Friday, October 30, 2009

behind the numbers halloween special

Episode #309 is a special halloween episode of behind the numbers. If David Lynch made a Scooby Doo musical about fantasy football, it would be this podcast. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

one night only

I have to be honest. I feel a little bit like Adam Sandler walking into Charlie Goodnight's trying to do stand-up comedy. Once you've made it, you've made it. (Note the perfect use of the comma splice there.) They pay you $20 million to do movies. Why are you going to slum it in some dive comedy club when you can be chilling in your trailer waiting for your next scene and chomping on some fresh fruit? But I return to show you that I am the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. Just because I've advanced well beyond your primitive methods doesn't mean I don't still own your medium, Oddsmakers.

If I'm a stand-up comic in this analogy, then Oddsmakers is reality television. You're formulaic, you're scripted, there's a lot of annoying people involved, and the novelty wore off years ago. You're The Real Gilligan's Island, the real world version of the 60's sitcom they tried a few years back. You take something that used to be great that people loved and you try to steal the magic from it for your own gain. It never works. Face it. You're a poor man's me. Jeff Probst, your fifteen minutes of fame have been up for ten years. Ryan Seacrest is ashamed of your awkward, cringe-inducing jokes. You are bringing in more guest "stars" than VH1. The problem is that it doesn't matter how many co-writers you decide are the weakest link it won't be enough to get your sagging ratings to jump up. Here's a better idea. Bring in some talented young writers and comics, have them write your column every week, and let America choose who gets to stay for the next week. You could call it American Idol. Hold on. That's already taken. So you could call it Who Wants to be Brent Woodcox? I take it back. You could be the star of that show.

Enough said. Onto the picks...

SHolstonKayakPirates vs. The Commish
Rumor has it that no where is the Kyle Orton vs. Jay Cutler battle brewing stronger than inside the locker room of The Commish as he offered a trade for one Jay Cutler just before settling on Kyle Orton as a backup. Jimmy should consult Josh McDaniels on how he handled that move because that dude is cold-blooded. I was first in line doubting McDaniels moving of Cutler in the offseason, but I am all aboard the Bronco bandwagon now. McDaniels knew that for all Cutler's gifts, he lost you as many games as he won in the clutch and he was a hard-headed prima donna unlikely to accept new coaching and competing with McDaniels, a young head coach trying to gain respect and leadership in that locker room. Now Lil' Hoodie is making Orton look like an actual NFL QB. But even Rex Grossman could run this offense. Make no mistake. Kyle Orton is still Keanu Reeves... errrr, Kyle Orton.

One thing is for sure, the answer to who is better Kyle Orton or Jay Cutler is not Tony Romo. As I correctly predicted before the season, Tony Romo was in for a down year without "The Player" (who shall not be named but the Pirates have historically had a huge man-crush on). Just a couple weeks ago, Jimmy benched Romo against the Chiefs. What do you think that does to a man's ego? He's supposed to be the leader of the team and you emasculate him like that. Who is the leader of this team? Certainly not The Commish, himself. Jimmy has been making the worst decisions in leading his army since Hannibal tried to cross the Alps. (obscure historical reference requirment satisfied) Careening off course without stong leadership, the mighty Commish falls to the Pirates this week. Jeff's bad luck has to even out sometime.
Pick: Pirates

black is for sunday vs. The Institute
I wonder if the Oddsmakers ever asked The Institute for any war stories about going up against the G.O.A.T. Probably not since he would have had to step over his broken, decaying bones to even enter this fray. But suffice it to say that there is no love lost between these old foes. VZ's interminably long winning streak over me was the winter of my discontent but a new spring has sprung and that bit of history has been firmly put in the past. Umphlett says I gave up this week because I wouldn't trade him Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall for Joseph Addai. (Incidentally, unless Addai is switching to WR for this week, I'm not sure how he could help me anyway.) Funny, I thought refusing that trade was part of my master plan of not giving up on the season. No, this is week is my personal Rubicon and I intend to cross it in triumph. (obscure historical reference requirement satified) The rumors of my fantasy death are greatly exaggerated. Although I have made two of the worst calls in my career as a manager the past two weeks, neither time did it cost me a win and if you put those players in my lineup my point total would be right up there in competition with the top 3.

