Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby

Welcome to first and possibly only installment (depending on how this turns out) of the Sports As Life weekly fantasy football breakdown. And yes, that headline is from a Mariah Carey song.

I had planned on writing a fantasy football preview column a couple weeks ago but unfortunately most of the people in my league are also readers and I had a couple things I didn't want to give away. In hindsight I probably should have just written it anyway. And really who's going to take fantasy advice from a guy who has never even made the playoffs in a fantasy league (I blame injuries and Dante Culpepper for my recent poor finishes, mostly Culpepper).

Do you know why I love fantasy football? It's because you can try and talk your closest friend into a Chad Johnson/Fred Taylor for Chris Chambers/Marshawn Lynch trade and not even feel the least bit bad about it. Fantasy football might be the last aspect of our society where the gloves are off and anything goes - it's like Thunderdome. And you know what? It's a nice release from normal, everyday life. You soak some poor sap of a Vikings fan into giving up "Sweet" Joe Addai for Adrian Peterson - good for you. Of course all the other owners in your league will hate you, but that's mostly because they didn't think of it first.

Now, not everybody loves fantasy football - these are the people who have never actually tried it. Once you start playing you'll be hooked instantly - if you're a huge sports nerd that is, which I'm proud to say I am. But not everybody wants to hear about your team and your bye week problems - however, that's why this column exists, so that you can complain, gripe, whine and gloat about your team and we will listen. And if you don't like fantasy football and loathe its existence, don't read Sports As Life on Wednesday, simple as that - go read Vanstone's Rider Blog, you'll have much more fun.

We'll start off today with a recap of a draft that reader/Madden simulator T.H and I did on Friday night for another reader who posts under the name Trebor. I had never done a live draft before and I was equal parts excited and nervous about doing it. But it turned out to be a phenomenal experience, I will never do an automated fantasy draft again - live is the only way to go. A live draft is great because it gives you total control over what you're doing - you can change your approach and react in real time to what the other owners are doing. But the best thing about it might be the real-time trash talking. It was especially good because I was doing it in Trebor's name with 11 people I didn't know, so I didn't have to worry about who's picks I was trashing. When somebody picked Plaxico Burress it was great to be able to say, "Do you get his back spasms too?"

We were dealt the 7th pick and this is the team we ended up putting together for Trebor, which I think could be a real contender:

QB: Drew Brees, Matt Leinart, Charlie Frye
RB: Willie Parker, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, Lamont Jordan, Kenton Keith
WR: Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson, Greg Jennings, Wes Welker
TE: Chris Cooley, David Martin
K: Rob Bironas, Ryan Longwell
D/ST: New England, Green Bay, Washington

Willie Parker and Mo Jones-Drew were our first two picks and then Drew Brees fell to us in the third round and got Matt Leinart in the fourth. After that I don't really recall who went in what round. We reached a little bit for Chris Cooley but he's a guy that is worth taking a round early just to make sure you get him, I think. Kenton Keith might also turn out to be the steal of the draft as we took him in the 19th and final round. "Mean" Joe Harrington was a guy we wanted to take as the third QB but he had a bye week conflict, so we had to settle for Charlie Frye. All in all the draft was pretty orderly but by about round 16 we were ready for it to be over.

The biggest reach of the draft was obviously Marshawn Lynch, who I'm sure someone took in the second round (it might have been the third) - but this was at least 5 rounds too early. Also someone took JaMarcus Russell, which was pretty ridiculous. I think people were just picking to get the draft over with by that point. The live draft is the only way to go, next year it'll be the only type of draft I do - so get ready, you've a full calender year to prepare.

Now we'll get to what I know you're all clamouring to hear about - my fantasy team. I'm in an league with T.H, Trebor and Cooper - as well as a few others we don't really know. Everybody's team was picked in an automated draft, which basically means you rank the guys you'd like to pick and hope for the best. Unfortunately this type of draft gives you basically no control over the team you end up with. As a result almost everyone in the league is in bye week trouble (having no players for a particular week) because everything is selected based on your ranking lists. This problem is made even worse by the fact that has extremely small rosters, even smaller than last year, so people cannot carry enough players to combat the problem of bye weeks. It's been a very frustrating start to the season for a lot of owners so far.

Anyway, here's who I ended up with:

QB: Matt Leinart, Jake Delhomme
RB: Willie Parker, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marshawn Lynch
WR: Chris Chambers, Donald Driver, Reggie Brown, Isaac Bruce
TE: Alge Crumpler, Daniel Graham
K: Stephen Gostkowski
D/ST: Baltimore, St. Louis

As I've said to everyone who's asked about my team, it's a team that's probably just good enough not to make the playoffs. I'm hoping that I'm never in a position where I actually have to start Jake Delhomme or Daniel Graham. I also foresee serious wide receiver issues. But I do have the player that has the potential to be the breakout star of the year, or at least great trade bait - Marshawn Lynch. Everybody seems to love this guy, so I'm just waiting to see what I actually have with him.

