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Arizona Sports Fantasy Football Host League: Draft grades aplenty

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Football season. The best season. The only season. And then there is fantasy football. If the start of the NFL and college football is like Christmas, fantasy football is like opening up presents on Christmas morning. Sitting down with your friends, trash talking and drafting your fantasy team just might be the most fun you can have outside of actually playing football. Well, maybe not — OK fine!

Tuesday night, 14 brave souls from 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station drafted their teams, even if some of them didn’t want to. They came, they drafted, but who will conquer?

I will be forcing my opinion on them and making up team names for the 14 hooligans that call themselves team owners. Let’s begin!

Draft order and team names:

1) Erin Maloney – Guns n Rosens
2) Doug Franz – Ayton Nothin But a Suns Thing
3) Ron Wolfley – Team Wolf
4) Paul Calvisi – Team Calvisi
5) Dan Bickley – Breaking Bradford
6) Vince Marotta – *redacted*
7) Jarrett Carlen – Willy Gronka and the Chocolate Factory
8) Jordan Byrd – Team Byrd
9) John Gambadoro – Team Gambo
10) Dave Burns – Team Burns
11) Luke Lapinski – Team Lapinksi
12) Eddie House – Yoooo… !Don’t Be Mad!
13) Max Starks – Kiss My Converse
14) Jay Feely – Penny For Your Thoughts

Let’s break down each team’s picks.

Erin Maloney, Oregon Duck and Cover

QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: David Johnson/Kenyan Drake
WR: Jarvis Landry/Chris Hogan/Robert Woods
TE: David Njoku
FLEX: Michael Crabtree
K: Stephen Gostkowski
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers
Bench: Cameron Meredith/DeSean Jackson/Nyheim Hines/Peyton Barber/O.J. Howard

Breakdown: For the first pick in the draft, the Arizona Sports Twitter poll selects … Erin Maloney! And Bickley goes WILD! Let’s face the fact here, Maloney led off with the most homer of a home run and you can’t argue against it, Johnson is set to have a monster year. Here’s the question though: did she just draft TWO Browns? This Browns fan says, bless ‘em! Maloney’s starting lineup is solid and set for the playoffs, but will her lack of a backup quarterback and running back depth come to haunt her like the 2015 National Champion game? Only time will tell.

Draft Score: B+

Doug Franz, You Done Drafted A-A-YTON

QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Le’Veon Bell/Ty Montgomery
WR: Davante Adams/Adam Thielen/Golden Tate
TE: Kyle Rudolph
FLEX: Will Fuller V
K: Will Lutz
D/ST: New England Patriots
Bench: Rob Kelley/Devontae Booker/Theo Riddick/John Brown/Donte Moncrief

Breakdown: When did Doug Franz become a Packers fan? In drafting a trio Packers, Doug guaranteed himself a first-round exit of the playoffs, but the combo of Rodgers and Adams should put up big points week in and week out. And who isn’t hooked on Thielen? Dude is a PPR golden child. After Bell, his running back depth drops off quicker than Vince’s weight. Let’s hope Doug plays the waiver wire and grabs some diamonds in the rough. I love the Lutz pick at kicker. He should average close to double-digit points weekly. Nothing special jumps out to me with the bench, either. Riddick can perhaps be a great bye week filler but it’s mostly just a pile of “meh.” Invest in cheese, pray for cheddar.

Draft Score: B

Ron Wolfley, No Orchard Parking on the Dance Floor

QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Todd Gurley III/Marshawn Lynch
WR: Larry Fitzgerald/T.Y. Hilton/Alshon Jeffery
TE: Delanie Walker
FLEX: Randall Cobb
K: Matt Bryant
D/ST: Philadelphia Eagles
Bench: Giovani Bernard/Alex Smith/Dez Bryant/Jordan Wilkins/Cortland Sutton

Breakdown: Wolf tapped into the Rage Tree walked away with a solid team. Nothing pretty, but solid like a fullback. I love the starting wide receivers. Each will receive a bulk of their team’s targets and targets equal fantasy awesomeness. I would have been more critical on the Luck pick but Wolf totally redeemed himself with drafting 2017 top 5 fantasy quarterback Alex Smith, well played. Walker is poised to have another fantastic season and let’s face it: Gurley, even with a downtick in points from last year, will still be a top 5 running back. I like this team. Wolf might have pleased the fantasy gods, let’s just hope they return the favor.

