Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 Week 9 Fantasy Advice

No hurri-mega-super-franken-Nor'Easter-thing storm is going to stop me from writing this column every Wednesday. Sandy, you have lost. I'd probably be able to beat her in fantasy every week, but after I get hit with a 70 mph wind gust, I don't think that would matter.

Byes: NE, STL, NYJ, SF

Who to Start:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. NYG: The Giants secondary may have had 4 interceptions against Dallas last Sunday, but they were complicit in blowing a 23-0 lead by the end of the 3rd quarter. Big Ben could have a big week against another NFC East team this week after he torched the Redskins last week.

RB Alfred Morris (WSH) vs. CAR: In the Shanahan carousel of running backs, Morris seems to have been the only one to stay on course. He faces a terrible Carolina running defense this week, who have given up 8 rushing TD's on the season.

WR Denarius Moore (OAK) vs. TB: Is it true that every Tampa Bay corner aside from Ronde Barber is suspended for using Adderall? Sweeping generalizations aside, Moore could be in for a big game against the Bucs secondary that hasn't been much good with their best corners in the lineup.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND) vs. MIA: He has had a resurgent season with Andrew Luck under center, and this week, he faces a sketchy Miami secondary, who had their lapses last week even when they were fairly dominant. He could have a big game this Sunday.

TE Owen Daniels (HOU) vs. BUF: Remember all the money that the Bills spent this offseason to fix their defense? I can see it burning a hole in Mr. Wilson's pocket from hundreds of miles away. They are 29th against the pass, which bodes well for Owen Daniels to have a big game.

DEF Detroit vs. JAX: Even though I am a Jaguars die-hard, I know one thing: Fantasy defenses are great against the Jags. Detroit is up next.

Who to Sit:

QB Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. CLE: This is one of those matchup sits that I hate putting here, but with the way Cleveland has played in their last 3 games, and the way Flacco looked before the bye in Houston, you know why he's here.

RB Donald Brown (IND) vs. MIA: He has two things working against him this Sunday: One of them is the emergence of Vick Ballard, and second is Miami's rush defense, which is one of the most underrated units in the league. Avoid starting him.

WR Kenny Britt (TEN) vs. CHI: The Bears pass defense is one of the best units in the league, and Britt has been a major fantasy disappointment this season (along with most of the Titans offense), and the matchup makes things worse.

WR Santana Moss (WSH) vs. CAR: Even though the Panthers have problems defending the run, they have been very good at defending the pass. Moss could be in trouble this week fantasy wise, when we might see more of RG3 running than passing.

TE Anthony Fasano (MIA) vs. IND: His fantasy stature might be heightened a tad if Matt Moore starts, but all he does really is score TD's, and he hasn't been doing to much of that this season. The Colts are great at defending the Tight End, too.

DEF Philadelphia vs. NO MON: Yeah, I don't really have to explain this one.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Josh Freeman (TB) vs. OAK: What was in his water for the past couple of weeks? It has helped that he's been facing terrible pass defenses in KC, NO, and MIN, and now gets to face the Raiders. He might be in for another big day.

RB Mikel Leshoure (DET) vs. JAX: The Jags haven't been that impressive in defending the run this season, so Leshoure might be in for one of his best days yet on Sunday, even though he's a sketchy flex option otherwise.

WR Lance Moore (NO) vs. PHI MON: This game is going to be a track meet. Therefore, anyone and everyone could have big numbers on Monday Night, including Moore.

Buyer Beware:

QB Eli Manning (NYG) vs. PIT: I know he's hard to bench, and the Steelers defense has been banged up this season, but they have been playing much better since their bye week, after the first 3 games when they got torn apart. I wouldn't bench him unless you have a vastly superior matchup.

Good Luck in Week 9!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy NBA Season... It's starting?

