Like countless others who fancy themselves as NFL czars, the Los Angeles Dodgers hold a fantasy football draft each August. Last year it started in a ruckus as Cody Bellinger was unaware of the online component for the team’s draft.
With players huddled around tables, Bellinger excitedly yelled his first-round pick was being used on Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndrew Hopkins. As Bellinger sought out Hopkins’ jersey, he was informed the selection needed to be submitted online as well.
Bellinger failed to beat the timer, and the wound up with an auto draft of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. It was still a sound choice, but one that earned Bellinger plenty of jeering from teammates.
As for the results from the league, Ross Stripling recently posted on social media that he repeated as champion. Stripling has partnered with Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers’ league for the past two seasons.
During a recent episode of “The Big Swing Podcast,” he credited the second title to Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey being a prolific producer in fantasy points, noted some good fortune he had and championed Kershaw’s willingness to take a back seat:
“I actually won the league again, which is crazy. Back-to-back champions. I wish I could say I’m smart, but at the end of the day I’ve just drafted Christian McCaffrey the last two years. He’s head and shoulders the best player in fantasy by far. I mean, he averaged over 30 points a game. That’s like, quarterback 1 type numbers.
“It was a lot of fun. I was playing Scott Alexander in the semifinals, who lost James Connor and Dalvin Cook, and then I played A.J. Pollock in the finals, who lost DJ Moore and Chris Carson. My teams played well and it probably would’ve been close regardless, but because of that I ended up almost coasting to a championship thanks to Christian McCaffrey and injuries of others. I’ll gladly take the repeat. It’s fun to get bragging rights for another year and get a trophy in my locker. … Kersh is excited. … He’s the best angel investor ever.”
After the Dodgers completed their draft, Kershaw readily admitted he personally wasn’t the most prepared and but had taken on a role akin to president and CEO Stan Kasten. When Kershaw and Stripling won their first title it ended Farhan Zaidi’s three-year reign, much to the delight of the clubhouse.
Now with back-to-back titles to their names, Kershaw and Stripling may very well become the
force they once sought to unseat.
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