Friday, October 13, 2017

2017-2018 Fantasy Basketball Draft: Whipsaw Bone

The quick five-step process to feel like you've really boned your auction draft...

1) Get priced out on the one guy you wanted to go all-in on, then overpay for second-round talent. (For this year, for me, that was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went for the high water mark of $86 on a $200 budget. Last year, I stuck the landing on Russell Westbrook at $85.)

2) Get fixated on guys you had last year, and (probably) pay too much for them. That'd be Green, Gobert and Johnson. (Warren and Harkless, not so much.)

3) Fight depression in the middle rounds, because you've overspent on your top 3 guys, and you haven't mentally adjusted to, duh, 14 team league, not 12.

4) Schedule the draft in the middle of a football game for your laundry. Fly, Eagles, Fly!

5) Have a 10+ year track record of finishing fairly well in leagues, so every time you get involved in the bidding on guys, other owners jump in your action.

Having said all that... might be a decent team. We'll defend, I should have nine startable guys every week, I don't have any FT% horrors, and Draymond lets you be short a point guard because he's just that way. But as always, will need health and luck and time I don't have to manage a team. (Pick that makes me very happy: Jonathan Simmons for $7 late. He looks otherworldly so far this year.)

Sexing Mutumbos
1.(17)Draymond Green (GS - SF,PF,C)$44
2.(18)Rudy Gobert (Uta - C)$61
3.(22)Damian Lillard (Por - PG)$54
4.(58)Victor Oladipo (Ind - PG,SG)$17
5.(91)Patrick Beverley (LAC - PG,SG)$4
6.(92)T.J. Warren (Pho - SF)$1
7.(96)James Johnson (Mia - SF,PF)$7
8.(105)Jonathon Simmons (Orl - SG,SF)$7
9.(117)Zach Randolph (Sac - PF,C)$2
10.(142)Jeremy Lamb (Cha - SG,SF)$1
11.(152)Justin Holiday (Chi - SG,SF)$1
12.(157)Maurice Harkless (Por - SF)$1

Eagles - Panthers Top 10 Takeaways: Quick And Dirty

I didn't get to see too much of this -- was screwing up my fantasy basketball league with a classic whipsaw auction draft bone job, and only saw it on my phone-- but here's what I got second hand.

10) It takes work to almost lose a game when you are +2 on the turnover score, but Doug Pederson is freaking talented. But I do have to give him props for pulling the PAT off the board and sticking the 2-point conversion with an open formation power run by RB LeGarrette Blount. That was porny.

9) Carolina's running backs tonight: 14 carries for 11 yards. No, seriously. Cam Newton will make the final numbers seem OK because he ran for 71, but the Eagle defensive line might be the best in football right now.

8) I'm not emotionally prepared to live in a world where Zach Ertz is good at the end zone, but nowhere else. It's Bizarro Land, folks.

7) Wentz's final numbers don't look that great -- 16 of 30 for 222 -- but the 3 TDs, 0 INTs, and 25 yards on the ground are damn fine, thank you. Second straight game where he's popped for multiple scores.

6) K Graham Gano didn't get a chance to hit a long figgie before the half, which really hampered the Panthers in the desperate final drive. So it's not as if Pederson was the only coach on the field with odd decision making in his wheelhouse.

5) I get that Newton had no running game tonight, but he could have been picked a half dozen times, honestly. He just doesn't look right.

4) Amazing that the defense just got the kill shot on 4th and 1 at midfield from the bad final pass. I've watched this laundry for a long time, and to get breaks like that at the close is Not Us, People.

3) The most important stat in the box score to me: 7.0 yards per pass for the good guys, 4.3 for the home team.

2) Nelson Agholor might make the Pro Bowl as a slot receiver. I wouldn't have given him a 25% chance to still be in the league last year. For all of the hair-pulling things Pederson does with his game calling, his personal development has been lights out.

