More Than A Fan Opinions So Good They Should Be Called Facts Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:03:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Indians’ Minor League Excitement Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:03:03 +0000 0 Who’s the Real ‘Little Brother’? Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:33 +0000 0 IndyCar Should Return to Cleveland, but Not the Airport Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:05:39 +0000 0 Four Cavs Predictions Heading Into the Regular Season Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:03:16 +0000 0 The College Quickie: Darkhorse, Let’s Make A Deal, Luck O’ The Irish? Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:04:43 +0000 0 Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups Week Eight Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:35:43 +0000 Alex Squires and Jason Barron are teaming up for MTAF Fantasy Football coverage! Follow them on twitter, send them emails, and ask them all the fantasy football questions you can muster. 

After a much needed bye-week, the sort-of-in-the-same-area-code-as-dynamic duo is back, well rested, and ready to continue giving you all the edge in your fantasy football leagues.  Short of doing that, however, there are Baldwin Brothers and Bizarro mentions.  So there is that. 

Running Backs 

  1. Ronnie Hillman – Through two contests operating as the lead back in Denver, Hillman has impressed with a 38-174-2 line while out-touching his caddie Juwan Thompson 45-15. Montee Ball is far from a lock to automatically regain his starting role when healthy and even if he does Hillman has proved he deserves to be in the mix going forward.  If you have watched the Broncos at all this year, the naked eye confirms what the stats tell you: Hillman is better than Ball.  He is available in more than 40% of Yahoo! Leagues, and he needs to be owned in all of them.
  2. Jerick McKinnon – Apparently HC Mike Zimmer’s comments regarding getting Matt Asiata more touches was just noise as McKinnon became the first back to rush for 100 yards against a stout Bill’s rush defense this season while out-touching Asiata 21-7. He is the man in Minnesota, and is a must own.  He has some tough matchups in the coming weeks, but he just ripped the top rated run D in the league.  If you have been holding that FAB, our advice is to spend big on this guy.
  3. Bryce Brown – With C.J. Spiller lost for the year and the 33 year-old Fred Jackson looking at a 4 week timetable for a groin, Buffalo will look to Brown and Anthony Dixon to carry the load. The Bills look to pound the rock week in and week out and Brown is a far more talented runner than Dixon, making him the more intriguing pick up.
  4. Denard Robinson – Now the Brown’s run defense has been very poor thus far but it is still hard to ignore how good Robinson looked Sunday as he started and ran for 127 yards on 22 carries against Cleveland. The quarterback converted to “offensive weapon” converted to running back out-touched Storm Johnson and Jordan Todman 22-7 and should continue to “spear head” Jacksonville’s ground game up until and possibly even after Toby Gerhart‘s return.  While we don’t trust anything in that Jacksonville offense, it appears that Robinson has emerged as the starter, and that has to be worth something.  We think.
  5. Anthony Dixon – Dixon ran for 51 yards on 13 carries Sunday after both Jackson and Spiller exited the game. It’s that paltry 3.9 YPC – not to mention his career 3.0 YPC – that makes us think it will be Bryce Brown‘s backfield going forward, although Dixon should remain in the mix as a COP and short-yardage option for Doug Marrone.
  6. Tre Mason – With Zac Stacy‘s ineffectiveness landing him in the dog house, Benny Cunningham started Sunday for the Ram’s but it quickly became the Tre Mason show as he ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, all the while leading the St. Louis backfield in snaps played and touches. While we are concerned that Cunningham will vulture reps, make no mistake: Mason is the emerging talent in this backfield, and is a must own in all formats.
  7. James Starks – It has been three weeks since the Pack has gone to a “50-50” timeshare between Starks and Eddie Lacy. Although its been more of a 65-35 timeshare favoring Lacy, Starks has ran well racking up 133 yards and a touchdown on 32 touches. Assuming the ankle is okay, Starks should handle a similar weekly work load going forward.
  8. Travaris CadetPierre Thomas left Sunday’s game with a shoulder, and even before his exit Cadet was involved in the Saints’ offense. He ended up pulling in 6 catches for 51 yards on nine targets. Although Mark Ingram is now healthy, neither he nor Khiry Robinson offer much in the passing game so if Thomas is to miss any significant time Cadet would be called on in all passing and hurry-up situations in an offense that loves to feature running backs in their passing attack.
  9. Jonathan Stewart – Coming off of… you guessed it… another knee injury, Stewart ran for 55 yards on 14 carries as the Carolina Panthers got trounced by the Packers. Considering the score of the game, one could argue that Stewart did well for himself as he out-touched Chris Ogbannaya and Darin Reaves 15-4. Proceed with extreme caution, as we are setting the over/under for the number of consecutive games J-Stew starts going forward at one.  If Stewart is a viable option for your fantasy squad, you are in our prayers.
  10. Joseph Randle – Being the china doll that he is, you would think that Demarco Murray’s handcuff would be owned in 100% of leagues.  I mean, you’d be crazy not to handcuff Murray right now.  Well, there apparently is a lot of crazy in this world, as Randle is available in over 90% of leagues.  If you own Demarco Murray, you MUST own Joseph Randle.  It is that simple.

Wide Recievers

  1. Odell Beckham Jr. – With Victor Cruz lost for the year, Beckham played on every offensive snap for the G-Men on Sunday, playing all over the formation – the three-wide formation is the base set for Ben McAdoo’s offense – as he caught two touchdowns.  They also got him involved in the run game and return game.  He is a dynamic player and a must own in every format.
  2. Andre Holmes – Two weeks removed from a breakout game, Holmes was unimpressive Sunday as he hauled in 3 of 5 targets for 34 yards. He still remains an incredibly gifted number one receiver on a team that figures to play from behind a lot of the time, but he is a boom or bust WR3 at best. [WARNING: see below*]
  3. Cecil Shorts – Similarly to Andre Holmes, Shorts – when healthy – is the number one receiver on a team that will be behind in a lot of games. He has racked up 19 targets in his past two games and that should continue as long has he can stay on the field.  However, until Bortles develops a bit more consistency, we recommend you keep your Shorts in the drawer until it heats up a bit.   [WARNING: see below*]
  4. Allen Robinson – Robinson is making a push to take over the Jaguar’s number one receiver role and is likely on his way to that after posting lines of 8-68-0 and 4-60-1 in back to back contests. Look for his arrow to continue to go up.  We would love Robinson on a different team.  But alas, he is a Jaguar, and so we would only start him if you are desperate.  [WARNING: see below*]
  5. Doug Baldwin – After not catching more than 4 balls or going over 56 yards once this season, Baldwin blew up for 7-123-1 on eleven targets Sunday. Although this could have very well been his best game of the year, Baldwin will likely lead the WR corps of the post-Percy era in Seattle.  And as the season progresses, we  see more Russell Wilson more of the time.  That should result in a lot of targets for the MUCH lesser known Baldwin brother.**  If you are looking for a low floor guy, he will be your Doug.
  6. Brandon LaFell – In an offense historically impossible to predict, in the Pats past five games LaFell is averaging a line of 3.8-67.4-0.6, and looks just about as dependable as any New England wide out going forward.
  7. Jarvis Landry – Landry caught four passes for 46 yards Sunday and has superseded Brandon Gibson as the Fin’s slot receiver. Tannehill is excellent in the short and intermediate passing game and as Landry gets more seasoning his fantasy stock will climb.  If you have the room, Landry is worth rostering.
  8. Jermaine Kearse – Kearse is a name to keep an eye on during Seattle’s post-Percy era as he caught 3 passes for 50 yards Sunday on 7 targets. He wont provide you with week to week consistency but could pay dividends if you roll the dice at the right time.
  9. Davante Adams – Adams is still getting acclimated to the NFL but remains firmly ahead of Jarrett Boykin for the number 3 WR job in an offense that has the fire power to to support an army of wide receivers.  He made the most of his one target last week, converting it to a 21-yard touchdown reception. We still really like him.
  10. Robert Woods – Woods caught 4 passes for only 10 yards one week removed from posting a 7-78-1 line but with Sammy Watkins blowing up, defenses are going to be forced to pay more attention to him leaving more room for Woods to operate going forward.
  11. Percy Harvin – Wait, what? We feel compelled to include Harvin on this list for the sole reason of saying this: Harvin’s value will be better in New York than it was in Seattle, so if he is available, we recommend getting him. The Jets are taking a flier on the guy, and there is no denying his talent. They will figure anyway they can to get him involved, so we see his touches increasing dramatically.

