Monday Morning Punter will post FF stuff throughout the season.
Fantasy football has become a sort of sports porn; you don't really play FF, as one would play real football, or any other sport. Still, it is a genuine competition, one that facilitates the need for competition, camaraderie, and talking shit. It has gained popularity and coverage that was unheard of even five years ago, but is still short on legitimacy with the un-converted. It's still kinda...dirty. It hasn't quite broken out of Nerd Status yet, but it's on the verge. Could this be the year?
We at KSK happen to like The Dirty, and we'll open with a short Fantasy Q & A to get the fantasy juices flowing...wow, bad choice of words.
Let's talk about YOU. You are the owner and head nerd of your fantasy team, and you have to decide what the fuck you're doing as you head into your league’s draft, so you can out-nerd the other 9 or so nerds and then rub it in their faces later. Here are some questions you need to answer; I don’t want to do all your homework for you…; do you know what would happen if I turned in MY homework…in YOUR handwriting? I’d get kicked out of school! You don’t want that to happen, do ya? DO YA McFLY?!?!
You probably have dealt with some or all of these issues in your own quest for nerd conquering, but these have been some of my thoughts as I prepare for another autumn of sports porn. Just remember, if we have differing opinions on some issue, you probably fucked up somewhere.
1. THERE ARE THREE NUMBER ONE PICKS IN THIS DRAFT.
SHAUN ALEXANDER and THE FORMERLY-DIAPERED LARRY JOHNSON will go 1-2 in nearly every draft this year. Johnson’s 2nd-half numbers last season were fucking untouchable. Even If you put a gun to my head, I would take Alexander No. 1, and I might even take LaDANIAN TOMLINSON No. 2, just because those guys are perennial producers. I know I’m in the minority here, but I don't see how Johnson keeps last year's pace up for a full season.
But they all have caveats: Alexander lost his best O-Lineman last year, LT’s offense will be breaking in a new QB, so they’ll be on the “face” end of the teabagging for more games than not, which will hurt his carries. Johnson has a new coach in THE CHARISMATIC HERMAN EDWARDS, who may start fucking with his golden goose. Whatever happens, you’re in great shape if you’re picking 1-3, which is good, since you'll be sitting with your dick in your hand til the end of the second round.
2. Make a decision about REGGIE BUSH and stick to it.
Bush is another guy I'm not hot on; I prefer guys that have produced in the past. Still, some estimates have Reggie producing as much as 1,100 yards and 9 TDs. I have never bought into the hype with Bush, even in his days at USC. With his wide-receiver frame, I believe he will buckle under any significant workload out of the backfield, and his versatility doesn't balance that out for me.
And this is not the Pac-10. I don’t see Oregon or Fresno State on the Saints’ schedule this year. But I do see Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Carolina twice, plus Baltimore AND a game at Pittsburgh. Now throw in the fact that he’ll be splitting at least some time with “The Deuce,” and he MIGHT make you a good No. 2.
Nevertheless, some asshole in your league will take him in the third round. Reggie was gone by pick No. 40 in most mock drafts, and had even gone as high as No. 12 in some. He was typically gone before McAllister. Sure, he could have a Pro Bowl year. Or he could be Ki-Jana Carter. Make your own decision.
3. Pass on the passers, at least in the earliest rounds.
Unlike the running backs, there are no clear-cut studs this year. PEYTON is still your No. 1, but won’t warrant a high draft pick like he has in years past. There’s a lot of parity in the Top Ten this year, so instead of blowing your wad to grab an elite QB, wait for MCNABB, ELI, DELHOMME, TRENT GREEN, and even DREW BLEDSOE, they’ll be cheaper. A lot of injuries have fucked up the landscape here, so don't waste a high pick on anyone other than the elder Manning.
I like Eli Manning. I think he will come at a good price, and Delhomme will be tits this season. Leftwich is a big question mark, after finishing strong and then watching his best receiver retire in the offseason. Brady’s fantasy numbers were much improved in ’05, but no one seems to be mentioning the inevitable decline that a healthy Pats defense is bound to bring him in ’06.
4. If you have no life, game-by-game stats can be useful.
If I’m on the fence between a couple players while putting my pre-draft board together, I might look and see how those guys do in their respective divisions. Whoever is more consistent there usually gets my pick. They also are useful when looking at matchups in midseason, especially for defenses. If I’m up against a bye week and I need to grab somebody, I might see how that person did against their upcoming opponent if his team played them last year. I need to get out more. But GbG stats are a good secondary resource, at least for me.
5. I've played FF for a few years now. Now that I have the hang of it, I want to play in as many leagues as I can.
I know Will Leitch cuts himself off at three leagues per season. Conversely, I have decided to go batshit and get in ten leagues this fall. I already am in public leagues on Yahoo! and SportsLine, plus the Fantasy Football League of Extraordinary Deadspin Posters (FFLXDSP). I’m starting a keeper league with some friends in Ohio and SC, plus a non-keeper league with a lot of that group, a public auction league, public leagues on ESPN, NFL, and TSN, just to see if any of those are better than Yahoo! I may also join a league on EA Sports, but it’s $10 or something like that. And maybe I’ll start a league with the homeless guys at the bus station, they might have some free time.
My feeling is that once I’ve put together my draft board, the hard part is over.
What difference does it make after that whether I do one draft, or 12? I don’t want to be checking 12 different waiver wires this season, but 10…well, that’s less than 12. The draft is the best part, and I will do as many drafts as I can. But only the leagues with my friends will be for money, though I am sure to whip copious amounts of ass, be it a pay league or otherwise.
6. Defenses are like assholes, everybody needs one. But no one needs two.
Again, this category is deeper than Mandisa’s esophagus, and double that with the fact that most owners will only draft one defense. Someone will try to snag a defense a couple rounds early to get the top team. Don’t bother. There’s enough parity that you could be stuck with the 10th-best defense in your league and still be in great shape with the talent you got from the picks you didn’t blow. Some fantasy experts recommend not taking a defense or kicker until the last two rounds of your draft. If/when there's an early rush for Defensive Teams, I’ll be taking chances on potential sleepers (I’ll post my list in the coming weeks), or promising rookies for my keeper league, taking chances that may reap big gains in the future. The future, Conan?
So how's your strategy coming? Don't have one yet? If I were you I’d do something about it. I would REDEEM MYSELF in the eyes of my father, my maker, and my coach!