Monday, August 16, 2010

The Attic Fan's Fantasy Draft

It's fantasy time.

On Sunday, one of the biggest days of the year happened. It was my league's fantasy football draft, and little did I know all hell would break lose during it. I am about to give you a round by round summary of what happened and what was going through my mind (although sometimes it would appear as if nothing was going on). Kind of think of it as mock draft like one you would see in magazine. The rules on who pick are kind of weird, and the fact that there are 20 people in the league lead me to believe that I'll be drafting Ahman Green or Donte Stallworth eventually. Basically, by the later rounds, all you will be drafting is backups or fringe players. There were 360 overall picks, so the inevitable happened. Players like Jamal Lewis were picked, even though he is a free agent and is projected by ESPN to score 0 points this season. Hey, so am I! But it does not matter. My team, Little River Band, and I are destined to win a championship.

You Must Draft:

1 QB
2 RB
3 WR
1 TE
1 OP (Any offensive player)
1 D/ST
1 K
1 HC (Head Coach)
7 Bench

Head coach sounds even better in retrospect, because the maximum amount of points it can get you is 9, usually less than what kickers get. Ugh.

1 Day Before: My mom gets back from Shop-Rite and says she saw a guy in line with a shopping cart full of fantasy football magazines. Why does this make me feel bad?

8 Hours Before: Just bought ESPN's Fantasy Guide. Now it's serious.

1 Hour Before: Just logged in and I have...the fourth pick! RAY RICE! RAY RICE!

45 Mins Before: Over/Under on 5 hour draft time. My guess is over!

30 Mins Before: Just received 6th mini-heart attack from the "dun-dun-dun-DUUUH" that plays whenever somebody enters the draft.

10 Mins Before: Only half the league is here so far. Can you say autopick?

Round 1: Here are only the top ten picks in detail, since the twenty will get grueling not only to write, but to read. Do you really care about Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant? Do you really care about me complaining that in any other normal league, they are probably third round picks? You don't, so I'll save you the trouble. And don't worry the most of the league showed up.

1: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

An obvious overall number one pick, so I am not sure why the owner of this team took the full 90 seconds to select Chris Johnson. This pick should be obvious. He'll score over 10 touchdowns, rush over 1,500 yards, and catch 50 balls. Don't waver any way, just pick Chris Johnson. And do it fast.

2: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings

This took the full 90 seconds again, for some reason. Peterson is pretty much the consensus number two pick wherever you look. He tears it up on the ground, and will likely lead the NFL in touchdowns again, with the Vikings former 3rd down back Chester Taylor out of the way. Even with all this, Peterson was still kind of a disappointment when I drafted him last year. Sure, he scored 18 touchdowns, but he only ran for 1,300 yards and a lot of his touchdowns were scored in bunches. His yards-per-carry was way down, and towards the end of the season, he seemed to fumble every other game. He won't be the same explosive player he was in the 2007 season, but he is still worth a number 2 pick.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars

This guy scores like there is no tomorrow. He can bust off long runs or he can punch it in from the one. Only concern here is that last season was his first with 200+ carries, and he had 312. You could really go either way with Jones-Drew or The Draft's number 4 pick.

4. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

My first round selection, and I really got the guy I wanted here. This guy will get over 1,200 yards and score 10 running. His real value is in the receiving game, where he is projected to catch 84 balls and have 680 receiving yards. He is probably the best run-catch combo running back in the game, which is vital for fantasy.

Quick Rice story: I drafted him last year as a fourth-round pick. Sure I probably got him two or three rounds earlier than I could have, and eventually traded him for DeSean Jackson and fantasy bust Cedric Benson, but that's not the point. The point is, I predicted the future for once.

5. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams

Bruiser for a runner, will get insane amount of carriers this year in St. Louis. A big question is his durability. He looks like he can last, but if you look at the carries he's gotten in the past three years, he is bound to break down. Also, for some reason, for a guy that single-handidly carries an offense, he only had four touchdowns last year. Steven Jackson last season was kind of like a Mustang that had a Honda Accord's engine. He had some great runs and looked great, but the end result wasn't all that spectacular.

6. Drew Brees, QB, Saints

A little early for Brees to go, especially with Frank Gore still on the board. Still, Brees puts up huge numbers, and is more accurate than Legolas. I probably like Aaron Rodgers a little more than Brees, and I like Rodgers' receivers more, but Brees is still a Super Bowl Champion and will give you 30+ touchdowns. Not a bad pick, but I definitely don't think I would have taken him this high.
7. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

A little late for Gore, who can score 10+ touchdowns rushing and will score a few receiving. The only real problem with Gore is that he is injury-prone and does not get many rushes. The fewer rushes you get, the fewer yards and touchdowns you get. Obviously. But when Gore does get the ball, he explodes. He had 3 touchdowns of over 64 yards last season. The problem with that is, those giant runs are all he does in that offense. Pick Gore, and pray that he will bust off big runs.

8. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

The selection was by my little brother, participating in his very first fantasy draft. This is a big moment in a child's life, as this is the first time that you are exposed to gambling. Anyway, Johnson is the best receiver in The Draft, but I always feel that receivers are ranked way too high. Really, Johnson at 7 for ESPN's Big Board? It seems that every year, receivers move higher and higher in draft stock, and I am not sure why. They don't score as much as running backs, and unless you play in a points per reception league, receptions are worthless. I felt upset last year when Larry Fitzgerald was ranked tenth, and this was after almost single-handedly beating the Steelers in Super Bowl 43 and almost single-handedly making me blow up our TV. Johnson is good, and is the best WR available. I just don't think that I would draft him this high.

9. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots

I am also confused why people are so high on Moss this year. He is getting old, and eventually you have to figure that he won't be able to burn corners on deep routes like he used to. I find it ridiculous him being picked over a guy like Larry Fitzgerald. Also, I miss the old Moss. The one who would moon fans and hit police officers with their car. Where's the excitement? Belicheck has completely brainwashed a guy who five years ago you thought would have been the most likely professional athlete to punch a cop in the face. What happened?

10. Peyton Manning

Maybe a little high for Peyton, but the NFL MVP puts up the same numbers year in and year out, so you know what you are getting with Peyton. His offensive line is superb, so there is no real threat of him getting hurt, and he'll put up 4,000+ yards and 30+ passing touchdowns. Probably the safest pick in the draft.

How I would have drafted the top 10:

1. Chris Johnson 2. Adrian Peterson 3. Ray Rice 4. Maurice Jones-Drew 5. Steven Jackson 6. Frank Gore 7. Aaron Rodgers 8. Michael Turner 9. Drew Brees 10. Andre Johnson

That seems about right, right? Okay good. Although reading the rest of this column, you may or may not feel different about taking my advice with fantasy football.

The rest of Round One went with players like Cedric Benson, Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene coming off the board. What kind of sick draft has these players in the First Round?

(In case you did not notice, I am still mad at Cedric Benson for not playing in the Bengals final game of last season, ruining my fantasy team's hopes at a championship. I hope you were well-rested for that one game you played in the playoffs, Cedric)

Second Round:

The first sighting of someone being picked that I wanted, Matt Schaub at 22. This disturbing trend almost inspired me to go on some kind of sick rampage like Michael Corelone does at the end of every Godfather movie. Some other selections in this round included Joe Flacco at 26 and Carson Palmer at 32, about 150 spots higher than I would have picked him. Palmer was the 22nd ranked QB by ESPN, even behind passing extraordinaire Vince Young. This marks the first dumb pick of the draft.

Also in this round, Tony Romo was selected at 36, one selection before when I was slated to pick him. This lack of getting Tony Romo inspired the sick turn of events that happened in Round 5. I ended up picking Running Back By Committee All-Star Jamaal Charles. Nice.

Third Round:

With the 44th pick, I was able to snag Sidney Rice. His performance really depends on whether Brett Favre plays or not. Just like my fantasy team. Rice had a break out year last season and is a good option with the number one receiver pick.

Other picks include Kevin Kolb going 50 picks too early, Donavan McNabb being picked which I can only presume to be by mistake, and somebody forgetting that C.J. Spiller is a definite back-up running back.

Fourth Round:

Highlights included Dez Bryant being selected along with somebody apparently remembering Santana Moss still plays football. Because frankly, I forgot. I got Hakeem Nicks, a receiver from the Giants at 77. Since I live in the New York Market, I am blessed with getting to watch every Giants game. Nicks impressed me last season, he is this tall, big kid who can run after the catch. At least that's what ESPN tells me.

Fifth Round:

Okay. Here we go.

I picked Brett Favre 84th overall.

Have you ever seen the first episode of Eastbound and Down where Kenny Powers starts cursing at his brother's kid for climbing on his Seadoo? Then he starts cursing at his brother's wife, then says "I immediately regret saying that."? Because that quote is what went through my head within ten seconds of clicking "Draft Player". I am still not sure why I picked a player who may or may not be retired, and may or may not play the season on one leg if he even does play.

I panicked, basically. I saw that I had gone four rounds without selecting a QB, and needed one fast, lest I have to pick Alex Smith or Matthew Stafford. The positives for Favre are there though. If he does play, he's a top 7 fantasy quarterback. He put up the best numbers of his career last year. He has a great running back, great receivers, and a great offensive line. But if he doesn't play, my team is ruined. Don't worry I will keep you posted with details.