Tight Ends

  1. Dwayne Allen – Allen has yet to catch more than 4 balls or go over 64 yards receiving in a game this season but has caught touchdowns in 5 of 7 games and remains one of Andy Luck’s favorite red-zone targets.
  2. Owen Daniels – At 31 years-old Daniels is filling in for Dennis Pitta rather nicely. For the season he has a line of 27-275-3 and will look to build on that going forward as he continues to get his starters legs underneath him.
  3. Clay Harbor – The past two weeks have yeilded a 9-125-1 line for the journeyman tight end, and as the story has gone for every Jaguar we have talked about, they’re going to be airing it out a lot.  But also as the story goes, he is a Jaguar.
  4. Jace Amaro – Amaro struggled on TNF coming off of a game in which he posted a line of 10-68-1. It’s going to be hard to project what the Jets offense will look like with Percy Harvin, but with defenses potentially paying more attention to Percy underneath, that could open things up for Amaro.

Plug and Play D/STs

  1. Miami @ Jacksonville
  2. Cleveland vs Oakland
  3. Kansas City vs St. Louis
  4. Dallas vs Washington
  5. Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh

* WARNING REGARDING RAIDERS AND JAGUARS RECEIVERS. Please be aware that no matchups were taken into account when performing this analysis.  Like a Bizarro Denver Offense, it really does not matter.  And let’s be honest, if you are forced into playing one of these three guys, you either are in a 16 team league that plays 3 wideouts, or your season is done.

** Doug Baldwin is not related to Alec, Daniel, Billy or Stephen Baldwin, to our knowledge.  But you have to believe the Baldwin family would happily do a Stephen for Doug trade, straight up.

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The Cleveland Browns: A Tragicomedy Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:05:28 +0000 0 Getting ready for a “Wild” World Series Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:26:21 +0000 Every sport has that time of year where its fans get excited about the action on the court, on the field or on the ice. For the NBA fan it is June. For the NFL fan it is late January/early February. For the hockey fan it is every April/May/June. For College Basketball fans it is the month of March and for College Football fans late December/early January. For track and field fans it only comes once every four years, but when it does, it is worth waiting for.

It is the same for baseball fans. Whether you live in a major league city, a minor league city/town or you are just a baseball fan; the World Series is that time of year. If you happen to be a fan of one of the two teams that have reached the Fall Classic, then that’s a bonus. But regardless of your team loyalty, the World Series is the Big Stage.

For only the second time in history we are going to see two Wild Card teams vying for the World Series Trophy (Angels-Giants in 2002 was the only previous occurrence). The road to the Series has been exciting, surprising, entertaining and much, much more. In the four Divisional Series and the two Championship Series, we have seen three sweeps and three series which went one game over the minimum. That is a sharp contrast to the last few years where we have seen a few five game Divisional Series and several six-seven Championship Series. Even though no series went the limit, there was no shortage of excitement. There were few blow outs. There were clutch homers, often late in games, often game tying or game winning homers. We saw great base running to win games (especially Kansas City). We saw great pitching both in winning (Yusmeiro Petit) and losing (Adam Wainwright). We saw aces fall apart (Clayton Kershaw, twice) and we saw staff leaders continue to dominate games (Madison Bumgarner). And still, we have the World Series to come.

Both of these teams are on a roll, both on the field and emotionally. Both had to win a “play-in” game, just to get into the Divisional Series. Both were underdogs in at least one of the series in which they have participated. The Giants are on a five year run where they are going to the World Series for the third time. Nine players on their roster (if you include injured pitcher Matt Cain) have been on all three of those World Series teams. They know how to win and they are used to winning. The Royals have been in the wilderness for almost 30 years. They haven’t made the post season since 1985, when they came back from 3-1 deficits in both the ALCS (Toronto) and the World Series (St. Louis).

The Royals tore it down and rebuilt it; more than once. This time they appear to have got it right. For a small/mid-market team, you can’t rebuild simply by writing cheques with lots of zeros behind a number. You have to be patient, drafting well, developing well and learning how to use those assets. Some of them develop over time and help you win (14 of the 25 Royals are “home-grown”). Some of them become chips in the trading game. Zack Greinke and Wil Myers, both top class major leaguers were dealt to obtain four other key members of the Royals post-season roster in Lorenzo Cain, Alicedes Escobar, Wade Davis and James Shields. Dayton Moore has done a great job and ownership supported him in his plan to restore the franchise to its winning ways of the 1970’s and 1980’s. The high draft picks are the easy ones, but those mid-late round draft picks (Greg Holland was a 10th round pick in 2007, Jarrod Dyson was a 50th round pick in 2006 and Terrence Gore was a 20th round pick in 2011) are a huge bonus. Add to that some astute Latin American signings in Yordano Ventura as a 17 year old, Salvador Perez as a 16 year old and Kelvin Herrera as a 16 year old and you have a roster built carefully through several avenues. Many ownership groups would have jettisoned their GM long before he had a chance to see his plan through.

The Giants have built their team slightly differently, also drafting and developing well, but adding some key pieces in trades over the years. In Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval, they have three players who have been the core of this team over their five year run. Hunter Pence (2012) and Jake Peavy (2014) have been key acquisitions late in a season that have added veteran leadership and filled key roles. Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik have worked their way into the team and played key roles. Converted first baseman Travis Ishikawa has become the regular left fielder and contributed with the key home run against the Cardinals in the deciding fifth game.

Both teams have their strengths. The Giants starting rotation is clearly better than the Royals’, but the Royals bullpen has been more consistent and is deeper than the Giants. The Giants have the edge in power, but the Royals have a better running game. Both teams are good defensively, each playing in big parks where defense is a must. The Royals bench likely gets the edge only because it is more versatile.

