Eyes On The Prize

The lure of $1 million is enticing to anyone. But to be six weeks into the NFL season and have a realistic chance to snare that majestic prize?

That's the type of feeling few will ever know. It's reserved for the cream of the fantasy crop. It's like being Leonardo DiCaprio and trying to decide which supermodel you're going to be dating this week.

It's when you know you've arrived and you're at a place many can only dream about.

Eddie Gillis has definitely arrived. He's been one of the best players in the National Fantasy Football Championship since its inception in 2004. And this year, he has the NFFC's $1 million bonus squarely in his sites.

"You gotta be thinking about it," he said. "I wish it was just a race for 13 weeks because then I would be really excited about the $1 million. But how many guys have a shot at it? It's a great opportunity."

The exact number is 157. That is how many players are competing in both the 14-team NFFC Classic event and the 12-team NFFC Primetime event. If one person emerges as the overall champion in both high-stakes events they will not only win the respective $100,000 grand prizes for both, but a cool $1 million bonus as well.

Six weeks into the season and it's clear Eddie Gillis has a realistic chance to take home that big payday.

Gillis is sitting atop the Classic event and ranks fourth overall in the Primetime event. Interestingly, the foundations for his two teams have some striking similarities. Among them:

*Both teams are anchored by a stud RB (Frank Gore in the Primetime event and Marion Barber in the Classic)

*Both teams have an elite QB (Tony Romo and Kurt Warner)

*Both teams have a stud WR drafted in the second round (Reggie Wayne and Brandon Marshall) and a standout WR2 drafted later who has emerged as a great value pick (Roddy White and Santana Moss)

*Both teams have a stud TE drafted in the third or fourth round (Jason Witten and Kellen Winslow)

Gillis acknowledged he was hoping to start both of his drafts with Barber and he was extremely disappointed when that did not occur in the Primetime event.

"I had the seventh pick and he went sixth," Gillis said. "I felt like I had been shot. It hurt so much. The consolation prize was Gore although we did debate Randy Moss, though, so it wasn't automatic. But we decided the running back position was more important."

The other player he wanted badly was Marshall, and he was thrilled to get him in the second round of the Classic draft.

"He's the guy I was probably more high on than anybody," Gillis said. "I was ecstatic to start off (the Classic draft) with the Barber-Marshall combo."

There's no question having the foundations of Barber/Marshall and Gore/Wayne have played a key role in Gillis' strong starts in both events. But as is so often the case, it was the picks made in the later rounds that have helped propel his teams to the upper echelon.

In the Classic event, he hit on a home run in the sixth round with Santana Moss. Moss is averaging 18.8 points per game in the NFFC's scoring system.

"I always had that season he had two years ago in the back of my mind and I knew they were switching to the West Coast Offense which I thought would help him," he said. "I also heard some great things about Jason Campbell this year. That's why I have him as my backup quarterback in just about every league."

Gillis' second home run in the Classic draft came when he selected DeSean Jackson. The Eagles' rookie wide receiver is averaging 13.7 points per game after six weeks. Another key pick was Kurt Warner, who Gillis drafted in the 10th round.

"We were nine rounds in without a quarterback and that's real dangerous," he said. "So we were really lucky to get Warner."

In the Primetime event, Gillis' best value picks came in the fifth and sixth rounds. That's where he landed wide receiver Roddy White and running back Matt Forte. White is off to a sensational start, averaging 18.3 points per game, while Forte is making a bid for Rookie of the Year honors while also averaging 18.3 points per game.

"Roddy White is the man," Gillis said. "White and Forte were probably the two best picks I could have gotten in the fifth and sixth rounds and I nailed them both."

Not every pick has turned to gold, however. Maurice Morris in the Classic and Chris Perry in the Primetime have faltered. But Gillis has worked the Waiver Wire and supplemented his team's scoring potential by snaring wide receivers Lance Moore (in both events) and Greg Camarillo (in the Primetime league).

The big question he has in the Primetime league is whether his team will stem the tide due to the absence of Tony Romo. But with Campbell as his backup, Gillis is confident his team will not suffer a major decline in production without the talented Cowboys' quarterback.

Should that happen, it's possible Gillis will find the two overall national titles and the $1 million bonus to be more than just a dream.

"I think the key so far has been a lot of balance," he said. "Hopefully things will keep going well."

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