Saturday, September 12, 2009

Amateurs Go Home: The 3FL Kicks Off

In its fourth official season, the 3FL will stand against anyone as one of the most competitive fantasy football leagues on the entire Web. Whether bragging rights are earned or not, they are certainly exercised. With the beer flowing, the barbecue coming off the grill in waves, and banter flying faster than the ball through the air at a Saints-Cardinals game, this league is war from the first pick of the draft. And Starr*Rated will be your tour guide through the season as a league of voracious football addicts put blood and marriage vows aside and get nuts in the name of football primacy.

Any hot league needs to kick off with a wild and woolly draft, and this one did not disappoint. Controversy swirled from pick #2. After the draft, we take a vote on whose teams are strongest and weakest, and I'm here to present those teams in reverse order, with a little salient commentary on each.

Owner: Jon (Famous for being a hardcore Redskin fanboy, choking out an unruly drunk at a bachelor party, and also for the "Lawnmower" story. You most likely don't want to know.)
R1, P7. RB DeAngelo Williams
R2, P6. QB Donovan McNabb
R3, P7. RB Ronnie Brown
R4, P6. WR Chad Buenazapata
R5, P7. WR Braylon Edwards
R6, P6. TE Chris Cooley
R7, P7. WR Donald Driver
R8, P6. RB Ray Rice
R9, P7. QB Jason Campbell
R10, P6. QB Brady Quinn
R11, P7. RB Le'Ron McClain
R12, P6. RB Jerious Norwood
R13, P7. Dallas D
R14, P6. QB Chad Pennington
R15, P7. K Kris Brown
R16, P6. Carolina D

Jon punked out after round 7 or so and let Yahoo autopick for him, which would probably explain the four QB's, two defenses, and only three WR's. Bear in mind that our league allows owners to go with four WR's if they see fit, so depth at that position can easily cover for sketchy RB coverage. The only ones of Jon's picks that had anyone nodding their heads in agreement were the selections of Rice in the 8th and Norwood in the 12th. Other than that, this collection of talent had all but one owner picking this team to finish dead last this season. I don't mind his starters so much, but he is banking on a ton of bouncebacks (see Edwards and Fritobandito), lightning striking twice (see Williams), and Donovan McNabb making through a second season healthy. Good luck with all that, Jon.

#11--Carpet Munchers
Owner: Bill (Famous for always, always, ALWAYS having at least one Colt on his team...and also for being eternally haunted by the number 311. You probably don't want to know.)
R1, P10. RB Frank Gore
R2, P3. WR Marques Colston
R3, P10. QB Eli Manning (Close. His brother's a Colt.)
R4, P3. RB Pierre Thomas
R5, P10. WR Santonio Holmes
R6, P3. QB Matt Hasselbeck
R7, P10. TE Dustin Keller
R8, P3. Chicago D
R9, P10. RB Tim Hightower
R10, P3. TE Dallas Clark (See? Told you.)
R11, P10. RB Fred Taylor
R12, P3. WR Chris Chambers
R13, P10. K Adam Vinatieri (Yep, Colt.)
R14, P3. TE Heath Miller
R15, P10. RB Dominic Rhodes (Former Colt, FYI.)
R16, P3. K Matt Prater

Once again, in a league whose lineup rules allow an owner to go four-wide (a technique which has proven successful in the past), an owner ends up with three WR's on his entire team. Our rules also allow for an owner to go completely without a TE, and this team has three. (Can't complain too much, though...Dallas in the 10th? Shit, that even had me thinking twice.) And two kickers. And two RB's on teams who pass 75% of the time. And a second-string RB. AND A THIRD-STRING RB. And an aging defense. The scary part is, one owner actually thought this was the league's best team. But, even this team's owner only ranked himself 8th. Someone's out of touch with reality, we just need the season to tell us who.

#10--Lady Shark
Owner: Mireya (Famous for selecting a defense in the THIRD ROUND two years ago. Minnesota's, in case you were wondering.)
R1, P2. RB Brian Westbrook
R2, P11. QB Tony Romo
R3, P2. WR Calvin Johnson
R4, P11. WR Santana Moss
R5, P2. Tennessee D
R6, P11. TE Jason Witten
R7, P2. QB Brett Favre
R8, P11. RB LenDale White
R9, P2. K Rob Bironas
R10, P11. RB Chester Taylor
R11, P2. WR Isaac Bruce
R12, P11. WR Mark Clayton
R13, P2. WR Kevin Curtis
R14, P11. RB Justin Fargas
R15, P2. TE Tony Scheffler
R16, P11. RB Maurice Morris

The first four picks on this team seem fine, if presented in a slightly different order. Westbrook at #2 MIGHT have been acceptable if not for his offseason injury issues. Calvin Johnson in round 3 is a total robbery. Likewise with Jason Witten at 6 and Brett Favre as a backup to Romo. But when the receivers (and the Titans) go on bye, this team could seriously struggle. Mireya also had Line of the Night from the draft. After one pick, she said, "I needed a WR, and I couldn't decide." With that pick, she had chosen...Rob Bironas. Eh, we've all been there, right?

#9--Salsa Shark
Owner: Justin (Mireya's husband. Famous for crazed drunkenness and the largest pair ever. Seriously, you REALLY don't wanna know.)
R1, P11. QB Tom Brady
R2, P2. WR Andre Johnson
R3, P11. WR Wes Welker
R4, P2. RB Ryan Grant
R5, P11. RB Kevin Smith
R6, P2. WR Devin Hester
R7, P11. RB Marshawn Lynch
R8, P2. Minnesota D
R9, P11. QB Mark Sanchez
R10, P2. RB Correll Buckhalter
R11, P11. K Ryan Longwell
R12, P2. RB Rashard Mendenhall
R13, P11. QB Michael Vick
R14, P2. TE Kellen Winslow
R15, P11. RB Laurence Maroney
R16, P2. TE Jeremy Shockey

For about nine picks, this team looked like dynamite in a can. From then on, it's like throwing darts in a hurricane. First off, he's not a Patriot fanboy, but between this and another league, one might not know it. In that other league, Justin actually scored Brady, Moss, and Welker as his first three picks. Here, he came one selection away from doing it again. Lynch is a fine pick, as long as you have other arrangements for the first three weeks, which Grant and Smith certainly constitute. Sanchez may become a perfectly serviceable QB by season's end. But picking a Denver RB who will contribute large is like picking some random Kenyan to win the Boston Marathon. When there's 1000 or so of them, who can decide? And who can say whether Michael Vick will get rushing, passing, or receiving numbers this year...or even if he'll get any at all? I love his starting lineup, but one injury will have him shopping hard at WaiverMart.

Tomorrow, the projected playoff teams...including a getting-married-next-week couple who get to play each other Week 1. The cat might have to enter Witness Protection.

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