April 4th, 2015 § 4 Comments
For all interested in fantasy football stuff, I started writing a weekly fantasy post on a start-up website. Please head over and give it a read. Gracías.
Here’s the link to last week’s post:
January 31st, 2015 § 2 Comments
Super Bowl XLIX
The Super Bowl is one of those over hyped events you can see from space. The frenzy around it rages like a forest fire with enough hot air to create it’s own microclimate. And so naturally, the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl is a frenzy of busy nonsense. The world has descended upon Scottsdale to promote products, themselves, themselves using products. Nothing much of worth happens. We wait and listen to analysis, injury updates and predictions. Same old interviews – another year, a new set of players, same old stuff. Then some more analysis. More predictions. Please! Play the game already!
Not this year. This year, we got Marshawn Lynch and his obstinate media hatin’. I love it. He’s … “All about that action boss.” The dude doesn’t like to talk. Is anyone surprised? C’mon, this isn’t a real story. We’ve all known Marshawn’s a little nuts. And I don’t think it’s an act. Just look at his official NFL headshot.
A picture says a thousand words.
Here’s a question: Why is it that when Belichick is aloof and condescending, he’s a genius, but when Marshawn says he doesn’t want to talk, he’s a miscreant?
Not only did we get BeastMode on media day, last week we got Deflategate 2015. Again … loved it. Not that I care whether or not the Pats footballs were doctored up to Tommy’s optimal psi. Did they cheat? Technically … maybe. Did it matter? No. Does it matter that it didn’t matter? Who knows. My love for “Deflategate” had nothing to do with all that. I loved it because I could hear the collective chuckle as the junior high boy in all of us was brought out by the unavoidable talk of balls. Balls in hand. Balls being rubbed down. How Tom likes his balls. “I’m not an expert in balls.” Balls deflating in the cold. My balls. Your balls. Hehehe… It was fantastic.
Okay, sorry. Onto the game. I’ve got to wonder, when these two teams look across that field Sunday afternoon, will they feel like they’re looking into a mirror. Solid in the trenches. Exceptional secondaries. Unsung heroes out wide. Monsters in the backfield. And late round QBs without a pulse. Both teams will be ready. Both will be physical. Probably why the betting line has hardly moved off center.
So, who wins? After calling Denver last year, I’m undaunted. I’m prepared once again to show you five readers how little I know about football. This year, I’m taking Seattle. I don’t care that my gut says New England is going to win – that Seattle will struggle to cover the short, quick pass. I don’t care that money is coming in heavy for New England. I’m just not going to make the same mistake twice.
Seattle 24 New England 20.
January 20th, 2015 § Leave a Comment
Ryan Tannehill for President
I won the championship in the fourteen team league. That makes it back to back, and five out of the seven seasons.
Aw..shux … you don’t have to go and say that. Really? You really think so? Aw…Go on.
Okay, joking aside: Yes, a ridiculous run. But if you’ve been reading my fantasy football posts, you know what I think of fantasy football. Anything involving grown men and fantasy is … well, goofy at best. If anything, it proves I’m dorkier than the next guy. And as I’ve always insisted, luckier.
Now, about this luck thing. I have to admit, it’s hard to call five out of seven pure luck. Could there be something here? Some pattern or some secret to fantasy football supremacy? I think we ought to take a look. How about I lay the back to back, league champion rosters side by side to see if something catches our eye?
2013 Championship Roster
QB Ryan Tannehill
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Zac Stacy
Flex Maurice Jones Drew
WR DeSean Jackson
WR Larry Fitzgerald
TE Greg Olsen
K Greg Zuerlein
2014 Championship Roster
QB Ryan Tannehill
RB Mark Ingram
RB Jonathan Stewart
Flex Kenny Stills
WR Antonio Brown
WR Mike Wallace
TE Jimmy Graham
K Stephen Gostkowski
You see that don’t you? So obvious now. How did I not see this before? Ryan Tannehill. It’s Ryan Tannehill! Ryan Tannehill is the key to fantasy football domination. Next year, take Tannehill in the first round. But hey, shhhh… Let’s just keep this little nugget between us.
