Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Nice To be Smart

Sure, I'm not so smart that simply naming me the new Secretary of the Treasury sends the Dow up 800 points in 2 days, but I still have my moments.

Like last summer in my NHL free agency running diary when I said Radim Vrbata would suck. Or in the first WVHL Weekly Review when I wrote...

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.

Okay, so it's actually been six weeks, but...

If you think your favorite NHL goaltender is letting in more 5-hole goals this season, you might be right. It's a result of rule changes this season that were agreed to by the NHL Players' Association. Goaltending equipment is a little smaller and a little different this season, and will continue to be downsized in the coming years.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

WVFL Week 13 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 49-35

The picks are guaranteed to finish over .500 this season and I haven't been so proud since my daughter was born with only two nostrils.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (5-7) at Stringfellow Hawks (6-6)

I don't know what the Hawks are going to do, but I am 99% positive my team will score 105 points just to screw with me one last time. I cannot emphasize it strongly enough that Marques Colston should be a top-5 pick next season. Just trust me.

Brett Favre is getting older, his blood is thinning and these cold games are not as enjoyable anymore. Still, passing against the Bronco defense is always enjoyable. Tomlinson and Williams could have decent games, but it won't be enough and the Hawks will also be out of the playoffs. Come over to my place next Sunday, man, and we'll watch the games together and get crooked.

The Pick: Lake Balboa Ladybugs 105 - Stringfellow Hawks 88

The People's Elbow (7-5) at Vanduhlay industries (6-6)

The fiercest of fierceness is how one could describe this struggle for a playoff seed. The subset battle in this one is Derrick Ward for the Elbow and Brandon Jacobs for Vanduhlay. Who will get the points and yards there? Unbelievably enough, Nate is staking his playoff life on Isaac Bruce and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Good luck with that.

Jay Cutler will be passing early, often, late and often against the Jets, but Matt Forte is not going anywhere on the Minnesota defense. And, oh by the way, any of those Cutler passes that go to Marshall will give Nate points. Man, this crucial tilt is going to stink.

The Pick: The People's Elbow 77 - Vanduhlay industries 71

Newbomb Turk (6-6) at Crafton Tough Kids (7-5)

By 6:00pm Thursday, a slice of turkey, two sips of wine and 21 points from Tony Romo will have TK peacefully snoozing in his recliner. Get your sleep now, Tony, because you'll be up late Sunday and Monday nights hoping your team can come through. They are not going to come through.

Timing is everything and the Tough Kids could not have timed perfect matchups any better. They will roll into the playoffs, eating that last slice of pumpkin pie Monday night to celebrate. And then washing it down with four Orvals.

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 101 - Newbomb Turk 70

Brookline Bucs (3-9) at Purple Swirls (7-5)

Even better than having good matchups when you need a win to clinch a playoff spot is facing a team with an experiment, uni-team lineup. Plus, Chris Johnson vs. Detroit? Good gravy!

The New England defense is not actually that good and I'm expecting a shootout up in Foxboro, so the Brookline experiment might pay off with good points once again. And another loss.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 75 - Brookline Bucs 69

Deathfrombelow (4-8) at Iron City Pounders (7-5)

Manning against Cleveland, Lewis against Indy, Coles against Denver, Turner against his old team in San Diego...when you need a win these are all good things. It's going to be quite a points race for those six playoff spots.

Losing five in a row in the middle of the season really hurt DFB's chances this year. The fact that a team with Ronnie Brown, Clinton Portis and Terrell Owens is 4-8 disproves some conventional wisdom about fantasy football. A lot of conventional wisdom, actually. You choose which part(s).

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 107 - Deathfrombelow 81

St. A's Crusaders (8-4) at Deathfromabove (7-5)

It is really unfortunate that DFA is the one 7-5 team facing an opponent with a winning record this week. Unfortunate for them, I mean. This is one is shaping up to be the game of the week, as well. It would be a really tough kick in the perineum if DFA lost and missed the playoffs by one of the fifteen different ways outlined in the last post.

Tampa is one team that can give Drew Brees some trouble, and if you know how Ted Ginn is going to do from week to week, you also know when housing prices will hit bottom because you are living in the future. Thomas Jones will run all he wants against Denver and Warrick Dunn won't have much trouble against the Saints.

For DFA, Lance Moore won't be catching any 75-yard bombs, but MJD might return from the AWOL list and score a TD. The Chicago run defense isn't as good as you remembered and LenDale White might double his carries this week against Detroit. Meaning...he'll get two.

This game is going to come down to which great defense scores more points against a terrible offense? I say it'll be...Tennessee.

The Pick: Deathfromabove 110 - St. A's Crusaders 101

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Playoff Picture

With only one week remaining in the regular season, 10 teams are duking it out for 6 playoff spots. For the Ladybugs, Namechangers, Bucs and Shruggz, the 2008 fantasy season has been a total waste. Like trying to make homemade mayonnaise, but adding the oil too quickly and ending up with canola soup polka-dotted with fat globules. The whole thing has to be trashed and was simply a waste of time.

Even if for the second time in three years I finish with the fifth most points but the eighth most wins, this season has been like a joint jerk session. Seemed like a good idea at first, wasn't so great halfway through but it was too late to quit, then I was filled with shame and regret when it was all over. There was no satisfaction to be had.

But for the six teams that make the playoffs, it will be like the seventh time making sex on a woman. Still new enough to be exciting, but familiar enough to be comfortable and maybe adventurous enough to introduce something new. I can only envy you.

In case you hadn't noticed, my brother is living with us while he searches for a new, ex-girlfriend free apartment, and my mother-in-law is in town all week for Thanksgiving. Right now, I am redlining the tach while the car is in P. Agggggghhhhhhh!

So...the playoff picture. Believe it or not, of the five 7-5 teams fighting for four playoff spots, none of them play each other. Which is what brings the three 6-6 teams into the mix. Let's start at the top.

Lowcountry All Stars - Lock up a bye if they beat the worst team in the league. If they lose and DFA wins, they'll need to outscore DFA in Week 13 by 15 points. If the All Stars lose and DFA loses, they need to maintain current scoring leads over the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Pounders. Those leads are 43, 55, 64 and 89, respectively.

St. A's Crusaders - Lock up a bye with a win. If they lose to DFA by 15 or less, they will stay ahead of DFA in the standings. Are 40 points ahead of the All Stars and 83, 95, 104 and 129 points ahead of the next four teams in the standings. If they lose by 17 or more and the All Stars win, the bye is gone.

Deathfromabove - Clinch a playoff spot with a win, assuming the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Pounders don't all win and make up significant points on DFA. The Tough Kids would have to make up 78 points and the Pounders 103 for DFA to miss the playoffs. DFA can clinch a bye if the All Stars lose, but DFA outscores the All Stars by 14 or less. DFA can also clinch a bye if they beat the Crusaders by 17 or more.

Purple Swirls - A win puts the Swirls in good shape, a big win puts the Swirls in great shape. If all four 7-5 teams win, the Swirls will need to maintain 21 and 46 point leads over the Tough Kids and Pounders. A Swirls loss brings VI back into the mix. The Swirls are only guaranteed a place if they win and the five teams behind them all lose. Beyond that, it will come down to total points.

The People's Elbow - Basically, the brothers Kress are in the same boat, though if Nate wins he'll knock VI out of the mix. If VI beats the Elbow, VI will jump the Elbow in the standings. If the Elbow loses, they need the Tough Kids and Pounders to also lose and score 8 or 33 fewer points, respectively. If Nate loses, he could grab the sixth seed with a Tough Kid loss, a Pounders loss and a Swirls loss, provided he maintains his point lead over CTK and ICP and outscores the Swirls by 9 or more.

Man, this is getting complicated.

Crafton Tough Kids - If the Tough Kids lose, it's not officially impossible for them to make the playoffs, but it nearly is. They would then need the Pounders to lose, the Hawks to lose and score fewer points than the Tough Kids and the Elbow winning would be better than VI winning.
Even if the Tough Kids win, they aren't guaranteed a spot. The Pounders would pass them with a win and 26 or more points than the Tough Kids. The best thing would be for the Tough Kids to win and put up 10 more than the Swirls and 22 more than the Elbow. Or 79 more than DFA.

