Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Nick Grays

*Nick wanted to let everyone know he really dislikes Goldy the Gopher, so it must have been one crazy night when this picture was taken.

Nick Grays (a.k.a. Nicky G or G-Code)

Hometown: Beloit, WI

Age: 23

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Veteran (Joined the game in 2005 and is the founder/league commissioner of the Madison Fantasy Football League)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Back in '05 when Nick was a fantasy rookie, he became a victim of the favorite team syndrome and drafted five different Packers. Guess what, the Packers had their worst season since 1991 by going 4-12 and Nick's fantasy team wasn't much better. Let's just say failure is a better teacher than success.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Maurice Jones-Drew ("I love how he takes as much interest in fantasy football as I do," said Nick. "It broke my heart to pass up on MJD this season."

Short Bio: Nick is a fifth year senior majoring in Neurobiology at the University of Wisconsin. He's set to graduate in December when his first son will also be born. This past summer, he kicked off his lifelong dream of working in sports by serving as the public relations intern for the Madison Mallards. He also was the official scorer and essentially the beat writer for the team as he watched all 70 games, interviewed all the players/coaches and wrote almost every preview/recap of the summer. After graduating, he plans to continue to write for his blog "Nick Knows Best" (established in the summer of 2009) and earn his Master's in Sports Management. When not watching or playing sports which rarely occurs, he loves to spend quality time with his friends and girlfriend Kari.

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Tim Harwood

Name: Tim Harwood (a.k.a. Pumpernickle, Harry Potter or Dungeon Master)

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MN

Age: 24

Favorite NFL Team: Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Experience:
Regular (Joined the game in 2005 and has played all three years in this league.)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Back in '08, Tim's fantasy match-up with Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) ended in a tie. The result was one of the deciding factors in keeping Mike's team out of the playoffs that season. The very next season, Tim squeaked a win (76-75) over Mike to set him a step back once again (even though Mike would go on to make the playoffs this time). Tim feels he has a legitimate rivalry with fellow-owner Mike Szombatfalvy.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Marion Barber

Short Bio: Tim Harwood and the ultimate gamer are pretty much the same thing. There are few things Tim loves more than his games; that's for sure. When not playing World of Warcraft or some other random game on any platform, Tim spends time with his girlfriend Mindy. For a job, Tim is the second of three Culvers' Managers in the league (Kari Klitzman already mentioned). He's also pretty good at being a dungeon master in D&D and looks to take his strengths in strategic planning to another level in fantasy football this season.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Matt McCarthy

Name: Matt McCarthy (a.k.a Matteo or Matty Matt)

Hometown: Stoughton, WI

Age: 25

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers/New Orleans Saints ("It's close," said Matt)

Fantasy Experience: Junior (Joined the game in 2007 and has played all three years in this league)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Matt loves to think about how excited he was to play fantasy football for the first time during his rookie season in '07.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Drew Brees

Short Bio: Matt is currently studying Accounting at the University of Whitewater where he commutes to while living in Madison, WI. Matt works at Culvers and likes oddly shaped bowls (which Culvers does not have) used for eating various assortments of food. Additionally, he loves Diet Dr. Pepper and Nerds because they make an amazing combination. Don't forget the Freeze Pops; another item of choice when he has an urge for some sugar.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Chad Breiby

Name: Chad Breiby (a.k.a. Chadillac)

Hometown: Madison, WI

Age: 22

Favorite NFL Team: Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Experience: Junior (Joined the game in 2007 and has played all three years in this league)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Back in the inaugural season of the Madison Fantasy Football League, Chad beat the League Commissioner Nick Grays two times during the regular season and decided to change his team name to "0-3 Grays," when they met up in the playoffs once again. When the #4 seeded Team Grays knocked off the #1 seeded Team Breiby, Chad was left with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Brett Favre (If you couldn't tell from the photo above)

Short Bio: Chad is currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin studying Mechanical Engineering. In his free-time he likes to ski, play poker and strengthen his obsession with Brett Favre. He wanted everyone to know he's a proud owner of Favre's home and away Vikings jerseys. To try to get his mind away from Favre, he loves to solve puzzles and math problems. Chad's ambitious 2010 fantasy goals are to beat Rory Linton on a week he scores 157 points and win the pity pot (lowest amount of points in a week) just once in the first seven weeks.

