Fantasy Friday

August 16th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

Your guess is as good as mine …

My fellow fantasy degenerates: Draft day is eminent. Dum.dum.duuumm… And if you’re as dorky as I am, you’re pretty pumped. Yeah, I admit it. I can’t wait. Once the day is set, that box glows with significance on my calendar. I’m starting to frequent the ESPN Fantasy Football page. Preseason football has taken on relevance. And yep, I’ll have some of those pre-game butterflies when I sit down in that fateful hour. It’s a big day.

On that day, we’ll be making our money in the middle rounds. The first three rounds will go pretty much as expected – the order having as much to do with who you draft as your preferences. In rounds four through ten, you get to “stretch your legs” a bit. The self expression restrained in the interest of safety gets to come out and play a little. In these critical rounds; strategy, gut and nerve can get you the type of value that can have you sitting in abundance during those hard, cold winter months. While other owner are scratching in the barren wasteland of the November waiver wire for Green Bay’s third string RB, your problem could be trying to decide from a stable of startable options.

Who are these guys? Your guess is as good as mine. But if you’re interested in my guesses, I’ll let you look. But before I do, here is a basic principle I follow: Don’t believe the hype. Hype will force a reach. I’ve always felt a reach takes away a pick. Conversely, finding value in effect gives me an extra pick. A couple years ago, I took Stafford in the 7th as my starting QB. He ended up performing like a 2nd round QB. In essence, I ended up with two 2nd round picks. Okay, I’m taking a hard look at these dudes:

QB: Coupling Romo or Eli with Carson Palmer. Romo and Eli are going as low as 8th and 9th rounds. Palmer as low as 12th. They throw to Bryant, Cruz, and Fitzgerald. I also like Michael Vick. Now that might be because I have a hard time accepting that I was wrong. Be careful with that one. Lot hinges on Chip.
RB: Was CJ but I feel the hype meter on the uptick. A couple guys I’m thinking are MJD – contract year, rested from the end of last season, and only 28. And Ryan Mathews. I know, I know. I don’t buy that he’s injury prone. Ahmad Bradshaw is injury prone, Beanie Wells was injury prone. Think DJ Fluker is going to make the line better and Woodhead and Ronnie Brown don’t scare me. Rashard Mendenhall? Did I write that? Only because Bruce Areans, his O Coordinator from Pittsburgh days is his new head coach. And Bruce made Vick Ballard a suitable option.
WR: Tons. Might get all my WR in the middle rounds. Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Stevie Johnson, Josh Gordon and DeAndre Hopkins. Might take a flyer on Michael Floyd, Brandon Lafell, Golden Tate, Kenny Britt, Keenan Allen and Aaron Dobson will do.
TE: Rob Gronkowski in the fifth? How about it? I’m also taking a hard look at Dustin Keller, Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron (Buzz growing with Cameron). If Antonio Gates is there in the eighth or below, why not?

But again, your guess is as good as mine.



Marriage Mondays

August 12th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

First Things First Part 2

I generally distrust that which comes easy. Doesn’t mean that all that is easy is wrong or bad. Certainly, there are plenty good, meaningful things that come easy. It’s just that most do not. So, when it’s easy, I give whatever it is a thorough “once over.” At the most basic level, the concern of self comes with ease for me. Sadly, I must strain to concern myself with others. Not good. Ironically, not only is this way about me no good, it makes me unhappy. Go figure.

For many parents, the love for child comes with ease. Natural. While the love for spouse in time grows tedious. If left unchecked, the child easily glides over into the center of your family’s collective life. And the marriage devolves into a contractual arrangement between two adults to provide the optimal childhood for the kid.

Is it easy? Can you not help yourself from pouring over your kids? Give it a good “Once over.” It’s likely that your devotion to your child somewhere along the way morphed into that love you’ve always known, that familiar love that has always come with ease – the love for self. Love of self by proxy. Oh, man, what a perfect cover! No one suspects you. You come off looking so selfless.

You love your kid? Then first things first: Love your wife. Love your husband.

