- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Among the many offerings fantasy sports has given the world: A never-ending supply of things to complain about.

And at the top of the list? Luck.

In fantasy sports, bad luck seems to happen to you more than the other guy, while he or she surely has better fortune than you. Your wins? Smart calls, impeccable decision-making. Their wins? Luck, of course.

Just don’t forget about what co-owner Sigmund Bloom of FootballGuys.com affectionately calls “the oblong ball factor.”

Examples are all over, Bloom says. Those five or so plays that mean the difference between a winning and losing record. Or the playoff team that squeaks in as one of the lowest seeds, but gets hot in the playoffs and wins a title.

Are we talking fantasy or the NFL? Both.

“It’s essentially unknowable, even for the players and coaches,” Bloom says. “A lot of the same things that drive us crazy in fantasy are played out in the NFL.”

So when you complain on Twitter, know there’s a steady stream of people who also have scored the most points in their league and have had the most points scored against them at some point during the year. On Reddit, note that “Start (Insert player here) they said” is a common refrain late Sunday and early Monday _ and little more than a lame excuse.

It doesn’t take away from any skill, but there’s simply a lot of luck in fantasy football _ likely a lot more than you think.

Under ESPN standard fantasy scoring, 34 different quarterbacks have finished at least one week in the top 12 at the position so far this season. That means for that week, they should have started in a 12-team fantasy league, or some owner missed out on points.

Among running backs, 72 have spent at least one week in the top 24 at the position, as have 95 wide receivers. A total of 45 tight ends have finished as a top 12 tight end at some point this year.

That’s through eight weeks. Many of those players aren’t started, of course (Levine Toilolo or Khiry Robinson, anyone?), but understanding the gamble can go a long way toward helping you evaluate why your fantasy season is going so well or poorly.

Here’s what takes real skill: Navigating all that luck, both good and bad.



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