Brought to you unofficially by Yuengling...fueling yet another unorganized series of ranting and perhaps maybe even raving...
I know the feeling of real football being back is not as shocking as it was the first time you heard it now, but life just isn't the same without professional football. I mean really, we (the editorial "we") plan everything around pro football...it's Sunday, and I love college football (by the way, South Carolina Gamecocks...we're getting there in a hurry, believe it), but that would not have had even close to the same feel than pro football on Sunday. I want to say it's because I had to work like every Sunday since I had to work because gas was an insane $1.35 a gallon. Now that I have them off (and I mean hopefully I continue to...have you ever worked on Sundays?...it's a strange atmosphere of tiredness that makes time creep in the slowest of ways), I really, really appreciate what the NFL does for me. Even if the Pats are in a bye week, watching RedZone all day long and watching real-time fantasy stats is just a great way to spend a day in my opinion.
Okay, there's the preamble, let's dive right in (by the way, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup since I've been away from this...the second most significant championship of my life (which is saying a lot...winning)...that was a long time ago though it seems (two months)...I should write more maybe?...yeah definitely...(doing the Rene Rancourt salute and fist pump)...BRUINS!!!)
The "Michael Vick is the Greatest Thing To Happen To Fantasy Football Because For Some Reason He's Not The #1 Ranked Player In Fantasy" Theory:
Hmmm...should the theory names be that blatant and to the point? Doesn't leave much more for me to say. So Kevin Kolb is young Drew Bledsoe now...I mean think about it...the only difference is that Drew signed that $100 million deal before the trade, where Kolb signed an equally ludicrous deal w/ 'Zona (officially making the Cards kinda suckers unless Kolb gets to a Roethlisberger/Brees level of "almost all-time great, but sorta not" level...and good luck with that).
Vick's value right now cannot diminish unless literally every offensive starter goes down...right now, it's him, Brady, and probably Aaron Rodgers who can say that...these guys would be amazing with back-ups (Brady in '06 is all I have to say). Vick gets major points for running that no other QB can even get close to. Last year, second only to Arian Foster in points. No one has ever figured out how to stop him...except the Pats like eight years ago.
I am, however, happy to see three QBs hit the top 10-15 in the rankings this year...they get the most points, and it is so tough to win a fantasy with a QB that you never can tell how they will do...okay, there's my QB love rambling, let's switch it up a little...
The "Unless I Have Vick or Brady, Let's Get A Little JOSSSSSHHHHH Freeman Action Going" Theory:
I don't see this guy's train slowing down anytime soon. Another year of Mike Williams, the Soldier, LeGarrette Blount running people over (amazing last name for a power back). More points last year than Matty Ice, Flacco, Matt Schaub...Eli (have you ever felt confident starting him...ever?...that's why I can't have him). I know, everyone loves him, and that's usually a pitfall, but some players can bring it to that next level, and consider me a believer that this guy will do it.
The "Let's Draft A Darkhorse RB Late Because There's Always One That Works Out" Theory:
This also goes by the "Peyton Hillis" theory (never heard of him really and now he's on the cover of Madden...good to dream). I guess my suggestion on this would be to see if there's any indecision about what RB is going to be the one that is the man for the entire season on a team, not just the start of it. Here are a few that I'm watching:
Detroit: I love that Jahvid Best can run in and out of tackles...call me a hater, but I just don't see an every-down back there. He's a fantastic compliment to someone, which is why he and Mikel Leshoure were getting a lot of love going into the season, because it seemed like Best was going to do what he would be best at doing (being Danny Woodhead basically). With Leshoure out for the entire 2011 season, odds are Detroit starts Best, but at the same time, will be looking for someone to be the workhorse. It looks as though Jerome Harrison will be getting the shot, which is fascinating considering just last year, he was ousted by the aforementioned Peyton Hillis in Cleveland, then resurfaced with Philly and had a nice run towards the end of the season. Right now, he's going 125th in drafts (8th-11th rounds)...that has to be worth taking a flyer...he's ranked just ahead of Ricky Williams...I mean I love Ricky Williams, "Run Ricky Run," forget about it...even he would have to be the most wildly optimistic person to believe he gets as many chances as Harrison will at starting. Also, a uber-super duper darkhorse is Ian Johnson...yeah, the "statue of liberty, Boise State, marry my cheerleader girlfriend right afterward qualifying as one of the greatest "this is a movie and not real" moments in sports history (Miracle on Ice, '04 Sox)"' guy...very interesting indeed.
