Monday, November 26, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now...through the Mud!

In the sloppiest game in Monday Night history, the Steelers drowned the Dolphins, who don't swim too well in mud, 3-0. There was a lot riding on this one with 3 games still undecided. After the water receded, the playoff picture in our fair league was more in focus. Kat, Jeter, Ya Mo Be There, Mortadella, and Trojan Busters are in. The final slot is yet to be determine. The 5-6 teams could have positioned themselves better for the playoffs, but couldn't do it. Their stumbles left the door open for the 4-7 teams who happened to be playing a pre-playoff for the playoffs. The four 4-7's squared off in what was basically the fantasy equivalent of Death Match.

Starting with the 4-7s, the highest scoring slugfest this weekend happened between Team Allison and Team Keith. This fight was reminiscent of Hagler-Hearns in the mid 80s: Two guys standing in the middle of the ring, kicking the crap out of each other, trading haymakers until one falls. Like Hearns in the 5th in 1985, down goes Keith. This one was truly a classic match between two teams holding on to dear playoff life. Keith started the Thanksgiving games strong with 13 from Romo, 20 from Kicker Hanson, and 4 from Jericho "Crotchery". BGB countered with huge hits from Marion Barber's 17, Colts D's 12, Nick "Poc" Folk, and Reggie Wayne. The first round went to Team Allison. The second round on Sunday was looking great for Team Keith. Hard jabs from Reggie Bush and huge uppercuts from Antonio Gates and new Rookie of the Week Kolby Smith (wasn't that dude on Survivor in 2001?) sent Team Allison into the ropes. Keith needed just one more hard punch to put Allison down and out. After the huge volley, Keith had nothing left as Brandon Jacobs was out, giving him no points. Allison, sensing weakness, merely wiped his bloodied lip, licked his finger, and went kung fu on Team Keith. Kenny Watson knocked the charging Keith back with a quick 10 point jab. Then, Allison winded up with the Denver duo of Cutler and Marshall, who couldn't beat the Bears, but in this game, gave TA a combined 38 with a jarring body shot and uppercut to the jaw that sent Team Keith's down for the count this week and for the season. Team Allison lives to fight another day at 5-7 and is looking good in the fight for the 6th spot. More on that later.

Team Duggan (or newly anointed Beat Team Kat again) has had a difficult season. The highs include being the only team to take down the league leader, Team Kat in Week 2, The lows were many as the team struggled through injury and the arm of Marc Bulger. This week, Team BTKA sat the maligned Bulger and saw another high. Vince Young did not play well, but the team seeing anyone besides Bulger at the helm this week was extremely motivated by the change and gave BTKA a huge victory over slumping Team Buckman. Frank Gore, who was like Fredo in the boat for most of the season (dead to Tim), decided to put on the effort that was becoming a top fantasy pick. Mr. Gore got 32 points as the icecaps of his season slowly melted away. Ocho Cinco looked like he might score his number, but had to settle for Veinte Ocho. Mason Crosby and Donald Driver also contributed to BTKA's biggest game in 10 weeks. Team Bucks didn't have it this week. Javon Walker appeared to be ready for the Bears but got zero. Randle-El also produced nothing. Derek "Brady Q who?" Anderson got Bucks 16 while the two Dallas', Clark and D, got him 10 and 15, but that was all. Bucks with a low point total is almost certainly out of the playoffs with the loss.

Soul Crushing Dynasty had a chance to be in good position heading into next week. At 5-6, they were tied with for the last playoff spot. This week, they leave remain tied for the 6th spot, but in a much weaker position. They took on a surging Ya Mo Be There. Even with Eli Manning at QB this week (I looked up "Eli" in the Old Testament translation guide and it literally means "Thrower of interceptions"), Justin Fargas and Steven Jackson were a tough combo of runners this week putting up 38 combined points. TO had a decent game with 12, while the rest of the team did enough to get the win. Soul Crush got 11 points each from Hasselbeck, Addai, and Seattle D. Jones and Jones-Drew got 8s, but only gave Soul Crush enough to get 60. Team Ya Mo clinches a playoff spot with the 77-60 win.

The other 5-6 team tied for 6th heading into this week Underachievers! (aka saw its playoff hopes and quest for Coach Dorrell's ouster slip a little further away this week. The Bruins skunked the mighty hurt Oregon Ducks and have an outside chance with a victory over SUC this weekend to do the unthinkable and make the Rose Bowl despite a 7-5 record. Wow...would that be amazing and a huge disappointment for a conference who had 3 teams at No. 2 and No. 1 and another at No. 3 with NONE of them going to the Big ONE in Pasadena? Stunning...I had a chance to make its own magic with a victory over the always tough Team Jeter. Jeter had a 2 game losing streak heading into this one, with All-Pro Rookie Adrian Peterson out another game with a knee injury. AP was not needed this week (most likely) as Team Jeter took a 42 point lead heading into Monday's game. The Underachievers hopes this week and most likely, for the season, were left in the slop in Heinz Field. They had Willie Parker and Steeler's D left. The Steelers D did its job pitching the shutout, Will Park had a decent 8, but they fell a little short. Jeter had 5 players in double figures including 21 from recent add Andre Hall, the rookie of the week from Denver (wait I already gave that honor to KC's Smith...oh well.) Drew Brees Resurrection continues as he got 26 for Colston scored 15 and the Edge Edgerrin James got 8.

