A Fantasy Football Lover’s Guide to Your Office

I’m less than two weeks removed from a heartbreaking Finals loss in my Office Fantasy Football league and guys, the withdrawals are already starting.

Never mind that our brilliant payout schedule awarded $900 for 1st place and sent 2nd place (your boy) home with a set of invisible steak knives. I already miss Fantasy Football.

To temporarily remedy the situation, I’m going to break down the major Fantasy Football personas we’ve all spent the last four months agonizing over. Because I’m bitter, I’m going to take things a step further and compare how these personas manifest in your workforce.

Updated from its original post on the Ambition Blog and adapted for Medium, I bring you: The Fantasy Football Guide to Your Workforce.

The Guide

Here’s how this works. I’ve selected 20 Fantasy Football archetypes that also exist in the average office. The purpose of this Guide is to explain these Archetypes to you and help identify which types are in your cubicles.

I’ll be breaking down each archetype, 1-by-1. And because I care, I’ll provide an “NFL doppelganger” and list of telltale signs for each archetype.

The Bottom line: I’m about to go Mel Kiper, Jr. on the average American sales force. Onto the archetypes.

Type 1. The Apex Predator

Want to helm a truly elite sales force? Find your team’s Apex Predator, the unstoppable juggernaut that sits atop the food chain.

With The Apex Predator, you know what you’re getting. Quota-crushing performance. Unparalleled leadership. Respect that permeates every level of your organization. The Apex Predator is the most elite level of company personnel.

NFL Doppelganger: Peyton Manning

Because this is fantasy we’re talking about here — and not, say, winning Super Bowls or beating Florida — Peyton Manning is the obvious choice.

Like Manning on your fantasy squad, the Apex Predator is a machine and you should bow down and kiss the ring every time he or she walks through your door.

Signs You May Be The Apex Predator:

  • Everyone loves you.
  • Like clockwork, every six months you release an appallingly moronic commercial that everyone just eats up. You don’t disrespect the Apex Predator.

Type 2. The Workhorse

The Workhorse steamrolls through tasks & speedbumps obstacles. More importantly, the Workhorse puts the company on his or her back consistently and without complaint. Your team needs someone prone to massive periods of production and occasional flashes of brilliance — the Workhorse was born to make that happen.

NFL Doppelganger: Adrian Peterson

A.P. rarely gets hurt, crushes it every year, and breaks off the occasional breathtaking performance. And the whole time, he’s just surrounded by this ungodly black hole of talent on the Vikings Offense.

Check out these numbers: Total NFL seasons: 7. Seasons with 10+ Touchdowns: 7. Seasons averaging at least 80 ypg: 7. Seasons playing at least 14 games: 6. 2000-yard seasons: 1. I rest my case.

Signs You May Be The Workhorse:

  • You’re singlehandedly keeping your office afloat and constantly being thanked for “putting the team on your back.”
  • You excel despite constant turnover at the management level and the fact that you work with the corporate-versions of Joe Webb, Christian Ponder, and Matt Cassel.


Type 3. The Freak

If you’re lucky, there’s a guy on your sales team using a deadly combo of unorthodox methods and advanced skills to close deals and acquire new customers.

People are amazed at the Freak’s immediate impact & ability to contribute. Not only does this individual go above and beyond expectations, he/she shatters the limits once thought to apply to the position.

NFL Doppelganger: Jimmy Graham

Typically, your Tight End is putting up the 5th or 6th highest fantasy numbers for your team on a weekly basis. I confidently drafted Jimmy Graham in the 3rd round last year, because Jimmy Graham is not a Tight End, he’s a freakish Mega-Athlete/Biological Weapon engineered to eviscerate opposing Defenses.

Signs You May Be The Freak:

  • You traffic in advanced softwares like they’re hardwired into your DNA.
  • You regularly make cold calls that become meaningful conversations and end with Tee times at exclusive country clubs.

Type 4. The Petulant Superstar

Talented, yet mercurial. Passionate, yet insufferable. Half your team hates the Petulant Superstar, but the results speak for themselves. Just put “team culture” aside for a minute and look at those numbers. When you have someone this good, you have two options:

  1. Make a statement by cutting this guy loose and worrying about replacing his or her productivity later.
  2. Stay out of the damn way and let those profits keep rolling in.

