YFFL.com recently sat down with the Sansone brothers, Bobby and Kevin, to discuss the top issues going into the 2005 season, including whether the Chickens can go wire-to-wire again, will the world champion Merry Men win their division, and if we should expect any surprises this year.
1. Fact or Fiction, even with the top two picks in the draft Bri could be struck by bad luck and choose the wrong running backs yet again.
Bobby: Fact. Davidson will be have to do his homework before the draft and figure out which two running backs will contribute the most right away. Both of Davidson's teams are a player or two away from competing for a playoff spot so he will need to draft RBs that are ready. However, rookie RBs are never consistent and have a short leash with their respective coaches so bad luck could always strike Davidson again.
Kevin: Fact. It's possible, but it's not neccesarily Bri's fault. You never know what to expect with a rookie so it's basically a crapshoot. There are already questions surrounding the 4 "stud" backs. Ronnie Brown is competing with Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson is holding out, JJ Arrington has stamina questions, and Cadillac Williams is in running back hell (Tampa Bay). You never know what can happen during the season. In 2003 the Llamas selected Andre Johnson over Charles Rogers. Bobby Sansone's response was "Thanks Kev!" as if I had made a major mistake. Two seasons later, Johnson is a stud and Rogers has about three games under his belt.
2. Fact or Fiction, the Chickens will be ranked #1 in the power rankings wire to wire again this season.
Bobby: Fiction. This will be the most competitive season in the history of the YFFL. Mark my words, no team will win OR lose 10 games this year. The Chickens will start the season #1 because they have all the pieces in place and have an advantage at TE with Mr. Gates. However, don't be surprised if the Chickens lose 4 or 5 games this year. Parity will reign supreme in 2005.
Kevin: Fiction. The Chickens will most likely come off their perch on top of the power rankings at some point this season. It's hard to say who could possibly knock them off at this early stage, but if forced to guess I would say either the Merry Men or the Beans.
3. Fact or Fiction, the Mallards will land a quarterback in this draft that will get them to the playoffs.
Bobby: Fiction. Dugas has chips to trade for a prize QB but will be reluctant to trade the No. 3 pick or one of his stud running backs. Look for Trent Dilfer to be at the helm for the Mallards on opening day.
Kevin: Fact...but they cannot do it by drafting, it will have to come via the trade. If they want an impact guy, they are going to have to send the #3 pick to the Chickens for either Carr or Brees. Their only other option is to look to the future and draft Alex Smith. Steve wants to win though, so a trade is the most likely scenario to happen.
4. Fact or Fiction, the Merry Men will repeat as AFC West champions.
Bobby: "Faction". All 4 teams could win the division. The Merry Men have a slight edge over the Buddies but can Culpepper throw 40 TDs again without Randy Moss? The Buddies have a ton of depth at WR and RB which will guide them through a long and grueling YFFL season. The Thugs hold 3 of the Top 20 picks including the 4th pick and are poised to add depth at the skill positions. The Eaters are hoping Joey Harrington finally has his breakout year and can guide the Eaters back to the playoffs.
Kevin: Fact. If I didn't know any better I would put my money on the Buddies, but every single year we talk about how good they are only to be dissapointed in the end. The Eaters stink so there is zero chance of them winning the division. The Thugs need a lot of help at the WR position so it is almost guaranteed that this is where they are headed with the #4 pick. That leaves the Merry Men who still have that strong core of Culpepper, Alexander and McAllister. Their WRs are suspect, but I like Burleson to have a pretty good year now that he is the #1 in Minnesota. The Merry Men may not go 10-3 again, but I like them to finish on top of the division.
5. Fact or Fiction, there's a team out there that will really surprise us this year (in a good or a bad way).
Bobby: Fact. My darkhorse to make a serious run this year is the Cuban Refugees. Kerry Collins has all the tools around him to have an MVP year. Tatum Bell, Kevin Jones and Dom Rhodes will form an excellent backfield. Todd Heap will return to Pro Bowl form with the help of new OC Jim Fassel. Javon Walker and a WR to be drafted will be more than sufficient at WR. Not to mention ol' reliable Adam Vinatieri, who will anchor a team that could win the AFC.
Kevin: Fact. I think the biggest surprise will be for the worse for the Dragons. Looking at the Dragons roster I see no running backs even worth starting. They have Faulk, Hearst, Greg Jones, Sammy Morris, and Onterrio Smith (and the whizzinator). That lineup only rivals the Mallards QB contingency of Schaub, Simms, Henson and Testaverde as worst position corps in the league. Jon is going to be have to be very creative in this year's draft in order to plug those holes. Here's to hoping Peyton Manning can throw 60 touchdowns in 2005.