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Archive for September, 2012

The Real Refs Back?

September 26, 2012

NFL sources claim the league and the NFL Referees Association have agreed in principle on a deal.  Apparently there was enough progress Tuesday night that the regular refs could return in time to work this week’s games.  This doesn’t mean anything is imminent however, and a few hurdles still need to be completed to end the lockout.

The NFLRA has stated that their 121 referees have all been trained on the new rules implemented this year and most have completed a physical. A “minor league” system will be created and include 21 major college officials who will be included in offseason seminars and work NFL training camps in order to get up to speed with the NFL game.  The Referees Association also would like to develop an “expert committee” that will work to steadily improve overall officiating.

The Seahawks/Packers game on MNF is hopefully the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The fact that side judge, who worked in Division III football before becoming a replacement ref, was in plain view of the play, missed the offensive interference AND the interception is ridiculous.  Missing calls is understandable, we are humans and are capable of error.  Now these under-qualified refs are directly effecting the outcome of a games and possible playoff seeding down the road and it is unacceptable.  In order to maintain the integrity of the NFL this lockout must end ASAP, or this situation could get real ugly…


Week 3 Fantasy Football Update

September 25, 2012

In Week 3 I suffered my first loss to team “The Angus Beef”.  The Living Legends actually did pretty well, scoring 226 points but monster games from Christian Ponder (42 points) and Jamaal Charles (40 points) was too much to overcome.  Despite the loss I’m still tied for 1st in the division and I remain confident in my squad.

Fantasy Studs

Ray Rice:  Rice continues to put up solid fantasy numbers this season.  He has scored at least 20 fantasy points a week.  In the Week 3 against the Patriots, Ray had 150 total yards and 1 TD and scored 27 points.

K.J. Wright:  Wright and the Seattle Seahawks defense have been stellar this season.  Their dominance was on display of Monday night against the Green Bay Packers.  K.J. Wright has been a tackling machine this season, and had 9 tackles, 2 assists last night.  Wright has been one of the more productive linebackers in fantasy football.  So far he has been a hidden gem for me the first few weeks of the season, until I picked him up via free agency last week.

Martellus Bennett:  Bennett seems to revived his career with Eli Manning and the NY Giants.  He has scored a touchdown in each game this season.  Against the Panthers on Thursday night, Bennett scored 19 fantasy points.  He will no doubt be my starter for the rest of the season.

Fantasy Duds

Tony Romo:  This season, Tony Romo has found a way to frustrate me every Sunday.  His has been very inconsistent since the Cowboys’ Week 1 win against the NY Giants.  Against the Buccaneers, Romo had 283 yards passing, but threw an interception, fumbled twice, and failed to throw a touchdown.  I expect Romo to carry my squad and put up big numbers.  Hopefully for the Living Legends sake, Tony can find a way to turn it around.

Steven Ridley:  After a good start to the season, Ridley ran into the Baltimore buzz-saw.  He was virtually ineffective and had 13 carries for only 37 yards.  Next up is the Buffalo Bills whose defense has struggled.  I expect Steven Ridley to have a bounce back game.  With Tom Brady at QB, I don’t expect Ridley to put up Ray Rice numbers, but I do think he is capable of averaging 14-19 Fantasy points a game.

Morris Claiborne:  Big things were expected of Claiborne since the Cowboys drafted him in the 1st round.  However, his fantasy impact has been minimal and he has yet to find his niche in the Cowboys defense.  After producing only 14 points in 3 weeks, Claiborne’s days on the Living Legends squad are numbered…

Free Agency

When evaluating my fantasy team from week to week, I want to put myself in a position to maximize my point potential.  After watching DL Bruce Irvin’s performance on Monday night, I made it an priority to put him on my squad.  Not only is he a rookie, he is a productive rookie.  Last night was his coming out party, with 2 sacks on Aaron Rodgers.  I expect him to receive more snaps as the season progresses and he will be a key part of my squad down the stretch.  CB Josh Norman is another rookie who has gotten my attention.  I decided to go with production over name and replaced CB Morris Claiborne with Norman.  Josh is now a starter opposite Chris Gamble for the Carolina Panthers.  Eli tested the rookie early and often Thursday night but Norman hung in there.  He produced his best fantasy game of the year, and scored 20 points.  I expect similar production going forward, because opponents will try to pick on him, which will increase his tackle and interception opportunities.

Team “Don’t Tripp” is up next, stay tuned…

Give Him the D@mn Ball!

September 24, 2012

Dating back to the AFC Championship game, the Baltimore Raves have failed to utilize Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice consistently.   Since entering the league in 2008, Rice has amazed 4,544 rushing yards and 31 total TDs (15 last year).  He has become the team’s centerpiece on offense the past few years and is a complete a back you will find in the NFL.  Despite Rice’s elite RB status, since the narrow defeat against the Patriots in last year’s playoffs, the Ravens have neglected Ray Rice at the most inopportune times.

