The Tartan annual Fantasy Football league gets underway

Cam Newton winds up for a pass. Newton is expected to be one of the highest scoring fantasy players this year. (credit: Courtesy of Parker Anderson via Flickr Creative Commons) Cam Newton winds up for a pass. Newton is expected to be one of the highest scoring fantasy players this year. (credit: Courtesy of Parker Anderson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Last fall, current Tartan publisher Sarah Gutekunst embarked on a journey to the foreign world of Fantasy Football. Throughout the season, Sarah learned how football worked, cheered as her team won, cried when injuries struck her players down, and fell in love with Denver Broncos kicker Brian McManus. Through it all, she chronicled her journey in articles for The Tartan, allowing readers to join her through every struggle and triumph.

This year, members of The Tartan’s editorial staff have come together to form a Fantasy Football league in the spirit of Sarah’s journey. On Friday, Sept. 2, the Tartan II league held its first draft. The results show who was on their A-game, who were the fantasy rookies, and who screwed themselves because of autopick.

Team 1: Flaming Bears

Layout Manager and former sports editor Zeke Rosenberg is the favorite to win this league simply because he knows the most about sports and actually keeps up with sports. This was evident by his draft strategy.

Holding the first pick overall, he went with the consensus number one pick: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown has emerged as the league’s top receiver following the retirement of Calvin Johnson, and is likely to lead fantasy wide receivers as well. Bolstering Zeke’s receiving corps are Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers, Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and a secret weapon: Cleveland Browns wide out Josh Gordon, who has missed substantial time due to suspensions but possesses the ability to be a top receiver.

Zeke also snagged Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, one of the few reliably top producers for the position. Though his roster of running backs is questionable with DeMarco Murray new to the Tennessee Titans and Jeremy Langford still an uncertain commodity for the Chicago Bears, his quarterback position is helmed by Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers, who has seen a resurgence as a top fantasy quarterback.

Overall, Zeke has a strong roster that is poised to get stronger as he hits waiver wire targets. It would be surprising not to see him in the championship round.

Team 2: Extremely Dank Team

Sports editor Alex Wood knows the game of football inside and out. He wants winners, and his roster has plenty of them. With the second overall pick, he decided to take fantasy’s best quarterback of 2015: Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. The dual threat Newton will generate plenty of points on the ground and through the air. He next picked Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, and then next chose top ten fantasy running back Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints, who I had been eyeing but just missed out on.

After rounding out his starting receivers with T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts, he selected Thomas Rawls of the Seattle Seahawks, the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch. He then chose top ten fantasy tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and then took the Seahawks defense. His next pick could potentially be the steal of the draft: Danny Woodhead of the Chargers, who finished as the third best running back overall last year. Rounding out his starters was Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, the gold standard of fantasy kicking.

Alex’s starting team is highly talented and playoff bound, but his bench seems somewhat questionable. If he shores up his roster through the waiver wire or trades, he will certainly be a strong contender for the championship.

Team 3: Lieutenant Doodle

Sarah makes her triumphant return to Fantasy Football ... by being “too busy” to draft for any longer than two minute intervals. At third overall, she made the surprising decision to reach for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. It’s undeniable that Gronk is the top tight end, but the other talent available makes the move either bold or reckless.

Some elements of last year’s team have returned for Sarah. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Jets running back Matt Forte, and the aforementioned McManus have all returned to her squad. Sarah also decided to take a risk on Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who missed last year due to injury. She may be onto something since he scored 21 points on Thursday, strongly outperforming his ten point projection.

Sarah has the advantage of knowing more about football than most members of the league. Whether or not that translates to success will depend on many factors, but she seems to have a solid roster coming out of the gate.

Team 4: Dreamland Warriors

Honestly, I never expected to return to Fantasy Football. Two years ago, my team claimed victory over my friends from high school, and I was content to go out in a blaze of glory. Giving Sarah advice last season, however, rekindled my interest in the game, and when I was asked to be a part of the Tartan II league, I agreed for the sake of The Tartan.

At fourth overall, I was surprised that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson were still on the board. While I was tempted to grab Peterson and heed traditional fantasy advice, Beckham was a critical part of my championship team two years ago, so I grabbed him off the board. I overcompensated for bucking tradition by selecting three running backs in a row: Doug Martin of the Buccaneers, LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills, and Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. Soon, I reached for a quarterback, but it’s worth it to me as a New Orleans Saints fan to have Drew Brees.
I’d say my roster looks solid now, but it could still fall apart terribly if misfortune strikes.

Team 5: Masshole Knickerbockers

Lula Beresford’s entry into the world of Fantasy Football definitely started well as she got an excellent first round steal: the aforementioned Peterson. Despite his negative off field presence, Peterson is a phenomenal runner who should be a consistent source of points for her. Her wide receivers include Jacksonville Jaguar Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall of the Jets, and Oakland Raider Amari Cooper at the top of the list.

Of note is that Lula made the first two free agency selections of the year. Since Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on Goodell-imposed exile, Lula added Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Because Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is injured, she added Colts tight end Dwayne Allen. Both should be serviceable replacements while she waits for those two players, but the hole might become too deep for her to recover from later in the season if the rest of her team isn’t up to snuff.

Still, Lula’s team is nothing to scoff at, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves given how active Lula seems to be combing through available players.

Team 6: Pladdie Daddies

India Price’s entry into the world of Fantasy Football is a mixed bag. On the one hand, I loved her picking Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round, as he has proven to be extremely reliable in fantasy. I liked her picking up Titans tight end Delanie Walker, and I can see why she would believe in Steelers running back Deangelo Williams. On the other hand, some of her other choices seem very boom or bust.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning may or may not ruin his passing performance with turnovers. Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller may make the transition to another team or not.

Finally, there are some troubling signs of management on her choice of defense and kicker. The Raiders defense has not been known for quite some time to be a force either in reality or fantasy. In addition, she has not replaced Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham, whose questionable status for Monday night leaves her no cover if he doesn’t play.

India’s team may win greatly one week and lose horribly the next. It’s all up to how she manages the week to week changes. She can choose her own fate, but it will be tough to compete against the stronger teams especially without experience.

Team 7: Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood

Jade, your pun is clever, but it doesn’t work unless you add the “d” for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Anyways, she seems bullish on Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has the potential to be rookie of the year.

Her starters seem very solid, with the likes of Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, and the Panthers defense.

Her bench may only have a few notable names, but she may be geared up for the first waiver wire.
Surprisingly strong for a rookie team. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.

Team 8: Team Tayal

Team Tayal begins pure autopick teams. Autopick granted Pillbox Editor Abhishek Tayal Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, and the Chiefs defense.
The rest of his roster is bare bones, and the fact that he hasn’t set a running back in place of the suspended Bell suggests he will not take this league seriously.

This team will likely fall apart unless Abhishek starts paying attention.

Team 9: Team Foley

Forum editor Sinead Foley’s first autopick generated team is actually really darn good. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was last year’s surprise top rusher in fantasy. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has had a renaissance with the team, and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley looks to contribute to the team as well. Her wide receivers are of good quality: Sammy Watkins of the Bills, Jeremy Maclin of the Chiefs, and John Brown of the Cardinals are all worthy talents.

If she decides to take control of this team, Sinead might surprise the rest of the league.

Team 10: Team Foley (again)

Apparently, Sinead decided to helm two teams in the league and promptly forgot about it. Cardinals running back David Johnson, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, and Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles are the only notable performers from last year. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will likely rebound from last year, but the rest of her roster is bleak and will likely degenerate over time.