Trojan Busters and Spoilers of Troy were in a match where the name of JStein's team could say it all. If Big Ben had gone off without the services of Hines Ward, and Jeff Reid only kicks extra points, Spoilers would have kept the Trojan Busters from clinching a spot. Unfortunately, the field was a mess, as was Rothlisberger's passing numbers. Hines Ward and Jeff Reed did their part for the TBs and secured the win. This one looked like it was going to be easy for the Busters early as TB got off to an early lead. However, Larry Fitzgerald had different plans and scored a big 29 points to give Spoilers a lead heading into Sunday night. Brian Westbrook, playing like an MVP every week, got 15 points to give TBs an 8 point lead heading into Monday. Carson Palmer and the Bucks D helped TB's cause while another rookie, Ryan Grant from Green Bay gave 19 to Spoilers.

The other 6-5 team, Team Mortadella had a slim 4 point margin over league leader Team Kat heading into Monday. Team Kat still had Heath Miller, while Team Mortadella had the exciting Ted Ginn, Jr. left on the board. Mother Nature put the kibosh on the Team Kat celebration. All Heath had to do was wade to 6 points and Team Kat would have remained at one defeat. He was shut out. Team Kat had an atypical week with a season low 78. Brett Favre had a nice bottle of chianti with the liver of the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, making the Detroit D look absolutely silly. LT had an "average" 11 while Chester Taylor had another big game in AP's absence with 14. Team Mort got consistent scoring from its top players, 20 from both Peyton and Jamal Lewis and 11 from Braylon Edwards and Earnest Graham. With the win, Team Mortadella is in.

As it looks, the game next week between Soul Crush and Big Giant Bunnies will most likely determine the last playoff spot. Team Beat Kat Again and are in the 5-7 log jam, but don't appear to have enough points to overcome the teams in front.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Curse of A-Rod Remains in Da Bronx

With A-Rod crawling back to Yankees by "settling" for 28 Mil per annum (wish I could crawl back for $28 Mil) and Mariano "Tomete a la " Rivera signing back up to shut down the BoSox for another three from the Bronx, it behooves me to celebrate the extension of the "Curse of the A-Rod" for another 10 in New York.

As I wrote about before a few weeks ago, when A-Rod did the old hidden ball trick with the BoSox in 2004, he single-handedly reversed 86 years of the Curse of the Bambino. Not convinced? Exhibit A. New millenium championships: Yankees 0, Boston 2. (Millenium starting in 2001 mind you.) Exhibit B, Yankees paying Texas $30 Mil because A-Rod broke his contract. Exhibit C, come back to this blog in 10 years and see if the Yanquis have won. I'm convinced that A-Rod's diss of the BoSox was too much for the baseball gods to handle. "You gave them Ruth, okay. You let Bucky Dent beat you in 1978, fine. For the other NY team, we'll have John McNamara leave in Billy Bucks to botch the play, sounds good. Pull the rug from underneath the Sox, thinking they got the best player in baseball? Enough is enough! How about you go up 3-0 and then go down faster than the Hindenberg never to fly again? Perfect!"
With A-Rod signing on again, the curse is extended. A-Rod is sure to pile on another 3 MVPs, but mark my words, the Bronx Bombers will not hold up the hardware again until the BoSox do something dumb, like trade for A-Rod.

Week 11: The Wheat and the Chaff

Separations can be a difficult thing or a good thing. Oil and vinegar...shaken up and combined can make your boring lettuce concoction dance off your plate. have bitter taste in one bite and oily, soggy, tasteless lettuce in another. Another separation is Wheat and chaff. I'm not exactly sure what chaff is but I'm sure it's not good and you can't spread JIF on it. As it goes with salad and wheat, so it goes with the JV Development, but it's good for some and not so good for others.

We start off with the biggest output of points this season. Team Kat is asserting its dominance as we enter the last couple of weeks of the fantasy football season. Buoyed by a huge victory over previously undefeated Team Jeter, Kat showed no mercy to JStein, who had worked its way out of the cellar with 2 big wins over the last two weeks. Kat rolled up G-Style and blitzkrieged poor JStein with Chester the Molester Taylor's 35 points and Randy Moss' 38 points. Throw in LT's 21 and Jon Kitna's 13 and you can pretty much chalk up the "W". With those performances, Kat scored a season-high 149 points. JStein didn't stand a chance this week. 15's from Mo Morris and Larry Fitz were decent, but 50 from these guys wouldn't have done the job. Kat moves into sole possession of 1st place with 2 weeks left because....

