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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the times they are a-changin'



Bob Dylan saw it coming but not many of us did, including Michael Fabiano. Fabiano says that with the increase in the RBBC (running back by committee for those not down with the lingo) and the plethora of useful quarterback options, playing the matchup and make the right lineup decisions is more important than ever. What do you think? Is it now tougher than ever before to be a fantasy manager?

I miss the good old days.

You know, the days when I could keep studs like Dan Marino, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice in my starting fantasy lineup week in and week out without every having to worry about it.

Those days are over.

Now the term “stud” refers to a much smaller handful of players. Sure, maybe you took Steve Slaton in the first round of your fantasy draft. But would you call him a stud? Certainly not this season. In fact, he’s been very replaceable if you have backfield depth. Give me Fred Jackson or Cadillac Williams. Both have been better than Slaton after three weeks.

Yes, the list of the elite fantasy players is shrinking like George Costanza after a dip in the pool.

I would argue, that at this very moment, there aren’t even 10 studs that I feel safe starting every week regardless of the matchup. That list includes Drew Brees, Tom Brady (yes, he’s still a star), Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss and Andre Johnson among the top three positions.

OK, so guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Calvin Johnson are darn close. They would really have to go through some hard times to ever consider benching them. But even if we include this duo, that’s still just nine players who we keep in our lineups every week without fail.

Nine out of how many players currently being owned in your fantasy league? Maybe 192 in a 12-team league with 16-man rosters?

That’s a minute percentage. ...

It doesn’t help that more and more NFL teams are utilizing multiple running backs in their offense. Sure, it helps keep players fresher during what is a punishing 16-game season. But it does nothing but cause confusion in fantasy circles because of the clutter of talent at the position. ...

That means that in more cases than not, you’re going to have to play the matchups and make educated decisions when setting your lineup. In some scenarios, it means rolling the dice on players with great matchups.

You drafted Ryan Grant ahead of Cedric Benson, but guess who you should start this week? Here’s a hint — it’s not the guy you drafted first. Oh, and if you landed Willis McGahee somewhere in the middle to late rounds, chances are you’ll now be starting him ahead of second-round pick Clinton Portis.

Combine the decrease in must-start players with the growth of backfield committees, not to mention an increase in good quarterbacks, and this has become the most challenging time to be a fantasy owner.

Click here for the full article from NFL.com...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

behind the numbers week 3

Episode #305 features the long awaited interview with The Commish, a board update, this week's breakdown, and my take in 64 bars for the Oddsmakers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

texas stadium fail

Not as bad as Jerry Jones picking his nose on the big screen...

Click here to visit the FAIL blog...

Friday, September 18, 2009

tony reali = sportswriter? who knew?

Who knew that Tony Reali, the man once voted most likely to portray me in a movie about my life, was also an above average sportswriter? Apart from his more visible duties for ESPN on Around the Horn and PTI, he also runs the @AroundTheHorn twitter feed, which is well worth the follow if you are so inclined. In addition, he writes a weekly fantasy football column for the Philadelphia Inquirer and his latest edition is quite impressive.

Once great is not good enough

The best thing about being a Fake General Manager - other than the chicks - is doing what the real ones won't. Example:

TRADE APPROVED: Tomlinson, LaDainian (Breaston Plants) for Bell, Mike (Orton Lets Out a Phew).

Oofa. That didn't take long. This decade's greatest fantasy player for a spot starter who torched the Lions. It happened in a friend's league two days ago and it's vintage Week 1 overreaction. It's also the right play.

Fact: Tomlinson is the best fantasy player of all time. Fact: He's won you multiple leagues. Possible fact: Shrines have been built around his aura. Would-be-cool-if-it's-fact-but-

I'm-not-sure-it-is: He tames tigers.

But I wouldn't start him over Fred Jackson this week. (Not that I have Fred Jackson. Nope, I took Reggie Bush instead. Yeah, I stink.)

It's fantasy law. Keep your friends close and your 30-year-old RBs closer. Sure they have history, but history can only get you in trouble. You fall for a guy when he's young, he wins you a league, you ride him until the last stop, and that last stop is a street called Last Place. One minute, Shaun Alexander or Marshall Faulk is winning the MVP. A minute later, the only thing their legs can do is kick you in the groin.

What do you do? Stick with him because he got you here? Or dump him for the newer model?

It's not easy being a fake GM, but occasionally you'll have to make the tough call. And it will hurt. But those equatorially hot chicks make up for it. ...

Click here for the full article...

irrational peyton manning hatred of the day



Saw this on former league member Brian Oten's Facebook page. Thanks to him for the picture and this commentary.

"So THIS is why they have great chemistry..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

behind the numbers week 2

Episode #304 features a segment of here's my take, point-counterpoint with The Institute, a board bet update, this week's breakdown, and a special tribute to Patrick Swayze from the Oddsmakers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

dunzo

LT2 is dunzo.

I know. It's hard to face it. It sucks. He has given you so much fantasy success, so many highlights, and been so fun to watch on Sundays over the last decade.