There will be some keys to the series that we need to watch out for. If the Royals can get into the Giants bullpen they have a better chance to win the series. How the Royals use DH Billy Butler for the games in San Francisco will be interesting. Butler’s only defensive position is first base, a position capably manned by Eric Hosmer. We might see Butler pinch hit for Hosmer if the Giants bring in Javier Lopez to pitch to Hosmer when the Royals are behind late in the game and/or have a chance to blow it open. We might see Butler pinch hit for one of the middle infielders or right fielder Nori Aoki, but that would mean only one at-bat for Butler as Christian Colon would come in to play a middle infield position or one of the speedsters (Dyson or Gore) would come in to play right field. Royals’ manager Ned Yost may only have one chance to use Butler’s bat in each game in San Francisco, so he needs to think through his options carefully before he inserts Butler into the game.

Winning this series is important to both teams, but for different reasons. For the Royals it is a chance to make it back all the way. For the Giants, it is a chance to win the World Series for the third time in five years and create a mini-dynasty. The Royals don’t have to win the Series to be considered a success this season, they have already achieved that. What they have to be careful of is that they are not embarrassed; lose by big scores and lose in four or five games.

Everyone loves an underdog, which leads us to think that the Royals would be the sentimental pick. However on the weekend before the series starts, the Royals are slight favourites, most likely because they have the extra home game if the series goes seven games.

Whoever wins, baseball fans will be happy. We will see a great series and one that doesn’t include some of the sport’s heavyweights and big spenders. That alone should help us enjoy the series.

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Absolutely Pathetic Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:00:07 +0000 0 11-on-11: A Royal NFL Reboot Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:50:23 +0000 Don’t let my excitement over what’s happening in baseball be interpreted as a slight on the NFL or my obligation to follow it. However, it’s the Royals run for a ring, their first expedition of the sort in 29 years, that has me feeling nostalgic. That autumn of 1985 brings back so many memories, seeing George Brett lead his club to a 1-0 victory at Cleveland Stadium in the first game I remember I attending, watching a baseball game from too late the night before on our brand new VCR, and of course the Royals beating the St. Louis baseball Cardinals in seven games, thanks in large part to Bret Saberhagen.

The Royals may have gotten a nudge from the umpires, but in 1985, they were the Champions of the World. They try to do it again in 2014, hosting National League Champ San Francisco in the World Series, which begins Tuesday.

Though baseball may have been at the forefront in the beginning, seasons passed, and with it, a new passion was born. It was that year, the first of Bernie Kosar’s career, that the Cleveland Browns became a part of my life. Something those young people with memories that begin with Tim Couch and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rebooted Browns have a hard time understanding is how spoiled I was with the Browns once upon a time. Sure, their mere 8-8 record gave them a weak AFC Central Division and they were handed a devastating first-round playoff exit, but it was only the beginning.

There would be AFC Championships and the requisite heartbreak that came with each of them, but there would also be a developing interest in the National Football League on the whole. We had the Bears incredible regular season that featured William “The Refrigerator” Perry, a playoff run that the Super Fans could have accurately predicted, and a Super Bowl that somehow didn’t feature Walter Payton, but we did witness a quarterback removed from the game for his own safety, like in terms of life and death for Tony Eason. The Patriots won three road games to earn the privilege of being beaten by the Bears like crippled salmon, something that no team had ever done before them. What followed has been almost 30 years of heartbreak, but I’d go back and do it over again in the first place. The game is so different now, but also very much the same. Today, we’ll do the Marty McFly thing and get all obsessive over 1985.

What I wouldn’t give to reboot my sports-loving life back to the late 80s, and just for the avenue to think about it, I’m grateful for these Royals as they take on San Francisco in the 2014 World Series. Royals in six, by the way; not that anyone asked me.

What I Anticipated Most

Looks like we’re back under the lights to satiate my anticipation of Sunday football. It’s not the way I planned it, but it’s the way it’s been, so kudos to NBC for picking the right games to air. Once upon a time, a few years after that magical 1985 season, John Elway led his “Orange Crush” Broncos to a Super Bowl against a 49ers team that his Denver team simply could not compete with. The tables may have turned a quarter-century later, with Elway in the Broncos’ front office, and he may have built a better team around Peyton Manning than the suits ever gave him a player.


It was a question of what 49ers team might show up, as they live life as the second-most popular team in their own city (no, not Santa Clara) in the moment. The fact is, some may be thinking the organization lost a little bit of its fire, on the heels of three straight Conference Championship appearance, starting with head coach Jim Harbaugh, who may already have his heart set on turning things around in Ann Arbor, but let’s wait and see on that. Andy Reid’s Eagles teams were also accused of complacency, having been so near the mountain top so many times. And, while the regular season can be taken lightly by a shoe-in like the Broncos, the Niners learned a year ago that the current landscape in the NFC and specifically in their juggernaut division means scratching and clawing until the clock hits 0 in Week 17.

Thank God this was a historic night in Denver, because there wasn’t much of a football after all of the anticipation. Blaine Gabbert and Brock Osweiler were the quarterbacks to finish the game, because it was over after 3 quarters with Denver up 42-10. We were all waiting to see if the Niners would surrender 3 passing touchdowns, and they did before the half. Manning’s 509th career touchdown pass went for three yards to Demaryius Thomas, who has been on the receiving end of 29 of Manning’s 510 scoring strikes.

I’ve been trying to put this in perspective, comparing it to baseball, because that’s what I’ve been talking about. Ten years ago, I might have said this is Henry Aaron’s career home run record, just to go tit-for-tat with the scoring aspect. Wouldn’t touchdowns be home runs while something like hits is more comparable with yards, since you’re talking about the means versus the end? I think I’d want to violate that logic, and put Manning passing Brett Favre up there with Pete Rose collecting more base knocks than Ty Cobb, only because I believe Manning will play long enough that no mortal will come close to catching him, even if they also pass Favre.

To give you an idea, Tom Brady has 372 and even if he’s not actually on the decline, anyone who says he has 138 touchdown passes left in him should be challenged. By the way, Broncos win this one by a count of 42-17

Thursday Is My Garbage Day

For a while there, it felt like the NFL was trying to make Patriots-Jets into a Red Sox-Yankees type of rivalry. I’m glad they don’t do that any more, because if a Boston-New York rivalry to exist, though nobody actually plays in the cities proper, it would be more appropriate to make the Giants the adversary of Brady and company. Sure, the league’s alignment makes that more Red Sox-Mets than Red Sox-Yankees, but it’s dumb to force that in the first place.

As for the game itself, despite the close final score and last minute drama, it was back to the typical garbage football that Thursday Night Football viewers have become accustomed to. In the end, it was the Patriots D-Lineman Chris Jones watching the universe balance itself out to give the home team a 2-point win on their home field. A year ago, Jones made a special teams gaffe in New Jersey that gave Nick Folk a reprieve in overtime after missing a 56-yard attempt on a little-known penalty. Folk nailed his mulligan and the Jets won 30-27. This time, Folk would be given no such opportunity with Jets victory on the line, Jones represented the jaws of defeat in blocking the 58 yard attempt.