According to ESPN, the NBA season is starting tonight. Could have fooled me. If I never watched ESPN as much as I do, I might have never figured out that the NBA season was starting tonight (I just survived a Hurri-Nor'Easter). I could tell you what day the baseball regular season starts next year, when the hockey regular season starts, and recite the schedule of a good chunk of NFL teams from memory, but I'd never be able to tell you when the NBA regular season starts. It's not because I don't care about the league, far from it, in fact, I hate the league with a burning passion (which many people will argue is a heightened form of caring). But, there are a number of reasons as to why I don't care to watch Celtics/Heat tonight, or any big game all season, and why I'd just rather ignore them.

The 82 game grind of an NBA regular season might be the most meaningless entity in all of sports. A random game between Utah and Milwaukee, for example, means absolutely nothing to anyone except the fans of the two teams, and people who work for the two organizations. You could say that about any league, I know, but even from supposed die-hard NBA fans, they don't care either. I, as a crazy hockey fan, would sit down and watch a terrible Columbus-NY Islanders game because I love the sport and sometimes just watching a hockey game would be worth my attention. I'd go to any MLB game because going to the ballpark is something that you can't experience on your couch. Every NFL and college football game means nearly everything, so of course we'll watch those with eagerness. Even European soccer makes me want to get up early to watch crappy games because they all have an air of meaning and drama to them. An NBA regular season game plucked off the line from January could be dogged by both teams and be a total waste of time to watch. There is no other sport where that is the case.

Even the first 2 rounds of the NBA playoffs don't matter. All that's being done is weeding out the terrible teams that somehow made the playoffs because there are 8 teams from each conference that made it. Does anyone want to watch a first round series between amazing Miami and mediocre Toronto when you know the Heat will win the series in 4 or 5 and it won't even be close. At least the MLB Wild Card game, problems in all, is a one game playoff! Win or go home says it all. The NBA playoffs don't matter until the Conference Finals, but in every other major American sport, every playoff game matters. There is nothing more tense than sitting through an NHL playoff game in OT, but an NBA playoff OT game? I don't feel the tension. In the first 2 rounds of the NBA postseason, there is a sense of inevitability that you feel when you watch first round series that you know who is going to win, and you're stuck watching the games. I don't get that sense from any other American sport.

The most top-heavy sport for me is European Soccer, where it is a guaranteed certainty that one of 3 teams will win a title in most major European leagues. But, there is a sense of drama in the supposed meaningless games because of relegation, which doesn't exist in any other sport. Anyone who watched Survival Sunday (the final Sunday of the EPL season in May), knows what I'm on about. It's crazy amounts of tense. The NBA can't offer you that in a Bobcats-Wizards game. It's meaningless and even the fans of the teams involved know it's meaningless. I'd still watch a Jags-Chiefs game this season (aside from the fact I'm a Jags fan), because even if it's a terrible football game, it's a football game. A terrible hockey game is a terrible hockey game, but I'll still watch it. I'll never watch a terrible NBA game, as it just might be an infomercial. There are so many more of them in that league than any other.

In the NBA preseason, almost everyone predicts that the Finals will be Heat-Lakers. If you completely ignored the NBA until the Finals began in June, and you saw that Finals, you would know that everything else in the season was meaningless. In that respect, I'd much rather be totally off in my preseason predictions  than totally right.

In short, the NBA has games that clearly don't matter, but in all the other sports I love to death, every single game matters, even in baseball, if solely for awards purposes. Every game has to matter for me to care. And in the NBA, since they don't all matter, then I feel I shouldn't give my all in watching them, or caring about them.

Hate is one thing. Apathy fuelled hate is another.

They Might be Giants... Twice over.

Yes, I did predict them to make the World Series before the season started (you can check that one out for verification). Yes, I also predicted that they would win the World Series before the postseason started. My apologies to Giants fans went unfounded, actually. But even the man who put so much faith in them this season, was surprised to see how good the San Francisco Giants really were. They were 6-0 in elimination games, 4 of them on the road. Their bullpen, which was supposed to be sketchy, was dominant. No Brian Wilson, no problem. About that whole Melky Cabrera thing? Yeah, no problem. The Giants just role with the punches, and they rolled with it, all the way to lifting the Comissioner's Trophy.

