Friday, October 23, 2009

Five for the Weekend - October 23 edition

Here are the five I am keeping an eye on this weekend:

Los Angels Angels at New York Yankees, Game 6 and 7 (if necessary)
Hey New York, has it really been 8 years since we last saw you in the Fall Classic? Personally, I wish it was more like 88 years, but they weren't the best team money can buy until the 1990's. I would love for the Angels to come back and send all that money home, but who am I kidding. Therefore, it would be nice if the Yanks would close this out on Saturday and set-up a C.C Sabathia-Cliff Lee match-up in Game 1 on Wednesday. How do you feel about that one Indian fan? After that duel in Game 1, let the balls start to fly out one after one after one in games 2-4. A Yankees-Phillies World Series should have more runs scored than some Giant-Eagle games.

Big Ten Road Tests
Iowa visits Sparty and Penn State goes to the Big House. Aside - If the University of Miami plays at Michigan, is it a home game for Miami? Back to the Big Ten - Iowa has clearly been the Big Ten's best, but as usual I have heard the "no better than 7th in the SEC talk". Sparty has things going in the right direction, but that is usually not the case for long . Better for the Big Ten nationally if Iowa keeps winning, better for the Big Ten race if State beats Iowa at home for the 6th consecutive time. Penn State needs to prove itself this week and who knows what Michigan will bring to the table. The Nittany Lions always struggle in Michigan, but I just don't like this two QB system that Michigan is using. Penn State should win and stay alive.

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
The defending champs try to slay the 6-0 Vikes a week before Favre heads back to Lambeau. It seems everyone is putting this one in the Steelers column already. Maybe if it seems that obvious, it really isn't. The Vikings sure seem to be charmed this year - easily could be 4-2 with three of those wins over Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis. But didn't Pittsburgh lose to the Bengals? Here is my main reason to pick the Steelers this week - Minnesota has not been outdoors since week 1 - and that will be enough to slow down the pass rush and allow Big Ben to find his talented receivers. I wonder if the Vikings will be on next weeks "5"?

Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals
Does anyone believe the Bengals are very good? Who would have thought Cedric Benson, a Bears cast-off, would be out-producing Matt Forte? Maybe someone should see what Rashaan Salaam or Curtis Enis is doing these days. If the world is right, the Bears should win. I hope the world is not right on Sunday.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Jim Zorn has been removed from play-calling duties. Yeah Washington, that is the problem. Maybe if you would call a couple more bubble screens and a few less slant and go's you would be 4-2 or something. Exactly. The reason Washington is below expectation is because they are a team that has hitched its wagon to a QB that just doesn't have the "it" factor and is destined to be mediocre his entire career. This commitment to the wrong QB can set a team back years. And the financial commitment that is often made makes it almost impossible to get out while there is still time. The Redskins need to move on at QB. So do the Raiders. Hey Marc Bulger, here is a giant contract and a guarantee that we are going to stink for the next 5 years. Guess what Buffalo, Trent Edwards is not going to get you to the playoffs. He does not make any plays. In Cleveland, they have two QB's who are terrible. A daily double. All these teams should have a new QB next year and several are a year late already. Will Matt Stafford be on this list in a couple years too?

Until the next one....

Fantasy Football Skill plus Luck

As we hit the midway point of the Fantasy Football regular season this weekend, I thought I would take a look at what has gone right and what has gone wrong thus far in 2009 Fantasy Football. I started with a surprises and busts list, but that is pretty easy for everyone to figure out. So I came up with the "What if I drafted this team". I will use a 12 team league, 16 rounds, and a starting line-up of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, Flex, TE, Def, K for the purposes of this article. Without further ado, if I had the 4th pick of the draft......

