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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It’s Good the Raiders Didn’t Pick up Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh would have been a huge mistake for the Oakland Raiders head coaching position and a step backwards. 

Harbaugh is not a long term NFL coach period. With the need for leadership in the NFL coaching position today he doesn’t hack it. Harbaugh put together an anemic offense in San Francisco orchestrating the development of college/high school/ pop warner style of offense that cannot be sustained long term in the “N.ot  F.or “ league. His selection of Collin Kaepernick over Alex Smith in favor of his remedial offensive style and planning was the first red flag people should have recognized. He had one of the top 3 defenses ever that peeked in 2012 when the media jumped on the Kaepernick band wagon who had it easy with the greatness of Gore and Davis peaking as well. Harbaughs lack of long term vision and poor judgment continued with his participation in the insistence of signing Kaepernick to a large long term contract. Kaepernick is an interim QB, a solid backup, and not a Super Bowl QB. Statistically QB’s like Kaepernick can’t sustain success when they lack top defensive and that’s harder to get than a solid QB. Guys like Kaepernick fall apart in rough times and make mistakes every NFL guru know that.

Another reason Harbaugh would have been a mistake in Oakland is the lack of control influence of his team.  Either by the selection process or his real time influence Harbaugh lacks the ability to command off the field professionalism. Never in approximately 40 years of football knowledge have I heard so many bad things happening in the Forty Niner organization. Yes things will happen when you pay young men millions and bombard them with success of being a celebrity and there will always be outlier screw ups. However the summer and season of 2014 was ugly and shameful for those good people who support the Niner organization and resulted in a .500 season with an easy schedule. Oakland has been there and done that and paid and paying the price of deconstruction.

In closing, Harbaugh has the potential to be a great defensive coach in the NFL or a great college coach with his style offense. The bottom line is the last thing Oakland needs is a coach that can’t influence NFL personalities and can’t orchestrate an offense to throw the ball well. Not picking up Harbaugh was a great thing for Oakland and Harbaugh.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

NFL Playoff Picture through Week 15

After a round of heavy football action on Week 15, the playoff scenario seems clearer heading the two final weeks of the NFL regular season. Here is the latest NFL's playoff rundown:
-The New England Patriots clinched their sixth AFC East championship.
-The Denver Broncos didn’t have to sweat to win the AFC West title.
- The Indianapolis Colts are the AFC South champs.
-The Arizona Cardinals are in the postseason as NFC representative.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving is for the Birds -- Except for Turkeys: Fantasy Football Pickups for the Fantasy Playoffs

Isn't Thanksgiving a strange holiday?

I mean, we essentially celebrate the fact that pilgrims were terrible farmers and cooks.  Ok, I guess that's not exactly right.  It's really celebrating the fact that the pilgrims were terrible farmers and cooks, Native Americans decided to give the poor pilgrims a hand (teaching them to grow corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants -- apparently, at that point in time, pilgrims had a hard time learning from their mistakes.  I imagine conversations often ended like this: "Yeah, Bob died a horrible death when he ate those berries, but Bob has always been a wuss, so I think I'll be able to do better....") and the pilgrims finally were able to make a meal that didn't kill off half the people who ate it and were so happy that they invited their Native American allies to a three day festival, to which the Native Americans thought "Awww...isn't that cute?  They finally figured out how to make food!  Good thing they're no threat to us.  I'm sure if anything goes south they'll at least give us tax breaks on casinos...."  Sigh.  But I digress.

We all know that the MOST IMPORTANT American tradition for Thanksgiving isn't stuffing yourself with as much turkey as possible in the shortest time period (and for those of you who think that turkey makes you sleepy because of tryptophan, perhaps you should consider the fact that you also ate enough turkey to feed a small village in Africa AND drank a quart of wine.  I'm no medical expert, but I'm fairly certain that can make you sleepy too).  The MOST IMPORTANT tradition is watching football.  That's right, watching college football on Thanksgiving started way back in 1876.  Yup, basically, almost since the advent of american football itself, we all started watching it on Thanksgiving.  And the NFL got in on the action with the Detroit Lions in 1934, where the Lions started the tradition of losing on Thanksgiving.  Unless they play the Bears.  It so sad being a Bears fan, isn't it?  

The point is, ever since we first invented over-eating in America, we decided that nothing matches up with gluttony better than wrath, sloth and pride.  Well, for me, it's basically just wrath, as there's definitely no pride being a Bears fan nowadays.  So well done, America.  We've managed to combine 4 of the 7 Deadly Sins into one terrific holiday.  Then we added giant balloons in the Macy's Day Parade.  I mean, I'm not religious, but I'm fairly sure there's a Deadly Sin in there as well.  But I digress.

