Posts Tagged ‘fantasy football’

Inside the Mind of a Football-Loving Female

Online Fantasy Football advice is as plentiful as Photoshopped pictures of Kim Kardashian’s wedding these days.  So if you’re looking for yet more expert guidance on the subject, you have clicked on the wrong link!  While I may not provide the same information that a seasoned sports writer or big time TV analyst can offer, my draft picks can give you a glimpse into the mind of an average football-loving female!  At the very least, my logic (and often unorthodox reasons) for drafting players will convince even the greenest FF player believe he or she is a draft day genius!

Pick #1 LeSean McCoy – Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles

For my first pick, I took a bit of a gamble.  I had the 8th pick in the first round, which gave me the 3rd pick in the 2nd round.  Despite conventional wisdom, I had decided weeks earlier to take Michael Vick as my #1 pick if he had not already been snagged.   As draft day adrenaline rushed through my body, I abruptly selected McCoy, counting on Vick still being available early in round 2.  My reasoning?   My fantasy team is comprised of players from Atlanta – aka Falcons fanatics/Vick haters.   I figured I would get two extremely elite picks – McCoy and Eagles – and be well on my way to winning the league.  My sly tactics failed me, though, when Vick was chosen as the 10th pick in the first round!

Despite my disappointment in not obtaining the most dynamic, athletic player in the NFL (Vick), I am thrilled with McCoy.  Like Vick, he is a dual threat.  Last year, he ran for over 1000 yards, had nearly 80 receptions and scored 9 TDs.  LeSean is the Real McCoy and I think he will give me a lot of value in my PPR league.

Pick#2 Darren McFadden – Running Back – Oakland Raiders

With my dreams of dominating my league via Vick smashed to smithereens, I decided to use my next pick on another hot RB.  McFadden seems to be a player on the rise.  In 2010, he rushed for nearly 1200 yards and scored 10 TDs, making him the #2 RB in PPR points per game.  The only downside to this pick is McFadden’s tendency to get injured.  The numbers he posted last season were incredible and he missed 3 games!  If he can stay somewhat healthy, he and I could be in for a winning season!

Pick#3 Ben Roethlisberger – Quarterback – Pittsburgh Steelers

By the time my round 3 pick came around, not only was Vick taken, but Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were no longer on the board.  I felt the pressure to pick a QB, so I held my breath and chose Big Ben.  Sure, he has incredible numbers and is a wildly successful QB.  But I have a knee-jerk reaction to Roethlisberger that nearly caused me to pass on him.  Maybe it is because he very likely has treated young woman disrespectfully (putting it mildly) and has pretty much remained unscathed for his behavior.  So despite my instinct to choose a less effective QB on some high moral grounds, I chose Big Ben on the grounds of trying to win my fantasy league.

Pick#4 DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles 

Feeling pretty good about snatching up 2 elite RBs and a high caliber QB, I knew it was time to get a good receiver.  Luckily for me, Eagles wideout Jackson was still on the board.  I’ve heard all the naysayers spouting stats from last year that demonstrate his inconsistency.  But I believe Jackson and Vick are headed for some big time plays this season.  Jackson may hand me a few wins this year based on some single game performances.  Besides that, he has the speed and natural ability to shed defenders that makes him one of the most dynamic receivers in the game today – and he is just plain COOL!

Pick # 5 Beanie Wells – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals

Rookie RB Ryan Williams (a Hokie!) was headed for some big time carries this season with the Cardinals.  Sadly, Williams suffered a season ending injury a few weeks ago so teammate Beanie Wells will likely play a far greater role.  Beanie has a history of injuries and his numbers last year were unimpressive and forgettable.  I think at some point early in the season the Cardinals may make a trade or sign a free agent to replace Williams, thereby cutting Beanie’s playing time.  So while I think he may have been a decent choice and can give me some points early on, I expect that I too may replace Beanie as the season progresses.

Pick #6 Marques Colston – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

Off season knee surgery dropped the value of Colston.  They say New Orleans is a place where you don’t follow the rules, so I threw out conventional wisdom and gambled that Colston will re-visit his stellar stats of last year.   It is fantasy football – not life or death – so what the heck?!!

