This article introduces neither grand strategy nor clever insight. Rather, it is intended to promote humor and fun. Feel free to add your own thoughts as we discuss the 2010 Fantasy Name Team. We are not interested in the unique or different names; rather, staying true to our core fantasy principles, we seek to extract the greatest value, by position, from available names among our fantasy stars. If you are looking for a lighter-hearted piece, give it a read and, more importantly, add your own thoughts and suggestions below.
QB: The Forces of “Matt”
Anyone wanting to increase the odds that their little tyke might grow up to become a starting quarterback in the NFL should ensure the lad’s birth certificate begins with “Matthew.” No name among starting quarterbacks commands as much power. Indeed, fantasy owners could build quite a roster from among the league’s quarterbacking Matts. Houston’s Matt Schaub is the likely every-week starter among the group; however, additional choices abound. Those seeking the veteran, bye-week fill-in could tap Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle), while owners preferring an up-and-coming fantasy star might prefer Matthew Stafford (Detroit) or Matt Ryan (Atlanta). Of course, Matt Cassel (Kansas City) and Matt Moore (Carolina) may offer value from week-to-week as well. Regardless, the “forces of Matt” offer unparalleled options at the quarterback position. Unless an owner focused on last names, e.g., Manning, or stretched things a bit (Jay Cutler (Chicago), Jason Campbell (Oakland)), no other name even offers multiple options among NFL starters.
RB: “Chris”-ten Me Champion
Owners forced to stick with a Matthew theme could do worse than beginning a backfield with Chicago’s Matt Forte. However, our clubhouse leader in the name game among fantasy running backs is “Chris.” Our backfield would begin with arguably fantasy’s top player coming into 2010, Chris Johnson (Tennessee). We would round out our duo with the none-too-shabby Chris “Beanie” Wells (Arizona). Steven Jackson (St. Louis) and Steve Slaton (Houston) are serviceable, but pale in comparison to Team Chris. Potential duos: Michael Bush (Oakland) and Michael Bennett (also Oakland) or Kevin Faulk (New England) and Kevin Smith (Detroit) lack firepower and upside. Clearly when it comes to running back, “Chris” is it.
WR: I Like “Mike”
How can the name-game fantasy owner go wrong selecting all “Steve Smiths” to line up at wideout? Both Steve Smith (New York) and his namesake Steve Smith (Carolina) represent top 20 talent at the position. Likewise, owners could hitch their wagons to all things “Mike Williams.” While Tampa’s version looks far superior in terms of fantasy production, Mike Williams of Seattle likewise may be his team’s WR1.
Indeed, fantasy name owners seeking depth certainly could do worse than focusing on the dynamic “Mikes” that inhabit WR rosters around the league. Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh) and Michael Crabtree (San Francisco), along with the aforementioned “Mike Williamses” or, perhaps, Michael Jenkins (Atlanta), offer a series of options and bye-week fill-ins at the position. Those plumbing at more extreme depths might settle on a team of Devins. Hester (Chicago) and Aroshamandu (Chicago) along with Thomas (Washington) again fill-out not only the fantasy-name WR slots, but provide flex position and bye-week options as well. Andre Johnson’s (Houston) production is so elite that owners might consider pairing him with lesser namesake Andre Caldwell (recently of Cincinnati), figuring Mr. Johnson can put up points equal to two typical fantasy wideouts. Brandons Marshall (Miami) and Stokley (Denver) offer similar strategic options.
TE: “Zach” Attack
By now, readers jumping on the fantasy name bandwagon could predict where our focus begins at TE: ”Zach Miller.” While Oakland’s version represents upper echelon fantasy talent at the position, Jacksonville’s TE by the same name allows fantasy-name gamers conveniently to fill-out their rosters at this position. Name-game pickings at TE are slim, however, so fantasy-namers might have to reach early in their drafts.
K: Who cares!!!?
As in fantasy generally, there is little reason to care about kickers when it comes to the fantasy name game. However, coming full circle there are a couple of nice options named “Matt” in Messers. Bryant (ATLANTA) and Prater (DENVER), suggesting a potential fall-back for those fantasy owners who dub their real-life little bambinos “Matthew” in hopes of harnessing stardom at quarterback. Hey, whether they are fantasy relevant or not, the world needs kickers too.
What additional fantasy power names can you identify, either present-day or all-time? How about going another direction and putting together present-day and all-time unique fantasy names? The possibilities there are mind-boggling.
Scott Rozmus is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Scott in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Goose.
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