Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fantasy Draft Diaries...

Aside from my birthday, the best thing about August might just be fantasy football. That's right. It's draft season. And if you're a guy from age 16 to 59, odds are you know what I'm talking about.

Now let me introduce you to the greatest fantasy league, I've ever come to know.

Trung Candidate's Weekend BBQ features a core of 10 fantasy managers that together make up the stereotypical, yet ideal fantasy league.

First let me shine some light on the group, so you can truly get a feel for the war room on draft day.

I'm Vinnie Massuci (Vinnie Massuci) -
As the league's rookie, I'm Vinnie Massuci is getting his first taste of arguably the most competitive fantasy league in the country. And when I say competitive, I mean it. We've got a trophy. And pride on the line. So much pride. Massuci brought a new element to our draft we've never seen before, and I think the rest of us were a little shook by it. He took backups before taking all of his starters. Supposedly he likes to make trades, so he takes as many good players from each position off the board as he can. He's a darkhorse right now. It will be interesting to see how he fairs when he comes to light.

K Dubs crew is good for a solid 5th-7th finish every year. He always finishes around .500 (sometimes just above, sometimes just below), and he always sneaks into the playoffs. A team that deserves respect.

Hoodrat Things (PL) -
PL is always good for one thing: An interesting, yet often offensive team name. There's also no way of telling how his team will do, and that's just the fact of the matter.

The Aura of Elitism (Toph) -
Toph knows just as much about football as the next guy, and should seemingly be a contender every year. But he never is. He once road Billy Volek to the championship, only to lose 162.70 - 43.94! Now I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but there's a 100% chance I may have been the team he lost to. Even that year Toph was still 5-8. His problem: he takes guys he likes. And the guys he likes refuse to be fantasy football studs. I think he's learned his lesson though.

Milwaukee Beers (Comerato) -
The man is an excellent fantasy football player. He does quality research, knows his football, and plays to win. When you see a player is having a great day and you want to pick him up, he's the guy who's already taken him. Comerato's never been a champion in the league, but he's always near the top.

Chicken Dinner (Millaa) -
Millaa's the guy who never shows up to the draft. And because our league is so unique, and picks so uncharacteristically of any league, the computer always autopicks a solid team for Millaa. This year, Millaa made the draft. The league isn't mad about it.

2 Mannings 1 Cup (Smooth Jota) -
J boasts the league's title for consistency. No matter what, J's team will always be terrible. There's really nothing he can do about it. The only question: will he go 0-13 this year? I'll let you decide.

Child Please (ZR, Zermanatrix, Zerm Germ, Ruby Tuesday's, the self-proclaimed "Movie Maven", and many more I cannot name) -
To sum up ZR -- he brought a printout of the entire Yahoo! Sports player ranking list with notes on it last year. This year he couldn't be present, but as always his presence was felt. He's just a great asset to the league. He knows his stuff and he works hard each year to win. And yet, everyone roots against him. He catches some tough breaks too. For example: After boasting about Tom Brady for days last year, Brady tore his ACL in the first quarter of the season. The irony -- ZR had a famous ACL tear back in high school. Only ZR could juke like Ladanian at the time. ZR is usually competitive. He's won the league once. And he likely expects to win it again this year.

ESPN85 TheOchoCinco (MC) -
How original is that name? It's awesome. MC is a two-time champion. He's good for two things: 1. A horrible start, followed by an amazing turnaround. And 2. An astronomically boring team. If you're wondering why none of the Redskins are on waivers, it's because Mike has them all. Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley -- seriously, all of them. David Garrard, Jamal Lewis, Kevin Walter...boringggg. And yet he wins titles. What's his secret? Not even the Dalai Lama knows. The guy was 1-5 last year and won 9 games in a row to finish. How does a fantasy team make that turnaround? Not from waivers with Comerato in the league, that's for sure. This year if he wins, we'll all know why at least. The guy did more mock drafts than Mel Kiper, Jr.

ChicksDigLongKicks (Myself) -
After careful deliberation, I finally decided to name my team, ChicksDigLongKicks, over my close second choice, One Man Wolfpack. Even though I'm a two-time champion, I'm known for jumping the gun on positions that shouldn't be even fathomed in the first 10 rounds of a draft. I'm talking about kickers and defenses. My 6th round pick of Neil Rackers two years ago was an embarrassment to the sport, and I'm pretty sure a curse has been brought down upon me ever since. I'm notoriously known for being the guy that takes the kicker 8 rounds too early. No one even jumps into panic mode and takes kickers when I pull this stunt. Why? Because their kickers, and they all know I'm an idiot. Hence, ChicksDigLongKicks. It's a nice play on words and it's a tribute to my love of early kicker selections.

Now let's get started.

I chose to wear the Michael Vick Falcons jersey to the draft. Perhaps it was too soon, but it symbolized a fresh start, which my franchise was looking for after two years under the curse. Plus it was either that or Burress. I couldn't do that to my team. Not yet at least.

Now even though I mock MC for all his mock drafts, I did a few of my own. And from these mocks I came to the conclusion that the best picks to have are 4, 6, 7 & 9. There's a good chance 8 is a good pick as well, but everytime I entered a mock, it put me in 7 or 9, regardless of how many times I picked 8. Anyways, the worst picks have got to be 1 & 2.

As soon as I entered the war room, my friends informed me I had pick #2. I was immediately shook. I hid that from my friends by cursing.