"Giants Baseball: Torture!" was the slogan for the Giants in 2010 when they won the World Series. I'm not sure how many times Duane Kuiper used that slogan on the way to the World Series this year, but it certainly was present, especially when Brian Wilson went down in April. Big trades were made to get Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, amongst others, and the Giants went from being a fringe playoff team, to a runaway NL West champ, while the Dodgers spent money like the U.S government. That's how it's done.

How the Reds and Cardinals choked, I won't ever figure it out, especially the Cardinals, who made coming back an art form. The Tigers might have well not shown up for the World Series. That left the Giants, who went about winning with a calm and collectiveness, aside from Pablo Sandoval's 3 homer game in WS Game 1.

Congrats to the Giants on their second World Series in 3 years. Not many thought it could happen (except me), but now that it has happened again, the people of San Francisco can celebrate a champion again, like they well deserve.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 Week 8 Fantasy Advice

I'm hoping to ride the momentum I have from correctly predicting the World Series preseason in this column today. Lord knows since my real team is so awful, that my fantasy team and picks should be much better by comparison, right?


Who to Start:

QB Andrew Luck (IND) vs. TEN: While Luck and the Colts have been poor on the road compared to at the Luke, the matchup against the Titans is a very appetizing one. The Titans defense has been abysmal this season, especially in the secondary. Easy call this week.

RB Reggie Bush (MIA) vs. NYJ: He's very quietly had a good season for the Dolphins, taking some of the pressure off of Ryan Tannehill. The Jets rushing defense has been nowhere near Rex Ryan caliber all season, so this matchup is a good one for Bush owners.

WR Eric Decker (DEN) vs. NO: I expect each of the Saints and the Broncos to score 40 plus on Sunday Night, therefore, Decker will have a big game because Peyton will dice apart this terrible New Orleans secondary.

WR Miles Austin (DAL) vs. NYG: A week after the Giants secondary got torched by RG3, Tony Romo and the Cowboys, hot off a decent win, could be primed for a breakout performance. Austin will be the beneficiary of that.

TE Heath Miller (PIT) vs. WSH: Big Ben's goal for awhile now has been to get Heath Miller into the Pro Bowl. With his start to the season, I'd expect that to be an attainable goal. Miller's case will improve some more against the Redskins, a team that has been terrible at covering Tight Ends this season.

DEF Green Bay vs. JAX: Even though the Packers won't have Charles Woodson, this is a lock because Chad Henne might sniff the field. Did you see him against Oakland last week?

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Stafford (DET) vs. SEA: It seems every week he's falling into this particular spot, which is bad news for Lions fans, and his fantasy owners. Into the Motor City come the the Seahawks, with 10 days of rest and the league's best secondary in tow. Maybe the fans should just wait until Game 4 later that night.

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (ARZ) vs. SF MON: He had a big game last week against Minnesota, mainly because of the whole next running back up thing going on in Arizona right now. The 49ers defense looks much better, and will be well rested, so this is a risky start.

WR Brandon Lloyd (NE) vs. STL in London: Despite the Rams not being an amazing squad, they do have a very good secondary duo. Lloyd is at risk of being shut down big time on the Wembley pitch.

WR Brian Hartline (MIA) vs. NYJ: He is very inconsistent, as noted by his performances right after the 253 yard outbreak in Arizona. Antonio Cromartie has been very good since Revis Island was washed up, so Hartline could be in for a tough day.

TE Chris Cooley (WSH) vs. PIT: He's back! While it may seem tempting to take this former fantasy standout and pop him right into your starting line-up, don't do it. He and Logan Paulsen will share snaps most likely, and the Steelers defense is looking good right now.

DEF Philadelphia vs. ATL: While I do think Atlanta will lose this game, it might be more of a shootout variety than a defensive struggle. The Eagles will have their first game under new D Coordinator Todd Bowles, so this could be a feeling out game for the star-studded unit.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Brandon Weeden (CLE) vs. SD: He has been picking up the pace lately for a once lackluster offense, and he could have another good week against a favorable Chargers team. He might be a good option if your fantasy starter is on a bye.