November 21st, 2014 § 2 Comments
You know the saying, “You gotta dance with the one that brought you.” Walking into a dance scanning the floor for better options is not cool. Tempting? Yeah, sure. Maybe tempting … Okay, maybe definitely tempting. There’s bound to be someone there who looks better. So, can you be blamed if you walk in with Mark Ingram and you take a peak at Jonas Gray and his four TDs? Or while you’re slow dancing with Ryan Mathews, you’re hit with a tinge of longing as you see Latavius Murray – all 6’3″ 225 of him blow by with his 4.3 gallop? Hey, it happens. The saying wouldn’t be a saying if it didn’t.
But remember, anyone can look great walking by. In the right light, putting on their five minute best, even a wide receiver in the Rams offense can turn heads. Do not give in. The dance is not the place to look around. You had thirteen weeks leading up to it for all that. You made your choices. Dance with who brought you. Giovani Bernard might not look like much these days, but if you ditch Giovani for Jonas in week 15, you’d better have a real good reason.
All this isn’t to say you cease from all team improvement over the next month. You’re weak at WR? Sure, go ahead and pick up the aforementioned Kenny Britt. Grab Latavius if for some reason he drops to you on the waiver. Just saying the dance isn’t the place for chasing points. It’s a single elimination tournament. Dumb luck has more to do with it than your line up decisions. It’s not the time to experiment.
Fix your eyes on the ones who brought you, and with some luck … who knows? You might not go in with the best looking line-up, but you may just walk out the champ.
October 3rd, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Four weeks is enough of a sample size to know who you are. You know; you’re either a contender or a pretender. If you’re a contender, remember this one thing: Don’t mess it up. The reason you’re a contender is you got lucky…uh..hum…I mean, you drafted well. Now just resist the temptation to get all up in there with your analytical tools, with all the expert advice and that feeling in your gut. That feeling? Ignore that. Remember: Your gut is a turd factory, not a crystal ball. The only thing your gut is sure of is what you ate yesterday. If you’re fortunate enough to be sitting on DeMarco Murray and Andrew Luck, give yourself an undeserved pat on the back and enjoy the season. Sure, keep a eye on the wire. Pay attention to upcoming Byes. Fill in a hole here; make an adjustment there. Just don’t go worrying about DeMarco’s ankles until you work yourself into a panicked fit and go trading him for Alfred Morris and Stephen Gostkowski.
If you’re a pretender, you gotta do something. Something. Whatever. It doesn’t even have to work. Most likely, it won’t work. But you gotta do it. First of all, everyone else in your league is depending on you to not roll over. If you’ve played for these first four weeks to a 1-3 record, seeing Megatron on the injury report might feel like the last straw. But if you roll over and die, those four teams who played you at full strength got jipped. The one other win in week twelve can change the whole playoffs, maybe determine the champion. If not for yourself, do something for the sake of the league.
Secondly, doing something fills you with hope. A reset. A do over. Try it. Go drop Maurice Jones Drew. Pause to do some sort of cleansing ritual to get the Raiders funk off your team. I don’t know … call a priest, throw some water on it or something. And then go pick up Ryan Mathews who was dropped in your league because of his MCL sprain. Trust me, you’re going to feel a hundred times better about your sorry team. Or go ahead and make that trade. Offer DeAndre Hopkins and Montee Ball for Eddie Lacy. A few new faces in your line-up will do wonders for your outlook on the rest of the season.
At 2-2, I’m thinking of trading the back with the most potential on my team for a solid QB. The way my team has gone, I’m thinking for the first time of trying to win this thing with QB and WRs.
August 15th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
David Wilson’s brief career marked by flashes of both record setting brilliance and scowl inducing mishaps came to an abrupt end. After a Junior season at Virginia Tech in which he posted over 1,700 rushing yards with an “eye popping” 5.76 yards per, the New York Giants took Wilson in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year understandably entered his rookie season with a fair amount of buzz. On the second carry of his NFL career, Wilson put the ball on the ground. Tom Coughlin, a known hard ass of a coach, promptly stuffed Wilson in his “dog house”. Wilson didn’t set foot on the field the rest of the game.
