The time for rankings, projections and sleepers has come and gone.

The '07 season gets started tonight when the Mets take on the Cardinals. With that being said, I thought I'd recap how my draft went so you're fully aware of which players I'll be over-hyping and bashing for the next six months or so.


The 5x5 league is composed of 10 owners, who are friends from high school and college with a couple off-shoots thrown in. We decided to use ESPN.com this season since it was offering free live scoring. So far, the site's been tremendous. I e-mailed their help desk with a couple questions, and the feedback came back promptly and pointed me in the right direction.

Anyway, about half of the league's owners are football fans who like baseball, but clearly put it on the backburner once training camp starts in August. Also, the league is made of mostly fans from Philadelphia, which is why Rod Barajas was taken in the first round.


Kidding of course.

For the first time in my fantasy career, I received the top pick in the draft so Albert Pujols was a no-brainer for me. I can't WAIT to look at ESPN's ticker each night and see "Pujols: 3-3, HR, 3 RBI." However, since this was a snake draft, I had to wait 18 picks to make my next selection. Here is how the first two rounds shaped up:

1. Albert Pujols

2. Alfonso Soriano

3. Alex Rodriguez

4. Johan Santana

5. Jose Reyes

6. Ryan Howard

7. Chase Utley

8. Vladimir Guerrero

9. David Wright

10. Miguel Cabrera

11. Carlos Beltran

12. Carl Crawford

13. David Ortiz

14. Travis Hafner

15. Miguel Tejada

16. Mark Teixeira

17. Lance Berkman

18. Jason Bay

19. Manny Ramirez

...And FINALLY, it was my time to pick again. Hey, I'm not complaining, Pujols remember? I had a few options here. I could have snagged a top-tier pitcher like Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, or Carlos Zambrano. I could have got one of the better shortstops in Derek Jeter or Jimmy Rollins. Joe Mauer, the top-ranked catcher was on the board also.

However, I chose to do none of the above. I didn't feel like outfield was particularly deep this year, and I wanted to get a stud. Remember, after these two picks, I had 18 more before I'd get to select again. So the two names I was deciding between were Grady Sizemore and Matt Holliday. I had both players last year and was having a difficult time deciding. So I did what any gutless drafter would do -- I took both of them.

That left me with Pujols, Sizemore and Holliday after three rounds. I couldn't have been more excited.

Here's how the rest of my squad turned out:

1B: Albert Pujols

2B: Dan Uggla

3B: Garrett Atkins

SS: Julio Lugo

C: Brian McCann

OF: Grady Sizemore, Matt Holliday, Nick Markakis, J.D. Drew, Ryan Freel, Scott Podsednik

SP: Jeremy Bonderman, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Cole Hamels, Ervin Santana, Rich Harden, Brad Penny

RP: Jonathan Papelbon, Bob Wickman, Joel Zumaya

I took Bonderman and Atkins with my fourth and fifth picks. Childs has been touting the Tigers pitcher in our weekly podcasts over the last month or so, and that undoubtedly influenced my decision.

I was happy to get McCann three rounds after Mauer, considering he is more than capable of putting up similar numbers. And my most controversial pick? Matsuzaka. I took Dice-K in the seventh round when there were proven pitchers on the board. But as a friend of mine pointed out, anyone who read Tom Verducci's SI cover story on Dice-K and didn't pick him a little bit too early is not human. That's just the way it is. The hype was just too much.

I'm not crazy about my middle infielders -- Lugo and Uggla, but I got them in rounds nine and 11 respectively so I couldn't really complain.

There are some other question marks on my staff. Can young hurlers Papelbon and Hamels stay healthy? Both are high-risk/high-reward guys. Guess I'm rolling the dice.

Can Drew stay healthy? Can Markakis avoid a sophomore slump?

And finally, will Zumaya finally take over as Detroit's closer?

Those are the questions that will likely determine my season. Considering how my fantasy luck has gone in the past, these picks will likely come back to bite me in the you-know-what. But I'm excited anyway.

Opening Day is finally here.