If you made your fantasy football playoffs, it really is time to give thanks.  But it's not over yet, you still need to maintain your team.  Nothing like having a great season and flaming out in the playoffs.  Trust me, it's my MO, and it sucks.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Die Hard and Jump Street Are Exactly the Same: Early Week 12 Fantasy Football Pickups

I know I'm behind the times, but 22 Jump Street was brilliant.

And if you haven't seen it, put this article down and go watch it right now.  I'll wait. 

OK, so now that you've watched it, you'll know that the running joke throughout the movie is that the plot ends up almost exactly the same in each iteration of Jump Street, but we just keep paying to see it.  Is it because we're too stupid to know that they're recycling old material?  Is it because Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are amazing actors?  Of course not. We just think it's so funny that we don't mind seeing it again.  And again. And again.  And, if you're like me, one more time.  And perhaps another half a time because when it hits HBO, I end up catching the same ten minutes over and over again each time I turn on HBO.  Don't you think that's weird?  That every time you turn on HBO the same ten minutes of the same movie is always playing?  Like how many times have you seen that scene where Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" says "Yippy Ki-yay, Motherf*****r."  I mean seriously, I swear there's more to the movie than that.  But I digress.

The point is that sometimes you like things because you know they'll be the same.  Or at least you think they'll be the same (I'm looking at you, "Speed 2" and "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd").  And sometimes they're not as good as you remember.  So it's time to ditch some of those players that you drafted and have fond memories of from years past and pick up some new ones (as usual, available in more than 50% of standard Yahoo leagues): 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mathew McConaughey Was in Space Before You: Week 11 Fantasy Football Pickups

All right, all right, all right!  When did Matthew McConaughey go from lovable free-wheeling goof ball to overly serious grandiose phony? 

Anyone who saw "True Detective" probably applauded his new serious persona.  Then, of course, there was the brilliant "Dallas Buyers Club".  But then it all came to a screeching halt with the pretentious Lincoln commercial.  

Even South Park took a shot at him for that commercial.  And if you make South Park's radar than you know you've hit the big time (isn't that right, country of Canada?).  Not all his Lincoln commercials are that pretentious, and in all honesty, I think he's really just poking fun at himself in those commercials (or at least I hope that's the case).  But, of course, after watching that commercial, I can't think of anything else than McConaughey in his new "Interstellar" movie telling me that he was going in to space before anyone paid him to go to space.  He didn't do it to be cool, he didn't do it to make a statement, he just liked it.  Just like he liked going into "space" in "Dazed and Confused".  But I digress.

All right, all right, all right! I'm in "space"!
The point is that you may have preconceived notions about someone one day and be proven completely wrong the next.  And my pickups this week (as usual available in more than 50% of Yahoo standard leagues) are exactly that:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Jets are Terrible, can Vick Provide any Spark

Michael Vick now has a few games under his belt as the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, and the veteran has had mixed success in fantasy football leagues. However, his play against the Pittsburgh Steelers probably bought him at least a little bit of time to show what he is able to do. In fact, it was his play against Pittsburgh that has a lot of people convinced that he is the best option for at least the 2014 season for this team.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lucy is the Bomb: Week 10 Fantasy Football Pickups

Sorry, Lucy, the doctor is actually out.

I know, I know, it’s pretentious for me to refer to myself as the “doctor”, but hey, if I don’t believe in myself in my own column, then who will?  Certainly not Lucy, as she’s sure to figure out with her keen psychiatric training from Peanuts that I wouldn't be able to hack it as a real doctor, and by real doctor, I mean of any kind.  Or at least that I always wanted to kick a football but that stupid girl down the block kept pulling it out from under me.  Oh wait, maybe that was Charlie Brown.  I get us confused sometimes.

Anyway, the point is that I’m on vacation, so this is going to be admittedly very short.  Not a lot of breakout stars this weekend, at least ones with longstanding potential, but here we go, my week 10 fantasy football pickups (as usual, available in at least 50% of standard Yahoo leagues).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

People in Haunted Houses Make Poor Life Decisions: Early Week 9 Fantasy Football Pickups

Happy two days after Halloween, everyone!

