So Fantasy Football Season is fast approaching. I’ve been playing fantasy football since the pre-Internet days. Back when you would get together with everyone in your league and have a live draft (which would often take 6-10 hours) and someone would spend 10+ hours each week compiling everyone’s points. I started FFL when I was a sports writer for The Daily Advertiser newspaper in Lafayette, LA during college. Trust me, playing FFL against sports writers is about as hardcore as it gets and we luckily had one guy that was a stat-compiling-whiz. He would have all the stats for the weekends games done by Monday night (just after Monday Night Football was over).
The Internet has really made FFL accessible to the masses – it’s estimated that ~15 million people play FFL every year. I’m on a pretty good run. In 2005 I placed second in my league (run by my good buddy Ryan). Last year I took the championship in that same league. Ryan is stepping down as commissioner this year, so I am joining a new league. My buddy Scott S. from graduate school (BTW Scott is now an excellent realtor in the North Dallas suburbs if anyone is looking for a good realtor) is also a rabid FFL player. I’m joining Scott’s league this year, which will be a big change since Scott and I have often exchanged trade and line-up ideas in the past (since we weren’t in the same league). Our draft should be very interesting, especially if everyone follows Rule #1 of FFL – draft a running back with your first two picks (there aren’t many good running backs these days). Time to start looking at the mock drafts on ESPN.com.
So who am I looking at? Without giving away my draft strategy’s, here is one guy/team at each position that I think is undervalued (won’t be the first or second player picked at their position, but could perform that way).
- QB – Marc Bulger. Always puts up good numbers, but this year I think he will really shine (especially after signing a new deal that makes him one of the highest paid QBs in the league). He’s almost a lock for 4,000 yards, but look for his touchdowns to be up this year as well.
- RB – Laurence Maroney. He should be ready for 2007 after off-season shoulder surgery. With Corey Dillon gone Maroney should put up very solid numbers. With Randy Moss opening things up in the red zone, and the Pats using lots of two-TE sets, look for Maroney to get at least 12 touchdowns. I actually think he is good for 16 touchdowns (rushing and receiving).
- WR – Lee Evans. Evans will have a monster year in 2007. JP Losman finally looked like an NFL quarterback at the end of last season and Evans is one of the few, legitimate, deep-threats in the NFL. Could easily lead the league in receiving yards this year.
- TE – Vernon Davis. This guys is a genetic-freak. If you saw him at the combine last year, you know what I am talking about – 4.3 speed, 265 lbs, 0% bodyfat. Alex Smith is starting to play well, Frank Gore is a top-3 RB when healthy, I think Davis will get his fair share of looks in the red zone.
- DEF – Cowboys. My 9 years DFW has slowly converted me into a legitimate Cowboys fan (although the Saints are still #1 in my heart). So this is a sentimental pick. However; I’m hoping Wade Phillips can take the Cowboys talent and let them loose like he did in San Diego.
- K – Anyone. Seriously, kickers don’t really matter in FFL. The deviation between the best and the worst in the league is pretty small, but I’ll say John Kasay. I think the Panther’s offense will be much improved in 2007 and John Fox isn’t afraid to let Kasay attempt a 60-yarder.