Let US Pick YOUR Fantasy Football Team!

James Senbeta@@BetaGetsBusyCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2008

Sarcasm aside as I join my… lets go with 40th Auction Draft on ESPN and 30th Live Draft I have come to realize that I have an addiction not only to being a faux general manager but also to certain players I always pickup. Even when the so-called fantasy draft experts say don’t take this player or do take this player, beware or injury, he’s due to fall off, primed for a breakout, I just don’t like this guy, I’m in love with his team, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!


Well they are paid to have you listen to them but truthfully you, and you alone, are drafting the team just like an NFL GM. You are selecting your starting QB, 2 starting RBs, 2 starting WRs (3 WRs or a flex position depending on the website), starting TE, Defense, Kicker, and 7 reserves to cover you for the bye weeks. Who you can get and how you would setup your team varies from pick #1 to pick #10. If I have the first pick LaDainian Tomlinson is off the board without question, though some will complain and argue for Adrian Peterson. The point is you take the best player according to your opinion if you have one of the first couple picks and by the time you pick for the second and third rounds you’re most likely picking up a QB or WR. Now if you are towards the end of the first round you have a lot more options, given that LT, AP, Brian Westbrook, are more or less guaranteed off the board and you may get lucky with Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Joseph Addai, and Steven Jackson. You can determine how to build your team and how everyone else builds theirs as you will be one of the few who can still do the RB-RB selection. Thanks to analyst providing their opinions you start to avoid players including some of those RBs due to production and injury risks.


How early you draft in the year may make a difference in how you draft, before and after the heavy analysis and training camp reports. For example Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts had his knee issues last season and Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers had a broken toe. Earlier in the year I tried to avoid both because of the injury, no new information about their progress so I was left in the dark. If they fell then it was worth the risk to take them. As time went on and news reports state that Marvin “looks fully healthy” and “without issue”, and that Gates “participated in the team’s full workout” can only be read as a good thing. On the other hand I always had to pick up Donavan McNabb due to his production on the field before he becomes injured. For the past few years he had always dropped in the draft so I would pick him up around my 5th or 6th pick and select a lower QB with late season potential to finish the season just incase (hungry for a Roethlisberger (05), like a Brees of fresh air (06), where art thou Romo? (07)). Whack jokes aside, every pick you make in fantasy football is a risk.  Every player can get injured, benched, or limited by game plan or situation.



And that leads to the players who are past up just because of personal perception of an offensive system. Frank Gore is catching a lot of heat for having Mike Martz as an offensive coordinator, and YES, the conversation of Martz mistreating running backs will occur. But I must confess that I will no longer buy into that hype and I will present the evidence of why. As shown below are the stats of both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson while they both were under Martz on the St. Louis Rams. From 1999 to 2003 Faulk was an early pick in fantasy leagues everywhere with no one questioning that Martz would inhibit his stats. In 2004 Faulk was past his prime hitting that 30 year mark and some, including me, may suggest the Madden curse for the ’03 cover (will write about later). Also in 2004 Steven Jackson was drafted with Mike Martz making the pick, thus presenting a 2-headed rushing attack with an over the hill star and a promising rookie that continued into 2005 when Jackson finally surpassed Faulk on the depth chart. Faulk retired at the end of that season and Martz was fired for internal disagreement, Jackson was finally able to start by himself. On the Detroit Lions 2006 and 2007 Martz did not have many capable RBs compared to the ones he left in St. Louis. In fact Tatum Bell was given an opportunity to excel as the starter in a 2-headed rushing attack with Kevin Jones in 2007 after his 5 fumbles for losses for Denver in 2006. We can also note the fact that Bell was a product of the Denver Broncos Zone Blocking Scheme (Only Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis were proven RBs in that system). Bell went down in injury in the 5th game of the season leaving Jones as the starter with 3.8 yards per carry and T.J. Duckett as a 3rd down and goal specialist. Frank Gore is pretty comparable with Steven Jackson and has DeShaun Foster as a backup. The only legitimate concern with Gore is the same with the other 5 backs going ahead of him, injury.

Marshall Faulk

YearRush YdsRush TDsYds/CarryRec. YdsRec. TDsGm StartGms PlayAge


Steven Jackson

YearRush YdsRush TDsYds/CarryRec. YdsRec. TDsGm StartGms PlayAge


Faulk & Jackson Combined

YearRush YdsRush TDsYds/CarryRec. YdsRec. TDs


In the end of the day you are the one drafting the players on your team. You can listen to instinct, you can check the progress of certain players, or you can even listen to the likes of Matthew Berry telling you to not pick Gates as the first TE and that 8 more of them will have better season than him. Consistency is what most of these analysts preach over and over again and what is more dependable than 1000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns average, even with a toe injury. All I am saying is that if I have the 1st pick in the draft select LT then with the 20th pick in the second round get Gore and second tier wide receiver (Colston, maybe Houshmanzadeh if you want) in the third I’m already in good shape. Then with the 40th pick I can select Gates and take McNabb right after I’m doing pretty well with the first five selections. Now to fast forward rounds 6 and 7 (Lee Evans, Kevin Smith) while seeing Ricky Williams go earlier and just missing the Chargers defense by a pick I can still get Harrison in the 8th round. To reiterate drafting a team is a risk and you are rewarded for choosing wisely. Letting talent pass through your fingers is not always the best thing to do, especially players that talented falling a round or so. Hey it’s your team I’m just telling you what happens when someone else picks your squad.