By Tyler Walker
With the inaugural MLQ fantasy season kicking off last week, there is debate about where players should be drafted and when to play them. To help guide your selections, we look to one of the more popular fantasy sports in the world–fantasy football–to predict how this season’s fantasy quidditch will be similar. Beginning with the North Division, we will compare quidditch players and their NFL counterparts to hopefully shed some light on your future selections.
Blake Fitzgerald and Nicholas Kaufman: Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard
Most teams stick to one workhorse, but for the Cincinnati Bengals and Intensity, they have two that can be relied on. Both Bernard and Hill finished with over 115 fantasy points (ESPN) last season. Like the Bengals duo, Blake Fitzgerald and Nicholas Kaufman put up comparable numbers. Each keeper ended with double digits in goals and assists along with eight blocks apiece. Expect more of the same week-in and week-out from this two-headed monster. Checking rosters will be crucial to gauge each keeper’s fantasy value. If one ends up off a roster for a given weekend, it is fair to assume high totals from the other playing.
Sara Makey: Alfred Morris
Since entering the league, the Dallas Cowboys’ Alfred Morris has yet to become a household name. While most fantasy football enthusiasts know who he is, he hasn’t gained the national attention of someone like Arian Foster despite finishing with higher rushing totals three of the last four seasons. The same can be said about Sara Makey, who led all female chasers in the league with nine goals last year. Her closest competitors in the North Division–Sara Delongchamp (All-Star) (four), Meredith Taylor (All-Star) (three) and Alyssa Giarrosso (two)–were the top female scorers on their respective North teams and together equaled the amount of goals scored by Makey last summer who only played in two series. Like Morris, Makey should not be underestimated.
Danielle Anderson, Erin Moreno and Melinda Staup: Arizona Cardinals receiving corp
Intensity’s female beating rotation was a model of consistency last season. All played similar minutes with no drop-off in talent between the three, and not a single one of the female beaters made beats under a clip of 77 percent. The Cardinals receivers showed the same consistency this past season. There was just four combined weeks in which the Cardinals’ three top receivers did not score a single point. While the talent of the other two cuff one player’s production, you can be guaranteed consistent production from any of these beaters.
Dan Daugherty: Matt Forte
Prior to this USQ season, anyone who knew Dan Daugherty knew him for strictly for his quaffle play. But, he started showing his proficiency as a beater during last year’s MLQ season. While he has almost exclusively played beater for Bowling Green State University this past USQ season, there is reason to suspect he will play any position Riff needs this summer. Similarly, the New York Jets’ Matt Forte is known for being one of the most dynamic players coming out of the backfield in recent years. Like Forte, Daugherty is able to be on the field no matter the situation or the needs of the team. Both players are so high in value because they have the ability to produce away from their position.
Last summer, Daugherty finished sixth in the North in goals and assists, third in takeaways and fifth in blocks. He also beat at 85 percent, granted in limited time. This USQ season Daugherty broke out as one of the best beaters in the country. He was an integral part of Bowling Green’s Elite Eight run–falling to eventual champion and arguably the best beating team in the country Quidditch Club Boston. No matter the color headband Daugherty puts on, he is a safe bet every week to put up points.
Jeremy Boettner: Antonio Brown
If you talk about production in quidditch, it is hard to start anywhere other than Jeremy Boettner. While a recent switch to beater this past season could warrant lower value, expect Boettner to once again take helm of the quaffle game in Cleveland this season. Last summer, Jeremy lead the North Division in assists with 21 and tied for the lead in blocks with eight. He also finished third in the entire league in goals, shooting 20-23 (87 percent) and secured the highest shooting percentage in the entire league for players who took at least 20 shots. Like Boettner, there is not much to say about Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown other than he will produce for his team. Neither will be the flashiest player on the field, but they will be productive. Both can put up gaudy and efficient numbers week after week.
Julie Fritz and Matt Eveland: Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper
Julie Fritz and Matt Eveland have proven that they play much better together, much like their NFL analogs Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper of the Oakland Raiders. The Riff beater pair finished with nearly 100 beats last season, just like the Oakland duo, which each hovered around 1,000 receiving yards last season. Both are great fantasy options, but be weary if either is off a roster. The two play incredibly well together and their combined force leads to a lot of their value. While their play styles mesh well with each other, games with only half of the pair could spell trouble not only for fantasy owners, but also for Cleveland’s record.
Shane Hurlbert: Drew Brees
Shane Hurlbert is the definition of a workhorse. Last year he put up top stats across the board as starting keeper for Rochester Whiteout. Like New Orleans Saint Drew Brees, Hurlbert puts up impressive stats despite how the team as a whole performs. You can always expect both athletes to fill the stat sheet. Hurlbert finished top in goals scored and shots taken, with considerable leads over his closest competition (ten more goals scored, 17 more shots taken than second place). He also took second in blocks, with solid numbers in both assists and takeaways. Nothing suggests a decrease in these numbers. His proficiency in the seeking game, in addition to Rochester’s lack of an alternate standout seeker, makes him a threat to put up big numbers each week. Hurlbert should be a high value pick and has plenty of reason to be considered the top option in most leagues.
Jon Jackson: Eric Decker
Jon Jackson is more than Hurlbert’s second in command and can certainly stand on his own like New York Jet Eric Decker. While Brandon Marshall takes up a lot of the targets in the Jets passing game, Decker was still able to be incredibly productive this season. Jackson finished second in goals scored last season while shooting 21 percent better than league leader and teammate Hurlbert. Like Marshall and Decker, Hurlbert and Jackson gave defenses fits all summer. Both are elite players in their own right, but combined, they will create an offense that can stretch any defense thin. Do not be worried by either player’s production hampering the other; only two other players on Rochester hit the double-digit mark for shots taken last year. Like the New York receiver duo, expect both to be high fantasy producers this season.
Matt Oppenlander: Rico Gathers
Rico Gathers, like Oppenlander, is an athlete. During his collegiate career, Gathers was a standout at basketball. He averaged around a double-double his junior and senior years at Baylor University. After graduating, he decided to switch to football and, in April, was drafted as a tight end by the Dallas Cowboys this past April. While Oppenlander will not be switching sports, he will be switching the area of the game he focuses on. The University of Michigan graduate has all the athleticism you could ever need at beater. This athleticism will carry him and the Detroit Innovators against opposing teams as he learns the nuances of the beating game. And let’s not forget, his proficiency in the quaffle game gives the Innovators the option to move him between positions, as necessary. Like Gathers, Oppenlander’s stock will rise with his increase in skill at the position.
Oppenlander is currently on injured reserve due to a concussion sustained outside of quidditch.
Jim Richert: Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston came into the NFL as a proficient rookie quarterback. What really set him apart was his ability to run with the ball and score points on the ground. Jim Richert was already a highly-regarded beater entering the inaugural MLQ season. During the 2015 MLQ season, there were no real surprises from his beating game but his sudden emergence as a seeking threat set him apart and made him arguably the most valuable player on the Detroit Innovators. As a beater alone, Richert is a viable fantasy option, but the rare combo of beater and seeker make him a threat to put up high point totals on any given weekend. It is not safe to guarantee a rushing touchdown each week for Tampa Bay Buccaneer Winston, and the same can be said about Richert catching the snitch, but, without Tad Walters this summer, Richert should take over a larger role in the Detroit’s game.