If you haven’t played Fantasy Football you won’t understand. You won’t understand to such a degree that it’s almost not worth explaining. Because if we’re talking surface level, twelve bros chilling on twelve laptops while trash-talking and creating their very own fake football team for three to four hours is weird. It’s almost creepy. When you say it like that, I mean. But Fantasy Football might be the greatest American invention since George Washington or Eggo Cinnamon Waffles (the kind that looks like four waffles made into one, good gravy they’re delicious). Here’s the gist: eight to twelve (usually) guys form a league and take turns choosing the best players in the football league to fill the positions of their team (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker, and defense/special teams).
Football is as American as it gets. On top of that, you throw in chips and salsa, trash-talking, money, and impending humiliation. It’s everything that gets a guy out of bed in the morning (with the notable exception of the opposite sex) rolled into one. We held the draft at my place, Castle von Rayburn, with some really competitive, really close friends. A few guys I’ve known since high school, a couple of my roommates, and some other good friends. Fantasy Football is usually pretty formulaic. People who have participated in several drafts and done their research understand that running backs go early and quickly, defenses go late, and kickers go later. Our draft was a little unusual in that our rounds were peppered with some unorthodox picks, which spiced things up a little bit.
There’s an unwritten Fantasy Football rule which has never been broken. The rule goes like this: no matter how stupid your picks were, you always feel great about your team. You think you’ve drafted a championship roster, even if you picked Plaxico Burress in the first round last year (when he was in jail for shooting himself in the leg with an illegal weapon). So, yeah, I think my team is pretty awesome.
Without further ado, my team (Andre’s Johnson) in order of round chosen:
Arian Foster, Houston Texans RB
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons WR
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears RB
LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys TE
Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills WR
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks RB
Eli Manning, New York Giants QB
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers WR
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers WR
Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints WR
Ben Tate, Houston Texans RB
New Orleans Saints team defense and special teams
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts PK
I had pick three, so I was unbelievably excited that Arian Foster was available. He should never be available at number three. I was entirely too excited to pick the guy who I think should be the number one pick in every draft. Roddy White in the second round was a steal, I felt. He’s a really safe bet to put up good WR1 numbers. I didn’t expect Matt Forte to be on the board in the third round, and by the fourth round an inexplicable ultra-panicked run on quarterbacks sent eleven signal-callers off the board. If you’re doing the math at home, that meant I was the only one without a quarterback, and it was round four. Ridiculous. So I saw no reason to pick one, considering everyone else had their starter and were focused on filling other positions. I just kept taking the best available WR and RB until round eight when I was forced to take a QB. Eli Manning makes me a little nervous, but I’m hoping my ridiculous depth at RB will overcome any deficit I might have at QB. Considering Eli went four round after guys like Josh Freeman and Ben Roethlisberger, who I don’t put any more faith in than I do Manning, I felt like it was a decent investment. The rest of the draft was spent filling the requisite positions and taking as many receivers as possible in the hope that one or two will pan out.
I like my team, but Arian Foster’s hamstring issues make me a little bit nauseous. There are some other quality teams in the league, and like as not one of the teams whose draft strategy I totally don’t agree with will win the league and take my money.
In other news, Houston may or may not have a professional football team. Don’t look now, but the Texans are 3-0 with three convincing wins. The run game has looked great, and the new Wade Philips 3-4 defense has shown marked improvement over last season’s crap-fest. New additions Brooks Reed, J.J. Watt, Johnathon Joseph, and Daniel Manning have bolstered a unit that includes the reigning champion of the Worst Secondary in the League contest.
There’s one more pre-season game on the schedule, and after that I’ll be back with a much more detailed Texans season preview. For now, the word of the day is ‘optimism.’ Likely to be replaced by week eight with ‘cataclysm.’ Stay tuned.