Game Day Eats = Fantasy Football Feats
By Tim Ferguson
Find an old, analog clock. Yep, one of those with a face and hands. Now turn the hour and minute hands back. Way back. Or—better yet—power up the old DeLorean, set the year to 2018 and take a trip through time.
You’re sitting there reading this and you’re wondering what’s so special about 2018. Well, at this time last year you were gearing up for your fantasy football draft and the struggle was real; your nerves were nearly shot. There was that lingering and crushing fear that you could end up on the losing end of the draft order. You wondered if you had listened to enough Matthew Berry podcasts. Did you remember to follow Schefty on all your social media feeds?
If only the draft process was easier and more predictable. If only the stress didn’t overcome you like the ’85 Bears defense. If only there was a more effortless way to plan your roster like a bullet pass from Brady to Edelman.
Fortunately—whether or not last year’s fantasy football trophy sits atop your mantle—Hungry Fan has your back in 2019.
We’ve created the most comprehensive, in-depth preparation guide for your upcoming draft. And we did it in a really unique way: We used classic game day eats as analogies for the kinds of players you’ll be evaluating come draft day. It’s essentially a full spectrum of “fantasy foodie football.”
Multi-Layer Dip: These are your superstars who, when it comes to skills, seemingly have it all; they light up a scoreboard and they sell more jerseys than anyone else on the roster.
Chicken Wings: These are your impact players, who can be as blazing hot as atomic Buffalo wing sauce or are, in the very least, as reliable and solid as a trusty mild or medium wing alongside a tall pitcher of ice cold light beer.
Chips and Dip: These are the players that can provide that enjoyable crunch or flavor burst to your roster. But without the right dip, they might only add fair or average value.
Vegetable Tray: These players represent your “healthy choice” and could add some late value in the draft, but alone they aren’t enough to satiate your appetite.
Cheese and Crackers: Anyone can punk out and bring pre-cut cheese slices or cubes and bland crackers to a game day party. When it comes to your draft day roster, you’re going to have to draft a kicker or a backup tight end. To keep up with the analogy, let’s just hope that cheddar is sharp!
Starter: Multi Layer Dip
Is there a throw that Patrick Mahomes can’t make? The kid threw for over 5,000 yards, 50 TDs and had an 80+ QBR last year. He threw it overhand, underhand, behind his back and damn near through his legs. No matter what the scoring rules are in your league, the reigning MVP gives you every bit of value that your taste buds get in each of those delicious layers of your favorite Tex-Mex recipe.
Backup: Chicken Wings
For some, the “Patriot Way” might seem as bland as cheese and crackers. Say what you will, reliable Tom Brady keeps winning Super Bowls. This year he’ll be surrounded by the usual cast of characters including Julian Edelman and James White. And with the addition of rookie N’Keal Harry and veteran Demaryius Thomas, and the hopeful reinstatement of Josh Gordon, drafting Mr. TB12 himself could be more like stealing the last “everything wing” when some of the more coveted hotter ones come off the board.
Starter: Chicken Wings
The Giants are going to struggle this year as they decide who will be under center. But one thing is for sure: Only one running back is going to eat this year in the NFC East (sorry Zeke). Saquon Barkley is this season’s flaming hot drumstick in the basket. Last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Saquon rushed for over 1,300 yards and crossed the goal line 15 times. The former Heisman winner caught 90+ passes for over 700 yards. Big Blue will be turning to their franchise workhorse nearly every other down.
Back up: Chips and Dip
Don’t rule out a resurgence for Latavius Murray in his first season with the New Orleans Saints. It’s likely that Alvin Kamara will come off the board early. When looking for a late round RB2, take a peek at Murray. While it’s true that his production has dropped each year since he rushed for over 1,000 yards back in 2015, the former Raider and Viking still averaged 4 yards per carry and he could provide that much desired “crunch” needed on a bye week or “flavor burst” if you have a flex position in your league.
