As Week 7 of the fantasy football season unfolds, the tranquility typically associated with autumn is nowhere to be found in the Patterson household. Their family-run fantasy football league, known within the family as "The Gauntlet," is experiencing its most contentious season yet, throwing upcoming festive fall gatherings into serious jeopardy.
The seeds of discord were sown in Week 3 when the youngest Patterson, 12-year-old prodigy Jenny, outmaneuvered her elders with a waiver wire pickup that no one saw coming. This move shot her up to first place, leaving her relatives in the digital dust and sparking whispers of a "Madden-esque" gaming gift.
Week 4 saw Uncle Lou, usually a fantasy afterthought, make headlines by accidentally starting a player on a bye week, only for it to turn out he had no other healthy players left due to a string of injuries. His misfortune was dubbed "The Bye Week Miracle" after he won his matchup, leading to a family investigation spearheaded by Aunt Gertrude, the self-appointed "Fantasy Fairness Commissioner."
The pot was stirred further in Week 6 during the family's annual apple-picking outing, where, between snaps of idyllic orchard photos, cousins were seen furiously debating trade strategies and Grandma Patty was caught red-handed texting multiple family members, trying to orchestrate what she called a "fair and totally unbiased" mega-trade.
But the real controversy erupted in the lead-up to Week 7 when the Patterson's middle child, college sophomore Rob, involved his statistics class in developing an algorithm for optimal player selection. The family has been up in arms about whether college resources constitute an unfair advantage or just savvy gameplay.
Now, family members eye each other with suspicion, and Sunday dinners have been replaced by frantic phone checking and hushed side conversations. The Patterson's upcoming Halloween party, usually a well-attended affair, has family members nervous. Invites were sent out with fantasy-themed costume instructions, but insiders worry about tricks that could be waiting amidst the treats.
With the rest of the season ahead, the Pattersons are holding their league meetings with the precision of NFL coaches and the suspicion of international spies. The only thing they can all agree on? This year's Thanksgiving gathering will need more than turkey and stuffing to keep peace — perhaps a neutral referee should be on the guest list.