Arizona: What kind of odds would I get right now if I say Beanie Wells will not start in half of the games this year...not ridiculously low, but not ridiculously high either...that's a red flag. This could also be my reaction to the Cards trading Tim Hightower because they didn't think he could be "the guy" (more on him in a moment). paving the way for a Beanie Wells/Ryan Williams 1-2. I absolutely love Williams. He does it all, and he can handle that workload. I feel like if Beanie Wells was going to be elite, he would have done it already. He's not terrible by any means, but he's not the long-term guy. Williams on the other hand...if 'Zona is thinking like me, who knows? (update on 8/20: Williams was hurt on Thursday night and will miss the entire season with a ruptured patella tendon...so much for that)
Green Bay: James Starks is too good to keep down, so you can never tell if a trade is coming. The thing is that this is going to become like what Carolina has, so even if they keep Grant, Starks can fill out like what Jonathan Stewart does.
Carolina: Someone is going to be willing to overpay to get DeAngelo (Denver as rumored earlier this offseason?, maybe Dallas?)...overpay meaning as of his current value (I know it's just fantasy, but it can't be good if last year, I was thinking he could be elite, and now going into this season, I'm not touching him with a stick of any extension?). Stewart could be good because they have Goodson as well, so Stewart would start, but not get an overbearing workload. His value goes up, and Goodson could thrive because he has shown he could potentially start in this league. (update 8/22: DeAngelo signed a mega-extension a little while back, an interesting turn of events...this almost plays worse for Stewart now with Goodson being there as well, and the $$ guaranteeing DeAngelo is there for at least this year...Goodson's a sleeper for sure)
Washington: Wow what a total mess this team is. They need to hit every single draft and nail every free agent pickup for like at least five years to get back into long postseason run contention. Having said that, the Ryan Torain/Roy Helu/Tim Hightower situation is shaking up to be what Foster/Slaton/Tate was last year. If I had to guess, I say they start with Torain, and when healthy, he was a beast...I hate that "when healthy" though. If I had to handicap long-term, I say Hightower. I mean why not? The guy went to Richmond, he's from around the area...also, there has to be some motivation after basically being thrown on the cutting room floor in Arizona, and now he's in a place where he could absolutely outduel Torain and win the starting job as early as Week 1.
The "Who Cares If Chris Johnson Is Holding Out And May Not Play? He's Freggin' Nasty, Take Him Top 5" Theory:
I have to preface this with this little sidenote: If you have a chance to get either Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Michael Vick, or perhaps even Jammal Charles, because he's the biggest home run hitter in the league to...Chris Johnson, then I would say go for it. This is still the fastest guy in football, and while his contract, at least right now, is kind of looming and he's kind of being made out to look greedy (did I say kind of?...yeah, second thought, it totally does). I'm sorry...I love Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady...well, you know...but if there is the possibility of getting Chris Johnson, knowing that all of this is probably getting blown out of proportion and he just doesn't want to play in the preseason (justifiable by the way...if you're a star, not all the "rules" have to apply), you have to at least consider it. Those fines are gonna start adding up to when he's losing hundreds of thousands. I mean be happy you're not on the current rookie wage scale. I know I made mention of this to everyone I know via Facebook, but Cam Newton got 56 MILLION LESS than Sam Bradford...Fifty-F'ing-Six! What's weird though is that I looked up CJ's deal now (which expires in two years), 5yrs/12 mil, with bells and whistles, call it 18-20 mil, and Cam Jordan, this year's #24...his is 4yrs/7.74mil with signing bonus, 11 mil...that's like a 7 mil difference...I get that...not a huge transition number... but 56 MILLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIOOOOOONNNNN?!?! Woooooooo-who-who!
Yeah, so I'm not worried because they're keeping him...he's by far the best thing going in Tennessee...until...
The "Jake Locker Goes Kinda Tebow On Us This Year" Theory:
I consider Matt Hasselbeck the Paul Konerko of football. He has put up really, really good numbers for awhile, yet when talking about the upper echelon QBs, you never hear Hasselbeck in the top 5...even in his prime when he was! However, you have to believe after the Vince Young experiment, people in Tennessee really like the mobile QB because this is a fast offense that was resurrected from the McNair era when they were so successful with Young, and it he feels like Locker and CJ would be a dynamic running tandem...he's not Vick, but I have to say that he's huge, he runs really fast, he throws...he's Tebow, but potentially better, and I think Tebow could turn out to be a great player...remember, last year, he was hands down the #1 pick last year coming off a season when Tebow won the Heisman and looked invincible. Also, you're telling me that like Tebow, he's not playing with a chip on his shoulder? Hasselbeck may still get it done for like 10-11 weeks, but if your back-up already played in your starters bye week, I would scoop Locker up (or Tebow, one of the two).
