Brandon Jacobs

“Turkey Bowl Heroes” fantasy football draft recap

Turkey Bowl Heroes is the name of one of my fantasy football leagues. Well, not mine, but I’m in it. I have no idea what the name is actually referring to, since I’m kind of late to the party. This is only my second season in this league, so I’m just going to guess the name has to do with some time the majority of the league played mud football on Thanksgiving several years ago. You know, just like that Friends episode where Monica and Ross got all insane on each other and…

Wait, what am I doing? This is probably the first time in the history of this column I’ve ever felt old. I mean, that Friends part was really dated, right? And I don’t even like Friends that much. I mean, Chesty McChesterson (or whatever it was) was funny, and Chandler and Joey did live with a duck, but the only sitcom in history that benefited from having a laugh track more than Friends was The Brady Bunch.

Anyway, in my rookie season in Turkey Bowl Heroes, I won the championship. Not only did I win enough cash to buy two weeks’ worth of groceries (or one night out at the bars in San Francisco, take your pick…I won’t tell you which I chose), I also earned the opportunity to break down the live draft we had on Sunday morning.

At 8 am.

Yep, we chose our fantasy teams at 8 am, which marked the first time coffee and an english muffin were my draft-time refreshments. Instead of sausages, chips and…um…Gatorade. This is also an interesting fantasy league in terms of positions you have to fill. Every week, along with the standard QB, TE, K and Def, we have to start 1 RB, 2 WR’s, 1 WR/RB and 1 WR/TE. So if you don’t pick enough decent wide receivers and/or tight ends in this league, your completely screwed.

OK, enough smalltalk. If you’ve read this far, you’re either a fantasy sports addict or you’re in this league and you want to see how much I mocked your team. And since we already went back to the 1990’s with Friends, let’s analyze these picks with a little help from C&C Music Factory:

1st Pick: Cheese Prob. Solved

1. (1) Adrian Peterson
2. (24) Steve Smith
3. (25) Ronnie Brown
4. (48) Tony Romo
5. (49) Santana Moss
6. (72) Jerricho Cotchery
7. (73) Donald Brown
8. (96) Tony Scheffler
9. (97) Tennessee
10. (120) Trent Edwards
11. (121) Michael Crabtree
12. (144) Kris Brown
13. (145) Willis McGahee
14. (168) Mark Bradley
15. (169) Carolina

Value Pick: Steve Smith — The eighth receiver chosen, Smith had the fifth-most fantasy points of any WR last season.

Pick that made you go “hmmm”: Kris Brown — 187 Eric Karabells couldn’t explain to me why it’s a good idea to draft a kicker anywhere besides the last round.

Summary: Not too many worries here, except maybe WR depth. Cheese later swapped out Kris Brown for Matt Prater and dropped his second defense and picked up Derrius Heyward-Bey, marking perhaps the only time this summer that somebody not from the Bay Area drafted both Crabby and DHB.

2nd Pick: Theisman’s Tibia

1. (2) Matt Forte
2. (23) Calvin Johnson
3. (26) Roddy White
4. (47) Philip Rivers
5. (50) Larry Johnson
6. (71) Donnie Avery
7. (74) Owen Daniels
8. (95) Derrick Mason
9. (98) Felix Jones
10. (119) Chester Taylor
11. (122) Matt Hasselbeck
12. (143) Miles Austin
13. (146) Miami
14. (167) Chris Henry
15. (170) Nick Folk

Value Pick: Matt Hasselbeck — Dude’s fragile, but he’s talented, and the Seahawks got real stale after Mike Holmgren let it slip that he’d rather be running a muffin bakery with his wife than coaching football.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Larry Johnson — I don’t blame the Tibber for going after other needs after getting Matt Forte, but Johnson could be on the train to Travis Henry-ville due to his off-the-field idiocy, or he could end up being the next Shaun Alexander due to the amount of carries he’s had over the past three years. LJ’s done it before, but there were at least five surer bets here.

