I don’t know whether this reference dates me or obscures me. Probably both. I don’t care. When a man walks on stage with Steve Martin looks and belts it like he’s Michael McDonald, he’s hard to forget. Or hard to remember? You decide. I’m making reference to none other than Taylor Hicks. Did you buy an album? No, definitely not. Were you a part of the Soul Patrol fan club? Not even close. Did you even vote for him on American Idol? What’s American Idol? Did you watch the parody of him on SNL and it just stuck with you over the years? Bingo. I’m moved by music and by comedy. Taylor is both neither and both at the same time. SOUL PATROL! Look, I can’t help it if he’s one of the funniest artists to ever win American Idol. Don’t hold that against me. So what does this have to do with Darren Sproles, you ask? Eh, nothing really. But if you need a reason, how about ‘both are good in their own field but at the same time were never expected to amount to much based on their physical makeup?’. Woah. I just made sense in a lead paragraph comparing Hicks to Sproles. My life is complete. *Logs out*. In reality, Sproles left San Diego with a question of ‘what exactly is this guy’? He’s talented, sure. He’s also good at football but we keep calling him a running back. He’s not really that. Of course, when he moved to the Saints, the reality of who he could be was realized. Sproles topped 100 receiving yards on the night for the third time in his Saints career, going for 7/114/1 through the air and even adding a ground TD on 4 for 28. Sure, he chucked in a fumble – his first as a Saint – but it’s easily forgiven on this night. Sproles is the Saints’ slot receiver in disguise and by ‘disguise’ I mean ‘hey everyone, look in the flat! It’s Sproles! Who’s covering that guy?’. Don’t know how any NFL team could forget Sproles could catch the ball but the Dolphins did tonight. Though Darren has been relatively quiet so far, he’s on pace for 1108 receiving yards and 8 TDs for the season, not to mention 92 receptions. Sometimes, it’s not about being the best at what you do, it’s about finding your niche and sticking to it. Here’s to you Taylor Hicks. May your peppered mop forever live on. In other news from Monday Night for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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You start the year trying to predict what a team will look like not just to start the year but over the course of it. You go off of hunches, intuition, previous year’s stats…you comb through a lot of data to try and assess just what a particular team will be able to do heading into the year. It’s never an exact science, of course, and so many factors can shape or hide a poor player or offense into something palatable. Entering into 2013, a major source of concern for the Chargers was an offensive line that was deemed one of – if not the – worst line for pass blocking and heading into 2013, there wasn’t much optimism surrounding it getting any better. Enter, stage left, Philip Rivers. A slow, pure pocket passer who had a hard time throwing the ball last year in no small part because he had a hard time staying on his feet long enough to do so. But the Chargers have made some adjustments to Rivers and his game this year and it’s allowing for some success. After his second 400 yard passing game of the year – he finished 35/42 for 402, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception – it’s clear that some of the passing game has changed for the better in San Diego. They’re using quick routes a lot more as well as dumping off to their backs in space more as well. He’s allowing his skill players to be the play makers and not relying on the deep outs as much. The VJax and DX deep route is nice but it’s not sustainable if you don’t have time to throw. After today’s game, Rivers is on pace for 4,796 passing yards and a 44:8 touchdown to interception ratio and the second most passing attempts (568) of his career. Given how erratic Mathews has played to date, I don’t see this passing trend going away. You always wonder ‘who’s going to be that near QB1 that goes undrafted or goes late a la Josh Freeman or Andy Dalton from 2012’ and you just might be seeing it. Given the schedule through week 9 (@Oak, Indy, @Jax, Bye, @Was), there’s no reason to think these Rivers can keep rolling. In other 2013 Fantasy Football news…

