Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday hangover: The week fantasy football saved the NFL

My niece turned 1 this weekend so I got a lot more than my usual amount of cake, I got to hear a lot more blustery conversation about the dominance of the SEC than I have the patience for and I got to drive back from Richmond Va. and miss every single early NFL game this week. But if my fantasy scores are any indication I didn't miss much. And if I needed further proof that week 7 was a bust didn't have to look any further than the Sunday and Monday night games.

I can only assume that when the Saints showed up at Indy they came armed with a prepared statement that the Dolphins had just managed to lose at home to Tim Tebow's horrific Broncos, and if Indy was remotely interested in Andrew Luck then they'd do well to roll over and play dead. Indy would have listened to this warning if they had not already started playing dead 2 hours before.

And when the architects of Monday Night Football decided the best way to beef up this putrid Jags v Ravens match up was to open* the broadcast with a scientific dissertation on how being teeny helps two of the shortest running backs in the league - I knew there was no way I was going to make it through the whole game. And I didn't.

In fact if I didn't have 3 fantasy games on the line I might not have made it past the first two possessions as it became clear I was witnessing the worst football game of all time. I'm pretty sure that by the time I went to sleep the only fantasy points that had been scored were by the defenses as running backs coughed up more fumbles than Notre Dame, wide receivers played keep away from the ball and coaches threw every available red flag in between fits of fuming at their respective teams ineptitude.

Were it not for my waning interests in Percy Harvin and Mark Ingram I might not have watched any football at all. And for the first time this season my life might have been fuller for missing the games. Unfortunately next week doesn't provide all that much to look forward to. Dallas v Philly on Sunday will be a great game and New England at Pittsburgh could be decent but somehow Kansas City sneaked onto the Monday night schedule against San Diego in a game that might be exactly as unwatchable as Ravens/Jags was.

Seriously, look at these: Cardinals/Ravens? Dolphins/Giants? Saints/Rams? Denver/Detroit? Seattle/Cincinnati? The only early game that looks remotely competitive is Vikings @ Panthers and most of the drama there is due to two rookie QBs and not much else.

On to the games:

-If you started Ryan Torain either of the last two weeks are you having a hard time even getting excited about Tim Hightower's injury? Sure, without Hightower Torain is bound to be the go to guy in DC, but the Redskins just managed to scrape together just 92 yards rushing against one of the worst rushing Ds in the league. Let's just say don't run out and trade for Torain just yet.

-In another week of low scoring you could almost look at a team's score and know whether or not they owned Arian Foster, Drew Brees, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte or Marques Colston. I personally own none of the above but in 4 leagues I think I played against all of them this week. Still I went 2-2 and for that I'd like to join every Darren Sproles owner in wishing my diminutive back a a hearty thanks. And thank you also Jimmy Graham. If your team consists of Brees, Graham and Sproles I bet you are at or very near the top of your league. Every week I decided whether I should start Ingram or Sproles, I think from here on out I'm going to start both of them.

-Minnesota is sneaky. They put up a hellafight against Green Bay, going into the half with an actual lead. This was later revealed to be a false front when in the first series of they second half they somehow managed to let Greg Jennings run all by himself down the sideline for a 70-yard catch and run for a TD. Jennings was so alone on that play he had to go back and check his medical records to make sure he didn't have some infectious disease he was unaware of.

See folks, it doesn't take a lot to blow a game to keep the losing streak alive, just one or two well-timed flops and whammo you are back in the losing column.

-Yep - the Suck For Luck sweepstakes is really heating up. St. Louis, Miami and Indy certainly have the inside track but the Vikings are right in there. I have to think that despite their losing efforts this weekend they are going to pick up another win somewhere and it'll be just too big a obstacle to overcome. There is just no way the other three teams are going to win 2 each this season. No WAY.

-And a fond fare thee well to the Denver who played right into Miami's hands with that marvelous comeback by Tebow capped by the 52 yard field goal to hand the Bronco's their Andrew Luck elimination card. If you watched the game the crowd in Miami cheered when that ball went through the uprights. They know what's up. Well, at least Denver has Tebow. He managed to string together two good possessions against the worst team in football and eeked out a win against a team dying to lose - definite keeper.

-Anyone else out there ready to smother Vincent Jackson with a pillow? For all the people who mocked me for picking up Anquan Boldin in the second round (and to be fair he's been average at best) at least I didn't use that spot to acquire VJax. His seasonal fantasy output so far: 1, 29, 6, 16, 3, bye, 1. Sure that 29 point game was nice, but there is nothing worse than watching your no. 1 receiver post 1 points games multiple times.

