Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Week 17 Fantasy Advice

If you're still playing for a fantasy title this week, then shame on you for picking a bad league. Sorry, I had to say it. Good luck if you're still playing, but this week there are very few sure plays, because it's week 17.

Who to Start:

QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. OAK: The Chargers are mad. They're gonna want to play hard for Norv Turner, who will likely be fired after the game. The Raiders have a very bad defense, and the Chargers badly want to play spoiler. This is a good combination for Rivers and the Chargers.

RB C.J Spiller (BUF) vs. NE: He's finally showing why the Bills drafted him so high last year, with good performances against Miami and Denver. He should have another one against the bad Patriots defense, no matter what the situation.

WR Hakeem Nicks (NYG) vs. DAL: Both of the teams in the NFC East Title game have horrible defenses, but I'd feel more confident in Nicks because his QB situation is more stable. He should have a big game Sunday night.

TE Brent Celek (PHI) vs. WSH: He's enjoyed a nice resurgence this season, and that should continue against a terrible Redskins defense that lost to Joe Webb and Toby Gerhart last weekend.

DEF Atlanta vs. TB: Tampa Bay has lost 9 in a row, and they haven't looked very good in any of those games. Atlanta may or may not have anything to play for, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a good matchup.

Who to Sit:

QB Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. CIN: He's struggled at points this season, including last week against Cleveland.  The Bengals have plenty of motivation for this Sunday, and their defense has been very stout for most of the year.

RB Shonn Greene (NYJ) vs. MIA:  The Dolphins surprisingly rank 3rd in the NFL against the run, and they should do a good job stopping the inconsistent Jets running attack, led by Greene.

WR Antonio Brown (PIT) vs. CLE: Despite being the Steelers team MVP this season, he won't have the best of luck against a stout Cleveland secondary, even if Big Ben plays.

TE Kellen Winslow (TB) vs. ATL: He just hasn't played very well all season, and he hasn't been a featured option in the Bucs arsenal. Even in PPR leagues, he's still not a very viable start this week.

DEF Cincinnati vs. BAL: Fantasy wise, this defense hasn't been the best unit out there, as they aren't a very high scoring fantasy defense. The Ravens have the potential to spoil the Bengals postseason party, so watch out for this unit.

Super Sleeper:

QB Dan Orlovsky (IND) vs. JAX: If you're VERY desperate, Orlovsky may be the start for you. He's had a very good last 2 weeks, and the Jaguars defense is so banged up, that many players don't even know the guys behind them. Orlovsky has a chance to light up the injured Jags defense.

Buyer Beware:

TE Vernon Davis (SF) vs. STL: Can you believe that as bad as the Rams are, they are very good defending the Tight End? Neither can I, but if you have Vernon Davis starting, you may want to.

Good Luck in Week 17, and I hope you have enjoyed these columns all season long. Through the playoffs, I'll be writing previews for each of the 11 games through the postseason, so you don't want to miss those.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 2011 Year-End Awards

It's now time to say goodbye to 2011, and what better way to do it than with a crummy awards post! These aren't your normal awards though, and the winners may not be too happy to receive them. What do the recipients get as winners? Notoriety on a little known sports blog written by a nobody. Better than a razzie, I guess. Here goes nothing:

The "Just Shut Up" Award: Jay Bilas

When UAB and VCU were selected for the NCAA Tournament back in March, many were up in arms, including Bilas, but unlike Joe the plumber, Bilas can easily spew his thoughts on national TV. This is what he said about the selections, "The committee has gone against its own principles. UAB, VCU, why are they in? They were never mentioned [as a possibility] for a reason. ...These are horrible decisions. We need more basketball people on the committee. These are bad, indefensible decisions." Well, VCU's defense was going to the Final 4. Proving people wrong is always fun, but it's even more fun when you can shut someone up in the way that VCU did to Jay Bilas, and to most people, honestly.

The "#SidneyCrosbyIsAVampire" Award: Tim McCarver

(If you don't know what the hashtag means, search it on google). This goes to the person who said the absolute stupidest thing you've heard all year in sports. Tim McCarver said this during the World Series:

"It's a five letter word: S-T-R-I-K-E." Nothing more to say here.

The "Wipeout Special" Award: Ryan Braun

Aside from the steroid allegations, Mr. Braun had a pretty good year. Except for the time when he tried to go for an inside the park home run. He then fell on his way to home. I wonder what John Anderson would have thought about that if he was on the show... I'd be more concerned about Braun hitting his head on a huge red rubber ball and falling into a pile of mud. His hair wouldn't be safe.

The "We Should Have Been Soccer Refs" Award: The refs in the Toledo/Syracuse Game I think this speaks for itself.