Round Six:

Round six started off with somebody forgetting that Santonio Holmes was suspended for the first four games of the season, and then five picks later, somebody picked Mark Sanchez. I am on record during the draft saying "I would rather have a retired Favre than the Sanchize".

That was partially to save face, but also partially true. Sanchez had three games last year where he scored negative fantasy points. So maybe it is better to have retired Favre. I went on to pick the 49ers D/ST, mainly because Mike Singletary has turned that defense into a smaller version of the Bears teams he played on in the 80's. Linebacker Patrick Willis is an absolute beast, a football version of Keyser Soze.

Round Seven:

It only took seven rounds before autopick made the funniest pick of the draft, selecting Ben Roethlisberger in the seventh round. Autopick also seemed to forget that Roethlisberger is suspended for at least the first four games. Let's be honest, is there anything worse than autopick? It picks random players, has no concern that it just drafted seven wide receivers in a row, and will complete ignore the fact that a guy suspended almost half the NFL season is not the best player available. But the autopick is also brilliant at the same time. It is the perfect punishment for the jackass who decided not to show up to the fantasy draft they spent twenty bucks.

By the way, this new stat called "Near Interceptions" showed that Big Ben led the NFL with 30 last year. None of this comes as a surprise, as I spent the majority of Steelers games pulling my hair out.

I ended up picked Seattle's Golden Tate, a member of My All-Sleeper Team, Receiver Edition that included him, San Diego's WR Malcolm Floyd and New York's Nicks.

Round Eight:

For some strange reason, I think I saw Matt Leinart be chosen. That may just my eyes playing a trick on me, but wow. Other "highlights" included a kicker already be chosen, 65-year-old Joey Galloway be selected, and me picking Cincinnati's backup running back Bernard Scott. I am praying that Cedric Benson inevitably sucks, so this better version of Benson can have time to shine. At least he well get kickoffs, and at the OP, you really aren't asking for much other than to do something.

Round Nine:

At the halfway point, it has taken 90 minutes. Ugh. At least people seem to be autopicking now that most of their starters are selected. I picked John Carlson, who apparently plays tight end for Seattle. Awesome!

Round Ten:

So I picked Tavaris Jackson this round, so what. He is a faster Brett Favre. Only much, much worse.

Round Eleven:

Selected Dexter McCluster, who is some kind of weird receiver-running back hybrid for the Chiefs. See, this is what happens when there are almost 400 picks in a draft.

Round Twelve:

Finally decided to pick a kicker, Miami's Dan Carpenter. Why are these people even being drafted?

Round Thirteen:

With the 244th overall pick, my Steelers love showed, and I picked former fan favorite Nate "the Great" Washington. Nate now plays for Tennessee, and the Steelers could defiantly use their old number three receiver back. Nate the Great deserves his own statue in Pittsburgh or something.

Also in this round: Now officially retired former 49ers running back Glen Coffee was selected. God how I love autopick.

Round Fourteen:

Looks like I am going to miss the Roast of Hasslehoff. Bummer.

It only took 272 picks, but Mike Vick is finally off the board! He may get ten snaps total this year in Philly.

I selected another Steeler, number two tight-end Matt Spaeth. You may remember him from my Maurkice Pouncey article, as "Guy who urinated in public following a win against the Browns". We only pick winners here at Little River Band.

Round 15:

Due to the absurdity of the "head coach" position in fantasy, I was forced to use a pick of the Texans coach. If you are looking for a Fredo position in fantasy football, this is it right here, do not look any further. It is weak, dumb and stupid and will not give you more than nine points a game.

Round 16 & 17

I selected the two founding members of the "2010 Fantasy Football All-Hibernation Team", St. Louis's Mardy Gilyard and Seattle's Mike Williams, both wide receivers. Gilyard, a rookie out of Cincinnati, dominated in college but was not drafted until late due to some inevitable personal issue. Shocker. Williams is attempting to make a comeback after being a 2005 NFL Draft top 10 pick gone haywire. Williams became somewhat morbidly obese, and was out of the NFL, until Seattle's Pete Carrol gave him a shot. Williams recently had a short piece done him in Sports Illustrated, and scored a 51 yard touchdown in the opening preseason game. It does not really matter anyway, since there were so few people left in the draft it was either pick these two or Joe Namath and Jim Brown.

Round 18:

With the last pick in the draft, I turned on autopick and Tosh.0 at the same time, and watched the later. I think I picked Kansas City's ninth string running back. After 2 hours and 18 minutes, and the best players remaining JJ Arrington, Ryan Moats, Rob Gronkowski and Jamal Lewis, I decided to call it a night.

The fantasy draft was a minor success, I think, besides the time it took and the fact that my quarterback may never play another down in the NFL again. I think it was worth it. Right?

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