and somehow work a football player/team/coach’s name into it. These can range from movie references (Shaub Shank Redemption, Look How They Massaquoi My Boy) to band names and music lyrics (Clay Matthews Band, DeAngelo Hall and Oates) or even reality TV (Jersey LeShoure). But be careful, for every great “Forte Akers and a Mule” there are just as many “Arian BrockelVick”s. And the golden rule in Fantasy names is “if you have to explain it, it’s not worth it”. This kind of team name, I feel, is the most effective use of your 28 character limit. Because if your name is more clever than your oponent’s, than you are already one step ahead of them in mind games. Once you realize that team naming is the first step in fantasy trash talking you’re already one step close to victory, because Ganoing is half the Battle.
Now, I understand you may be hesitant about the last minute change. You’ve ridden “The Warriors” for 16 weeks and changing your name now would seem like pulling your pitcher 26 outs into a no hitter. Well if you’re confident in your name, then you are right to want to keep it. But if you’re at all hesitant, then please take my advice and change your name. It’s the easiest change to your team you will make this week to help you win. And remember, you don’t win silver when it comes to Fantasy Football. So name like a champion for the finals. Below is a list of my 5 favorite names I have seen this season, please add your family friendly and work appropriate names in the comments below. Good luck.