Mostly NBA Notes: Injuries Wreaking Havoc

20 Oct
by in General

Tough luck for those who've already had their draft or auction and came away with Kevin Love or Dirk Nowitzki, as both will be sidelined for the foreseeable future with injuries. Nowitzki's was less of a shock as he's been dealing with a knee issue since last year, and it was clear he wasn't feeling right all preseason. Hopefully the arthroscopic surgery means he returns feeling much closer to 100 percent, and it's better to get it taken care of now rather than midseason, but the bet is him likely missing around 20 games. In the meantime, Elton Brand and O.J. Mayo are the main beneficiaries of Nowitzki's absence. Love's hand injury, on the other hand, came out of nowhere and was actually the result of doing knuckle pushups. He should be able to return close to full strength and stay in shape while out due to the nature of the injury, but he could be sidelined anywhere from 5-to-8 weeks, so the previously unquestioned top-five fantasy player needs to be sufficiently dropped down draft boards. Among big men, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge should all go before him now, with possibly the Gasol brothers as well. It also depends on format, as those in H2H leagues should be more aggressive going after players currently injured.

Speaking of health risks, what do we make of Eric Gordon? He was the 34th most valuable fantasy asset in 2010/11 at age 22, contributing across the board. He was drafted aggressively last year with the hope of further growth and eyes toward a monster season after joining a New Orleans team more than willing to hand him over the keys to the offense with Chris Paul leaving town. Instead, a knee injury ruined his season, limiting him to just nine games. Gordon was brought back by the Hornets on a maximum contract, even if he preferred to go to Phoenix, and it's possible a big year is in store. However, he's missed the past five preseason games while dealing with chronic soreness in his knee, the same one that required surgery last year. This has certainly been priced into his current cost, as his ADP is a modest 99. Few players can match Gordon's high risk/high reward combination.

German man tries to jump into frozen pool. It doesn't work out as planned.

Faced with a mid-to-late first round pick, I'm having a hard time deciding between Josh Smith and Al Jefferson. The latter was the more valuable of the two last season (6th vs. 16th) and gets bumped up in value in 9-cat leagues, as he had an NBA-best 5.26% Turnover Rate last season. But Smith actually averaged as many boards (9.7) and blocks (1.7) as Jefferson, while helping a lot more in assists and steals. It's also possible Derrick Favors cuts into some of Jefferson's production, whereas Smith could see increased shots with Joe Johnson gone, and for what it's worth, he'll be in a contract season. While Smith's stated goal of shooting fewer three-pointers will hurt one category, it will likely help another, as a better FG percentage should be in store if he truly follows through with the plan (his eFG% of 38.3 was well below league average (52.5%) last season). So, who would you go with first, Big Al and his gigantic bed, or J-Smoove?

Who won "last night's" debate?

Brandon Jennings really improved his shooting last year, finishing with a career-high 41.8 FG percentage. While that improvement was hardly insignificant (his previous best was 39.0 percent), 41.8 percent is still a drain to be sure. However, further examination may reveal something different. Here are his FG percentages month-by-month: December/January (44.5%), February (33.6%), March (43.4%), April (44.6%). Jennings wasn't noticeably battling an injury during his ice cold February, and it's possible the sequencing of his shooting means absolutely nothing, but it's probably worth pointing out he hit at least 43.4 percent of his shots in three of four months last season, which is a dramatic improvement in the weakest part of his game. He did so while attempting a whopping 5.9 three-pointers per contest — the fifth-highest mark in the league. Jennings just turned 23 years old and set career highs in ppg (19.1), spg (1.6) and 3pt (2.0) last year and is a good FT shooter who keeps his turnovers in check. There were only four players who averaged at least 1.9 3pt and 1.5 spg last season, and Jennings was one of them.

Who won "last night's" debate part two.

Sticking with the Bucks' backcourt, it should be interesting to see how Monta Ellis meshes with Brandon Jennings over the course of their first full season together. After getting shipped to Milwaukee last year, Ellis saw his FG attempts drop from 19.0 to 16.0 and his three-point tries get cut in half, from 4.2 to 2.1. The big decrease in Usage Rate (it went from 30.73 in Golden State to 25.0 in Milwaukee) actually made him a more efficient player, as his rebounding, assist, steal and block production all remained nearly identical, and he saw his turnovers per game drop from 3.3 to 2.6. Of course, his usage with the Warriors was likely a bit inflated thanks to Stephen Curry being sidelined for a big chunk of last year, but Ellis could also assert himself more in 2012/13 now more acclimated with his Bucks teammates, although he doesn't exactly seem like the type of player who would make coach Scott Skiles happy. Jennings may be the clear leader of this team, but Ellis is the unquestioned No. 2 option on a Milwaukee squad that doesn't have many alternatives, so he should be in store for a nice year.

SDSU student wins a car by sinking half court shot at Midnight Madness event.

Andrei Kirilenko doesn't put up flashy numbers in the main fantasy cats, but he also sneakily doesn't hurt you in any and can be a major contributor to the defensive stats (career numbers of 2.0 bpg and 1.4 spg). He's not going to exactly fly under the radar in most fantasy leagues, but Kirilenko hasn't played in the NBA since 2010/11 and is known as a major health risk, so he's something of a "sleeper." AK47 won league MVP playing in Russia last season and impressed during the Olympics afterward, so it's not like he's been sitting on his couch since leaving the states. He'll be playing for a franchise other than Utah for the first time in his career, joining a Minnesota team in which he could immediately be a major contributor, especially with Kevin Love (hand) out, and Brandon Roy remaining a huge question mark. Even when this team is full strength (including getting Ricky Rubio back), Kirilenko should be a fixture in the starting lineup and is a strong target in the middle rounds of drafts.

Here's a 600 LB marlin jumping into a boat. If only said boat had more cameras aboard.

I get the JaVale McGee hype, as it's easy to understand after he finished second in the NBA in blocks last year despite getting just 25.2 mpg. He also shot 61.2 percent from the field, added 0.5 spg and is an athletically gifted physical freak at 7-0, 252. Visions of him getting starter's minutes leading to Serge Ibaka type block production only with more rebounds and points certainly are enticing. McGee might also currently be the most entertaining player in the NBA. However, for reasons not unrelated to that "highlight" clip, he's not exactly guaranteed a big increase in playing time. In fact, his mpg actually dropped from 27:23 in Washington to 20:30 after getting traded to Denver, and coach George Karl has consistently brought McGee off the bench during the preseason behind both Kosta Koufus and Timofey Mozgov. McGee is obviously the player to own even if he continues to come off the bench throughout the season, and his upside is undeniable, but don't be surprised if Denver's frontcourt minutes remain spread around.

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Tags: Al Jefferson, Brandon Jennings, , dirk nowitzki, , , , , , percentage, , store
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Spin Doctors: Kobe Bryant vs. Kyrie Irving

19 Oct
by in General


In a battle of two highly talented guards, one toward the end of a career while the other is just beginning theirs, two members of the Yahoo! Fantasy staff view them differently.

Who do you prefer, a proven superstar with an impressive track record yet now in the decline phase, or a budding star with little history but with a ton of potential?

Funston says Kobe's still got it: The main argument against Kobe is that he's old. But being 34 years old is only a problem if you are starting to show the obvious wear-and-tear that comes with the mileage you've traveled. And I'm having a hard time finding proof that Kobe is, in fact, in decline.

Over the past seven seasons, Kobe has played 96 percent of the Lakers' regular season games. Last year, he produced the sixth-highest scoring average, sixth-highest free-throw percentage, fifth-highest three pointers per game mark and eighth-highest minutes per game average of his 16-year career. He finished last season's Yahoo! game ranked No. 15 in fantasy output per game.

And here's a key component to this argument. Kobe was one of only four SG-eligible players ranked among the top 32, and one of only two (along with Dwyane Wade in the top 19). As for the PG position, where Irving is eligible, there were 11 players ranked among those top 32. Fact is, you aren't going to have a problem finding a big-time producer at the point in your draft, but an elite shooting guard is a different story.

Last season, Kobe was a six-category positive in fantasy, and he can all but carry a squad in the Points and FT% departments. And one of his negatives (FG%), could turn back into a plus given that he now has Steve Nash setting him up and guys like Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison to deflect much of the extra attention Kobe would normally see on the offensive end.

Both Bryant and Irving have the potential to be top 10 fantasy commodities but, as I said, if that's the case, then I'll opt first for the shooting guard over the point guard. Especially when the SG has 14 consecutive years of elite production on his record.

Dalton says to go young: Kyrie Irving averaged 19.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.5 spg and 1.7 3pt while shooting 45.8 percent from the field last March before injuries severely limited his minutes over the final month of the season. That's obviously cherry picking numbers, but it also highlights the upside of someone who was just a 19-year-old rookie with only 11 collegiate games under his belt. Irving shot 39.9 percent from behind the arc and 87.2 percent from the line, as there's no real weakness in his game (even his 0.4 bpg ranked third among all point guards). He's battled health problems in the past but enters 2012/13 fully healthy and as the clear centerpiece to a Cleveland team that has improved its roster over the offseason.

Kobe Bryant was more valuable last year according to Basketball Monster, checking in as the 23rd ranked player compared to 38th for Irving, but these are two players clearly headed in opposite directions in their careers. I'm not going to argue Bryant isn't one of the best players of all time, and it's hard to say he's wearing down after he easily led the NBA in Usage Rate last season, but the 34-year-old has accrued 1,381 games in his career if you count the playoffs. The addition of Steve Nash will no doubt have its benefits for Bryant, but he's not going to be handling the ball nearly as much this season and should also lose some shots to newcomer Dwight Howard as well.

Point guard admittedly looks deep this year, but I'd give Irving a legit chance at beating Bryant in seven of the nine fantasy cats, and the youth factor here shouldn't be overlooked. I'm not burying Bryant by any means, as this is less of indictment on him as it is a highly favorable outlook for the sophomore from Cleveland. Irving should finish 2012/13 as a top-15 fantasy player.

Tags: argument, , decline, , , ,
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Mostly NFL Notes: Week 6 Recap

16 Oct
by in General

After a major hiccup in Kansas City, the Ravens' offense got back on track Sunday, but Baltimore has won its last four games by an average of just 3.3 points, so they haven't exactly looked dominant. Should be interesting to see them travel to Houston to face a Texans team coming off an embarrassing loss on national television in Week 7 in a battle between the two teams with the best record in the AFC…This Ravens defense already looked nothing like its usual formidable self even before losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb to season-ending injuries. Fantasy owners shouldn't hesitate to start players against Baltimore moving forward…Tony Romo has got 6.7 YPA with a 0:5 TD:turnover ratio on third downs this season, good for a 43.4 QB Rating…Of course Dez Bryant ends his big 13-catch, two touchdown day by dropping a two-point conversion with the Cowboys down two points. Moreover, after that happened, Dallas recovered the ensuing onside kick with just 30 seconds left, then got a huge 20-yard penalty only to see Dan Bailey miss a field goal, which was just such a Cowboys way to lose. You couldn't draw it up any better, right down to Jason Garrett once again botching endgame time management.

After starting his career 15-for-15, my boy Greg The Leg missed three FG attempts Sunday, although in fairness two of them came from 52 and 66 yards out in windy conditions outdoors (he previously was 10-for-10 from 40+ yards)…Steven Jackson continues to look slow and worn down, as he's now getting just 3.6 YPC on the year, and the Rams' coaching staff is wisely catching up, giving Daryl Richardson just one fewer carry Sunday (11 to 12). It's a major concern for Jackson owners moving forward. This tends to happen to running backs with 2,600+ career touches, although to be fair, his schedule has been brutal, as all six of the Rams' opponents this year have been in the top half of the league in YPC against, including four in the top-10…Brian Hartline was held to a goose egg Sunday, not just in catches but also targets (although he did receive two looks that were erased thanks to penalties). Since racking up 253 yards (the 18th most ever in a single game in NFL history), he has totaled four catches for 59 yards over the last two weeks. I wish I were here to tell you I told you so, but I bid aggressively on him afterward, so that's anything but the case. Cortland Finnegan was impressive Sunday, but Hartline has a bye and then a matchup with a Jets squad that may shadow him with Antonio Cromartie, so it's tough sledding in the short-term…Reggie Bush has averaged just 2.8 YPC over the past three games.

This lady wants deer crossing signs moved to avoid accidents.

The Eagles don't have a sack since Week 3, which actually makes their secondary all the more impressive, as they have allowed just 6.2 YPA and a 69.4 QB Rating, although it remains perplexing why they had Nnamdi Asomugha shadow Calvin Johnson for the first three quarters Sunday and then abandoned that strategy in the fourth and overtime. Other than the team's 27-6 Week 3 loss in Arizona, Philly's average margin of victory/defeat this season has been 1.8 points over five games. That's pretty nuts…The Lions have scored a total of 44 points over the first three quarters of their games this season. They have scored 66 points in the fourth quarter (and another three points in overtime)…Sad news about Jahvid Best, who now looks almost assuredly never to step on a football field again…Matthew Stafford is on pace to attempt 698 passes this season, while Michael Vick is on pace to commit 35 turnovers.

