Thursday, October 30, 2008

WVFL Week 9 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 30-26

If you listen to the commentary track #2 my new DVD, I Make The Picks, you'll hear the startling confession that I more or less randomly choose scores for the picks each week. If a team looks great, 90+ points. Terrible, 60 points or so. BUT! But, I was seriously serious about the point total I gave Newbomb last week, and my prediction of 31 just barely missed their actual mark of 34.

You know what? I'm giving myself a bonus half game for that.

Last Week - 4.5-3

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (3-5) at St. A's Crusaders (5-3)

The idea that Colston, Addai and Boldin will all play a game together at some point is the only thing keeping me going in this league, but if I lose this week, those three plus
Barry Sanders' 1997 stats won't do me any good. I am on week-to-week life support. Can I get a fresh injection of stem cells to keep me going?

Well, McNabb and Jackson should team up on Seattle in a way that is simply unholy, Boldin can manhandle St. Louis, Addai and Faulk/Jordan face weak run defenses in their matchup and Jacksonville goes against Ryan Fitzpatrick, who protects the ball as well as a disinterested infant. If not us, who? If not now, when?

Before this season, the only time I would've feared Kyle Orton is if he stumbled out of an airplane bathroom as I was going in. Who knows what half-liquid/half-solid combo I'd find splattered inside? But in 2008, Kyle Orton is going to destroy the Lions. In an interesting quirk, Yahoo! doesn't expect any Crusader beyond Orton to tiptoe into double digits. I guess they don't consider the idea of two good weeks in a row from Ted Ginn very feasible.

Besides, the Crusaders are obviously
looking past Sunday and right to Tuesday.

The Pick: Lake Balboa Ladybugs 93 - St. A's Crusaders 85

The People's Elbow (5-3) at Deathfromabove (4-4)

The good news for Nate is that he has enough players to replace Gore and Henderson on their bye week. The bad news is that one of those guys is Michael Jenkins. The good news is, Nnamdi Asomugha will cover Roddy White, leaving DeAngelo Hall on Jenkins. Asomugha has had a ball thrown his way under 20 times this year. Hall has been burned 120 times this year. The bad news is, nobody knows if Derrick Mason is alive. The good news is, Earnest Graham plays Kansas City this week. The bad news is, injuries have moved Graham to fullback and Warrick Dunn to tailback. The good news is, Brandon Marshall can light up Miami.

The bad news is, DFA's lineup is looking ribokulous this week. Warner back in a dome against a bad team? Plus. Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels against Minnesota's pass defense? Plus plus. Adrian Peterson running all over Houston, forcing Schaub to throw to Walter and Daniels (The 2 White Crew) more often? Plus plus plus. Fargas against the Falcons non run stoppers? Plus.

The Pick: Deathfromabove 110 - The People's Elbow 76

Newbomb Turk (5-3) at Stringfellow Hawks (4-4)

Last week, Newbomb was exposed like a blonde auditioning to be Hef's new girl. His five wins were built solely on the ineptitude of his opponents. And wouldn't you know, another inept bunch of goofballs and derelicts is stumbling into town.

Torry Holt is cooked, but he makes Harrison look good. Parker is still hurt and facing a good Redskin defense, McGahee is still hurt, Benson is still terrible (
not this one), Kellen Winslow is trying to prove evolution by contracting diseases immune to modern medicine and Favre is down to taking passing tips from his wife.

Braylon Edwards might not catch a pass this week, but Frerotte and Berrian are competent enough to tear up Houston's tertiary. It's not good enough to call it a secondary. Chicago might have three defensive touchdowns and two safeties against Dan Orlovsky. I can't believe this.

The Pick: Newbomb Turk 60 - Stringfellow Hawks 52

Brookline Bucs (3-5) at Lowcountry All Stars (5-3)

The two titans of public relations that put Pennsylvania tourism on the map, Scott Henry and Jeff Webster let the world know that there are more places to visit in the Keystone State than the Poconos. Now...they battle. And it's a bigger mismatch than a couple of hot 26-year olds debating whether to spend their vacation at Lake Erie or in Barbados.

Although White should fall into the end zone at some point against Green Bay, and Dunn should get yards on KC, Brookline is also starting Nate Washington. They are not getting last week's stats for it. The highly-anticipated Brad Johnson to Roy Williams connection hasn't gelled yet and Scheffler might not play.

On the other side, Lee Evans is going to go off on the Jets and at some point he will catch a 56-yard pass, get knocked out at the 2 and watch Marshawn Lynch run it in. The All Stars also have Marshawn Lynch. However, I will say 2 points for Roddy White and no more.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 88 - Brookline Bucs 76

Atlas Shruggz. (2-6) at Atlas Shruggz (2-6)

This like a bad movie where our hero has an evil twin and both of them are in the same room and the hero's sidekick doesn't know who to shoot. So he asks a trick question that only the hero would know like, "Which of these teams has 105 more points than the other one does?" "I do!" "No, I do!" Bang! Fortunately for the easily-confused among us, it does not make one damn difference who wins this game.

The original Shruggz can either drop Rivers, Stewart or Cinco for a replacement back, or they can start McAllister on his bye game. Neither option matters. Especially since Selvin Young might not play, either.

The Shruggz(period) might want to get a defense in there, or they can just watch Ronnie Brown run for 300 yards against Denver.

The Pick: Atlas Shruggz. 76 - Atlas Shruggz 67

Iron City Pounders (3-5) at Crafton Tough Kids (5-3)

The Tough Kids lost in Week 2 by a tally of 104-103. This team could very well be in first place at 6-2. Then again, they only have the fourth-most points in the league, so maybe they're fine just where they are. Schaub and Fitzgerald should have big days, but Barber will struggle to find room against the Giants and Rhodes is going back behind Addai this week. For at least a quarter until Addai gets re-injured. Jon Gruden said Galloway sightings were
more rare than seeing a white tiger, so maybe he isn't playing this week.

Plaxico is a mismatch against every Cowboy defender, but Eli is the type of guy who would freeze him out a bit to teach him a lesson about T-E-A-M. The infield has grown in in Oakland, so nothing should slow Turner down, but Slaton is half the size of Pat and Kevin Williams of Minnesota, even with them using water pills to make weight.

Hmm. I have to think about this one carefully because my picks are 3-5 in Crafton games this year. Side note, I'm in a confidence pool where you pick every game every week and so far I'm 1-7 in Miami games. That is hard to do, people!

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 86 - Crafton Tough Kids 81

Purple Swirls (5-3) at Vanduhlay industries (5-3)

Mike Singeltary pulled J.T. O'Sullivan. Makes sense. Mike Singletary kicked Vernon Davis off the field. Makes sense. Mike Singletary
mooned his team at halftime and kept his pants down for five minutes. Does not make sense. Anyway, the Matt Ryan epoch is underway for the Swirls. Though, logically, if Asomugha holds Roddy White down, won't he hold Ryan down by default? Maybe not. DeAngelo Hall is pretty terrible.

Brian Westbrook will score three times as many points than Julius Jones in their matchup, which is both good and bad for Caulen. Witten has a broken rib and Houshmanzadeh has a broken heart from watching Ryan Fitzpatrick play quarterback.

I think VI might be around because he has a full lineup, but then I think he might not be because as of now he's starting Cassel over Cutler. Not only that, he has a straight up open bench spot with only two guys riding the pine. Drop Bowe and Thomas, pick up only Shiancoe. This team can always find a new way to play with a short roster and Steven Jackson being a game time decision doesn't help.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 91 - Purple Swirls 80

Socialism, McCain and You

In only five more days, we will get a much-deserved break from Barack Obama being called a socialist by people who have no idea what they're talking about. I know McCain doesn't know that much about economics, but even with that caveat it's ridiculous for him to call Obama a socialist when he also voted for the bailout bill that started nationalizing our banking system. Which is, you know, actual socialism. Pinky McCain, they calls him!

McCain's supporters calling Obama a socialist is like a college freshman calling a cop a fascist after getting a jaywalking ticket. It's just somebody who's intellectually underwhelming throwing around big terms in an attempt to seem well-informed. Like David Cook speaking awestruck about "The brevity of the moment" singing the national anthem before a Chiefs game. Brevity doesn't mean big, sport. It means brief. And I don't see too many history professors, economists or well-informed folks in this crowd. I do see a lot of bad hair, however.

Although the red-baiting by the frothing right wing is probably fun to experience for fans of Mad Men who wish they could've lived through those swinging times, our nation is too big and varied to ever democratically elect a true socialist or communist finance system.

Even if Obama was a socialist, what is he going to do about it? Nationalize the airline system? Okay. All that would entail is a government takeover of five billion-dollar companies, laying off about 100,000 people, repainting every airplane, rejiggering 10,000 flight pattern, cancelling the publicy-traded stock of these companies (and doing who the hell knows what with the assets held within those stocks) and putting strict tariffs on international flights that originate from outside the U.S. I'm sure that motion could pass the Senate with no problem, even with 60 Democrats!

