Friday, August 20, 2010

Top 6 Sword of Damocles Fantasy Football Calls

For all of you who didn't geek out on comparative mythology back in school, the Sword of Damocles is said to hang over the heads of those in power. Choose wisely, the sword stays where it is, and you prosper. Choose badly, and there is sudden but problematic weight loss.

Every year when you choose your fantasy football squad, there are knife-edge decisions between seemingly equal talent that will decide the fate of your squad. Currently, these are the top six hanging over me.

6) Darren McFadden or Michael Bush. The Oakland speed back should be just a change-of-pace Reggie Bush type player, and no threat to power back / actually healthy person Michael Bush, especially on the goal line. But that misses the point that McFadden is a one-time high draft pick and a highlight film kind of guy, which is to say that he's catnip to Emperor Palpatine -- err, Al Davis. Count on McHurt to cuckold Bush, but only if you draft Bush. If your draft goes the other way, he'll remain hurt. And if you get both, you will have spent two picks on the Raiders, and you're still doomed.

5) Jason Witten or Brent Celek. Your classic established veteran vs. the potential emerging stud decision here. Witten is frustrating because for some reason Tony Romo and the Cowboys routinely forget about him in the red zone, but one of these days, even these Mensa members are going to have to give up on the idea of force-feeding Roy Williams to try to convince us that he's worth it, and actually throw the ball to the guy with the best hands in traffic. Marion Barber isn't the red zone threat that he used to be, and Martellus Bennett has never really worked out. It's not hard to imagine double the touchdowns in 2010 from Witten, along with the usual plus yardage.

But then there's Celek, the BFF of new QB Kevin Kolb. He's young. He's downright funny -- his Twitter account is a win. He's a security blanket for a young passer in an offense that sometimes throws it 2 out of every 3 plays. There's every possibility that he could be the #1 tight end in fantasy this year -- and no matter what, that won't be Wittten. Or he could crumble under added attention, get cuckolded by Kolb feeding the speedy wideouts, suffer at the hands of sneaky big and good possession wideout Jason Avant, or lose looks to credible looking back up tight end Cornelius Ingram. Championships aren't won by the timid, or by the people who get blinded by their favorite laundry.

4) Reggie Wayne or Calvin Johnson. Your second round wideout pick comes down to two guys who didn't help anyone win last year. On the one hand, you have last year's news Wayne, who seems primed to give up attention to new kids like Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and maybe even the perpetually injured Anthony Gonzalez. So the floor is there, but the ceiling is not, and in the second round, drafting guys with no ceiling is simply No Fun. Megatron has got ceiling to spare, with perhaps the best talent in the league and the chance to be all that and a bag of touchdowns. But he also still has an inaccurate QB, a team that can't protect the inaccurate QB, and the immortal Nate Burleson on the other side to (try to) keep the opposing defense from quadruple-teaming him again, like last year.

3) Brandon Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw. Big Blue looks like they will get back to running the football and punching people in the mouth this year, especially if the defense actually tries and they have a lead to protect. So that points you to Jacobs, who should get a ton of chances from in close... except that he's fumble and injury prone, rarely does anything in the passing game, and might not have as good of a power running offensive line as advertised.

Door number two is Bradshaw, who has the Derrick Ward role of looking better than he probably is in comparison with the plowhorse... but his ankles were a mess last year as well, and you've got a history of off-the-field issues as well. The single most likely experience is a fairly equivalent timeshare, which also means that if/when either gets hurt, you either win the lottery or the flush.

2) Johnny Knox or Devin Aromashodu. The role of Favored Wideout for Jay Cutler is supposed to be a good one this year, seeing as Mike Martz is supposed to make everything all better. With Knox, you get the speed; with Aromashodu, you get better hands and more effectiveness in traffic. The latter seems like a better bet in fantasy, since touchdowns are a big damn deal... but even in a Martz offense, given the talent that is here, you have to think there will be some looks for tight ends Desmond Clark and (especially) Greg Olsen, and it's not as if Matt Forte and Chester Taylor won't get some balls, too. Realistically, whoever you pick here is going to be an inconsistent play. Toss your dart and hope.

1) Kevin Kolb or Donovan McNabb. And here's the granddaddy of 'em all. As an Eagles fan, this one should be easy for me: go with the hometown laundry, live with his mistakes, and know that you'll likely die a noble death. Wait, that's not actually easy, is it? Kolb's got 4000 yards, but also 15 to 20 picks, written all over him. There will also be some clearly tough days coming on road games in a murderous division, and the spectre of Once Again Quick Vick to cuckold him at the goal line.

But the ceiling is Aaron Rodgers. That needs to count for something, right?

Going near his position in average drafts, just near enough to make things interesting? Why, it's our old friend Five McNabb, clearly motivated like no one's business, and playing for a team who is going to want to goose his numbers up to make sure that he's happy enough to sign a contract extension, rather than test the market. If only he had an offensive line, wideouts, or the wheels he had, oh, five to ten years ago. Or the certain knowledge that his ire at showing Andy Reid who's muy macho will overcome the fact that he's aging and injury prone. There's also no chance of a Vickectomy, of course. Or a breakout.

If you'd like to add your own in the comments, feel free. Or just ignore the sword.

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