WR Kenny Britt (TEN) vs. IND: He has to have a good game at some point, right? The Colts in their 2 road games have been torched by Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez, so why can't Matt Hasselbeck do the same thing? Britt may have a big game in Nashville on Sunday.

DEF Oakland vs. KC: I said last week that they had a good matchup on their hands, and they didn't disappoint (except in the points department). This week, they face another backup thrust into the starting role in Brady Quinn, and another bad offense. They could have a big week again.

Buyer Beware:

RB Shonn Greene (NYJ) vs. MIA: He's been very good in the past 2 weeks for the Jets, yet Miami's defense will provide a good test for the back. They've only allowed 2 rushing TD's all season.

Good Luck in Week 8!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Plight of a Kicker

They come from all over the globe. These people hail from places like Armenia, Hungary, Denmark, Australia, and many other places where you would not think to find these people. They are those who have been educated in the game later, and in some cases they just wanted to fit in. They are the oft under appreciated, yet more often hated, kicker. There is no other position in sports around the world like that of a football kicker. And yet, I doubt anyone actually wants to be a kicker (maybe that's why punters exist). Why am I writing about these people? There was an experience this weekend that jogged my thoughts about these , in some cases, poor people.

In the game between NC State and Maryland, the Terrapins kicker, freshman Brad Craddock (who hails from a land down under, by the way), missed an extra point, and later, the game-winning 34 yard field goal. The poor guy was ripped a new one by almost everyone, from the student that left the game at halftime, to his coach, in a roundabout way. These guys are often the lightning rod for criticism when a team loses a game like Maryland did on Saturday, and nearly all of the time it's not fair to these poor souls. How else are they going to sniff the field turf of the gridiron otherwise if they didn't try their luck being a kicker? Kickers are often some of the most humble, and honest people on a football team, and yet they never get the credit they deserve for being under immense pressure when the game is down to their kick. There are so many things that can go wrong on any kick, and the kicker almost always gets the blame. It's not fair.

To those that want to whine and cry about their kicker not being able to make the clutch kick when called upon: I would like to see you try to do that yourself. Yes, that has been said probably thousands of time in defense of kickers, but it never hits home more than now, for me. Terps running back Wes Brown took the blame himself for their loss because of his fumble on the third to last drive for the Terps, and that takes some stones to do, no matter how culpable you actually are. But to those who believe that kicking is the easiest thing to do on the football field, you'd probably be best at channelling in your inner Adam Sandler and staying as the waterboy. Just because kicking a ball through some uprights doesn't seem difficult doesn't mean it actually isn't (I've tried it before, and it is much harder than it looks).

It is assumed that every kick under 40 yards is easy (unless you're Billy Cundiff, as one astute student pointed out). But go ask any kicker and they'll tell you it really isn't. That's not a groundbreaking observation, but at a stage of pure anger and vitriol, it might as well be the only response worth receiving. There are enough other things that can go wrong in a football game that make missing a field goal look like chump change (I'm a Jaguars fan, so a missed field goal is the least that can go wrong). "When your kicker makes the game winning field goal, he is treated as a hero, but if he misses, he might as well change his name to Alan Smithee", is a thought often dreamt up by many, if not all football fans. It's outdated and should be thrown aside.

Yes, it is very easy to blame the kicker, as opposed to blaming all the other mistakes a team might make on their way to a loss like that. Just ask the Vikings of 1998, the Chiefs of 1995, and the Ravens of 2011 what they think about their kickers. Put, without them, those teams would have been nowhere near where they actually ended up. And give them credit as well for this factoid: No one else on the football field in uniform is older than they are, so they can put off cashing in that 401K. They're also not going to be the ones suing the league due to concussions, so there's that too.

Just either appreciate, or loathe kickers in silence. The same tired, jaded thoughts about them have been regurgitated over and over again, so hearing them for the 100,000th occasion is nothing new, and is in fact, very annoying...

