Saturday, October 28, 2006

 

Fast Forward

Can we just skip Saturday for once?

I know it would make use lose a precious weekend day, but honestly, I can't think of another Saturday that I just wanted to be Sunday. I hate it that this makes me sound like a bad Monday Night Football commercial, but it's true.

The World Series is over, so we don't have any more baseball to look forward to (unless they're televising the MLB All Star vs NPB All Star games). There is the convenient bonus of no more Tim McCarver or Scooter the talking baseball, although Joe Buck is becomingly frighteningly ubiquitous and Chevy is probably going to keep airing those "This is Our Country" ads until the next natural disaster, after which they will have a new catastrophe to exploit and splice together with images of the Civil Rights Movement. I don't get it either.

The NCAA Football schedule is incredibly weak today, with both the number one and two teams in the country, Ohio State and Michigan, respectively, facing teams that are winless in the Big Ten. Both teams, Minnesota and Northwestern, are notorious for porous run defenses that get the term "gaping hole" appended to them more than a gonzo anal porn flick.

I suppose it would make for a great upset story, but it just seems pretty unlikely to me.

There's only one matchup between two ranked teams, and, at least to me, the only moderately interesting games probably won't be televised. I'm interested to see how many yards the Air Force Falcons, which has averaged 279 yards on the ground per game (think the Atlanta Falcons of the NCAA) can put up on the ground against BYU, and I'm interested in how many inflatable penises make it to the Penn State vs. Perdue tilt.

I know people are probably going to fixate GA v. FL and G. Tech vs. Miami (Fl) today, but I can't get excited about either game.

The Bulldogs have no clue who their quarterback is, it seems, while Florida is sitting pretty with Tebow and Leak. I would have to say that UGA is going to be a pretty big underdog in this one.

As for the Yellow Jackets against the Canes, something about letting 12 players involved in the big brawl against FIU back into a big game against a conference foe just rubs me the wrong way. You could say that it was just convenient, but it doesn't seem like punishment to me if a dozen players miss a cushy game against a horrible Duke team and get to run back on the field in a tough matchup that will help decide the conference champion. That said, Miami has a rough schedule ahead of it, while Ga Tech should be able to more or less coast into their season finale against the Bulldogs.

So there you have it. Saturday football? Meh.

Bring on Sunday.

My picks for the AFC North (home team in CAPS)

Atlanta at CINCINNATI (-3.5) - Mike Vick is coming off a career performance against the Steelers, but I would look for them to work their run game more today against a weak Cincinnati run defense. I think if Vick throws more than 25 times, he'll get burned. And I think Chad Johnson could live up to his boasts this week. Either that, or the Falcons will double him too much and let TJ Houshmandzadeh get some big plays in. I'll take the BENGALS.

Baltimore (+2) at NEW ORLEANS - The Ravens wouldn't have the quarterback troubles they are having if Jamal Lewis was rushing like his old self. As it is, Lewis hasn't broken the century mark this season, the Ravens haven't established the run game, and the quarterbacks have been forced to throw way too often. That said, I don't like the Saints run defense. The Ravens are coming off a bye week and Lewis should be rested (one hopes). I think he gains 100 yards for the first time this season, and the RAVENS take the upset in the Superdome.

New York Jets (+1.5) at CLEVELAND - How are the Browns favored in this game? They have no run offense, and consequently, they have no offense at all. I know the Jets defense has been horrible, but I think they can contain Reuben Droughns, who is averaging 3.2 yards a carry. The Browns pass rush is poor, and they aren't very opportunistic. If Chad Pennington can sit in the pocket and find his receivers, the Jets will be all over the Browns. Take the JETS.

Pittsburgh (-9) at OAKLAND - This doesn't look right to me. Pittsburgh is going into Oakland at 2-4, with Ben Roesthlisberger banged up, after they gave up 41 points to the Falcons. Does this look like an upset special to anyone else? I can't take the Raiders though. Their offense is still non-existant, even though Randy Moss popped his head up to say hi last week. Pittsburgh is going to run the ball all day, especially if Big Ben's head is still ringing. Willie Parker has a big game every other game. Since he only went for 47 yards against the Falcons, I think he'll have a big game today. Take the STEELERS.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

 

The Marques Colston Travesty




To: "Big Ricks", Commissioner, Yahoo Deadspin AAA League

Sir,

There is a problem in our league which demands your immediate attention. I had hoped that the issue would resolve itself and that this request would not be necessary. Unfortunately, the problem continues to fester and I fear there will be no resolution unless you act swiftly and decisively.

