It was a fun experience, and an opportunity to take an all-expenses paid trip, courtesy of Crown Royal, to the home of the defending Super Bowl champions on the evening of the NFL Kickoff game to select a fantasy team and sample premium whiskey.
Not a bad gig, right?
Before we get any further, yes, this is a sponsored message. You, the reader, are smart enough to figure that out. I'm not going to pretend it's not.
In an era where there's more competition for eyeballs than ever on the Internet, sponsorship is necessary. If you need proof, just read the inaugural Monday Morning Quarterback column by Peter King where he was transparent about advertisers being a necessary and driving force behind the creation of his new website.
Bringing on a sponsor at Cheesehead TV that wanted to combine fantasy football content and adult beverages was pretty much a no-brainer.
Back to the story ... Crown Royal brought together roughly a dozen pro football bloggers from across the country to a suite at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore where we took part in a fantasy football draft before taking a tour of the stadium and getting to watch the Ravens open the season against the Broncos.
As far as fantasy football leagues go, it's about as good as it gets.
There's weekly prizes for high scorers, including Crown Royal swag and the opportunity to win tickets to a Packers game. The league champion gets an all-expenses paid trip to Florida and an in-market Crown Royal happy hour during a Super Bowl viewing party.
But it's not all about me. Over the course of the season, we'll be giving away Crown Royal swag here at Cheesehead TV as well. You'll find out more in the upcoming weeks.
I'll also be soliciting your help with my fantasy football team, and believe me, I could use it.
Believe it or not, I haven't played NFL fantasy football in years. I play college fantasy football instead. I know, I'm weird.
I'm not entirely a newbie. I used to take part in leagues during my teenage years. Then I went to a university and met a group a friends, who––predictably––enjoyed college football. I've been taking part in the same college fantasy league since 2002.
But I've been out of the loop on NFL fantasy football for quite some time. At a point in the not-too-distant future, I'll be asking for your help in setting my starting lineup.
Keep in mind, this was a 16-team league, making it much more difficult to draft than the typical, eight-, 10- or 12-team league. I also had the second-to-last pick, the 15th overall selection, although it was a snake-style draft, meaning I also got the 18th pick too. Here's what the Cheesehead TV team looks like...
- First round––Redskins RB Alfred Morris––I was extremely happy with this selection at No. 15. And I could be even happier if the Redskins decide to feed Morris more than expected, in an attempt to keep RGIII healthy and not expose him to unnecessary pounding in the option running game.
- Second round––Patriots QB Tom Brady––I must admit, Peyton Manning was available to me in the first round and ended up going one pick after me at No. 16. Had I known he'd have a monster game in the season opener, I might have changed my mind. As it was, I took the fourth quarterback off the board, after Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Manning.
- Third round––Seattle Seahawks defense––I went out on a limb and took, in my opinion, the top defense in the NFL. Once again, keep in mind, this is a 16-team league and this would have been a sixth-round pick in an eight-team league. Hopefully the bold decision pays off.
- Fourth round––Saints WR Marques Colston––For my No. 1 wide receiver, I got Brees' No. 1 wide receiver. Not bad for the 50th overall selection, I think.
- Fifth round––Dolphins WR Mike Wallace––Here's to hoping Miami puts the millions of dollars it invested into Wallace to good use.
- Sixth round––Saints RB Pierre Thomas––The selection of Thomas as a starting running back in my fantasy lineup isn't exactly appealing, but by the sixth round, there weren't a whole lot of attractive options left.
- Seventh round––Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph––The Vikings will be behind in a lot of games and will be forced to pass the ball in order to play catch-up, right?
- Skipping to the 10th round to round out my starting lineup––Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski––The Patriots are bound to score a ton of points, and Gostkowski has been reliable over the past few years.
Here's my bench:
- Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell
- Raiders WR Denarius Moore
- Seahawks RB Robert Turbin
- Vikings QB Christian Ponder
- Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu
- Jaguars TE Mercedes Lewis
At this point, I don't have either a backup kicker or defense, but with the Patriots and the Seahawks not having their byes until weeks 10 and 12 respectively, I have plenty of time to find a fill-in when the time comes.
That's all for now. Stay tuned in upcoming weeks to win some Crown Royal swag. In the meantime, go like Crown Royal's Facebook page and #ReignOn.