Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some brief diversions from your already-frivolous activities

Sports are fun to watch.  Not just talk about.  So, here are some things for you to watch:

Exhibit A:

Marlins/Braves, Monday night:  The Marlins are in an overshift for Brian McCann, and a ground ball goes through two different players' legs!  What in the name of Bill Buckner is going on?

Exhibit B:

Bears/Packers, Monday night: This is why you don't turn Devin Hester into a wide receiver.  Just let him do this.

Exhibit C:

University of Florida/University of Kentucky, Saturday:  Freshman "quarterback" Trey Burton scores 6 touchdowns in the game, and makes people go all Tim Tebow on him.  Remember, people: TIM TEBOW BAPTIZED CHILDREN IN THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES OVER HIS SUMMER VACATION.  Tim Tebow wasn't the absurdly unnecessarily hyped player he was just because he put points on the board.  Chill out.

Here's a couple videos that aren't recent, but are still awesome.

Bonus #1: We're in the last week of the MLB regular season, and we still haven't seen a play better than this one on opening day:

Bonus #2:  This is just flat-out awesome.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wait, basketball season's already starting???

If you've watched more than 4 minutes of Sportscenter in the last three days or so, you probably know that NBA training camps are starting up.  And, of course, by the NBA I mean the Miami Heat Show.  ESPN loves their sports icons (see Brett Favre, Tiger Woods), and they're chomping at the bit to hype up the "New Big Three" in Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.  This excitement is understandable to some extent; the NBA has not seen a team with three of the 15 best players in the league (and two of the top 4) in the lineup since, well, ever.  Actually, that's probably not the case at all, it's just that we now have the ability to cover the team from every angle possible, so this means that they're the greatest assembly of players since the Dream Team.  Pundits are predicting the new-look-Heat to roll through the league and adorn their fingers with a little bling-bling at least 3 times in the next 5 years, and maybe set a new regular-season win record in the process (that would involve a 73-9 record or better).

Hold your horses, there, Jethro.  I have a couple issues with the prospect of this team being all that and a bag of chips.

1. In order to go 73-9, they would likely have to roll out a few 10+ game win streaks, which I guess is possible, but it also involves going something like 14-5 against quality teams (Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Thunder, Mavericks, Lakers, Spurs) and 59-4 against everyone else.  It's just not probable.

2. The decision-making processes per possession for the three stars now become infinitely more complicated. In Cleveland, Lebron would just jack up a three or drive the lane and try to get a layup or draw a foul.  Now he has to worry about both Bosh and Wade getting their requisite number of looks, while also maintaining his superstar scorer status.  How do you choose who to pass to, if they're both open?  There's not too many mouths to feed, it's just that they're big mouths.

3. These are three big stars that are used to playing 40+ minutes per game, but because they really were the only stars on their respective teams, GMs had the flexibility to put up a bench that could spell the star without the world ending.  With all of the Heat's cap money being funneled into the pockets of James, Wade, and Bosh, how's the bench going to look?  You think the coach is gonna like what he sees when some minimum-salary guy replaces Dwyane Wade and can't even walk straight?  All the Heat have are these three guys, and that's going to make them hit the bench very infrequently.  Injuries, fatigue, it's all in the cards.

4.  After "The Decision" and the Heat welcome shenanigans, EVERYONE HATES MIAMI.  They haven't played a single game together, and yet they're going to have a bigger target on their back than the two-time reigning champs, the Lakers.  I don't think that these three guys can keep up the intensity required to battle night-in and night-out with teams that just want to shove the ball down their throats.

5. The 76ers are going to steamroll them in their second game of the year, and their hopes and dreams will be shattered.  Write it down.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 3, Stand by Me

So here I am on another quiet and lonely Sunday night, writing about the day that was in futbol.  Just as a personal aside before I look back at some of the things that caught my eye, here are some things I hate this week:

Midgame injuries to people on my fantasy team (you know who you are)
The Dallas Cowboys winning games
Whoever is responsible for the Rams killing me in Eliminator in Week 3
Mike Wallace: could've warned a guy
Eli Manning: you're terrible
Rex Grossman: you're irrelevant here, but I was discussing how much I dislike you earlier today

Ok, catharsis aside, here we go:

Anybody else think that there was a lot of passing going around this week?  9 guys had at least 35 pass attempts, 7 guys had at least 280 yards, and 7 guys had 3 touchdown passes (only two QB's did all three-- no surprise, Brees and Peyton Manning).  However, the top 3 passers this week in terms of yardage (Kyle Orton, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning) combined for 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.  How does Orton throw 57 times for 476 yards and get ONE touchdown??  And Eli?  386 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 picks?  You're terrible.  Give the Giants their hundred million back.

THE CHIEFS ARE 3-0!  They beat (read: bludgeoned) the enigmatic 49ers 31-10 today, who are now 0-3 despite being the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC West to start the season.  And frankly, they could still win the division, considering how bad the entire division is.  Although...

The Seahawks beat the Chargers to move to 2-1?  Granted, they needed two kickoff-return touchdowns to do so, but if I told you Philip Rivers was going to throw for 450 yards against them, you would have thought that the Chargers would be putting up 35 and winning handily.  Kudos to Pete Carroll, I guess.  Although, their offense didn't really look that great, and the defense gave up 450 through the air, hence the 49ers having a chance.  And what's up with the Chargers?  You can't consider yourself a contender and lose to the Chiefs and Seahawks in two out of three weeks.

