Monday, August 26, 2013

Fanhood For the Fantasy Football Era

I had my two big fantasy drafts today.  Both were for twelve team leagues with nonstandard rules.  The first, consisting of old college friends/acquaintances, features two starting quarterbacks and a funky point setup designed by some insane person (disclaimer: may have been me) a decade ago to equalize scoring amongst positions.  I won't bore you with the details.

The second league is the Mother Bear's Gold League, which is in its' fifth year and causes the most relentless, disgusting displays of shit-talking and excessive gambling I've ever have the pleasure of participating in.  PPR league, one QB, one keeper per year.  

As a Bears fan, it's been a few years since I've pulled anything too homerish with my drafting.  But this year I seem to have a surprising number of guys (6) on both of my teams, and these double-dippers are headlined by Brandon Marshall and the Chicago Bears D/ST (Please, Devin, give me one more epic year).  Marshall was a high pick for me in both leagues.  That's a lot of stock in Da Bears.

This got me to thinking about how our fantasy teams affect which real life NFL teams we watch and root for, which led me to what I guess is my central thesis here:  It's good to draft dudes from teams that a) don't suck and b) are at least entertaining.  It's even better if one of those teams is your team.

What I'm saying is, nobody JUST roots for the home team anymore, at least not if you play fantasy football.  You root for a lot of different teams.  Well, at least their offenses.  And that, my friends, is okay.

For example, I dig the Saints and the Seahawks in addition to the Bears.  This is, in part, due to the major contributions Drew Brees and Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham and the 'Hawks D have made to my pretend-football enjoyment over the last few years.  Will I cheer for them to beat the Bears in the playoffs or in a game that matters?  HELL no.  But I will root for them, because they're great players to watch AND they might just make me some money.

Here's a breakdown of the guys I got by team, and therefore my squads of interest for the year.  Double dippers count double.

Chicago Bears 4 (Brandon Marshall x2, Bears D/ST x2)
New England Patriots 4 (Stevan Ridley, Zach Sudfeld, Shane Vereen, Kenbrell Thomkins)
New Orleans Saints 3 (Drew Brees, Mark Ingram x2)
Denver Broncos 3 (Eric Decker x2, Knowshon Moreno)
Detroit Lions 2 (Joique Bell x2)
St. Louis Rams 2 (Daryl Richardson, Greg Zuerlein)
Oakland Raiders 3 (Terrelle Pryor x2, Sebastian Janikowski)
Buccaneers, Falcons, Bengals, Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals, Panthers, Chiefs, Packers, Giants, Redskins 1 each.  I will be caring about the Falcons, Panthers, and Chiefs more because they feature high picks who are key to my success - Roddy White, Cam Newton, and Jamaal Charles.

So my teams of interest this year are the Bears, Pats, Saints, and Broncos.  If Pryor ends up making a ton of noise, the Raiders get in there too.  Cam Newton and Jamaal Charles put their teams on my must-watch list all by themselves.

 So how'd I do?  Well, the Bears are in a transition year.  Best case, they pull a Pagano minus the leukemia and get into the playoffs.  And they're my guys, damn it, so I was going to be watching anyway.  Best to have a vested interest.

The Pats are anybody's guess after a nutty offseason, but it would have been hard for me to ride Brady any more without actually drafting the guy.  The Saints, well, I wish I had somebody other than Ingram.  I spent the weeks leading up to Draft Day hyping myself up on his backfield mates, especially the under-respected Pierre Thomas (60+ receptions last year?  In PPR?  I'll take it), and ended up doubling down on the guy I like least.  Still, I love Brees and that offense overall.

I'm happy with Decker in both leagues.  He blew me away in college at Minnesota and he's become an excellent pro.  There are a lot of mouths to feed in Denver but in my mind he's an elite talent.  I'm expecting a very good season from him and look forward to an excuse to care about Peyton Manning's golden years.  He can't keep going forever, right?  Right?

The Raiders are a total crapshoot.  We'll see about that one, but Pryor cost me basically nothing and isn't a starter for me anyway.  Cam Newton is hugely important to my Mabears league, and it's my first year with him, so that's exciting.  Jamaal Charles just better stay healthy and I'm very confident in him.  Roddy White, likewise.

The Bears, Brady, Brees, and Manning.  I'm happy with watching those guys every Sunday. (I also nabbed James Jones so I can also get just a tiny taste of hot, freaky Aaron Rodgers action - not that I'll admit to that in public.)

Now just give Brandon Marshall the damn ball and I may just have myself a fun little season, both as a "normal" fan and a compulsive-gambling fantasy fiend.