Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 7 Awards- NBA Edition

There is a lot to talk about this morning. Not only did the NBA season kick off last night with the Celtics beating the Heat, but the Dallas Cowboy's season has effectively come to an end with Tony Romo's injury. That sound you heard was thousands of people piling off bandwagons.

"The Dallas Cowboys will be the first team to host and play in the Super Bowl!" - Any ESPN Analyst
"The Miami Heat are favorites to win the NBA Championship and the season hasn't begun!" - Vegas Bookies

Let's set something straight before we begin. I am a Miami Heat sympathizer. I am not a Heat fan. I'm a fan of the Washington Wizards. I sympathize with the Heat, however, because I am not a proponent of irrational sports hate. That said, I hate the Dallas Cowboys albeit, rationally. Let me explain.

Unless you lived in Cleveland or grew up a Cavaliers fan and were decimated by The Decision, you are taking your sports hatred way too far. I get it. You're probably bitter LeBron didn't come to your team.

"No way! I would never want that self-involved, egotistical, boob on my team ever!" - Generic reader who hates LeBron.

I'm sure you'd say that if he signed with your team. ("You're darn right I would! Obviously I've made a bold statement that I can't go back on, so I'll commit myself entirely to the stance that LeBron is not even good at basketball. Heck, I think I like Kobe now!" - same generic reader who I am no longer friends with).

There was enough hate going around after The Decision to choke a donkey. LeBron is a sidekick, Jordon would never do that, it's Dwayne Wade's team, LeBron's legacy is ruined, a Baby Ruth is a terrible excuse for a candy bar.

So be it. Let me be the first (or likely, 4,531st) to say that the hate has gone to far. If you watched any of the game last night, and I'm sure you didn't because no one watches regular season NBA, you saw that LeBron took that game over in the second half. Granted, they were down 19 at the time but when Bron turned it on that lead disintegrated to 6 points. He's still the best player in the league overall. The man can dominate, or have a very high success rate, at every position. The hate has gone too far.

That said, the Heat looked awful. Bill Simmons accurately tweeted during the game "Miami looks like they just met 45 minutes ago." It good.

Other things to note about that game:
1) The atmosphere was Eastern Conference Finals worthy. Boston Garden was jam packed and the crowd was going nuts. There were more illiterate 18-34 year old males watching this game than there are at Real World house party when the Jersey Shore crew comes over.
2) This was Dwayne Wade's first game with this team, due to him playing only 3 minutes of pre-season before succumbing to a hamstring injury. That affects how you play, it just does. He played terrible yesterday, he looked like cloven-hoofed animal trying to crochet a cardigan.
3) Name the starting center for the Heat. That is a problem.
4) None of the Three Amigos were playing in their usual roles. LeBron and Wade don't know how to co-exist yet, and Bosh looked uncomfortable. He looked like he needed approval from Bron/Wade on everything he did. Did I tie my shoes ok, guys? Should I tuck my jersey in? What are you guys talking about over there!?!!
5) I can go on and on, but you're probably already considering closing this window cause you're tired of the Heat and don't care about the NBA that much.

Here's what I'm saying: the hate on the Heat has gone too far and don't be irrational about how you feel about LeBron. He's a stud no matter what decision he made. If you say he isn't you just don't know anything about sports and I would like to fight you.

On to the Fantasy Football Awards.

The Tony Romo Award- I have Romo on my team and him suffering essentially a season-ending collarbone injury is just what I needed. I can't root for Romo week-to-week. I just can't. I drafted him because I wanted an elite QB who could score a lot of points. Like you, I'm still confused as to why I drafted Romo. If we've learned anything this year its that he is just an above average QB.

You have to face facts. He plays in Dallas, sure, but he's not a star. He's just a good quarterback with good weapons around him. You think Dallas going 1-5 is entirely Wade Phillips fault? Partly, yes. Mostly, probably. However, they're losing games they are in the position to win because they have no leadership on the field. They act entitled and better than they are. There is no reason this team should be 1-5, in fact, more likely they should be 5-1. Romo can't come from behind (quit it), he can't control the offense and, just like my fantasy team, he can't lead them to victory. I'm glad I had a reason to drop him.

The Boston Celtics Award- Just when you think the old guys with fading talents are safe to write off, they surprise you with the play of one young stud. Tom gets this award for absolutely decimating my team this week at the hand of Darren McFadden and his 4 touchdowns. Tom's highest point total going into this week? 91 points. His score against me? 148. I smell a "post motherlovers hangover" coming up.

Sidenote: During the first quarter of the game last night I almost Tweeted, "After the playoffs last year, I'm not really afraid of Ray Allen's jumper anymore." He was 5-8 from beyond the arc. It's good to think before you speak.

The Miami Heat Award- An over-hyped team comes crashing down to reality when they play a good opponent. 6-0 Ricky matched up against Jimmy this week and finally got handed his first loss. Bad luck? I say nay-nay. Ricky finally played a team who put up a reasonable number of points against him and he lost. I hope this is just his luck running out.

In 5 of 7 games, Ricky's opponents have scored less than 81 points. Creasman scored 47 points against him! Ricky's one good win was against Ralph in week 2 when he posted 120 points. I think we'll see the tides begin to turn. That is, if people stop giving him all their best players for cheap.