The Patriots' defense is turrible.  Repeat: turrible.  The Bills had scored 17 points and had 241 passing and 174 rushing yards total in the TWO games prior, and put up 30, 247, and 134 this week.  Would I be surprised if Brady puts up 45 touchdowns this year?  Not at all.  The defense is gonna give up 44.

The Steelers are on their FOURTH STRING QUARTERBACK, and are still 3-0.  Irony? Watch Big Ben come back to a 4-0 team and lose to the Browns in Week 6.

Why hello there, Darren McFadden.  What, did you redshirt your first two years in the league?  Well thank you for joining us, and finally showing something for that 4th overall pick.  See, the Raiders aren't THAT bad at finding talent.  Oh, right, Darrius Heyward-Bey: 7th overall pick, 14 career games, 19 catches, 250 yards, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million earned thus far.  I'm not gonna start with Jamarcus.

Lastly comes the Eagles.  All I really have to say is that the defense looked A LOT better than last week, but so far they've beaten two teams that are definitely worse than them and lost to the team that is definitely better than them.  Can't say we've learned much.  Next week, though.... McNabb returns to Philly.  I think I'll open my window right before gametime, because I think I should be able to hear the crowd reacting to him stepping on that field.  Should be good.  And personally, I hope he beats us.  He got a raw deal from the start here, and it would only be appropriate for him to come back here and kick some ass.  But then he would have to let us return the favor in DC.  Just sayin.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Frameshmania Week 3 Preview!

Last week, I was hurt badly by Michael Turner's injury and generally unspectacular performances from everybody but Andre Johnson, and lost to Phil's Sabotage the League team, which had six players in double digits (and Donald Driver with 9), 114-78.

This week, my brother Jon-Michael comes to town with his team, Gym Tan Laundry.

Last week's roster:

QB Tony Romo
RB1 Michael Turner
RB2 Cedric Benson
RB6 Arian Foster
WR1 Andre Johnson
WR2 Greg Jennings
TE Zach Miller
D/ST Panthers
K Mason Crosby

RB3 Jamaal Charles
RB4 Knowshon Moreno
D/ST 49ers
RB7 Ahmad Bradshaw
WR3 Dwayne Bowe
WR4 Mike Wallace
WR5 Malcom Floyd

Roster Moves:
Dropped Panthers D/ST for Steelers D/ST
Dropped Zach Miller for Jason Snelling

The Panthers really let me down last week with a goose-egg, and since I foolishly overlooked the Steelers D last week, when they got 22 points, I figured it would be appropriate to pick them up for a matchup with the Buccaneers, a team that most people would agree is worse than the two teams the Steelers have played so far, and they dominated those two defensively.  Since I got Shiancoe in my trade, I dropped Miller for Turner's backup, Jason Snelling, just as insurance.

Lineup changes:
Benson (v. Panthers) in for Charles (v. 49ers)
Shiancoe (v. Lions) in for Miller (v. Cardinals)
Steelers D (v. Bucs) in for Panthers D (v. Bengals)

Turner's injury doesn't sound serious, so I'm keeping him in.  Matchups dictated the switch with Benson and Charles last week, but they both performed similarly, and Benson's getting a lot more work than Charles.  Shiancoe's my starting tight end until further notice (or at least until Sidney Rice comes back; not sure what will happen then), and the Steelers look really good defensively this year, and could give me a nice spark this week.

I don't like my chances so much against my opponent this week, Gym Tan Laundry.  Jon-Michael's team looked abysmal in Week 1, but he rebounded nicely, with big games from Frank Gore, Philip Rivers, and Roddy White.  Here's this week's matchup:

Romo (v. Texans) vs. Philip Rivers (v. Seahawks) -- Push
Turner (v. Saints) vs. Frank Gore (v. Chiefs) -- Gore +5
Benson (v. Panthers) vs. Rashard Mendenhall (v. Bucs) -- Mendenhall +4
Foster (v. Cowboys) vs. Clinton Portis (v. Rams) (predicted starter) -- Push
Johnson (v. Cowboys) vs. Randy Moss (v. Bills) -- Johnson +2
Jennings (v. Bears) vs. Roddy White (v. Saints) -- White +3
Shiancoe (v. Lions) vs. Jermichael Finley (v. Bears) -- Push
Steelers D (v. Bucs) vs. Vikings D (v. Lions) -- Push
Crosby (v. Bills) vs. Rob Bironas (v. NYG)-- push

Verdict: Jon-Michael wins by 10, getting a big help from pretty soft matchups all-around.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NFL Early Season "Things that are interesting"

So there's a few interesting stories that are developing in the NFL this year, and I just wanted to give my two cents about them:

Michael Vick replaces Kevin Kolb as Eagles starter
Picture this one for a moment:  After the Falcons defeated the Eagles in Week 1 of the 2005 season with Vick and McNabb both secure in their jobs and in their primes, the next time they would oppose each other would be in 2010, with Vick the one in the Eagles uniform.

Picture this one for a moment: Vick goes rampant for the rest of the season and the Eagles make a shocking trip to the playoffs, and meet another shocker, the Texans, in the Super Bowl.  Their opponent: Vick's backup in Atlanta, Matt Schaub.

