Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grantland Contest Submission

Grantland, a website I frequent (initially because of my unabashed man-crush on Editor In-Chief Bill Simmons, but now because the content is good and I have to read something during the day), is hosting a contest to hire a Fantasy Football Writer. Well, I like writing and I also like Fantasy Football, so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Below is the 750 word (which, for me, felt like a straight jacket) submission on my "top five fantasy players and one (and only one) sleeper". 

Before you read, I wanted to thank you for supporting my writing and visiting my blog and encouraging me when I get overly excited about things like this. A lot of you tweeted at me to submit something and that extra motivation helped me get to a final product.

Special thanks to Michael and Rae Bartlett for being my covert ghost editors, they are great and everyone should give them $100. 

Grantland Fantasy Island Submission

If you’re going to win Fantasy Football, or lose and keep your sanity, you’ve got to pick players you trust, based on what you know. If Mike Wallace is the “next best” wide receiver on the board, you don’t have to take him over Dez Bryant, who you love because you think Miles Austin’s hamstrings are made of silly putty. At the end of the day you want a roster you can be confident going into battle with.

So, here are Five Confidence-Boosting, Battle-winning, fantasy players (and one sleeper).

1.  Tom Brady, QB, Patriots – Brady (and Aaron Rodgers) are fantasy quarterback gods. They impose their will on and off the field, putting the ball wherever they want and eliciting fearful sobs from opposing fantasy owners. Brady has made two tight end sets the norm, and forces you to guard both as elite receivers. His personal assistant, Wes Welker, gets to any spot on the field and Brandon Lloyd is coming to replace the bungling Chad Johnson as the deep threat. Brady will give you implausibly high scoring production all year, redefining “elite fantasy quarterback” with another 5,000 yard season.

Don’t over think it. Get Brady (or Rodgers) and don’t look back.

2. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens – If I’m not taking one of the aforementioned quarterbacking ramrods, sign me up for Ray Rice. Arian Foster and Lesean McCoy are great, but Rice doesn’t have the injury history of Foster and, like McCoy, his OC didn’t announce they’re reducing his touches. Joe Flacco has the confidence of a middle schooler changing in a public locker room. He’ll continue to dump it off to Rice whose low posture and shifty running style will rack up mega-yardage. He had 76 catches in 2011 and is the best offensive weapon in Baltimore by a mile. Expect Rice to slice through the line behind two-time All-Pro full back Vonta Leach to another year as the most reliable fantasy running back.

3. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears – While everyone else in your league worries about how he’s “a little crazy, right?”, rest easy in taking Marshall this year. These are grown men who choose to have larger grown men launch their bodies at them multiple times a week. Don’t you want your receivers to be a little crazy? Marshall had 88 catches for 1,200 yards and 6 touchdowns with Matt Moore’s pool noodle throwing him the ball. Now he’s reunited with Jay Cutler and Jeremy Bates, the quarterback coach who led the tandem to back-to-back 100 catch seasons in ’07 and ’08. He’s the only receiving weapon the Bears have and you can expect a massive year from him.

4. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons – He’s the trendy pick this offseason and, try as I might to avoid it, I have to include him. It’s common sense. I can rant and rave about his raw talent, speed and YPC. Or I can remind you that the Falcon’s expect Matt Ryan to work in three wide-receiver sets and out of the no-huddle offense more. Julio has elite athletic ability, is in a faster offense and Roddy White and Michael Turner both expect their roles to be reduced. If you’re not on the Julio Jones bandwagon I assume you’re holding out for your Crystal Pepsi stock to rebound.

5. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints – Graham is in a passing offense with one of the top three quarterbacks throwing him the ball and had 99 catches for 1,300 yards and double digit TDs in 2011. Don’t. Over. Think. It. Graham is the ultimate tight end, long and athletic with great hands and the leaping ability of a startled house cat. You’ll feel confident drafting him and will be able to trust his production. With the depth at wide receiver, Graham’s reliability is worth taking as early as the second round.

Sleeper – Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons – Skill, opportunity, and value. That’s what you’re looking for from your late round sleepers and Jacquizz has all three. This Falcon’s team wants to play fast and Rodgers can be the type of player Darren Sproles is for the Saints, a matchup nightmare who can slide under and around defenders. Sproles had 86 catches and 1,300 rushing/receiving yards last year, top 10 at his position in standard leagues, top 5 in PPR. When Michael Turner runs out of gas, Rodgers will see his role increase and has the potential to have a huge impact. He’s the 48th running back off the board and worth the risk late.


So there it is, let me know what you think (but only if you have nice things to say, otherwise, go away).  

Also, if you're in any of my fantasy leagues feel free to use this advice against me (it won't help you anyways). 

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