The "They Said The Last Draft Lacked Offense, Yet A Bunch Of Guys Will Make Impacts This Year" Theory:
True, if you needed defense, this year's draft was very beneficial to you. Right now, you have no starting rookie QBs, and yet I have a feeling at least four will be starting by Week 10 (Locker, Cam Newton (Claussen as of now is still #1), Andy Dalton (Carson Palmer threatened retirement...fairly good sign he's not happy), and Colin Kaepernick (I think once they start seeing what this guy can do, the fans are going to go "hey, this is what we were promised with Alex Smith," and they're gonna really get into him).
If you're looking at guys who will produce from the jump, I would say Julio Jones and Daniel Thomas are the safest bets. The Jones pick was genius I think. The only thing that Julio has to get by is the whole Herschel Walker/Ricky Williams "we basically traded an entire draft for you, and you weren't so great" situation, but he doesn't have to be the man yet...Roddy White and Andre Johnson are in an epic duel for best receiver in football, so you just need him to play like he always has. Really, Atlanta's offense is set up for two dynamic vertical threats, and they kept trying to have Michael Jenkins work out, but ultimately, he didn't. Jones has the "it" quality, and I do like A.J. Green, but, I mean, when is it all going to just come completely undone up there in Cincy? I will say I like Green way more with Palmer in control than Dalton (if Dalton does become the starter, I would move quickly on Jermaine Gresham if he's still there). Julio Jones is going to be 80-100 yards and a score almost on average the whole season.
Thomas is being put in a position where he has relatively no competition to his starting spot, and his #2 (Reggie Bush) knows his role and also knows that he is most effective in the role of being the playmaking assassin, not the every down man. Plus, throw in a suspect passing game, and the fact that I've have no clue who is their #3 RB is...he's going to get every opportunity to get to 1,000 yards and score the goal-line TDs as well...that's the other thing...if you get a guy who does both the workload and the goal-lines, those are the most valuable guys. (and great football is about great football...).
Right now, he's not in the mix due to injury, but keep an eye on DeMarco Murray in Dallas. Cowboys just released Marion Barber, and although they have tried to make Felix Jones their every down back, that simply has not been his strong suit (which would be a Woodhead guy), so if Murray can get a few carries towards the end of the preseason, he might have some pretty quick returns, although I feel like he won't be able to earn the job until a few weeks in...not a bad guy to snag if you have the bench space. Other rooks I feel good about:
- Ryan Williams, ARZ (96.6 ADP (Average Draft Position): Pretty much said everything I needed to about him earlier, but in case you missed it, I like a Ryan Williams overthrow of the Cards' #1 back spot. (update: that is of course if he gets hurt for the season...wow that's totally bumming me out)
- Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (170.0 (from here on out, I'm gonna go "undrafted" for the 170ers...makes it sound like even more of a bargain): Ever since Kevin Faulk emerged for the Pats way back in the day, I've come to this conclusion: Little running backs are amazing in doses (Darren Sproles, Woodhead, Jahvid, etc.). If Atlanta uses him properly, he could be a punt return man and a guy who helps you out in PPR leagues catching passes from out of the backfield.
- Austin Pettis/Greg Salas, STL (170.0): I looped these two together because STL has them both, and while I like both of them, probably only one will emerge as an every game guy. I would have to say Salas is the better receiver right now, with Pettis having the biggest upside...remember, right now, for Rams' receivers, you're looking at Mike Sims-Walker (who could be a Pro-Bowler or get cut before the season starts...needless to say my opinion on him has changed from last year), Danny Amendola (more on him in a bit), and Brandon Gibson...it seems to me that there are still a bunch of balls waiting to be scooped up by one of these guys. Keep an eye on this situation as it develops through Week 1.
And now, more of the best of the guys who need a home:
- Tim Tebow, DEN: Remember, you cannot let the people who finance your team (i.e. fans, sponsors, and the guy who owns the team) stay restless for too long. Someone could really use Kyle Orton right now because he is at an above average level, then you factor in that he can't win either way in Denver unless he literally wins every game or puts up Brady/Manning numbers. If I had to guess...Miami? Washington? Seattle? If he went to any of them, he would put up really great numbers. Kyle Orton pulling off an entire season in Denver would be miraculous...I mean if you're a Denver fan, you have to be flummoxed because you want Tebow, yet if Orton stays as the QB the whole year, that team would probably have won 12-13 games. So, again, Tebow if you have room...about Week 8 is my bubble on when to pick him up.
