General Sports Chatter


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 Week 9 Fantasy Advice

This column is coming out later than usual because I've been absolutely mesmerized by Game 7 of the World Series. Can you blame me?


Who to Start:

QB Colin Kaepernick (SF) vs. STL: Fresh off a bye week, Kaepernick should be licking his chops at facing the Rams, a team he has usually tortured during his career and a team whose defense has been uncharacteristically vulnerable for most of the season.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (IND) vs. NYG MON: I love revenge, don't you? Bradshaw could be in for some against his former team whose run defense has been next to abysmal all season. The Colts could use some balance in their offense after the way their defense got shredded in Pittsburgh last week.

WR Jeremy Maclin (PHI) vs. HOU: He had a huge week against Arizona a week ago, and he could be in for another big day against the Texans on Sunday. Their secondary is quite vulnerable, and Maclin has improved to becoming one of the most consistent wideouts in football.

WR Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs. NO THU: He's been the most consistent receiver for the Panthers all season, and he should continue that form going up against the Saints who have been absolutely torched through the air on the road this season.

TE Antonio Gates (SD) vs. MIA: His connection with Philip Rivers is making his fantasy owners think it may be 2007 all over again. He's been on fire recently, and the Dolphins defense isn't the stoutest against Tight Ends.

DEF Cincinnati vs. JAX: The Jaguars offense is still young and growing, which means they turn the ball over a lot. And Blake Bortles has thrown 4 pick-sixes this season, and taken a good number of sacks. The Bengals defense is finally looking like itself again, and it should continue on Sunday.

Who to Sit:

QB Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. PIT: He's been pretty consistent this season, but one nut he's never been able to crack in his career is the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's never had all that much success against them in his career, and while the Steelers defense is shaky, they always show up for Raven games.

RB Zac Stacy (STL) vs. SF: The concern is two-fold here. One is the running back by committee that the Rams are currently using right now, and the second is that the 49ers are the best team in football at stopping the run.

WR Vincent Jackson (TB) vs. CLE: He may have been one of the biggest fantasy busts at wide receiver this season. His season will get no better against the Browns who have been so stout against opposing wideouts, especially at home.

WR Julian Edelman (NE) vs. DEN: He's seen only 13 combined targets over the Patriots last two games, and as other receivers get the bulk of the targets, Edelman should be firmly hitched to your bench even in a bye week situation.

TE Charles Clay (MIA) vs. SD: Against a team that usually is torched by tight ends, Clay got only 1 receiving yard. The Chargers are one of the best defensive units against Tight Ends, so Clay is a risky play on Sunday.

DEF Dallas vs. ARZ: They showed a few signs of the old Cowboys defense last Monday night didn't they? The Cardinals offense doesn't make a lot of noise, but they are very consistent in scoring points, so the Cowboys may not be the best option on Sunday.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. JAX: His stats have not been amazing this season, but this week he gets a bit of a break against a Jaguars secondary that has been absolutely decimated by injuries recently. Maybe he'll get A.J Green back as well.

RB Ben Tate (CLE) vs. TB: Tate hasn't been seeing all of the carries, especially the goal line ones, but this matchup against the Bucs is a favorable one.

WR Andre Holmes (OAK) vs. SEA: Garbage time points alert? You'd figure Seattle will get up big early, which means garbage time fantasy points are well in play. He is a quiet little bye week option.

Buyer Beware:

QB Eli Manning (NYG) vs. IND MON: I know the Colts got absolutely torched last weekend in Pittsburgh, but that's not how their defense is usually. This is the same unit that shutout the Bengals the week before, remember. I have a feeling the real Colts defense will show up big on Monday Night.

Good Luck in Week 9!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Finally... We got the Chaos we Wanted

We all wanted it, and finally, we got it. We had so long clamored for it, begged for it, wrote books about why we wanted it so much, vented about how everything other than it was utterly worthless and needless, and some even wrote songs about why we wanted it. No, the "It" I'm referring to is not Tim Curry playing a demonic clown that somehow is a spider from another world, it's the College Football Playoff. And if you've been watching any college football this season, it's been omnipresent... which is for the best. 

As the first rankings from the playoff committee are to be released tomorrow, it's time to look at what the Playoff has done for college football this season. There were some people (similar to the renegade Japanese soldiers on some Pacific Islands still fighting World War II 30 years after it had ended), who believed that the death of the BCS also meant the death of the meaning of college football's regular season. Hopefully, those people have found their good hiding spots again. 