The Buzz Lightyear Buzz Kill Award- After unabashedly rooting for Jimmy to deliver the final blow to Ricky, Gunst slipped in the comment that it'd be smarter to root against Jimmy (who had the same record as me) so we could fight for a playoff spot. At this point you figure Ricky is a lock for one of the four post-season spots available and Noord, who has the same record, will take one as well. That leaves two spots up for grabs. In a league where most teams are only 1 game apart I should be rooting for the winners to win, and my competition to lose.

Unfortunately, if you know me you know that my pride would never allow me to do that. So go Jimmy!

The Cerberus Slayer Award- I figure the guy with the greatest appreciation of sci-fi should take this award. Congrats Jimmy. Although frightful upon first glance, if you play music this fabled three-headed dog will simply fall asleep allowing safe passage (I learned this from Harry Potter). Similarly, Ricky sucks.

The "It's Time to Consider a New Profession" Award- Eric Creasman has officially fallen below a team named "Sluts R Us" in our fantasy league. *Gulp*

The Showing Signs of Life Award- Neil's team is on a two game win streak, and jumped up the rankings to  5th place. Then again, he'll probably trade his star players away for a case of Natty Light and a high-five.

The "How Did We Get Here?" Award- Noord's team is such a conundrum. His draft was less than impressive yet he's 6-1. I looked at all the match ups (yup, I'm committed to my work) and found that Noord has benefited from playing teams with crucial players on bye weeks (Me and Sam), beat Wheels when Miles Austin and Malcolm Floyd combined for 2.7 points, and came from behind to beat Creasman because Jason Witten finally decided to play football. Other than that, he's beaten Tom and Neil.

I get so bitter so quickly over things that don't matter.

The Battle for the 3 Game Streak- Sam and Austin faced each other last week. Sam on a two game losing streak, Austin a two game win streak. Sam's running backs took a vacation and Donald Driver decided against playing. That's not a recipe for winning.

You know what is? Breaking Tony Romo's collarbone.

Predictions- Some way, some how, Ricky finds a way to beat me this week. Jimmy slays the next giant, Noord which will lead to my excitement, then dismay when I realize there will be only 1 playoff spot left. Ralph extends his win streak to 3. I light myself on fire.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 6 Awards- Blockbuster Edition!

"He had no arms or legs. He couldn't see, hear or speak. This is how he led a nation." - Michael Scott.

Two things. 1) That's why "The Office" is my favorite show, and 2) That is the tagline to this week's fantasy football awards Blockbuster Edition! We'll theme all the awards around blockbuster movies in honor of the trade that was busting blocks last night at 9:49pm.

Which is exactly where we'll start.

The Titanic Award- Perhaps I'm earning this award because I liken myself to Leo, or maybe I think Wheels is as homely as Kate Winslett. Either way, the highest grossing movie of all time deserves to be associated with the number 1 player in fantasy, Chris Johnson, who was included in this trade between Bryan and myself.

Yesterday on Twitter, @BGunst let it be known that he was willing to trade CJ for two starting players. Cue the flood gates opening. Offers poured in all over, each one of us trying to outbid the other.

Last night it came down to me and Gunst (btw, thats the fourth different name I've referred to him as) trying to work it out. Let's break it down before we move on.

The final deal is as follows:
I give: Ray Rice and Randy Moss
I get: Chris Johnson and Malcolm Floyd

Why I like this trade: I get the best player in the deal (the vital cog in trading), and I get Malcolm Floyd who has potential to start on my team. Also, I've been fed up with Ray Rice not getting enough goal line carries and worry he'll just accumulate yardage again this year (he finished with 4 touchdowns last year, has only 2 so far this year). I also worry about the consistency of Randy Moss. Is this his down year? Will he still be elite when an injured Brett Favre is throwing at him? And I mean "at" not "to". Have you seen Favre throw this year? Has Moss finally lost a step? If Tavaris Jackson starts does Moss give up on the season? Too volatile for me. I like consistency on my team.

***The above paragraph written expressly to make Wheels feel nervous about the trade.***

Why I don't like the trade: John Harbaugh, the Raven's Head Coach, has alluded to Ray Rice getting more goal line touches. Evident by Willis McGahee (the TD not getting a single carry, let alone a goal line run last game. McGahee had 14 TDs last season. Will Rice take over and finish with 12-14 TDs at the year's end? Perhaps.

Is Randy Moss just catching his stride in Minnesota? Had a long TD in the first game and dropped a TD pass last week. Is he the sole redzone target for Favre?

Chris Johnson is either a beast or a dud. I like the trade because his good weeks are over 20 points. I don't like it because his bad weeks are usually less than 5. That's a risk you have to take. However, CJ's final 7 weeks he plays Washington, Houston, Jacksonville, Indy, Houston, Kansas City and Indy again. There are no imposing run defenses on that board. I'm looking forward to a STRONG finish.

That is, of course, if he doesn't break his femur next week.

Interesting Trade Notes: I have been hassling Wheels about mixing his team up and making trades for a while now. Last week he refused to do so, trusting him team. It led to a 2-4 record, and 8th place in the league. After being bashed by Ricky and myself, Gunst said he would trade but not with me. Essentially he said he would take his talents to South Beach elsewhere. I think offering Moss and Rice right off the bat caught his attention enough to change his mind.

The Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Award- The movie was made and fans wish that it wasn't. A trade wasn't made and Ricky wishes that it was. Ricky and Austin were proposing trades back and forth to get Ricky Aaron Rogers and to get Austin a top flight wide receiver and a starting running back. Austin proposed Rogers, Ryan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin for Cutler, Ahmad Bradshaw and Roddy White. Regrettably, Ricky declined and the offer was changed multiple times and, ultimately, no deal was reached. Sunday came, Desean Jackson got hurt, Maclin's value skyrocketed and Ricky re-proposed the trade 100 times. No soup. It's the phantom trade that never happened...but should have if Ricky could pull the trigger.

Oh, in this movie Ricky is the little boy Anakin and Perry is Natalie Portman. I'll make myself Obi-Wan and Creasman can be Qui-Gonn Jin. Noord is Jar-Jar Binks, of course, "Me-sa think you a Lamba Chi Alpha, mister!"

I also like Sam playing the Emperor/Senator Palpatine and Jimmy as Samuel L. Jackson's character. Gunst and Ralph should play C-3PO and R2-D2, respectively. I can see them trolling around the desert hand-in-hand.

So, I guess that leaves Tom. No question in my mind he plays Yoda. Not because he's a wise sage, but because his speech is as hard to figure out as the moisture farming system on Tatooine.

That was far too much fun for me.

The Jurassic Park Award- One of the great movies of our generation. It was a thriller when it came out and is filled with unintentional comedy when you re-watch it. A movie we'd all love to see an updated version of, but know that a re-make would be ruined with unconvincing CGI and bad acting. Neil gets this award for having a team with great players that has struggled to reach a 2-4 record. Ralph may be tempted to make moves on his team and re-make his lineup, but I would say to hold strong and trust that your team will get wins later in the season. No need to rush to mix things up. Unless you want to trade me Adrian Peterson.

The Harry Potter Movie Award- Let's be honest, its the greatest film series of all time (relax, its hyperbole) and you can't pick just one movie to represent this award. Just like you can't pick a team that should be in 3rd place in the league. Currently four teams are tied with a 3-3 record (Sam, Jimmy, Perry and myself). In the same vein as before, let's assign these teams HP movie equivalents.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Jimmy's team, "B-Button Spin Move", bears striking resemblance to this movie as both are structured around a strong female archetype. In the book it was Dolores Umbridge, a foul-mooded, wench who reigns with an iron fist. In Fantasy Football its Jimmy, also a foul-mooded, wench who has the most points scored against him.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- Sam's team, "Touchdown Jesus", might as well be locked in a Gringott's vault. There is no cracking his team. Trade proposal upon trade proposal upon trade proposal have been sent his way. All met with one response, "You're a wizard, Harry." "Rejected." Who knows what hidden value lies within his team. Maybe a little bit of parseltongue will crack the code.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- Austin's team, "Pledge Prez Perry", is being held prisoner by his draft. Perry boldly took two rookies, and a bunch of unproven players hoping it would pan out for the best. Among the players? Rookies Jahvid Best and Ryan Matthews, both inconsistent talents. Unproven Shonn Green hasn't panned out well and Jeremy Maclin has been up and down. Hakeem Nicks came up huge and Marques Colston has been a dud. Ryan Torain, picked up after Portis went down, is in his first starting role and still has unproven value.

Maybe next year just draft some dementor's and give us the Kiss of Death. I think that's a better draft strategy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and Part II- The final film, split into two parts, obviously resembles my team, "deSPEcable me". The first part of the season, or Part I, led me to a 3-3 record. Part II, which will clearly be the better part of the film, will allow me to finish 10-0, winning the title. I'm almost positive this will happen. At least 10% sure.

The Hancock Award- Will Smith's superhero movie, "Hancock", was deemed a summer blockbuster yet in my opinion was a giant flop. Creasman made a good trade last week with Ricky giving up dud Ronnie Brown and yet-to-be-useful Greg Jennings for Baltimore's go-to guy Anquan Boldin and the injured Pierre Thomas. I thought that if PT came back healthy then Creasman made out better. Yet, the trade flopped as Greg Jennings finally had a huge day with 133 yards and a TD...for Ricky's team.

Soon we'll find a passed out Creasman on a park bench claiming he's really a fantasy super hero....just like every other Wednesday morning.

The Blockbuster Video Store Award For Going Under- This award is slowly headed in Tom's direction. He has a 1-5 record and the lowest point total in the league. Granted, his team was auto-picked by Ricky and me, "Another kicker in the 5th round? Sure!" and he's had some bad luck, but it doesn't look like things will be turning around anytime soon.

Predictions- I predict Ricky will finally lose. Which almost guarantees that he will win....again. I predict I will have regret over my trade with Wheels when Ray Rice tunes up Buffalo's terrible run defense for 150 yards and 2 TDs.

Matchup of the Week will be Sam vs. Perry. Two 3-3 teams face off. I'm as excited as Ron Weasly in a thrift store!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eric LeGrand, Rutgers Defensive Tackle

This morning was a Black Sunday. The Redskins lost a winnable game to the Colts, I'm going to lose in both fantasy leagues, and I got about 2 hours of sleep last night. Yet, I'm waking up in a different mood than expected.

See, in my little world where I'm the king of everything and when the Redskins lose I take it as a personal affront to my character, I experienced something this weekend that has positively affected my perspective.

