Fantasy Drafts

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Breakfast Cereal Draft - Commentary

4:28 PM

The drafters are true Americans. We love apple pie, Ike, urban sprawl, wiretaps of dubious legality and the nuclear family (which, no thanks to the godless democrats, is dissolving). And what would the nuclear family, and America, be without breakfast cereal? Probably Iran.

Anyway, the incomparable Matt did a wonderful job taking time out of his schedule to build a draft board for the breakfast cereals draft. Now that those pesky law school finals are done, Matt blinds us yet again with brilliant **GUEST** commentary.

Sarah - Cheerios, Cracklin' Oat Bran, Frosted-Mini Wheats, Wheat Chex, Post Cranberry Almond Crunch, Grape Nuts (Now Gravel Flavored!)*, Corn Chex, Just Right

Sarah started the draft out with a solid, albeit unspectacular, #1 pick in Cheerios. I had Cheerios out of the first two rounds entirely, due to the fact that other than it’s longevity in the marketplace, there’s just nothing interesting or delicious about the cereal. Still, it is a firmly entrenched name in the American kitchen, and favorite Ziploc-baggie snack of toddlers everywhere. She comes through in the second and third rounds with Cracklin’ Oat Bran and Frosted Mini-Wheats – two good selections that provide both taste and some health value (although Cracklin’ Oat Bran does hold the dubious distinction of providing more fat content in a single bowl than two pop tarts). After the selection of Wheat Chex and Post Cranberry Almond Crunch, it becomes very evident that Sarah’s draft angle is “Middle Aged Women Dietary Cereal.” The next three picks, Grape Nuts, Corn Chex, and Just Right all follow this pattern, but come on Sarah…Corn Chex AND Wheat Chex? Isn’t one enough? Overall, it looks like Sarah followed a plan, which is laudable, but I simply cannot discount the fact that the overwhelming majority of her cereals are ones that people buy because they have to, not because they particularly want to.
GRADE: C+

Sydney - Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Life, Honey Bunches of Oats, Kix, Golden Grahams, Smart Start, Muselix, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a great 1st round pick, starting you off with taste and a sugar buzz all at once. One pick into the books and Sydney is off to a flying start. The 2nd round choice of Life is odd, though. It isn’t that great of a cereal, but there is no denying its place in popular culture with “Mikey likes it!” and the ever-persistent urban legend that the kid from “Life” cereal commercials had committed suicide. Similarly quizzical is her pick of Honey Bunches of Oats, a good cereal without a doubt, but perhaps a little early with some other great cereals on the board. She knocks her next two (Kix and Golden Grahams) out of the park; both are great, balanced cereals that provide taste that any kid can get without begging mom and any adult can eat without feeling like an idiot. Smart Start isn’t a bad late round pick, but it isn’t a particularly good one either as it doesn’t seem to fit into any overall draft strategy that I can make out. Her final round selection of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, a good alternative to the already selected Apple Jacks, rounds the draft out nicely. I don’t know where she was going…perhaps I’ll term this draft the “Everyone go pick out a cereal and bring it back to the shopping cart” draft. There’s enough good to outweigh the bad, but if we rewarded just barely breaking even, the Redskins would be staring at Super Bowl status.
GRADE: B

Chris - Frosted Flakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Fruit Loops, Corn Flakes, Total, Granola w/Raisins, Smacks

Chris is a Frosted Flakes fan. I know this, because I've seen him fill and consume many a bowl (for dinner, no less) over the years. His 1st round choice, therefore, comes as no surprise. Frosted Flakes is a great choice: Delicious? Check. Not overly junky? Check. Fun loving cartoon mascot wearing a sexually-questionable neckerchief? Check. Honey Nut Cheerios is a steal in the second round, mainly because it’s just better than Cheerios. Everything you can do with regular Cheerios (cut some fruit up in it, give it to your kid as a snack in the car) you can do with Honey Nut Cheerios and it just tastes better. Regular Cheerios: you’re on notice. Rice Krispies, another pick off the draft board, is a good pickup in the 3rd round as well. It’s a cereal that shows versatility both in and out of the bowl – come on, who doesn’t love Rice Krispie Treats? Anyone raising their hand to disagree is a communist. Fruit Loops is another Bruff-favorite, and in this commentator’s opinion, a better choice than the Fruit Pebbles which went one spot higher. Chris used the late-middle rounds nicely to get the healthier cereals that had slid down the draft board. No arguments for taking it old school with Corn Flakes, but he loses points for selecting Total due to the cereal’s unbelievably annoying commercial featuring waiters bringing patrons stacks of cereal bowls. Are they actually going to charge those people for the 50 bowls of Smart Start it would take to equal the calcium found in one bowl of Total? I ask, because if they’re not, that’s wasting a crapload of Smart Start, and some arrogant waiter is going to be out of a job. Chris rounds his draft out with Smacks, which seems like an OK “last round” cereal even though I can’t recall anyone ever actually owning a full box of the stuff (those little “Variety Pack” boxes were the biggest I ever saw anyone eat). Overall, Chris did a good job striking a balance with his cereals: enough sugar to keep the heart rate up and enough health food to keep the heart beating. Well played.
GRADE: A-

Bryan - Lucky Charms, Wheaties, Corn Pops, Fruit Pebbles, Special K, Smurf Berry Crunch, Nintendo Cereal, Pac-Man Cereal.

