Temperatures are dropping. Girls are putting away their shorts and tank tops. The country is preparing to elect another shitty President. Now is the time on Sprockets when we play fantasy football. All is right in the world (until our first-round picks get their knees shoved into a wood chipper).
I can’t recall a time leading up to the draft that was filled with so many mysteries, riddles and enigmas. After Foster, Rice, McCoy, Rodgers, Megatron and maybe Jimmy Graham, there are no safe bets at any position. Preseason injuries, lengthy holdouts and a glut of players rehabbing 2011 surgeries made the first four rounds unpredictable and a bit puzzling.
Nevertheless, we trudged across the muddy terrain, negotiated the barbwire fence and managed to soldier on in our efforts to construct a roster worthy of seizing fake glory. Who is sitting pretty? Who needs retooling? Who is fucked? Allow me to ponder.
(1) Travelin’ Fools – This is a squad that would’ve looked awesome in 2009. I love me some Arian Foster, but the trio of Welker, Colston and Smitty could prove problematic if age and injury catches up with them. Overall, the Fools have the makings of a contender, if either David Wilson or Mikel Leshoure become lead backs.
Favorite pick: Pierre Garcon in the 7th. RG III has no one else to stretch the field.
Least favorite pick: Tony Gonzalez in the 9th. He should’ve called is quits after last season.
(2) Blind Monkeys – If anything happens to Ray Rice, they are finished. Doug Martin needs to come up large as does Dez “I Dig Slapping My Mother” Bryant. It will be interesting to see how Phil Rivers performs now that Vinnie Jackson is soaking up the Tampa rays.
Favorite pick: Brandon Pettigrew in the 8th. Plays in a powerful offense and is on the cusp of entering elite status at tight end.
Least favorite pick: Jahvid Best in the 10th. Excellent value, but dude has had more concussions than Eric Lindros.
(3) Moscow Mules – I don’t need to know the reason for the name change. The Mules rule! Sadly, their roster is rife with fresh dung. We got a fused neck, a pair of lead feet, a walking triage unit and an underachieving wideout playing in a new city. Not even Shady can save this ass from being shipped to the glue factory.
Favorite pick: Uh… hmm… has to be McCoy in the 1st. He won’t rack 20 scores again, but no running back breaks more long runs.
Least favorite pick: Everyone else? Just kidding… not really. Gotta go with Shonn “My Parents Can’t Spell” Greene. Curtis Martin’s bowel movements move faster than this clod.
(4) Lame Excuses – Forte fourth overall was a shocker. I planned on getting him at 11. Anyway, he’s gifted, but the lack of touchdowns is worrisome in a non-PPR league. The Lame ones are buying into the Falcons hype, although they might be looking to sell by Week 6.
Favorite pick: Reggie Wayne in the 6th. The old man’s days as a legit number one are over, but he does make a respectable number three at this stage of his career.
Least favorite pick: Matt Ryan in the 3rd. He reminds me way too much of Jeff George to get excited about his prospects.
(5) Walker’s Talkers – He, heh, Walker likes tight ends. The trio of Graham, Hernandez and Finley could be deadly, or dead and buried. We shall see. Aaron Rodgers will win three games by himself. Guaranteed.
Favorite pick: Willis McGahee in the 5th. Yeah, he’s ancient, but the ex-Hurricane still knows how to carve a swath through defenses.
Least favorite pick: MJD in the 2nd. Holdouts almost always flop. See Chris Johnson and DeSean Jackson in 2011.
(6) Florida Near-Deaths – In an attempt to conjure past glories, Lericos went against the grain and snagged Adrian Peterson and his eight months removed from ACL-MCL surgery left knee. Good luck with that. He followed that up by plucking another talented back with bad knees, Trent Richardson. Hey, the boy’s got stones, I’ll give him that.
Favorite pick: A.J. Green in the 3rd. Absolute steal. Should be a Top 5 receiver in 2012.
Least favorite pick: Stevan Ridley in the 6th. The only thing more excruciating than trying to predict Bill Belichick’s running back rotation is trying to deduce Mike Shanahan’s.
(7) Hartstoppers – The strategy to take three pass catchers in the first three rounds is risky for sure, but it’s one I can endorse. Even if Calvin and Gronk fail to duplicate last year’s gaudy stats, they should still be in store for huge seasons. However, relying on Ryan Mathews and his baby-sized bones and muscles is a neverending migraine.
Favorite pick: RG III in the 7th. Do I believe he’s the 2012 version of Cam Newton? No, but if he’s even two-thirds of what Cam was in 2011, look the fuck out.
Least favorite pick: Reggie Bush in the 5th. Simply put, I loathe the guy.
(8) ManahManah – If the first four picks stay healthy, the ‘Cuse will be the team to beat. That said, the odds of this occurring are worse than my odds of having a threesome with Emma Stone and Mila Kunis.
Favorite pick: Brandon Lloyd in the 6th. I toyed with taking him three spots earlier and will likely regret not pulling the trigger. Brady likes to go deep.
Least favorite pick: Rashard Mendenhall in the 10th. Funny how he won’t be ready until October, but AP is ready to roll now. Hmm…
(9) Furry Beasts – With the exception of Golden Boy Tommy, this is the ultimate boom or bust team. Can Chrissy Johnson rebound? Is Jordy Nelson really a Top 5 receiver? Was Darren Sproles for real in 2011? Will Peyton transform Eric Decker into a big time playmaker? If the answers to these questions are “Yes,” book a trip to the playoffs.
Favorite pick: Rashad Jennings in the 10th. MJD’s holdout is bound to blow up in his face.
Least favorite pick: Kevin Smith in the 7th. Never stays healthy and plays for a team that has zero interest in running the ball.
(10) Steelcats – Another cross your fingers team. Cam, DeMarco, Marshawn and Antonio all carry a certain amount of baggage. Then again, as I penned in the opening, a lot of dudes have question marks floating above their heads.
Favorite pick: Torrey Smith in the 6th. Similar to Brandon Lloyd, I considered grabbing him, but my utter disdain for Joe Flacco talked me out of it.
Least favorite pick: Lynch in the 3rd. Beast Mode can gulp down all the Skittles he wants, he’s still an unreliable headcase.
(11) Savage Animal – The effectiveness of Steven Jackson and Jamaal Charles will determine how far Animal can climb. I’m not thrilled with this bunch as a whole, but there’s enough potential to inflict some damage should expectations be met.
Favorite pick: Brandon Marshall in the 4th. He’s a dickhead, but he and Jay Cutler make sweet music together.
Least favorite pick: Steven Jackson in the 2nd. With all the superbacks off the board, I was forced to go the steady, if not spectacular, route. At least Jeff Fisher likes to run the ball.
(12) The Negotiators – Leave it to the defending champs to nab a pair of aging runners to lead the charge. It’s hard to love this team, but it’s hard to hate it, too. “Bland” is the word I’m searching for. A little hot sauce is in order.
Favorite pick: Cedric Benson in the 7th. Always unappreciated, but remains a consistent producer.
Least favorite pick: Turner in the 1st. Age and back-to-back seasons of 300-plus carries have slowed him down. And the Falcons are leaning toward transitioning to a pass-first attack to compete in the dangerous NFC.