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I had the audacity…nay, the paucity (not really a good word to use here but it kinda works)…better yet the ignorancy (not a really real word at all) to go and rank Frank Gore 22nd overall amongst fantasy running backs this week in my Weekly Rankings. After finishing last week with a decent number and the complaining that he did in the days leading up to tonight, I should’ve known my ranking would come back to haunt me. Mike Wallace did it, I had been warned. Or was that the ghost of Gore from years past *faintly heard in the distance is Frank screeching I’m not dead yet!*. Whatever the culprit, Gore dropped upon his fantasy owners a much needed boost for his believers, carrying the load for 153 yards on the ground on 20 carries with a touchdown and a lone, measly you’re not gonna lose your week because of it fumble on the night. It was very much vintage Gore. And that’s why I still strongly encourage the sell. I used the word vintage for a reason, ya know. Look, tonight’s game aside, he’s brought you 47 yards a game and only one TD. Great for a flex but not so great if he’s one of your main backs you rely on from week to week. I would use this game and last week’s 82 rushing yards vs a very inferior rushing opponent as a springboard to bigger and better things in your league. As much as I love Gore, he’s just not the RB2 we were looking for. In other news for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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What’s the most important rule to the game of Roshambo? Always go first. If you haven’t learned that one yet, talk with a friend about playing and ask to go second. You’ll learn quickly. Wanna know what else you can learn quickly? That the Chargers defense isn’t very good in the secondary. Wanna know how bad they’ve been? First off, they’ve given up the most passing yards to opposing teams this year with 1,022. Yes, they’re beating out the Eagles and the Redskins in that race to the bottom stat so far. Hard to believe, but they actually gave up a near 300 yard passing game to Jake Locker at 299. Locker has 572 total passing yards on the year including that game. You do the math and you’ll find the anomaly pretty quickly there. So for this reason and for A-Rod and Cam out on bye weeks, I have Tony Romo as my third best QB right behind Brees. I don’t see why he can’t treat his owners to his own 300 yard passing game and, say, 2 or 3 TDs. As they say in San Diego, ‘60% of the time, it works every time’ to which Jaywrong usually responds in Burgundese. Outside of Tony, I’m seeing the ‘you’re crazy’ markers next to my Tannehill and Dalton rankings via ECR. That also applies to my Moreno call but I think he’ll play better rock, paper, scissors this week I guess. Apparently my Chris Givens love never dies either and somehow Rod Streater is gonna blow up this week according to my rankings as well. And apparently I’m the only one who’s figured out that the SF defense hasn’t been good for a while now as I’ve moved them down to ‘take’um or leave’um’ territory down by the Texans. I don’t know what my kickers look like, you’ll have to tell me. I have 1,000 trained mice whom I have picking grains of rice out of a bag with names like ‘Walsh’ and ‘Hartley’ on them. It’s a complicated process but at least it’s a process! More time spent on them than other ‘perts, most likely, to say the least. But enough fluff, on with the show. Here’s your week 4 rankings for the 2013 Fantasy Football Season…

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Bruce Campbell has become one of those rare actors where people have simply asked him to play ‘Bruce Campbell’. Very few actors can pull this off and make a career out of it. Only other one that comes to mind right now is Christopher Walken. Can they play dramatic roles? Sure but even while Christopher Walken told you about 5 long years of your daddy wearing his watch up his ass, it was Walken telling you. You reach that stage of caricature only a few times with actors and Bruce Campbell is that guy. He plays the smug, badass hero. I mean, there’s a movie called ‘My Name Is Bruce‘, people. Yes, he plays a smug bad-ass like only Bruce Campbell can. Why all this talk of caricatures and playing yourself? Well, one, I’m quoting Army of Darkness for my title and any chance I get to talk about that movie, I make sure and take advantage of. Two, for all the things that Doug Martin has not been this year – superstar in the stats department – he’s still been the 12th best running back off the board in PPR leagues. Though he’s been minimally involved in the passing to date – only 4 receptions – he’s second in the NFL in rushing yardage. You could say he’s a caricature of a star running back because no one is taking him seriously. He’s just there, producing but not wowing anyone. Oh hey, there’s another 100 total yards of offense from Dougie Fresh. Psssh, big deal, seen that before. You see, he’s been productive but not blow you out of the water productive. Now I know there’s a lot of fears going around Tampa Bay right now. The team is considered on death’s door. But that hasn’t stopped them from keeping Martin involved as he leads the NFL in rushing attempts. As the pundits currently say, Martin’s gonna eat. I don’t even really know what that means but I understand it to be a