My wife and I journeyed to the "great" state of New Jersey to visit her sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew-to-be. I was more excited than usual for this trip because my brother-in-law, Ryan, was going to take me to the Army v. Rutgers game on Saturday. If you read this post you'd know the prospect of going to another college football game alone is enough to get me excited. Added to it was the allure of visiting New Meadowlands Stadium, built last year for the New York Giants and Jets, but playing host to this college game on Saturday.

Ryan is a West Point graduate and a group of guys he works with were all getting tickets to the game, so naturally I went along for the ride. It is an awesome feeling sitting in a row of West Point grads rooting against the home team knowing that no one in the surrounding area has the courage to say anything smart. Even better than that, however, is being asked multiple times if I also went to West Point or was in the Army. Must be my 160 pound frame.

The football was less than extraordinary, but the trash talk, sarcasm and experience made it all worth it. Army jumped out to an early lead, and after a series of questionable calls in the fourth quarter Rutgers battled back and tied the game at 17. 

Then came the ensuing kickoff, forever etched into the memory of the fans, players and coaches in attendance. 

Eric LeGrand is a 20 year old New Jersey native who played high school ball at Colonia HS just 30 minutes away from Rutgers University. He was recruited as an inside linebacker, but as his skills developed he made the switch to defensive end. He improved his speed and strength while at Rutgers and became an imposing force on defense. 

The 6'3" 275lb junior was a key recruit added to the roster in 2007. His muscular build was impressive yet he was able to pursue quarterbacks and running backs with surprising speed and agility. LeGrand was a skilled tackler who's ability to read and react gave him an edge over offensive lineman.

After Rutger's scored the tying touchdown, we sat on the edge of our seats in the stands. Us West Point West Point grads were hoping and praying for a great return to set up a clock draining drive that would result in a go-ahead score.

The kick was booming and Malcom Brown, the return man, made to the 25 yard line before a body came out of nowhere and delivered a devastating blow to the runner. The crowd went up in a roar celebrating the big hit and the great coverage on the kickoff. I saw something different and my jaw dropped instantly. As fans around us jumped out of their seats and passed out high-fives, I remained in mine and could only mutter, "He's not moving."

Eric LeGrand came flying downfield on the kickoff and shedded a blocker just feet from Brown. He turned his body, squared up for the hit and buried his head into the runner's chest. He stopped Brown dead in his tracks and drove him to the ground. LeGrand rolled over onto his back, his legs slowly falling to the ground.

It took a few minutes before the crowd realized what was going on: a player was down, and he wasn't moving. Eventually both teams took a knee and the crowd stood in respect, everyone praying he was alright.

At worst I feared a bad concussion. I assumed LeGrand was knocked out cold and was slowly coming to. Yet, as he was carted off the field I never saw him raise the customary thumbs-up to let the crowd know he was alright. It was gut-wrenching. 

Today, the news every player, coach and parent fears was released. LeGrand was paralyzed from his neck down. On the play he had lowered his head at the last second, causing the force of his hit to ripple down his spinal cord. The effects were immediate. See video here.

He suffered a serious spinal cord injury and emergency surgery was performed Saturday night after the game. Words you never want to hear.

He is currently in the intensive care unit at Hackensack University Medical Center undergoing treatment. His team, however, is in good spirits. Coach Greg Schiano said after the game, "We're just going to believe that Eric LeGrand is going to walk onto that field with us again...That's what we believe. We'll see with the speed of which that happens."

I hope so, coach.

Eric is in good spirits and was able to recognize his coach, mother and everyone else after the game. It is devastating, however, to know that a 20-year old kid may never walk again.

Please keep Eric and his family in your prayers. I believe in miracles, and I believe his recovery will be successful. 

Otherwise this world is crueler than I thought.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

3 Things: Gilbert, NHL, and DC Fans

I understand that I'm about as multi-dimensional as Flat Stanley. I write about football or fantasy football. Occasionally I'll mention a TV show no one is watching. So I'm gonna make like a well structured portfolio and diversify myself.

There are three things I'd like to bring to the table this morning. Number one is actually number zero. Rather, Agent Zero.

Agent Zero- Gilbert Arenas, or, as you know him, that homeless bearded guy who points guns at everyone, is struggling to stay out of the media's harsh and imposing glare. Arenas gets a bad rap. In fact, a terrible rap. And rightfully so. He lacks what we call "common sense". He goes about each day like one of us would. We make jokes with our friends, we do stupid stuff, we make ridiculous claims and its all good because nobody actually cares what we do on a daily basis.

Gil, however, fails to understand that every action he takes has an incredible impact because he represents a professional basketball team, a major sports city and himself. When he was in trouble for bringing guns into the locker room, he clearly failed to see what the issue was. The locker room is his place of work. I don't get to bring a glock into my office and keep it in my desk. I keep it taped to the bottom of my chair. Duh. No, just kidding. I'm not a self-involved nincompoop.

When Gil says something like, "I lost all feeling a long time ago. Basketball is basketball..." or when his press day photos through the years look like this, or even better, like this, you have to wonder what is going on with this guy and why he is so far out of touch with reality. I bet he still thinks Pluto is a planet.

He even said he wants to help John Wall get ready to take over the team so he (Gil) can move on. Has anyone wanted to be a part of anything less, ever? Maybe Dwayne Johnson when he filmed The Tooth Fairy.

Now Gil is faking injuries to help teammates get more playing time. By the way, I think this is a great gesture, but a moronic move! You are a professional athlete. Being paid millions of dollars to play basketball. You don't get to call in sick. Each day I worry more and more that Gilbert will show up with a Dennis Rodman hair-do and start thanking his therapist for helping him win a championship.

