To The Tenth Power
Published Mon Sep 1, 2014 11:00pm PST
Time for remarkable runs and godawfully missed tackles. Time for unbelievable catches and touchdown celebration flags. Time for QB love and QB hate. Time for ACL tears, concussions, turf toe, and drug suspensions. Time for coaches rants, owner arrogance, and Goodell what the hells?! It's time. Time for it all to come back.
And we are back.
Back for Gateway. Fantasy. Football.
We're at double digits, ladies and gentlemen. Well, let's be real. Just gentlemen. That's right. This year, we turn this many...
Let's start off this tenth season by congratulating the 2013 Super Bowl champ RAC ON RAC ON RACKS. Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!! Hip hip, we hope you break a hip!!!
This being a milestone year, it seems like a good season for each of us to reflect on our fantasy football past. For me, 2014 is the 10-year anniversary of the first time I ever played fantasy football. I remember it like it was 10 years ago.
Our dear Commish--my bro-ham from the same mo-ham--had played fantasy football for years in a league with former coworkers and others. He previously tried to get me to join, but I always refused, believing fantasy football was a geeky hobby for Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts who thought involving football would make them seem cooler.
Seven weeks into the 2004 season, my brother's league kicked out some bozo who wouldn't properly tend to his team. My brother begged me to take over the team which was called the Sharks and had Seattle Seahawks running back Shawn Alexander on it. My brother said he could help me run it, give me advice, whatever I needed since I had no idea what I was doing. He really begged like never before, so I knew it was serious. I agreed, probably because I didn't have a job at the time.
It was the best decision I ever made in my life. Even better than the time I went to work for two months for a former boss that I didn't like but it lead me being in the right place at the right time to see Kerry Washington in person for 5 seconds and have her nod at me. I split the rest of the Sharks' games that season and the team finished 8-18 and out of the playoffs. (That league played double headers, for those of you doing the math.) Even though I had lost, I was now in love with fantasy football for life.
Sadly, that league no longer exists. At least not that incarnation of it. But I'll be forever grateful for the St. Louis Fantasy Football League for introducing me to this wonderful game. It lead to my brother and me devising the idea of starting our own league that very next year. That's this league, the Gateway Fantasy Football League, which is still standing, coming on ten years strong.
We're still here. And here's the proof.
In this year's draft, pick number 1 went to Savage Life who found himself not in China and not having to autopick for the first time in 3 years. He selects Jordy Nelson to go along with his Green Bay QB keeper Aaron Rodgers. Jordy Nelson all the way up at the number one fantasy draft pick? Who woulda ever thought? I guess white men can jump.
The draft wasn't completely without its autopick moments. At pick number 2, the robo-chooser abducted Cincy RB Gio Bernard for STLiens.
The moniker That Bearded Mofo remains in spirit and website and author but not in team. The team formerly known as TBM is now GTD: GameTime Decision, the thing that all fantasy owners dread the most. With my second straight number 3 pick, I pick Steelers WR Antonio Brown. Had Brown been taken by STLiens, I would've nabbed his teammate RB Le'Veon Bell giving GTD a three-headed RB monster of Charles, Lynch, and Bell. They sound like they deal in mortgage equities.
Allstate Mayhem sops up all that Peyton Manning spillover by selecting Denver RB Montee Ball at pick number 4. If he can block better for Peyton this year, Ball will get all the balls he can handle. That doesn't sound right. I mean, he'll get to touch a lot of balls. Stop laughing. I'm saying that he could end the season as one of the top two fantasy running backs. He could be a huge number 2.
At number 5, Detox takes Bears WR Alshon Jeffery. All the analysts have Jeffery ranked as a top-10 wide receiver because of his explosion last season. Some neglect to point out that his high times came while Josh McCown was tossing the ball. We all know Cutler loves Marshall, but maybe Detox should sign Cutler and Jeffery up for a couples cruise so Cutler can find some love for Jeffery too.
As the show Breaking Bad retired, so too does the team name dedicated to it. BBTackles becomes The Black & The Goaled for 2014, an homage to the owner's affinity for all things Steelers. Speaking of Steelers, Mr. Commish picks up RB Le'Veon Bell at pick number 6, bowling a fantasy football turkey by acquiring him in three fantasy leagues. Sure Bell has the DUI investigation hanging over his head, but it's a wonder he fell this far. With 45 catches in only 13 games last season and no real running back competition (Blount was in the car full of blunts with him), Bell is geared to easily finish as a top five fantasy running back.
At pick number 7, Da,Pope selects the new Jimmy Graham, Broncos TE Julius Thomas. Okay, nobody's a Jimmy Graham, so let's say he's the new Rob Gronkowski. I would take Julius Thomas all day at pick number 7. Pope adds him to his receiving core of Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant. This team is gonna be catching more bombs than the Middle East landscape.