Then, in 2016 when we decide we don't like socialism any more because airplane interiors are too gray and depressing, we elect a Republican capitalist who would immediately privatize the airline industry, and those birth pangs would just as complicated as when we nationalized the airlines eight years before.

That's just one poorly-conceived, hardly thought, scratching the surface of the top of my head example, but instituting socialism in this country would be impossible simply from a practical standpoint.

The other thing we will get a deserved break from in five days is Sarah Palin, and not a moment too soon. She can go back to Anchorage and sit down her newspapers again. You know, all of them. As for the talk that Palin will be back in 2012 with her own Presidential bid...well, we can all hope. The idea of the Republican party finishing off its own grave with another campaign directed at the willfully and actively ignorant is quite exciting to somebody like me, who is loving the backlash the GOP is suffering through right now because of their rampant anti-intellectualism.

I'm looking forward to living in a country where being smart is an admired asset again. Good times.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WVFL Week 8 Preview

People have been asking, so yes, I did pick up Greg Warren as the Ladybug long snapper this week. Sorry to screw up the Steelers, everybody.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs 87 - LetsGoPens 69

After a bad break up with my fantasy team last week, I was cleaning out my memento dresser and found the cutest picture of us at the Hurricane Harbor water park. All the memories of all the good times came flooding back. Sure, my fantasy team has let me down repeatedly this year with injuries and poor performances. But it has such great tits. How can I resist?

I got yanked back into hopefulness by the expert pick up and start of Leon Washington, who ripped through the Chiefs for 21 points. Even Kevin Faulk had 16, meaning Faulk/Washington was one of the best backfields this week. I'm as surprised as you are. Luckily, the Sunday morning decision to leave Boldin's 21 points on the bench didn't backfire.

Somehow Ronnie Brown only had 4 points in a Miami win. Terrell Owens' 3 points are a little easier to explain, as he hasn't gone over 100 yards in 11 straight games. David Garrard outscored his real life team 24-17, and the fact that Clinton Portis didn't get a TD against the Lions is one of the upsets of the season. Bad luck week for the Pens all around, including Zherdev netting the tying goal with 8 seconds left Saturday.

Stringfellow Hawks 82 - The People's Elbow - 60

Derrick Mason had 1 catch for 3 yards, one of his better games of the year. And it turns out that The Bullet Train has not let go of the past, because he sent Nate a postcard from London that simply read, "Here's 22 points against you, dick. You always held me back." If this was fantasy poker, Nate's four 7s would've won, but it's not and they didn't. Frank Gore was wasted on two teams this week, the Niners and the Elbow.

Brett Favre did everything he could to keep both the Jets AND the Chiefs in the game this week, but 16 points is 16 points. DeAngelo Williams had an on week with 17 points, leaving people wondering whatever happened to the musical D'Angelo. Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt cominbed for 3 points, a very sure sign that it's 2008, not 2002.

Lowcountry All Stars 111 - Newbomb Turk 34

I mean...I know I was calling Newbomb a fraudalent 5-2 team, but geez. I didn't think they'd get tripled up this week. Larry Johnson, 0. TE --empty--, 0. San Francisco, 0. Fred Taylor, 2. Yahoo! is actually considering shutting down fantasy football after this brutal game. They want people to have fun, not get hurt.

The highest-scoring team in the league didn't slow down a bit without Reggie Bush. Roddy White and Marshawn Lynch alone were enough to beat the Turk, but the All Stars have never been shy about adding extra mayo. In this case, the extra schmear was Dallas Clark and his 21 Monday night points. That's like running it up when the other team has already hit the locker room.

Atlas Shruggz 66 - Brookline Bucs 63

There are three ways for Brookline to take this one. Nonchalance, because 63 points wouldn't have beaten anybody this week (except Newbomb by 29), so this wasn't really a tough loss. Frustration, because if Edgerrin James can do any better than a -1 and if the injured Jeremy Shockey wasn't in the lineup, Brookline could've stolen a win and gotten to 4-4. Or pure joy, because they got to start Nate Washington. Here's a clip shot from Scott Henry's front yard after the Washington touchdown.

The Euro exchange rate greatly favored Atlas, because Rivers and McAllister only scored 29 American points this week, but got credit for 38. Throw in 16 for Suisham and that's 54 points from 3 guys and 12 from the other 6. My friends, this team is made up of real Americans that know you can't spread the wealth around. Though the chances of Atlas making the playoffs are about as ridiculous as promising a freeze on government spending and buying $500 billion worth of home mortgages in the same sentence.

St. A's Crusaders 118 - Vanduhlay industries 77

As usual, the WVFL is bunching up, with all three 5-2 teams losing this week. We're going to have a 7-way tie for first at 5-3 for now. If the season ended today, a team could literally be tied for first and miss the playoffs. As the Crusaders GM himself pointed out, the VI CEO returned from exile, made some moves, set the lineup this week...and then lost. Steven Jackson had a 0 because he missed the game with a quad injury. Looks like it's time to go back into hiding.

Now in the first place daisy chain, the Crusaders can thank Brees for 23 points and Santana Moss for 26. And Nate, for changing it so kick returners get credit for their own touchdowns. Midseason pickup extraordinaire Mewelde Moore notched another touchdown and 15 points. Welker, Benson and Kris Brown? For only scoring single digits this week, you are hereby excommunicated. Go join a Methodist team or something.

Crafton Tough Kids 91 - Deathfromabove 76

Rob Bironas did his best to pull this one out for DFA on Monday night, but Dominic Rhodes did his best to...actually, Dominic Rhodes did nothing. Take away his 10 points and Crafton still wins. Go to hell, Dominic Rhodes. How dare you almost get credit! Matt Schaub put up the 23 easiest points of the year against a Bengals defense that could almost be described as non-existant.

When you start three running backs, you're hoping to get more than 12 points. But Maurice Jones-Drew, BenJarvus Green Ellis and Justin Son Of Huggy Bear Fargas McClanahan-O'Reilly were not of much use this week. Kevin Walter beat out Wes Welker for White Receiver of the Week with 19 points.

Purple Swirls 96 - Iron City Pounders 78

J.T. O'Pulled only had 2 points and earned the eternal enmity of Mike Singletary. Jason Witten got hurt and put up a 0. Julius Jones only managed 2 points in a 34-13 win. But none of it matters because Brian Westbrook is back. Steve Smith just baaaaaarrrrely kept his foot in bounds on a touchdown, but his 23 points weren't the team high because Brian Westbrook is back.

The Pounders fined Burress $50 because his first half suspension this week only left him time to score 1 point and that's not going to get it done. Michael Turner had a down week because he faced a good defense, the most simple equation in all of the NFL this season. There's not too much more to say about the Pounders this week. They had some decent players, they had some bad players, they lost.

Monday, October 27, 2008

WVHL Week 3 Review

One Day With The Cup tied Medicine Hat - 5-5-3

Two teams at the bottom of the league totem pole were hoping for a blowout win to rocket up the standings, but both will have to settle for a slow crawl after this tie. ODWTC benched Erik Cole Saturday after learning he was getting a wake up call with third line duty. Had we realized the demotion would rile him up to the point of 17 PIMs - more than enough to steal away that category - maybe we would've started him. Cam Ward's sole appearance this week ended with a 3.00 GAA and a .950 save percentage, which seems impossible, but 57 saves will do weird things to your numbers. Jarome Iginla showed up with 5 goals and Andy McDonald continues to be a great pre-season signing, but Zdeno Chara remains missing. Not literally. If you watch Boston games he's out there, just missing from the score sheet.

After Monday, Marty Turco's numbers were 1.00/.966. After Saturday, they were 3.68/.874. Marty Turco is probably available via trade right now. Vincois Lecavalier had a single point this week, but at least it was a GW PPG. Make 'em count! Thomas Vanek cooled down just slightly this week and was promptly offered up as trade bait around the league. If you can't score 3 shorthanded goals a week, you can't play in Medicine Hat!

Kitchener Ks def. Dynamo Mockba - 9-4-0

Nate had a respectable 2.49/.900 in net, but an unrespectable 2 goalies games played. So his old man swooped in with the goalie sweep by default. It seems that having only two goalies on your roster, one of whom is in a Midway Platoon is not a great strategy. The scheduling boner came at a perfect time for Kitchener, as their own Manny Legace became the latest collateral damage in the Sarah Palin 2008 Tour of Destruction. First she submarines McCain's campaign, then she badmouths science and knowledge, then she drops the puck in Philly. Philly lost its first 5 of the season and then Danny Briere went down for a month. Then Palin moved on to St. Louis. Manny Legace, knowing she was coming, put up an 0-2/4.65/.870 week, then pulled his hip flexor tripping over the carper they rolled out for Palin to drop the puck. Sarah Palin...she's coming for you next!