I totally get why everyone likes to dress up for Halloween.  And I totally get things like haunted houses set up for Halloween to scare unwary (or wary) trick or treaters.  What I don't get are people who want to buy "actual" haunted houses.  I just ran across this article detailing "actual" haunted houses that are for sale.  So, it's not like I believe in hauntings or anything, but is there really any reason to take chances?  I've seen enough horror movies to realize that it's the guy that doesn't believe in ghosts that's the first to go.  Oh, and if you're a minority, a female college co-ed, a cheerleader of any kind or the quarterback of the high school football team in a horror movie, you're clearly toast too.  I think that's part of the rules in horror movies, like always run upstairs when being chased because there's no way out accept for falling out of a window and always hide under the bed because everyone always looks there.  But I digress.  And just so I don't leave you with scary thoughts of horror movies, here's a picture of my sister's cat dressed up like a pumpkin.

The point is, just like the Geico commercial says, people in horror movies make really poor decisions.  So let me help you avoid making poor decisions in fantasy football with some early week 9 pickups (as usual, available in more than 50% of standard Yahoo leagues):

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gisele Can be a Jerk: Early Week 8 Fantasy Football Pickups

OK, no one likes a bad winner.  Except for maybe Gisele.

As you know if you read my articles, I'm a Bears fan.  And it was awfully tough to root for the Bears this weekend watching them get completely torched by the Patriots and Tom Brady's/Rob Gronkowski's ridiculous performances.  So I was already hiding my Bears jersey in shame and bracing for the Brandon Marshall post-game interview when I saw on TMZ that it wasn't enough that the Pats beat down on the Bears for four quarters, but that Tom and Gisele decided to rub it in online.  Now is that something that Oprah would do?  Of course not.  And generally, what Oprah does is a good measuring stick for right and wrong.  Heck, after her driver ran over this poor woman's foot, she DID come out and take a picture with her.  What more could you want?  Other than, oh, I don't know, perhaps a trip to the hospital?  Or at least an asprin?  But I digress.

The point is Tom Brady and Gisele came sometimes be jerks.  Actually, that wasn't the point, but I wanted to say it anyway because its true.  The point is you always play your studs in fantasy football, but with bye weeks coming around in full force over the next couple of weeks, you'll probably need some waiver wire help as well.  So here we go with some early week 8 fantasy football pickups (all less than 50% owned in standard Yahoo leagues): 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Is London Ready for a Football Franchise?

This weekend will see the struggling Atlanta Falcons take on the high flying Detroit Lions. It is a big fixture for both these sides, who each need the win. The Falcons are 2-5, but still somehow remain in contention for the NFC South crown. The Lions are leading the way in the NFC North, but only by a tie breaker over the Green Bay Packers.

Yet that introduction completely misses the biggest aspect of this particular clash. The venue will be Wembley in London, England. It is the second of three games to be played in London this year, as the NFL looks to increase its market and potential abroad. The London series has been a fixture since 2007, and this is the first year that three games have been played there. But what are the long term future plans for the NFL in London? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Most Stressful Survivor Pick Of 2014 - A Tale Of Near Heartache On Thursday Night

Did you almost lose your mind watching the Patriots almost ruin your 2014 Survivor League? I did.

The New England Patriots were far and away the most favored survivor pick (based on game spreads) for Week 7, if they were available to you. From scoring a 49 yard touchdown in the opening minute and a half and feeling like a genius to watching the Jets fly up the field in the final minute and almost throwing your remote control straight through your television, this was the most stressful pick of the season.

The Real Housewives are Better than Taco Bell: Early Week 7 Fantasy Football Pickups

Do you watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey?

Probably not, and I don't either.  Or at least I'm not willing to admit it and I'm betting you're not willing to admit it either.  Smart move, my friend.  But lets just say that we did watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey, or at least like to cruise around the TMZ website from "time to time" (meaning "basically every hour of every day that I have internet access"...oh wait, hold on a sec, I'm getting a TMZ alert...OK, I'm back, sorry about that.  Just Kim Kardasian eating more Taco Bell...and I'm actually not kidding about that), it's hard not to hear about Joe and Teresa Giudice's sentencing on bankruptcy, mail and wire fraud charges.  
This may or may not be Kim eating Taco Bell.
If you didn't hear about this, Joe and Teresa apparently tried to file for bankruptcy while hiding assets and then also had a long-running conspiracy to illegally obtain millions in mortgages, construction loans and lines of credit using falsified W-2 forms and tax returns. And to put the icing on the cake, they also failed to pay income tax on nearly $1 million in earnings over five years.  Now I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I have to say, based on years of experience watching Law & Order, that doesn't sound like a good thing.  And the judge in that case agreed, sentencing Joe to 41 months in prison and Teresa to 15 months in prison.  