Iron City Pounders - Now we're on the outside looking in. Basically, take everything we said about the Tough Kids and add 26 more points for the Pounders. At a minimum, the Pounders need to win while the Swirls and Tough Kids lose. If VI wins, the Pounders will really need some help. If all four 7-5 teams win, the Pounders at least need to score 26 points more than the Tough Kids. The Pounders could technically make the playoffs with a loss, provided the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Hawks all lose, plus they outscore CTK by 26 or more and the Elbow by 35 or more.

Vandulay industries - A win gets them in as long as the Swirls, Tough Kids and Pounders don't all also win. But in that case, VI has major point advantages over those teams. If VI loses, the Elbow is in, but Swirls, Tough Kids and Pounder losses could keep VI alive, with those same point advantages coming into play.

Stringfellow Hawks - Hey, Terry Schiavo wasn't techincally dead either. But the Hawks have the same jelly brain. A loss and they're out. If the Hawks win, they need the Tough Kids, Pounders and Vanduhlay to lose. If Vanduhlay wins, the Hawks would need the other two losses and have to outscore the Elbow by 10 or more.

Newbomb Turk - Time to focus on fantasy hockey.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs - Time to get a life.

Deathfrombelow - Time to pick a team name and stick with it.

Brookline Bucs - Time to wear last year's championship ring to the grocery store.

Atlas Shruggz - Time to start reading Marx.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WVFL Week 12 Review

As I sit here tonight trying to figure out how to disprove mathematical elimination {x2 + y3 = no fucking chance} and just how many mLs of lambrusco will make the pain go away, I realize that this review is going to be of the short and bitter variety.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs 92 - Lowcountry All Stars 69

Yes, I am aware of the supreme irony of Randy Moss putting up 30 points in his first game as a Ladybug after me bitching all season about a trade veto. And yes, I also find it hilarious that with my entire team finally healthy I am putting up quite the points. But at least I take comfort in the fact that my keeper team is set up nicely for 2009. Wait, what? This is a redraft league? Oh...fuck.

The All Stars can take comfort in the fact that even if they didn't start an inactive Reggie Bush, they still would've lost. However, with the playoffs starting soon, a 69-point effort isn't exactly a brisk workout.

The People's Elbow 112 - Crafton Tough Kids 78

The Elbow hasn't cracked 100 points since Week 2, so this must be strange territory. I really like Aaron Rodgers as an NFL QB. He can throw hard and accurately, but Nate is more concerned with the 25 points he posted. Laissez le bon temps roulez! Just like many weeks for me last year, Derrick Ward outscored Frank Gore.

W, L, W, L, W, L, W, W, L, W, W, L. The Tough Kids are putting down quite a beat on this season. Tyler Thigpen has lit it up for the CTK two weeks in a row now.

Purple Swirls 96 - Newbomb Turk 94

I've given TK a lot of flak for his horrendous team this season, so I can appreciate the frustration he must feel losing with his 2nd highest point total of the year. The frustration that bubbles over when he clicks Optimal Lineup and realizes that Chris Chambers and Maurice Morris could've propelled him to 114 points and a win. The frustration that spills onto the counter when he realizes his sons are now better than him at sports. The cat is in the cradle, brother.

In the preview, I said Caulen (my newest Facebook pal!) had two bad matchups for his backs, and I was right. Johnson and Westbrook combined for 6 points. I neglected to consider that the Vikings could put up 24 points. One fewer field goal for Rian Lindell and the Turk wins.

Iron City Pounders 77 - Brookline Bucs 73

The SteelBucs put up just enough points Thursday night to give the Pounders something to think about. But like Word Challenge, all Scott Henry could do is post a score, sit back and hope it didn't get trampled. Also like Word Challenge, it did.

On the strength of 35 Michael Turner points, the Pounders squoke one out. Incidentally, with the Optimal Lineup, the Pounders could've scored 102, and looking at the logjam for playoff tickets, those extra 25 points could've come in handy.

Deathfrombelow 102 - Deathfromabove 74

Yeah, that's right. I actually called this upset in the preview. Being eliminated from the playoffs, it's all I have to hang my ugly hat on. Terrell Owens finally showed up for a game and outscored his fellow WR2 31-1. He literally had 31 times as many points as Eddie Royal! Even worse was LenDale White, who had -1 yard and then bitched after the game about only getting 3 carries. On a 10-1 team.

Purple Swirl castoff David Garrard had 15 points.

St. A's Crusaders 128 - Stringfellow Hawks 68

The Hawks now need a whole lot of help to make the playoffs, while the Crusaders are only wondering if they'll be the #1 or #2 seed. When you have a 60-point win, there will be a lot of fun numbers, but how about this one? The Baltimore defense (ST. A) outscored the Green Bay defense (STR) by 27 points. Though for Green Bay to give up 51 points and only notch a -1 is pretty impressive on its own.

Last year at this point, the Crusaders were 4-8. This year, they're 8-4 and have gone well over 100 in 4 out of their last 6. Hell, they could've had 144 this week. This, of course, means that the Crusaders will lose their first playoff game 51-47.

Atlas Shruggz 76 - Vanduhlay industries 60

This is one upset that I definitely did not call. In fact, I believe my pick was VI to win 93-3. But Greg Jennings' 16 points on Monday night were the difference, including the 1 bonus point he received for absorbing a hit so hard that it blew the numbers off his jersey. Nice game for Anthony Gonzalez, too. No, not Tony. Anthony.

VI, which has baffled me with their roster moves and non-moves all season, did it again this week. Jacobs, who was iffy all week, started, didn't play and posted a 0. VI had no back to sub in for Jacobs because for some reason they have 2 kickers and 2 defenses. But they started the wrong ones this week! Folk and Dallas would've given them 83 points for the week.

By the way, VI is still very much alive for the playoffs and I am not.

Monday, November 24, 2008

WVHL Week 7 Review

One Day With The Cup def. obamanators - 9-2-2

Since the election, the obamanators are 2-20-2. Which may seem gentle in comparison to the upcoming Clinton for Secretary of State nomination battle. Speaking of which, on her first trip overseas, maybe Madame Secretary could pick up Roberto Luongo's groin? After snapping off and flying out of the Arena Saturday, it landed in Minsk this morning. And that nomination fight might seem gentle in comparison to the next obamanator matchup, with both Nabokov and Luongo hurt. Especially since it seems like Luongo will be injured for Obama's first 100 days.

Auld and Ward were stellar in net, though losing save percentage with a .930 is a tough one. Kitchener castoff Brad Boyes had 2 goals - including the GWG - Saturday, the icing on the cake of an 11-3 goal win. Campbell, Bergeron and Koivu all broke out of slumps and even Chara remembered that he had a good shot.

The obamanator offense was not helped by the fact that Dean was not updating his roster this week, a Kline tradition. Sheldon Souray's 2 PPG were good for 66% of the team goal total and 100% of the team PPG total. He also had 11 PIMs. Souray feels let down by his teammates and GM.

Dynamo Mockba def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 7-4-2

Backstrom and Sabourin combined for a 1.80 and .924...but when 2-3 for the week. That is some lack of goal support. Don't blame Patrik Elias, he had 1g and 6a this week. Malkin's single assist is nowhere near as good as the 2 and 2 weeks from Nash and Marleau, so Malkin can probably be had in a trade right now. I think he's going to the Kings.

The Dublin GM called out Milan Hejduk for a -5 effort. In fairness, Hejduk is just a goal scorer and even that was 5 years ago. Besides, Backstrom's -4 and Phaneuf's -3 are no great shakes. Henrik Sedin had a remarkable 7 assists, perhaps irked that somebody informed him that when writers mention King Henrik, they are actually talking about Lundqvist.

Nate was not handed goalie points because his opponent fell short of the minimum games this week and he went 1-3-1 in net. I'm sure that is just a large coincidence.

Abdomible Snowmen def. Medicine Hat - 9-4-3

The Snowmen lost 4 straight, melted down their coach and responded with a thorough win. However, the shellacking will still leave them 1 point behind Medicine Hat in last place. The other Sedin, Daniel, had 3 goals and 3 assists, capping off a very productive week for the twins. Peter Budaj's .952 save percentage was rewarded with 2 losses. I feel like it has been a very long time since Joffrey Lupul has scored. Lemme look this up...2 goals and 0 assists in his last 10 games. But at least he's a -5 in that span.

