FINAL FANTASY Fantasy Football - East Meets West
Football season is upon us, and that means it’s time for fans around the world to engage in the number one sapper of productivity at work (after reading lists on the internet): Fantasy Football. For those unfamiliar with the concept, basically a group of fans each draft a team of mostly offensive players from the entire pool of talent in the NFL to their own fictional squad. The efforts of the players on behalf of their real teams translate to points for the owners of the ‘Fantasy’ squads they are also a member of.
The key to making this game-within-a-sport work is having a large enough base of individual players to support several unique and potent squads. As it happens there is Final Fantasy, a fourteen-plus part video game franchise that offers a deep enough pool of the right kind of talent to field a formidable squad if they ever gave up on saving their individual worlds and instead engaged in a truly worthwhile activity: playing pro football.
Final Fantasy X
Key Attribute : Natural Athlete
As much as it is a team sport, the game of football is won and lost on the abilities of that team’s lead signal caller and as one of the franchise’s only professional athlete player characters Tidus has the right skill set to lead the Final Fantasy squad. Gaming’s version of a Manning child, Tidus combines natural athleticism with the experience gained by growing up in the shadow of a legendary practitioner of his sport, in this case the cardio-intensive underwater water rugby sport known as Blitzball., Not only was he a starter for a top team in his league, but is given the reins of management when he finds himself playing for a cellar-dwelling band of scrubs.
Final Fantasy XII
Key Attribute : Agility, Downfield Threat
Any football fan will tell you that if you are ever forced to put in your backup, all you would want ‘him’ to do is not lose the game for you. In Fran, the six foot two Viera from the woodland village of Eruyt, you are getting more than just someone who just won’t put the ball on the ground in your own red zone. Fran’s natural grace and agility makes her impossible to pin down, robbing the defense of your opponents’ fantasy team of easy points from sacks. Once clear of defenders, she is not only a threat to scramble but her experience as a ranged attacker has made her an expert at hitting targets at a distance. No defensive coordinator worth his clipboard would rush the line when there is a chance that she could turn any single coverage defensive set into a big gain for her side.
Final Fantasy X
Key Attribute : Veteran Athlete
Part of being a good leader is knowing when to step aside at let someone else take over. For all of his other faults Wakka knew this and let Tidus, with his superior skill and experience take over what was once ‘his’ team, the Besaid Aurochs and settled into semi-retirement from the game. On the football field his solid frame and sure hands make him a perfect choice for a check down receiver who can turn a 3 yard dump play into a first down with his legs. His experience will pay dividends in the red zone as well, where knowing where your feet are is just as important as keeping your eye on the ball.
Final Fantasy VII
Key Attribute : Agility
Wide Receivers often have to break the mold of the stocky football player, they have to be athletes that can get down the field fast, go up in the air to bring a ball down in traffic for a reception and then make a break for the end zone. The perfect job for a Ninja like Yuffie Kisaragi, in fact her record on takeaways would make her an outstanding cornerback on defense as well. All this plus her self-bestowed nicknames, "The Single White Rose of Wutai"and the “Great Ninja Yuffie” indicates that she possesses another nigh-universal attribute of great wide receivers: a massive ego.
Final Fantasy VII
Key Attribute : Moodiness
The other key attribute that is common to great wide receivers, like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, is their inherent moodiness. Few other positions are so dependent on other players, namely the Quarterback, to call their number on a play so they can have an impact on the game. Keeping these players happy by feeding them the ball is key to keeping their heads in game even when they are running decoy routes. If their attitude is getting in the way of the whole team’s success then they might be benched and there go the all-important fantasy points for your team. So if moodiness is directly related to on-field ability, the scion of sulk himself: Cloud Strife, must be the ultimate wide out.
Final Fantasy VI
Key Attribute : Evasiveness
Great running backs don’t have to worry about breaking tackles if they can’t be caught in the first place. Speedy runners can turn the corner or exploit a hole in the defensive line and be in the defensive backfield before the linebackers can decipher the quarterback’s play-action. Once loose it’s just a matter of not being fenced in by the safeties before the runner can perform the touchdown dance they’ve been working on all week. An evasive running back can not only score you fantasy points from TDs, but also from their sheer yardage, so you want to pick a guy who prides himself on not being caught and this fits treasure hunter Locke Cole to a T. He is experienced in getting in and out of places he’s not supposed to be, including tricking ‘defenses’ with elaborate ruses and even escaping death.
Final Fantasy VI
Key Attribute : Strength
While fast and agile running backs can break runs into the open field for big gains, scoring opportunities, vital for Fantasy Football success, often come down to goal line situations where one must breakthrough a pile of defensive linemen for the scant few yards needed to break the plane of the goal line for a touchdown. In those situations you call on your 3rd down running specialist, aka ‘the big guy’ who can use a little head of steam to push his way through a wall of armored flesh. In the history of Final Fantasy there is no better number to call for that than the infamous bodybuilder and martial artist Sabin Figaro: The Man Who Suplexed a Train. With Sabin lined up as a fullback on third and goal on the one, the opposition’s kickoff return team will already have their helmets on.
Final Fantasy II
Key Attribute : Strong Legs
Regardless, or perhaps because, of the fact that they are oftentimes the difference makers between victory and defeat in just about every game of football ever played, kickers get a bad rap for being largely separate from the efforts of the team as a whole. However just like in the real game, kickers picked for fantasy football teams generate solid points week after week. When picking a kicker you want to go with someone with strong, steady legs and Dragoon Kain Highwind is the perfect choice. Kain’s legs can not only propel him several times his height into the air, but he can do this astonishing feat in full plate armor and while carrying a lance. This power, focused on a teed up football could not only smash distance records, but bust seats behind the goal posts.
Final Fantasy I-XIV
Key Attribute : Resourcefulness
The purpose of a defense on a fantasy football team, just like in the real game, is to keep the other team from scoring. For that you need a unit that meshes together well, moves quickly to cover gaps, cover each other and takes advantages of mistakes and weaknesses on the offense. The dozen-plus Cids who’ve populated the Final Fantasy franchise over the past all share the trait of being intelligent and inventive so a trained-up squad of eleven of them could prove positively befuddling for conventional offensive tactics, forcing them to rely on gadget plays which naturally are a Cid specialty.