Forget Christmas, New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July, the best holiday of the year for many fans is the start of the 2014 fantasy football season.
The madness begins with the draft during the preseason and evolves in a season-long battle between owners with the championship on the line. Fantasy football juggernauts will be using mock drafts to prepare their strategy, but there will also be a focus on team names.
Here is a full 12-team first-round mock draft, some fantasy strategy and the funniest team names of 2014.
|First-Round Mock Draft|
|1||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||RB|
|2||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||RB|
|3||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||RB|
|4||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||WR|
|5||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||RB|
|6||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||QB|
|7||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||TE|
|8||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||RB|
|9||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||RB|
|10||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||WR|
|11||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||RB|
|12||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||QB|
|Donald Wood's Projections|
Everyone who has ever played fantasy football has developed a draft strategy, and no two are exactly the same. Like snowflakes, each owner has certain feelings on when to select quarterbacks, tight ends, kickers and defenses.
It’s always key to get the best wide receivers and running backs available, but those rankings are subjective, and only the specific owner knows who they like and what round they feel comfortable making the selection.
For all other positions, owners must pick one of the top players or wait for the best value later in the draft. A perfect example of this is this year’s crop of quarterbacks. If you don’t get one of the consensus top QBs in the first two rounds (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers), look to snag Tom Brady, Matt Ryan or Robert Griffin III in the sixth round or later.
The same strategy can be applied to tight ends, kickers and defenses.
As far as wide receivers and running backs, owners should be focusing on the ground game early. The rise of multiple running back sets has made workhorse backs rarer than elite pass-catchers, and owners must select these RBs early. The first three-to-five rounds should be best player available, but owners must be aware of the lack of elite depth at running back.
There will be plenty of late-round steals at wide receiver that could blossom into flex starters by the end of the season, but far fewer running backs possess the same upside.
Top 5 Team Names for 2014
- Revis and Butthead
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles
- Henne Given Sunday
- Insane Clowney Posse
Picking the right team name is almost as important as the players you choose on draft day. It’s great winning a championship over your coworkers, friends and family, but what good is it when you look back in 10 years and hate the name you chose?
Love your team name, and you will be even more confident heading into the draft.
Starting from the top, 2014 marks the revival of the classic name Revis and Butthead. With Darrelle Revis looking like the player he was before his knee injury, the Patriots cornerback is once again making headlines. New England is almost universally hated, so Revis and Butthead is a clever play on his name while still a vintage troll job.
There are few leagues deep enough to make selecting Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Blake Bortles a feasible option, but picking the name Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles is too good to pass up. Even if he never sees a minute of action during the regular season, he will always be on owners' minds.
Two team names based on Jacksonville players? I didn’t see this coming either, but with Chad Henne getting the starting nod for the Jaguars, Henne Given Sunday is the perfect play on the classic football cliche. If you draft Henne, though, you shouldn’t worry about getting your team name engraved on a trophy.
When the Houston Texans took Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall in the 2014 draft, fantasy owners couldn’t wait to come up with clever names for the defensive end. The best thus far is Insane Clowney Posse. What better way to show up to your draft than covered in face paint with your Juggalo crew close behind?
The Insane Clowney Posse name gets five-out-of-five troll stars.
My personal favorite is both timely and universally funny. Whether you are a number-crunching fantasy machine or a soccer mom joining a league just to have a little fun, InstaGraham will land with everyone who is tech savvy. The popularity of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham makes him a perfect namesake, and the rise of Instagram makes the combination exactly what owners are looking for with a team name.
Whatever you settle on for a team name, make sure you remember the spirit of fantasy football is to have fun.
*Stats via NFL.com.