Team Jeter was licking its wounds after a tough loss against the aforementioned Kat last week and was hoping to rebound against Ya Mo Better, who was hoping to solidify its playoff position. Solidify it did. Despite a -1 from Donovan "Frail" McNabb, Ya Mo showed that this week it was "better" due to TO's 45 points. (Isn't it like old teammates to help each other out when the other is down? This team is like Sybill with Donovan and TO playing. The Eagles were probably wishing they could have worked out this well.) TO's 45 F-ing points, along with the resurgent Action Jackson's 11 and BIG points from the Pats D and Matt Stover pushed Ya Mo to victory. Team Jeter, in the midst of a two game losing streak now, got its typical big game from Tom Brady (Has there been a better season from a QB ever? I don't think so.), and "What you Talkin' about" Willis McGahee got 18 big ones, but got mostly disappointment from everyone else. Jeter scores a solid 88...good enough for Dance Fever, but not enough to beat Ya Mo. Ya Mo goes to 6-5, Jeter drops to 2nd with a 9-2 mark.

Team Mortadella had a tough weekend. For Team Mort, it was one of those weeks where you thought you made all the right decisions based on the match ups, but unfortunately, it didn't happen as H&V predicted for you. (Those prognosticating bastards!) Team Mort had 5 players on its bench with more points than the WR/RB Mark Clayton and it hurts. Mort's bench almost beat the starters...which sucks when it happens to you. When it happens against a team that has struggled like dumpdorrell, dumpdorrell is grateful for the help. had 4 players over 10 points, but no one over 15. Anquan Boldin had 15 with 3 11's provided by Brees, Colston, and James. Team Mort only had two players, Ernest Graham and Kris Brown over 10. Jamal Lewis scored 18 from the pine, but it doesn't count here. Neither does 15 from Stokley or 10 from the Niners D. A tough loss for Mortadella who has struggled since Ronnie Brown when Down. Mort drops to 6-5 in a tie with Trojan Busters and Ya Mo. Dump Dorrell moves up to 5-6 and is getting into playoff contention.

In a make or break game for Big Giant Bunnies and a kind of make or break game for Trojan Busters, BGB came up a little short. BGB had 20 from Cutler, 10 from the Colts D and 10 from Roy Williams, but little help from other positions. Trojan Busters continued a streak of scoring over 80 points with 99. Defense does win games as the Buc's D scored the most points for Trojan Busters with 19. 6 other players scored in double figures to help secure the win. Trojan Busters moves into a third place tie with Mortadella and Ya Mo. Bunnies goes to 4-7 with slight playoff hopes still alive.

People are talking about the New England Pats being a Dynasty. Well, the JV Dev League has its literal Dynasty of the Soul Crushing sort. This week's Soul Crushing victim came in the form of Team Buckman. Both teams were tied for the 6th and last playoff spot with 3 others and had the opportunity to solidify their chances. Soul Crush put the hurt on, despite having 72 points on the bench. (5 players scored double figures, but it didn't matter this week.) Matt "Boring as Nickleback" Hasselbeck had 19 big ones, Joe Addai and Donald Lee had 16 to help Dynasty to 87 points. Team Bucks put its faith in Phillip "Cry Me a" Rivers, who got 15 points and Cedric Benson, who has been disappointing for most of the year but got 16 points this week. Andre "Money" Johnson was hurt since week 2, but reward Buck's patience with 20. However, the rest of the team scored less than 7, which wasn't enough this week. Soul Crushing Dynasty goes to 5-6. Bucks drops to 4-7.

Team Duggan was in a 6th place tie heading into this weekend's battle vs. Team Keith. In the Battle for Santa Maria, two Santa Maria High alums and good friends squared off in an important game for both. Team Keith took it to Team Duggan early with 29 from All-Pro Tony Romo. TJ House and Brandon Jacobs added 14 and 13 respectively to take a strong lead. Duggan's faith in Bulger is disturbing (to quote Darth Vader), but Bulger scored 10. Unfortunately for Team Duggan, Vince Young decided to put up 300 yards and 25 points on the bench. Those 15 extra points, who no one could have seen coming, would have put Team Duggan close to beating Keith, but not quite enough. Santana Moss got 18 points for TD, but not much else happened for Team Duggan. Team Duggan and Team Keith are both 4-7.

So, at this point, who are the wheat and who are the chaff? Team Kat and Team Jeter are the cream of the crop and have already secured byes. In a 3 way tie at 6-5 for 3rd are Team Mortadella, Trojan Busters, and Ya Mo Better. Soul Crushing Dynasty and are tied for 6th. 4 teams are tied for 8th and within striking distance at 4-7 while JStein is holding on to the faintest hope at 3-8.

