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Strong keeper core to

once again lead attack



In 2010, the Kemah Jokers did something their franchise had never done before by winning a championship. This year, they're aiming a bit higher by looking to do something no other team has done in league history - repeat as world champions.


"It's certainly not an easy goal," says Kemah Jokers VP of talent operations Jim Ross, "but we feel that this team is once again ready to compete at the highest level."


Is the team in fact ready to do so?


"We have the best quarterback in football, and we also have who we feel are two of the best running backs in football in addition to who we consider to be the very best tight end in football. Three of those four were a part of our core going into last season, one of which did not play a complete season - and we were still able to tough it out all the way through the post season. Fast forward one year and things are looking up - we've upgraded our core to include Rashard Mendenhall, watched our star tight end in Antonio Gates progress closer to what we estimate will be a 100% recovery by the start of the season, and capitalized on what we feel are key strategic selections throughout the draft this season."


One of those advantages is the fact that the Kemah Jokers had all of their draft picks this season, as opposed to 2010 in which they had traded their 2nd round pick away the previous season to Rock's Heels along with Donovan McNabb in exchange for keeper LeSean McCoy and WR Michael Crabtree. Ross notes how this contributes to improved depth in 2011.


"It obviously leads to a higher level of talent," he continues, "when you have all of your picks. Actually having that 2nd round pick this season allowed us to welcome back Kenny Britt, a player we feel has a ton of upside. If he can get past his off the field issues, it's going to give us a much stronger receiver group than last season. This time around, Britt won't be filling in for injured or underperforming receivers as he did last season"


When asked to elaborate further on draft selections, Ross spoke highly of their bench.


"Going into last season, it was noted that we put lots of stock into unproven youngsters and provided very little backup firepower on our bench. This was true to some extent, but we felt our strategy of seeking out young talent could be maintained while correcting any potential depth issues. In addition to Britt and Santana Moss, we've got three young players who are eager to contribute and prove themselves as well. Johnny Knox and Antonio Brown are both in a very good position to break out and bolster the receiver squad, and Jerome Simpson has got a helluva shot at putting up big numbers if he can grasp the opportunity. The potential is most certainly there."


Beanie Wells is another one of those players Ross and the Jokers feel is ready to make an impact and support their bench. At the tight end spot, Heath Miller may not be looked to for more than a shot or two when Gates is not playing - but changes in the offensive scheme for which Miller plays could provide an interesting opportunity to put up numbers that could surprise Jokers opposition. Bench spots for QB, D/ST, and kicker positions are said to be held in a very high regard as well.


"We put a lot of thought and research into the selection of every member of our roster," said Ross of the bench. "This is perfectly exemplified by our selection of Monatrio Hardesty, who we traded up in the later rounds of the draft in order to acquire. We see some potential here that may have been overlooked by his previous team, and we'd like to take a look at this guy and see what's there. We've got a chance to do something interesting here."


Ross refers to the fact that although Hardesty is a 2nd-year player, he has in fact NEVER played a single NFL game. Drafted as a rookie, the Texas DDT opted to release Hardesty when a season-ending injury kept him off the field and unable to make his NFL regular season debut in 2010. It is said that the Kemah Jokers may attempt its first-ever venture into developemental keeper terrotory by proposing eligibility for Hardesty as such a keeper.


"We did not draft Hardesty out of college," says Ross, "but we did draft him before he has ever played a single regular season game. We have him now, and that's a start. The ownership of this franchise has expressed some interest in proposing Hardesty be eligible as a 'rookie keeper' for having been drafted before ever playing a professional contest and letting the owners put it to a vote at a later date. Until Week 1 of this upcoming season, he will also have never been on the roster of any NFF team during any regular season game. There may be a chance that his having never stepped onto the field for a professional football contest and lack of compiled statistics, as you would see had he been coming out of college this year rather than last year, could outweigh the flipside of him not being originally drafted by this organization. We feel that it is definitely a fair argument that could have some effect on how similar situations are handled in the future when a would-be rookie is injured before their first season begins. Whatever the outcome, he's ours right now and his role is yet to be decided."


All in all, Ross said in closing that hopes are high in 2011.


"Our starters are pretty strong. In addition to our core players we've kept, we selected one of the best defenses in football and who we estimate to be the very best kicker in football in Nate Kaeding. He's going to get lots of looks at the goal posts this season, and we look to reap the benefits. Again, we feel our tight end and quarterback are the best at their positions. Our running backs are amazing, our receivers are very strong, and their respective backups are much improved in quality from those we had last season. We've checked the numbers, rechecked the numbers, and quantitatively analyzed our roster from top to bottom from the start of the draft up until the very last pick. We've got a great shot at repeating and winning two in a row...and perhaps our owner will remove the trophy from the damn fridge long enough to hoist it above our heads after a 2nd-straight Uber Bowl victory."

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I'm going to start releasing my annual team previews now. Two tonight and then one a day up until next Saturday. The newbies get to be offended first, followed by the reverse of last year's standings. First up!


Austin Tanks



There isn't much history to review for either of our new expansion teams, so instead we'll be looking at their results from the Yahoo League, because that will obviously translate. The Tanks are just under .500 all time, and haven't had much success in the playoffs. Obviously those teams are all auto-drafted so that's really different than the NFF but hey, it's something.


