Fantasy Draft Nightmare
OK, I realize that every stat geek out there with an empty hole in his heart where a competitive streak used to be who plays fantasy sports has a nightmare or two to tell when it comes to all their fantasy sports adventures that, surely, top the lame, boring nightmare of anyone else out there.
The point is, anyone who plays fantasy sports has stories to tell, some good, some bad. And for the most part, I don't want to hear them. Nobody likes the guy who feels it's necessary to share every minute detail of every last one of his fantasy teams. And for this reason, I try, for the most part, to keep my sordid fantasy tales to myself.
But I'm going to share this one. Why? Because there is little doubt in my mind that the football gods took time out of their busy day yesterday to fuck with yours truly.
Now, I've heard numerous horrible stories from others about how Yahoo (or whatever fantasy source they were using) totally jacked them over. Usually, it involves them not being able to log in during a draft. Which is about any fantasy player's worst fear, I suppose. I mean, the draft is the best part, right? However, this had never happened to me. I was lucky, I guess. Until last night.
My draft was scheduled for 7:30 so I went to the league page at 7:15 like a good, little soldier. I'm ready. I'm pumped up. I'm anxious to get started. So the league page is all good, but when I click on "Enter live draft now" I get nothing. Just a blank, empty popup staring at me in the face. Instantly, I panic. I have fifteen minutes to figure out what the problem is and fix it, but the dilemma is, I don't know shit about computers. I'm a neanderthal when it comes to any technology that was outdated at some point in this centruy. So time is racing away quickly. The first pick is rapidly approaching. I'm doing whatever I think might help. I shut the computer off and turn it back on. I refresh my browsers. I kick the modem. I kick it again. I kiss it and say I'm sorry. But nothing is working.
Now the draft has started. It's a good ten minutes in. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. I know I've missed the first few rounds. At this point, I'm screwing around with Java. Trying to upgrade. Of course, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. I successfully upgrade Java (or something to that efect; I'm not even sure) and, suddenly, the blank, empty popup where my draft SHOULD BE says something to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing here), "This operation requires that you upgrade to blah, blah, blah. If you trust this site and wish to do so then click here."
So I click there. I upgrade. And - voila! - I'm in. It would have been nice if Yahoo had asked me that, oh, you know, THIRTY FUCKIN' MINUTES EARLIER!
So now I'm frantically trying to gather what's been going on with my draft. I'm fifth in the draft order (out of 14 teams), which is higher than I usually pick. Oh, well. It would have been nice. The computer has already selected my first five players and this is where it gets good...
1) Tiki Barber
2) Terrell Owens
3) Domanick Davis
4) Darrell Jackson
5) Tony Gonzales
At this point, I'm just laughing. Heartily. The football gods are having such a good time at my expense that there really is no reason to be upset, which would only make things worse and egg them on. I don't want to encourage them. So I laugh with them. ("Yeah, you guys got me. God job, fellas.")
Barber? OK, he's not the worst pick. I highly doubt he can duplicate his phenomenal year of 2005, but barring an injury, his numbers should still be good. You have to figure Eli Manning will be improved. The third year is when many quarterbacks make the jump to the next level, and if that happens for Manning, then Barber should be freed up to do his thing. I'm not a fan of the Barbers and their smiling, pretty boy mugs, but I can live with this pick.
T.O.? Need I say more? Of course I don't. But I will. I hate TO. I hate TO with a burning passion, just like most of the rest of the world. Not only is he a total douchebag begging people to dislike him, but he already screwed me over once last year. I have a firm policy about not drafting players I despise. I don't like being put in the position of rooting for players who I wouldn't mind seeing being carted off the field with their leg in a brace and a towel over their head. However, last year TO was there. He dropped and I needed a WR. So...you know how it goes. He ends up doing alright for me early in the year. I was actually all alone in second place several weeks into the season...when TO went permanently AWOL from the Eagles. With TO no longer playing, my team slowly but surely began to tumble. I ended the regular season tied for the last playoff spot but out of the playoffs because of the overall points tiebreaker. So, yeah, TO would have helped. I vowed to never, ever, ever, EVER again draft a player I don't like. And especially Terrell Owens.
But, of course, I have him.
Domanick Davis? OK, now the football gods were absolutely beside themselves with joy as they fooled with me. I don't know what I did to piss them off, but it must have been bad. Only hours before my draft time, I had been reading about how Davis might not even make the Texans roster and that his knee is so freakin' messed up that he may never play again. Apparently, there is no cartilege left whatsoever. None. It's bone on bone. You or I would make a better running back. They may have to euthanize him.
But, of course, I have him.
Darrell Jackson? Normally, Jackson would be a decent pick...except for the fact that his 2005 season was shortened by an awful knee injury, which not only required immediate surgery, but also a second, unexpected surgery during the offseason because, apparently, the first one didn't stick. Great! That sounds like just what you want form a wide receiver.
But, of course, I have him.
Tony Gonzalez? Not a bad pick, I guess, for the fifth round. I can't complain. I needed a tight end eventuually anyway and Gonzalez is about as good as it gets. Not spectacular, but steady. Whatever.
