“My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.’”
That’s the famous reflection on life line was delivered by Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) in the 1994 movie of the same name.
The same line could be said of purchasing lottery tickets to ordering a hamburger at a new restaurant or drafting a fantasy football team.
National Football League players come in all kinds of sizes, just like the Russell Stover chocolates that Gump possessed.
I thank everyone for paying the big bucks to watch and help fuel NFL team, and so I can play free fantasy football where you select imaginary teams consisting of NFL players
More than an estimated 40 million Americans participate in fantasy football, a fun gateway to the sport they love. They hang on every intrusion into the Red Zone (inside the 20-yard line) for a possible score (and points) to what ESPN’s fantasy expert Matthew Barry predicts each week will be players to sit or play.
How well players perform each week in real life is translated through a scoring system to how well your imaginary team does. In the end, someone wins a championship (I’m in 10-team PPR leagues) and can download a pixel trophy (and get a discount when purchasing a championship T-shirt).
Like a box of chocolates, where we all know we are going to get a chocolate, we just don’t know how sweet or sour that candy, or player, is going to be.
Now I am not an expert on the subject, just an avid fantasy participant. I did win 13 of my 25 (the maximum you can have) ESPN team championships last year, had several second-place team and none that finished last.
Observation: You probably don’t have much of a chance at a title if you drafted 8, 9 or 10th in the first round.
If you picked in the first seven rounds and selected Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, you probably are hurting. Bell is not going to play this year.
Last year Arizona Cardinals’ running back David Johnson, drafted by many as a top 7 pick, broke a wrist early in the first game and did not play again until this year. A lot of teams saw their seasons evaporate very early.
Those are not the kinds of candies you want to pull out of your box but, as we all know, life is like a bowl of chocolates cherries.
Surprises for me this year include getting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the leading candidate for MVP honors in the AFC, as my second quarterback late in a draft.
Good things come to those who wait. For me, that was holding onto New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. He’s played terrific that last couple weeks.
Fantasy scoring doesn’t necessarily reflect how well a team does in real life. Take Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 406 yards (9.9 yards a toss) in a 13-3 loss to the Washington Redskins in week 10.
But my patience wore out this week for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. He was booted off my roster for a kicker or defense to replace others on a bye week.
In early August I drafted Cousins on several teams as my first quarterback. He turned out like a piece of fruit inside a nut cluster. I tossed him this week for backup kickers or defenses.
My dad, if he spotted me playing fantasy football, would have said a whole lot of nothing is still nothing.
I’d love to tell Pops, “Life is like a box of chocolates, so I’m enjoying every bite.”
Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at email@example.com.