This prank phone call is pure genius.

It's pretty crazy how much better Brandon Weeden has looked in the NFL than his former teammate Justin Blackmon has so far…I hope Trent Richardson's injury isn't serious, but Montario Hardesty joins Felix Jones in what looks like an interesting week to be aggressive with your FAAB…With Andy Dalton seemingly taking a legitimate step forward in Year 2 (and a defense taking a step back along with a struggling running game), it's hardly a stretch to call A.J. Green the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver and a top-five fantasy asset. He absolutely dominated Joe Haden on Sunday. Green versus Calvin Johnson ROS is a pretty interesting debate right now.

With Indy coming off such an emotional come-from-behind win against the Packers and the Jets a wounded animal after back-to-back losses playing their third straight home game, it wasn't exactly surprising to see New York easily handle the Colts on Sunday, but I can't say I saw Shonn Greene's outburst coming. In fact, he was on my bench in the high-stakes Stopa Law Firm league in which we start 3WR, 2RB, 2TE and 2FLEX. I actually considered dropping him beforehand more than I did starting him, so yes, he's a "sell" if possible. I'm just not sure how realistic that is. Greene's previous three opponents all ranked as top-11 defenses as far as allowing fantasy points against running backs, but his schedule doesn't exactly ease up moving forward, as three of his next four opponents do (rank inside top-11) as well. In fact, Greene doesn't face a defense that ranks in the bottom half in fantasy points against RBs until Week 14…Vick Ballard didn't exactly impress during his start Sunday, has got just 67 yards on 29 carries so far this year and plays for a poor-run blocking team, but at least his upcoming opponent (Cleveland) has allowed 4.6 YPC this season. He's not the worst desperation play in a week that has a whopping six teams on bye.

This is one strange weather report.

If anyone can make Matt Cassel look good, it's his backup Brady Quinn. I haven't told this Cassel story since joining Yahoo, so here it is one more time: once while visiting some of my friends in USC back in college after a night of drinking, we ended up on some fraternity row, and my friend challenged Cassel (I had no idea who he was at the time. He was backing up Carson Palmer) to a race on the street. They made a bet, and my friend smoked him. Cassel was extremely upset and demanded a rematch (and changed his shoes). This time, my friend actually let him get a head start, and he easily caught up and beat him again. Cassel was irate (his girlfriend had to console him) and never paid up. Tangent over…Josh Freeman has got 7.7 YPA or better in three of his past four games, including a monster effort Sunday that I certainly didn't see coming. He now faces a Saints team at home in a highly favorable matchup in Week 7…Does Philip Rivers actually miss Vincent Jackson more than Jackson misses Rivers?...What was the Bucs punter thinking here? Obviously a safety was preferable to a touchdown...This is pretty crazy, but do you realize the Chiefs (who have won a game) have actually held a lead in a game this season for exactly zero seconds?

This guy asks to borrow a stranger's cell phone. Then promptly walks away.

The Falcons sure made a bunch of Survivor players sweat it out, as they continue to look worse than their undefeated record indicates. Matt Ryan has finished with fewer than 7.0 YPA in four of the past five games. Atlanta has allowed 5.2 YPC (second-highest in the NFL) and 7.6 YPA (11th highest) this year, while rushing for just 3.6 YPC (fifth-lowest). The Falcons have been strong on special teams and have committed few penalties, but something's got to give here…Carson Palmer is on pace to finish with 4,589 passing yards this season, which would be top-25 all time. Of course, his lack of touchdowns limit his fantasy value, but he's just now getting back fully healthy weapons in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore (who looks like a legit top-25 fantasy WR while healthy)…In any league that's even halfway deep, Mike Goodson must be owned…The Raiders had zero interceptions this season before picking off Matt Ryan three times in the first half Sunday…The Raiders tried to "ice " Matt Bryant, who missed that ensuing attempt before making the following one that counted, but that wasn't even close to the biggest coaching mistake. Oakland (mind-bogglingly) called a timeout with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter at Atlanta's two-yard line on second down behind seven points (they had two timeouts left). Please think about this. If you're a Falcons fan, you are ecstatic at the time. Predictably, giving the Falcons 40 seconds resulted in them kicking a game-winning field goal on the following drive.

If by "worst" you mean "best" pickup lines then I agree.

Stevan Ridley is coming off a disappointing performance in which he totaled just 35 yards, but it came in Seattle, which is quite possibly the toughest environment in all of football right now, and Brandon Bolden appears to have aggravated his knee injury. Ridley's 25 red-zone carries this year are the second most in the league and five more than the next closest (Marshawn Lynch)…Over his last four games, Wes Welker has 40 catches for 513 receiving yards, which is a season's pace good for 160 receptions and 2,052 receiving yards…With the impressive comeback victory by the Seahawks (so is that why New England typically continues to be aggressive even with big leads?), every team in the AFC East is now 3-3…With six seconds left in the first half, the Pats ran a play from the Seattle three-yard line, which I was on board with, but it was surprising to see Tom Brady then proceed to get an intentional grounding penalty (not unlike in last year's Super Bowl) with one second left, ruining a chance for a field goal as the clock was required to run 10 seconds as a result…I'll be at the Seahawks' Thursday night game in San Francisco, hoping for some regression on both ends (not happy the SF Giants game is scheduled for literally the exact same time).

Huge cannabis plant found in elderly couple's garden.

C.J. Spiller is still tied for the second most broken tackles in the NFL with 20 and leads the league by a wide margin with 5.2 YPC after contact (next best is 3.5). He's getting 7.6 YPC on the year! Next best is Robert Griffin at 6.9. Spiller is also getting 10.8 yards-per-catch. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the second-best running back this year (with a negative blocking rank, which means little to fantasy owners), and the one RB ahead of him (Adrian Peterson) has played 107 more snaps. But Fred Jackson, who shed his knee brace Sunday (and still got more touches despite losing a fumble on the first play of the game), is pretty good himself, so this is without question a full-blown timeshare…Buffalo is the only team in the NFL that hasn't scored in the last two minutes of either half this season…I don't blame Brad Smith (although he should be) for throwing such a horrible interception late in the fourth quarter, because whenever a coach dials up a play for someone not used to the situation, it's apparent a throwaway simply should never be expected based on piles of evidence…William Powell, whom Larry Fitzgerald praised in a big way during the preseason, sure passed the eye test. But Arizona probably has the worst offensive line in football, so I'm not sure how much it matters, especially considering their upcoming schedule (@MIN, SF, @GB)…The Bills elected to punt at the Cardinals' 35-yard line in overtime, which resulted in a touchback. Wow.

I really love when TBS or FOX switches their baseball coverage to the camera angle behind the plate — says no one ever. Seriously, I've killed for less.

Despite reaching the Redskins' 10-yard line three separate times in the first quarter, the Vikings left with just a 9-0 lead, which obviously hurt them later on…I can understand why many are advising trying to buy Adrian Peterson right now, but I also think it's clear he's being hampered by an ankle injury that would probably sideline most mortals…Robert Griffin's 76-yard TD run Sunday (in essentially garbage time for his fantasy owners) was the second longest ever by a quarterback. His 138 rushing yards were the most in a game since Michael Vick in 2006 and puts him on pace to finish with 1,011, falling just short of Vick's NFL record (1,039). RG3 has also got 8.3 YPA while throwing to a weak group of receivers. Highly impressive.

As a 49ers fan, that wasn't exactly the "payback" I was hoping for against the Giants. That game was more competitive than the final score showed, but the Giants were extremely impressive (their receivers simply dominated, and Eli Manning taking zero sacks was a surprise). Alex Smith didn't play well at all, and why I get the argument Colin Kaepernick was used too much Sunday, I don't exactly buy that as an excuse for Smith's interceptions…Carlos Rogers dropped an easy would-be pick, but San Francisco didn't even reach the red zone, so plenty of props should be given to the Giants, who need to be ignored in any statistical model (whether it be Brian Burke's, Massey-Peabody's, Numberfire's, etc.), as they have clearly established themselves as a team whose results mean nothing based on opponent. They could lose at home against the worst team in the league just as easily as they could beat the best team on the road.

This article about baseball and stat geeks is hilarious.

What a performance by the Packers, possibly the best by any team in the NFL so far this season. Hope you weren't facing Aaron Rodgers in your fantasy league…Remarkably, James Jones has caught two touchdowns in each of the past three games, hauling in half of his receptions over that span for scores…Jordy Nelson owners can breathe a big sigh of relief. One of his three touchdowns actually came one play after Houston jumped off sides during a Green Bay punt attempt, giving the Packers a new set of downs…Alex Green looks like the clear beneficiary of Cedric Benson's injury, as Green Bay immediately treated him like a workhorse. The Packers don't run block all that well, but Green suddenly looks like a solid flex option. James Starks remains irrelevant…The two touchdowns saved his fantasy day, but it was surprising to see Arian Foster rush for just 29 yards on 17 carries. Houston's run blocking has taken a major step back this year, as Foster has now got only 3.8 YPC on the season. He remains an obvious elite fantasy option, but one other small area of concern is his lack of usage as a receiver. After racking up 53 catches for 617 receiving yards over 13 games last season, Foster is on pace to finish this year with just 29 and 192.

Longread of the week: An oral history of "The Wire."

Versus the Falcons, Texans, Patriots and Chargers, the Broncos have started collectively down 96-12. Their average margin of defeat during those five games is 2.75. That's pretty crazy…The Broncos overcame the second largest halftime deficit and also tied the biggest comeback by a road team in NFL history during their win Monday night…Nice to see Antonio Gates has a pulse. Hopefully it's a sign of a big second half moving forward…Eric Decker could've had an even bigger night had he not tripped and fell over his own feet while running alone toward a sure would-be long touchdown…The Chargers finish the year facing the Panthers, Jets and Raiders, so it will be fitting when the team ends on a high note, giving Norv Turner yet another reprieve.

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Tags: , , , , Shonn Greene
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Mostly NBA Notes: A look around the league

12 Oct
by in General

Kyrie Irving was the 38th most valuable player last year during his rookie season, and he was just 19 years old and only Nicolas Batum finished higher (by one spot) with fewer mpg (by 0.1). Irving did this having played a total of 11 games at the collegiate level. Of course, that also means he missed a bunch of time at Duke due to injuries, had to sit out 15 more games last year in the NBA and also broke his hand during the offseason. But as Mr. Kruger would say, I'm not too worried about it. He's already participating in scrimmages and should be 100 percent by the start of the season and is clearly immensely talented — he shot 39.9 percent from behind the arc last year and 87.2 percent from the line, and there's a real chance his assists should improve not just because of growth, but he had to deal with possibly the worst group of teammates in the league last year. Irving looks like a potential monster worth a top-15 pick. Be sure you aren't someone who overlooks "Uncle Drew."

 Maybe Dirk Nowitzki is just being overly worried about an issue he was able to push through last season, but the recent news about him possibly requiring knee surgery at some point means he needs to be dropped down at least a bit on cheat sheets. He was an interesting case to begin with, as his ppg, rpg and mpg have decreased each of the past three seasons. Still, even as something of a boring option at this point, Nowitzki quietly remained the 10th most valuable fantasy player last year, making the single biggest impact in FT%. But he's 34 years old, has played in 1,183 career games (including playoffs) and is clearly in the decline phase (even if not noticeable from a physical standpoint, he's being treated as such if you look at his usage trends). I still had Nowitzki as a top-10 option despite all that, but with this latest injury news, I'll probably drop him. If he were to undergo knee surgery, it would be a big boost to Elton Brand, who quietly produced as much fantasy value as Carmelo Anthony last season. It's obviously a situation worth monitoring closely.

Here's a classic prank phone call.

Deron Williams got a whopping 12.8 apg after getting traded to the Nets in 2010/11, albeit in a small sample (12 games). He also shot just 34.9 percent from the field for New Jersey after hitting 45.8 percent of his shots with Utah previously that year. Last season, his assists actually dropped below his career level (8.7) while his shooting continued to slump (40.7 FG%). Part of the latter problem was a result in him attempting a career-high 6.2 treys per game (although that did result in a career high 2.1 3pt), and that also came with a career-high 4.0 tpg. Williams' Assist Rate went from 64.42% after joining the Nets in 2010/11 to 36.58 last season. The former was the highest rate of his career while the latter was his lowest, so expect something in between in 2012/13. Williams was "just" the 39th most valuable player last year, and he's become something of an injury risk lately, but his potential and history of production suggests he deserves to be taken far earlier than that. The improved teammates surrounding Williams in Brooklyn should help as well.