Medicine Hat has actually not won a matchup this season. They are 0-4-2 in weekly battles. Their tilt with the obamantors next week will truly be the resistible force vs. the moveable object. Devin Setoguchi is doing all he can, people.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Kitchener Ks - 8-2-3

Is anybody going to bother trying to slow down the Winterhawks this season? They are now 6-1-0 in their matchups, with the only loss coming to a guy that And even then I only nipped them 5-4-4. So even though Marc Savard had 8 points this week and Ovechkin 6 and they had 42 total PIMs, I'm really going to need you people to start trying against the Winterhawks.

When Pascal LeClaire opened up the week by allowed 7 goals on 19 shots, the Ks were pretty much sunk in net. Even with 4 active goalies in the lineup. The Ks only had 3 assists all week, all coming from Bruins and a single power play point. Thank you, Ryane Clowe.

Camelsfoot Range def. IC Pounders on Ice - 6-3-4

Would you believe me if I told you that Bryan McCabe had 2 goals and 3 assists this week? No, I swear! He did! Old time NHL veterans Milan Lucic and Kris Versteeg both had 1 and 3 weeks and Caulen continued his WVHL run of finding productive young players. Not counting Cam Barker, Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec who combined for a -1.

There was a coup in Stockholm and King Henrik was deposed. A 3.98 and .867 is not going to get it done in net. Marc-Andre Bergeron's stat line looks like a carton of eggs. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0. Zetterberg had 3 assists for the Pounders, but Hossa only had 1 goal for Camelsfoot. Aren't they on the same line?

Whitechapel Rippers def. The Awful Stench - 6-3-4

Ryan Suter's Sunday night power play assist gave the Rippers one more category win. Too bad Suter is now going to hell for not observing the Sabbath. I guess it was worth it. With only 5 goals on the week, the Rippers are now willing to trade five players for Semin. And $5 for semen. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ahh, homophobic humor in a fantasy league. Can you ever go wrong?

The Stench were a fantastic +16 on the week. Ken Hitchcock's eyes well up just thinking about it. But that defensive responsibility did not help Ryan Miller, who posted a 5.35 and .795 this week. Did the league increase the size of the net for Buffalo games? Once again, Getzlaf had a better week than Crosby. Time to trade Sid for a goalie.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WVFL Week 12 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 45-32

The picks continue to be the silver lining on a cloudy season. And though I'm out of running for the playoffs, Nate has agreed to give me $3 for every game over .500 the picks are out of the WVFL discretionary fund.

Also, I'll be bringing back a fun (to me, mainly) tradition, giving each team's average points for and points against. I'll use this format Team (W-L / PF - PA). We can all follow that, can't we?

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (4-7 / 83.2 - 84.1) at Lowcountry All Stars (8-3 / 90.0 - 73.8)

While I worry about whose fantasy season I'll derail in 2009, Webster is worried about his 2008 playoff seeding. This truly is a diverse country. The Krogmann hex is slowly catching up with McNabb, whose once-promising season has devolved to the point where people are openly discussing axing both McNabb and Andy Reid after the season. If Randy Moss does not break his leg in his first Ladybug game, it will be considered a major upset.

It will make me sick to talk about Webster's team in positive terms, so let me just point out that Carolina is shutting down #1 receivers - like Roddy White - this season, and Reggie Bush is questionable. So if Monday comes and he's out, that's a dead roster spot for the LAS.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 88 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 71

The People's Elbow (6-5 / 81.1 - 78.3) at Crafton Tough Kids (7-4 / 83.4 - 77.5 )

A win will just about clinch a playoff spot for the Tough Kids, while a loss will have them sweating out next week's game for a spot. Let's hope they get the win this week, for the sake of Larry's ventricles. Let's hope this win isn't dependent on Jerricho Cotchery, who will get nothing against Tennessee. Marion Barber is going to have to run two teams to a win against the 49ers.

Nate's receivers provide two interesting matchups. Marshall is going against Asomugha, a guy teams don't even throw at, but Cutler loves force-feeding Marshall, even if it kills the Bronco offense. Marshall was suspended when these teams played in Week 1 and Eddie Royal went off, so...all in all, I'm calling 5 points or less for Marshall. The oddity is Isaac Bruce, an ordained minister, going against Adam Jones, an ordained troublemaker.

Karma be damned, Nate is rooting for Brandon Jacobs to be too injured to play.

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 71 - The People's Elbow 68

Newbomb Turk (6-5 / 69.9 - 79) at Purple Swirls (6-5 / 83.6 - 78.7)

The record might be the same, but these are two entirely different teams. For instance, the Swirls are good. This one couldn't be a bigger mismatch if it was a contest to find a 3-star bistro that has Red Seal on tap using only an iPhone.

If Carnell Williams is going to play for the first time in about two years, might as well ease him in with a light warmup against Detroit. Though I wouldn't want to rely on him for a bunch of points. The Houston defense is so bad that Braylon Edwards should drop at least 75 yards' worth of passing, especially figuring in wobbly balls from Brady's broken finger.

Believe it or not, the Jets have a top 5 run defense, giving the Swirls two bad running matchups. Matt Ryan against Carolina is no great shakes either. Nice to know somebody will get closer to the playoffs with a 65-60 win.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 65 - Newbomb Turk 60

Brookline Bucs (3-8 / 68.6 - 74.5) at Iron City Pounders (6-5 / 81.2 - 77.4)

Six teams are at 6-5 and scrapping for two playoff spots, but only one of them is facing an avant-garde comedy lineup this week. The #1 complaint of unhappy workers is unclear goals and a lack of purpose, but the Pounders will wake up Friday morning knowing exactly how many points they need to score. Every single Buc is a Steeler and they all play Thursday. Will Gary Russell pick up points for converting 3-and-1s?

The real competition for the Pounders Sunday is the scoreboard. They need to rack up points to get an edge in playoff tiebreakers. Manning, Lewis and Slaton have perfect matchups for such a purpose, but Carolina should bottle up Turner and I bet Tampa only beats Detroit by something like 16-10, taking Bryant out of the mix. Tampa just plays that way for some reason.

The Pounders' last three opponents have averaged around 51 points. And it just so happens that they're on a 3-game winning streak. Brookline will not be an outlier here.

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 87 - Brookline Bucs 62 (Justin Hartwig!)

Deathfrombelow (3-8 / 79.2 - 93.3) at Deathfromabove (7-4 / 90.8 - 84.5)

SCUD vs. Stealth. The highest scoring team against the team that has had the most points run up on it. A team that will win against a team that will lose. This one has it all! DFB will naturally focus on a ground attack, with Portis and Brown putting up good points, and DFA will have air superiority with Warner and Kevin Walter. Though the Giant pass rush is exactly the kind of thing that makes Warner go wobbly.

All three DFA backs go against tough defenses, but that hasn't exactly slowed down Peterson in the past. You know what...I'm calling the wild upset here!

The Pick: Deathfrombelow 91 - Deathfromabove 90

St. A's Crusaders (7-4 / 88.3 - 80.2) at Stringfellow Hawks (6-5 / 84.3 - 76.8)

Drew Brees has a tough matchup against the Green Bay pass defense, but Favre's against Tennessee is even less attractive. Of course, Thomas Jones also has to face the Titans and he plays for the Crusaders, so I guess it balances out. Grant and Dunn should pick up the slack for St A's, though.

Parker, Tomlinson and Williams look equally good for the Hawks, so let's sum up where we stand so far. QBs, both bad. RBs, all three good. What does that leave us? Winslow is hurt again, so let's give the ad-in to St. A's. Kickers and defenses are random, so we're left with wide receivers.

Welker and Santana Moss against Hester and Harrison. So, really, Welker and Moss against Harrison. I guess that about sums it up, does it not?

The Pick: St. A's Crusaders 101 - Stringfellow Hawks 97

Atlas Shruggz (2-9 / 65.2 - 89.7) at Vanduhlay industries (6-5 / 89.1 - 90.1)

Deuce is out with an injury, Chad Johnson is out with team annoyance. Jeremy Shockey has been annoying his quarterback since September, Reggie Brown hasn't seen his quarterback since August and the Shruggz give up 24 more points than they score. Rivers is good, though. Too bad this isn't a keeper league.