And, don't forget: Icing the kicker often fails, so they at least are better than some of us when under pressure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Week 7 Fantasy Advice

2 points before we begin this column proper. One, this column had a higher hit rate than my Week 6 picks did (I went 5-9). 2, how the heck are we already at Week 7 already? This goes by too fast.


Who to Start:

QB Carson Palmer (OAK) vs. JAX: Despite the fact that Palmer himself gave away the game against Atlanta, he should have a good game against a Jaguars secondary without its free safety who is a major stabilizing influence, and that will have problems dealing with Oakland's speed.

RB C.J Spiller (BUF) vs. TEN: He is the most explosive playmaker on Buffalo's offense, and even though he is not top choice due to Fred Jackson's presence, he could have a big game against a Titans defense that has had major problems stopping the run.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND) vs. CLE: The Browns just gave Andy Dalton a career high in pass yards a week ago, and even with Joe Haden, they struggle to defend the pass. Wayne could have another huge day for the Colts at home.

WR Vincent Jackson (TB) vs. NO: He had a big week against the porous Kansas City secondary, and next up are the Saints whose secondary is still a sketchy spot. He could have another huge game if Josh Freeman cooperates.

TE Jason Witten (DAL) vs. CAR: The Panthers defense has been bad at defending Tight Ends so far this season, so Witten might have another big game going up against these linebackers.

DEF Minnesota vs. ARZ: The Cardinals offensive line is, and there is no other word for it, a sieve. With John Skelton now under center, the Vikings defense could have a big bounce back game at the homerdome on Sunday.

Who to Sit:

QB Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. CHI MON: The Bears defense has been absolutely ferocious this season, especially forcing turnovers, and with the Lions still struggling to hold onto the ball, especially Stafford himself, this is a start to avoid.

RB Shonn Greene (NYJ) vs. NE: I know that he just had a huge game against the Colts. But, if you would, please repeat the last 3 words. Now you know why he had that big game. The Patriots are much better at defending the run, so ground and pound might fizzle a bit this week.

WR Brandon Lloyd (NE) vs. NYJ: Despite the Jets having Revis Island washed up, Antonio Cromartie has been very good in his absence. He will force Brandon Lloyd to be uncomfortable, meaning Tom Brady might not get him the ball very often.

WR Michael Crabtree (SF) vs. SEA THU: My guess is that you should probably sit all of your 49ers receivers because of how good the Seahawks defense is. But Crabtree could truly be in for a bad night against the league's best pass defense.

TE Fred Davis (WSH) vs. NYG: Hard to believe, but the Giants defense has not yet surrendered a TD to opposing Tight End's this season. Due to that, Fred Davis could be in for a tough afternoon on the stat sheet.

DEF New Orleans vs. TB: Based on their first 5 games, I don't think this should come as a surprise to anybody.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. HOU: This is the definition of a super sleeper. We know the Texans defense can be very good, but it did just get shredded last week. Flacco has been very good on the road this season, so he might attack the now vulnerable Jonathan Joseph early to build up some fantasy stats.

RB Felix Jones (DAL) vs. CAR: No DeMarco Murray for the Cowboys on Sunday means it's all on Felix Jones to carry the load. But, it might go well against a sketchy Carolina rushing defense.

DEF Oakland vs. JAX: Once again I dig deep into my bag of tricks for this one. They picked off Matt Ryan thrice last Sunday, and now they go up against the worst passing and scoring offense in football. If they can get a pass rush going, this could be a big day for that unit.

Buyer Beware:

WR Steve Smith (CAR) vs. DAL: Even though the Cowboys secondary struggled last week, they have only allowed one opposing #1 wideout to go into double digit fantasy points according to Smith might struggle on Sunday.