2005: 6-7, missed playoffs

2006: 4-9, missed playoffs

2007: 8-5, 6 seed in the playoffs, eliminated in round 1

2008: 9-5, 5 seed in the playoffs, eliminated in round 1

2009: 7-6, missed playoffs

2010: 3-10, missed playoffs.




QB: Joe Flacco

RB: LeGarrette Blount

RB: Felix Jones

WR: Santonio Holmes

WR: Brandon Lloyd

TE: Kellen Winslow

D/ST: Eagles


Key Backups:

Kevin Kolb, QB

Tony Moeaki, TE


2011 Draft Grade:

The Tanks selected RB Felix Jones with the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. You can argue for or against this pick. He's definitely largely unproven but he has big play potential if he can avoid health issues. He was definitely one of the best 4-5 players on the board, so you can't fault him for that. Round 2 was entirely too high to take a defense, especially without a 3rd round pick. Same goes for a kicker in the 6th, that's just unforgivable. Rounds 7-10 were basically great value lottery tickets. Moore will see extended time this year, McGahee could vulture all kinds of scores, and I think Moeaki could break out in a huge way this season. In my humble opinion it wasn't great up top, but the top isn't where you win the league. B- overall.



It's hard to judge this team right off the bat. And, you've gotta grade the team on a pretty steep learning curve because of how they started behind the 8-ball. It doesn't look like all that great on paper but doesn't look awful either. There are no “elite” players at any position. No one expects Lloyd to to duplicate last season but at least he still has Orton. The QB position is intriguing, but I expect Flacco to keep the job. Jones and Blount could be a dynamic duo, but it's hard to say what he'll get from them. I see a lot of variance in this team's week by week performance.


2011 Prediction:

I hesitate to kill this team because of the inherent disadvantage they started at. I think it'll be a decent, competitive team, but I don't think it'll be great by any means. I think the Tanks will end up a 3-5 win team, depending on the breaks and unless they struck gold in the draft or are able to acquire a top tier talent on the waiver wire.

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Further reminder: I can't take into account luck, good or bad. I can't be nice to everyone, there are only 78 wins to give out. My goal is an honest assessment, and my track record has been pretty good (even a certain champion member who shall remain nameless that griped about his preview I ended up getting the win total right and predicting them in the playoffs, close enough for me). Once everything is posted I'll posted my actual win total predictions as well as rank the teams in terms of points per game.

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Ash's Ruff Puppies



There's even less to go on than Otanku. As far as I can tell Ash didn't play in the yahoo league. So we'll just skip straight to the roster




QB: Matt Ryan

RB: Knowshon Moreno

RB: Ahmad Bradshaw

WR: Reggie Wayne

WR: Wes Welker

TE: Greg Olsen

Def: Ravens


Key Backups:

Plaxico Burress, WR

Donald Driver, WR


2011 Draft Grade:


I love the Ahmad Bradshaw pick in the first round, he probably won't finish as a truly elite back of the mold of AP, Chris Johnson and the like, but he should be an every week starting back. Greg Olsen's value should be much improved over last season but I still think it was a little early for the value, again without the 3rd round pick it's tough to gauge. Not many picks to swoon over in Ashaman's draft, but I do think Murray could be a fantastic pick if he gets a shot in Dallas. Donald Driver in the 13th could well be the steal of the draft. He won't be an all-star this year but comparing his production to his draft position is pretty outrageous. C+/B-.




Matt Ryan took a step back last season due to injuries mostly. The addition of Julio Jones should help get his YPA up and he ought to be a top 10 QB. There isn't much depth at the RB position but I like the starters, as long as John Fox doesn't murder Moreno's value in a timeshare they should be okay if they stay healthy. I think this is Reggie's last year as an elite receiver, but I think he'll be a top 6/7 guy. The Ravens don't get a ton of sacks but are so good in the turnover area they are always a decent fantasy defense.


2011 Prediction:


There are no game changers on this roster but it's a solid unit all around. I don't see the Ruff Puppies having m/any awful weeks, but I don't see them putting up more than 95 too often either. And to be frank, this is a tough league. There isn't a single team that doesn't have a shot every week. Without a game changer though, I think it will be a “long” season for the Puppies. I'm thinking a 5 win year while building a solid foundation to build on.

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Not bad, but if you want my yahoo team, Cellar Dwellers.


2010: 9-4 week 1 playoffs KO

2009: 8-5 lost championship to Ex

2008: 8-5 won it all

2007: 3-10

2006: 8-5 week 1 playoffs KO

2005: 8-6 week 1 playoffs KO

2004: 8-5 week 1 playoffs KO


Dang, pretty much 8-5 all the time!

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so long as my 3-5 wins include ass whoopins over Irish, Dexter and Rock, I"M GOOD BABY!


Hey I'd be alright with that :D


Ash and Otanku's previews were tough to do without seeming unreasonable harsh on the new guys, but the fact of the matter is that they started way behind the 8ball. That is undeniable. I tried to account for that in the preview without being too much an ***hole lol.

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THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS (as long as you have an Android or iOS phone...)

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