What if I drafted this team?
Round 1 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (I was hoping Forte would fall, just not sure how Maurice Jones-Drew will do with that full workload)
Round 2 - Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers (Love this solid, consistent player at pick 21)
Round 3 - Terrell Owens, WR, Buffalo Bills (Yes, T.O. at pick 28 - you don't always get a lock for 10 TD's at this pick)
Round 4 - Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders (My top sleeper still here at pick 45 - I can't wait to watch his home-run ability this year)
Round 5 - Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (Even with the loss of Owens, Romo at 52 seems like a no-brainer)
Round 6 - Lendale White, RB, Tennessee Titans (Slimmer and meaner and should come close to his 15 TD's from 2008)
Round 7 - Eddie Royal, WR, Denver Broncos (With all of Brandon Marshall's problems, I may have landed a #1 receiver at pick 76)
Round 8 - Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals (No way Tim Hightower hold him off - Wells is going to provide the running game Arizona needs for balance)
Round 9 - Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets (Waited on TE with all these solid RB, WR available and still got who I wanted - Keller will be Sanchez's security blanket all year and his favorite red-zone target)
Round 10 - Tennessee Titans Defense (With the Giants, Steelers, and Ravens defenses picked, I better lock-up easily the next best defense in the NFL)
Round 11 - Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta Falcons (Even with Michael Turner, Norwood should see 10-15 productive touches per game)
Round 12 - Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers (A solid, unspectacular QB - he shouldn't hurt me as a bye week replacement)
Round 13 - Joey Galloway, WR, New England Patriots (With Brady throwing and Moss and Welker getting all the attention, Galloway is going to be huge)
Round 14 - Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants (Without a proven WR, Boss is going to be Eli's main man this year)
Round 15 - Rob Bironas, K, Tennessee Titans (A perennial top 5 kicker)
Round 16 - San Diego Chargers Defense (With Merriman back, this unit is on the rise)

I did not really draft this team, but what if someone did? Or what if I had the 1st pick in the draft.....

What if I drafted this team?
Round 1 - Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (no-brainer)
Round 2 - Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (I wanted Steve Smith or Greg Jennings, I guess I will settle for Wayne - worried about all those double teams though with Harrison gone)
Round 3 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints (I feel like I am reaching with this pick, but all the WR will be gone by my next pick)
Round 4 - Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers (I wanted Derrick Ward or Larry Johnson, but they went the picks before, have to regroup at RB and take V Jack here)
Round 5 - Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans (I just read about his per game averages - I just don't think Romo or McNabb are going to be very good this year)
Round 6 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens (All the good RB's are gone - Rice should at least get yards, even if he never scores)
Round 7 - Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (At least Cedric is the unquestioned starter - really don't want him on my team)
Round 8 - Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants (At this point, I just need RB's that will get some touches)
Round 9 - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (After waiting on RB's, at least one of these last 4 has to produce this year - at least I hope)
Round 10 - Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (I needed to solidify RB, and now I have a back-up QB on a run first team)
Round 11 - Vinsanthe Schiancoe, TE, Minnesota Vikings (I forgot about TE, Favre used to like throwing to TE's)
Round 12 - Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants (I needed one more WR - Smith should at least play)
Round 13 - Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (I do like a good Heath candy bar)
Round 14 - San Francisco 49ers Defense (waited too long on defense - there coach used ot be really good at defense)
Round 15 - Denver Broncos Defense (there is no one left!!)
Round 16 - Lawrence Tynes, K, New York Giants (Mr. Irrelevant)

I did not draft this team either, but whoever did is looking fine in 2009. I know it takes some knowledge and skill so you don't draft a T.O. or Lendale White and you are smart enough to grab a Matt Schaub or a Ray Rice. But I think there is a little luck involved. So with that, Good Luck on the 2nd half of your season!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do these annoy you too?

I admit it. I am part of the world that moves too fast. I do not yearn for the days when we all sat on our porch and "shot the breeze" for hours. There is too much to do, and too little time. Kids, spouses, work, sleep. Find a few moments for yourself? Maybe on the treadmill.

I also find I am getting more easily annoyed. Here are my current hot buttons. Hopefully you don't fit into one of these categories.

Still writes a check person

It is time to check out at the grocery store or Target. First, you get to play the pick the quickest line game. This one works out less than 50% of the time for most of us, but as long as the cashier doesn't pick up the phone, you are probably fine. You are moving along close to the line next to you, when all of a sudden, the person in front of you -- pulls out the checkbook. Really? People still write checks? Instantly I am back in the 90's. The Goo Goo Dolls start playing in my head. I smile, realizing I can go home and watch Jordan and the Bulls tonight. Then I realize its 2009. Meanwhile, the person is still writing the check or the machine is still running it through and three people have checked out in the line next to me, but my purchase was already on the conveyor so I am unable to move. I long for the little old lady finding exact change. Exact change does not need to be written in the register. Finally, it is my turn!! Zip my card through, and I am on the road, where I find....

