I took part this week in my Fantasy Football Draft and I’m not that encouraged that I picked a winning team.
I have been involved in the Tugboat League (named after the late Bob Williams, one of our founding fathers) for approximately 25 years. Four of the original eight “owners” are still in the league and we’ve taken turns winning the championship, though somehow Myron Barrow has probably won it more times than me.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown was the No. 1 overall pick in our league. I had the No. 2 pick and went with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, always a safe bet. The big question at quarterback was when would New England’s Tom Brady be drafted since he’s going to miss the first four games due to suspension. With Rodgers in fold, I didn’t believe I needed him. I thought about picking him in the fifth round just so nobody else would take him, but he eventually was drafted in the sixth round — just as he was out of Michigan, probably the greatest pick ever for that round.
I try to go heavy on wide receivers since that’s where the biggest points come from other than quarterback. My top receivers are Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets, Doug Baldwin of Seattle and Tyler Eifert of Cincinnati, though he’s out a month with a bad ankle. I just felt like I could get by with another receiver until he returns, so I picked up Arizona’s John Brown (formerly of Pittsburg State), Golden Tate of Detroit and Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, who had nearly 100 catches last year.
I feel like I have a good trio of running backs in Devonta Freeman of Atlanta, Doug Martin of Tampa Bay and Jeremy Hill of Cincinnati. Freeman and Martin will be my mainstays, but I worry about Hill because he shares carries with Giovanni Bernard. However, Hill is a hammer back who’s better down by the goal line.
My other running back is Chris Ivory, who scored good points for me last year, but now he’s with Jacksonville. I picked him in the 13th round, so it’s evident the other owners in our league don’t think he’ll duplicate his past success.
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford is my backup at quarterback. My belief was that Detroit will be behind in a lot of games and he’ll be throwing it almost every down in the second half.
We also pick a defense and I like my choice of Seattle, which the last few years has been the NFL’s best.
I didn’t get off to a great start in the kicking department on Thursday as my specialist Brandon McManus of Denver had no field goals and just three extra points in the Broncos’ 21-20 win over Carolina. But kicking half of his games in Denver’s thin air means he’ll probably have a lot of attempts since the ball can carry 60 yards or more.
I am concerned about my receivers. The loss of Eifert hurts, but I think Brown is going to break out for the Cardinals since Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end and is injury-prone.
While I might not win the regular season, our league is all about the playoffs. Anything can happen then. I just want to be in the mix after missing them last year, though I did win it all the previous year.