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Rory Linton

Name: Rory Linton (a.k.a. Ror-Dawg or Roreo)

Hometown: Onalaska, WI

Age: 24

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Veteran (Joined the game in the '90s and 3rd year with this league)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: In fantasy football, Rory seems to drop the ball when it counts. But in baseball, he pulled a tremendous maneuver to win in 2009. At the end of the season, Rory dropped every one of his pitchers to grab twelve starters in one day to grab the lead in the "Wins" category. The crazy-smart move was enough to propel him to a league championship.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Aaron Rodgers

Short Bio: Rory graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Economics major just two years ago. He's a proud father and a married man who loves his sports. Rory is currently studying to be an actuary, so that he can calculate insurance policies for members of the fantasy league. When he's not watching his beloved Twins, he likes to play poker. Rory is what you would call a poker stud, as he's won thousands in big tournaments online. Watch out for his astounding ability to analyze numbers when he puts together a fantasy line-up each and every week.

Day of Surprises on Fantasy Draft Day! (Full Fantasy Draft Recap)

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Who would have thought Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) would go number one overall in the 2010 fantasy draft? I knew Rodgers would be a first-rounder, but not that high. Here's why it's not a big deal; Rodgers will most likely be in the top 10 in scoring along with the likes of Johnson and Peterson. If you like Rodgers, go with him no matter where your pick is. Another surprise was Peterson dropping all the way to four; let me explain. That stunt should emphasize how much I hate the Vikings. I'll take the hit to avoid rooting for the Vikings every week. Ray Rice and Frank Gore were above Peterson on my draft-board.

For the third year in a row, I will pick the owner who had the best draft. Let's take a brief look at my picks the last two seasons:

2008: Chad Breiby (Best team in the regular season knocked out in the playoffs by ME!)
2009: Kari Klitzman (First-Ever Championship) (View last year's article here)

Let's just say I have an eye for a decent fantasy team. Before I elect a winner, let's take a quick look at each and every team (click on the name to be taken to their ESPN page):

City 14s (Jason Szmanda)
First Four Picks: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Beanie Wells (RB), Calvin Johnson (WR) and Joseph Addai (RB)
Review: In my opinion, the first and last picks are the hardest spots in a 10+ team fantasy league. They provide no flexibility, you really need to grab who's available or stretch for wants. Jason did a great job with his first three picks by grabbing solid options at each core position. Rodgers, Wells and Johnson will not disappoint by putting up at least respectable numbers. After that, it gets really shaky. Outside of Wells, the running back position is going to be questionable at best for Jason with Addai, Thomas Jones, Darren Sproles and Larry Johnson. However, if injuries occur in Indianapolis, Kansas City, San Diego or Washington, Jason will be in prime position to pounce. A solid defense/kicker/tight end is also a plus for this fantasy team.
First Week Matchup: Team Merrill (Seth Merrill)

Team Szombatfavly (Mike Szombatfalvy)
First Four Picks: Chris Johnson (RB), Miles Austin (WR), Philip Rivers (QB) and Jason Witten (TE)
Review: Have to be happy with Chris Johnson at number two, the guy is amazing. I'm kind of surprised by Mike's running back picks this season. He's putting a lot of stock into Jerome Harrison because Slaton, Choice and Moore are all down on the depth chart. Mike is the Browns fan, so I won't put too much analysis on the pick. He'll need a lot of help from his wideouts which is not a deep position on his team; I'm not high on Austin, but many people are. I feel Mike will be searching for points some weeks and not others.
First Week Matchup: Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy)

Team Grays (Nick Grays)