- Jake Locker, TEN: Ditto.
- Andy Dalton, CIN: Seems to be a theme here...
- Colin Kaepernick, SF: Probably a reason there was a crush of QBs in the first two rounds of the draft this year right?
- Donald Brown, IND: I'm always going to have a soft spot for UConn...football (nothing else really, unless you're Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, Khalid El-Amin, Rip Hamilton, Emeka Okafor, Sue Bird...and other people I know that went there, and those I'll meet that aren't assholes in the future). Wasn't it like kind of a close call that Indy brought Joesph Addai back anyway? (I realize I think I've been a Joesph Addai hater for basically his entire career...I think it's more because he's on Indy...otherwise I might like him perhaps). Also, Addai can't be every down, you get a boost in the PPRs, this will be like, what, your 5th running back? Not too shabby.
- Bernard Berrian, MIN: So you have the #1 deep threat receiver on a team that has Donovan McNabb, who is entering the "grip it and rip" stage of his career, and plays at least nine games indoors?...I can live with that.
- Anthony Armstrong, WSH: Every time I saw a 'Skins box score on the Bottom Line last year, Armstrong was always the leading receiver. They bring back Santana Moss, but Armstrong definitely was doing reps with Beck last year on the second team before injuries brought him up to being basically the man for Donovan last year. They drafted Leonard Hankerson, but I still think Armstrong remains the #2 for an aging Santana Moss. In addition, if need be, he's already been the #1, so no worries.
- Arrelious Benn, TB: Freeman is going to have a bunch of yards, and he's gotta throw it somewhere. You have to worry about the ACL tear, which apparently is getting better, but still being held out of the preseason thus far, and perhaps may be the rest of the way until Week 1. Even with Williams probably having another stellar season, Benn is still in range to get 850 and 6 TDS and have two or three huge freggin' games (in which hopefully you're starting him because your main guys are on a bye or no bueno en general).
- Jordan Shipley, CIN: Really big on the Ship now that the Ocho has landed in Foxboro. A rookie #1 receiver in the mix too? Now I'm very curious. Jerome Simpson is another guy whose undervalued, but people are actually drafting him. Shipley works both with Palmer and Dalton (Palmer has a reipore with him, Dalton will have tunnel vision coming out, and will be throwing a lot over the middle). Again, a PPR league guy for sure.
- Josh Cribbs, CLE: Is anyone else finding this list fascinating? Like the really good quality of receivers no one seems to be taking? Cribbs of course is fantastic in returns, but has also proved to be a reliable receiver and a big-time home run hitter on returns and receptions.
- Nate Washington, TEN: One, he's good. Two, no one know what's happening with Kenny Britt. He is so good, but seems content on throwing his career right into the street and dodging traffic like Frogger. Three, Hasselbeck really never had a vertical threat like Washington in Seattle...I think if he has any success in the early goings, it's going to be due to him and Jared Cook (Gamecock!).
- Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE: This is perhaps the wildest undrafteds of them all...I don't know why I didn't list him first (probably because I'm going down the list on ESPN, and saying frequently "are you f-ing serious dude?"). Massaqoui is their #1, and the Browns are going West Coast, meaning he's in the money with Colt McCoy firmly at the helm (keep in mind Jake Delhomme, who, at a combined $22 million he received from Carolina and Cleveland, was the highest paid player in the NFL last year (good trivia question if you need it), started the first five weeks, so #'s for Browns receivers were down across the board).
- Eric Decker, DEN: It seems like Decker is about to supplant Eddie Royal for the #2 wideout spot. He's a big target, tons of potential...I believe he's going to last on the wire for about a week, then he might have such a big week, that you will have to throw a claim in just to try and get him...in this offense, Decker could have a major impact.
- Jared Cook (Gamecock!), TEN: He's poised to explode with Hasselbeck or Locker at the helm. We all saw him at USC, and have seen glimpses of him being that big, freakish athlete target in the pros. Now with no one in front of him, consider him the poor man's Vernon Davis...yeah, he's a freak.
- Jermaine Gresham, CIN: Again, when Dalton takes over, Gresham's value will skyrocket, but even when Palmer is behind center, he'll get targets and is great in the red zone if they ever get there.