This waterfall swing is surprisingly intoxicating. 

Serge Ibaka's offensive game last year was almost identical to his prior season, showing little growth in that area. In fact, his tpg and FT shooting actually got worse, and he saw the same amount of playing time despite committing fewer fouls. He averaged 9.1 ppg and 0.4 apg while shooting 66.1 percent from the line, yet somehow was the 11th most valuable fantasy player. This, of course, was thanks to a league-leading 3.7 bpg. In fact, the next highest swatted 2.2, so you can see how big of an impact Ibaka had in a scarce category. He actually averaged a ridiculous 4.1 bpg after the All-Star break and just recently turned only 23 years old, so the potential here is highly enticing. Still, he's going to be costly at draft tables (his current ADP is 22), and I'm not sure it means anything, but it's at least worth noting how little Ibaka played for Spain during the Olympics (it likely had mostly to do with the differences in the international game and having the Gasol brothers as teammates, but it was surprising nevertheless). The smartest bet here is that he likely doesn't keep up last year's ridiculous shot-blocking pace but sees an increase in minutes and improves his game in other areas, resulting in a plenty valuable asset.

Meet the soft-shelled turtle that urinates from its mouth. 

Here are Tyreke Evans' finishing values in fantasy ranks over his first three years in the league: 71, 118, 89. He might be the rare player who's overrated both in real life and in fantasy, and this is coming from someone who actually likes the Kings. His lack of threes and excessive turnovers are the obvious culprits in fantasy terms, and his weak jump shot is the biggest problem for Sacramento fans. Still, Evans might be the best guard in the NBA at getting to the rim - his 7.0 attempts there easily led the NBA among all guards last year, tying with Dwight Howard at 4th in the league, and his success rate (64.6) was above league average (62.7) and even better than Kevin Love (59.8). For what it's worth, which could mean nothing, he's entering a contract year and supposedly worked hard on his outside shooting during the offseason (an area that often takes time to develop in the pros for purely athletic guards like Evans, so this would hardly be unprecedented), and it doesn't hurt playing for a Kings team that ranked No. 1 in PACE last season. Assuming the preseason puff pieces don't move the needle, after some truly disappointing campaigns, Evans could go from overrated to underrated during his fourth year in the league, although the Kings quietly actually have more than enough mouths to feed.

Virginia woman wins $1 million lottery twice in the same day.

I'm the fool who gets suckered into Andrew Bogut every year. Not only has he missed an average of 32.5 games over the past four seasons, he also has a 57.4 career FT percentage. But the former No. 1 overall pick is an excellent rebounder, has developed into one of the league's best shot blockers over the past three years and is one the better passing big men in the NBA. Just to put this in perspective, Bogut's value in 9-cat leagues last year was equal to Dwight Howard's on a per-game basis. Coming off a fractured left ankle though, his health once again needs to be taken into account, as he's no guarantee to be ready for opening night. Before last year's injury riddled campaign that was cut short after just a dozen games, Bogut had averaged 14.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg and 2.6 bpg over his prior two seasons. According to Mock Draft Central, he's currently being drafted on average after DeAndre Jordan and just ahead of Danny Green and Mario Chalmers. The Warriors have zero alternative options in the middle, so Bogut is going to get all the run he can handle. He can be worth a pick in that range even while missing 20 or so games.

Man does one-handed pushups while solving a Rubik's cube in less than 30 seconds.

Over the final month of last season, J.R. Smith averaged 16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.0 spg and 2.7 3pt. He also hit 88.2 percent of his shots from the charity stripe and committed just 1.3 tpg all in just 32:47 mpg, revealing quite a bit of upside. However, even with Iman Shumpert's injury, it appears coach Mike Woodson still prefers to bring Smith off the bench. Of course, that doesn't mean he won't see an uptick in minutes even as a sixth man, and it's worth noting Smith put up those numbers in April last year also while coming off New York's bench. It's not an ideal situation having to contend with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire for shots, but the Knicks tied for fourth in PACE last year, as they remain one of the more uptempo teams in the league (even with Mike D'Antoni gone, because of New York's poor defense, they really can't help but be anything but a squad that produces a bunch of possessions night in and night out). There were only four players who averaged at least 1.9 3pt and 1.5 spg last season, and Smith was one of them (the other three were Stephen Curry, Wesley Matthews and Brandon Jennings), and he did this getting a modest 27:36 mpg after joining a new team in the middle of the season. His low shooting percentages are countered by a typically low TO%. Smith is an intriguing option this year.

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Tags: , Deron Williams, dirk nowitzki, , Kyrie Irving, mpg, , Nowitzki, , , Tyreke Evans,
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Mostly NFL Notes: Reggie Wayne and luck

09 Oct
by in General

Ryan Tannehill has got 9.8 YPA over the past two weeks with both games coming on the road. He's also taken a respectable 10 sacks over five games and has one of the weaker receiving groups in the league to throw to. Moreover, Jake Long has been a big disappointment so far. Tannehill's 2:6 TD:INT ratio isn't pretty, but there are plenty of other reasons for optimism, especially considering how raw he was entering the league. I didn't see that coming and certainly not so fast…Andy Dalton entered with an 8.8 YPA and eight touchdown passes over the first four games of the season, but Miami's defense held him to 5.4 YPA and a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. And the Dolphins' run D continues to dominate, allowing an NFL-low 2.7 YPC. This team is far from a doormat…BenJarvus Green-Ellis has averaged 5.1 YPC against the Ravens this year. Against the rest of the league, he's averaged 2.9…Brian Hartline didn't have a big game after his Week 4 breakout, but he's clearly going to see a bunch of targets as Miami's No. 1 option and should be a WR3 at worst for fantasy purposes. He leads the NFL in receiving yards over the first five weeks of the season…Down 17-13 with 3:05 left in the 4th quarter, not only did the Bengals foolishly attempt a 41-yard field goal, but the CBS announcers called it the "right call without question." This would be a bad call even if three points were guaranteed, but the fact a 40+ yard FG is anything but a sure thing makes this so embarrassingly bad it's obnoxious. This stuff isn't rocket science. It's common sense that needs no calculator.

Brandon Weeden threw two forward passes on the same play Sunday, obviously resulting in a penalty…It was so the Giants to be down 14-0 immediately at home against the heavily underdog Browns, and while it's clear this team has legitimate issues in its secondary, New York didn't ruin yet another Survivor year like they have in recent seasons…After losing a fumble early on, Ahmad Bradshaw owners had to worry he may lose some work to Andre Brown. Instead, Bradshaw ended up with 30 carries (Brown had zero, leaving early with a concussion) for 200 rushing yards and a touchdown…Wow is Trent Richardson impressive. He doesn't necessarily get tackled as much as he goes down when he decides it's time to. Richardson is clearly a top-five fantasy commodity…The only question remaining regarding Victor Cruz's fantasy value is if you'd prefer him or Calvin Johnson moving forward.

NFL quarterbacks talking on Facebook.

What a terrific Packers/Colts game (assuming you didn't have the Pack in Survivor or a teaser). Indy, who finished 2-14 last season, outscored Green Bay, who was 15-1 last season, 27-6 in the second half after getting thoroughly outplayed in the first to pull off the upset. The Colts have lost at home to the Jaguars, which was Jacksonville's only win so far, but Indy has also beat the 4-1 Vikings to go along with Green Bay. And their only other loss came in Chicago…Cedric Benson took an 18-yard screen pass down to the goal line, only to see John Kuhn punch it in one play later. Adding injury to insult to his already frustrated fantasy owners, he later left with a foot injury that looks like a season-ender. Alex Green needs to be added in most leagues, but I wouldn't go nuts with your FAAB. It's probably going to end up a committee…It appears Jordy Nelson is the rare receiver who's actually hurt by his opposite starting WR going down with injury, although to be fair this entire Green Bay passing attack looks nothing like last year's version, for reason's tough to pinpoint. The Packers are now 4-5 over their past nine games (playoffs included) after winning its previous 15 contests…At one point, the head referee informed the viewers the Colts made a penalty by saying this: "false start, everybody but the center."

Farting at the beach prank.

What a game by Reggie Wayne, highlighted by this ridiculous catch. He's on pace to finish the year with 144 catches and 2,024 yards. It's funny, because I always discredited Wayne's talent some — like Marvin Harrison, a great route runner, does the little things well, but nothing special athletically and put up huge numbers partly because of Peyton Manning — but he sure has impressed so far this year. That said, Andrew Luck looks like an immediate star. Not to compare Wayne to Jerry Rice, but there's something of a similar chicken-or-egg dilemma here, as it looks like he's going to benefit from not one but two elite QBs throwing to him during his career. Despite already having a bye, Wayne leads the NFL in targets. There's no reason to "sell high" here…The Colts challenged James Jones' touchdown catch, which was moronic for two reasons. 1) It was clearly a TD and 2) All scoring plays are automatically reviewed! This has been the case since last year. How can they not know this?! It resulted in an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty, and the play that was up for possible review didn't even make it to that stage by the booth above as it was so obviously a score…A really interesting play happened at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Indy had a 3rd-and-4 at midfield, and Green Bay jumped offsides, which led to a "free play." They completed a 10 yard pass to Donnie Avery, only Avery was the first to touch the ball after stepping out of bounds, so instead of a first down thanks to the offsides, or a first down thanks to the 10 yard catch, his penalty offset the offsides. So the play really wasn't "free." Luck would have been better off literally handing the ball to a Green Bay defender. And on the very next play he was intercepted. Pretty crazy.

A fireball caught on camera thanks to a "real rootin tootin little rainfall."

If Shaun Suisham had missed that field goal at the end of the game, the Eagles would have been 4-1 with a -16 point differential, winning the four games by a combined five points and with a -7 turnover ratio. Alas, it didn't happen, as Philly's seemingly good fortune came to an end…Sunday marked the first time Ben Roethlisberger didn't have a TD or INT and wasn't sacked in a game during his career…Rashard Mendenhall sure looked better than I expected during his first action of the season and should soon take over the majority of Pittsburgh's backfield duties. Between him, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson, it seems returning from ACL surgery is the new market inefficiency…Where Wallace at??? Mike Wallace has three touchdowns this season, but after racking up 800 yards over his first eight games last year, he now has just 644 over his past 12 contests.

Here's a QVC host fainting on live TV, which isn't nearly as crazy as her co-host continuing to shill afterward.

Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez combined for a whopping 17 catches by halftime, as both were heavily involved in the offense all day Sunday, although they didn't put up gaudy YPC numbers. Oddly, Jones now has 21 receptions for 269 yards and four touchdowns over three road games this year and just five catches for 44 yards and zero touchdowns during two home games…Sure, Gonzalez has benefitted from coverages paying close attention to Jones and Roddy White, but the veteran deserves credit as well, as he leads all tight ends with 10 missed tackles…I really hope Robert Griffin doesn't have to miss time with his head injury. The play certainly did highlight his heightened risk though…I'm not giving up on Pierre Garcon, but it has to be a pretty deep league to start him right now…The Redskins have now lost eight in a row at home.

A terrific article regarding birthdays, math and memory.

The Chiefs/Ravens game was one of the most boring so far this season, with nary a single touchdown scored. I can appreciate a good defensive battle, but this was hardly the case Sunday, as both teams' offenses struggled badly. Since going 11-5 with New England after taking over for an injured Tom Brady in 2008, Matt Cassel is 19-26 since joining the Chiefs. Even before succumbing to injury Sunday he was on the verge of losing his job to Brady Quinn. I'm beginning to think Bill Belichick isn't bad at coaching pro football…Kansas City fans have a legitimate beef on that questionable call by the refs when they ruled Joe Flacco dead in the pocket right before he lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the Chiefs. The whistle came awfully quick…So, which RB in this game would you rather have ROS for fantasy purposes, Jamaal Charles or Ray Rice?

Liam Neeson is better at saving his onscreen children than he is talking American football.

Brandon Marshall left Sunday's game a few times with what looked like a leg injury, even collapsing to the ground at one point, but thankfully, it seemed to be nothing more than cramping, likely due to weather that reached 100-degree temperatures. You wouldn't know it from his dominant box score though, as he totaled 12 catches (grabbing half of those during a single drive) for 144 yards and a touchdown. He's now eclipsed 155 yards with a touchdown in three of five games this season…The Jaguars haven't had a wide receiver top 80 yards all season. The Giants have had five DIFFERENT receivers do it so far…The Bears defense has scored a touchdown in three straight games with a remarkable five total over that span. While defensive touchdowns are somewhat fluky, this Chicago defense is for real and currently looks like possibly the best in the league. They lead the NFL with 13 interceptions and a 60.0 QB rating against and are tied for the lead with 18 sacks, also allowing just 3.6 YPC and one touchdown on the ground. And realize 40% of their games played so far have come @Green Bay and @Dallas. Even in shallower leagues, they are worth keeping during their upcoming bye.