First Four Picks: Ray Rice (RB), Matt Schaub (QB), Steve Smith (NY) (WR) and Jermichael Finley (TE)
Review: At a second glance, I have a lot of guys who I had no idea I would be choosing a week ago. I like Ray Rice because I think he has all the tools to put up great numbers. After two years of mediocre QB's (Gerrard, Campbell and McNabb), I decided to use my second pick on an elite quarterback, let's hope the injury bug doesn't creep up like everyone said last season. I also stretched with Finley because I wanted a solid Packers player. Overall, I think my team has good depth. Don't worry, I won't pick myself as having the best draft, but if I win the championship, remember these words!
First Week Matchup: Team Linton (Rory Linton)

Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg)

First Four Picks: Adrian Peterson (RB), Roddy White (WR), Tony Romo (QB) and Ricky Williams (RB)
Review: This is one scary team. If everything works out for the starters, Lowenberg may be tough to stop. Peterson dropping to four is a god-send and the addition of White and Romo is nothing to shy away from. All three of those guys can put up huge numbers on any given week. I also like the drafting of Williams and Brown for two reasons. He won't miss out on any dolphins touchdowns from the running back position and if one of them gets hurt, the other is a goldmine. I'm not a huge fan of Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery because I think Sanchez is a bad passer. However, with the suspension of Santonio Holmes, the move could pay off early.
First Week Matchup: Harwood's Harwitzers (Tim Harwood)

Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman)
First Four Picks: Frank Gore (RB), Ryan Mathews (RB), Joe Flacco (QB) and Dwayne Bowe (WR)
Review: The returning champion stuck to her game-plan last season by picking two strong running backs. I think Gore will be one of the best in the league and Mathews is going to get his carries. Kari stayed true to her "Best Draft," award from last season by providing depth with a talented wide-receiver corps. Bowe, Nicks and Mason are all legitimate threats to put up 1,000 yard seasons and double-digit touchdown totals. The only problem I see with Kari's line-up are some bye week issues; she may struggle to pull out wins on week 4 (vs. Team Lowenberg) and week 8 (vs. Team Breiby).
First Week Matchup: Team Grande (Anthony Grande)

Team Merrill (Seth Merrill)
First Four Picks: Maurice Jones-Drew (RB), Shonn Greene (RB), DeSean Jackson (WR) and Antonio Gates (TE)
Review: I see a couple of parallels in this team to my team last season. First off, let me say Seth is one lucky man for getting MJD at the sixth spot in the draft. Secondly, he waited for a quarterback by picking Jay Cutler in the seventh round. Cutler is a big gamble in my opinion because he could throw a bunch of interceptions or flourish in Mike Martz new offensive scheme. Gates is a great pick-up because I see him as basically the number one receiver in San Diego. Seth also won the lottery on Mike Sims-Walker to give him a young and solid receiving corps. Running back drops off after his two starters, but doesn't matter when Greene and MJD are in the line-up every week. A lot hinges on how Cutler plays, but overall, the prospectus looks good for this team.
First Week Matchup: City 14s (Jason Szmanda)

Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy)
First Four Picks: Michael Turner (RB), Tom Brady (QB), Knowshon Moreno (RB) and Percy Harvin (WR)
Review: Matt put together an interesting dynamic of young and old on his team. Turner is a good first-round pick because he should return to what he did two years ago. I would love to see Brady fail in New England, but he probably won't. Moreno and Harvin are two young guys who are questionable, but super talented. Moreno is dealing with a hamstring issue while Harvin continues to struggle with migraines. Beyond those guys, Matt has more young guys like C.J. Spiller, Mike Wallace and Darren McFadden to try to take his team to the playoffs. I'm not sure if Matt has the best fantasy team, but one thing is for sure; he has an exciting group of guys to watch every week.
First Week Matchup: Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy)

