We held our fantasy football draft last night for our league’s 5th season. Here’s the draft update from 2005, which has a summary of our rules (the only material change since then being that we now allow teams to spend up to 150 points in salary cap, with a luxury tax of $7 per point for each point over 100). My draft was so bad last year, I didn’t even write about it. I had to pull off two blockbuster trades around the middle of the season to put things right.
Last year, after 4 years of being the best team in the league during the regular season and then choking horribly in the playoffs, I managed to switch it up. I had a less than mediocre 7-6 regular season record, but rolled through the playoffs to my first league championship. The trophy hangs on my wall for a year, and I used my $1500 in winnings to invest in a stock that’s currently up 35%- which gives me more opportunity to irritate my colleagues every other lunch or so. All in all a good year.
But this is a new year. Here’s the skinny on this year’s draft.
Through one of my trades last year, I got Laurence Maroney and Ronnie Brown at low salaries. I franchised both of them. I designated Marc Bulger, Javon Walker and Antonio Gates as my match players. I matched the first two, but Gates went for 40 or so- too rich for my blood, so I let him go. I covered a little by getting Tony Gonzales for a much lower salary. Here’s my entire roster (again, it’s a 10-team league, 14 roster spots and we had to draft a rookie).
QB: Marc Bulger, Brady Quinn (R).
RB: Laurence Maroney, Ronnie Brown, Chester Taylor, Fred Taylor
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Javon Walker, Plaxico Burress, Donte Stallworth, Santana Moss
TE: Tony Gonzales
K: Neil Rackers
Each week we start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Defense, 1 K and, if we want to, a coach (+10 for a win, -5 for a loss). I generally don’t start a coach, preferring the have an extra bench slot to bank players.
All in all, I think it’s a pretty good, but not great, team. I need to trade some of my average WRs for a bookend to go with Fitzgerald.
The drama began early when some of the other owners hurriedly voted in a rule change placing the rookie draft in front of the regular draft, which is not the way the detailed league rules were written, when they realized I was going to bid up some rookies during the regular draft. That messed up my Calvin Johnson plan, but such is life.
Here are my predictions for the league.
Hawkeyes (lower overall salary): Paid a boatload for Chad Johnson. A pretty solid team, particularly for the price. Howard won’t win, but he’ll be competitive.
Prostates (lower overall salary): Last year Emmett went long on Bears. This year it’s the Steelers. He matched away Marques Colston (who was my targeted bookend for Fitzgerald) from me. My pick for the cellar in the North.
Longhorns (high overall salary): Earl is a past league winner. Good team, with Steve Smith and Terrell Owens at WR, Vince Young and Tony Romo at QB. If one of Floyd’s RBs gets hurt, Earl will battle Goober for the North.
Capacitators (high overall salary): Floyd franchised both LT and Shaun Alexander for a total of 89 points. He rode them to a championship a couple of years ago. But if one of them gets hurt, he’s toast.
Young Guns (medium overall salary): Goober has Steven Jackson at a very low salary. That allowed him to pay a ton for Peyton Manning. He also has Rudi Johnson and pretty decent WRs. The favorite in the North.
Buckeyes (high overall salary) : Barney has Larry Johnson and Frank Gore for next to nothing in salary. He also has both Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison at WR. Carson Palmer at QB. Antonio Gates at TE. Maybe the best fantasy football team ever assembled. If he doesn’t win this year, it will be an Appalachian State level upset.
Whackjobs (lowest overall salary): Just to prove how frugal he is, Andy ended up with a salary cap way under 100. Of course the minimum entry fee bought him 100 points. So basically he paid for cap he didn’t use. The only team that pays no luxury tax. He has a good player or two, but basically he’s a spectator this year.
NYSE (medium overall salary): Because of (a) the rules change coup I talked about above and (b) utterly insane early drafting by other owners, Alchris Lallodavis got Calvin Johnson at the 4th pick in the rookie draft. Unbelievable. Alchris had some roster problems that worked against him, but he still put together a decent team. In 2 years when he has the best WR in football at 11 points, it will all seem worth it.
CBB (replaced the Wolverines in the league 2 years ago; new owner this year) (medium overall salary): I thought this dude was having a bad draft while it was going on, but when I saw his roster later, I realized I was wrong. He put together a good, reasonably priced team, led by Tom Brady and Joseph Addai. Will be in the hunt, but is no match for the juggernaut Buckeyes.
Ramblers (high overall salary): As mentioned above, pretty good team. Weak bench, and great potential to start the wrong 2nd WR. I think I’ll make the playoffs, but I’ll get creamed by the Buckeyes in the playoffs.