I have not played fantasy football since 2008, when a couple friends asked me to join. My team was auto-picked and I didn't maintain it at all. I didn't even know who I had. Oddly enough, I was not asked back. And in one of the leagues my te— oh I see you're already dozing off because you don't care about my fantasy team, as much as I don't care about yours. That's cool.
Well, we may have stumbled upon a type of league that you might care about after all. Friend of the site Craig Barker quickly outlined the concept: 10 teams, each "team" is designated the alumni of one conference, or in the case of smaller ones, two. I'm in this league, and I have the MAC as well as anybody from the NAIA. (I looked it up, and there are some NAIA players in NFL camps, but nobody substantial.) Suddenly I care, and you might too.
A couple kinks we had to work out regarding realignment, my favorite being what's called the Randy Moss Rule: you can only pick players from the conference they're currently in. So as a MAC team I cannot draft Moss from Marshall or Atari Bigby from UCF or even Bernard Pierce from Temple, which is a drag, but on the upside we get all the UMass alum, so Victor Cruz counts.
For a spot of fairness, the groups are in well-named divisions to give us a chance at a division title:
Big East/FBS Independents
The league also requires us to pick individual defensive players, a facet that as the GM of a fantasy MAC team, brings chills to my spine. But there are more in the league than you might think.
Nonetheless, here is the roster of 20 players I submitted for my initial draft, which might actually be a decent NFL team:
QB Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers/Miami)
QB Bruce Gradkowski (Bengals/Toledo)
RB Michael Turner (Falcons/Northern Illinois)
RB James Starks (Packers/Buffalo)
WR Victor Cruz (Giants/UMass)
WR Greg Jennings (Packers/Western Michigan)
WR Antonio Brown (Steelers/Central Michigan)
WR Josh Cribbs (Browns/Kent State)
TE Antonio Gates (Chargers/Kent State)
TE Tony Scheffler (Lions/Western Michigan)
K Shaun Suisham (Steelers/Bowling Green)
DL Jason Babin (Eagles/Western Michigan)
DL Cullen Jenkins (Eagles/Central Michigan)
DL Landon Cohen (Patriots/OHIO)
LB James Harrison (Steelers/Kent State)
LB Chase Blackburn (Giants/Akron)
LB Frank Zombo (Packers/Central Michigan)
DB Louis Delmas (Lions/Western Michigan)
DB Barry Church (Cowboys/Toledo)
DB James Ihedigbo (Patriots/UMass)
I haven't picked any rookies, but I'm hearing good things about guys like LaVon Brazill, Danny Noble and Jordan White in NFL training camps. If they do well I'll try to squeeze them in. The quarterback spot is also a flex position so on the Steelers off week, if Gradkowski or Chandler Harnish isn't the starter by accident I can throw in another WR for good measure.
And if you care enough about this league, once it begins I have no issue with sharing the results with you beautiful people.