Remember to set your schedule 3 days ahead with the Turkey day games this week.

See you next week,

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's good to be the Queen

New Queen at Top of Standings

For most Fantasy teams, this week was a low scoring and horrible affair. For others like my team, the Trojan Busters, weeks of agonizing frustration finally ended with a huge outpouring of points. Most scores were lower this week, but the games for the most part were not really that close.

One game that was shockingly lopsided this week was the much anticipated match up between No. 1 Team Jeter and No. 2 Team Kat. Team Jeter brought a perfect 9-0 record vs. Team Kat, who's team had strung together 7 victories in a row. Both teams had key New Englanders out (Jeter without Brady and Welker, Kat without Moss). With two players on byes, Jeter was definitely at a disadvantage, and it showed this week. Team Jeter got stuck out of the gate and going into Monday only had accumulated a meager 33 points (Brady usually gets that on his own.) Backup QB Steve "Error" McNair only got one point for Jeter, while Team Kat with Kitna scored 13. The rest of Team Jeter didn't show up, except for recent acquisition, Willis McGahee with 11. Adam Vinitieri not only hurt the Colts chances to win with two uncharacteristic misses, but didn't help Jeter's undefeated cause either. Team Kat got good play from LT, Portis, and Miller to absolutely crush the Team Jeter Juggernaut. Both teams are now perched at the top of the JV Developmental League at 9-1.

The 4-5 clump in the middle of the league with 6 teams was thinned out slightly. The first 4-5 team to take a punch to the solarplex was (which after this weekend might be that much more likely at season's end..we'll see how they do against the No. 2 team Oregon in 2 weeks, but I digress...) was looking good with QB Drew "Cool" Brees playing against the up to this point in the season, pathetic St. Louis Lambs. At first, it looked like it was going to be a stroll down Bourbon street as Brees and the boys scored quickly. However, like most strolls down Bourbon Street can get in a hurry, so it did for the Saints. Looking like drunk 19 year olds, they managed to think too highly of themselves and ended up doing some things they were going to be regretting for years to losing to the winless Rams... Brees had a decent 14 point outing for, but the rest of the team didn't do enough and only scored 51. Big Giant Bunnies, angry from some tough losses the last two weeks, had a standout performance from Reggie Wayne, a recent addition, Roy Williams, and Jesse Chatman, the 5th stringer from Mia-ma. Brian Griese sucked again and only got 3 points, but his season is probably over with Rex Grossman bringing back the Bears from losing to the Raidahs??? Colts D also got 9 for BGB.

Team Buckman has seen better games. In a match between 4-5 teams, Ya Mo Be There took Team Buckman to task, not that Team Bucks helped their cause. Only Cedrick "The Non-Entertainer" Benson scored in double figures as the rest of the team slogged to a total of 34, which is close but not close enough to beat Ya Mo's 75. Ya Mo got a nice boost from No Action Steven Jackson's 19 and TO's 26, which is all they needed to get the win. Ya Mo moves into a fourth place tie at 5-5, while Team Bucks licks the wounds at 4-6.

Don't look now, but guess who's back? Back again? J$$tein's back...tell a friend. After being left on the side of the road for dead, like a bad zombie movie, $tein is starting to whack those who have wronged him. After a 1-7 start, $$tein now has more wins in the last two weeks than Team Jeter. This week, they did it in convincing fashion, breaking 100 points with one player to go. Some nifty trades (Big Ben), inspired play from the season long underperforming Bears D, and 7 field goals from Shayne Graham put Stein again in the win column against Team Duggan. Duggan finally got some production from maligned QB Bulger, but with Jackson back, NO's terrible D couldn't focus on stopping the pass only, which opened up some lanes for Bulger. Duggan was hurt by zero production from the running game. Crosby and Kellen "My other motorcycle is a wheelchair" Winslow Jr. had nice games, but it wasn't enough against a suddenly fired up J$$$tein. Team Duggan drops to 4-6 while Team Jeter goes to 3-7.

Trojan Busters took on Team Keith, in a battle that both teams needed. Trojan Busters was one of the 6 teams sitting at 4-5, while Team Keith was one game out at 3-6 and looking to move up. Luckily for Trojan Busters, Brian Westbrook decided to have another awesome game. Westie put up 38 points with 3 TDs and over 180 combined yards. Marshawn Lynch and Hines Ward split 16s while Palmer and Bowe doubled down with 10s to rally Trojan Busters to 113. Team Keith had a great performance from Tony Romo (25 points). The Reggie boys, Arbusto and Moreno, each had 13 points. The normally reliable Titans D didn't do so well today with a -1 and usually strong performer Antonio "Flood" Gates only had 3, which didn't help Team Keith this week. Trojan Busters moves to .500 at 5-5 while Team Keith drops to 3-7.