My favorite part about this was Teresa's emotional statement to Andy Cohen (that guy from Bravo that just instigates people in reality show "reunions" -- how the heck did this become an actual paying job?) "We're good people. I don't understand why this is happening to us."  Um, yeah.  I guess the lesson here is "don't commit millions of dollars in fraud while on a Bravo TV program".  If you were on Comedy Central, yeah, go for it.  But not Bravo.  That's a classy station.  But I digress.

The point is that sometimes you think you know someone (ahem, Joe and Teresa), but then it turns out you've been completely fooled and that person actually just committed fraud while on TV.  And the same is true in fantasy football.  Sometimes you think you know the player and how good he'll be, and sometimes he lives up to it.  And sometimes he becomes Matt Asiata or Zac Stacy.  So hopefully I can help you find the next big thing with early week 7 fantasy football pickups (again, all available in over 50% of standard Yahoo leagues):

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ron Burgundy Hates Jar Jar Binks: Early Week 6 Fantasy Football Pickups

I love scotch.  And so does Ron Burgundy.

I just so happen to really like Rob Burgundy as well.  But who doesn't?  Clearly only people who don't like fun don't like Ron Burgundy.  And you certainly don't hate fun do you?  In fact, to make this point, our friends at Ben & Jerry's made an ice cream for Mr. Burgundy called "Scotchy Scotch Scotch".  Check it out.

Unfortunately, "Scotchy Scotch Scotch" doesn't have a lick of actual scotch in it.  Which seems to me like a problem with that entire "truth in advertising" thing.  But I guess that isn't all bad, since some things you definitely DON'T want to be as advertised.  Like this Jar Jar Binks Monster Mouth Candy Tongue.

Not only did Jar Jar Binks almost single handedly destroy the Star Wars universe by being a completely racist caricature and by being terribly annoying, but he also managed creep out all candy loving kids with this terrible candy concept.  But I digress.

The point is sometimes you get what you see and sometimes you get something that's totally different.  The same is true with fantasy football.  Some players are just as advertised, and some just end up being over hyped (Bishop Sankey anyone?).  So let me give you hand finding some free agent pickups that hopefully WILL be as advertised (and as usual, all under 50% owned in standard Yahoo leagues):

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Closing the gap of Dominance

Sunday presented two interesting matchups. Over the many years of the NFL there have been many inter divisional dominances. But Sunday has two of the ones we expect to just pass up without any question of whether it will be competitive or not. 

The Pittsburgh steelers with big Ben have been 18-1 against the browns. Someone, that being Vegas, thinks that the browns have a chance because they are being FAVORED by 1 point at home. Both teams are at the top in the rushing category.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cleveland Browns v. Pittsburgh Steelers Breakdown

Something peculiar is happening to the Cleveland Browns. They have become competitive. The Browns, who have had only one winning season in the last eleven seasons, have been the butt of every NFL joke in recent years. A revolving door of coaches, general managers and even owners has surely not helped. A seemingly unending string of quarterbacks have been brought in as the answer, but none has ever gone and staked a true claim to the role. There have been public concerns, questionable characters brought in, and just a total lack of cohesive structure in place.

The off-season did not necessarily hint at any change in that pattern. Ray Farmer was appointed as the new General Manager, replacing his previous boss Michael Lombardi. An extensive search went on for a new coach, with a much publicized flirtation with the idea of trading for Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh. Eventually Mike Pettine was hired, but there have been a series of disparaging and disruptive remarks from his old boss at the Jets, Rex Ryan, which seemed to undermine the new Browns boss. Josh Gordon was lost for the season to suspension, and no wide receiver was drafted, leaving a curious mix of veterans atop the depth chart. They did draft Johnny Manziel, who may or may not have been the owner’s choice. In doing so, they ignored an extensive study that suggested Teddy Bridgewater was the best available quarterback in the draft. The defense swapped some personnel in free agency, but seemed to get a lot older in the process. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Fresh Prince Loves Fanny Packs: Early Week 5 Fantasy Football Pickups

Sometimes what you think is a good idea is just silly.