All good things must come to an end and this one has. Since his completely ridiculous season 2006-07 when he finished with 1815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns, has posted these totals the last two seasons.

2007-08: 1474 rushing yards, 475 receiving yards, 18 total TDs
2008-09: 1110 rushing yards, 426 receiving yards, 12 total TDs

I should know. I have been watching the guy deteriorate like stryofoam in a microwave over the last two seasons. This is the way it goes with running backs. You go down, you don't come back. The age of 30 is the unclimbable wall for nearly all of the greats and we have lost many a stud producer at the base of that wall.

After last night's uninspiring performance, it is clear that despite their protestations, the Chargers plan to employ a running back by committee and that Tomlinson's understudy, Darren Sproles, will be on the field for the majority of third downs.

So despite his bluster and talk that he is the only back in the league that can do it all, fantasy owners and LT2 himself are learning. Yes, he can do it all, but he doesn't do any of it as well as he used to. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

As sad as it makes me to say it. LT2 will not be a top 15 RB this season.

Put it on the board.

Tomlinson is a fantasy superstar no more

LaDainian Tomlinson is done.

I know, I know. It’s just one week. That’s what you’re telling yourself if you took him in the first round. Sure, there’s no reason to panic. He’ll be better next week — oh wait, he faces the Ravens next week. OK, but he’s L.T., a fantasy god! He’ll turn it around.

No guys, he won’t.

Tomlinson was the best running back in fantasy football for years. I loved him the second he came out of Texas Christian. But all good things must come to and end. And at the age of 30, it’s pretty clear that Tomlinson has lost a step.

Case in point. A team that he used to destroy, the Oakland Raiders, held him to one catch, 66 scrimmage yards and one touchdown.

That lone score came after Antonio Gates was stopped at Oakland’s 1-yard line, after which Tomlinson took it in for the score.

It wasn’t exactly a tough touchdown.

Despite what Chargers coach Norv Turner might have said in the offseason, Tomlinson is no longer a featured back either. He was replaced on third downs the entire game by Darren Sproles, who was far more explosive and productive than his veteran teammate.

When the game was on the line in the second half, it was Sproles, not Tomlinson, who was on the field.

Reports later indicated that Tomlinson had rolled his ankle, which was part of the reason he was on the sidelines. However, he told the San Diego Union-Tribune that “it wasn’t bad enough I couldn’t play.”

If Tomlinson’s ankle wasn’t that bad, why would he not be on the field? Isn’t he the best running back on the team? I would argue that Turner knew Sproles was making more plays and decided to keep him on the field.

I would also argue that Tomlinson isn’t the best back on that team anymore.

Click here for the full article from NFL.com...

Monday, September 14, 2009

btn LIVE - 9/14/09

btn LIVE from Monday Night Football takes a look at the first half of Patriots-Bills and recaps week 1.

Friday, September 11, 2009

get me my hat

If there is anything I hope becomes a new catchphrase for this NFL season, I hope it is those four words. Yahoo's Michael Silver reports that just before taking the field for the game-winning drive in overtime for the Steelers Thursday night, Ben Roethlisberger asked a ballboy on the sidelines to "get me my hat" presumably because he expected to soon be telling the cameras and media members surrounding him how he just won another spectacular game in the clutch.

Big Ben has been taking plenty of heat lately for his sometimes unexplainable decision-making, for his propensity to hold the ball far too long, and for his general ability to strike fear into the hearts of Steelers fans. Still, you cannot tell me that if he is the QB of your football team, you wouldn't instantly feel better as soon as he had the ball in his hands with 2 minutes or less. Does he ever fail to come through? It might not be pretty. He might never make it look as easy as Brees or Brady or Manning. But the man wins and he puts on that hat to tell you how he did almost every time.

Clutch moments becoming old hat for Big Ben

PITTSBURGH – The Tennessee Titans called heads, the coin came up tails, and while 65,110 fans at Heinz Field roared their powerful roars and waved their Terrible Towels, Ben Roethlisberger(notes) sidled up to a ballboy and made a four-word request.

Get me my hat.

A brutally physical NFL season opener between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans was deadlocked and headed for overtime late Thursday night, and the quarterback’s statement carried an unspoken but obvious tagline: Get me my hat, because I’m about to take us down the field for the winning points, and I want to cover up my sweaty hair when I do that postgame interview with Andrea Kremer.

And what did the ballboy do?

“He got me my hat,” Roethlisberger said about half an hour later as he undressed at his locker, grinning like a schoolboy who’d just drained a game-winning jumper at the recess bell.

Smart kid, that ballboy. Clutch dude, that quarterback. Right now, with apologies to the NFL’s two reigning greats in New England and Indy, is there any passer you’d rather have with the ball in his hands and the game on the line than Big Ben? ...

