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Fantasy Football: Team #1 “Johnny Utah”

I officially have my first fantasy football team ready to roll. It was selected for me last Friday (I’ll explain in a second). I draft my second team tonight, and I have third draft on Saturday. To answer your question…yes, I really love fantasy football!

Three teams is all I can handle in a season. It limits the amount of crossover (e.g. I have Frank Gore playing in one league, but the guy I’m playing has him in another league) and it allows me to focus on building champions. Too many teams on too many different platforms (Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, etc.) becomes a job more than it is fun. You have to surf too many waiver wires and check too many rosters for injuries before Sunday’s games. I know people with ten fantasy football teams, and others who like just one. I think three is perfect.

Like I mentioned, my first draft happened last Friday. I work for a television station and we do a blowout high school football show on Friday’s (check out this hilarious highlight while you’re here). Our first show of the season debuted last week, so I needed to trust the dreaded auto draft. I ranked my players in the order that I wanted them, but I was still freaked out that the computer would screw me over.

I’ll be honest. I think my rankings proved to be strong again this year. The auto draft didn’t knock my socks off, but it didn’t kill me either. I see some serious potential on this team.

I’ll be updating my fantasy football success and failures throughout the season. To help you keep track, this team is called “Johnny Utah”. Go rent Point Break (the greatest movie ever made) if you don’t know who that is. This is a league with my brother and his friends.

Here is my projected starting lineup:

QB — Philip Rivers, San Diego
WR — Larry Fitzgerald, Phoenix
WR — Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville
RB — Chris Johnson, Tennessee
RB — Jonathan Stewart, Carolina
TE — Jason Witten, Dallas
WR/RB — Shonn Greene, NY Jets
K — Stephen Gostkowski, New England
DEF — Philadelphia

I obviously had the first pick in the draft and I used it on Chris Johnson. He was easily my top pick and I don’t think I have to explain why. For some reason, the second selection in our draft went on Drew Brees (some people just don’t understand fantasy football), so Adrian Peterson slipped to No. 3. That’s just bizarre.

Aside from Johnson, I have New York’s Shonn Greene and Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart. The auto draft picked Greene in the third round and Stewart in the fourth round. If I was drafting in person, I wouldn’t have selected Greene at all. I don’t have confidence in him and LaDanian Tomlinson is making a statement for playing time this preseason. I hope he proves me wrong. On the other hand, I really like Stewart. There’s no quarterback in Carolina, so they LOVE to run the rock. He’ll be a solid fantasy player even though he splits carries with DeAngelo Williams.  

I’m not a huge fan of Philip Rivers in real life, but I’m OK with him as my fantasy quarterback. I’m not really excited about it, but it could be much worse (I could have Eli Manning). As I’ve explained in some of my other fantasy football posts, there are several questions surrounding the San Diego offense (no Vincent Jackson for several weeks, a rookie starter at running back, etc.). Rivers will need to be the glue that holds it all together. If he can, I think he’s a solid fantasy starter. 

I like my starting wide receivers, but I have some concerns about them. Larry Fitzgeraldis a stud, but there’s not a solid quarterback in Arizona (it’s between Derek Anderson and Matt Leinart) and he doesn’t have Anquan Boldin on the other side to distract defensive backs. Fitzgerald is good enough to put up solid numbers no matter what, but I’m still a little worried. My other starter is Mike Sims-Walker. He’s one of the guys who came out of nowhere last year. I thought about putting him on my All-Bust team, but decided against it. I didn’t have enough information to tell me that he can’t shine for Jacksonville again in 2010. My fingers are crossed!

I have no complaints about Jason Witten as my tight end. He’s obviously not in the top tier at the position (like Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, etc.), but he’s a good tight end. I’ll be happy if he can get me seven points a week (in a standard scoring system). I really don’t think that’s asking too much of him.

I’m happy to have the Philadelphiadefense (they were ranked as my No. 2 squad behind the Jets). There are concerns that the Kevin Kolb experiment falls flat and the defense will be on the field more than expected, but I don’t see that happening.

Finally, Stephen Gostkowski is my my kicker. I’m a little pissed that the auto draft used a ninth round pick on him. As far as I’m concerned, you can pick up a new kicker every week and find success at the position. I don’t really care who my kicker is as long as they’re scoring points.

My depth kind of sucks. My list ran out after 125 players, so the computer is to blame (nothing is ever my fault). At running back, I have New York’s Brandon Jacobs and Buffalo’s Fred Jackson. Jackson won’t be on my roster much longer. I have Tennessee’s Kenny Britt and Buffalo’s Lee Evans as backup wide receivers, while Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford round out my bench.

I’ll have to manage this team properly, but I think they have the potential to do some serious damage.

What do you think of my squad? Let me know by leaving a comment below, following me on Twitter @lewissports, liking me on Facebook, or emailing me at tim@timlewissports.com. I don’t know how many people do LinkedIn, but you can also find me on there.

P.S. On a very different topic, I want to mention Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman. I’ve read about this guy since he signed out of Cuba and he’s finally on the scene. He clocked in at 102.7 mph last night in his big league debut. This is the best video I could find…sorry. Stephen Strasburg might be out for a while, but this kid can be just as exciting to watch. I’m excited to see what else he can do!

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