Draft Score: A-

Paul Calvisi, My Dumpster Fire Has A First Name, it’s P-A-U-L

QB: Deshaun Watson
RB: Alvin Kamara/James White
WR: Stefon Diggs/Pierre Garcon/Michael Gallup
TE: Jimmy Graham
FLEX: Greg Olsen
K: Greg Zuerlein
D/ST: Los Angeles Rams
Bench: Philip Rivers/Nick Chubb/Dante Pettis/James Connor/Cole Beasley

Breakdown: I want to like this team. I want to root for this team. This team feels like it was created by Charlie Day and there’s red string everywhere. This double tight end combo is causing me to get all Wolf on the grassy knoll. Smart move. Calvisi took a good risk with Watson but will drafting him so high hurt his depth? Chubb might be a good draft and stash as his touches will go up later in the season. White was a steal but the Patriots are so unpredictable with how they use their running backs that it could be a liability. Beasley will get you some good points and is a great pick in the last round. This is such a good dumpster fire, a lovely dumpster fire, a dumpster fire you should be proud of.

Draft Score: B+

Dan Bickley, I Hate My Team and I Don’t Hair Who Knows It

QB: Jimmy Garopplo
RB: Derrick Henry/Rex Burkhead
WR: Antonio Brown/Emmanuel Sanders/Danny Amendola
TE: Jake Butt
FLEX: Mark Ingram II
K: Matt Prater
D/ST: Atlanta Falcons
Bench: Carlos Hyde/Chase Edmonds/Josh Rosen/Mike Williams/Sam Darnold

Breakdown: He might play rhythm guitar and he might hate his team but no Jake Butts about it, Bick’s team rocks. Bick just might have the best running back depth in the league. Drafting Mark Ingram and Carlos Hyde will get you some great red zone touches and double-digit touchdowns. Great handcuff pick in Edmonds too. Smart move, you homer! Scoring Brown at the fifth spot is like opening up for Led Zeppelin at Wembley. The only question mark is your tight end spot. Butt is unproven and you will need to secure a solid backup on the waiver wire. As stated on the Greatest Radio Show, you aren’t married to your three quarterbacks so maybe seek out a trade partner when Darnold or Rosen start throwing up numbers. You might not like your team, but I do, and that’s what really counts.

Draft Score: A

Vince Marotta, *redacted*

QB: Russell Wilson
RB: Ezekiel Elliot/Joe Mixon
WR: Allen Robinson/Cooper Kupp/Sammy Watkins
TE: Jack Doyle
FLEX: Jordan Howard
K: Dan Bailey
D/ST: Baltimore Ravens
Bench: Marqise Lee/John Ross/Frank Gore/Antonio Callaway/Baker Mayfield

Breakdown: This team doesn’t suck. It’s like losing that weight gave Vinnie Joe clairvoyance into the fantasy fourth dimension. He stuck to his guns and went running back with the first 3 picks while still securing a top 10 quarterback and tight end. Vince’s wide receivers aren’t that pretty but they will score in double digits consistently and that’s what wins championships. The bench looks good too. It’s like he actually listed to Eric Karabell. Despite losing a ton of weight, he won’t be losing too many matchups this season. Expect a playoff run, maybe even receiving a golden trophy from yours truly.