Number 2.

The NHL- I am happy to admit right now that I am a casual Washington Capitals fan. They are my team in hockey, and I will root for them relentlessly, but I will not know every player on the team. In fact, outside of the Capitals I don't claim to know a ton about hockey. But here is what I do know.

There are two great players in hockey (a generalization, but go with it). The first is Capital's All-Star Alexander Ovechkin, the Russian monster who everyone claims is the best player in the league. The second is the ugly hamster looking Canuck, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Two things you need to know:
1) There is a rivalry between the Penguins and the Capitals due to many years of facing each other in the playoffs.
2) Crosby has a Stanley Cup. Ovechkin does not.
2a) The Stanley Cup is the trophy you win when you win the Super Bowl in hockey (just appealing to my reader's who don't know hockey).

The NHL is not a terribly mainstream sport in America, even though its popularity is growing. So, in order to help everybody understand the biggest rivalry between the biggest players in hockey I've come up with this comparison.

Alexander Ovechkin is LeBron James. Sidney Crosby is Kobe Bryant. This works because I hate Kobe, and I also think LeBron is ugly.

Ovie wins in the regular season. Last year the Capitals won the President's Trophy, the award given the team with the best regular season record. Ovie wins Hart Trophies, the award given the MVP of the league (he won it in 2008 and 2009). Ovie leads the league in scoring, and points, and all these hockey things I don't care to understand fully.

Ovie also flames out in the playoffs. He doesn't get it done, he doesn't perform. He's forced to carry his team.

You know who else won back-to-back MVPs and consistently wins the regular season? Who also can't win in the playoffs? LeBron James.

On the other hand, Crosby wins championships. Thats what he does. He wins in the clutch, he wins in the playoffs, he wins in the Olympics. He's a winner. He makes the players around him better. Like Kobe does. Crosby isn't glamorous, in fact he's quite disgusting, but he is efficient.

The only good thing about hockey is the players sign ridiculously long contracts. Ovie's is for something like 13 years. I don't think I have worry about him taking his talents to the Florida Panthers anytime soon.

Number 3.

DC/Metro Area Fans- I was once proud to be a member of this group. A heartily dedicated group who stuck through things think and thin. Always remembering the glory days of old.

Now? A bunch of wishy-washy, non-commital, pansies who don't know how to believe in anything. They live life with a constantly negative outlook and can never accept the good things around them.

The Redskins have beaten two division rivals and one of the top ranked teams in the NFC yet Skins fans want to complain about how we suck and it won't last. You know what? Who cares if it doesn't last!? Who cares if we don't win another game? Enjoy our 3-2 record, enjoy being at the top of the NFC East, and support your team.

Or I will make you spend a long weekend with Jim Zorn and Gilbert Arenas.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 5 Awards

Finally. A Perfect Sunday. The planets are in harmony. The deers, shrews and field mice all sing in unison because the world is in perfect order.

Not only did the Washington Redskins beat the Green Bay Packers, but I won games in both my fantasy leagues and, apparently, this turns me into a grass-sniffing, leaf preserving hippie. So we're winning and learning valuable lessons at the same time. I feel like a PBS special.

Speaking of PBS, Reading Rainbow was a great show.

On to fantasy awards for the 5th week of the season! To the bottom top of the league we go!

The Misleading Record Part I Award- Ricky improves his record to an impressive 5-0 but, as it is with statistics, there's always more to the story than just the numbers. Something baseball nerds fans fail to understand. Sure he's won 5 games in a row, but how has he done it? Ricky's team has the lowest total of points scored against over 50 points! So Ricky clearly has had the easiest schedule to date and continues to win, despite being in the bottom half of the league in points scored. Parity, thy name is non-existent in fantasy football.

Unfortunately, in Week 6 Ricky goes up against Tom's bottom ranked team, the lowest scoring unit in the league. We can book Ricky for a sixth straight win, but expect some losses after that! (These are things bitter losers say to explain why they aren't in first place).

The New Disease Award- Now we'll get to the bottom of the league. Team Ralph continues to suffer Unfortunate Matchup Syndroms, or UMS. Its a diagnosable disease and, although it is not contagious it is highly infective. Ralph has the second most points scored, but the 3rd most points scored against. Tough luck for the guy.

And now a PSA for all fantasy football players: Be sure to get tested for UMS. It is a little know disease that should be taken seriously. If you notice you are increasingly grumpy on Tuesday mornings after you check your final score or you begin to rationalize your losses and convince yourself they're really wins, you should see a licensed physician immediately. If you feel a sudden increase in irritability or have the desire to make irrational trades, please do so but only with my team. UMS...its more than a confusing sound, its something to think about.

The My Team Owns You Award- With an award this cocky you know I'm going to give it to myself. I'll share it with Wheels because it will drive my point home. Gunst had four players on his team score over 25 points. FOUR! Thats 100 points from less than half of his team. Yet, if Wheels and I played this week I still would have beaten him. My team, having only two players score more than 25 points, posted 140 points, 8 more than Wheels. Thus proving my total fantasy football domination, know-how, and crafty team management.

I'm like the Mr. Miagi of fantasy football. Except, not as good and I can't train you how to do it.