Click here for the full article...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

btn LIVE - 9/10/09

btn LIVE talks with the managers of showmedamoney! and 40 Acres & a mule to get their ideas on the first half of the Steelers-Titans.

behind the numbers week 1

Episode #303 features a breakdown of teams around the league and the draft, our first board bets, and a brand new special guest.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

memo to coach jags

In honor of N.C. State kicking off the football season tonight against the O.B.C. just as the news breaks that Tampa has parted ways with offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, Tom O'Brien's successor at Boston College.

Memo to Coach Jags: To quote an iconic piece of American cinema, Friday, "How you gonna get fired on your day off?!?" I mean, you didn't exactly have the day off in the waning days between training camp and week 1 but that doesn't change the fact you have now been fired from not one, but two jobs since the last time you actually coached a game.

Sad to say it, because former ECU coach and Triangle sports radio personality Steve Logan has your back and I have massive respect for him, but I think you might have deserved it. That is, if your job-choosing skills in any way correlate with your on-the-field capabilities, I would have zero faith in your play-calling abilities, too. It was probably for the best that the Bucs decided to break you off to spare you from further public embarassment.

First, you directly defied your employer at BC by going on an interview with the Jets. An interviw. Not a job. Not a job. An interview. Not a job that actually pays you money and puts food on your table. We're talking about an interview. (You get the picture.)

Your boss said, "If you do this, I will fire you." Here's a good job-searching tip. If you are looking for a new job. Do not quit your old job before the ink is dry on the contract for your new job. And definitely don't risk getting fired so that you can get an interview. I don't care if I was offered an interview to be the photographer and "model-tester" for the next shoot of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Before I quit my job, I am going to get them to sign on the line that is dotted!

After that act of sheer brilliance, whiffing on the Jets job, and your subsequent completely unsurprising summarial dismissal from BC, you luckily caught on with Tampa as the new OC. Now when they came to you this week saying it wasn't a good fit, they didn't think you had the experience or the know-how to call plays, and the team was looking to go another way, you turned down a demotion to the QBs coach position. No, no, no, homie. This is a rough economy. You don't know where that next check is coming from. If your interviewing and decisionmaking skills are any indication, it's unlikely that the doors of opportunity are going to be flinging open before you any time soon. I fully expect to see you down at my neighborhood Dick's Sporting Goods trying to sell me some unnecessary golf equipment in due time... that is, if you don't blow the interview.

lame podcasts = fail

These guys suck. Their information is spotty and their jokes are not funny. Just another podcast that is not as good as mine and why on a good day I really feel like I could do this professionally.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

omg, romo has a new gf

As much as I would like to pretend that celebrity gossip is below this blog...

It's not.

Besides I have a take on Tony Romo's new girlfriend.

It's time for an intervention.

Her name is Candice Crawford. She is a local Dallas Erin Andrews wannabe and former Miss Missouri. (Please raise your hand if you know any hot chicks from Missouri. That's what I thought.) But apparently, she is most famous for being the sister of actor Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl marginal fame. In fact, the brother actually hooked that up for Romo which would only be kind of weird except that right after Romo broke up with Carrie Underwood she dated Crawford. (That elevates it from marginally weird to sword-crossing Cruel Intentions kind of weird. I mean, what's next? Romo hooks up with Nick Lachey's cousin.)

I mean... she aight. But clearly Romo is on a downward spiral when it comes to fantasy dating. He went from the incredibly beautiful Carrie Underwood who seems to be relatively non-crazy by celebrity standards to the incredibly annoying Jinxica Simpson and her incredibly creepy dad to the relatively average (by celebrity standards) Candice Crawford.

Somebody needs to remind this guy he is QB1 for the Dallas Cowboys. You do not need to run marginally famous teeny bopper guy's sister game.

And you need to focus on football. Life in Dallas is not going to be nearly as interesting or productive without the wideout that everyone loves T.O. hate. I know your man crush on Jason Witten is not going to be enough to get you through those cold Texas nights, but you do work relatively close to the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders' dressing room. A man has needs. I get that. But a lot of people are counting on Romo to come through this year and he has already shown a propensity to let off-the-field drama affect his on-the-field performance.

It's time for Romo to decide whether he wants to be a flash-in-the-pan celebrity favorite of the papparazi or if he wants to be legendary football player and fan favorite for "America's team."

By the end of this season, we'll know the verdict on Romo's football career and his game.

not so fast, my friend

LaDanian Tomlinson doesn't like that Adrian Peterson is getting the "#1 running back in the NFL" gloss. He says he's the league's best back and doesn't care if Jim Brown disagrees with him.

"Jim Brown was telling Peterson he's the best runner he'd seen in a long time," he said. "I was sitting there reading it thinking, 'Wow.'

"The difference with me is you can put me out on that field and there will be nothing I can't do. I won't have to come off the field. Adrian has to come off sometimes on third down. Running routes, he's still not there yet. Great downhill runner, powerful, fast, all that stuff. . . .

"But anything on that field you want me to do -- throw it, block -- I can do it. That's what I pride myself on is not having any weaknesses. And that's what makes me the best back."


(HT: ProFootballTalk.com)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009