Fantasy Football Special Edition and Favorite Tailgate Spot

Fantasy Football Special Edition

Just a Game?
The month of August is finally starting to fade into September, the kids have been back in school for a couple of weeks, and the air is finally starting to feel a little crisper. Ok, maybe a stretch on the last one, but it’s that time of year that many football junkies crave….we’re speaking of Fantasy Football of course. The game has become an absolute addiction for millions of people including young and old, rookies and veterans, and men and women alike. Fantasy Football has seen an unbelievable explosion in the last couple of decades.

More than a Hobby
Although it may be hard to believe, the game was created and has been around since 1962 when Bill Winkenback, an employee for the Oakland Raiders, developed the idea and the very first fantasy league as the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League). As we can see, the game has been around for a long time, but the advent of the internet and computers has exploded the dam of something that was once considered a fun hobby. The majority of Fantasy Football participants still enjoy the game as an fun leisure pursuit, but it has certainly created a realm of players that take it extremely serious, and for good reason. Fantasy Football has become big business for advertisers looking to capitalize on the ideal market, where some estimate that over 20 to 25 million Americans are highly engaged in fantasy football leagues. There are even high stakes leagues where “professional” fantasy football players go to Las Vegas and try to win millions of dollars by playing the game.

How’s it Work?
Fantasy football has become a insatiable addiction for many sports fans, which simply serves as a forum for old and new friends alike to join up once or twice a year, have some good food and beverages, talk a little trash, and catch up on old times. The game has a built-in social networking mechanism that helps friends stay in touch involved in a competitive format. For those of you who need a quick primer, here’s an extremely brief one. “Owners” as they’re called can either join in a public league, or join in a private league created by friends, such as old high school or college buddies, work friends, or neighbors for example. The big event is of course the draft, set up in the exact same way as the real NFL draft, where owners choose the players they think will lead them to the championship trophy.

Different rules and scoring systems vary widely from league to league, but the basic idea remains the same where players will earn their owners “points” by the stats they accumulate in their respective games. The competitions are generally set up where owners and their teams are matched up with their friends’ teams on a weekly basis, much like the NFL. Over the course of the season, owners accumulate wins or losses in an attempt to get into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, its win or go home just like the real deal.

Draft Strategy
Owners will spend months agonizing over what strategy to take in the draft, where the general consensus is to focus heavily on running backs since they see the most touches and thus the chance to gain stats. That notion has taken some twists and turns as of late, especially with the advent of more passing in the NFL and record setters like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning piling up stats and points. One thing is for certain regarding the advent of fantasy football: it has increased spectatorship of the NFL on an unimaginable scale. The NFL entered into a 5 year, $600 million contract with Sprint driven largely by the ability of customers to constantly monitor and track their fantasy teams. In a poll released, 55% of fantasy players reported watching much more NFL, other than their own team, on television after playing fantasy football. We even started our very own Bird Cage Fantasy Football League. A look at one magazine’s top 5 at each position, and our Falcons:

Quarterbacks
1) Drew Brees – Saints
2) Peyton Manning – Colts
3) Tom Brady – Patriots
4) Tony Romo – Cowboys
5) Kurt Warner – Cardinals
12) Matt Ryan – Falcons

Running Backs
1) Adrian Peterson – Vikings
2) Michael Turner – Falcons
3) Maurice Jones-Drew – Jaguars
4) Matt Forte – Bears
5) Brian Westbrook – Eagles
47) Jerious Norwood

Wide Receivers
1) Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals
2) Andre Johnson – Texans
3) Steve Smith – Panthers
4) Randy Moss – Patriots
5) Calvin Johnson – Lions
6) Roddy White – Falcons
45) Michael Jenkins – Falcons

Tight Ends
1) Jason Witten – Cowboys
2) Antonio Gates – Chargers
3) Tony Gonzalez – Falcons
4) Dallas Clark – Colts
5) Owen Daniels – Texans

