If you're like me, you're trying your best to ignore all the lockout minutiae and will just put faith in Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith and all the lawyers, and assume everything will work itself out.
So, with those fingers crossed, we can all look forward to the NFL regular season, which also means we can all look forward to the Fantasy Football season.
Drafts will start up soon—probably once the real NFL teams have had a chance to pick up free agents and pull off the necessary trades—so you'd better get ready for the mayhem.
Here's one man's opinion on the best single pickup (both rookie and veteran) at every FF position...assuming, of course, you have the top choice!
Josh Brown, STL, 33-for-39 FGs, three 50-plus FGs
Under Sam Bradford, the Rams offense doesn't come close to resembling the Greatest Show On Turf, at least not yet. And that's a good thing for Brown's stats and anyone who has him in their fantasy league.
The Rams have weapons—Bradford, Stephen Jackson, perhaps one of the top free agent wide receivers, and the selections of tight end Lance Kendricks and receivers Austin Pettis and Greg Salas—so they will get into their opponent's territory. But with all that youth and no real explosive player, expect them to settle for field goals quite often. Oh, and playing eight games in the Dome, plus road games on the turf in Seattle, Arizona and Dallas helps a ton.
Alex Henery, PHI, Nebraska (fourth round, 120th overall)
Right now with the undrafted free agency yet to kick off, your options are limited: Henery was the only kicker selected in the draft. But he does go into a pretty good situation if he can take the job away from David Akers, who has managed to be one of the league's best kickers for several years. Don't be surprised to see him rack up 100 points as a rookie. Still, you probably aren't taking a rookie kicker regardless....not until mid-season at least.
Pittsburgh Steelers, 14.5 points per game, 48 sacks, 35 takeaways
Granted, there are a handful of really good defenses out there, but I'll take the Steelers first. Obviously, they don't allow anything on the ground so that's a major boost right there. And with Troy Polamalu, they're going to create turnovers and perhaps score a touchdown or two. And that pass-rush will produce plenty of sacks as well. The only thing to fear is occasionally giving up a few big touchdowns in the passing game because the cornerback situation isn't great, and could get a lot worse if Ike Taylor leaves as a free agent. But for now, they're your safest option.
(Obviously no rookie here, so just another club to consider.)
New York Giants, 21.7 points per game, 46 sacks, 39 takeaways
Certainly you can't go wrong taking the Packers—their stats in 2010 were almost identical to Pittsburgh's and they ended up beating the Steelers (sans Charles Woodson) in the Super Bowl. But you have to be impressed with what the Giants did last year considering how often Eli Manning and that offense put them in a tough spot with turnovers (42 of them to be exact). Adding Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin will make them even better.
Vernon Davis, SFO, 93 catches, 914 yards, seven TDs
Sure, you could go with a broken down Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez or Jason Witten, who has Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to share passes with, but I'll take Davis. He had another great season without any help from his teammates and some pretty atrocious quarterback play. Imagine what he is capable of in Jim Harbaugh's offense.
Lance Kendricks, STL, Wisconsin (second round, 47th overall)
Regardless of whether or not the Rams add another wide receiver via free agency and how their two rookies turn out, Sam Bradford is going to need a reliable target. That will be Kendricks. There isn't an incumbent there who is guaranteed the starter's job (although the lockout sure hurts Kendricks), and with his size and athleticism, he'll impress new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Roddy White, ATL, 115 catches, 1,389 yards, 10 TD
Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson and a few others are probably "better" receivers, but White just finds himself in such a perfect position heading into the 2011 season. He has a fantastic quarterback in Matt Ryan, who they have clearly built the offense to feature. And although Tony Gonzalez is on the downside of his career, he still attracts attention. Then add in Julio Jones—who may not be refined and has shaky hands but is fast enough to create all kinds of matchup problems—and White will flourish. Besides, I don't expect Michael Turner to have a 1,000-yard season so they'll be throwing the ball a lot.
Randall Cobb, GBP, Kentucky (2nd round, 64th overall)
Jones and A.J. Green are the more talented players and have the potential to be greats, but right out the gate, Cobb is poised to have the best rookie season. Why? LOOK WHERE HE WENT! The Packers could stick Sterling Sharpe out there right now and he'd grab 20 passes. He won't waltz into a starting position with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings there, but Jordy Nelson is coming off a knee injury and James Jones is a free agent. Cobb's 4.45 speed will get him on the field.
Jamaal Charles, KCC, 1,467 yards, five TDs
There are so many good options here. Charles may have to split carries with Thomas Jones, and he may have only scored five touchdowns last year, but I look at that 6.4 yards-per-carry average and can't choose anyone else. Besides, another 15 TDs from Dwayne Bowe? I don't see it happening. Hand over a few of those to Charles and he's the top back in the NFL in 2011.
Daniel Thomas, MIA, Kansas State (second round, 62nd overall)
Again, when looking just at rookie year only, it's not always about the best player, it's about the best situation. And while Mark Ingram and a few others could turn out to have better careers, I think Thomas is walking into the best situation and will make the most immediate impact. Both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could be gone next year and Tony Sporano is not going to put everything in the hands of Chad Henne. Thomas has the size and speed to play right now, although he too would have been better off if there hadn't been a lockout.
Aaron Rodgers, GBP, 3,922 yards, 28 TD, 11 INT
This may feel like a bandwagon-jumping pick, but it's hard not to look at how Rodgers performed in the playoffs and not think he has a remarkable career ahead of him. Oh, and those stats are pretty good considering he missed the Patriots game and was knocked out of the Lions game. Besides, now that all the Brett Favre pressure is off him, I think he'll play even better. Having Ryan Grant back and Jermichael Finley back will help too.
Cam Newton, CAR, Auburn (first round, first overall)
I expect this one to garner more commentary than any other selection. You may think Newton is going to be a bust, but again, we're talking about his rookie year here. Sooner rather than later the Panthers are going to feel pressured to play him—remember how Colt McCoy wasn't supposed to take any snaps going during his first year? And they will.
Things have changed in the NFL—no longer are quarterbacks not drafted to hold a clipboard until year three. Given his athleticism and arm strength, he's going to produce touchdowns when he's in the game. Besides, if you're playing a rookie quarterback on your fantasy team, you're probably way out of contention anyway.