Picture this one for a moment (or several): Vick has a pretty good year, becomes a free agent, and signs with the Raiders, who we know love speed.  Raiders release Jason Campbell, who signs as a backup in Philadelphia, and comes in for an injured Kolb (at the fault of the offensive line) in Week 2 of the 2011 season.  The jist of it?  McNabb moves Campbell out of Washington to Oakland, and is replaced in Philadelphia by Kevin Kolb, and later Michael Vick.  Vick then replaces Campbell in Oakland, who goes to Philly and (if only briefly) replaces Kolb.  Campbell leads the Eagles to the NFC Championship game against McNabb and the Redskins, and McNabb wins and defeats Vick and the Raiders in the Super Bowl.  5 then walks off into the sunset, Elway-style.

Speaking of Matt Schaub...
The Houston Texans are a legitimate AFC contender?
In their first 6 years of existence, the Texans finished better than last in their division once.  They finished 3rd.  David Carr, their "franchise quarterback" for most of that time, is the most frequently sacked quarterback (in terms of sacks per pass attempt) in NFL history.  Second on that list?  Michael Vick (see what I did there?).  They had beaten the Colts just once in their history, and now they have done it in Week 1 of this season (tiebreaker, anyone?).  The other perennial powers in the AFC, the Patriots, Chargers, and Steelers, have lost a lot of pieces recently and are in a state of flux.  Their running game looks to be vastly improved from last year, and the Texans' defense, while not particularly stout, has a lot of young talent in the front 7 that can make the plays necessary to win games.

Speaking of Mario Williams...
How about that 2006 draft class?
Reggie Bush: Can't run between the tackles or stay healthy-- Bust.
Vince Young: Psychological issues and multiple benchings show that he may not be cut out to be a starter in the NFL.
Vernon Davis: Didn't do anything until he got called out multiple times by a terrifying man in his coach Mike Singletary, and now he's a beast.  Maybe his metamorphosis will inspire someone like...
Matt Leinart : Given the keys to a potent offense multiple times, but seemed unwilling to put those playmakers into a position to make plays.  At least Reggie Bush is still, like, fast and stuff...
Marques Colston, Miles Austin:  Pick 252 and undrafted, respectively.  Just sayin'.

Speaking of Miles Austin...
The Cowboys are not going to the Super Bowl.
We've all heard the stats about 0-2 teams getting anywhere in the postseason: not looking good.  We've seen time after time the collapses of past Cowboys teams (Romo botching the field goal hold in the 2007 playoffs was one of the most satisfying sports moments I've seen that didn't involve a team I was rooting for).  The offense has looked ineffective in both the preseason and regular season, and the schedule isn't doing them any favors (remaining games against Texans, Vikings, Giants x2, Packers, Saints, Colts).  They're the Mets of the NFL; they just can't get it done, regardless of the players on the roster.

Speaking of teams that Mets fans root for...
New York Jets: Stop talking and play football.
Braylon Edwards' DWI arrest is just the latest example of the Jets players being overconfident in their abilities.  Yes, you beat the Patriots, but after their matchup against the Bills this week you'll get a better gauge of how bad their defense is this year.  Shonn Greene hasn't carried over his postseason success, and the tide's coming in a little too far on Revis Island.  You just better hope your bite is as fierce as your bark.

Speaking of dogs...
Michael Vick?  Really, Andy Reid?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saint Ronnie Lott

RONNIE LOTT giving a motivational speech to the Saints. Which means I will still root for the 49ers, but the Saints will probably win. Touched by God! They are gonna do it again. Or as some genius/side-arm-stud/perfect-game-thrower/knows-people-that-drove-a-homeless-guy-to-Camden-and-left-him-there/works-with-people-that-make-their-own-toothpaste/can-recite-Forrest-Gump-verbatim I know once predicted of Obama's next campaign slogan, "Yes, We Can, Again."

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Alrigh, introduction? Naw, you think you know, but you have no idea... this is the diary of the know all, be all, end all, of pigskins and fantasy wins (toss in the wheat thins, son).

Nonetheless, missed Week 1, but so did the Lion's on their first win. Call me the Calvin Johnson of football bloggin, cause although i don't always get credit, i'm still a stud. I don't need pts to flex my joints. Know what I'm saying? If not, who cares. "I don't know, I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference." - Einstein, yea. What does Einstein have in common with football? Nothing, which is pretty much the same thing that Favre is doing for the Vikings. Speaking of the Vikings... Peterson! Kid's still got it. Favre, stop Cut(ler)ing in... just give it to Peterson so he can hop dudes whilst stiff arming mid-air. Even though he covered 145 yards against Miami (TD to boot), there's still the red-deficit L adjoining the Vikings name in standings rankings. I'll stop with the Vikings now. No, I won't actually. 3 INTs? I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I'd rather have whatever defense is playing the Vikings in my quarterback slot than Favre right now.

Onward, still with things that could relate to Favre in mind. Aaron Rodgers? What a bust there. So far. Total garbage. He is statistically trailing a dog-killer who hasn't played in over 2 years. What's great about that? The fact that I don't have to mention Vick's name in order for people to understand what I'm talking about. But wait, is Vick really playing QB? Vick is playing the way I used to play "football" as a kid: run around a lot and then throw BOMBS. Speaking of white kids playing football, Wes Welker is, again, a tank. Not to mention he is every white suburban kid's ultimate fantasy? Why, because he is good? No, because he is white. And speaking of white, Patriots, you lost to the Jets. Not only the Jets, but the most misogynistic group of men since, let's see, pretty much any grouping of men. Since I am no longer talking about football, I'll draw a parallel: Clinton Portis, the Michael Vick of bitch abuse (why? because he's not down there getting dirty [but i guess he would if he could], just perpetuating the amorality). Wait, that was wrong. I'm using it for the pun, honestly. Shout out: Mom! I love you 4evs. (those who know me, I'm going to try and take this seriously, 'cause I love women, seriously, I'm thinking about one right now, Brandon Jacobs- do something).