Team Defenses
1) Steelers
2) Giants
3) Ravens
4) Titans
5) Eagles
21) Falcons

If you’re a vet than this all old news to you, but if you’ve always wondered what exactly fantasy football is, than check out one of these websites and try it out, all for free:

NFL.com Fantasy Football
ESPN Fantasy Football
CBS Sports Fantasy Football

Favorite Tailgate Spot

Everybody who heads to any sporting event loves the tailgating, and its always so crucial on getting that perfect spot. Fans look a place to spread out, find some grass, close walk to the stadium, close portable restrooms, and somewhere that won’t break the bank. When Arthur Blank bought the team, one of the first things that improved was tailgating access and areas for fans, one of the main reasons tickets sales and fan support waned. Everyone’s got their game-day ritual and one of the most important elements is getting that spot that’s just right. Many options and areas available for Falcons fans as they head down to the Dome:

Northside
Yellow Lot – Nice paved lot north of the Dome next to the Marshalling Yard. As long as you get there before 11 am, fans can roll up and pay $8 to get in on a nice paved lot with portable restrooms and not a terrible walk to the Dome. Intersection of Northside Dr. and Jones Ave/Simpson St.S

Blue Lot – smaller paved lot that offers an excellent quick walk to the Dome, but not quite as much space to spread out. Often times can fill up early, but other times fans can drive up right before the game and get in if their lucky. Northside Dr directly across from the Georgia World Congress Center. Pay ranges from $8 to $15. Very close skip over to Falcons Landing.

Westside
Parking lots all along Northside Dr. where the party gets going with the smells of great food and music to get you pumped and ready to go for the game.

Southside
Orange Lot & Lot K
As close as you can get to the Dome with a raucous party going on just south of where the Falcons play. Not sure of accessibility or price. Intersections of Mangum St. and Georgia Dome Drive.

Southeast Side
Some excellent grassy spots that include some tailgaters getting fired up and ready for the game with all the great fixings for an enjoyable experience. Olympic Dr, MLK, and Mitchell Street.

MARTA
With the explosion of local sports bars in the area including Taco Mac and Dantanna’s, taking MARTA makes it easy to hop on the train and be dropped off ready to throwdown before the game. Hit the trains early and start your tailgating well before noon, or wait a little closer until game-time. Only issues are trying to find a seat when the sports bars are packed or if you don’t have any friends tailgating nearby. A big bottleneck on trying to hit the trains back after the game though.

Apologies if I’ve incorrectly described any of your favorite tailgate areas, as its difficult to get a gauge of the entire tailgating situation when you hit the same area for each game. So let’s hear it Falcons Fans: where is the best place to tailgate in the ATL getting ready to see the Falcons play?

Quick Hit Falcons-Rams Preview
Just wanted to rattle off a couple of things to watch for as we head towards our second preseason game against the Rams:

1 – Defensive Improvement
It was the first preseason game and lets just chalk up to that for some of our defensive performances. We had some bright spots and some low points, but overall we did hold the Lions to 3 points and that’s the bottom line, although many fans were less than enthused about the first defensive outing. Will we see some more pressure and more of a defensive gelling?

2 – Backup QB Battle
Even though Matt Ryan will see more action in this game, the battle royale continues in earnest with hometown favorite DJ Shockley trying to unseat Chris Redman. Shockley may have more upside, but he has to prove he can handle backup duties on a more consistent basis and Redman needs to justify his large salary.

3 – Fight for Last WR Spots
Will Eric Weems continue his mad dash towards not only a roster spot, but serious playing time? Weems has impressed throughout camp and looks to lock up a spot with a couple more solid performances. That would leave either one or two spots for Robert Ferguson, Marty Booker, Troy Bergeron, Chandler Williams, and rookie Aaron Kelly.

Put some good food on the grill, pop some good beverages, and get your favorite couch spot and ENJOY THE GAME FELLOW BIRD CAGERS! GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

225 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

August 20th, 2009
11:37 pm

Didn’t even read it but took this opportunitity to stop “FIRST” post…..

SeminoleWarrior

August 20th, 2009
11:39 pm

LOL…Chasing Sarah in second place.