1) With the win, the Eagles go to 5-1, in the top spot in the conference (!), and 4 of those 6 were on the road. It's time to get greedy, folks, and not just take this division by the throat, but ensure none of those unfortunate January road trips to bad places.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 6 NFL Picks: Fire

Folks -- even less time this week to write a picks column. My part of the world is filled with smoke from regional fires, work is crazy busy, I have obligations across the board, and about ten minutes to write these. But on the other hand, slapdash went 9-5 last week, and the record for the year is also, well, smoking.

Spoiler alert: this week, I think it's all about road teams covering big numbers or outright winning the game. Blame the crazy old narcissist in the White House for all of that, seeing how he's turned every home stadium into a place where people feel good about yelling at black men who don't want to be killed by police. How dare they protest in ways that remind the world about that! Protest is only OK if no one (and by no one, we mean white people) sees it!

So with that... on to the picks.

* * * * *

PHILADELPHIA (+3.5) at Carolina

Miami at ATLANTA (-11.5)

CHICAGO (+6.5) at Baltimore

CLEVELAND (+9.5) at Houston

GREEN BAY (-3) at Minnesota

DETROIT (+4.5) at New Orleans

NEW ENGLAND (-9) at NY Jets

SAN FRANCISCO (+10) at Washington

TAMPA (-2) at Arizona

LA Rams at JACKSONVILLE (-2.5)

Pittsburgh at KANSAS CITY (-4.5)

LA Chargers at OAKLAND (NL)

NY Giants at DENVER (-11.5)

Indianapolis at TENNESSEE (NL)

Last week: 9-5

Season: 45-32

Career: 926-921-34

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Eagles - Cardinals Takeaways: A Welcome Lack Of Drama

My favorite post-game graphic
Today, my beloved laundry went to 4-1 with a resounding 34-7 home win against a team they should beat, well, in a resounding manner, and the difference between the two teams was so vast, even Doug Pederson couldn't keep it close. Let's get into the finer points.

> What people will remember from this game is QB Carson Wentz having his best game to date as a pro, with 300+ yards on a low '30s pass count, rampant efficiency on third down, only one (glaring, but still, just one) turnover, and four touchdowns. (The first time that an Eagle QB had gone for more than two in, gulp, four years. Try not to dwell on that.) But what I'll remember is Kenyon Barner, the definition of fungible RB/STer, having his best game, with a back-breaking punt return, several key runs, and just all-around goodness. The Eagles dominated every phase of this game, and that could have been expected. Barner looking like Darren Sproles II, not so much.

> This is probably the last time we'll ever see Larry Fitzgerald face the Eagles, and I, for one, am glad to be rid of him. Dude has owned my team more than anyone in my recent memory, especially for a non-division foe, and while he was still the best WR on the field for Red today, the game was (happily) not close enough for him to call down the demons again. Amazing player.

> I don't want to throw cold water on a team that's leading its division nicely, with division rivals losing games and players left and right... but wow, the Cardinals just stunk up the place today. There's got to be something about West Coast teams just not getting their body clocks right for 10am PST / 1pm EST games, because this one was 21-0 after the first quarter, and never really got to drama after that. Arizona has major issues at offensive line, their all-world RB is hurt, their QB is ancient and immobile, and the defense is in transition... but I've seen my Eagles keep worse teams in games all year. It takes an effort to get your ass kicked this much, this fast.

> Wentz spread the love around today, with TDs to four different receivers, but the highlight reel play was to WR Nelson Agholor, who beat his man deep, showed hands that no one in town knew he had, emptied his tool box of moves to get the last ten yards and the touchdown, then did the backwards trust fall for the score. That was all kinds of nifty, and the only thing that made it hurt (a little) for me was that my opponent in a fantasy league was starting both Wentz and Agholor. Just your garden variety 22-point play in fantasy. (I think I'm still going to win, and yes, no one cares.)

> The most promising part of this game for me was the play of the secondary. With the ARI running game predictably threadbare (14 carries for 41 yards, which almost seems like an average day for both units), it was obvious that QB Carson Palmer was going to fill the air with footballs, and defensive line pressure only lasts so long in today's NFL. Gone were the last two games of bend and occasionally break, with a manageable 44 attempts for 291 yards. It could have been a much better day if multiple INT opportunities weren't dropped, but if DBs could catch footballs, they wouldn't be DBs.