As the final score might have indicated, the Patriots did just enough to hold off the Jets, but they spent plenty of time on Thursday night teasing them with hope. The Jets held leads of 9-7 and 19-17 during the game and had a chance to tie outside of the two-minute warning, after Geno Smith hit Jeff Cumberland for the final points of the night, but those points were not to be for the visiting Jets. However, the Patriots were only able to kill about a minute and a half after a failed onside kick attempt, and no one gave Smith much of a chance to get New York in field goal range with 66 seconds and no timeouts from his own 12. Of course it was not to be, and Rex Ryan’s team would fall to 1-6 on the year, but their young quarterback was 5-of-7 for 43 yards and gave his team a chance.

Maybe you like that if you’re trying to put a silver lining on this Jets season. By the way, these two franchises met in the AFC Wildcard Game in 1985 with the Patriots winning 26-14 at The Meadowlands, their first of three consecutive road playoff victories en route to being humiliated in the Super Bowl.

House of California Dreams

Sunday’s action in the NFL took place exactly 29 years after Game 1 of the 1985 “Show Me Series”, and Missouri’s chapters in the NFL stayed out of the way. Of course, the St. Louis team would only co-occupy Busch Stadium another three seasons before continuing their ineptitude in Phoenix, as the “Phoenix” Cardinals anyway, and those Cardinals fell to 3-4 in Pittsburgh while their baseball counterpart was in Kansas City scored four runs in the top of the ninth to hand the Royals a 4-2 defeat to take a 2 games to none lead in the 1985 World Series. Coincidentally, the Rams and Chiefs hooked up across the parking lot from Kauffman Stadium, but the Rams would still call Los Angeles home for another decade.

Funny how everything comes full circle, isn’t it? I know we’ve heard how owners benefit more from the NFL void in the City of Angels, given the leverage it gives them against their existing fan base, but the smart money says at least one team will bring the NFL back to La La Land very soon. If I’m a gambling man, I’m throwing money at it being the Rams, and if the town is big enough, possibly the Raiders too. Whether or not any of that happens, the Rams still have to deal with the beasts of the NFC West while calling the Gateway City home. That means a visit from the defending World Champs, but a dire need to improve on their 1-4 start.

It was going to take something special, some special teams play perhaps, for the Rams to knock off the visiting Sea Chickens, who figured to be fired up in the wake of a rare home loss a week ago. Sure, it’s special to see Austin Davis’s near-perfect stat line early in Sunday’s action, though it wasn’t for a lot of yards, and you can only laugh at how much a quarterback might pad his stats on jet sweep-like shovel passes, but he was getting it done for the last place Rams.

It wasn’t the Rams quarterback play that justified the price of admission in St. Louis on Sunday as much as it was the Steadman Bailey 90-yard punt return, made possible by his longtime-teammate Tavon Austin creating a diversion on the other side of the field, creating an open field for Bailey to put St. Louis up 21-3 in the first half. Austin may have signaled for a fair catch away from the ball, but Pete Carroll couldn’t make that case compelling enough to the game’s officials to achieve any kind of result. Seattle, being the winners that they are, found themselves back in the game and actually in a position to win it with a defensive stop late, holding St. Louis to 4th and 3 deep in their own territory, forcing a punt…allegedly.

The Rams punter, former high school quarterback Johnny Hekker, used his arm instead of his leg, connecting with Benny Cunningham for 18 yards to his own 36 yard-line to put this 28-26 win on ice.

Fins Drop Bears, Just Like ’85

The Rams of Los Angeles in 1985 would reach the doorstep, but they ran into a buzzsaw in Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan’s Bears in the NFC Championship. As clearly as I remember anything else from that year, I remember how dominating the Bears were that year, and how those Bears were the benchmark for what I expected the Monsters of the Midway to be, even after Walter Payton had given way to Neal Anderson in the backfield. In their two playoff games, they outscored the Giants and Rams by a combined score of 45-0, and then they beat the Patriots 46-10 in the Super Bowl. They were 15-1 in the regular season, starting 12-0 before a fateful Monday night in Miami.

Now, those Dolphins were the best team in the AFC, and they were the defending conference champs to boot, but their 38-24 beatdown of the Bears sent a message. Of course, after a monumental comeback over the Browns in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Dolphins lost to New England at home in the AFC Championship, so they never got a second crack at Chicago, which could have been a very interesting Super Bowl. Fast forward to 2014, and neither of these teams can possibly be thinking Super Bowl, but hovering around .500 this early still means you’re in the hunt.

While we don’t need to discuss Jim McMahon or Dan Marino, this one came down to the present-day quarterbacks. The Bears entered play 3-0 when Jay Cutler doesn’t throw any picks, and conversely 0-3 when he does. He also lost a fumble on a Cameron Wake strip-sack, but it probably didn’t matter with the way his Miami counterpart played on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill was true on his first 14 passes, with 176 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half alone, he finished his team’s 27-14 victory 25-of-32 passing for 277 yards, a nice bounce-back from his 2 interception outing in Miami’s loss to Green Bay last weekend.

These Chiefs Could Be Royal

When you’re in a division that forces you to look up at Peyton Manning and Denver in the standings, you need to win every game you can, but specifically those in your own division. The Chiefs had already suffered a division loss to the aforementioned Broncos, so a good showing against the surprisingly 5-1 Chargers at Qualcomm was imperative, and also necessary. While no one, probably no one, expects Andy Reid to take these Chiefs to the Super Bowl, the expectation has to be a playoff win. The next one will be the franchise’s first since 1993, which is nothing compared to the Royals 29-year drought, but you know you’re going to start hearing the noise if Reid’s team regresses, and missing the post-season this year will equal regression in the eyes of many.

The Chargers, winners of five straight since dropping their Monday Night opener to the Cardinals, may have been looking ahead to their Thursday Night tilt with Denver, but we find it hard to believe any AFC West opponent could be taken lightly. The game was tightly contested all afternoon, but for the second time in as many years, the fate of Kansas City’s trip to San Diego rested on the foot of a Kansas City kicker. Ten months ago, in a Week 17 game that meant everything to the Chargers and absolutely nothing to the Chiefs, Ryan Succop missed the potential game-winner and the Chargers went to the playoffs. This time, it was Cairo Santos, the rookie from Tulane, and he was true from 48 yards, giving the Chiefs a 23-20 win, boosting them to 3-3 on the season.

Separating the Cowboys from the G-Men

If you’ve watched the NFC East at any point in your life, you’ll find one thing to be true. No one knows anything when it comes to the NFC East. The Giants have been an up and down team all year, hitting their low point in a 27-0 nationally televised loss to Philadelphia last Sunday. The Cowboys peaked, and some concern has been raised on the airwaves that they peaked too soon, last week with a big 30-23 win in the Pacific Northwest. History tells us not to consider any of that.

While everyone anticipated a record-breaking night in Denver, DeMarco Murray’s run at history for the Cowboys was a little less celebrated, but still involves the name Jim Brown, so pay attention. With his seventh consecutive game with a rushing touchdown and at least 100 yards on the ground, the 4th-year back from Oklahoma surpassed the Hall-of-Famer’s 56-year mark of doing it in six straight games. While Tony Romo and Eli Manning matched each other on the stat sheet with 3 scoring strike apiece, it was Murray on the 1-yard score with 9 minutes left in the game that put Dallas up 28-14.


