Fantasy Football 2015: Funniest Team Names and Mock Draft Strategy at Key Spots

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2015

FILE - In this file photo from July 26, 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) catches a pass during practice at the NFL football training camp in Latrobe, Pa. DeAngelo Williams is used to splitting carries. Just don't call the Pittsburgh Steelers' running back a backup. The way the Carolina Panthers' career rushing leader sees it, there will be plenty of work to do alongside Steelers star Le'Veon Bell. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Fans of fantasy football—sometimes referred to as fake football—will find no better time of year than right now when team names, mock drafts, sleepers and more come into play. 

It's the preseason in the real world, but already the real season in the fantasy world. Owners should be hard at work not only digging up league-winning team names, but looking at how to approach each position in a draft, weighing production versus projection and analyzing average draft position (ADP).

Only the best survive the world of fantasy football and the best get going right now. As a way to make things easier on owners hoping to hoist a league title, let's take a look at some of the year's best team names and approaches to drafting tough positions.

Funniest Team Names 

Manziel in Distress

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How fitting, right?

The quarterback competition in Cleveland seemed over before it began with the coaching staff adding veteran Josh McCown this offseason.

As of the beginning of camp, the veteran has remained "firmly" the starter, according to coach Mike Pettine, but it hasn't stopped Manziel from looking good in the preseason.

Either way, this name fits given Manziel's persona and the way the media sticks to him like a guy named Tim. It can also act as a message to owners, because there's little to no reason to draft Manziel at any meaningful spot this year.

You Kaepernick the Future

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

It's true, isn't it?

Take San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, for example. He busted hard for fantasy owners who rolled the dice on him in 2014, scoring the 17th-most points at the position.

A better example is the team itself after what has to be the wildest offseason in any team's history. On paper, it's a major fall from grace after retirements (Patrick Willis), releases (Aldon Smith), free-agency losses (Frank Gore, Mike Iupati and more) and coaching losses (come on now).

So, yes, this name fits well. Bonus points—it's versatile, fitting for eventual winners or last-place members of leagues.

Honorable Mentions

  • Discount Belichick
  • You Sankeyd my Battleship
  • It's Always Runny in Philadelphia
  • The Walking Dez
  • Forgetting Brandon Marshall

Mock Draft Strategy at Key Spots

Running Back 

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

There's no wrong strategy in fantasy football, but conventional wisdom says to stock up on running backs early and often.

It sure doesn't hurt.

As the NFL continues to evolve into more two-back systems, a scarcity at running back continues to increase. Last year, just six running backs breached the 200-point mark and there's no guarantee any of them will do so again thanks to the brutal nature of the position, injuries and backups.

Still, striking gold on one of these does wonders for a team given the depth at other spots. For example, Adrian Peterson is one of the scariest picks given he missed most of last year, but on the flip side, this means he'll be healthy and fresh and enters a much-improved situation.

Call it a gamble owners must take. Last year, the difference between taking a back such as Jamaal Charles (ADP of 1.04) and waiting to nab someone such as Andre Ellington (ADP of 3.01) was a 75-point difference by season's end.

Which reinforces the "often" part of the strategy. Le'Veon Bell had an ADP of 3.05 and outscored Charles himself by 75 points.

Make taking backs early a habit before they come off the board, unpredictable as it may be.


Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Quarterback takes precedent over wideout when it comes to analyzing strategy because it's hard to whiff at wideout given the wealth of options. 

Mistakes at quarterback occur all the time.

Last year, Peyton Manning came off the board almost a full round higher than any other quarterback, but wound up just fourth in scoring. It's another example as to why an early-round quarterback just isn't practical.

Or look at it this way—one year ago, the 20th highest scorer at quarterback (Oakland's Derek Carr) scored more points (178) than all but eight running backs. Translation—quarterback production is bountiful and will last into the middle rounds.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Only four quarterbacks scored more than 300 points last year, but missing on such production doesn't hurt when 15 quarterbacks scored between 295-205 points. The 295-point mark went to Ben Roethlisberger, who had an ADP of 11.05.

It should go without saying, then, ignoring quarterback early and stocking up at other positions makes sense. This is especially the case in single-quarterback leagues, as one of the top 20 gunslingers who can score a respectable range will fall for quite a while down the board.

This isn't to suggest taking a quarterback early is a guaranteed failure. It's just a more difficult route, with the mid to late-round quarterbacks serving as a proven method. 

All ADP info courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator. All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats as of August 15. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.

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