p r i n t     v i e w
fantasy football fantasy football

R o b o

fantasy football fantasy football


Fantasy Football 101: How to Smack-Trash Talk

By: Mr. Roboto

Fantasy smack talk, insults, trash-talk, one liners, comebacks...whatever you call it, when you play fantasy football for as long as I have you'll realize that trash talk skills are directly related to fantasy football skills. Smack also adds to the fun and is encouraged in how-to be a fantasy football commissioner guides. So, that said, winning is not enough...you must smack! Besides, when you've got a RoboCoach making all your strategy decisions that gives you time to do the things humans are good at--trash talk! On this page I'll describe the elements of smack and show you, by example, how I trash-talk. I don't have any smack credentials, but then again who does.

Lesson #1: its not whether you win or lose--it's how well you dish out the smack

In this lesson you will learn: Below is an actual smack conversation I had. "Bloody Pulp" is a rookie to fantasy football and after reading my prior post (not shown here) took offense. In this short example, you'll see all the smack elements described above highlighted in blue.

The emails below are going back and forth via a league forum mailer and they also appear on the league message board. That's the first lesson--never smack one-on-one because without an audience you can't be funny. Always reply-all, message-all or reply via your league's message board. FYI, my team is 'The Farm'.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bloody Pulp
Sent: Friday, December 14, 6:03 PM
Subject: RE: What Can I say...I'm addicted to fantasy crack

No, up yours, Farm. Have a little tact. Half of this
league is made up of people who haven't played before or
don't have time to play every week. This is evidenced
by Streetplayers continually keeping a injured
players in his lineup or Slammers playing the Viking
defense during their off week.

As for me, this is my first year, and I don't think I'm doing
too bad. Most of the season, I led the league in Points
Against, (I stand in third place now), which basically means
that everyone had their best game of the season against me.
Flip around any one of those games and I'm in the playoffs.

Congrats to all who made the playoffs. I'll see you there
next year.

Basically Bloody was saying that my prior post had crossed the line and I was being rude. My prior post had rubbed-in the fact that I was undefeated and I signed off with 'up yours, The Farm.' I was just trash-talking, of course, moreover I don't find 'up-yours' offensive, besides it's just my standard sign-off, but I'll get to that below.

So how do you begin composing trash...first think about your audience. In a new league I'd say half the players don't know the other half. You might know that so-and-so is a friend of your friend, but you may have only met them once. You're both there to have fun, but you both don't want to insult an acquaintance on the message board. In work leagues you might also want to impress a higher-up who might be in the league. The board is for smack, everybody knows that, but you don't want to upset the boss of your boss (or whatever).

You don't want to insult someone, but the league gets boring quick if nobody says anything interesting on the message board. Guys that have bad teams may fade away after just a few weeks if there isn't anything to keep their interest. I've found that when the message board goes away then so does the fun. Likewise, so does your opportunity to get to know the higher-ups or friends' friends.

I have an especially hard time staying engaged because RoboCoach manages all my draft, auction, lineup, waiver wire and trade decisions. If Robo did smack too then I'd have almost no reason to visit my league web site.

You need to smack because it keeps everybody interested in the league. Sure everybody in the league isn't my best friend, but I think it's nice to know my friend's friends if for no other reason than it gives me something (someone) to talk about. You also want to better know the higher-ups--I know I do. I'm not a career climber, but I do like to be able to hear important things early and my boss hears things before I do. So, clearly there are motivations for you to keep the message board humming. However, many of the things that keep the message board interesting, like one liners, are the things that might insult someone if taken the wrong way.

Sometimes the message board is humming from week one to week seventeen and everybody is having a great time. But what do you do if the message board is dead? Should you sit back and hope that someone else sticks their neck out and gets it going?

There is also the middle case where half the league is actively posting and the other isn't. When that happened in one of my leagues I had people in the league approach me (I was the commish) and say I should get rid of so-and-so because, "he never says anything." I felt the same way...who wants to post when there is a guy in the league who never posts? You start to wonder if he's just shy or if you might have said something to offend him. In any event you feel like you're being spied on.

The answer, of course, is you have to be willing to stick your neck out and say something worth reading. Smack is important and if you're not competent with smack then maybe fantasy isn't your thing. This is a social game and smack is what makes it fun. The stakes are usually low and whoever is winning is just another topic for trash talk. Winning is not as important as you might think. Nobody will remember who won except the guy with the tiny trophy. People do, however, remember when somebody made a border-line inappropriate post on the message board or, better yet, a way-across-the-border inappropriate post. Now that is fun!

