Christmas might be a bit awkward for Joe and Michael Treffiletti. But this has nothing to do with in-laws. See, the brothers are competing against one another to win $100,000 in a nationwide fantasy football tournament.
The Treffilettis are entered in the National Fantasy Football Championship Classic game, run by Stats, Inc. There are 322 teams, divided into 14-team leagues. The entry fee is $1,400, but only the top four teams win money.
With just one week to play, Michael (Moreau, N.Y.) is atop the overall standings. Joe (Sunrise, Fla.), meanwhile, is sitting right behind in second place, less than 10 points back. If they finish 1-2, they'll win a combined $115,000. If they both finish out of the top 4, they end up with a stocking full of coal.
Even Cain and Abel would think this is a volatile situation.
"Not counting the year our house almost burned down because of the chimney fire, this will be the most eventful Christmas we’ve ever had," says Joe. "There hasn’t been any trash talk, just cautious nervousness."
The brothers' rosters share four of the same players, including three fantasy stars -- Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Victor Cruz. Michael’s team will likely have Darren Sproles of the Saints in his starting lineup while Joe's team may be led by Matt Ryan of the Falcons (unless he decides to roll with Tim Tebow at quarterback).
This isn't the first time the Treffilettis have sniffed the $100,000 grand prize.
"We've had a playoff team every year in the NFFC since 2005," Joe says. "One year on (the final) Monday night we had Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall both going. We were about 65 points out of it and lost by 18."
This year's competition isn't just a Treffiletti family exclusive, however. Fourteen teams are within 50 points of first place.
With just one week left to play, though, it’s impossible for the brothers not to think about the possibility that one of them could emerge from the competition $100,000 richer. Michael even declined to be interviewed for this story for fear of jinxing his chances.
"It's tough not to think about it," Joe says. "It's a nice chunk of cash but we aren't winning anything yet. There are still a ton of points to be scored, a lot of football to be played.
"I'd be really happy for Mike if he won it. He works with autistic/special needs kids and works very hard for his teachers salary."
Should one of the Treffilettis become this year's champion, it will not only be a milestone in their fantasy football careers, but it will also give the family something new to talk about.
"My dad loves to tell people that fantasy football has kept us in touch," Joe says. "We all call each other so much during the football season.
"My wife asks me how my dad is doing and I don’t know. I talk to him four times a week about Brandon Jacobs, though."
Nick Stamm contributed to this story.
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