The Womp Womp Award- Former Frat-All Star, and current retiree, Eric Creasman's fantasy score prompted the same reaction as his announcement to renounce the "frat" life did. Blank stares, agape mouths, and gentle crying. In a league where Gunst can have two players combine for 50 points, Creasman's entire team almost got to that number. And guess what team he was playing? Ricky's. Of course.

Also, welcome to the "un-frat" life Eric. Now that you've retired you will be referred to by your first name and you get to join the club I started for fraternity members who live an undistinguished "frat" life. We have member's only jackets.

The "Of Course!" Award- I'm hoping to make this new award a regular each week due to its inherent relevance and comedic value. I'll test drive it the first week.

I traded Jimmy two WRs for Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis who has been running like an armored car so far this season. First of all, this goes directly against my "never have any Browns players on your team" rule, but I made an exception. Of course I made an exception. Exceptions to your rules always turn out well. Secondly, the day the trade between us processed, the Browns announce that Hillis has been added to the injury report and will be limited in his playing time Sunday. Of course he was! Fortunately, his fantasy day was salvaged by a receiving touchdown. But go figure that happens as soon as I trade for the guy.

Ok, so that was pretty good. The steering is a little stiff, but the gas mileage is great. I think this award works as long as its not a constant grip about my team. We'll see how it goes.

Quick Hitters-
The Bear Cave Award- JimmyDean boasts the highest points against total, and a subpar 2-3 record. For the second consecutive week Jimmy has played the highest or second highest scoring team in the league. He's about as lucky as a honey coated man walking into a bear cave.

The Schaub the Poop Deck Award- Sam's 2nd round draft pick, QB Matt Schaub a player who led the league in passing last year, has been a colossal fantasy disappointment this season. If you read my columns on iSportsWeb you'd know that the Texans are running the ball a lot more and their starting left tackle is suspended and his backup started his first game this season. Thus, Schaub is forced into quick throws and poor decisions. Thats the kind of insight you get from this guy. Someone give me a paid writing job. I'll settle for ESPN or SportsIllustrated. Maybe the Yahoo! Sports Department if I must.

Misleading Record Part II Award- Noord sits comfortably in second place with a 4-1 record. As always, thats not the whole story. He has had the second fewest points scored against his team, and has scored the fourth fewest points of any team. He's beaten 3 of the bottom 4 teams in the league, and my team when crucial starters were on a Bye and Mark Sanchez was starting for me. We'll see if his 3 game win streak continues when he's missing three of his best players this week.

Predictions- Ricky wins, Noord loses, I continue to make excuses and obsess over meaningless statistics to reason why I'm not in first place....yet. I also predict that since this week was a Perfect Sunday, next week will be a Black Sunday. Skins lose, as do both my fantasy teams.

Ok, time to go catch up on my DVR. I have a few episodes of Reading Rainbow to watch.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 4 Awards

If you're going to have a nickname in the NFL you want it to be a good one. Randy Moss is the "Freak", Walter Payton was "Sweetness", there was William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and Joe "Cool" Montana. To me, however, all pale in comparison to my most recent free-agent pick-up, BenJarvus Green-Ellis aka, the Law Firm.

With a name like BenJarvus Green-Ellis there is little need of, or room for, a nickname. However, if the name fits you must acquit! I must use it. In honor of brilliant nicknames, we'll be referring to everyone in the league strictly by their misnomers. Re-read this if you forget who is who.

Here are the Week 4 Awards, as always we'll start at the bottom of the league.

The "Always Trust a Manning" (Just as long as they're not named Eli) Award- Uncle Kracka, easily the most offensive and inappropriately spelled nickname of the bunch, gets his first win this week against Ralph. It was an epic duel, the tale being told by the performance of two quarterbacks. Ralph's QB, Mike Vick, was injured at the hand of the Washington Redskins Wrecking Crew and exited the game after earning only 3.66 fantasy points. Meanwhile, Kracka's QB, Eli Manning, played a full game against the Chicago Bears and garnered a less-than-impressive 3.60 points. That was for four full NFL quarters, against a Bear's  team that had their quarterback sacked 10 times compared to someone who left in the first quarter cause 27 ribs were broken. But hey, a win is a win. So congrats, Subtitles, on the win and the award.

The Miller Lite "Good Call" of the Week Award- Samwise gets the nod here with his last minute decision to start LaDanian Tomlinson over Joesph Addai this week. In his mind it was a risk, in the mind of competent fantasy owners it was a no brainer. LT exploded for 133 yards and 2 TDs, Addai finished the day with a very respectable 20 fantasy points, still 7 short of LT's total. And that is why Samwise gets the award. He had four running backs on his team score two touchdowns in their games. He was forced to bench one because of roster availability, and he managed to bench the one player who scored the fewest points. To be exact, Addai finished with .6 fewer points than Rashard Mendenhall. Good call.

The Nostradamus Award- I'll take this award, but in order to be fair, Wheels and Creasy also get a share of it. I predicted last week that their game would be the matchup of the week, and it easily was. Heading into Monday Night Football, Wheels held a slim 2.32 point lead over Creasy. Wheels entered the contest with Tom Brady left to play, and Creasy had kicker Stephen Gotskowski and RB Ronnie Brown. Once the dust settled, Creasman came out on top winning by the narrow margin of 1.56 fantasy points. It doesn't get much closer than that. And I predicted it. Consider Wheelman and Creasman to be my puppets. Now dance!!