If Jacobs is good to go, this will be one of the rare weeks that VI fields a full roster. They are about to be 7-5. Oh, and don't be fooled by the 90.1 average points against for VI. Take away the last two weeks when they gave up 242 points, but still went 1-1, and it's more manageable 83.2

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 93 - Atlas Shruggz 3

I emailed a preview of this column to Malcolm Gladwell. He pointed out some interesting things that become obvious once you think about them. Such as...

- Newbomb Turk is the only team with a winning record to have more PA than PF, and the only team with more PA than PF to have a winning record. (throwing out VI's last 2 games for now)
- The other teams with more PA than PF are a combined 12-32.
- In 5 losses, Newbomb has an APA of 100.2. In 6 wins, only 61.3.
- VI and DFA have the 2nd and 4th APA in the league, but winning records because of great offenses.
- Highest weekly total was 132 by St. A's in Week 10, lowest was 34 by Newbomb in Week 8. In those games, St. A's won by 88 and Newbomb lost by 77.
- Except for VI, all of the 6-5 teams have an APA between 76 and 79.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WVFL Week 11 Review

This one is going to be a late night version. And by that I mean that it will be brief, not X-rated. But hey, fuck you for the hell of it, fuckface.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs 90 - Atlas Shruggz 64

The Ladybugs have begun their march toward 6-7, just missing the playoffs as they always do. It's a miracle that McNabb got 12 points, because he was so unbelievably bad. Boldin dominated again and he is wasted on the Ladybugs like Asomugha is wasted on the Raiders. I don't deserve him. Hey, Joseph Addai! What time did you get here? Awesome! We got beer out back and wine in the kitchen. Just grab whatever you want.

Jonathan Stewart had a nice touchdown run, but since he didn't have six nice touchdown runs, the Shruggz lost. Philip Rivers looked lost in the sleet, and I could not have been happier to be in sunny weather watching that game. Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan has recently mentioned rethinking his lifelong devotion to Ayn Rand in the face of both the market meltdown and the Shruggz' fantasy meltdown.

The People's Elbow 80 - Purple Swirls 61

The older brother always finds a way to pull out a victory, doesn't he? This time because Earnest Graham's injury-induced 0 was still better than Julius Jones' terribleness-induced -1. Frank Gore shredded St. Louis in a complete non-surprise, further bolstering the idea that Addai should be the #1 overall pick next year.

It's no surprise that Chris Johnson struggled against Jacksonville, but a total surprise that Steve Smith and Westbrook struggled against two atrocious defenses. The Purple Swirls tumbled into the massive logjam at 6-5, and Nate just brought in an auditing firm to start going through WVFL playoff tiebreakers.

The very nifty Optimal Lineup tab on the Statracker app shows that if Caulen started Hillis and Houshmanzadeh over Johnson and Jones, he would've won 92-80. Very nifty app. Not so nifty GMing.

Iron City Pounders 79 - Newbomb Turk 38

One of the teams in that morass at 6-5 is a squad that has scored under 40 twice this year and under 50 one other time. I am pretty certain they will lose any and all tiebreakers, including the crucial No You Don't Deserve It tiebreaker. John Carney's team scored 30 and he scored 0, so...was he hurt or something? Kevin Boss had a 0. Braylon Edwards' 10 points Monday night - 1 for each drop - is the only thing that kept Newbomb from getting tripled up for a third time.

As for the Pounders, what can you say about a man who defeats a toddler in an arm-wrestling match? Michael Turner's 20 points were a nice day, I suppose.

Deathfromabove 83 - Brookline Bucs 59

In his last hurrah for Brookline, Randy Moss caught a last second touchdown and scored 8 points. Here's your gold watch, Randy. Please don't lose it or sell it. Ben's 12 points were more than Pittsburgh's 11 points. When you click Optimal Lineup for Brookline in Statracker, you get a 404 error message.

Maurice Jones-Drew posting 20 on the Titans might be the upset of the year. Two TDs go a long way, it would seem.

Stringfellow Hawks 108 - Name Changers 59

When your defense and kicker combine for 33 points, things are probably going to go your way. DeAngelo Williams was the other Panther with a nice touchdown run and his 24 points showed The Bullet Train what he used to be like in his prime.

Chad Johnson waited 11 weeks to have a good game, and when he was finally ready it didn't matter. Classic Bungles. Who's been worse this year, Moss or Owens? This week, at least, it was Owens.

Lowcountry All Stars 85 - St. A's Crusaders 76

The All Stars won their fourth straight, ended the Crusaders' five game winning streak, took sole possession of first place and clinched a playoff spot. That's a pretty effective 85 points right there. Of course, had the Crusaders started Ryan Grant instead of Mark Bryant, those 85 Lowcountry points would've been 6 short of a win. The Crusaders railed about Ryan Grant all year, called him a bust and the first chance he got, he stuck it to upper management. Fight the power! Viva!

Did Lee Evans even play Monday night? Thankfully for the All Stars, Trent Edwards' utter terror at throwing a pass over 10 yards didn't matter because all of those dump offs went to Marshawn Lynch, who is also on the All Stars.

Crafton Tough Kids 122 - Vanduhlay industries 70

Starting Tyler Thigpen and getting 20 points out of him may be the greatest GM performance in the history of fantasy football. Any dope can start Fitzgerald and Barber, and many do, but to see potential and have it realized is truly great. Getting 21 points from Phil Dawson, however, is an utter fluke.

After Sunday's game, Brandon Jacobs took a Ravens helmet to a taxidermist so he could mount it over the fireplace. His dominating 19-point effort is a reminder that Marques Colston should be the first receiver off the board in 2009, minding the Krogmann +1 effect.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WVHL Week 6 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Abomidable Snowmen - 7-5-1

I'm operating under the assumption that I took back the GAA category Sunday night, though since I had 8 goalie starts this week, I have no idea how to do the math. It's possible that this match finished 6-6-1. One thing that was not close, however, was PIMs. ODWTC finished with 40 PIMs to 6 for the Snowmen in a show of overwhelming force not seen since Desert Storm.

The Cuppers finished +8 for the week, which is all the more impressive when you factor in Andy McDonald's -5. Being a power play specialist is one thing. Not taking a stick onto the ice for even strength shifts is another. Olli Jokinen had 0 points, but 10 PIMs, showing a real willingness to chip in however possible. Alex Auld was 0-3 this week, a victim of Ottawa's ongoing inability to decide whether or not Alfredsson should play with Heatley. When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

All three Snowmen creaseminders went 1-0, but Osgood didn't get credited for an OT loss when he allowed three straight to Jordan Staal. Lidstrom had 3 assists, but was actually the worst Snowmen dman. Even Kronwall had 4 assists and 3 PPP. Maybe the first time in 13 years that Lidstrom wasn't the best Red Wing defenseman. Remember this week so you can tell your grandtots.

Dynamo Mockba def. obamanators - 11-0-2

For the second straight week, Nate has been straight handed five categories because his opponent didn't hit the goalie requirements. I don't want to say his record is fake, but Mockba is lot like the Rangers leading the Patrick Division by 6 points a couple of weeks ago because they had played 4 more games than anybody else. Though, in fairness, Backstrom had 2 wins and 1 goal allowed this week. Sure, Huet got lit up and lost Sunday, but whatever.

Gene Malkin had 8 points and both of Nate's left wings had 3 & 1, but those right wings are leaving a gap in the scoresheet right now. For the obamators, Kovalchuk had the same stats as Keith Ballard. And since Ballard didn't have an amazing week, it's bad. Donuts across the board for Ballard and Kovalchuk. Ales Kotalik didn't score either, but at least chipped in a -4 to get into the stats.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Medicine Hat - 7-2-4

The Winterhawks had three ridiculous stats this week, and you'll have to choose which is your favorite. A) 20 team goals. B) Jordan Staal having 5g, 1a and a +6. C) Ovechkin putting up 5g, 5a and a +11. Actually, make it four crazy stats. D) Ovechkin, Mike Green and Staal combined to go +24, but the team only finished at +17 for the week.