NFL Doppelganger: Dez Bryant

The NFL needs more people like Dez Bryant. Every Sunday for the next four months, we’re all going to be treated to cutaways showcasing America’s (Most Dysfunctional) Team.

That means shots of Dez making a ridiculous catch over three defenders, followed by him doing something insane. Dez Bryant could knock out his own Offensive Coordinator right there on the sideline and I wouldn’t be surprised. This man has no limits.

Signs You May Be the Petulant Superstar:

  • You put up record numbers and still can’t get a golf invite with company Execs.
  • You feel the need to berate someone, anyone, whenever a deal you’re working on goes South.
  • You begin conversations about your direct supervisor with the phrase: “That idiot.”

Below: Dez being Dez.

Type 5. The Bust

Last year, your organization hired this hot-shot smooth talker with a relatively unproven background, a wardrobe fresh out of GQ magazine, and the confidence to negotiate an unprecedented salary for someone with his or her level of experience in your organization.

What it got in return: a guy who can B.S. everyone except potential customers.

NFL Doppelganger: C.J. Spiller

As if Buffalo fans didn’t have it bad enough. Last year they were treated to months of massive preseason hype about 2013's pre-ordained, breakout fantasy stud, only to watch him flounder so badly that the venerable Freddy Jackson was assuming the bulk of the team’s carries by November. (Silver lining: Getting to hear my friends in the Bills Mafia speak about “InFredible” in reverent tones while bashing Spiller for the rest of the year).

From a fantasy standpoint, the Spiller bust became a legitimate phenomenon that left almost no league untouched. If you played Fantasy Football last year, you were part of at least one profanity-laced Spiller conversation with a guy who made him the third overall pick.

Signs You May Be The Bust:

  • At least one person familiar with your performance has felt compelled to describe it as “soul-crushing.”

Type 6. The Problem Child

The talented young employee at your office who comes into one too many morning meetings smelling of booze and whoever he or she danced all over last night at Sparkles nightclub.

In Fantasy Football, there is many a talented young contributor whose proclivity for illegal substances, talking back to management, and spending frequent Wednesday nights at the club makes him an X-Factor. Have someone at your office who regularly asks about drug tests but still has a job because he or she is too talented to replace? Sounds like a classic sales team “Problem Child.”

NFL Doppelganger: Josh Gordon

If I’m the owner of a hot Cleveland nightclub right now, I’m now faced with a terrifying, impending moral dilemma. Do I let Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel enter my club, pray things don’t get out of hand, and hope that the resulting spike in revenue is worth the risk?

Or do I prohibit both of them from entering — in the process losing great opportunities to increase my hipness and exposure — and hope that local Browns fans rally to my side for doing my small part to prevent a Plaxico Burress or Pacman Jones episode from occurring?

Signs You May Be The Problem Child:

  • During a company party at a local watering hole, you’ve had a peer take you aside and tell you to “take it easy” on ordering rounds of fireball and making increasingly emotional requests to hear “Tiny Dancer.”
  • You’ve frantically researched your company’s drug testing practices sometime in the last six months.


Type 7. The Gym Rat

The Gym Rat compensates for a lack of natural gifts with a tireless work ethics and commitment to improving his or her skills. Often described in one of the following ways: “scrappy,” “driven,” or “competitor.”

NFL Doppelganger: Wes Welker

Something both Senior-Level Management and NFL analysts can’t get enough of: gushing over Gym Rats like they’re patron saints of their professions.

The way NFL analysts talk about Wes Welker, you would think he’s 5'2 and overcame polio as a child. In reality, he’s just slightly undersized, looks like an updated Rudy, and has spent his professional career running routes for two all-time great QB’s. (I just totally botched this comparison, didn’t I?).

Signs You May Be The Gym Rat:

  • You keep a sleeping bag underneath your desk.
  • The last thing you discussed at a company Happy Hour was a webinar.
  • Your last performance review led off with the sentence: “[Your name] is a scrappy, driven competitor.”

Type 8. Waiver Fodder

Unlike the classic “Bust,” you should have known better than to take this guy.

The Waiver Fodder is the person on your sales team all but begging to be let go. The individual with an acumen for apathy. A track record of tenuousness. A model of mediocrity. Not everyone in your office is cut out for the profession, and the Waiver Fodder knows this better than anyone.

