I am a fantasy football novice and I participated in my first live auction draft last night. While I will have to wait until this weekend to see how my time performs, the fallout from this draft has been immediate. It is only an 8-team league, and thank God. It took 3 hours to complete, I cannot calculate how much longer it would have taken with an extra 2 or 4 teams. I took a 45-minute nap in my car once I got to campus this morning. When I woke, I rubbed my face, yawned, muttered a few obscenities, then promptly drove to Starbucks. Come at me, Wednesday.
Baseball is my first love, but I broke up with fantasy baseball two years ago and I don’t even miss her. Like so many other sports fans, I find football’s once-a-week schedule much less daunting. I guess I’ll put it this way: I know enough about football to carry a decent conversation on the topic, but not enough to feel confident going into an auction draft (or win hypothetical bets on the weekends). I brought with me what I deemed essentials: a sharpie, a highlighter, a pen, fantasy ranking printouts, and a Quesarito Big Box. The Big Box got dominated, as expected.
I suppose my biggest weakness going into the draft was my lack of understanding the monetary values of the players. I hung back as the first few players were bid up, trying to get a feel for the market value. I put in a bid for Adrian Peterson at $28 only to watch him sell for $42. Now, I wouldn’t call myself frugal by any stretch, but in real life, I decide whether to by things based entirely on value. For example, I would pay $20 for a Blu Ray of a movie I really wanted to see, but probably not $24. I can’t explain what the difference is, but it’s real. Most of my purchasing decisions are based on this nebulous calculus. I would pay $8 for a plate lunch, maybe $10, but not $11. In hindsight, I think this mindset hindered me because outside of a few players, the prices quickly escalated outside of the range I was willing to pay, and all I could do was sigh or swear. It was like holding pocket 6s all night, then having a bunch of people around the table raise and re-raise pre-flop.
The following is my team with my reasoning for taking them:
QB: Peyton Manning, $40: I always wanted to have him on my team. I apologize in advance to all Broncos fans and Peyton fantasy owners, this is the year he starts throwing split-fingered spirals to his receivers, culminating with his arm falling off in a crucial prime time game.
QB: Tony Romo, $24: Dallas’ defense is so terrible, Romo will have no choice but to attempt 1,600 passes this season. As long as only 50 of them are to the other team, I should be OK.
RB: Alfred Morris, $17: I do not own a top-tier or second-tier or third-tier running back. Though we should just get that out of the way.
RB: DeMarco Murray, $24: I know Dallas won’t be able to run the ball after the first quarter. I know Murray’s body is made of thin crystal. But that O-line, though. Also, DAL-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!
WR: Brandon Marshall, $26: Trestman offense. Full season of Jay Cutler (minus the obligatory 2-3 games he’ll miss with some kind of minor injury), and I really needed a top receiver. Just a head’s up – it doesn’t get much better from here on out.
WR: Emmanuel Sanders, $14: Peyton Manning.
WR: Cordarrelle Patterson, $14: $14 worth of hype. Figure it out, Matt Cassel!
TE: Jordan Cameron, $6: Jason Witten was still available, but I chickened out. Instead, I went with the guy who’s relying on Brian Hoyer. Not my finest moment.
Flex: Ben Tate, $6: I am simply more accustomed to shopping at Nordstrom Rack than Nordstrom.
K: Nick Novak, $1: Dan Bailey was and is still available, but I chickened out. I feel like Romo and Murray meet my Cowboys quota. Oh, and also…
WR: Terrance Williams, $1: See Tony Romo. Additionally, I’m going to assume that teams are going to quadruple-cover Dez Bryant.
WR: Golden Tate, $12: Probably an overpay, but see Terrance Williams, replace “Dez Bryant” with “Calvin Johnson” and “quadrulple-cover” with “quintuple-cover.”
RB: Knowshon Moreno, $5: Because whenever I think of Knowshon, I still think of this.
TE: Zach Ertz, $4: I don’t know, the Eagles might have all the yardage.
QB: Jake Locker, $2: Something about bye weeks and not having money at the end of the draft.
The pre-draft name I created for this team is _allas Cowboys, a nod to what is likely to be once again the most porous defense in the league. After the draft, however, I am thinking about rebranding my team First Team All-Tate. It’s not entirely, true, however, as I do not own Brandon Tate, a receiver I have never heard of who supposedly plays for the Bengals. Still, I don’t think anyone will begrudge me such a clever moniker.
As I was driving home bleary-eyed, listening to Bill Simmons talk about the National Football League, a car driving in the opposite direction threw something at my car. I didn’t see the throw or the object, but whatever it was – I think it was an egg – exploded on my windshield. I turned on the wipers and water jets and just kept driving. As I stood in the driveway hosing down my car at 10:30, I thought to myself: What a fitting way to celebrate this un-juggernaut I have created.
Thanks to Chris for being commish and setting the league up. Thanks to Mark for converting his garage into a war room. Now, if Tony Romo fails, he’ll let me down in real life and fantasy. So I have that going for me.