The "Shameless Plug of the Year" Award: Brent Musberger

Just before Auburn won the national title, Brent Musberger probably uttered one of the worst lines in the history of sports announcing: "This is for all the Tostitos".  So, by the time the Allstate Title Game comes around, will that game be for "all the insurance"? At least it would be better than with the Potato Bowl, where he'd say "This is for all the potatoes".

The "Rich Kotite Award for Coaching Stupidity": Jason Garrett

Now we all know about icing the kicker, and how it almost never works. We've seen coaches take two timeouts in a row in an attempt to ice the kicker. But, until Week 13 of this NFL season, we've never seen a coach ice his own kicker.  At least until Jason Garrett did that. It would be a shame if the Cowboys fell one game short of the postseason because of that stupid mistake... which they will if they lose against the Giants. No Vanilla Ice quote needed here.

The "Biggest Insult to Journalism Ever" Award: Skip Bayless

If you know anything about Skip Bayless, you'll know that he has an unabashed man-crush on Tim Tebow. His dealings with him on First Take are Grade A comedy, and also the only time in your life when you'll feel sorry for Stephen A. Smith. One can only wonder what would happen if Thom Brennaman, Bayless, and Tebow were in a room all alone together... nah, I don't want to think about that.

The "Brian Bosworth" Award: Tim Tebow

When he patented "Tebowing" after his win against the Dolphins, and also shocked everyone with his ability to force people like Marion Barber to go out of bounds when he needed to stay in bounds, "Tebow Time" was born. It, like "the Boz", may have died in a phoenix flame with his two losses against New England and Buffalo, and would be even more hilarious if he can't beat the QB he essentially ran out of town in order to get Denver into the postseason.

And finally... "The Bernie Madoff Sham of the Year" Award: The NBA

Surprisingly, this doesn't go to the Wilpons even though this award would fit them perfectly.  No, the NBA led by Emperor Stern deserves this award. When they nearly lost their entire season due to a lockout, many thought that something would have changed for the league to have accomplished one of their missions, which was to bring about more competitive balance. And then... the team the NBA owns, the New Orleans Hornets, promptly tried to trade Chris Paul to the LA Lakers, proving that the lockout accomplished nothing. But then, Emperor Stern waved his magic wand, and the trade was vetoed for no reason that was legit in any way, other than "basketball reasons". Why Gary Bettman doesn't do this with every trade the Phoenix Coyotes try to make is beyond me, but anyway... Before the lockout, the NBA was still a sorry league in my mind, and with this trade fiasco, it didn't get a better profile. The league might as well have contracted 22 teams, because 8 are the only ones that will be able to compete.

Hope everyone enjoyed 2011, and here's to an interesting 2012, in which the world doesn't blow up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Week 16 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good Week 15? If you did, you're probably in the fantasy finals this weekend, or in the semis. This is it, and everything you have prepared for has come down to this one game, and knowing your matchups and who will be playing big and who won't is obviously key.

NOTE: Unless indicated, all games on Saturday.

Who to Start:

QB Rex Grossman (WSH) vs. MIN: He may not be the greatest option available, but he sure has plenty of people singing his fantasy praises, mainly because he's facing the absolutely dreadful Vikings secondary. He had a good game against a bad Giants secondary last week, and he may have an even better game this Sunday.

RB Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) vs. STL: If Big Ben doesn't play, his stock goes up even higher, but regardless, he'll have a huge game against the simply awful St. Louis defense, which seems to get torched every other week.

WR Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. OAK: Without a decent QB under center, he was left for dead as a decent fantasy starter. But with Orton starting and with Kansas City playing the Raiders secondary that gets torched every week, he should have a huge game this Sunday.

WR Santonio Holmes (NYJ) vs. NYG: The Jets have to win this Sunday, and it may be the most important game in Mark Sanchez's career. He's facing a terrible Giants secondary, so Sanchez could have a big game, and his favorite target Santonio Holmes should too.

TE Brent Celek (PHI) vs. DAL: He's had a renaissance as a fantasy option this season, and he should continue to have huge success, especially playing the listless Dallas defense. He also had a huge game against Dallas back in Week 8 which started his turn upward.

DEF Tennessee vs. JAX: The Jaguars offense has been offensive this season, and the Titans have to win this game in order to stay in the playoff hunt. The Titans are also ticked off after losing to Indy last week, so they may play with increased fervor against a bad Jaguars team.

Who to Sit:

QB Eli Manning (NYG) vs. NYJ: I know he's the 3rd best passer in the NFL in terms of yards this season, but he will have trouble against the Jets secondary, even though they got torched by the Eagles last week. The interceptions are probably going to be killer for Eli.