Draft Score: A+

Jarrett Carlen, Josh Rosen’s Much Hairier Twin

QB: Marcus Mariota
RB: LeSean McCoy/Ronald Jones
WR: Julio Jones/JuJu Smith-Schuster/Devin Funchess
TE: Tyler Eifert
FLEX: Duke Johnson Jr.
K: Jake Elliot
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals
Bench: Sony Michel/Josh Doctson/Allen Hurns/Jeremy Hill/Ted Ginn Jr

Breakdown: Something about this team screams Jarret Carlen. Seems like a hot mess of meshuga but it might just work. Jones should score far more touchdowns than last season and McCoy never ages. I like this combo. Mariota, I believe, will have a top 10 season. He’s poised to breakout. Johnson was the 11th overall running back last season and now he has a good quarterback to work with, making him a potential sneaky-good pick. Speaking of sneaky, Ginn always ends up in the end zone. This team is like Carlen’s shirts: Ugly as sin and worthy of the trash but for some reason, since it’s Carlen, it works.

Draft Score: B+

Jordan Byrd, President and CEO of the Matt Leinart Fan Club

QB: Jared Goff
RB: Saquon Barkley/Lamar Miller
WR: Mike Evans/Corey Davis/Kelvin Benjamin
TE: Rob Gronkowski
FLEX: Tarik Cohen
K: Daniel Carlson
D/ST: Tennessee Titans
Bench: Kenny Stills/Chris Thompson/Derek Carr/C.J. Anderson/Chris Goodwin

Breakdown: Things that make you go “hmmmm.” Despite drafting Gronk in the 2nd round, Jordan still ended up with Evans and Miller. Sometimes it pays to draft in the middle spot. What I like is the back-to-back quarterback picks. Either are interchangeable based on matchups and Goff is poised to take a big step up. Drafting an injured Thompson to stash is a nice play and he should be a number one back, once healthy. Cohen gives some added flex appeal but let’s see if Stills and Davis step up and catch some freaking passes. I think an angry Benjamin will lead to more points even with whoever the heck is slinging the football up there in Orchard Park.

Draft Score: B

John Gambadoro, *Dueling Gambos voice*

QB: Matt Ryannnn
RB: Jerick McKinnonnn/Dion Leeewis
WR: Odell Beckham Junyaa/Josh Gordonnn/Jamison Crowdaaa
TE: Travis Kelceeee
FLEX: Chris Caaarsonn
K: Robbie Gouuuld
D/ST: Denvaa Broncos
Bench: Caaalvin Ridleyyy/Kirk Cousinnns/Latavilus Murrayyy/An-tony Millaa/George Kittlllle/

Breakdown: He has a golden leg, but will Gambo have a golden team and will he hoist the golden trophy? Of course, he drafts Beckham in the first round but then Gambo adds some serious threats with McKinnon, Kelce, Lewis, Carson and Matty Ice. For the biggest question mark: Flash Gordon. Gambo is betting on the reformed wide receivers playing like his 2014 season and destroying the league. Hell, as a Browns fan, I want that too. I like this team. The depth is good, the risk is moderate but tolerable and it’s much better than Gambo’s singing.

Draft Score: B+

Dave Burns, The Legend of Gray Beard the Magnificent

QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB: Dalvin Cook/Tevin Coleman
WR: Keenan Allen/Tyreek Hill/Brandin Cooks
TE: Charles Clay
FLEX: Isaiah Crowell
K: Graham Gano
D/ST: Los Angeles Chargers
Bench: Marquise Goodwin/Kerryon Johnson/Nelson Agholor/Mohamed Sanu/Ryan Grant

Breakdown: He might be visiting every ballpark for his bucket list, but Burnsy is looking forward to a playoff run behind the cannon-armed Mahomes and the human speedsters Cook and Hill. This team has some pizazz, especially at starting wide receiver, and the bench can easily fill in on bye weeks and score in the double digits. This is a smartly drafted team. With a gray beard, comes great wisdom, it seems. I would advise a waiver wire addition at quarterback and tight end but something about this team make me feel like saying, “playoffs baby, we ganna do some damage!”