- Jeremy Shockey, CAR: Wait, Shockey's on the Panthers? Did that kind of sneak up on anyone else? In any event, Shockey is probably the best receiver the Panthers have considering Steve Smith is wildly unpredictable to say the least (with health, temper, etc.). Can you imagine plugging in Shockey for a bye week? Not bad...I guess the problem would be that Greg Olsen is ahead of him on the depth chart, but I don't even know about him. Really an up-and-down player there with Olsen.
- Jacob Tamme, IND: I don't care if Peyton Manning literally has his head on a physical swivel, you cannot, I repeat, cannot go wrong with any starting Indy receiver...and you can get him this late? Wow. I say starting because I'm almost certain Indy is going to start going with a bunch of 2-TE sets because of what Tamme showed he could do, meaning that even with Dallas Clark back, he'll be out there plenty.
- Houston: This one puzzles me because it seems like Houston and Detroit are this year's "sexy picks." Houston realized that without your #1 corner being a Gamecock (Dunta Robinson, who signed with Atlanta before last season), the defense doesn't work, so the Texans went out and got Jo-Jo (Jonathan Joseph) from Cincy, and did a phenomenal job drafting defensive talent in J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, and Brandon Harris, all of whom I wish the Pats had.
- Tampa Bay: They have been upping their pass rush in seemingly every draft...look for yet another bump in sack production with Adrian Clayborne, Da'Quan Bowers, and another full season of Gerald McCoy.
Actually, this isn't in praise of the ESPN rankings at all...rather, this is how their rankings can get into people's heads and make them believe that you have to draft a certain guy in this round, or you can wait until this round, and for the most part, they kind of follow along...I know I used to be one of these people, but now? I'm telling you, I look at a player pool, and I get it...I know who people are going to want, I understand the wild card variable (this would be your drafting a defense in the 5th round, drafting 5 RBs with the first five picks types), so my advice to you is this: If you don't know what you're talking about, use them, because they are handy at times, but if you watch the game and study this, just let it hang out. Sure, this is a certain pleasure from waiting on a guy, then having him still be there, but if you like a guy, and you want him, and you're fairly sure he's not hurt/sitting out the whole year, just go for it...I...I suck with inspirational shit I have to tell you...
Guys Going 2-3 Rounds Late:...this might take awhile...
- LeGarrette Blount, TB (37. 4 ADP): Unless I missed something, this guy should be a borderline first rounder. He is a battering ram with no competition on his team, on a team whose offense could really come into its own this year (say what you will about how the Pats just man-handled them in the preseason, I think they use that as fuel...kind of a "let's show them what they were saying we would do" turnaround).
- Santonio Holmes, NYJ (48.2): There is no way he should be getting past the third round, let alone perhaps making it into the 5th. This is an elite receiver...he made an amazing catch in a Super Bowl, and he continues to back it up...he's like the bizarro David Tyree.
- Brandon Lloyd, DEN (52.3): So...he was #1 in points for receivers last year...yeah...Brandon Lloyd. The reason Brandon Lloyd is going this low is because having Marques Colston just sounds like a better idea. The fact is that yes, Lloyd came out of nowhere...but that was two years ago...I'm pretty sure he's arrived full-time.
- Vernon Davis, SF (61.7): Okay, so this guy clearly got pissed from people saying he wasn't living up to the hype...he's clearly the #1 tight end in the league in terms of a guy who will play the whole season (if you were saying one guy, one game...probably Gates). Tight End is always a curious position to be drafting this high, but if he's the fourth player you take, you have to be liking the fact that you're going to get double-digit points consistently.
- Steve Johnson, BUF (64.8): I envision him as the Chris Johnson of receivers...him and Mike Wallace are the biggest home run hitters in the league. The only thing that could possibly stunt his growth will be the lack of a supporting cast to spread the defensive love on (I will say I do like where Roscoe Parrish is headed, but the rest? Brad Smith? David Nelson?...ehhhh...).
- Chad Ochocinco, NE (72.5): More on him in a bit...the short: I love him...everyone in New England loves him and he hasn't played a game.
- Daniel Thomas, MIA (78.8): No way he should be getting out of the 4th let alone going close to the 7th?
- Marcedes Lewis, JAX (86.5): Red zone freak. Garrard will get it to him, Gabbert will really get it to him if he ever takes over (by the way, what happened to the love for David Garrard? He was a better Byron Leftwich, who was pretty good in his time with the Jags...and they trade up to get a guy who I'm not even sure will be that franchise starter two years from now?...so much for that).