This college football season has been the most exciting that I personally have ever seen. That might have something to do with the rise of Mississippi State and Ole Miss from nowhere to become powers in the SEC, or maybe it's because Maryland football is somewhat relevant for the first time in about a decade, but mainly it's because of the playoff's ever looming presence. Even as we know so little about it, including how the committee members will think and decide who they deem are the 4 best teams in college football, it still hangs over us like the fog in San Francisco every morning. 

The playoff has meant teams have started scheduling bigger out of conference matchups than ever before, and even if those come 7 years in the future, the big games this year still have a hold, such as the Michigan State-Oregon game from September, or even some of Notre Dame's games such as the one against Florida State and the looming one with Arizona State. It's also meant that one loss is by no means killer to a season, which under the BCS system one loss was next-to-always fatal. 

If the BCS still existed, the rankings would have spat out the obvious: Mississippi State and Florida State are on a path to play each other for the National Title unless one of them loses, which then would bring about chaos. But who of the many one-loss teams would be deserving of playing an undefeated Florida State... or would the Seminoles deserve it at all based on their cakewalk of a schedule? The debate would be furious, and eventually meaningless, seeing as the decision was almost completely out of the hands of any human beings. The Playoff has opened up the debate even further, but the lack of clarity has meant that every game is even more important than before.

The murkiness of picture has meant that every game means even more than normal, and gave teams that had early season hiccups like Ohio State, Michigan State and Oregon chances of rebounding and reviving their chances of going to the playoff. Even if they don't make it, there are still 4 prestigious bowl games for them to play in and very likely a great team there to meet them. Everyone's list of who the 4 best teams are looks dramatically different, and for good reason because nobody knows anything for sure heading into November, and that just adds to the drama. With the BCS, the path would at least have been somewhat clear barring absolute 2007-like chaos and insanity.

Even as the rankings are released tomorrow, they essentially mean little because there are 6 more weeks of football to play. Who knows whether the Bulldogs of Starkville will still hold the fort down, or whether maybe Baylor or Michigan State gets back in the race because of the craziness above them... and that's the glory of it.

Who said the College Football Playoff was going to diminish the meaning of the regular season? If you can find them, they're probably holed up in some Mariana Island trench thinking the BCS is still king. 

Or maybe they're still commenting that Condoleeza Rice has clear PAC-12 bias. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How Far is Too Far?

Note from Matt: This isn't necessarily a sports story but since I have nowhere else to put it it's going here. Hopefully that doesn't alienate you from the usual fare of mediocre fantasy advice and occasional thoughtfulness this blog usually provides.

Today there was a horrible tragedy in Ottawa with a shooter on Parliament Hill that killed an off-duty Canadian soldier. It has been an absolutely terrible day for all of Canada, and anyone who knows a good deal of people in the country (me). It's also been a day to reflect on the state of the media because we as consumers had a chance to look at how our neighbors to the north cover a tragedy like this. Us in the United States have a tendency to blow things out of proportion because of "HOT TAKES" and the like, but today is the day that proved that being an adult is sometimes the best way to get people through tragedy. It should not need to be a revelation to say that, but in the modern media world apparently it is, and here's why:

The job of the news media is not telling you what to think; it never has been that. The media tells you what to think about. Why is Ebola especially freaking everyone out senseless right now? The media is droning on and on about it, and doesn't feel the need to stop. While Ebola is a major news story that deserves to be covered, the way it's being covered is farcical, and that's being kind. So naturally, when the story in Ottawa started breaking, many people south of the 49th parallel turned away from US cable news like the plague, which is the correct move.

For example as I am typing this, CNN's lower-third reads as if the attack was a guaranteed terrorist attack, and how is anyone, let alone in Atlanta not Ottawa or Toronto going to know that just 10 hours after the tragedy began to unfold? The authorities in Ottawa and with the government have been especially careful to not jump to any conclusions, even with how many shooters there were/are, and the (Canadian) media has followed suit. That is such a breath of fresh air considering the experiences we have dealing with major tragedies in this country where conclusions and sources are bandied about as if those words have magical powers.

