This past Friday, an annual event occurred once again. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, like the Flintstones returning to Bedrock, like the hapless Cubs fans returning to Wrigley Field.......that's right.......once again we had our annual fantasy football league draft. As I have mentioned in previous blogs from years past, this is a group of knuckleheads who have been playing in the same league for about 10 years. The official title of our league is the Rat Bastards Fantasy Football League. A bit of history here. For many years I managed a City of Dallas softball league team. They weren't very good, but they were a great bunch of guys. We drank plenty of beer afterwards. Our team was called The Rat Bastards. Originally sponsored by Borders Books and Music, (the late lamented Borders Books and Music.....moment of silence for the old brick and mortar book stores.....ok, enough of that), we were later sponsored by a local watering hole known as the Lakewood Landing. A large core of the team went on to form our fantasy league, we kept the name cuz we liked it!
One of the pre-requisites of being a member of this league is having thick skin and the ability to turn a phrase or two. Vulgarity is strongly encouraged. When I say trash talking, I mean SERIOUS trash talking. We are all friends from many years back and the easy familiarity common only to longtime friends is in evidence here. But OH MY, the trash talking. It's a lot of fun let me tell ya.
So this past Friday the 2nd, we met at the home of one of the members and proceeded to have our fantasy football league draft. Fantasy football is a game which is played on an imaginary playing field. The field of talent is picked from current NFL rosters. Only offensive players are chosen: Quaterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Recievers, Tight Ends, Field Goal Kickers. Then you choose an entire team defense. Scoring points varies from league to league, but basically your team scores points via yards passing, yards receiving, yards rushing and of course Touchdowns, Field Goals and extra points. In our league, if your Defense/Special Teams intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble and returns it for a TD, those points score as well, as do the actual interception, fumble recovery, and sacks. Also if your team returns a punt for a TD as well. So the key is to use the past history of some players and evaluate the potential of some other players to draft a good team. When you have finished drafting, one will have a team assembled from all the various teams in the NFL. and of course, the team that scores the most points, wins the game. Duh.
For the past three years, I have named my team the North Pickenham Liberators for obvious reasons. The now four year old team name has worked wonders. We have gone to the playoffs the last three years, and finished in either second or third place all three years. Not Bad! I attribute a lot of the success to Coach Jimmy Doolittle and his hard working staff at Eighth Air Force HQ's.....and a bit of it to me. Wink Wink.
So here's the team I picked this year. Each year, a certain personality has come through for each of my teams and this year's version of the Libs is no different. I call this team a true blue collar, lunch pail-to-work kinda team. Yeah we got a few Studs, but for the most part, I drafted a solid team of worker bees. My gamble is that several of these worker bees are about to bust out and become regular bad asses in the NFL in 2011. Steady As She Goes is the theme for this year's North Pickenham Liberators. OK, so I drafted Tom Brady(NE) as my starting QB. Still a gunslinger, and still one of the best. I took RB Jamal Charles (KC) and RB Tim Hightower (Washington). For my starting Receivers I took Brandon Marshall (Miami) and Mike Thomas (Jacksonville)-who I think is gonna have a monster year. My Two Starting Tight Ends are returnees from last year and in terms of overall scoring in 2010, two of the best. Antonio Gates (San Diego) and Marcedes Lewis (Jacksonville). For my Kicker I took the Mad Polack, Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland) and my starting Defense is from New England. Watch out, but Bill Belichick is gonna have those boys breathing fire. My backups are QBs Matt Cassel (KC) who could potentially have a huge year if he can stay healthy and the young kid Andy Dalton (Cincy). My backup RBs are Darren Sproles (NO), and Mike Tolbert (SD), not a lot of depth there and it worries me to tell the truth. I did pick up a ton of backup WRs and if one or more of them has a breakout season, I can either A) insert him into my starting lineup or B) use him as trade bait to improve my RB corps. Most notable from this group of five backup WRs is the veteran Derrick Mason (NYJ) and Eddie Royal (Denver). I also picked up a back up kicker in Robbie Gould (Chi).
So there you have it. The 2011 version of the North Pickenham Liberators. Not flashy, just steady time card punching types. I like this team, I really do. I'll keep you posted throughout the season on the goings on of my fantasy football team.
May the trash talking begin!