I spent the next 40 minutes contemplating whether or not I should take Michael Turner or Ladanian Tomlinson. It's a good thing I showed up 39 minutes early. With one second left on the draft clock, I selected Turner. I remember instantly feeling like Ron Burgundy, as I thought to myself, "I immediately regret this decision". I hope Turner doesn't turn out to be as bad a choice as milk was for Ron. Today, however, I'm pretty comfortable with my selection. I'm looking forward to Burner Turner work-horsing his way to hopefully ridiculous stats.

Oh, by the way, Adrian Peterson went #1 overall. But you didn't even have to read this to know that was the case.

J did have the #1 pick though. So half of us were inclined to at least check to see if J had selected the Adrian Peterson on the Bears by mistake. He didn't. Would've made my pick easier.

After my pick, I had 20 minutes to wait for my next selection. Ah, the #2 pick. Sweet! I have a player that might barely be any better than the rest of the first rounders, and I get to watch 16 players I want get taken before my next pick.

The only upside, I get to observe the war room. After all, there's no need to queue the players I want. They're all going to be taken anyway.

So J sits down on the couch (his couch, since he kindly hosts the draft each year), and in doing so, knocks over PL's soda -- spilling it on the couch.

PL: What the f**k dawg?
J: What the f**k dawg?! What the f**k are you doing putting a soda on my couch?!"

Nothing like some good draft entertainment to lighten the tension.

While this was going on, ZR, who was joining us through Skype (he could hear us, but could only type to MC), was providing his own unintentional entertainment/ridiculousness through the draft chat box.

He felt the urge to say "child please" a lot in honor of his team name. It wasn't as funny coming from him though. After all, he had never heard Chad Ochocinco even say it. It wasn't even his team name idea. Toph and PL gave it to him. His original name was Team Burress. Come on, at least get creative with it.

But back to the draft...

Drew Brees went 4th, Peyton Manning 8th -- our league loves quarterbacks. Especially me. This sparked an onslaught of quarterbacks to be taken. Brady, Rivers, Rodgers (my pick), McNabb. The rest of the guys are in shock it's round 2 and they already know they'll be starting Matt Cassell and Matt Schaub this year. You just can't replicate our draft strategies with a mock. No one drafts like our league. No one.

I decide to stack up my running back threat in round 3, since I always get knocked for having the worst running back tandem, ever. Steve Slaton me. I'm hoping for big things out of him.

It's not like me to have two running backs and a quarterback at this stage. Not to mention the fact I have to wait 16 picks for my next selection.

I feel vulnerable.

In round 4, Terrell Owens goes a few picks before me. That was my last hope at a skeptical #1 WR. It's WR, WR for me now or bust. Roy Williams and Chad Ochocinco. Remind me again why I didn't take Jason Witten? He's practically the #1 WR on Dallas. Chad, I better be right about you. I'm expecting big things.

Four picks later, Toph takes Witten, and within 15 seconds, Gates, Gonzalez and Clark are off the board. Looks like were riding Greg Olsen to the ship! Until Millaa takes him 2 rounds later before me. Oh well.

In round 6, KDub prematurely picks a defense. And since I'm the #2 pick, I'm forced to take Pittsburgh prematurely in the same round. I needed to be ahead of the curb at some positions. Let's hope this doesn't backfire like selecting the Chargers defense in the 6th round did last year. Man, what was I thinking? I know, I have a problem.

Before round 6 closes, someone jokingly says that it's about time somebody takes a kicker. Literally everyone's eyes turn to look at me.

I get it I have a problem!

In the next few rounds I snagged Bernard Berrian (my sleeper WR), Owen Daniels (just get in the end zone, please!), Larry Johnson (I hope last year was a fluke), and Domenik Hixon (cause I would be the guy to take a Giants WR).

Onto Round 11. We're now approaching sleeper-time. It's time for everyone to take what they believe to be the potential outbreak stars.

I take Matt Hasselback. ZR takes Joseph Addai.

MC: "Zach just gave himself a booyah for selecting Addai".
We all respond with an uproar of laughter and clapping at ZR's embarassing celebration.
ZR: "Stop laughing and clapping".

He never fails to disappoint.

Round 12. It's kicker time. A time I am very unfamiliar with, since I would have had Bironas or Rackers six or seven rounds ago. I take Jason Elam. I love the wind conditions in a dome.

At the turn of rounds 12 and 13, J selects Jamal Lewis and Michael Vick. That has to be the worst turn combo pick...ever. J even gave himself a celebratory clap for his pick of Vick. We all took a vote. It was unanimous. Vick was a stupid pick. And we wonder why J has the worst team every year.

I got some laughs from my comment that I would've taken Vick as a joke in the last round, maybe. Points for me.

After recovering from the laughter associated with J's pick, I took Kevin Curtis. Ehh. Not much to say about that.

I finished it off with Jeremy Shockey and Arizona's defense. Shockey I like. Arizona -- there was literally no one left at that point. So I figured, why not?

ZR finished strongly, selecting Saints kicker Garrett Hartley with his last pick. MC immediately informed him that Hartley had been suspended 8 games for testing positive for an illegal substance.

ZR: "F**k!"

I love fantasy football.

As for my team. It's not my usual eclectic crew (notoriously known as a "Bob team"). But hey, I think I kinda like it.

If you don't, then child please!

Images taken from Yahoo! Sports