- Julio Jones, ATL/Ryan Williams, ARZ (96.2): You know. (update: I will say that next year, Williams will be a sleeper...he might be in the exact same spot next year as he was this year fighting for the starting spot)
- Sam Bradford, STL (97.9): Couldn't have been more wrong about him last year (I believe I put him in the "Seriously Bro?" column next to Matt Leinart...again, a thousand pardons). Bradford set a rookie record for attempts, and now he has Josh McDaniels?...all systems are a go.
- Ryan Torain, WSH (106.2): I think Hightower ultimately takes over, but Torain will be a early season beast, so a great guy to start at the flex (RB/WR) position.
- Tim Hightower, WSH (114.4): Yeah.
- Jimmy Graham, NO (118.8): Had first hand experience with this guy, and even with Shockey in the fold, he was almost good for a TD a week. Now he is the go-to for a Saints team that loves the middle. This is a prime breakout candidate.
- Tony Gonzalez, ATL (122.9): His numbers went down, but he's still a fantastic red-zone target. Atlanta will put up a ton of yards and a ton of points this year. Give me anyone I can get off the Falcons (Ryan, Turner, White, Jones, Gonzo...any of them).
- Rob Gronkowski, NE (123.2): This huge freggin' guy.
- Brent Celek, PHI (133.4): An elite tight end in the 12-13th round? Hey, you tell me, I'm out of ideas.
- Danny Woodhead, NE (135.6): Mind-boggling.
- Jacoby Ford, OAK (139.8): While his choice of college is questionable, the fact remains that Ford can get it done both receiving and returning, but has more of an upside than a guy like Josh Cribbs because his involvement in the passing game will only go up, and he did register two 100-yard games in his rookie season after not playing on offense really until Week 7.
- Danny Amendola, STL (142.7): As if Woodhead being this low is mind-boggling, this one might take the cake...jeesh...If you go Amendola in the 6th or 7th, that's still a good value pick...the 14th? Whhhhooooooooaaaaaa...
- Tony Moeaki, KC (146.2): Great red zone target, makes acrobatic plays, on an up-and-coming offense, keep buying low while you still can.
- Steve Breaston, KC (149.1): Basically the same as Moeaki, but Breaston is even more dangerous, and has showed it in flashes in 'Zona. Now with the #2 receiver title from the start, look for Breaston to have a huge season.
- Derrick Mason, NYJ (151.0): Yup, he's old. Yup, he's on the Jets. Yup, he's #3 behind Santonio and Plax, but especially in PPR formats, he is fantastic, especially considering I strongly doubt Plax will be able to make it the whole season, meaning Mason becomes the #2, meaning he gets about 80 catches this year.
- Frank Gore, SF (16.3): Yeah I gotta tell you, as a guy who has had Gore on my keeper team for three years (and don't now thanks to a crafty Week 1 pickup of Michael Vick last year), but Gore is nowhere close to this level...he's still a very good back, but he just doesn't score nearly as much as he used to consistently.
- DeAngelo Williams, CAR (32.1): This was quite the change from last year, when I was certain De would prosper in Carolina even with Jon Stewart on board, but now, with injuries, and the emergence of yet another back in Mike Goodson, Williams looks like a shell of his former superstar-self. He will still put up points, but right now, there's no way you can justify him in the middle of the third.
- Marques Colston, NO (46.8): This one I'm possibly the most confident on...here comes a homer statement: I honestly don't mind if the Saints are just okay this year, which seems to be where they're heading on paper...and we have their first round pick next year...I'm kind of rooting for 8-8...it's like they won't completely suck but don't go on and be overachievers and all that.
- Jeremy Maclin, PHI (48.5): The guy is a talent, but in the top 50? Over Brandon Lloyd? Not so sure about that. I don't mean to be a dick or anything, but didn't Maclin just get over a cancer scare? I wouldn't deem that as being the best "stock up" news.
- Ryan Grant, GB (54.2): This is now becoming like DeAngelo/Stewart in Carolina with James Starks and his 2nd half dominance. There's only so long you're going to be able to keep him on the bench. In other words, the days of Ryan Grant being a featured back are being at least temporarily put on hold.
- Mark Ingram, NO (62.7): Yeah, they still have Pierre Thomas...everyone realizes that right? Even if Ingram outplays Thomas in the preseason, he's going to be in an at-best timeshare situation, and even if Thomas goes down for some reason, Ingram still will have Chris Ivory to contend with, and he's no slouch either.
