Last Thursday, the Charter Members of the JOURNEYMEN Dynasty League hunkered down for our inaugural player draft. (And for all details/explanation/tall tales of this new, involved fantasy football league, click HERE.) The draft itself was one part wild west showdown, one part fire drill, and about six parts blind man trying to cross a busy street. And when the smoke cleared one hour and forty-seven minutes later, things had gone about exactly as we all expected.
Injured guys were drafted. Rookie QB’s were taken as early as the fourth. And league managers from Oklahoma to Connecticut to DC struggled to understand just how the f^ck NFL front offices do what they do.
I sat down last night to do my commissionerly duties and tap out an introductory league note in the form of Preseason Power Rankings. In most fantasy leagues, Power Rankings are pretty straightforward: they tell you who’s the best right now. In ours, however, this first draft was a monumental undertaking for every manager. It was the one golden opportunity to set one’s franchise up for the long haul. So that’s how I graded.
I ranked each squad, 1 to 12, based on a) their strength as it pertains to winning this year, and then b) to winning in the years to come. By adding those two rankings, I came up with each team’s total score (lowest total rank = best score). And then finally, I list each teams “Key Dynasty Picks”, which, to me, are the guys who I can see being a good value, even as their draft round elevates in each subsequent year that they are “kept”. Quality and quantity were weighed evenly.
Here’s how it all panned out...
1) Yo Soy Siesta (ME) - When I sit down to write Preseason Power Rankings, I always have one rule: rank myself first. Why? Because I’m the commissioner, and intimidation is my most valuable asset. That and my tank tops. Similar to any athlete who’s ever taken the field after the age of seven, it’s my belief that I’m the best that empowers me to actually be the best. When’s the last time you heard a championship-caliber competitor say “Yeah, I’m probably the sixth or seventh most talented guy out here”, or “I’d just love to not get beaten by 30.” It doesn’t happen. Like T.O., Freddie Mitchell, and the self-described “best shooter on the planet” Damon Jones, I choose unwarranted/irrational confidence over self-awareness every time.
Present Rank: 5
Future Rank: 1
Key Dynasty Picks: Trent Richardson (2), Antonio Brown (4), RGIII (6), Coby Fleener (14)
2) Coples Therapy (Jake) - What kind of co-commish would I be if I didn’t feed my running mate a little of the same Serum Arroggancio that I had for myself? Seriously though, it was clear that Jake and I spent the most time studying the league constitution, which isn’t necessarily a stone-cold shocker, considering we’re the ones who wrote it. Similar to my roster (which I didn’t even attempt to justify because all of you would just call me a homer bunghole anyway), Jake’s squad is well thought out. With Ray Rice and Fred Jackson, he’s got a great 1-2 running back punch. And with an eye toward sustainability, I like Torrey Smith in the seventh and LOVE Jared Cook in the tenth.
Present Rank: 6
Future Rank: 2
Key Dynasty Picks: Smith (7), Cook (10), Mikel Leshoure (11)
3) THE MACHINE (Tim) - Boom or bust. Look up and down Tim’s roster and that’s all you see. Questions of production (Chris Johnson), character (Dez Bryant), and health (Andre Johnson/Ryan Matthews/Michael Vick) dominate his early rounds. Still, to have all of those guys at their fantasy peaks would be quite a sight to behold. Chances are pretty good that Andre will stub his toe tonight and be out for the next two years, Dez will sell the remaining 22% of his soul to the Devil, and Timmy’s chances at glory will be ground into the turf like Mike Vick in Week 2. However, I had a wonderful breakfast this morning, so here’s to optimism.
Present Rank: 3
Future Rank: 5
Key Dynasty Picks: Matthews (2), Justin Blackmon (9), Jonathan Dwyer (13)
4) Urban Achievers (Glen) - Glen’s team name is an obvious homage to one of the great movies of our generation, The Big Lebowski. Obvious enough that the whole “let’s pretend to be the Dude and treat the draft like one big acid flashback” schtick was probably unnecessary. Starting with his late arrival to the draft lobby, which caused him to auto-draft his most important pick, Glen seemed to be taking his nihilism (“WE BELIEVES IN NOTHING!”) to the extreme (“WE CUTS OFF YOUR JOHNSON!”) Then something weird happened. Something very un-dude. I analyzed his draft and realized it wasn’t that bad. I actually really like McFadden/Murray as RBs 1 and 2, and I think Eli will have an impressive year. Toss in Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin, and you’ve got a pretty formidable core. Turns out ol’ Donnie wasn’t so far out of his element after all.
Present Rank: 4
Future Rank: 7
Key Dynasty Picks: Murray (2), Harvin (5), Reggie Wayne (10)
5) IpoopNurSoup (Brent) - I had a draft party Thursday night. It consisted of Me, my wife Jen, and Brent, who spent the night a) convincing us his team name wasn’t 100% retarded, and b) advising Jen not to pick guys who he would turn around and pick six minutes later, prompting her to “take a bathroom break”, aka a break to sneak out and piss in his gas tank. At least that’s how I imagine it. For the Fart Captain’s team to succeed this year, he’ll need to hit on reaches like Victor Cruz (second round), Matt Ryan (third), and Brandon Pettigrew (sixth). He’s set up nicely for future drafts though, as shown below.
