The fantasy draft is over, the season has started, and you have opinions. Strong ones. Now that it's possible to throw all your game-day frustration onto the internet, the days of hurling things across the room and screaming at the TV during the game are (mostly) gone. Here are a few important things to keep in mind as you tell the entire world what you really think about your teams — both the fantasy and real varieties.
It's fine to ask your Twitter followers for help with your fantasy football picks. Just do it without clogging up everyone's social media feeds until they get fed up and block you.
On Twitter, avoid presumptuous offers to help someone else with one position in exchange for advice on a different spot. Even if you totally know what you're talking about when it comes to kickers, there's no reason that "@AnnieFromDallas (#AmericasTeam!)" should trust you or want your advice.
People have their own picks to worry about. Tweeting every fantasy football insider under the sun with overheated appeals of "BREES OR RYAN???" probably won't get your question answered, but it will be annoying. It will also make you look slightly pathetic.
When you stay on top of your game using NFL's Xbox One app, you won't need to look elsewhere for advice at all. With scores, news, and updates from friends all in one place, you'll always be on top of your game.Finally, you'll be the one everyone else is pestering for help.
So you didn't use the app, and now you're mad about your fantasy team's dismal showing. Your passion is admirable. But publicly taking it out on players is not a good look. If you want to bemoan your own failure, fine, but remember—you're the one who picked your team.
When you start an online war with an athlete, you not only look like a big baby, you also run the risk of riling up their devoted fans. Those self-styled white knights who see themselves as official protectors of their favorite quarterback might seem funny now, but lets see how you like it when you have an army of these fanboys out to destroy you.
If you must ignore this advice, don't say you weren't warned. And if it's already too late to take back that tweet, at least there's some good news: NFL on Xbox curates all of your updates based on what you actually want to see, soif you do find yourself the subject of a Twitter crusade, ignoring it is easy.
One more word of warning: just because you don't tag a player with their @ handle doesn't mean they won't read your tweet. In fact, the more famous someone is, the more likely they are to search their own name obsessively. That doesn't mean you can't complain about their play in moderation, but don't assume they won't respond. And if you actually want to actually have a real conversation with a player, it helps if you're sincere, have a sense of humor, and don't make yourself a nuisance.
Seeing a rival team lose is second only to winning, and trash talk can be one of the most enjoyable parts of being a fan. What's the point of having friends if you can't gloat when they lose? But if you're so obnoxious that you get yourself frozen out of your fantasy league, you're not going to have anyone left to taunt.
Sending out a screen cap reminding your fantasy opponent of all the points they left on the bench is the best way to get under their skin, especially when their last-minute tinkering cost them the win. When they get it, they'll have no choice but to bow to your superiority and foresight.
What's even better than a tweet, a GIF-laden email, or a screenshot? Your own gloating face in real time, taunting. Use the Skype feature on Xbox One's NFL app to give your taunts the beautiful, hi-res, big screen video they deserve.
Yes, you want to be as vicious. That's the whole point. But you also want to avoid saying anything that will make you an actual enemy for life. While nothing's truly taboo when it comes to trash talk, and people say horrible stuff all the time with no hard feelings, everyone has certain buttons that will make them explode. So if you know your friend has a serious hang-up about his quickly-expanding bald spot, save that brilliant insult for someone else.
Reminder: Don't be bad for the world. With everything you tweet or post, stay miles away from using racial slurs, sexist comments, or other questionable "jokes" that make the world a worse place. The internet is not a private clubhouse reserved for you and your like-minded pals. Unless you've taken steps to the contrary, everything you post is public, which means that your supposedly innocent quip can be retweeted six thousand times in an hour. If the wrong person makes a big deal about it, you could find yourself cleaning out your desk on Monday morning instead of quietly nursing your football hangover.
If you're still rubbing your victory in everyone's face two days after the games, it's probably time to move on.
Do you have your own rules of online engagement when it comes to football? In the spirit of competition, have you ever said something so beyond the pale that you were never forgiven for it? Or are you still saving your one best bit of trash talk for the perfect moment? Let us know in the comments, and then go out and win your fantasy pool with Xbox One's NFL app.
Patrick Kearns is a freelance sports writer seen at Vice, The Hairpin, The Fourth Period Magazine and others.