Draft Score: A-

Luke Lapinski, When Does H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Season Begin?

QB: Cam Newton
RB: Melvin Gordon/Alex Collins
WR: A.J. Green/Marvin Jones Jr/Sterling Shepard
TE: Jordan Reed
FLEX: Royce Freeman
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: New Orleans Saints
Bench: Jamaal Williams/Doug Martin/Christian Kirk/D.J. Moore/Sam Bradford

Breakdown: Newton is such an odd duck but the man scores points, specifically rushing touchdowns which are worth two more points than passing touchdowns. Green is the only good thing about Cincinnati and will sit in the top 5 this season. After Gordon, there are some consistency concerns at the running back position but the depth from Lapinski’s bench could be a saving grace. I really want Reed to play well but he is more injured than Gronk. Cross your fingers. Jones and Shepard will be studs this season and Kirk will put up good numbers.

Draft Score: B

Eddie House, Undisputed Auto Draft

QB: Drew Brees
RB: Devonta Freeman/Christian McCaffrey
WR: Doug Baldwin/Amari Cooper/Jordy Nelson
TE: Trey Burton
FLEX: Robby Anderson
K: Justin Tucker
D/ST: Jacksonville Jaguars
Bench: Corey Clement/Eric Decker/Austin Hooper/Dark Prescott/Bilal Powell

Breakdown: If Herm Edwards coached fantasy football, he would get that crooked smile and his face and say, “Don’t press draft!” Eddie, dude, a defense and kicker so early? But don’t fret, House made up for it with a great draft, which really looks like it was auto-drafted. It’s so safe, so scripted, so boring. Where are those flyers on some rookie or wily vet? Brees will carry House’s auto-drafting butt to the playoffs. The rest of your team doesn’t matter after your starting running backs and Brees… Brees is amazing. Brees is a fantasy god. May we all praise his fantasy glory.

Draft Score: B-

Max Starks, Don’t Forget to Bring a Terrible Towel

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Leonard Fournette/Jay Ajayi
WR: Michael Thomas/Demaryius Thomas/Paul Richardson
TE: Evan Engram
FLEX: Marlon Mack
K: Chris Boswell
D/ST: Minnesota Vikings
Bench: Carson Wentz/Aaron Jones/Tyler Lockett/Darren Sproles/Javorius Allen

Breakdown: Man, as a Browns fan, I just want to trash every single pick by Starks, and of course he freaking drafted motorcycle enthusiast and Browns heartbreaker Big Ben! And Chris Boswell, sheesh, Starks is lucky I like him. Getting down to business, this is a well-drafted team. Former Buckeye and Maloney dream killer Michael Thomas is a target machine and my projected number two overall wide receiver this year. Starks’ bench is great, I love his picks, all smart. You are a little weak at wide receiver after the Thomas twins but they will “hold you now” and put you in the playoffs.

Draft Score: A

Jay Feely, He’s Not Just Right, He’s Wide Right

QB: Tom Brady
RB: Kareem Hunt/Rashaad Penny
WR: DeAndre Hopkins/Julian Edelman/ DeVante Parker
TE: Zach Ertz
FLEX: Kenny Golladay
K: Harrison Butker
D/ST: Houston Texans
Bench: Rishard Matthews/LeGarrette Blount/Benjamin Watson/Eli Manning/James Washington

Breakdown: Jay might be kicking himself for taking a quarterback and tight end early on in the draft but time will tell. By doing so, his running back depth may have a bad hold on this season. Could Hunt and Hopkins have enough leg to carry this team to the playoffs? Brady and Ertz are easy chip shots for consistent points. Edelman is facing a suspension for not being an upright football citizen so let’s see who can step on Feely’s team and cross the bar as a fantasy starter.

Draft Score: B-

And that’s it, people! Good luck and remember, I will be providing some trophies for the top 3 teams. No participation trophies for this league!

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