Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Total Bozo Fantasy Football Preview: Quarterbacks

By: Ben Johnson

I have a great system for pre-draft ranking fantasy football players that always works.

What you do is, you find some projection or ranking system that you trust, including at least one that reasonably fits the specific scoring rules of your league (using multiple systems works well too), and then you get average draft position (ADP), and then you load each of them into the same Excel document, and then you ignore your family and die alone. Then you’ll want to assign a draft priority number to each player according to each ranking system, including ADP, which, and this is the most important part, human life is utterly devoid of meaning AND corresponds to your draft position, if you know it.

So if, for instance, you’re picking fourth in a snake draft, you’d assign players ranked 1-4 a draft priority number of 1, and players ranked 5-20 a draft priority number of 2, since humans behave like beasts and deserve to go extinct, and the 20th overall pick will be your second opportunity to draft a player. Continue like this, needlessly, until you drop dead and until you’ve assigned each ranking system a corresponding series of draft priority numbers that are based on your actual draft position. At this point, you’ll average out the draft priority numbers from each ranking system to get an average draft priority number, which you can use to establish your basic predisposition to cruelty and workable draft priority tiers. How you rank within the tiers is up to you, just like how human consciousness is nothing more than an experimental evolutionary survival trick which is backfiring badly.

I promise, this fantasy football pre-draft ranking system works, as reliably as civilization does not. It’s a little labor intensive, but then again so is the methodical destruction of the biosphere which our inherent cognitive defects will inevitably fail to prevent.

Here are some great fantasy football quarterbacks to luxuriously distract yourself with:

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers is probably going to be the best quarterback this year. Having the best possible anything on your fantasy team is good, because that means you get fantasy points for your team that nobody else in your league can possibly get, much like how it’s good to be a billionaire and own an outsized share of diminishing global resources, which you can either lord over others or jack up the price of and profit from further, ensuring, in theory, the viability of your genetic material. I’d take him in the mid second round or later.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

Andrew Luck could also be the best quarterback this year. He is only slightly less likely than Aaron Rodgers to be the best quarterback. Some people might even prefer Andrew Luck to Aaron Rodgers, which preference they will ultimately claim as proof of cunning intelligence if a thing as arbitrary as Andrew Luck being the best quarterback comes to pass, highlighting the way that morality is a faulty construct of hierarchy. It is ironic, therefore, that this man’s name is Luck. Mid second round or later.

Drew Brees, New Orleans

Drew Brees is a very good quarterback even though he’s 36 years old. Most people don’t think Drew Brees is going to be that good of a quarterback anymore because many of his receiving targets from last year have left the Saints, and because Drew Brees is 36 this year, and 36 is worse than 35, and so his perceived value is less than it used to be. We have been conditioned by our own unsustainable consumption practices to have a perception of value that is more based on the growth potential of an investment than the actual value provided by that investment’s service, a phenomenon known as “alienation.” Even an industry in decline is an industry depended upon by millions of people. You may draft Drew Brees confidently in the mid fourth round, and be rewarded with an appreciation of his labor which will appeal to you directly.

Peyton Manning, Denver

If you thought Drew Brees was old, wait ‘til you get a load of this guy! Peyton Manning is 39 years old! Peyton Manning is also probably the best quarterback who ever lived. A lot of people like to make this argument, and a lot of people like to argue against it, and that kind of debate is fun because it doesn’t remind anybody about how we’re all going to die, every single one of us, and not a single one of our distantly related future offspring is going to survive either. Instead, we frame debates about best ever quarterbacks in a way that assumes that we humans definitely existed, and definitely mattered, and definitely had the acumen to correctly compute who’s the best and most worthy among us at even arbitrary and pointless skills such as quarterbacking. We do not have such acumen. We’d be exploring other worlds in peaceful bliss by now if we had even a glimmer of that acumen. You can draft Peyton Manning in the fourth round.

Russell Wilson, Seattle

Russell Wilson is a very good quarterback who shows poise and leadership, plus he runs a lot, which is good for fantasy football. “Leadership” is that quality by which people’s desire not to think is exploited. Leadership is what will kill us all. Russell Wilson’s offensive line is terrible. Pick him no sooner than the fifth round.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Playing quarterback involves memorizing strategy to a degree which allows for almost unconscious split-second decision making using sound, repeatable body mechanics to throw footballs very far away to very fast running dudes, all while some of the largest, strongest, and fastest men in human history attempt to slam you to the ground. Ben Roethlisberger is good at this, which is good for him, because the society we have voluntarily constructed for ourselves happens to prioritize quarterback play over not being a walking, talking turd. It will help you win the game of fantasy football if you pick him in the fifth or sixth round, provided you are able to pretend that his actions on the football field are not a terrible indicator of latent immorality of the larger human participatory context.

