Should Shaun Alexander Be Avoided Because of the Madden Curse?

Football season is here which means it’s time for everyone to channel their inner GM for fantasy football. In my main fantasy league that I’ve competed in with friends since the old days when we scored our own stats each week because the internet didn't do that for us, I’m hoping for a breakout season.

No matter how much researching and mock drafts I do to prepare myself for this league, I tend to pick players who under perform or get injured. Injuries and more so season ending injuries are equivalent to chopping away at the tree trunk. It’s a matter of time and gravity before the weight of the tree comes crashing down. Difficult to recover from it unless you pick up sleeper fantasy studs early on free agency or have a deep bench.

This season I have the #2 to pick. After I found out, I began to see who the top rated players on the board were. At they have Larry Johnson ranked #1 and Shaun Alexander #2. Yahoo has them both a tie for the first spot in a poll by fantasy experts (a job we would all crave). So the question is if Larry Johnson goes first overall, do I automatically take Alexander?

Most would say take Alexander and start counting the weekly touchdowns but the only thing holding me back is the fact that Shaun is on the cover of Madden 2007. Before you say I’m stupid or don’t believe it just take a look at the history of the Madden curse. Every year you think no way the curse continues yet it keeps taking down players. You can’t deny it. It’s like playing roulette and a black number has come up six times in a row. Do you play on the streak or against the streak? A lot of people I know would play against it thinking a red has to hit. But I always believe in betting on the streak until it breaks. Betting against the streak until a red comes up can lose you money really quickly.

Shaun had probably his best year ever last season. To outperform the season he had would be as likely as seeing Paris Hilton picking up a quarter. He was going to be a free agent and playing for a new long term contract. He now has the huge contract which always makes me fearful he will under perform. You also have the curse which affects teams who lose the Super Bowl. The trend is they don’t even make the playoffs. Finally the Seahawks lost guard Steve Hutchinson who helped open holes for Shaun.

Larry Johnson has fresher legs and with Herm Edwards coaching will feature him as the offense. He ended the season with nine consecutive 100+ yard games. In leagues that reward bonuses for 100 yard games Johnson gives you consistent performance. Finally he is likely to get the ball in goal line situations just as Priest did.

The general strategy is to take a running back in the first round. Maybe the owner will take Peyton Manning first overall, which is a good pick but one round too early if playing by the book. Then I’d take Larry Johnson and avoid having to make a tough decision. Same goes if he selects Alexander, Tomlinson, Manning, or his favorite Jaguar player first.

As the August 29th draft date gets closer, I have to decide whether to believe in the curse if Alexander falls to me. I’m sure many of you will be faced with the same situation. What would you do if you had the second pick? Keep in mind if Alexander falls past the fifth pick in any draft, I’d pick him up right away. You’re into Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Rudi Johnson, Lamont Jordan territory. It’s worth a gamble to think Shaun might have a better season than them even with the curse.

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