And now for something completely different.
Fantasy Football is about creating a narrative.
It’s fanfiction by fans using real life characters in a make believe stage. We create our own fictional armies and go to war. Players become our boys and we feel their successes as our own and their failures as the vilest of betrayals (I’m looking at you, Culpepper). Fantasy football can drive us to the same or greater emotional heights and lows that our own real nfl teams can. It’s no accident that the bigger the fantasy implications the bigger the ratings.
Drafting is about building a cast of characters you want to spend your NFL season with. You want players on your team that make your pulse race. You’re not just picking them as players you’re picking as wrestlers for your stable . They’re going to drive your personal fan narrative for the next twelve months and they better have heat.
My top five will reflect that. Some basics had to be considered. Context is important ( ESPN standard rules, 10 to 12 man league with my likely opponents being slightly fantasy obsessed aspiring writers and bloggers). I gathered my data (god bless the internet), used it to make an insanely complicated spreadsheet (I can’t really help it) and came up with the players that really want to have on my team.
Here then are my superstars of Fantasy.
#1 Ray Rice , RB, ESPN Rank #3
Rice wears the cape. He’s my number one target of any draft I’m in. For the merry band I am building he’s the main event. Rice stands out because he is the one and only answer on offense for Baltimore. He’s getting the carries, looks and the goal line looks now.
He’s the whole effing show. Put the strap on him, sit back and enjoy the ride.
#2 Calvin Johnson , WR, ESPN Rank #7
Calvin is the unstoppable force. I’ve been watching him since college and the story with him never changes. In critical game situations, the ball goes his way. Everybody knows this and he still makes it look easy.
I want him on my team simply because I fear facing more than anyone else in the league.
If Rice is Hogan in his prime, Megatron is the Macho Man.
#3 Rob Growkonski , TE, ESPN Rank #13
Rob Growkonski is the man among boys. A class above the Tight End field, he’s the principal goal line target for the most prolific offense in football. His closest rival Graham is playing on the double secret probation Saints.
Growkonski could the biggest game changer this year. He’s like a young CM Punk and way too good for the Indy circuit.
#4 Cam Newton , QB, ESPN Rank #15
Cam Newton is the prince in waiting. There are bigger names amongst the QBs (Rodgers, Brady and Brees) but all are carrying red flags into 2012 (concussion, injury history, car wreck of a team). Cam has none of those issues and the most upside. He’s young, throws the deep ball and has a penchant for heroics. He also plays in a softball division and his late season games are in warm weather.
With some luck, you’re getting you’re getting intercontinental champion Brett Hart.
#5 Adrian Peterson, RB, ESPN Rank #19
AD is a physical freak, a phenom and seems to be forgotten. Sure he opens the season hurt but if I told you that at the end of this season he was the best player in fantasy, would it surprise you? The fact that he might actually fall to round # 3 in some drafts is just crazy.
AD 3:16 says that picking him up as a second/third rounder is larceny.
My sleeper pick is a running back picked in the first round of the draft. No not Trent Richardson (ESPN Rank #38 and the third pick in the draft this year) but rather Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ( ESPN Rank #79 and the 31st pick last year). The back out of Boise State missed last season to injury but looks ready to take over as Rice role in Schiano’s (Ray Rice’s old college coach) offense. This could be a very good thing.
Doug Martin in the eight round just might net you the next headliner.
Rice, Megatron, Gronk, Cam, AD and a rookie dark horse and you have a real shot at half of them. You’re welcome.
Note from Arturo: I wrote the following piece as an entry in Grantland’s Fantasy Football writing contest. Now, I didn’t get in but I thought it was a nice piece that you all might like. In fact, if enough of you like it, I might just make it a regular thing. Now, don’t worry. This does not mean I’m going to stop writing about basketball (and more posts are coming) . Much like Devin and Hockey, I’m simply broadening my horizon’s.
Editor’s Note: With all due respect to Grantland, I’m quite thrilled they rejected Arturo. I’m pleased to announce the hiring of our “new” Fantasy Football Expert, Arturo Galletti! Mosi Platt has also expressed interest in posting on Fantasy Hoops. Hopefully 2012-2012 is a great season for fantasies.