The Cowboys? HaHAHAHA, first team to play in the super bowl while also hosting the super bowl? Yea, that'd be like T.I. hosting a show about how gang-banging and drugs are wrong, and then getting arrested shortly there after. Oh, shit, he did. But, not sadly, the Cowboys won't be able to pull that off. Although, Barber did show up yesterday. Chicago is playing better this year. I mentioned Cutler, but he isn't being as Cutlerish. And Devin Hester one-handing catches in the end zone helps. Which leads me to say three things. 1) I still believe Hester has fantasy potential, 2) Forte is going to get the points he didn't get last year and 3) Favre is going to die on the field this year.

Other quick things:

Eagles suck. I said it. Struggled to beat the Lions? They don't even get calls in their favor.

McNabb can play on other teams. Cause he eats soup. A lot of it. And he is close to his mom. Shout out: I love you MOM!

Tampa Bay? I didn't even know they were still a team. Mike Williams is a stud. Wait, did I just segue again? Which Mike Williams? Since there are a billion of them. Speaking of Williams... I've never been to Williamsburg, but I know that I hate it.

Brees is still an animal, and he can make any receiver seem a lot better than they are. I'll mention someone later when I know that they actually suck. Oh, I like Reggie Bush this year, too.

I love the 49ers! Why? RONNIE LOTT.

Pitt looks better this year. The Iron Curtain is back. Which is the antithesis of what Russia has been trying to do since the Cold War. I think.

I think that the Bengals always become a lot more relevant around the end of October. Yea, because of Halloween. Sorry if you drafted Benson. No, I'm not. Cause I didn't get Foster. Who will foster your team singe-handedly as a terrifying force; like the theories behind 2012. Not the Mayan thing, the John Cusack thing. Justin Gage plays for the Titans. Who are awesome. And Chris Johnson is everything we hoped he'd be (unless you don't own him). Most of the time when I'm watching the games I pronounce his name wrong while he is Bo Jacksoning (via Tecmo Super Bowl, Nintendo) the shit outta the field- i say, Christ. Yea, that was cheesy. But so are bumper stickers that say: "Do you follow Jesus this close?" Which, if you follow him closer, I'm not sure what you do.

Chiefs are cool. Raiders aren't. But yea, did you ever see Rocky? No, that's not going to happen. In fact, I think the Raiders are going to have a similar fate to the Raiders-hat wearing gangsta from the 90's, Eazy-E: dead before 33. 33, what? Points. Yea, they beat the Rams. Whatever. The Rams are terrible. Bradford 3 INTs in the first game, and 1 against the Raiders. Watch some Sanchez videos from last season. Why? Because I love Sanchez. And, because Brett Favre threw 3 interceptions too. Probably because he can't see anymore, because he is old. Which means he probably can't see that he isn't going to make it through the season. Which probably means he doesn't understand that his body is like the Eagles' team (injuries). Except worse.

Alrigh, I'mma end this. How about with a quote, "Back before I injured my hip, I thought going to the gym was for wimps." Bo Knows. But here is another Situation, "You better be hittin' the gym and if you're not hittin' the gym for like an hour or so, you know, you may have a problem. Okay, cause I'm at the gym for like an hour-and-a-half... ya know? Workin' on my fitness."

Moral of the story?

Brett's not gonna make it, gyms are cool, and fantasy points have generally been terrible for the past two weeks. I'll liken them to Ines Sainz's body: slim, and then all of a sudden the Best Fostering of flesh from behind. Seriously Mom, I LOVE YOU.

- Jon-Michael

Phillies Stretch Run Outlook

This is big time, people.  With the Phillies up by 3 games in the National League East with 12 games to play, the Braves need to win at least two games in this series to consider a division title to be in the cards for Bobby Cox's last year as manager.  This will be an especially difficult task for the tomahawking terrors, since the Phils are 19-4 since being swept by the Astros in late August, and have gained 6 games on the Braves in that time (moving from the 5th best record in the NL to the top of the heap).

The Phillies played their cards to perfection in the last week or so, lining up H20 (Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt) to likely pitch twice each in the remaining six games with the Braves.  In the last 30 days, Halladay (3-2, 4.41 ERA) has been positively average, but Hamels (4-0, 0.76 ERA) and Oswalt (5-0, 1.25 ERA) have been positively dominant, and while it's not unreasonable that their production falls back to earth a little, it would also be reasonable to think that Halladay will rise back to his normal status as well (see his Braves splits in an earlier post). 

With probably the best top-3 of any rotation in baseball right now, it doesn't seem likely that the Braves could take more than 3 games from the Phillies in their remaining 6, which would result in them gaining 2 games in the division.  Given how well the Phils have been hitting lately (Victorino, Utley, Ibanez, Ruiz, and Valdez all hitting over .330 in September, Howard and Werth each with 6 HR), I think that the most likely result of the remaining two series with Atlanta would be 4-2 Phillies, which would give them a 5 game cushion to deal with while facing the Nationals (who they just swept) and the Mets (who are fluttering around .500 both for the season and against the Phillies). 