With Ahmad Bradshaw’s foot which we all know is held together by glue and duct tape started to fail him, the door to the “dog house” was reluctantly unlocked. And Wilson busted out. In week 5 against Cleveland, Wilson gave the first glimpse of what garnered him a first round grade with a blurring 40 yard scamper on his first touch of the game. It foreshadowed his break out performance against the New Orleans Saints on December 9th. Wilson put up a gaudy 327 all purpose yards which included a 97 yard kick off return for a touchdown and a 52 yard rush for another TD. Those 327 yards is the Giants record for all purpose yards.
With Bradshaw off to Indianapolis, Wilson started the 2013 season as the lead back. In the first game of the season against division foe Dallas Cowboys, Wilson fumbling woes resurfaced. Coughlin eventually pulled the young, potential laden Wilson in favor of Da’Rel Scott. Who? I don’t know. Some dude named Da’Rel. Confidence in tatters, Wilson began running with both hands wrapped around the ball. It was sad; the kid looked like he was running in a straitjacket. His season sputtered along, until in week 5 he injured his neck in a collision in the end zone. Wilson was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis. After undergoing surgery in January of this year, Wilson jubilantly announced that he was cleared for all football activity. A week into training camp, Wilson suffered what was then termed a stinger. On August 6th, at the age of 23, in a tearful press conference, Wilson announced his retirement.
I remember that prior to the start of last season, David Wilson was the talk of fantasy football. Most considered him a no brainer 2nd rounder with very good chance of returning 1st round production. In our draft, he was taken late in the first round. I also remember watching the disaster unfold in the season opener against Dallas – the game in which he was pulled for Da’Rel Scott. As I watched, I remember thinking how irate fantasy owners who’d spent their early round pick on Wilson must be. Those who hung on to him hoping as they suffered through week after excruciating week … how they must have cursed his name when he was placed on IR with two-thirds of the season still remaining. “Damn you Wilson!”
Then I saw the press conference. I watched as a young man of mere 23 … 23! trying to come to terms with giving up his life’s dream. A dream for which he had worked, sweated and bled for as long as he could remember. He had beat the odds and made it. Got to the NFL. And before he could stretch his legs, it was done. Over.
Watching the heart broken Wilson gallantly thanking his coaches and teammates made the whole fantasy football angle feel sillier than the silliness it already is. I’m no moralist. But c’mon, even as we play games, it’s good to put things in their proper place. Losing your mind because a catastrophic injury to a player is going to affect your fantasy team is wack.
May 13th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
I was a Rams fan. Was. In 1995 Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams to St Louis. When she did, I swore life-long hatred of the old lady and her Rams. Good riddance! Yeah, as most first love break ups tend to be, it was irrationally bitter.
A life-long vow of hatred is a life-long vow. Truth be told, I’ve been known to hold a grudge or two. And so the eventual successes in St Louis did nothing to budge me. The “Greatest Show on Turf”? Whatever. Kurt Warner’s “Stocking shelves to Super Bowl MVP” story. Meh. Nothing could make me look at ’em the same way – the way I used to look at Vince Ferregamo, Wendell Tyler, Jack Youngblood. So, I thought. Hey, I’m not saying I’m coming back. I’m just saying they’re making it real hard for me to stay away.
First of all, it’s hard to hate Jeff Fisher. The dude sports one of the all time mustaches. And let’s get this straight, it’s not a hipster mustache. A “Johnny come lately” mustache. No, it’s his stache. The same one that’s been warming his lip for 20 years. The only other dude I know who’s rolled that tight with his mustache is Tom Selleck. Suits have gone from baggy to Euro form fitting, hair cuts from fluffy to cropped and back. Through it all, Jeff Fisher said, “Screw it. I’m rolling steady like Tom. 80s stache and my mullet. Thank you very much.” No, Jeff. Thank you.
The man runs his team like he masters his grooming. Principled and unwavering. This past weekend’s NFL draft was a perfect example. In a high flying, pass happy NFL, the Rams with a glaring need at WR looked squarely at Sammy Watkins with their 2nd overall pick and said, “Screw it. We’re going to keep beefing up,” and grabbed Greg Robinson, the big, athletic left tackle out of Auburn. And then with the 13th overall pick, they took Aaron Donald of Pitt. I’ve never seen Aaron Donald play, but I know he looks like this and did the second most bench reps (35) while running the 5th fastest 40 among D-linemen at the combine.
