We all play favorites. Every one of us.
Oh, we may think we're open minded as we head into our fantasy drafts, but when faced with a mid-draft choice, we always take "our guy."
On the flip side, we also have our little mental list of players we wouldn't draft even if they were the last players on Earth.
And, sorry ESPN, you're all-time favorite athlete in the history of history itself, Mr. Tim Tebow, has a permanent place on top of THAT list.
So here, with only a little further ado, is my list of five guys I want on my team and five guys who need not apply. (I'm leaving Tebow off, as his place there is understood.)
1: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons. There's just something about him this year that screams "SUPERSTAR!" Next year at draft time, he's going to be taken in the middle of Round One with the likes of Calvin Johnson.
2: Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs. Technically, he's behind Jamaal Charles on the Kansas City depth chart. But he's going to get the rushing TDs, he's a good pass catcher, and if Charles falters, Hillis will be what you talkin' ‘bout.
3: C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills. When he came into the league in 2010, Spiller was compared to Marshall Faulk. But for most of his two years in the league, he played like Peter Falk. In the last five games of 2011, however, Spiller showed what the hoopla was all about with four high-quality fantasy games. He may never be the next Marshall Faulk, but with a mid-to-late round pick, I'll take the chance he could be.
4: Jared Cook, TE, Titans. The NFL is a copycat league. And you can bet coaches have seen what New England is doing with its two unstoppable tight ends. Cook fits into the Rob Gronkowski mold, and had a nice late-season run. He won't be drafted as a No. 1 fantasy TE, but he could end up there.
5: Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens. Smith wasn't as highly touted as some of the other rookie WRs last year, and he's listed as Baltimore's No. 2 receiver, but he might be one of the better wideouts in the NFL by year's end. Even a slight sophomore improvement would give him 1,000 yards receiving and 9 TDs. Them's good stats.
1: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams. From 2006-2009, Jackson used to be on my "fave" list. But as the once high-flying St. Louis offense has fallen on into disrepair, and injuries have taken their toll, Jackson's value has slipped. He had a good 2011, but for a No. 1 RB, I want great -- 1,100 yards and six totals TDs isn't great enough for me.
2: DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Oh, he could go out and have a dynamic 2012. But I don't trust him. He played like a slug last year and recently admitted he wasn't trying because he was worried about his contract. If he quits once, he could do it again if things don't go his way.
3: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants. He's been in a great system for a fantasy running back, but has never had consistent success. There are weeks the offense scores points, and Bradshaw does too. But he follows up with too many mediocre outings. Plus, he's got rookie David Wilson lurking about.
4: Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers: Three touchdowns one week, three catches the next. He's more up and down than an elevator on a roller coaster. As a main target in Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay offense he should produce better than he does.
5: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Cincinnati fans probably like that Dalton led the Bengals to their first playoff appearance since 2006. But fantasy owners could care less. They like numbers, and Dalton doesn't bring big ones to the table. He's young, yes, and he could improve, of course, but he'll never be the top flight passer you want on your team.
Rich Sheposh is a page designer, editor and ne'er-do-well who writes stuff about fantasy sports. If you feel so inclined, you can reach him at [email protected]