Fantasy Football, 2007

As I mentioned earlier in the week, my schedule is pretty tight so my time for writing (and just about everything else) has been drastically reduced. So I'm just going to introduce my 2007 fantasy football team, the Star Wars Kids. I know most of my readers aren't big sports fans, but I can probably dash this off in a half hour, which I actually have enough time for. So I did very well last year, but my team peaked early and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

I was a little worried about this year. First, I had almost no time to prepare for the draft, which isn't usually a good sign. Second, the team I drafted seemed to be relying on a lot of "comeback" seasons (players who had a bad season or two due to injury or due to their team's performance, but who could make a comeback this year). Third, I ended up with a lackluster defense and my bench is a little weak. This is due to my position in the draft. I was last but the draft is a snake, so I had the 12th and 13th pick, but then had to wait for another 2 rounds for my next pick (36 overall). This position has its advantages, but it also meant that when a run on Defense/Special Teams happened, I ended up with scraps. Fourth, as an Eagles fan, I was frustrated by the fact that I ended up with Terrell Owens. He's a great performer, but on a personal level, I hate him. And he plays for the mortal enemy of the Eagles. I also have the Cowboys defense & special teams. Put simply, when the Eagles play the Cowboys, I'm going to be pretty conflicted.

Anyway, after one and half weeks here, it seems that the team I drafted is doing quite well for itself. Many of my gambles are paying off, and I may have underestimated some of my "sure things." So here's my team:
  • Tom Brady: (QB) Yes, I had him last year and yes, I was a little disappointed by him. He did a solid job, week in and week out, but he was no Peyton Manning (I don't want to start a holy war here, but while we could debate which is better in real life, Manning has always been the better fantasy QB. ) So if I was disappointed last year, why would I spend a second round draft pick on him this year? Put simply, he's got a real receiving corps now. Last year, he did a good job and he had no good recievers! This year, he's got Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth. There was perhaps a little bit of a risk here, as Moss hasn't been stellar in Oakland... but, you know, he was playing in Oakland. Who wouldn't do poorly? Anyway, Brady put up huge numbers last week, and it was a good thing too, as my opponent had Peyton Manning (interestingly, they both put up the same amount of fantasy points). As I type, Brady has put up 165 yards and 2 TDs and we're only a couple minutes into the 2nd Quarter of tonight's game. This may be my best pick of the year, though it didn't require much thought. Brady was a sure thing.
  • Travis Henry: (RB) This one had me worried. Henry is notoriously injury prone and inconsistent, has had fumbling and substance abuse problems in the past. However, Denver coach Mike Shanahan loves to run the ball, and Henry is a workhorse when he's healthy. Then again, Shanahan is notorious for giving the ball to multiple backs, which is poison for fantasy owners. So far, so good. Henry has put up solid but not stellar numbers. This is about all I could expect, but there's always the nagging fear of injury (or, uh, being arrested or something).
  • Edgerrin James: (RB) He had a bad season last year, so this was a bit of a risk. However, everything I've seen says the problem was the team he was on and not him. The Cardinals didn't run much and were pretty awful last year, so it was difficult for James to gain any ground. However, with a new head coach and some other changes, I was betting on big things from James... and so far, things are going well. He's been my top running back in the first two weeks and shows no signs of slowing down.
  • Adrian Peterson: (RB) A rookie who was originally scheduled to share the load with Chester Taylor... but when Taylor went down with an injury early in last week's game, Peterson came up huge. Unfortunately, I had him on my bench. Peterson's going to be one of the people I put into the "Flex" position from week to week, so he may spend some time on the bench (especially if Taylor comes back), but he did a reasonable job this week.
  • Terrell Owens: (WR) As much as it pains me to admit it, TO is fantasy gold, and I got him relatively late in the draft. He's been one of my top performers and I'm sure he'll remain that way. He's good for double digit touchdowns, and as much as I dislike him on a personal level, I have to admit, I like the numbers he's putting up. I wish I had the fortitude of Bill Simmons:
    Just know that he'll never be on my team. I can't root for him. It's not in me. When TO does something good, I don't want to feel happy.
    I don't like rooting for him either. Makes me feel dirty. But he was a steal when I picked him up in the draft, and he's paid off in spades. *sigh*
  • Reggie Brown: (WR) Brown is the uncontested #1 WR in Philly, but he did nothing last week. Nothing. 1 reception for 11 yards. This is absurdly lame, and adds fuel to the "I hate having to root for TO" fire. Why can't I have a hometown player I can actually root for on my team? The last time that happend was 3 or 4 years ago when I had Brian Westbrook (who also happens to be from my alma mater). If Brown, who's riding my bench this week, doesn't do well tomorrow night, I'm not sure I'll keep him on my team.
  • Jerricho Cotchery: (WR) Put up mediocre numbers last week, but came up huge this week. Considering that I drafted him in one of the later rounds, I think this was a decent pickup, and he's earned his way to the number 2 WR slot on my team (though I'm pretty weak at WR).
  • Dallas Clark: (TE) Has had injury problems and is coming off a bad year, but he appears to be healthy and it's always nice to have one of Peyton Manning's targets on your team. He's put up some pretty solid numbers for me so far, so this late round draft pick seems worth it.
  • Cowboys: (D/ST) I hate the Cowboys, but due to a run on D/ST picks inbetween my picks, I really didn't have much of an option for D/ST. The Cowboys did crappy last week, but did a decent enough job today. That's all I can really ask for, though it would be really nice not to have to root for the Cowboys.
  • David Akers: (K) Well here's a hometown player I can root for, but the Kicker isn't exactly a premier position. Still, Akers is as solid as they come, and he should be able to put up decent numbers for me.
  • Bench: Texans QB Matt Schaub seems to be my best bench player, which would be great if he didn't have the same Bye week as Tom Brady. D'oh! Nevertheless, he might make good trade bait. Or not. We'll see. For backup running backs, I've got the Bells (Mike and Tatum), neither of which is all that great (though Mike Bell is Travis Henry's backup, which could be useful if Henry goes down with an injury). Rounding out the team are Drew Bennet (WR, crappy) and the Cardinals D/ST (also crappy).
So there you have it, the 2007 Star Wars Kids. So far, they've performed far beyond expectations, putting up a league high (tied for first, actually) 107 fantasy points last week. This week, they look even better, putting up 117 points so far, and Brady still has a half game left and Akers plays tomorrow night. There are still lots of things that could go wrong, and I could peak early like I did last season, but I'm still happy with my team's performance. I took a lot of gambles and picked several sleepers, and it looks like they're all paying off... so far.

Update: Greg's draft didn't go as well as mine, but I think he'll make due.