As you are undoubtedly aware, Marques Colston is presently designated as both a Wide Receiver and a Tight End in Yahoo fantasy football. This hybrid designation, frankly, is a farce and would be almost funny if it did not threaten the very integrity of our league.

Although I am not normally one to complain about the fairness or absurdity of a league's rules, I cannot turn a blind eye to this gross loophole any longer. Let me first state that I have no problem with Marques Colston as a human being. He is an excellent player and, as a rookie seventh round pick, has exceeded everyone's expectations. Nevertheless, even the casual follower of the NFL knows that Mr. Colston is a strictly, solely and inalterably, a wide receiver. Through no fault of his own, however, Mr. Colston has been given, essentially, an otherworldly power to play both Tight End and Wide Receiver in the same season.

That Mr. Colston has been labeleded a Tight End is baffling. This is not a close call. Mr. Colston is 6ft 4 and 231 pounds according to NFL.com. (Which lists his position as, naturally, wide receiver.) While perhaps taller than your average wideout, you can tell by his frame that Mr. Colston is not a Tight End. To give you some perspective, TE Jeremy Shockey is 6ft 4 and 251 pounds. I know Jeremy Shockey, I've seen Jeremy Shockey play. Marques Colston-- you are no Jeremy Shockey.

My repeated attempts to get an explanation for Mr. Colton's unique status have, so far, gone unanswered by the powers that be at Yahoo.com. My efforts frustrated, I now appeal to you, Big Ricks, as commissioner of our league, to put an end to this insanity and remove the Tight End label from Mr. Coltson's profile.

As commissioner of our league, you have the power, nay, the duty to settle the dispute and return Mr. Colston to his singular, proper position. I realize that when you signed up to be commissioner you probably did envision having to settle cutting-edge issues such as this one. With great power, however, comes great responsibility.

I had hoped it would not come to this formal complaint and I want you to know that I do not hold you primarily responsible for the bastardization of Mr. Colston. That dishonor, of course, goes to the GM of the team that is presently using Mr. Colston in his unearned fashion- the aptly named Summers Eve and the D-bags.

The D-bags have flagrantly taken full advantage of the glitch and played Mr. Colston at Tight End ever since he picked him up off the waiver wire. The effect of this is obvious. Tight End, as all fantasy players know, is a difficulticult position to fill. For example, I have been forced to use Bo Scafie and Marcus Pollard at this position with abysmal results while Summers Eve exploits the system with Marques Colston and his 414 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. Yes, Mr. D-Bags, you may outscore your opponents, but at what cost? Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?

The honorable and proper solution would be for you to forfeit all of the games in which you have played Mr. Colston as your Tight End. Since you lack honor, I know that is unlikely. Another solution that I would accept would be for you to simply waive Mr. Colston. Clearly, sir, you have lost the privilege of using this fine rookie for the remainder of the season. Or perhaps the rest of us could just be allowed to play our kickers at Tight End. Should you, or anyone else in the league, have other suggestions, please feel free to submit them.

I await your response.

Sincerely,

rsr26
Aka Mary Beth's Box

CC: Roger Goodell; Gene Upshaw; Marques Colston

Sunday, October 22, 2006

 

An Open Letter To Chris McKendry




Most of you know me as "Hammerin" Hank Goldberg, the man who gives out sage gambling advice every Sunday morning on ESPN. If you catch me on Sundays, then you also know my on-air partner, the beautiful and funny Chris McKendry. I have a confession to make: Chris, I love you.

Now those of you who watch already know this. You would have to be blind not to see that I am smitten for the lovely Chris. Sunday morning, when I was picking New England to cover the 6 against a Bills team which was 3-8 against the number in October against AFC East opponents, all I could think about was her in my arms. Seeing her beautiful smile was like me middling the Panthers early this week at +3.5 and then getting the Bengals at kick off at -2.5. Like that game, Chris, with you I just can't lose! My feelings for you are a “lock”-- sort of like Pittsburgh at home giving 3 points or less after a road win by 10 or more. They are 9-1 ATS in that situation, by the way.

