Three Off-Season Moves That Will Move Your Fantasy Team or How Jimmy Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fantasy Football
By Josh Carey
The Jumbo Man Moving Company van cruised down the Interstate. Jimmy stared at the endless road in front of him from behind the wheel. He hated this time of year. Not only were people constantly misjudging what the company he worked for did, but it was the thick of NFL free agency and it seemed like every single player making a move hired him to make sure things got from one professional football city to another.
Mark, a far less stocky man than Jimmy, sat next to him in the passenger seat. Sometimes you just needed an extra body to secure those trophy cases, stripper poles, and vintage electric football games that seemed to line NFL players’ homes. Jimmy scoffed as he saw Mark on his smart phone once again.
“What are you doing this time?” he asked, not particularly interested in Jimmy’s answer.
“I just got invited to a fantasy football league. I’m checking to see if I think I can handle another one,” Mark replied before looking down at the phone again.
“I just don’t get you nerds and that fantasy football thing.”
Mark sighed. This was the kind of discussion he and Jimmy had stumbled through dozens of times before. He knew how it ended, too, but took the bait anyways. This time, he was convinced he could win.
“Listen,” Mark started, “about twenty million people play fantasy football. They can’t all be nerds. It makes watching games a lot more fun to have specific players on every team to root for. Plus, you get the nerds online to tell you how to run your team better. You barely have to do any work at all.”
Jimmy wasn’t impressed. “There are nerds online who write about fantasy football?”
“Tons of them,” Mark answered, “there’s even this website called Razzball that’s not only pretty helpful but kind of funny, too.”
“Sure sounds like a bunch of nerds to me,” Jimmy retorted.
“They surely are,” Mark answered, “and anybody who wanted to write for that site would have to be an incredible nerd in their own right. But you know how we’re moving Peyton Manning’s stuff to Denver? They say you should draft him in your fantasy league this year.”
“Wasn’t he injured all last year?” Jimmy asked, skeptical of his partner once again.
“Yeah, but that’s what makes him such a great guy to grab,” Jimmy said before he grabbed the packing list of Manning’s things. “The 399 footballs we have in the back are one for every touchdown he’s thrown for in his career. That’s thirty for every year he’s played. The guy completes almost two-thirds of his passes.
“We’re going to move that guy Tim Tebow from Denver to New York after this. You know why? Because Tebow sucked at actually passing the ball. He threw just twelve touchdown’s last year and completed less than half of his passes.”
“So how does all this gibberish end up meaning that you should draft Manning?” Jimmy was actually a bit curious to hear the answer. He knew Tebow was overrated, but all his buddies at the bar back home said he ‘just wins.’
“Well, not just to draft Manning,” Mark answered, “but his best receivers, too. That would be Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.”
“What kind of name is Demaryius?”
“Beats me,” Mark said, “but he was the 56th ranked wide receiver last year with Tebow throwing to him. Decker was 36th, but you can get him in the eighth round of your draft right now. So not only is Manning going to put up great numbers, but he’s going to help the entire passing game, too. That’s the sort of knowledge that can move your entire team up the standings.”
It wasn’t long before the van was in front of Manning’s new Denver mansion and the two workers were unloading. Jimmy worked on gathering up another load of things to take inside when he came across a replica street sign labeled ‘Peyton Manning Pass.’
“I didn’t see this before. What is it?” Jimmy asked.
Mark turned around to see the sign. “Oh yeah, it’s just like the one outside of his college stadium. They named a street after him.”
“Seems a bit silly to name a street after a living person.”
“Tell me about it.”
* * *
It wasn’t long until the boys were on the road again, this time making the same trek from St. Louis to Boston that Brandon Lloyd was making as a new member of the New England Patriots. Which got Mark thinking…
“If they ever put an NFL team in London, won’t it be odd to have a team named ‘England’ and another named ‘New England?’ Wouldn’t you have to rename the Patriots just Boston?”
“Boston Patriots has a better ring to it, actually,” Jimmy answered.
A moment later, Mark changed the CD in the moving van and rap lyrics started filling the air:
I said she sexy and she know it, and she ain’t afraid to show it. She all mine. She all mine.
“What is this crap Mark?”
“It’s Brandon Lloyd’s rap single. He actually made it on to the R&B charts in 2008.” Mark replied.
“This is ridiculous. I hate him already.”
“Well, you shouldn’t,” Mark answered, “because he is going to be huge in fantasy football this year.”
“He can’t be all that good if he has to be a rapper to pay the bills.” Jimmy mused.
“Well, it’s more of a leap of faith than some other picks you might make, but the potential is there for him to have one of the best seasons of anybody this year,” Mark was in a groove now. “He’s getting reunited with Josh McDaniels, his old offensive coordinator from Denver. Back in 2010, he got Lloyd over 1,400 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns on 77 receptions. And we know he can do that again, because Randy Moss put up almost 1,500 yards with 23 scores on 98 catches for New England in 2007.”
“The guy singing this crap is not like Randy Moss. And don’t the Patriots have some guy named Grandcandy or something that catches all their touchdowns?” Jimmy asked.
“Rob Gronkowski,” Mark laid down the knowledge bomb like B. Lloyd laid down mad beats. “Sure, the Patriots have more weapons now so there’s no way he scores 23 times. But he’ll almost certainly be in double digits and since he’s somebody you can get in the fifth round of your draft right now, it’s well worth it.”
‘She’s all mine. She’s all mine.’ played over the car stereo again.
“I can not wait to get out of Massachusetts,” Jimmy groaned.
“Well, you’re in luck then. After this we’re taking The Law Firm to Cincinnati.”
“We have to pack up an entire law firm?” Jimmy was confused, which frankly didn’t take much.
“No, it’s just one guy,” Mark explained.
“How does one guy have a law firm? Wouldn’t it just be a law office?”
Mark facepalmed like that Jean-Luc Picard JPEG. You know the one I’m talking about, admit it.
“No, he’s just a running back named BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He’s going from New England to Cincy, so we’re moving all his stuff.”
“Let me guess,” Jimmy said, “he’s also a good player for fantasy football?”
“You know, I think he is. Funny how that works, isn’t it?”
“It’s quite the coincidence.”
“Really, his value comes from where you can get him in your draft,” Mark explained, “because last year, he was the 23rd best running back in fantasy. The guy he’s replacing, Cedric Benson, was the 25th best back. Yet, on average, you can get Green-Ellis as the 30th back taken in your draft now. Plus, his 2010 was even better than last year, so his ceiling is even higher than those ranks.”
“Seems like one of those things that’s too good to be true.”
“It really is,” Mark assured him, “you can take two wide receivers in your first three rounds knowing you can get a quality second running back in Green-Ellis. Then snatch up Lloyd in the fifth and Manning in the sixth and you’re well on your way to having a great shot at winning this year. You nab some high upside running backs and Eric Decker in the few rounds after that and you should be in good shape.”
“You nerds make this sound so easy, I might have to actually do this fantasy football thing this year.”
Mark just smiled to himself. He knew had finally won one.