This Russian truck holds more people than you'd expect.

The Panthers backfield of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, who are currently signed to contracts worth a combined $90.811 million, combined for 11 carries for 25 yards…Cam Newton started Sunday's game 3-for-16 and was equally as ineffective through the air as his teammates were on the ground. With less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter on 4th-and-goal, his throw straight into the ground to a wide open receiver in the end zone was particularly ugly…The Panthers have been a bit unlucky in one regard, as opposing kickers have made all of their NFL-high 16 FG attempts against them so far this season…It appears this Seattle defense is legit even when not playing at home…Golden Tate has scored on 30% of his receptions this year…Late in Sunday's game, Seattle purposely took a safety. While it would have been an absolute no-brainer (well, maybe not for all NFL coaches) if backed up at their own goal line, they elected to do this at their own 18 (the score was 16-10, so it still took a touchdown to beat them, and they now can punt without a pass rush coming and from slightly closer), so their outside the box thinking needs to be applauded…Bruce Irvin = Aldon Smith. Actually as a 49ers fan, I'm kind of terrified he could be Aldon 2.0.

Here's a crazy leopard kill caught on camera.

If Colin Kaepernick weren't such a nice guy, the 49ers would have now outscored their opponents 86-3 over the past two weeks. The NFC West has a combined 14 wins. The next best division has 11 (to be fair one of their teams has had a bye)…According to Pro Football Focus, Mario Williams has been the 43rd most valuable 4-3 defensive end so far this season…Solomon Wilcots, one of the worst in the business, right after Kaepernick's lost fumble: "Kaepernick is not a big guy." He's 6-4, 230…Speaking of the "Wild Kap," not sure why the 49ers unveiled so much of it after the game was decided Sunday. But that formation looks legitimately like possibly the best wildcat or pistol formation since Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins started it a few years back. If only Kaepernick were just a little bigger, like 6-9, 450. By the way, he's the only player in the history of college football to rush for 4,000 yards and throw for 10,000 yards.

If Frank Gore went down, not an especially unlikely occurrence, Kendall Hunter could be absolutely huge…San Francisco had gone 27 straight games without a 300-yard passer, and Alex Smith had 237 passing yards by halftime Sunday. Of course he barely stopped the streak, ultimately finishing with 303 yards. Smith has the best QB Rating in the NFL right now…The 49ers have 556 rushing yards in their past two games, which is more than 18 teams have totaled over the entire season…Buffalo entered the week leading the NFL in touchdowns but scored zero Sunday. On defense, over the past two weeks they have allowed two 300-yard passers, three 100-yard rushers and four 100-yard receivers. The Bills have also been outscored 90-17 over the last six quarters, allowing a franchise record 621 total yards to the 49ers in the process, when San Francisco became the first team in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 300 rushing yards in the same game.

I went to the A's/Rangers game No. 162 last week, which was an incredible atmosphere, probably the loudest baseball game I've ever been to. I'm especially glad I went since Bay Area baseball has been a total dud since, highlighted by my Giants getting embarrassed by the Reds. Ugh! I'm depressed.

It was pretty cool to see Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning again. And for what it's worth, Brady is now 9-4 during head-to-head matchups. If not for a Willis McGahee fumble (he also had an absolutely terrible drop on a crucial 4th-and-2 play earlier in the 4th quarter), this would've been the third time this season the Broncos were legitimately competitive in a game in which they were once down at least 20 points, although they haven't won any of them…In a league that's become more pass heavy than ever, it's pretty funny that three of the best teams in football (New England, San Francisco, Houston) are all run heavy (with Atlanta being the one stark counter, and New England's rushing attempts are a bit skewed thanks to their innovative breakneck pace). Really surprising to me, especially one year removed from record setting stats in the passing department.

Aside from the first quarter against the Falcons, Peyton Manning has an 11:0 TD:INT ratio this year…With 8:22 left in the 4th quarter and up 31-14, the Patriots went for it on 4th-and-5. In hindsight, it's tough to criticize them for rubbing it in, as this game very nearly became precarious at the end...Even with a teammate getting 30 carries over the past two weeks, it's hard not to consider Stevan Ridley a top-15 fantasy asset right now, although him fumbling for the second straight week is of some concern, no question. One more and suddenly Brandon Bolden is a top fantasy player…Shane Vereen has scored a touchdown on 50% of his rushing attempts this season…I fully expected Brandon Lloyd to be more productive this year, although it's worth noting he probably scored on this play that the Pats didn't bother challenging…After racking up nine catches for 188 yards (and losing a fumble for the second straight game), Demaryius Thomas is now on pace to finish with 1,642 receiving yards. Keep it up, DT!

In honor of the premiere episode of "30 Rock" during its final season, here's a classic Tracy Morgan clip in which he declares he's going to get someone pregnant while on live TV.

As feared, some owners of Chris Johnson, who averaged just 27.0 yards from scrimmage over the first three weeks and was facing a difficult matchup in Houston, benched him last week only to start him again Sunday thanks to his "resurgence," getting four absolute duds and have his one good game missed. It's about as bad as it gets for a healthy first round pick…Percy Harvin is a top-five fantasy wide receiver, but that shouldn't exactly be a controversial statement at this point. I wouldn't trade him for any quarterback (assuming it's not a 2QB league, of course)…After allowing an NFL-worst 107.6 QB Rating (8.1 YPA, 34:8 TD:INT ratio) last year despite tying for the league-lead in sacks, the Vikings have ceded just 6.1 YPA this season. With Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, this team has marquee players at marquee positions, not to mention the impressive development of QB Christian Ponder. The Titans didn't make it past the Vikings 47-yard line until the 4th quarter Sunday.

Students tricked into eating moose poop by school staff.

Mark Ingram has totaled 16 yards or fewer in four of five games this year (getting 53 in the other) while averaging 2.9 YPC. It's probably true defenses key on him when he's in the game, knowing it's a sign he's getting the ball, but if Ingram lacks the skill set to block/catch, then how is this going to change any time soon? And he looks average at best when running anyway. He can probably safely be dropped even in deeper leagues…Antonio Gates faced a New Orleans team that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but it's close to the point of panic time for his fantasy owners, which includes me, who bought into the hype entering the year when SD beat writers and coaches as well as the man himself declared Gates healthier than he's been in years and looking dominant. Frankly, it looks like he's running with 25 pound ankle weights on right now. And it's hilarious the one game he missed resulted in his nondescript backup scoring three touchdowns. I'm not benching Gates this week, but another no-show will be beyond worrisome…Congrats to Drew Brees and his record-setting accomplishment.

Also congrats to Marques Colston owners, who many likely made a crazy comeback during SNF. After totaling 10 catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns over the first three games, Colston has 18 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns over his last two…I'd treat Ryan Mathews as a top-15 fantasy commodity right now…Among the 33 quarterbacks who qualify (including Matt Hasselbeck), Philip Rivers has dealt with the fewest dropped passes (four) by his wide receivers this year. In comparison, Brandon Weeden's wideouts have dropped 21 balls…In what should come as absolutely no surprise, Norv Turner has the second worst record in one possession games in NFL history, now 49-68-1. Speaking of which, how fitting was the end to Sunday night's game?

Longread of the week: Can you call a 9-year-old a psychopath?

I appreciated the Jets faking a punt, going for it on 4th-and-1 (although not sure why they didn't use Tim Tebow instead of Mark Sanchez there) and attempting an onside kick after scoring on a return touchdown, knowing well just how big of an underdog they were…Arian Foster has been used far less as a receiver so far, but he remains on pace to finish with a whopping 422 carries this season…After a nice Week 1, Andre Johnson has totaled just nine catches for 164 yards and one touchdown over the past four games…Among non-quarterbacks, J.J. Watt is easily a top-five commodity in the NFL, and especially with Darrelle Revis tearing his knee, he has an argument for No. 1 (Calvin Johnson?). Not that I never make mistakes, but this is a pretty funny article to go back and read in hindsight.

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Mostly NBA Notes: A look around the league

05 Oct
by in General

With our new preseason ranks up, it's clear I'm higher on Raymond Felton than most. He's coming off a year in which he was ranked 143rd on a per game basis, but I'm banking on a change of scenery helping in 2012/13. For what it's worth, he recently admitted he showed up out of shape coming off the lockout last season and appears to be much better prepared this year (of course, not all "best shape of his life" puff pieces are created equal. But I think there's something to this one). Another part of the problem last year was his disconnect with Nate McMillan, but once the coach was let go Felton thrived. Now with the Knicks, Felton should be the clear starter over Jason Kidd, who will turn 40 years old this season. The last time Felton played for New York, he averaged 17.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 9.0 apg, 1.8 spg and 1.6 3pt while shooting 86.7 percent from the line. He was the 44th most valuable fantasy player that year, and that was with him not being nearly as productive over his 21 games not in a Knicks uniform. While this offense might not be quite as uptempo with Mike D'Antoni gone, New York still ranked tied for fourth in PACE last season. I probably have him ranked too high, but with an ADP of 121, I think it's safe to say Felton is an undervalued commodity at draft tables right now.

So while Felton's move to New York should boost his fantasy value, what will be the ramifications for Jeremy Lin moving to Houston? While Linsanity went anything but under the radar last season, it's worth repeating just how productive he was after entering the starting lineup: 18.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 7.7 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.0 3pt, 44.5 FG%, 79.6 FT%. Of course, thanks to an absolutely mind-boggling 4.7 tpg, his value took a major hit in 9-cat leagues. Lin obviously has ball security issues and is a poor defender, but he's no false media creation either, as his ability to drive to the hoop at his size as a PG is highly impressive. He can clearly play and should get a ton of run with Houston after they signed him to a huge contract and with few alternatives on its roster. Lin scored the third-most points per play of the 91 players with at least 75 isolation plays last season, shooting 48.5 percent off the dribble (only Steve Nash and Stephen Curry were better). But while the Knicks ran the most isolation plays in the NBA, the Rockets ranked 22nd, so unless Houston makes a major system adjustment thanks to its new personnel, it could be a hit to Lin's value. Still, he's such an exciting player who's still in the improvement phase, and it doesn't seem like last year's crazy hype has inflated his price tag all that much (67 ADP).

This little person is better at basketball than me (and probably you).

After J.J. Hickson averaged 16.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 0.7 spg and 0.7 bpg after the All-Star break at age 22 in 2010/11, he looked primed to break out last season, so it was curious to see Cleveland trade him away for Omri Casspi, especially since the team's once unwillingness to include him in deals might have ultimately cost them LeBron James. It was equally as surprising to see Sacramento give him just 18:23 mpg after joining the Kings before freely shipping him off to Portland. The Trail Blazers then gave him an opportunity, and he responded with 15.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 0.6 spg and 0.9 bpg on 54.3 percent shooting (and those numbers are suppressed since he didn't immediately become a starter). Hickson is a poor free throw shooter and lacks elite shot blocking ability for a big man, but he's the favorite to start over Meyers Leonard (who's a project) and sure looks like an intriguing sleeper.

An extremely interesting read about a gambler's grind in the NBA.

Andre Iguodala was the 32nd most valuable player last year while scoring just 12.4 ppg and shooting only 61.7 percent from the line, which isn't easy to do. While it's safe to expect his FT shooting to bounce back close to his career level of 73.7 percent this season, the bigger reason to like him is his move to Denver. After playing for a Philadelphia team that ranked 27th in PACE last year, he now joins a Nuggets squad that ranked second, and their Offensive Efficiency ranked third. Iguodala's 10.2 FGA last year tied for 105th in the NBA, and it's pretty safe to expect that to increase in Denver's offense. With a squad that continues to get even more athletic, the Nuggets will to try to run teams out of the gym, and Iguodala will be a big beneficiary.

Pair banned from all-you-can-eat restaurant for eating too much.

Paul Millsap was the seventh most valuable fantasy player last year despite not standing out at any particular category. Well, he did get 1.8 spg, but even after doing so, he's still got just 1.1 for his career, so I wouldn't exactly bank on that happening again. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to be an NBA superstar to be an elite fantasy option, and I like Millsap's game, and he's now put up back-to-back top-25 seasons. However, he's not even guaranteed to keep his starting role this year, as Derrick Favors will be given every opportunity to unseat him at power forward. It makes sense for a rebuilding Utah team, as Favors was the No. 3 pick in the 2010 draft, is just 21 years old and showed plenty of promise when given an expanded role last season. Millsap could see some time at small forward and would likely still get plenty of minutes off the bench should he lose his starting job, but it's at least something to consider for someone who will no doubt cost a high draft pick.

Zookeeper sprays crowd with skunk prank.