Pick #7 Kevin Kolb – Quarterback – Arizona Cardinals

As an Eagles fan, I had the opportunity to watch Kevin Kolb last year before he was injured and ultimately lost his job to Michael Vick.  I think he’s a smart player who will surprise many gridiron gurus this season. He may not be a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning caliber player, but he is a solid choice for the #2 QB slot.

Pick#8 Mark Ingram – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

While a Heisman Trophy winner like Ingram defies the word “sleeper” in most senses, as an untested rookie in the NFL, he became my “sleeper” in this draft.  Is it a risk to pick a rookie?  Yes.  But at #8, I like my chances.  There’s no doubt Ingram is loaded with talent.  With Pierre Thomas on the team, he won’t be the “go to” back for the Saints, but he should get enough carries to justify my pick.  I think for someone with his potential, this pick was a steal!

Pick #9 Santana Moss – Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

As 9 round approached, I decided it was time to stock up on another receiver.  I was surprised to see a consistent veteran like Moss available this late, so this was an easy-peasy pick!

Pick#10  Defense /Special Teams – Chicago Bears

Da Bears!  As the rounds quickly progressed, my fellow teammates were little by little choosing their defenses.  I planned on waiting to my 16th or 17th pick, but fell to peer pressure.

Pick#11 Dustin Keller – Tight End – New York Jets

I will admit that I have often neglected the TE position in my draft.  Frankly, this year was no different.  As I looked over my roster through 10 rounds, I realized I had not yet drafted a TE.  I am aware that sometimes a TE can give a fantasy owner some big points, but I have never truly paid the position the attention it most likely deserves.  For this pick, I basically used a FF cheat sheet to pick my first TE.  So much for planning…

Pick #12 Ben Tate – Running Back –  Houston Texans

Arian Foster was the #1 pick in countless fantasy drafts this year.  But with his hamstring injury plaguing him, little known Tate could see some extra carries.  As a late round pick, this seemed like a pretty good bet.  Should Foster improve quickly and Derrick Ward gets the bulk of the remaining carries, I could envision dropping Tate for another unforeseen need.  But a 12th round gamble like this seems like a no-brainer!

Pick#13 Aaron Hernandez – Tight End – New England Patriots

I am not a big fan of Tom Brady’s personality, but the guy has talent.  With a QB like Brady, Hernandez is a solid choice as my #2 TE.  As much as it pains me to admit it, any Brady receiver is a steal in the 13th round.

Pick#14 Jerome Simpson – Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals

By all accounts, Simpson is a “sleeper” in this year’s draft.  He finished last season on an upswing and could be in for some big numbers this year.  He has a rookie QB to contend with, but this is definitely going to be an interesting choice.  As a 14th pick, I thought he would be a fun addition without a lot of risk.

Pick #15 Darren Sproles  – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

Competing for time with Mark Ingram will be tough for Sproles.  But the potential for some strong games is there, making him a fantastic find to join my RB corps.

Pick #16 Josh Brown – Kicker – St. Louis Rams

I don’t waste time and energy on picking my kicker.  In the last round or two, I pull up a list of available kickers and pick the highest ranked one.  Badda Bing, Badda Boom!!

Pick #17 Anthony Dixon – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers

For my last pick, I went for yet another RB.  Anthony Dixon’s rating was one of the best ones still available in the RB position by the end of the draft, so I made an easy decision and took him!

My team is set to go and I eagerly await the start of the season.  My roster will surely change many times throughout the season, but I am pleased with my picks, despite my Vick-less roster.  Many people spend months preparing for their draft.  That’s way too serious for me.  I like to select my players based on a dash of research, a pinch of “expert” advice, but a huge helping of instinct.  Will I be the ultimate fantasy football champion with this strategy?  Probably not, but I do think I will be a contender, and at the very least, have a lot of fun!

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Five Fabulous Reasons to be Thankful this Football Season…

As we pause to reflect upon the people and things in life that we are grateful for, we of course think of our families, special friends – both near and far – and other wonderful blessings.  As football fans, we are also thankful for the 2010 season and the excitement it has brought us thus far.  Here is our top five list of what we are most thankful for this football season…

#5 –  The Hokie Bird

Thanksgiving has a variety of traditions, like turkey and football, and what better turkey to represent the day than the Virginia Tech mascot?  The maroon and orange turkey may not be as ferocious as a lion or tiger, but he does have spectacular spirit as he struts his stuff around Lane Stadium.  In the 4th quarter as he dances the “Hokie Pokie”, you must admit there’s really no other mascot quite like him!