The most interesting thing for Medicine Hat this week is either that they played 5 goalies and finished 1-2 in net or that Drew Doughty is on defense for them. Unless this is a 22-team keeper league, Drew Doughty should not be on your team. Alfredsson only had 2 points, so maybe he does need to be with Heatley after all.

The Awful Stench def. Kitchener Ks - 6-5-2

Kitchener's -2 for the week was good enough to win the 6. Oof. And their 6 goals were good enough to win that category by 2. This wasn't exactly the Winter Classic. Despite their amazing offensive prowess, Kitchener didn't win any of the goalie categories. They went 1-5 in the paint and Kevin Weekes' save percentage is listed as INF. I don't think you can have an infinite save percentage, so maybe that is short for infirmed. And on Friday, Kitchener benched LeClaire for Weekes, who didn't play. LeClaire allowed 1 goal in a win and had a .973 save percentage, while Weekes scratched his baseball hat and tried to figure what an INF save percentage is. It is not a good time in net for Kitchener right now.

The entire Stench defense corps had 2 assists and a -4 for the week. Not good. Sidney Crosby basically had a better week than the rest of his team combined. And the Stench won! Whoa.

IC Pounders on Ice def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 7-4-2

Lundqvist and Ellis combined to go 5-0 with a 2.09 and .939 for the Pounders. You are not going to lose too many weeks with those kinds of numbers in net. Another interesting thing about the Pounders is that they've forsaken a third goalie for a fifth defensemen, but they only got 2 assists out of those guys.

Nicklas Backstrom (the offensive one) had 9 assists and a +10 this week. What the hell was going on in DC this week? Were the Caps so into Obama that they just partied on offense all week? And why didn't those good vibes carry over to Joe Theodore on Saturday? The 1998 throwback combo of Sakic and Hejduk did not do all that much because it is now 2008 and we have a half-black, half-Chinese Muslim President. Hide your now-illegal guns!

Whitechapel Rippers def. Camelsfoot Range - 8-3-0

What's going on with the Range this year? The third blowout loss of the season has their toes touching the bottom of the pool for maybe the first time ever. Even 15 goals and 17 assists didn't matter all that much. The Flower went 2-0, but with a GAA of 4.43 and a save percentage of .852. You might recall the game last Tuesday when he let in 6 and still won. Jordan Staal? Ringing any bells? Sinking toward the bottom has Caulen cleaning out some lockers. After Liles and Spacek contributed 0 points and a -4. they were sacked, and after Scott Hartnell almost split open his chin on a shootout attempt, he was 86ed. Cam Barker is the answer! With three Blackhawks on his team, Caulen now cheers through the national anthem before each game.

Whitechapel actually took the GAA and save categories with a 3.59 and .872. Seems like Christmas came five weeks early. Derick Brassard continued his assault on what we know about rookies with 4 points, but Derek Roy's -6 is not good mentoring of the lad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

WVFL Week 11 Preview

Last Week: 6-1
Season: 41-29

There's something amusing about the fact that I'm having my worst fantasy football season ever, but my best fantasy football picks season ever.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (3-7) at Atlas Shruggz (2-8)

If the WVFL had a television contract, this game's kickoff would be moved to Wednesday at 6am so nobody accidentally watched it. Which is too bad, because this might actually end up being a good game. A good, meaningless game.

Green Bay won't be able to run on Chicago, but they can pass so look out for Jennings. Stewart gets the immense pleasure of running against the Detroit defense and Gonzalez will find such open holes in the Houston secondary that he'll wonder if it's pre-game warmups.

If one is forced to start two running backs from the same team, one would do well to face Houston in that situation. McNabb and Jackson should tear up Cincinnati more than a batch of bad chili, Colston might be okay and Boldin will continue putting up huge points that are completely wasted. Did I mention he has 8 metal plates in his face?

The Pick: Lake Balboa Ladybugs 100 - Atlas Shruggz 81

The People's Elbow (5-5) at Purple Swirls (6-4)

The original Cain vs. Abel match! Actually, I guess that would've been Cain vs. Abel. But we haven't seen a brother battle this fierce since the Civil War. Or since last Wednesday morning, when Jeb Bush yelled at GW for ruining any chance Jeb ever had of living in the White House. Speaking of which, 3 straight losses have Nate on the ropes and another this week could ruin any chance he has of making the playoffs. Bad time to have Graham facing Minnesota and Derrick Ward against Baltimore.

It would be much preferable to have Chris Johnson against Jacksonville and Brian Westbrook against Cincy. And Matt Ryan against Denver. And Steve Smith against Detroit. Frank Gore has a slight edge over Julius Jones, though.

This season, Nate has won two, lost two, won three and then lost three. Time to bust up that pretty little pattern.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 110 - The People's Elbow 85

Newbomb Turk (6-4) at Iron City Pounders (5-5)

Another symmetrical team, the Pounders lost two, won three, lost three and won two. The question is, can they put up the 70 points required to beat Newbomb? Short answer, yes. Long answer, definitely. Manning, Turner and Hightower alone should be enough to do it, which is good because who wants to rely on Antonio Bryant or Jamal Lewis?

Between TK's two receivers, Braylon Edwards is being asked by almost everybody involved with football to get his eyes checked since he's dropping so many balls, and Malcolm Floyd is not being asked to do anything because nobody cares about Malcolm Floyd.

Tony Hero returns for the Cowboys, but who knows if that's good or bad? Fred Taylor is going nowhere against the Titans and Newbomb is going nowhere against the Pounders.

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 88 - Newbomb Turk 51

Brookline Bucs (3-7) at Deathfromabove (6-4)

There was a little grumbling about Henry's machinations in fielding an all black and gold fantasy team until it was pointed out that he's 3-7 and teams fighting for playoff position probably would've beaten him anyway. Roy Williams might be decent against the single coverage he'll see and LenDale White might cannonball into the endzone from a yard out, but after that...well, hopefully the Steelers put up 56 on San Diego.

I think Minnesota can pull of the upset because of Peterson having a surprisingly good day against Tampa, but if he doesn't, DFA will be getting almost nothing out of their backfield. Fortunately for them, Warner, Royal, Daniels and the Steeler-heavy opponent will bail them out.
The Pick: Deathfromabove 83 - Brookline Bucs 62

Stringfellow Hawks. (3-7) at Stringfellow Hawks (5-5)

The T-1000 shifts shapes again this week, but they still can't hide their inherently flawed programming. Portis probably isn't going to play, but there's nobody to replace him. So he'll at least play for the Hawks-1000. Owens hasn't gone over 100 yards all season, but Ronnie Brown should be plenty nice against an Oakland team that simply doesn't care any more.

Favre already notched 18 points for the Hawks, but Jones, Hester and McGahee might not get that many combined. Tomlinson hopefully will struggle against the Steelers and DeAngelo Williams could go off on Detroit...or he could lose carries to Jonathan Stewart.

Here's what you don't want when you need a win to stay in the playoff hunt. You don't want to lose to a team that's basically given up.

The Pick: Stringfellow Hawks. 76 - Stringfellow Hawks 70

St. A's Crusaders (7-3) at Lowcountry All Stars (7-3)

If you are playing a 5-star tilt for the rights to first place, scoring 27 points Thursday night is a good start. And Drew Brees will probably add another 27 points himself against the Chiefs. And Ryan Grant might get 2.7 points against the Bears. Yahoo! is predicting 15 points for Larry Johnson, and there can be no greater indictment of the Saints defense than a running back who's had a month off getting the ball from Tyler Thigpen being pencilled in for 15 points.

Neat scheduling quirk for the All Stars this week. Seven of their players are involved in the early games, then they sit around and wait for Lynch and Evans to play Monday night. But no matter when they play, every All Star has a dream matchup this week. Except for Reggie Bush, who isn't playing. Time to sub in Ricky Williams, who also has a great matchup.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 101 - St. A's Crusaders 100

Crafton Tough Kids (6-4) at Vanduhlay industries (6-4)

Speaking of Tyler Thigpen, he is actually starting for the Tough Kids Sunday. Cotchery returned to the Tough Kids with 12 points, proving that you can go home again. Vincent Jackson will probably catch a twice-tipped ball for a touchdown and Marion Barber is probably due or something. Who exactly is supposed to cover Larry Fitzgerald for Seattle?