- Sidney Rice, SEA (80.5): Hate to put a Gamecock on the list, but going to Seattle was the best thing (financially) and the worst thing (stats) that Sidney Rice ever did for his career, or at least this season...their QB is Tarvaris Jackson...I shiver upon the mere mention of his name.
There is literally only one exception to this, and that is Wes Welker...I had "WELKER83" for a plate in NC...and that was his first year...needless to say I like the guy, but in a regular, non-PPR (Point Per Reception) league, he'ss valued, like, about right...but other than that, they're all steals. Brady is going outside of the top 15...I mean I think the recent receiving binge is Bill's continual apology for the Reche Caldwell "if we had gone out and signed someone elite to almost elite, he would have caught this, but this guy dropped it and his eyes burst out of their sockets afterward" play...he gets the Ocho (undervalued, probably is in the vicinity of 1,000 and 8 TDs, perhaps even northward of that), they're thinking about Housh, you already have Branch (oh yeah by the way, we still have Deion Branch...remember how he was almost like the Deion of old last year?...so he's back...undervalued!), Welker (again, in regular leagues, he's tricky because he's not the TD fiend, but usually scores in bunches when he gets going...PPR? This guy is a bonanza...it's his contract year, and I have to tell you, if Wes Welker ever leaves the Patriots, to me, it would be like just a sliver under Brady leaving), Gronk (him and Mercedes Lewis are the best red zone receivers going...he got 10 TDs in his rookie season! They can go to him whenever because he's the jump ball guy), and Aaron Hernandez (if you get points for receptions of 20 or more, this guy will be great for you). Through the preseason, Taylor Price is now also suddenly emerging to become the slot man opposite Welker.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis is the 23rd running back off the board right now (right now is 8/16 by the way)...the guys right above, Felix Jones and Knowshon Moreno? Dude no way! Benjarvus actually has a track record of being good since basically every time he's had the ball, even when he was the third string back. Also, Woodhead is going undrafted? Are you serious? Am I the only one doing fantasy football that watched the Pats games last year?...or Hard Knocks for that matter?...you should draft him for his endless middle finger at Rex Ryan for cutting him on national TV even though he probably deserved to make that team (hopefully the same happens with Shaun Ellis this year).
Even Gostkowski is undervalued! Right now, the Patriots have the best all-around offense in the league...I don't even know how many points they will put up, but it's going to probably be "Greatest Show On Turf" numbers again this year. Love this team...please let us have a pass rush.
Okay, so those are the theories I'm throwing around, now, here's comes the bread and butter...the "Dream Teams." I did a snake and an auction draft and basically drafted the best players I possibly could to kind of show you that a.) this is possible, and b.) I continue to drive and be the guy who drafts guys and elicits one moan or one "damn it" after every guy I take...
Snake (Picking 7th): "Mackin' and Hangin'" (an omage to "The Wood," one of the most wildly underrated movies of my generation)
7. Andre Johnson (Peterson, Foster, CJ, Jamaal, and Vick were off the board...definitely the #1 receiver in the game, and worthy of this high of a pick)
13. Tom Brady (heyyyyyyy now!)
27. Matt Forte (man, LeGarrette went 23rd in this one! wow...anyway, I'm huge on Forte...in PPR leagues, he's in the super-elite category, even in a regular one like this, he is going to put up points in bunches)
34. DeSean Jackson (can you really hate on going for a Andre Johnson/DeSean Jackson combo?...you're not telling me that in one week, they could both get like half the team's points?...loving it!...having said that, PPR?...it would be Welker time right here)
47. Brandon Lloyd (can I tell you, nothing wrong with having three of the top six to seven receivers in the game)
54. Fred Jackson (at this point, it became a "who do I want more, Fred Jackson or Daniel Thomas?" pick...I like them both, but I've seen Fred Jackson and I think he could be even better this year)
67. Daniel Thomas (hahaha, I believe I mentioned a certain pleasure on waiting on guys...hey, I got 'em both though!)
74. Chad Ochocinco ("I said how in the world you gonna stop Ochocinco?" God bless Steve Porter for doing what he does...all of it...amazing)
(for the record, Nate Kaeding just went 81st...take that how you will)
87. Ryan Williams (I love this pick, but the guy right before got Julio at 86! He stole my move!...update: every time you see the name "Ryan Williams," probably go ahead and switch it with DeMarco Murray at this point...actually I would have gone James Starks here)
94. Ryan Torain (how quickly an overbalanced receiving team become the "all-potential" running back ensemble...even though I kind of pictured his demise, it's the 10th round!...let's go f'ing Torain!...he's my 5th running back!...FIF!)
