Why We Love Football: BY @ProfessorCorria

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Ah yes, it’s that time of year again where we separate the men from the mice and the Pit’s from the poodles. Yes ladies and gentleman, football season is upon us after what seems like such an agonizing, prolonged wait. The NFL is back, and with it comes our favorite pastime as we gather every Sunday and Monday night with family, friends or sometimes complete strangers to watch our favorite gladiators go to war over a finite amount of space to truly find out who is the better man. Yes, football is the modern day gladiator sport, as we stream into to modern day coliseums to watch the controlled carnage. The finest athletic specimens of our time hurdling toward each other at the speed of light, trying to take each other’s heads off. The NFL and college football, to some extent, have become “quarterback driven”, but the essence of football is can a grown man move another grown man a few feet in order to open up holes and create time for their quarterback. The NFL likes to market the royal elegance of the regal Tom Brady, the machine like precision of Peyton Manning, and the athletic grace of Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson, but if you take in an episode of “Hard Knocks” you can still see that the game is won and lost in the trenches. Football is a man’s game, its physical, it’s nasty, it’s carnal, and most players have to go to a deep dark place in order to summon up the necessary rage in order to compete against some of the world’s best athletes in such a physically demanding arena.

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Football on Sunday is just as American as apple pie and has become engrained as part of our culture, with regular season game posting higher television ratings than a World Series game and NBA Finals game combined. Why has this sea change occurred? It seems like football has become an event every weekend and the Super Bowl has become almost a national holiday. Is it the carnage taking place on the field? Is it the gambling and fantasy football, which has become a cottage industry? Is it the fact that the sport is mostly played on one day, save for Monday night football and the occasional Thursday telecast? Maybe it’s a confluence of all those things, but whatever the reason, it seems as though we cannot get enough football, nothing seems to be able to placate our appetite for the sport. Football is the “Soap Opera” for the male species, we want every single snap is dissected, coaches decisions are constantly being second and triple guessed, and we tune in to sports talk radio, NFL Network and the seemingly endless amount of NFL shows on ESPN. We are all under the NFL’s spell like swooning teenagers ogling the pretty girl in our chemistry class. Our love affair with the NFL has even made college football the number 2 watched sport in America, as we watch pseudo professional kids compete every Thursday and Saturday.

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The pads clashing, the smell of freshly manicured grass, the fans tailgating in the parking lot, prognosticators prognosticating, millions of fans in front of their flat screens with a beer in their hand and their mobile device in their other hand checking their fantasy stats. Ah yes, football is here, God is so good. Hope springs eternal in 32 different cities for 32 different fan bases as they dream of their team making it to the Super Bowl, this is what dreams are made of. There are too many storylines to even delve into, but even with the NFL and former players battling it out in court and the court of public opinion over head injuries, we the public still can’t get enough of this vicious blood sport. We thirst for football, we hunger for it, we wish the season would last 12 months instead of 5, we even watch that God awful shit show the NFL calls the Pro Bowl. I can’t wait for the bone rattling hits, the spectacular plays, and yes even the soap opera’ish daily coverage on several sports networks. Everyone fighting, from players on the field, coaches on the sideline, to fans in the stands. I’m ready for some football, are you?

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2013 Fantasy Football Primer

The season is upon us! No, not the football season, that’s still a little over a week away. Unfortunately. But, we’ve officially embarked on the 2013 fantasy football season.  Being that we are just days away from the season kicking off, many of you will be conducting your drafts this weekend. It is pivotal that you have you draft as close to the end of preseason as possible, so that you are aware of any inquiries to those players you may select. Season altering or even ending injuries occur to star players every preseason and the last thing you want to do is use an early pick (or any pick for that matter) on a player that won’t contribute to his team and yours.

This will be my 8th season competing in fantasy football. My first season, 2006, just so happened to be the same year LT rushed for 1,815 yards and 28 TD’s. My first pick that year? Yup. LaDanian Tomlinson. Needless to say, I ran away with that league, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m now in three leagues, and simply can’t get enough fantasy football. If i wasn’t a recent college grad, with loans to pay back, I’d be in ten leagues (we play for money around here). I’m no Mathew Berry, but I do consider myself a seasoned vet these days, and I’m always eager to pass along my fantasy do’s and don’ts. Here are ten pointers you’ll need if you want to be hoisting that fantasy football trophy this season.