Donald will be joining a front with Long, Quinn, and Brockers that is already considered one of the best in the League. The Fearsome Foursome is back.
With the next three of four picks, the Rams went Corner, Safety, and Corner.
If the Rams ever win me back, it’s going to be in this era – The Jeff Fisher era. He knows who he is and is committed to being who he is. The mustache stays. The mullet gets rocked. That’s Fisher. It’s what you get. Just as his teams were in Tennessee, the Rams are going to be solid on defense and they’re going to run the ball. Bully ball. Smash mouth football. Whatever you want to call it, I’m finding it hard not to like.
Fantasy tid bit …
This loaded D is going to be coached by Gregg Williams. Who’s Gregg Williams? He’s the dude busted for “Bountygate”. The mastermind behind putting a contract on Brett Favre in the ’09 NFC Championship game. Loads of talent and a lunatic coordinating? Yeah, give me some of that.
April 25th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Not Clownin’ Around …
As with all things thick in rhetoric, sports talk is rife with hyperbole. “The greatest game ever.” “This will go down in the annals of …” Annals? What annals? You mean, ESPN Classics? And get a load of some of these nicknames: The Great One, The King, Broadway Joe, The Iron Horse. We are talking about a game, right? Balls. Sticks. Boys and girls running around, keeping score. I’ll admit that sports do rise to plateaus above “play” on occasion. Yes, character is tested, the heart measured. Agreed. But the way they were advertising the Masters, you’d think Jim Nantz was selling some sort of Neo-Transcendentalism. C’mon, let’s just all settle down. Not every kid showing promise is the “Second coming of …” Not every kid with the unique combination of size, speed, and manual dexterity is a freak.
With all that said, and I believe every word of it, Jadeveon Clowney is a F R E A K, Freak. Let me put it to you like this: The kid … no, wait, the man is 6’5″ 266. At the NFL Combine last month, that very large man ran a 4.53 40. To put that number into perspective, Clowney ran a faster time than 20 of the 33 Running Backs. And faster than 19 of the 45 Wide Receivers. His 1.5 10 yard split is faster than the average of WR splits over the past five years. That’s just crazy. What makes the stat noteworthy is that Clowney will make his money as an edge rusher. 10 yards is about the distance he’ll have to cover to get to a dropped back QB.
So, will he be the number one overall pick? Only the Texans can answer that question in a meaningful way. I think they should, but whether they do or not is not of the utmost importance. Not anymore. The Texans already got their man. I say it’s not Clowney or a replacement QB for the released Matt Schaub. Nope. Their most important acquisition was coaxed out of Happy Valley. Bill O’Brien. Upon what am I basing this assertion? Well, O’Brien had the moxie to take the Penn State job in the wake of Sandusky. Not only did he step into the shoes of Joe Paterno, who was Penn State Football, he did so under a multi-year post season ban and stripped of 40 scholarships. Stars jumped ship and the Nittany Lions got smashed in his debut by the Ohio University Bobcats. O’Brien promptly turned the whole thing on a dime, going 8-4 and 6-2 in Conference. 6-2 in his first season, in the Big Ten with one arm tied around his back! In his two years, he managed to pull a 15-9 record garnering him a box full of coaching trophies including the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year. But none of that is the reason I think he turns the Texans around. It’s this:
Do you see who O’Brien is yelling at? That’s Tom Fabulous. League MVP. Superbowl MVP. The unrivaled leader of the Patriots. More importantly, the dude gets respect in the toughest sport in the world while sporting a salon cut and reping Uggs. That’s untouchable. Forget Jadeveon. Anyone who’s got the stones to go after Tommy like that is not Clownin’ around.
January 31st, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Clash of the Titans
So, I hear there’s a game this Sunday?
The Denver Broncos meet the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII or 48 for you Roman numerically challenged. The number one offense in NFL history, as in “all time” – we’re not talking since the merger; we’re talking “ever” – meets one of the top ten defenses of all time. There are dudes applying some sort of advanced mathematics to come up with a metric represented by an acronym DVOA (If you’re interested, you can read about it in Bill Barnwell’s article “Tale of Two Cities” on Grantland.com). It overwhelms with nerdy confusion, thus convincingly putting a scientific nail in the barber shop argument, “The Best Ever.” But really, we don’t need to sit in a fluorescent lit room with a row of hard seats and a white board to be convinced of the transcendent merits of these teams. They pass the “eye ball” test. Watching Seattle’s D transform the Saints into the Jaguars on a Monday night was good enough for me. As was seeing the Broncos hang 49 in the season opener against the reigning Super Bowl Champs. And if the historic quality of the match-up wasn’t enough to get us geeked beyond what grown men ought to be permitted, this whole thing is being thrown down in the Empire State … well, technically in Jersey, but again let’s not let technicality get in the way of a good story. Oh yeah. It’s on.