Kitchener had a remarkable 15 power play points, though no individual had more than 2. Like any great power play, it was a cohesive unit working in sync.

I can't imagine the joy Nate must feel sitting in the Igloo and knowing all of Malkin's points are doubly special to him. Malkin's 1g, 3a was practically a slow week. Marleau had 5 points and Streit had 4, cruel teases that they will be able to score like this all year long. After a week like this, no matter how cold they get, Nate will simply not be able to bring himself to trading them. "What?! Marleau? He's a 5 point a week guy!"

Keystone Winterhawks def. IC Pounders on Ice - 6-4-3

You'll find this hard to believe, but the Flyers fan had 36 PIMs this week. This surprisingly chippy and cheap Marc Savard kicked in 8 to lead the way, but even Jordan Staal added 6, most like from 3 different hooking calls. Oh wait! I forgot when he speared that guy when Pittsburgh was on the power play. That was a great move, blowing the power play like that! That should definitely be rewarded in fantasy hockey! The Winterhawks only got 6 goals, 3 from Jeff Carter. This guy really is a Flyers fan.

The Pounders lost this week by 2 points and they lost two categories by less than a full point. They were 0.08 behind in GAA and .003 behind in save percentage. If Dan Ellis only allowed 7 goals this week instead of 8. Oh, if only.

White Chapel Rippers def. Abomidable Snowmen - 7-3-3

The Rippers had an active Saturday, racking up 12 assists. Clearly this is a Gentile team, not at all concerned with resting on Shabbat. Heatley's 3 assists all came in the third period of one game, and Richards got 4 of his 6 points in one game. However, Ray Whitney spread out his -3 over the course of a few contests. With only 10 PIMs, the Rippers easily won the Gentle Ben Nice Guy of the Week trophy.

Rick DiPietro returned from injury only to post a 5.02/.828 and he would've had 2 losses if he wasn't pulled early Saturday night...because of another injury. Maybe he's not ready yet. The Snowmen have two Kings, which sounds like a terrible thing for a fantasy team, but Kopitar and O'Sullivan combined for 7 points. O'Sullivan was even a +4. Hockey is back in Los Angeles!

Camelsfoot Range def. obamanators - 7-4-2

After watching Caulen lead the way, John McCain went on Meet the Press Sunday and guaranteed that he too would defeat Obama. They're just so cute at this age! The obamanators -1 might be the first negative number to win the +/- category this season, and the 32 PIMs were nice, but you can't go 0-4-1 in net and win too many weeks.

Caulen continued the honored Kress family tradition of sweeping the goalie battle, and Kiprusoff's 1.67/.946 was actually the lesser of the two goalies. That's how good Camelsfoot was in net this week. That Vanek for Kiprusoff trade is pretty much a given at this point.

Scott Hartnell had 3g, 3a for Camelsfoot and, deciding that wasn't enough, added in a +3, 7 PIMs, 2 PPP and 1 GWG. I will flat out guarantee this is Scott Hartnell's best week of the year by a factor of 3, that ginger goon. Kyle Okposo, who generated a few, "Ooh, nice late pick!" comments during the draft has 2 points this season, none this week. For an Islander, that is actually pretty great.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WVFL Week 8 Preview

Last Week: 5-2
Season: 26-23

That might be my best week of pickins ever. At least something is going right this season.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (2-5) at LetsGoPens (2-5)

The Bizarro Super Bowl. In the world where this game will be played, interceptions are +6 for the quarterback and hamburgers eat people. Jerricho Cotchery officially became a Ladybug last week against Oakland. How? He had 0 points and got injured. My roster right now is less attractive than a leprous cock. If Cotchery sits, in comes Anquan Boldin, who has 8 metal plates in his face and had his jaw wired shut recently. I'm sure he's ready to go over the middle on a Warner floater.

I'm catching Owens and Calvin Johnson at the perfect time, but Clinton Portis at the worst possible time. Ronnie Brown won't go crazy against the Bills, but at least he doesn't have any metal plates in his face.

The Pick: LetsGoPens 81 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 6

The People's Elbow (5-2) at Stringfellow Hawks (3-4)

Nate is 5-2 and Tomlinson has been struggling all year with his toe. Easy to see who hit the gym and found a new man and who's been drinking himself into a stupor after the divorce. Naaaaaaaate! Come back! I need you! But Nate doesn't need The Buller Train, he's got a new man in San Francisco. His name is Frank and he plays football.

The Two Derricks would be a good sitcom on LOGO, but it's not a good fantasy combination. Don't expect much from Ward and Mason. But Frank is big and strong and Seattle is small and weak.

Brett Favre has proven two things in 2008. One, he's a dildo. Two, he can keep both teams in any game. But Kansas City is so far beyond inept that Favre should put up points even with his top two receivers out. But what will The Bullet Train do? Will he focus his rage into a beating? Or will he be too distracted by Nate's glowing presence in the owner's box? I say...somewhere in between. 11 points.

The Pick: Stringfellow Hawks 85 - The People's Elbow 75

Newbomb Turk (5-2) at Lowcountry All Stars (4-3)

The fakest 5-2 team the world has ever known goes up against a powerhouse missing its scoring dynamo. I don't think Ricky Williams is going to be returning too many punts for touchdowns. Actually, he won't be returning too many punts. Webster is oily enough to not have problems rooting for Eli against the Steelers, but no amount of rooting will help Wayne and Clark against Tennessee. I'm referring to, of course, Wayne Davidson and Clark Bennett. Big Colts fans who are looking at an impending loss Monday night.

As for Newbomb, Larry Johnson is suspended, he needs a tight end, he doesn't want to drop Chicago, Berrian or Pittman and Jamaal Charles will be getting handoffs from Tyler Thigpen against a tough Jets defense. He is actually making my situation last week look pretty good.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 90 - Newbomb Turk 31

Brookline Bucs (3-4) at Atlas Shruggz (1-6)

Jason Campbell is really getting around the league this year. Yahoo! is only expecting 9 points out of LenDale White this week. I guess he used it all up last week, but it's not like the Indy run defense is any good. Look at this team. I can't stand even thinking about this team any more.

Things are actually looking pretty good for Atlas. Assuming the 91.44 meter long field doesn't throw his timing off, Philip Rivers should light up a bad Saints secondary, Houston is giving up so many points each week that even Chad Johnson should score.

The Pick: Atlas Shruggz 88 - Brookline Bucs 79

St. A's Crusaders (4-3) at Vanduhlay industries (5-2)

Somebody's winning streak is about to come to an end. Somebody besides Newbomb, I mean. Somebody in this game, I mean. Jay Cutler is on a bye for Vanduhlay, and given their recent history, there's no reason to expect anybody will be taking the QB reins for him Sunday. Andre Johnson against Cincinnati is some kind of mismatch and Dwayne Bowe would be a good match against the Jets if Tyler Thigpen wasn't being backed up by Len Dawson. I really hope Steven Jackson runs over Teddy Bruschi at some point.

In theory, Houston is a bad defense, but I'm not sure I would count on Cedric Benson to do anything but disappoint. Baltimore might put up 20 against Oakland, but Santana Moss will either have 2 touchdowns or 2 points. He's that kind of player.

I can't believe I want to pick a team with no quarterback. But I do!

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 85 - St. A's Crusaders 79

Deathfromabove (4-3) at Crafton Tough Kids (4-3)

Matt Schaub looks great against the Bungles, but it all goes downhill from there. Hines Ward will be killed by a Ravens sniper before kickoff, Carolina has stopped receivers all year, Marion Barber will struggle against Tampa and Rhodes might not get 10 yards on Tennessee. But man, that Schaub game sure should be nice.

Kurt Warner will have at least two fumbles this week. The Carolina front four is not what this literal gray beard needs right now. Correll Buckhalter is returning to Westbrook's shadow this week, but Holmes could get deep on the Giants.

You know what? This is another crap game. Everything is crap. I hate fantasy football. One of these teams will be 5-3 by Monday night and whichever team it is can go straight to hell.

The Pick: Deathfromabove 71 - Crafton Tough Kids 70

Iron City Pounders (3-4) at Purple Swirls (4-3)

With my team effectively done, I can start rooting against Caulen, as our rivalry dictates. Sure, in our rivalry he is the Steelers and I am the Browns, but to Browns fans, it's all they have. Boo, Caulen! Anyway, when Rich Eisen is openly calling your QB J.T. O'Smellingsalts on NFL Gameday, maybe it's time to look elsewhere. Pick up Jason Campbell next week or something.