If we were together, I know we would be happy. Just like the time I hit the superfecta at Aqueduct last year. What is it about you that intrigues me so? In many ways you remind me of Genuine Risk, the 1980 Derby Winner. That filly came out of nowhere to win the derby and steal America’s heart- sort of like how you have stolen mine. Genuine Risk, by the way, went off at 13-1 that day and was only the second filly to ever win the Derby; the first, of course, being the chestnut mare Regret in 1915. What an underrated little horse that was!

Don’t you get it , Chris? The over/under on my love for you is infinity, and I’ll be taking the over. If you have some vacation time, please get out of freezing Bristol and down to Miami ASAP and let‘s see where this thing goes. I thought we could take in some Jai Lai and then head over to Calder to catch the Graded Stakes they are running next week. If you can't make it until November, don't worry- Calder will be simulcasting the Breeders Cup.

So what do you say, Chris? I know in life there are risks. Like when I laid the points and took the Seahawks over Minnesota yesterday. But how was I supposed to know Matt Hasselbeck was going to get injured and screw up my pick? The point is that even though I lost, it was a solid bet. Like you, Chris.

And don't forget, they don't call me "Hammerin" Hank for nothing!

Oh yeah, one last thing. Take the Cowboys and the chalk Monday.

Sincerely,

Hank

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

 

(Not Quite) Mid-Season Review

Man, what happened to this place? The writers of this blog make JD Salinger look prolific. Hoping to give the site a boost, here are some mid-season awards and predictions. This is first-draft material, so if you are expecting something funny and insightful, write it yourself.

MVP- Donovan McNabb. McNabb has the Eagles in first place and is playing the best football of his career. Currently, McNabb leads the NFL in yards passing, TDs and passer rating. Can he keep it up? I see no reason why not. The guy is also getting it done without any big name receivers. Runners Up- Peyton Manning. Ok, he's not putting up the crazy numbers he usually does- but he's still ranked number 4 in passer rating and has the Colts undefeated. Drew Brees- what's he doing here? Well the Saints have only one loss and I give most of that credit to their QB. Brees is 4th is passing yards and 7th in passer rating. He's spreading the ball around to lots of guys and keeps defenses guessing- he's also a very underrated leader. You think the Saints would be where they are if they had Aaron Brooks still at QB? Not.

Most disappointing Player of Year- This is a close vote. But I have to go with The Edge after his horrible MNF performance against Chicago. He demands the ball late in the games because he says he's such a good closer- well if he keeps closing like that then Mitch and Murray are going to fire his fucking ass cause a loser is a loser. Runner ups- Randy Moss. It almost makes me sad to see such apathy from someone so gifted. Sort of like Eddie Murphy post 1989. This guy is arguably the most talented WR of all time- and he has basically fallen off of the map. In his defense, he's got a young QB throwing to him and the guy calling plays runs a B&B. Daunte Culpepper- I almost didn't put him on the list because I never really expected much from him. But when you get benched for Joey Harrington, you have exceeded even my low expectations. Daunte- you officially suck.

Rookie of the Year- Reggie Bush. Yeah he's not gonna set a TD record this season, but he is currently ranked 4th in the league in receptions. Runners Up- Marques Colston. Another Saint. What a steal this guy was in the 7th round. Shows you why it rarely makes sense to draft a WR in the first round. Colston is ranked 13 in receiving yards and also has 4 TDs. Mark Anderson- DE, Chicago Bears. I had not really heard much about this guy until I watched him sack Leinart on Monday. The guy has 6.5 sacks and is obviously doing something right.

Best shoe across the face- No real contest here. Albert Haynesworth. Although that guy from the "U" who kicked that guy "across the ocean" at FIU has potential.

Coach of the Year
Sean Payton- It's hard to find a more worthy scab than Payton. He's got his team atop the division when most were picking them to finish last.

Predictions
AFC North
After getting off to a strong start, the Ravens have lost two in a row and, as usual, the culprit is the offense. Jamal Lewis is a shell of his former self, as is McNair. I see them collapsing. Cincinnati is also in disarray, and it's hard to figure out exactly why. Maybe the off-field stuff is finally having an impact. Look for the Ravens to fade and the Steelers and Bengals to battle it out for the division.

AFC South
Indy-- If it's the regular season, then the Colts must be undefeated. Their rush D, however, is piss-poor. Picking up McFarland will definitely help them. Should win the division easily. J-Ville- will make a push for the playoffs with their defense. But recent injury to Mike Peterson hurts them. Also need to see more from the offense. It's like a poor man's version of Martyball over there.