So back to the "Bloody Pulp" reaction. He was insulted and so how should I respond? This is a work league after all and, even though I didn't intend to insult him, maybe I should say 'sorry'. NOT! I'M GOING TO INSULT HIM SOME MORE!!! Moreover, now that I know he's the sensitive type, I'm going to pick on him a lot! If Bloody gets offended by a silly little 'up yours' then it will be easy to push his 'outraged' buttons. Nothing generates more forum traffic than a funny smackdown--those threads go on and on.

Good smack is done in such a way that most people know you're joking. "Most" is the key word in the prior sentence and that means that some people might get offended. I'm always reminded of what my college Dead-Head buddies told me about playing hacky-sack: "Never say you're sorry." That rule applies to the message board. The point is, few are any good at hacky-sack and so you should expect screw-ups. Sometimes your insults will cross the line, but a good comedian doesn't apologize--he tells another joke.

Back to Bloody, a whiney post like that will be easy to poke fun at so it's time to smack back! Bloody Pulp is a rookie and so doesn't really understand that smack talk is all tounge-in-cheek, i.e., he's seriously annoyed. He didn't understand that when I signed-off my prior post (not shown here) using 'Up Yours' that it was just smack. Bloody was offended and that's why he starts his post with a reference to 'up yours'.

If you actually take offense to anything that your smacker says--you've just opened yourself up for another smack! Bloody is really upset--that's not fake outrage. BTW, fake outrage is fun to do in smack, e.g, I'm shocked...shocked that you said 'up yours'!.

I don't really know Bloody. He works in a different office and we drafted online so I never met him. I can tell he's a rookie because, for one, he said so, but also because saying 'up yours' is really small potatoes--on good boards it goes far beyond that. In Bloody's defense at least he said something and something is better than nothing. Saying nothing is no fun for sure and is actually a bit creepy, more on that later.

There's a great opportunity to really entertain everybody who's reading this smack thread. I'm not a professional comedian, but I know what a 'straight man' is. I can sit back like Bud Abbott and deliver the straight faced one-liners and Bloody is playing Lou's part, i.e., he thinks Who's on first and I Don't Know's on third.

Unlike Lou, however, Bloody isn't playing the part--he's living it. Like Bud, I'm going to keep pushing this thread to its limit, straight faced, mocking the rookie. When someone lets Bloody know that I was just goofing around then he'll realize he's just been made a fool of and either get insulted or he'll say, "good one, you got me."

When crafting your response, you have to have a bit of subtlety, you need to include some important 'Smackdicators', i.e., elements of smack style that let the audience say, "a-ha, he's just smacking." For example, the epithetical sign-off is a Smackdicator, it lets people know you have your tounge firmly planted in cheek.

It's great when you're smacking someone who doesn't understand trash talk, like Bloody, because they take every insult personally--they don't see the Smackdicators. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not a professional comedian, but I do OK in this post and bottom line -- things stay fun. So, without further ado, here is my response.

Well since you're all a bunch of rookies then let me be the first to say
**welcome to Fantasy Football 101**!! Anyone, anyone....Bueller?

You should be ready to settle down and concentrate as I've already served
the whoopass. Now for your first lesson--the most important thing is not
whether you win or lose--it's how well you dish out the smack.

Oh, and here's another lesson--always think up a good derogatory nickname for those you smack...I'm not particularly skilled at this, but here goes...
since I used to be in the Pulp & Paper industry, I know that pulp is the main
ingredient in feminine napkins and so for the remainder of this year I hope
you all smile whenever you remember that somebody in this league purposely
named their team 'Bloody Pulp'.

Ooooh, if I must say so myself, that was good. That's the first time I've
invented a derogatory nickname by just changing your perception of the
existing team name. 'Bloody Pulp' (snicker).

I'll be giving smack lessons on my way to the Fantasy Bowl so stay tuned.
One more lesson, it's always nice to end your trash talk with a tasteless epithetical
sign-off, such as...

The Farm

That was a good one--I especially like the introduction of feminine hygene products. The raunchier the better. Ladies take note! If you take offense then you are out of the fraternity and, in work leagues, out goes a big career networking opportunity. I'm sure some reading this just said something like, "well that's no fair." However it is fair: it's not about your gender, it's about your ability to take a joke. In some cases, it's about your ability to take a bad joke. If there is a moron misogynist in the league who's hammering you--fire back and don't cry about it. Nobody likes a whiner and you can't just claim superior wit and tactfulness: you have to prove it in the forum. Here's a great example of a woman smack-talking a man at a roast. She does it without memes. Just one-liners: exquisitely customized for her opponent.

Note that I signed off with 'The Farm.' When posting always sign-off with your team name as it's your message board alter-ego. It's an important smackdicator because signing your real name makes a goof seem like a personal attack.