#4 – Mid-Season Coach Firings

After watching two of the most incompetent NFL coaches bumble along this season, we are grateful that the Cowboys and the Vikings had the courage to fire their head coaches.  Minnesota’s Brad Childress lost control of the team early in the season.  But his handling of Randy Moss truly epitomized his incompetence.  Now at 3-7, it will be interesting to see if interim head coach Leslie Frazier can salvage the season.  The Cowboys also made the bold move of firing head coach Wade Phillips mid way through the season.  Newly appointed Head Coach Jason Garrett seems to have shaken things up, as the Cowboys are playing much more motivated, disciplined football compared to when Phillips was coach.  It remains to be seen if these coaching changes will result in any real improvement in team play.  But, at the very least, we are thankful that we no longer have to endure the awkward and embarrassing behaviors of Childress and Phillips.

#3 –  Fantasy Football

While my team may not exactly be winning (ok, ok..we are in next to last place), entering a fantasy league for the first time this season has been one of the most fun and exciting things I have done in a long time.  Each week, as I set my starting line up in hopes of achieving the perfect team to annihilate my opponent, I love the strategy involved.  With players on my roster from throughout the league, I am interested in more games than ever before.  It is a great, new way to enjoy the gridiron and I am so thankful to be in such a great league (Go, HokieHokieHokie!)

#2 – Denard Robinson

He may not be as popular as Heisman hopeful Cam Newton of Auburn, but there’s something about Denard Robinson that makes us smile!  The University of Michigan QB, known as “’Shoelace”, is just plain fun to watch.  As he leads the Wolverines with his untied shoelaces and signature dreadlocks, he poses a dual threat to opposing defenses.  He alone has accounted for nearly 70% of Michigan’s total offense.  He is the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for more than 1500 yards AND rush for 1500 yards in a single season.  At 7-4, Michigan’s season has been disappointing, which is one of the reasons Robinson may not be as highly touted as other Heisman candidates.  But nothing beats his pure athleticism and raw talent.  He is truly one of the most dynamic players in college football today and one of our very favorite things about this football season!

#1 – Michael Vick

Is there a better story in football this year?  After 21 months in federal prison because of his involvement in dog fighting, most people wrote Michael Vick off.  He lost his QB position with the Atlanta Falcons, declared bankruptcy and became one of the most despised figures in America.  Upon release from prison, most people expected him to return to his old lifestyle and friends and fade into obscurity.  But with the help of former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who mentored him while in prison, Vick changed his attitude, his work ethic, and in the end, his life.  His story is one of redemption and should give each of us hope.

As the starting QB for the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick’s performance this season has been phenomenal.  He is a serious contender for this year’s MVP.  Under the watchful, fatherly eye of Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, Vick appears to be thriving both on and off the field.  With his unparalleled physical abilities, he is arguably the best overall athlete in the NFL.  Like our #2 favorite, Denard Robinson, we just love watching Vick play!  That immeasurable, distinctive ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs are simply magical and make him our VERY FAVORITE thing about the 2010 season so far!

Happy Thanksgiving fellow football fans!  Enjoy the rest of the season!

Thank You, Veterans…We Love You!

Today is Veterans Day and Gridironglamourgirls would like to thank all our veterans and active duty military for their unselfish service and sacrifice to our country.  The NFL is showing their appreciation to veterans and current military with a number of programs and initiatives throughout the entire month of November.

Tonight, the NFL Network will broadcast the Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons game.  It’s the first Thursday night broadcast on the network this season.  The NFL will promote its “text-to-give” campaign to benefit the USO, which was highlighted in last weekend’s games as well.  Proceeds will assist the Wounded Warriors Project and other active-duty military personnel.

Throughout November, teams across the NFL will designate certain home games as “Military Recognition Games” and honor both veterans and active duty military.  The Pittsburgh Steelers, for example, have designated their November 14th game with the Patriots as their honor game.  A veteran from each war will be honored on the field and introduced to the crowd.