Team Lee (Isaac Lee)
First Four Picks: Drew Brees (QB), Rashard Mendenhall (RB), Steve Smith (CAR) (WR), Brandon Jacobs (RB)
Review: Little man was on his game this year as he picked a quarterback in Drew Brees in the first round and still benefited with a couple of bruising running backs. Mendenhall and Jacobs should be healthy and ready for big seasons. What's even crazier is Isaac's wide receivers; Welker, Smith, Bryant, Massaquoi and Williams who can all make cases for a starting spot each and every week. The only blemish in his draft is picking two tight-ends with the same bye week.
First Week Matchup: Team Trader (Robert Trader)

Team Selbo (Joe Selbo)
First Four Picks: Steven Jackson (RB), Greg Jennings (WR), Jonathan Stewart (RB) and Carson Palmer (QB)
Review: After this draft, I'm convinced you want to draft in the 8-10 range because these guys took advantage of some great players. If there was an award for the best first four picks in their specific situation, I would give the award to Joe. I love the pick of Stewart who will surpass DeAngelo Williams on the depth chart this season. Jackson, Jennings and Palmer are all perfect picks from where Joe picked at. After that, Joe has a decent team, but really needs his reserves to step up while Holmes and Roethlisberger serve out their suspensions. I also believe this team is in need of one more solid wideout.
First Week Matchup: Team Breiby (Chad Breiby)

Team Grande (Anthony Grande)
First Four Picks: Andre Johnson (WR), Brandon Marshall (WR), Pierre Thomas (RB) and Dallas Clark (TE)
Review: Anthony is the only member of our league to draft two wide receivers with his first two picks. And what a genius move, Johnson and Marshall should be two of the best in the game this season. Picking up Pierre Thomas in the third round was also a great idea because passing on a running back there would have hurt. I love the pick of Vince Young because I feel he has what it takes to be a starting fantasy player. This team is stacked, don't know anything about the NFL? Nonsense Grande!
First Week Matchup: Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman)

Team Linton (Rory Linton)
First Four Picks: Randy Moss (WR), Cedric Benson (RB), Marques Colston (WR) and Jahvid Best (RB)
Review: I'll start out with what I don't like. Jahvid Best in the fourth round, really? I know he has talent and will most likely be the starter if Kevin Smith can't come back off of his torn-ACL, but it's still the Detroit Lions with an absolutely horrible offensive line. Don't worry, a lot of people have been taking Best high, i just don't get it. I also think Moss is in the decline, but I like the picks of Benson and Colston who should be pro-bowlers this season. Knox may emerge as that Bears' wild-card player, but once again, I'm not sure about Toby Gerhart (another rookie running back). If Jackson does come back, Rory has a great wide-receiving corps, but I think the running backs are going to struggle if Best or Gerhart don't come through.
First Week Matchup: Team Grays (Nick Grays)

Team Breiby (Chad Breiby)
First Four Picks: Peyton Manning (QB), Larry Fitzgerald (WR), LeSean McCoy (RB) and Anquan Boldin (WR)
Review: I know no one will take my opinion as serious as Chad, so I made sure to take my time on this review. The first two picks were awesome; Manning and Fitzgerald headlining is great. McCoy dropping to Chad in the third round was even better. Boldin in the fourth round was the second piece in a great starting wide-receiver core. After those picks, I think it went down hill a little. I don't like Foster because he's only seen the field in two games (he was supposed to be a sleeper last season) and Portis has too much competition in Washington to put together a solid year. If Maroney can step his game up in New England, I think Chad will be alright, if not, the running back position may struggle. Don't get me wrong, this will be a good team, but it does have some holes.
First Week Matchup: Team Selbo (Joe Selbo)

Team Trader (Robert Trader)
First Four Picks: Ryan Grant (RB), DeAngelo Williams (RB), Chad Ochocinco (WR) and Jamaal Charles (RB)
Review: Firstly, let's all give Robert a round of applause for his appearance at the draft because we missed his presence last season. My first impression says WOW at the running back class. Who can match the likes of Grant, Williams, Charles and Donald Brown? Not many and I like the wide receivers too. Ochocinco and Garcon will get their receptions, it will be the touchdowns that are questionable. If Kolb or Henne have even a decent year, Robert's fantasy luck will turn around this season. I think Robert's new team name "Bobby's Bad-Asses," is fitting!
First Week Matchup: Team Lee (Isaac Lee)

