It’s that time of year — when snakes, auctions, ADPs, keepers, and sleepers start to rule our football hearts and minds. This season, last year’s Fantasy Island contest winner, Matt Borcas, will be providing some fantasy insight, starting with the tools you need for a league-winning draft.
According to MyFantasyLeague.com, this is what the first round of fantasy football drafts looked like in 2003:
What's that? You were wondering exactly how many days until the start of the NFL season? Well, you're in luck! We here at the Triangle are set to spend the next month and a half providing a daily reason to get excited about pro football's return.
I know what you’re thinking. Most teams don’t even open training camp until this weekend, so choosing the winners of the league’s highest-profile position battles before these guys take a single snap is a fool’s errand. To that I say that you obviously aren’t aware of my never-ending quest to embarrass myself. For the next few days, we’ll be anointing starters around the league based on nothing but speculation and guesswork. Because here at the Triangle, we’re all about science.
Montee Ball vs. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos, running back
Depending on how the Von Miller suspension works out, running back will be the biggest question for a Denver team that comes into this season as the favorite in the AFC. Ronnie Hillman has made his stance on the job opening clear, but I think we can safely say there’s a conflict of interest in play there.
The Broncos took Ball, who had a widely productive college career (that included a lot of carries) high enough in April’s draft that it’s reasonable to think they want him to be a significant part of their offensive plans at some point in his career. Ball rushed for at least 1,800 yards twice at Wisconsin, and he’s the sort of back that would be set up to succeed in a Peyton Manning offense. The Broncos are going to run when it’s advantageous, and Ball is more than capable of grabbing yards in five-yard chunks. Knowshon Moreno is essentially a lesser version of what Denver is hoping for with Ball, and we saw the type of productivity Moreno had when Manning was putting him in the right spots.
Hillman is the type of home run threat that Ball is not. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash in the lead-up to last year’s draft, and his big-play potential is far greater than Ball’s. Hillman’s challenge will be maintaining some of the bulk he’s put on this offseason.
Winner: Ball. Hillman will start training camp working with the first team, but my guess is that at some point during the season, the Broncos see the look Ball gives them. In an offense run by Peyton Manning, a consistently reliable running game is the ideal running game, and that’s what Ball should provide.
The first few days of NFL free agency are a jumble of names, rumors, and fan delusion (mostly the fan delusion). No matter how many times we see a team win a Super Bowl on the back of solid drafting and player development, early March always becomes a time when the next big name is going to put that offseason champion over the top. After a week or so, the big prizes are gone, and attention turns to the next set of saviors — that year’s crop of first-round picks.
Moves that go down in May never come with the same fanfare, but especially with the current salary-cap landscape in the NFL (with player salaries outpacing the cap), there are still bargains to be had. There are still more than a handful of players out there who can make a difference for a team, this year and beyond, and to help sift through them, we put together what we hope is a helpful primer.
2012 team: Kansas City Chiefs
Winston was the most notable casualty during the regime change in Kansas City (aside from Matt Cassel, I guess, but c’mon). He signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Chiefs last offseason after being cut by the Texans, but with John Dorsey and Andy Reid coming to town and two franchise left tackles sitting there with the no. 1 pick, Winston was shown the door. Kansas City seems to have a better plan in place than Houston did a year ago. The right side of the Texans’ offensive line was a shuffling mess last season without their former right tackle, but now that the Branden Albert trade with Miami has fallen through, Kansas City will likely have no. 1 pick Eric Fisher on the left side and the franchised Albert on the right.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Matt Cain pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and the Giants won their record-tying sixth elimination game of the postseason, routing the Cardinals 9-0 to reach the World Series. The only hiccup came when rain began to fall late, and Tim Lincecum repeatedly wandered out to the field while the game was going on, holding out his hands and saying, "It's all so beautiful!" as he wept.
I may be the only degenerate football fan in the country who is going to miss the replacement refs. Not because I thought they were competent or belonged anywhere near an NFL stadium, but because during the short time they were employed, I enjoyed three straight winning weeks with my prop bets. Not sure that has ever happened before. Certainly it never will again.
Not to mention — I had big plans for Week 4. There was talk of players taking a knee to protest the replacements. I was hoping the shitty refs would stay, and the players would sit, so I could cash in on a 15-team all “under” parlay. All games end up 0-0?!! $1 would’ve paid $16,306.
But now that the lockout has ended, that’s all just a pipe dream. And I’m telling you now — if my luck starts to change, Ed Hochuli and I are gonna have a fistfight. (He must, of course, first agree to a steroid test.)
This year, I’m 84,000 jermajesties* in the plus. Let’s keep it rolling with Week 4 and remember — when picking my favorite games, I always keep in mind that it’s not about the X's and O's, it’s about the Jims and Joes. (If someone ever figures out what that means, please drop me a line.)
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Florida St. scored 28 points in the first half to beat Boston College 38-7. With the win, the Seminoles qualified for a bowl for the 30th straight season. With three losses and their long fall out of the Top 25, though, they also qualified for welfare.