Summary: Top heavy. This team has a rude, potentially dominant starting lineup…and a ton of questions on the bench. No backup tight end, and the No. 2 wideouts consist of Donnie Avery, Derrick “I really wish my teammates would have let me retire” Mason, Miles Austin and Chris “Hoping for his first suspension-free season since Pop Warner” Henry.

3rd Pick: Wannstaches

1. (3) Maurice Jones-Drew
2. (22) Peyton Manning
3. (27) Vincent Jackson
4. (46) Julius Jones
5. (51) Anthony Gonzalez
6. (70) Dallas Clark
7. (75) Ted Ginn Jr.
8. (94) Chicago
9. (99) Stephen Gostkowski
10. (118) Ben Roethlisberger
11. (123) Visanthe Shiancoe
12. (142) San Diego
13. (147) Adam Vinatieri
14. (166) Ricky Williams
15. (171) Jerious Norwood

Value Pick: Anthony Gonzalez — No more Marvin Harrison, a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, and he’s really, really good.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Julius Jones — The fact I’m picking this guy when Wannstaches also drafted two kickers and two team defenses tells you what I think of J.J. Of course most of this fantasy league lives in or around Seattle, so that might explain this choice a little.

Summary: If the 2009 Colts’ offense is as good as the 2007 Patriots, we’re looking at a potential title candidate here. Only issue I see is a pretty shallow group of receivers. And again, why draft two kickers? They’re all the same, folks. The FA pile is your friend.

4th Pick: Revenge of Gap Tooth

1. (4) Michael Turner
2. (21) Tom Brady
3. (28) Marion Barber
4. (45) Santonio Holmes
5. (52) Tony Gonzalez
6. (69) Bernard Berrian
7. (76) New York
8. (93) Michael Jenkins
9. (100) Jeremy Shockey
10. (117) Ahmad Bradshaw
11. (124) Steve Smith
12. (141) Kyle Orton
13. (148) David Akers
14. (165) Sammy Morris
15. (172) Darius Walker

Value Pick: Michael Turner — Man, I wish I had the 4th pick. Turner was the reason I won this league last year. AP’s nice, but I prefer dominant RB’s who play every week and score copious amounts of touchdowns. Call me crazy.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: New York — Apparently this team’s name is referring to Michael Strahan, as the Giants were the first team defense drafted (and only defense chosen until 18 picks later, when Wannstaches chose Chicago…and no, you can’t predict every team’s draft picks based on the name of their squad).

Summary: There’s a lot of NY Giants love here, which makes the Brady pick seem so weird. The Shockey/Bradshaw/Smith streak showed this team’s true colors (yeah, I know Shockey’s a Saint). Still, Brady could battle Drew Brees for top QB honors, Turner is a beast and Tony Gonzalez was the best TE in the league last year. Either Holmes or Berrian has to outperform their career averages for this team’s WR corps to be considered anything better than average.

5th pick: Flying Squirrels

1. (5) Steven Jackson
2. (20) Reggie Wayne
3. (29) Aaron Rodgers
4. (44) Chad Ochocinco
5. (53) Knowshon Moreno
6. (68) Darren McFadden
7. (77) Matt Ryan
8. (92) John Carlson
9. (101) Percy Harvin
10. (116) Willie Parker
11. (125) Rashard Mendenhall
12. (140) Seattle
13. (149) Hakeem Nicks
14. (164) New Orleans
15. (173) Mason Crosby

Value Pick: Matt Ryan — The commish really struck gold here, as the quarterback position was pretty much ignored after Donovan McNabb was chosen (by yours truly) with the ninth pick of the fifth round. With the addition of Tony Gonzalez, Ryan should could conceivably be better than McNabb, Kurt Warner and Phillip Rivers this year.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Tie: Seattle and New Orleans: Can’t find fault with the offense, but if you’re going to pick two defenses, why grab the 6th and 8th-worst scoring defenses from 2008?