So that's my team, I'm not over the moon but I'm not out on a ledge either - we might have a chance to be competitive at the very least.

But we want to hear about your team - so write in and leave a comment and lets get some fantasy discussion going here.

Now because I don't think you should be taking fantasy advice from someone who's never actually made the fantasy playoffs - I'm turning the controls over to Trebor (with some small additions from myself) for the first installment of Trebor's Starts and Sits:

- Any offensive player on Indianapolis or New Orleans (neither of their defences though - don't do it)
- Tony Romo, at home against division rivals NY Giants (I would agree with this, I think Romo is either going to be really good this year or really mediocre)
- DeShaun Foster (who is basically running for his job at the moment)
- Donald Driver (as a Driver owner I agree with this only if it turns out he's healthy and is actually going to play this week)

- Any wide receiver wearing a Chicago Bears jersey
- Marshawn Lynch (a totally unknown commodity, going against a solid Denver defence)
- Vince Young (playing on the road against a solid and potentially scary Jacksonville defence)
- Jon Kitna (in Oakland against an underrated defence)

- Jeff Garcia (on the road in Seattle, does he have any magic left?)
- Ronald Curry (could end up being the go to guy for whoever is the Raiders' quarterback)
- Matt Jones (will he finally break out and live up to his potential?)
- Kenton Keith (Trebor probably included Keith only because he owns him - but if Addai goes down, look out)

- Ben Roethlisberger (hasn't been hit by a car in over a year, but was he a two-year wonder?)
- Randy Moss (hasn't played a down in the pre-season and may not even play on Sunday)
- Marion Barber III (after discussing him with Trebor last night, he doesn't like him because of Barber's reliance on goal line carries - if the carries disappear, so does Barber's worth)

So, that's it - let the fantasy compaining begin!


Trebor said...

I agree with the live draft it's exciting, I've also got a chance to do the live live version. 16 guys sitting around a room with pizza and beer.

You have the supreme organized with everything in binders (1 for qb's, 1 for rb etc..) , they know all, they have statistics of weather in Boston for the last week of Nov, that ariz has never won an away game after coming off a bye..... Then you have the guy who seemed to realize after work that he's got a draft... comes with one piece of paper, by the end rounds he struggling and for him to have 3-4 wr with the same bye is typical.

Numbers are drawn from a hat, and soon everyone is in the same postion, the excitment is aboot to start. Everyone starts shuffling through their paper(s)....."I got the 5th pick ..damm... the 3 stud rb's will be gone and difference between #5 and #11 is very litte" or the even worse "damm i got #16 so no top backs left, all that prep work has just been wasted". You look up see who's before and after you... "ooo a bears fan picks 2 spots ahead.. he may reach for benson."
There is no clock there is just the jeers of your friends, the trash talking usually starts out slow but by about round 6 it's all out war. You look at your team in Round 3 and start announcing to all "damm this whole thing, why don't i just give my money away" by round 7 your looking down at your roster "you boys should just pay me now and get it out of the way"
It ends people do the compare thing and see who's got the best team, some already looking to trade away pics.

So yeah next year..PLEASE no auto-draft.

I'll share my team here too that will compete with Luke's for the last playoff spot

QB-Hasselback, Romo
Rb-Gore,Ronnie Brown, Caddy
TE-McMichael, Dave Martin
K -Omare
Def - Vikings, Dolphins

All in all may be better than I think. Will have some tough calls some weeks for who to start at QB and Def, but fairly solid team.

The starts and sits were done last minute... and even with keith as a sleeper I can't start him, but because of the game he's bound to see some touches.

Anonymous said...

Lets see, my fantasy team is not bad...or has the potential to be good. But I have notoriously bad luck when it comes to competition, of the physical or mental I have low expectations for my chances to make the playoffs. But with that bout of defeatism aside here is my team:

QB: Rivers, Favre
RB: Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis, LaMont Jordon
WR: Joe Horn, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Santana Moss, Drew Bennett
TE: Vernon Davis, Eric Johnson
K: Janikowski
DST: Cowboys, Chiefs

Although it galls me to have to trade Farve and the Chiefs...stupid bye weeks.
Oh, and I must say that I agree with the sentiment thus far, live drafts are the way to go in the future. I will NEVER do another auto draft. This season isn't over yet and I am already pumped up about next year and the inevitable failure of our trying to get a live draft going (geez there is that pessimism rearing its ugly head again...sorry about that).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Kenton Keith will be in uniform tonight, I'm sure I saw him in front of Sheldon Williams collegiate around 3:30 yesterday with some candies in his hands for the grade 9 female freshies. It's not a night club but hey it's the next best thing in Kenton's world...


Samantha said...

Good post.