In order for the Braves to catch the Phillies in that event, Atlanta would have to sweep both the Nationals and Marlins and have the Phillies win at most one game against the Nats and Mets.  Given that that result is a near-impossibility by most people's estimations, the Braves need to win at least four out of six games in the two series with the Phils, which would allow them to catch the Phillies with a 4-2, 2-4 (or similar combination) of records for the two teams in their other series.  And after all that, the Phillies would still possibly be in position to claim the Wild Card, but I will make like the Phillies players and not concern myself with the wild card.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2, Buckle My Shoe

The NFL's second week is almost complete (leaving the Giants/Colts and 49ers/Saints matchups), and I just wanted to take a look back at the day and point out any intriguing things I noticed:

Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez combined in Week 1 to put up this impressive statline: 19 for 38, 181 yards (4.8 per attempt), 1 TD, 1 INT.  That's a 61.4 QB rating COMBINED.
This week? Combined 59 for 82, 717 yards (8.7 per attempt), 6 TD, 1 INT.  They averaged a 119.2 QB rating.  Now, the reasons for the discrepancies are different for the two guys (the Texans ran the bejeezus out of the ball last week, and the Jets were inept against the Ravens D but faced a soft Patriots D this week), but I just thought that the improvement was stark for these two guys.

Both Michael Turner and Ryan Mathews went down with injuries during the games today, but the Falcons and Chargers fans didn't have to worry long; backups Jason Snelling and Mike Tolbert put up impressive numbers in their stead (129 yds and 2 TD rushing, 57 yds and 1 TD receiving for Snelling, 82 yds and 2 TD rushing, 13 yds and 1 TD receiving for Tolbert).  Just goes to show you that having a versatile and tough runner as your backup can pay big dividends, as well as having an offensive line that doesn't care who it's blocking for.

Some teams that have started 2-0 this year: Chiefs, Buccaneers, Steelers (without their Pro Bowl quarterback and two offensive linemen).  The best quarterback for those 3 teams? It can't be Matt Cassel, can it?

Some teams that have started 0-2 this year: Cowboys, Vikings, Rams, Browns.  Notice a difference in stature between some of those?  Cowboys O-line doesn't look good, and Favre looks worse.  The Rams lost to the Cardinals (who lost by 34 to the Falcons today) and the Raiders, and the Browns lost to the Chiefs and Buccaneers (who, in the Browns' defense, are in the above section, but combined to win 8 games last year).

Wide receiver of interest #1: Mike Sims-Walker.  In his 17 games since Week 2 of last season (he missed the first game), he has had 8 games with 6 or more catches (each with at least 60 yards), but has had 6 games with 2 or less catches (each with less than 30 yards).  This does not include the game from which he was scratched pre-game because he violated a team rule.  This is especially odd since the Jaguars passing game isn't exactly one with a bevy of weapons to spread it around to.  Talk about inconsistency... here's a comparative case.

Wide receiver of interest #2: Miles Austin.  In his 14 games since becoming a starter last year, he has had  10 games with 6 or more catches (each with at least 70 yards), which includes 8 straight going back to week 12 of last year.  Conversely, he has had one game with less than 4 receptions, and it was one catch for a 49-yard game-winning touchdown.  While people generally consider the Cowboys to have more varied weapons than the Jaguars, keep in mind that Roy Williams is starting opposite him and Jason Witten had a big reduction in the number of deep routes he ran last year.  This begs the question, WHY DOESN'T ANYONE COVER MILES AUSTIN???

Oh, and just in case anyone cares, my Eliminator pool pick was the Falcons versus the Cardinals.  I think I'm still alive after that demolition.  Next week's pick for me may be the Redskins versus the Rams, since I may not be confident enough in that team to pick them against any other team.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Atoning for my transgressions

So the Jewish high holidays are coming to a close soon, and today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.  The schtick here is that we fast from sundown to sundown to give us an opportunity to be redeemed and forgiven for our sins throughout the past year.  I figured that I would take this opportunity to apologize for my transgressions with respect to the world of sports this past year:

Donovan McNabb: I'm sorry if I ever failed to properly appreciate you during your tenure as the Eagles quarterback; any time you want to come by for some conciliatory Campbell's Chunky soup is fine with me.

Philadelphia Phillies:  I'm sorry for doubting you guys during the dog days, and not paying enough attention to the great product you guys are putting on the field right now.  This is Yom Kippur, so no excuses about how Penn's cable doesn't have Comcast Sportsnet.

My mom:  I'm sorry for kicking your butt in our fantasy league last week.  Arian Foster meant nothing personal by it.

Donnie Avery, Dustin Keller, Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe, Lee Evans, Donald Lee, Packers D, and Joe Flacco:  I'm sorry for picking you up for a week just to see you do worse for that game than you did the prior and following games.  22 points between the 8 of you...

Julie Levine:  I'm sorry for introducing you to fantasy football, I should have known how competitive you would be about it.

Philadelphia Flyers and US Soccer:  I'm sorry for not paying attention to you even when you're winning, but come on, nobody likes a frontrunner and I can't stand watching either of your sports.

New York Mets:  I'm sorry for berating you and your proponents, that's not fair.  I wouldn't like to be treated that way if the Phillies were overpaid soulless choke artists.

Tiger Woods:  I'm sorry for breaking up your relationship, but did that night feel as meaningful to you as it did me?  Call me sometime.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frameshmania Week 2 Preview!

