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Thanks for everything

Whatever your record, you have reasons to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is a time to sit awkwardly with family and avoid talking about politics, or that secret family issue that’s better left alone. It’s also a time to appreciate the family you have, or the friends that make holidays bearable if you don’t have family close. And then there’s football. It’s often the background for the entire event, spanning three games over several hours. And with five of the six teams being playoff contenders, the league is probably thankful for good matchups. And no matter how your fantasy team is doing, you should be thankful as well.

If you’re 11-0 or 10-1, you should be thankful for your incredible fantasy luck this season. Because nobody has a record that good without a healthy dose of good fortune. I’m not saying you didn’t have a good draft or auction, or didn’t make good lineup decisions. I’m saying that the schedule, bad luck or bad decisions from your opponent, or incredible luck with regard to injuries also played a role. There’s no shame in acknowledging the role fortune plays in your record. You’re headed for the playoffs. Just sit back and enjoy while everyone else scrambles for a spot.

If you’re 9-2 or 8-3, be thankful for the gift you were given on draft day. I don’t mean the guys you wanted and chose, I mean the guys you took because the guy you really wanted was taken. Maybe you targeted Justin Herbert but had to “settle” for Jalen Hurts. Maybe you had your sights set on Najee Harris but got “stuck” with Saquon Barkley. If you look back, some members of your great team weren’t part of the plan, but just a hunch with seconds ticking down on your pick. You deserve the credit for taking them, but you should also acknowledge that someone helped you by taking the player you wanted originally.

If you’re 7-4 or 6-5, be thankful you’re in the playoff hunt. You’re still kicking with a few weeks left, and that’s more than other managers can say. We all know how quickly things can go south in fantasy football, so to have a winning record this late in the season is an accomplishment. We tend to remember the negatives more than the positives, but a few things must have gone right to be in pretty good shape after 11 weeks. Be thankful for it.

If you’re 5-6 or 4-7, be thankful for the fact that anything can happen in fantasy football. Sure, you need a win streak (and maybe some help) to make the postseason, but it’s entirely possible. Your team isn’t feeling down, and you’re not “losing the locker room.” There’s no reason you can’t win a few games. Maybe you’re due for some of that luck that other managers have had.

And if you get in, who says you can’t win it all? We all remember teams that barely snuck into the playoffs one year and ended up taking the title. Maybe some of those teams were yours. Maybe you’ve been beaten by some of those teams. Maybe both. The point is, don’t give up just yet. Your best games this season could be right in front of you, starting Thursday. Be thankful you’ve still got a shot.

If you’re 3-8 or worse, your league should be thankful for you. I’m not being snarky or saying you’re an easy win. I’m absolutely serious. Your year hasn’t gone the way you wanted, but you’re still visiting fantasy sites, setting lineups and trying your best. You are the kind of manager the league needs. It’s easy to be active when things are going well. It’s a lot harder to do it when you know you’re not making the playoffs. Your integrity is keeping you competitive, and that’s good for everyone.

I hope the managers with better records remember your example when it happens to them, because it will happen to them eventually. In a typical 12-team league, eight managers miss the postseason every year, but how they run their teams actually determines the quality of the league. You’re one of the solid players, and you deserve thanks. You might not feel good about your season, but you should absolutely feel good about how you’re playing it. And yes, that means something.

Finally, no matter your record, you get a whole day of games on Thursday. And then you get it again on Sunday. This is a great week for football fans, so don’t let your fantasy team's performance overshadow what should be a fun day with food, football, family, and friends. Years from now, you won’t remember your team’s record heading into week 12 back in 2022. But you will remember sitting on the couch and laughing with people who are an important part of your life. We only get so many days like that, so make the most of it. Happy Thanksgiving.

What is your fantasy team thankful for this Thanksgiving? How do you watch the Thursday games? Share your thoughts below.

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