In this draft, I weep for what could’ve been. Bryan had a chance to complete a draft that would’ve made him more beloved by children than Santa Claus, Batman, Superman, Mario and Luigi put together…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Bryan opens with Lucky Charms, which for what he was trying to do is the consensus #1 pick. It’s a cereal designed to get kids operating at 100 mph early in the morning. There may or may not be a toy surprise at the bottom but we’re not certain because the sugar has probably dissolved it by the time you eat that far down into the box. There is a cartoon mascot, a slogan engraved into minds across America, and more shriveled marshmallows by volume than the Stay-Puft monster’s grandfather. In short, a perfect #1 selection. He comes back with Wheaties in the second round, which I thought might’ve derailed this draft right as it was getting started – but then I thought a little deeper: this is the ONLY healthy cereal that kids actually beg their parents to get. They don’t want the cereal on the inside (and parents know this), they want the picture on the outside: Michael Jordan, the 1994 Olympic Team, Brandi Chastain in her sports bra, etc. It is a sly, sly #2 pick which continues a brilliant draft strategy. Bryan picks up Corn Pops and Fruity Pebbles in the next two rounds. I see where he’s going, and stop only to quibble with Fruity Pebbles over Fruit Loops. Fred Flintstone stopped being relevant to kids a solid 20 years ago; time to pick a new spokesperson for that particular brand. But then, in the 5th round, Bryan blew it. With glory in his grasp, Bryan comes up short – ball clanking off the iron, ground ball straight between the legs, the stretch coming up just a yard short. Why God, Why? In this case: Special K – why Bryan, why? You had it – you had selected nothing but amazing junk food, kid specialty, “Oh mommy, if I don’t get it, I’ll stand here and hold my breath until I pass out” cereals. You were on the verge, and then you went with Special K?! Kids cereal after kids cereal, each one as delicious as the one before it, and then you go with the soccer-mom diet cereal? It’s a pick so disastrous that it negates the amazing picks of Smurf Berry Crunch, Nintendo Cereal, and Pac-Man Cereal. In another draft, I’d laud them for being tremendously trendy, delicious, and able to pay for college in an eBay auction. In this draft, I look at them and wonder “What If.” Overall, you have nobody to blame but your Special-K loving self.
GRADE: D-

Adam - Raisin Bran, Cap'n Crunch, Crispix, Rice Chex, Banana Nut Crunch, Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches

Adam ends the first round with Raisin Bran, where it probably is more of a steal As I said on the draft board, it is the original (and still the best) “combo” cereal. He follows it up with official cereal of Horatio Magellan Crunch, Jr.: Cap’n Crunch (bandaids for the interior of the mouth optional). Cap’n Crunch is a good pickup here, combining great taste and the only commissioned mascot in the bunch (although, rumor has it, the Corn Flakes chicken did do time as an infantryman in World War 2, though he really hates talking about it). A bit of a snag, perhaps, as Adam selects both Crispix and Rice Chex back-to-back. It’s cool if you love little hollow bits of mesh-patterned things, but otherwise let’s be honest: it’s the same damn thing. I still cannot fault the pick, as you’ve never experienced delicious until you’ve tried some Rice Chex with a little bit of honey drizzled on top. Banana Nut Crunch and Apple Jacks are Adam’s next two offerings, and both are solid choices. Banana Nut Crunch gets points for being both delicious and fairly healthy, but Apple Jacks loses those points right back for having two absolutely terribly slogans: “It tastes more like Apples” and “We eat what we like.” It tastes more like apples than what? Something not artificially flavored to taste like apples? That’s like “The West Wing” being advertised as “The show with more politics.” Idiocy. Adam comes up next with Cocoa Krispies, which I only remember for having a singing monkey as the mascot. Come to think of it, a monkey advertising a “cocoa” cereal probably isn’t the most politically correct thing in the world. I’m either on to something with that one, or I just need to spend less time thinking about cereal at 4 in the morning. Either way, it’s an average pick at best, but not bad as a late round selection. Adam finishes his draft with Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches. Stop. This cereal is simply trying too hard. There’s too much going on in that title. Hell, they probably need to double the size of the box just to fit both the name of the cereal and the obligatory picture of the bowl with cereal and milk. Oates and Peaches, Banana Nut Crunch…Adam’s “Gwent Stefani meets the Presidents of the United States of America” draft was a solid entry, but I expect better from the man only .05 off a perfect score. Adam: you’re on notice.
GRADE: B

*may not contain 100% of your daily requirement of gravel**

**coment may not have been part of Matt's guest commentary**

2 Comments:

Blogger Selfish Country Music Loving Lady said...

Ahh, my healthful ways are a curse yet again. Look, people, grape nuts are delicious. I know no one thinks so, but you're all wrong, wrong I say!

And who wants so much sugar first thing in the morning? Blech. Unless it's in French Toast form, of course (and no, I do NOT mean "French Toast Crunch," which is so repulsive that it should be classified as some sort of controlled substance).

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrible. Just terrible. Raisin Bran in the first round. You were 22 dammit. Bran should not be a key component of your diet!!!!

12:08 AM  

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