Not that this is some abnormality, but small forward is an especially shallow position this year. It's probably worth using as a tiebreaker if you're debating between two similar players. There are plenty of interesting options in the middle rounds, like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Michael Beasley, J.R. Smith, Evan Turner, Andrei Kirilenko, Gordon Hayward and Harrison Barnes, etc, but they all have some question marks that start earlier at this position than any other. Even center looks deeper right now. It's probably not a big deal and certainly not as important as other fantasy sports, but still something to keep in the back of your mind at drafts. As if LeBron James and Kevin Durant needed added value.

Restaurant gives discount for being the "best looking" and having the "best butt."

I'm interested to see how high Anthony Davis goes in drafts this year. His offensive game needs some work, although that's not totally his fault, as he was incredibly only fifth in usage rate on Kentucky last season. This should actually INCREASE in the NBA. He should be competent at the line, committed just 1.0 tpg last year and should immediately be a major asset in the defensive categories. In fact, he's a threat to lead the league in blocks as a rookie and could also be among the leaders in steals among big men. Davis' uncanny ability to block shots 10+ feet away from the basket is so impressive, and he's now got a taste of what it takes while working with the USA Olympic team. How high are you willing to take The Unibrow?

Here's the most drawn out showcase bid in the history of "The Price Is Right."

And here's a classic scene from quite possibly the worst (best?) player in the show's history.

I'm going to bump Kenneth Faried up during my next ranks. He averaged 11.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 0.9 spg and 1.1 bpg with a 58.4 FG% in modest minutes over the final month last year as a rookie, and with Al Harrington gone, is looking at a big jump in minutes. Plus, anyone who's watched him knows he looks like a future star. Faried led the NBA in ORR (Percentage of offensive rebounds grabbed by a player while on the court) last year, revealing quite a bit of upside. Playing for such an uptempo Denver team doesn't hurt either, especially with a clear path to more playing time now. Even in just 22:36 mpg as a raw rookie last season, he was the 88th most valuable player, ahead of Tyreke Evans and Rajon Rondo in 9-cat leagues. Go get him.

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Tags: , , , , , pace, , , Raymond Felton, shape
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Mostly NFL Notes: Week 4 Recap

02 Oct
by in General

What a dominant performance by the 49ers, holding the Jets to just 2.9 yards per play on defense while rushing for 245 yards on offense (the most the Jets have allowed since Rex Ryan took over). Tim Tebow completed his first pass attempt of the season for nine yards (resulting in his vulnerable receiver getting blown up and losing a fumble), but it was Colin Kaepernick who continues to be the bigger threat when entering the game, although his deep ball to a triple-teamed Randy Moss wasn't the best decision. As a runner, he looks like a problem for defensive coordinators moving forward. And how nice was he sliding down before a sure touchdown at the end of the game?…Michael Crabtree is San Francisco's most reliable wide receiver, but Mario Manningham is clearly more explosive…That injury when Santonio Holmes gave away a touchdown to SF didn't look good. Mark Sanchez has plenty of faults, but he also might have the worst weapons at his disposal in all of football…Aldon Smith had two more sacks (and had another taken away thanks to a penalty. Although to be fair, Tebow actually blew him up while blocking on another play), giving him 20.5 over the first 22 games of his career (including the playoffs). As crazy as it sounds, Patrick Willis is probably the fourth most important player on the 49ers' defense.

Over his past 11 games, Steven Jackson has reached 80 rushing yards once. He had a 23-yard run Sunday. On his other 17 carries, he got 22 yards…If healthy, I thought Sidney Rice would have fantasy value this year. I was wrong. Feel free to cut bait…St. Louis' fake field goal was fantastic. It resulted in the team's first offensive touchdown over their previous 100 plays…So I just realized Saturday the Rams' kicker might be following me on Twitter (it could be a fake, but from what I can tell, it's him), so I was happy to see the rookie go 4-for-4 on FG attempts, including boots from 48, 58 and 60 yards out. He's now 12-for-12 on the year (including eight from 40+ yards) and became the first kicker in NFL history to kick a 50 and 60 yard FG in the same game. Greg The Leg!

Luckiest truck driver in Russia.

The Falcons entered Sunday having trailed this season a grand total of zero seconds, but they soon fell down 7-0, although that ultimately didn't matter thanks to an incredible comeback. Despite starting at its own 1-yard line with just 50 seconds left and no timeouts, Atlanta won on a last second field goal, thanks mostly to a terrific 59-yard play from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, who tore it up all of Sunday. I actually had multiple people text me wondering if Julio Jones left hurt, as he was held without a catch until the middle of the fourth quarter. Part of it is defenses giving him extra attention, but could his hand issue also be limiting him in such a capacity? He did have some drops…Worried Cam Newton owners can certainly breathe a big sigh of relief. After rushing for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, he's on pace for 668 and 12 this year, as the regression police weep. He's also getting a decent 9.5 YPA…More fun with "on pace for" numbers; Matt Ryan's current projection calls for 4,648 passing yards with a 48:8 TD:turnover ratio…Since I made fun of those who called for Cam Newton's decline, it's only fair to point out I thought Michael Turner was done like dinner. He certainly didn't look so Sunday, although now is probably the time to try to sell if possible…I'm beating a dead horse by now, but yes, Ron Rivera's decision not to go for it at the end was terrible.

TSA agent caught stealing iPad.

Before this season, RotoWire's Chris Liss argued against Matthew Stafford, saying he relied too much on volume in 2011, as his 663 pass attempts were the third most in NFL history. I argued back that while acknowledging that's not repeatable, his efficiency will increase; after all, he entered last year (at age 23) with just 13 career starts under his belt and got 8.7 YPA over his final six games (including playoffs), which I said showed real growth from a young player. So naturally, Stafford is on pace to finish with 692 pass attempts this year, which would be an NFL record (mind you this is also with Shaun Hill attempting 13 passes), and he's got just 6.8 YPA. Funny stuff…This Vikings team has officially become interesting. Here's Minnesota's upcoming schedule before its bye: TEN, @WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA, DET. So they absolutely could enter Week 12 with a 7-3 or better record…The Lions became the first team in NFL history to allow a kick and punt return for a touchdown in each of their past two games and are now 6-10 over their past 16 contests (including the playoffs)…According to Pro Football Focus, Percy Harvin has forced 10 missed tackles this season. Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker and Vincent Jackson combined = zero.

Here's a ridiculous 30-yard behind the back TD pass.

Well Ryan Mathews owners, I didn't see that coming, even after GM A.J. Smith called him out for his fumbling issues this week. Entering the fourth quarter, Mathews had four carries for one yard, as apparently he was lucky it was such a lopsided score so he could get some action in garbage time. Jackie Battle, really? Call me stubborn and/or crazy, but I say make trade offers to Mathews owners aggressively this week…The Chiefs surprisingly entered the week leading the NFL in offense, getting 441.7 yards per game…What was up with the Chargers attempting an onside kick with a 37-20 lead with 1:56 left? Supposedly substitute kicker Nick Novak misread a signal, but who would ever even think of such a play in that situation? Weird…Jamaal Charles didn't have his best game Sunday, losing two fumbles, but his 37-yard TD run in the second quarter was easily one of the best plays of the season so far. With the new regime clearly not worried about his workload, how high should he be ranked right now? I mean, if a draft were held today, he'd certainly be a top-five pick.

Here's a crazy 2-point conversion — AKA "The Bouquet Pass."

Nice to see Chris Johnson have a pulse, although I imagine he was on a lot of fantasy owners' benches during a tough matchup in Houston. He really did look much better, but the worry here is that now with this performance he's going to be started with confidence next week, which happens to be in Minnesota against a Vikings defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, presenting an opportunity for him to become even more frustrating…It's almost as if Kenny Britt can't be relied upon to stay healthy…Arian Foster is on pace to finish with 448 touches this season. Entering the fourth quarter with a 21-point lead, he was still given seven carries compared to just two to Ben Tate. Houston should eventually ease back this pace (and this is coming from someone heavily invested in Foster), but this is no timeshare in Houston.

I saw "Menomena" last week in what turned out to be a perfect combination of a group I absolutely love yet not famous enough to still have to play in an awesome venue like this. Easily a top-five concert I've ever been to. Their new album  is lyrically genius and ridiculously good.

The last time the Patriots faced the Bills, they found themselves down 21-0 after the first quarter, only to ultimately win 49-21. This week New England was down 21-7 to Buffalo into the second half, ultimately winning 52-28. Of course this means nothing, but it's pretty crazy to point out the Pats have scored 80 points after halftime during these teams previous two meetings…After ruining my Survivor pool, I can't say I was exactly broken up to see Stephen Gostkowski shank his first two attempts, although it was a bit like cutting off my nose to spite my face, since I bet on the N.E. "over" before the season…Ryan Fitzpatrick put up a nice fantasy day, but some of his passes were truly awful, highlighted by his interception toward the beginning of the second quarter…The Buffalo backfield situation didn't clear up much, as Fred Jackson saw 16 touches while C.J. Spiller saw 10. Jackson totaled 79 yards compared to Spiller's 38, but both lost fumbles, and Spiller was considered the more injured of the two entering the game…As for the Pats' backfield, Stevan Ridley owners can't be thrilled with Brandon Bolden getting 16 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown, but on the other hand, how can you argue with 22 totes for 106 yards and two touchdowns? His production may be more unpredictable than you'd like, but barring an injury, Ridley should easily finish as a top-15 fantasy back…And yes, this is pretty much the best picture ever.

Here's a pretty funny "Key & Peele" sketch.

After going his entire NFL career without fumbling, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has now done so in back-to-back weeks, with Sunday's being lost at the goal line…Even after Sunday's game, the Bengals have still allowed an NFL-high 5.4 YPC, so it was highly disappointing to see Maurice Jones-Drew run for just 38 yards (2.9 YPC)…A.J. Green had another nice game, racking up 117 yards and an 18-yard touchdown, but while his fantasy owners won't want to hear it, he was also tackled during two different drives at the 1-yard line. His day was so close to being truly monstrous.

Woman screams at a bear on her property. Bear runs away frightened.

Both the Broncos and Raiders entered their matchup Sunday 1-2, with each of their lone victories coming against the Steelers. Still, I thought their similarities ended there and didn't understand all the hate on Denver, whose two losses came against the two teams most likely to be considered the best in football (@ATL, HOU), so I happily made the Broncos part of my two-team teaser this week (please don't take this as bragging, as my other team was Green Bay -1.5. Damn me for being cheap with the juice, but how rare does 1.5 vs. 0.5 matter?! But I digress). Anyway, bottom line, this Broncos team is very good, and Peyton Manning isn't even close to done. And even if he's not what he once was, he has the benefit of working with probably the most (at least athletically) skilled teammates he ever has…While Denarius Moore clearly shouldn't be on any waiver wires, Mike Goodson shouldn't be either in deeper leagues…It's interesting to note most of Demaryius Thomas' big plays this year have come off WR screens, but it's worked either way. He's on pace for 1,300 yards this season. Keep it up!

Here's  possibly the best HR trot in baseball history, as Michael Morse first runs the bases backward, then swings with an imaginary bat, then re-runs bases forward.

This Dolphins defense is no joke against the run, now allowing a league-low 2.4 YPC (next best is 3.0). They also tallied eight sacks Sunday, while on the road facing one of the only three remaining undefeated teams in football. Even with Ryan Tannehill (who actually got 10.5 YPA on Sunday) at QB, don't confuse Miami with a doormat…The Cardiac Cards! As someone who roots for the 49ers and started Miami's defense (in a last second decision over SD's, which was agonizing after seeing the Chargers get six turnovers and a defensive touchdown before the Dolphins game even started), watching yet another crazy finish go Arizona's way wasn't exactly ideal. But I've got to hand it to them. The NFC West is no joke…The Dolphins entered as the only team in the NFL without a QB to WR touchdown. I, for one, didn't see Brian Hartline's outing coming. And for that, I apologize.

This has to be one of the better mug shots of all time.

Robert Griffin continues to be an absolute fantasy monster, and this considering he lost a fumble about an inch before recording yet another rushing score Sunday (he may have crossed the line, but the review became moot - although certainly not to fantasy owners - when teammate Pierre Garcon recovered the fumble in the end zone). It was also nice to see Garcon back in action, but let's hope it didn't cause further damage to his foot…Griffin is on pace to finish with 1,008 rushing yards, just shy of Michael Vick's NFL record 1,039 set in 2006. Of course, Vick ran for just two scores during that campaign, while RG3 is on pace for 16 rushing TDs…Billy Cundiff was 0-for-3 Sunday (missing badly on every attempt) before making the game-winner with just three seconds left…Doug Martin hasn't lived up to the hype, but fantasy owners should remain patient. After the Bucs' upcoming bye, he faces teams that rank in the bottom nine in RB fantasy points against in three of the following four weeks.

Restaurant shut down after roadkill brought into kitchen.