RB Peyton Hillis (CLE) vs. BAL: He's been a mainstay in the "sit" column for weeks now, and that won't change against the Ravens, who are mad after their bad loss in San Diego and haven't lost at home all season.

WR Brandon Lloyd (STL) vs. PIT: It really doesn't matter who starts under center for the Rams, it's not going to be pretty for them on Saturday against the Steelers, who don't give up much of anything on defense. Lloyd might as well be on the waiver wire.

WR Pierre Garcon (IND) vs. HOU: The Texans secondary has been awesome this season, and it will be tough for Dan Orlovsky to throw the ball down the field against this very good Texans secondary. The Colts will have trouble on a short week against the AFC South champs (I know, right? Houston winning anything...)

TE Greg Olsen (CAR) vs. TB: Sometimes he has big games, other times he's totally invisible, and he probably will be invisible this Saturday. It looks like Jeremy Shockey has become the number 1 target for Cam Newton at the TE position, so Olsen looks like one to bench.

DEF Chicago vs. GB SUN: I know it's hard to bench the Bears defense right now, but going up against the angry Packers team right now, it doesn't bode well for them. The Bears are essentially sacrificial lambs this week against Green Bay.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Matt Moore (MIA) vs. NE: It's no secret that the Patriots secondary is terrible, and Matt Moore may be able to feast on it on Saturday. The Dolphins have won 5 of 7, and they are playing well, and with Matt Moore looking good, he could be a decent sleeper option if you don't have a better one.

WR Demariyus Thomas (DEN) vs. BUF: The Bills secondary has been ravaged by injuries, and with Tebow time coming into town, Thomas could have a big game against the Bills who have lost 7 in a row since their 5-2 start.

TE Jared Cook (TEN) vs. JAX: The Jags have been torched all season by Tight Ends, and that probably will continue with Jared Cook on Saturday. He should see plenty of targets this weekend, and should have a big game.

Buyer Beware:

RB Marshawn "Skittles" Lynch (SEA) vs. SF: Obviously, he has had huge games in the past couple of weeks, but remember this when playing him: San Francisco has not allowed a rushing TD all season. Lynch may go into beast mode, but not do anything against the stout SF defense.

Good Luck in Week 16 and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Week 15 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good Week 14? Everyone should be in fantasy playoffs territory right now, so it's all or nothing, which means these conflicts that you inevitably have right now are the toughest of the season. So, making the right picks is extremely important.

Who to Start:

QB Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. OAK: He had a big game last week against a very bad Vikings secondary, and this week, he goes up against an equally bad Raiders secondary. The Lions have to keep winning in order to make the playoffs, and it will mean a throwing clinic for Matt Stafford on Sunday.

RB Beanie Wells (ARZ) vs. CLE: The Browns are second to last against the run, which means Arizona will likely try to run the football no matter whether Red John Skelton or Kevin Kolb is starting. Beanie has had an up and down season, but this week looks like to be an up week.

WR Jordy Nelson (GB) vs. KC: With Greg Jennings out for the remainder of the regular season, and with the Packers still having something to play for, Nelson should have a big game against a Kansas City secondary that got torched by Mark Sanchez of all people.

WR Santana Moss (WSH) vs. NYG: The Giants have had their fair share of problems defending the pass this season, and that probably won't change this Sunday. Rex Grossman has played better of late, so Moss should have a big game this week.

TE Tony Gonzalez (ATL) vs. JAX THU: Gonzalez is having another career year, and he should continue that pace against a very banged up Jaguars defense that doesn't defend the Tight End very well.

DEF Cincinnati vs. STL: The Rams offense has simply been offensive to watch this season (see Monday Night as your example), and the Bengals defense has been a very surprising unit the season. This is a great combination for fantasy owners.

Who to Sit:

QB Alex Smith (SF) vs. PIT MON: He's been wildly inconsistent this year, and going up against the Steelers defense will not help his fantasy case at all. Don't start him unless you have no other choice.

RB Peyton Hillis (CLE) vs. ARZ: Madden Curse! Hooray!

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI) vs. NYJ: His fantasy production has been terrible of late, and this doesn't bode well for owners when he has to play the Jets defense next. He's a very risky play this week.

WR Anquan Boldin (BAL) vs. SD: He has not been very good at all this season fantasy wise, and with the Chargers defense enjoying a nice resurgence of late, especially in the last 3 games, he's a risky start this week.

TE Greg Olsen (CAR) vs. HOU: Despite his good game a week ago, he's not a good play this week against a Texans defense that has been very good against Tight Ends this season.

DEF Denver vs. NE: Even though the Broncos defense has been touched by Tebow, they will not have a good game against the high powered Patriots offense.

