Tuesday, September 4, 2007
"Fast" Willie Parker was the MVP of my 2006 FFL team.
I'll have my fantasy football draft post up in the next couple days. My draft is actually happening right now, as I type this. I had the No. 1 pick; I'm sure you can guess who I picked. But again, that's a work in progress (literally). For now, let's take a look back to 2006 and the great group of gridiron warriors who helped me take home the title in my rookie FFB season. I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about them.
(P.S. Goddamnit, I just missed a pick trying to do two things at once. The autopick drafted Fred Taylor's old, fragile ass. Wait a minute...now it took Lamont Jordan and Tatum Bell. Hold on, who the f**k turned on the autopilot? What the hell? I didn't turn on that damn autopilot. This is ridiculous.)
My First Fantasy Football Team
By Anthony Wilson
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Every year around this time, with the start of the regular season looming around the corner, there’s a ton of hoopla surrounding the start of fantasy football. Everyone’s excited, big magazines like SI and ESPN send out issues dedicated to it (ESPN even has it’s own fantasy football preview special), advising fans on who to take and who to avoid, etc., etc. There are hundreds of leagues to play in, with prizes offered in some of them, just good ol’ bragging rights the reward in others. And it’s a big deal. Really, you can’t get away from it. And it seems like fun. So this year, I decided to join in on the festivities.
As an ESPN Insider, I get special news and tips on this stuff all the time, but I don’t need it. I f you like football and follow it on a consistent basis, putting together a good fantasy football team is easy. Even if you don’t get your first choice, there are a ton capable players available; use a little bit of foresight and common sense, and pick the one’s you think will perform the best.
(Of course, there’s also a little bit of luck involved, because football is a very physical and dangerous sport and anyone can get hurt, no matter how injury-free they’ve been in the past. So you’re taking a risk every time you draft someone. All you can do in that regard is try and pick the guys who have been the most durable throughout their careers, and that’s what I did. But no one’s a sure thing. No one).
(Note: My league has 10 teams and the draft is 16 rounds long, with each team getting 90 seconds to make a selection. I had the seventh pick overall. The starting lineups in my league consist of a quarterback, your choice of either two running backs and two wide receivers or one running back and three wide receivers, a tight end, a defense/special teams, and a kicker. You can compose your bench of whatever combination you want, and you can juggle your lineup as much as you want. You can also drop and add players at your own peril and can make trades too, but if a trade is too lopsided and deemed unfair by other members of your league, all it takes is four votes for it to be vetoed. The whole draft process was pretty tedious, with the only thing that kept it from being completely boring was that I got to chat live with the other team leaders about football while the picks were being made. Other than that, it sucked).
Without further ado:
League Name: Tampa Bay 238844
Team Name: Team WILSON
QB Eli Manning, Giants (my 4th pick, 34th pick overall): I like Eli a lot: he’s got a strong arm, smarts, and a lot of weapons. Plaxico Burress is a big-time target, plus he’s got Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey, a top five tight end, at his disposal. And he has Tiki Barber in the backfield, coming off a career year, so defenses must respect the running game, giving the passing game room to breath. Most important, though: it’s in his genes. He’s Archie’s son and Peyton’s brother, he was the number one pick in the draft, and he improved last year. We know he’s gonna be great. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. Why not this year? I expect a Carson Palmer like third-year emergence to elite status.
RB Clinton Portis, Redskins (1st, 7th): Actually, Portis was chosen for me by the Autopick; I dropped the ball on this one, not realizing that it was my turn to draft and having the clock run out on me. It’s not a bad pick at all, considering he’s healthy. But that’s a big IF, after he messed up his shoulder last week on a freaking tackle (damn preseason). Oh, well, all I can do now is hope he’s all right for week one.
RB/WR Willie Parker, Steelers (5th, 47th): 1,202 yards, 4.7 yards per carry last year, plus he’ll be getting Jerome Bettis’ goal-line touches this year, which should at least double his TD’s (he had 4 last year). His nickname is “Fast Willie,” so you know he’ll break some long runs (like that 75-yarder in the Super Bowl), important in my league. And yes, I think he can carry the full load with Bettis gone.
WR Torry Holt, Rams (2nd, 14th): When people talk about the best receivers in the league, you always hear names like Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, Randy Moss, TO, and the great Marvin Harrison. And rightfully so. All those guys deserve the recognition they receive. It just befuddles me why Holt always seems to be flying under the radar, why his name never seems to be brought up in that discussion. Few players at any position have been as consistently productive since the start of the new millennium as Torry Holt has been at wide receiver. He’s only missed two games his whole career (last year), and over the last six seasons, these are his averages: 95 catches, 1450 yards, 8 touchdowns. And he’s in his prime. We’re watching a future Hall-of-Famer, folks. I just wish more people realized it.
WR Eddie Kennison, Chiefs (6th, 54th): He’s been good the last two seasons, and I had to pick somebody. Should approach 1,000 yards again.
D/ST Ravens (8th, 74th): Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are healthy and ready to go. The last time that happened, in 2004, they were the two best players at their positions in the league, two first-team All-Pro’s who, between them, won two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards (Ray in ’03, Ed in ’04). They added Trevor Pryce thru free agency and drafted Haloti Ngata in the first round, a huge defensive tackle who’ll eat up blockers. They’ll also be playing a lot more 4-3 this year, as opposed to the 3-4 they played last season. Those last two sentences make Ray Ray very happy. That’s another plus.
K Jeff Wilkins, Rams (12th, 101st): Made 87% of his field goals last year, 82% for his career. A safe choice.
Now, a very quick summary of my bench:
Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (7th, 67th): If he’s healthy, he’ll put up nice numbers. We know this.
Mushin Muhammad, WR, Bears (9th, 87th): Had a huge year in 2004, then slipped last year, but I think Rex Grossman (who I think will be a good pro quarterback, starting this year), can bring him back to life.
Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles (10th, 94th): McNasty is out for revenge this year, and Brown will be his primary target. He could be this year’s breakout receiver.
Ahman Green, RB, Packers (11th, 107th): We’ll see what happens, with him coming off of an injury and the Packers having that shaky offensive line. But if he’s healthy, he’ll rush for at least 1,000, no matter who’s blocking for him.
Ben Watson, TE, Patriots (13th, 114th): I have a feeling this guy is about to bust out and have a breakout year as Tom Brady’s security blanket. Just a feeling.
Deion Branch, WR, Patriots (14th, 121st): He’ll be back for week one. I promise.
Eagles, D/ST (15th, 134th): These guys are always good.
Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens (16th, 141st): He’ll improve on his rookie numbers with the natural progression from year one to year two and a real quarterback in Steve McNair throwing to him.
I like my team. A couple of question marks, but a nice bunch overall, if I do say so myself. I think I’m gonna have a good rookie year of fantasy football.