Drives super slow in the middle lane person

I thought the rule was slow traffic, keep right. Apparently, I missed the memo that even slower traffic should be in the middle lane. I believe these cars cause traffic jams more than anything. You have the slow and merging traffic on the right. You have the speed demons on the left. So you move to the center lane and bam, everyone is flying by you on both sides. How does this happen? Just up ahead of you, there is a car going below the speed limit in the middle lane. This driver is obviously not comfortable on the highway. So they tuck themselves in the middle. No dealing with merging traffic. Or maybe they are afraid they will run the car off the road in the right lane? Whatever it is, get over to the right please, I need to get to the mall so I can get behind.....

Stops suddenly in the middle of the main mall traffic flow person

We have all been to the mall. We know how it works. There is a stream of people going on each side of the mall. One stream going one way. On the other side of the mall, the stream is going the other way. It works. It is actually fun to try and go against flow. But if you are going to be part of the flow, keep on walking. Oops, I forgot, you are the only one in the mall. Just stop whenever you want right in the middle and I will almost run over you. Or when I try to step around you, someone else runs over me. I know. We all have had something catch are eye and make us stop. Just step off to the side, so I can get out of the mall and into the mall parking lot, where I can meet.....

Goes the wrong way down an angled parking row person

The mall is busy. You are headed down or up a row of angled parking, going the correct direction, when you see it, a car turns down your row headed the wrong way. Apparently, the arrow painted at the end of the row has become just a suggestion. Your cars inch closer, and you realize there is barely enough room for two cars to pass. You get close enough to see the other driver and they seem perplexed at how this is happening. What has gone wrong? I figure out a way to get my car around them, throwing my hands up and shaking my head. I bet if I stick around long enough to watch them park, they will find a spot where they can pull-through an angled parking spot. Love that one.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Five for the Weekend - October 2nd Edition

Here are the five I am checking out this weekend, plus Monday of course:

Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers (Saturday, 11 A.M. CST)
Ten years ago today, Wisconsin traveled to the "Horseshoe" in Columbus to play the 12th ranked Buckeyes and promptly fell behind 17-0. The Badgers promptly scored 42 unanswered points behind freshman Brooks Bollinger, in his first career start, for a 42-17 victory. I remember it well because it was my wedding day and many details of that day are still vivid, including the score being 17-6 when we got in the limo. The 1999 Badgers did not lose another game that season.

Fast forward to this weekend - what if this version of the Badgers does not lose another game? Would they even be in the BCS championship discussion? I know it is foolish to even speculate - I still think this is an 8-4 team. But until they lose, we can still dream.

Major League Baseball (all weekend)
Seven of the eight playoff spots are determined, but there are still a few unfinished items. Detroit has a magic number of 2, which should at least get them to a playoff on Monday. The Twins also draw Zack Greinke one more time. It looks like Detroit will be headed to the Big Apple. In the National League, the Rockies can steal the West with a sweep of the Dodgers. There may be no advantage to winning the division. I would be gunning for the spot that avoids St. Louis. Unfortunately, home field advantage between St. Louis and Philadelphia is not determined.

New York Jets at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 12 P.M. CST)
The surprise match-up of 3-0 teams this week. The unstoppable force against the immovable object? The Saints have the obvious offensive fire-power, but there defense has been surprising. The Jets defense has been the talk, but the Jets offense has done enough to win. This appears to be the game the Jets offense will need to do more than enough. Can GQ Sanchez do it? My guess is everyday man Brees will be smiling Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos (Sunday 3:15 P.M. CST)
New England/Baltimore seemed too obvious. I want to find out if Denver is for real. Check out the Broncos schedule. We will find out very fast if they are real or impostors. It is easy to jump to the impostor conclusion, but there might be some Belichek magic on this team. I am going to hold judgement, at least for one more week.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (Monday, all day, all night)
The most-hyped week 4 game in NFL history arrives Monday. It might be the only game ever with three large fan bases - Packer fans, Viking fans, and Favre fans. Do you know what games hyped this much usually turn into? Starts with a "d" and ends in an "ud". Many will point to the Packers not playing up to expectations thus far. A closer look at the Vikings would indicate the same thing, despite the unblemished record. The Packer fan in me fears this is the game the Vikings put it all together. The Packers fan in me hopes this is the game the Packers put it all together. The realist in me thinks the former is more likely. And to add insult to injury, an un-named 3 year old told me this week he wants Favre and the Vikings to win!! Ugh!!

Lock of the Weekend: The under on Washington and Tampa Bay.
Upset of the Weekend (College): Miami over Oklahoma
Upset of the Weekend (Pro): Baltimore over New England

Until the next one...