Saturday, July 29, 2006

ESPN: Why do I read these guys?

Reputation is a trailing phenomenon; a look back at what was in hope of seeing what's now. In sports, reputation lags greatness, or badness, by a season or three, then lingers even as performance changes.

ESPN Magazine published its fantasy football rankings in its July 31, 2006 editions. They discount the fantasy value of Redskins players. Clinton Portis is the only Redskin ranked in the top five of his position. Chris Cooley is the only other Skin ranked in the top ten of his. I suspect ESPN gives more weight to the team's reputation for making big free agent moves with little payoff, than to Joe Gibbs' astute matching of player attributes to his game plans.

Here are ESPN/Sports, Inc.'s 2006 fantasy ranking of Redskins starters:

Mark Brunell, QB, 24th out of 30
Clinton Portis, RB, 5th out of 50
Santana Moss, WR, 16th out of 50; Randle-El and Lloyd are not ranked
Chris Cooley, TE, 7th out of 25
Jon Hall, K, not ranked

In fantasy sports, its a good practice not to load up on players from your favorite team. But Redskins receivers could be a steal in middle and late rounds of the your draft.

ESPN had a full page profile of Chris Cooley ("Remember This," page 70-71). The article's point was that you can't win your fantasy league without go-to grinders like Cooley who are selected in the middle rounds of your draft. Cooley is an eight year fantasy player in a league with high school friends from Utah. Last season, he lost his semi-final game to a friend -- who had tight end Cooley on his roster. "Dude," the article quotes Cooley, "I beat myself." More important to Redskins fans, Cooley says that, with Al Saunders' new offense, "I guarantee my yards per catch will be up."

Finally, the magazine quotes former Redskins, now Packers wide receiver Rod Gardner (page 36) saying " A lot of fans don't know what I look like, but when I say my name, they say 'Oh, I own you.' Last year, a guy thanked me for helping him win his fantasy league. He brought his kids to a game to get my autograph. He wasn't even a Packers fan."

Rod Gardner has fans?


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