Other NFL initiatives include the new NFL-Tillman Military Scholar award, named after Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman who left the NFL to become an Army Ranger after the 9/11 attacks.  Tillman died in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2004.  The 2010 award was given to Army Staff Sergeant Patrick Nelson, who served almost 7 years as an Army paratrooper until being wounded in 2005 in Afghanistan.  He earned an Associate’s Degree by taking online courses and graduated with honors.  Sgt. Nelson currently attends Minnesota State University and has created a nonprofit organization, Real Combat Life, offering support to veterans.  In Sunday’s Cardinal vs. Vikings, game, Nelson was made an honorary captain for the Vikings.

The NFL supports the military in many other ways, including its Pro vs. GI Joe program that pairs service members with professional athletes.  Players assist wounded warriors in a physical therapy and rehabilitation program called “Rehabbing with the Troops”.  Other initiatives by the NFL include its Game Pass HD service for active duty military stationed abroad.  Every pro game is broadcast live and free of charge at overseas USO Centers by the NFL.

The NFL has been a long supporter of our military and has a 45 year affiliation with the USO.  Players often travel overseas to spend time with active duty military and frequently visit wounded vets in military hospitals throughout the US.  The NFL scores big for its support of our men and women in uniform!  Join them today and take a moment to thank a veteran or active duty service member for their courageous and selfless service to our country.

Has Playing Fantasy Football Turned Me Into a Traitor?

Today I went outlet shopping and picked up some great deals at the Michael Kors store.  My most prized purchases, though, were discovered at the Reebok outlet.  They had an amazing sale on NFL Jerseys and other apparel.  I snagged a DeSean Jackson jersey, an Ahmad Bradshaw jersey and a Michael Vick t-shirt.

The cashier, a young guy donning an Ochocinco jersey, asked if I wanted gift receipts.  I smiled back and explained that, in fact, they were all for me!  With a puzzled look, he asked how I could be a fan of two teams like the Giants AND the Eagles, given they are such huge rivals.  Fantasy football – was my two word response. He nodded, mumbled something about how fantasy games are destroying team loyalty, and bagged my jerseys.

As I left the store, I thought about the cashier, whom I presume has never even tried out a fantasy league!  Fantasy football definitely changed my way of watching games, but did it turn me into a disloyal traitor?  Before joining a fantasy league, I was basically a Giants fan who was mildly interested in one or two other teams.  But once I assembled my fantasy team, The Blonde Side, I started following the players on my roster and even those of my opponents.  Instead of focusing solely on the Giants, fantasy opened up much more of the NFL to me.

Now I watch loads of football games each weekend and Monday night.  If the games are not on TV, I simply keep my fantasy league page open on my laptop and receive live, automatic scoring updates.  If you haven’t experienced this before, watch out!  It is addictive and consuming. 

There are many games where players from my fantasy roster are playing against each other.  Like a yo-yo, I vacillate between cheering on one team and then the other. If there was a hidden camera in my living room, I truly believe the authorities would come and take me away in a straitjacket. 

So what has this done to my loyalty towards the Giants?  I am still a fiercely devoted fan and would never root against them because of my fantasy players.  If being disloyal, however, means acquiring non-Giants on my roster to help me win, then I guess I am guilty.  Being successful in fantasy play requires drafting players based on stats, predictions and talent, NOT making picks based on emotion or loyalty.  In fantasy, strategy and cold-heartedness are the keys to victory!

Driving home from shopping, I wished I had answered the cashier’s grumblings.  But, as always, my come back came much too late!  Maybe I will return to the store and explain that playing fantasy football has actually ENHANCED my loyalty to football overall.  I never had an interest in so many different teams and players before now.  Isn’t that a GOOD thing for the sport?

Tonight’s Monday Night Football game is the Giants versus the Cowboys.  Sure, I may act slightly schizophrenic as I watch my fantasy RB Felix Jones run against the Giant defense, but in the end, I still desire a Giant’s victory.  My passion for the Giants far outweighs my desire for Felix Jones to get me a lot of points tonight. So for the sports store cashiers and other naysayers who believe fantasy football is destroying team loyalty, I say they are just plain WRONG!  

Draft Day Disaster

This past August I joined a fantasy football league.  After years of watching from the sideline and not quite comprehending how fantasy football actually works, I decided to strap on a helmet and give it a try.  Little did I know that I would actually need that helmet!  This is serious game play and is definitely not for the weak-hearted.

