My Big Fat (not Greek) Claims for the 2008 Football
Every year I try my best to shock the world with some tidbit
of fantasy advice that goes against the grain of common thinking.
How much does it really matter if you rank
Peterson at #1 or #2 if your league uses a snake draft? Most likely if you
get one of those picks, you’ll be happy with your choice at the end of the
Impress me with your selection of
Ryan Grant or
Earnest Graham before they became hot commodities,
and you’ve got my full attention.
The problem is, the draft isn’t the end of the season, and
there are so many unforeseeable variables.
For instance, last year I wasn’t high on
My reasoning was his injury history. I was way wrong for eight weeks, but he
put a hurt on a lot of people’s championship hopes when he went down. On the
other hand, I was in serious man love with
Kellen Winslow, and even now
people malign the guy as someone who can’t play in pain.
Did anyone pay attention to what he did for the Browns last
year? Da Solja is definitely high on my list again this year.
My concern this year is
LaDanian Tomlinson. His track
record says he is the defacto #1 pick.
won’t argue with that. But my concern is and has been his massive touches in
eight years of playing football in the NFL.
He scares me.
If I had the first pick in the draft, I’d select him. But I would
be looking to rape some owner in exchange for several studs by mid-season.
As a bargaining chip, and especially if he is
performing in true LT fashion, he would definitely command a premium. And at
the end of the day, the objective isn’t to own the best running back in the
league, the objective is to win your fantasy league.
I am equally leery of Peterson, but as enthralled as the
next guy. My concern for him is the same as it was for Brown last year.
In his rookie season he had to be replaced
or substituted for too often for my taste.
He was an injury waiting to happen in college as well. That doesn’t bode
well for a guy you are selecting at the top of the first round. The reality is,
whoever you select has to be MONEY.
can’t afford, with as many players that will fly off the board before your next
pick comes around, for that person not to be a major contributor to your team.
This year, I’m not a
Frank Gore fan either
because…yeah, that injury thing again. This is where things get problematic.
Running backs in the NFL have a very short life span.
Once they get hurt, it’s very hard to return
No matter how good they are,
the more often they get hurt, the sooner the end comes. Gore has been hurt a
lot, and again it has to do with his running style. This year his offensive
line could be one of the bottom five in the league.
Mike Martz can scheme until game time, but he
can’t fake the lack of talent on the offensive line once the whistle blows.
So here they are, my Big Fat Claims for the 2008 Fantasy
Big Fat Claim #1 – Earnest Graham will be a
top 5 RB if he stays healthy. Graham started 10 games for the NFC South
champion Buccaneers last year and amassed over 1200 yards rushing and receiving
to go with 10 TDs. With one of the most improved offensive lines, a new center
Jeff Faine and a full year as the starter, 1700 total yards and 14
TD’s are a viable target.
Graham will go
in the second or third round in your draft, unless of course you live draft
with a bunch of Tampa homers.
Big Fat Claim #2 –
Eli Manning has
Even Peyton was saying while
Eli was in college that he was a better QB. If you know anything about Peyton’s
ego, you know that had to be a difficult pill to swallow. Of course Manning the
Younger hasn’t come close to duplicating big brother’s feats…well, except the
part about winning a Super Bowl.
It’s easy to disagree with me on this one, but that doesn’t
The emergence of
Bradshaw as a viable alternative to
Brandon Jacobs, the return to
health of third year WR
Steve Smith and
Plaxico Burress will
provide him with plenty of targets.
also expect the defense to lose a step this year, which means the Giants offense,
will have to pick up the slack.
Scott Engel has him ranked 9th
overall, but I’m going to slot him above
Matt Hasselbeck at #8.
Big Fat Claim #3 –
Braylon Edwards will
be the #1 WR this year. Yeah, I stepped in it now didn’t I? Last year
Moss played for a championship ring, and I don’t think he can be a good boy two years in a row. Plus there’s his NASCAR team. His ego can’t be held in check forever, and if any adversity sets in he might go back to twisting fatties.
While it’s pretty
difficult to go against a player who had nine 100+ yard games and eight 2 TD or
more games, Moss is another one of those guys who is getting older and has
Owens were in that same tier last year and probably are again this year,
and only Owens had a better YPC, 16.7, than Edwards out of the top 20 WR last
Derek Anderson gets another
year better, the Browns continue with a high powered offense and one of the
best offensive lines in the game and Edwards rises to the top.
Big Fat Claim #4 –
Tom Brady will not
be the fantasy super power he was last year, and those who select him in the
first round are going to be disappointed. In his seventh year as a starter
Brady set career highs in passing yards (4806), touchdowns (50), interceptions
(8), completion percentage (68.9%) and yards per attempt (8.31).
Frankly, he’s due for a big let down.
Knock him down to 4000 yards and 35 TD passes
and then tell me if you still think he should go in the first round. While it’s
certainly plausible that he will still have stellar numbers, history is against
him. Take a trip in my time machine to see what I mean.
In his seventh year as a starter,
Peyton Manning set
career totals for passing yards (4557), touchdowns (49), completion percentage
(67.6), and yards per attempt (9.17).
The following year he threw for 3747/28/10. Certainly solid numbers but
not worthy of the first round pick that was bestowed upon him in most expert
Kurt Warner burst on the scene with a
4383/41/13 line. In 2000 his numbers dropped to 3429/21/18. In 2001 he was at
it again, 4830/36/22 and was again touted as a sure fire early first round
pick. Injuries took him out that year, but the point is the same. He didn’t
produce after a huge previous year.
Still not convinced?
In 1984 Dan Marino threw for 5084 yards, 48 TDs and 17 INTs.
I drafted him in the first round the following year, and while he was a solid
performer at 4137, his TD’s dropped by 18 to 30 and his INTs climbed to 21.
Again, not first round material. I could have had one of the QB’s in the table
below for a lot less and lost little in the scoring department. Instead I got
caught with not enough talent at RB and didn’t repeat as league champs. For the
record, in 1984 I picked up Neil Lomax off waivers and he threw for 4600 yards.
The following year? 3200. In 1984 Lomax, Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen
carried me to the Promised Land and my first league title. In 1985 Dan Marino
let me down, something the Dolphins faithful were to find would be a recurring
You can’t win your fantasy league by looking to the past,
unless it’s to learn the lessons of those who have failed before you.
It’s ok to mock me now, just remember to take
a look back at the end of the year and see if I was right or not.
That’s the purpose of the Big Fat Claim.
Put your reputation on the line and be held accountable for it.
Ben Ice has been playing fantasy football for longer than
he’d care to remember, and is used to having people look at him cross-eyed when
he steps way out on the ledge with his Big Fat Claims.
Feel free to give him a shove, whether you
agree or not, at firstname.lastname@example.org