If Yours Truly had $ 1 Billion Dollars
The “Gut Feeling” is often synonymous with a sense
of desperation resulting from a lack of preparation. The Gut Check
is a huge proponent of studying the numbers, but there’s
a point where one can place too much emphasis on the wrong information.
This can result in the undervaluing or overlooking a player’s
potential. Therefore, The Weekly Gut Check is devoted to examining
the frame of reference behind certain number-driven guidelines
that fantasy football owners use to make decisions.
Although The Weekly Gut Check doesn’t claim to be psychic,
he does believe that he can dispel certain numbers biases and
help you make the best choices for your team. We’ll keep
a running tally of The Weekly Gut Check’s insights. This
way you can gauge his views as something to seriously consider,
or at least seriously consider running the opposite way as fast
as you can!
It’s the end of the year, and the Gut Check is exploring his
own football fantasy: Inheriting a billion dollars. It’s not
like yours truly has any family that would a) have that kind of
cash or b) give it to him, but sometimes you just have to indulge
your fantasies, right? On second thought, the Gut Check isn’t
asking you for approval—this is his head-trip—but you
are welcome to come along for the ride.
Why $1 billion? According to Forbes’
2004 valuations of NFL Teams, this should be more than enough
to buy a pro football team (and still keep a little change for
non-football fantasies). Where to start? There are so many options
and the Gut Check is enjoying every single one of them.
Which Team Would He Buy?
This was one of the tougher questions. At first, he considered
buying the Baltimore Ravens and moving them to Athens, Georgia
in an act of vengeance for Art Modell taking this squad out of
the Gut Check’s football fan birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio.
But he doesn’t want to be the one to steal a team from a
group of fans—he knows what it feels like. Plus, he’s
got nothing against the city of Baltimore—a city that had
to experience Irsay sneaking out of town in the middle of the
night for Indianapolis.
He then considered Green Bay. Who wouldn’t want to a team
with that kind of history? But the city owns that team and there’s
no way they’d sell it to Gut Check and yours truly just
likes that egalitarian philosophy behind the ownership of this
organization. You just don’t ruin a good thing.
Washington was a candidate, but they already have a fantasy owner,
he doesn’t want to be near the nation’s capital, and
the Gut Check is an AFC guy. So are you thinking the Titans? Good
guess…but you’d be wrong. The Gut Check’s favorite
team is relatively close to home and has a good core of young
talent. But as much as he’s a fan of Tennessee’s team,
there are several reasons why he’d rather opt for something
different. First, there are the uniforms—the Flaming Thumbtack
insignia—are you kidding? Yours truly isn’t interested
in changing the tradition of the team as much as adding the story
on the field. Nashville is a nice town, but that’s not his
kind of town.
The Gut Check’s team would be none other than the Oakland
Raiders. The renegade tradition of picking unknowns, underdogs,
and castoffs fits the Gut Check’s fantasy football personality.
Then there’s the rich history of players and championships—the
“Mad Bomber” Darryl Lamonica, Kenny “the Snake
“ Stabler, Ted Hendricks, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Cliff
Branch, Marcus Allen, Jack Tatum, Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes,
Marcus Allen, Howie Long, and even for an all-too brief time,
The Silver and Black uniforms are the best in any sport for their
simple but stylish look—nothing like that woman in your
life sporting a silver and black jersey—okay, that’s
another fantasy and not the forum to discuss it. Seriously, this
team’s apparel should be one of the easiest revenue generators
of any team. And what about the fans? As a childhood Browns’
backer, the Gut Check appreciates fans that make players nervous
for their freaky behavior in the stands. The Black Hole may take
Then there are the rivalries. The Raiders inspire such a high
level of competition among various teams in the league—none
better than the Raiders-Chiefs. Sometimes it’s fun being
the bad boy in life. The Raiders personify that image. While yours
truly would eliminate the penalty-ridden, outlaw image of this
team, he’d intimidate with aggressive strategies and tough
players. Of course, he’d get fired from his FFToday gig
once KC’s own, Mike Krueger caught wind of his purchase.