So every Friday or Saturday I would like to preview my upcoming matchup in the Frameshmania Fantasy Football league, a league with the four members of my household and mine and my brother's friends.

First off, I should lay out my roster to give a sense of what sorts of options I have from week to week.
Heading out of Week 1, here was my roster:

QB Tony Romo
RB1 Michael Turner
RB2 Cedric Benson
RB6 Arian Foster
WR1 Andre Johnson
WR2 Greg Jennings
TE Kellen Winslow
D/ST 49ers
K Mason Crosby

RB3 Jamaal Charles
RB4 Knowshon Moreno
RB5 Justin Forsett
RB7 Ahmad Bradshaw
WR3 Dwayne Bowe
WR4 Mike Wallace
WR5 Malcom Floyd

Roster Moves:
Dropped Forsett for Panthers D/ST
Dropped Winslow for Zach Miller
Traded Moreno to Sabotage the League for Visanthe Shiancoe (pending, will happen after this week's games)

Forsett's carry tally in Week 1 really worried me, and the 49ers playing the Saints this week is something I'd prefer not to mess with (Carolina plays the Bucs; not quite as scary).  I like Miller's matchup against the Rams, and I don't think there's really much of a difference in value between Miller and Winslow.  Not liking my tight end situation, I decided to deal a little of my running back depth for Visanthe Shiancoe, who should do pretty well for at least the time that Sidney Rice is out (unless, of course, Vincent Jackson gets traded to Minnesota--crossing my fingers he doesn't).

Lineup changes:
Charles (v. Browns) in for Benson (v. Ravens)
Bradshaw (v. Colts) in for Foster (v. Redskins)
Miller (v. Rams) in for Winslow (v. Panthers)
Panthers D (v. Bucs) in for 49ers D (v. Saints)

While Benson put up hundred-yard games twice against the Ravens last year, he did NOT look good in Week 1, and I'm worried about the talented backup Bernard Scott sucking some value from him.  Arian Foster was a monster last week, but the Redskins defense is a bit more concerning than the Colts (as shown by my starting Bradshaw), and the Texans knew they needed to run the ball to keep Peyton Manning on the sidelines.

This week, I take on my step-dad Phil's team, Sabotage the League.  He won his first game of the year on the back of Peyton Manning and Antonio Gates, and not much else.  Here's how I see it stacking up:

Romo (v. Bears) vs. Peyton Manning (v. Giants) -- Manning +4
Turner (v. Cardinals) vs. Ray Rice (v. Bengals) -- Turner +5
Charles (v. Browns) vs. Tim Hightower (v. Falcons) -- Charles +6
Bradshaw (v. Colts) vs. DeSean Jackson (v. Lions) -- push
Johnson (v. Redskins) vs. Marques Colston (v. 49ers) -- Johnson +2
Jennings (v. Bills) vs. Steve Smith North (v. Colts) -- push
Miller (v. Rams) vs. Antonio Gates (v. Jaguars) -- Gates +5
Panthers D (v. Bucs) vs. Packers D (v. Bills) -- Packers +5
Crosby (v. Bills) vs. Stephen Gostkowski (v. Jets) -- push

Verdict: Phil wins by 1, with big games from his QB, TE, and DEF (which he'll be riding all year)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Phillies Playoff Outlook

Don't look now, but the Phillies, who were 7 games out of the NL East just a month or so ago, now have a 3 game lead over the Braves with a head-to-head series early next week. I figured that a little look ahead at possible playoff matchups for the Phils would be appropriate. So, here's a rundown of the prospective starters from each of the top 4 teams in the NL playoff hunt and their innings pitched and ERA against the Phillies this year:

Giants (3-3 for season):

Lincecum: 8.1 IP, 2.16
Cain: 6 IP, 3.00
Zito: 5 IP, 7.20

Padres (5-2 for season):

Latos: 12 IP, 3.00
Richard: 7.2 IP, 2.35
Garland: 13.1 IP, 6.08

Reds (5-2 for season):

Arroyo: n/a
Cueto: 15 IP, 1.20
Leake: 14.1 IP, 6.91

Braves (5-7 for season):

Hudson: 12 IP, 3.00
Jurrjens: 6 IP, 4.50
Lowe: 25 IP, 5.04

While the Giants' rotation hasn't had a great second half, I still don't want to have to face them in the postseason. They've got 4 very good starters and have done fairly well against us this year. We would have a good chance of playing them if they do in fact take down the Wild Card. Or, they could overtake the Padres, who we swept not too long ago in a pretty offensively challenged series. I don't see our lineup being that anemic in October, and the fact that we beat them so recently should give the Phillies a boost in that scenario. The Phils swept the Reds in dramatic fashion going into the All Star break, but for the most part we weren't exactly dominant. The Reds have extended their lead in the division despite playing particularly poorly against the better teams in the league, and while their pitching can put on a show, they're a little inconsistent for me. From a pitching perspective, the Braves' top of the rotation has been the weakest against the Phillies, but they still hold a winning record against the Phils in 12 games (and several more to go), and would not face us until a possible NLCS, at which point an extra starter may come into the mix and muddle this whole thing up.

As for the Phillies starters against these teams?