Mortadella (Team Cioffi) brought the cheese this week and takes a large 44 point margin into Monday over Soul Crushing Dynasty. SCD has 3 players, all Seahawks yet to play. If the Seahawks roll on Monday, they might be able to make up the difference in volume and pull this one out. If not, then, it will be a bloodbath. Mortadella got consistent play from nearly every position. Selvin Young scored 18, Issac The Bruce got 12, Jeremy Shockey scored 18, and the Jags D scored 14. Peyton Manning had 6 interceptions, but had enough yards and a touchdown throw to actually post 11. (In other leagues where picks cost 3, this would have been devastating. Not here.) SCD has an outside chance with Hasslebeck, Seahawks D, and Brown left to play. Maurice Jones-Drew had his usual 10 carry 100 yard 1 touchdown game to give SCD 18 points. The rest of the SCD team struggled except for Donald Lee.

Through Week 10, Team Jeter and Kat are leading with 9-1 records and clinched playoff berths this week, followed by Team Mortadella at 6-4, Trojan Busters and Ya Mo at 5-5, and the rest of the league at 4-6 or 3-7. Everyone still is in contention for the 4 slots remaining with 3 weeks of regular season remaining.

See you next week,


Sunday, November 11, 2007

JV Developmental League Week 9

Fantasy Perfection is a mere 4 weeks away after this weekend's games for Team Jeter. And, with 2 games separating No. 4 through No. 12, everyone still has a shot at playoff glory!

It looked the perfect season might slip away from Jeter and the Pats, but only briefly. After the first half of the Colts and Pats game, Brady was sucking and Welker put up a big doughnut. Then, the second half came, and with it, the perfect seasons for both Jeter and the Pats remained intact. Brady and Welker had off games, but had enough to beat a tough Team Keith. "Enough" in this case is the all-World, all-time, best performance ever by a running back, Adrian Petersen, who managed to make Shawn Merriman and the vaunted Chargers D look like a 5-6 Pop Warner team. His 50 points...yes 5-F'ing-0...points put Jeter ahead. Team Keith still had a shot, but Greg Jennings decided to catch another huge bomb from Brett Favre and add 22 points to Jeter's total. Oh....and Willis McGahee still has yet to play. Team Keith gave its all. Tony Romo outplayed Brady with 24 points, Reggie Bush had a big 23 point game, and Titans D scored 15, but it was just too much to overcome the Jeter Train. Team Keith loses in disappointing fashion with a 100 plus effort.

It was not a good week to be 4-4. The first .500 victim was Team Buckman. Going against Trojanville who's had a tough season, Team Bucks was the prohibitive favorite. However, the tag team of LenDale White, Lee Evans, and newly acquired Marques Colston combined for 53 points. The Quarterback position helped neither squad as Kurt Warner stumbled his way to 2 points while the inconsistent Phil Riv led San Diego and Bucks down the road of oblivion with an awful 5 points. LJ managed 22 points before hurting his ankle, and the Cowboys D playing a totally demoralized Philly squad racked up 10 points. Bucks was down by 30 going into Monday and looked dead in the water with only Santonio "Take Me" Holmes "Country Roads" left to play. With 2 big touchdown catches from Big Ben in the first half, it looked like Bucks might pull this one off. In the end, $$$tein was just too much, winning by 8. needed Willie Parker to have a Adrian Petersen type game on Monday to prevent Team Kat from rolling into next week's showdown with Team Jeter with an 8-1 record. Slogging through the mud, Big Willie Style couldn't gain traction and didn't add much to DDs. For Team Kat, Jon Kitna, Clinton Portis and Randy Moss rolled 20s, offsetting LT's "disappointing" 13. The revitalized Drew Brees was the only bright spot in what was a terrible weekend to be a Bruins fan, but a good weekend if you want to "". No other player broke double digits for [link][/link] and neither the fantasy football coach or the coach of UCLA could get their respective squads up for their games this weekend.

Trojan Busters have been consistent this year. Consistently mediocre and scoring about 80 points a game. I follow this team and am biased, of course, but they have done just about not enough to be any good this year and joined the log jam at 4-5. Busters last chance to win came and went when the Steelers decided to score touchdowns without Hines Ward or kick field goals instead with Jeff Reed. In the battle of former college roommates (damn that was a LONG time ago), Cory's Soul Crush team had 6 of its players in double digits, with Joe Addai leading the way with 30. Matt Hasselbeck scored 19 in a game that I thought there was no way they were going to lose after going up 21-3 against the Brownies. They pulled defeat from the jaws of victory once again and somehow still lead the hapless NFC Worst Division ever. Soul Crush racked up 107 and should hold off the Busters. Busters had great games from Westbrook, Lynch, and Palmer, but not much else. Both teams are lagging at 4-5.