The website "The Daily Beast" might be the most blatant offender of this. The headline is in bold print and says "Terrorist ends Canada's Innocence". Below it, the tag says further, "A gunmen attacked Parliament in an unprecedented attack bringing violence to the very heart of Canadian democracy." That doesn't sound all that bad, but consider earlier today it said that the attack "brought real terrorism to the country for the first time".  Tim Mak of the website wrote the piece that went below it, and I hope he knows that what came above it in the headline and the tag are both patently false, because if he doesn't someone has mislead a lot of people. And what for... page clicks?

Why did CNN and other stations do what they ended up doing for most of the day for? Just a few people to stop on their customary and nonchalant channel scroll because "OMG Terrorism, ISIS AHHHHHHHHHHH"? Why are reputable people doing this to themselves now?

I'm not naive enough to believe that this hasn't been going on for quite a long time and that it hasn't been a massive disservice to every sane human being and been carved open by the John Oliver's and John Stewart's of the world, but today seemingly was my final straw. I could deal with falsities during the Sandy Hook shootings and the Boston Marathon Bombings, but apparently I draw the line at a shooter on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Then I read an article from the wonderful website Mediabistro, and then it hit me why I finally snapped today: The coverage of the tragedy in Canada is so markedly un-American that it is sickening.

Not just from the newspapers and local stations around Ottawa, but national coverage from Global, CTV and especially the CBC. Peter Mansbridge is unlike those we have now manning the national news desks (aside from Brian Williams), but we did have men like that in the past in Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. The media world is vastly different now than it was then, but why does it stick in Canada and not here? CBC being the public broadcaster has absolutely nothing to do with it, for the record.

As Mediabistro said and I'll parrot here, Mansbridge was calm, collected, patient and not frenetic, breathless or panicked. There was a point in time when we had anchors like that in this country, but sadly we do not anymore. At one point Mansbridge even asked the many who had tuned in to watch his coverage (about 3 hours straight by the way), "what do we know with certainty right now?" With certainty... that's a phrase you'll never hear Wolf Blitzer saying anytime soon.

Yes, these media companies need to find ways to get viewers so they can get advertising so their heads can stay above water, and this is true for many traditional and new media sources as well, I get that. But the CBC is HEMORRHAGING MONEY. And yet they can still tackle a news story with poise, solemnity and calm without going into a panic or trying to connect dots that don't make any sort of picture. The reason why the CBC and to a lesser extent the other Canadian media outlets can do this and not any American one is not solely because of a cultural difference, and shouldn't ever be said as such. Sure the world has changed here, but it's changed everywhere. If you can train people to think one way, you could certainly train them back too.

Two other notes from a really impressive day for journalism at Canada's public broadcaster: While they were not first in reporting that the Canadian solider shot at the War Memorial was dead, they were certainly by that point right. They had done enough reporting to convince only themselves as journalists that they were right. Just because someone from the Globe and Mail had reported it first didn't mean that Peter Mansbridge had to jump around on TV waving his arms saying "CBC News confirms". The focus of the story was in fact the story, not the people reporting it or the organization they worked for.

We can learn a thing or two from everyone in Canada who reported so well the tragic events of the day today, not just as journalists (as I am), but also as consumers. We can accept news that comes not first to us, but correctly, and news that is reported to us with calm and not a frenetic energy that confers nothing but cluelessness.

An old anchor named Frank Reynolds once said, "let's nail it down, let's get it right". Today showed us how far away us in US media are from doing that on the regular, and how much we have to learn from our friends above 49' North.

2014 Week 8 Fantasy Advice

Are we already halfway through this NFL season? Apparently we are, as I just checked the calendar and it's October 22nd. That's amazing considering this season has felt like it has been going on forever, but that may have something to do with the Jaguars being a partial disaster. 

Byes: NYG, SF

Who to Start: 

QB Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. CAR: Sure the Seahawks are slumping right now, but the Panthers are likely going to play the role of slump-buster on Sunday. The Panthers have allowed more than 37 points in 4 of their last 5 games this season, and the Seahawks offense could desperately use a jolt. Wilson is likely to be a major beneficiary of a secondary in flux.

RB Andre Ellington (ARZ) vs. PHI: As has been proven already this season, the Eagles are an absolute sieve against the run. Andre Ellington has been running at a very high level the last couple of weeks, so combine those two factors and you get a prime fantasy matchup.