107. Rob Gronkowski (I don't know how it works for you, but even doing a random one like this, my stomach gets more tied in knots than the early rounds...it's like this is where things get interesting and you never know...Gronk! 10 TDs again, why not?!)
114. Matt Cassell (I mean if you're just going to let me have him, I say why not...he's probably going to the Pro Bowl, so I have a legit backup with huge trade value...that works...12th round?)
Random Note: I don't know if this is some kind of awakening for me, but I really don't care very much about bye weeks and all that...it's like let the chips fall where they may with the best guys you can get...so having said that, all of my bye weeks are totally matching up)
127. Danny Amendola (Woodhead just went off the board...I was bummed for a little bit, then I remembered this guy's there, and we're back on track)
134. Jared Cook (this was a Breaston vs. Cook decision, and I'm not going to lie at all, I am outrageously biased, and I just freggin' love Jared Cook and what he might do...one more time...GAMECOCKS!)
147. Patriots D/ST (I love the 4-3 they're doing right now, Carter looks like a beast, perhaps a little Haynesworth sprinkled in there...I wonder if they keep Edelman...I really hope they do...who doesn't love Welker clones?...fantastic return man, great slot guy if you need it)
154. Mason Crosby (this was probably my most objective pick of the evening, going Crosby over wooooooo Succop! (sorry but us USC people are nuts about Ryan Succop, the most successful Mr. Irrelevant perhaps all time already)...Crosby will have the better year, but Succop is amazing...yes, gushing over kickers)
Okay, basically not going to bore you with the play-by plays of this (auction drafts are awesome, but auction drafts are long as hell...auction drafts are the Risk of fantasy sports). Here's some advice though:
- Get A Kicker And A D/ST Before You Run Out Of Spots: By rule, I have to nominate Peyton Manning first because of the "Derek Jeter Nomination Principle" (and now, included is LeBron...which reminds me, if anyone wants a high school LeBron jersey, let me know because I, I just can't wear that anymore man...can't do it), but anyway, after that, go for an okay D and an okay kicker so you have all your $$ left to go after the "position" guys (I hate to say that, because kickers and D/ST matter so much in real life, but in fantasy?...I just don't buy into it that much)
- Having said that, if you want to go crazy and spend $15 for the Steelers D, by all means. This format allows you to go nuts, so yeah, again, by all means. I kind of play it all by ear. The first few bids are very telling. If guys are going around where they have them ranked, then I'll shred it up because I basically already have a "extreme best-case scenario team"...and it goes a little something like this, hit it! (based on ESPN values as of 8/19):
- QB: Tom Brady, $30 (I do think Vick is the best fantasy player, but his value is $43 and TFB is 30?...not so sure about that)
- RB: Arian Foster, $59 (I have to say, it's nice to have a guy who basically you can kind of totally lean on to come through every week...it's nice)
- RB: Jamaal Charles, $54 (like I was saying)
- RB/WR: LeGarrette Blount, $17 (at this point, we're talking about a standard league, in a PPR, the order is going to be almost reverse, where I would spend tons on big time receivers, and go receiver here as well)
- WR: Mike Williams, $17 (continue my Tampa love)
- WR: Julio Jones, $2 (this is probably the most unrealistic starting dollar value of them all, but it's great for the hypothetical)
- TE: Rob Gronkowski, $1 (dolla dolla bills y'all)
- D/ST: (Insert either Jets, Ravens, Pats, Chargers, Chiefs or Lions here) $1
- K: Anyone...Gostkowski, $1, why not
- BE: Danny Woodhead, $1
- BE: Danny Amendola. $1
- BE: Jake Locker $1 (as Bob Ross said, "let's have a little fun")
- BE: Jacoby Ford $1
- BE: Tony Gonzalez, $1 (man, no love for him...is it because I'm giving him love, now it's like hey let's hate him...I see how it is)
- BE: Colt McCoy, $1 (if you picked Colt McCoy last year, you were laughed at, but not so much this year)
- BE: Shonn Greene, $11 (had 11 bucks kicking around, why not?)
Well, as always, I'm here for you if you ever have any questions about anything, but have fun, be true to you, and kind of just use this as an outline written by a guy who really had nothing better to do...which is okay because fantasy freggin' rocks. Alright everyone, good luck this season. Don't draft Ryan Williams this year! Peace.