Harwoods' Howitzers (Tim Harwood)
First Four Picks: Reggie Wayne (WR), Brett Favre (QB), Matt Forte (RB) and Hines Ward (WR)
Review: Once again, I think the first and last spots are the hardest to draft from in a 10+ team league. Maybe that's why Tim's first two picks don't make sense from a fantasy perspective. I'm not personally high on Reggie Wayne this season and Tim loves those damn Vikings. Despite the homer pick at number two, I love his Matt Forte pick in the third round because calling him a bust last season is just stupid; he shouldn't of been rated that high in the first place. Forte will bounce back just fine under the new offense this season. Tim's team also lacks depth on the bench with only a couple of so-called "safe" contributors in Wayne, Forte and Ward. The other guys can range anywhere from 0-20 fantasy points on any given week. Strap up for a roller-coaster ride this season!
First Week Matchup: Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg)

AND THE WINNER IS: The Owner with the "Best Draft" this year goes to Team Lee (Isaac Lee, pictured to the right). I think he has the right balance to make a run during the season and in the playoffs. Mendenhall and Brees are fairly sure-bets to be among the league leaders and Isaac's supporting cast of Jacobs and an awesome wideout class is an apparent recipe for success. I'll admit I struggled between naming five different people for this award because it really is a more even playing field this season. I have a feeling no one is running away with the championship this season. Kudos to the members in the 8-10 spots for putting together some balanced teams.

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Team-By-Team Bold Predictions for the 2010 Season (NFC Edition)

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys - Miles Austin will not finish as a top ten wide receiver in 2010 while Marion Barber and Felix Jones combine for 20+ touchdowns.

New York Giants - Brandon Jacobs (pictured above) will have the best season of his career by rushing 1200+ yards and scoring double-digit touchdowns.

Philadelphia Eagles - Tight-End Brent Celek will lead the team in receiving. Additionally, Kevin Kolb will help the Eagles win at least eight games in his first full year as a starter.

Washington Redskins - Despite hiring Mike Shanahan, no Redskins' running back will eclipse the 1,000 yard mark this season because there are too many of them.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals - First year starter Matt Leinart will throw more interceptions than touchdowns. Cardinals will not repeat as NFC West champions.

San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers will run away with the NFC West Division behind the strong play of Frank Gore and Patrick Willis (pictured above). Gore will be an MVP candidate as a top-five running back and Patrick Willis will be nominated for Defensive Player of the Year.

Seattle Seahawks - Justin Forsett will have a breakout season for a losing team in the Seahawks. Forsett will be looked at as the new Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice because he's another rumbling-and-bumbling small guy who can run and catch the ball.

St. Louis Rams - The Rams are on the upswing; that's not saying much when they win anywhere from 3-to-6 games this season. Fantasy predictions are limited to say the least.

NFC North

Chicago Bears - Head Coach Lovie Smith will be fired at the end of the year. The Bears will contend for a division title in a stacked NFC North, but will fall just short when it counts in the end.

Detroit Lions - Kevin Smith will finish the season with more rushing yards and touchdowns than rookie Jahvid Best out of California.

Green Bay Packers - The Packers will be the NFC-representative in this year's Super Bowl. Jermichael Finley (pictured above) will lead all tight-ends in receiving yardage and touchdowns. Greg Jennings will also be a top-five receiver this season. That means a ton of passing yards for Aaron Rodgers.

Minnesota Vikings - Brett Favre will not start in all 16 games this season. Moreover, you will be able to count the number of fumbles Adrian Petereson commits on one hand.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons - Michael Turner will return to form and become a legitimate number one running back in fantasy. That means 1,200+ yards and 10+ touchdowns.