WR Golden Tate (DET) vs. ATL: Sans Calvin Johnson, it looks like the Lions haven't missed a beat. Golden Tate has gotten the yards left in the Johnson vacuum, and this Sunday in London he gets to face another absolute sieve in the Falcons defense. Here's another must-start.

WR Mohamed Sanu (CIN) vs. BAL: Even though the Ravens have been stout against the run, their pass defense has been somewhat suspect. Without A.J Green for targets, Sanu could see similar to what he had been getting in the past couple of games (Carolina not Indy), and might have himself a good afternoon.

TE Greg Olsen (CAR) vs. SEA: The Seahawks defense has fallen off from last season's torrid pace, and it's nowhere more evident than in their defending of Tight Ends. It's been poor to say the least. Greg Olsen is one of the best Tight End's in football, so he could be in for a big day in a potential shootout.

DEF Miami vs. JAX: The Jaguars won in spite of a bit of an offensive disaster last week, and Miami's defense on its good days is pretty formidable. This could be a fantasy steal if you need it.

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. DET: This game is not in the Georgia Dome, and Matt Ryan isn't the same quarterback away from the Dome. To add to the worries, the Lions defense is absolutely stout right now as one of the best in football. This has the potential to be an absolute beatdown.

RB Branden Oliver (SD) vs. DEN THU: Denver's rush defense is better at home than it is on the road, and while Oliver has done pretty well in the absence of the rest of San Diego's running backs, this is a tetchy matchup on Thursday night.

WR DeSean Jackson (WSH) vs. DAL MON: He's been up and down all season, partially because of his own form and also because he's had to catch passes from 3 different QB's this season. With Colt McCoy (!!!!!) starting, the concern for Jackson is amplified none the least due to Dallas still having a very good defense.

WR Percy Harvin (NYJ) vs. BUF: Yes, I didn't scratch him from the "Sit" list after he was traded so I apologize, but it doesn't change the fact that Harvin has now gone to a team with a downgrade at QB and is still run first. Starting him is a major gamble.

TE Martellus Bennett (CHI) vs. NE: I didn't want to believe that he was going to go into his usual October swoon, but he has. Since that's happened, and the Patriots are coming off a 10 day break, Bennett is not a good play in Foxborough on Sunday.

DEF Arizona vs. PHI: The Eagles offense could explode at any time, and despite the run defense being incredibly solid, the pass defense is exploitable. I'm a little nervous about starting the Cardinals despite my reservations about the Eagles as a whole.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Alex Smith (KC) vs. STL: He's been solid if unspectacular all season, which is nice for the Chiefs and their fans but not great for fantasy owners. But the Rams defense has been nothing to write home about all season, so there's a chance for a possible breakthrough in the Battle for Missouri.

RB Lamar Miller (MIA) vs. JAX: He's started to catch fire pretty quickly due to his recent performances against Green Bay and Chicago, and despite the Jaguars doing a pretty good job against the run last week against Cleveland, injuries are starting to take a toll.

WR Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs. NYJ: The hero last week for the Bills has a chance to continue pretty good fantasy form against a Jets secondary that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries.

Buyer Beware:

QB Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. NE: Someone had compared him recently to Jeff George, and I'm starting to buy into those comparisons more. He's become woefully inconsistent, and even though he's not going up against a brutal matchup problem, he can still either have an amazing or completely terrible day. As of now, he's a risky start.

Good Luck in Week 8!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 Week 7 Fantasy Advice

Week 7 already? Where has time gone? Since I'm a Jaguars fan, I'm assuming time has gone into a vacuous void of nothingness wondering what it did to deserve such treatment. But I digress.

Byes: PHI, TB

Who to Start:

QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. KC: I might start a campaign to get him some MVP love, because he's a large part of the reason why the Chargers look so dominant. Remember he's done what he's done with about 70 different centers so far this season. His hot hand will continue against Kansas City, a team he's dominated over his long career.

RB Ben Tate (CLE) vs. JAX: While the Jaguars defense has overall been better the last 3 weeks, it's still a favorable team to put people out against, and Ben Tate is no exception. Even if he lost some carries to Isaiah Crowell, he'll still see the bulk of the touches on Sunday, which means he could be in for a good day at the office.

