Are you freaking kidding me? I've been doing behind the numbers in its various incarnations for five years now. We've done columns and podcasts and videos and rap songs and live call-in shows and real time blogs and everything in between. Now, in comes the "worldwide leader" to steal my idea, populate it with prettier people (ok, maybe not Matthew Berry) and try to steal my thunder.
That's right. Next week marks the debut of the new daily fantasy sports show on ESPN named "Numbers Never Lie." (ESPN, you could at least hide your blatant trademark infringement a little better than that. Why don't you just call it "Inside the Numbers" or "Beneath the Numbers" or "(Insert other preposition) the Numbers?")
And all of this after my repeated phone calls, tweets, Facebook messages, emails, and occassional knock on the doors of Michael Smith, Matthew Berry, and Christopher Harris. (Come on, even I'm not lame enough to stalk this guy.) Look, restraining orders mean nothing to a serious journalist, ok? You're gonna have to do better than that if you want to take me down.
But what ESPN doesn't know and my readers do is my column is like an ice cold Coke pulled deep from your refridgerator in a frosty glass bottle. It's classic. It's refreshing. And there ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.
black is for sunday vs. BackwoodCrazyCajuns
Going into this season, there's no doubt that both these managers have something to prove. It's been six years since B-Town busted out and the whispers about black is for sunday never appearing in a championship game have never been louder. Both managers targeted upside at the 2011 draft but one started with one of the top RBs in football and the other started with one of the top RBs on the Cowboys. The Cowboys are facing a tough matchup pitting the Ryan brothers against each other for the first time since that ill-fated hot dog eating contest. This one could be just as ugly as the Boys stand to be stifled by the Jets bruising defense in what could be a low scoring affair. Both teams are affected by that game and the schedules will allow the Cajuns to build a substantial lead. It might prove just a little too much to overcome as the perenially slow starters of this league start slowly again.
Pick: Cajuns by 3
Jerry's Belt Buckle vs. 40 acres and a mule
It's been well-documented by this journalist as well as others how Umphlett built his team around two stud running backs in the offseason through trades and saavy financial techniques. It's been similarly well-documented how 40 acres built their team around two injury prone running backs and zero wide receivers. That was not as saavy. A.J. is already facing his first showdown of the season with anti-awesomeness and the uncertainty surrounding Foster's hamstring has reached proportions unknown to every other human body part except Peyton Manning's neck, Kyrie Irving's toe, and Kris Norris'... ehhh wait a minute... it's too early in the season for the easy joke. I like the chances of young players Matthew Stafford and Julio Jones to have big games this week. I don't like the chances of not as young players Matt Ryan and Robert Meachem to make a leap this year. Meachem, in particular, is the NFL's version of Proactiv. He never breaks out. (And, take that Tony Romo. I can find a way to work Jessica Simpson and her creepy @$$ dad into this column without your help.)
Pick: Jerry by 4.5
showmedamoney! vs. SHolstonKayakPirates
Billy is hoping that Darren McFadden is the new Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady is the new... ummm, Tom Brady. (Seriously, how the hell did you guys let Brady fall that far again? Oh, to draft Peyton Manning? Yeah, good call. You know I've had that Peyton Manning voodoo doll for years. Eventually, that joker was going to work.) showme's manager hasn't been this happy about something since he saw his first pornograph... I mean... scary movie. And he has every reason to be excited about the lineup he is putting on the field each week. Jeff, on the other hand, can't be as excited about Shonn Greene. Seriously, try it. Try to get excited about Shonn Greene. I'll give you a couple minutes. *waiting* Yeah, that's what I thought. Nothing. This week could be the worst thing to happen to Pirates since that horribly thought out fourth sequel this summer or since the Dolly Parton pirate-themed restaurant that I actually had to endure this week.
Pick: The show goes on... by 10
K Rabbits vs. The Institute
Take it from me, Institute. Joe Flacco is not the way to start your season. And as far as Krabs. Take it from everyone who has ever owned him. Frank Gore will be the way to end your season. Just probably not this week. The more I look at both of these teams, the more I feel about them the same way I do about their managers. I just don't like them very much. If I have to give an edge to one, it goes to VZ as I think his team has the stronger core. (Sidebet: Over/under on the number of years since either of these post-athletic managers has been accused of having a "strong core.") You're not 18 anymore, Kris, and neither is Dallas Clark. Schoolboy crushes should be a distant memory. Your constant doodling of "Aaron Norris"... who am I kidding? ... "Kris Rodgers" in your trapper keeper is making us all uncomfortable. Step away from the puff paint pen! And welcome to life without Adrian Peterson.
Pick: The Institute by 6
Game of the Week
The Commish vs. the icon
"what better way to kick off opening weekend than with a rematch of last year's championship. my boys are lacing up the cleats and are ready to give the commish a proper beat down."
That could quite possibly be the least inspiring smack talk I've ever witnessed. It sounds like something King George said right before he got rolled by the Americans in the Revolutionary War. "Well, chaps, we'd jolly like a fair duel today. That is, until we break for tea, of course." Or something said by anyone from Canada. If you're ever about to get in a fight with guys from Canada, just say "Can everyone here raise their hand if their country has ever been occupied by France? Yeah, that's what I thought, b*tches."
I'm glad to see the one and two teams from last year going at it the first week. While I think the icon may have actually outdueled The Commish on draft day and the pressure has never been at greater pitch with Jimmy staring down the barrel of an unprecedented third straight championship and fantasy immortality, I just don't think the icon has it in him to upend the Generalissimo in week 1. I sense a Monday night comeback in the making. The Commish likes the classics too.
Pick: Commish by 1