NFL Doppelganger: Matt Schaub

Brutal 2012 and 2013 campaigns with the Texans culminated in poor Matt Schaub being forced to walk the plank at the end of last season — a decision vocally supported by Texans brass and fans alike.

Schaub has since washed ashore in Oakland, and folks, the spark in optimism has been palpable.

Signs You May Be Waiver Fodder:

  • You spend your days at the office in a mixed state of fear and apathy.
  • You’ve told at least one coworker, “I stopped caring about this job 6 months ago.”
  • You just got called into management’s office “to talk.”

Below: The bleak face of Waiver Fodder.

Type 9. The Stat Machine

Though not the most respected or distinguished member of your sales team (there’s some built-in advantage at work here — a fertile territory, well-connected family background, etc.), the Stat Machine is still a veritable force within your organization.

Monthly revenue numbers that border on insane. An attitude that exudes competitiveness and dependability. This is someone you can count on to anchor your squad during the lean times of overall output.

NFL Doppelganger: Drew Brees

Playing 8 games a year in the Superdome is like being gift-wrapped an extra 1000 throwing yards per season, but Brees deserves credit where credit is due. Since 2009, all he’s done is put up Tecmo Bowl style numbers while leading a super-charged Saints offense and amassing the following accomplishments:

  1. Win a Super Bowl (2010).
  2. Break Dan Marino’s record for single-season passing TD’s (2011).
  3. Exceed a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 3 separate seasons (2009, 2011, 2013).

Signs You May Be The Stat Machine:

  • Late in the fiscal year, you wake up one morning and realize you’re on pace to break a famous performance record set by a company legend.
  • You realize immediately thereafter that half your achievements were due to your father-in-law’s connections.

Type 10. Mr. Reliable

There is nothing sexy about anything this person does at your company, yet he or she is quietly an essential, consistent component of your team. (Note: This person relates very well with your I.T. Department).

NFL Doppelganger: Stephen Gostowski

I got bored writing this initial sentence about Gostowski. Let’s see, he’s a very good kicker who performs consistently. And he went to college in my hometown. There, I just covered everything important you need to know about him.

Signs You May Be Mr. Reliable:

  • You’re the type of person who regularly hits quota and relates very well with your company’s I.T. Department.

Halftime: Chat with an Ambition member and learn how Coyote Logistics, Dropbox and dozens more are fueling their sales teams with Fantasy-inspired competitions.


Type 11. The Dark Horse

Lurking beneath the radar in your company is the Dark Horse.

A proven contributor who — for whatever reason — has had the luster of past performance start to fade or never received proper accolades in the first place, the Dark Horse is someone capable of emerging from the shadows and having a landmark year, seemingly-out-of-nowhere.

NFL Doppelganger: Roddy White

Classic example of how the NFL and Sales profession share a “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” mentality.

Everyone is sleeping on Roddy White, who just turned 32 and had a 2013 season marred by injuries and a drop-off in production. Some see over-the-hill vet, but I see overlooked potential stud.

Don’t forget: This is the guy whose been the Falcons’ go-to pass option when it matters, a Red Zone terror who averaged 1 touchdown per 2 games between 2007 — 2012. Look for Roddy to rebound in 2014.

Signs You May Be The Dark Horse:

  • Everyone’s forgotten how much of an asset you’ve been to the company over the years, and you’re really, really pissed off about it.
  • You’ve made a few quiet, but significant adjustments that you are about to unleash.
  • You’ve spent the last six months watching the same video clip every night just before you fall asleep, muttering softly, “Release me, oh sales gods. Release the Kraken.”

Type 12. The Late Bloomer

The Late Bloomer entered your company and proceeded to contribute several years of uninspiring, eminently forgettable service. Then something clicked.

Maybe a new man/woman entered the Late Bloomer’s life and led to a renewed focus. Maybe (and most likely) a new supervisor came onboard and was able to tap into the Late Bloomer’s inner talent and drive.

Whatever the case, the Late Bloomer has recently come alive and is finally delivering the inspired, high level of performance you always knew he/she was capable of giving.*

*Or you just lucked out big-time.

NFL Doppelganger: Reggie Bush

Borderline-scientific proof that dating a Kardashian is the most surefire way to send your career into a Hindenburg-style tailspin. Congrats to Reggie for pulling out of his relationship with Kim and reinvigorating his professional and fantasy viability in the process. Others haven’t been as fortunate.