ARMAGEDDON becomes EL FUEGO only to return to ARMAGEDDON after the draft. Only time will tell whether his number 8 pick of Texans RB Arian Foster was on fire or the end of days for the team. If Foster can avoid re-injury and become even a flash of his former self, then this is a steal. If he doesn't, the whole fantasy community will sigh, thinking of how great things could have/should have been.
Black Francis Soyer trades in his old old name for a new one that pays homage to all the haters. At pick number 9, Gate Hatin' Ways chooses Packers WR Randall Cobb. That makes 2 teams in the NFC North the first 2 teams to have 2 wide receivers spoken for in this league. What does that mean? Nothing. Then why did I mention it? Your mama.
The Pooper Bowl winning Freeworld Savages are now the B.F. Vandal Savages, so don't you drop the soap around this team. B.F. takes Rams RB Zac Stacy at pick number 10. Some think the loss of Sam Bradford for the season will benefit Stacy's running game. He did pretty well last year with Bradford out half the season, so this year he'll be twice as good, right?
At pick number 11, Hitmen targets Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzy has taken a tumble since his 2009 fantasy magazine cover days. He hasn't reached 1,000 yards since 2011. It's not because of age, it's because of quarterback. He's had 5 over the last 2 seasons. His current QB Carson Palmer has been given a lot of chances in his career. The result? Last year, for every 4 balls Palmer completed to Fitzgerald, he completed 1 to someone in a different colored jersey. Good luck getting that grand this year Fitz.
Super Bowl winner RAC ON RAC ON RACKS ends Round 1 by picking Arizona RB Andre Ellington. That's back-to-back Cardinals. Not the flashiest pick, but when your team already has Peyton Manning, you can choose whoever the hell you want.
RACKS starts the round by taking Chargers WR Keenan Allen, an up-and-comer who probably should have came up into the first round.
Pats TE Gronkowski goes at pick 14 to Hitmen. Gronk promises to play Week 1. He didn't say how much he'll play, but he said he'll play. Just put a couple porn stars and party buses in the end zone and he'll be out there the whole game. I promise you.
Vandal Savages continues the run on elite tight ends by taking 49ers TE Vernon Davis. It's a swap-eroo as Hitmen drafted Davis last year when Savages had Gronkowski on his squad.
Gate Hatin' Ways takes Falcons WR Rowdy Roddy White. That makes 2 number two receivers for Gate Hatin', both of which are ranked in the top 20 fantasy wide receivers on experts' lists.
EL FUEGO gets back in cahoots with Lions QB Matthew Stafford. This makes four straight years on the roster. And the crowd chants, "Four more years! Four more years!!"
Speaking of back together again, Da,Pope reunites with Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin. Remember all the hullabaloo over that trade just before last year's draft? You don't? Then you haven't been paying attention. Oh, you said you "don't care". Sorry, I misheard you. Well, there was hullabaloo. The hullabalooiest.
Black & Goaled takes Chargers RB Ryan Mathews to round out his running back corps. Mathews managed over 1,200 yards rushing last season even with Danny Woodhead taking some of his snaps. Woodhead. There's a joke there somewhere, but I'm not touching it.
Detox cleans up with Lions RB Reggie Bush. Some think Bush is about to bust and Joique Bell is fresher and poised to usurp him. But Bush is coming off his first simultaneous 1,000-yards rushing and 500-yards receiving season. Bell didn't run nearly as much. Plus, Bush is only one year older than Bell. Ain't nobody scared.
Allstate Mayhem takes Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson with pick number 21. Hopefully, quarterback Josh McCown can give him a resurgence.
At this point, I want to take tight end Jason Witten, but I figure there's only two teams and four picks before it gets back around to me and I doubt either of them are looking at Witten. GameTime Decision makes the decision to stack the running back deck with Giants RB Rashad Jennings.
Autopick sweetly chooses Vikings WR Cordarelle Patterson for STLiens.
Savage Life mulls things over a bit and takes Jets RB and one-time great Chris Johnson. Everyone still expects big things out of CJ2K. One of these days, he just might deliver.
Savage Life snatches up Dallas TE Jason Witten and I wish that he'd go back to autopicking!
STLiens finally shows up and makes his first human-decided pick with Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
Gate Hatin' Ways plucks Ray Rice at pick number 33. It's always fun to watch how long a suspended superstar will go undrafted. We all wanted him because we all knew we could get him cheap. Aside from the 2 games he'll miss, Rice's 2013 slump added to everyone's hesitation. But if Rice returns to his 2012 top five fantasy back status, Gate Hatin' Ways will prove that he who balks first, balks best.
Culminating with his pick of Oakland RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Hitmen seems to be gambling on a team of former greats. Larry Fitzgerald, Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson, and now MoJo Drew. With keepers Calvin and Adrian, could you imagine facing this team in 2011? You'd crap your pants.
