I participated in my first Fantasy Football Draft 20 years ago, which means two things: 1) I’m old, and 2) I’ve spent way too much time embroiled in foolish debates such as who’s more valuable in standard scoring leagues, Koren Robinson or David Boston? Psst… the answer is neither (yes, I still remember).
As a sophomore at Ithaca College, I came to know a guy who may or may not have operated an illegal sports book from his basement. Let the record show, I never actually learned what this gentleman (we’ll call him Sunny) did for a living, but he rarely left his house, and owned a shitload of televisions. Draw your own conclusions.
Anyway, Sunny invited me to play what he called “Franchise Football,” which sounded an awful lot like rotisserie baseball, except fun. Draft a team of real NFL players and pit them against nine other teams? Sold. Hell, I knew football, how difficult could it be? Ah, the arrogance of youth. If I could travel back in time, I’d punch 20-year-old me in the throat and call him “bitch” (Pinkman style).
I was convinced I was going to take these duds to school. Of course I was painfully unaware every single one of said duds had alleged ties to professional gambling. Again, nothing was ever proven in a court of law. But I digress.
I was cocky, not stupid. I did my research and analysis, ranking all starting QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs from best to worst. Kickers and defenses? Just like 40-year-old me, fuck ’em. I was primed to dominate. Step aside douches, the kid is here to teach some hard lessons.
The draft was held in Sunny’s garage, a cramped hot box that smelled like old Christmas trees and dead mice. Inside was a motley crew of dysfunctional degenerates all seated in sciatic hating metal folding chairs. One guy looked like this; another was missing the top half of his left middle finger (bird flipping gone wrong?); a third used to play right guard for Cornell. And then there was Chet.
Chet was a portly fellow dressed in a two sizes too small Boomer Esiason Bengals jersey and acid washed jorts. Every time he made a pick he would stand up, point at the draft board, and yell out his selections like so: WARREN FUCKIN’ MOON! And when I say every time, I mean every time.
RICKY FUCKIN WATERS! CHRIS FUCKIN’ WARREN! TIM FUCKIN’ BROWN! Needless to say, it was absolutely FUCKIN’ hilarious. A mouth breathing troll with sweat pouring down his doughy face bellowing names of NFL players at a dry erase board. Priceless. Oddly, no one was fazed by this ridiculous behavior in the least. They just sat quietly, lost in their cheat sheets.
Naturally, I was the exact opposite. It took everything in me to not keel over in hysterics whenever Chet performed his dance of buffoonery. It looked something like this:
At any rate, that was my initiation into fantasy football. It was equal parts weird and entertaining. Oh, and since I’m sure you’re dying to know, I drafted Randall Cunningham in the first round, watched him snap his leg in Week 4, and finished second to last in the league. Guess who won? Yup, Chet.
The moral of this boring tale? Overconfidence will burn you, and never judge a blah, blah by its… oh, who gives a shit… IT’S GULFMAN LEAGUE DRAFT RECAP TIME, BITCHES!
The Good – Anytime you get a chance to have a superhuman on your roster, life is good. Adrian Peterson proved me and hosts of others wrong in 2012 when he flirted with Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record months after knee reconstruction. He’s like awesome and stuff (even though he won’t come close to 2000 yards. Here I go again).
The Bad – Gronk in the 5th round represents excellent value. Problem is du Führer Belichick isn’t revealing when his prized tight end will return to the field following multiple offseason surgeries. Could be Week 3, or Week 7. It’s okay, mysteries are fun. Nothing makes fantasy owners happier than being kept in the dark.
The Ugly – DeMarco Murray and Rashard Mendenhall should form a music duo called Brittle and Broken. Then go on tour playing ERs across the country. Then sign a deal with Unreliable Records. We get it, Scott! They can’t stay healthy!
The Good – Daryl Richardson won’t conjure images of Marshall Faulk, but to land a starting running back in the 6th round is shrewd drafting. He should be a nice fill in should a calamity befall either Doug Martin or 30-year-old (gulp) Frank Gore.
The Bad – Brandon Marshall is still bothered by a bum hip that has been operated on three times. Ronnie Hillman wears gloves coated in Astroglide. Greg Olsen has Mike Shula calling plays for the Panthers. Ryan Broyles’ knee still isn’t right.
The Ugly – 8th round pick Johnny Dwyer was cut by the Steelers. I’m sure an overweight running back who was beaten out by Felix Jones will have no trouble finding gainful employment elsewhere. Johnny! What? The Raiders are on the phone. Um, I’m not home.
The Good – Jimmy Graham is a Top 10 receiver in this format as long as Drew Brees is under center in Nawlins. Mike Vick is a steal in the 9th even if he only plays 11 games. Michael Floyd could be in store for a breakout season with Carson Palmer throwing him the ball.
The Bad – The August Arian Foster hate might be unwarranted. After all, LaDainian Tomlinson skipped preseason for years without missing a beat. Then again, Foster has touched the ball 1114 times (not including playoffs) since 2010. If he breaks down, the Talkers are finished.
The Ugly – A Vick/Big Ben combo at quarterback could spell doom if (when) the former gets hurt or pulled. And the latter doesn’t have Mike Wallace to stretch defenses anymore. It’s a classic high risk, high reward situation. Hey, what’s fantasy without a little drama?
The Good – Spiller, MJD, and Sproles are a formidable trio of runners. Justin Blackmon will sit four games for being naughty, but could be lethal once he’s reinstated. Cam Newton is basically the ‘Cats number one running back.