Big Giant Bunnies and Team Duggan had a good game going on into Monday, with Team Duggan taking a tenuous 2 point lead into Monday. Duggan appeared to be in trouble because they didn't start a kicker (Mason Crosby scored 17 on the bench). BGB had the Ravens D and almost a sure victory, right? Wrong! I originally wrote: "As long as the Ravens don't give up more than 27 points with no fumble recoveries, sacks or INTs, BGB should win." I should have said in the first half! Ravens D, with "help" from the Ravens Offense giving the Steelers 4 turnovers close to their end zone, gave up 38 points, giving BGB -7 points and a heartbreaking loss. I didn't see that one coming! Jay Cutler outright sucked for BGB, going out in the 2nd quarter with a leg injury. (Like it mattered in the Denver fiasco. How did the Lion's get good? Damn.) Marion Barber took up some of the slack for BGB. Team Duggan got zero from the QB position as well. However, Backup Joey Harrington got only 4 points so it wouldn't have matter too much any way. Duggan still gets the W.

It took an extra week, but the motivational asskicking that Ya Mo Be There 2 weeks ago finally took hold. There's been some smack talking back and forth between my two pledge class brothers, Cioffi and Shadic, and they certainly did not disappoint this week. Ya Mo took a 10 point lead into Monday and held on due to the Ravens anemic offense. Cioffi still had a chance with Derek "The Jar" Mason on Monday, but 2 points wasn't enough. Mortadella falls for the 2nd time in two weeks. Losing Ronnie Brown has killed the momentum for Mortadella. Jamal Lewis, Ernest "Goes to the Endzone" Graham, Peyton went big for Mortadella this week, but the rest of the team sat in the locker room. Team Ya Mo got surprising efforts from Justin "Circus Fargas, Circus Fargas" and Reggie Williams (not the disappointing ex-No. 1 Clippers draft pick in 1988), and the usual stud efforts from TO and T Gon.

With 4 weeks remaining, the lump in the middle of the JV Developmental League just got bigger, with 6 teams dropping/climbing to 4-5 (damn it stinks down here). Only 3 games separate No. 3 to No. 12 with 4 to go.

The big game this coming week is between the Fantasy Titans and 100% likely First round bye teams, Team Kat and Team Jeter. Team Jeter might be in trouble this week as both Brady and Welker, the core of the team for most of the season will be sitting this one out with byes at the worst possible time. Team Kat will come to play and will show no mercy. It should be a good one.

Cheers 'til next week,


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Curse of the Running Back: Conventional Wisdom Kills Seasons

If you are a veteran of Fantasy football like me, when you drafted your team, you usually went for the running backs. Names like LaDainian Tomlinson, the J&J Boys (Rudi and Larry Johnson), Shawn Alexander, and Steven "No Action" Jackson were at the top of your list. If you happened to be in the top 5, you were going to get a stud who could give you 25 points on a bad week. If this was the route you went this year, unless you got the first pick with LT, you pretty much dug yourself a hole.

As many owners of the top running back choices in this year's drafts have found out, picking a running back first blew up in your face. Of the average of the top 10 RBs in this year's drafts, 6 are struggling mightily, injured, or out for the season.

The universal #1 pick in pretty much every draft that didn't have a brain dead dude picking first was Ladainian Tomlinson. LT has had an off year for LT, but has still been a solid performer for his owners. He had one very big game against Oakland and several solid efforts between 10 and 20 points, but he did have two single digit games through the first 9 weeks, which was uncharacteristic for guy who has been awesome for 5 seasons. LT was a good number 1 and will most likely have paid off by the end of the season. With SD struggling for playoff position, I would expect LT to be a big time scorer through the end since SD will not be able to sit him.

Steven Jackson, who went 2nd in my league's draft has been on the bench or in traction longer than he spent on the field. He is trying to comeback, but with the Rams perched on the toilet at 0-8, I'm sure "No Action" Jackson is not in a rush to come back. He has been, by far, the biggest disappointment for guys who thought they had hit the mother lode with the number two pick. He has been a bust for a very bad team.

Larry Johnson has performed and not performed. A 12 yard effort against the Jags, sandwiched between 123 and 119 yard efforts. He started off very slowly with no double digit games in his first 3, but picked it up in 4 of his last 5. In the midst of a huge game last weekend, he severely sprained his ankle while being tackled and is out for a while. LJ owners have not gotten what they'd hoped for.

Next on the injury or sucky firing line is Mr. Alexander. Shaun is a former MVP who has not played like an MVP in 2 seasons. He has been oft injured over the last 2 seasons, and when playing, he appears to be building up his 401(k) for retirement. Whenever he can get the extra yard, he lays down so he won't get hit. I can't blame the guy for trying to stay healthy and prepare for his gig next to his brother, Tiki Barber, on Today. (They are not really brothers, but as many have pointed out, Tiki, Ronde, and Shaun are triplets.) However, when his team is decent enough to contend for the weak NFC title, Shaun isn't putting out the full effort. He's been mired in mediocre performances. It's sad because I remember the guy dominating, like scoring 4 TDs in a Sunday night game, wishing I had him on my Fantasy team. Not many people are thinking that this year.