3 Super Sleepers:

RB Felix Jones (DAL) vs. TB SAT: In the absence of DeMarco Murray, Jones should have a good game against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up 41 points to a Jaguars team that hadn't scored more than 20 in a game all season.

WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. NE: He should have a good game against the terrible New England secondary, and who knows, he may have some good numbers in the first half too.

DEF Arizona vs. CLE: The Browns will likely be starting Seneca Wallace on Sunday, which is a good sign for  a resurgent Arizona defense this season.

Buyer Beware:

RB Frank Gore (SF) vs. PIT MON: Even though he's very tough to bench at this point in the season, he will surely have some struggles against the stout Steelers defense, even though the 49ers will likely try to run to establish the tempo on offense.

Good Luck in Week 15!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 Week 14 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good Week 14? For some of you, it's playoff time, if not, it's about to be. So of course, the starts and sits are as big this week as ever, so making the right picks is crucial in a week like this. You can take off from looking at the MLB Hotstove for 10 minutes to read this, can't you?

Who to Start:

QB Matt Stafford (DET) vs. MIN: Even though he's been struggling big time of late, the Vikings should be the cure for what ails him. When Tim Tebow can throw for over 200 yards on a secondary, you know it's bad. Stafford should have a fantasy field day.

RB Reggie Bush (MIA) vs. PHI: He has been a good fantasy option in Miami's stretch of 4 wins in 5 contests, and he should have more success against the porous Eagles defense on Sunday.

WR Percy Harvin (MIN) vs. DET: He has been on fire of late, and is soon becoming Christian Ponder's favorite target. The Lions have been lit up in the secondary of late, so Harvin could have another big day in the Motor City.

WR Anquan Boldin (BAL) vs. IND: I know he has struggled at points this season, but he won't struggle against the awful Colts secondary, who just had 2 more regulars placed on IR this past week. Boldin could have a breakout game.

TE Kellen Winslow (TB) vs. JAX: No matter who is starting for the Bucs on Sunday in Jacksonville, Winslow could have a big day, because the Jaguars have had their Lions share of issues defending opposing Tight Ends. He's a risk, but one worth taking.

DEF Denver vs. CHI: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, are just 2 of the very potent Bears offensive stars that are not going to be playing in Denver. The offense looked abysmal against Kansas City last week, and Denver's defense has had a resurgence of late (Tebow Touch). Start them this week.

Who to Sit:

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ) vs. KC: I bet by saying this, he'll throw 3 TD's on Sunday, but nevertheless, he has been very tough to figure this season as a fantasy QB, so I'd watch out against the Chiefs, who have played well defensively in the last 2 weeks, only allowing 16 points total.

RB Peyton Hillis (CLE) vs. PIT THU: The Madden Curse has hit him maybe harder than anyone else ever afflicted with this terrible case. He should be playing on Thursday despite a hip injury, but don't expect him to do very much against the Steelers stout defense.

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI) vs. MIA: Whether he's given up or not, he should struggle no matter what against a resurgent Miami defense. Jackson's effort may be his biggest obstacle Sunday at Sun Life stadium.

WR Pierre Garcon (IND) vs. BAL: Don't let last Sunday's numbers fool you, he's still not a viable fantasy option under these circumstances. The Ravens are a hell of a lot better than New England is in the secondary, and garbage time won't be nearly as pretty for the Colts this time around.

TE Brandon Pettigrew (DET) vs. MIN: In the past few weeks, the only thing notable he's done on the scoresheet is get a personal foul for punching a ref. With the Vikings having only allowed 4 total TD's to opposing Tight Ends this season, Pettigrew should ride your bench.

DEF Tennessee vs. NO: They've quietly been the reason why the Titans are in playoff contention, and have been a solid fantasy defense as well. However, they may have some trouble against Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense, the likes of which the Titans haven't seen all season.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Whoever starts for Tampa vs. JAX: The injury riddled Jaguars secondary was torched on Monday Night against San Diego, and if you're truly desperate, one of Josh Freeman, Josh Johnson, or even Rudy Carpenter, could be major sleeper options.

TE Heath Miller (PIT) vs. CLE THU: The Steelers usually find success against the lowly Browns, and Heath Miller should be no exception. He has often scored TD's against the Browns, and I have a feeling he will again.

DEF Seattle vs. STL MON: The Rams may have to start an injured Sam Bradford or a 3rd string Tom Brandstater (Go Fresno State) on Monday, so this defense which picked off Vince Young 4 times, may have another big game.

Buyer Beware:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. CLE THU: The Browns in a season of struggles have had a big season in the secondary defending the pass, so that could be a warning sign against starting Big Ben on Thursday.

Good Luck in Week 14!