The M. Knight Shyamalan Award- This award not only continues Bones' consecutive hit streak for winning an award, but it comes with a surprise twist! And it will surely disappoint, in the same way Bear's QB Jay Cutler did. Similar to Mr. M. Knight S., you enter a theater (or game) with high expectations based on past reputation. Cutler was having a tremendous fantasy season the first three games, proving that last year was a fluke (just like M. Knight pretends he never made The Happening). He caused us to buy in with the promise of great visuals (his improved game and dating reality TV "star" Kristin Cavallari), and all of a sudden we're thinking, "Hey! If Reggie Bush dated Kim Kardashian and won a Super Bowl and Lamar Odom married Khloe Kardashian and won a title, maybe reality TV "stars" are the key to professional sports success!" Much like you probably bought in on The Last Airbender, thinking it was M. Knight's return to fame. Then all of a sudden, TWIST! Cutler gets sacked 9 times in the first half, refusing to throw the ball away quickly and taking the hits. The Last Airbender earns an unimpressive 6% on, and cements M. Knight's reputation as a hack. Meanwhile, Cutler gets concussed (or, as I like to think, he gave up because he was tired of being hit) and leaves the game after having no significant impact other than throwing one interception. He finishes the game with -2.32 fantasy points, and we realize, "Oh yea! He's still Jay Cutler!"

Yet, as Bones always does, he finds a way to win his game. Even with negative points from his quarterback AND benching Andre Johnson who was out with an injury. Which brings us too...

The Jamarcus Russell Award for Failure- Per Per takes home our only prestigious award for losing a fantasy matchup to someone starting a quarterback with negative fantasy points. Austin's team, as mentioned before, is up-and-down. Its either 70-some fantasy points, or 100+. This week was 70-some. Time to start lining up some trades.

The Incredible Series of Transitions Award- Obviously this goes to me. I just got us from Jay Cutler and M. Knight Shyamalan, to Jamarcus Russell and Austin Perry, all the way down to trading within the league. Our league is terrible at trading. We're like a bunch of fourth graders in the 50s guarding our marbles cause they're special to us. Hm...perhaps a more relevant analogy is required. It's like we're back in the 5th grade trying to collect as many Pogs as we can. Never wanting to give away the ones we have cause they have meaning to us. Our perceived value on what we own is far too high. Yeah, thats the one.

The 5th Grader Pog Collection Award- (Another amazing transition!) This award goes to the entire league, except Bones. It takes longer for a 75 person Asian delegation to get through TSA at the airport than for us to get a trade agreed on. Too many owners suffer from over-valuing their players, and being unwilling to give them up in a trade. And with that, my rant shall begin....

For some reason, we tend to think, "Hey, I've got to be at least 75-80% smarter than everyone else in the league. Therefore, it should not be difficult to convince someone to trade me Adrian Peterson (really good) for Mark Sanchez (not really good)." There is an expectation, for some weird reason, that we're going to "pull-one-over" on the competition. You are not the Catholic Church and Cedric Benson is not an indulgence guaranteeing me safe passage to heaven (or fantasy glory) if I trade you Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson for him.

Look, trades in fantasy are never going to be ridiculously one-sided. You won't get $2.50 on the dollar for your secondary running back, just because someone is interested. Trades benefit both sides. For instance, I made a trade with Ricky earlier this year.

I gave him Ahmad Bradshaw and Wes Welker in exchange for Calvin Johnson. Here's what I figured, Ricky needs an RB1 (Bradshaw is the starter in NY), and I did not trust Welker's knee. Plus I also have Randy Moss and I didn't want two wide receivers from the same team. I expected Calvin Johnson to have a bounce-back year and I wanted two #1 wide receivers on my team (Moss and CJ). Ricky gets an RB1 and a WR2 and I get a WR1. I gave up two good players for one that I liked a lot. Perceived value in both of our eyes.

If you need a tight end, guess what? You're going to have to part with a WR or a RB that you probably like. If you're currently 1-3, and can't put together a win, its time to start making moves. Things don't magically fix themselves. No player is un-tradeable for the right deal. Why not flip one of your studs for two great players? The key to a quality fantasy team is balance across the board. If you're consistently getting 30 points from your RBs combined, but only 10-15 from your WRs you'll never win consistently. Flip a RB for two WRs and fill out your roster.

Sure, the value varies by player and perceived value is really what's of importance. But there are holes in all of our teams, why wouldn't you want to try to fix them? If nothing else, its exciting and fun to talk about.

So, league, we all get an award for being too sheepishly foolish to make trades or only proposing ludicrous ones.

That said, someone make a trade with me. I'm bored, and its fun.

Predictions- Bones improves to 5-0, the game to watch is Noord v. Samwise, Per Per vs. Subtitles will result in the lowest scoring matchup of the week. Randy Moss scores 7 touchdowns in his first week with Minnesota.

I can hope, can't I?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some Catching Up To Do...

I love this blog. It's a lot of fun to have. I hate that its pretty much just become a place to post awards for my fantasy football league. Then again, I did warn you about that here. That said, I feel that there are a few things we need to catch up on. So let's spend the next few minutes getting behind on our work and reading something for entertainment.

Speaking of entertainment, a topic I haven't visited lately, the new Fall season of TV is here. Let's dive in on a few shows. The good, the bad, and the changing.