Steve Smith and Chris Johnson should both have long touchdowns this week, and Houshmagoneasafreeagentthissummer should have a red zone TD. Brian Westbrook against Atlanta is tastier than a pulled pork sandwich washed down with a beer. Hoo wee!

Peyton Manning might get hurt again this week. That would maybe officially end his career as a top tier fantasy QB, if that hasn't ended already. Jamal Lewis is slower than all 11 guys on the Jacksonville defense, including the nose tackle. With Coles and Cotchery maybe out, Chansi Stuckey against the Chiefs might be the clever play of the year.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 102 - Iron City Pounders 71

This One Is Not About Football Or Hockey

It's not about politics, either. Although I am quite enjoying the press and public criticizing the GOP for endorsing anti-intellectualism. It only took them 30 years to notice! I mean, when Michelle Bachmann can call for a McCarthyite investigation of Congressional members who might be anti-American one week and by the next week her opponent has been given $300,000 in donations and the national Republican campaign has pulled their support from her race, maybe common sense is making a spirited comeback in America.

But that's for later. This is a recipe post, something we haven't done in quite a while. Sorry if you've been eating canned tuna and microwaveable Uncle Ben's this whole time.

So I got a pasta maker for my birthday. Rather, an attachment to our stand maker that rolls pasta. And since making pasta only consists of 2 cups of flour, 3 eggs and some kneading, we've been making a decent amount of pasta lately. Abby just loves rolling out the pasta with her poppa doo and eating the raw dough. And I've been bombing out some sausage, chard and ricotta raviolis that would make your grandma well up about the old country.

Anyway, we're moving into fall, which means less grilling and more roasting and braising. I mean, I can still grill since it was 90 out here today, but you Eastern establishment elitists will be putting on scarves and then braising and roasting.

Despite the heat, I've been doing some fall roasts because they're perfect for football Sundays. I can do a little prep work, drop something into the oven, watch an hour of football, do a little more work, watch another hour or two of football and by halftime of the night game, we're grubbing.

This past weekend, I combined fall's inspiration for roasting with the pasta maker and blew the doors off dinner with a butternut squash and sage fettucine. Oh. Damn. The effort to deliciousness ratio for this one is off the charts. Like 1:10,000. If you don't try to make this one, you have only yourself to blame.

First, get a butternut squash, peel it and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seedy goop and if somebody that you dislike is in your house, throw the goop in their hair. Ten showers won't be able to wash it out. If nobody like that is around, just throw it out and then chop the squash into bite-sized chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 420 for about an hour. Set aside.

If you're making your own pasta, kudos on your integrity. Start it now. If you're opening a box of the dried, that's fine too. Put the water on. Let's just assume you're using dried pasta since I care more than you do and it'll take about 8 minutes to cook and not the 1 minute it takes to cook fresh pasta. Perfect.

While the pasta is cooking, melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. We're trying to make brown butter here, so just let it sit. When the butter starts turning brown and smelling nice and nutty, add 1.5 tablespoons of chopped sage. The fresh kind. Stir it around, then take tongs and scoop the cooked pasta straight into your pan. Don't be worried about dripping some of the pasta water in there. That's actually a good thing. Toss in your roasted squash, a little bit of pepper and a touch of salt, mix it all up so the butter coats everything and then get it into a serving dish.

Using a vegetable peeler and a wedge of parmesan, shave parmesan on top of the pasta and serve. Listen, I didn't invent anything with this dish, but it is so good that you won't even believe it. Crisp air, sweet squash, fresh sage, red wine. Man. You are living, friends.

So that's a recipe for you before we get to football talk tomorrow. Don't be afraid, give it a whirl and let me know how it turns out. As for our next recipe post, I have an idea kicking around in my head that I haven't made yet. I'll just say this. Caprese was invented as a tribute to the Italian flag. Red, white and green. Tomato, mozzarella and basil. Well, my idea is to make a Mexican caprese. Same flag colors, different ingredients. After the next taco party, I'll let you know it how went. Arriba!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blood Tornado

It was a rough week in the betting pool as I went 2-3, my first negative week. Chad Pennington's INT for a TD basically ensured that I would lose both my MIA -3 and BAL/MIA under 36 bets, and Brett Favre's propensity for not looking before he throws sank my NYJ -3 wager. Only TEN -8 and IND/GB over 47.5 came in, and it took a last minute touchdown to send that game 0.5 points over.

But life is timing and I timed my first dog of a week perfectly. It was a blood tornado in the pool this week. There was more red on the Week 7 sheet than on a science test in a Tennessee high school. Julie Ash, who I simply cannot shake, went 1-2. Others in the top 10 went 0-3, 0-4, 0-5 and 2-6. One guy went 2-0 and moved all the way to second place, only 600 points behind me. I'm standing tall like Dwayne Johnson at 5800, 2-0 guy is 5200, Julie Ash has 5000, there's a bloke at 4200 and then it drops all the way down to 3000. So we're seeing some separation, but an 0-4 week and I will be de-separated.

A few bets are jumping out at me and right now I'm looking at taking CIN +9.5, CAR -4.5, BUF -1, and if Damon Huard plays, KC +13. If Huard plays, I would probably take over 39 in that game as well. But if Tyler Thigpen is the guy for the Chiefs, FOR-get it. Maybe San Diego -3 with Bush out, but what a long road trip they're on. Philadelphia -9 is interesting because I don't think Matt Ryan is ready for that defense on the road, but we'll see if Westbrook is actually back. I won't be making more than five bets this week and I'm more likely to just take Cincy, Carolina and Buffalo. I can't believe I'm actually hoping Damon Huard plays so I can bet on him. Hard to believe I've been in first place for four weeks.

Speaking of first place, I wrested back control of the confidence pool with another smooth week. I'm playing this thing like the U.S. Open right now. An early eagle and now I'm just trying to par my way back to the clubhouse. Maybe I make another birdie along the way to pad the lead. The whole group was only separated by 6 points, but my 4-point gap on Max put me back up 2. Ryan, who was a pair of last second finishes away from being 25 points back last week, won Week 7 and is now only 8 points out of first. Brian, 34 points back, will be buying the first round of drinks at dinner.

I feel good about my confidence picks, but I basically have no idea about assigning points. For the first time in my 25 weeks of doing this, there is no clear-cut 14 point team. Washington looks decent, but they're on the road at Detroit and have been spotty at best the last two weeks. Philadelphia at home against the Falcons might actually be my 14-pointer and I won't go to bed Saturday feeling very good about that one. The Steelers are only getting one point because I am greatly worried about New York's front four against our line, and with McFadden and possibly Polamalu out, our defense could be passed on. I'm really tempted to pick Cincinnati with one point, but I think I'll just put 3 on Houston in a fake upset pick.

Tampa, Buffalo, New England, San Diego, the Jets, Baltimore, Carolina, Jacksonville, San Francisco and Tennessee are the other picks, and I'm close to picking numbers out of a hat for them. I might put 8 or 9 on Tennessee because I'm confident about them and I think there could be an Indy pick or two and that would be a nice gainer. Or a terrible loss. Let's not think about that option.

This could end up being one of those weeks separated by 20 points. I just hope I'm on the happy side of that gap.

Monday, October 20, 2008

WVFL Week 7 Review

Brookline Bucs 91 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 53

Some of you out there think I'm exaggerating about my fantasy football hex. You think I'm just a garden variety bad GM who knows a lot of synonyms and has a bully pulpit. You think anybody could have their first three draft picks hurt at the same time. And that's cool as freon, doc. I may not respect what you say, but I'll let somebody else put their life on the line for your right to say it.

But consider this. I put in a waiver claim for LenDale White, but Brookline ended up getting him. White had 150 yards and 3 TDs, including one 80-yard TD run. Let me repeat that. LenDale White, who weighs 285 pounds, had an 80-yard TD run against me. White ended up with 32 points, a 64-point swing in this game.

I also wanted Mewelde Moore. St. A's got him first. Moore had 31 points. Instead of the 5 I got from Sproles and Faulk, I could've had 62 points. I could've had 110 points with no defense and 0 points from the receiving corps. Instead, I had 4 roster spots with zeroes and another loss.

Brookline should've had 41, but they got LenDale White first. And in another twist you'll never believe, Randy Moss had his best game of the year.

I'll tell you exactly what's going to happen. Every Ladybug will be healthy in time for me to win 3 straight and finish the year 5-8. I know the season is over, now I'm just waiting to see what else can go wrong for comedic purposes.

The People's Elbow 80 - Lowcountry All Stars 69

Still skeptical about my mighty powers? Fine. What if I told you that I don't even need to own a player for them to get hurt? What if I only had to think about making them a Ladybug? Earlier this week, I offered Webster any receiver he wanted plus a little more for Reggie Bush. A few days later, Bush hurts his knee and will miss 3-4 weeks. Stop doubting my hex powers or I will try to trade for your player next!