Cutler, Johnson and Forte alone are going to tip this one in favor of VI. People were concerned that the large Hadron collider would form a black hole that would kill us all, but Brandon Jacobs running into Ray Lewis might create enough force to crack the Earth in two.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 94 - Crafton Tough Kids 77

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Irish / Americans

There's been much talk in the last eight years about what Europe and the rest of the world think of Americans. The consensus seems to be they love our movies and music, think we're a little bit crazy, definitely too religious and our President was not the greatest guy the world has ever seen.

So my mom had a trip to Ireland and brought me back a menu from a brewpub she visited. The Porterhouse Brewing Co. Pretty standard menu of their house beers and some bottles from around the world. The bottles were divided into place of origin and many countries had a cute little cartoon pun accompanying it. Things like, "Czech it out!", a Mountie saying "We always get our can!" and "Is it your round? No, we're all going Dutch!"

For America, the cartoon was Bush on the phone, next to an American flag, saying "Send in the Budweiser, troops as a last resort!" The Irish think America's biggest brewery makes a product than can kill people. The description for American beers is...

The USA had the reputation of brewing some of the world's most boring (but well advertised) beers with outrageous claims such as "The King of Beers" and "we know of no other brew which costs so much to brew". Their brewers obviously do not possess passports. A public backlash to such "products" resulted in a new wave of brewers, creating some fantastic beers.

The four American beers The Porterhouse Brewing Co. offers are Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft, Rolling Rock and Sam Adams. Except for a nice word about Sammy, an Irish bar is selling popular American beers as kitsch. The Silver Bullet, MGD and the Rock are all starred as Brewed Under Licence. Ten pages after the beer list is a box labelled Tips for Avoiding Bland Beer.

Guzzlers, you need to avoid...lite, dry, cold-filtered, ice, smooth, cream, clean, beer advertised with the word "flow", beer advertised on TV, beer with sports tournaments named after them and beer Brewed Under Licence. They say that BUL beers are usually brewed in Ireland and are sold as exotic American imports.

Except for the Ukrainian Zhiguli, only those three Yank beers are listed as BUL. They are telling you...not to buy...any American beers...even the ones they offer.

If that isn't enough for you, the description under Coors Light is...

Why not try one of the original facist beers! Currently re-writing their past. Funded Ronald Reagan in order to dismantle the toxic waste disposal laws of Colorado, caught. Would make a great film. (see page 25)

And then on page 25 is an excerpt from an old Irish Times about the extremely right-wing Joseph Coors funding Ronald Reagan's Presidential run, then getting his friend James Watt installed as head of the EPA so the government would cease environmental regulation in Colorado.

In the end, a score of appointees pushed on to the adminstration by the Coors group were criminally convicted for their part in the environmental fiasco.

So when you're in the grocery store Sunday morning buying some cold brew dogs for a day of football, if you're buying a 30-pack of Coors Light and talking about Palin 2012...the Irish think you're a joke. Maybe you care, maybe you don't.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WVFL Week 10 Review

Vanduhlay industries 131 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 120

My team just keeps finding cruel and unusual ways to lose. This time by putting up 120 and losing to a team that didn't even have a full lineup because Steven Jackson was out with an injury.

Brandon Jacobs continued the trend of guys I had do nothing for me in 2007 coming back to beat me in 2008. I don't know what I did to those guys, but they sure are mad about something. If you don't take Joseph Addai #1 overall in 2009, you're making a tremendous mistake.

Vanduhlay got 13 points from their receivers, an obvious 0 from Jackson and still scored 131. There could be no clearer sign that this is not my year.

Iron City Pounders 80 - The People's Elbow 70

A win with only 80 points? Hmm. Must be nice. If Nate had only started any other tight end besides Cooley, who had a bye, he maybe could've sneaked this one out. Though I'm sure he was expecting more than 2 points out of the San Diego defense against Kansas City. Assuming he knew San Diego was playing Kansas City and that was his defense which is, I admit, pushing it.

Manning's deflected touchdown to Reggie Wayne more or less decided this one. Arizona had 16 points worth of interception returns called back on penalties. Imagine losing a fierce and fiery WVFL matchup on that.

Unbelievably enough, my prediction for this game was an 81-71 Pounders win. How 'bout that?!

Deathfromabove 136 - Newbomb Turk 48

For the second time this year, Newbomb was tripled up in points. They'll drop to 6-4, though maybe they should be 6-8. And imagine if Kevin Boss didn't come out of nowhere with 12 points. This one could've been really ugly. The fact that Newbomb is 6-4 makes me disproportionately angry, perhaps because now that Republicanism is on the ropes after 35 shitty years, my frustration over incompetence needs to be focused somewhere.

Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for 59 points. The rest of the DFA roster was just pudding. A little something extra. Racking up points for playoff seeding tiebreakers. Holmes, Daniels and Bironas combined for 6 points. Extra laps for them in practice this week.

Stringfellow Hawks 100 - Brookline Bucs 61

Scott Henry has achieved inner peace with his team's plight in 2008, and it makes me even madder than he's such a better person than me. Back to back WVFL Bowl appearances gives one perspective, I suppose. It must've been very exciting in the Henry household when Mewelde Moore scored his second Pittsburgh/Brookline touchdown. Not so exciting by Sunday evening.

Marvin Harrison is done. It is over. But at 5-5, the Hawks are not.

Lowcountry All Stars 87 - Lowcountry A Stars 80

Imagine the indignity of a team that's surprisingly in the playoff picture losing an easy game to a vastly inferior opponent. But both the Cardinals and the All Stars held on and got it done this week. For the Cards, a last second goal line stand was the difference. For the All Stars, a 51-yard Ricky Williams touchdown did it. Actually, the 60-yard deflection TD that Reggie Wayne scored helped the All Stars, but also helped sink the Steelers. Somebody ask Webster how he feels about that and please get an audio recording of the answer.

How it came to be that the Rams were down 40-0 by halftime, and assumedly passing the entire game, and Torry Holt had 0 points is a mystery.

St. A's Crusaders 132 - Atlas Shruggz 44

Although having 1/3rd as many points as your opponent seems bad, here's something to put it in perspective. If Atlas was allowed to use the entire season total for Le'Ron McClain and Jonathan Stewart in this week's game...they still would've lost by about 10. not sure what else to say here.

Crafton Tough Kids 53 - Purple Swirls 43

In what was perhaps a show of family solidarity, Caulen also played his bye week tight end and ate the zero. Julius Jones and Peyton Hillis are so valuable to the Swirls that they are worth a loss. Steve Smith had 0 points and Carolina almost lost because their one-dimensional passing attack became zero-dimensional. Roger Goodell should fine the Raiders $1,500,000 for wasting the best cornerback in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Tough Kids needed .00000000001 points Monday night to pull out a win and Fitzgerald's touchdown sealed the deal. New Tough Kids Jerricho Cotchery and Kevin Faulk combined for 1 point. Greg Olsen was on the Ladybugs at one point as well, so look for three crippling injuries next week.

WVHL Week 5 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Keystone Winterhawks - 5-4-4

Over here at ODWTC HQ, we are very proud of our 2 GWG this week, the first two of the season. We went out and got a little memento to celebrate the achievement. I shouldn't say little, it's actually bigger than the WVHL Cup currently on display in our lobby.

We are also proud of the fact that we played the first place team two weeks in a row and knocked them off both times, but three separate trips to Things Remembered has not turned up an etchable rememberance worthy of the feat.

Maligned 2nd rounder Olli Jokinen had a symmetrical week with 3 goals and 3 assists and Jarome Iginla was hype as well. Zdeno Chara remains missing. If you see a 6'9" Slovak (7'0" on skates), please call 818-WE-CHAMPS as soon as possible, please.

Marc Savard had a single goal for the Winterhawks, and that must be considered an upset.

Lastly, to all the people around the league rejecting my trade offers, you'll only have yourselves to blame when I'm in first place by Christmas.

Dynamo Mockba def. Abomidable Snowmen - 10-2-1

As of Sunday night, I'm assuming my count is correct here. Because even though the Snowmen swept the goalie categories and had a 7-6 lead hitting the pillow Sunday night...they didn't hit the goalie minimum. Nate has basically been handed 4 points. Free! The Obama Presidency is already redistributing the wealth.