The Good:
Community- If you aren't watching this show you're missing out on the funniest show on NBC. In it's second season they've found their niche and the brilliant writers are slaying viewers week by week with off-the-wall hilarity only a show like this can pull off. Chevy Chase is the new Dr. Bob Kelso (Scrubs). Every line he has is hilarious, and he never misses. Plus you can follow his character's thoughts on Twitter, @OldWhiteGuySays.

The cast is a pure blend of points of view from all sides of the spectrum and includes giggle inducing running gags that have yet to disappoint.

With lines like, "Are there any other conspiracy theories?" "Yes. Did you know Go-Gurt is just yogurt?!" and "Well Shirley, since you have clearly failed to grasp the central insipid metaphor of those Twilight books you devour, let me explain it to you! Men are monsters who crave young flesh." How do you not watch this show?

Go to Hulu right now and catch up. It's only two episodes. You will not be disappointed...unless you're a stuffy old bag who doesn't like to enjoy life. Then I understand.

30 Rock- One line from Tracy Jordan, "I lost my mood ring! And I don't know how I feel about it!"

The Bad:
The Event- Let me admit this upfront, I haven't watched this show. In fact, I don't plan on it unless I have 45 minutes to kill and someone is threatening to beat me in the face with a flank steak unless I watch it. Look, I like to think of myself as a creative person. It doesn't matter if I am, I like to think that. It makes me feel good. Anyway, I've never seen such a blatant attempt to rip off another concept since that Gap commercial stole the Mellow Yellow song.

 Obviously there is a vacant spot in everyone's heart for Lost. And by 'everyone' I mean people with a lot of free time. But this show is flagrantly advertising that it will "Take the place of Lost!". Not to mention the big mystery of the season so far- "Where did the plane go?!" Are you joking? If you want to copy another show's mysterious, more-questions-than-answers type of story line, don't involve a disappearing plane! That was the whole premise of the other show! Try a little bit harder.

Also, the show features a young, black president, which is fine by me, I have nothing against that at all. Except, why is it that all white politicians on TV are old, wrinkly, scum-bag looking types and all black politicians on TV are in their 30s and have a super model wife. 24 did this with their presidents as well. Just make decisions that make sense.

One other point (because I really hate that this show exists), if you want people to buy in to the show you must have likeable characters. People you want to identify with or at least like to look at. The Event features a lead actor that is soft, unconvincing and doesn't command the show (Matthew Fox did all of that for Lost) and some crazy looking chick that is supposed to know something. Its all more unsettling than it is exciting. Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Jack, Sun, Jin...all characters that are finitely better than anything on The Event.

Also, the name of this show is terrible. The 'event'? Who writes this? Can they be fired? I'm starting a crime-drama show, it's going to be called "Law Violators".

I hate this show.

Outsourced- I'll sum this up with a quote from my sister-in-law, "I watched the first ten minutes, turned it off and went to bed." She made the right decision. I stomached my way through the whole episode. That's the last time I do that.

The Changing:
The Office- Easily my favorite show currently on the air. This season is the last for Michael Scott, Steve Carell knows he will make millions filming movies as opposed to hundreds of thousands filming The Office. I'm not sure what is in store for the future of this show, although I do expect its run is slowly coming to an end. This season, however, we're seeing a lot of Jim/Dwight/Andy action which I could watch all day. Seriously, in college we would just turn on seasons of The Office and watch it all day. I miss college sometimes. All day spent watching The Office. Now I spend all day in an office.

The show is doing some funny things: having Dwight purchase the office building, Pam scheming her way into a faux position she created to get out of sales, and Jim having a lot of lines. And some unfunny things: bringing up deep-seated issues with Michael, not giving Creed enough lines and only being half an hour long. Either way, I think they'll pull out all the stops this season and go out swinging...Chris Brown style.

If you aren't reading my columns on you are a terrible person. Or, a person who just doesn't care that much about football. Especially the Houston Texans. You can find my articles here, I try to keep them fun, but they're more statistically driven than the blog posts are.

Washington Redskins- I'll end with my take on the Redskins.
Offense- We have done a good job establishing the run, which is shocking. Ryan Torain is a great addition, his fresh legs bring a lot to the team and Portis showed some burst this week against Philly. We need to trade for Vincent Jackson immediately. Santana Moss is a great slot receiver, but when defenses key on him he ends up with 1 catch for 0 yards, like he did against Philly. Also, Stephon Heyer is a joke. Trent Williams needs to get healthy stat or Heyer will break the all-time record for holding and false start penalties.

Defense- Just switch back to a 4-3 already. This "bend-but-don't-break" defense is killing us. The defense stays on the field while opposing teams rack up 10-12 minute drives, then our offense (who is now ice-cold) comes back on the field and goes run, run, pass, punt. Now our defense, tired from playing 12 straight minutes and given a 2 minute rest, must come back on the field and defend for another 8 minute drive. It's appalling.

Positives, however, LaRon Landry's true potential is showing, Orakpo gets held on every play, and Kareem Moore is back. We successfully injured three of the Eagle's best players (Mike Vick, Asante Samuel and LeSean McCoy). The Redskins are a wrecking crew. If you watch, the secondary never watches they ball, they just tee-up big hits. Landry probably could have had two interceptions, but he just lines up the receivers in his sights. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin apparently knew this, because they looked too terrified to catch the ball on the Eagle's final drive.

Hope we got caught up on everything we needed to. Fantasy Awards will post later this week, so you can look forward to ignoring that.

Redskins 2-2, 2-0 in the division!