Starter: Multi Layer Dip
This year’s James Beard-winning coach is New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton, and his key ingredient is Michael Thomas. Thomas just inked a new contract extension worth $100 million, which could probably buy a decent stake in Frito Lay. On the field, he is Frito Lay, complete with layers of chunky salsa, hot bean dip, French onion, and queso—all scooped up with some Cool Ranch Doritos. Accordingly, he will claim the WR1 spot on several rosters. If lucky number 13 is anything like he was in 2018, which saw him haul in 125 passes (1st in the NFL), including over 1,400 yards, then he absolutely has the skills to be the best receiver in the league. No doubt “Who Dat Nation” would argue he already is.
Back up: Vegetable Tray
Larry Fitzgerald is entering his 16th season in the league. Remember how for the first 16 years of your life, your parents were always reminding you to eat your vegetables? Fitz is like that. He still has a strong portfolio of talent, much like a nutrient-dense tray of carrots, celery, tomatoes and even broccoli. The lifelong Arizona Cardinal managed to catch 69 balls last year and still averaged over 10 yards per reception. Yes it’s true that with each season comes a move down the draft board for Fitzgerald. But that’s only due to age. He’s a late round draft choice that’ll bring security to your roster at WR2 or WR3.
Starter: Chicken Wings (and things)
If you can’t snag Patrick Mahomes at QB1, then teammate Travis Kelce must be a significant target. Kelce possesses the power packed in a hot wing, but his athleticism at the tight end position is as smooth as a side of creamy ranch. Plus he’ll grab you a few fries off your friend’s plate too with every yard gained. With Gronk now resting comfortably in retirement, Kelce now stands at the top of the board in this position. And when Mahomes slings it around the field this season, look for this tight end to catch around 100 passes and score double digit touchdowns. The Chiefs plan to go deep this season and Kelce will rise to the occasion.
Backup: Chips and Dip
Greg Olsen’s season was cut short in 2018 with a series of foot injuries and his absence was just part of the story that resulted in a 7-9 season for the Carolina Panthers. In recent years (before the injuries), Olsen was one of the top tight ends in the league was a consistently dependable target for Cam Newton. When healthy, ‘The U” alumnus was targeted over 100 times per season and in three games, he logged more 1,000 yards receiving. Much like Latavius Murray, Olsen helps ease the pain of your TE1’s bye week like a reliable bag of corn chips and some good store-bought black bean salsa.
Starter/Backup: Cheese and Crackers
Kickers don’t get us excited and neither do water crackers without a topping. They’re so damn bland. But top ‘em with some gooey room temperature Brie and it’s a different story. At the end of the day, you need kickers on your roster. A long kick or a series of field goals could just be the edge you’ll need to win your matchup in, say, Week 9. Here are some of the league’s best hunks of jalapeño cheddar atop a classic Ritz (2018 points included):
1. Steven Gostkowski, New England Patriots – 130 points
2. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams – 116 points
3. Adam Vinatieri (yes, he’s still playing), Indianapolis Colts – 113 points
Starter/Backup: Multi Layer Dip or Chicken Wings
Potentially, the most underrated selections in your draft—a solid defense and special teams—might just offer you the bonus points you’ll need to earn a weekly win. Sacking the quarterback is a top initiative, but your defense also needs to limit yardage and points on the scoreboard. And who doesn’t love gravy when it’s in the form of a random kick return for a touchdown or a blocked punt return? Ultimately, you want a D that’ll knock opponents down like a nuclear hot wing to the tongue (do not attempt without milk). On top of that, you’ve got to remember to pick two teams that do not share a bye week!
There are so many layers to this selection. These are some possible choices this season (bye weeks included):
1. Chicago Bears (Week 6)
2. Cleveland Browns, yes, the Browns! (Week 7)
3. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 12)
Picking your fantasy football team can be just as complicated as making your selections at the tailgate buffet. There’s only so much room on your plate. But hopefully, with our game-day-foodie-inspired guide, this year’s draft will be heartburn-free. Good luck! 😉👍