It’s not just a game

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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September 5, 2012. The day the NFL season kicks off but, more importantly, the day your attempt to wrestle away the title of fantasy league champion from Uncle Lou with the smelly fungus toe begins.

If you’ve ever been in a fantasy league then you know that when you win, it brings a sort of pleasure that can only be paralleled with winning the neighborhood bike race when you were five or capturing Mew in Pokemon (I never was quite able to accomplish the latter). NFL football brings fantasy football, a concept that undoubtedly derives its roots from the Gladiator days. However, instead of watching combatants fight to the death, we now root for our players to give us something every man warrants in life, bragging rights over his peers. You can make fun of little geek Jimmy in the cubicle all you want but when he beats you in the championship because you didn’t correctly study the analytics of the success rate Toby Gerhart has of scoring a rushing touchdown from five yards out (or whatever Jimmy does on that computer), the dark abyss that you fall into until next season is something few ever recover from. So with that, I bring you my five best players for the 2012 season and one sleeper. I bid you good luck and may this list help you beat Jimmy’s ass the way it should be.

1)    Aaron Rodgers

Aaron or Tom. Tom or Aaron. Similar in so many ways, but different at the same time. Both have the rare, endangered species of the white wide receiver at their disposal. Both share a backfield with no true standout (sorry Cedric Benson, it’s over). And both had three rushing touchdowns to go along with their all-worldly arms last season. So why Aaron over Tom? Because Tom has a scalding hot wife, I’m jealous, and I’m not giving him the satisfaction.

2)    Tom Brady

Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll award Tom second place. The man’s a beast and age seems to be nonexistent with him. And now he has Brandon Lloyd? The man who led the league in receiving yards and was fantasy’s number one wideout just two years ago? To the 13 teams that are forced to play the Patriots this season, you deserve what’s coming to you.

3)    Arian Foster

The Texans believe this is their year. Well, step one of making that dream come true is giving the ball to Foster, the guy 32 teams passed up on in the draft because he was “selfish” at Tennessee. LET THIS MAN BE SELFISH. The guy missed three and a half games last season and still finished as the number four running back. And if Andre Johnson gets hurt again? The Texans are going to want to go to a proven commodity rather than the rookie squad that is their wide receiver corps.

4)    Ray Rice

The man got paid. The man is sure to show why. Led the league in total yards from scrimmage last season and the “Flacco taking control of the offense” talk has been around since 2009. When the Ravens want to win, they know to hand the ball to Rockstar Rizzle (

5)    Cam Newton

Cam Newton and Dwight Howard both embody the Superman persona perfectly. Dwight Howard can’t be stopped around the rim, never mind he looks like the white kid in “Like Mike” when he tries a jump shot. And Newton is a rhino in the open field. The most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in the history of the NFL. In his first season. Not to mention he finished as the most prolific rookie passer in NFL history. Superman, the NFL version, shows no signs of slowing down in his second season. Just hope this isn’t the year we discover his kryptonite…what is Kendrick Perkins?

Sleeper – Terrell Owens

Oh yes. I have gone there. You can hate me all you want for saying it but let’s face the facts. Sidney Rice had one good year and has no motivation to get healthy it seems. Doug Baldwin is not physical enough to be the number one guy. And Braylon Edwards is Braylon Edwards. T.O. seems to have put the headaches that he is known for behind him and has his head on straight (never thought I’d utter that sentence). If he makes it out of camp, there’s no reason for Owens to not have another Cincinnati 2010-esque season.