Part 1: “Draft Day”
Because I am a rash and unwise person, I have chosen to play a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) fantasy football entry this week composed entirely of former Badgers.
I have never played DFS before in my life, for reasons mostly related to an overwhelming desire not to light my money on fire and throw it into the closest sewer grate. I am a bit of a fantasy obsessive and have some decent credentials—I won two football leagues last season and a baseball league this season (#flagsflyforever). But I am easily confused and loathe losing money, so I’ve steered clear of the whole DFS phenomenon.
In this case, however, I am happy to make an exception. The idea, on its face, sounded like fun, a sentiment quickly
egged on by concurred upon by my esteemed Bucky’s 5th Quarter colleagues. In pro sports, you more often than not “root for laundry,” pulling for guys (or gals—let’s go, Connecticut Whale) who happen to wear the uniform of the team that you, by virtue of birth, adolescent bandwagon jumping, marriage or sheer bad luck, have adopted as your own. Sometimes you develop a rooting interest for a player that, while related to their participation in your team, is also based on their personality, playing style, personal style or playinality (see, e.g., Aaron Rodgers). But more often than not, our pro sports rooting is based on the clothes, not the player.
When it comes to former Badgers, I root for them, even when they play on a team that I loathe (see, e.g., Travis Frederick playing well on a Cowboys team I’d prefer just to launch into the sun). After watching them succeed (and if they are playing Sunday football, succeed they did) for four years, I want to continue seeing them do well. So taking that sunny desire to see former UW players succeed and combining it with fantasy OCD seemed like a perfect match.
The path forward is pretty straight. The team options, come to find out, are quite limited as, tragically, one cannot draft offensive linemen in DFS (credit to the B5Q writer who pointed this out approximately 3.2 seconds after I pitched the idea). Since the skill position players lineup is about one-deep, my draft decisions were fairly limited, making drafting a breeze. My team is as follows:
- Quarterback: Russell Wilson. A no-brainer (sorry Scott Tolzein and Joel Stave).
- Running Back 1: Melvin Gordon. Flash has bounced back in a big way this year. This is going great.
- Running Back 2: James White. Still chugging along strong, White has been solid for New England. Totally legit, high-upside RB2.
- Wide Receiver 1: Tanner McEvoy. Hrrrrmmm...
- Wide Receiver 2: Alex Erickson. Yeah, ok...
Wide Receiver 3: Jared Abbrederis. Abby is questionable for Thursday’s game with a quad. Options behind him are
non-existentlimited, so we roll with it.
First of all, it is CRAZY that there are more former Badger wide receivers (2.5) than running backs (2) that are DFS-eligible. That said, from an all-time great Badger wideout (and safety?) perspective, this threesome is actually quite excellent. From an expected-success-this week-in-fantasy standpoint? Well... let’s just say that I am cautiously optimistic—with more focus on one than the other.
- Tight End: Lance Kendricks. I fully expected a wide range of low-floor, high-ceiling tight ends who could potentially poach a touchdown or three in the right matchup. Someone like Garrett Graham or Owen Daniels. However, it quickly became clear after speaking with my more wizened B5Q colleagues that I perhaps am not as up-to-date on my NFL rosters as I once was. However, Kendricks (186 yards, one touch in 2016) came to my rescue. Thanks, Lance.
- Kicker: Mason Crosby. There are no Badgers kickers in the NFL (yet—I am 300 percent sure Rafael Gaglianone is going to play Sunday football). Did you know that there are FOUR Florida State kickers on NFL rosters (Roberto Aguayo, Graham Gano, someone named Dustin Hopkins and Sebastian Janikowski)??! That information is simply stunning. I thought that Florida State was where kickers went to miss field goals of moderate importance. Anyway, I didn’t find anything in my extremely serious and comprehensive research, so I went ahead and took the Packer.
Defense: Philadelphia Eagles. Since J.J. Watt is down, I decided before I looked at rosters that I would find the team(s) with the most Badgers and choose from those. Philadelphia has Beau Allen and Chris Maragos on its roster. They’ll be the choice, as they conveniently match up with Minnesota. And I
hateam not a fan of Minnesota.
Ladies and gentlemen, here are your 2016 Inglorious Badgers. These proud warriors will take the field of battle one-on-one against an anonymous, randomly chosen opponent this week on a major DFS site. The wager: one good ol’ American greenback.
We’ll reconvene next week for Part 2: “Aftermath.”
Some Brief Thoughts Regarding The Ohio State Game
Smarter folks than I have broken down last week’s heartbreaker against the the Buckeyes much better than I can, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief. This is a really good Badgers team. With better second-half execution and approximately 37 percent fewer missed holding calls, the Badgers could have won that game. But hat’s off to OSU and J.T. Barrett. They made big plays when they needed to and came out of Camp Randall with a hard-fought win. The Buckeyes are a talented team and the Michigan-Ohio State game this year should be a classic.
I would love (lovelovelovelove) to see either Michigan or Ohio State again in the Big Ten title game. It’s going to be hard to get there, insofar as it is really hard to run off six straight Big Ten wins on a slate that includes road games at Iowa and (for the Badgers, at least) Northwestern, and home games against a top-10 Nebraska and Minnesota. But it is my sincere hope to see the Badgers get another crack at one of the big boys from the East, particularly with a healthy Vince Biegel and a more experienced Alex Hornibrook.