NFL junkies have plenty to think about during the season. We can
watch games all day each Sunday and every Monday night and often
on Thursdays and Saturdays. We can catch games that we missed when
they are rebroadcast by the NFL network. We can read all sorts of
publications concerning the NFL. And we can surf the web endlessly
for rumors, gossip, and breaking news.
Those of us who play fantasy football can put all of this information
to work in the form of cutting injured stars, acquiring up-and-coming
no-namers, and even working trades—particularly when our trading
partners are twelve to twenty-four hours behind the latest news
cycle. It keeps us all very busy and makes us very happy from late
August through early January.
But what are we to do with the rest of the year? Some of us play
fantasy baseball, but that’s not for everyone. I used to wonder
what in the world could be duller than baseball; I found out when
some friends tried to get me to play fantasy baseball. Some of us
play fantasy golf, but I’m pretty sure it was Mark Twain who
said that fantasy golf is a good sit at the computer spoiled.
Others of us simply gear up for the next NFL season. We carefully
prepare our spreadsheets and meticulously enter data concerning
fumble recoveries and missed field goals. We study the NFL draft.
We listen for reports concerning NFL players who are dealing with
off-season injuries or legal troubles. We try to think through the
implications of various coaching changes around the league.
All that stuff is fine so far as it goes, but it isn’t the
sort of thing we talk about. My spreadsheets are my business, thank
you. And if you ask me what I think the coaching changes in San
Diego will mean for LaDainian Tomlinson, the one thing I’m
not going to tell you is the truth.
The only thing that leaves for diehard NFL fans to talk about is
predictions—predictions that will invariably be forgotten
by the end of the season . . . predictions that can’t be taken
seriously because something like the unexpected retirement of Ricky
Williams always comes up at the last minute to screw up all of our
thinking about what the season has in store.
The upshot is that many of us will spend the summer posting our
thoughts on forums like the
one at FFToday about who the 10 most productive running backs
of 2007 will be. Or maybe we’ll focus on sleepers and busts.
Some folks will say what they think; others will overvalue the players
from the favorite teams; others will deliberately mislead readers
in the hope of conning competitors into overlooking the Marques
Colston of 2007. In the end, those who were right will say, “I
told you so,”—but no one will remember what they were
right about. Many of those who were wrong won’t even remember
what they said or why they said it. And when they do remember, they
will explain that they would have been right if not for unexpected
injuries or suspensions or personality conflicts.
My purpose in this column is to assign readers a specific prediction
and to give them a motive for speaking honestly. The prediction
itself is kind of laughable, since it concerns fantasy production
in this year's Super Bowl. But the motive for honesty is deadly
serious, since the winner of the contest I propose will be awarded
a T-shirt from FFToday. That’s right folks, Mike Krueger has
already agreed to award the winner of this prognostication contest
a T-Shirt emblazoned with the FFToday logo. I can vouch for the
quality of the shirt. Mine has held up through three years of service
as my preferred lawn mowing attire. All you have to do to be as
stylish as I am when mowing your lawn is make the best prediction
in the FFToday community according to the guidelines below.
Part 1: Submission of Entries
Mike Krueger has already set a
special thread aside in the forums for people to post their
predictions. Only predictions posted to that thread will be eligible
for consideration. Predictions must be made prior to midnight
on August 31st, 2007 (slightly less than a week before the first
game of the regular season).
Only one prediction per reader will be eligible for consideration.
Part 2: Distribution of Players
A) Eligible Players: Only players
who participate in the upcoming Super Bowl will earn points in
this contest, so you will need to focus much less on which players
will be the most productive at their position than on which players
are on teams likely to make it to the big game.
B) Rosters: You will need to
select 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight
end, 1 kicker, and 1 defense for your fantasy team.
C) Only one player per NFL team:
Some participants may choose to place AFC and NFC players on their
teams. Others may elect to go all AFC or all NFC. You may have
as many players from either conference as you like on you team,
but you cannot have more than 1 player from any NFL franchise
on your team.
D) Obvious Objection: But if
I’m confident that this is the year the Houston wins it
all, why can’t I pick 8 Texans? The first answer is that
you’re confusing stupidity with confidence. The second answer
is that this approach makes things more interesting. The third
answer is that it’s just one of the rules. If you don’t
believe me, I suggest you consult Part 2, Paragraph C.
E) Scoring: Any players on
your list who are active in the Super Bowl will generate points
according to the default performance scoring system that FF Today
uses as the standard for their calculations.
- 1 Pt for every 20 yds passing
- 4 Pts for every passing TD
- 1 Pt for every 10 yds rushing/receiving
- 6 Pts for every rushing/receiving/DEF/Kick Return TD
- 3 Pts for every FG
- 1 Pt for every extra point
- 1 Pt for every sack, interception, fumble recovery
- 2 Pt for every safety
F) Post Format: For your post,
you will need to list players by position according the format
I will follow below (position, name, team). If you choose to include
an explanation of why you have made any particular choices or
to clarify any of your strategizing, feel free to add a paragraph
or two of elucidation.
Sample Prediction by Mike Davis
QB: Peyton Manning (Colts)
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers)
RB: Rudi Johnson (Bengals)
WR: Javon Walker (Broncos)
WR: Marques Colston (Saints)
TE: Todd Heap (Ravens)
K: Robbie Gould (Bears)
Defense: New England Patriots
Logic: Although I have a lot
of fun looking at people’s Super Bowl predictions this far
in advance, I don’t put a lot of stock in what any one person
has to say until after the season has begun. I think there’s
a tendency in the FF community to overemphasize particular nuggets
of information in the off-season—to reason from a lineman’s
strained ligament to a busted year for a running back, so I decided
not to think very hard about which teams are genuinely most likely
to make it to the Super Bowl. Under the rules of this contest,
it’s impossible to have more than 2 players active in the
Super Bowl, so I figured that the way to maximize the possibility
of having 2 players would be to cover as many bases as possible
in the AFC (where the field seems to be wide open) and to take
just 2 players from the NFC (since the Saints and Bears appear
to be clear frontrunners in that conference).
I couldn’t resist Manning as my QB. The fact that the Colts
are poised for a repeat helps, but he is the 2nd-most durable
QB in the league (behind Favre), so it seems likely that he’ll
actually make it to the Super Bowl intact if the Colts get that
far. The argument for Tomlinson was similar, as he presents us
with a rare combination of talent and durability on a team that
is quite likely to make it to the post-season. As for which AFC
teams I selected, I simply consulted the latest Las Vegas odds
on which teams were likely to win the AFC Championship and tried
to balance that with concerns about productivity by position.
I know the Rudi Johnson choice will look odd to some readers,
and I would have preferred to take Chad Johnson as my Bengal and
the Denver running back, but you’re nuts if you think I’m
going to try to settle on a Denver running back half a year in
advance of a contest. I would have preferred to have the Ravens
as my defense and to take a wide-out or tight end from New England,
but too many things need to settle down with the Pats for me to
make that choice with any confidence. (Could the Pats make it
to the big game with Randy Moss riding the pine? You betcha.)
Whether my logic stands up to your scrutiny or not, gentle reader,
I hope you’ll consider posting your own set of choices in
this contest. In addition to the chance at winning a T-shirt,
you should manage to distract yourself for a few minutes from
the painful fact that the football season is still 2 full months
For responses to this fantasy question please email
Mike Davis. Readers who want to have their fantasy questions
answered live, on the air, by Mike Davis are invited to tune into
on Friday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. EST. Archived
programs are also available.