WR Randall Cobb (GB) vs. CAR: If you're wondering what happened to the once stout Panthers defense, it's probably a good idea to start Cobb against them. The defense has given up 30+ in 3 of their last 4 games, and has been torched through the air numerous times. Cobb might not get the love Jordy Nelson does, but he should get some of the stats this week.

WR Golden Tate (DET) vs. NO: With Calvin Johnson still nursing an injured ankle, Matt Stafford's favorite target is now going to be Golden Tate, which is good news against the porous Saints secondary. The Saints defense is even worse on the road too.

TE Jason Witten (DAL) vs. NYG: Tony Romo's best friend should have another good afternoon against a Giants defense that was just torn apart by Brent Celek and Zach Ertz last week. Witten is starting to find his feet, and that's good news for his fantasy owners.

DEF Seattle vs. STL: This would be obvious if it weren't for what happened last week, but it's Austin Davis against the fearsome Seahawks defense. It's self-explanatory.

Who to Sit:

QB Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. IND: Some of that inconsistency that has flummoxed Bengals fans and neutral observers alike is starting to show up again, especially against good teams. The Colts are a good team. He's thrown 8 TD's and 8 INT's in his last 6 road games. That's worrisome.

RB Ronnie Hillman (DEN) vs. SF: In Montee Ball's absence, Hillman seems to have become the feature back. While that's a nice story, it's not been an easy time for him on the stat sheets. The 49ers are typically stout against the run, so this is a worrying play if you have to make it.

WR Percy Harvin (SEA) vs. STL: I don't want to say I told you so but... I didn't like that trade when it was made and Harvin's done little to dissuade my fears. He's had an incredibly rough start to the season, and the Rams matchup isn't an amazing one either.

WR Pierre Garcon (WSH) vs. TEN: Is everyone asking for RG3 to come back yet? Yes? Maybe he can revive Pierre Garcon when he does. It's going to be hard without the Baylor man for Garcon against the Titans, who have been surprisingly stout against the pass this season. They also have a decent pass rush that will cause Kirk Cousins some problems.

TE Travis Kelce (KC) vs. SD: He had been a target machine... until he played San Francisco. The Chargers won't help in the attempt to get him more, since they've been incredibly stout defending Tight Ends for most of the season.

DEF San Francisco vs. DEN: This is another self-explanatory one right here. Even though the 49ers defense is typically stout this season, they're going up against Peyton Manning at Mile High. This does not bode well.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Brian Hoyer (CLE) vs. JAX: The man who has kept Mr. Manziel firmly rooted to the bench has been somewhat of a revelation this season, and he's continued to throw the ball well all season. The Jaguars defense has been playing better, but can still be had against good offenses, of which Cleveland has one.

RB Lamar Miller (MIA) vs. CHI: With Knowshon Moreno on IR, Miller is Miami's #1 option at RB, and this week's matchup against the Bears who have been quite lackluster at home especially on defense is a favorable one.

WR Andre Holmes (OAK) vs. ARZ: He's a big sleeper for you... Andre Holmes. Yes, a Raider has made the cut. Derek Carr threw the ball all over the yard last week, and did a surprisingly good job of it, and while Arizona's defense is stout, it can still be had in the secondary.

Buyer Beware:

QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. GB: He's been incredibly impressive this season, especially in the face of a distinct lack of playmakers, injuries and a turnstile of an offensive line. But, at Lambeau, all of that may finally catch up with Cam against the Packers. This is a touchy start.

Good Luck in Week 7!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Rant... Because I Need to Vent

This is not going to be a long, well thought piece using wonderful prose and (mainly) constructive arguments. This is going to be a rant, because I've lost my patience and need to vent. This is the best place for me to do it as well. It may offend some people, but sometimes rants do that. Maybe you think this is nothing more than spewing Hot Takes, and I can't do anything to dissuade you from that. All I can do is put my thoughts out to the public sphere for consumption. Here goes nothing:

Yes, the Florida Panthers attendance tonight was bad. Very bad. Historically bad. I get it. I knew this was going to happen in August. I don't need everyone being vultures on twitter to tell me something I and most sane Florida Panthers fans already knew well in advance. Guess what happens when your team is consistently awful minus one fluke season since the turn of the millennium? People get annoyed, fed up, and stop throwing their money down the drain. Wouldn't you do the same thing?(Toronto is an outlier here)

I admire Panthers SSO's all these years who have had to put up with so much crap from the team, opposing fans, and media (mainly from Canada). How they have been able to stomach it consistently and still go back for more is amazing dedication to blind loyalty. I could only dream of such devotion; I've been at it with the Panthers for 6+ years and I'm now starting to lose my cool. 14 years? You folks are stronger than I'll ever be.