Cin: 17 IP, 2.12
SD: 7 IP, 2.57
SF: 7 IP, 6.43
Atl: 18 IP, 0.50

Cin: 12 IP, 6.75
SD: 23 IP, 1.57
SF: 27 IP, 3.33
Atl: n/a

Cin: 7.2 IP, 0.00
SD: 16 IP, 1.13
SF: 11 IP, 7.36
Atl: 12.2 IP, 6.39

Once again, the numbers against San Diego look really good, and those performances are recent enough that you could expect a similar situation in the playoffs. Halladay has dominated the Braves and Hamels hasn't faced them in quite some time, so I certainly wouldn't mind this rotation facing that team, but again that wouldn't happen except in an NLCS. San Francisco has gotten to both Halladay and Hamels, and the Giants' staff has the kind of numbers against the Phillies that I wouldn't want to go up against them.

In sum, I think the Phillies have the best shot at making it back to the World Series (of course, they need to make the playoffs first) if they take on the Padres in the NLDS (which would likely have to involve them losing the division to the Giants and beating out the Braves for the Wild Card), and then a matchup against the Braves would be a great one to watch. Hopefully the Fightin' Phils can put on another October showcase this year!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A quick take on the Ines Sainz situation

So there's a story getting a pretty good amount of coverage (even--gasp-- not on ESPN!) surrounding a female reporter, Ines Sainz, going into the New York Jets locker room to get an interview and getting treated inappropriately by the Jets players (i.e. receiving catcalls and having a couple footballs thrown her way).  Then, Clinton Portis made a commentary on the situation by saying that if there's 53 naked guys in the locker room and an attractive woman walks in, there's going to be a certain degree of interaction between the two parties.  Naturally, the NFL stepped in and decried Portis' statement, and Portis has since apologized.

To that, I say, why?  Portis hit the nail right on the head; a bunch of guys whose occupation requires harnessing adrenaline and emotion into every minute of their performance should not be expected to be upstanding citizens at all times, ESPECIALLY right before or after they go on the field (this circumstance happened to be after a practice, I believe).  If you are a reporter/model (yes, she is actually a model) going into a room of hormonally jacked-up twenty-somethings looking like this...

(Sainz at the Jets practice facility)

what exactly are you expecting to happen? I mean, come on.  Now, I understand that throwing footballs may not be the best thing for the players to have done, and of course Portis doesn't really have the place to talk about it, but shouldn't she have had slightly lower expectations?  This story screams "attention-monger" to me.  Of course, the Jets are handling the situation as well as could be expected with an absurd story such as this, and I suppose that conduct like this shouldn't run rampant in locker rooms.  But again, she's a model.  Do you really think she doesn't get treated like that every day of the week?  She's just lucky she got this from a big-market team that allows the story to get overblown.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weekend Roundup, Part Deux

All right, I'm going to finish up this week of games, and then NEVER EVER DO IT AGAIN.  Just too much space and time, and not enough to interest anybody.  However, you can't start something like that and just leave it there, so here's the rest of the slate:

Buccaneers 17, Browns 14
Two teams that seem destined to finish in the bottom 5 or 10 in the league, and with good reason, as we saw.
Fantasy: There's nobody to trust in the Browns passing game, but Mike Williams was highly targeted, got a touchdown grab, and has crazy athletic ability.  The quarterbacking is what will hold him back this year.

Jaguars 24, Broncos 17
An upgrade as compared to the above game, but still two teams that are pretty vanilla and aren't going to go very far this season; that being said, the Jaguars looked pretty good and should at least give some teams problems throughout the year.
Fantasy: Mike Sims-Walker puts up a goose-egg on two targets, which has become a trend.  This is particularly disturbing because he was being drafted as a top-20 WR, but given that he was wildly inconsistent for most of last year, owners had to know that this sort of risk existed.

Texans 34, Colts 24
Texans use the pound-the-rock strategy to take down the Colts for just the second time in their history, despite being close several times in the last few years.  Arian Foster outshines Schaub and Andre Johnson, and shows that zone blocking really is what it's cracked up to be.
Fantasy: Arian Foster was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half, and if he can handle a lead-back workload (a big if), he will easily end up a top-10 running back by year's end.  However, there's no way Matt Schaub throws anywhere close to that few passes in future games, so that's probably Foster's ceiling in terms of touches.

Packers 27, Eagles 20
An injury-fest results in Michael Vick nearly leading the Eagles on a 17-point comeback late in the game, only to be undone by his confused identity as a passer or runner.  And THIS is why he was only a marginally successful quarterback before the puppy thing.
Fantasy: Kolb did not look very impressive for the time he was in, and even less impressive was the effort by Desean Jackson to get open and make catches.  If Kolb doesn't get it together, I could see Jackson finishing out of the top 30 at the position.

Cardinals 17, Rams 13
Two teams that appear to be heading in opposite directions (at least at the quarterback position) locked in a battle of ineffectiveness.  Sam Bradford throws 55 passes in his NFL debut!  How does Steven Jackson get only 22 carries in a game that was never more than a touchdown out of reach?
Fantasy: Derek Anderson has a better arm than Leinart did, but Fitzgerald netting just 3 catches on 15 targets should really worry owners who took him in the top ten of drafts.

Seahawks 31, 49ers 6
Mike Singletary later thanked the Seahawks for kicking his team around.  How about getting your team motivated to play Week 1 against a division rival?
Fantasy: The Seattle backfield looks like a fantasy wasteland (sorry, hopeful Forsett owners), and Michael Crabtree's attitude problems are clearly affecting his performance on the field, and Alex Smith doesn't look good enough to spread the love around.  Maybe Coach Singletary will call Crabtree out and he'll score 13 touchdowns like Vernon Davis did.