Anyay, it's at this point that I'm actually present at the draft. Oh, and I see my pick is coming up...NEXT! In one minute, to be exact. So I'm frantically trying to decide who I want. I decide I need a quarterback. I don't want to wait any longer for a QB, right? Two names pop out at me first. One is Drew Bledsoe. But I can't fathom having to root for two Cowboys. I hate the Cowboys. When will Jerry Jones' face job slip off of his skull? That would be hilarious. I'm already needing TO to do well. That'll turn my stomach enough. So I can't root for Bledsoe, too. No freakin' way. Jake Plummer is the other option. And, yeah, he'd be the safe pick. Denver is always good and Plummer should put up decent number. But my draft is already so screwed up at this point that I decide I'm just going to have fun with it and think outside the box a bit. You know, shake it up. Be crazy.
So my first quarterback taken is...Phillip Rivers.
That's right, baby. Phillip. Rivers. Otherwise known to you soon as The Man. It's a gamble, but sometimes you have to gamble. And I like Rivers. I always have. I loved him coming out of college and I have a good feeling about him taking over the Chargers offense. I think the kid is hungry after waiting his turn patiently. Will he be an instant success a la Carson Palmer, who also marinated on the bench for a while? Maybe not. But I think Rivers' play will be better than most expect, and I'll have fun rooting for him. I kind of like the Chargers. I think it's the bolt on their helmet or those powder blue uniforms they occasionally wear. The bottom line is that, as long as my team is going down the drain anyway, I may as well get a little crazy and pick an up-and-comer who I like - and that guy wasn't Bledsoe.
With my next pick I knew I needed another running back - absolutely had to have one - especially with Davis possibly spending the rest of his life walking with a limp, if they don't have to amputate. Naturally, the board was already down to crumbs. So I ended up with Tatum Bell, even though I don't know what the situation is in Denver. It seems that Bell was quite productive last year while being forced to split time with Mike Anderson. So with Anderson gone to Baltimore, Bell should be the man, right? No, allegedly Mike Bell is the starter. And who the fuck is Mike Bell? And undrafted rookie, that's who. I think I'll take my chances on Tatum and hope he's ultimately the main man in the Denver backfield. But still, my confidence isn't soaring with this pick.
My next two picks were, as with the Rivers pick, made purely to add to my enjoyment: Muhsin Muhammad and Rex Grossman. Hey, I'm a Bears diehard, so as long as my fantasy draft was going about as well as the government's resonse to Hurricane Katrina a year ago at this time, well, fuck it. I took these guys simply to make rooting for them that much more fun. And to be fair, I think both have a chance to be very productive. Grossman has always showed flashes of brilliance when he can stay healthy. Did you see the playoff loss to Carolina? He had the Bears marching up and down the field. So if he doesn't go down again with a limp wrist or a yeast infection, I think his numbers may actually be decent. And if Grossman's numbers are decent, then his number one WR, Muhammad, will reap the benefits. Of course, if Muhammad drops as many passes as he did last year - and he dropped a lot - I'll be that much more infuriated. All I can says is this: Let's go Bears!
The rest of my draft (in a nutshell):
Miami defense - I'm a huge believer in Nick Saban. He has the Dolphins headed in the right direction and the defense will be a part of that. Besides, it doesn't hurt that they'll face the offenses of the Jets and Bills twice each.
Shayne Graham - If Carson Palmer's knees holds up, then Graham will be a very busy kicker.
Mewelde Moore - Only runnng back available who seemed even remotely draftable, and in his favor, he's a Viking who has actually avoided trouble with the law, so he has that going for him. If Chester Taylor doesn't work out, maybe he'll get touches. Or not. More than likely, I'll drop him before the season even starts.
Matt Leinart - I actually love this pick so late in the draft. I was having my doubts about Leinart when he was holding out and dating Paris Hilton, but he looked like the second coming of Joe Montana against the Bears last week. Good lord, he was shredding the Bears first team defense like it was USC against San Jose State. There is a very good chance Kurt Warner gets hurt, and if that happens then Leinart will have plenty of toys to play with. (Edgerrin James, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin). I think Leinart may end up being the biggest steal in fantasy drafts everywhere. Or at least I can hope.
Chris Henry - You know I have got to have a dude who managed to get arrested four times in one offseason on my roster. That's just how the Unknown Column rolls, baby. Besides, Henry's six touchdowns last year weren't bad for a rookie playing behind Chad Johnson and T.J. Whoseyourmama. If he stays clean, the dude has talent.
Minnesota defense - In case you didn't notice, the Vikings' defense was sick in the second half of 2005. And they're young. So I took a shot. I mean, it was them or Koren Robinson with my last pick. It was a tough choice.
So there you have it. That's how I was fucked over and drafted the most laughable fantasy team I've ever had. Ever. Any sport. If there were two guys I was absolutely dead set against drafting heading in, it was Terrell Owens and Domanick Davis. And I have both.
And now I promise never to bore you with any more of my fantasy woes.