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Well, I've finally made it!

By the time you read this, I will be starting a much-deserved, three-week hiatus filled with the highly anticipated return of lunch (Ramadan ends Saturday), my first turn as a camp volunteer and, of course, the return of football.

But before I can get to all of that awesomeness, I have a few things that I need to finish up here. For one, I have to make it through the Garrison Senior Leader Training - a magical time consisting of two days filled with ACOE and STRATCOM.

Next, I have to break out the lawn mower. And of course, I've got to plop down in my ergo-friendly office chair and crank out the much-anticipated, but never duplicated, 2012 Fantasy Football preview. (Yes, I know I have four compound modifiers in the first two paragraphs.)

For those of you who do not remember, the Fantasy preview is the first of three columns dedicated to the upcoming NFL season -- the only season that really matters.

Unlike last year, however, we will not have a Meade's Finest Fantasy Football challenge. The logistics became too difficult, especially after fantasy sports were barred from GOV computers. Thanks a lot, DISA!

Anyway, enough crying over spilled milk. I'm thirsty enough as it is, and as I look down at the single-most important piece of literature I'll pick up all year - the 2012 Fantasy Football guide, compliments of our friend Brian Riffey - it's clear that I've got a fever, and the only prescription is fantasy football. That, and more cowbell.


QB - Draft Day Rule (DDR): Last year I said, "Don't use a first-round pick on a QB." This year I'm saying, "You've got three, first-round options - Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Tom Brady."

Top Pick: Aaron Rodgers. He's way too efficient not to be the most productive player on the board - First round.

Sleeper: Jay Cutler - He's got the best arm in the league, and now he's got Brandon Marshall to throw to. He'll toss at least 35 TDs this year, and you'll probably be able to get him in rounds 7-9.

Bust: Robert Griffin III. RG III is not Cam Newton. Someone will pick him in the third round just to put him on the bench by week three.

RB DDR: Get your horses early. Running backs ain't what they used to be, but you still need a few to win a title. This is especially true since there is only a handful worth keeping.

Top Pick: Arian Foster: Foster is a beast, and Houston will give him the ball. Where he'll be selected - First round

Sleeper: Fred Jackson - He was great before he got hurt, and Buffalo will be better this year. He will be selected no later than the third round.

Bust: Ryan Mathews: The dude can't stay healthy, and San Diego likes to pass too much. Where he'll be selected - Rounds 1-2.

WR DDR: More passing means more wideouts will put up numbers. So if you don't get one of the big three (Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald), you can wait.

Top Pick: Calvin Johnson. His nickname is "Megatron." Do you know how bad Megatron was? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nweNm43sjuk Well, Calvin is badder than that. Where he'll be selected - First round

Sleeper: Randy Moss - He's still one of the three best deep threats in the game. He'll grab at least 12 touchdowns. Not bad for someone you can grab after the 10th round.

Bust: Miles Austin. It hurts to write this, but I'm only doing it because Miles is already hurt. Where he'll be selected - Rounds 4-6

TE DDR: While running backs are now a dime a dozen, quality TEs are few and far between. But you need a good one to win a title.

Top Pick: Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is big, fast and he has Tom Brady. Where he'll be selected - Rounds 3-4

Sleeper: Tony Moeaki. After spending last year on the shelf, the Chiefs security blanket and Red Zone target is back. Where he'll be selected - Rounds 10 or above

Bust: Brent Celek: Maybe I'd be nicer if he wasn't an Eagle, but since he is, he is a bust. Where he will be selected - Rounds 8-10

I still won't waste your time on defenses or kickers, but do not overlook what the Cowboys did in shoring up its secondary. Better coverage means more pressure from DeMarcus Ware and more blitzes from Rob Ryan.

The NFC and AFC previews will be coming Sept. 6 and 13.

Until then, enjoy the silence and guest columnist Michelle Stilipec, who will be writing to you next week about turtles.

Of course, if you have comments on this or anything to do with sports, contact me at chad.t.jones.civ@mail.mil.

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