Fantasy Nightmare as Internet Crashes During Dolphin Charity Draft

31 Aug

I know, I know, most of the money goes to charity. That is of course the point of the Dolphins Charity League. Heck, it’s right there in the name. It’s a nice cause, and I’m proud to be along for the ride (thanks to Brian Miller at PhinPhanatic.com for starting it up).

Still, when I settled in for the draft this past Sunday I took it just as seriously as my other, higher stakes leagues (Yes, I’m up to three now. My name is Dan, and I’m an addict. “Hi, Dan.”). The pair of 22-month-old toddlers (I apparently fathered them both), currently ransacking my home on a daily basis, made it necessary to seek an outside location for my War Room. The obvious choice? The neighborhood Starbucks. They’ve given up any fees for wifi service, and in past visits the internet connection has been strong and steady. What is it they say about “If something can go wrong”?

So there I was, logging in, prepping my sheets, cracking my knuckles, guzzling caffeine, supplementing my already high levels of natural, fantasy adrenaline (We’re talking Brian Cushing levels). I threw out some required smack-chat, and started preparing my player queue.

Somehow I wound up with the #1 pick, thanks to a draft randomizer that I swear I didn’t pay my Java programmer Cousin Andy to rig in my favor. There is no question that Chris Johnson is my guy. I mean, he scored 100 more points than Ray Rice, the consensus 3rd/4th pick. I threw CJ into my queue, and started dragging and dropping RBs behind him.

The League is non-PPR, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, a Flex spot, TE, yadda yadda yadda. I’ve decided up front that I’m going three RBs straight. The L.A. Bottlenoses were hellbent on locking in a few horsemen then working on other positions, best players available.

So there I was, piling up the RB names in that fancy queue as the draft countdown hit 00:00. My screen freezes. I wait. I wait a little longer. Perhaps this is just a normal pause before the draft commences? It isn’t.

Crap, I logged out, then back in. Johnson is on my bench, and the draft is seven picks in already. Whew! At least I got my guy. The clock is moving, the picks are being made, my screen looks normal. I take a swig of joe and a deep breath (remember to breathe during fantasy drafts, as lack of oxygen can cause complete disregard for ADP).

After a blistering second round I’m on the clock again, at the turn. Back to back picks, and two of my favorite RBs still on the board. I click on my first guy, Shonn Greene (I know, I know, a freaking Jet. But hell, Gang Green ran for 2400 yards last year). Nothing happens. I click again. Nothing. I’m frozen. I click on my other target, trying to unfreeze the draft room. Click. Click. “Come on. Jamaal Charles. Jamaal Charles.” JC is the other guy I must have. Thomas Jones and McCluster aren’t scaring me off. The guy was the #11 back in fantasy, in eight games people!

The page is doing nothing. I’m freaking out, eyeing the baristas suspiciously. Are they in on this? Am I being sabotaged? I log out. But unlike the last time, it won’t let me log back in. We’re at dial-up speed all of a sudden. My fantasy squad is on the line and I’m trapped in 1996!

Seconds become minutes. I’m trying to log into the draft over and over. It won’t let me. The connection is just too slow. I’m a mad man, frothing at the mouth, shouting at strangers! I have no idea who’s being yanked off the board by my foes. Finally I notice a tiny link to a “Lite” version of the draft room (tastes great, less filling).

Another long wait as my laptop desperately tries to connect. Finally after what seems like an eternity, I’m back online, in a very basic draft room. No chat. No nifty photos of players. The good news? There, on my roster, Shonn Greene and Jamaal Charles have joined Chris Johnson. It’s the RB trio I dreamed of the night before, stampeding over sugarplums. They were the next guys in my queue, and so they were selected for me when my signal died.

The bad news? There were only RBs in my queue. Amid the chaos I hadn’t dragged any other positions into the window. Two more picks had passed. The Bottlenoses now had a stable of five horsemen (admittedly a pretty sick collection of backs in Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene, Jamaal Charles, Jahvid Best and Pierre Thomas), and nobody else on the roster.

Luckily I logged into this lite version with my 6th/7th round picks almost on the clock. No time to waste. Time for damage control. I immediately sort the WRs and QBs. Still not sure how they’re still on the board, but both Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe are staring me in the face. I quickly drag their names into my queue. Sure enough, fifteen seconds later, the moment I’m on the clock, another freeze. It’s okay, I had figured out that during freezes the site grabbed from my queue. Sure enough, Nicks and Bowe were mine.

