The 2008 NFL season marks the unveiling of Citizen Sports and SI's new Fantasy Football 2008 on Facebook. In celebration of this occasion, Citizen Sports and SI will be hosting a celebrity fantasy league for the upcoming season. As part of the promotion, one lucky fan will have the opportunity to take part in the league. Anyone who creates or joins a league will get a chance to participate in the celebrity league.
Whoever wins the spot will have their work cut out for them. Celebrity participants include Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, NHL star Jeremy Roenick, SI Swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, SI football writer Peter King, professional poker player Phil Gordon, former NFL star Brent Jones, author Michael Lewis, Jeff Ma, the real-life inspiration for 21, film critic Ben Lyons and CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz. All celebrities will be competing for charity, with the winner receiving $5,000 for the cause of their choice.
So who's the smart money on? Well, King has been covering pro football for decades, but he frequently admits his own fantasy shortcomings in his online column. Decker is the youngest participant, and youth usually equals strong familiarity with Facebook. It would be dangerous to underestimate her chances.
Jones and Lott were both really, really good at football, so it's a good bet that they know how to evaluate talent. But a Super Bowl ring (or several) does not guarantee they'll be adept at scouring the waiver wire for a midseason sleeper.
It's easy to call Beane the favorite, since he does the GM thing for a living - with a real team. And Lewis wrote Moneyball, a big bestseller about how good Billy is at what he does. It's a different sport, though, and it's no fun to pick Billy to win at everything, so we'll peg these two as most likely to engage in a mutually destructive late season trade.
Expect Gordon and Ma to know the numbers back to front. They should both be in the hunt. Nantz knows his football, and it would be foolish to overlook him. Roenick's chances seem good. Anything can happen. The smart money, though, is on Lyons. Why? Because when you work as a critic, you better be able to back it up with results when all is said and done.
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