Present Rank: 8
Future Rank: 3
Key Dynasty Picks: Ryan (3), Mike Wallace (4), Pettigrew (6), Jake Locker (12)
6) YouGotChunted (Chunt) - It was clear that Chunt didn’t read the league constitution before drafting, but I’ll take partial blame for that, being that it wasn’t drawn in crayon. His first three picks (Foster, MJD, Peterson) look fearsome on paper, but with the way the keeper tiers are set up, there’s no way he can keep both Foster and Mojo, and Peterson will need to be taken in next year’s second round, a tough spot for a guy with a bionic knee. We’ll all be up to our gills in trash talk this year as Chunts squad comes away with a lot of big victories (he also has Peyton Manning, Maclin, and Stevie Johnson), but next year’s Chunt-cupboard looks really bare.
Present Rank: 1
Future Rank: 12
Key Dynasty Picks: Kenny Britt (9), Greg Little (14)
7) Cromartie’s Kids (Howard) - Howie was one of the one’s making jokes as Glen (seemingly) spent the draft smoking joints in his bathtub and listening to whale sounds. So I wouldn’t be surprised to get some type of demanding retraction request after he sees that he’s ranked lower than El Duderino himself. The fact is, much like Chunt, Cromartie’s Kids are all growned up, leaving very little room for advancement in the coming seasons. Brees, Jennings, Turner, and Gore should all give him a good shot for at least one ring though. And then they’ll all go to bed at eight.
Present Rank: 2
Future Rank: 11
Key Dynasty Picks: Kyle Rudolph (13)
8) Gem City Juicers (Drew) - Drew did what every fan always WANTS to do, but never really does because they don’t enjoy flushing their league fees down the toilet. That is, he drafted his favorite team’s whole offense. AJ Green was a certainly understandable in Round 3, but then he continued to poach every Bengal in sight, including BenJarvus in the fourth and Jermaine Gresham in the seventh (a major reach). I actually had stop him from drafting Katie Blackburn, the Bengals VP and contract-negotiating guru. He’s spent the next few days searching for her on waivers.
Present Rank: 7
Future Rank: 6
Key Dynasty Picks: Green (3), Eric Decker (5)
9) NoVA Bath Salts (Don) - I will never be a fan of a QB/TE in Rounds 1 and 2, simply because they are positions where people generally get one and wait two hours to get another, meaning there are PLENTY of good values to be had later on. Don went with Stafford and Graham with his first two choices and, as a result, he’ll be starting the Giants’ number one AND two running backs in tonight’s season opener. Oh-by-the-way, the Giants were dead last in rushing last year. Dead last.
Present Rank: 12
Future Rank: 4
Key Dynasty Picks: Larry Fitzgerald (3), David Wilson (6), Titus Young (7), Russell Wilson (10)
10) you already know (Jen) - Jen reminded me of what an awesome idea it was to include my wife in the league last night when she saw her position in my preliminary team rankings and promptly instituted a “no touch” embargo for the rest of the evening. A lesser man would have caved, but I decided a long time ago that there’s no way I would ever negotiate with terrorists, so I’m standing by that today. Besides, those deflector shields can’t stay up all season. I don’t think.
Present Rank: 9
Future Rank: 9
Key Dynasty Picks: Vincent Jackson (6), Jacob Tamme (10), Rashard Mendenhall (11)
11) Revis and Buttheads (Elise) - Similar to Jen, I expect Elise to fry my cajones for ranking her this low. However, a gimpy Marshawn Lynch and a 50-year-old Willis Mcgahee just doesn’t make for a scary RB tandem, and taking Andrew Luck in the fourth round is an unignorable reach...even for a guy like Andrew Luck. Elise won her league two years ago. Not again. Not even close.
Present Rank: 10
Future Rank: 8
Key Dynasty Picks: Luck (4), Michael Crabtree (10), Robert Turbin (13)
12) Wrinkled Brown Stars (Spaz) - It was clear that Spaz had no regard for this season, as almost all of his picks seemed to be dynasty-oriented. That being said, I’m not sure how sound his strategy was. With the eighth overall pick in the draft, he went with Cam. Which is fine if he’s your future anchor. However, that completely nullifies the selection of Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin in the second round, because Martin will elevate to a first rounder next season and Spaz can’t keep both. Decisions like that dot his roster, as do some clear reaches (Spiller in the fifth?). I love my boy Spaz-mataz, so all I can say is “prove me wrong, broseph, prove me wrong”.
Present Rank: 11
Future Rank: 10
Key Dynasty Picks: Cedric Benson (9), Sam Bradford (13), Brian Quick (14)
Play begins tonight, as the ‘Boys visit the G-Men. Until then, we’re all tied for first.
JOURNEYMEN Comptroller and Chief Antagonist