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Fantasy Football: As American as Freedom

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Throughout the 21 years I’ve been on this earth, living in this country, I’ve heard a multitude of reasons as to why “America is the best.”
Mostly, the reasons are just various results of our freedom. Freedom to be whomever we want. Freedom to do whatever we want. You wake up one morning and think “I’m going to stuff myself with Big Macs for every meal for the rest of my life”? Do it. You want to arm yourself to the teeth with everything from assault rifles to rocket launchers in preparation for “the impending apocalypse”? Do it.
This is America! Land of the buy-one-get-one-free M16 and home of the all-you-think-you-can-eat buffets! Your freedoms extend beyond your wildest dreams! And there’s one more thing we have in America that no one else has, one major factor sets us apart from the rest of the world.
Despite numerous attempts to duplicate, imitate, and impersonate, no country has ever come close to creating the phenomenon that is the National Football League. Add an American flag, a case of beer and an order of wings, and you have the most patriotic sport to ever grace this beloved nation. For the past 94 years, Americans throughout the country have gathered around their television sets to cheer on their favorite teams. As the years went on, things began to change. Helmets gained padding. Uniforms gained color. Legends were born and laid to rest.
But even after all that, America didn’t stop. We decided to make it more than just the football you watch. We decided to make it the football you play. We decided that it wasn’t enough to just sit and watch your team dominate (or get dominated). We needed more. So we created a football fantasy (or fantasy football, as it is most widely known).
America gave YOU the power to control your team’s fate. YOU find the players you want. You want to make a team based on names you like? Go for it. Are you a fan of the Panthers’ color scheme? Make a team of all Panthers. Or maybe you spend hours upon hours creating lists and grids, so you can be sure you draft the perfect running back to complement the perfect quarterback.
This is YOUR team. So the Cowboys lost (again)? No big deal. Turn on your computer, you’ve got Peyton Manning throwing the 21st touchdown of his game. Even when you lose, you win. Because we’re America. We can’t lose, and we never will. And if both of your teams lose? Stuff your face with greasy fast food and go to a shooting range.
QBs I like in Week 3:

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (@ Detroit Lions): Last week, the Detroit Lions gave up 291 passing yards and one passing touchdown to run-heavy quarterback Cam Newton, who is now without his previous star receiver Steve Smith. Also last week, Aaron Rodgers threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns against a less than stellar New York Jets secondary (who gave up an average of 246 passing yards per game last year). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that with the Lions losing so poorly, and the Packers doing so well, Aaron Rodgers should be running up the numbers this week.
  2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (@ Jacksonville Jaguars): I’m still putting my faith in Luck. He’s an unbelievably talented quarterback, and has proved it time and time again since he’s started in the National Football League. The first week of the season he lost to the 2013 Super Bowl runner-up Denver Broncos, and although he gave up two interceptions, still managed to put up 25 fantasy points from throwing for 370 yards and two touchdowns. Going up against the Jaguars should mostly consist of Luck hurling it across the field left and right.

RBs I like:

  1. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. Minnesota Vikings): Last season, the Minnesota Vikings gave up 102 receptions and 886 yards to opposing running backs. Also, Pierre Thomas led the league’s running backs in receptions last season. With (as much as it hurts me to say this) Mark Ingram injured, Thomas should be the workhorse, with Khiry Robinson picking up the slack.
  2. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (@ Arizona Cardinals): While not a choice to rack up 30-40 fantasy points, Frank Gore can be counted on as a solid running back to put in your RB2 position. Over the 2013 season, Gore continuously put up solid numbers in the double digits for fantasy owners everywhere. Although he may not be a Marshawn Lynch or a LeSean McCoy, Gore is a solid choice in almost every situation.

WRs I like:

  1. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. Oakland Raiders): The Oakland Raiders are not something to be too scared of. Last season, they gave up an average of 2.2 passing touchdowns per game to opposing teams, putting them at number 30 on that list of 32 teams. Edelman as already played two games, and has put up double digit fantasy points both times. With Welker gone from the Patriots, Tom Brady is looking to shift his attention to his other favorite receiver. All of his attention. Assuming Edelman is cleared to play this week, he should prove to be a good choice.
  2. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (@ New York Jets): Another injured choice, but he’s too good to pass up. After Marshall received three touchdowns on just 48 yards last week, he showed his love for his quarterback by giving him a little kiss on the head during the post-game press conference. This week, the stud receiver goes up against a Jets secondary who has allowed the most fantasy points in the league to opposing teams. If he’s healthy, definitely put him in your WR1 slot.

TEs I like:

  1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (vs. Minnesota Vikings): There’s not much to be said here. Last season, the Vikings gave up an average of 287.9 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks; the most in the league. Drew Brees’ favorite target is arguably that of the towering frame of Jimmy Graham, who easily plows through defenses game after game. Last week, Graham put up two touchdowns on 118 yards against a not-too-shabby Cleveland secondary. This week, he should be looking to get in the end zone at least that much, if not more so.
  2. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (@ Buffalo Bills): Last week, against a Seattle secondary who gave up the least amount of passing yards per game (177 on average), Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates connected on multiple occasions, and Gates completed the game with three touchdowns on 96 yards. This week, he takes on the Buffalo Bills. At their last meeting in 2011, Gates put up two touchdowns on 68 yards. He’ll be looking to do the same again this week.

So that’s it. Now go. Go and continue to dominate with YOUR team. Read my opinions or form your own. Take the reins my friend, and continue your fantasy!
Taylor Lust is a HottyToddy.com contributor and can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu.

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