positive. So check in and see if Martin owners are fed up with his solid but unspectacular performance to date. Then when he goes off at the end of the year you can say, ‘Hail to the King, Baby’. God I love that movie. And Bruce Campbell. In other buy/sell news for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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There are certain things in life you can’t predict. When the market will drop like it did in 2009, when the Middle East will find peace like it did in never, and when we will find out what Foxes say. If you can solve this mystery, Unca Scooge, you might rewrite history or so Ducktales taught us long ago. One thing that history has taught us and that we can predict is that as long as Peyton isn’t too old to throw the football, he’s gonna be a monster. After spending most of the night having as many incompletions as he did touchdowns, Peyton Manning finished with 3 touchdowns on 32/37 passing for 374 passing yards and his first turnover of the season on a sack/fumble combo. Sure, it wasn’t the night of ages like his 7 touchdowns to start the season but with this game in the books, Peyton is now on pace for 4496 passing yards, 64 passing touchdowns and ZERO int. I put that in caps so you didn’t miss it. Manning at 37 has the best receiving crew he’s ever had surrounding him his entire career and he’s taking full advantage at this point. I ranked him in the Matt Ryan tier behind guys like Russell Wilson, RG3 and Cam Newton. Don’t ask, I must’ve been reading too much into the read option. The ‘he can’t keep this pace’ argument isn’t valid. We know that and we’re not expecting it. But could he pass for 50 TDs this year? Very possible. This is a Bronco team on a mission and Peyton is leading the charge. In other 2013 Fantasy Football news…

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I got a lot of curious looks this week for ranking Cam Newton as my number two QB behind Peyton. Pretty sure I was the only one that ranked him that high. Via FantasyPros, his highest rank was 2 so I guess there COULD be another person just as crazy as me out there, but not moreso. The naysayers said things like ‘The Panthers have looked terrible’ and ‘Cam’s been a bum all year so far’ and ‘You can’t do that on television!’ and other nonsensical senselessness. Well, ok all things true but I’ll say this. For how ‘bad’ the Panthers have looked on offense, the Giants defense has looked like the Invisible Man out there for most of the year. Something had to give and on this Sunday, Cam went HAM on the poor Giants defense, going 15/27 for 223 passing yards, added 45 on the ground and chucked in a total of 4 TDs with one being a rushing TD. I can hear you now saying ‘Is Cam back?’ and all I can say is he’s never really left. Sorry everyone, this is the life of being a Newton owner. He has limited weapons surrounding him unless either LaFell or Ginn step up along side Steve Smith like they did today on a consistent basis. Moving forward, Cam is still Cam and Cam can still go HAM at any given time but this is one of the few times the Panthers have really utilized his wheels as much as they did today. Clearly it was effective and I’m sure Cam and his owners hope this change is here to stay. In other 2013 Fantasy Football news…

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It was a nice return to Philly for the Walrus, Andy Reid, as his Chiefs took down his former team. The team that has been a talk of the NFL despite starting 1-1 with a defense made of wet paper with holes big enough to make Jenna Jamison blush has overshadowed Reid’s new team. You know, the one that has flown under the radar to a 2-0, now 3-0 start. This isn’t fantasy relevant, says the casual reader. Well, CR, I have news for you. Entering the 4Q, Jamaal Charles had 10 carries for about 26 yards. He ended the night with 20 carries for 92 on the ground and a touchdown. You getting the fantasy relevance yet? With how quickly the Eagles offense could strike, Reid went to the drain the clock well down the stretch, leading to what was a decent but boring fantasy night and turned it into fantasy gold as Charles finished with 27 total touches – 7 for receptions – for a total of 172 yards and a score. He could’ve another one in the 4th but real football got in the way of our fake football dreams and dashed it. Moving forward, Jamaal’s still the man in KC and still looks to be a top 3 back in the making. Given Smith’s game managing ways, Charles should see plenty of check downs and yardage the rest of the way. To put it in Beatles terms, ‘Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come. Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody tuesday’. Hrm, well I give up. There’s zero ways to make a drug-induced song by the Beatles relevant to tonight’s game other then the title. Goo-Goo-G’Joob! In other 2013 Fantasy Football news from week 3…