But now another massive wait as my computer struggles like a hamster in a wheel, plugging away, grasping for any and all bytes available in an effort to rejoin the draft, currently bulldozing ahead without me. And as I slam my fist on the table, sending customers running for the exits, it hits me: There’s nobody in my queue. ESPN is about to fill my slots for me. The dreaded autodraft.

Sure enough, by the time I get back in, a quarterback and tight end have joined The Bottlenoses. My auto-picks? Jay Cutler and Kellen Winslow. Meh. Cutler could make some noise, though depending on him is a scary proposition. Winslow is elite when healthy, which ain’t all that often. But there, still on the board, was Philly’s new gunslinger Kevin Kolb. My blood pressure rises a bit more. I certainly would have grabbed him over Jay. But hey, all bets are off at this point.

At this point the wifi starts to pick up a little steam. I decide to give the normal draft room a try. There are 20 picks before I’m up again. Perhaps I can rejoin the party and explain my predicament? My gamble pays off. I’m back in the normal draft room, telling my sad tale to the others via the chat box.

I start filling my queue, in case of another crash. It’s best player available time. I need talent. I need yards. I need upside. I need everything but running backs. But lo and behold, the newly strengthened signal carries me through the next picks.

Big Ben (by all accounts a d-bag, but also too good to still be on the board at pick 120). Oakland’s Zach Miller (Had 800+ yards with Jamarcus at QB? Didn’t Jason Campbell throw 12TDs to TEs last year? Sign me up.) Derrick Mason (old as dirt, yet somehow scraped together 1,000 yards last year). Kyle Orton (seems capable of a magic act in Denver, even with the Gaffney/Royal tandem at his disposal). Malcolm Floyd (yeah, at pick 168 I’m ready to grab a piece of the Vincent Jackson debacle).

And finally, as the draft was winding down, the Fantasy Gods granted me a Dolphin. Well, not one Dolphin, 22 of them rather, as I nabbed Miami’s defense and special teams at pick 169. I like it. Mike Nolan makes crap happen. Denver was 29th when Mike arrived there. 7th when he left. And we all know what he did in Baltimore. He’s not tipping much of his hand in the preseason, and I think many big plays await. I also am banking on Nolan Carroll keeping the starting job out of Patrick “Probably Faster than Betty White” Cobbs. I think the rookie speedster has a couple of TDs in him.

Once the dust had cleared, the damage was much less than I feared. Big Ben, Cutler and Orton in the QB rotation. A running back buffet with CJ, JC, Shonn, Pierre and Jahvid. Thin at WR with Bowe and Nicks followed by Mason and Floyd. Miller and Winslow are among the strongest TE tandems in the league. At least I was able to finish the draft on my terms, attempting to balance the ship a bit with whatever morsels remained.

And that healing has continued. Just 48-hours after the madness I found an owner who was a little thick at wide receiver, and thin in the backfield. We’ve agreed to a Pierre Thomas/Calvin Johnson swap, pending a physical and league approval. It’s the best kind of trade, one that truly helps both teams.

Though I lost at least several months off my life during the stress of this past Sunday, I can’t complain about the shape of my team. It’s onward and upward. I’m actually excited to see if Mike Martz can turn Cutler into a stud. And maybe Winslow will be the monster he’s capable of being. Perhaps my auto-draftees will be the keys to a title? And maybe those guys who somehow fell to me will indeed light it up this year? You can guesstimate. You can play your hunches. But you never truly know. I’m at peace with that.

Still, if Kolb destroys the league this year I’ll curse Starbucks #1672 every time I pass it.

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3 Responses to “Fantasy Nightmare as Internet Crashes During Dolphin Charity Draft”

  1. InFINcible September 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    That’s what u get for drafting a jet! U didn’t just lose some months off ur life my friend, but u lost a whole lot of respect!

    I was hoping u’d redeem urself with a Green for Johnson trade.

    GO FINS!!

    • danewen September 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

      Draft with your head, not your heart! Rule #1!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Auto Phins Pr Newswire | autoksk - October 17, 2014

    […] Fantasy Nightmare as Internet Crashes During Dolphin Charity … – My auto-picks? Jay Cutler and Kellen Winslow. Meh. Cutler could make some noise, though depending on him is a scary … Fantastic Phins A great Dolphins fan site. Fins Nation A fantastic Dolphins site. Newswire @ Phins.com The Ultimate Dolphins News Scouring Site, Updated Hourly; Phin … […]

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