*Was Hank Williams Jr. the only musical act in the country that was free to work on Monday nights? Surely Matchbox 20 has space on their schedule. Aerosmith? Queen Latifah? Anyone. Please.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jahvid Best and Jerome Harrison both have brain troubles

Jahvid Best, according to CBSSports.com, has been cooling his heels this week due to a blow to the head on Sunday which resulted in a concussion. Best has apparently been told that he might need to sit out THE REST OF THE SEASON since this is his second concussion this year and he has a pretty bad history of head traumas dating back to his college years at Cal where he was forced to sit out the last 4 games of '09 because of a concussion.

This is bad news for the Lions who already have tried and failed to shore up their running game by trading for Ronnie Brown in move that was ultimately voided because....

Guess what? Best's concussion is not the biggest head-related story out of Detroit. FOXSports is reporting that the reason the Ronnie Brown for Jerome Harrison (pictured) trade fell through was because during the routine trade physical of Harrison, doctors turned up a BRAIN TUMOR. That's right, Jerome Harrison has a brain tumor that seems to have been discovered because he was in the process of being traded. Which is to say, if he'd been having an outstanding year this might not have come up and who knows what his prognosis would have been. Though his prognosis has not been reported the hope is that they caught the tumor early enough that Harrison will be able to get through this. We at the Owner's Manual may seem heartless but we are sensitive to a few things and brain tumors are one of them.

Suffice it to say none of this is good news for the Lions, and a little closer to home none of this is good for the owners of Jahvid Best. While I personally didn't have any ownership stake in Best, I have made certain that I have an ownership stake in Maurice Morris, his backup, especially since the trade deadline has passed so any upgrades will have to be done in the form of waiver pick ups or retired Bengals - Is Ickey Woods in shape?

So best wishes to Best and Harrison hopefully they will soon be on the mend, and good luck to Morris who I may start as early as this week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indy we have a problem: What if Andrew Luck goes full Eli

Oh the irony. In Colts' owner Jim Irsay's champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the 2012 draft he's snuggled up close to his brand new draft pick/Best Friend For Life, Andrew Luck who he prays will learn to emulate the Peyton Manning style of play making.
But what if Belle of the Ball QB decides he'd rather emulate Peyton's brother Eli who famously snubbed the Chargers in 2004 and started a chain reaction that landed Eli with Giants and Philip Rivers in the classiest city on earth.

The upshot of that move is that San Diego has a tremendously talented QB who happens to have won nothing of great value and New York is stuck with a crimson turd who happens to have won a superbowl based purely on a decade of bad karma built up against Patriots' coach Bill Belichick.
Pro Football Talk suggests there are some rumblings among NFL "circles" that the "Suck for Luck" campaign could easily backfire if a team is deemed too damaged for Luck to resuscitate.

Personally I find this preposterous, the current crop of teams in contention for the Stanford QB's services are Indianapolis, Miami, Denver, Minnesota, St. Louis and technically Carolina. You have to throw the Panthers in there even though they clearly have their QB Of The Future because a winning lottery ticket is a winner no matter who holds it (though I honestly think the Panthers are too motivated to find success to keep up this losing streak.)None of the aforementioned teams represent historic losers and even if they did history has shown us that it doesn't take long to turn a program into a winner unless that program is Cleveland.

And there's the fact that Luck is only a junior. So unless he is dying to get started on his Maserati collection he can always wait another year before entering the draft to see just how long he can hold NFL teams hostage with his awesomeness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ronnie Brown to Detroit caps busy trade deadline

The Lions unhanded the barely existent Jerome Harrison and a draft pick in 2013 to land Eagles running back Ronnie Brown. This trade will surely help shore up their gravest offensive weakness and will make the Lions a better, if more boring, team. Even though Detroit has spent the better part of their (5-1) start coming from behind in the second half, announcers have found some opportunity to point out that Jahvid Best is not anyone's go to option when it comes to grinding out clock, getting first downs and sucking the life out of 4th quarters.

While I hate the idea that an offense as explosive as Detroit's needs a Ronnie Brown to round out the arsenal, there you have it. And even though this story broke sometime between when I sat down for dinner and when I started watching Tosh.0 on the DVR, half the country had already picked Brown up. Sadly the same cannot be said for Harrison who played much better as LeSean McCoy's backup a year ago.