I also asked about Frank Gore, who had his worst game of the season with only 6 points. Derrick Mason exploded with 13 points, a full 1/3rd of his year to date total. I would not have guessed that Reggie Wayne would only score 2 points against a banged up Green Bay secondary, but all those replays of Charles Woodson shoving Wayne off his routes must mean that it's true.

A hot air balloon explosion couldn't stop Evans and Lynch, who put up 29 points for the All Stars, but a benching could stop Sammy Morris' 19 points from helping the All Stars win. Speaking of Sammy Morris, it's nice to know that Tony Kornheiser thinks Matt Cassel is great after watching 185 yards of screen passes and 6 sacks. It's also good to know the Patriots are still a Super Bowl team and Bill Belichick is still a genius after they beat Kansas City, the Jets, the Niners and the worst defense in the league, Denver. Denver couldn't stop the run with a Gatling gun. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Is there anything more tiresome than the Monday Night crew needing to find topics of conversation in a blowout? The answer is yes, listening to me complain about my team.

Newbomb Turk 83 - Atlas Shruggz 57

Newbomb will be 5-2 after this win despite being the 7th-highest scoring team in the league. Looking at this lineup, their low scores are believable, their record is not. But a straight silly 22 points from your defense can go a long way. In fact, that Chicago defense is so good that it's keeping Newbomb's opponents off the board each week. During this 5-game winning streak, Newbomb has "allowed" 69, 62, 60, 67 and 57 points. Hilariously, I would be 2-2-1 against those same scores in the last 5 weeks.

Oh, I'm sorry. This is Newbomb's capsule, not my third consecutive one. Ahem. The highly-mocked Frerotte to Berrian combo teamed up for 29 points against the aforementioned Chicago defense. The race on the lake featured 89 NFL points and 51 WVFL points for Newbomb.

For the Shruggz, a long season is getting longer. Chad Johnson finally got into the end zone and it didn't come close to mattering for either Cincinnati or Atlas. Somehow Washington held the Browns to 11 points, but only nothched 5 fantasy marks. Weird.

St. A's Crusaders 122 - LetsGoPens 100

The Wrangler Jeans 5 Star Barnburner of the Week left Clint wishing he played one of the 10 WVFL teams that didn't score 100 points. Calvin Johnson won the efficiency award this week, putting up 27 points on only 2 catches. A single 96-yard catch will do that for a guy. Ronnie Brown and Terrell Owens combined for only 5 points, the obvious soft spot for the Pens. But I'm Owens will bounce back next Sunday with the quiet, hardworking effort we've all come to know and love.

The Crusaders put up the highest score of the season despite Brees' worst game. That is what you call coming together. Ryan Grant had his first 100-yard day and his first touchdown, apparently inspired by four weeks of being called a bust by Crusader management. Oh! And Mewelde Moore had 3 touchdowns in a 31-point effort. Almost forgot. Great free agent pickup by St. A's right there.

Jesus. I'm more bitter than the guy in Flash of Genius who had the intermittent wiper stolen by GM.

Crafton Tough Kids 107 - Stringfellow Hawks 75

Crafton had such a good week that Delhomme had 15 points and Ahman Green had 12 points on the bench and not playing either one was actually the right decision. President Obama will be taxing this team heavily in FY 2009. Maybe he'll start a government program for Miller, Davis and Prater, who combined for a pitiful 10 points. Hines Ward's 2-point bonus for breaking Keith Rivers' jaw was just the icing on the cake for Crafton, with Larry offering to pick up Ward's inevitable $15,000 fine for "Playing tough football."

Marvin Harrison's single point means that Wayne and Harrison combined for 3 points this week. It also means that Vernon Davis doesn't feel so bad about his 0. It also means that Stringfellow lost. If the draft was held today, not only would Stringfellow not take Tomlinson #1 overall, he might be able to get him on 2nd/3rd round wraparound. Williams, McGahee, Longwell and Green Bay combined for 61 of Stringfellow's 75 points. Even Joe the plumber wants them to spread the wealth around.

Deathfromabove 98 - Purple Swirls 82

When is Brian Westbrook coming back again? This week? Great, because the Swirls really, really, really miss him. I know, 9 total points from Julius Jones and Ray Rice sounds pretty good, but you just can't recreate that special Westbrooky feeling, even with two guys. Chris Johnson's 22 points actually feels a bit low considering that he played Kansas City. If this was the Olympics, he would've lost points for degree of difficulty.

Adrian Peterson's 24 points is why DFA was so excited to draft him. Owen Daniels' 18 points is why DFA was so excited to pick him up a month ago. While we're on the subject, on that touchdown, Daniels was closer to the Lions on the sidelines than the ones playing defense. I guess in practice Detroit never sees a tight end slip into a route near the goal line. Actually, can anybody even name the Lions' tight end. I know just about every player in the league and I couldn't even guess.

Okay, I just looked it up. Michael Gaines. He has 7 catches for 61 yards.

Vanduhlay industries 104 - Iron City Pounders 61

Vanduhlay returned from their mysterious three-week vacation tanned and ready to win the league. And they brought Steven Jackson back with them, as he put up 3 TDs in a 35-point effort. And Brandon Jacobs was feeling all good about his 18-point game, too. Maybe Cutler's broken finger will slow VI down, but if they've shown us anything this year, it's that they can still win when starting guys who are out with injuries.

Peyton's 7 means that the three primaries of the Colts' passing game combined for 10 points. Of course, the Pounder passing game only combined for 20 with Manning, Driver, Holmes and Coles, so it isn't all Peyton's fault. The youngest backfield in the WVFL, Kevin Smith and Steve Slaton, actually had good days, combining for 26 points. Unfortunately, they needed to combine for 76 points in order for the Pounders to pull this one out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

WVHL Week 2 Review

Only somebody insane or supremely confident would say they don't like Malkin and Crosby on the same line after a 4-1 win that saw them put up 8 points collectively, but I'm saying it. Toronto is a minor league team and Jordan Staal is looking like he should be playing for them instead. We need two lines. And I might need two new goalies.

The Awful Stench def. One Day With The Cup - 7-2-4

After a start like this two years ago, I would've been frantically adding and dropping goalies, searching for the right answer. But somehow, a single championship has given me the wisdom of ten. I have the offense to compete, I just need to make the playoffs and the goalies will come around. I hope. If they don't come around in two weeks, I'll be frantic as usual.

Gagne, Jokinen and Koivu continue to be great draft picks - yes, I'm calling Koivu a draft pick even though I dropped him for a week - but Chara only put up 1 point this week. He was so embarrassed by the weak output, he also put up 0 PIMs so as to not draw attention to himself. Gonna need a little more from you, Z.

For the second straight week, I lost all goalie categories, though it wasn't fair this time because the Stench was setting his lineup from the future. Somehow, he benched Vokoun Thursday even though no other Stench goalie was playing, avoiding a loss with a GAA of 6.03 and a save % of .818. But when Crosby and Markov both have 6 points in a week, you must know what you're doing.

Dynamo Mockba def. Medicine Hat - 7-5-1

The balm on this loss for Medicine Hat is that they win the week's Rocket Richard trophy with a stunning 20 goals. Vanek had 6, Semin had 5 and even though Shane Doan had a comparatively lousy 2, his 19 PIM outburst Thursday night helped win another category. Brandon Dubinsky had 40% of Medicine Hat's assists this week, which sounds impressive until you realize Medicine Hat only had 10 assists. A weird 20-10 line, like Jordan Staal's rookie year. Vanek's 2 shorthanded goals this week were more than any other team had.

So how did the Hatters lose with such an offensive orgasm? Well, they were fishing the puck out of their own net a lot, too. If Marty Turco's 1-2 / 5.30 / .763 effort isn't the worst week of this season, I hope I don't have the guy that beats it. Goals are up across the NHL so far, and they're definitely up against Medicine Hat.

Sweeping the goalie stats and tacking on a shutout gave Nate a 5-0 mark, and going 2-5-1 in the offensive marks wasn't enough to lose. Der Mockba had a healthy 23 assists, with Gene Malkin kicking in 6 by himself. And look at that, everybody! Ryan Malone had a goal!

Kitchener Ks def. IC Pounders on Ice - 10-2-1

Unlucky 7s across the board for the Pounders with only 7 goals, 7 assists and a -7. And the one category the Pounders were impressive in, PIMs, they lost 40-32. 0-1 from Eric Staal, 0-0 from Penner, 0-0 and -2 from Martin St. Louis, 0-0 from Drury, 1 assist total from the defensive corps combined with a -2 on the blue line. It is not too hard to find areas of improvement for the Pounders.