Summary: Lots of nice picks here (including a TON of RB upside with Moreno and McFadden, especially if the latter can somehow survive being a member of a team whose coach pulled a bizarro LaTrell Sprewell), but there’s a couple worrisome things about the offense. Carlson’s a nice TE, but he has no backup. The receiving corps is pretty shallow after Wayne and Ochocinco, unless Percy Harvin dominates from the start. Since we drafted the Squirrels dropped Hakeem Nicks for Laurent Robinson of the Rams — pretty much a lateral move. Child, please.

6th pick: War Cologne

1. (6) Frank Gore
2. (19) Brandon Jacobs
3. (30) Dwayne Bowe
4. (43) Antonio Gates
5. (54) Braylon Edwards
6. (67) Eddie Royal
7. (78) Matt Schaub
8. (91) Jamal Lewis
9. (102) Lance Moore
10. (115) Zach Miller
11. (126) Joe Flacco
12. (139) Philadelphia
13. (150) Ryan Longwell
14. (163) Fred Jackson
15. (174) Kevin Curtis

Value Pick: Zach Miller — If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m of the mind that TE and WR depth is absolutely paramount in a league with this kind of lineup formation. And Miller, by far the best receiver on the Raiders’ roster, is only going to get better. If JaMarcus goes down and Jeff Garcia replaces him, he might even add some touchdowns to all those yards (the Schaub pick gets honorable mention, especially if he can stay healthy).

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Braylon Edwards — The reason why this team’s owner changed the squad’s name from “Deon Figures” to “War Cologne,” Edwards was thought to be an amazing pick last summer. This summer, not so much. Edwards has got the whole Jamal Anderson syndrome working — he’s a little too worried about his off-field endeavors (acting, modeling, etc.) at this stage in his career. I’d rather have Cologne’s sixth round pick (Royal) than Edwards.

Summary: This is a nice team, but not one anybody will really fear — on paper, anyway. If Frank Gore’s as good as the Niners’ beat writers have been saying there’s a chance for this team to do some damage, but Gore’s really the only explosive talent here (and he hasn’t been an elite fantasy back since 2006). Still, there’s a lot of decent talent here, so War Cologne may be able to sneak up on some people (even if we can smell his team before they come into the room).

7th pick: Jupiter’s Crown

1. (7) LaDainian Tomlinson
2. (18) Marques Colston
3. (31) Anquan Boldin
4. (42) Wes Welker
5. (55) Ray Rice
6. (66) Jonathan Stewart
7. (79) Carson Palmer
8. (90) Donald Driver
9. (103) Pittsburgh
10. (114) Vernon Davis
11. (127) Jake Delhomme
12. (138) Heath Miller
13. (151) Shonn Greene
14. (162) Nate Kaeding
15. (175) Chaz Schilens

Value pick: Wes Welker — Someone even mentioned how weird it was that Welker hadn’t been chosen yet about three picks before Jupiter’s pick him. Almost 1,200 yards last year negated his inability to get into the end zone (3 TD’s), and now Brady’s back. More touchdowns in his future? You bet.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Marques Colston — I think Colston’s better than his final stats from last year (760 yds, 5 TD’s) indicated, too. But picking him over Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith and Roddy White? Risky move.

Summary: Regardless of the Colston pick, this team is deep at the receiver spots and solid at TE. But where are the running backs? This isn’t 2005, when you could pick LT and just consider anything else you get at RB gravy. Including Tomlinson, there isn’t one guy on this roster you can count on to be a premier lead back all season. Still, in this league, weaker-than-average RB’s can be masked. Colston better play like he did in the second half of last year all season for that to happen, though.