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all...
Mike Sims-Walker, on whom many fantasy draft picks were wasted under the heading of: "Bradford's going to make this guy a star!" He would have been undraftable if we'd thought his Jacksonville production would be equaled in St. Louis. So you can imagine how flabbergasted owners have been as the MSW of the first 6 weeks of 2011 have made the MSW of 2010 look like the Randy Moss of 2007.

Who was it that said you can't go home again? He was an idiot.

Brandon Lloyd, Knowshon Moreno and the craziness of the Tebow-verse

Do you have any idea how hard it is for a member of the Denver Broncos to get traded to a worse team? Nearly impossible. So how badly do you have to want out of a place to say: I'd happily move to St. Louis and play for renowned people person Josh McDaniels on an 0-5 team rather than stay put in beautiful Mile High City and build a franchise with John Fox and Tim Tebow.

That's some serious selling right there. Nevermind Brandon Llyod's speech about how peachy things were in Denver, he leaves the Broncos with a decimated receiving corps, a half-lame stable of running backs and a quarterback who everyone but the coaching staff is in love with.

So how will the newly-minted QB respond to all of this adversity? I'm starting to think this is the best possible situation Tebow could ever find. Let's start at the top:

1) Lloyd takes with him Denver's best deep threat.

How does Tebow respond? Tebow should be delighted. He does not have the arm or the time in the pocket to hit Lloyd on his down field routes. If Lloyd were out there being underutilized it might reflect poorly on young Tebow's effectiveness. Now? No problem. He can eek out a 45% completion rate to Eddie Royal (assuming he doesn't split) Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. As long as his passing numbers don't deteriorate (and how could they possibly?) then he'll look like a stud for having overcome the loss of the team's top receiver.

2) The running backs are pretty lame.

If we know one thing about mobile quarterbacks whose main asset (scrambling around keeping plays alive) is also their main detriment (scrambling around getting hit in the backfield and risking turnover and injury) it's that the more trouble they are in the better they get at getting out of trouble. And while it's annoying for coaches to watch their playbooks get pulverized each week as their QB free-lances performance art out of a string of broken plays - this is good news for tight ends and running backs who will find themselves to be convenient pressure valves for their scampering, terrified QB. Who needs that kind of career bump more than Knowshon Moreno? Moreno is a little too big get lost in his line, and a little too small to bulldoze defensive lines from the backfield. What he's good at is catching the ball, getting a head of steam going and picking up some yardage. Tebow could be very beneficial for his rejuvenation.

3) The coaches would rather start Brady Quinn.

This is a double-edged sword. Since they didn't want to start Tebow in the first place their expectations are bound to be very low. And since the entire community has committed so fully to Tebow being their starter, no matter what he does they kind of have to support him. At least for a few weeks, right? So unless Tebow throws the 5 picks Fox is counting on, and if he can appear to be doing well (you know, by running around and stuff) he'll be covered on both sides of this.

It's kind of a win-win for the everyone. Either Tebow plays well in which case, SCORE! or Tebow plays like crud in which case LUCK! As far as fantasy options go I'm picking up Knowshon Moreno on the off chance that Tebow turns him into LeSean McCoy for the rest of the season. Am I starting to root for Tebow? I think I am.

Carson Palmer a Raider?

Through the seductive combination of chocolate treats and a 1st round draft pick the Oakland Raiders are reportedly the proud owners of the only slightly retired Carson Palmer.

Palmer who has stood by his trade or retirement stance has finally gotten his wish. Assuming he wished to play for the Raiders, which almost no one ever does. But still, Oakland has put together a decent team with some solid if not superstar receivers, a stout rushing game build around Darren McFadden and a not at all laughable defense in spite of losing Namdi Asomugha to the Eagles in the offseason (How's that working out for you Eagles?).

This trade reunites Palmer with Hue Jackson (who is rarely confused with Hugh Jackman) who was the Bengals' receiving coach in '05 and was on the staff at USC when Palmer was busy stealing girls from Matt Leinart.

So is Palmer a fantasy move? He has to be. Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey have both had solid starts with Jason Campbell under center. If Palmer can bring a shadow of his former glory to the bay then he'll have success.

By the time I looked for Palmer he was already grabbed by waiver hawks in two of my leagues and I nailed him down in another (sorry Alex Smith).

Tuesday Hangover: Were they really ready for some football?

Monday night the Miami Dolphins looked like a team in danger of throwing itself out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, which has been dubbed by certain news outlets less wholesome than mine as the "Suck For Luck" campaign. In fact if it weren't for Brandon "the monster" Marshall's insistence on not scoring the 'fins might have had to settle for a 2012 quarterback controversy between Chad Henne and Matt Moore. The most controversial part of that would be that Matt Moore remains employed.