Time for some facts:

1) The Panthers have been papering over the cracks of bad attendance for years. The reason attendance numbers were as high as they were because old ownership gave handouts and subsidized/free tickets to get people in the barn. Can't forget when visiting fans have a field day at BB&T Center, even when they aren't directly advertised to. Old ownership never wanted to admit they had a major problem, even when they were stuck in a vicious cycle of penny-pinching that led them absolutely nowhere.

2) Normally, people won't show up to watch consistently garbage teams. I know this is a foreign concept in places like Edmonton or Toronto, because hockey's the big game in town, but South Florida is the polar opposite of that. Did you see the pictures this weekend from the University of Miami football game? It was a ghost town. Miami and South Florida above all like winners, nothing more, nothing less. Once you lose, the average fan has many other better things to do than watch consistent crap night in and night out. This might not be the case in Toronto or Edmonton or Calgary or even Winnipeg, but it certainly is in Sunrise, and who could blame them for it? The building was full during the playoff run, it was at about 16.5K in the lockout shortened season because the team had just WON. The handouts inflated it sure, but the building will be full when the team wins. Simple. They nearly filled a 20K seat arena at the turn of the millennium with Pavel Bure in tow. It can be done.

3) Every team has attendance issues at some point. Yes, this includes every market whose media is now taking shots at the Panthers. Calgary, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Colorado... pretty much every single one sans a handful have had these issues in the past. Why are things different now? WINNING. It's very simply. The Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins are turned things around because they won. So did Calgary. So did Colorado. It's not a hard concept to grasp. I'll also bring up markets like Hartford, Quebec City, and Winnipeg the first time, whose attendance drops were precipitous in the years before the relocation specter became a force. Why did the attendance go up in the years right before the move? Because either the realization that hockey was going away for good hit them hard and told them to get back int the building because they wouldn't have many more chances to see it live at the NHL level, and because it's common too. See the Sonics in their last home game before moving to OKC. Unless you are a handful of markets, complaining about attendance is not something you should do without looking at your own history first. It's not just a Sunbelt thing.

4) No two hockey markets are alike, and thinking that is the case is absolutely foolish and telling yourself blatant lies. Yes, so that means Toronto is different from South Florida, and South Florida is different from Phoenix. I don't understand why this is such a difficult concept to understand, but apparently it is. All markets should be judged against themselves, not against each other because each is unique and cannot be shoe-horned into one set template matching a narrative. Sorry.

I could go into why the team is not likely moving anywhere anytime soon, from Bettman needing the market to the new owners to the lease, but even if I won the argument it would be a Pyrrhic victory. I'd have no energy left to talk about the bad hockey, which is the real problem here. If the team showed signs of winning, the building would fill up. If they actually won, like they did in 2012, the building would be full every night. That's not just a Miami sports market issue (and anyone who knows me knows I say Miami is the worst sports market in the country every time of asking), it's an issue for almost every team who consistently loses. Even if the game-day experience was the best in any sport, it would be like selling a diamond-encrusted dog turd to the masses. It might be covered in diamonds, but... well, you get the idea.

The Panthers are not blameless in this. The vicious cycle of losing and penny-pinching was not started by this ownership group but they have decided to confront the problem head-on instead of ducking from it, and that's admirable. What that means is that nights like tonight will happen again unless they win, and they may continue or even get worse. But this ownership has decided that this plan of action is better than papering over the cracks. I guess the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. I'm not a billionaire like Vinnie Viola is, so I can't tell you for sure whether that is the correct business move or not. It's the plan of action though, and there's not much I can do from 1000 miles away other than go with it.

I wrote this to prevent myself from getting into needless arguments on twitter and ruining endless days of my life from this. I barely have the energy to get into the hockey issues with the Panthers, let alone the off-ice ones. I try to take the high road but it's incredibly hard when you're being attacked from all sides at all times.