It is true that all three of my WRs are on bye this week. The good thing about facing VZ's team with no WRs is that he never has any. It doesn't matter who is on bye. So while I miscalculated my bye weeks on draft day, VZ miscalculated, you know, drafting any. Peyton Manning is going to have a huge game because he hates me and I hate him. If we got in a fight, he would probably beat me up worse than he beats his wife. But it's cool because I'll beat him on the fantasy field this week.
Pick: Black

K Rabbits v. showmedamoney!
Kris has already ordered the champagne and cigars to celebrate his halfway championship. Why not? In almost every area of his life, he is used to finishing when others are only halfway done. (vague sexual innuendo requirement satisfied) Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize thinks your gloating is premature. Seriously no one has celebrated anything more prematurely since GWB was waxing poetic on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. The mission is far from accomplished, you cowboy wannabe moron. By the way you misspell your own players names (first AP/AD, now Rodgers/Rogers) I can only assume you share an IQ level with the former Prez but I didn't realize you shared political philosophies. Take note. This is a desert war that quickly can turn into a quagmire bogging down the troops and needlessly costing thousands of lives. By your draft day strategy, I would think Donnie Rumsfeld is sitting in your war room but it might be time to start ignoring his advice. You have done exactly nothing and three years from now when you're talking about your 2009 season, you'll be the only one who remembers you starting 5-2 on the way to choking out another fantasy season. Whoops, think I gave myself away too early. Somehow appropriate for this discussion. True love waits, bitch.
Pick: show

The Champ vs. 40 acres & a mule
I actually kind of agree with the Oddsmakers that this is not going to a pretty game to watch. What I mean by that is you'd have to be Steve Phillips to want to get down with that. Steve, man what are you thinking? You don't need to take a leave of absence from ESPN, you need to take a hiatus from life. You ruin your family, your marriage, and give away half your ish for that. Why, Steve, why? Rick Pitino, Mark Sanford, and Ben Roethlisberger were on a conference call to discuss your poor judgment (and apparently poor eyesight). I know you baseball guys are familiar with the concept of a "slumpbuster." But this is just to a whole new level. Even this woman feels sorry for you.

Boss Tells Woman that her Husband's been Fired sound biteAlright, somehow I have gotten through this whole diatribe without talking about the game at all. Job well done. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon came in rocking another team's jersey this week a la Jeff Fisher. Why not? Get out while you can. It's OK to be a bandwagon jumper even if you are the coach of the team. Right, Roy Williams? (Ouch. That hurt me to write that.) It's a good thing that fantasy managers don't have hot seats because no one has ever had one hotter than Brandon right now. Keep the 0-14 dream alive, bud.
Pick: 40 Acres

game of the week
The Protagonist vs. the icon
Chris is looking like a modern-day Nostradamus riding a four-game winning streak after having called his shot, but now it appears that even he is beginning to doubt. Umphlett would be starting Wes Welker anyway after his brilliant performance but hoping to negate Reggie Wayne with Austin Collie is a fool's errand. No one can predict who Peyton Manning is going to throw to on any given play. Not even Peyton Manning. Until he gets to the line, audibles 100 times, reads his progressions, and checks down to the open guy, there is no predictive indicator in the world. What I can tell you is that against the Rams, I know who Manning will be throwing to this week: anyone he wants to. Cat is going to back in the pocket playing an "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" game on Sunday and that is not likely to favor Umphlett's best friend. Lassie! Chris fell down in a well and can't get out! Go get help!

Meanwhile for Overbay, it's all aboard the Tom Brady hype train. Dude has one good game and everyone is daydreaming fondly of 50 touchdowns again. Stop trying to make Tom Brady happen, it's not going to happen! Someone honestly quoted the stat that he has now thrown for 10 TDs in his last 5 games. Yeah and 6 of them came in one game while he only had 4 in the other four games. Typically, NFL teams don't quit in the first quarter... unless they are the Tennessee Titans. So while Tampa is another good matchup, I just don't see the same thing happening across the pond. Still, I don't see Overbay's "London Bridge" falling completely down this week, the icon will be sitting in Buckingham Palace after this week is through, the crown jewel of the league.

Folks, you've been a great crowd. Remember to tip your waitresses. (That's called coming full circle.) I'm out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

fantasy football and beautiful women

Matthew Berry's weekly pickups column was interesting if only because it attempted to bridge the long and dangerous chasm between fantasy football and beautiful. It also starts a good debate. BTW, I agree with those who say my girl, Kristen Bell, should have made the list. She'd be on mine.


Waiver wire: Celebrity edition
By Matthew Berry

It has been well documented, yes.

Successful? Not so much.

I am speaking, of course, about my attraction to Anne Hathaway. I've written about it before -- some might say comprehensively; searching "Matthew Berry Anne Hathaway" on returns 36 results -- and, my friends, you will not be shocked to learn I have yet to meet Ms. Hathaway.

I bring this up because recently I did a podcast interview for a women's sports site. My one-sided relationship with Anne was discussed, and the host of the podcast, Erica Boeke, took issue with my choice of Anne.

She's all for my finding love; she just hates my current object of affection. No one is ever happy. Anyway, she recently wrote a column in which she suggested I get rid of Anne and suggested 14 new women for my celebrity crush. I thought that maybe a woman would have some good insight I hadn't considered. I am always open to matchmaking and have been on a number of blind dates. So, for my celebrity crush, it's good to get a fresh perspective. Or give my editor an excuse to run photos of crazy-hot (or crazy hot) women in this space.