Frank Gore was coming into his own. He had a breakout year with a really bad team last year and was poised to take his team and his game up to the next level. So far, he has reached down a level. Mr. Gore, through injuries, has been Mr. Bore. He has missed a couple of games and has reached the 100 yard level exactly zero times. Zero times? This guy went 5th in my fantasy league! He's hurt still and the guys who pick the forecasted scores are saying "We'd pass on him, play or not play". This guy was No. 5 pick in the draft and you should sit him? Amazing.

Joe Addai has had a great sophomore year. He was injured a couple of games, but the 6th RB picked has been Fantasy gold for his owners. The last two weeks, he put up 28 and 30 points respectively. This week, he has the Chargers, who gave up a record 296 yards to rookie Adrian Petersen (the Good One). Except for the one game he missed, Joe has not scored less than double digits. He's as good as it gets right now.

Brian Westbrook is the Eagles. With Donovan struggling to find targets and a wide receiver corp that makes '85 Oklahoma look like All-Stars, Westbrook has been the only guy to perform week in and week out for the struggling Eagles and it's not for lack of effort from this guy. He has been all over the field and seems to have the ball in his hands on pretty much every play. How valuable is Westbrook? Exhibit A against the Giants: McNabb on his back more than Britney Spears due to the defensive pressure and blitzes. They were crushed without him. If he can remain healthy, he could end up in the top 3 RBs of the season.

Willie Parker, the number 8 RB picked, has been solid, but nothing spectacular this year. He has run for over 100 yards in several games, but has not had that breakout performance where he's scoring 30 points. Willie is typically good for a 10 to 15 point week and has been a consistent producer for his teams. I think most players would like to have Willie on their team, especially with the Pittsburg offense chugging along.

Rudi Johnson = Not Good in 2007. Rudi had one good game against the Cleveland "No D" Browns and that's it. He had 9 yards on 17 carries in Week 3 and has pretty much disappeared from view with injuries and general suckiness. Last week against the Bills, he put up 11 yards on 9 carries for 1 point. That's not going to get 'er done. He's probably done and has been the second biggest disappointment this season.

Finally, Lawrence Maroney, the number 10 pick in my Fantasy draft. He has been a side show on the Greatest show on Nature turf this year. With Tom "God" Brady at the helm leading the New England passing game juggernaut, the running game has pretty much taken a back seat. Maroney has been hurt much of the year, but it really wouldn't matter much with the machine in place. LM has missed 3 games this year and only had 1 100 yard game. He hasn't reached his potential yet, but with Brady's Bunch kicking as much as ass as they have been, Maroney's owners will probably be watching from the sidelines.

Those 10 have had mixed results with LT, Westbrook, Addai, and Parker having All-Pro campaigns. The rest of them were wasted picks. The guys who weren't in the top 10 who have been awesome this year? Obvious Rookie of the Century, Adrian Peterson has had two huge games, including last week's all time best performance in NFL history again a pretty good defense. It appears that AP's injuries from college stayed in Oklahoma. The sky's the limit for him. Ronnie Brown was having a great season until he blew out his knee. He's been out for 3 weeks and is still the number 5 back in scoring in FF. He was good while he lasted. Marion Barber went later in most drafts, but with his touchdown scoring has produced big so far.

Overall, this year, you wanted Tom Brady and Randy Moss, pretty much before anyone else, but I don't think many people thought that Moss would get his crap together or that Tom Brady with 3 good receivers would dominate like he has. (He dominated with no receivers, I guess I should have seen that one coming, like no one else did.)

A-Rod to Angels? Good and Bad

I have loved to hate A-Rod for years. Sure, the guy is a stud with the bat and was once pretty good with the glove. But he was with the Yankees! The Yankees, who Angel fans like myself, tend to despise. When the Angels played the Yanks in the World Series championship year of 2002, I would have been content with them just beating the Yankees, even if they didn't pull it off. As far as I was concerned, when they beat the Yankees, the season was a success. Of course, they went on to win it all and in 2005, again beat them.

Now that A-Rod might be an Angel, I'm not sure how I feel. With A-Rod and Vlad the Impaler in the same lineup, they both might hit 60 home runs for a team that struggled its way to get over 100. (They had more, but it seemed like they didn't hit that many.) Heck, with a healthy Garret Anderson in the 5 spot, he could easily add 30 more. The possibilities are endless. However, with Great A-Rod comes great expectation and responsibility. As much as I love watching Vlad hit balls that almost hit the ground over 450 ft., he hasn't produced too much when it's counted in the playoffs for 3 of the last 4 years the Halos have made it. A-Rod was much maligned for his shortcomings in the post season in the Bronx. In the middle of June, hit 3 home runs when no one is watching, but under the glare of the post-season light, bat .155.