8th pick: Flint Tropics

1. (8) Brian Westbrook
2. (17) Clinton Portis
3. (32) Joseph Addai
4. (41) Brandon Marshall
5. (56) Kurt Warner
6. (65) Hines Ward
7. (80) Lee Evans
8. (89) Chris Cooley
9. (104) Baltimore
10. (113) Rob Bironas
11. (128) Cedric Benson
12. (137) David Garrard
13. (152) Dustin Keller
14. (161) Mark Clayton
15. (176) Nate Washington

Value Pick: Clinton Portis — Once again, an entire fantasy league will end up wondering how Portis lasted as long as he did. He’s like the Tim Duncan of fantasy football, with everyone waiting for the inevitable downfall that just won’t come.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Rob Bironas — A kicker in the 11th round? And you were doing so well!

Summary: Premature kick-pick aside, I really, really like this team. A high-upside QB with a steady backup, plenty of solid RB’s, and a decent WR corps (especially for how long it took him to start picking receivers). If Marshall quits on the Broncos (a possibility, especially with Kyle Orton replacing Jay Cutler), his receivers will be shaky. If he does his normal Marshall thing on the field (dominate), this is one of the best and deepest teams in the league.

9th pick: Haley’s Hand Comets (BASG)

1. (9) Larry Fitzgerald
2. (16) Chris Johnson
3. (33) Kevin Smith
4. (40) Jason Witten
5. (57) Donovan McNabb
6. (64) Marshawn Lynch
7. (81) Kevin Walter
8. (88) Chris Wells
9. (105) Matt Cassel
10. (112) Josh Morgan
11. (129) Darren Sproles
12. (136) Torry Holt
13. (153) Kevin Boss
14. (160) New England
15. (177) Joe Nedney

Value Pick: Marshawn Lynch — Last year, he was a top-15 pick (although he ultimately disappointed, tying Frank Gore for 14th in fantasy points among RB’s). This year he falls to the sixth round, only because he’s going to miss the first three games due to suspension. I don’t know about you, but I’m more worried about weeks 14-16 than weeks 1-3.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Donovan McNabb — He tied Matt Cassel for 7th in QB fantasy points, but that had a lot to do with injuries to Tom Brady and Tony Romo. It’s not that McNabb sucks, but when I saw Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub (two guys who could conceivably outscore Michael Vick’s new mentor this season) go two rounds after I took McNabb, my heart sunk a little.

Summary: I’m fairly happy with my team, except the receiver situation. I don’t know what I was thinking; I guess since I had Fitzgerald (the most talented receiver in the NFL at the moment), I figured I could just ignore the position for a while. Well, that led to me only getting three other receivers in what has to be a receiver-heavy lineup based on the league settings. If Kevin Walter falters, Josh Morgan doesn’t make the leap and Torry Holt doesn’t go back to being Torry Holt, I’m pretty much screwed at WR.

10th pick: Ditka’s Mustache

1. (10) Randy Moss
2. (15) Andre Johnson
3. (34) Pierre Thomas
4. (39) T.J. Houshmandzadeh
5. (58) Greg Olsen
6. (63) Jay Cutler
7. (82) Derrick Ward
8. (87) LeSean McCoy
9. (106) Devin Hester
10. (111) Minnesota
11. (130) Tim Hightower
12. (135) Domenik Hixon
13. (154) Brent Celek
14. (159) Earnest Graham
15. (178) Leon Washington

Value Pick: Andre Johnson — In this league, you can’t blame the other “stache” for taking two receivers in the first two rounds, and Johnson is arguably a better choice than Moss, who has to start fading at some point (plus, everybody’s way too eager to believe the Pats will have the same offense they did in 2007; in the NFL a year off is an eternity both for a QB and an offense). Johnson’s a beast, the guy led the league in receiving yards with 1,575 (144 more than Fitzgerald), and he only scored 8 TD’s. A few more TD’s this year and he could be this league’s MVP.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: T.J. Houshmandzadeh — Here’s Who’syourmama’s yds-per-catch since 2004: 13.4, 12.3, 12.0, 10.2, 9.8. He’s still a tough possession receiver, but he was 31st among WR’s in fantasy points last season (finishing 10 pts behind Isaac Bruce, of all people). He shouldn’t have been the 16th receiver chosen, especially on a team that already grabbed two stud receivers in the first three rounds — regardless of how much fun it is to say his name.