Here's who Boeke suggested, along with my comments:
Jessica Biel: Get real. Even with my huge ego, I would say there's no chance. For this to work, there has to be at least a modicum of "you never know, if we were alone at a bar late, and she'd had a few and was in a 'I'm done with model-looking guys, maybe I'll slum with a funny guy' mood, it could happen." Her supposed ex brought sexy back. What am I bringing back? Not my hair, I'll tell you that.

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Known as "Love" to those closest to her, this is an immediate nonstarter. A great-looking girl who, by all accounts, is really cool, she is dating Jamie Kennedy. And, totally random, but my kid brother is actually very good friends with both of them, especially Kennedy. Like, invited-to-my-brother's-wedding close. It would be creepy and weird. OK, I realize I am talking about an unrequited celebrity crush here, so, um, it would be more creepy and weird.

January Jones: Definitely a fan, but it's important to me that I am the palest one in the relationship, and, as per "New York" magazine, just too many unanswered questions.

Amy Adams: She's been engaged for years. I'm always very respectful of relationships, and plus, this strains the credibility factor. She's a movie star and she's engaged. No way. Come on, Erica. At least with Anne, you had the fact that she was single and vulnerable, and clearly, after her relationship with the con guy, had very questionable taste in men. That I can work with!

Kate Gosselin: Single moms with eight kids are always a tough sell, especially when they are complete and total witches. And words that rhyme with that. Plus, I don't own any Ed Hardy shirts, and it seems her type of guy is the one who has a closet full of them.

Ginnifer Goodwin: Not my type. Too alliterative.

Jennifer Aniston: We talk a lot in fantasy about bye week replacement. Like last week -- OK, Peyton Manning is my quarterback, but he's on a bye. Do I love Matt Cassel? No, but I can live with him for a week. Or like the Phillies. They wanted Roy Halladay. Couldn't get him, so they get Cliff Lee. Not as good, but very solid. But if they couldn't get Halladay, they weren't going to go out and get Brian Moehler. Well, after you marry Brad Pitt, you're not going out with me. Period.

Shenae Grimes: I do love my "90210" and have been known to date younger, but not that young. She's super-cute, but I can be creepy all on my own, thank you very much.

Rachel McAdams: Very hot in "Wedding Crashers." Single. After Ryan Gosling and Josh Lucas, she might be in that "Julia Roberts, I'm sick of great-looking guys, I'll try Lyle Lovett" phase. Potential.

Danica Patrick and Natalie Coughlin: As in, a tie between two sports women, not both at the same time. I like the idea. My ideal woman loves sports. But Danica is taken and not my type. Natalie is currently on "Dancing With The Stars," and as someone who has appeared on the show as a commentator, I can't let my integrity on something as crucial as DWTS be compromised.

Kirsten Dunst: Pretty and strikes me as kind of crazy. And if you've read my column for any amount of time, you know that's my type. Another contender.

Natalie Portman: She's Jewish like me, crazy hot and brainy. She's the mother of Luke Skywalker. She did this. She is, quite frankly, too awesome for words. A good choice but perhaps ... too obvious? I don't know. I feel like she's Ray Rice in the preseason. Yes, I love him. But so does everyone. I want this one-sided celebrity crush that has no chance of materializing to be, you know, special.

Dunst, Portman and McAdams make the final cut, but I'm not ready to commit just yet. I need more information. More research. And more names. But it's been a good exercise. Looking over a list of someone I should "cut" and people I should consider "picking up"?

Not all of them work for me, some are taken in (or out of) my league, but the point of Boeke's column is interesting. Time for me to change it up. To consider different names. To get rid of someone who is not working for me.

Yep, just like fantasy football. (Saw this one coming a mile away, right?) It's time to consider cutting bait on guys like Steve Smith of Carolina. I'm not saying to drop him, but his days of being an automatic starter are long gone. We are six weeks through the season. You now know quite a bit. The days of saying, "Yeah, I love Anne Hathaway, she's my WR1" are over. Carefully consider each and every option -- including the ones listed below -- before setting your roster. ...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

behind the numbers week 6

Episode #308 features a fantasy football roundtable with President Obama, Rush Limbaugh, Jessica Simpson, and Kanye West as well as my take for The Protagonist.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

behind the numbers week 5

Episode #307 features my take on Braylon Edwards, Michael Crabtree, and Rush Limbaugh and the Rams. I also try to seperate the contenders from the pretenders among the 2-2 teams.

WARNING: Some content not suitable for all audiences.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

slaton & knox guests on fantasy focus

black is for sunday was glad to have two members of our squad, Steve Slaton and Johnny Knox, interviewing with our colleagues Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry on ESPN's Fantasy Focus: Football podcast.

You can hear their interviews here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

behind the numbers week 4

Episode #306 will answer your burning questions. What will become of Hines Ward? What do The Commish and Tim Tebow have in common? What is "sexile?" Who will claim the biggest upset of the week? All this and more in week 4 of behind the numbers.