On Fantasy Sports
October 28, 2004
There's fantasy football chatter coming up, I promise. But I've got baseball on the brain.
Boston baseball, to be exact.
I'm not a real Red Sox fan; never have been, never will be. For one, I snicker when I see the Buckner clip. And I never liked Jim Rice.
I will admit, I think "Oil Can" is about the coolest nickname ever, but that doesn't make me a fan. I'm more of a Sox sympathizer, if you will, a late-comer to the Beantown bandwagon. But I've got the fever. Bad.
For instance, I've asked my friends and family to start calling me "Papi." Has a nice ring to it.
Also, I've stopped shaving. And I want to learn to throw a knuckleball. And I'm drinking nothing but Sam Adams Boston Lager just like they do in Boston, baby!
I don't think I'm alone in this. In a week that gave us swing-state stumping and Simpson lip-synching, it was the boys from Boston that left the most lasting impressions.
There was David Ortiz delivering game-winning hits and Curt Schilling grinding out victories after having an ankle transplant. Word is the new ankle arrived in the Boston clubhouse in an Igloo cooler just hours before Game 6 of the ALCS. Amazing.
There was a stadium full of New York Yankees fans, stunned, silent and left to wonder just who is responsible for half of Pedro's genetic makeup?
There was Sideshow Manny slip-sliding around in left field in Game 1 of the World Series, then Mark Bellhorn picking him up with a shot off the Pesky Pole.
And when it was all over, there were the Red Sox, celebrating a World Series sweep. Game over. Curse lifted. Drive safe.
But now that that's over, I turn my full attention back to America's new pastime fantasy football.
With that in mind, we look back at some of the first half's biggest winners and losers on the fantasy front, and we look ahead to next week's big event Thursday's season premier of The O.C.
Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper Culpepper was one of the biggest busts in the game in 2002, when he threw 23 interceptions and 18 TDs. Two years later, he's thrown 19 touchdowns and three picks in six games and has a shot at breaking Dan Marino's single-season record of 48 TD passes. In the year of the fantasy QB, Culpepper has been the best player in the game. Honorable mention: Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Byron Leftwich.
Running back: Curtis Martin I don't want to hear about Priest Holmes, a consensus No. 1 fantasy pick. Martin was a mid-round gamble, the guy you passed on so you could show off your formidable fantasy knowledge by taking sleeper Steven Jackson instead. And when some poor sucker took Martin, who had two touchdowns all of last season, you chuckled under your breath and felt pretty smart. And by you, I mean me. Honorable mention: Holmes, Tiki Barber, Shaun Alexander Warrick Dunn, Emmitt Smith.
Wide receiver: Terrell Owens The star-stomping, Sharpie-stashing, trade-demanding, sign-disrespecting Raven for a day has taken his show to Philly. T.O. is obnoxious, outlandish and outspoken, but he's damn good, and that's all you need to know. Don't take my word for it check out his new book, The Rebel Billionaire. Wait, that's something different. Honorable mention: Randy Moss, Javon Walker, Andre Johnson, Marcus Robinson.
Tight end: Antonio Gates Any tight end can have a decent week or two 45 different TEs have scored at least one TD this season. But Gates gets it done every week with at least four catches in all seven of the Chargers' games. Honorable mention: Daniel Graham, Ernie Johnson, Randy McMichael.
Kicker: David Akers He's made more kicks from 40 yards and out (10) than anyone else in the NFL, a stat that puts him in a fantasy league of his own.. Honorable mention: Jason Elam, Phil Dawson, Nate Kaeding.
Defense: Baltimore A draft day favorite, the Ravens' defense is again living up to its billing as one of the best in the biz. Baltimore leads the league in defensive TDs (3) and is tied for first in interceptions (10). Too bad there are no fantasy style points for Deion's old-school dance moves or his super-fly wardrobe. Honorable mention: Seattle, Arizona.
Quarterback: Michael Vick Funny how in that Michael Vick Experience commercial, no one ever fumbles the ball, throws over the head of an open receiver or has trouble learning a new offense. Guess that's the beauty of virtual reality. Honorable mention: Steve McNair, Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green.
Running back: Clinton Portis This isn't exactly what Joe Gibbs had in mind when he picked up Portis to be his franchise back, and definitely not what fantasy owners expected when they took him with a top-six pick. The more Reuben Droughns runs in Denver, the more it looks like Portis' gaudy numbers were the product of the Broncos' fine offensive line. Honorable mention: Travis Henry, Stephen Davis, Domanick Davis, Michael Bennett.
Wide receiver: Santana Moss The good news here is that he's the second-best Moss in all of fantasy football. The bad news: 13 catches in five games, no TDs and a bum hamstring. Honorable mention: Laveranues Coles, Peerless Price, Koren Robinson, Amani Toomer.
Tight end: Boo Williams The great thing about being Boo Williams is when you play as poorly as he has this season, the fans still shout your name. Honorable mention: Todd Heap, Dallas Clark, Freddie Jones.
Kicker: Mike Vanderjagt Even the best kickers are only valuable when they get chances to kick. Vanderjagt (5-of-6 on field goals) hasn't had many. Honorable mention: John Kasay, John Hall.
Defense: Carolina Injuries have turned last year's NFC champs into one of the NFL's worst teams on both sides of the ball. Carolina's eight sacks are a league low. Honorable mention: Dallas, Tennessee, St. Louis.