Whining, Bitching And Moaning About My Fantasy Football Draft

This is me on about 17 days during the fall

I think we can all agree that it is now September*. As such, it’s time for me to return to my usual fall behavior: Maintaining an unhealthy obsession with fake football that will lead to much self-induced stress, 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls on Sundays and pushing the priorities of life to the back burner without a second thought.

I am not the only one.

*When I was a copy editor at UCF’s student newspaper, I remember some girl starting off with her opinions column with something like, “I think we can all agree that it is now December.”

Yes, it was December. There was no agreement to be reached; we all knew the date. Everyone had a calendar. No one was going to respond, “IT’S APRIL!” I often think about that line and how it is one of the worst sentences I have ever read by a writer of any sort. 

The beginnings of my annual trip to the emergency room took place Thursday night with the only fantasy football draft I take part in every year. I do a ton of mocks; I pile research on top of research. Hours wasted preparing. It is all for one free, 12-team league among high-school friends. It was the time to make all that time and energy spent over the summer pay off.

And I think I screwed it up.

For the past three years, our teams have been decided through an auction draft. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you’re missing out. It takes strategy, patience and a lot of shit-talking. We have never done an actual live, everybody-in-one-room auction draft, although I’m sure that’s a blast. But even through computers, it just feels so good to be that guy who crushes people’s hopes and dreams, just as they think they are about to get Arian Foster or Ray Rice and then bid them up by $1 with one second left on the clock.

Over and over and over again.

You just have to be careful that you don’t go too far and end up spending too much for a player; those extra bucks will come back to haunt you.

I think I did that a couple of times Thursday night. I should have shown more patience, let people make it rain early and then be there to strong-arm anyone who challenged me in the later rounds. But I didn’t really do that and — well, let me just show you who is a member of “17 Wasted Sundays.”

Again, this is a 12-team league. All touchdowns count for six points and all turnovers cost you three. Everything else is standard.

QB: Matt Ryan: I think the hype may be getting a little too crazy. But yeah, look at those weapons available to him. Maybe 5,000 yards and 35 touchdowns are feasible. I got him for $15 less than Brees, Brady and Stafford, so I was pleased.

QB: Robert Griffin III: Since we start two quarterbacks in our league, this is a critical position. I don’t think the passing numbers with always be there for RGIII, and I don’t like him as much as Andrew Luck this year from a fantasy perspective. But he should be able to make up for it with his legs. In a perfect world, I’ve got two top-12 QBs at the head of my team.

WR: Wes Welker: Not a sexy pick, and I am slightly concerned about what the addition of Brandon Lloyd means for Welker’s stats, but he just seems to get his every year with Tom Brady. I mean, what is Welker’s realistic floor? 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns? Fine by me.

WR: Reggie Wayne: I love me some Colts this year. Their defense is awful. The quarterback is very capable. These wide receivers, led by Wayne, are going to be racking up garbage-time points late in the fourth as this team regularly trails, 34-20. Wayne as my WR2, however, isn’t ideal.

WR: Nate Washington: Washington might have put up the most boring 1,000-yard season in NFL history last year. He’s one of those  guys who isn’t flashy, but he is fairly consistent (read: He won’t win you a week, but he won’t leave you with a zero either). With Kenny Britt still gimpy, I am hoping that Washington will be the Titans’ go-to wide receiver for the first few weeks.

RB: Darren McFadden: Everybody understands the risks. But I was comfortable taking McFadden at $38, less money than what was spent on Ryan Mathews ($39), Chris Johnson ($40) and Maurice Jones-Drew ($42). He may get hurt again, but look at what he’s done in the past two seasons while on the field. I usually shy away from McFadden, but if he can just stay healthy for one freaking year, he could very well be the most productive running back in the league.

RB: Trent Richardson: As much as I loved buying McFadden, getting Richardson at $31 was not smart. Two knee scopes in the past year, and he may not play in Week 1 as he recovers from his latest surgery; average O-line; an offense that doesn’t offer many other players who require a defense’s full attention; in a division with the Steelers and Ravens; and yes, he’s a rookie. Oy vey.

TE: Jimmy Graham: So not only did I go against my own strategy of waiting in an auction draft, I become a hypocrite while doing it as well. I have told anyone who will listen this year that  drafting tight ends early is stupid, especially spending top dollar on the likes of Graham or Rob Gronkowski. I would much rather have a Brandon Pettigrew, Greg Olsen, Brent Celek, Fred Davis, etc. They’ll be good enough and came at a huge discount. But no, I decide to spend $31 on Graham. Not a huge amount relatively, and I am very sure Graham will be the clear top tight end in fantasy this season. He also covers up some of my shortcomings at wide receiver. But I wonder what I could have done if I had spent $5 on Pettigrew and had an extra $26 to play with.

