The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us and, if you are anything like me, nothing rivals the excitement leading up to the annual opening kickoff for our boys in crimson and cream. However, the NFL also kicks off shortly after the start of the college football season, which only can mean one thing… Fantasy football. Yes, yes, oh yes fantasy. Unless you are some sort of Cowboys fan praying for a return to Johnson/Switzer glory, fantasy is the only thing that keeps most Sooner fans remotely interested on Sundays. And, if you are anything like me, it’s almost impossible to sit in front of your TV screen screaming at Allen Robinson of the Jaguars to haul in some TD’s or hoping some former Texas running back plows into the endzone. So with that in mind, I’ll be exploring options for the draft to stack your team with as many Sooners as possible to give you extra motivation to cheer your fantasy team on. SHIVAKAMINI SOMAKANDARKRAM!!!
#1 Option - Adrian Peterson (Vikings): This is a no-brainer. He might be getting older, but he is still projected to have a fantastic season since the Vikings have no other effective option of moving the ball. Sure, Bridgewater might be showing some signs of improvement, but the Vikings still are going to turn around and hand the ball off to All Day all game. Recently, AD has had a trend going of one season on, one off due to injury and not-so-flattering child development issues, but I believe he will come out this season and do what he does.
#2 Option – Demarco Murray (Titans): First of all… damn you, Chip Kelly! As a lifelong Packer Backer, there was some serious potential for me to sell my share in the team to buy an Eagle’s jersey. I never, ever thought this would be possible, but when Sam Bradford is handing the ball off to freaking Demarco Murray… that was going to be fantastic! Well, it wasn’t. Kelly’s RB-by-committee scheme and his plan of running 750 plays per game didn’t pan out for either Sooner, so Demarco packed his bags and headed for Nashville. Speculation is the Titans will also use mostly a running back committee, but I honestly can’t see Murray having the same kind of season as last year. With a new environment, new system, and an attitude to prove himself, he could easily have a bounce-back type of season. We all know what he is capable of, and he should prove to be a solid second running back draft pick.
Only Feasible Option - Sam Bradford (Eagles): This is a pretty intriguing year for our former Heisman winner, as Philly has brought in Doug Pederson to replace Chip Kelly. So essentially the Eagles fired Andy Reid, brought in the complete opposite in Kelly, and now have gone back to the Reid coaching tree. So what does that mean for Sam? Probably handing the ball off more and being more of a game manager. In addition, the same problems which have always plagued Bradford might not be going anywhere. Stud lineman and former Sooner Lane Johnson has been hit again with PED accusations, which means offensive line reshuffling. Jordan Matthews appears to be about the only option to throw to, as recently acquired, kind-of-former-Sooner Dorial Green Beckham and spectacular 2015 sleeper bust Nelson Agholor don’t bring much to the table.
#1 Option – Sterling Shepard (Giants): Sleeper Alert!!! By all accounts, Shepard has dazzled players and coaches in camp leading up to the season. So much so that coaches were actually mistaking Shepard for ODB (we will discuss him later). This is quite the praise, and Sooner fans shouldn’t be the least bit surprised after what we all witnessed for four years. Shepard has the ability, toughness, and work ethic to make an immediate impact on Sundays. I mean… look at this freaking play.
If you are in a league with a bunch of Sooner fans, draft him higher than you think. He won’t last long.
#2 Option – Kenny Stills (Dolphins): https://vine.co/v/5Mdw2tH607t I could watch that fine for hours. It alone makes me want to take K Stills with my first overall pick. I won’t get that hasty though. I’m sure he will be around in later rounds. Stills has had a pretty exciting preseason. In his most recent game he hauled in two TD’s, had a couple more catches, and might have even been involved in an altercation or two. This dude plays with FIRE. So while he will still be playing second fiddle to the Dolphin’s go-to in Jarvis Landry, I expect Stills to have better numbers than he did last year due to his passion and energy.
#1 Option – Jermaine Gresham (Cardinals): For how well the Cardinals preformed last year, I can’t think of another more boring good team to watch. They have a great defense, play physical football, and have about ten running backs who would start on other teams. Unfortunately, this means limited route running attempts for Gresham and more blocking assignments.
#2 Option – Blake Bell (49ers): Can we all just hope Blake has a chance to get on the field and make some plays? Cool.
DO NOT DRAFT LIST
Before I go into the Do Not Draft List, I feel like I should offer a little explanation. I get it. Trust me, I do. Some people are playing in leagues with high buy-ins, some people are just highly competitive and will stop at nothing to win, and some will at all costs avoid receiving the sacko trophy for last place in their league. However, as a Sooner fan here is a list of players who - under no circumstances - I will ever let myself draft.
Dez Bryant (Cowboys): Okie Lite’s most promising fantasy prospect season after season is one I have always chosen to stay away from as much as possible. Sure, Bryant has been making plays and racking up fantasy points since he entered the league. He’s also had some legitimate downsides, even for the most serious of fantasy players. He has a tendency to get hurt, he can be a serious distraction in the locker room, and his quarterback is one more broken collarbone away from his arm falling off. When Romo inevitably cracks some bone in his torso this season (Update: Preseason*), the Cowboys will have exactly zero QB’s on the bench capable of throwing a pass within 15 yards of Bryant. Oh, and as a Packers fan, it wasn’t a catch, Dez!
Jamaal Charles (Chiefs): My first ever fantasy draft was while I was in college and due to some what I will call… “technical difficulties” as a result of never drafting using ESPN’s online draft before resulted in me auto-drafting Charles. And boy was I pissed. Not only did I accidently break my No. 1 rule of never drafting a player from UT, but about five minutes into the first game he tore his ACL. Fortunately for me, I picked up a then-backup running back for the Cowboys on waiver wire who went on to have his breakout year. DeMarco Murray for Jamaal Charles was still one of my prouder fantasy moments.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants): This one might be the craziest of all for me to pass on as he has been one of the two best receivers in all of football since he’s come into the league. It still doesn’t change the fact he went to LSU and my dislike for their program is unrivaled in all of college football. Yes, I’ve seen him do this. However, the thing I’m most excited for regarding ODB’s season is Josh Norman joining up with Washington. When they lined up against each other last year, we all got to witness a UFC smackdown without even having to pay the outrageous PPV fees. I can only imagine this matchup getting more fun to watch now that their respective teams are division rivals and will play twice this year.
Overall, it should be an exciting year in the NFL for several of our former Sooners. While I didn’t go into the defensive side of the ball since most standard leagues don’t draft individual defensive players, there are several Sooners to keep your eye out for this season as well. Guys such as Tony Jefferson of the Cardinals and Gerald McCoy of the Bucs have been key pieces for their defenses over the last several seasons. It will all be interesting to see if some of the rookies such as Striker, Tapper, and Sanchez get a chance to make an impact this season. Good luck to all of you in your drafts and to all the Sooners playing in the NFL this season!