It's tough to be money when money's on the line. Usually, the post-season brings out the unlikely heros. Aaron Boone, David Eckstein, Bucky Dent. These guys were/are decent players who had decent careers, but became heroes because they produced when everyone was watching. So far, A-Rod and Vlad have not had those seminal moments of glory, with the season or title on the line. If they come together, could they help each other reverse the curse of the post-season, and realize their destiny?

This Angel fan wants to find out.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Rich Get Richer

In the NFL and in the FFL, the rule above is holding. New England played a Washington team that had a shot at the upset....on paper. When they made it to the field, it was OVER, quickly and decisively. Seriously, they will not lose. The Colts have a shot at them next weekend, but again, seriously. Last year, Brady had NO ONE at receiver and still had a rock solid year. This year, he has 3 studs and 30 TDs. Wish I would have seen that one coming. Then, Green Bay and Brett Favre. Somewhere, Madden was having a wet dream as Brett and the boys take a big one in Denver on the first play in OT. Tough week for Colorado fans.

While New England proved their dominance on the field, Team Jeter showed his Fantasy dominance against a tough Team Cioffi. As we all know, Team Cioffi was on a roll, winning its last 5 in convincing fashion. This week Cioffi met the Buzzsaw (aka Jeter). Cioffi put up 92 points, for the third highest total in the league, but only second highest in this battle and was rewarded with the "L". Cioffi got some good games from Selvin Young and Brandon Stokley, but Tony Scheffler on Jeter, the Denver tight end got 8 points to seal the victory. Tom "God" Brady and Wes "Sky" Welker had big games, while Marques Colston woke up at the right time with 24 points, giving Jeter his 8-0 start.

It's said that Defense wins championships. Defense also wins FF games, for Team Kat in this example. The SD Chargers D put the hurt on Matt Schaub and the toothless Texans, leaving some pain to dish out on Soul Crushing Dynasty. SD's D scored 21 points. The Packers D for Soul Crush got 9, but the difference in defensive scoring was margin of victory for Team Kat. Joe Addai and Joe Galloway made it interesting with big points and no whammies, but Ah,man "Why didn't you play?" Green gave Soul Crush no love, sitting out with an injury. Torry Holt was sighted in the Rams loss and put up 17 for Team Kat. Kat stays one game off Team Jeter's pace.

In the battle of the Number 11 and Number 12 teams, Trojanville made it interesting vs. Team Keith. If Jennings ran down the tunnel and out into the parking lot on his game winning catch to give him 60 more yards, Trojanville would have won. Unfortunately for Stein's team, Jennings got 22 points, but ran out of field and was handed a 5 point loss. Team Keith got monster games from Antonio Gates and TJ Houshmanzadeh (spell check please?) Poor QB play almost cost both teams, but in the end, Team Keith wins and moves to 3-5. Trojanville with its 7 loss in 8 tries might be playing for next season.

With a name change that this Bruin might begin to get behind, Raidah Nation took on Team Duggan. Despite the lambasting that Tim took for playing Monica Bulger last week, he didn't blink and made a good call to start him this week. (He didn't have a choice as Joey Harrington was on a bye week this week, but what choice did he have...really?) Bulger scored 14 points for Team Duggan. Raidah Nation could have a QB controversy brewing. Big Ben Rothlisberger started over Drew Brees. Ben scored 15 points while Drew scored 29 on the bench. Drew Brees has arisen from the ashes of New Orleans awful start and is now a viable QB option. Parker and Jones combined for 33 in Raidah Nation's 82-70 triumph.

Big Giant Bunnies was one holding penalty away from beating Team Buckman. Brandon Marshall caught a 37 yard pass in the fourth quarter that was called back for holding. Those 3 points were sorely needed in the closest game this weekend. Buckman overcame bad showings by Verand Morency and Reuben Droughns "on the Lakes o' Wembley", but got a good showing from Derek Anderson, Brady blocker and David 40 Akers. Bunnies got a nice game Reggie Wayne, but it wasn't enough. Bucks gets even to 4-4 while Bunnies joins the party at 3-5.

After a smack board posting about getting his fantasy sh-t together, Team Shadic proceeded to start 3 bye week players against Trojan Busters, with little effect. (Just a tip Scott, zero plus zero plus zero isn't very much.) Luckily for Team Shadic, playing bench players wouldn't have gotten him the win this week, but still, after calling himself out, he couldn't get it together on Sunday. TB's had a tag team 20 points each from Westbrook and Ward, while Shadic hit two 18s with McNabb and Pats D. The Byes killed Shadic, who will have to rebound next week.

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See you next week!