The Late Bloomers

JerseySenior Analyst IAugust 27, 2008

Last night, I drafted my first fantasy football team of the year. It's a free league, and I probably won't care too much about it after the first three weeks, but it's a league nonetheless, and I took the draft seriously.

My first two picks were Marion Barber (7) and Reggie Wayne (18), but prior to the draft, I had traded those picks for the number 2 and 23 picks, which were Adrian Peterson and Tony Romo. I value Peterson and Brian Westbrook very highly, which is why I wanted to move up in the first round, and I think Romo is in the elite tier of quarterbacks, which is why I didn't mind moving down in the second round to get him.

But then came the risks. My team can be classified in two ways: boom or bust, or late bloomers. Taking a guy like Darren McFadden is obviously a big risk, as rookies don't usually live up to their hype. But after seeing what Purple Jesus managed to do last year, I felt McFadden was worth the upside. I also risked Ronnie Brown, hoping he'll recover nicely from his ACL injury, but in the tenth round I insured myself by drafting Ricky Williams. I'm normally not a big advocate handcuffing running backs, but when the handcuff is as good as Ricky, it's a smart move. I've got the Dolphins' running game covered, and that's pretty much the only part of their game that I'd want. I also took Deuce McAllister late, figuring he still should get a lot of carries despite the presence of Reggie Bush.

I also loaded my team with guys whose value has dropped due to injury or suspension. I took Steve Smith against my better judgement, as I was loath to draft a guy who won't play the first two games, especially in the mid-third round. But I didn't like the other options available at all, so I took the suspended Smith. This opened the floodgates. I also drafted the injured Bobby Engram and the suspended Chris Henry, in addition to Brown (who should get better as the season moves along and his injury heals) and McFadden (who should also get better as he learns to play with the big boys). I think my team may be terrible the first couple of weeks, but after that, my team steadily improves, and I could have a big, big upswing.

Or I could just fall flat on my face.

In a free league, I don't mind this experiment. If it pans out, yippee. If not, I'm no worse off.

And so, fantasy football season officially begins! Oh happy day!