The Ks put up a stunning 6 wins in net this week, and they continued the Kress family tradition of winning the goalie stats 5-0. TK really has the perfect situation going with Marty Brodeur. The Devils are back to their defensive ways, meaning the high Brodeur draft pick will pay off, and TK lives in Pittsburgh, so he'll only have to watch 6 insomnia-busting Devil games this year. Win-win! Shea Weber had 2g, 4a this week. I'm sure Tony can expect regular repeat performances of that.

Keystone Winterhawks def. White Chapel Rippers - 7-5-2

The Rippers are our third team this week to go 5-0 in net, but the first to lose the game overall. Vesa Toskala even managed the rare shutout/no win by coming up short in the shootout Friday night. White Chapel's -13 total has already been noticed by the coach, the GM and the White Chapel Informer, a 4-page newspaper you can pick up free in the White Chapel Giant Eagle foyer. Next to the Pennysaver, you can't miss it. Poor Ryan Suter was a +3, but with Richards, Boyle, Jovanovski and Demitra combining for a -13, his sensible play was neither noticed nor cared about. Pavol Demitra was cut to make an example, to show that poor defensive zone play will not be tolerated. Not if you're only going to have 1 assist.

Craig Rivet's center ice body shot early in the week led to a scrum and the scrum led to Rivet picking up 2 game misconducts and that led to Keystone winning the PIM category and winning the PIM category led to a 7-5 win instead of a 6-6 tie. It's like that cartoon where the mouse has to get the dog a bone, and the rooster can help find a bone if the mouse gets him a new shoe and the squirrel can find a shoe if the mouse knows where to find some nuts. Not to keep picking on Jordan Staal, but he was shut out in every category this week except for his -1.

Almost as impressive as Kitchener's 6 wins is Keystone's 5 losses in net. Marty Biron, even though your .850 save percentage has the Flyers wondering if the season is already lost, you were the Winterhawk goalie of the week! Biron's terrible week must be doubly painful for the WVHL team with the ugliest logo.

Abomidable Snowmen def. Camelsfoot Range - 6-5-2

The Snowmen picked up Kari Lehtonen on Friday, then benched him Saturday so Lehtonen would have time to digest the Snowmen's ultra-complicated interlacing lock trap defense. Too bad, because if Lehtonen played instead of Osgood, they win the save category and win the week 6-5. But hey, that's the way the snowball crumbles.

Daniel Sedin and Joffrey Lupul went 0-0 for the week, which would've looked worse if Brind'Amour, Hartnell and Arnott didn't also go 0-0 for Camelsfoot, giving the goals and assists categories to AS. While we're on the subject, is there a more repulsive player in the league than Scott Hartnell? He comes in late to more piles than Ray Lewis. Caulen should drop him just out of principle if a -2 isn't enough reason to do so.

Kiprusoff went 1-2 / 3.70 / .879. Remember when he used to be good?

Dublin Donkey Punch def. obamanators - 7-3-2

Jean-Sebastian Giguere took a loss Sunday night, but the obamanators couldn't tie up the loss category because Roberto Luongo took an even worse loss. It's been just a little up and down for the obamanators in net early on. The autodraft of back to back goalies early looked bad, then it looked great in Week 1, now it looks bad again with a team 3.83 GAA and .862 save %.

The obamanators lived up to their namesake this week with a calm, measured approach that refused to be goaded into the mud. Only 12 PIMs as a team and the gentle Sergei Kostitsyn led the way with 4. Also like their namesake, they all pitched in and worked together, shown in their +11 mark. Even more like their namesake, they were all-inclusive, reaching out to everybody with 14 roster moves. If you get picked up by the obamanators, just rent one of those pre-furnished apartments until you see a long-term contract.

Check your calendars to see what year it is, because Milan Hejduk has 5 goals this season. They must be coming from Paul Stastny, cause Son of Peter put up 1 goal and 5 assists this week. Too bad they cancelled out in this matchup. Fabian Brunnstrom had a hat trick last week, got picked up by Dublin and turned in a timecard with one power play goal and a -3 this week. Such is the fantasy life of the young and skilled.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WVFL Week 7 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 21-21

Lucky number 21! I hit on 13 and drew an 8! Yes! And...then the dealer hit on 16 and drew a 5. It's a push, 21-21. That reminds me of the greatest blackjack hand I ever saw, played by one Scott Henry, GM of the Brookline Bucs. But I'll save that story for another day.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (2-4) at Brookline Bucs (2-4)

The roster I've cobbled together this week is like a soup Russian peasants made during World War II. A chicken bone, an old wax rind from some already-eaten cheddar cheese, some grass from the front yard, squash skins and a rock for saltiness. It is terrible and sad. It makes the children depressed and leave the adults hungry for more.

McNabb, Jackson and Boldin all have byes, but are too good to drop and expect to get back. Addai is injured with a voodoo curse. The strategic move, which is maybe decent under the circumstances, was to drop a defense, go empty at that position and play Galloway at flex. I had to do that because McNabb's bye forced me to pick up a second QB this week. Sproles and Faulk are backups. Colston and Galloway are game time decisions. Jason Campbell is almost guaranteed to blow out his knee on Washington's opening drive. I could well challenge this season's low of 43 points. I would actually like to break it to show how preposterously unlucky I am and also to be the guy with the highest and lowest single week totals this season.

Yahoo! thinks the Pittsburgh defense will put up 16 points for the Bucs. I don't even have a defense. I put in for LenDale White, but Henry had waiver priority. Aaron Rodgers will probably have to chuck it all day to keep up with the Colts.

The Pick: Brookline Bucs 65 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 30

The People's Elbow (4-2) at Lowcountry All Stars (4-2)

The chocolate crinkle versus the apple mele. Only can be the superior dessert. And only one team can win this game. And if Nate wants to win, he'll have to drop JaMarcus Russell for a fill-in back, because Felix Jones is hurt. Ben might actually be limited by a Steeler blowout in the sense that there should be a lot of clock-killing runs in the second half, Joe Flacco throws to the other team more than he throws to Derrick Mason and Earnest Graham is playing fullback these days due to injuries.

For the All-Stars, Eli and Wayne have great mismatches, but both LAS backs face tough defenses. Then again, the three receivers plus Dallas Clark should be able to carry the load by a comfortable margin.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 91 - The People's Elbow 75

Newbomb Turk (4-2) at Atlas Shruggz (1-5)

Newbomb has won four in a row. In those four games, they've scored under 80 twice. In those four games, their opponents scored 69, 62, 60 and 67 (me). And now Tony Glamour is gone. Let's just say this team isn't as good as its record might indicate. Am I seriously supposed to comment on a team that is starting both halves of the famed Frerotte to Berrian connection? Seriously? Michael Pittman? Le'Ron McClain? Bo Scaife? This team is 4-2? This team?! My first three picks are all injured! Ugh. I'm madder than John McCain during Wednesday's debate and I'm rolling my eyes ten times harder.

Atlas has two problems with his lineup this week. Chad Johnson hasn't done anything all year and Laurence Maroney isn't even playing. Three problems if you count the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be attempting to throw Johnson's way this week.

Look at these two teams! You know who could kill both of these teams? Somebody with McNabb, Colston, Boldin and Addai all playing at the same time!

The Pick: Atlas Shruggz 62 - Newbomb Turk 61

LetsGoPens (2-4) at St. A's Crusaders (3-3)

The team with the most good backs in the league is 2-4. Possibly because this is a QB league now and they've resorted to starting Brad Johnson. The oft-optimistic Yahoo! forecast is penciling Johnson in for a 3. That would be 75 yards passing and 0 touchdowns. Oof. Interestingly, Yahoo! is also predicting 10 points for Terrell Owens, which means Yahoo! doesn't think too hard about these forecasts.

Ryan Grant could be yours for a song, and if he doesn't do something against Indianapolis, he is definitely cooked for the season. Hang on, the archives just popped up. From the Week 6 Preview...If Ryan Grant doesn't get going this week, he never will. Oh. So...never mind, I guess. But Jones should be all right against Oakland and with Parker's tweaked knee, Moore is a good spot start. I actually wanted to throw Moore into my stink soup, in fact.

The Pick: St. A's Crusaders 82 - LetsGoPens 77

Stringfellow Hawks (3-3) at Crafton Tough Kids (3-3)

The Hawks are pretty banged up right now. Tomlinson's toe, Parker's knee and McGahee's entire body are all questionable this week. That will leave a few holes in the old roster. Favre and Harrison will put up points like it's 1998, but the rest of the Hawks roster is going to be nasty. And I mean nasty in the 1998 sense, when that still meant bad.

