Fantasy Football Fun: Let the games begin

Beat-the-Strick_Final

I fancy myself a pretty fair little fantasy football player.

Here’s a chance for some Panthers personalities to knock me on my fancy little fanny – if they can.

I’ve been playing fantasy football longer than the Panthers have been playing. My pride and joy, the National Feetball League, is entering its 26th season of cutthroat competition. I’ve won the 12-team league eight times, including an unfathomable streak of four consecutive titles.

No one will ever beat that streak. But maybe, just maybe, someone can Beat the Strick.

Maybe even Jordan Gross.

Gross was picking green beans at Little Buddy Farm in Fruitland, Idaho, when I contacted him to see if he was game. He was, and now he has the chance to question the decisions of media members who questioned him through the years.

Each week during the regular season, the Panthers panel will try to trump my Strick’s Pick-Six lineup, which will feature exactly one Panthers player and five other players from around the league (one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers and one tight end). Scoring will mirror the system used by NFL.com.

Here’s the catch. Sure, it’s nice to stand above the crowd in a given week, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. And the journey is made that much more challenging by this caveat: You can only pick a player once. The exception is Panthers players, who you can pick up to three times.

Bryan Strickland
Max Henson
Bill Voth
Jordan Gross
Jim Szoke
Total Pts (rank) -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- --------------------
Last week -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- --------------------
QB N. Foles A. Rodgers D. Brees Roethlisberger D. Watson
RB J. Mixon L. Fournette C. McCaffrey D. Johnson T. Gurley
RB A. Collins A. Collins K. Hunt K. Johnson D. Cook
WR D. Funchess A.J. Green A.J. Green D. Baldwin A.J. Green
WR C. Hogan G. Tate D. Hopkins D. Adams M. Thomas
TE J. Reed G. Olsen K. Rudolph G. Olsen G. Olsen
Jourdan Rodrigue
Mike Solarte
Kelsey Riggs
Josh Klein
John Halpin
Total Pts (rank) -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- --------------------
Last week -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- --------------------
QB D. Brees A. Rodgers M. Stafford Roethlisberger P. Rivers
RB D. Johnson D. Johnson C. McCaffrey C. McCaffrey A. Kamara
RB K. Hunt L. Fournette A. Kamara L. Fournette A. Collins
WR A. Brown A. Brown K. Allen A. Brown D. Funchess
WR S. Diggs A.J. Green A.J. Green O. Beckham C. Hogan
TE G. Olsen G. Olsen D. Walker R. Gronkowski T. Eifert

To that end, I’m taking a different tact than most for Week 1. While many on the panel are going with a who’s who of fantasy players, I’m thinking a little outside the box with the likes of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles and Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan. Foles won’t be the starter for long, and the reigning champs tend to do well on opening night, so I’m going with him now to keep all the elite quarterbacks in play. And as a bonus, since he's the only player picked for Thursday's opener, I can at least say I led this thing at some point (wait, he could score negative points, could he?).

Hogan seems like another player worth picking early. Fellow wideout Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games. Plus Hogan lit it up when he was healthy early last season, and since staying healthy hasn’t been his strength, I’m taking a shot now. He could represent a value for daily fantasy players.

Among non-Panthers players, Bengals wideout A.J. Green was the most popular pick, with half of the 10 panelists picking him. He’s a smart play against a Colts pass defense that has struggled in recent seasons.

The Panthers picks this week look like this: Five for tight end Greg Olsen, three for running back Christian McCaffrey and two for wide receiver Devin Funchess. No one took Cam Newton this week, perhaps saving him for a time when the offensive line is healthier and the opposing defensive line isn’t as dangerous.

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