Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WVFL Bowl Review

This Week: 1-0
Playoffs: 5-0
Season: 58-38

Some title games are blowouts, never in doubt after the opening kickoffs. Think Joe Montana and the 49ers beating the Broncos 55-10. Some title games aren't over until the final gun. Think Scott Norwood and the Bills losing to the Giants 20-19. The WVFL Bowl was one of the latter.

The Crusaders came into Monday night needing 14 points from Ryan Grant to take the title. Grant scored 14 on the nose. But it isn't as simple as it sounds. On Green Bay's final drive in the fourth quarter, a 15-yard personal foul and a couple of passes gave them a first down in field goal range. Grant rushed twice and got to 62 yards rushing total, enough to give the Crusaders the win. On Green Bay's next play - their final play of the game - Grant was dropped for a 1-yard loss, giving him 61 total rushing yards. If he takes a 3-yard loss, this game is tied.

Grant also had a 17-yard TD reception and 2 other catches for a total of 3 yards. Take away ONE receiving yard and TWO rushing yards...and the Swirls win this game.

Then again...if the Swirls don't mysteriously change their kicker to the previously unheard of Garrett Hartley, they win this game. I think Garrett Hartley got cut from Manchester City in the EPL and decided to give American football a whirl.

Caulen has a requested a note of recognition (a shout out, as the kids call it) for winning two football titles and and finishing second in a third league. I would like recognition for predicting that Steve Smith would have a surprisingly quiet game against the Giants. I would also like to thank Marques Colston for putting up 99 yards and 2 touchdowns three weeks after my team stopped playing.

Of course, the entire premise of this review is false because if Ryan Grant played Thursday, he wouldn't be the sole focus of here. Like assuming you had a heart attack because of the Baconator you ate for lunch. It's more than that. If the Crusaders started Fred Jackson over DeShaun Foster (Jackson being the better back, both against bad defenses, Foster the starter) he would've scored 97 points. If Chris Johnson had 1 more rushing yard and Witten had 3 more receiving yards, the Swirls win. If Minnesota recovers Matt Ryan's fumble at the 1-yard line instead of Atlanta recovering it for a touchdown, the Swirls win. If Welker had 2 more yards and Housmazoo had a single 12-yard hitch route, the Crusaders cover the spread of -2.256.

The point of all of this is that...fantasy football is about 10% preparation, 10% early season waiver wire moves and 80% luck. So congratulations to ST. A'S CRUSADERS, the luckiest team in all the land.

Really, though, why would you change your kicker?

Monday, December 22, 2008

WVHL Week 11 Review

It's the holidays! We should be eating cookies and drinking eggnog, not reviewing ghosts of fantasy hockey past! This is going to be a quick one.

One Day With The Cup tied IC Pounders on Ice - 5-5-3

ODWTC has the 3rd best head to head record in goals, 2nd best in PPG and best in PPP. We lost all three categories this week. We did not play to our strengths! But 27 big assists gave us the most assists in the league, which is a nice thing in this holiday season. We give!

Zetterberg only had a single assist this week. He was much happier last year on The Milburys. Zach Parise, of all people, had 7 points this week.

Dynamo Mockba def. The Awful Stench - 7-2-4

Nate must be on vacation, because he had Malkin benched all week and missed out on his 6 points. Of course, Mockba still won G and A, so maybe Nate was just sending a message. Patrik Elias had 8 points this week. What the hell has gotten into the Devils?

The Stench had 2 GWG and 1 SO. Those are the two categories they won. Crosby only had 2 points (trade him!) and Tim Thomas had a win with a .750 GAA and .783 save %. Those are some interesting numbers.

Whitechapel Rippers def. Medicine Hat - 9-2-2

The WVHL is starting to separate like Italian dressing. On the top, you have the six playoff teams represented by clean, golden oil. On the bottom, the six other teams, represented by murkiness and all sorts of chunks of shit. The Rippers have been slowly floating toward the top all season.

And Medicine hat is sinking to the bottom like a clove of garlic.