It was a short scoring drive for the Cowboys, who only needed four plays to punch it in from the Giants’ 27 after a Justin Durant fumble recovery. Two of Romo’s touchdowns were to Gavin Escobar, the 2nd-year tight end from San Diego State. Escobar now has 3 touchdowns in his last two games, with just 7 total catches for 85 yards on the season.

Who Wants the Dynamic Duck?

We entered play in Week 7 with two winless teams and a handful of 1-win teams. Jacksonville joined the ranks of 1-15 being the worst case scenario, while Oakland had some chances against the Cardinals, despite falling to 0-6 with a 23-14 home loss. Tampa Bay was off, so they would stay at 1-5 and we know the Jets failed to pick up win #2 on Thursday night. The Rams picked up their second win against Seattle, and the Redskins made their worst case scenario 2-14 with a 1-point home win over 2-win Tennessee. I know it would be easy to send Marcus Mariota to Mark Davis in Oakland, but I still believe the Raiders will play their way out of the top spot in 2015′s draft, maybe even out of the Top 5 if Derek Carr continues to show promise.

Staying with our “like-1985″ theme, I’ll point out that the Bucs had the first pick in 1986, and took Bo Jackson, who never played a down for them. Bo knew. He chose another year of baseball at Auburn before signing with the Raiders in 1987. It’s interesting if it isn’t Mariota at the top of everyone’s draft boards, because there’s a two-sport athlete at Florida State that could take a similar route. Anyways, I still believe it’s Lovie Smith that gets the quarterback from Eugene with the #1 team.

They’ll see the Vikings, Browns, and Redskins over the next four weeks and might get a quite apathetic Saints team at home in Week 17. I don’t know how they won in Pittsburgh, but I think those four opponents might yield a single victory, but that’s where hope lies for Tampa Bay to avoid picking first in May.

Actual Worst Game

We gave Cincinnati a long look for a second straight week for this distinction, but even a 27-0 loss on the road ot the Colts in their first game after a dismal 37-37 tie doesn’t trump the egg their upstate neighbors would lie in North Florida on Sunday. You want to say all of the right things here, that Jacksonville had a good defensive gameplan to stop the Browns rushing attack, that rookie quarterback Blake Bortles earned his first NFL win, and good for the Jaguars avoiding the history that a zero in the win column at the end of the year might bring. While I believe Bortles will be good some day, and that the Jaguars front seven played sound fundamental football against the Browns taxi-squad offensive line, Cleveland showed their fans how capable they are of playing Shurmur-ball.

Browns Jaguars Football

Former Michigan quarterback, now the Jaguars starting running back, Denard Robinson had 127 yards and a touchdown on the ground to lead the way in a 24-6 win over the Browns, who fell into a last place tie with Pittsburgh in the NFC North. Bortles threw two interceptions to Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, which Cleveland only turned into 3 points, failing to get the ball into the endzone for the first time all season. The story of the game can be told by the Browns side of the box score, the league’s #3 running team was held to 69 yards on 30 carries, while the sudden hometown hero Brian Hoyer was just 16-of-41 passing for 215 yards. A week ago, the Browns lost their Pro-Bowl center Alex Mack, and it showed on the stat sheet this week.

Dirty Laundry Award

The Saints were penalized 12 times for 134 yards in their 24-23 loss to Detroit. They were very sloppy in this game, continuing to negate the theory that they’re very good in any dome, when the truth is that they’re very ordinary, indoors or out, away from the Superdome. They were able to rebound from most of Sunday’s dirty laundry, but twice, on pass interference calls against Brian Dixon (31 yards) and Rafael Bush (3 yards), the Lions had their drives extended due to the flags.

For the Degenerates

If you ask their fans who don’t think beyond six Super Bowl rings, a 31-10 loss to Cleveland in Week 6 is rock bottom for the Steelers. Fire everyone, right? At 3-3, even with the losses to Tampa and the Browns, that’s a bit premature. Houston has been adequate, but nothing special on offense so far. Caesar’s has Pittsburgh as a 3-point favorite at home, and that feels so perfect that I’d go with Houston if they were getting an extra half-point and I’d like the home team if they were giving a half-point less. If you can’t bet the push, I’d reluctantly take Pittsburgh. The total point number is 44.5 and I believe there will be enough defense to stay under that mark.

Random, Perhaps Even Unimportant

Baltimore, a city without a football team in 1985, had no problem with Atlanta, a city that doesn’t care any of their present-day local teams, let alone the Falcons, on Sunday. The once-dominant Atlanta offense was held to four first downs in the first half and allowed a second-half safety when Terrell Suggs sacked Matt Ryan in the endzone in the Ravens 29-7 victory. With the Browns and Bengals going down on Sunday, they now sit comfortably atop the AFC North at 5-2.

The Bill signed Kyle Orton off the couch this year, and while they’re all-in play for Sammy Watkins on draft day still might raise an eyebrow or two, Buffalo is 4-3, just a game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Orton, who (seemingly) played his college ball at Purdue in the early-80s was happy that Watkins was in the fold, or at least his touchdown pass to the rookie from Clemson with 1 second left would suggest they aren’t interested in giving Cleveland a marquee-pick in the first round of next year’s draft. It took a 15-play, 80 yard drive that included a 4th and 20 conversion to give them a 17-16 win over the struggling Vikings.

Since telling the good people of Green Bay to relax, all Aaron Rodgers has done is lead the Packers to 4 straight wins, including Sunday’s 38-17 trouncing of the Carolina Panthers, throwing 13 touchdowns against no picks along the way.

In a game between two awful teams that somehow lost out on being the Actual Worst Game of the week, a Chas Whitehurst v. Kirk Cousins slopfest was spoiled when Jay Gruden called Colt McCoy out of the bullpen for the Redskins in their 19-17 win over the sub-par Titans. McCoy was 11-of-12 for 128 yards in the second half for Washington, but the stat-padding assist of the week goes to Pierre Garcon for his 70 yard catch-and-run to inflate the dink and dunk numbers.

If Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor can provide a 1-2 punch in the running game that fans in the desert haven’t seen since the Cardinals moved to Arizona, it’s going to take a lot of the burden off of Carson Palmer and open up the offense for Bruce Arians. Against the Raiders, Ellington had 160 yards from scrimmage and Taylor, the second-year back from Stanford added 59 in the Birds 24-13 win in the Black Hole.

Next week, our Garbage Day game features the Chargers and Broncos, which may or may not give Denver some separation from the pack in the AFC West, a “rematch” of Super Bowl XX when the Bears visit New England, Ravens-Bengals Part II, and a desert showdown between this year’s last two unbeaten teams. Arizona and Philadelphia each only have that one blemish on their record, but the ’72 Dolphins got to uncork the champagne in early October this year.

42 years later, Merc has but one memory in his entire life.

Also, if he’s that obsessed with being the only perfect team, former Dolphin Mercury Morris needs to get a life.

Lastly, am I the only one that watches this Peyton Manning Nationwide spot, and think of other things Manning would say to the tune of the catchy jingle, like “I’m so much better than Eli” or “You should eat at Papa Johns”?  Just me?  That’s cool, I embrace being strange.