I'm not saying the Panthers don't have a problem. They do, and it's a major one. Hopefully, it will get solved, either by hell or high water. But I don't need people constantly spreading propaganda, misinformation and lies at our expense because some unlucky dude on twitter needs to pick on someone to make himself feel better, or some Canadian writer is having a bad day at the office so he needs to troll for page clicks. Everyone needs their whipping boy, so the mob moved from Atlanta to Phoenix and now to Florida. It wasn't fair on the first two fanbases, and it certainly isn't fair now.

This is the last I will speak on the subject, for better or for worse. If you have problems with what I said here, tell me. I'm open for constructive debate and constructive discussion on why the problem exists to begin with, and how it can be fixed. I'm not for burning down straw men.

But I'm not interested in flinging diamond-encrusted dog turds at people from across keyboards and cyberspace anymore.

I dealt with this bull-crap with the Jaguars for many years. I'm tired of it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 Week 6 Fantasy Advice

The doldrums of October are upon us... and by doldrums I mean focusing on playoff baseball and the start of hockey season. But that doesn't mean fantasy football goes away, in fact it gets even more intense.

Byes: KC, NO

Who to Start:

QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. OAK: Life continues to be great for Rivers and the Chargers despite the fact they've played every center in the history of football. Now, they get to go up against the Oakland Raiders, who if you haven't noticed have a new coach and are a tire fire. He also always does well against the Raiders too.

RB Eddie Lacy (GB) vs. MIA: He has risen from the fantasy depths! Now with 10 days off, he gets to go up against a Miami Dolphin defense that has struggled mightily against the run, especially at home recently.

WR Alshon Jeffrey (CHI) vs. ATL: Another example of a tire fire of a defense, the Falcons have been horrendous on that side of the ball this season. The Bears, despite the fact that they have a great ability to shoot themselves in the foot, should be able to get plenty of yards on offense, especially Alshon Jeffrey.

WR Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) vs. NYJ: He is a target machine for Peyton Manning right now, even if he hasn't scored TD's yet. But against the Jets, that streak might end because the Jets secondary is injured and also pretty bad regardless.

TE Delanie Walker (TEN) vs. JAX: Aside from the fact that the Jaguars can never defend against Tight Ends, other things work in his favor. Namely, that Zach Mettenberger may be starting on Sunday and will need a safety blanket.

DEF Denver vs. NYJ: It's the Jets and Geno Smith.

Who to Sit:

QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. CIN: Despite his renaissance last week against Chicago, his lot will get much tougher next week against Cincy, whose defense is still the class of the AFC despite what happened on Sunday Night. He's also taken some sort of beating too.

RB Zac Stacy (STL) vs. SF MON: Not only is he a little dinged up heading into this Monday Night showdown, the 49ers have shut him down completely in past meetings with the Rams. Also, the 49ers still have an amazing rush defense.

WR Cordarrelle Paterson (MIN) vs. DET: He's been a total bust this season fantasy wise, and even with Teddy Bridgewater back under center, the matchup is not favorable against the surprisingly strong Detroit defense.

WR Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs. NE: He's been consistent if unspectacular this season, but even with that said, the Patriots secondary has been nearly lock-down this season, and Watkins will be matched up against a certain Revis fellow, who is still really good at man-to-man coverage.

TE Martellus Bennett (CHI) vs. ATL: Is the October swoon beginning? It didn't look promising last week, and the Falcons, despite their overall defensive woes, have defended against Tight Ends well this season.

DEF Dallas vs. SEA: Even if the Seahawks offense hasn't been a juggernaut by any means, this matchup is still sketchy for a Cowboys defense who hasn't been tested like this on the road yet.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Brian Hoyer (CLE) vs. PIT: The Browns are comeback specialists this season, and their offensive output has been jumping upwards as a result. With the Steelers defense being banged up and not the Steel Curtain of old, Hoyer could have another big game.

RB Andre Williams (NYG) vs. PHI: The Eagles can't stop the run, and with Rashad Jennings on the shelf, Williams could see himself thrust into a major fantasy spotlight.

DEF Green Bay vs. MIA: When the Dolphins have faced interesting defenses, they've looked ugly. The Packers defense has looked better overall recently, so this could be an interesting play this week.

Buyer Beware:

QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs. ARZ: Kirk Cousins hasn't been that terrible, and sure Arizona's defense was torched by Peyton Manning last week, but this matchup still could be pretty ugly. I'd be worried about having to start him if you do.

Good Luck in Week 6!