Trials of a Closet Fantasy Football Maven (Part II)
By Evan Benton
Week I, Section B: Preparation is Maddening …
Part I: But There is Comfort in Recitation
So unlike last year I was completely prepared for our 2011 Draft, with beer in hand (for celebration or to lessen stress?) and sat through the near one hour wondering how my team – which had looked great in my mind when I was ranking all the players and preparing myself – looked so … undependable.
I think I had the fifth, or sixth pick in this year’s draft – who really cares when you’re not first or last – and I was too late to pick up the three or four best RBs, so of course I missed Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, etc. I had the opportunity to get Arian Foster with my first pick, but I studiously made the calculated decision that he was a big maybe for this year considering he broke out last season on a fluke – much like my boy Hillis which is why I didn’t pick him back up – and instead chose Ray Rice as my first pick. Rice I figure has the ability to break tackles as well as slip between linemen, and his open field speed as well as his receiving skills make him a devastating target for Joe Flacco. So there’s my reasoning.
Next, of course, needed to be a quarterback as the best RBs were gone and the best QBs were going. I was right there, hovering over Tom Brady but I sincerely felt as though this would be betraying Rivers when he was my standby last year. So I picked the Chargers’ QB up again and I feel that he is a stable pick.
There ends my “old dependable” player sheet. In the rounds to follow I got LaGarrette Blount (I was very cocky in this decision, and deep inside hope I snagged a runaway train) as well as Chris “Beanie” Wells. While my friends were taking Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson I had picked RBs, but I still believe as I believed last season – and I won so … what? – that WRs are replaceable and decent choices change bi-weekly, while decent RBs are a constant stress when you don’t have good ones from the start) so I stuck with Reginald Wayne, who would fall in my “old dependable” category for players if Peyton Manning were 100%, even 80%. I figure that Kerry Collins will throw to him, but he’ll more likely target Dallas Clark and his easy routes.
Vernon Davis I picked up right away as my go-for-the-gold tight end, not even worrying about anyone else in the position (My backup TE is Aaron Hernandez and I’m waiting for the season to continue or for Davis to somehow disappoint to decide on how long he stays with me). Then for some reason I responded to someone goading me and I picked up the Lions for my defense mostly because I really like Ndamukong Suh and am afraid of him.
In no particular order I added Brandon Marshall, Josh Brown at kicker, Mark Ingram, Hines Ward, Brandon Marshall, Santana Moss, Michael Crabtree (another goading and my last pick of the draft), and another favorite of mine, unfortunate Jay Cutler.
Ingram was perhaps a mistake, I’ve recently started thinking. I hadn’t really been keeping up with my notes on football in the last two weeks – I figured winning last year means I didn’t have to (arrogant bastard) – and so I also figured that the Saints’ first pick as a RB means they’re going to start him. Of course then I found out that somehow Pierre Thomas is still there and escaped the free agent frenzy, as well as Chris Ivory and my old friend Sproles who just arrived in New Orleans over the summer. Ingram ran for 40 yards and changed last week in the opening game, and I obviously didn’t start him so I’m not complaining …yet, but I hope he bursts out into a reliable RB.
Marshall I believe will find his own and will become Miami’s top guy over Davone Bess no matter who is taking snaps, but Moss is just too good not to play. On a bad team with two quarterbacks who will vie for the start and who will need dependable options, he and Cooley are tops. And Cooley gets injured every year nowadays. Moss is still prime material. He’s starting.
Finally, I’ve been in this business too long to not appreciate a good kicker. Games have been won and lost from the single-digit points these guys put up week in and week out, and so Rams kicker Josh Brown was actually one of the top three big boots that I was mulling over. I think Neil Rackers, rated first, is overrated, I think Rob Bironas is getting old and Stephen Gostkowski is a cowardly and unoriginal pick that I’d never stoop to. Brown is dedicated to his craft, on a team that fizzles out conveniently near twenty-yard lines.
So, here is my current and prepared team:
QB Philip Rivers
RB Ray Rice
RB LaGarrette Blount
RB/WR Chris Wells
WR Reginald Wayne
WR Santana Moss
TE Vernon Davis
K Josh Brown
Note: You may note that my defense is not part of my draft-day personnel. Before I’ve even put up a point you will see that I’m already searching the wire, and with my apprehensive towards the Lions still palpable, I picked up Patrick Willis and the gang who are going against the Seahawks. It is a West Coast rivalry on opening day that is too good to pass up.
Part II: But Respect Intimidation
Yes, I do get frightened by great opposing teams. I also get doubly frightened when I play against a guy who, when he’s concentrating, is virtually unstoppable (Dane) and in the opening game of our season when nobody knows anybody yet.
He’s coming at me with some heavy characters. Guys that, annoyingly, I didn’t pick up when I thought about it – like Andre Johnson and Michael Turner. Mind you, I don’t regret this – I will stubbornly stick to my picks and tell you why even if I lose by forty points – it’s just frustrating to see yourself up against a face you were this close to having on your team. Johnson scares me, but the rest of his team, well . . . I’ll face up against much scarier line-ups this season.
But for now I’ll stop, as it’s the first game of the season and I can’t really make any serious points when I don’t have a research point. Everything is a blank canvas, and I’ll be wanting to chat up a storm depending on whether I when this or not.
Most upsetting to me, really, is that this week I’ll have to root against one of my favorite players currently in the league – Reggie Bush. In my obnoxious list of my top fifteen offseason picks, Reggie was third and it must have come across how dedicated to his cause and hopeful rise as a Dolphin I am.
Just not this week! UGH, THAT’S FANTASY FOOTBALL.