When Reality And Fantasy Football Collide

Still a fantasy threat? He needs a contract first.

Summer for an NFL writer is a strange time. I'm not one naturally inclined to shift gears downward as news cycle slows so you get left with a mix of lawsuits and contract disputes to fill the void. And this year seems like a bumper crop for football's legal season.

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Lawsuits are irrelevant to fantasy football, but player contracts can indeed have an impact. I stepped out for wedding last night, leaving my fantasy fortunes to HAL 9000 as our league draft unfolded.

Sure, he may operate on the Windows ME system, but old HAL was full of synergistic energy when he picked my fantasy team.

With the seventh overall pick, I landed Jacksonville Jaguars holdout Maurice Jones-Drew, who is taking the unprecedented step of demanding a pay raise with two years left on his contract. Fortunately, the latest reports make it sound as though MJD's camp knows the folly of its ways, and he should be in camp when it opens.

In the second round my HAL pal decided I needed a quarterback, since this is a passing league after all. He took Drew Brees, who still refuses to sign his franchise tender. Again, all signs, finally, point to him and the Saints getting a deal done ahead of next Monday's deadline for long-term deals for franchise players. But still.

Round three, time to pick again and it's Bears running back Matt Forte, the player engaged in what might be the ugliest holdout of all this spring. Forte does at least insist that he will not miss any regular season games. I'm honestly more concerned about his health and how many carries Michael Bush will take away than I am his contract.

Three picks, three holdouts. It's a helluva start to the fantasy season.

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