(I just wanted to let everyone know that things have been slow over the past 36 hours or so due to server problems resulting from the increased traffic we’ve been receiving. We should be good to go now, and will continue to work hard to keep the site running smoothly for all of our Arrowhead Addicts!)
Zach and I had our big fantasy football draft last night (you can read my live blog of the event over at Pacman Jonesin’). Our league, The Dirty Dozen, is entering its fifth season and is more competitive than ever.
The biggest news, well, at least as far as this site is concerned: neither Zach nor I picked a single player from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Are we traitors? No, absolutely not. Why? First off, if the Chiefs lose and you also lose your fantasy game because you own L.J. and Tony G. (like a guy in our league does), then Monday is not going to be fun. Hell, that kind of football hangover can last most of the week. I feel the same way (most of the time) about gambling on the Chiefs.
Additionally, there are only three Chiefs players worth drafting (besides maybe the defense and Dwayne Bowe in very deep leagues), and all three are less valuable than they’ve been in the past.
Larry Johnson has admitted that it might take him several regular season games to get back to full football strength. With L.J. facing four stout defenses — Chicago, Jacksonville, Oakland and San Diego — during the first seven games, he might get off to a painfully slow start for a first-round pick. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wasn’t among the top 10 running backs after the first seven games. Eventually, he will be, but I’m seriously doubting that he’ll finish third among RBs in 2007. His slow start, conservative playcalling and Michael Bennett will prevent that. I can’t recommend taking him any higher than the fourth- or fifth-overall pick, and I probably would have passed on him at seven, and I took Laurence Maroney there.
With Tony Gonzalez, the thing is that he’s going in the fifth round. Gonzalez’s scoring has been down over the last few years, a trend I expect to continue with Damon Huard and/or Brodie Croyle under center. Plus, he’s getting older. He actually missed a game last year. A better defense could make the offense even more conservative, and the slow starts I expect D-Bo and L.J. to have won’t help him either. Why pick Gonzalez when you can get similar production from guys like Chris Cooley, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, Todd Heap and Vernon Davis in the following rounds? There is no reasonable answer to that question. If you pick him before round six, then you’re thinking with you heart and not your head. Simple as that.
Eddie Kennison is the easiest of the big three to justify avoiding. He’s long in the tooth and the offense is more conservative at this point than a Young Republicans luncheon. Plus, he only had five touchdowns and three 100-yard games in 2006. Consider that, and then consider that the cornerbacks in the AFC West are better than they’ve been in a long time. Altogether, Kennison is hard to really like as a fantasy prospect, especially ahead of guys like Mike Furrey and Santonio Holmes. In a 12-team league, avoid Eddie until round twelve.
Hopefully, this post will keep you from being a Chiefs homer when you do your fantasy football drafts (for those of you who haven’t drafted yet). After all, over the last four years not one team which owned a top Chief (meaning Eddie Kennison, Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes, Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez) won the championship in our league. The Chiefs boasted unbelievable offenses, too, for three of those four years. The Chiefs’ D helped me win a championship back in 2003, but Dante Hall and lots of luck contributed to that.
If you feel like a traitor for not picking any or very many Chiefs, then sign up for another team in a free league and draft a fantasy team loaded with Chiefs. That way you won’t commit fantasy suicide in your more important leagues because you wanted to remain a loyal fan.