But Marshall, who had some pregame words with coach Tony Sparano clearly knew where the lines were: "The line is right there to your left Brandon, and please step on it if you get anywhere near the end zone. Thanks" At least that's the only sort of coaching I'd imagine can coax a professional football player to run directly toward the sideline with a clear view of the end zone with no defender within 6 yards of him and still the player loses balance and falls out of bounds seconds before making his team an afterthought in the race for Luck.

Former coaches and players alike have been screaming with much volume about how unthinkable it is that teams might "tank" their seasons in order to land the top pro prospect. To which I say: If it's so unthinkable then why is it so obvious that it's happening. Here's the thing, the NFL is a very hard environment in which to win. Many, many variables have to fall into place each week for one team filled with world class athletes and coaches to beat another team comprised of the same. Since everyone agrees this is true, why is it so hard to imagine that tanking involves anything more than playing at less than 100%?

Tanking doesn't mean that Curtis Painter is throwing interceptions on purpose. It doesn't mean that Brandon Marshall necessarily let himself get abused in the endzone by Darrelle Revis, it just means that of the of the 25 things a team needs to perform well to win a game, the team only performed 12 of them well. Can you tell players to go out and dance along the sideline like a ballerina before stumbling out of bounds? Probably not, but if you gameplan to throw the ball at Revis all night you are bound to come up with some picks - or in this case a 100-yard pick 6. Lord. Look, the Colts don't need to field a team made up of only 10 players to lose, but keeping Addai at home sure is a good start. There is nothing wrong with bad teams playing that way in search of a greater good. The teams with the best quarterbacks are relevant, the teams without are generally not. So go for it Colts, go Broncos, go Dolphins, go Rams, get after it Vikings. Luck can be on your side.

On to the week

>>I'd first like to aim a shoutout to a couple owners from my various leagues. To The Snackcake Poppers: congratulations on fielding a team that consisted of two Cardinals (Beanie and Fitz) two Chargers (VJax and Tolbert) and Andre Johnson. Those are mostly very talented players except the Chargers and the Cards were on bye weeks and Andre is injured and was never going to play last week. By setting that lineup you failed to give the best team in our league a run for his money. As the second place team in that league I am offended. And congrats to Los Gatos Grandes who, along with myself, is suffering a rough patch in our keeper league. He was able to get a win this week despite finally benching Mendenhall in favor of Packer James Starks just in time for Mendenhall to come out of hibernation for a 150 yard 1 TD day.

In fantasy football there are two tried and true paths to success.

1) Field an awesome team and destroy your opponents. This is the preferred path.

2) Field an adequate team and hope your opponents are horrid. This is my approach.

In the two leagues where I am not mopping up after the LeSean McCoys, Tom Bradys and Ahmad Bradshaws of the world I have put together perfectly fine teams that will win just as long as they don't run into anyone laying at the top of their game. Fortunately teams like this that aren't filled with superstars can find success in the playoffs when some superstars are resting their prodigious limbs for their own playoffs.

On a scale of 0-100 how ready for some football are the following people?

Jim Harbaugh - 100. When your handshake gets more media coverage than a dead race car driver you are supremely ready for some football.

Ryan Torain - 10. The Eagles run D has been trampled more than the streets of Pamplona, but you manage just 22 yards on 10 carries? If you don't rush for 200 against the Panthers your career should be boxed.

Ahmad Bradshaw - 88. Who needs Brandon Jacobs? Except for me and about 600,000 other fantasy owners, I guess no one does. The Giants sure didn't.

David Garrard - 0. Nah, being a professional QB is OK, but I think I'm going to have some back surgery and drink some Mai Tais.

Ron Jaworski - (-10). Jon Gruden gets a 5 year contract extension with ESPN's MNF crew and instantly lays into Jaws for comparing the 2011 Jets to the 2008 Jets. 5 more years Jaws? I don't think you have it in you.

Felix Jones - 6. It's not that Felix is injured all the time, it's just that he's got $4,000 to work through on his Healthcare Savings Account. IT'S TAX FREE MAN!

Fred Jackson - 110. For the first time since Jim Kelly a human is more important to Buffalo fans than a fried piece of chicken slathered in hot sauce.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jon Gruden Loves Tim Tebow's grit. I know. Weird.