WR/RB: Kevin Smith, RB: A total “my boy” selection. He’s more of a sure bet than McFadden to get injured. But for at least two weeks, he should have the Lions’ backfield all to himself as Mikel Leshoure serves a suspension, and Jahvid Best continues to get his brain back to normal. From there, if he performs well, who knows what will happen for Smith?

Probably a future vacation on injured reserve, but it’s worth a shot.

BENCH: Montario Hardesty, RB: A necessity considering Richardson’s knee. But now it appears to be far from a guarantee that Hardesty would be the main beneficiary if Richardson misses a game or two.

BENCH: Denarius Moore, WR: A current hamstring injury might slow him early on, but he’s not in Miles Austin territory yet. He displayed big game-breaking skills last year, and I’m hoping that he and Carson Palmer can continue their connection. Moore can be a solid WR3.

BENCH: Austin Collie, WR: Just read what I wrote about Reggie Wayne and switch the names. Seriously, this team is going to get so many cheap stats, they are going to piss off fantasy opponents every week. Collie is getting over his fourth concussion in the past two years, but he should be ready to play come Week 1.

BENCH: Bernard Scott, RB: One of my biggest regrets from spending too much money too early is that I didn’t even have the extra Washingtons available to me to pick up my man-crush, David Wilson. Bernard Scott ain’t bad; he and BenJarvus Green-Ellis might split carries this season, giving Scott a bigger immediate workload than most non-starting backs. However, he doesn’t have the upside of players such as Wilson, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ben Tate, Peyton Hillis and runners I really wanted.

BENCH: Kendall Wright, WR: And if Nate Washington fails ….

BENCH: Robert Turbin, RB: I will happily criticize Marshawn Lynch at every turn. His 2011, I believe, was largely a function of a player wanting to get paid. Now that he’s got $17 million guaranteed in his pockets, I doubt we will see the same determined runner. Instead, I expect a Marshawn Lynch with a resemblance closer to the player who let us down so often in 2009 and 2010. That should mean more carries for Turbin, a 220-pounder built like a tank who runs a 4.5 40. He is Lynch’s clear backup and looked very strong during the preseason. Albeit against second- and third-stringers, but Turbin still left a good impression.

BENCH: Danny Amendola, WR: Because somebody on the Rams has to catch the ball. He has the strongest rapport with Sam Bradford of any receiver on the team. I’ll gladly take another 85-catch season for $1.

My defense is the Seattle Seahawks, but only for Week 1, because they are facing the pitiful Cardinals. After that, I’ll do what I’ve always done with defenses: stream, stream, stream.

My kicker is … nobody right now. I purchased Rob Bironas, but I dropped him so I could pick up Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles in an effort to pawn him off on my league’s Vick owner as part of a larger trade.

Fantasy “experts” say you should wait a few weeks, let things play out before doing anything drastic. But if you’re not happy with your roster, why stay dissatisfied for three or four weeks? Do something now. That’s the approach I am taking.

My first order of business is trading Graham for an upgrade at wide receiver. Like I said, I’d much rather settle for a run-of-the-mill tight end if that means I can move Reggie Wayne down from being by second-best wide receiver to my third- or fourth-best.

Secondly, I can’t tell you how much I want to shed Richardson. I have never had such a strong desire to trade someone so soon after my draft than him. He just has so many red flags right now. My main target has been Jamaal Charles. I think I can package Richardson, Hardesty, Washington and Foles for Charles and Peyton Hillis, because the owner of that team has Vick. I think I can get it done. I’m trying to get it done prior to Sept. 9. Nothing yet.

The only position I am really pleased with is quarterback. But I do need a third quarterback to give me some cover when Ryan and RGIII hit their bye week. Assuming someone will get hurt or benched, that’s probably something I’ll be able to gain off the open market with my No. 2 waiver priority.

I haven’t extensively gone through all of my league’s rosters yet — I write preseason team rankings for us every year — but I’ll probably put myself somewhere in the middle or just above it. Good enough to make the playoffs, maybe, but not in the running for the championship yet. I’ve got 14 or so weeks to figure out how to change that.

  1. sirjimboiii
    September 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Totally also have Kevin smith !

  2. September 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    More than likely, he’s going to get hurt soon — GOL ran him into the ground and changed his career forever after that 2007 season — and he’ll lose carries to a player named Mikel Leshoure after Leshoure comes back from suspension in Week 3.

    But for those first two weeks, it could be glorious for the previously known 24K.

  3. Jgro
    September 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    a 12-team 2-qb league? sick. i like your team though, except i think richardson will be a bust

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      I have tried so hard to trade him, but nothing yet. I’m hoping that he can get healthy and turn in a few solid outings to up his value.

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