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Pitch Clocks in MLB Are a Baaad Idea Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:00:01 +0000 If I were to list out the things that I hate about MLB, it would look something like this:

  1. PEDs
  2. XXXX
  3. The N.Y. Yankees
  4. The Detroit Tigers
  5. The San Francisco Giants
  6. The Oakland Athletics
  7. The N.Y. Mets

The mysterious “XXXX” from above can be filled in this way:  Whining ninnies who are incessantly looking to find fault with the greatest game that has ever been created.  I simply cannot stand these people at all, and if not for all of the PED cheats who continue to thrive in the big leagues, the ninnies would be a run-away train for the top spot.  As it is, there is a Grand Canyon-sized cavern between the ninnies and the N.Y. Yankees, which is saying something considering the amount of hate I have for the Yankees.

The Whiners most recent attack on the game I love is an oldie, but a goodie:  games are simply too long.  In response to the groundswell of uneducated persons who have made these complaints, MLB continues to test the idea of a pitch clock in this year’s Arizona Fall League.

Theoretically, the pitch clock will quicken the pace of the game, which is necessary in our fast-paced world where the population in general seems to have the attention span of small-brained goldfish.  Of course, the same people who are promoting the pitch-clock-will-shorten-games theory are the very same ones who propagated the thought that instant replay would help make sure every call on the field is right (and wouldn’t increase the amount of time a game lasts, either.), and we’ve all seen how that has turned out.  They’ll also insist that there absolutely is no PEDs problem in MLB, and that changing the rule about blocking home plate was the best idea since instant replay came along.  Buyer beware is my only warning, I guess.

When I wrote about the this issue last year, I had this to say:

The fans and media who clamor for shorter games miss the beauty and the strategy of the game.  It is their loss.  I think that true baseball fans enjoy the game, understand the different parts of the game that are strategy and gamesmanship, and also get the role that each plays in determining which team ultimately wins.  Fans who don’t get that, I have no idea why they bother feigning interest.  Watch your ESPN-approved highlights, look at the box score, and call it a day.

Another way of looking at the length of the game, at least from an on-field perspective is the one put forth by Jeremy Goodwin (Joshua Malina) in the second episode of Sports Night:

In other portions of the episode, he has discussions detailing how the pitcher and the hitter are having a battle, and that every part of it is important, which led to his 8:30 long highlight.

I feel the same way about the game, regardless of the thought processes of those who have more important things to do.

I do find it strange that it is only baseball that pundits and fans seem to have a problem with the length of game.  Football games are scripted to last no less than 3 hours, despite the fact there are only 60 clock minutes of game, for a grand total of 12 minutes of game action.  Lorenzo Cain spends that much time in a typical game making highlight reel catches.  A 48 minute NBA game often stretches well past 2 hours, and most games center around a guy dribbling at the top of the key waiting to clear out so he can throw a brick up with two seconds left on the shot clock1.

Of course, if the announcer has it right in this clip, then the proposed rule will not have much of an effect on the pace of the game.  As explained, if the pitcher comes to a set, then he has met the requirement of the rule, and only need either to throw the ball to the plate or to a base.  Given that I would suspect that most times that a pitcher is ‘delaying’ the action on the field, it is because there is a baserunner, I fail to see how this picks up the pace of the game.  Expect a lot more throws to the bases in the coming season if this rule goes in to effect.

Of course, if everyone was genuinely serious about speeding up games, they’d do what I suggested last year:  eliminate replay and limit the amount of commercials.  Of course, this necessitates a downward spiral in revenues, which theoretically2 would mean less money for the broadcasters, owners, and players, but if it’s what the fans really want, then they should get it.

Otherwise, they should shut the heck up, pop open a cold one, and enjoy the game.






  1. I realize I’m overgeneralizing with regard to the NBA, but the game became so terrible, I have for the most part stopped watching.  If the game has actually improved to the point that teams outside of Texas and Oklahoma are worth watching, please let me know.
  2. What would actually happen is beers would cost $12, hot dogs $8, and scorecards $5.
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The BSK Says Podcast #43: Cleveland Browns, What Was That?! Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:37:17 +0000

Kendall (@TheBSKSays) does a quick recap on the disaster that was the Browns vs. Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday, October 19th.

The BSK Says with Kendall Lewis: RSS (audio)iTunes (audio), Stitcher, TuneIn

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The Playoff – Welcome to the Season Where Everybody Gets a Trophy Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:43:21 +0000 0 Is the Chris Pronger Situation Unethical? Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:00:47 +0000 The NHL season is in full race mode as we have seen a full week and a half of hockey played and there have been several stories in full effect early on. One of the biggest stories that is being talked about in hockey is not about a current player but of a former player; Chris Pronger.

For those of you who remember, Chris Pronger started his NHL career for the Hartford Whalers in 1993. He then went on to have a great career playing for the Whalers, the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks before finally ending his career with the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a career marked by greatness and controversy as he was a six all star, a two time Gold Medal winner with Canada in 2002 and 2010, a Stanley Cup Champion with the 2007 Ducks and also the first person to score a penalty shot in the postseason with his goal against Cam Ward in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals for Edmonton.

He created controversy by being suspended eight times in his career including infractions for hitting someone in the head, stomping on an opponent’s leg and kicking an opponent. The irony here is the new job that Pronger just received; he had been hired to work for the Department of Safety for the NHL. He will report to senior vice president of player safety Stephane Quintal. The only problem here is that he is still under contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Chris Pronger as seen in the press conference has joined the Department of Satefy. (Images by

Chris Pronger as seen in the press conference has joined the Department of Satefy. (Images by

Pronger has not played in the NHL since 2011 because of concussion like symptoms. He has not yet officially retired because he has been attempting a comeback. Each comeback has led to disappointment and it was only recent that he decided to stop trying to make a comeback. In the meantime Pronger has taken on a role as a scout for the Flyers helping them improve their team. However, with this new position comes some complicated questions and Pronger has been hearing it from everyone.

“You’re kind of beating a dead horse to be honest,” said Pronger when asked about the position and his relationship with the Flyers.

Including this season, Pronger is being paid $5.15 million for the next three years. The Flyers will not release him because they will not receive the $4.9 million cap relief that they are receiving and the cap room to replace him. Pronger disputes any questions of integrity.

“I am not disciplining anybody,” Pronger said. “That’s not my job. That’s Stephane’s job. I’m merely a sounding board for him to have another set of eyes who has played three years ago under the new rules, under the new system.”

According to Pronger, he will not be discussing any Flyers related incidents or infractions.
“I am excused from any and all-Flyer related issues,” he said.

So that brings the question, is it ethical for Pronger to take a job while still being on a team’s payroll. Contrary to what Pronger said, he will have a slight biased outlook when executing his new position and it would be incredibly difficult for him to not have biased outlooks and opinions. The other question on this matter is why do the Flyers have to owe him any money or take a hit if Pronger officially retires?