On a fantasy note and by “fantasy” I mean “lesser”, this year is a case of life imitating fantasy. The number one offensive fantasy player, Peyton Manning, is going against the number two fantasy D/ST – the Chief’s who swooned down the stretch edged out the Seahawks by a meager 3 pts. and that only because they had the Redskins in week 14. Seattle was clearly the most consistent D/ST in fantasy and the best in the last month. They are the top dogs, but other studs will be on display this Sunday. Basically the entire Denver skill position set were useful fantasy options with Knowshon Moreno and Julius Thomas being “out of nowhere” value picks. Beastmode gave owners what they were looking for with a early first round pick. And Golden Tate overachieved in the void created by the injuries to Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. Speaking of Percy Harvin and life imitating fantasy, owners picked up Harvin and waited with bated anticipation, hoping that the all purpose WR would carry them through the playoffs. Seattle waited and waited only to see Harvin knocked out of the Divisional Round. Will Harvin be a factor in the outcome Sunday or will life continue to imitate art?
Okay, so who wins? Vegas has thrown it’s “hands in the air” with a 2.5 line. Two days before the game the money is moving toward Seattle. Something about the trend of Dogs covering in recent Super Bowls, and defenses over offenses with the elements giving further edge to the Legion of Boom. And apparently there’s some ape savant who’s picked Seattle? Really? We’re listening to monkeys now?
I’m taking Denver, 27-23. Whether I look smart Sunday night or clueless will depend in my opinion on line play. With all the hoopla about Denver’s weapons and Seattle’s secondary, I think it will come down to whether or not Denver’s O-Line can keep Peyton clean for 2.5 seconds.
January 11th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
In my experience, there are some patterns. No secret to winning. No “insider” info. Some interesting patterns? Yeah.
First round. I whiffed twice in the 1st round. The first was taking LaDainian Tomlinson ahead of Chris Johnson’s historic 2000+ season. Ironically, the second was taking Chris Johnson in the middle of the 1st round, a season removed from his hold out season. Those two years, my team struggled. Barely got into the playoff with LT but I remember feeling like I had no chance. With Chris Johnson I didn’t even sniff the playoffs.
Waiver wire hero. This year it was Zac Stacy. In my first year it was Steve Slaton. Another year, it was Marques Colston. Someone dropped Marques Colston when he broke his collarbone. The projection was that the Saints wide out would be out four to six weeks. Feeling settled at the WR position, I decided to grab and stash the 4th round WR. He was out two weeks. It was the season Drew Brees was trying to break Marinos single season passing mark. Week 16 in a Saints blowout win, Brees just kept throwing. Colston ended with 16 pts. I won the championship by 1.
The bottom half. Those first two patterns, like I’ve said on numerous occasions, “Who knows?” When Zac Stacy went off against the Titans, I was just as surprised as everyone else. Grabbing a Rams running back this year was by definition a desperate play. Actually, I thought Percy Harvin was going to be my waiver wire hero. And who knew Trent Richardson and Aaron Rodgers were going to be 1st round disasters?
In my winning seasons, I got production from my TE, D/ST, and K. Unless you’re grabbing Gronk or Jimmy, those positions are going in the 8th or 9th rounds and below. Because they are not glamorous picks, most guys are shooting ’em off in the dark. D/ST can vary wildly from season to season. Couple years ago, the Panthers D was a disaster. They couldn’t stop anyone from running it down their throat. This year, that team was the Bears. Yeah, the team that was the fantasy darling two seasons ago.
Before you forget, just make a mental note of a couple options in those spots who could give you good production in 2014.
Here are three I’m keeping in mind: Jordan Reed TE Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Bucs D/ST, and 49ers Kicker – whoever it is.