John Gruden loves quarterbacks almost as much as he loves hyperbole. Almost.
And when he can get them both in the same room watch out.
So when Gruden gets on Mike & Mike in the Morning to talk up young Tebow you just know you are going to hear platitudes of the highest order aimed at a guy whose coaches figure ought to sit somewhere behind Brady Quinn on the talent scale.
"Tebow has proved to a lot of people that he’s a premier competitor, he’s a great game day clutch, hard-nosed football player," Gruden says. Given more time the MNF anaylst would surely have made a favorable comparison between Tebow and Chuck Norris. But with the clock ticking he merely suggested that the Broncos need to revamp their entire offense to make it fit Tebow. More to the point he thinks John Fox needs to institute the spread.
"You accomodate your quarterback if you are going to take him in the first round. (Tebow) belongs in a spread attack."

Around these parts we've seen a lot of John Fox football and to say that a run-the-ball-down-your-throat approach to offense is his style is an understatement. Fox made due with Jake Delhomme for 6 seasons largely because he wanted a by the numbers guy who wouldn't screw up his run game too much. Since the spread offense is built primarily around a cadre of talented receivers (which the Broncos do not possess) and uses the ever present threat of the pass to open the doors for the run, it's fair to say this approach is not the first one Fox thinks about when he game plans.

The best part about this kind of pronouncement is that it sets Tebow up as a premier QB but only if you can get the rest of the offense to fall in line around him, and when it doesn't work out it will be Fox's fault that he couldn't run the right system rather than being Tebow's fault for not being talented enough a QB to be an accurate drop back passer.

It was suggested yesterday by a commenter that not possessing Tebow was a risk he was unwilling to take considering his numbers as a starter last season, going so far as to make favorable comparisons between Tebow and Michael Vick and Cam Newton. Of course while I tend to believe in Vick's ability I began this season selling the heck out of Cam and that didn't really work out for me. And maybe giving Tebow the reins will work out for fantasy owners. I personally see many, many interceptions and not that many passing touchdowns as the outcome, also I don't much care for Gruden so when he says buy I generally sell.

But the way the Cosmos tends to work is to punish me for making fun of people so Tebow will probably throw for 600 yards the next time they play. Stupid Cosmos.

So Peyton Hillis, how's that Madden curse holding up?

Football fans in general and fantasy owners in particular are excruciatingly aware of the Madden Curse - the annual hex visited on whichever over-performing player is selected by EA to grace the cover of their annual football game.

For a quick refresher let's go through some past covers to illustrate how real this curse is.

2000 - Barry Sanders. The ultimate example of the Madden curse, he retired inexplicably before the season even started.

2001 - Eddie George - fantasywise he was great, but his fumble in the playoffs cost the top seeded Titans their season.

2002 - Daunte Culpepper - Busted knee = career over.

2003 - Marshall Faulk - missed games with ankle injury, was never the same afterward.

2004 - Michael Vick - Broke leg, was mean to dogs.

2005 - Ray Lewis - Not a total bust here, he managed to make it through the whole year without killing anyone, but he did go the whole year without an interception for the first time in his career.

2006 - Donovan McNabb - Missed 7 games with a hernia.

2007 - Shaun Alexander - Broke foot, disappeared into a giant black hole never to be heard from again.

2008 - Vince Young - Technically he was fine in 08, made the playoffs and everything, but he's been a very public trainwreck ever since. Dream team indeed.

2009 - Brett Favre - traded to the Jets, spent the last 5 games of the season being sub-horrible. Though it didn't get publicly exposed until later this was the year he privately exposed himself to Jets employee Jenn Sterger. Not that there's anything wrong with that...wait...yes, there is something super wrong with that.

2010 - Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald - Troy missed a bunch of games with an injury and while Fitz put up good numbers they were a shadow of what he produced the season before.

2011 - Drew Brees - Again, good season but nothing like a reprise of his SuperBowl winning season the year before.

2012 - Peyton Hillis - It's a little early to be definitive but last season he was the 3rd most productive back, so far this season he ranks somewhere behind Jonathan Stewart and has struggled with a nasty case of strep throat that is calling into question his manhood.

So just in case this curse holds up I'd like to thank the fine folks at EA in advance for leaving the 49ers and any of my potential keepers alone in 2012-13.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Isn't Cedric Benson suspended yet?

Did you run out and grab Cincinnati's no. 2 RB Bernard Scott a few weeks ago when it sounded like Roger Goodell was going to drop the whole hammer on Benson for partaking in a little too much illegal revelry during the off season? I did. And there he sits, gathering dust at the bottom of at least three of my rosters yet every time I look up I see Cedric Benson roaming around the backfield in a decidedly unsuspended state.