Before scoring on their second drive Sunday, the Packers were the only team in the NFL that had zero points in the first quarter this season…With 9:27 left in the second quarter, Green Bay successfully executed a fake punt at their own 17 yard line, which was quite the gutsy call…Regarding the Darren Sproles kick return in the fourth quarter in which he clearly fumbled, the main takeaway is that referees should always err on the side of "can this close call be reviewed or not?" The Packers had no challenges left in this case and were therefore, totally screwed. Of course, Mike McCarthy deserves some of the blame for using a challenge early in the game on a play that wasn't of significant consequence…Kudos to the Saints for making such a game out of it (and they looked awfully bad using the transitive property in the early games after the Chiefs got annihilated at home to SD), but the score could have been much different. With five minutes left in the third quarter, the Packers had 1st-and-goal from the 2 yard line, and a touchdown would have put them up 28-17. But Aaron Rodgers sat out a play thanks to a scratched cornea, and backup Graham Harrell couldn't execute a simple handoff, tripping over his own lineman's feet while losing a fumble. And boom, an 80-yard TD pass by New Orleans right afterward (of course, they deserves credit for that). Not that I'm bitter about losing that teaser or anything.

If by "worst" you mean "best" death scene in a movie, then I agree.

Michael Vick entered Sunday night's game having been sacked nine times, yet remarkably, none were by a defensive lineman. LB Chase Blackburn made it 10 before Osi Umenyiora brought an end (no pun intended) to the madness…The Eagles' three wins this season are by a combined four points…It's a meaningless stat, but Philly is now 8-1 over its last nine games against the Giants…As impressive as he was against the Panthers, it's clear it will take an injury for Andre Brown to be usable in fantasy leagues. Also, David Wilson sure was explosive during his kick returns…It's certainly not a stretch to call Victor Cruz the No. 2 fantasy wide receiver right now. Andre Johnson has the most receiving yards per game in NFL history with 78.8. Since becoming a starter, Cruz has got 110.5 ypg.

A pretty crazy read about someone getting quite a surprise after discovering who's been trolling him online in the worst way.

And speaking of trolling. Wow is this a terrible article.

Not that he was making big plays downfield or anything, but it was nice to see Jason Witten finally have a good game, as he reeled in 13 of his 14 targets. The same can't be said about Dez Bryant. While he set a career-high with 105 receiving yards, Bryant couldn't possibly have been any less impressive while doing so, as he was likely responsible for at least one interception and probably more while leaving a ton of yardage on the field as well thanks to his shaky hands. What a massive disappointment. Could the Dallas offense look any more discombobulated?...For the second year in a row, I made a Dez Bryant vs. Miles Austin bet before the season (backing Bryant), but it looks like it's going to take another hamstring issue for me to win again. I've changed my tune and would prefer Austin right now in fantasy leagues…I'm a believer in DeMarco Murray's talent, and his schedule has been awfully tough so far, but man does Dallas have a bad run blocking O-line…With seven minutes left in the second quarter, Brandon Marshall caught a 13-yard pass on 1st-and-15, but Lovie Smith decided to accept a 5-yard penalty for illegal contact instead. Um, what? Not only is 2nd-and-2 preferable to 1st-and-10, he also forfeited eight yards! Ultimately it's a minor thing, but it continues to blow my mind just how bad coaches are with the simplest of common sense issues…Speaking of Marshall, don't underestimate just how impressive his performance was Monday night. The Cowboys entered having allowed by far the fewest points to opposing WRs this season.

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Mostly NBA Notes: Point Guard Problems

30 Sep
by in General

After posting my first Big Board earlier this month, it's become clear Rajon Rondo is one of the bigger debates in fantasy basketball. Like Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin, his value obviously depends on format, but even so, the majority seemed to think I had him ranked too low, and that's certainly defensible when you consider he led the NBA in assists with 11.7 per game last year (next best was 10.7), finished top-five in spg for the fourth straight season and led all points guards with 4.8 rpg. Rondo is clearly an elite NBA player who continues to only get better - he handed out 13.2 apg after the All-Star break last season and is coming off a playoff series versus Miami in which he averaged 20.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 12.7 apg. Still, it must be pointed out Rondo was only the 96th most valuable player on a per game basis last year according to Basketball Monster. Guys like James Singleton, Carlos Delfino and Courtney Lee were higher. While it's probably safe to expect a bounce back in FG% this year, he's still likely to be a real drain in five categories. If Rondo isn't the toughest player to rank, he's at least in the conversation.

There's no doubt DeMarcus Cousins comes with a knucklehead factor, but he just finished his sophomore season averaging 18.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.5 spg and 1.2 bpg while playing just 30:30 mpg. Of course, he's partially at fault for the lack of playing time thanks to his fouling issues, although that did improve slightly over the course of the season. According to Hoopdata, Cousins attempted the most shots at the rim in the NBA last season, although he made just 56.7 percent of them, which is well below the league average (63.1 percent). Even a modest improvement there could lead to big things from the big man who just turned 22 years old and averaged 19.8 ppg in the second half last year. Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Cousins were the only players to average 18+ ppg, 10+ rpg and 1+ bpg. Cousins could be an absolute monster this year.

Here's a pretty funny iPhone 5 prank.

Ryan Anderson was the eighth most valuable fantasy player last year, but I bumped him down to 37 on the big board, and I would love your opinion if that was too crazy of a drop or if I should have went even lower. His increased production was based primarily on seeing 10 more minutes per game, but there's no reason not to expect similar playing time in 2012/13 as part of a rebuilding New Orleans team with few scoring options. However, a change in scenery certainly brings an unknown factor, especially for a non-elite talent, and more importantly, he won't be shooting as many open threes with Dwight Howard no longer a teammate. Maybe Anderson isn't a bust but don't draft him off last year's stats.

Here's the best apology ever by a  roommate.

What do we do with Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry? Lowry was an absolute stud last year before suffering a bacterial infection that essentially ruined the rest of his season. He was the 26th ranked player on a per game basis and was equally as impressive after taking over PG duties for Houston the year prior. He's now with a new team in Toronto with Jose Calderon as competition, but it certainly appears the Raptors traded for him to be their guy, as it's entirely conceivable his new management actually has more confidence in him than Houston's brass did…After replacing an injured Lowry, Dragic averaged 18.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 8.4 apg, 1.8 spg and 1.8 3pt while shooting 49.0 percent from the field and 83.9 percent from the line over 28 games as a starter. He'll now join a more uptempo offense in Phoenix as the unquestioned starter after signing with the Suns for $30 million during the offseason. Point guard looks deep this year, but Dragic (and Lowry) is going to be drafted aggressively.

Crazy footage of lightning hitting an SUV.

What a crushing injury to John Wall. As a 21-year-old who averaged 1.4 spg and 0.9 bpg last season, his fantasy potential was high, although he ended as just the 87th ranked player thanks to a high TO rate and an utter lack of three-pointers. In fact, Wall went just 3-for-42 from behind the arc. He also hit just 29.0 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet (league average is 38.8 percent), so it's clear he needs to improve his jump shot. But that's often the final piece to the puzzle when it comes to highly athletic guards like Wall. Derrick Rose averaged 0.2 3pt over his first two seasons in the league, only to get 1.6 and 1.4 the following two. Wall supposedly worked hard on his jumper during the offseason, but that optimism has been quelled by the recent news he's expected to miss up to eight weeks with a knee injury. While he reportedly doesn't need surgery, the patella injury is somewhat vague, and there's just no telling how close to 100 percent he'll be even after missing the first month of the season, so he needs to be bumped down cheat sheets accordingly. There's no obvious replacement for fantasy owners, and although Jordan Crawford will likely see his minutes increased in the short term, his efficiency was directly tied to playing alongside Wall last year.

Cops follow potato chip trail to collar man for burglary.

Stephen Curry is one of the highest risk/reward picks there is. Slowed by a persistent ankle injury in 2010/11 that limited his minutes and eventually required offseason surgery, the problem became even worse last year, as he missed 40 games with recurrent ankle/foot issues. Curry again had surgery on his ankle this offseason to clean out loose debris, and the good news was there was no structural damage. Still, he's clearly one of the bigger health risks moving forward. Having said that, Curry was the 14th most valuable player last year while playing just 28:06 mpg, revealing unreal upside. Still just 24 years old, the Warriors are now unquestionably Curry's team with Monta Ellis shipped out of town. Curry led the NBA by a wide margin last season by making 59.0 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet, is fully capable of leading the league in 3pt and is a career 90.1% shooter at the line. In fact, he, Steve Nash and Mark Price are the only players in league history with a career 40+ 3PT% and 90+ FT%. With Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, he also has some sneaky good options at his disposal. It's something of a gamble, but Curry offers top-five overall upside at typically a much lower price.

Blogger asserts copyright, newspaper editor gets irate.

James Harden was the 20th most valuable player last year despite continuing to come off the bench. Sometimes starting is just a meaningless title, and he obviously gets enough run to be plenty productive, but there were 72 players who were given more minutes per game, so it's scary to think of what he could do with increased PT. Harden's stats don't necessarily jump out playing alongside two superstars, but he's the classic "won't hurt you in any category" player who continues to get better each year in the league and will be playing for a massive contract this season. Harden's "True Shooting Percentage" (66.0%) was fourth best in the NBA, and he was attempting a lot more shots than any of the others who finished in the top 12. Don't let his 4-for-20 stretch over Games 3 and 4 in the Finals last year leave a bad taste in your mouth or the fact he comes off the bench sway you, as Harden is a top-20 fantasy asset in 9-cat leagues.

This week in unnecessary censorship.

Staying healthy and seeing by far the most PT of his career last season, Andrew Bynum finally lived up to his huge potential and became a fantasy monster. He got 18.7 ppg and 1.9 bpg while grabbing 11.8 rpg despite sharing the paint with Pau Gasol. His move from Los Angeles to Philadelphia presents an interesting dilemma for prospective fantasy owners. On one hand, Bynum will be the unquestioned centerpiece of an offense for the first time in his career and should shatter his previous career high in FG attempts, which was set last year. On the other hand, with a huge downgrade in teammates, Bynum will be looking at many more double teams, something that's plagued him in the past. When doubled last season, Bynum saw his TO% increase from 9.5 to 24.8 while scoring just 0.77 points per post-up, which remarkably were the fewest in the entire league. Still, he'll likely improve in that area with more experience, as it's easy to forget he's still just 24 years old. Bynum's shaky injury history shouldn't be suddenly overlooked after one healthy season, but his upside is undeniable.

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Mostly NFL Notes: Week 3 Recap

25 Sep
by in General

The Colts' poor offensive line does him no favors, but the team's dismal defense should continue to be a boon to Andrew Luck's fantasy value. While he's unlikely to keep up his current pace to finish with 427 rushing yards, it's a sneaky part of his game in which he should continue to contribute…After kicking a field goal to go up 17-16 with 0:56 left it took all of 11 seconds for the Jaguars to retake the lead. Blaine Gabbert had 75 yards passing in the game before his 80-yard TD strike to win it…Over three games, Justin Blackmon has four catches for 31 yards. Pro Football Focus has graded him dead last among 109 wide receivers so far…So glad I held onto Austin Collie in a few leagues…It was nice to see Donald Brown catch his first pass of the year, but it sure looks like he's going to fail to live up to the preseason hype, something I fell for in a couple of leagues. The addition of Andrew Luck is going to help out the receivers a lot more than Brown, who remains an ordinary talent having to deal with poor run blocking.

C.J. Spiller was no doubt en route to another big game before suffering the shoulder injury, but the good news is it doesn't appear serious. With Fred Jackson recovering quicker than expected, it should be interesting to see how the Buffalo backfield situation unfolds in the coming weeks. It really can't be understated just how explosive Spiller looks on the field right now. Chan Gailey's system doesn't hurt either, so Tashard Choice could be useful in the short term…It's tough to get excited about Trent Richardson's performance, but he's scored in back-to-back games and has racked up 10 catches over that span. He's going to be among the league leaders in touches this season.

Come for the squirrel's rampage in the kitchen but stay for its escape "like a boss."

Where did that come from Santonio Holmes?...I'd like to personally apologize to all Reggie Bush owners for praising him so much last week. Of course he suffered an injury soon thereafter (I am that powerful!). Daniel Thomas dominated the work afterward, but Lamar Miller sure seems to pass the eye test. He's intriguing long term…What a brutal loss of Darrelle Revis…Not only was the Jets/Dolphins game one of three overtime contests Sunday, but the result came down to Dan Carpenter missing a field goal (his second of the day) in OT and another crazy sequence at the very end, when Nick Folk had his 33-yard FG attempt blocked, only to get a second chance thanks to Miami calling a timeout right beforehand trying to "ice" him.

I'm a huge Paul Thomas Anderson fan, which led to huge expectations for "The Master," especially after an incredible trailer (that scene was somehow cut from the film). But it was good, not great. Call it a "B," which means I was pretty disappointed.