Larry has complained that he loses every time I pick him. Like he can't live up to my expectations of him. Like I'm the big brother he never had. It is awkward. But I have to pick him this week because his lineup is like a fantasy egghead's diagram. Schaub againts Detroit, Rhodes filling in and facing Green Bay, Ward against Cincy, Barber against St. Louis...if anything that anybody knows about football holds to be true in Week 7, this will be the highest score of the season. So good luck, Larry!

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 197 - Stringfellow Hawks 71

Deathfromabove (3-3) at Purple Swirls (4-2)

The entire Kress family is 4-2, not counting ladyfolk and children. I've already picked against two Kressi, can we make it three? Well, let's take a look. Actually, don't look too long, because you will burn out your retinas on this disgusting roster. J.T. O'Sullivan's has been shut down by the board of health, Houshmanzadeh might not even play this week, Ray Rice doesn't get the ball any more and Seneca Wallace won't exactly back off the run defense for Julius Jones.

Chicago has a good defense, but Peterson ate them up last year. Plaxico will...I...I can't even keep talking about this game. Look at these rosters! Look at them! I am 2-4! Addai, Colston and Boldin, all hurt! Both of these teams could be 4-3 while I'm 2-5! One of them could even be 5-2! This is RIDICULOUS!

The Pick: Who Cares (DFA) 63 - Whatever (PS) 62

Iron City Pounders (3-3) at Vanduhlay industries (4-2)

Now here's a game we can all get into. Good players, good matchups, guys named Santonio, Laveranues, Antwaan and Jay. Now we're talking! Cutler should torch the awful Patriot secondary on Monday night, Andre Johnson could fumble two more times and still put up 16 points against Detroit, Brandon Jacobs will run through San Francisco and even though Matt Forte won't get more than 40 yards against Minnesota, nobody will even notice because the other Vanduhlites are putting up so many points.

Peyton will pass all day on Green Bay as we say, but Coles could be shut down by Asomugha in what could've been a good matchup. Slaton, Miller and Holmes should all reach the end zone, but is Kevin Smith still starting? Even if he is, his quarterback doesn't know where the field is. In a battle featuring lots of good players and good matchups, the Pounders have more bad players and more bad matchups.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 101 - Iron City Pounders 95

Oh, My Aching Head And Team

The blog has been going downhill this week because I am sick. The only thing worse than being sick is hearing somebody complain about being sick, but the mucus squeezing my head for three days now does not foster creativity. Too bad, too, because the state of my fantasy team right now lends itself to some tremendous comedy.

Continuing an ongoing theme, Joseph Addai tweaked his hamstring to the point that he will miss 2-4 weeks. It's about to be seven straight weeks in which my top three picks - Addai, Colston, Boldin - have not played 60 minutes together. Unsurprisingly, I am 2-4. This week is especially amusing because my entire bench is on a bye and McNabb, Desean Jackson and Boldin are too good to drop. Because McNabb is off, I had to pick up a second quarterback, something I wouldn't normally do, and now with Addai's injury, I'm going to have to drop my defense/special teams and pick up somebody to put at W/R. Which, yes, will leave me without a defense for the week. I'm 2-4, in desperate need for a win and going into battle with an empty roster spot.

The two positives out of this tale of woe. One, when I go 2-5, the season will basically be over and I can stop worrying about having nine injured players starting for me. Two, it's so utterly preposterous to have your top three picks all hurt that people will finally start believing that I am the ultimate fantasy football hex. If I passed on Addai for Barber this year, Addai would have 10 touchdowns and Barber would have a broken leg. My powers are great.

But whereas my fantasy football karma is horrendous, my betting pool karma is great. Actually, maybe that's just the same karma. Anyway, after a 4-1 effort last week moved me to 15-4 against the spread this year, I have 6400 points. But apparently despite my excellence in betting, I don't know how to read lines. Chicago didn't cover last week, Atlanta did. Which...actually maybe this explains why I'm doing so well this year. So my lead is not 1600 points, it's still only 800. And it's still the same person! The first time in my life I've ever wanted to shake off a lady and I can't.

I actually don't love too many of the lines this week and with the bets increasing to 600 points a pop, I may play it cool and let Vegas knock back my chasers. I'm thinking Tampa -10.5, Pittsburgh -10 and Buffalo +1 and that's about it. A 2-1 week will be a great success in my book. Under 37 in the BAL/MIA and over 41 in the NYJ/OAK are on my radar, but who knows if those bogeys will make it into my book.

Moving on to confidence, I'm now 2 points behind Max, 10 ahead of Ryan and 30 up on Brian. I don't mind being down again because I felt like I was too conservative with the lead. The prevent defense prevented me from winning! Of course, this week I only like favorites and all I know for points is that the Bucs, Giants, Steelers and Titans are getting the most.

So there you have it. Another football-heavy, politics-free post. I've been seeing some chatter that we need more politics on the Krog Blog and all I can say in response is...people used to complain that it was too much politics. People are going to complain. And that's great. I can complain with the best of them. It's basically all I do. But I haven't been talking politics as much because of a few reasons. Sarah Palin is so preposterous that she can't even be mocked. Her faults, shortcomings and bad ideas are so sundry and so obvious, that pointing them out would be like saying, "Boy, this water sure is kinda wet!"

And as John McCain stumbles from one strategy to another, each equally as bad its predecessor, forever slipping in the polls, I've found nothing to say. I've found tons and tons of satisfaction, but mainly nothing to say. And that is because while six months ago, I felt like a lone voice, now the media and the American public in general have figured out what garbage conservatism and Republicanism is. How false and empty they are. Everybody is finally on to the game, the press is covering McCain with the cynical eye he deserves and they're shooting down his terrible suggestions before they even take flight. The only things I would have to say right now is that my spring prediction of at least 300 electoral votes for Obama is looking pretty good, and if 2008 for the Democrats ends up being the what 1980 was for the Republicans - meaning the death of conservatism and an emerging liberal dominance for the next three decades - well, that is a very exciting prospect.

But seriously, that town hall debate...where the hell was McCain wandering off to the whole time?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WVFL Week 6 Review

Newbomb Turk 89 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 67

Coming into Monday night, I needed Braylon Edwards to stay under 50 yards receiving. Not unreasonable, considering how disappointing he and the Browns have been this year. Edwards had 129 yards receiving in the first half, which is more than he's had all season.

Colston being listed to play until Sunday morning. Addai getting hurt on the first drive. Edwards finally showing up for a game. An 86-yard touchdown catch by Bernard Berrian in a terrible 12-10 game. At least I'm not hexed or anything. And I really needed this win to go 3-3, because between injuries and byes, I literally might not be able to field a full roster in Week 7.

The good news is, between my inherent jinxiness and the refusal of anybody to trade, I realize my season is already lost and I can stop worrying about it. It'll be a nice chance of pace.

Joseph Addai's 0 was bad, but LeRon McClain's -2 was actual the worst effort in this game. Fortunately for LeLe, 22 from Romo, 27 from Edwards and 19 from Berrian means that no reporters are huddled around his locker, asking about that -2. You know how many points Braylon Edwards had on the season before putting up 27 tonight? 14. 14! Less than 3 a week.

Two teams that I thought would be winless this season are 4-2 and a team I thought was decent is 2-4. I should stop pretending that I know what I'm talking about.

The People's Elbow 72 - Atlas Shruggz 67

Jamarcus Russell was hired as a desperate situation starter for the Elbow. Now, if I did that, Russell would've put up 4 points, just like he did for Nate, but my defense wouldn't have saved the day with 21 points. Frank Gore continues dominating after taking 2007 off and while every other Elbow except Graham was a huge bust, it doesn't matter.

God, I'm so bitter. I'm going to die angry, alone and young.

As for the Shruggz, Philip Rivers was chucking the ball like a madman, and he's been a great fill-in for Brady. Speaking of which, it seemed like the Shruggz season was lost when Brady went down, but maybe it was doomed either way. Chad Johnson has been abysmal and Jonathan Stewart mixes in one great week with two bad weeks. Atlas, if you're mad at Maroney, trade him to me. He'll be hurt within a week. And you should be mad at him, because if you started Deuce over Maroney, you would've won 73-72.

St. A's Crusaders 72 - Brookline Bucs 60

The loser of this game was going to be shut down by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, so this is a tough one for Brookline to take. But as much as you hate to see tradition fall by the wayside, Brookline simply didn't have the enrollment to warrant staying open. Sure, Rodgers, Dunn and Nedney were nice, but every other Bucs had only 1 or 2 point. That is not an exaggeration for comedic effect. Moss, Bruce, James, Fasano, Williams and New England literally combined for 10 points. Braylon Edwards had 12 points by halftime. But at least the WVFL didn't let Scott Henry trade away Moss when he still had a whiff of value.

The Crusaders put up one of the oddest stat lines you'll see on a winning team. 24 for Brees, 25 for Thomas Jones behind 3 touchdowns, two players with 0 and a bunch of single digits. But the W will take the sting out of film study this week.