JJ

August 20th, 2009
11:43 pm

Sarah B That’s lame girlfriend, but thats how yankees’ do it!
Just playin, welcome back from your parents big anniverary!!!

[...] Fantasy Football Special Edition and Favorite Tailgate Spot Atlanta Journal Constitution Ok, maybe a stretch on the last one, but it’s that time of year that many football junkies crave….we’re speaking of Fantasy Football of course. … [...]

Ed-Covington

August 21st, 2009
12:41 am

Looking forward to improvement by the defense in this game. BTW, Redman proved his worth two years ago when he started and won. Still hope that Shockley breaks out and earns the #2 spot; if he could ever translate his skills onto the pro playing field he would be a much more dangerous threat than Redman. Weems looked good on returns last week and I look for him to win a spot. Kelley is another I would like to see succeed. Just would rather win with “home-grown” talent instead of other teams cast-offs. Before anyone yells: TG, though not “home-grown”, was not cast off by KC.

Ed-Covington

August 21st, 2009
12:42 am

OH, forgot: GO BIRDS!!

Ed

August 21st, 2009
1:08 am

D3. “the air is finally starting to feel a little crisper”…your glass isn’t half full it’s overflowing with football fever. Do you thinks there’s a chance DJ gets to have the first rotation at QB against the Rams? If not this week certainly next week if he shows well again and noodle arm has another subpar performance.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
6:33 am

Character and class…Gotta’ love it.

Falcons CB Christopher Owens on if there’s added pressure knowing his role has increased with CBChris Houston (hamstring) sidelined: “I’ve got no pressure, I’m excited. It’s an opportunity for me…But I also wish Chris Houston a speedy recovery.”

Love the Retro Falcons Uniforms!

August 21st, 2009
7:25 am

Retro Uniforms = Bad to the Bone!!! I will gladly sign a petition to return the team to it’s old uniforms for good.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
7:26 am

CBrass,

As per, “As far as J Anderson is concerned, Lord I wish I knew.” What I wish I knew is, is J Anderson is going to live up to fan expectation? What I feel comfortable with is, Coach Smith & Co. will play the best eleven every single down, regardless. On a personal note, I would like to see JA succeed for both, he, and the team. Should JA, at some point and time, no longer be an asset to the Falcon Organization, it will be handled in a professional manner. There are no sentimental favorites. Ask L Milloy or KB56.

JWW

August 21st, 2009
8:53 am

D3, you are the teacher with much respect. I just wanted to add this piece I found on nfl.com:

“On a dark and rainy night in a Manhattan hotel back in 1962, Bill Winkenbach, Scott Stirling and Bill Tunnell created the concept for what we now call fantasy football. Winkenbach, who then was part owner of the Oakland Raiders, was credited with the development of the first ever fantasy sport, golf, in the 1950s. The rules of fantasy golf were simple: Owners were each required to “draft” their own team of professional golfers, and the team with the lowest combined score at the end of the week’s tournament would win. Based in part on the concept of fantasy golf, Winkenbach, with Stirling (an Oakland Tribune columnist) and Tunnell (the Raiders’ public relations person) all huddled together in a hotel room at The Milford Plaza and built the foundation for what would become the first-ever fantasy football league, which was an eight-team format that was called the GOPPL (The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League).”

On to the game…Is this preseason dragging or what? lol I guess I’m just a tad excited this year. I know our defense will get its share of bloody noses, but I think the learning curve will be less painful and our D will be fresher in every series this year with all the clock eating that MRyan, Gonzo, RW, BFinn, Burner, Harvey Dahl and Co. will be doing, matriculating that ball up and down the field! The Falcons will absolutely OWN that clock this season!

Have a winning weekend everybody!

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
9:19 am

D3,

Great job. Love that this post is geared mostly towards the fans. If I can think of some ideas I’ll email you or hit you up on facebook. As for fantasy football I just do not understand what the big deal is. Am I missing something? To me it pointless and a waste of my time if I would ever join a league. Sorry I’m ranting. As you can see I really dislike fantasy football with a passion!!!
We must see a better performance from the defense. Mainly JAnderson. He better be in the backfield raising hell on every play or his seat is going to grow even hotter!! I’m rooting for Shock to take over the back-up QB spot. He has the ability and up side to do it but he just has to be more consistent. The way that Weems has been playing he’s making a strong case for a roster spot. He looked really good on last Saturday.