In the 1st half of that game, the Ravens were deep in Patriot territory.  The Baltimore defense had been harassing Tom Brady early,  forcing him to throw 2 interceptions.  One 4th and 1 at about the 5 yard line, Coach Harbaugh decides to kick a field goal.  Joe Flacco was having his way with the Pats defense on that particular drive, and had them on their heels.  How do you not give Rice the ball here?  The man scored 12 rushing touchdowns that year and you don’t trust him to gain 1 YARD?!?  With the Conference Championship on the line, and a stud like Rice on your team you HAVE to go for it in that situation.  Scoring a touchdown on that possession would have been the difference, the Ravens lost 23-20.

Fast forward to this season… In week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Flacco was having a rough day against the Philly defense.  He threw the ball 42 times, in spite of Ray Rice’s effectiveness.  Rice had 152 total yards on 22 touches and made the most of his opportunities.  Despite winning the turnover battle (+2) the Ravens still lost by 1 point.  Why?  Because not only did the Eagles gain a ton of yards (500 total) they held the ball for almost 10 more minutes than Baltimore.  And what’s the best way to control the clock on offense?  Run the ball effectively… and the Ravens have Ray Rice, a Pro Bowl RB who is more than capable (They don’t pay him 9 million a year for no reason).  In a grind it out game like that, Rice has to have at least 30 touches to maximize your chances to win.  Giving Ray a few more touches would have chewed up more clock, and maybe Mike Vick doesn’t even get a chance to lead the Eagles on their game winning drive.

Last night against the Patriots, the Ravens’ coaching staff seemed to get the memo.  Ray Rice got 25 touches and made a tremendous impact on the game.  He gained 150 total yards and scored a touchdown for the Ravens, who avenged their playoff loss winning 31-30.  Despite the victory, I still think 39 throws for Flacco is too much.  Tom Brady and the Patriot offense was having their way with Baltimore.  Their defense has been lacking a little firepower without defensive star Terrell Suggs, who likely is out for the year.  That being said, keeping potent offenses, like New England’s off the field as much as possible will be key.  This Baltimore team is headed in the right direction though, and will surely go deep in the playoffs.  Their title aspirations however, will depend on how much attention they give Ray Rice…

Giants Rough Up Panthers on Primetime

September 21, 2012

Minus several key starters, Eli Manning and the NY Giants still manhandled the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.  Manning was impressive for the 2nd straight game, as the Panthers defense was helpless to the Giants onslaught.  Eli threw for 288 yards and a touchdown, while completing 77% of his passes.  With starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined due to injury, journeyman Alex Brown ran all over the Panthers, rushing for 113 yards and 2 TDs.  Seldom used receiver Ramses Barden also capitalized on a rare opportunity to start and caught 9 balls for 138 yards.  In this game alone, Barden had as many receptions as he did all of last year.

The NY Giants defense harassed QB Cam Newton all night.  Jason Pierre Paul led the charge, as the NY pass rushers practically lived in the backfield.  Newton failed to get into rhythm all game.  Despite throwing for 242 yards, he was only 16-30 and threw 3 interceptions.  DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers’ running game did little to help Cam, and was held ineffective, managing only 50 yards.

This was definitely a statement win for the G-men. This win keeps them in striking distance of the Philadelphia Eagles for the division lead.  When healthy, the defending champions are one of the top teams in the NFL and are legit contenders.  The Giants unfortunately lost two members of their secondary due to injury.  Rookie CB Jayron Hosley and S Antrel Rolle left the game in the 2nd half and didn’t return.  The Giants are already thin in the defensive secondary, and can’t afford to suffer any more casualties.  The NFC is deep this year, and the Giants will need all hands on deck in order to return to the Super Bowl.  This was a big step for defending champs, who took care of business of the road.  They can’t relax however, because they head to Philly next week for a huge NFC East showdown with a chance to leapfrog the Eagles and snatch the division lead…

Week 2 Fantasy Football Recap

September 19, 2012

Unlike last week’s blowout win, the Living Legends pulled out a victory in Week 2 by the skin of my teeth, 232-230.  A bounce back performance for Victor Cruz and steady play from my defense is what secured the win for me.

Fantasy Studs:

Victor Cruz:  Cruz shook off a bad game against the Cowboys Week 1 and exploded with 34 points.  He had 11 catches for 179 yards, including a 80 yard TD pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  His breakout game was the difference for me in Week 2.

 Eric Wright:  CB Eric Wright has continued his stellar play with the Buccaneers.  He was a huge part in the defensive domination of the Giants in the first 3 quarters.  He had a spectacular 60 yard interception return for a TD.  Wright’s efforts weren’t enough however, as the Manning and the Giants roared back in the 4th quarter to finish off the Bucs 41-34.

Ray Rice:  RB Rice failed to find the endzone in the Ravens 24-23 loss against the Eagles, but still found ways to contribute.  He still rushed for 99 yards and caught 6 passes for 53 yards.  Rice produced 20 fantasy points in Week 2, and continues to be one of the most consistent players on my squad.