Carolina Panthers - Jonathan Stewart (pictured above) will rush for more yards than DeAngelo Williams for the second year in a row. Last season, Stewart edged out Williams by a total of 16 yards.

New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees and the Saints will not make it back to the Super Bowl, but they will put up offensive record-breaking numbers. Brees will go over 4,000 and 30 touchdowns for the third year in a row.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Like I mentioned in a previous article, Arrelious Benn will win offensive rookie of the year for posting a 800+ yard season with 9 or more touchdowns.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Team-By-Team Bold Predictions for the 2010 Season (AFC Edition)

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – Fred Jackson (pictured above) will rush for more yards than C.J. Spiller and Marshawn Lynch combine for together.

Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall will lead the league in receptions, but not even come close in yards.

New England Patriots – The Patriots will miss out on the playoffs like they did in 2008. Don’t think Tom Brady will even get close to his 50-TD performance in ’07, the over-under is 25 this season.

New York Jets – LaDainian Tomlinson will eclipse the 1,000 yard mark for the ninth time in his career. Guess what, he will also score double-digit touchdowns to continue the trend which has been in effect his entire career (9 straight seasons).

AFC West

Denver Broncos – Unfortunately, Tim Tebow will start at least four games this season for a struggling Denver squad.

Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs' fifth overall pick out of Tennessee, Eric Berry, will win the defensive Rookie of the Year Award. This will be the first notch en route to a successful career from the safety position for Berry.

Oakland Raiders - Newly acquired quarterback Jason Campbell will help lead the Raiders to a surprising playoff berth in '10. Running Backs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush will also play through at least three-fourths of the season.

San Diego Chargers - Rookie running back Ryan Mathews will not even crack the top 20 in fantasy backs this season. Somehow he's ranked 14th in the preseason fantasy rankings.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens will be the AFC-representative in this year's Super Bowl. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will have monster fantasy years and the defense will continue to do what they do.

Cincinnati Bengals - Carson Palmer will eclipse the 4,000 yard mark for the third time in his eight-year career. Newly acquired Terrell Owens will not be a problem all year in Cincinnati.

Cleveland Browns - Mohamed Massoquoi and Jake Delhomme will hook up for at least ten touchdowns. That's at least four more than they will have in the win column.

Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers will miss out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. However, Rashard Mendenhall will be a top-ten running back when it's all said and done.

AFC South

Houston Texans - Steve Slaton will finish with more all-purpose yards than Arian Foster.

Indianapolis Colts - Pierre Garcon will lead the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. Yes I said it, Reggie Wayne will be behind Garcon in both of those catergories at the end of the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Mike Sims-Walker will rank higher among fantasy wide receivers than does Maurice Jones-Drew among fantasy running backs.

Tennessee Titans - Vince Young will be a legitiamite number one option as a fantasy quarterback. Young and Kenny Britt will combine for more fantasy points than the ever-so-popular Chris Johnson.

Let me know if you agree or disagree by commenting below. Note: You can click on the team names to go to ESPN's pages for each team!

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Robert Trader

Name: Robert Trader (a.k.a. The Ringmaster)

Hometown: East Troy, WI

Age: 22

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Regular (Joined the game in 2006)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Robert recalls winning his first-ever fantasy championship as a rookie in 2006 even though it was a non-cash league with only six teams. It's been a battle ever since, but he hopes to turn his luck around this season.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Chris Johnson ("That guy does everything. he runs like crazy, he's a great receiver, and he scores a lot. It was great to have him in '09 even though the rest of my team wasn't the best," said Robert.)

Short Bio: Robert is one of the most interesting guys you can find in this state. He can hold his own in a sports argument and can provide quite the show on stage as he's an avid actor and musician. In September, he will be taking his act to the bluegrass state known as Kentucky. Robert loves his professional sports teams here in Wisconsin and has one of the best beer pong stances known to men.