How does this happen? Three weeks ago his suspension was imminent. Two weeks ago, the same. Now today I'm reading on Rotoworld that someone with the NLRB says the suspension may take another 3-4 weeks to work itself out.

Considering the Bengals have a bye week coming up it's starting to sound like hanging on to Scott for future use is about as practical as picking up Peyton Manning on the off chance Irsay isn't trying to win the Andrew Luck lottery.

Tuesday Hangover: The week no one rushed out to get Tim Tebow

If your league is anything like mine are then it's filled with people falling all over themselves to pick up every one hit wonder about 5 minutes after he's had his hit. I'm extremely guilty of this with rosters virtually filled with names like Torrey Smith, Denarius Moore, Victor Cruz and now Alex Smith.

By any accounting measure Denarius Moore was an absolute waste of space this weekend having been completely supplanted by Darius Heyward-Bey who apparently learned how t0 catch a football two weeks ago. Torrey Smith was on a bye but he performed as well on his off week as he did in the week following his record-breaking inaugural performance.

Alex Smith had a fine day but now that he's sitting on my bench he's guaranteed to turn back into a pumpkin.

In fact the only good pick up I've enjoyed this year has been Victor Cruz - the ball-bobbling king of the Meadowlands who went for 160 yards and a touchdown on Sunday in the Giants delightful losing effort against the Seahawks.

The funny thing is - for all the fantasy owners running around in mad circles trying to procure the next greatest pick up, in the four leagues I'm in the only guy who seems even remotely interested in owning Tim Tebow was a South African safari guide whose claim to fame is that he stole Benecio Del Toro's girlfriend. Which is slightly better than my claim to fame that I stood next to the lead singer of Everclear at the 9:30 club in D.C. for the entire playing of the Ruth Ruth song Uninvited. He's tiny. Teeny. Tiny. Like 4 foot something. I felt like a giant.

So why isn't the whole world scampering to get their hands on Tebow? I think there are two reasons: 1) Unless you were regularly starting Kyle Orton (in which case your team is stinky) you automatically have a QB that is better than Tebow ever will be. But more importantly is 2) When the only reason the head coach is starting the guy is to get the hoi polloi off his ass it's never a good sign.

Allow me to put this another way. Tim Tebow has been sitting on the bench behind Brady Quinn on a John Fox coached team. So it's not as if Fox arrived in Denver, saw that he had Brady Quinn in the lineup and said to himself "I wonder what this kid can do." We know that's not the case because Fox is intimately familiar with the shortcomings of one Mr. Quinn. And even still he put Quinn ahead of Tebow on the depth chart.

But at 1-4, and with Kyle Orton collapsing under the hatred of thousands of otherwise reasonable Denver fans, Fox throws up his arms and says something along the lines of "Screw It! Start Tebow!" If you happened to be watching that game you will have noted that if Tebow could only throw in the general direction of his receivers he'd be viable QB. But his numbers 4 for 10, tell you all you need to know.

I'm not hating on Tebow, far from it, if anything he made Knowshon Moreno as relevant as he's been since his days in the SEC, which is nice. I just wouldn't put him on my team.

In other news:
>>I had the misfortune of starting Percy "The Migraine" Harvin in a league due to bye week depletion coupled with a terrifically bad team. When I looked at the scoreboard in the 1st quarter and saw that the the Vikings were up 21-0 over the horrible Cardinals I thought for sure their second best player and top receiver must have something to do with this windfall of points. But no. It was, and remained for the rest of the day, all Adrian Peterson who in spectacular fashion racked up 122 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 34 -10 rout of Arizona. This is what happens when the player formerly known as McNabb is your QB. Receivers just disappear like they were in witness protection.
>>Tim Allen, promoting his new show about a manger of a outdoor store ran an ad during MNF in which he chastised fantasy owners singling them out a a group who needs to to get outside.

Guess how he phrased it:

a) Real men get out and play sports rather than watching it on TV.
b) Real men spend their money on rifles and beef jerky not fantasy leagues.
c) Women prefer men who kill their own game to those who play games on computers.
d) The outdoors is like a free tanning bed.

If you guessed D, you win. That's right - in trying to pitch his show to guys watching football at 9 p.m. after a long day of work Tim Allen suggested that we are all pale and should go lay out in the sun because it's a free way to bronze up. Who is he selling his show to? The Metro Sexual fantasy owner? I honestly can't think of one adult man who thinks getting a tan is preferable to watching the NFL. Not one.

>>Last week's mad rush to pick up Stevan Ridley had the obvious effect of turning Ben Jarvus Green Ellis into a monster for one week only. Fantasy Football Rule No. 1 - do not ever start, or even own, a running back in a Bill Belichick system.