Redskins 13, Cowboys 7
Alex Barron commits the hold seen 'round the world, and America's team makes like the economy and tanks.
Fantasy: Both defenses are very good, so the general ineffectiveness of both offenses (with the exception of Miles Austin) shouldn't worry anybody.  However, Romo's affection for Dez Bryant appears to be quite developed, and he may end up the starting wide receiver even faster than most people not named Roy Williams expected.

Ravens 10, Jets 9
The Jets defense is about as good as its passing game is bad.  And the defense is really good; just watch what the Ravens do to everybody else this year.  Dustin Keller makes a catch just short of a first down on fourth down with under a minute left, and fails to stick the ball out in front of him to move the chains. I guess that's why the Jets haven't been to a Super Bowl in 40 years.
Fantasy: The Jets barely had the ball, but only gave Shonn Greene 5 carries (and LT 11).  As a mid-second-round pick this year, this could be a big red flag for his upside this year; that said, the Ravens run defense is formidable, and LT may have just been the hot hand that night.

Chiefs 21, Chargers 14
Chargers fail to convert multiple times in a goal-to-go situation at the end of the game, and are done in by a wet and carved up field.  The Chiefs benefit from two big plays and a surprising defensive performance, but the offense did not look very good.
Fantasy: The Chiefs passing game looks too inconsistent to allow Dwayne Bowe to flourish, while the Chargers passing game may be able to support three passable receiving options (Floyd was the target on the last two goal line attempts of the game, in which he was overthrown on the first and slipped on the second).

And that's Week 1 in the NFL for you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Post! An NFL Week 1 Review

As I sit here watching my roommate, Matt, switch back and forth between belligerently rooting for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets and less belligerently rooting for Rafa Nadal (whose last name he continues to pronounce with a long "a"-- *shudders*), I figured it would be a good time to look over yesterday's (OK, Thursday's too) NFL slate for any interesting tidbits, both real and fantasy.  And since I'm making up the format of this blog as I go along, here goes the first several games:

Saints 14, Vikings 9
ESPN hype machine fail.  Favre looked rusty, but will get better with reps.  Moral of the story, Brett?  Give Adrian the ball.  'Nuff said.
Visanthe Shiancoe: 7 targets, 4 catches, 76 yards. Vikes' top 4 receivers total: 12 targets, 4 catches, 56 yards.  I think he should be a top-8 tight end while Rice is on the shelf.

Dolphins 15, Bills 10
Yawn.  Bills INTENTIONALLY GAVE UP A SAFETY JUST TO KICK IT OFF TO THE DOLPHINS AND LET THEM FAIR CATCH.  Glad that was my Eliminator pick for the week; the Bills are terrible.
Trent Edwards/Bills O-line are not good.  Extrapolate that as far as you want in terms of their running game.  However, the run defense did not look THAT bad, which is at least an itsy-bitsy thorn in the side of owners of guys like Shonn Greene, MJD, and Benson.

Bears 19, Lions 14
OK, Calvin Johnson caught the ball and maintained possession until his knee hit the ground.  Why, again, does that not count as a touchdown?  I understand "the letter of the law" says it doesn't count, but come on!
Matt Forte puts up the best receiving performance of the week! I can't say that's likely to happen again, and it's not like he ran the ball very well.  Don't get too excited. If I had to pick a Bears receiver to have for the rest of the year, I think I'm going with Aromashodu.  He's got good size and speed, and has the targets to keep getting him numbers.

Titans 38, Raiders 13
So much for the Raiders being a sleeper team...  In other news, Chris Johnson is Chris Johnson.
Vince Young could actually emerge as a top-15 quarterback if the offense opens up a little.  He averaged almost 15 fantasy points per game from weeks 8-15 last year, and after all, teams are worried about that guy behind him in the formation.

Patriots 38, Bengals 24
Carson Palmer does an amazing job of giving both Batman and Robin their action, although apparently it wasn't enough for them to want to stay on the field for the end of the first half.  The Patriots O looks gooooooood.
Good to see that Benson still got 16 touches and a short touchdown despite getting blown out, but the 9 touches and generally more effective performance for Bernard Scott worries me as a Benson owner.  By Week 5, I'm not sure this isn't a 60-40 timeshare.

Giants 31, Panthers 18
Hakeem Nicks explodes (and I think he might keep it up), and the Carolina passing game is in trouble.  This looks like another fast start for the Giants-- beware what happened last year.
Neither of these running games look like pure timeshares, but I think Stewart fans should be more worried and Williams fans relieved.  At least Jacobs is getting first crack at goal line scenarios in Jersey.

Steelers 15, Falcons 9
Looks like a defensive struggle, but really it was more of an offensive struggle on the Pittsburgh side.  Steelers defense (thanks to Polamalu) is back in business, and Roddy White gets thrown to 23 TIMES.
The loss of another Steelers lineman makes me think that Mendenhall is going to have some tough sledding the next several weeks with Roethlisberger out and then getting back into the swing of things.  That 50-yard touchdown run made his day look a lot better.  Also, Mike Wallace might not be the consistent contributor people thought he would be, at least not until Big Ben gets back.

All right, 7 down, 9 more to go!  I don't see myself doing anything this lengthy again.  What I might do is give a week-by-week look at my fantasy teams instead, and look at some non-football topics.  You know, appeal to the masses and all.