It doesn't seem all that long ago when the gigantic Daunte Culpepper was bowling over defenders then launching 70-yard passes to Randy Moss, who had glided past defenders or soared over them for the catch.
If you're getting ready for your fantasy football draft, you'd better remember real quick that those magical Minnesota days are long gone.
Because Moss and Culpepper are certain to be drafted way too soon based on fond memories instead of stats, reason and logic, the former pals were unanimous first-team selections to this year's Preseason All Yesteryear Team.
The All Yesteryear Team is a who-was-who of big names just past their prime, attractive fantasy draft picks who get overvalued because of their aging yet hypnotic highlight reels.
You can resist their allure and avoid blowing high draft picks on them, but to do that you must first be able to recognize them.
So now, as a public service to help fantasy geeks avoid drafting like it's 1999, here's the first ever Preseason All Yesteryear Team:
- Culpepper, QB, Oakland. He accounted for 31 scores a year from 2000 to 2004. But even if he proves he's healthy enough to win the starting job as expected, remember the only defenses he's ever succeeded against were those fixated on double- or triple-covering Moss. In two years apart from Moss, Culpepper has eight touchdowns, 52 sacks, 21 missed games, 15 interceptions and eight fumbles.
- Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland. He may have the most impressive Yesteryear, rushing for 2,066 yards in 2003. He broke loose for runs of 20-plus yards 16 times that year, something he's only done 11 times in three years since. His yards per carry have plummeted, and his offensive line isn't much.
- Ahman Green, RB, Houston. His biggest Yesteryear also came in 2003, when he went over 2,000 total yards and scored 20 times in Green Bay. He's missed 14 games since then and last year barely cleared 1,000 yards (about 67 yards a game). Now he's 30 - the age when runners' stats typically wilt - and behind a dicey line.
- Moss, WR, New England. First, a disclaimer about this guy known for his sourpuss demeanor as much as the 12 scores and around 1,300 yards he averaged from 2000 to 2004: I'm suckered in, expecting a big year. Still, he has the earmarks of a Yesteryear all-star, averaging about 800 yards in two Oakland seasons, and last year finishing with fewer catches than the likes of Mewelde Moore and Kevin Faulk.
- Isaac Bruce, WR, St. Louis. He had some monster stats in that last century, and in the Rams' Super Bowl years. He still goes for 1,000 yards in a good offense, but those back-to-back three-TD years earned him this spot.
- Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. He pushed hard for Yesteryear first team, losing narrowly because of Culpepper's recent futility. McNabb can take your team to a fantasy title if he can repeat his 34-TD greatness of 2004. He can also bring late-season ruin, as he did by getting knocked out of 13 games the past two years. (Like Moss, though, I have to admit I'm sold on him.)
- Fred Taylor, RB, Jacksonville. His great Yesteryear was when he went over 1,900 yards in 2003. But he's had enough numbers and flashes - over 1,100 yards rushing last year and 70-yard-plus runs in each of the past two seasons - to keep you drafting him. Just remember he's 31 and sharing time.
- Edgerrin James, RB, Arizona. He averaged more than 1,400 yards and 11 TDs the three years before becoming a Cardinal. The new offense is more run-oriented, but it's still the Cardinals' offense. He should be solid, but not as your first back.
- Drew Bennett, WR, St. Louis. Has anybody gotten more fantasy mileage from one season? He went over 1,200 yards and had 11 scores in 2004, but never surpassed 750 yards or four scores in his other five seasons. Many will be suckered in because he's now a Ram.
- Joe Horn, WR, Atlanta. What the heck happened to him? He was good for 1,400 yards and 11 scores as recently as 2004. Before you convince yourself he can revive things with Joey Harrington, remember he couldn't with Drew Brees.
- Jeff Garcia, QB, Tampa Bay. He passed for more than 30 TDs with the 49ers in 2000 and 2001. Since then he's led the league in suitcases packed, wandering to Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
- Warrick Dunn, RB, Atlanta. He'll be a popular pick for people excited by his three straight 1,000-yard seasons, but only if they don't know he's a 32-year-old recovering from back surgery and sharing a job.
- Derrick Mason, WR, Baltimore. He was solid with Tennessee but has been rationing his TDs in Baltimore, scoring just twice a year. If he's even on your draft list, you've got much bigger problems than trolling the honorable mention section of a made-up team.

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