Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In honor of President's Day, The Sports Network presents the best fantasy players to represent their presidential namesakes.
Before we get to the list, however, we must give a special mention to Lincoln Kennedy. As an offensive lineman he had no fantasy value, but the three-time Oakland Raiders' Pro Bowl lineman represented both his namesakes with style and excellence.
Now, on to the honor roll.
Gene A. Washington, WR, San Francisco 49ers - Not the father of our country, just of a son and a daughter, but Washington was a four-time Pro Bowl representative who played for the 49ers from 1969-1977. He led the league in receiving yards in 1970 and finished his career with 60 touchdowns.
Alvan Adams, C, Phoenix Suns - Adams was the Phoenix Suns' fourth overall selection in 1975 and put together a respectable 13-year career, averaging 14.1 points and seven rebounds per game. His rookie season turned out to be his best statistically, averaging 19 ppg and 9.1 rpg while being named to the All-Star team and NBA Rookie of the Year. John Adams, our second president and father of our sixth president, had a much better career.
John Jefferson, WR, San Diego Chargers - Jefferson was a four-time Pro Bowl receiver for San Diego and Green Bay who led the league in receiving in 1980 and twice in touchdown receptions. He finished his career with 5,714 yards and 47 touchdowns. Jefferson was on my very first fantasy team back in the late 1970s.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco - The 23-year-old is just getting into his prime years, but has already posted three winning seasons with an ERA under 3.38 on his resume. He owns a 2-0 World Series record in two starts without yielding a single run ... and two rings.
Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, PG, New York Knicks - This Hall of Fame member was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1967-68, a four-time All-Star and a member of the 1973 Champion New York Knicks. He averaged 18.8 ppg for 13 seasons along with 3.0 rpg and 3.9 assists per game.
Reggie Jackson, OF, New York Yankees - "Mr. October" was very good during the other months as well, hitting 563 home runs, knocking in 1,702 runs with an .846 OPS for Oakland, Baltimore, the New York Yankees and California Angels. He'll always be remembered for his three-home run game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. He just edges out two-sport star Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson.
Steve Van Buren, RB, Philadelphia - He was a first-round pick (fifth overall) of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1944 and led the NFL in rushing during four of his eight seasons. He was the heart of an offense that won back-to-back titles in 1948-49.
Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis - The Peyton Manning-to-Harrison hookup is one of the greatest in NFL history. Harrison caught 1,102 balls for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns over 13 seasons. He made eight Pro Bowls and was a three-time first team All-Pro. He had a much better fantasy career than Harrison did as president.
Wendell Tyler, RB, Los Angeles - Tyler rushed for 6,378 yards over his 10-year career, including three 1,000-yard seasons and a Super Bowl appearance with the Rams. His downfall was not enough "Stick 'em," as he fumbled the ball 64 times. Despite that, he's probably still better known than our 10th president - John Tyler.
Wesley Polk Chamberlain, Phillies - Traded from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, Chamberlain got his opportunity in 1990, but wasn't much of an outfielder with a career .255 batting average. President James K. Polk had a much better career overseeing the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Smithsonian Institution and the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument.
Fred Taylor, RB, Jacksonville - He was frequently injured, but Taylor still managed to last 13 NFL seasons and total 11,695 yards rushing for Jacksonville and New England. That's about eight times longer than Zachary Taylor stayed in the White House.
Greg Fillmore, New York Knicks - An eighth-round pick of the Knicks in 1970 out of Cheyney, Fillmore produced 2.4 ppg and 2.2 rpg in two seasons. Not much of a player just as Millard Fillmore has not garnered much respect as a president, having been consistently included in the bottom 10 of historical rankings of U.S. presidents.
Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics - Nine teams passed on Pierce in the 1998 draft and all but a couple look foolish in retrospect. Pierce has been a stud for 15 seasons, a clutch shooter, a 10-time All-Star, an NBA Finals MVP and a champion. That's a much better resume than you will find from Franklin Pierce.
Junious "Buck" Buchanan - As a defensive tackle, Buchanan would have had little value in most fantasy leagues, but the four-time first team All-Pro was one of the league's best. The Buck Buchanan Award, presented by The Sports Network, honors the defensive player of the year in FCS.
Keith Lincoln, RB, San Diego Chargers - Lincoln was part of a solid backfield along with Paul Lowe and quarterback John Hadl. The backfield trio, with Hall of Fame wideout Lance Alworth, were the key offensive ingredients in San Diego's 1963 AFL championship team that led the league in scoring two times over a three-year period.
Randy Johnson, SP, various - It doesn't matter whether the "Big Unit" represents Andrew or Lyndon Johnson, he had better years than either president. Randy was not only a great pitcher (303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts, 3.29 ERA), he could intimidate hitters. At 6-foot-10 with a blazing fastball and just enough wildness to keep hitters loose, he was a threat to throw a no-hitter in any given start. He threw two, the second being a perfect game, along with five one-hitters.
Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay, Packers - Grant wasn't heralded out of Notre Dame and in 2007 only got a chance after Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn were injured. He rushed for 929 yards and eight touchdowns over the final 10 games that season and rushed for 1,203 and 1,253 yards in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Grant dropped off the fantasy radar screen as quickly as he arrived and hasn't been a factor in any of the last three seasons. He barely edged out Twins pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant.
