Monday, August 27, 2012

A Fantasy Football Blurb

A week before this past Friday, Grantland announced a contest to all of its readers in its search for a fantasy football writer.  Pick the 5 best fantasy players and 1 sleeper within the unbelievably difficult task of 750 words, and the 10-12 best submissions would be invited to join a league for the upcoming season. The season would contain certain challenges; dude or girl with the most points at the end gets a one-year contract to write on Simmons' love-child.

Below was my submission to the website, which, if you haven't figured it out by now, presents an easy and lazy way for me to double up and contribute to THE GREAT MAMBINO this week.

I had to use this picture upon first sight.
1. Arian Foster

Last year, I traded Arian

(The first rule of Fight Club: you don’t talk about your fantasy football team. Take #2.)

Relatively unproven athletes coming off big contract signings don’t make these lists, but the 5-year, $43 million pact inked this past March will not slow Foster down. To talk in unrealistic hyperbole, nothing will slow this man down. (I feel like a NFL writer already.) Last month, a Yahoo! Sports report disclosed two things about Foster: (1) his college coaches badmouthed him so terribly that not a single team drafted him, and (2) he’s going vegan.

If you are enough of a man to become an undrafted superstar, you probably work harder than anybody else. If you are enough of a man to give up a succulent filet mignon in the name of health, you care more than anybody else. Last year, Foster’s numbers took a slight hit, but he is unquestionably the most talented back in the game. His legs churn as if the gridiron was his personal stationary bike, and his hands come in…handy…when Matt Schaub needs a Plan B to the “Is Andre open?” Texan passing game.

2. Aaron Rodgers

2011 was Rodgers’ best, exemplified most by the 45 different bullets that put 6 on the board for Green Bay. His 343 completions trumped an absurd, career-low 6 balls that found their way safely into the opposition’s hands. A-Rod posted career highs in every important category, and not once did he cough up the ball to the other team.

But if that didn’t convince you that he is a titan among gods, he allowed Steve Novak to blatantly rip off the Discount Double Check celebration. A snap of King Cheesehead’s fingers, and Novak would be banned from every Wisconsin watering hole. The DDC is the perfect touchdown dance: short enough to avoid a flag, suave enough to make girls faint.

3. Drew Brees

You can’t have a top-5 list without two quarterbacks. But Brees isn’t just quarterback #2. He’s the guy who took his team down to the wire in contract talks, ultimately procuring a $100MM deal over 5 years, including 37 guaranteed. For most of the negotiations, Brees insisted that becoming the league’s highest paid player wasn’t his driving force in getting a deal done, but rather, it was about looking “at the numbers the last decade for a top-tier quarterback.” Right, and Roger Goodell doesn’t want to pay Ed Hochuli more money; he actually believes in the quality of replacement referees.

Regardless, the highest paid player will throw the hell out of the ball to prove that he deserves that money. Bank on it.

4. Calvin Johnson

Today, we are blessed to watch humans perform like trucks, trains, tanks, and every other inanimate object that moves via fuel. LeBron James prowls from baseline to baseline, Mike Trout’s leaping ability should be baseball’s sixth tool, and Zdeno Chara makes ice-skating graceful (albeit downright scary). Calvin Johnson is football’s superhero. Throw out the statistics; they don’t matter. Throw out the Madden Curse; it won’t apply. Johnson cannot be covered on Darrelle Revis’ best day. We are all paying attention as Megatron aims to amass 100 receiving yards in every game this season. Draft him and don’t look back.

5. Jimmy Graham

More recently, tight ends staring down the barrel of the franchise tag have asked to be treated like wide receivers. And in today’s pass-happy NFL game, you can’t build a credible argument against them. They split wide more often, and they can present a more formidable matchup problem to a smaller defensive back or a slower linebacker. As the wide receivers and running backs shuffle in and out of the Superdome, Graham remains a constant presence in Brees’ field of vision as the unquestioned #1 target. And something tells me that The Hoodie will want to rein in Rob Gronkowski, the most un-Belichickian Patriot to date.

Sleeper: John Jerry

He won’t gain a single fantasy point this season; I get it. With defenses poised to throw 8 in the box against newly-minted rookie starter Ryan Tannehill, it will be a miracle if Reggie Bush surpasses last year’s numbers, let alone follows through on becoming the NFL’s top rusher. But any Hard Knocks aficionado will tell you that if the slow-footed yet talented right guard for Miami performs to his potential (definition: sleeper), Bush has a greater chance of succeeding. (Would you have preferred I write a typical paragraph on Torrey Smith?)

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