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Beating Yourself Takes New Meaning

Chris Cooley had four fantasy football teams last season.
Chris Cooley had four fantasy football teams last season. "I just like to do it with my friends," he said. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)

"When I was with the race team, all the guys were something like 34 years old, and they actually had a league," Gibbs said. "I would come in and draw the first name for who got to pick first and all that. It's a huge deal. I've never been a part of it. I've never even watched it or what they do. But it's fascinating, evidently, because it's a big deal. It's very popular."

Defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn, an avid sports fan, has never picked a fantasy team of any kind but has a firm grasp on the nuances after years of calls from friends, family members and friends of friends, all looking for an inside scoop.

"People call me all the time, man, and I've got to come up with something to tell them," Wynn said. "Last year a lot of people said I really came through for them. I try to tell them something about our guys, like, 'Don't sleep on Cooley.' Hopefully, my words are credible, because this thing is huge, man. It's unbelievable."

Santana Moss, who greatly surpassed any previous production to set a franchise yardage record last season, said he still gets stopped in the street by people wise enough to draft him last year. "Most of the time what I hear is, 'Oh man, thank you,' " Moss said. "So I guess I'm doing something good for them."

Defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti was a fantasy-head in high school, preparing lengthy mock drafts and indulging in four- to five-hour draft sessions. He hasn't played since and has become a bit surprised by the evolution of the game, with some leagues drafting individual defensive players and adding odd scoring twists.

"I don't know what's going on with it anymore," Boschetti said. "When I used to play it was pretty simple."

Cooley, meantime, is gearing up for his fantasy football drafts. He expects to participate in at least one online league with friends from back home in Utah -- with his time short he might let a computer draft for him -- and there are plans for a live draft here in a few weeks for a league with family members.

This year, with new associate coach Al Saunders eager to get Cooley more involved in the downfield passing game, some fantasyniks are predicting a huge season for him. Cooley, though, might have his eye on other tight ends.

"I'm not going to sacrifice a good team just to have myself on it," he said.

Redskins Note: Tight end Calen Powell (hip flexor) and defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (hamstring) joined the nine other Redskins players who did not make the trip to Cincinnati.


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