Introducing the Grantland Fantasy Island Contestants (Plus, the Fantasy Island League Draft Results)

George Bridges/MCT via Getty Images Arian Foster

Tonight begins Week 1 of the NFL’s regular season, and with it, Week 1 of Fantasy Island — Grantland’s competition to find our fantasy football writer. The Fantasy Island Draft was last night, and within the first 15 minutes the league was already chastising someone for a celebrity name drop. You’d never think these people were 10 strangers picked to live in an Internet house. And with that, here are your Fantasy Island contestants:

Nashville Buttersticks

Owner: Shane Morris (Nashville, Tennessee)

Bio: Most of my time is spent around music, so being able to write about fantasy football is a nice reprieve. Like most men in about nine Southern states, I believe I know more about football than anyone.


QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
RB: Trent Richardson, Cle RB
RB: Reggie Bush, Mia RB
WR: Andre Johnson, Hou WR
WR: Steve Smith, Car WR
Flex: DeSean Jackson, Phi WR
TE: Rob Gronkowski, NE TE
DEF: Texans
K: Dan Bailey, Dal K
BN: Robert Meachem, SD WR
BN: Philip Rivers, SD QB
BN: Kenny Britt, Ten WR
BN: Michael Crabtree, SF WR
BN: LeGarrette Blount, TB RB
BN: Nate Washington, Ten WR
BN: Nate Burleson, DET WR

Draft Analysis: Aside from taking a safe pick with Rodgers, I feel like my season hinges on two dangerous and predictably bad teams. Trent Richardson plays in Cleveland, the city most likely to be hit by an asteroid. Reggie Bush is the focal point of Miami’s potent USFL offense. Neither player can reliably tell you who will be handing him the ball in Week 4.

ATL Chipper’s Victory Lap

Owner: Ryan Moskal (Atlanta, Georgia)

Bio: Ryan Moskal is 27 years old and from Atlanta. He will never forgive Kent Hrbek for the 1991 World Series. He proudly represents all things ATL. He refuses to draft Jay Cutler because he saw Cutler botch a parallel-park job in Wrigleyville this summer. He will miss Chipper Jones.


QB: Tom Brady, NE QB
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Sea RB
RB: Isaac Redman, Pit RB
WR: Julio Jones, Atl WR
WR: Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR
Flex: Jeremy Maclin, Phi WR
TE: Aaron Hernandez, NE TE
DEF: 49ers
K: Matt Bryant, Atl K
BN: Matt Ryan, Atl QB
BN: Denarius Moore, Oak WR
BN: Justin Blackmon, Jac WR
BN: Felix Jones, Dal RB
BN: Jared Cook, Ten TE
BN: Ronnie Brown, SD RB
BN: Mohamed Massaquoi, Cle WR

Draft Analysis: My running back sitch is terrible! I have Marshawn Lynch and three guys who I picked up at last call and need to send home before my roommates wake up. I do have Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, who just so happen to be my two favorite QBs. I need to trade one of them, but part of me wants to sew their jerseys together like Brady Quinn’s sister.

Rigatoni’s Ponies

Owner: Stephen Whiting (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)

Bio: Stephen Whiting is a 2010 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is currently employed by KWTX-TV in Waco, Texas. He spends most of his free time lobbying to change the Gray Television Inc. handbook so he can finally implement “No Pants Fridays.”


QB: Cam Newton, Car QB
RB: Frank Gore, SF RB
RB: Willis McGahee, Den RB
WR: Calvin Johnson, Det WR
WR: Percy Harvin, Min WR
Flex: Eric Decker, Den WR
TE: Fred Davis, Wsh TE
DEF: Seahawks
K: Sebastian Janikowski, Oak K
BN: Cedric Benson, GB RB
BN: Michael Bush, Chi RB
BN: Sidney Rice, Sea WR
BN: Jay Cutler, Chi QB
BN: Alshon Jeffery, Chi WR
BN: Danny Amendola, StL WR
BN: Knowshon Moreno, Den RB

Draft Analysis:

10. Calvin Johnson (HOLY SHIT!!!)
11. Cam Newton (!?!?!?!?)
30. Frank Gore
31. Willis McGahee (Over … Adrian Peterson. Bob Stoops, forgive me)
51. Eric Decker (Top 5 receiver this year. Jordy Nelson 2012)

The Hottest Girl of 2004

Owner: Josh Klein (Denver, Colorado)

Bio: Josh Klein is a professional in his early 30s who spent more than two hours today trying (and failing) to come up with a pun involving the word “Cam.” He also has a dog named Awesome and is one of three Carolina Panthers fans in Denver, Colorado.