Your team name is *the* most important smack tool you have!!! It establishes a theme for your smack and when you have a good theme the smack just flies off your keyboard. My team is 'The Farm' and with that name I can adopt the identity of any farm animal and sign-off as, say, The Donkey. Think of all the great trash you can write if you can use all the personalities on a farm! If your team name implies a whole cast of characters you'll never be at a loss for smack.

If you named your team something like 'The Buckeyes' then you need to change your team name today! Your favorite college team doesn't give you a platform from which to toss trash (catch trash is more like it). The same goes for all the other team names that are themeless. A guy in my league named his team "Snoop Dog, sponsored by Seagram's Gin--The Blue Bonic Chronic." That gave him a great theme for all his smack--he wrote all smack as if he were a rapper.

Also, don't get attached to your team name. When the Snoop theme got old, my friend renamed his team, no biggie. However, don't change your team name too often. A good trick is to save name changes for the day you are on the receiving end of a lot of smack! One of my work friends joined a league that I commish and he stupidly called his team "Go Buckeyes." That was like wearing a 'kick-me' sign on his back. First of all, it's not very original to name your team 'The Buckeyes' when you live in Ohio. Second of all--he was a rookie and rookies get smacked--don't make it easy for the league vets to haze you.

Needless to say, the smack started on day one and by week's end my friend had been the butt of every Fuc...I mean Buckeye joke in the book. I felt sorry for him, but then he had a stroke of genious. He renamed his team "Rock-and-Roll-Sweet-Sweet-Pussy-Hole" and changed his team logo to a picture of those Playboy centerfold twins wearing nothing but a snake! After that it became really hard to smack him. What are you going to say? "Take down those naked ladies...you shouldn't treat women like objects"? Not! It was a total smack-block.

Team name is a topic unto itself. Check out this fantasy team name blog.

Back to my smack with Bloody Pulp: remember that you're writing for an audience. Since this league had a lot of rookies in it I really had to highlight the Smackdicators, e.g., I literally wrote-out "here comes some smack" with the pretense that I was giving them a trash talk lesson. With rookies, you have to wear kid gloves until they get it. When you're smacking a veteran then there's no need for pretense--just include the Smackdicators and you'll be fine.

Don't forget to include a picture with your smack. A funny picture is a great smackdicator. A picture is like a team name--it gives your story a starting point. Let's say you want to call your upcoming opponent a moron. You can just post something to that effect. However, you can do better! If your league allows you to post with an image on the league home page then you should:
  1. Google 'moron'
  2. Click the 'images' link
  3. Voila! You have about one-billion images of morons.
  4. Right-click the image and save it to your hard-drive. If it is an animated gif then right-clicking won't work: you'll need to navigate to your browser's temporary internet files folder and find it.
  5. Upload the image to your site and write a story about how your opponent is like the moron shown in the image.
Smack early and often! If your team totally blows then you really need to smack before the game. That is, don't save your smack and hope you win the upcoming game. If you wait until after the game then there's a chance that you might have lost and losers can't trash talk--they can only whine. If, however, you smack before the game then there is a one-hundred percent chance that you haven't lost (yet).

Inflammatory Trash: When nothing gets posted for a long time then it's time for extreme measures. You've got to tweak the league. The easiest way to do this is start pressing people's buttons. If you have a Michigan fan in the league than start talking about how the Buckeyes have kicked their butts for 10 years straight. Make inflammatory statements and include completely fabricated information like, "ESPN polled HS All-American football players and they ranked Michigan as the place they'd least like to play."

As a last resort you might even try politics. I'm in a league this year with a friend of mine who is a tree-hugger. I love trees and all, but this guy has a bookcase with, easily, ten books about global warming. There was a news story about global warming being a hoax and so I posted a "GLOBAL WARMING HOAX" story on the front page of our site with an Al Gore political cartoon. OUTRAGE!!! APOPLEXY!! Then he tried to get all serious--posting links to scientific journals. Don't get sucked in, the message board is no place for a serious political conversation. I just kept posting tree-hugger jokes, cartoons and photos--there's tons available on the net--eventually he got off his soapbox.

Finally, when possible use Idiomatic Trash, that is, when trashing an opponent try to trash him in his particular idiom. For example, if their team name is 'the wizard' then tell them something like "Mr. wizzard, your waving a limp wand." My team name is The Farm and so that opens me up to a lot of sheep jokes and the like. It's all great fun!

Trash Links: If you'd like to talk more about how-to Fantasy Football Trash Talk then try these Google search links: Google and Google. You ought to take a look at this too: The Art of Trash Talking. I don't like the NY Times politics, but this article is great and there is a forum of sorts on the page. Remember, plagarizing a one liner might be funny, but if you tailor it for your league it can be extra hilarious.

another great smack blog: The Crusher is funny.