Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not Your Average Fantasy Football Predictions

Ok, to start: I basically know nothing about everything I'm about to say.

Fantasy Football predictions tend to be basically the same all around. Mostly, it's all just educated guesses, and no one is right about everything. Fortunately everyone forgets the wrong picks, but thinks those crazy picks that were right were brilliant. So, instead of re-warming the predictions that are already out there, I thought I'd put together a different sort of Fantasy Football prediction list. What follows is my prediction of what will be the absolute best Fantasy Football team possible—with one caveat: I'm not going to allow myself to pick any of the players who are widely regarded as the best players. Meaning, I can't pick Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson or Drew Brees etc... Mind you I'm not putting together a sleepers list (that comes at the end) this is a list of players who are NOT currently regarded as the top players, but who will be the highest scoring players at the end of the year (for non-PPR leagues). So, here goes:

QB: Tom Brady
Not because he's the best QB, but because he wants to win as badly as—if not more than—Brees, Rodgers and Manning. And yet, his defense is awful. As a result, he's going to have to go into a shootout each and every week. Read: points, points, points, points.

RB: Jerome Harrison
Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson are the easy choices. But I'm not allowed, so I'm going to go crazy here. The #1 scoring RB in the NFL this year will be... that's right... Jerome Harrison. Now, it's not just because I'm a Browns fan. (It's mostly because I can't pick Johnson or Peterson). The thing is, Cleveland has NO receivers—sorry Massaquoi. That means Delhomme won't be throwing the ball, because he's smarter than DA and Quinn and a thousand Rubik's Cubes combined. But just because Delhomme will be handing the ball off a lot doesn't mean Harrison is guaranteed a good season. And just because he had a crazy finish last year doesn't mean he's guaranteed a good season. He's going to be the #1 RB this year because of Alex Mack, Eric Steinbach, Joe Thomas and... (I'm hesitating) Shawn Lauvao. The Cleveland O-line is arguably in the top 5 this year, which means there will be holes for Harrison. He's shown he can work with the holes when they're there, so I'm predicting a HUGE breakout year.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald
Yes, I know Derek Anderson is throwing the ball in Arizona. The thing is, Anderson's a big enough idiot that he's going to toss the ball as hard as he can every time it touches his fingers. And Fitzgerald is hardcore enough to catch 'em all. So, Fitzgerald will be bringing in the most points among WRs. You heard it here first.

WR2: Miles Austin
Since both my leagues have one RB and two WRs, I'm going to go ahead and pick the second best WR this season. I'm basically throwing darts, so I'll just go ahead and say Miles Austin. The guy has just enough yards after catch to be explosive. Add it up all year long, and I think he's got a shot at the second highest scoring WR in the league this year. Of course, no one will agree with me on my picks here.

TE: Kellen Winslow
I guess the real answer here is Antonio Gates, (I kind of want to say Dallas Clark).Which is why I have to pick Kellen Winslow. Don't get me wrong—I HATE Winslow. But I have to admit, he can catch, and Tampa Bay's Offensive line is trash. So Freeman (who is Josh Freeman anyway?) will be dumping it off a lot. Since dumps can go to the TE a lot of the time, I have to take Kellen.

Flex: Chris Johnson
Seeing as no one should be using Johnson as they're flex player, I guess I'm allowed to use him here. Is that cheating? I don't care.

K: Robbie Gould
Here, no one cares. Robbie Gould. The bears suck, so they'll have to kick a lot, and he's crazy accurate. There you go.

TM: Jets
Sure, why not?

Now for the sleeper picks. These are the guys you should have picked up in the tenth round or so, because they won't be available on waivers, but they're going to blow it up at some point in the season.

QB: Kolb
(I want to say Ben Roethlisberger, but I hate him.) So, Kevin Kolb it is. His receivers last year had 25 touchdowns last season. He'll be throwing to DeSean Jackson, which is great for him, and Brent Celek is in the top 5 (or 8) tight ends in the league. That coupled with a top ten offensive line means he's going to be productive this year.