QB: Eli Manning, NYG QB
RB: Ray Rice, Bal RB
RB: Adrian Peterson, Min RB
WR: Roddy White, Atl WR
WR: Torrey Smith, Bal WR
Flex: Peyton Hillis, KC RB
TE: Jimmy Graham, NO TE
DEF: Bills
K: Matt Prater, Den K
BN: Toby Gerhart, Min RB
BN: Reggie Wayne, Ind WR
BN: Ryan Williams, Ari RB
BN: Malcom Floyd, SD WR
BN: Randy Moss, SF WR
BN: Rashard Mendenhall, Pit RB
BN: Mike Williams, TB WR

Draft Analysis: Well, that really got away from me. I spent too much time deciding between Steve Smith and Brandon Lloyd (the same choice Sophie had), and auto-drafted Eli Manning at 42. I have always been a believer in waiting for QBs, so drafting Eli was a real kick in the groin. Overall, if AP/AD bounces back, I like my team. Ten minutes after the draft is no time to overreact. I save my Panic for the Disco.

The Katniss Everdeens

Owner: Kat Gotsick (Chicago, Illinois)

Bio: I’m a Chicagoan originally from Morehead, Kentucky. Worst sports fan moment: watching the Oilers lose the Frank Reich game. I cried equally hard watching that as I do watching the Olympics or America’s Got Talent, which is HARD. And I’m totally out of my depth here on Fantasy Island.


QB: Matthew Stafford, Det QB
RB: Michael Turner, Atl RB
RB: Stevan Ridley, NE RB
WR: Wes Welker, NE WR
WR: Jordy Nelson, GB WR
Flex: Steve Johnson, Buf WR
TE: Greg Olsen, Car TE
DEF: Bears
K: David Akers, SF K
BN: Darren Sproles, NO RB
BN: Roy Helu, Wsh RB
BN: Matt Schaub, Hou QB
BN: Laurent Robinson, Jac WR
BN: Owen Daniels, Hou TE
BN: Randall Cobb, GB WR
BN: Brandon Jacobs, SF RB

Draft Analysis: I knew what would happen.

I pressed the “Draft” button anyway.

The chat box lit up: “WAIT! DID A KICKER JUST GO?”

“Yes,” I replied calmly. “I just picked a kicker in the 11th round.”

I’ll pause now as a million guys tear backward baseball caps off their heads, stomp on them, and scream THAT’S WHO THEY CHOSE INSTEAD OF ME?!?! That is indeed who they chose.

It’s gonna be a long 17 weeks.

Garden of Weeden

Owner: Matt Borcas (Mentor, Ohio)

Bio: Matt Borcas hails from America’s 37th-best place to live, Mentor, Ohio (east of the best place, Cleveland), and, along with Brandon Weeden, indulges in mildly patriotic outfits from time to time. When not tinkering with his fantasy roster, he writes about the frozen yogurt industry at Scrawl so Hard.


QB: Drew Brees, NO QB
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac RB
RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cin RB
WR: A.J. Green, Cin WR
WR: Brandon Marshall, Chi WR
Flex: Brandon Lloyd, NE WR
TE: Jacob Tamme, Den TE
DEF: Steelers
K: Stephen Gostkowski, NE K
BN: Pierre Garcon, Wsh WR
BN: Jonathan Stewart, Car RB
BN: Kevin Smith, Det RB
BN: Andrew Luck, Ind QB
BN: Kendall Wright, Ten WR
BN: Rashad Jennings, Jac RB
BN: Brandon Stokley, Den RB

Draft Analysis: Initially, I wasn’t content with the sixth overall pick that ESPN’s kinda-fishy “random” draft-order generator churned out because I presumed it precluded me from owning an elite QB. Little did I know my league-mates were so enthralled with Grantland’s Bad Quarterback League Machine that Drew Brees slipped into the Garden of Weeden! My starting RBs — Maurice Jones-Drew and BenJarvus Green-Ellis — incinerate the competition for “most syllables at a single position,” a feat of which I am irrationally proud. While I didn’t actually draft Weeden, I have three WRs named Brandon (basically the same thing!): Marshall, Lloyd, and Stokley.

Ramons United

Owner: Ramon Ramirez (Washington, D.C.)

Bio: I’m a Washington, D.C.-based writer who enjoys networking happy hours, almond milk, and gentrification. For solidarity, my wife and I hang with Congressional Hill staffers also from Texas that rock pearl snaps, Luccheses, and love the Dallas Cowboys. We otherwise disagree on substantive policy matters.