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Jason Szmanda

Name: Jason Szmanda (Gives nicknames rather than takes them)

Hometown: East Troy, WI

Age: 22

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Regular (Joined the game in 2006)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Besides winning the championship two years ago, Jason can't forget Ronnie Brown's five-touchdown performance (four rushing, one passing) versus the New England Patriots in 2008. Brown's 39 points that day helped Jason completely annihilate his opponent.

Favorite Fantasy Player: TBA

Short Bio: Jason is entering his fifth year at the home of the Phoenix (UW-Green Bay) where he's a crazy triple-major. In December, he will graduate as an expert in Theatre, Psychology and Human Development. This fall, he will be working with a DePere intermediate school's alternative recess program. Acting, biking and playing about any sport are a few things Jason likes to do in his free time. He also likes to travel all over the place and spend time at friend's houses in different cities. An interesting tidbit; Jason's cousin is the star of the hit-show CSI.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nick's Four Fantasy Sleepers at Wide Receiver

There are a couple of things I look for in a fantasy sleeper wide receiver. First, they must be on a team in need of a number one or number two starting wide out. Secondly, I look for players on teams who rank in the bottom half of the league in passing yardage the season before; partly because these are teams who are looking to improve their passing game. Another reason is because these teams sometimes change offensive coordinators or bring in new offensive personnel such as a quarterback. I can almost guarantee the following players will be available in the late rounds of any fantasy draft. Without further ado, here are my 2010 fantasy sleepers at the wide receiver position:

1.) Derrick Mason, Baltimore Ravens (ESPN Ranking: 42nd WR)
It's hard to write off a guy who has surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in eight of his last nine seasons. Not only that, Mason was Joe Flacco's favorite target last season as he was targeted 135 times (13th most targets in 2009). The addition of Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth can be discouraging, but look at it like this, you don't add those guys unless you plan on amping up the passing game. At the same time, Mason is 36 years old and did consider retirement before his 2009 campaign. However, that didn't stop him from amassing eight double-digit fantasy performances last season. Mason can be inconsistent as he had five games with three or less points, but in the late rounds of a draft, he's nothing more than a steal.

2.) Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns (ESPN Ranking: 58th WR)
Who likes deep threats? I know I do! Massaquoi ranked third in the league with 18.4 yards per catch last season. He only had three double-digit performances in 2009, but does inherit a new quarterback in Jake Delhomme this season. We've all seen what Steve Smith did deep down the field in Carolina. Additionally, Delhomme is way better than any quarterback who took the snap in Cleveland last season. Moreover, the Browns ranked dead last in passing yardage last season at 129.8 yards a game. That statistic can only go up. Don't be surprised if Massaquoi's large 6'2", 207 pound frame is a popular red-zone target this season.

3.) Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN Ranking: 59th WR)
Benn is a rookie out of Illinois that not many are talking about. Tampa Bay used a second-round pick to grab Benn who is looking to be a prospective starter come week one. The Buccaneers are coached by Raheem Morris who loves to throw the ball despite being ranked 24th overall at 157.2 yards a game last season. Do consider Benn as a legitimate risk, especially with starting quarterback Josh Freeman going down with a thumb injury (may miss a couple of weeks). If preseason means anything to you, Benn has seen only two targets through two games. With that said, I still think he has serious talent and could emerge as a dark horse candidate for the Rookie of the Year.

4.) James Hardy, Buffalo Bills (ESPN Ranking: 93rd WR)
You're not going to find many guys who are prospective number two's this late in the rankings. If the cards play out right, Hardy might be starting opposite Lee Evans with the departure of Terrell Owens and Josh Reed in the off-season. Note that Hardy has not played this preseason due to an undisclosed injury. Hardy is bigger than the previously mentioned Mason, Massaquoi and Benn at 6'5" and 220 pounds. He's also the Indiana Hoosier's all-time leader in touchdowns (36), yards (2,690) and receptions (186) in only three seasons. I may be stretching it a little with Benn and Hardy, but trust me when I say they have talent! I spent a couple of years watching them tear up the Big Ten Conference.

