Fantasy editor Ryan Fowler's first fantasy football LIVE draft was full of comedy on and off the big board.
By Ryan FowlerFoxSports
Tennessee kicker Rob Bironas was named Mr. Irrelevant of my first 2011 fantasy football draft.
The picks, commentary and shenanigans that preceded the 180th pick were far from it.
Take, for instance, where this draft took place.
For four and a half hours on Sunday afternoon, I channeled my inner-Frank Ricard and returned to a University of Toledo fraternity house practically on campus.
Upon entry, after avoiding a parking nightmare by snagging one of a handful of spots in the driveway, I had an option to travel up a flight of stairs or journey down into the basement.
I chose down.
I chose poorly.
It only took five steps to walk right into the abyss where my first thought was to wonder if the movie Hostile was filmed here. I immediately pushed that presumption to the back burner to question if this was one of the stash houses in The Wire.
Before Sloth could break out of his shackles and adopt me as his new Chunk, I ran up the stairs praying the ATF wouldn’t knock me out as they broke down the door.
Thanks to the kindness of fellow league member Greg (who I will shred to pieces later), I found my way to the fantasy war room. On the main table, a respectable spread of pizza, bread sticks and pop waited to nourish the exhausted (hungover?) owners.
After loading up my plate with a few slices of ‘za, I entered the living room where the view screamed frat house. Around the perimeter rested every type of seating imaginable – none of which matched the other. In one corner was a leather recliner, then a couch, then an oversized bean bag chair (do NOT shine a black light on this), then a couch, an end table and finally a second chair.
I loved this, but the arrangement came second to the wall decoration of the millennium.
Sure, it’s a college house where neon lights promoting barley and hops outnumber an 80-watt under a shade. That’s a given. But hanging over the big screen (non-HD) television was a painting of Noah’s Ark. At the bottom read “Two By Two.” Immediately, I thought this image and its message screamed brotherhood, deep thought and was a known fraternity motto.
“My mom gave it to me,” Tex, one of the league owners, frat brothers and tenant, said.
Of the 12 guys in the league, nine of them were in attendance. The other three drafted via phone (Jake – Green Bay), Skype (Dooley – Orlando – Air Force training – thank you for your service) and Facebook messenger (Brent – Indiana on business - 2-time champ).
Jake receives an annual verbal bashing from Nick G. who, by default, takes one for the league and dials the cheese head up to relay his picks and keep him updated on who is off the board.
Normally, the exchange between Nick in Toledo and Jake in Green Bay reigns supreme as the most entertaining sideshow of the draft, but this year Dooley’s Skype session was awarded gold and silver.
With obviously no background in videography 101, he set up a webcam pointing towards an open window. So, all you could see was a black silhouette of the guy. This led to a couple of classic of one-liners:
“He looks like Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat.” – Umin
“He looks like the banker from “Deal or No Deal.” - Umin
Collectively our observations would evolve to the point where we wondered if somebody broke the window behind Dooley, beat him up, robbed him and escaped, would we be able to provide authorities with a description of who did it?
Even Louis C.K. would think our analysis was hilarious.
And to think the previously mentioned memories and scenarios regurgitated from the top of my head have little-to-nothing to do with the actual fantasy draft.
Not to worry Greg, I haven’t forgotten about you.
Sticking with the theme and image of a high-end frat house, our big board was four oversized pieces of poster board duct taped to a wall.
As we pulled names out of hat to determine draft order, owners were presented their logo from Adam, the commissioner. Now, because I’d like to keep my job beyond the two-month threshold I’m closing in on, I will refrain from sharing team mascots, but will tell you I’m the proud owner of the Bombay Sapphire Sale.
Keeping with tradition, my name gets pulled early and I’m saddled with the immediate stress of drafting ninth.
Leave it to Jake, the guy on the phone in Green Bay, to be rewarded with the first overall pick.
Nick berated him immediately.
With the draft order set, Adam allowed all owners 10 minutes to study and plan any last minute strategy.
It was during this study hall where Nick compared me, as a fantasy editor existing and participating in this league, to “a baseball player taking steroids in MLB.”
Wow, talk about hyperbole. But I’ll take the compliment … and then I’ll take the trophy.
FANTASY LEAGUE HOT POINTS
• 12 TEAMS • NON-PPR • START QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR), DEF and K • SCORING (every yard counts – i.e. you could finish with 12.3 points) • PASSING – point every 20 yards • RECEIVING/RUSHING – point every 10 yards • TRANSACTIONS – free • DEFENDING CHAMP - Brent • PRIZE – trophy and financial compensation
After Jake dismissed his loyalty to the Packers and drafted Adrian Peterson with the first pick, Greg threw the proverbial wrench in how this fantasy draft would play out by taking Aaron Rodgers. The group would later learn that this selection foreshadowed a series of questionable picks from the man whose team name is censored here, but can be located on the web’s urban dictionary.
Greg took Rodgers in round one, Frank Gore in round two (he slipped to an all-time low), Mike Wallace in round three, and, drum roll please, Marcedes Lewis in round four.
Once the name was jotted down on the big board and silence of shock broke, a few under-the-breath shots were muttered from fellow owners, to nobody in particular, in hopes the comment would gain traction and erupt into a verbal beating oozing in sarcasm. But, to be honest, I think we all felt bad for Greg and, without saying a word, called for a ceasefire.
In a way, I’m to blame. Earlier in the round I drafted Antonio Gates. A few picks later, Jermichael Finley and Jason Witten came off the board. So, I think Greg panicked, looked at his fantasy football magazine composed in May and felt confident in his pick.
How that same magazine didn’t list Dallas Clark or Vernon Davis ahead of Lewis is beyond me. My guess is it did and Greg went rogue.
And he wasn’t done. Oh, noooooo. The Lewis pick was an appetizer for his 11th round “did he just pick a kicker?” moment.
Greg took the first kicker four-to-five rounds early by drafting Nate Kaeding right after Nate Burleson and before feasible fantasy talent like Lance Moore, Hines Ward and Ryan Torain.
I’ll say this; Greg announced the pick with conviction. As for what he said, imagine what you would need to say to all your friends if you had the cojones to draft a kicker in the 11th round and knew you were about to get ripped.
DRAFT PICK NEWS AND NOTES
• Four QBs taken in the first 13 picks • Nine QBs taken in the first 24 picks • Eight RBs taken in the first 12 picks • 12 RBs taken in the first 24 picks • One WR taken in the first 12 picks • Three WRs taken in the first 24 picks • Four TEs drafted in the 4th Round • Finley, Witten and Lewis drafted before Davis and Clark • First defense (Pittsburgh) drafted in 7th Round • First kicker (Kaeding) drafted in 11th Round • Best Value – Torain and M. Williams (SEA) in Round 12 • Time of Draft: – approx. 3 hours and 30 minutes
Following handshakes and man hugs, the group of us scattered back to our neutral corners in Toledo, Michigan, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Before I turned in for the night, I decided to take one quick peek at our league’s transaction wire to see if the inaugural add/drop had been completed.
Sean dropped Jerricho Cotchery for Stevan Ridley.
His retort: "I didn’t know Cotchery was with Pittsburgh."
It's okay, Sean.
At least you didn't take Marcedes Lewis in the fourth round.