AFC East
This is still New England's division. I think they will improve as the season goes on and Brady gets more comfortable with his receivers. Should be a tough out come playoff time. No one else in this division is worth a comment.

AFC West
San Diego-- Marty obviously listened to the criticism out there and has loosened the reins on Rivers- who appears to be more than a mere than a "game manager." Their defense is as good as anyone's. They are a legit Super Bowl threat.

Its going to be Denver and Whale's Vagina right to the very end. I'll take San Diego- they are more balanced and Rivers is showing that he was worthy of the number three pick a few years ago. They are also lightening up LDT's load, which makes sense for them, if not for the fantasy geeks who have him on their team. Denver is playing good D, but their offense is wack and I don't trust Plummer in the post-season.

NFC North
Was Monday a harbinger of things to come for Chicago? Probably not. Grossman isn't that bad, but he's probably not as good as the first few games either. But who is going to challenge them in this division? The Vikings and Brad Johnson's 2 yard passes? Detroit finally got a win and have a very good WR in Roy Williams. He's a legit pro bowler if ya dont know. But they are still a Matt Millen pink slip away from contending. The Pack? They suck. Let's just go ahead and "crown" the Bears.

NFC South
Carolina is back from that 0-2 start and have Steve Smith to thank for that. Smith is pound for pound the toughest dude in the league. He looks like he's always pissed off. Julius Peppers is also leading the league in sacks.

The Falcons are a team I can't figure out- sometimes they look really good, then they look like crap against the Giants last week. Their run defense got abused by Tiki. Vick still can't throw, but is still the most exciting player in the league. If forced to come from behind and throw, they simply cannot do it. The Saints are in first place and are not going away. Will they win the division? Not sure, but they are not a fluke. No one has as many weapons on offense as the Saints.

NFC East
Like the NFC South, this division is very competitive, with only the Skins having no real shot. Im going with the Cowboys, but won't be surprised if Philly or NYG win it.

NFC West
The Seahawks need Alexander back- but God is apparently fucking with him by not healing his foot fast enough. St. Louis is hanging tough with Torry Holt leading the way. This guy is a future Hall of Famer. Stephen Jackson is also having a productive year, validating my high fantasy pick. If he would just stay out of night-clubs and stop beating up short-armed midgets, I think he could really have a break out season.

Friday, October 06, 2006

 

Week 5 - The South Rises Again

A quick aside before getting to this week's picks - I've been gone the last two weeks on family business, visiting my grandfather in hospice care, then attending his funeral. Grandpa cheered for the Browns his entire life without liking them for even a day - all of them were overpaid bums who weren't worth their shit. Of course, given the Browns, he was absolutely right, but he taught me to cheer for them all the same. Thanks, Grandpa.

Back to business - some interesting developments in the NFC South since I last posted. Since most of the league, and everyone in the division by the Bucs, have played half their schedule, it's a good time to take stock of how the various ponies are performing at the track:

Derby Winners

Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson - In the two games since Smith came back, the two have combined for 350 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Expect that to continue. The reason these guys are so good for each other is that they are complementary rather than duplicate - Keyshawn is a possession receiver who is unafraid of the middle, Smith is a deep threat. Both are arguably the best at those respective roles in the league. Unless defenses want to live in the dime and slide safeties to double both of them, only the Bears and Ravens have secondaries good enough to deal with these guys on the field at the same time.

Falcons Defense - OK, so I was at least a little wrong about these guys. I'm not sold on them as a playoff defense, but they are certainly among the top 10 fantasy defenses this year. Playing against teams that they've established a good record for getting turnovers and sacks.

Also-Rans

All of the division's quarterbacks - I had to create this category just for them. In our league, here is where the starters rank amongst quarterbacks:
I think Vick will drop (of course), and Delhomme will come up a bit ... but I think Brees' rating is about right. By the end of the season, the three of them will all be in the middle of the pack of fantasy QBs - good enough for each of them to start, but bad enough that any owner stuck with them should take shit for it.

Colts. The young kind, that don't choke.

Marques Colston - I love that I was right about this guy. (Can I mention again that he was a 7th round pick? From Hofstra?) I hate that I wrote about him before picking him up off waiver wires. As a result, my pet project is only on one of my three rosters. So I hope that all eight of you reading this appreciated the advice.