And what about the location? This is not a team you want to relocate
to Los Angeles yet again! Keep the funk in the East Bay and try
to lure those staid, 49ers fans over to the dark side. You know
they’ll jump off the bandwagon once the Gut Check gets this
unit rolling—yeah, Football Scooter, you know you’d
don that Silver and Black over your Niner jersey…okay, maybe
not, but it’s worth a try.
But the clincher has to be the state of the organization. Yours
truly would have nowhere to go but up once he bought the team
from Al Davis. The Gut Check has tremendous respect for the Raiders’
former (yes, in this fantasy he’s the former owner) owner,
but after yours truly had a heart to heart with the NFL’s
version of Darth Vader, Davis realized it was his time to leave
his empire in capable hands. Of course, what the Gut Check didn’t
tell the media in the press conference announcing the sale of
the team was what he promised Al in exchange for the team. Unfortunately,
yours truly can’t tell you that—you know Davis—he’s
a very secretive guy.
But he can tell you that keeping Davis involved in any personnel
matters was not part of the agreement. The first thing yours truly
would do is to end the reign of the current coaching staff. Shell,
Walsh, and Biletnikoff must go. The entire front office, coaching
staff, and scouting department would be gone. The Gut Check would
begin by hiring Ron Wolf as his consultant in the selection process
of his management team. Wolf knows the NFL and would make as great
of an advisor as an owner could find—too bad the Cleveland
Browns messed this up during the Butch Davis era. This future
Hall of Fame personnel man’s recommendations would not fall
upon deaf ears in the new Raider regime.
This doesn’t mean the Gut Check wouldn’t have a short
list of candidates for these positions that he’d like Wolf
to consider. For GM that list would include the Ravens’
Ozzie Newsome and former Titans’ front office man and Jeff
Diamond—a guy that deserved more credit for keeping Tennessee
highly competitive at the turn of the century. As long as Wolf
doesn’t recommend Charlie Casserly, we’ll be just
fine…yes, Mario Williams leaves one helluva bad impression
right now. But so did Heath Schuler—who? Exactly.
You know the Gut Check would have Jeff Fisher at the top of his
short list. The Titans coach is a cool customer, excellent strategist,
and has demonstrated enough flexibility to change his team’s
strategy while continuing to field a unit that plays with toughness
and character. Fisher is one of those coaches that commands the
respect of his players, but also earns their loyalty. He also
doesn’t care what people think of him and maintains a somewhat
low-key persona. The Raiders deserve a coach that will restore
the type of character this team needs without being a “character.”
That’s because the Gut Check would make the suggestion
to Fisher that he hire the ultimate character (straight off the
horse farm) as his defensive coordinator—Buddy Ryan. If
there were a coach the Gut Check believes could keep Ryan from
being too much of a nuisance while getting the best of him, it
would be Fisher. Yours truly loved watching the 46 defenses of
the Bears, Eagles, and Titans. The Raiders deserve an aggressive
defense that fits with the historic persona of this organization.
The Ravens have certainly proved that 46—or at least many
elements of it—still wreak havoc on offenses. Plus, Ryan
can be a fun lightning rod for the media and Fisher, a former
player and disciple under Ryan, would probably enjoy the attention
directed away from him as he resumes the Commitment to Excellence.
If this doesn’t work, Mike Singletary might not be a bad
The offensive coordinator on the short list would have to be
Marty Schottenheimer—just kidding—Mike Martz would
have been a fun candidate to consider, but yours truly wants a
bit more of a power running game than the Martz offense provides.
Ken Whisenhunt does a lot with a generally conservative attack
in Pittsburgh, which means he has a creative streak despite working
under Cowher. The Gut Check would also consider offensive coordinator
Dough Marrone of the Saints. Yours truly likes the Saints offense
this year because they can pound the ball, use misdirection, and
throw it downfield. But the guy he’d love to hire away is
the Colts coach Tom Moore. The Gut Check wants an offense that
sets up the deep pass with the run. Any of these candidates would
be suitable. One dark horse candidate would be running backs coach
Earnest Byner of the Redskins. Something tells the Gut Check Byner
will be a successful head coach in the NFL one day. He wouldn’t
mind giving him that chance once Fisher decides to hang it up.
Player Personnel Movement
Randy Moss would be given an ultimatum: get in great shape, work
on your intermediate routes to at least pose a legitimate threat
to the middle of the field, or you’re gone. Yes, the Gut
Check recalls that Moss wanted out of Oakland, but you know his
tune would change with yours truly brings all this to the table.