>>ESPN come up with some place better than an RV for Jon Gruden to interview highly successful professional athletes? Everyone who sits down with him has a look in their eye that this is exactly what their mother told them never to do.

>>I think if fantasy defenses got points for offensive penalties and lost points for defensive penalties games like last night's flag fest would be a lot more interesting.

>>Jay Cutler gets hit more than Snoop Dog's pipe. Guy had an admirable day for a man who looks like he needs a rape whistle.

>>I made the rookie mistake of starting 5 different Denver Broncos in 4 different leagues. I'm confident that did not happen anywhere else in America. Poor John Fox is the only person who should ever start more than one Bronco.

>>Is it safe for me to start telling people I'm a 49ers fan again without having to deal with the same facial expression you get when you tell people your puppy died?

Andrew Luck Update:

Sitting on the couch flipping around games my father mentioned that the Colts were winning big against Kansas City and my theory about them tanking was a total bust. Fortunately for Colt's coach Jim Caldwell my Dad was wrong. Caldwell was able to rein the team in after a little too solid a start. Going up big on Kansas City is a helluva risky way to give the impression that you aren't tanking (especially when you definitely are) and I'm sure it was a move not at all approved of by owner Jim Irsay. In fact I hear Irsay was so relieved by Steve Breaston's game winning, fourth quarter TD that he offered to name the street in front of the stadium Breaston Way. Which is a pretty good name for a street if you ask me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Favre, Now TO...who's next?

The NFL is a helluva a drug. No one can seem to quit it for too long.
On Tuesday Brett Favre basically told the world that he would have won another SuperBowl if only Green Bay hadn't shafted him for Rodgers.

Then Wednesday, TO, in an interview with the always cautious Stephen A, mentioned casually that he went to Korea for a little stem cell work on his 38-year-old knee.

That's right. 38-year-old knee. Stem Cells. Korea.

Throw in Summer Glau and you've got an awesome sci fi movie that 300 people will claim is a religion.

“I’m going to come back,” Owens said. Later, he said, “a month or less, I give you that.”

Don't even bother asking how many African children could be saved with just a fraction of the stem cells TO claims it took to get his knee ready for 10 minutes with Stephen A Smith. But I'm guessing the whole continent.

It's not hard to imagine though, what with a 64 hour news cycle, that at some point former pros far past their professional usefulness would become prime time ESPN stories. Let's face it, there's only so much air time you can fill with a runaway squirrel screwing up the Phillies last chance to be more relevant than Michael Vick.

Though to his credit that squirrel has more followers on Twitter than Jon Gruden has functioning brain cells.

With all the injuries this season the only thing that surprises me more than Stephen A interviewing TO is that 12 news teams aren't permanently camped out on Carson Palmer's lawn waiting for the 49ers to call. With a reported 92 mil in net worth I'm sure he has some space in his driveway. And I know his squirrels are looking for their big break.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brett Favre totally respects Aaron Rodgers. Just kidding.

On a radio show in Atlanta on Tuesday the Gunslinger was asked how it felt when Aaron Rodgers won the SuperBowl last year. How do you think he answered:

A) Aaron is a tremendous talent and I'm so excited for him and the city of Green Bay that he was able to bring a title back to that town.


D) The biggest surprise to me would be that he didn’t do it sooner. . . . [M]y last year in Green Bay prior to the first game, I made the remark that this was probably the most talented team that I’ve ever played on...

You know what I love about Favre even more than his skills as an amateur photographer? I love that as an elder statesman of the league he is able to gracefully give his replacement credit where it was obviously due. I was recently debating the general merits and resume of Favre and you know what? Underneath all those accolades and accomplishments (most of which were accomplished due to sheer longevity) is a guy who won one SuperBowl in his 5th season (1997) lost one the next season and never whiffed one again. That's a LONG time for a guy who is generally considered in the pantheon of greats.

Don't get me wrong his starts are impressive, he had to not only avoid injury but also continue to play at a high enough level to maintain a starting job. And his style of play was as fun to watch as anyone's. And even considering his private indiscretions he's on track to go down as one of the all time greats. So what's left for a legendary QB to do? Sling some poo in the direction of his former protege. What else?

It's one thing when drunk and aging former heroes diss Rex Ryan and his Jets. It's another thing altogether when you are slamming a guy you shared a locker room as recently as 3 years ago.