Unca’ Bob,

My thoughts exactly. He better do something or his starting spot will be taken by C.Davis. I want to see him be successful but he has to want it more.

Sarah B/BT,

Thanks for the answer to my question on the previous blog. Sarah I didn’t notice anything during the game either but Smitty stated on Monday that Brown was held out and really hasn’t returned to practice this week. It sucks because every time that he gets going the injury bug always seems to jump up and bite him.

JJ

August 21st, 2009
9:22 am

Unca’ Bob,

Are you getting the game tonight? I know the NFL network replays the games during the week and ESPN follows the game on line. I dont know what service you have but I’ve found this new at&t “U-Verse” tv is great, as long as you dont have to call them.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
9:36 am

CBrass,

The two reports I saw, both had one word, Leg. That was it.

JJ

August 21st, 2009
9:45 am

Unca’ Bob,

Are you getting the game tonight?

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
9:50 am

Unca’ Bob,

Thanks for the info. I hope it’s nothing serious really looking forward to seeing him play.

Coop

August 21st, 2009
9:54 am

CBrass – You sound like my wife. :)

My Dad, brother, and I started to play FF on yahoo (great site, it’s free)about 9 years ago. It honestly changed my football perspective. I used to be a baseball fanatic (to a certain extent, I still am) and football was cool… but only if the Falcons or Dawgs were on. FF got me to start watching other teams and more importantly got me to start appreciating the finer points of the game. I’m no expert, but I get what 8 men in the box is, why it’s important, and how to beat it. I learned all that beacuse of FF. It just caused me to become more of a student of the game. That in turn, lead to an amazing appreciation and still growing love for it. Football is easily my favorite sport now. I love watching games (anybody, pro, college, AFL… sigh, high school) with my son and breaking down plays. Again, I never played (other than the backyard) and I’ve never coached it. So I’m not saying I’m any authority, but had it not been for FF, I would never be reading this blog.

As for tonight, I just hope I see the game. Don’t know if it’ll be broadcast in Texas. Either way, I would like to see some more MR and TG. Just can’t wait to see how great that duo will be. Definitely want DJ to go crazy. Nothing against CR, but I want his salary freed up.

On the D… sigh… please JA. I really want you to succeed. Could you please get in the backfield for a couple tonight? Will that light bulb finally go off? I hope to see the DTs get a better push and start disrupting the run game in the backfield. Most of all, I want to see urgency and some hits. Last week, the D looked a bit lost. I want to see something to help me believe they are trending toward nasty.

Take care Cage.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
9:57 am

JJ,

Good morning. I’m not sure, yet. As it gets closer to game time, I will do some checking. Right now I’m watching The Solheim Cup.

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
10:06 am

Coop,

It’s because it’s pointless. I want to learn more about the game but I would rather do it the old fashion way of reading and asking question. One of friends nearly lost his girl because of FF. I’ll never understand the be obsession over it.
Agree with you about our D and JA.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
10:06 am

JJ,

I get to watch the Titans @ Dallas. Oh, Joy.

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
10:09 am

Unca’ Bob,

Let us know who Brookings is doing. If he’s looks any better playing under his former DC.

JJ

August 21st, 2009
10:09 am

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
10:20 am

JJ,

Thanks for the heads up. I read it over but haven’t test driven it yet. I don’t know if I have all the whistles and bells, but I will certainly try. Kudos at Ya’.

Nookah

August 21st, 2009
10:24 am

Greetings Cagers!!! D3, nuff bigups. You keep it coming brother, you are the glue that keeps this family of Falcon Fans together!!!

Sarah B, you are become quite adept at this “First” thing aren’t you? One thing I can say for you is that you are indeed consistent…lol. Let’s hope our Falcons can be as consistent as you are.