Good Luck in Week 7!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Peyton Manning is Back... Kind Of

Most of us not tuned into the NLCS were watching the astounding comeback by the Broncos from 24 down at halftime to beat the Chargers on MNF. Peyton Manning showed some of his "vintage" form in that comeback by orchestrating the no-huddle offense to perfection and making the Chargers defense look like one of the worst in football, as he often did when he was a Colt. Cue the "Broncos comeback, as does Peyton" columns all across the NFL world (this piece is one... sort of). But, Peyton was never really not himself, but the Broncos lack of talent made him look like he was way off his game.  This is the kind of game that sets a team on a season long run, so for the Broncos, this will be a marker of future successes, so marking this as Peyton's true comeback game will be common, but a misjudgement.

On the talent front, Peyton Manning hasn't had this little talent on offense maybe since his rookie year. This is not a slight at Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, or any other of the Broncos skill position players, but more a comparison to remind people of what Peyton worked with when the Colts were one of the class teams in football. Those great Colts teams had 2 top flight receivers in Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, an all-pro at running back in Edgerrin James, and Dallas Clark, to boot. Don't forget about the consistency of an offensive line staying together for years at a time. Compared to what Peyton has now, most every Colts team from 1999 to 2010 looks like it was better on paper. Put any of these receivers on Jacksonville right now, and they'd most likely be invisible on the stat sheet.

But, I hear some of you already chomping at the bit to say, "But what about the Falcons game earlier in the season?" Peyton, like every other quarterback in football, has those games, and there were some pretty egregious examples when he was a Colt (see the 2003 AFC Title Game). But even in that game, that was more a result of good defense by the Patriots than the Colts lack of talent. The 2010 Colts were one of the least talented teams to win a division title in a long time, 2008 Chargers notwithstanding, and that was on the lack of talent the Colts had. But even that team I believe could beat these 2012 Broncos in a game.

The Broncos might have started 2-3, which was Peyton Manning's worst start to a season since 2001 (the last time a team with Peyton as its opening day starter missed the postseason), but that can be chalked up to the caliber of opponent, and overall lack of players on offense that defensive coordinators must gameplan against. Peyton Manning is well used to compensating for a lackluster defense, but coming back from a 24 point deficit to win by double digits, which had never been done before until last night, is new. Whether it was mainly the Chargers choking or what, you need a QB to snatch the win for you, and there is no better at that than Peyton Manning.

All of the talk that Peyton Manning was a shell of his former self looks to be a bit unfounded now, doesn't it? He's just as good as he ever was as a Colt, even with less talent on offense than he maybe has ever had. The Broncos are AFC West favorites now because of that.

Peyton Manning isn't back, but that's because he was never done to begin with.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 Week 6 Fantasy Advice

I might actually be getting better at this. Or, I'm just getting lucky. I'll go with the latter.


Who to Start:

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. OAK: I should just put him permanently in this slot, but I'd like to recommend other QB's at times for the rest of the season. Even though the Raiders are coming off a bye, the Falcons signal caller will tear the terrible secondary apart.

RB Trent Richardson (CLE) vs. CIN: In Week 2, Trent Richardson had a big game for the Browns. He did last week as well against the Giants, and he should have another good game against the Bengals, maybe even topping the 140 total yards he got last time.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND) vs. NYJ: Who would have thought he's had as good of a year as he has had, despite losing Peyton Manning? Despite going up against Antonio Cromartie, Wayne should probably have another big game for the Colts.

WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. SD MON: After the Chargers defense got lit up by Drew Brees last Sunday Night, Peyton might be licking his chops. Thomas has over 500 yards receiving already, and going up against the shaky Chargers pass defense, he might have another big game.

TE Heath Miller (PIT) vs. TEN THU: The Titans are statistically the worst team in the league at defending the Tight End, so Miller should have a big game against the terrible Titans defense.

DEF Baltimore vs. DAL: Even though the Ravens defense has shown to have some issues in the past couple of weeks, they go up against the ever-so-reliable Dallas offense. This should be a good bounce back week.

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Stafford (DET) vs. PHI: The Lions have had their lion share (pun very intended) of problems on both sides of the ball so far this season, and it gets no easier coming off their bye when they face the very stout Eagles defense. Stafford is one to avoid.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) vs. SF: Yes, he did have 200 yards last week. Yes, maybe the Giants have a semblance of a running game this season. And yes, they are facing the 49ers this week, so that form is likely to die off at Candlestick on Sunday.

