Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tips, Tricks and Thoughts

If you still care about Fantasy Football, congratulations are in order. More than likely you are in the championship game or in position to capture the league title. There are some intriguing match-ups this weekend, as you will start to see some teams resting their stars for the playoffs. With that in mind, I will offer my “not so obvious” starting team. If you own Tiki Barber or Larry Johnson, you should start them.

QB: Josh McCown Az vs. Phi
Kurt Warner is done for the year. Great WR weapons at his disposal.
RB: Ryan Moats Phi at Az
Last 2 games he has ripped off big plays for touchdowns in his first carry. He will have a big play and more against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league.
RB: Ricky Williams Mia vs. Tenn
Ronnie Brown is hurt, opening up more carries for Ricky. There is a good chance that Frerotte may not play, creating more rushing situations for Ricky.
WR: Rod Smith Den vs. Oak
The veteran is quietly putting up great numbers again. He will post over 100 yards and a TD in this rivalry game.
WR: Donte Stallworth NO vs. Det
A Saint? Bouman threw to Stallworth more than Horn. Detroit has quit.
WR: Samie Parker KC vs. SD
Kennison is banged up and may not play, creating more opportunities for the speedy Parker.
TE: Alge Crumpler Atl at TB
A must win situation for both teams. Vick will have only have eyes for his big TE
K: Ray Finkel (Lois Einhorn) Mia
Laces out!
Defense: St. Louis
Alex Smith: 10 TDs and 0 Interceptions. Whoops. Typo. 10 Interceptions and 0 TDs. This negative trend continues this weekend even against a porous secondary.


Cincinnati vs. BILLS +14 – The Bills are a better team with Kelly Holcomb. But, that is not what I am betting on. Classic letdown game for the Bengals.
Carolina vs. DALLAS +5 – The Cowboys, aside from last week, remain competitive with everyone they play. Parcells will have these guys ready to play after last week’s embarrassment.
Seattle vs. COLTS +7 – Neat line. The colts a 7 point underdog? The “Big 3” won’t play a full game, but their defense will. This “meaningless” game will be close.
TAMPA BAY vs. Atlanta -3 – Tampa Bay will right itself after an embarrassing shutout defeat last week against New England.

GREEN BAY vs. Chicago +6.5 – Rex Grossman has taken over at QB! Is he any better than Orton? Throw the records out in this game. Packers win.


I now have a new favorite baseball team. The San Fernando Giants led by Ned Colletti. Ned is taking the same fantastic blueprint that Brian “Sabes’ Sabean put together in San Francisco. Assembling a veteran team, that can play defense and pitch. I see a flaw here. Sabes created this team around Barry Bonds, the best player (flaxseed oil-aided) in baseball. Colletti will be assembling his team around Jeff Kent. If you ask Kent, he will tell you that he is the best player in baseball. While, I will admit that I like the gamble the Dodgers are taking on Nomar, I don’t see the other pieces of the puzzle fitting together. Hitching your wagon to Kenny (at 39, we should call him Ken) Lofton at this stage in his career is quite a risk. Bill Mueller will get dirty and play good defense, but don’t expect another batting title from him. Kent will manage to offend any/all players that are not white, and can’t pop a wheelie. “Aw Shucks.” Kent makes me want to puke in a small green bucket. The Grady Little (fossil) signing surprises me, and I can’t see that pick working out.

So what does this mean for the San Francisco Giants? Not much. The Giants won’t be a very good team either. Their infield is just as bad. Lance Neikro or Mark Sweeny will play first base. Ray “Glass Joe” Durham will start the season at second base. Omar Vizquel is great, but he is getting older and Alfonzo or Feliz will play third base. Horrible.

The Matt Morris signing was good, but on this team, he will be a number 2 or 1 (when Schmidt gets hurt) pitcher, when he is better suited to fill the 4 hole…Go A’s.


I love Rodney Carney of Memphis. He scored 37 points, with 10 rebounds last night, leading his team to a victory over Louisiana Tech. Oh, one more thing. This senior comes off the bench.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Week One - College Bowl Game Picks

New Orleans Bowl - Arkansas St. v. Southern Miss. - 12/20
Line - Southern Miss. -16.5

The game isn't even being played in New Orleans, but rather Lafayette, LA. Arkansas St. lost to Army by 4 TDs. 'Nuff said. Give the points, Southern Miss covers.

