In 187 short days, Major League turns twenty five years old. It is, for all intents and purposes, the perfect sports movie. The story is fantastic (almost 96% believable), the baseball action is realistic (including rampant steroid abuse), you get a peek at the awful uniforms featured in the big leagues in the late 1980s, and when the Cleveland Indians are celebrating their victory over the New York Yankees at the end, you feel like you were part of an amazing journey. Major League is among my favorite quotable movies and the characters are still timeless.
As I am pretty much always able to do, I thought about Major League in the contexts of fantasy football. Every year, we assemble our teams in August, we scrutinize our rosters week in and week out until we’ve set the perfect lineup, and there are both lovable and deplorable characters. Here are the major players in the movie, and their fantasy football equivalents:
Tom Berenger plays the bad kneed, Mexican League outcast catcher who helps form the young team to victory. In fantasy football, this is easily San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. He is the definition of the questionable tag, and as the years have gone by, he has gone from the top TE on the draft board to late round back up. You hate to plug him in your lineup with the knowledge that there’s at least a 50% chance he might not play, or even worse, play and put up a stinker stat line.
When he does perform, however, he is elite and puts up the numbers he put up in Week 4: ten catches, 136 yards and a touchdown. You’ll keep relying on Gates the way the Indians relied on Taylor, even if the bags of ice on his knees weight twenty pounds.
Willie Mays Hayes
Did you know Omar Epps played Hayes in Major League 2? The producers didn’t think you’d notice either. DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles is fantasy football’s Black Thunder. He’s speedy, he’s prone to horrible mistakes, but he will dazzle you with big plays, electric speed, and occasional front line numbers. Jackson is currently the eighth overall WR in fantasy football, and while it remains to be seen if he can finish in the WR top ten, we’ll continue to ride the roller coaster.
Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn
Charlie Sheen perfectly portrays the ex-con fireballer who, with the help of glasses, gains control of his high 90s heat to become one of the top young pitchers in the American League. If Vaughn’s entrance at the end of the movie doesn’t make you turn the volume up as high as it goes and forget about the hoards of ugly chicks in the crowd, check your pulse; you might be dead.
If Dez Bryant isn’t Ricky Vaughn, I don’t know who is. It took him some time to get going as a rookie in 2010, but he has since been among fantasy’s elite WRs. His commentary on getting paid at Oklahoma State is classic young punk and his faux hawk reminds me of the terrible buzz job Charlie Sheen wore to fully immerse himself in the character. Dez is the true “Wild Thing”.
I am not positive of his religious affiliation, but Demaryius Thomas is the NFL’s version of the big bad Cuban defector. He plays with power, is soft spoken, and is likely the last person you’d want to piss off in the locker room.
He won’t get in front of hard hit balls, he sticks by the letter of the law of his contract, he wears sweaters tied around his neck, and he’s really concerned about his stock portfolio. Tom Brady, anyone? Brady doesn’t look like he’s done a sit up or lifted a weight in years. He performs on the biggest stages, however, reminiscent of Dorn diving to his left in the early stages of the Yankee game or sparking the two out rally that would eventually tie the game. I imagine Brady’s stock portfolio is plenty healthy and Bill Belichick probably hasn’t urinated on his contract, but Brady is the golden boy Corbin Bernsen played with brilliance.
Here are my Week 5 Fantasy Football Stays/Plays:
Greg Olsen, TE Carolina Panthers
In most cases, Olsen is already your TE1, but with the overall depth at the position and his early bye week, it’s easy to have forgotten about him as this week rolled around. Olsen will face an Arizona Cardinal defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing Tight Ends coming off a week of rest. The love child of Zack Morris and Ricky Stratton will post his best stat line of this young season this week, and I’m calling for 90+ yards and one (maybe two) touchdowns. PLAY
Chris Johnson, RB Tennesse Titans
CJ1K is already a fantasy headache, handling the rock twenty or more times in three of the first four contests without scoring the elusive touchdown that turn his numbers from pedestrian to useful. Kansas City is next on the docket for the Titans, and while the game is being played in Tennesse, the Chiefs have been incredibly stingy to RBs not named LeSean McCoy, allowing the third fewest fantasy points to opposing backs thus far.
Factor in his angry tweet to fantasy owners and the injury-forced change at QB from Jake Locker to Ryan Fitzpatrick (Yes, I know, he went to Harvard. Please give me a piece of info I don’t already know about him), and you’re staring at another long afternoon in the trenches. Dig deep for other options this week. STAY
Roddy White, WR Atlanta Falcons
Hot Rod has been dealing with a high ankle sprain that has limited him to decoy duties in the high octane Falcon offense. Each week, however, the situation has improved, and he played a season high seventy four out of seventy six offensive snaps last Sunday Night vs. New England, receiving nine targets (a season high), including the final throw of the game that sailed past him in the end zone. The popular advice has been to sit Roddy through Atlanta’s Week 6 bye, but I think he will send his owners into the off week with a classic 100 yard and a touchdown performance. The Jets are a mess and the Falcons are desperate. I say deploy him as you expected to be able to when you drafted him. PLAY
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