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So you draft in the first round and you take ‘your guy’. You know who I’m talking about. He’s the one you had circled in your draft that was gonna carry the load for you this year. Sure, his surrounding team is pretty boring but he’s the workhorse there and nobody is there to take his place. I’m talking of none other then Trent Richardson. He used to be a Cleveland Brown but now he’s in Indy blue and I”m pretty sure some owners are both happy and sad about this, at least for this week. You see, I have a hard time believing they’re gonna just throw him out there in San Fran and make him the main back for the offense this weekend. Not saying he won’t get touches and have a chance at being productive, but do you remember your first day at school in a new town? Remember how uncomfortable everything felt? You didn’t remember where your locker was and you walked into the girl’s bathroom a few times? Well, it’s already a bad matchup being in San Fran after the whoopin’ they took in Seattle last weekend. Imagine not knowing the whole game plan to boot? He could have a really solid game but I’m sorry to say he’s flex-worthy this week. What, you’re 0-2 and were counting on him this weekend to produce? Tough. Your RB2 was Ahmad Bradshaw? Well, it’s clear God hates you. Moving forward, I’ll have to see how Trent looks to know how well he’s gonna fit in there. The RBs in Cleveland leave much to be desired right now so they’re down in the ‘I play in a 20 team league with 5 flexes’ area cuz…yeah, it just isn’t looking pretty in Cleveland right now. This also means your streamer defense of the week is the Vikings as the Browns try to compete with Jacksonville for ‘worst assembled team in 2013’ the rest of the way. Outside of that, I’m still a Cam Newton believer…I really don’t know why. Ok, NYG just haven’t had it on defense so far this year and think Cam could break out of his funk. They’ve also allowed plenty of TE points and that could lead to a solid day for Olsen. If Cam doesn’t succeed, we’re officially broken up until he proves he still loves me. Outside that, nothing too drastic. Knowshon is an RB1 against week run defenses until he proves otherwise and if Bush is injured worse then it appears, Bell will wiggle up into high end RB2 this week with a tasty Redskins matchup on the docket. And with that, I am off to bed. No wait, I have to leave work first…nah, I’ll just go to bed. The boss will think I came in early! Just gotta remember to wipe the drool off my keyboard. But enough about my social graces, let’s take a look at the rankings for week 3 of the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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Normally I lead these buys off with a play I think is glaringly clear but my call this week is based on how negative everyone seems to be about the New England Patriots and – in particular – Tom Brady. Much like Warren Buffet, my trade mantra has always been ‘be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful’. Yes, I read things that aren’t Fantasy Football related from time to time. I know, it surprises me too. But what I’m trying to say about this scenario is it’s all negative right now for Brady and company. Gronk, ‘dola, Sudfeld and Vereen are hurt. The duo he’s left with at WR on the outside – Dropkins and Dropson – are having what many would call ‘issues’. The lone bright spot so far seems to be Julian Edelman who averaged 6.0 yards per catch last Thursday night which is underwhelming even for a 3rd down passing back, let alone the guy who looks like he’s going to lead his team in receptions and yardage. But I’m seeing some silver linings here and think with how pessimistic the world is about Brady and company, you could and should take advantage. Though it’s not set in stone, week 3 has been marked as the return of Gronk. That in and of itself will be a huge help for this team. He may also get back Brandon Bolden who – though not as dynamic as Vereen – is definitely strides better then Blount as a secondary RB to have. The third is we’ve been here before. Remember when everyone was touting the Pats demise heading into 2011? Moss was gone and all they had was Deion Branch and the rotting corpse of Ochocinco lining up out wide? Yeah, Gronk and A-Hern went off, Welker was Welker and we didn’t really worry about those outside guys. I’m not saying I can promise smooth sailing from here on out but I think Brady could be had for a backup QB at this point with all the negativity floating around. That’s worth looking into in my book. And if he doesn’t go off? Well, your backup was Andy Dalton so…nothing to see here, move along. In other buy/sell news for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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