I'm not saying I totally disregarded the Saints' bad offseason, mainly the big coaching turnover, but I wasn't buying the narrative that any bad vibes would ruin their upcoming season. After all, this team was arguably one of the three best in the NFL last year. I pegged them for around 9-10 wins and another trip to the playoffs. There's a lot of season left, but man, things are looking bleak in New Orleans (their opponents this year are a collective 0-6 when not playing them). After going 9-0 at home last year (including the playoffs), outscoring their opponents by a whopping 203 points, the Saints have already lost two games in New Orleans…The defense might be the worst in the league, and while I'm not totally absolving Drew Brees, he's dealt with horrible offensive line play…At one point Sunday, Darren Sproles was averaging 47.0 YPC for the season…After missing essentially all of last year and then leaving last week with a knee injury, it was pretty crazy to see Jamaal Charles get 39 touches Sunday. 39! This is a great example of how much things can change within the span of a week in fantasy football. He's gone from a legit concern to an easy top-15 commodity that quickly.

Amazing mind reader reveals his "gift."

It's clear Alfred Morris is going to be removed on passing downs this season, but he remains locked in early down work, and that was before Evan Royster got hurt yet again. Morris had an impressive run Sunday when he continued to play after losing his helmet. This wasn't Jason Witten getting caught from behind by a safety. Morris was hit by two linebackers on both sides. Badass…Mohamed Sanu's career YPA is 73.0. Andy Dalton better watch his back…Robert Griffin obviously doesn't have the TD potential as Cam Newton with his slighter build, but the rookie ran for more yards during the third game of his career than Newton ever has. RG3's upside is simply through the roof. The question now isn't if he's a top-10 fantasy QB. It's if he's top-5…BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled for the first time in his career. His last was in 2007 when playing for Ole Miss.

Spearfishing takes a sudden change.

The Lions/Titans game is the heavy favorite to go down as the craziest of 2012. Not only were 85 points scored, but a whopping 46 of them came in the fourth quarter. The Titans scored four touchdowns from 60+ yards, including three on defense/special teams. The Lions were down 14 points with 19 seconds left! After a touchdown, then a successful onside kick, the game should have been over by an ensuing interception, only a personal foul afterward negated it, which resulted in a Hail Mary TD catch by Titus Young Sr. (love that, Senior), and to make it more dramatic, DIRECTV immediately changed the channel. Like seriously within 1 second of the catch, leaving viewers unsure of what occurred. I was going to argue the "bat it down" strategy may need to be reassessed, but then Monday night happened…Nate Washington's 71-yard TD catch while reaching around a clueless DB's back was awesome…Tennessee entered having allowed five passing scores on the year, but all were to tight ends. Detroit rectified that anomaly with three TDs from wide receivers.

Kevin Smith scored two touchdowns in Week 1 and got 4.8 YPC before struggling like every running back on earth does against the 49ers in San Francisco last week, yet apparently the coaching staff has soured on him entirely, giving him zero touches Sunday and handing over a full workload to someone who had never played a snap in the NFL. Mikel LeShoure looked good enough, so fantasy owners need to make the proper adjustments. I firmly believed Kevin Smith would either be productive or hurt, so I guess I was wrong…I'm beginning to think Chris Johnson may disappoint his fantasy owners this year. He had two carries for -16 yards in overtime…As if this game didn't provide enough intrigue, it also involved the first real strategy decision with the new overtime rules, as Detroit was presented with a 4th-and-1 at Tennessee's 7-yard line down three points. A FG attempt there is 90%+ certain but gives the ball back to the Lions in what becomes sudden death. Especially in a game that totaled 85 points, I have no problem with Jim Schwartz's decision to go for it, but it resulted in a botched snap, ending an exciting game in exciting fashion.

Man allegedly steals $100K coin collection, then spends them at face value on pizza and a movie.

After getting praised as possibly the best team in football, traveling to play a 10 a.m. body clock game in a loud dome against a solid team, it's not exactly shocking the 49ers showed up flat, but this was definitely the worst game the team has played under Jim Harbaugh. That said, I don't want to discredit the Vikings, as they are far from a doormat. And even if his final numbers don't jump off the page, Christian Ponder made some terrific throws. He entered leading the NFL in completion percentage and is highly mobile, so the future looks bright in Minnesota, especially with one of the most physical backs of all time and one of the more difficult wide receivers to game plan against on his side…Donte Whitner dropped an easy would-be pick-six, but the 49ers actually benefitted from a pretty big referee gaffe in which they allowed a challenge right after Jim Harbaugh signaled for the team's final timeout…Kyle Williams, who lost two fumbles in the NFC Championship Game last year, averaged 72.0 yards on two kick returns Sunday…Counting the postseason, Vernon Davis has eight touchdowns over his past five games.

This 8-year-old is tough to bring down in youth football.

Make no mistake, this Rams team is feisty, and four of their next five contests are at home…After his first game in Chicago, Brandon Marshall looked to be in store for a monster season, but defenses have since adjusted to give him their attention heavily. I'm still buying and expect solid production moving forward but drops, especially in the end zone, continue to be a problem…I find it funny the media think they actually have any clue what Jay Cutler's teammates think of him. I'm not saying they don't have a problem with him, but to act like they know for certain based on a couple of sideline confrontations on national TV seems like a bit of a stretch…Over his last 12 games, Steven Jackson has one touchdown.

If you have a problem with flatulence, here's your solution.

Coming off a loss and with a favorable matchup at home, fantasy owners tied to Dallas' offense were left highly disappointed, as Tony Romo didn't throw for a single touchdown while DeMarco Murray totaled just 55 yards. Jason Witten's drops have become a legit concern, and he's making other mental errors as well with penalties. Over 30 career games, Dez Bryant has eclipsed 90 receiving yards one time…With 2:51 left in the 2nd quarter, the Cowboys attempted a surprise onside kick. It didn't work, and although I respect the aggressiveness and thinking outside the box, those type of decisions typically make more sense for underdogs rather than favorites…Like Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson is one of the more boom-or-bust wide receivers in fantasy football…Over the first three games of the season, the Cowboys have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks by a pretty wide margin (the Redskins have allowed by far the most)…Of all the referee mistakes this week, this one might be the worst (ok fine, second worst).

Burglar found sleeping on kitchen floor.

I ended up with Vernon Davis or Antonio Gates in the majority of my leagues this year, not spending a top-two round pick on a tight end yet wanting to avoid the tier in which I felt there was a big drop off, and while I'm happy with the former, the latter has totaled seven catches for 65 yards with no touchdowns so far after numerous reports suggested Gates was healthier than he's been in years. The game he missed his backup scored three touchdowns, and Gates made an egregious drop Sunday, so it's been a brutal start for him…Finally returning to health, fumbling immediately at such a crucial time is such a Ryan Mathews thing to do. Still, I can't quit him. I actually don't own him in any leagues, but in trade discussions, I'd value him as a top-15 asset right now…I've been skeptical of Atlanta, but their secondary has impressed in a big way so far, even after losing Brent Grimes. And while they have been postseason disappointments, it's at least worth noting their last two losses in the playoffs came against the eventual Super Bowl champions.

Here's an extreme Prisoner's Dilemma.

The Cardinals are now 10-2 over their past 12 games. This year they have allowed just 5.9 YPA with an NFL-low two touchdown passes against. Their 12 sacks are the second most in football, and they've also yet to allow a rushing score. This defense is legit…Daryl Washington is on pace to finish with 155 tackles (139 solo) and 16 sacks. He's an absolute IDP beast…I hope you're sitting down, but Beanie Wells exited Sunday's game with an injury. Ryan Williams did later on as well, but it seemed more like a cramping issue. Not that either can be started with confidence right now, but it sure seems like this franchise has Williams' back moving forward…After scoring 20 touchdowns over 15 games last season, LeSean McCoy has hit paydirt just once over the first three games of the year…After committing nine turnovers over 12 games during his awesome 2010 season, Michael Vick has turned it over 27 times over his last 16 games. He remains a huge fantasy asset regardless, but he's routinely taking serious shots weekly. There's no way he lasts the season this way.

Sensei drops technique that goes wrong.

The Raiders/Steelers game was yet another thriller. Carson Palmer had a bizarre day for him, getting just 6.1 YPA and finishing with only 209 passing yards yet he threw three touchdowns…Despite managing just 2.7 YPC against an Oakland defense that was gashed for 263 rushing yards by the Dolphins last week, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards (7.8 YPA) with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio. Although I must say I was surprised his final TD pass was credited as such, since Antonio Brown fumbled and then later recovered it in the end zone…With 3:45 left in the 4th quarter, the Steelers went for it on 4th-and-1 at their own 29-yard line in a tie game. If they had failed, you better believe they would've been crushed in the media. Love that ballsy decision…The Darrius Heyward-Bey hit was scary. It wasn't just helmet-to-helmet (that drew no penalty), it was helmet to face mask, and the worst part was his neck hitting the ground. Ultimately, he was unconscious for about 11.5 minutes. His eventual thumbs up was the best part of Sunday's action, no question.

This has got to be the craziest bathroom ever.

While the Broncos somehow again made a once lopsided game close at the end, they were thoroughly outplayed by Houston on Sunday. The Broncos have outscored their opponents 45-6 in the 4th quarter this year. But I'm not sure that's necessarily a reflection of anything positive…If Willis McGahee has to miss time with his rib injury, expect a full-blown committee in his place…It's disconcerting for his owners just how much Houston continues to be run-heavy, but Andre Johnson's day was nearly much bigger Sunday, for what it's worth…Wade Phillips deserves some credit. Some awful head coaches can remain very good coordinators…When not facing the Broncos, Peyton Manning's opponents so far this year have a collective 6:8 TD:INT ratio, so he's not exactly had the easiest schedule coming off the injury.

Here's a classic: fear of balloons. "Oh no, don't go back there that's worse."

Tom Brady is on pace to finish with 21 passing touchdowns this year. Even as someone who constantly preaches the wait on QBs motto, I'm not exactly going to say I told you so, as I expected a big season from Brady (as in approach 50 TDs big). Crazy how disappointing the top ranked quarterbacks have been early on…Pretty cool to see Torrey Smith's big game considering his recent loss of his brother…Wes Welker owners can breath a sigh of relief, while Rob Gronkowski owners have no need to panic. Also, it feels like Brandon Lloyd could be undervalued right now based on his production vs. potential moving forward…Justin Tucker's game winning field goal was an awfully tough call. I'm not making excuses for the replacement refs (more on them below), but I can't remember a FG like that to decide a game. One thing I will say is that these refs haven't had the greatest luck when it comes to having to decide controversial calls…Running the hurry up offense constantly, Stevan Ridley saw his snaps decrease significantly, even getting two fewer carries than Danny Woodhead while also losing a goal-line score to Brandon Bolden. As someone who's hyped Ridley's value, I can't say it's not concerning (or exactly shocking), but let's just hope it was situational, as he remains by far the team's best option in the backfield.

Longread of the week: Great story about a wine collector who executed one of the biggest hoaxes ever.

Aaron Rodgers is on pace to be sacked 85 times this year, which would easily beat David Carr's record of 76 set in 2002…The Packers haven't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 5 in 2010, but Cedric Benson looked solid enough, albeit with a poor 2.6 YPC mark against a very tough Seattle defense (there's an argument to be made the three best defenses all reside in the NFC West, and it's not like the Rams have a bad unit either). Benson has eight catches over the past two games after totaling 15 all of last season…After scoring five touchdowns over the final two games last year (and 15 total), Jordy Nelson has zero over his last four games (including the playoffs). Fantasy owners obviously should remain patient, but it hasn't been a great start…So I had previously taken something of a contrarian view of the replacement refs, not getting overly worked up since I have always thought the normal refs were generally also terrible, but the Monday night game was too much. There were numerous game-changing calls (the horrible PI involving Sidney Rice comes to mind), and you don't need me to tell you about the Golden Tate "catch." But if we mock this, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this from last year. Either way, this was obviously a travesty that also happened to occur in prime time, and as much as the NFL held the hammer beforehand, this was literally Roger Goodell's worst nightmare. I was surprised the Packers eventually brought out players to go through the motions for the extra point.

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What an impressive performance by Reggie Bush, highlighted by his terrific 23-yard touchdown run when he broke multiple tackles. After averaging 3.98 YPC while with New Orleans, Bush has averaged 5.18 since joining Miami. He's also been much more involved as a receiver so far this year compared to last, so his fantasy value continues to climb…I'm beginning to think Denarius Moore might be injury prone…According to Pro Football Focus, Darren McFadden has been the worst running back in the league over the first two weeks of the season by a wide margin. He's getting an anemic 1.3 YPC after contact while also grading out poorly as a receiver and blocker. In such an unpredictable sport, it would be fitting if McFadden played in all 16 games this year yet saw his production drop greatly while doing so…Carson Palmer certainly hasn't played great, but since becoming Oakland's starter, he's averaged 300.6 passing yards (8.3 YPA) over 11 games, good for a season's pace of 4,810 yards, which would rank as eighth best all time.