– Don’t be a prisoner of the rankings. The rankings are there as a reference, so you can assign value to guys, not so you can draft exactly as the list is set up. If that’s the case, don’t even show up to the draft, and let auto-pick do it’s thing.

– After referencing those “experts” rankings, create your own. You want to go into your draft with a plan on how you want to set up your team. Assign value to each guy you want on your squad and have multiple back up plans if that guy is gone when you wanted to select him. You don’t want to be caught off guard when “your guy” is taken one pick before you, that’ll likely end in a major reach. Seen it happen last Sunday. Tragic.

– Know your league’s settings. While your rushing and receiving TD’s may get you 6 points, passing scores may only net you 4. This will put a premium on running backs and receivers, and make QB’s a little less valuable, and mat alter your draft strategy.

– Know which position groups are deep, and which ones aren’t. RB’s are at a premium this year, and that should likely be where you go in round one. The same can be said for quarterbacks. There is a big drop off at QB after those “elite” guys are gone. The wide receiver group on the other hand is very deep. Don’t you dare take a wideout before a running back or QB, unless their name is Megatron or AJ.

– Don’t trade up, unless it’s to #1. AP is far and away the #1 guy this year, and whoever goes at #2 isn’t in Adrian’s league. If your in say, a 12 team league, drafting at #8-#12 is a great position to be in. You can lock up two potential fantasy stars, while those guys drafting in the top 5, will be sweating it out until their turn comes back around.

– Don’t get attached to the guy who carried you last season, even in a keeper league. Just because they put up monster stats last season, it doesn’t mean that’ll be the case this season. I broke this rule myself this draft season. I got Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning in rounds 3 and 4 respectively last year, as no one wanted to touch them after the injury. I wasn’t able to grab AP, but I did take Manning in multiple leagues this season. I wouldn’t typically suggest doing that, but I’m willing to bet on Peyton.

– Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks while drafting, but have back up plans. CJ Spiller is a hot name amongst fantasy drafters this year. He seems to finally be healthy, and when he’s healthy, he’s nearly unstoppable. But, he’s not always healthy and that’s usually not what you want to hear when drafting a guy in rounds 1 or 2. Spiller, like many guys each year is in the “boom or bust” category, and because of this you need to make sure you have multiple serviceable backups on your roster in case he turns out to be a bust, so draft accordingly.

– If your going to reach, don’t reach on a skill player. In the middle rounds, people tend to reach on QB’s or backs, and I wouldn’t recommend that. A defense on the other hand is a bit more understandable. There are only a couple defenses that create turnovers regularly and/or score special teams TD’s. Reaching on a D that could produce a big chunk of points each week, would likely be a strategy that pays off down the road.

– Become good friends with the waiver wire. Don’t feel entitled to stick with the team you drafted. Some of those guys should not finish the season on your roster. Guys will disappoint and free agents will emerge. Do not be afraid to drop a guy you drafted for a free agent who’s showing some promise, or someone you believe could be a factor late in the season. This is how championships are won, on the waiver wire.

– Remember that your fantasy playoffs will likely be played in the last few weeks of the NFL regular season. You need to structure your roster accordingly. Having Tom Brady on your team during weeks 14-17, when his team has already clinched the division may not be as beneficial as having say a Tony Romo or Phillip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger, who’s team may be fighting for a playoff spot. Those guys won’t be holding anything back, and could put up huge points. The players who get you to the mountain, may not always be the guys who get you to the mountain top.

There you have it folks. Flanny’s top ten fantasy football tips. Now, you can trust in these pointers, have a stellar draft, wreak havoc all season, and win a fantasy football title (and hopefully some $$$). Or, you could call me a hack, totally disregard everything above, draft Arian Foster at #2 overall (where the “experts” have him), pick a kicker before the last two rounds (I’m all for a kicker in round 15!), not pick up one free agent all season, and finish dead last…..Your move.

Good luck folks!