Malkin, Nash and Marleau all had 4 point weeks, but only one of them took a point blast off of the thumb Saturday night. Malkin. Something bad happens to the Pens every time they go to Nassau. It's their own Bermuda triangle.

Detroit's light schedule this week did not help the Snowmen as Lidstrom had all zeroes and Kronwall only had a +1. Even though he isn't playing yet, Sergei Zubov came off of IR to make room for Brian Rolston in the M*A*S*H tent. All that means is Zubov had all zeroes this week instead of Rolston.

The worst part about the Snowmen losing the goalie category because they only had two games played? They only allowed one goal between the two games.

Kitchener Ks def. Medicine Hat - 7-4-2

Ah, the Sunday goalie start. It is either a dream where you come back and win GAA and SV while making sex on a lovely lady, or it is a nightmare where your guy gets shelled while you try to run uphill away from a monster. But the monster is gaining! Always gaining! It's like you're not going anywhere!

Medicine Hat had the nightmare this Sunday when Brian Boucher got lit up. How the Hat even ended up with Boucher when Kitchener is scanning for fresh goalies like a pervert at the Hollywood Greyhound station is beyond me.

So in a week with only 10 assists and a cumulative minus, Kitchener runs up a nice win. Thanks for the 6 points, Ryane Clowe.

Man, with the IR juggling, the Kitchener roster is more complicated than the tax return of a oil coporation based in Bermuda.

obamantors tied IC Pounders on Ice - 6-6-1

The obamantors wrapped up the goalie stat like Obama wrapping up New England. It was not close, thanks to 180 shutout minutes from Bobbo Luongo. The obamantors also showed a bit of ruthlessness in racking up 42 PIMs. Stastny had 0 points and a -4 and Nylander had 1 and a -1. Oh, if only somebody would offer the obamantors a center in a trade. Somebody like Patrice Bergeron! Oh, if only!

The Pounders went 1-5 in net this week, and yet their GAA and SV% was not 7.86 and .786. It was actually a respectable 2.51 and .914. Not great, but not worthy of 5 losses, either. Miro Satan's beautiful between the wickets goal didn't get any bonus, but it sure was nice to look at.

Dublin Donkey Punch def. White Chapel Rippers - 8-4-1

The Rippers had a remarkable 15 power play points, but tomorrow morning they will be out of the playoffs with only 18 weeks left in the season. All I heard about all week in personal chats with Larry was Derrick Brassard, but all I see is 1 goal and 2 PIMs. Todd Bertuzzi had 4 points and was a -3. Power play demon, even strength liability. Carey Price had one loss and allowed 6 goals. Thanks, Future.

The Donkeys only punched in 5 goals this week, but 2 of them were game winners. Pick your spot, I suppose. Mike Knuble's only stat this week was a -3. Who says he depends on great linemates to leech off numbers?

The Awful Stench def. Camelsfoot Range - 7-3-3

Ryan Getlaf has been dropping all kinds of stench on people lately, and he had another 5 points this week. Sidney Crosby, on the other hand, only had 1. Keith Tkachuk even had 2. Sidney Crosby was the worst Stench center this week. Golly.

Kiprusoff was used, abused and perused Sunday night, but since Caulen was already behind in net, it meant nothing for the standings. Martin Havlat returned and combined with Kris Versteeg to put up 5 points Sunday night. If you can name Versteeg's nationality, you officially known everything about hockey. Give up? He was born in Alberta.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

WVFL Week 10 Preview

Last Week: 5-2
Season: 35-28

I've opened up my all-time biggest lead on the weekly picks, and to make sure I don't blow it, I've given myself a head start by letting the Thursday night game end before I make my picks. Fun!

Side note: Now that we've elected a half-black President, are racial jokes cool again? Is there a zeitgeist decision on this yet? I'm dying to joke about Obama dropping a drum beat into the Star-Spangled Banner.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (3-6) at Vanduhlay industries (5-4)

First off, allow me to apologize to Ryan Torain. I am sorry that I picked you up and my magic hex powers had your body bent in half during your second pro game. But at least you got your first career TD before your knee exploded.

On another note, Jay Cutler - get this - had his best game of the season, continuing an ongoing roll for Ladybug opponents. Vanduhlay, who's been an absentee father for most of season, returned this week to bench Randle El and bring in a replacement kicker and defense. No need to start players on a bye anymore, it seems. Johnson, Jacobs, Jackson and Jforte all have matchup problems, but Cutler staked the team to such a lead that it might not matter.

If Marques Colston doesn't crack 10 points against the Falcons, he might get cut. Addai is going nowhere on Pittsburgh - or anybody else - but Jacksonville could force 8 turnovers against Culpepper in his return start. Who am I kidding? I'm going to lose again. And again and again.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 83 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 68

The People's Elbow (5-4) at Iron City Pounders (4-5)

The Elbow started Brady Quinn? Really? When did that happen? Anyway, a big Brandon Marshall moment happened in tonight's game, but nobody mentioned it. After his touchdown catch made it 34-30, he pulled a foreign substance out of his trunks Macho Man Randy Savage style, but Brandon Stokley rushed up to him, covered him up and talked him out of celebrating with a prop, lest he incur a 15-yard penalty and give the Browns good field position on their final drive. Replays showed his pulled a plastic bag full of brown powder out of his jock. One, was it Nesquik? Two, he played the whole game with a plastic bag in his jock? Three, when fat, white sportswriters figure out what happened, they are going to suck off Stokley for three weeks. Little white receiver! So gritty! Like a coach on the field! Also, Brandon Marshall is an idiot.

Oh, here's the explanation.

Anyway, Nate also needs a tight end this week. Too bad he didn't get PFC Winslow. The Niners will be down early and often, so Gore will be limited, but Mason could recreate last week's magic against Houston.

On the other sideline, Jamal Lewis looks ridiculous when he takes 35 steps to run 10 yards, but he still got 14 points. When you add in Hightower and Turner, the Pounder backfield could crack 60 total points this week. That might get the job done.

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 81 - The People's Elbow - 71

Newbomb Turk (6-3) at Deathfromabove (5-4)

Newbomb is off to a terrible start in keeping this week's opponent under 70 points, with Eddie Royal chalking up 26. Kurt Warner is going to destroy San Francisco, Peterson can run all over Green Bay and Tennessee gets to feast on Rex.

Braylon Edwards had a single point Thursday, and it wasn't for the first half drop that made the crowd boo him. On the next play, he took out his frustration with a big block, but he didn't get a point for that either. I could keep talking about this game, but since Newbomb's opponent is going over 85 this week, they will clearly lose.

The Pick: Deathfromabove 86 - Newbomb Turk 50

Brookline Bucs (3-6) at Stringfellow Hawks (4-5)

Big game for the Hawks. A win propels them forward in the playoff chase. A loss pushes them right back in the shit pack. Big game. So will they win? Probably. Favre can throw on St. Louis all day and interceptions are only -1, so not too bad. Tomlinson should go off on Kansas City and Jonathan Stewart is out this week, giving more totes to DeAngelo Williams. I can't imagine Hester doing a damn thing against the Titans, though.

Going back to the race thing for a second, Joey Porter said the other day that Matt Jones shouldn't be playing right now since he got caught with cocaine. And, not to start a kerfuffle, but does anybody seriously believe that if Brandon Marshall or or Santana Moss was caught with a Bolivian Snowstorm by the cops that the league wouldn't have suspended them by now?

Anyway...the entire Bucs roster this week sucks worse than having a roommate who's hooked on cocaine and stealing your stuff.

The Pick: Stringfellow Hawks 75 - Brookline Bucs 69

Lowcountry A Stars (3-6) at Lowcountry All Stars (6-3)

It's not at all hard to tell these two apart. I can very much believe the A Stars are not butter. Though I am happy to use the symbol for the first time since buying a computer. The A Stars are claiming that every great comeback starts against the best, but what actually happens is that a comeback starts with low level lieutenants who are big but don't have any moves before eventually moving on to the kung fu master. Garrard and Brown will have moves against bad defenses, but the rest of the A Stars are low level lieutenants.