Our league has twelve teams, made up of ten college guys and just two girls.  Having never been part of a fantasy league, I scoured online fantasy draft pick information from all the leading “experts”.  On my desk sits an entire folder devoted to my pre-season research, along with every fantasy football draft magazine I could lay my hands on this summer.  My laptop has files of assembled information, including spreadsheets with categories like PPR (Points per Reception), rankings by position and bye weeks. Suddenly the letters SOS no longer meant an emergency cry for help, but something much more critical – Strength of Schedule.

Next came the dilemma of naming my team.  Did I want a fierce, intimidating name to scare the opposition into retreat?  Or a funny name that made my team the envy of those who wished they could be so clever?  Searching the web, I found a huge variety of “female” fantasy football names, many of which were just too crude to consider.  I wanted a name to represent me, yet have a football connection.  Finally, an epiphany!  My team would be called The Blonde Side.  It would pay tribute to one of my favorite football movies of all time, “The Blind Side”, while allowing me to make my team stand out from my male competition.  Oh, and it also embodied my natural (ahem) blonde hair color.

On draft day, we all assembled in the team manager’s tiny college apartment.  One of the guys had graduated the previous spring and so “attended” the draft through Skype.  We chose ESPN to host our league.  I was assigned the next to last pick, but was undaunted since I felt I had a great strategy in place.  I had my list of desired players and was certain I would be able to get at least some of them.

From research and talking to friends who had played in fantasy leagues for years, I decided to load up on running backs and wide receivers in the early rounds and not even think about my quarterback to the later rounds.  As a HUGE Peyton Manning fan, I desperately wanted him as my first pick, but decided to put my emotions aside and allow my diligently prepared plan of attack to play out. Other favorites, like T.O. and Ladainian Tomlinson would have to wait as well.  Instead, I would listen to the expert advice I had gathered and ignore the gut instincts that were telling me to make completely different choices.

As the draft began, I was shocked at how quickly the guys made their picks.  By the time it was my turn, the top ranked player remaining on my list was RB Frank Gore from the San Francisco 49er’s and I quickly grabbed him.  Next, I chose WR Reggie Wayne of the Colts and felt pretty secure about my choices.  But by the time the third round came around, my list of prospects had dwindled and I was suddenly scrambling to make a pick.  I scoured my spreadsheets, notes and brain for my next pick as the 2 minute draft clock ticked down.  Ochocinco, I shouted out, when I realized T.O. had already been snagged.

The rest of the draft is a blur as I frantically tried to choose my next player in round after round.  The other players, more seasoned and experienced, seemed to glide through their picks with ease.  Why did I feel so incompetent and disorganized?  After all, I had books and spreadsheets and files of information that should have made draft day a breeze!

By the end of the draft, my roster was complete – a complete mess, that is.  I had two players from my original list of prospects and the rest was a jumble of players I had haphazardly thrown together.  How did this happen?  I honestly am not sure, but part of my problem was that I ignored my women’s intuition AND fell victim to peer pressure!

So what did I learn from my draft day disaster?  Well, lots of things actually.

  • First, do your research.  It is important to know who the top prospects are and to understand how your league’s scoring system works.
  • Make sure you have information on the less known players.  Despite my spreadsheets, I was not as prepared as I should have been in this area and ended up making choices on players whom I barely had any knowledge about.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the boys.  I think of myself as a pretty independent person, with strong opinions, yet time after time was swayed into picking a player based on what others were saying at the moment.  I was a rookie and assumed the veterans knew more than me.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol during the draft!  Depending on how your league organizes draft day, it can end up being a party atmosphere.  As prepared and serious as I started out, I must confess that one too many Jager Bomb’s may have wreaked havoc on my roster.
  • Most importantly, listen to your gut instinct!  As women, we all know that inner voice that whispers (and sometimes shouts) out to us.  I don’t care what anyone says, that little voice is right 9 times out of 10!

So that pretty much sums up my draft day disaster.  As for the season thus far?  Well, let’s just say that there have been a few fumbles and missed tackles along the way.  In the next few months, I will share The Blonde Side’s victories and defeats in hopes of helping other ladies in their future fantasy football endeavors.  So like Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford, I view this season as a rookie learning experience. Hopefully next season will bring far less thrown interceptions and better play calling ability that will allow me to dominate my male competition!

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