Other Guys To Consider:

Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers (ESPN Ranking: 57th WR)

Jacoby Jones, Houston Texans (ESPN Ranking: 63rd WR)
Laurent Robinson, St. Louid Rams (ESPN Ranking: 65th WR)
Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN Ranking: 67th WR)

Let me know if you agree or disagree with my sleepers by commenting below or sending an email to grays@uwalumni.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Anthony Grande

Anthony Grande (a.k.a. Tony the Tiger)

Hometown: East Troy, WI

Age: 22

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Sophomore (Joined the game in 2009)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: The most memorable moments are not always the best memories. Anthony recalls the time he forgot to make an obvious substitution in the last week of the regular season last year. Because of that mental error, he missed out on the playoffs.

Favorite Fantasy Player: TBA

Short Bio:
Anthony is going to be a fifth-year senior at Wisconsin majoring in Math and Geography. He's a huge college football fan, but doesn't necessarily dig the NFL as much. He claims to know little about the NFL, but don't be surprised if this guy is on top of his game by the end of the season. How many people do you know that go from being a prospective doctor with a math major to being a city planner. He's a pretty smart guy. He helped the League Commissioner Nick Grays get through o-chem with his top-notch organic chemistry skills. Not sure if knowing your o-chem helps in the fantasy league; you just never know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Kari Klitzman

Name: Kari Klitzman (a.k.a Nick's baby momma)

Hometown: Belleville, WI

Age: 26

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Sophomore (Joined the game in 2009)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Defeating Rory Linton (biggest smack-talker at Culvers) in the 2009 Fantasy Super Bowl to win her first Championship in what was also her rookie season.

Favorite Fantasy Player: Frank Gore

Short Bio: Kari is a 2004 graduate of Madison College where she majored in Graphic Arts. After a stint at Advertiser's Press, she decided to move into the field of management. She currently serves as an assistant manager at Culvers on Todd Drive where she helps police half of the members in this league. She claims to not be a country girl, but was raised on a farm where many cows once lived. Kari is also pregnant with the league commissioner's first child. In her free-time, she likes to play the Nintendo Wii and make Nick read the baby books.

Get To Know Your Fantasy Opponents: Seth Merrill

Name: Seth Merrill (a.k.a. Sidebow, Tweezer or Old Man)

Hometown: New London, WI

Age: 27

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Experience: Veteran (Joined the game in 1998)

Most Memorable Fantasy Moment: Back in 1998, he drafted Randy Moss in the final round as a rookie because no one had any idea some kid from Marshall would break out like he did! Even though he played for the damn Vikings, Moss helped lead Seth's team to the playoffs in his first year playing the game.

Favorite Fantasy Player: TBA

Short Bio: Seth is one of those guys who loves his sports and runs a bar in Appleton for his so-called "real" job. This summer, he served as a video production intern for the Madison Mallards. Merrill also works part-time for the Wisconsin Timber-Rattlers, the single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Midwest League. When not serving drinks or running the cameras at a ballpark, Seth loves to collect autographed sports memorabilia and spend time with his fiance Hilary. Seth is a 2007 graduate of UW-Oshkosh where he studied Radio, TV and Film as well as Business Administration.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fantasy Football Calculator

I'm only a mere two days away from the end of my internship with the Madison Mallards. On Tuesday, I can go into fantasy overdrive and start researching like crazy. Until then, my right-hand man and fantasy opponent Seth Merill showed me a great tool to use in order to get ready for the fantasy football draft. The tool is a fantasy football mock draft website known as fantasyfootballcalculator.com. I suggest joining or simply using the site because it's really easy to do and it provides a great experience for any kind of fantasy player. Not only can you actually try a 14-team draft to get ready for ours, but you can also pick where you would like to draft to get an idea of what it will be like on August 26th (9:00 AM CT)! Remember to get your payment in before the draft, so I can take those red numbers away from your name on the blog.