Monday, 19 September 2011

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How My Fantasy Football Team is Influencing My Travel Decisions

I've been playing fantasy football for almost 15 years now, with largely the same group of guys.  About seven or eight years ago, we changed the format of our league to be a keeper league, which means you keep the same players from year to year unless you drop them or trade them away.  This lets guys build their teams with young players, but it also lets you get pretty attached to the players you've owned for a few years.  While normally this is an insignificant feeling that only surfaces when talking to other managers in the league, I've noticed that on occasion it can trickle over into my travel planning.

I don't sit down and say "Where are my fantasy players playing this week?" when I'm planning a trip, but if I happen to be scanning down the list of cities that are on for a reasonable price, there's a couple of them that are going to stick out more than others.  For instance, the quarterback for my fantasy team for the last six years has been Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.  This is also year five for me with Marcus Colston, his main receiver.  These guys have been the mainstays of my team for the last little while, although they've yet to win a championship for me.

Obviously New Orleans isn't on sale this week.
When I go looking for a cheap airfare, I use a program (Fare Compare) that lists flights based on a cents/mile basis.  Then I scan down the list, and see what's on for a good price that interests me.  There's usually lots of cities available at the same cents/mile rate, but when I see New Orleans, my brain thinks "Saints", and it just kind of pops out at me.  I start thinking about the points that Brees and Colston are going to get for me this weekend, and that makes New Orleans the destination that gets my first look.

I've also had Steven Jackson of St. Louis for a number of years.  I really have no reason to want to go to St. Louis.  Very few of the airlines that I fly spend much time there, and the list of things to do in St. Louis doesn't really appeal to me.  Still, if I'm going down the list and my brain sees St. Louis (Rams) in the sale column, I'm taking a second look.  One of these days I'm going to book a flight to St. Louis and my wife is going to give me her "Why the heck are we going there?" look.  I have no idea how I'm going to explain that it's because Steven Jackson ran for over 120 yards and two touchdowns last week and won me a fantasy football match up.

Of course, it works both ways.  Buffalo is going to have to come in under three cents per mile before I'm ever going to consider booking a flight there, and even then it would probably just be a brief pit stop on the way to New York.  I know nothing about the city, which might be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but I've been beaten more times than I can remember by a Buffalo Bills player having a huge week.  The fact that I'm a huge Miami Dolphins fan and Buffalo is a division rival doesn't make me any more likely to be headed to upstate New York any time soon.

I get that choosing your vacation spot based on your fantasy football team is a little strange, but there are probably worse things to be influenced by.   It's not like I'm dragging my kids to Milwaukee because the best guy on my fantasy baseball team plays for the Brewers.  Besides, just this week I picked up a Miami Dolphins receiver and guess what city's on the top of the sale list today?  Destiny?