NFL Player Prop Bets and the Most Questionable Fantasy Football Decision Ever
This is one of those mornings that I'm really thankful that sports betting exists (as opposed to the other 364 mornings out of the year that I'm thankful sports betting exists), because on the morning after my fantasy football auction, I am always dragging, and frankly, things like "player prop bets" and "season win totals" are posts I can do
wickedly hungover in my sleep.
Before I get to that, a few fun facts about this fantasy league that I'm in (and I promise you these are not typical boring "This one time, I totally screwed my bro over on gettin' Arian Foster! It was EPIC!" fantasy football league stories; seriously, read on -- you won't be disappointed):
1. Our league (affectionately known as the Poulan Weedeater Football League) enters its 17th season. My friend and former co-worker Lance Zierlein and I started the league up in 1997, and while we've had some turnover among our ownership group, I believe that seven of the 12 owners from that first auction are still in the league and two more came in the following season in 1998. We still have guys that come in from as far as New York and Canada for auction night. That's pretty good.
2. Yes, we do an auction not a draft. Basically, drafts are for wussies. Auctions are for real men. On this, there can be no debate. We were one of the first leagues that I know of to go to an auction format, and we've never looked back. It's the best. Seriously, if you want feedback on how and why to do it, e-mail me or hit me on Twitter.
3. The calling card of our league? Divorce. Yes, you heard me. D-I-V-O-R-C-E. As a league, we had a streak of eight consecutive seasons where we would all show up for the auction and one owner would announce that he had gotten divorced in the past year or was in the process of getting divorced. EIGHT! I know, right?! (For the record, I was 2007.) Who'd have thought that a roomful of guys who treat a $200-per-team fantasy football league like life or death and spend 12 hours a day watching football would be susceptible to their marriages falling apart?? Go figure!
SIDE BAR: Matthew Berry, ESPN's fantasy guru, recently put out a book of fantasy football stories that's pretty good, and our league and our divorce story made the first edit of the book, but ultimately wound up on the cutting room floor. I had Berry on my radio show a few weeks ago, and asked him why it didn't make the book. He said ultimately a league with eight straight years of divorce was kind of dark and depressing. I'm not sure all of those involved in the actual divorces agree with Matthew's assessment.
4. Nobody's died in our league, but we did have our first heart attack three years ago. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: The guy who had the heart attack would have been a long shot on the "heart attack big board" for our league; totally came out of nowhere. Young guy, in shape, he would have been +1500, maybe even higher. The moral, as always -- live every moment, kids. (You thought I was gonna say, "See your doctor," didn't you? Hah, no way. Carpe diem, bitches!)
5. This season, we had one of our least successful owners of all time decide to hang it up. Hey, it happens. We used to joke about this guy being the "Isiah Thomas" of our league, Thomas of course, as a general manager, is best known for ruining the New York Knicks franchise several years ago with numerous poor decisions and bloated contracts. So if you wanted an ironic replacement of that owner, you'd go find the equivalent of Isiah Thomas's antithesis, you'd go find the fantasy football version of Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, right?
Well, thanks to an invite from Lance, we wound up with the actual Daryl Morey! Yes, we willingly replaced one of the sorriest owners in league history with the guy who got James Harden and Dwight Howard for basically nothing within a matter of nine months. THAT guy, he's in our league. It's like we were all competing in a spelling bee and swapped out Miss Teen South Carolina for some kid named Sunil.
We are literally the dumbest league on earth, and it's not even up for debate.
By the way, and I'm not making this up, in a league where our rosters have 14 slots (we start nine), Morey walked out with EIGHT running backs, easily a league record. (Running backs are the new athletic power forwards.) As if we weren't all shitting our pants to begin with, now half the league is completely questioning how they've constructed their team all these years.
My co-host John Granato was so flummoxed by the "eight running back" thing that he immediately started trying to make a trade with Morey after the auction because Granato was worried that he didn't have eight running backs.
This, of course, immediately earned Granato's team the nickname "Sacranato Kings." (Catchy, right?)
See, I told you those were funny stories!
Okay, a few player prop bets for the season. Actually, before I get to that, you can get my season win total plays for the NFL at the end of this week's Houston Press cover story on the Houston Texans, okay?
Okay, NOW the player prop bets I'll be on this season:
Drew Brees OVER 39 1/2 touchdown passes (-120) I just have a feeling this is going to be one of those "Fuck you, everybody" seasons from Saints head coach Sean Payton. I think Roger Goodell pissed him off with the Bounty-gate punishment and I think he's going to take it out on the league in the form of a ruthless Drew Brees air raid. He's like Feech LaManna getting out of prison in Season 5 of The Sorpanos and the rest of the NFC is Sal Vitro:
The other beneficiary will be....
Jimmy Graham OVER 88 1/2 catches (-120) I climbed on this train last season, and Graham's injuries had me coming up just short on the over. I'll happily go back to the well. With Gronk hurt, Graham is clearly the best and most productive tight end in the league.
Tom Brady OVER 32 1/2 touchdown passes (-120) This number is dumbed down a little bit because injuries, attrition and incarceration have left Brady with a receiving corps that consists of Danny Amendola and four guys who were working at Stop N Shop a few months ago. No matter. I've always said Brady is that rarest of quarterback that can just pick out a receiver (or in Gronk's case, a tight end) and decide, "I'm going to make that guy a star." The Patriots will be throwing the ball, so this is a safe bet, barring injury to Brady.
J.J. Watt UNDER 15 1/2 sacks (-120) They should take Watt's 2012 season and hang it on a wall in a museum somewhere because I don't know if that's ever happening again. I know J.J. has said he's got his goal of "20-20-20" (20 sacks, 20 passes defended, 20 tackles for loss), and he's promised to come back an even better player than last season. Here's the thing -- he can be a better player and still wind up with under 15 1/2 sacks.
And my quick favorite kinda-longshots for the rushing, passing and receiving yardage crowns, and they're all "new head coach" plays:
Most rushing yards: LESEAN MCCOY +1200 Nobody's beating Adrian Peterson (who is a ridiculous "no value" at +200), but if we are going longshot, let's roll with McCoy playing the LaMichael James role in Chip Kelly's NFL version of the Quack Attack.
Most passing yards: JAY CUTLER +1700 CFL refugee head coach! Jay Cutler will be speaking with a funny accent by the bye week!
Most receiving yards: LARRY FITZGERALD +1200 Bruce Arians reclamation project, and at least a quarterback who is kind of a real quarterback in Carson Palmer.
Enjoy the game tonight! Best bets for the weekend coming tomorrow.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.