Here we go again.
A second installment of the Fantasy Football Diary where we follow one team, the Taggerungs (of Brian Jacques Redwall book series lore), on an epic journey from Week 1 of the NFL season to Week 15 where these warrior weasels of destiny will win their first All Pro League trophy in the league’s fourth season. The path will be perilous and challenging, but Taggerungs are tough and will prevail.
Did I just guarantee a victory?
Nah, I don’t want to tempt the fantasy football gods (please fantasy gods… it was only a story lead!), but it perhaps drew you in, did it not? So, without further ado, we kick off this season in the All Pro League with a video to commemorate the start of the season. I will just pretend that these guys who made this video beat the All Pro League’s members to the punch because we were totally going to do something like this – no we weren’t – but nonetheless, let the season begin.
If you want an extra laugh, in my search, I stumbled upon the perfect video for next season’s kickoff. I am proposing our league makes a music video for this song for next season.
But without further ado, we return to what really matters… football.
The All Pro League is an elite group of highly paid (not really) and highly skilled (also highly debatable) players who give their all to hoist the All Pro League trophy ball at season’s end. It is a 12-team league with normal NFL.com fantasy football scoring and we start one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, one tight end, a kicker and a defense. We have a couple extra spots on our bench for extra suffering as the season begins and the waiver wire is uncomfortably bare. If you want to know more about the Taggerungs history, check the archives here, or consult my first entry of the 2013 season. The Taggerungs are coming off an incredible season where they fell just short in the Championship game.
A little reminder of the quality opponents I virtually fight week-in and week-out. I would like to bring attention to, not only the changing team names (“The Gamemakers”, formerly the “The Death Eaters” – “The Xtacles”, formerly “The Bounty Hunters” – “Silly Hats Only Club”, formerly “The Devilishly Blue Dominators” – “Hernandez is my body guard”, formerly “TheDyslexicDominatrixes”), but also the new and improved Taggerungs logo. Its devious-ness will be the downfall of so many this season.
We had a live draft over a week ago and have had time to sit with my team and this year’s version of the Taggerungs shows some promise. I ended up with the 11th overall pick… not ideal… but this season I went into the draft a little more prepared than year’s past. Normally I would try to rely on what I had picked up over the offseason in the media as being enough, but this season I had a list! It was very legit I assure you. Here’s how the Taggerung’s draft shook out.
Round 1 – RB – PHI – LeSean McCoy
Round 2 – WR – CIN – A.J. Green
Round 3 – WR – GB – Randall Cobb
Round 4 – RB – DAL – DeMarco Murray
Round 5 – QB – ATL – Matt Ryan
Round 6 – RB – NE – Shane Vareen
Round 7 – WR – IND – T.Y. Hilton
Round 8 – TE – MIN – Kyle Rudolph
Round 9 – QB – PHI – Michael Vick
Round 10 – RB – PHI – Bryce Brown
Round 11 – RB – CIN – Giovani Bernard
Round 12 – DEF – Arizona Cardinals
Round 13 – RB – IND – Vick Ballard
Round 14 – WR – DET – Ryan Broyles
Round 15 – WR – SD – Vincent Brown
Round 16 – K – HOU – Randy Bullock
Round 17 – TE – DEN – Julius Thomas
Despite the jokes I make about the quality of our league, every team does do very well doing their research and drafting well. So, I wanted to take two running backs in the first round, but in the 11th overall spot (in a snake draft), by the time I was making my second-pick, I was looking at running backs I didn’t trust and by my third-pick, there wasn’t anyone worth taking at the running back position. Because of the size of the league, there aren’t many teams that feel great about their running backs, but it’s clear mine could be a weakness.
Other worthy things to note…
– I love McCoy. I think he will be a monster in Chip Kelly’s offense, like Vick. McCoy has a health concern, only because of last season though, so I picked up arguably the most talented backup running back in Bryce Brown.
– Matt Ryan falling to the 5th-round was nice. He will put up great numbers and allowed me to take other skill positions earlier.
– I have Randall Cobb again. Him, Brown and disturbingly injury prone DeMarco Murray are the returning players from last season’s Championship runner-up team. Cobb played a huge role in that run, as did Brown. Murray is a high-risk, high-reward pick and I really need to figure out who his backup officially is…
– I love Hilton and Vareen. Both could be this year’s Brown and Cobb who burst onto the scene. Vareen will do everything, playing at running back and wide receiver. Hilton will be a major piece of Andrew Luck’s offense in Indy.
– My running backs are a little weak right now, but I have some interesting players to watch as the season goes on. Bernard could win out a starting spot in Cincy and Ballard figures to be the starter at some point. Current starter, Ahmad Bradshaw, won’t stay healthy the entire year.
– Do you see the last pick there? Second-to-last pick I took Thomas because I thought he would be the beneficiary of defenses focusing on the rest of Denver’s offense. He also has an “Antonio Gates-like” athleticism. I’m not saying he is, but I spent the entire draft talking about my “Super Sleeper Pick” and then in Week 1, he puts up 110 receiving yards and two touchdowns. That’s 23 points. Of course, it was on my bench, because who trusts your super sleeper in Week 1?
To kick off the season, I play Silly Hats Only Club, formerly known as The Devilishly Blue Dominators.
Silly Hats Club
The Silly Hats Club poses some threats with a great matchup for first-round pick, Alfred Morris. Morris is playing a Philadelphia defense that was awful a year ago. I even predicted a shootout. Morris should be big points.
Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford are also potentially big point getters against Minnesota and Brandon Marshall is a beast who, on paper, could be limited by Cincinnati, but he will probably put up a touchdown and 80 receiving yards at least. Torrey Smith wasn’t overwhelming, and luckily wasn’t playing for the Broncos, on Thursday night, but nearly 10 points is still significant. Brian Hartline may see a lot of Miami’s looks with Browns cornerback, Joe Haden, watching Mike Wallace.
Dwyane Allen is everyone’s favorite to breakout this season and this season. There is no better way to start than against Oakland. The 49ers defense and Gostkowski are solid plays who could be deciding factors in a close game.
The matchups for the Taggerungs should keep them in the game and make them a factor. Matt Ryan should have a monster game in a shootout in New Orleans. I think Vick will begin to build his case as major trade bait on my bench.
McCoy is in the same boat as Morris where he should put up numbers against the Redskins’ defense. DeMarco Murray is a very talented player who could give you a huge game, even against New York, or nothing depending on Dallas’ play-calling and Murray’s ability to avoid becoming another Darren McFadden. This is one of the few times I hope my running backs score big points on my bench because then I will know I have some depth at the position. On paper I am fine now, but more reassurance would be nice.
Cobb and Green are must-starts, but there is no guarantee they succeed. Cobb should do well against a stingy 49ers defense whose weakness is the secondary. Plus, his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, will play well regardless of the opponent. Green is presumably matched up against Bears corner, Charles Tillman, who could really impact Green’s game. However, Green is a special talent who could still put up nice fantasy points. He is a must-start anyway, so it really doesn’t matter. Hilton may be the deciding factor in a Taggerung win because the Raiders are just awful.
Kyle Rudolph better put up solid numbers after Julius Thomas made me feel like both an idiot for not starting him and a genius for having him in the first place. I will not be satisfied with less than four touchdowns Mr. Rudolph!
Bullock is a kicker and the Cardinals defense has a bunch of talent and I think cornerback Patrick Peterson will do something spectacular on defense or special teams (crossing my fingers).
I have a chance to pull this one out because I was lucky enough to not play against a Broncos player this week. It will be close and with two major players playing against each other on Monday Night, this will be a long Week 1 tilt.
I believe in the warrior weasels.