SW, Stirg, what’s up breddrens?!!!! We Jah people can work it out!!!

C Brass, Unca’ Bob so good to see you guys who are consistent bloggers here. I do not post as consistently as both of you, but believe me I always catch up on my reading each day. My schedule does not allow it right now but in the words of Arnold….”I’ll be bock”…..(yes bock!!).

Ed-Cov, I have been enjoying your posts, keep them coming brother.

I too am very excited about the upcoming season. I am also looking forward to watching the progress of our defense especially with the young ones. I have great faith in TD and Smitty that they made the right acquisitions and in time they will produce. It’s amazing how we have so quickly taken for granted the quality of TD’s draft picks and FA acquisitions. A few years ago we were all very skeptical about the choices and were very grateful if they panned out. However, now we expect each and every pick to be solid and nothing is wrong with that. We should hold our Management to high standards. After all that’s how you help to cultivate a winning environment. It is also very amazing how in a relatively short space of time we have begun to earn respect from the rest of the league. We still have the naysayers but you will never be able to get rid of that but it’s all good.

I am very optimistic about the development and the anticipated improvement of our defense. I think as the season progresses we will get better. In fact IMO we will see a distinct improvement tonight vs. the Rams.

Go Falcons!!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!!

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
10:24 am

CBrass,

If I can see thru my tears of Joy, I surely will.

Nookah

August 21st, 2009
10:28 am

CBrass, how can a brother almost lose his girl because of FF? Did he not hear of multi-tasking?!!!!

Gotta do your homework before you go to school…I’m just saying!!!….LOL

Go Falcons!!!

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
10:30 am

Nookah,

Our run Deffense will be tested tonight. S Gado is a load and plenty behind him. No QB, so look for a very stern test.

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
10:44 am

Nookah,

That’s what I was thinking. You can’t totally focus on a fantasy football league and forget about your girl. I think he was in like 6 leagues so that really didn’t help.

It’s still pointless to be in even one!!

Unca’ Bob,

ROFL thanks!!!

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
12:19 pm

JJ,

I think i’m in. Watched a little NASCAR. Thank you sooo very much.

CBrass,

You may be on your own for KB56. My game may be afoot.

Gotta’ check out for a while. Y’all have a great Friday.

Coop

August 21st, 2009
12:36 pm

CBrass – next you’ll say Madden football is a waste of time. Oh the horror!!!!

Sarah B

August 21st, 2009
12:45 pm

Eeee gads, last time we saw S. Gado was with the Packers and he put up like 200 yds on us and we got killed and I was there….. Sucked! Not tonight though, they should make them re-watch that game for motivation.

Sarah B

August 21st, 2009
12:48 pm

CBrass, gotta disagree with you there. Until you play you don’t get it… And his girl must not have been all that… if he could lose her to FF.

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
2:18 pm

Unca’ Bob

That’s cool. Just wanted to see if he is going to perform better.
Wow seems like I started a serious debate about FF. LOL

Coop,

LOL I have nothing against Madden. I would rather play that then spending hours doing research for FF.

Sarah B,

That’s what everyone tells me but I just don’t see what the big deal is about it. As for his girl. I met her once and she had that me me me attitude so if it wasn’t all about her she wasn’t having it. Therefore his FF really got in the way of things. To say that he was obsessed is putting it mildly. LOL

Coop

August 21st, 2009
2:31 pm

CBrass – Any activity can be taken too far. I know you’re not a fan, and that’s cool. But it’s not pointless. Beyond being fun, it’s been another bonding tool for my Dad, brother, nephews, and son. But, it’s not for everyone.

So who are you gonna draft? I can’t decide between M. Turner and A. Peterson.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

CBrass

I would like to see what K Brooking will do, also. He shouldn’t be in the game very long, and only on defense. I’ll see what I can do.

