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Fantasy of NFL gives life to season

By Jeffery Armstrong

Every year at this time, I get antsy followed by a warm sensation in my gut. Heartburn? Nope. I feel this way cause it's the start of the National Football League regular season, the best season in sports. Football season starts tonight, the second year in a row that the NFL has started on a Thursday night. Of course, I can't wait for the game to start. It will be the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots against the team they beat to get there, the Indianapolis Colts. It should be a good game, especially if Colts quarterback Peyton Manning doesn't throw four interceptions like he did when the two teams met in the AFC Championship Game last year.

This year, I'm looking forward to NFL football even more because I'm involved in a Fantasy Football league. At first, I wasn't thinking that much about Fantasy Football because I felt it was too much work. But as the days went by, I found myself getting more and more into fantasy football. I started keeping up with the preseason football games just to see how my fantasy players were doing. I started checking my team's fantasy football website to see updates on my players. So instead of just worrying about what the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing, now I'll be checking the entire NFL to see what my fantasy players have done.

Now I really want to win the whole thing, which will net me a cool $50. I mean, as a sports writer I need to at least make the fantasy football playoffs. I'll have to turn in my press pass if I don't get that far.

Here are some of my players I drafted on my fantasy team: my quarterbacks are Manning and Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans; my two main running backs are Deuce McAllister of the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh's Duce Staley; my two main wide receivers are Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers and Reggie Wayne of the Colts; my kicker is Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos and I have the Baltimore Ravens defense and special teams. Pretty decent squad, huh?

I've got two tight ends and other players as reserves but I don't feel they need to be mentioned. Well, I'll mention one reserve: I snagged Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis just in case Staley gets hurt during the season. It doesn't hurt to have a "Bus" on your team for insurance.

The good thing about fantasy football is that I can be a general manager. I can pick and sign people off waivers and I find myself constantly trying to improve my team. Right now, I've got McNair as my starting quarterback for week one (you can only play one QB) since Manning has to go against a tough Patriots defense in Foxboro, Mass. I'm not big on Manning's road prowess n he threw 12 of his 29 touchdown passes on the road last year and that number is inflated because he threw six TD passes at New Orleans in week four. If the Saints hadn't played so horribly, he probably would've thrown three at the most. He plays better at home, so I think I'll start McNair since the Titans play the Miami Dolphins and their defense should be tired because the Miami offense won't do much.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to the NFL and fantasy football season. Some of the other fantasy football owners have good teams, so my work will be cut out for me to win, but I should make the postseason. Hopefully, the Steelers will make the playoffs, too.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com .