So my first order of business, being a fan of the game as much as a reporter, is to corral enough of my friends into a fantasy football league. I’d shudder to think what this year be without fantasy football. What would I do with my down time?
Again, thankfully, my mind doesn’t have to go there and neither does yours. Football is back in business, and so is America’s passion: fantasy football. So, what’s up, who’s game?
I think this list started way back in June or July. I’d hate to let all of these interesting topics go to waste on my account of having gotten too busy.
Shall we dive in:
- The Shaquille O’Neal trade to Cleveland is bigger than a blockbuster — it’s a mockbuster. Everybody thought they had the team they wanted, then Shaq teleported to the eastern conference screwing everything up. Now, everybody’s after their favorite fantasy basketball players — no kidding — and half the teams tore up their rosters this summer in order to stay competitive with the most dominant team on paper. Even Stephen Jackson of my lowly Golden State Warriors wants in on the action. It’s a ripple effect that I just didn’t have time to write about.
- Ricky Rubio has ended my summer on a high note. We’re talking the ultimate ‘eff you.’ Yes sir, he can flip his bird with the big boys and I for one do not blame him. As hard as the Minnesota Timberwolves wanted to chase after the little bugger, he wasn’t interested in living in cold-ass nowhere land. I’m sure growing up in Europe he had dreams of America and living the big life in New York, Miami, Chicago or San Francisco. What can you say, people love the city. But then reality sinks in too fast when you have a 75 percent chance shitty-town syndrome come draft day. It gets even worse when you start to consider market size, with places like Minnesota on the bottom rung of pro basketball’s TV black hole. The T’Wolves haven’t been relevant since Kevin Garnett. Next year isn’t changing that. Ricky Rubio couldn’t change that. And I think he figured that out soon enough, which is why he’s going to Barcelona, baby.
I like what I’m working with:
QB – Donovan McNabb
RB – Clinton Portis
RB – Ryan Grant
WR – Roy E. Williams
WR – Hines Ward
WR – Antwaan Randle El
TE – Dallas Clark
D/St – San Francisco 49ers
K – Joe Nedney
BN – Willis McGahee, RB
BN – Eli Manning, QB
BN – Roscoe Parrish, WR
BN – Chris Chambers, WR
BN – Cadillac Williams, RB
BN – Todd Heap, TE
BN – Koren Robinson, WR
This is much overdue after I pumped out the other lists. But that’s because this is a make or break position. If you don’t get it right, you’ll be screwed. Guaranteed.
I remember selecting Shaun Alexander fourth overall in 2007. His worst year ever. Add to the fact he was on the “can’t cut list” in Yahoo! and I was stuck with a dud. Don’t let that happen to you. Read this post, and pick one of these backs and you won’t have that worry. (OK, maybe a little.)
- Adrian Peterson — Out of the gates, I’m going with a guy who could very well be on his down year. That meaning, the year in which he gets injured gruesomely in some freak accident. But I’m at the point where I hate the what-if scenario, and without that to opine on, Peterson is the legitimate No. 1 going in 2009. He’s dethroning LaDainian Tomlinson who has sat on this spot for four years. A very worthy honor. Last season: 10 touchdowns, 1,760 rushing yards, 10 100-yard games.
- Michael Turner — At 27, we’re looking for the second most astounding season from a the former San Diego benchwarmer. This guy literally shook off the cob webs and starting sprinting to the end zone. Definitely a surprise on the fantasy landscape last year with the production he put out. And with the development of Matt Ryan, he should continue to get the carries necessary to break the 1,500-yard mark and at least 10 touchdowns. Don’t make the same mistake twice, pick him asap. Last season: 17 touchdowns, 1,699 rushing yards, two 200-yard games, six 100-yard games.
- DeAngelo Williams — Expect him to continue to be the boss of the Carolina offense as Jonathan Stewart has been injured twice already this offseason. That’s as simple as it gets. Just look at the numbers. Last season: 20 touchdowns, 1,515 rushing yards, eight 100-yard games.
Last year, I implemented a then new strategy (for me at least) where I treated a highly touted quarterback, such as Tom Brady, like he was a running back.
You could tell from the prior year (2007), that it was worth a second or even first-round pick after Brady and the Patriots went 16-0 and he passed for 50 touchdowns. That kind of production, although undervalued in some leagues with 1 to 2 points less per score, still outperforms the majority of NFL running backs. And this year is no different, with the best scoring back topping out at 20 touchdowns combined (DeAngelo Williams).
Here’s my list of top 15 quarterbacks for your fantasy teams:
- Drew Brees — Last season was an amazing one for Brees, tossing eight 300-yard games, 34 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s got the weapons at wideout (Marques Colston) and out of the backfield (Reggie Bush). And he’s the definition of gun slinger in my book, outranking the next guy only because he’s not coming off of an injury. Last season: 34 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 5,069 yards, two 400-yard games and eight 300-yard games.
- Tom Brady — He only threw 11 passes last season before a season-ending injury, but I’m assured that he’s bounced back and is in top form (50 touchdowns in 2007) by the looks of his girlish smile. Plus, he has the No. 1 receiver on his team. He’s already doing pretty good.
- Peyton Manning — I think his nickname should forever be “The Audibler.” It’s just so fitting to his style. And when he’s in control, and on top of his game, he’s the best in the NFL. Last season wasn’t so good for him because his go-to guy, Marvin Harrison, was injured for the majority of the year. Now with Harrison out of the mix as a free agent, he can spend more time looking at Reggie Wayne streaking and Dallas Clark in the seams. Last season: 28 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 4,002 yards and four 300-yard games.
If you had a horrible receiving game last year like I did, it can affect your whole fantasy strategy from week to week. This year, unlike years past, I’m pulling for a wide receiver by at least the third round, no later than the fifth. To me, that’s saying something.
Here’s my list of receiving threats, from both tight ends and wideouts, that will get you where you want to go.
- Randy Moss — You must hate this pick already. He’s cocky, disruptive when he’s on a losing team (see Raiders) and absolutely the most gifted athlete on the field at all times. The problem is, the kid needs motivation. Enter newly healed, newly wedded and newly back with a vengeance, Tom “I’m a certified superstar” Brady. The quarterback boost will up his 69 catches and 11 touchdowns to his 2007 level, in which he tore up the league with Brady for 98 catches, 1,458 yards and a record 23 touchdowns. I expect big things. Bonus points for being the only receiver in a multi-millionaires league that looks homeless. Stay classy Randy.
- Larry Fitzgerald — What Fitzgerald Jr. did in the post season was absolutely amazing (30 catches, 546 yards, 7 touchdowns). What he did in the season? Well, what we expected him to do (96 catches, 1,431 yards, 12 touchdowns). I’ve been watching this guy since his junior year at Pittsburgh and his development is right on target. He comes up big when the spotlight is on and he thrives under pressure, most notably a Super Bowl performance for the ages (7 catches, 127 yards, 2 touchdowns). Now, if only Kurt Warner knew who the man was….
- Andre Johnson — Here’s the 2008 stat line: 115 catches (wowser!), 1,575 (pretty freaking awesome), and 8 touchdowns (WTF!?!?!). There’s no doubt Johnson is going to get the ball, but can and will he get in the end zone? Does it matter. With production at this height, assuming he can maintain it, the scoring options for most fantasy teams will make him a no-brainer. He’s like your second running back. Jump on his back and ride. The only worry is if Matt Schaub goes down, he’s gonna be catching passes from Rex Grossman. Ouch. Somebody, knock on wood.