Vanduhlay industries 106 - LetsGoPens 87

He's alive! The CEO of VI swooped in this week from his remote island retreat where they don't have internet access, and promptly dropped Tatum Bell and Matt Schaub. The firing obviously inspired Schaub, but that's for another time. And Schaub's inspired effort benefited Andre Johnson, anyway. Even Steven Jackson got back into the lineup. So VI isn't around for 4 weeks, still goes 3-2, comes back, fiddles with the roster and puts up the most points in the league in Week 6. Fantasy football can be fun. For some people.

How in the world did Clinton Portis have 25 fantasy points in a 19-17 loss? Portis and Brown did their damnedest, but destiny seems to be on VI's side. It's too bad Owens didn't put up more points this week, because with Romo out for a month, it'll be a while before he puts up anything.

Lowcountry All Stars 106 - Crafton Tough Kids 69

The 2008 All Stars are looking like the 2007 Patriots right now. Just unstoppable. Six different All Stars went into double digits, with even Sammy Morris chipping in 12. When you're getting 12 points from Sammy Damn Morris, it is your year to shine.

The Tough Kids stat line is shaped like a flag. Delhomme had 6 at the top, which makes that the little ball. 13 from Fitzgerald, 19 from Jackson and 22 from Barber are the flapping flag, and then 1, 0, 4, 5, -1 from everybody else is the pole. I watched parts of that Bengals/Jets game, and I can with authority that I'm really glad I traded Chris Perry weeks ago.

As the non-winners, the Tough Kids will now have to pick a new helmet. May I suggest something cracked and rusty?

Stringfellow Hawks 83 - Purple Swirls 71

The rare upset that I actually called correctly, though Westbrook being out had a lot to do with it. Injuries also hurt Housmanzadeh, though T.J. is fine. It's just that when Palmer was ruled out and Ryan Fitzpatrick got the start, T.J.'s numbers got hurt. If Seconds Holding the Ball was a fantasy stat, Fitzpatrick would be the MVP of every league. Steve Breaston has been a nice fill-in for Boldin, but even though he helped the Cardinals win this week, he couldn't help the Swirls.

Marvin Harrison came out of nowhere to put up 20 for the Hawks. A guess a civil lawsuit can fire a guy up. Tomlinson looked okay, but the real hero for the Hawks was Jason Elam with 19 points. 19 points from a kicker! Do we have 10-point bonuses for last second game winners?

Deathfromabove 90 - Iron City Pounders 85

Jones-Drew put up 26, Peyton Manning returned with 22, but nobody else under the IC banner did any pounding. Turner and Slaton took a pounding, perhaps, with only 5 points apiece. On the subject of Turner, he is the most simple player in the league right now. Against a bad defense, he'll have about 20 points. Against a good one, 5. Plan accordingly.

Whereas Westbrook's week off killed the Swirls, it gave DFA the win as Correll Buckhalter subbed in with 23 points. DFA woke up Monday morning down 25, but they woke up Tuesday morning with a 5-point thanks to touchdowns from Burress and Lewis. Adrian Peterson had 111 yards rushing, but only 7 points. Two fumbles lost will do that to a guy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WVHL Week 1 Review

For the first time ever...weekly hockey reviews! Truly a sign that the NHL is returning to relevance. I actually thought Week 1 went until the 19th because of the opening week schedule. If only Yahoo! put something 1: Sep 29-Oct 12 right over the scoreboard.

Dynamo Mockba def. One Day With The Cup - 8-4-1

There was talk of shrinking the goalie equipment this offseason and judging from this matchup, they banned all goalie gear entirely. Kari Lehtonen's 3.50 GAA and .914 save percentage was by far the best of the five netminders. Peter Budaj had a save percentage of .795. Great batting average, horrible save percentage.

Actually, from the games I watched this weekend, eliminating the flap pad between the legs made a big difference, because I saw a ton of pucks going five hole. Especially on Jose Theodore. Expect some hockey pundit to write an article on this three weeks after I first mentioned it here.

The defending champs might just go with firewagon hockey, because they have a ton of offense. Surprise second-round pick Olli Jokinen had 3 points in 2 games, Andy McDonald is on pace for 0 goals and 164 assists, and in the brief period from Thursday to Sunday, ODWTC notched 15 assists and 12 PPP. And that's with Iginla going 0-0-0 in two games.

Sean Avery picked up two game misconducts Saturday night and this woman, a lifelong ODWTC fan, chided him for having no class. Between Avery's 27 PIMs, Ryan Malone's feisty 11 and less than total incompetence in net, Dynamo cruised to an easy opening win.

IC Pounders on Ice def. Medicine Hat - 8-2-3

Eric Staal, Parise, Redden and Penner each kicked in 2 goals to an 11-goal pot, a stunning amount for a short week. At the other end of the rink, Henrik Lundqvist went 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA and .944 save percentage. In fact, looking at these numbers...8-2-3 is a pretty close score for this one. Pavel Kubina, you couldn't hook somebody just once to give the Pounders the PIM win? Jerk.

Starting off the year 2-8-3 and seeing that Daniel Alfredsson is out two weeks after knee surgery is not how you want to start your season. Having four different guys each go -2 is not how you want to start off your season. Putting Ruslan Fedotenko on your team is not how you want to start your season.

Kitchener Ks def. White Chapel Rippers - 6-4-3

The tightest matchup of the opening week also featured the most excellence. White Chapel's 10 goals and 13 assists were just a smidge better than Kitchener's 10-12, but Kitchener countered with a stunning 3-0, 1.30, .937 mark in net. Martin Brodeur had many wins as he did goals allowed. And Brodeur's 0.97 and .951 were bested by Carey Price's 0.93 and .972. My God. This game was the Oilers/Islanders in 1983.

All that hand wringing from White Chapel about picking Heatley fourth and Larry is rewarded with 3 power play goals, 1 power play assist, 1 game-winner and 4 PIMs. Real shaky pick there. Of course, Heatley's -3 has White Chapel scouting potential trades. They want to get a guy who knows how to be on the bench when the other team scores, dammit!

One more GWG and two more wins was the difference in this one, but if both teams aren't pleased with how they got out of the gate, then they are incredible martinets.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Camelsfoot Range - 9-3-1

Keystone asked for anybody but Caulen to win in '08-'09 and then went out and backed it up with a total thumping. Caulen was so angry that he put the Range through a 6am bag skate on Monday. He vowed that the team would skate until Kyle Okposo, who didn't register a single statistic in Week 1, puked. Okposo sent his morning milk backwards at 6:03.

Not at all uncomfortable with being called Rod the Bod by his GM, Rod Brind'Amour led the Range with 2g, 1a, but too many other guys only had zero or one point. And while it's admirable that Camelsfoot is playing smart hockey and avoiding bad penalties, when a single Winterhawk, Chris Kunitz, has more PIMs than the entire Camelsfoot team, well, Caulen will lose that category.

Marc Savard and J.P. Dumont both led the team with four points, but the story in the crease is crazier than Sylvia. Bryzgalov's GAA was 1.50 and Biron's was 14.80. That's the kind of consistent netminding champions are built upon.

Dublin Donkey Punch def. Abominable Snowmen - 10-2-1

The rout of the week. Or so it seems. In simply looking at the scoreboard, I get a total of 9-2-2, as both teams posted a 0 in the SHG and SO categories. For some reason, Yahoo! gave Dublin a win in one of these categories, a situation that will probably be resolved some time this week.

As for the points that were correctly scored, Daniel Sedin scored two for the Snowmen, but everybody else was, well, abominable. Zero goals from the rest of the lineup. In comparison, the paltry 9 assists don't look so bad. In fact, Daniel Sedin's 5 points were almost half of the entire Snowmen output.

But with Henrik Sedin scoring 4 points for Dublin, it was kind of balanced out. 2 and 2 from Hejduk was like old times, and Filip Kuba spot on the Ottawa power play seems pretty secure with 3 PPP.

By the way, is it condescending that I just went ahead and corrected the spelling of Abominable? Yeah, probably. I have a Masters in condescension. You probably don't even know what that mean. I should've just put Abomidable (sic) Snowmen.

obamanators def. The Awful Stench - 2-9-2

The most obvious reference is that this matchup was like the actual Obama/McCain race. One guy having a great week, the other floundering and sputtering. But that's too obvious, like an oversalted steak. Let's just say it was a blowout.

The only two guys that didn't have a point for the obamanator, Bieksa and Boucher, were both hurt. 18 points and +7 is a lot of offense, while a 4-0 record and a 1.48 GAA is a lot of defense. Looks like autodrafting Nabokov and Luongo in the 2nd and 3rd rounds paid off.

As for the Stench...well, at least they still have Crosby.