Fantasy Friday

August 9th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

Draft Day: The Best Laid Plans … 

1st Round: Pray that I have a top 8 pick and take the best RB on the board. An eighth pick will get me looking at a guy like LeSean McCoy. It won’t have me ecstatic, but with the scant pickins I’ll say my thanks and quietly be on my way.
2nd Round: Take the best available RB in that second tier unless the top 20 RBs are off the board. Once the likes of DeMarco Murray and Reggie Bush are off the board, it gets real ugly. Real ugly.
3rd Round: Look for Jimmy. If draft goes RB heavy and Jimmy Graham falls to the 3rd, I’m taking him. Hate to take a TE with an early pick, but Jimmy is the best receiver on one of the best air offenses in the league. It’s like drafting an elite WR and being able to couple him with two more WR. He’s most likely not there in which case I’m looking at all comers. Not closed to taking yet another RB, like a Lamar Miller or an Eddie Lacy.
4th Round: Obviously, my top three picks come to bear on my decision here. If I’ve gone RB heavy, I’m probably itching for a WR. Of the WR going around the 4th and 5th, I love Dwayne Bowe.
5th Round: If all goes as planned, I’ll be nervously tracking QBs streaming off the board in rounds 3-5. The second half of the top ten QBs are coming off and I’ll probably be left with a tough decision: I like Matthew Stafford but would like him better in the 6th. Do I risk having to end up with Romo or Eli?
6th Round: If I have my QB, I’m looking again at RB or WR. I’ve already missed on Jimmy so the TE spot will be for the 8th or 9th rounds. Does it really matter whether I have Fred Davis or Greg Olsen? I’ll be looking for Jared Cook in St Louis. Maybe the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw or a DeSean Jackson.
7th-12th: I’ll be looking for my TE, #3 and 4 WR and a back up QB. Three rookie WRs of interest are DeAndre Hopkins in Houston, Aaron Dobson in New England and Keenan Allen in San Diego. Lots of interesting guys for back up QB: Cutler, Rivers, and Smith. And I still have a irrational love for Vick.

But you know what they say … “The best laid plans of mice and men (and fantasy owners) …”  


August 2nd, 2013 § 2 Comments

It was a dreary Saturday afternoon. My father sat slouched, cross legged on the floor, a “wife beater” hanging from his narrow shoulders, a burning cigarette pinched between his fingers when a Geisha floated by him through our apartment’s little living room. “What’s that?” My brother who was holding the art work explained that it would be his submission for the Lloyd’s Bank Art Contest. My brother, the prized pupil of Commonwealth Elementary’s gypsy-like Jewess art teacher, Miss Itskovich was holding a potential winner: A finely detailed replica of a Meiji Period Japanese Geisha painting done in pencil and marker. The exceptional piece garnered a less than enthusiastic reaction from our father.

To say that Koreans are not fond of Japanese is putting it mildly. Japan spent a good deal of the first half of the 1900s waging war all over Asia. In doing so, they didn’t make many friends. The Annexation of Korea done in extreme malice was a painful, humiliating sore on the national psych. The kind of stuff that festers for generations. Our father saw it first hand.

“Why do you want to paint that?” We knew exactly what he meant. “Here, let me show you.” The silent, lifeless man was all of sudden up on his feet, ripping down calendars with traditional Korean watercolors. Demanding pencil. Paint. Paper. The newspaper he was reading was laid on the beige carpet. In a matter of a couple hours, he masterfully taught my brother how to paint in watercolor. It was my brother’s first painting lesson. To see and paint a piece as a whole.

I sat off to the side in stupefied wonder, not moving so as not to awaken our father from this almost hypnotic episode. He was alive, alert. And he cared. Cared about his history, his people. He cared about art, beauty. He cared about my brother – my brother’s connection, my brother’s art.

As my brother adeptly applied the lessons learned, my father lit a cigarette. He intently watched as the painting flowered in the watercolor. “Yes! That’s it!” I got to think, he was satisfied.

As a fourth grader, my brother’s watercolor rendition of a traditional Korean painting won first prize in that contest. There was no doubt.

My brother, he still paints.

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