WR Jordy Nelson (GB) vs. HOU: He had 15 touchdowns last season, but he is not even in the Top 30 of fantasy wide receivers in terms of points this season. It doesn't help that he's going up against the outstanding Houston secondary, either.

WR Brandon Lloyd (NE) vs. SEA: The Seahawks have allowed 19 points total in 2 home games this season, and their defense has been nasty. While you won't bench your Pats must plays, Lloyd is a man that should be avoided due to this matchup problem.

TE Scott Chandler (BUF) vs. ARZ: He has been the biggest fantasy surprise at the TE position this season, but he could have some troubles against the stout Arizona Cardinals defense on Sunday. He might be a man to avoid.

DEF New York Jets vs. IND: Even though the Colts offense is not quite the Texans offense, it still has the possibility to put up some points. The Jets D is shaky, obviously, so this unit is not one to start.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Christian Ponder (MIN) vs. WSH: He's not been a statistical marvel this season, but he's been very consistent this season. The Redskins secondary is not very good, so if you need a spot starter, Ponder is a very solid option.

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (CIN) vs. CLE: He's struggled some this season, but despite that, he's going up against a rush defense that allowed 200 yards to Ahmad Bradshaw last week. Easy call.

DEF St. Louis vs. MIA: This unit has undergone a renaissance of sorts under Jeff Fisher, and is silently a very competent one. Going up against a rookie QB in Ryan Tannehill, the Rams D could put up some decent points for you.

Buyer Beware:

WR Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. TB: The guy tossing him the magic bean is Brady Quinn, and this is not 2005. He could struggle big time, even going up against the favorable Bucs secondary.

Good Luck in Week 6!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My 2012 MLB Postseason Predictions

Now that I have reminded you all how human I am in preseason predictions, now it's time to remind you how human I am in postseason predictions. I wonder...

AL Wild Card:  TEX over BAL
NL Wild Card: ATL over STL

ALDS: DET over OAK in 5
           NYY over TEX in 5

NLDS:  WSH over ATL in 4
             SF over CIN in 5

ALCS:  NYY over DET in 5
NLCS: SF over WSH in 6

2012 World Series: SF over NYY in 6

Sorry in advance to Giants and Yankees fans everywhere (actually, I'm not sorry for Yankees fans).

My 2012 MLB Season Predictions in Review

At the end of the regular season for the sports I follow, I always like to take a look back at my pre-season predictions to see how dumb or smart I was. Now is that time for MLB. How dumb/smart was I at the start of the season? Let's take a look.

AL Predictions:

I got 2 of the 3 division winners correct with the Yankees and Tigers. I missed on the Rangers winning the AL West, despite them being the wildcard, and I totally struck out on both the Angels and Rays, but then again, most people did. I grossly underrated the A's, O's, and White Sox, but again, I think most people did, so I won't hit myself for that. I overrated Toronto, Kansas City, and Cleveland to a pretty decent degree, though. I think I was pretty much on the ball with the American League.

NL Predictions:

Because I love to self-promote, I did pick the Nats to make the playoffs. Yes, I did pick them as the 2nd wild card, but not many people had them in the postseason. I had the Cardinals winning the Central, and they are the second wild card, and I also predicted the Giants to win the NL West. I missed badly on both Milwaukee and Philly (and I'm not complaining about the latter). I underrated the Braves and Reds mostly, and overrated Philly and Milwaukee. I was not suckered in by the Marlins, thankfully.