For instance, there's the Cap-Sac.  For those of you who don't know, and there really isn't any reason for you to know, the Cap-Sac is basically what you would get if a fanny pack and baseball cap had a kid.  And the cap is basically what the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith before he became an action hero) thought would have been cool in the 80's.  Now, in the 80's perhaps this WAS cool.  I'm definitely not a good source of fashion advice and certainly made my fair share of fashion mistakes in the 80's.  But with this combination, you end up with, essentially, the worst of both worlds.  Now you can get hat hair AND look like a complete douche at the same time!  Hurray!  I mean, really, does anyone really like the look of a fanny pack?  So much that they'd want stick it on their head?  If you answered "yes" to that, then perhaps you need to take a step back and figure out why it is your friends never pointed out the fact that you have terrible fashion sense.  But I digress.

The point is, one never knows whether an idea is good or bad until you act on it.  And this is also true about fantasy football pickups.  Some may be lightening in a bottle, and some may be a Cap-Sac.  So let me help you with my early week 5 fantasy football pickups (all less than 50% owned in standard Yahoo leagues):

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The evolution of the quarterback position: Where is it headed?

In recent years the direction of the quarterback position has been up for debate. Why? Has the value in the traditional drop back passer been diminished? Ineffective? Or perhaps coaches and general managers thought to think outside the box? 

The answer is no, it has not diminished. Drop back passers have and always will be the go-to and most relied upon way to win games. Players such as Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady have built their legacy on simple offenses, being accurate, and "sticking with the script" or system. Sure Manning throws a few wobbly ducks every now and then but there's not a doubt in anyone's mind he can beat a zone or get receivers open on man coverage. He's done that with over 65,000 passing yards and closer to nil rushing yards.

So what has been the difference in the "running quarterback"? What makes them the "outside of the box" option? Well, obviously a strong ground game has been harder to stop when your defense is clueless as to whether the quarterback will take off running with the ball when the play breaks down not utilizing and check down option. That was proven during the era of Michael Vick who has the all time quarterback rushing record with 5,827 yards and 21,459 passing yards. The ultimate duel threat quarterback. 

Were not comparing Manning to Vick. Both have had their impact on the game of football in one way or another. That would be comparing apples to oranges. However, another question arises though with this information. Is the idea of having more options behind the line of scrimmage more effective in winning games? 

Well let's see...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time for the Philadelphia Eagles to Panic?

Is it time for the Philadelphia Eagles to panic? No, probably not just yet. Should they be worried? In a word, yes. On October 2, 2011 the Philadelphia Eagles took a 20-3 halftime lead into the locker room at Lincoln Financial field against the visiting San Francisco 49ers. In the second half, they slowly and painfully watched that lead evaporate, eventually losing the game 24-23 after only mustering a field goal in the second half. Sound familiar? 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Imperial Stormtroopers Like Coffee: Early Week 4 Fantasy Football Pickups

Aren't you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?

Of course you all remember the line from Star Wars when Luke tries to rescue Princess Leia in the Death Star detention center.  And if you don't remember the line, you need to put this article away and go watch Star Wars IMMEDIATELY.  Don't worry, I'll wait.

OK, now that you've watched Star Wars and know what I'm talking about, let's get to the point.  If you didn't know, Stormtroopers in Star Wars are clones.  It's a little unclear, but it appears there was a little genetic engineering done to make them good soldiers.  Which is why I was always surprised by how terrible they were at aiming their weapons and, well, generally doing Stormtrooper stuff.  You know, like securing prisoners, checking for hostiles in enemy vessels, keeping the core of the Death Star secure, shooting things, finding droids that they're looking for, marching randomly down corridors, learning an Australian/Kiwi accent (and if you've managed to watch the Star Wars prequels, you know what I'm talking about and you're still angry about it), taking care of Stormtrooper laundry, getting coffee and other assorted Stormtrooper tasks.  But I digress.

It turns out that we've already genetically engineered humans and they're graduating from high school this year.  I kid you not.  Check out the article here.  Will they be Stormtroopers?  I hope not, because that would be terrible.  I mean, imagine finding out that you were genetically modified and then finding out that instead of being super human, you're best genetically engineered asset was not being able to shoot anything you were aiming at?  Or not ever finding the droids you're looking for?  I imagine that would suck just a little bit.

Regardless, wouldn't it be cool if you had genetically engineered football players for your fantasy team?  Well, can't help you there, but I can help you with some early Week 4 fantasy football pickups:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NFL Stragglers - Winless Teams in the NFL

After three weeks of the regular season, there are still three teams left without a win. It's a case of the usual suspects here, as those teams are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those teams haven’t had a winning season since 2007, 2002 and 2010 respectively. 

With hopes already in tatters, is it possible that any of these sides can turn things around this season? Let’s take a look back at their season so far, and see where it’s all going wrong.