Fantasy Duds:

Brandon Marshall:  After a monster Week 1, Marshall was almost invisible against the Packers.  QB Jay Cutler’s taunts of the Green Bay secondary must have riled them up, as they held Brandon to 2 catches for 24 yards.  Marshall also dropped a sure TD pass.  I was definitely shocked by Marshall’s performance, especially against the Packers who got torched by the 49ers last week.  I don’t think this will be a trend however, and I fully expect Brandon to be productive against the Rams in Week 3.

Jason Babin:  DE Babin also experienced a huge drop off in production in Week 2.  After harrassing QB Brandon Weeden in Week 1, the Ravens kept him quiet.  Jason managed just a tackle in the Eagle’s win.  Last year Jason Babin was one of my best defensive players and I expect him to bounce back against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

Glen Olsen:  After a strong preseason, TE Greg Olsen has been shaky to start the season.  In week 2 Olsen only had 1 catch for 13 yards.  Unfortunately for Olsen, the emergence of Martellus Bennett will send him to the bench.  Bennett has found the endzone in each game this season and seems to be developing a chemistry with QB Eli Manning.

Free Agency:

This week I picked up RB Daryl Richardson, ILB Mason Foster, and OLB KJ Wright.  Rams rookie RB Richardson, will replace the other rookie RB David Wilson, who seems to have fell out of the rotation for the NY Giants.  Richardson looked strong in the Rams Week 2 win against the Redskins.  He took over in the 2nd half after Steven Jackson was sidelined with a groin injury.  If Jackson’s injury lingers, Richardson will be rewarded with even more touches going forward.  ILB Mason Foster has been one of the most productive fantasy linebackers this season.  Pat Angerer has yet to play this year due to injury, and I picked up Foster for depth behind ILB Patrick Willis.  OLB KJ Wright has been all over the field for the Seattle Seahawks this year.  He will replace OLB Kevin Burrett in the starting lineup, who has been struggling the first 2 weeks of the season.

Next up is team” The Angus Beef”, stay tuned…

Why Dwight Howard Makes LA the NBA’s best on paper…

September 15, 2012

The LA Lakers have easily won the NBA offseason with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.  Nash is 38 years old and past his prime, however he is still capable of averaging double digit assists per game and is an effective perimeter scoring threat.  The only Laker to ever average 10+ assist ppg is Magic Johnson (he did it 9 times).  Kobe has never had a PG of Nash’s caliber, and has played among the likes of Smush Parker, Coby Karl, and Tryonn Lue.  Signing Nash alone significantly upgrades the Lakers roster.

With the addition of a healthy Dwight Howard, (provided he fully recovers from back surgery) the Los Angeles Lakers are an elite team.  The 3 time DPOY’s impact on the game is tremendous.  He virtually eliminates easy points in the paint, while providing easy opportunities on offense.  Howard is most effective in pick and roll and averaged 20 ppg last year with the Magic.  He probably won’t scoring that much with the Lakers, but without even playing a game together, Howard and Nash are one of the top pick and roll threats in the NBA.  Not to mention Kobe, Pau Gasol, and Antawn Jamison coming off the bench.  See where I’m going with this…

The Lakers have made their weaknesses their strengths over the offseason, which makes them legit title contenders.  In last year’s 2 round loss to the Thunder.  The average margin of victory for OKC was 2-3 possessions.  Dwight Howard’s paint presence teamed with Nash as the floor general makes LA a lock for the NBA Finals… on paper.

Howard is kryptonite for teams like OKC and Miami.  These two teams are elite at the 2 (I consider Russell Westbrook a combo guard) and 3 positions while average at the 5 and 1, surrounded by solid perimeter shooting.  DH12 can dominant the Thunder and Heat big men, while making life tough to score in the paint for slashers like Harden, Westbrook, D. Wade, and LeBron.  Reportedly Howard won’t make it to training camp and will likely miss the preseason.  The Lakers are capable of keeping afloat during Dwight’s absence, but the team chemistry will be in jeopardy at the beginning of the season.  Only time will tell if LA can reach its full potential by June.  They will likely experience the same growing pains that plagued the Heat the 1st year LeBron, D.Wade, and Chris Bosh joined forces.  All eyes will be on the new look Lakers and they surely will be a sight to see.  The expectations in Laker Land remain the same and this team is now “championship or bust.”

Sources say Knicks workout T-Mac

September 15, 2012

Sources say the New York Knicks gave 15 year old vet Tracy McGrady a workout last week.  Nothing is imminent, and a reunion isn’t likely.  McGrady spend most of his year on the sideline with Knicks in 2009.  He appeared in only 24 games and averaged almost 10 ppg.  At this point in his career, he isn’t worth a roster spot.  Not a knock against T-Mac, but at this point in his career he can only provide offense as a 7th or 8th man off the bench.  The Knicks don’t need more scoring, they need defense and guard play, which McGrady can’t provide at 33.  Injuries have taken their toll on the former All Star and 2 time scoring champ.  Tracy McGrady can still play in the NBA and I’m sure someone will take a chance on him at some point during the season, it just won’t be the Knicks.

This is a clip of T-Mac last year against the Heat.  After hitting a couple 3’s, McGrady caught fire in the 4th, in which he scored 13 points to secure a Hawks win…