With Sunday’s Hall of Fame game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills behind us, so begins yet another year of mental punishment and emotional masochism that I still somehow lovingly refer to as fantasy football. All of the offseason hot takes in the world can’t stop us from overanalyzing statistics, schedules and third-string sleepers, and that’s why I’m back with the latest annual installment of my own personal Fantasy Football Guide for Defeating, Demoralizing and Destroying the Hopes of Friends, Family and Complete Strangers. Except this year there’s going to be a little more fun tossed into the mix, not only to help us all draft our teams with confidence, but also to aid in showing compassion for the humiliating losses that we always take, because no one can predict the wrath of this cruel banshee they call fantasy football.
For starters, to make the weekly Fantasy Football Support Group a little more interesting, I’ve launched the inaugural UPROXX Invitational Fantasy Football League, which will feature 12 bloggers and otherwise enjoyable personalities from around the web facing off for fun and essential bragging rights. I’ll be revealing the identities of those scoundrels later this week after we’ve drafted, but all you really need to know is that PFT Commenter is involved, and if you’re like me, that’s the most important thing in the world. On top of that (and the standard positional draft analysis) I’ve got some special supplemental insight coming from some actual Fantasy Football Experts, just in case my knowledge is not enough for you.
That said, let’s get into the disclaimer portion of the first installment of this season’s draft guide. I am not an expert at anything except for making fart noises with my hands, so should you choose to take my advice, know that I am merely a mortal who does pretty well at fantasy football (last year’s results: three leagues, three third place finishes). The real reason that I do this is because I know that we all crave validity in our draft day decisions, and we want other people to tell us that we’re high if we think that this is the year that Lee Evans puts it all together or DeAngelo Williams is finally going to be the star of Carolina’s running back corps. Some people are going to disagree with me, while others will follow every last word. The reason we’re doing this, though, is because conversation helps us clear our minds (even if it comes at the expense of me revealing my draft strategies to all of the sucker chump punk ass beeyotches I play against).
First up, the quarterbacks who will lead us to fantasy prominence this year, as we’re nothing without our signal-callers, both elite and simply capable. I’ll be using really terrible photoshops of Disney Princesses and Heroines to rank my QB picks this year, because they are true symbols of beauty and power, and you can’t get as mad at a cartoon woman as you can at Colin Kaepernick’s goofy-ass face when he’s constantly letting you down each week, DAMN YOU KAEPERNICK WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHAMPIONS ACROSS THE BOARD LAST SEASON WHY ARE YOU SO TERRIBLE AT MANAGING THE GAME CLOCK?!?!?!
The Snow White: Peyton Manning
Where he’ll be drafted: First round
Where you should take him: Pick 4 and beyond
Until someone, probably Mike McCoy or Andy Reid, slips Peyton Manning a poisoned apple, he’s going to continue to be as dependable as the sun coming up in the morning. See what I did there with the poisoned apple and Snow White? That’s the kind of clever pop culture shoe-horning that you’ve come to expect from me after all these years, the same way that you’ve come to expect 400 yards and 3 touchdowns from Peyton each week.
However, as a fantasy conservative, I still believe in taking one of the very few elite RBs in the Top 3, and probably even Matt Forte with the No. 4 pick, before I’d consider a QB in the first round. (I’ll touch on my Eddie Lacy concerns tomorrow.) But Peyton is the only QB I’d consider in the first round, because the priority should always be grabbing a top RB and WR first. These are the Burnsy Keys to Fantasy Domination, and this is why people from Guam to Lesser Antilles keep coming back for more.
The Mulan: Aaron Rodgers
Where he’ll be drafted: Maybe in the late first round, but more likely the second round
Where you should take him: Late second round
I don’t know why I picked the Chinese woman for Aaron Rodgers, but I like Mulan. She seems powerful. Ideally, you have the No. 3 or 4 overall pick and you start the draft by taking Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte, so your next step is a top QB and then a top WR so you complete my “Rule of 3,” which states: “He who shall draft a top player in each main position shall rule the land.” So if he’s there, you grab Rodgers with your second pick toward the end of the second round, and then maybe Jordy Nelson with your third round pick to double down on that connection. You’d probably be safer with Antonio Brown and all of his receptions with that third pick, but I love the 1-2 punch of a QB to his top WR.
Rodgers is basically the pizza of fantasy football. You may not be in the mood for pizza – Rodgers isn’t on my radar this season – but you never say no to pizza, and unless someone broke your pizza’s collarbone again, it’s going to be fine.
The Tinker Bell: Drew Brees
Where he’ll be drafted: Second round, maybe the early third round
Where you should take him: Late second round
For the record, I hate doing mock drafts because they’re full of either morons practicing for their first ever drafts or trolls who have the saddest lives and nothing better to do than f*ck with dorks who want to see how far Trent Richardson drops to them. I did one the other night for my upcoming 12th pick draft, and this guy took Peyton Manning with the No. 2 pick and then Drew Brees with his second pick. His reasoning, as he explained to the dorks biting on his BS in the chat, was that he can trade Brees for a huge haul before the season begins. Realistically, both Peyton and Brees will go around those picks anyway, so I kept going for the sake of, you know, seeing how far Trent would fall. Then the a-hole took Tom Brady with his third pick and I shouted at God, “Why do you keep making me think it’s a good use of time to do a mock draft?!?!”
Anyway, Brees is a magical little man, and he’s perfect for that guy who took Jimmy Graham in the first round (even though I never ever ever condone taking a TE in the first round). The obvious problem with that idea is that you’re not getting a top RB anymore, unless one of the guys dropping to rounds 3-7 ends up redeeming himself. But you can’t ever plan for that, and… I just realized I’m on a tangent. This will be 5,000 words before I know it.
The Jessica Rabbit: Matt Stafford
Where he’ll be drafted: Third or fourth round
Where you should take him: Third round if you’re ballsy, fourth is about right, and fifth if you’re lucky
It’s no stretch to say that everyone out there in fantasy land thinks that this is the year that Stafford makes the leap to that the top tier of fantasy QBs. It’s his sixth season in the league and he has arguably the best receivers he has ever had, so naturally he’s the sexiest pick in the draft with a set of ridiculous cartoon breasts. He had 8 games with 20+ points in standard scoring formats last season, which is obviously great, but the only thing holding me back from screaming, “TAKE THIS GUY IN THE THIRD! F*CK RESTRAINTS AND COMMON SENSE!” is that four-week run at the end of last season, when he had three games with less than 5 points. That’s just your fantasy playoffs and all, so I understand if you’re not buying the hype again after being hurt.
The Jasmine: Matt Ryan
Where he’ll be drafted: Fifth or sixth round
Where you should take him: Fifth or sixth round, seventh if he’s still there and you rolled the dice
I used to think that Matt Ryan wasn’t worth our time or attention in fantasy football, because he’s an unproven dork who sometimes acts like he’s among the elite, so picking him always felt a little bit like slumming. But the guy put up 11 double-digit games last season without Julio Jones and with Harry Douglas as his 1,000 yard star. It’s time that I give the street urchin the respect that he deserves (specifically with healthy receivers) and acknowledge Ryan as the beautiful princess that he truly is. (Still, I’d much rather have Stafford.)