GMAC Bowl - UTEP v. Toledo - 12/21
Line - Toledo -3

Mike Price returns to Alabama. Unfortunately, his team has lost the last two games and this will be the third. While UTEP throws the ball better, Toledo can score points, and this one could be really high scoring. UTEP can't stop the run - Toledo's bread and butter. Toledo covers and Price leaves Alabama in shame once again.

Poinsetta Bowl - Navy v. Colorado St. - 12/22
Line - Navy -3

Navy boasts the #1 rushing offense in the country and Colorado St. ranks #104 in rushing defense. Both played Air Force in back to back weeks. Colorado St. scored 41 and Navy 27 while each giving up three touchdowns. Navy can't throw the ball, so if they get behind, they likely won't be able to catch up. I'm betting they control the game, put points on the board and win. Give the three and go Midshipmen.

Las Vegas Bowl - Cal v. BYU - 12/22
Line - Cal -7.5

Cal can score points, runs the ball damn well, and has a defense that can perform. BYU is an average team in a weak conference. Cal desperately wants to erase any memories of the Holiday Bowl debacle last year. Give me a Trent Dilfer performance at QB (Ravens not Browns) and the Bears should cover pretty easily.

Forth Worth Bowl - Houston v. Kansas - 12/23
Line - Kansas -3

Houston throws and throws and throws - 14th ranked offense. Kansas 19th ranked defense. Unfortunately for Kansas, they didn't play anyone in the Big 12 North that throws like Houston, except maybe Texas Tech and they lost that game 30-17. I'm going with Houston in a close one. Take the points.

Hawaii Bowl - Nevada v. Central Florida - 12/24
Line - Nevada -2.5

This will be a shootout. Last team with the ball wins. Nevada impressed me with the win v. Fresno State. They have good offensive balance and score points. George O'Leary has taken an 0-11 team to 8-4 and a bowl bid. Patience George, patience, not all at once. Nevada has enough to get this done by at least a field goal. Give the points and consider the over (63.5).

Motor City Bowl - Akron v. Memphis - 12/26
Line - Memphis -5.5

DeAngelo Williams - or just Williams as the Zips are likely to get to know him by the name on the back of his jersey. This guy is special and the Zips have not seen anyone like him. Memphis doesn't have a QB - 4th string wide receiver starts. But, they also don't need one with Williams. The game is indoors which benefits Williams and the Tigers cover this one, probably easily.

That's Week One - take 'em to the house.

Truth Be Told . . .

Ron Artest is not the NBA's version of Terrell Owens. No doubt, each of these guys has a self control problem; an inability to subordinate the immediate gratification for the greater good. Artest lashes out physically; Owens lashes out verbally. Both are reacting to a perceived lack of respect by others. The difference lies in their motivation. Artest generally thinks of himself as someone who still must prove himself worthy - he has a chip on his shoulder. Owens generally thinks of himself as more than worthy - he is self-absorbed. Each has a detrimental effect on his team - missing time when he could be contributing. However, Artest's antics are, with exception of his plug for his rap album, physical altercations in connection with the game. Owens' actions are the result of shameless self-promotion sometimes in the game and sometimes out of the game. Many said that Owens' desire to return for the Super Bowl was motivated more by his need to showcase himself than the Eagles' victory. He wanted the attention personally and the story was Owens not the Eagles. This is consistent with his Touchdown celebrations. I think they are mostly funny. I also think they are intended to draw attention to himself when the true focus should be on the scoreboard and the win. That's why Owens' actions are more detrimental to a team - they are divisive and destroy single-minded effort toward a common goal. At least with Artest, the team could sometimes rally around his "effort."

Its not surprising that teams which can subordinate the individual for the greater good are generally more successful - Patriots, White Sox, Spurs etc. The Lakers with Shaq and Kobe are a good example. When they focused on the common goal and not the individual attention, they won three championships. When they focused on themselves, notwithstanding the same talent, they lost to a team with less overall talent but more cohesiveness, the Pistons.

With Artest, at least a team has a better opportunity of harnessing and controlling the physical outbursts. Moreover, when it came down to it, he recanted his trade request. With Owens actions - demeaning to teammates and management for both teams he has played for - he destroys the fabric that keeps a team together to a common goal. That kind of destructiveness is infectious, as the Eagles locker room now confirms. Moreover, when he had the chance to step up an apologize, he fumbled, letting Rosenhaus do the talking and looking like a moron.

In the final analysis, both Artest and Owens are dominating players in their respective sports who negatively impact the overall performance of their team by their actions.
But, Truth Be Told . . . I'd rather try to control one person getting T'd up, than a whole team getting T'd off.