Friday, August 1, 2008

Groups Of NFL Players Start Their Own "Fantasy Office" League

Allen Park, MI. (Aug. 1) - It's becoming a more normal sight -- small groups of NFL players huddling together, but this time huddling off the field. They gather together in their dorm rooms after the day's training camp practices are finished, about to engage in the newest phenomenon in the league: fantasy office.

More and more NFL players are spending their free time drafting and trading office workers across the country, and they are finding this new game to be quite addictive.

"Aww man, you have no idea!," said Detroit Lions linebacker Paris Lenon yesterday as he got ready to settle down with four teammates to discuss possible trades. "The other day I got my aggression out on the field after my boy in Pittsburgh got written up for excessive tardiness," Lenon said of Pittsburgh assistant public relations coordinator Jeremy Lucas, an employee of Weinberg and Associates, who Lenon has as his "sleeper" pick on his fantasy office team, The Staplers.

Lenon and his teammates "own" office workers throughout the country in a variety of fields, ranging from marketing to retail to the recording industry. The workers "cost" varying amounts of money, and each week points are accumulated based on a variety of categories: copy machine knowledge; e-mail efficiency; subordination; promptness; and a special stat called TWO, or Total Worker Output, which is a very complicated statistic that can only be gotten with a specially-programmed computer -- not unlike the quarterback rating in the NFL.

The "holy Grail" for NFL players involved in Fantasy Office leagues is when a worker they own has what is called an Office Busting Week -- one in which the employee scores perfect 10s in all categories. Lenon says he's never had such a week from one of his workers, but added that Memphis, TN office manager Crystal Hennesey came close, with only a "9" in telephone courtesy ruining a possible Office Buster.

Lions player Mike Furrey joined Lenon at the table and was very excited about his recent pickup.

"I found that Matthew Ellison had been cut a few minutes earlier," Furrey said of the 27-year-old tech support assistant manager at Telmix, a software firm in Bakersfield, CA. "I knew that Ellison was very good at Problem Solving, which can carry your team in a bad week. So I snatched him up," Furrey added, although he was saddened to have to cut Gainesville, FL cashier Mary Willingham, who Furrey described as an "up-and-coming" worker. "But you gotta give up something to get something, ya know?", Furrey said.

It pained Furrey to have to cut Gainesville cashier Willingham (above), but had no choice in order to make room for Ellison

Lenon was disgusted by his league's rule that says all workers must be in place and on rosters by 5pm Friday, or else their stats won't count for the following week.

"Everyone knows that things can happen over the weekend," Lenon groused. "A guy could go drinking and get too hungover to come in on Monday, or he takes a three-day weekend and you lose him for Monday. I think 9am Monday would be more fair." Lenon says he plans to take his concerns to league commish Jeff Backus, who also functions as the Lions' starting left tackle.

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