Summary: Fantastic receiving corps (including TE’s), but only one QB and legit starting RB means Ditka’s probably going to have to explore the wonderful world of fantasy trades (actually, I just realized Ditka has already dropped Leon Washington and picked up his former teammate, Brett Favre). If either Derrick Ward or Earnest Graham take control of the Tampa Bay situation, things are looking up. If not, relying this much on Pierre Thomas could hurt.

11th pick: Texas Terminators

1. (11) Steve Slaton
2. (14) Greg Jennings
3. (35) Ryan Grant
4. (38) Roy Williams
5. (59) LenDale White
6. (62) DeSean Jackson
7. (83) Eli Manning
8. (86) Kellen Winslow
9. (107) Dallas
10. (110) Deion Branch
11. (131) Le’Ron McClain
12. (134) Steve Breaston
13. (155) Chad Pennington
14. (158) Garrett Hartley
15. (179) Davone Bess

Value Pick: (tie) DeSean Jackson/Steve Breaston/Davone Bess — This was probably the toughest “Value Pick” to narrow down, so that’s why I’m cheating. Why? Because all three guys outscored Roy Williams last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they all outscored him again this year.

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Roy Williams — I guess it was pretty obvious this would be the choice based on the last paragraph. I know Williams was on an awful Detroit team and never really got comfortable with Tony Romo last year, but he also looked like he had lost about two steps, or at least 1.5. Will he go the Houshmandzadeh route and turn into a possession receiver, or will he be the Comeback Player of the Year? I’m not sure, but 38th overall is too soon when Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker were both available.

Summary: Lots of receiver depth, not much depth at running back. In this league, that’s probably the way to go. If LenDale’s new Patron-free lifestyle translates to more than the 700+ yards he had last year (along with his ridiculous 15 TD’s), this team will definitely be a contender, regardless of how Williams performs.

12th pick: Atomic Jake

1. (12) DeAngelo Williams
2. (13) Drew Brees
3. (36) Antonio Bryant
4. (37) Terrell Owens
5. (60) Thomas Jones
6. (61) Reggie Bush
7. (84) Laveranues Coles
8. (85) Anthony Fasano
9. (108) Muhsin Muhammad
10. (109) Jason Elam
11. (132) Nate Burleson
12. (133) Chris Chambers
13. (156) New York
14. (157) Brian Robiskie
15. (180) Earl Bennett

Value pick: Thomas Jones — Everyone seems to think the guy’s going to tank this year, but over the past four seasons he’s averaged 1,244 yds and 8 TD’s (and that’s only because he scored only twice in 2007, when the Jets as a team only had 6 rushing TD’s and were forced to upgrade their o-line after the season).

Pick that makes you go “hmmm”: Reggie Bush — Two knee surgeries (including a microfracture procedure after going on IR in December), permanent 3rd-down-back status and way too much Kim Kardashian b.s. I don’t like my fantasy backs being permanent fixtures on If he wanted a scat-back that badly, Jake should have gone for Darren McFadden there.

Summary: Getting 2008’s best player in fantasy with the 12th pick overall was a pretty nice get, especially since there’s no reason to believe Carolina will run any less than they did last year (especially near the end of the season, when they were just steamrolling teams). There aren’t any noticeable holes on this squad, but age could be a factor at WR.

Cheese Prob. Solved
1. (1) Adrian Peterson
2. (24) Steve Smith
3. (25) Ronnie Brown
4. (48) Tony Romo
5. (49) Santana Moss
6. (72) Jerricho Cotchery
7. (73) Donald Brown
8. (96) Tony Scheffler
9. (97) Tennessee
10. (120) Trent Edwards
11. (121) Michael Crabtree
12. (144) Kris Brown
13. (145) Willis McGahee
14. (168) Mark Bradley
15. (169) Carolina
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