Fantasy football is a joke, man. Since its inception there hasn’t been a single dragon or wizard on one player’s draft board. And they call still call it fantasy!
Despite the lack of magic, the NFL still delivers storylines on par with the most heralded works of nerd fiction. And to become the ultimate fantasy owner you must be well versed in every aspect of these players’ narratives; religious ties, racist pasts, arrest histories, sexual quirks, Netflix queues, etc.
How deep are you willing to go, Adam?
[If your name is Adam, you're probably freaking out right now.]
Finding a superstar sleeper can provide bragging rights for years to come. And isn’t that what fantasy football is all about? Put these beautiful bastards on your sleeper short list or regret it forever.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
Alshon Jeffery was once considered a top talent in his draft class until character concerns – including the love of fried food – dropped him to the Bears’ 45th pick a year ago. Does Chicago have a new system, perennial offensive line concerns and a quarterback void of any personality? Yes. But teammate Brandon Marshall is double-teamed on every snap and checkdowns to Matt Forte will be sniffed out frequently, which leaves only Jeffery and overhyped tight end Martellus Bennett as viable options for the often-pummeled Jay Cutler. Bold Prediction: Marshall fractures a hand after catching his 20th pass in the season opener. Jeffery falls in love with his juicer and becomes an elite receiver.
Tim Tebow, TE/QB, New England Patriots
Look at this on paper: Aaron Hernandez’s bail has been denied, Rob Gronkowski possesses horrible injury luck mixed with bouts of stupidity and Bill Belichick loves to piss people off. Yeah, it’s safe to say Tebow could see some action this season. All joking aside - barring an act of God - Tebow, who didn't see the field in the Patriot's most recent preseason matchup, probably won't make the team’s 53-man roster. And, if you’re not working on Sundays, Timmy, do what we all do: Just sleep in, bro. Bold Prediction: The Patriots release Tebow before their fourth preseason game. He goes unsigned, denounces God and moves to Reno, Nevada.
Dee Milliner, DB, New York Jets
Antonio Cromartie was the NFL king of dingling his dangle (12 kids by 8 women at press time), but this season he has a new role: mentoring the team’s young crew of defensive backs, including first round pick Dee Milliner. If there is one thing movies about professional football have taught us it’s that talented rookies are often eager to one-up their veteran teammates to gain respect. Milliner, the 9th overall pick in this year’s draft, has the skills to supplant Cromartie as the Jets’ number one corner. The question is: Can the rookie sleep with more women than his veteran counterpart? Bold Prediction: Milliner won’t just beat Cromartie; He will become him.
In the modern NFL handcuffs aren’t talented backups to players already on your squad, but those most likely to fight the law and lose in 2013. Don’t fall in love with these troublemakers unless conjugal visits are your idea of romance.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Poor Dez Bryant was born to a teenage mother, grew up on the mean streets of East Texas and plays for an owner who thinks he’s goddamn Julius Caesar. The overbearing Jerry Jones has gone out of his way to keep Bryant walking the line, but it was only a year ago the wideout’s mom called the cops because her son was “trying to kill” her. It's safe to say the crazy lever is always at arm's length. Bold Prediction: Bryant discovers the cameras Jones installed in his home and is caught recruiting teammates to ambush the Cowboys dictator.
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Since April, three Jets players have been busted with marijuana (two were cut), which makes the team the offseason leader in pot arrests. And who do you think is supplying the squad with its weed? Is there anyone in the NFL who plays more stoned than Mark Sanchez? Last season he ran into his teammate’s butt and fumbled the ball. His butt! There are many things in this world we can avoid if we choose to, and a giant ass in front of our faces is not one of them. Bold Prediction: Federal agents raid Sanchez’s tree house and discover six pounds of reefer. Rex Ryan shows remorse at a press conference: “It’s not Mark’s fault. We were high when we drafted him.”
Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Have you ever been to Philadelphia? It doesn’t rank well on the list of “Cities an Outed Bigot Would Have a Swell Time Living In.” Cooper’s viral N-bomb has likely made him the most hated man in Philly, with the exception of whoever removed the Rocky statue from the museum steps - A million disappointed tourists thank you, Philadelphia! Don’t be surprised if an on-edge Cooper preemptively attacks an entire block of people during his bye week. Bold Prediction: In an unprecedented move, Cooper is traded to a soccer club in Europe, where he can openly practice racism.
No one wants to see his or her fantasy picks carried off on a stretcher - or worse - in a body bag, but these players are front runners for dying on Sunday.
Payton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Broncos fans can’t help but think that with every snap of the football Peyton Manning’s head may very well snap off his neck and onto the field of Mile High Stadium. It’s not a question of whether this media darling will go. It’s a question of when. Bold Prediction: Week seven, at Indianapolis, Manning is clotheslined and falls hard to the ground. Gasping for his final breaths, he spots Colts owner Jim Irsay in the skybox, who watches helplessly as his team kills Peyton Manning for a second time.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Year two of the vegan experiment can’t bode well for Arian Foster. Although the running back now claims to occasionally eat chicken, the protein-deprived damage to his body has been done. When will one of his calcium-depleted bones crumble? Bold Prediction: Place your bets on week five against the 49ers.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions
The Lions don’t have the best track record with running backs since Barry Sanders left the team 14 years ago. Their last promising halfback, Jahvid Best, got his head rattled against the Ford Field AstroTurf so much he'll likely never play in the league again. By all accounts, Bush is going to touch the ball a lot this season and - as long as he can survive - should have the best year out of the backfield since Sanders left Motown. Bold Prediction: Bush nets 1,500 all-purpose yards, rekindles his romance with Kim Kardashian and raises Kanye’s baby as his own.