Roddy White against the Saints defense is almost unfair, and both Evans and Lynch could be good if Edwards doesn't have another fourth quarter football giveaway. With Asomugha shutting off the Steve Smith spigot, Mushin Muhammad could be nice against whatever cornerback was not good enough to beat out DeAngelo Hall for a starting job.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 90 - Lowcountry A Stars 7

St. A's Crusaders (6-3) at Atlas Shruggz (2-7)

When Atlas loses, he is magnanimous, like John McCain. He actually apologized to Skip Henry for beating him. When I lose, I am like Saran Palin, blaming everybody else around me. The quarterbacks in this one might combine for 60 points with Brees against Atlanta and Rivers against Kansas City. Call it a wash.

Jennings is better than Driver now, so a slight advantage to Atlas out wide. Jonathan Stewart is out, but Grant might as well be out against Minnesota. Thomas Jones and Deuce both have good matchups, so a wash there. Avery and Gonzalez are both impossible to predict, so this game will come down to the defenses. And also the coin I'm about to flip.

The Pick: Atlas Shruggz 81 - St. A's Crusaders 80

Purple Swirls (6-3) at Crafton Tough Kids (5-4)

Ward and Rhodes are coming out for the Tough Kids this week and Cotchery and Faulk are going in. Jerricho Cotchery is the Kris Beech of the Tough Kids, and he is also hurt in his second go around. Fitzgerald will be fun to watch Monday night, but he might have to make up a lot of points.

Then again, maybe he won't. Rookie Ryan is the best virgin QB since Marino and New Orleans is the worst pass defense since San Diego, which has to go against Dwayne Bowe this week. Asomugha will eliminate Steve Smith and Chris Johnson will struggle to get loose on Chicago and...and...and...

...and this is a bad week for two good teams. I say...

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 75 - Purple Swirls 71

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You're Wondering...

Seeing the flag makes me happy again. The American flag now means hope and potential and idealism and the best the world has to offer. During the past eight years it meant paranoia and ignorance and false arguments about what being a true American meant.

The swath of red that cuts across the middle of the country can now be known as the Ignorance Belt. White Christian voters in those states go to bed tonight afraid of what America will become over the next eight years because their simple minds leave them afraid of anything they haven't been spoon fed by somebody who already agrees with their views.

Reason and empirical evidence and common sense and thought and science have won tonight. Today we are back on track. Moving away from a country that thinks sex is evil and war is good. Moving away from a country where ideology trumps evidence. Moving away from a country that has been dominated by sheltered conservatism for 30 years and moving into the 21st century.

The champagne tasted so sweet tonight. The beer flowed freely and so did the hugs.

WVFL Week 9 Review

St. A's Crusaders 82 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 78

Everybody was back healthy for the first time this week and yet injuries still killed me. How? Because three weeks ago, injuries and byes forced me to drop Tim Hightower. I picked him up before the season knowing Edge was cooked. But I needed warm bodies, he was on a bye and I couldn't slip him through waivers because nobody knows what the hell the waiver rules are in this league.

Tim Hightower had 16 points this week. Kevin Faulk had 9. I lost by 4. Somebody help me out with the math here. Actually...fuck it. I don't want the particulars.

Like many guys playing against me, Donald Driver had his best game of the season. Thomas Jones had a 5-yard touchdown run that was set up when Jerricho Cotchery (a Ladybug) was caught from behind and tackled at the 5. Jones ran it in on the very next play. Probably a key moment in this matchup. And Derek Anderson handed off to Terrell Suggs late in the fourth quarter to give Baltimore a defensive touchdown. Though Orton only played half the game, so maybe it wouldn't have been so close.

Deathfromabove 110 - The People's Elbow 79

Justin Fargas had 2 points, which is actually pretty great considering his team had -2 yards in the first half Sunday. And forget Fargas, because the rest of the DFA roster went off. 21 from Warner, a quiet 19 from Peterson, Eddie Royal getting stuff done with 12 and even Rob Bironas kicked in 14. He's a kicker!

Derrick Mason had 19 points, and no that is not a cumulative total for the season. He had 136 yards and 1 TD. Yes, this year. Sunday, in fact. Yes, I am completely serious. Brandon Marshall posted a 0 during the game and then lost 2 points afterwards when he was straight up called a bitch by Joey Porter, who normally does not verbally attack his colleagues.

Think about this. Nate got 19 from Mason and 14 from Derrick Ward. Take away those remarkably, remarkably, remarkably unexpected games and the Elbow doesn't crack 50. Elbow playoff tickets go on sale this Wednesday.

Newbomb Turk 69 - Stringfellow Hawks 53

The #1 defense in the league has done it again! That ferocious, attacking defensive 11 for Newbomb held an opponent under 70 points for the 6th time as they moved to 6-3 on the season. Only a cynical jerk would point out that in the 3 Newbomb losses the opponent has scored 85 or more. A real sports fan will just sit back and enjoy this magical 2000 Baltimore Ravens-style ride.

Frerotte and Berrian did indeed light up the terrible Texans pass defense, combining for 34 points. Braylon Edwards showed up with 14 points and could've had more if he wasn't so eager to add to his league-leading drops total. Top of the lineup looking good! Frerotte! Edwards! Berrian! Oh...there seem to be some more names here. Pittman 2, Taylor 1, Olsen 1, Avery 2. Oh, forget them! How about that amazing Newbomb defense!

Jesus. If I was any more bitter, I'd have a Campari label.

What can be said about the Hawks except that Marvin Harrison is completely done?

Lowcountry All Stars 63 - Brookline Bucs 56

Ooooh...that Steeler D made a game of it late, but they would've needed 14 sacks on the evening to pull out the night. Or Brookline could've gotten more than 0 points out of Dunn and Scheffler. Randy Moss had 4 points. I am saddened to see the Bucs saddled with such a player. Scott Henry might as well replace Moss with Sarah Palin at this point. Let her drag down a second team.

When it's your year, it's your year, and the All Stars will hang on to first place despite a 63-point outburst. Lynch and Ricky Williams combined for 75 rushing yards. I predicted Roddy White would not go over 2 points on Nnamdi Asomugha, but White put up 5. However, the Raiders puts Asomugha on Michael Jenkins in the second half after DeAngelo Hall was reduced to a smoldering pile of black powder. Half point for me there.

Atlas Shruggz. 83 - Atlas Shruggz 65

The real Shruggz started Selvin Young, who was injured, and Deuce McAllister, who was caught up in customs returning from London. So it was easy to spot the imposter in this one. Do I care that I desperately needed a win to stay alive and I had enough points to beat 7 teams, including one that only started 7 players? Not really. I'm just here to have fun and get some exercise.

Owning Chad Johnson finally paid off for the Temp Shruggz, as 8-5 got into the endzone 1-2 times. If you take away Portis and Ronnie Brown, the Temp Shruggz would've only scored 57 points and lost, a helpful reminder that teams should start two running backs in this league. Every week. It is important.

Iron City Pounders 95 - Crafton Tough Kids 47

Hey, here's Tim Hightower! Look, if you can steal change out of the Salvation Army kettle on December 24th and live with yourself, fine. God bless. Peyton Manning had a good time hooking up with Anthony Gonzalez and posted 20 points. Burress, Coles and Zach Miller had 7 points total, which makes the Pounders' 95 this week all the more impressive. The Arizona defense had 18 points? Really?

Crafton has had weeks of 103 and 107 points, and they've also scored 47 twice. Having known Larry for a long time, I can assure you that this is perfectly in line with his manic depressive personality. Marion Barber had -12 receiving yards on Sunday. That didn't cost him any points, but his 4 didn't help the Tough Kids.

Fun quirk from this one: Both tight ends were named Miller and both had 0 points.

Purple Swirls 94 - Vanduhlay industries 75

And we have a third tight end with 0 points, Jason Witten. But Rookie Level player, Matt Ryan, chucked the ball around well enough to post a 14. Chris Johnson had 21 points, and his 72 receiving yards just seem like an unfair bonus. Ray Rice came back to rush for 154 yards and 17 points.

A single point from Steven Jackson is probably not what VI was expecting, but when a team is down 24-7 at halftime, it can hamper the running game a bit.

It is late and I'm tired of talking about good teams.