DeAngelo Williams - Hear me out on this one. I know he's only #38 amongst running backs right now. DeShaun Foster is #26 and is still the starter in Carolina. But we all know that Foster will get hurt eventually. And Williams has better numbers, in limited appearances, than Carnell Williams, Reuben Droughns, and Chris Brown, all of whom went in the first 30 picks of every draft. So trust me.

Out to Stud

Joe Horn - He's clearly been replaced by Colston as Brees' top option, and Devery Henderson is hot on his heels for the two spot. Joe helped win me a league championship once, but that was four years ago. Thanks for all the memories.

Deuce McAllister - His sad fantasy stats are the reason I'm low on the 3-1 Saints - not because they are low, but why they are low - he's only averaging 4.0 per carry and only one catch a game. If he were getting pushed by Reggie the Wunderkind, that would make more sense - but Bush hasn't look particularly polished as a running back, and has been more effective out of the slot than the backfield. This spells trouble for the Boy Scouts' rushing game in my eyes.

Warrick Dunn - He's only averaging 90 yards a game without a single touchdown, since rookie Jerious Norwood is getting all of the goal line carries. Plus, as the Saints showed on Monday night, you can bring the entire Atlanta offense to a hault by stuffing the box. Is he still valuable? Sure. Is this the last year that is true? Probably. I wouldn't start him against any decent run defense. But we salute him for being valuable in the past, and for being the only good human being to graduate from Tallahassee Community College and State Penitentiary.

Joey Galloway - Poor Joey. He's still valuable, but with no quarterback to throw him the ball, Gruden might as well send him to tilt windmills. Through three games, he's only averaging 56 yards a game, and has only one touchdown. Something tells me the Bruce Gradkowski era won't go much better for him.

Heading for the Glue Factory

Carnell Williams - Um...wow. 2.5 per carry. Less than 50 yards total offense per game. Wow. His stats have gotten so bad that GM sued to enjoin him from using the name 'Cadillac', claiming it was bringing their stock prices down. Worse, his stats have gotten so bad that I had to make that joke.

Actually...

The Tampa Bay Offense - Just brutal.




Oh, right - the picks:

SAINTS (-6.5) over Bucs, Saints straight up

The spread worries me, but I can't imagine the Bucs scoring. At all. If your regular starting defense is on bye this week, now would be a good time to pick up the Saints.

Browns (+8.5) over PANTHERS, Panthers straight up

As justification, the spread is too big for a scrappy team like the Browns that have a nagging habit of staying in games, then blowing it. But in reality, this one's for Grandpa.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

 

Week 5 picks


So since I finished 3-1 in my picks last week, more cheerleaders, I feel I'm serving the community of men everywhere and all five people who read this blog when I show cheerleaders.

Anyways besides Daunte Culpepper forgetting how to play the game of football last week, I predicted correctly the Titans and the Jaguars to lose and the Colts to win, shocking I know.

Tennessee vs. Indianapolis.
Wow, how many points will the colts score before they send in the second teamers, Tony Dungy doesn't like to run up the score much. Vince Young looked bad versus the cowboys last week, he;s gonna look worse versus the colts, if you have a colts QB, RB, or WR START THEM!
Colts 70 Titans 3 (I doubt Indy will score that many but they possibly could.

Jaguars vs. Jets
The Jets looked good versus Indy. I know all these sportswriters are talking about how Mangini was a fool for going for it, I liked it. It shows you got a nutsack and since they take chances I expect them to win on the road this week in a close match.
Jaguars 20 Jets 24

Miami vs. New England
How bad did Cincy look versus NE last week. Which NE team will show up the one with the slowest WR corp in the NFL or the one with the stud running game. It won't matter since Miami can't use its weapons on offense....still.. I personally blame the OC and Daunte Culpepper. It's killing me in my money league since I have both ronnie brown and Chris Chambers. Something needs to happen quickly.
Miami 7 New England 35

Those are the picks for this week.

Paul's thought of the week: Why are we talking basketball so soon.

I understand basketball season starts in a matter of weeks, but honestly WHO CARES! It's football season, if you don't think so you are delusional. It's football season until after the superbowl and then its hockey and basketball season. No one pays attention to the early games, no one rushes out to watch them. Both hockey and basketball season shouldn't start til december since they both finish up in may-june. So sportswriters of americs, shut up its football season now, not basketball.

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