QB: Tony Romo, Dal QB
RB: Chris Johnson, Ten RB
RB: Matt Forte, Chi RB
WR: Antonio Brown, Pit WR
WR: Miles Austin, Dal WR
Flex: Steven Jackson, StL RB
TE: Antonio Gates, SD TE
DEF: Jets
K: Garrett Hartley, NO K
BN: Shonn Greene, NYJ RB
BN: DeAngelo Williams, Car RB
BN: C.J. Spiller, Buf RB
BN: Tony Gonzalez, Atl TE
BN: Titus Young, Det WR
BN: Jason Witten, Dal TE
BN: Daniel Thomas, Mia RB

Draft Analysis: Entering the Octagon, my goal was to drain depth by hoarding like a 1 percenter: running backs in the first, second, and third erected the wall. Deep-cut sleepers were shelved for boring stalwarts like DeAngelo Williams, and these Ramóns boast crazy touches. Tony Romo was the fan-favorite reach — have to big up the NFL’s premier third-generation Mexican American QB1 — but Antonio Gates still hanging in the green room a round later will be the coup that delivers champagne toasts. Plantar fasciitis be damned.

Lincoln Hawk Capital Management

Owner: Frank DuPont (Los Angeles, California)

Bio: Frank DuPont is a real estate broker by day and an obsessive fantasy football player … also by day, which might not be a good thing. He’s a prolific tweeter, where he rants about things like the Guns N’ Roses video masterpiece “November Rain.” He lives in the Los Angeles area.


QB: Robert Griffin III, Wsh QB
RB: Darren McFadden, Oak RB
RB: DeMarco Murray, Dal RB
WR: Victor Cruz, NYG WR
WR: Marques Colston, NO WR
Flex: Fred Jackson, Buf RB
TE: Brandon Pettigrew, Det TE
DEF: Patriots
K: Greg Zuerlein, StL K
BN: Doug Martin, TB RB
BN: Vincent Jackson, TB WR
BN: Donald Brown, Ind RB
BN: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak WR
BN: Brandon LaFell, Car WR
BN: Taiwan Jones, Oak RB
BN: Russell Wilson, Sea QB

Draft Analysis: My Fantasy Island writing entry focused on the fact that I largely don’t believe in the idea of injury proneness, so my draft strategy was to take enough injury-prone guys so that karma could give me a throat punch by about Week 3. I’m tentatively planning on a few ACL tears and maybe a high ankle sprain or two. Ideally, I’ll be trolling the waiver wire in Week 3, talking myself into Kendall Hunter’s upside.

The Dez Dispenser

Owner: Jonathan Bales (Brooklyn, New York)

Bio: I’m the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People and founder of The DC Times. I currently write for the New York Times, NBC,, Dallas Morning News, Pro Football Focus, and RotoWire. My girlfriend and I live in Brooklyn, New York, with my hound, Bowie Malone. The three of us eat a lot of Easy Mac.


QB: Michael Vick, Phi QB
RB: Arian Foster, Hou RB
RB: Jamaal Charles, KC RB
WR: Dez Bryant, Dal WR
WR: Dwayne Bowe, KC WR
Flex: Demaryius Thomas, Den WR
TE: Jermichael Finley, GB TE
DEF: Eagles
K: Alex Henery, Phi K
BN: Ryan Mathews, SD RB
BN: Ben Tate, Hou RB
BN: Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB
BN: Mark Ingram, NO RB
BN: Greg Little, Cle WR
BN: Lance Moore, NO WR
BN: Mikel Leshoure, Det WR

Draft Analysis: Due to the starting requirements and the value left on the board, I selected three running backs to start the draft. Ryan Mathews’s injury doesn’t hurt as much with Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles ahead of him. Other than that, I generally sought high-upside plays like Dez Bryant, Jermichael Finley, and Michael Vick. I made it a priority to target a second quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger) fairly early to offset the risk inherent to Vick’s game.

Game of Throws

Owner: Ben Liebman (Brooklyn, New York)

Bio: Ben Liebman lives among the deep-V-neck wearing masses in Brooklyn, New York, where he spends most of his time debating with his fiancée what to watch off the DVR. A long-suffering Redskins fan and amateur dog whisperer, Ben can be found wherever meats are being grilled.


QB: Peyton Manning, Den QB
RB: LeSean McCoy, Phi RB
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG RB
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR
WR: Greg Jennings, GB WR
Flex: Mike Wallace, Pit WR
TE: Vernon Davis, SF TE
DEF: Ravens
K: Mason Crosby, GB K
BN: Beanie Wells, Ari RB
BN: Anquan Boldin, Bal WR
BN: Santonio Holmes, NYJ WR
BN: David Wilson, NYG RB
BN: Tim Tebow, NYJ QB
BN: Mario Manningham, SF WR
BN: Joe Flacco, Bal QB

Draft Analysis: LeSean McCoy falling to the fifth slot should be a big story, but you won’t believe whom I got. I drafted Fitzgerald, Jennings, Wallace, Bradshaw, Davis, and some guy named Peyton Manning. So what. The real story here is a man named Timothy Richard Tebow. I also got Boldin and Wells. Snooze. Every team needs a white whale, and in the end I took Tebow for the same reason Hemingway drank: makes great stories.

Filed Under: Aaron Rodgers, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Island, Tom Brady

Robert Mays is a staff writer at Grantland.

Archive @ robertmays

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