Signs You May Be The Late Bloomer:

  • It’s taken five years, but your supervisors are suddenly very interested in what type of golf game you have.
  • Also, your Dad has started making eye-contact with you again.

Below: Reggie’s career numbers. Please direct your attention to the red “Kardashian Line.”

Type 13. Hindsight Hero

Remember how good this guy was in 2011?? He absolutely killed quota that year! Oh wait, it’s 2014 and he spent most of last year scowling at senior management and complaining that he kept getting stuck with the worst territories.

NFL Doppelganger: Mike Wallace

Remember how good this guy was in 2011?? He absolutely killed it for the Steelers that year! Oh wait, it’s 2014 and he spent most of last year scowling at Ryan Tannehill and complaining that the anemic Dolphins offense wasn’t running enough plays for him.

Signs You May Be The Hindsight Hero:

You can’t stop talking about 2011. Man, that was a helluva year wasn’t it?

*Pro-tip: If this is you, stop immediately. Know who was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011? Chris “Franchise-Killer” Johnson. Speaking of which—

Type 14. The Underachiever

Once you’ve achieved Hindsight Hero status, you’re venturing dangerously close to “Underachiever” territory. The Underachiever tag gets applied in one of the following two scenarios:

  1. An established, elite performer suddenly and inexplicably tanks in productivity.
  2. An elite talent enters the professional world with a pedigree signaling forthcoming greatness, only to embark on a career-long campaign of mediocrity. (Trent Richardson, you are on a perilous path right now).

Underachievers are among the most frustrating of all archetypes. At least the Bust implodes in a way that’s swiftly apparent. Underachievers keep companies hanging around longer in hopes of seeing those past flashes of greatness reappear.

NFL Doppelganger: Chris Johnson

I personally know dozens of Titans fans who want this guy’s head on a platter for the seemingly willful free-fall he underwent in terms of productivity. After negotiating a massive salary increase, of course.

But hey, the Titans franchise is starting to recover tho—oh wait, no they’re not.

Best byproduct of Chris Johnson’s career plummet: The co-opting of the nickname “CJ2K” (i.e. Chris Johnson — 2000 yards) into the clever, derisive punchline: “CJ2YPC.” (Chris Johnson — 2 yards per carry).

Signs You May Be The Underachiever:

  • Your self-coined nickname within the company has been turned against you.
  • Coworkers talk to you with the level of respect the characters of Glenngarry Glen Ross showed for Shelley “The Machine” Levene.


Type 15. The Injury Risk

Rare in the sales environment (unless Terry Tate is patrolling your cubicles), but you still see it happen on occasion. The sick days start piling up. The productivity starts to wane, or just drops off completely.

Maybe this person isn’t practicing healthy living habits. Maybe he or she has been stricken with bad luck. Either way, it’s borderline tragic to watch.

NFL Doppelganger: Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski was the first Patriot I invested heavily in for a Fantasy squad, back in 2012. In typical Patriot fashion, he crushed my team’s playoffs hopes by going down in Week 11 with a broken forearm. How can someone built like Gronk have bones made out of papier-mache? I have no idea.

Signs You May Be The Injury Risk:

  • Your typical weekend activities involve base jumping in abandoned construction sites and skateboarding through traffic.
  • You’re the type of person that still rocks the neck brace Doctors said you could stop wearing 9 months ago.

Type 16. The “Real Crafty Player”

Someone whose methods are part of his or her madness. In the “Real Crafty Player’s” warped mind, craftiness is the ultimate way to perfect one’s craft. (Sorry).

Examples:

  1. The sales rep. who takes pride in figuring out your competitors’ major clients, and puts a little too much effort into trying to steal them away.
  2. The rep. who prefers to utilize rumors and slander, rather than fact, when pushing your product or service over a competitor’s.

NFL Doppelganger: Phillip Rivers

Phil Rivers frequently screams at his O-Line, yells audibles mid-play, and generally revels in succeeding despite having no discernible leadership qualities and being as physically gifted as your chubby nephew.