Elvin Hayes, C, Washington - There weren't many better than the "Big E." After a great college career, Hayes began a 16-year pro career by leading the NBA in scoring in his rookie year (28.4 ppg). He finished his career with a 21.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg. Even more impressive is that over his career he never played less than 80 games in any season while playing against the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier and Walt Bellamy night after night.
Garfield "Gar" Heard, F, Phoenix - The third-round selection out of Oklahoma wasn't spectacular, but was a solid NBA player over his 11-year career. He finished with averages of 8.7 ppg and 7.5 rpg.
Darrell Arthur, F, Memphis - Arthur hasn't been much more than bench depth in Memphis over his first three-plus seasons. His best year to date was 2010-11, when he averaged 9.1 ppg.
Grover Cleveland Alexander, SP, Athletics - "Old Pete" amassed 373 wins against 208 losses with a career 2.56 ERA, 437 complete games and 90 shutouts. Three times he surpassed the 30-win mark (1915-17), and in seven of his first 10 seasons he earned at least 20 wins. What a great fantasy pitcher he would have made. Grover Cleveland's claim to fame is as the only president to serve non- consecutive terms.
Derrel McKinley "Bud" Harrelson, New York Mets - Harrelson was never an offensive threat and would not have been selected by fantasy owners after averaging .236 over his 16-year career.
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers - Everyone knows Robinson for breaking the color barrier in baseball, but check out his numbers and you will find he would have been a valuable fantasy asset in any era. His average season over a 10-year playing career was .311 with 94 runs, 13 home runs, 73 RBI and 19 stolen bases while playing multiple positions.
Chris Taft, Golden State - A second-round selection out of Pittsburgh by the Golden State Warriors in 2005, Taft played one season (17 games), averaging 2.8 ppg.
Hack Wilson, OF, Chicago Cubs - Wilson might be the best old-time player not in the Hall of Fame. Over his 12-year career, he averaged .307 with a .940 OPS. He led the NL in homers four times and RBIs twice. His 1930 season would have made any fantasy owner smile - .356, 146 runs, 56 homers, 191 RBI and a 1.177 OPS.
John Harding Lucas Jr, PG, Houston Rockets - Lucas was a two-time All-American at Maryland and was the first overall pick of the Houston Rockets in 1976. He never put up huge numbers as a pro, averaging 10.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 7.0 apg over 14 seasons.
Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish - His 15-year career was a perfect example of mediocrity, going 92-92 with seven different teams. Still, being mediocre likely beats out the performance of our 30th president - "Silent Cal.
Brad Hoover, FB, Carolina - Hoover was a blocking back by trade and never rushed for more than 290 yards in any of his 10 seasons. As Herbert Hoover presided over the Great Depression just eight months after taking office and could never pull the country out of it, the Panthers' running back still had a better career.
John Truman Wasdin,RP, various - Wasdin was the very definition of mediocre with a 39-39 record as both a part-time starter and reliever.
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets - Ok, we're stretching it a bit here, but there isn't an "Eisenhower" anywhere in the four major sports with fantasy value. Davis hit 32 homers last season (27 of them from mid-June on) with 90 RBI, but struggled with a low batting average (.227) and mediocre OPS (.771). He has the potential to be a solid fantasy first baseman.
Ian Kennedy, SP, Arizona - Kennedy was a highly touted pitcher in the Yankees organization, but never got it going in New York. After a trade to Arizona, he's blossomed into a quality fantasy starter, going 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.086 WHIP in 2011 and 15-12 last season.
Norm Nixon, PG, Los Angeles Lakers - Nixon had an excellent 10-year career with the Lakers and Clippers, averaging 15.7 ppg and 8.3 apg over the span which included two NBA championships. He also appeared in one movie, the classic "The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh" with his wife, Debbie Allen, Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Whitey Ford, SP, New York Yankees - He is member of the Hall of Fame, 10-time All-Star and 1961 Cy Young Award winner. Ford was 236-106 with a career ERA of 2.75 and WHIP of 1.215, including a 25-4 season in 1961 and 24-7 in 1963.
Cris Carter, WR, Minnesota Vikings - No, contrary to reports, Carter did more than "just catch touchdowns." Over his 16-year career, Carter caught 1,101 balls for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns. He was just recently elected to the Hall of Fame. A great receiver, he was still frequently overshadowed by the guy across from him for some of his career, Randy Moss, but Carter was always a good fantasy option.
Phil Regan, RP, Chicago Cubs - Reagan is Irish for "little king," with a variant being Regan. Known as "The Vulture," the 1966 All-Star went 14-1 with 21 saves that season. He finished his 13-year career with a 96-81 record. Our 40th president had a much better career.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami - Highly touted out of USC, Bush never really fulfilled his potential in New Orleans. After signing with Miami, he totaled 2,072 yards rushing over two seasons. Unfortunately, he didn't get into the end zone enough to be an RB1, but he has been a solid RB2 over the past two seasons. He's a free agent and his future fantasy value is up in the air.
Clinton Portis, RB, Denver - A second-round pick of the Denver Broncos, Portis was a star for fantasy owners from 2002-2008, averaging 1,314 yards rushing, 272 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns over the seven-year span.
My apologies to President Barack Obama fans. I'm still searching for a fantasy player to represent him.
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