WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has made it clear he’s a sucker for ESPN’s SportsCenter, and turns out he knows a thing or two about fantasy football too.

Sportswriter Rick Reilly challenged both presidential candidates, Obama and Republican contender John McCain, to pick an NFL fantasy football team for one week to see if they had what it takes on the sports side of life.

Obama picked up the gauntlet and while he agreed to play second chair to the sports network expert, Reilly reports in his ESPN Magazine column this week that the White House hopeful had done his homework and was aggressive in a 30-minute tussle for his preferred picks for NFL Week 6. 

Reilly writes: 

He is taller, grayer and quicker to laugh than I expected. Moves sort of like an athlete—cool and smooth. “Now, you’re the expert,” he began. “And I’ll gladly be the junior partner in this, but I really think we should take Drew Brees. He could have a big week. Oakland’s secondary is a wreck.”

Ohhhh, so that’s how it’s going to be. “Well, I like Carson Palmer,” I said. “He’s due for a big week, plus he plays in Ohio and I figure that’s a state you need, so …”