AL Award Winners (with postseason comments in brackets):

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera (Hey, don't I look pretty smart now? Although, I think Mike Trout will win)

AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver (Another one where I feel I might have hit the nail. Has competition, though)
Manager: Joe Maddon (The Buck Truck surely ran him over, right?)
Rookie: Matt Moore (This pick stinks like a fish)
Comeback: Joe Nathan (Another possible award winner here, but I'm not so sure)
HR Champ: Jose Bautista (The guy I picked for MVP won the Triple Crown, so I'm wrong)

NL Award Winners (with postseason comments in brackets):

NL MVP: Ryan Zimmerman (Highly unlikely he wins it, but good season for him)
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum (Whoops)
Manager: Davey Johnson (Another award that really worked out well for me)
Rookie: Drew Pomeranz (About that Bryce Harper kid...)
Comeback: Adam Wainwright (No chance)
HR Champ: Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton (His season went much like the Marlins season did)

Since I am posting this prior to the Wild Card Games, I should remind you all that my World Series pick was Tigers over Giants, so I'm on the right track. That one, I'll most certainly screw up, though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012 Week 5 Fantasy Advice

I'm wondering as I write these columns, "Is this why I never do well in my real leagues, because I can't make a decent pick for beans?" Since the answer to that question is most certainly yes, I will keep writing this column for an extended period of time because I have to fill this blog with some content during the week.


Who to Start:

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. WSH: The 4-0 Falcons are that way because of their offense, and Matt Ryan has feasted on the poor defenses he's had to play so far. And next, he gets to play Washington! Absolute must-start this Sunday.

RB Frank Gore (SF) vs. BUF: Even though this seems like a more obvious start than it really is, the Bills gave up 242 yards rushing to New England last week. Yes, the team that can't run the ball for beans. Gore will gore (pun intended) the Bills rushing defense on Sunday.

WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. NE: The Pats secondary has been torched in the past 2 weeks by both Baltimore and Buffalo, and now Peyton Manning and Denver come to town. Thomas should have a big game on Sunday.

WR Alshon Jeffery (CHI) vs. JAX: Despite the fact he only has 12 catches on the year, the Jaguars secondary is a very good matchup for Jeffery, mainly because Jay Cutler is not likely to be sacked too often on Sunday. He could see a nice uptick in production on Sunday.

TE Dennis Pitta (BAL) vs. KC: Yes, he scored 0 fantasy points last Thursday. But the good news, is that the Chiefs defense gets torn apart by everyone, so even Dennis Pitta should have a decent amount of fantasy success on Sunday.

DEF New York Giants vs. CLE: It's way too obvious.

Who to Sit:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. PHI: Even though he is coming off the bye week, the Eagles defense has been very stout this season. Ben has had some troubling moments here and there in the Steelers first 3 games, so he might be a guy to avoid come Sunday.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR) vs. SEA: While Seattle's offense is questionable, their defense is not. They can stop the run. Williams and his partner-in-crime Jonathan Stewart could have big problems putting up points against the Seattle defense.

WR Pierre Garcon (WSH) vs. ATL: That foot injury might still be bothering him some, and the Falcons defense despite points issues, has been pretty good at defending the pass this season. He might be one to avoid.

WR Brian Hartline (MIA) vs. CIN: Just because he had the best receiving day in Dolphins history last Sunday doesn't make him an automatic fantasy start. The Bengals banged up secondary had a great game last week, and could get healthier this week, meaning Hartline is a risk. 

TE Coby Fleener (IND) vs. GB: He had a fast start to the season, but has faded from the stat-sheet of late. The Packers have done a good job defending the Tight End this season, so Fleener is a risky start.

DEF New York Jets vs. HOU MON: Do I even have to explain why?

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. MIA: The Dolphins secondary has been good, but not great. It doesn't have a lot of depth, either. Dalton and the Bengals pass offense should take advantage of that.

RB Michael Bush (CHI) vs. JAX: The Jaguars pass defense has been bad,  but their rush D has been worse. With Matt Forte still a bit hobbled, Bush could see some carries, and therefore yards, on Sunday.

WR Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. NO: Even though he has struggled some in the last 2 games, he goes up against the putrid Saints secondary. He could, finally, have a big game.

Buyer Beware:

QB Matt Schaub (HOU) vs. NYJ MON: And it's not because I like the Jets defense (see above). The Texans will gash the Jets horrible run defense to a new level, so Schaub will barely have to throw the ball. He is a risky option on Monday.

Good luck in Week 5!