> You knew the Fox crew was well and truly bored with this game from the shots we got of TE Zach Ertz's wife (he's got one! she's an athlete! who the hell cares!) and Painted Dudes with Eagle Feathers. Honestly, between the media telling us all about Lone Wolf shooters as if they were breakout characters in a reality TV show, and giving air time to drunken cosplayers, I'm ready to repeal some broadcast licenses. Stop giving airtime to terrible humans. You'd think this lesson would have been learned by now, honestly.

> The Eagle WR crew really stepped up with the celebrations today. Smith's baseball long ball routine was an exceptional use of group choreography, Agholor's trust fall was all kinds of fun, and given his yips near the end zone, I'm amazed that Ertz knows what to do after scoring. I'm also giving a pass to TE Trey Burton, who was probably too shocked after pulling off that in-flight adjustment and making the play to know what to do, either. TEs, time to practice this stuff. (Oh, and if you are a bitter Alshon Jeffery fantasy owner, not sure what to tell you. This offense is just spread all over.)

> The entire defensive line had fun in this game, but the guy I want to single out is Vinny Curry. Dude caught a lot of grief for cashing a check last year and not playing up to it, but there's a possibility that was injury related, and he just looks worlds better so far in 2017. Between him and Tommy Jurnigan, the line didn't miss a beat for not having its best player (Fletcher Cox, who should be back soon), and they continue to free up the linebackers for maximum efficiency. I'm still not sold on this defense being as good as they've looked so far -- Pederson's clock-milking helps hide depth issues, and there are too many deep balls completed for comfort -- but this has been the best that this unit has looked in the better part of a decade. (Oh, and if you do want to knock a guy, first round pick DE Derek Barnett isn't doing much positive, and that's kind of worrisome.)

> I'm probably burying the lede here, but Wentz? Pretty damn good QB. He saved his best moments for third downs early, got some deep balls working (that's been his worst feature to date as a pro, along with questionable ball security), moved in the pocket well, and just never looked like the moment was getting too big for him. He's still got some ways to go, as there are moments of hair-pulling inaccuracy and Shaky Play Sequences before turnovers, and I'm not sure if he'll ever be reliably good for your fantasy team, what with Pederson trying to play every game with the least number of snaps possible. But he's clearly the best QB in the division, and one of the better ones in the league. And he's had the job for all of 21 games.

> Next up: Carolina on the road for Terrible Night Football, and if the laundry somehow pulls that off, dangerous amounts of confidence and exuberance from Philly Fan, who really does not know how to handle prosperity. I'm not sure I do, either, but it'd be all kinds of fun to try it out. Especially with the Giants at 0-5 and suddenly bereft of WRs to go with their lack of OL and RBs, Dallas getting de-pantsed at the close at home by Aaron Rodgers, and the Racial Slurs with the eternal pain of their ownership around to screw things up. I'm not ready to start talking parades, but I am starting to think about hosting playoff games and having a bye week...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Week 5 NFL Picks: All Picks No Filler

I'm going to level with you, folks: my life right now is highly non-conducive to writing a sports blog. The details of that are best left undisclosed, but the gist is that this week, I just don't have time to do more than make the picks. So here they are, without explanation or varnish. Sorry, and I hope I don't have to do this again, but no promises.

* * * * *

New England at TAMPA (+6)

Buffalo at CINCINNATI (-3)

NY Jets at CLEVELAND (-1)

Carolina at DETROIT (-2.5)

SAN FRANCISCO (+1.5) at Indianapolis

Tennessee at MIAMI (-1)

LA Chargers at NY GIANTS (-3.5)

Arizona at PHILADELPHIA (-6.5)

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH (-8)

SEATTLE (+1) at LA Rams

Baltimore at OAKLAND (-2.5)

GREEN BAY (+2) at Dallas

KANSAS CITY (-1) at Houston

Minnesota at CHICAGO (+3.5)

Last week: 8-8

Season: 36-27

Career: 917-916-54

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