True story: I’ve spent the last half-decade in a fantasy league with a buddy directly related to Phillip Rivers. And every year, out of some misplaced family loyalty, this guy makes Rivers his first round draft pick and sends his team straight into the tank. Until last year, when Rivers quietly put up Top 5 fantasy numbers on a Chargers team that had no business letting that happen. He’s a Crafty S.O.B.

Signs You May Be The “Real Crafty Player”:

  • You’ve done any of the above examples in real life.
  • You perform at a high level despite possessing charisma-levels on par with Joacquin Phoenix’s Commodus in Gladiator.
  • Your moral compass is only marginally better.

Below: Charisma personified.

Type 17. The Sleeper

Somewhere on your team, there is a stud-in-hiding just waiting to emerge as your company’s savior and take you to the next level. When that happens, you will pat yourself on the back and declare that you knew he or she had this kind of a potential all along, when in reality, you had no clue and just needed a warm body to fill this position on a limited budget.

NFL Doppelganger: Leveon Bell

The Sleeper Cell waiting to be activated, ready to reignite the long-dormant Steelers rushing attack (or so I hope). Leveon Bell is the trendy sleeper pick this year, which means he’s destined to somehow fracture both of his tibia simultaneously in week 3.

Signs You May Be The Sleeper:

  • Management pays you an inordinate amount of attention even though you haven’t really accomplished anything.
  • You keep getting compared to established sales superstars on your team — they now give you dirty looks and blank stares every time you ask for help/advice.

Type 18. The Specialist

The Specialist is really good at one thing. In fact, he or she is so much better at that one thing that no one else in that particular department even comes close.

If you even think about picking someone else over this person to lead that department, then you need to be fired. If you are this person and your manager has picked someone else over you to lead your department, you need to start emailing your resume around.

NFL Doppelganger: Seahawks Defense

Bonus points if your Specialist is a guy like Richard Sherman who spends the entire year being a quiet storm for your team — until the spotlight gets thrust upon him at the annual company banquet and he scares the living daylights out of your codgy Board of Directors.

Signs You May Be The Specialist:

  • You have a limited, but potentially pivotal role within your sales team.
  • The only reward you crave is the tears of your competitors.
  • The internal satisfaction you get from helping cause those tears is your idea of “living the American Dream.”


Type 19. The Institution

Sales is the ultimate “What have you done for me lately?” profession, so this archetype is rare. That being said, there are some elite sales professionals out there who have earned the title of company “Institution.”

That is, until they lose their nerve in the clutch, start blowing massive deals on a regular basis, and go out like Dan Marino against the ‘99 Jaguars.

NFL Doppelganger: Tom Brady

I was born in Pittsburgh and raised a diehard Steelers fan, so I hate this model-dating, cheating-benefiting, loathsome scum of a human being more than I hate any other football player. And yet, I respect the hell out of him.

It’s not a matter of choice. When you’ve led this great of a career, even the people whose hearts you’ve ripped out have to give you propers. (This phenomenon is one of great, cruel ironies in sports, by the way).

Signs You May Be The Institution:

  • People tend to describe you as “savvy,” “grizzled,” or “veteran.”
  • If you’ve been described as a “savvy, grizzled veteran,” congratulations, you’re a mortal lock for the title of company Institution.

Type 20. The Question Mark

Immense amounts of talent. Irrepressible charisma. His/Her very own nickname. This sales rep. comes to your team with the goods to suceeed, and yet…

…there are warning signs.

NFL Doppelganger: Johnny Manziel

Needs no further explanation.

Signs You May Be The Question Mark:

  • Let’s just go to the gif.

Below: A Classic Warning Sign

Post-Game Analysis

So there it is, the first annual Ambition Fantasy Football Guide to Your Workforce.

Here at Ambition, we recognize that Fantasy Football is much bigger than a game. Your fantasy leagues are a cash/attention suck offering something that money can’t buy: bragging rights.

And those bragging rights will be critical when engaging in trash-talking, H.R. violating emails with your dearest friends and coworkers over the rest of the year.

Hopefully this post has taught you a lesson or two about your prospective draft picks, your workforce, and maybe even yourself. I know it’s taught me an important lesson: to be thankful every day that I’m not a Raiders fan.

Fellow waiver-wire lurkers and mock draft obsessives: thanks for reading. And may your forthcoming year and 2015 fantasy squads be your best yet.


Looking to improve your team’s performance? Chat with an Ambition Team member and get instant insights on how we can help.

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