The draft diary of a fantasy football rookie

College Contributor Network

Well, I bit the bullet -- I finally joined a Fantasy Football league. After 20 years as a San Diego Chargers fan and a summer spent interning at the NFL Network, I figured it was finally time.

I joined a 10-person USC sports media league so I knew from the start that I was going to get crushed. But then a miraculous thing happened: I got the first pick.

I wasn't sure I was reading it right. I didn't even know how to use the website. But there it was, Team Kragenomics (yes, Kragenomics) was up first.

Immediately I was torn. Do I draft old faithful Adrian Peterson? Or do I draft Shady McCoy, who promised me 2,000 yards in 2014?

I sat in the rocking chair on my friend's front porch and panicked as 5:30 p.m. crept up on me. But in the spirit of my team name -- failed conservatism -- I went with All Day. At the time I thought I was set for the season, but then Peterson's child abuse charges surfaced. Nothing says "first-time fantasy player" like drafting someone who later gets suspended indefinitely.

Since my name isn't Roddy White, I won't complain too much about the hit my Fantasy team will take with the loss of Peterson. Luckily I ended up with good enough players to compensate.
By the time it was my turn again, I had an easy decision. Brandon Marshall, no question. Seven straight 1,000-yard seasons? Let's go for eight. I'll take Jay "Bleary Eyes" Cutler to Brandon Marshall any day.

I was feeling great about myself until I realized I had to immediately pick again -- stupid Snake draft. I had to take another running back, so I went with Alfred Morris, who has quietly put up the second-most rushing yards in the league over the last two seasons.

After snagging the two backs with the most rushing yards over the past two seasons and the man tied for the longest active streak of 1,000-yard receiving seasons, I felt like I was good to go. But then the train kind of came off the tracks.

As a first-time fantasy player, I had no idea that I had to pay attention to the players' bye weeks. Once I realized that, all of my strategy went out the window as I tried to find players with different weeks off.

Is the NFL taking vacation on Weeks 9 and 10? Because that's what it felt like when I was drafting.

So, with my next pick I took Larry Fitzgerald. I was convinced Carson Palmer would be jacking it up to Fitz all season long, but so far it's not looking too good for me.

I had to immediately pick again and this time went with C.J. Spiller. Or was it Fred Jackson? Can't tell those guys apart.

After eight quarterbacks were taken off the board, I realized I should probably snag one. This time I strayed from the "Best Available" board to search for my quarterback. I went with my heart (which is, I'm pretty sure, the antithesis of fantasy football) and chose Philip Rivers. Couldn't help myself from playing favorites, so we'll see how that works out.

To prove to myself that I wasn't letting my bias getting in the way of my decision making, I took the Bengals defense -- this after taking Philadelphia wide receiver Riley Cooper and New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas.

I don't have anything against Cincinnati, but I absolutely do have something against Vontaze Burfict. Remember this?

USC v Arizona State
USC v Arizona State

I do.

The next couple of rounds, as I'm sure all you more seasoned fantasy players know, are a total crap-shoot. I ended up with wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Dwayne Bowe as well as running back Chris Ivory (why didn't I draft him sooner?). Dan Bailey became my kicker and Alex Smith (snooze) as my backup quarterback.

And with the 160th and final pick of the draft, I went out with a bang. How? By taking Green Bay wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who's out for the season with a torn ACL - and who's not even verified on Twitter.

If that's not a sign that I'm ending up last in my league, I don't know what is.

Aubrey Kragen is a senior at USC majoring in Communication. She was born in San Diego and is a fan of the Chargers, the Padres and the Spurs (because she needs at least one good team to root for). Follow her on Twitter: @aubreykragen

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