B.F. Vandal Savages selects Broncos WR Wes Welker. It's a shame that concussions are going to end his career soon. This guy is a reception machine.
Detox takes Frisco WR Anquan Boldin. Some question the selection this high, but here's a few receivers that Boldin finished above last season: Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Keenan Allen, Wes Welker, Torrey Smith, Victor Cruz, and Emmanuel Sanders, all of whom were taken before Boldin in this draft. Boldin also finished above Marques Colston and T Y Hilton who were taken immediately after.
STLiens asks if we "can speed this thing up?". Keep in mind, we had to wait the full 90 seconds for each of his first two autopicks. We then had to wait the 90 seconds that ticked off the clock before his next pick got skipped.
The draft goes on pause while the Commish tries to figure out why Mr. Can We Speed This Thing Up? can't make his picks. Thirteen minutes or what should have been 30 picks later, STLiens selects Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins for his 5th round pick and we're told not to draft Dallas WR Terrance Williams who was to be his 4th round pick.
Gate Hatin' Way gets away with the Seahawks D/ST. Again, he who snatches first, snatches best.
Allstate takes Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. It's the only QB he drafts. That might get a little dicey.
Yours Truly takes the first IDP off the board in Texans DL J.J. Watt. It's early, but after the Witten fiasco, I ain't taking no more chances.
Gate Hatin' Way grabs Colts WR Reggie Wayne. Round 8? In a keeper league??? It's really crazy that Wayne has fallen so far in the rankings. Before last season, he had never missed a game since 2001. Also, he finished 8th among fantasy wide receivers in 2012, his quarterback Andrew Luck's rookie season--his ROOKIE season. I know Reggie had an ACL tear, but does that really warrant the 98th pick in a keeper draft?
With Josh Gordon suspended for the season, you would think the rest of Cleveland's receivers would get a fantasy bump. Nope. Not with that QB situation. Hitmen takes Browns WR Andrew Hawkins, but he'll never start him. Not unless LeBron James becomes the signal caller for the Cleveland football team.
Detox selects Panthers DL Greg Hardy and EL FUEGO notifies him that Hardy is about to be suspended. It was news to me as well. Hardy's assault case could be the first one reviewed under Commissioner Goodell's new domestic violence guidelines. Detox takes mighty Rams lineman Chris Long five rounds later as a just in case.
Gate Hate takes Gates late. That's San Diego TE Antonio Gates taken in the 12th round after coming off a top ten fantasy tight end season.
STLiens returned to autopicking for the rest of the draft.
Some people think of Ravens WR Steve Smith as aging, short, and useless. EL FUEGO thinks of him as a super sneaky steal of a deal at pick number 161. EL FUEGO is the one who is right.
All the running backs chosen in this round are back-ups who will likely see starter-level touches this season: Raven Bernard Pierce, Dolphin Knowshon Moreno, and Raider Darren McFadden. Pierce definitely will for at least 2 games, even though his preseason was horrible.
Nothing at all because of keepers.
And with that, the 10th Annual Gateway Fantasy Football Draft came to a close. This had to be the first draft since the expansion in which no one traded any of their picks, so that's new. Of course, STLiens didn't draft a complete roster, so that's same old.
Let's take a quick look at Week 1's matchups.
The top of the league takes on the near bottom in a division matchup between RAC ON RAC ON RACKS and STLiens. It's like Patriots versus Bills.
The number 2 and 3 teams fight a division battle against each other as Hitmen squares off against B.F. Vandal Savages. It's like Seahawks versus Niners.
Just-missed-the-podium Gate Hatin' Ways reaches across conference to battle just-in-the-playoffs Detox. It's like Niners versus Chargers. What? There can be multiple Niners.
Mid-level ARMAGEDDON seeks out mid-level The Black & The Goaled in a North Division battle. So Ravens versus Steelers is very appropriate.
A recent champ who's now in the middle of the pack takes on a recently struggling team from another conference in the matchup between Da,Pope and GameTime Decision. It's like Ravens versus Falcons. Or Giants versus Texans, if you don't want to do the Ravens twice.
And finally, two post-season misses square off in a division battle as Allstate Mayhem takes on Savage Life. It's Jaguars versus Texans. I can't believe the Jaguars had a better season than
anybody the Texans.
The NFL season begins Thursday night with Seahawks versus Packers, so set your lineups now. And starting next week, all the Thursday night games will be on network TV with Deion Sanders as part of the pre-game team. That's right. Primetime's back on primetime, CBS this fall! ... But I digress...
Before we go, if you've got a fond or maybe even not so fond story of your relationship with fantasy football and you'd like me to share it in one of this season's articles, call, email, text, FaceTime, or telepathically send me your story. Let's make this year a celebration of the game we love and the league we like a lot but not in that way.
I'd wish you good luck on the season, but I need to hoard it all.
We're back. And so we begin... Number Ten.
~That 10-Year Tenured Mofo~