I am going to state for the record that I have no problem with Pronger working for the NHL. They have made it perfectly clear that he is not going to be deciding on any issues related to the Flyers. So it is something that can easily be comprehended if one pays attention to the rules and what the league is saying. What I do have a problem with is the fact that the Flyers are legally indebted to him financially when Pronger is not able to play.

When the new CBA was created, a big rule was enacted that gave players, especially those whose careers end due to injury, a big advantage. As part of compliance rules, clubs that choose to exercise compliance buy-outs must pay the buy-out amount over the remaining term of the contract. This is a big statement as it allows all contracts to be paid in full regardless of whether the player plays or not. The fact that the Flyers owe Pronger money is ludicrous considering his career is basically over. The National Hockey League gave their players all the chips in the bargaining war and allows them to raise their contracts as long as it fits within the salary cap.

Pronger hoists the Stanley Cup that he won with the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. (Jeff Cross of Getty Images)

Pronger hoists the Stanley Cup that he won with the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. (Jeff Cross of Getty Images)

Those of you reading think I hate Chris Pronger. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I am and always have been a big fan of Pronger as he helped the Anaheim Ducks win a Stanley Cup in 2007. I have written objectionably about him in the past and am not afraid to criticize him but in this case I feel it is not an issue that he has a new job with the NHL. However, the CBA needs to be altered to prevent retired players from collecting money that is owed to them due to contract obligations.

Contracts are a two way street and while teams have to honor a contract they sign when they receive a player’s services, the team that is paying out the money needs to be able to rescind or take back some of the money when the player they are paying does not perform the full length of his services. I would be in favor of a retirement package that allows a team to pay a portion of the contract owed to the player while saving some of the other part of the contract to use on other players without taking a cap hit.

I wanted to cover this issue because it was the first big issue the NHL has had this season. We are a mere 10 days into the season and most fans are talking about this along with how their favorite teams are doing. It’s going to be a long season and I am sure this will die down. The CBA was signed until 2022 so Pronger probably will not be the first player to have his career end and still be paid by the team. Regardless of his new position, expect more chatter and controversy as soon as the first suspensions are announced for the infractions that will follow.

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Media Focus on Tony Stewart Once Again Misguided Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:15:42 +0000 You can’t fix stupid. This could not be any truer than in the case of some people in the national media trying to cover and report on stories that happen in NASCAR.

Last Saturday night in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there were plenty of stories to be reported – both on the track and off. As drivers were in jeopardy of falling in the standings and facing possible elimination from the Chase for the Sprint Cup, tempers flared and emotions boiled over.  There was drama during the race, during the cool down lap, on pit road and even more between the haulers after the race.

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Browns Outlook #4: Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:54:17 +0000

Kendall breaks down the Browns and Jaguars game.

The BSK Says with Kendall Lewis: RSS (audio)iTunes (audio)StitcherTuneIn

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Un-War “The Game of the Century”‎‎#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:20:51 +0000‎/feed/ 0 Sam’s Take: MTAF Wheels IndyCar Q&A for October 17th, 2014 Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:15:44 +0000 Yesterday was the three year anniversary of the passing of Dan Wheldon. Its hard to believe it has been that long already. I never got a chance to meet Dan unfortunately, but he was one of IndyCar racings greatest ambassadors. Dan also had great passion for the Indianapolis 500. A passion that hasn’t been so high from a driver since Eddie Sachs. A year ago today, I wrote my thoughts on Dan. My thoughts are with Dan’s widow, Susie and their two sons, Sebastian and Oliver.


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Waiters Still Not Shy about Abilities Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:05:17 +0000 Dion Waiters said he does not expect his role to change too much with the team’s new personnel, but he sure is playing like he wants a bigger piece of the pie.
Having been in the shadow of Kyrie Irving the past two seasons, Dion has had to make a lot of noise to get his name out there. But the Cavs third year guard and former fourth overall draft pick is playing animated, the only way he knows.
Waiters helped Kevin Love take over the Milwaukee game Tuesday at the Q with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting; an over sixty percent clip. He shot over fifty percent from the field in Brazil against Miami.

Being the fourth option in a loaded offense, Waiters has made the most of his pre-season chances. He has totaled 45 points in three games.
Perhaps it is because Dion is more at peace with himself, something LeBron thought needed to happen earlier this fall.
“Ever team, there is a guy they want to kind of place the blame on,” James said. “It would be Dion on our team. I told him, ‘You can’t get involved in that of what people say about you. It’s not what people think of you, it’s what you think of yourself’.”×60.jpg

Waiters knew that, especially this upcoming season, he has to be more effective without the ball. That was true even in his first two seasons under two different head coaches.
He threw up too many contested shots without moving the ball in his rookie year, most with hardly any space. His second year, he became more selective with his half-court shooting, and thus his field goal percentage improved just a tad. Byron Scott and Mike Brown saw him as more of a sixth man off the bench, but new coach David Blatt has started Waiters in every pre-season game.
In Irving’s absence, Dion has seen some point guard playing time. He has done that in the past, but never with this profound an arsenal.
The team already knows how valuable Dion can be, but he wants to prove it to everyone else. He prefers a boisterous atmosphere where he can be in his natural state. This is where the “blame” from the outside can come in to play, but the benefits that come with it outweigh the downside.

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Bridging the Gap: The Midweek Report, Week 6…-report-week-6/…-report-week-6/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:04:54 +0000…-report-week-6/feed/ 0 More Than a Fan Fantasy Football League Week 6 Recap Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:45:10 +0000 @AsquiresFF vs @believeland16

This matchup was crazy close, coming right down to the wire with @believeland16 going into the MNF tilt between the Niners and Rams down 11 points with Anquan Boldin and Phil Dawson still to play. They got him more than enough as Boldin went off for his best game of the year resulting in 18.9 fantasy points and nine from Phil. @AsquiresFF got a really soild showing as Rueben Randle (8.3) and Andrew Hawkins (zero) were his only two players that did not reach double digit points – including yet another 20+ point effort from Demarco Murray. It wasn’t enough though as @believeland16 got solid performances up and down the roster with Arian Foster and Jay Cutler combining for 60 points and Clay Harbor… Yes, Clay Harbor… messing around and going for 16.6 points in the “streaming TE” play of the week. @believeland16… that was bold… and you are stone cold.

@Drock731 vs @ClvlndK8

@ClvlndK8 is at it again after a dissappointing week 5 loss, she returned in week 6 with avengence and poor @Drock731 fell subject to her mercy, or lack there of. @ClvlndK8′s WR corps continues to be one of the strengths of her team as Eric Decker, Kelvin Benjamin, and Steve Smith combined for 48 points. Her Cincinnati Bengals certainly showed well also as Gio Bernard and Mohamed Sanu combined for 46.7 points. @Drock731 put up a great fight though as he got a stellar showing from Colin Kaepernick – a sight for sore eyes for Kaep owners – as he lit up the Ram’s formally league best pass defense for almost 30 points and finally a return to form for Shady McCoy as he rolled 154 yards from scrimmage. All and all it was a… let’s say… cute effort from @Drock731 but ultimately futile as he falls to 2-4 and @ClvlndK8 ascends to 4-2.