Nice work buddy. It must be hard to have been out of the spotlight for almost a whole year. Can someone please give this guy a job?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday Hangover: The day LeGarrette Blount saved the Colts

What last night's MNF production lacked in Hank Williams Jr. It more than made up for in the unintentional comedy of Jon Gruden's insistence that the Indianapolis Colts wanted to leave Tampa with a win under their belt.
Since he was always off screen when he said this I can't tell whether or not he was able to keep a straight face. I bet he wasn't. But if the Bucs v Colts demonstrated anything besides what happens when you compare a sitting president to Hitler, it showed us that the Colts will have to be creative if they want to win the Andrew Luck lottery.
Sure, the road seemed wide open after Kansas City (against all reason) stepped up and beat the Vikings...but just because many thought the Chiefs were in the Cat Bird seat for getting the ballyhooed Stanford QB, many (including myself) were overlooking another very obvious candidate: The Minnesota Vikings. Who needs a QB worse than Minnesota? No one. A fact that the Colts temp pool QB and Goo Goo Dolls lead singer lookalike Curtis Painter tried to drive home by turning Pierre Garcon into a professional athlete for one night only.

One can only imagine the uncomfortable writhings, pained expressions and cold sweats experienced by Colts' owner Jim Irsay as he watched from his box, powerless to stop his players from scoring. If he can fine Garcon and Painter for their performance, you'd better believe he'll find a way. But when a team is as set upon losing as Indy even playing against field goal misser extraordinaire Conner Barth can't force them into victory. All it really took was Jim Caldwell opening up one enormous hole in his defensive line to allow the otherwise unimpressive LeGarrette Blount to rumble his way for a game sealing score in the 4th.

And after 4 weeks the top candidates in the Andrew Luck bowl are these:

1) Indy - It'll be hard to stop an owner who has essentially told his fan base he's tanking, the only way he can lose is if he wins.

2)Minnesota - the Vikings fooled us by jumping out to huge 1st half leads in their first 3 games of the season. But you can't fool people forever, not when you are paying Donovan McNabb to lead the charge. If only the Vikings could play the Colts this year.

3) St. Louis - the Rams are bad. But they already have a QB who is actually good, so they'll need some more help from Steven Jackson's hammy if they want a shot at trading away the rights to Luck.

4) Kansas City - Matt Cassel would like to keep his job so he'll play hard. But the schedule is not getting any easier, I still say they have a solid chance at Luck.

5) Miami - They hung right in there with the Pats, and darn near beat the Browns. Don't get me wrong, they're bad. but not bad enough.

6) Denver - We already know that Fox was willing to tank 2010 for Luck, who's to say he's above tanking 2011? It'd certainly put an end to his pathetic QB controversy.

And on to the notes

>>You know who was not awesome last year? Darren McFadden. Beanie Wells. Ray Rice. Maurice Jones Drew. Matt Forte. Ryan Mathews. The list goes on and on. You know has been awesome this year? Those guys. Beanie and Forte dominated the weekend, completely redeeming earlier lackluster rushing performances. You think you know someone and then when you aren't looking they rush for 200 yards on you.

>>How obvious is it that Aaron Rodgers was an only child? You know he never once shared his Optimus Prime action figure. I can tell because he refused to share his touchdowns with Jermichael Finley and a bunch of other receivers and running backs. My 3-year-old knows how to share, why doesn't he?

>>Good thing I didn't bench Michael Vick. First smart move I've made all year. Unfortunately I had the bad fortune to face off against Cam, Forte, Fred Jackson, Calvin Johnson and the Saints D. I owe a guy a bottle of Jaegermeister now. Thanks a lot Forte. But seriously I almost started Jay Cutler against the Panthers. How happy would I have been with Vick's massive output on my bench and Cutler's 2 points on my roster? Almost as happy as every person who started Mark Sanchez this weekend. Zero points. Zero fantasy points. Sanchez played a full game and scored 0 fantasy points. Even Eli can't pull that off.

>>So I guess Arian Foster's hammy feels better now. If you didn't know that be watching the game you knew that when Yahoo! kindly told you that 20,000 teams dropped Ben Tate like he had syphilis. Syphilis makes you crazy. Personally though I'm not sold. I'd be willing to bet anything that Foster calls in sick at least two more times this year. It's just the kind of guy he is.

>>What happened to Ryan Torain? For 3 weeks Zip. Not a carry. Not a whisper. Nothing. The week I drop him to make room for Torry Smith he goes bananas. At least all the Hightower owners are left feeling like Hightower owners are meant to feel - bitter and enraged.

>>Every league where I own Wes Welker is a league where I'm in 1st place. Just saying.