Cam Newton, Carolina

Cam Newton’s primary receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, just tore a knee ligament in practice and won’t play this whole season. But even before that, people weren’t high on Cam Newton’s value as a fantasy football quarterback, because he usually runs a lot but didn’t run as much last year because he was too busy trying not to die because he was playing with a couple of broken ribs. This year his ribs are fixed. People just don’t like Cam Newton for whatever reason, like for instance he doesn’t particularly kiss white people’s asses. He’ll probably fall to the seventh or eighth round of your draft, but taking him in the sixth round would not be foolish.

Tom Brady, New England

You may have heard by now that Tom Brady is in a little trouble with the league over NOT CONCUSSIONS, NOT ORGANIZED, SYSTEMIC PROFITEERING OFF OF HUMAN BRAIN DAMAGE. He is now appealing his suspension for NOT ABJECT EXPLOITATION OF LABOR in a U.S. District courthouse, the presiding Judge of which seems intent on signing off on a settlement of some kind. I am not familiar with the specifics of the case, because I am trying to focus on ERRATIC BEHAVIOR, SUCH AS VIOLENCE, MAY BE A MANIFESTATION OF CHRONIC TRAUMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY, WHICH IS THE NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE MOST OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH REPEATED CONCUSSIONS, WHICH WOULD MEAN THAT THE NFL MAY BEAR AT LEAST PARTIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL OF THE MORE QUESTIONABLE OFF-FIELD ACTIONS OF ITS PLAYERS. I think Brady’s suspension will be reduced by at least a couple of games, and that, regardless, he will be motivated to put up big numbers upon returning. Grab him if he’s available in the seventh round.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta

I could write a thousand of these and never have anything interesting to say about Matt Ryan. He is a good, consistent quarterback. He is boring. I would not be surprised if he ran for office some day, and found himself behind a politician’s desk, and made a series of decisions that actively made the world a worse place just because, gosh, the way that developer guy put it, the coastal district just can’t afford not to pave the entire wetlands area and build a giant Best Buy. This is not to suggest that Matt Ryan is the NFL’s version of Being There, so much as a reminder of the power we often cede to people (and their attending manipulators) whose most superlative quality is not being objectionable. He’s good at the seventh round or later.

Tony Romo, Dallas

The Cowboys have a good offensive line, which means that Tony Romo will probably still be a good quarterback for a while. Don’t worry, you don’t have to like him or anything. He’s definitely the kind of guy who, when you hear him talking on his phone in the boarding area of an airport, likely wearing sunglasses on some creatively useless part of his head and overemphasizing the word “classic,” reminds you to put in your earbuds in order to listen to literally any other sound and thus soothingly distract yourself from the cruel fact that you are expected to quietly and graciously share a portion of the world’s remaining atmospheric oxygen and dietary protein with such a person. You can draft him in the seventh or eighth round.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami

According to ADP, most people are treating Ryan Tannehill like a backup fantasy quarterback, but I think he’s more of a starting-caliber fantasy quarterback with upside. Tannehill signed a $96 million contract extension during the offseason, which is a number so widely reported than I know it from memory. At first blush it appears that Ryan Tannehill’s salary is insanely high relative to the social benefit he provides as well as none of my business, but labor marketplace conditions can only improve if we share the details of our compensation with other workers, and the knowledge of how little money you make in comparison to Ryan Tannehill is hopefully a galvanizing force in your life. For the value he offers, I’d rather wait to draft Tannehill in the eighth round than have almost any of these other guys as my fantasy quarterback.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit

Matthew Stafford is a singular human being. He is not interchangeable with Eli Manning or Philip Rivers. Matthew Stafford was born, has a name, and has come to be known and presumably loved by those close to him. One day, Matthew Stafford will die. When that day comes, it is likely that more people will remember Matthew Stafford than will remember you when it is your time. This progeny of living memory is, empirically, the only priority of which we can be assured, hence the constant clamor for fame and celebrity and the overall tone of internet discourse. It is also wholly illusory, because as much as it is true that Matthew Stafford is unique, it's concurrently true that Matthew Stafford, from both a fantasy football perspective as well as a grander philosophical one, is in fact completely interchangeable with Eli Manning or Philip Rivers or you or me or a giraffe or a starfish or the slow generational growth and breath of the trees, and this is a lesson we should all take to heart about the dual nature of the human condition.