The Bad – Cam Newton is basically the ‘Cats number one running back. He’s also not very accurate. He also has Mike Shula (see Trent Dilfer in Tampa) “mentoring” him and feeding him plays. What could possibly go wrong?
The Ugly – Tavon Austin is being drafted as a number three receiver despite having little to no experience running professional routes. The scent of Dante Hall is strong with this one. Superlative returner, average pass catcher.
The Good – Ray Rice and Aaron Rodgers are about as steady as it gets in fake football. They’ll keep Southie close most weeks. And the Ben Tate pick may very well end up paying huge dividends if Foster flops.
The Bad – The problem with going quarterback early is you end up with a hunk of shit like Darren McFadden as a number two back. He’s already hurt and his future health looks bleak behind a laughable offensive line. On the bright side, Terrelle Pryor is under center, so the passing game should be top notch.
The Bad – Wasting roster spots on average tight ends isn’t advisable. Owen Daniels will lose targets to rookie DeAndre Hopkins and Kyle Rudolph is the definition of hit-and-miss. Taking upside wideouts like Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd or Rueben Randle is a sounder strategy.
The Ugly – Hakeem Nicks gets injured while sleeping. He’s yet to play a full season in four years and spent most of training camp nursing a sore groin. Relying on him to be a number one receiver will be maddening.
The Good – Much to my surprise, the Deal Makers managed to draft two of my favorite players in 2013 — T.Y. Hilton and Eddie Lacy. Okay, so they took both a round early, but each has an opportunity to find the end zone a bunch.
The Bad – It’s a good thing they have a Hilton, because the rest of their receiving corps is comprised of Motel 6’s and Super 8’s. Amendola is a good bet to miss three or four games, and Santonio Holmes and Jacoby Jones aren’t worth drafting. Well done.
The Ugly – Le’Veon Bell. He probably won’t be sidelined for six weeks, but a 245lb back with a tender foot is a car crash waiting to happen. Also, the specter of “Shanahanigans” looms large in D.C. Besides all that, I love this team. Ahem.
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
The Good – If we drafted three days later, David Wilson wouldn’t have been there in the 4th round for the Defending
Douchebags Champs to pluck. Alas, we didn’t and he was. The Balls were, like myself, wise to load up on NFC East players because nobody in the division can play defense.
The Bad – In case you didn’t notice, the Jets are an exercise in ineptitude. Chris Ivory, or any Jet for that matter, will have trouble gaining ground. He’s a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch on a horrendous team. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!
The Ugly – It sickens me to admit, but Lericos has once again drafted a legit contender. James Jones scored 14 TDs last year and he went in the 7th round? Stevie Johnson in the 9th? What. The. Fuck. We should all be ashamed for allowing this to occur.
The Good – Even in non PPR formats, Matt Forte continues to be underrated. Now, grabbing him 9th overall was premature, but he’ll likely post Top 10 numbers in Marc Trestman’s attack (see Charlie Garner in 2002).
The Bad – Ryan Mathews. He’s McFadden lite. On a personal note, the Excuses stole Andrew Luck, Larry Fitzgerald, and DeAndre Hopkins from me. I had all three on my wish list. This goes out to you, Lame ones:
The Good – What took place last Tuesday night should never be permitted in a league of this magnitude. Two Top 5 running backs landed on the same team. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles aren’t touchdown machines, but both are the focal points of their respective offenses. Yay me!
The Bad – RG III is an admitted reach, but as I said, Luck was already off the board. If he’s 85% of what he was in 2012, I’ll be sitting pretty at quarterback. If not, I can always lean on the gingeriest of gingers Andy Dalton, who is somehow married to this:
The Ugly – Because Tom Coughlin is a totalitarian prick, he decided to play several key players in the pointless fourth preseason game. As a result, my 8th round pick Andre Brown suffered a busted leg. Fuck you, Tom Coughlin.
The Good – Calvin Johnson. Having owned Megatron on many of my previous fantasy squads, I can attest that it’s a whole lotta fun. He and his Condor-like wingspan makes up for Matthew Stafford being an erratic tard face.
The Bad – When you go wide receiver and quarterback in the first four rounds, you get stuck with terrible running backs. Maybe DeAngelo Williams has one good year left. Perhaps Isaiah Pead can supplant Daryl Richardson. I’m grasping here, folks.
The Ugly – Did you know that Tony Romo finished only 25 points behind Tom Brady in QB scoring last season? That’s less than two points per week. In 2013, Brady has Danny Amendola and a gaggle of rookies. Romo has Dez, Witten, and Miles. Why draft Brady at all?
The Good – A.J. Green, Andre Johnson and Josh Gordon (when eligible) form one nasty trio. The Pits excel at finding quality pass catchers in a league that starts three every week. Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate are nice bench options, too. And Stafford in the 5th is where he belongs.
The Bad – Lamar Miller will make or break this team. If he is indeed another Chris Johnson home run hitter, it will be puppy dogs and ice cream. If he’s another Donald Brown, it will be porcupines and liverwurst.
The Ugly – Pierre Thomas and Danny Woodhead represent the entirety of RB depth. The Pits should start crossing their fingers now for a Ryan Mathews injury.
Whew! I need a whiskey sour IV. Random observation: picking #1 didn’t seem like much of an advantage this year. We’ll see how it all plays out. I leave you with this.