WR: Johnny Knox
My pick for biggest surprise this year goes to Johnny Knox. Largely because there is no one else to throw to in Chicago. (Sure there's Devin Hester, but let's not start confusing a punt returner with a wide receiver... Cleveland didn't.)

WR2: Dez Bryant
I guess I picked the top two starters, so I'll pick the top two sleepers as well. The second biggest sleeper pick among WRs will be... drum roll... stalling for time because I honestly have no idea... Dez Bryant. Let's give a rookie a shot at being amazing. Granted, wide receivers are almost always terrible their first year, but I had to pick someone so I picked the rookie with the most promise.

TE: Visanthe Shiancoe
Is there such a thing as a sleeper tight end? If I have to pick one, I'll say Visanthe Shiancoe. Dude had 11 TDs last year but I haven't seen him on anyone's radar.

Flex: D. J. Clark
Talk about a deep sleeper. I don't care that he's "technically" a defensive tackle. I don't care that he was cut from the Green Bay Packers and has little promise of actually making it on a team this year, or any year in the future. I predict he comes back to the NFL with the Rams as a starting Running Back, and goes on to help them win the super bowl with 4,000 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns. Seriously, pick this guy up.

TM: Browns
Ok, I admit. This is just because I'm a fan. But there is some reason to it: remember, they have a pretty soft schedule aside from our insanely difficult division. The Bengals will try to throw a lot, but won't be good at it. The Ravens will run too much, considering the sick talent they have receiving. The Steelers will be running Mendenhall's legs off the first 4 games, and since we play them on Ben's first week back, they'll be running a tired Mendenhall all day Sunday of sixth week. As a result, the games should move slowly and be lower scoring. Of course that means fewer sacks, but it could increase fumbles. Regardless, I'm going with my Brownies. (And we'll get some nice picks from Palmer.)

There you have it—something no one should read before drafting their Fantasy Teams. Good luck and GO BROWNS!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Terry Jones, Fred Phelps, et al.

I'm struggling lately with how I can respond to Terry Jones' planned Qur'an burning. Can I respond? I understand there's probably nothing I can do to stop it, but I still want to do something.

I ask myself the same questions about Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church—a hate-cult based in Topeka, Kansas. I hear about their protests and slogans, and it makes me angry, it makes me want to do something. But I quickly realize there is probably nothing I can do to fix Fred Phelps. And there's nothing I can do to change Terry Jones' mind.

Probably the most annoying thing about these kinds of people, is that they are fringe members of our society who don't really represent anyone. And yet, they get air time and publicity because of their sensationalism. They feed on that attention, leading them to be more and more sensational, which just hurts more people.

So what is the right response? I know they just want attention, so do I disappoint them, and ignore everything they say or do? Do I stop clicking on the links to stories about Fred Phelps and Terry Jones? Do I write CNN and FoxNews asking them to stop giving these guys the attention they want so badly? Maybe not. As much as my gut tells me that this is the logically acceptable response, perhaps there is value in putting these ugly people right where they want to be. Maybe some good that can come from plastering the ugly face of intolerance in America all over our TVs. There could be something beneficial about recognizing that these attitudes still exist, that these kinds of people can spring up in our own back yards. People like Terry Jones and Fred Phelps can help us evaluate who we are, where we are, and where we are going. I have to be honest, as much as I would like to pretend that the Qur'an burning has nothing to do with mainstream America, as much as I want to say this Terry Jones guy is an unimportant fringe member of Christianity, I have to admit—that's not necessarily true. And while I would like to pretend like America today is vastly different from the Taliban-controlled parts of the world—as much as I would like to pretend that we are immune from such radical and violent intolerance, people like Fred Phelps and Terry Jones serve as frightening reminders that we are much closer than I'd like to think. The Taliban might be a radical muslim organization on the other side of the world, but unless we admit that the same kind of organizations can spring up in Topeka Kansas, we won't be able to prevent people like Terry Jones and Fred Phelps from becoming movements. So, maybe we should keep right on giving them all the attention they want; and keep allowing their intolerance to appear as violent, as ugly, and as unappetizing as it really is.