Yours truly believes Moss would comply and have a career year,
but if he doesn’t, it’s off to Buffalo in some kind
of deal for Lee Evans as one of the principles—yes, Lee
Evans—an underrated player that has shown the ability to
get it done with a signal caller like J.P. Losman. Bernard Berrian
wouldn’t be bad, either, especially if the trade of Moss
could yield one of those linemen in return--on either side of
If Moss stays, the Gut Check would make a push for Brett Favre.
You know the gunslinger secretly wants to be a Raider and Moss
would probably eat glass to have a shot at playing with the Packer-great.
What did you expect? This is the Raiders and they always need
some form of vertical attack. Favre has 2-3 more years, health
willing, and he’d figure out some way to get the Green Bay
QB to pull off a Junior Seau “graduation.” If the
Favre situation doesn’t work out, yours truly goes full
bore after Matt Schuab of the Falcons. He’s mobile, accurate,
and only needs the reps to become a quality signal caller. The
Gut Check would also make a cheap play for practice squad quarterback
Omar Jacobs, the rookie out of Bowling Green. Jacobs has the accuracy
and poise to develop into a surprise starter in a few years. He
has a gun, too. If all else fails, Brian Brohm in first round!
Lamont Jordan at running back is just fine. It’s the offensive
line that needs the most work. If the Raiders could stop being
a three and out offense and big reason the defense gets worn out,
the defense has enough talent to be good enough to make Oakland
competitive. But if the Gut Check could get Favre or Schaub, then
Adrian Peterson would be a pick this team might not be able to
pass up. The guy runs like a wild man…he’s Eddie George
with Barry Sanders’ feet and Bo Jackson’s acceleration.
On defense, the Gut Check would try to lure Cardinals safety
Adrian Wilson out of Arizona to pair with Michael Huff as his
mentor. Fabian Washington has potential to be a very good corner,
but Oakland needs one true shut down guy on the other side to
make the 46 effective. Yours truly is more about building the
middle of the defense first and working his way to the edges,
so the corner would have to wait in lieu of a great middle linebacker
and defensive tackle (after acquiring Wilson for the deep middle).
So that’s the Gut Check’s team. It would probably
alienate him from his dad and siblings (Broncos fans, which yours
truly would love doing as his form of vengeance for all those
years Elway and company beat his beloved Browns in the 80’s).
The only problem (between you and the Gut Check and off the record)
Al told him he’d have to wear some of those crazy, Dr. Evil
looking outfits he dons for national television. Just Win Baby…Just
League Updates - Week 14
Fantasy Auction League: The Gut Check had a first round bye
last week, and faces Fantasy Guru in the semi-finals this weekend.
Maurice Jones-Drew went nuts last week, and yours truly hopes
the rookie can once again pair with LT for a fantasy onslaught
on the ground. The biggest question mark is whether to start Chad
Pennington versus a poor Vikings pass defense or Vince Young against
a good Jaguars unit. Yours truly is leaning towards Pennington,
who has been consistent enough.
Projected Starting Lineup: Pennington,
LT, Maurice-Jones Drew, Driver, Holmes, Wayne, McMichael, Scobee,
and Patriots defense.
Auctioneer Experts Invitational: The Gut Check went 10-4 and
faces The Talented Mr. Roto squad in the semi-finals after a huge,
139-point weekend to wrap up the season (a league leading point
total despite starting Fred Taylor over Maurice Jones Drew). Yours
truly isn’t changing his lineup now.
Projected Starting Lineup: McNair,
Jackson, Taylor, Mark Clayton, Donald Driver, Reggie Brown, Todd
Heap, Josh Scobee, and the Ravens Defense.
Local League (Traditional re-draft and scoring): This top-scoring
squad ran into a buzz saw last week in a first round playoff defeat.
Even if the Gut Check started Reggie Bush or Ladell Betts, the
results wouldn’t have been different. Stick a fork in this
team, but not before it collects some dough for a fine season.
FFTOC: The Gut Check did slightly better, but will need two excellent
weeks to move from the 50th percentile to a money spot. Peyton
Manning, Reggie Bush, and Donté Stallworth hopefully lead
the way this week.