Coop

August 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

I live in San Antonio, so I get more Cowboys talk than I could ever stand. Sports talk guys out here are raving about KB’s training camp. Says he brings the leadership their LB corps needed. I disagree, but we may find that Brooking is a better fit for the Cowboys than the Falcons, based on where the two organizations are right now and where he is in his career right now. Regardless of leadership, I still think he is a liability on the field. I hope he’s in the game when we play them. Still love KB, but I’m a Falcons fan FIRST!

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
3:47 pm

Coop,

Where you asking which of the two that I would pick if I was playing? If so that’s a tough decision. As for KB I’ll have to agree. He just doesn’t have the speed to fit in BVG and Smitty’s defensive scheme. He will provide them with great leadership but that will not automatically translate to success on the field but well just have to wait and see how he’ll do.

Coop

August 21st, 2009
3:58 pm

CBrass, just joking about who’d you’d pick.

Cage, gotta roll on home. Don’t think the game is on out here tonight. Hopefully I can catch a rerun on NFL Network. Look forward to the breakdown next week.

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
4:02 pm

Coop,

I kinda figured that but that would be a touch decision to make. Be safe and have a good one.

long time falcon

August 21st, 2009
4:22 pm

We hear the Falcons’ coaching staff hasn’t been completely happy with what it has seen from first-round pick DT Peria Jerry thus far, but it’s still very likely that he’ll be the starter at nose tackle in Week One. Atlanta started journeyman Thomas Johnson over Jerry in the opening preseason game, and rookie seventh-round pick Vance Walker has impressed observers, quickly carving a niche in the rotation at nose, so Jerry has been pushed in the early going. Sources say the Mississippi product needs to work on keeping his pad level low and show a more consistent level of intensity to satisfy coaches. It’s not uncommon for head coach Mike Smith to keep high draft picks out of the starting lineup initially in the preseason. MLB Curtis Lofton, a second-round pick in 2008, started only the third of four preseason games last year, and yet he started all but one game in the regular season.

The above was from pro football weekly writer dan parr. I have been wondering how the coaches felt about Jerry but had’nt really heard anything positive or negative. I know that Smith has praised both Sidbury and vance walker on several occasions. Although I don’t understand why they still think jerry would be the starter if the coaching staff is not happy with him. I found that to be an odd statement considering we have some pretty good alternatives at DT. I’m starting to get a little concerned about jerry. He is already 25 and has had a reputation as being injury prone. I will closely be watching the defensive line tonight. I’m very glad to see my man TRey Lewis getting the starting nod and I hope he plays well because I love his size. Who do you guys think will win the starting job along side BABS? My money is on my man trey if he can stay healthy.

long time falcon

August 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

Sarah B

August 21st, 2009
4:42 pm

CBrass sounds like she needed to go. LOL

Coop, depends on where we draft. I would love to have Turner again this year… AP & Turner will go 1 & 2. With Matt Forte and Chris Johnson right behind…

CBrass

August 21st, 2009
4:47 pm

Sarah B,

Yea it she really did but he was and think is still crazy about her even thought she’s no longer around. Enough of that. I’m not a fan of FF as you can see but Sarah B you better kick these boys assets this season.

Sarah B

August 21st, 2009
5:00 pm

I will give it my best. Glad to have you rooting for me!!

Boxcarar

August 21st, 2009
5:45 pm

Coop,
I feel ya. I live in Little Rock and everything is Cowgirls. I thought that I might be close enough to St. Louis to get the game, but am stuck with ‘Boys.

[...] expect tonight is pretty much in line with what I posted earlier this morning. I am linking to the article because it also includes some Fantasy Football value, and it talks about tailgating. I am ordering [...]

jason

August 21st, 2009
5:48 pm

Boxcar, try this link. I watched last weeks game here. http://www.p2p4u.net/I live in San Antonio. All Cowboys, all the time, here.

Boxcarar

August 21st, 2009
5:57 pm

Thanks, Jason. I’ll try it tonight.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
7:04 pm

jason,

You need to get up with Coop. He’s in San Antone’, also. Ya’ never know, you may be neighbors.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2009
7:07 pm

Boxcarar,

JJ put the same link on me. You will need to jump thru some hoops, but I think I’m there.