I love fantasy football. I love the competitiveness. I love the at-times ludicrous stat within a stat breakdown that comes within fantasy football, the sort of mind boggling, head scratching stats that leave you confused to the point that you might as well be watching Inception. I love the fact that you could be sat there on Thursday night at 4am cheering and clapping because some rookie for Chicago has run in a garbage time TD, and I had the foresight to put him in at flex that week.
I am a Denver Broncos fan, and I consider myself to be well versed in the NFL. I have teams I like, I have teams that I hate, but I have an appreciation for all 32 teams. Part of this has stemmed from playing fantasy football. As a Broncos fan, I am not a huge lover of the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, I really don’t like them. I can appreciate the history and culture that the franchise is built on, just as I can acknowledge that Kansas City, Missouri, is a fine place with even finer people. But I have grown up disliking them. However, there is a catch. That catch is fantasy football.Embed from Getty Images
You see, I will never root for the Chiefs to win a game of football, but you can bet your ass that if I have drafted Kareem Hunt then I will be cheering on the K.C.C to run that ball into the end zone every damn drive, if only to allow me to cheer harder for the opposition on their next play. Is this poor form, what with my supporting the Broncos? Sure. Of course. It’s unscrupulous. The thing is, I don’t care. I want to win.
The problem with me is that I love to win. I am ultra-competitive to the point that I am just plain irritating. The downside is that I am not very good at a lot of things. Sadly, fantasy is one of those things I am relatively sucky at. I read the magazines, study the match ups and watch an inordinate amount of games that led to one or two missed Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings in my university days. I just can’t help making poor decisions.
While friends of mine at university would make poor decisions by having one shot too many, or by performing the walk of shame, or by attending class drunk, I would make poor decisions in my own way. I would play Ben Roethlisberger on a week where he would let Le’Veon Bell pound the ball. I would start a kicker, unaware that there was a blizzard in Seattle, or I would play Julian Edelman when Tom Brady felt like hitting up Rob Gronkowski instead.
Anyway, bad decision coupled with bad luck saw me finish 10th in my fantasy league last year. It was a ten-team league. *Insert expletive here* The one bright side, nine months later, is that I have first pick. Or at least that should be a bright side. Gone are the days when Adrian Peterson was the automatic first pick. Picking A.P in the 2nd round last year is part of the reason that I’m in this mess!
Making the shortlist
So I’ve narrowed down an array of players to two men: Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley. Antonio Brown and Ezekiel Elliott were on the initial shortlist, but I am not foreseeing a great year for Big Ben tossing the ball, and I feel that watching All or Nothing may have clouded my judgement on Elliot. The first pick should be a blessing. A chance for a fresh start. I hate it. The pressure on a first round pick is hard enough, but a first pick entirely. You can’t go again until pick 20 (in a ten-team league), and what happens if my star has a DUI case against him? What if they tear a hamstring? What if they just plain suck?
Bell has been dominant for years. He is the obvious choice. He is a ball catching running back who has a high pedigree and a good few seasons of experience under his belt. He is the stud RB in an offence who like to throw the ball to the best WR in pro football currently. In five seasons Le’Veon has played 62 regular season games. He has run in 35 TDs and caught 7. Bell is good. Bell is great. Bell must be the number one pick, surely?
My thinking, or rather my over thinking, is that Todd Gurley is no mug himself. He led the league last year as the star running back and is in a dynamic offence-heavy system led by Sean McVay. Gurley last year was better than peak Bell. But Bell has years of consistently high performances to point his way. What does Gurley have? A couple decent seasons attached to a magnificent one last year. Have the LA Rams turned the corner? Will Gurley lead them to the Super Bowl? Or was last year just a good year? Gurley’s 13 rushing scores and 6 receiving ones was a monster year, but I am betting that he will regress somewhat this year.
I am just days away from making my pick and I am still none the wiser. Conservatively I am thinking of picking the Steelers star, he just has a track record that you can’t argue with at all. Gurley would potentially be more fun, but really can I put faith in him? I lost a lot of face with my defeat last year at fantasy, I need a banker option.
I genuinely don’t know who I will pick, but I am fairly certain that the person in my league with the #2 pick is rubbing their hands. They will get a stud RB without the pressure. They will have to take the featured RB that I don’t select, and they can do so knowing that they had little choice. Who would you pick? Bell, or Gurley? Or am I being naïve overlooking others? Tweet us your thoughts on my stressful pick!