@RailbirdJ vs @dwhiteness10

This one was a laugher as @RailbirdJ continues to ride on the coat tails of the Philidelphia defense – and who wouldn’t, they are playing remarkable football – on his way to doubleing up @dwhiteness10. The TNF game between Houston and Indianapolis told a bit of the tale as @RailbirdJ’s TY Hilton went off – as he often does when playing indoors – for 32.8 points whereas @dwhiteness10 played Dwayne Allen and Trent Richarson, who combined for just 16.5 points. As often is the subject here in these recaps, the D/STs played a major role in this matchup accounting for a 23 point swing in the favor of @RailbirdJ as Philly’s defense scored 20 points for him – their third straight week of scoring 20+ points – and @dwhiteness10′s Bengals got torched my Cam Newton and the Panthers – I say Cam Newton AND the Panthers but I really just mean Cam Newton – which resulted in a scored of -3.0 points. Woof.

@CommonManDZ vs @BurnRiverSports

This was a super close matchup, and surprisingly our SECOND closest match up of the week, and it was all about the QB play as this one had two of the best in the buisness on display. Both quartebacks hovered right around the 25 point mark as @CommonManDZ’s Aaron Rodgers went for 25.96 points, whereas @BurnRiverSports’ Andy Luck put up 24.6 points. @CommonManDZ’s Larry Donnell – a fantasy savior of 2 weeks ago – has come crashing back to earth as he has scored 1.1 points in the past two weeks combined. Conversely things are looking up for @BurnRiverSports with Stevan Ridley being lost for the year, that will thrust Shane Vereen into a lead type role with the New England Patriots. If Eddie Lacy can get back on along with Justin Forsett running as well as he has, @BurnRiverSports could definitely be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.

@32BHawkins vs The Torn Achilles

THIS was our closest match up of the week, where we once again saw two teams get fantastic quarteback play as @32BHawkins got 25.8 points from the impressively reinvented Philip Rivers and The Torn Achilles’ Tom Brady put the preverbial sock in everyones mouth with all that “Are the Patriots done?” talk, in route to 4 touchdowns and 30.7 fantasy points. This match up also saw two nice FLEX plays as @32BHawkins flexed Joique Bell for 16.7 points with Reggie Bush on the shelf, and The Torn Achilles flexed Ben Tate who scored two touchdowns and scored 19.8 points. Again, it sounds like a broken record, as this matchup could have been won or lost in the D/ST department where we saw a ten point swing with Seattle’s 10 points to Carolina’s zero.

@lexus1scott vs @JCSwishMan33

Now as in our last recap, I was pretty ruthless as far as letting my feelings be known about owners plugging in players who aren’t playing. I would love to just rip into @JCSwishMan33 about playing Jonathan Stewart and C.J. Anderson – who combined for zero this week – but I am not going to because I see the merit in what he did. Noboby knew that C.J. Anderson wasn’t going to see the field on Sunday, quite frankly it made a lot of sense to think he would get a fair amount of playing time with Montee Ball shelved and Denver playing The Jets, a game in which a lot of people figured would be over by halftime… and for J Stew… at least he was questionable… which is about as good as it gets for him. In the end though it didn’t matter as @JCSwishMan33 got 20+ point days from Cam Newton, Demaryius Thomas, and the Lion’s defense and @lexus1scott received sub-nine points efforts from 6 of his 10 players. Kids, sometimes it pays to play inactives.

@BigInCLE vs @LovinTheTribe

I have to believe that my rant about @LovinTheTribe and her embraced “lack of football knowledge” from a few weeks ago offered a bit of bulletin board material for the organization as she has been white hot as of late. Matt Forte is getting himself on track with a second consecutive week with over 25 points and if I gave out a “play of the week” it would go to @LovinTheTribe and her play of Oakland WR Andre Holmes. @BigInCLE did all that he could to weather the storm in a week in which he saw himself Jamaal Charles-less – leaving underwhelming fill-ins Doug Martin and Bobby “Make It” Rainey to shoulder the load this week. Luckily he was able to make it semi-close with players like Greg Olsen and Randall Cobb who improved in their already impressive seasons to combine for 29.6 points. Appearently no one will stand in the way of @LovinTheTribe in her quest to “wreck this league,” so… MTAF FFL… you’ve been put on notice.


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Cleveland Browns: Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel Can Coexist Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:05:45 +0000 0 Holes to Fill in Strong Pitching Staff Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:30:09 +0000 0 Bosh’s Comments Will Not Daunt Love Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:05:36 +0000 It is tough to imagine playing on a team with the best basketball player in the world in an “extremely frustrating” manner. Yet Chris Bosh, slightly disgruntled ex-teammate of LeBron James, made those remarks in a phony piece of advice for new Cavalier Kevin Love.
Having been to the NBA Finals in all four years of his partnership with LeBron, Bosh is used to seeing all the offensive naturally favoring James, especially late in games.
But the thing that might make those observations a bit presumptuous is that LeBron is starting to be criticized for sharing the ball too much, as opposed to absorbing more shot opportunities.
Bosh saw his shots taken per game slide from 16 in his final year in Toronto, to 12 in the last year of Miami’s big three. He has reason to be peeved, but it may show that Bosh learned nothing about being a teammate in those four years, the same years that LeBron often refers to as his “college years.”
Point being: Everyone, Love included, will have to sacrifice something, as any player would in a team loaded with offensive aptitude. But it won’t be anywhere near what Bosh had to give up in South Beach.
After all, LeBron has stated that this Kyrie Irving’s show. That only counts for so much, but James is a smart player, and knows his days of doing the heavy lifting are over. Not that he couldn’t handle the physical grind even near age 30, but ever since he was on a team that had all stars around him, James learned to play without the ball in his hands every single possession.
In Minnesota, Love was counted on to do it all, just like Bosh was north of the boarder. Will he get those chances again in Cleveland? Not every night, but pampering a player like that is a good way to light up the stat sheets, but not the best way to win games.
So, yes, Love will have to sacrifice. But “extremely frustrating” might not be the best choice of words.
Really, what is the difference between shooting 16 times or 12 times a game? Do players even keep a count of how many shots the need on a nightly basis to be effective?
Or perhaps Bosh was referring the limelight that comes with being James’ teammate? Being that Love comes from a small market with a losing team, the attention from the media may be a breath of fresh air for the ULCA product who’s abilities have been underappreciated all his years with the Wolves.
No question there were uncertainties for Bosh and Dwyane Wade when James joined them in Miami. But Love, observing the big three from afar, could rip a page out of that novel and use it as a blueprint for how to get three elite scorers their share of the ball, while staying unselfish and winning games.
Due to the presence of Love and Irving, James will be able to play off the ball more this season than ever before. But justly or not, James will be the man to bear any criticism if the Cav’s season starts slow. It is something that Love will not need to sacrifice at all.

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MTAF Podcast #124: with Mike Brandyberry Wed, 15 Oct 2014 01:20:22 +0000
Mike Brandyberry from Did the Tribe Win Last Night makes his return to the #MTAFPodcast to put the seal on the 2014 Cleveland Indians season. We got off the rails so quickly that we already decided to run this back as a part two in the next week or so. Damn Indians.

Mike has his work cut out for him, it’s been a long time since we talked Indians baseball on the podcast.


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