Reporter confident dead man will make full recovery.

J.J. Watt has been a man possessed, dominating against the run (seven stops already), against the pass (five blocked passes) and rushing the passer (three sacks, four QB hurries). He led a Texans defense Sunday that somehow held the Jaguars to just 117 total yards of offense, barely possessing the ball for more than a quarter (16:43)…Maurice Jones-Drew's 4.4 YPC is actually quite respectable considering the defensive fronts he's faced after immediately coming off his holdout. Better days should be in store, although QB remains a major problem in Jacksonville (Blaine Gabbert got 2.8 YPA on Sunday)…It's impossible to complain as an Arian Foster owner with him getting 34 touches — how they distribute the rest of the play calls really should be irrelevant, but it's hard not to be a little worried about Ben Tate's presence. Foster is the superior all around back and clearly the team's workhorse, but at this stage of their careers, it's difficult to argue Tate isn't the more explosive runner. Still, Tate is only a flex option based on matchups for the time being.

Harrowing footage of a drunken man falling onto train tracks, only to see a would-be savior drop down to rob him and let him subsequently get run over.

What an improvement by Brandon Weeden. Can't say I saw that coming. The Bengals, who have allowed 9.4 YPA with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio over two games, look like a highly favorable matchup for opposing QBs this year…Speaking of looking better, Trent Richardson was night-and-day compared to Week 1. Remember, he was being drafted aggressively back in early August for a reason. He's an RB1 moving forward…Sunday marked the first time Andy Dalton got more than 5.8 YPA and threw multiple TDs in a game since Week 2 of his rookie season.

Here's a pretty funny farting prank.

The only question remaining with C.J. Spiller at this point is whether or not he's the No. 1 overall fantasy player as long as Fred Jackson is out (well, also if he can withstand 300+ touches as lead dog over a full season). Dude is so explosive, he should have no problem scoring 10+ touchdowns even if he loses some goal-line carries to Tashard Choice. Over his last five games, Spiller has totaled 769 yards with seven TDs, averaging just 14.0 rushing attempts over that span. He's tied for the NFL lead this season with 10 broken tackles and has 211 yards after contact — the next highest is LeSean McCoy, with 117. It took him a while to learn the pro game, but the light bulb has quite clearly turned on…It's obvious something wasn't totally right with Jamaal Charles physically. Let's just hope the knee soreness was normal and not something long lasting…Talk about garbage time stats. Dwayne Bowe scored both of his touchdowns inside seven minutes left in a 35-3 game. But hey, they all count the same for us.

Crazy footage of a car taken for an unwanted ride. The motorcyclist passing by didn't seem too worried about it.

During two Eagles games this season, quarterbacks have combined for 13 turnovers…Love Jeremy Maclin's talent. Hate his inability to stay on the field…After seeing a whopping 15 targets, Dennis Pitta is obviously fantasy noteworthy. That said, owners of Torrey Smith need to remain patient. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who's allowed a QB Rating of 9.4 this season, shadowed him Sunday. The Eagles' secondary looks much improved this season, with NFL lows in YPA (4.5) and QB Rating (35.1)…Michael Vick has been a turnover machine but a fantasy beast nevertheless. He continues to take a ton of shots though…LeSean McCoy has played 150 snaps so far this season. The next highest back is Darren McFadden with 118. McCoy finished first in the category last year and third the season before, so it's clear no team relies on its back more than Philadelphia.

Maybe I'm judging a book solely by its cover, but I can't say I'm surprised this gentleman is a criminal.

After some preseason hype, Donald Brown has got just 3.7 YPC while totaling 93 yards over the first two games. He remains locked in as the team's feature back on an offense clearly improved and has also faced some tough defensive fronts. But it's really too bad he's so poor as a receiver…I still say Austin Collie is worth stashing in deeper leagues, but as long as he's out, Donnie Avery becomes interesting, although he carries plenty of health risk himself…He hasn't scored yet, but it sure looks like Percy Harvin is in store for a monstrous season. He has 25 touches (30 if you count kick returns) over two games…When throwing to Vontae Davis this season, quarterbacks have a perfect rating of 158.3.

What a fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Martinez essentially won the first 11 rounds (in not boring fashion), and Chavez, trying to repeat dramatic history his dad once did (knocked out an opponent with 2 seconds left down big on the cards), knocked down Martinez in the 12th round and looked in total control. And to Martinez's credit he stood up and didn't clinch for the final 90 seconds. What an ending. And if you also watched Canelo Alveraz fight Saturday, you know boxing isn't totally dead.

Where do I even start? I was very close to taking the Giants in Survivor this week, but I ultimately decided to play it "safe" and take the Pats, who had never lost a home opener in Gillette Stadium, and Tom Brady entered 35-1 over his past 36 regular season starts at home. The Cardinals might be underrated, especially their defense, but this was a two-touchdown spread. Arizona got 4.0 yards per play! Larry Fitzgerald had four yards!...This game got my full attention when New England was down 20-9 with 14 minutes left. Normally I watch all the games on the NFL Game Mix channel with just my wife Sunday mornings, and she's long known my psychosis. But because there was a large group of us going to the Niners game and leaving after the morning games, there were poor unsuspecting people showing up to my house for this final quarter in which my rage cannot be properly explained through words. There's a real chance people feel genuinely different about me after witnessing my behavior during this game. I have a problem.

So the Pats lucked out with Stephen Gostkowski's 53-yard field goal being good bringing it to a "one score" game with 6:45 left. And then after a failed two-point conversion, I was happy to see Arizona not even attempt to return the ensuing kickoff with 2:06 left, ensuring the two-minute warning was in play. After a first down seemingly ended the game, it was much to my delight to see Ryan Williams put the ball on the carpet, an absolute miracle scenario. Then a Danny Woodhead would-be winning touchdown run was negated by a (rightfully called) holding penalty. And then for reasons I will never be able to explain, the Patriots (the team that once (rightfully) went for it on fourth down in their own territory and has possibly the best offense in the NFL and most importantly had a time out to work with), decided to call it quits. And this isn't just hindsight, as I was going crazy at the time, as there was zero reason to settle for a 40+ yard field goal there. The ensuing shank almost felt inevitable after such a crazy back-and-forth span. The combined pools payout this affected me was for more than $100,000. Check out the end game WPA.

Crazy bank robbery in which fleeing suspects throw a bunch of cash out of speeding getaway car.

No player's fantasy value changes more based on format than Darren Sproles. He's yet to record a carry this season…I own Mark Ingram in Yahoo! Friends & Family and have zero shares of Pierre Thomas, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit the latter is the far superior back. A terrific receiver, Thomas has got a mere 6.5 YPC after contact this season, but it appears no coaching staff in New Orleans will ever trust him with a full workload. It's to their detriment…I like how Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert all scored Sunday. Talk about spreading it around…The Saints have allowed a mind-boggling 12.5 YPA so far. They have zero interceptions and just three sacks. They've also given up an NFL-high five rushing scores. That's not an ideal combination.

This own goal is about as bad as it gets.

What an exciting Bucs/Giants game, right down to New York scoring 25 fourth quarter points and Tom Coughlin cussing out Greg Schiano at the end. Eli Manning's 510 passing yards tied for eighth most all time…Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks became the first teammates  in NFL history to have at least 175 receiving yards in the same game. Over his last 16 regular season games, Cruz has 97 catches for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns…Vincent Jackson just barely missed another 45-yard touchdown. The Giants' secondary is no doubt struggling, but he's looked better so far in his new environment than I expected…Has one lost fumble (and the ensuing cry) erased all the David Wilson preseason hype? It appears so, as he saw only six snaps Sunday even after Ahmad Bradshaw left early in the second quarter. You're going to need to bid fairly aggressively on Andre Brown.

This reporter berates a baby to tears.

I'm not saying a Washington WR won't have a big game in Pierre Garcon's absence but none are remotely reliable to start even without him in the lineup moving forward. And I'd be more than a little concerned if I owned Fred Davis…Danny Amendola had 12 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown with 1:58 left in the first half. That's prettay, prettay good…The craziest aspect of Josh Morgan's horrible penalty was that he went out of his way leading up to the game saying how he won't be baited by Cortland Finnegan's antics, and that the player retaliating is always the one who gets flagged…Apparently Daryl Richardson is the RB2 to own in St. Louis, whereas Isaiah Pead can be dropped in all formats…Robert Griffin is going to put up silly stats this year. Please, please don't be among the first to take a quarterback in your league next year.

I wasn't able to catch this Dr. Phil interview but the preview was so intriguing. Please anyone who caught it let me know how it was. That said, Amanda Bynes is putting Lindsay Lohan to shame as far as train wrecks are concerned.

I'll give a pass to Dez Bryant, as Seattle's secondary is really tough, especially playing at home, but I'm also getting pretty tired of coming up with excuses for him…At some point, I'm just going to have to admit I've been flat out wrong about Marshawn Lynch. And I guess that time is now…Tony Romo didn't have a great game Sunday, although he dealt with some brutal drops while playing in possibly the toughest environment in football. And call me crazy, but I'm going to go ahead and consider him one of the 70 most valuable trade commodities in the NFL. You know, the guy who has the highest Net YPA in the history of football.

Quadruplets have numbers shaved on their heads.

Malcom Floyd looks like a rock solid WR2 as long as he's healthy (not something that can be counted on). Not sure he's treated as such though. He's averaged 87.5 receiving yards with a touchdown over two games, and Robert Meachem has been non-existent and looks like money wasted. Floyd has a ton of potential for more too…Brutal inactive for Antonio Gates owners that wasn't expected, and to watch his random backup score three times had to make it only worse…R.I.P. Ronnie Brown. You can officially be put out to pasture…Both of the teams Chris Johnson has faced this year rank in the top five in YPC against. Of course that could be because they faced the Titans, but in their other outings, the Patriots allowed 3.2 YPC while the Chargers gave up just 2.3. It's probably grasping at straws, but for desperate Johnson owners, at least it's something.

This elephant is kind of a prick.

In such a lopsided final score, it's easy to forget the Jets actually held a 10-6 lead with about a minute left in the first half. The running backs in this game combined for 134 yards on 49 carries, good for a 2.7 YPC mark…Santonio Holmes has reached 75 receiving yards in three of 33 games (including playoffs) since joining the Jets…Antonio Brown is a very good receiver, but it's at least worth pointing out he's scored just two receiving touchdowns over 27 career games…Darrelle Revis is one of the few non-quarterbacks who move the needle when it comes to Vegas lines, so his health moving forward is obviously important.

Illegal monkey living on Frosted Flakes bites woman.

I witnessed the 49ers' win first hand Sunday night and what a defensive performance. The potent Lions offense didn't even get into the red zone until their final drive when SF was playing prevent with a 15-point lead. Matthew Stafford had averaged 403.8 passing yards over his past five games (including playoffs). He had 133 passing yards before that final meaningless drive…Thanks to a lost fumble on a Kendall Hunter kick return, the 49ers didn't tie an NFL record for consecutive quarters without a turnover, but Alex Smith is now up to 216 passes without throwing an interception…I was way down on Frank Gore's fantasy prospects entering the year, but he's certainly proved me wrong so far…There's been talk about Mikel Leshoure immediately taking over Detroit's backfield in Week 3, but realize Kevin Smith was dealing with such a tough front seven Sunday night. I'd still prefer Smith, although he obviously remains a huge health risk…I was surprised to later read Jim Harbaugh's decision to "take points off the board" was in any way controversial. That's a no-brainer.

Meet the world's tallest dog. "If he's thirsty, we turn on the kitchen faucet."

I for one didn't expect Peyton Manning and company to become the first team in a decade to commit four turnovers in the first quarter Monday night. And yet, they still made a game out of it. And while Manning may have lost some velocity, those picks looked to me like rust and decision making were the responsibility, as he's always been the rare exception of an elite QB whose throws are often wobbly without tight spirals…Yes, the officiating was very, very bad. And it happening in the national spotlight might have a bigger impact. But let's not pretend normal refs in general aren't pretty terrible. It's a very difficult job…Michael Turner truly looks like a flat tire…Eric Decker might make for a nice buy low now, but I'd definitely prefer Demaryius Thomas from here on out…Willis McGahee is approaching 2,000 career carries and will turn 31 next month, so he's an injury risk, but it's hilarious some people actually thought the move from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning was a DETRIMENT to his fantasy value. If he can stay healthy expect double-digit touchdowns…It ultimately didn't matter, but Denver not calling a timeout before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter cost the Broncos six seconds. Just so stupid. This isn't exactly rocket science.

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