Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vox Lox: Top 5 Fantasy Footballers

Editor's Note: The following piece was a failed contest submission to join Grantland's staff as a Fantasy Football writer. Please note that SamVox considers FF to be the most irritating and inane part of American sports culture, and this column marks his first and last stab at the topic. Grantland's huge loss, of course, is our modest (and off-color) gain.

1) In 1996, when you and your mates were doing stats by hand in the back of a lecture hall (USA Today, tucked neatly behind your Philosophy 101 notebook), he was Emmitt Smith. Five years later, at your entry level cubicle job, he was Marshall Faulk (hope your employer didn't cock-block the Roto sites). You got married in 2003, and Faulk became Priest Holmes. By the time you started a family and the NFL decided to unabashedly acknowledge and then shamelessly prostitute Fantasy Football, he was LaDanian Tomlinson. Enter 2012, and only the name has changed. We're speaking both specifically and generically of that pass-catching elite RB that seemingly burps touchdowns and clinches your playoffs as soon as you open the email confirming your squad lucked into the first overall draft pick. Re: Fantasy Draft. ARIAN FOSTER----Sent From My iPhone.

2) Belief systems are as varied as they are flawed. You may pray strictly to a biblical deity. Your friend may find salvation in Scientology. Your daughter may even worship Justin Bieber. My own religion is a bit of a mixed bag; the journey begins somewhere with Bono, takes a hard right at Ethan Hawke, but always lands safely and triumphantly with Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.. They say it's the struggle that eventually proves your conviction, but starting #12 as your QB1 on Sunday Funday never required much of a leap of faith. He's the cool, and we're all the customer. The Doctor to our feel-good. Johnny Utah, comfortable riding waves and always getting his man. Just insert random receiver here, because the body is irrelevant. Tom simply throws to spaces. So spiritually easy.

3) Brett Favre spent a career building up his legend, never mind that it was more uneven than the Rolling Stones' Discography. The silly interceptions couldn't tarnish the perception that Brett was America's last great cowboy; the same way a crippled economy and a bullshit war couldn't overshadow the heater George Bush fired at the 2001 World Series. Unbelievably enough, it wasn't Favre's ongoing retirements or the pecker-picture scandal that destroyed his legacy. It was Aaron Rodgers. Last season, he obliterated the Favre myth with a string of sick-stat-Sundays that had ardent Pack fans tweeting about hero replacement. 45 and 6. At first glance, those numbers might pass as Rodgers' record as a starter over the past three seasons. But it's actually his touchdown-to-pick ratio in 2011. If 45 and 6 can't get you hard, then you're in the wrong fantasy.

4) *Sung to the tune of Suzanne Vega's "Luka"

My name is Ray Rice, watch me run for Baltimore
I'll move in to your end zone, then act like I've been there before
We play the Browns, weeks nine and four
I'm pretty sure we'll run up the score


Cut, cut. That was the almost-awkward moment when a hipster sports blog morphs into MAD magazine. Cut me some slack--I've been a tortured Cleveland fan for nearly three decades. And we're armed with three revelations that guide us through sixteen weeks of NFL hell. First, 4 and 12 is our destiny, and the organization sells redemption in new coaches and high picks. Second, in December, the games are never meaningful, so it's not necessarily blasphemous to feel a silent contentment when one of your fantasy players is tearing up the Brownies. Third, selecting a hated but skilled Raven, Bengal or Steeler because they face the Browns twice a season is an unspoken and inconvenient truth in the draft room.

I don't feel dirty anymore
We've haven't won since '94


5) Wide Receivers are the bane of the rotisserie experience. Even the most dominating ones can disappear from the game plan faster than a facebook addict likes your status. We've all needed seventy yards and a TD from some diva wideout on Monday Night, only to get fucked with two receptions for 27 yards. Curse this mercurial WR. Curse his Offensive Coordinator. Curse his QB for finding other targets. But, in essence, you were doomed by a position that makes no promises. Humans in helmets, when you needed more machine than man. Fear not: there lives an exception, and he stars for the Lions. The transformer MegaTron once exclaimed: Lesser creatures are the playthings of my will. Who knew he was foreshadowing his NFL equivalent's relationship with inferior cornerbacks? Calvin Johnson, game changer.

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Cowboys (+4) over Giants, 3 dimes
Last Season: 30-29-3 (-4 dimes)

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Who is the Vox?
SamVox is not a professional handicapper, but a premier one. He has been gambling his entire adult life and has experienced every sickening turn and nasty twist of fate that occurs during a football season. What distinguishes the Vox is his amazing intuition, astoundingly long memory, attention to detail and preparation, aversion to propaganda and access to the industry's sharpest bettors. He is a two time Pick'Em champion and went 115-100-11 against the spread with his Vox Lox over four seasons. His critically-dismissed Vox in the Box column also appears here at Cleveland Sports Torture.