Cats’ Fantasy Football Team Is Not Half Bad

by Kevin Burton

   People won’t understand, they won’t even try.  People will laugh. Let them.

   A promise is a promise. My girls look to me and I try not to let them down.

   They seek my attention, and since they are cats, they are not exceptionally good at verbalizing this.  If they could I am sure they would ask, “Why do you spend so much time focused on pretend football (a fantasy football mock draft) and so little time on real live breathing, strutting, honest-to-goodness cats?”

    “Such as for instance, ME!!!  Right NOW!!”

   You can probably see their point, as can I. So I am trying to make things right with them and I promised to try to get them a fantasy team they can call their very own. That way we could be in this thing together.

   That’s quality time and I’m all about that.

   There are four NFL teams with cat nicknames: Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers. What if there were a team stocked with players from those teams only?  This would warm the hearts of my four-footed friends for sure, right?

   Took my first shot at it last Wednesday.

   In the Yahoo mock drafts, you sit in the chair you want. In other words you pick your draft position. That you can’t do in a regular draft. 

   I chose draft pick nine because I figured it was as late as I could draft and still get Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.   He’s generally considered the third-best receiver in the league. 

   Drafting that late also gave me a good chance to get either Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon, or more likely, Detroit running back D’Andre Swift in the second round.

   The draft “snakes,” or moves backward through the draft order every other round.  Since I was ninth in the 12-team draft in the first round, I would be fourth in the second.

   I never considered trying to get Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey even though he is among the very best, because he’s been injured a lot. The cats and I will let somebody else worry about him getting hurt.

   So that is how it played out. I got Chase, then Swift. 

   At number three I could and should have chosen Jacksonville running back Travis Etienne.  He missed his rookie year due to injury, but he is a college teammate and good buddy of Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence.  He was the obvious choice for running back two.

   I ended up getting most of the players I wanted by drafting them before they would normally go. 

   I got Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow at three, Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson at four, Detroit wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at five, Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson at six and then Lawrence at seven.

   Had I gotten Etienne at three, I probably could have still gotten all of that bunch a round later, Burrow at four, Hockenson at five, etc.

   That would have made a decent draft (under the cat-friendly circumstances) a roaring success.  As it is, my RB2 is a problem spot. Behind Swift, I got James Robinson of Jacksonville, Jamaal Williams of Detroit, Chuba Hubbard of Carolina and Samaje Perine of Cincinnati.

   Not a very exciting group. You’d probably end up starting Hubbard, after McCaffrey’s inevitable injury.

   The extra wide receivers are Tyler Boyd of Cincinnati and Christian Kirk of Jacksonville.  I took the Cincinnati defense as the best of a bad lot.

   With the final pick, I took Detroit quarterback Jared Goff instead of a tight end I had never heard of.  That pick was useless and could have been avoided had I taken Etienne in the third.

   All in all I was satisfied with this first effort.  I ended up with the tenth-best team out of the 12. Yahoo gave me an F, but I knew that would happen before I started.

  Listen, you try restricting yourself to any four teams and picking a reasonable squad. It is harder than you think.

   And how could two people pick a worse team than mine, selecting from the whole league instead of just four teams? Wow!

   Haven’t settled on a name for the cats’ team.  “Cat Scratch Fever” would be an excellent name and dripping with irony, since the cats are declawed.

   (We rescued cats that had already been declawed. We don’t believe in declawing cats.)

   “Feline Fury” would be good.  “Feed Me Now” would no doubt be their choice.

   Or how about “Catatonic,” which is me with my head buried in statistics.

   I asked the girls if I could draft players who went to college on a team with a cat nickname, for instance Tyler Lockett of Seattle who played for the Kansas State Wildcats.

   They just looked at me. 

   You’re probably just looking at me too. Told you, I knew there would be doubters. But the pre-season is less than a month away and I still have research to do.

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