Kitchener Ks def. Camelsfoot Range - 8-3-2

Looks like Poppadoo can still teach his boys a few tricks here and there. Caulen claims he's been too focused on football to think about a hockey team that's currently 14 games under .500, but we all know that the truth is his team isn't very good, even with Matt Hunwick on defense. Also, if you just picked up Matt Hunwick, you are most definitely paying attention to hockey.

Some good Boston players are David Krejci and Phil Kessel, and they combined for 6g, 7a for Kitchener this week. Kyle Quincey was -7 with only 4 PIMs. Useful. Scott Clemmensen has filled in for Kitchener as nicely as he has for New Jersey.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 10-2-1

Is anybody going to go to the trouble of stopping this Winterhawks team? If they're going to score 19 goals while always going 4-0 in net with a shutout, that is simply unfair. Allow me to spin a cautionary tale if you don't mind. One year, I dominated the WVHL regular season to the point that the point gap between 1st and 2nd place was equal to the gap between 2nd and 6th place. I lost my first playoff game.

Dublin only had 8 PIMs this week. Taking it easy, I guess.

Abomidable Snowmen def. obamanators - 7-2-4

The obamanators are now in sole possession of last place and they have to move a lot of dirt just to get up to 11th. The obamanators have the fewest goals, a league-worst -28, the fewest PPG, PPP and the fewest GWG. They also have the fewest L, which is actually a good thing, the best GAA and the most SOs. They could use a little balance.

Joe Thornton has 37 points this season for a team that had the best 30-game start in NHL history, but nobody ever talks about him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WVFL Bowl Preview

Last Week: 2-0
Season: 57-38

It's the fantasy football game your mom has been waiting for all season! The buzz in the league is so palpable that Clint dropped Kerry Collins and picked up Jake Delhomme yesterday even though he doesn't have a game this week. He just wants to be a part of the action!

Speaking of which, the hottest action in the 2008 WVFL playoffs has come from the preview picks. One might argue that going 4-0 with playoff picks and having the potential to finish the season 20 games over .500 is actually more impressive than winning the WVFL. One would be especially inclined to make such an argument if they were making the picks and never, ever made the WVFL playoffs.

So, if you will, allow me to decide this week's winner before the games even start.

St. A's Crusaders (9-5) vs. Purple Swirls (10-5)
400lb Design Stadium - Bloomfield, PA
Halftime Performance: MF Doom, Dr. Octagon and The Jonas Brothers

Maurice Morris is starting in the WVFL title game which is either a sign that the league has too many teams (Caulen's theory) or the Swirls are trying to spite Julius Jones (my theory). Of course, on the other sideline, the Crusaders have Larry Johnson at W/R and Johnson is coasting on name recognition more than Nicole Kidman right now.

(Tangent: After drafting Alexander and Johnson one year too late in '07 and '08, can we go ahead and assign Tomlinson to TK in '09 now?)

You know what? The WVFL Bowl is an annual holiday. It deserves a special preview. Let us continue this positional breakdown.

QB - Drew Brees vs. Matt Schaub

Drew Brees gets two boosts this week. One, he gets to throw against Detroit, which is like throwing against wooden planks in summer OTAs. Two, Reggie Bush is out and the Saints offense is actually better this season when Bush is out and they aren't trying to force the ball to him. Lance Moore, get your touchdown shoes ready!

Are we sure Matt Schaub is good? We know that he's tall, but we're not sure if he's good.

WR - Wes Welker/Santana Moss vs. Steve Smith/Dwayne Bowe

Arizona struggles to stop the pass and they struggle to do anything on the road, but the Redskins struggle on offense, so maybe this is a push. Also, depending on the Cardinals scheme it, Adrian Wilson may shadow Welker and shut him down.

For the Swirls, the 11-3 Panthers are 3-3 on the road this year and the Giants are coming off of two straight losses. Factor in Jake Delhomme's unpredictability, the problems the Giant pass rush will give him and the cold and wind in Jersey, and I'm calling a surprisingly quiet game from Steve Smith.

That leaves Dwayne Bowe to decide the wide receiver battle in this one. Ugh. This position is a wash. And there's a still-steaming brown log floating in the washbin.

RB - Ryan Grant/Thomas Jones vs. Chris Johnson/Brian Westbrook

Not to go all Collinsworth on you here, but during last Thursday's game, I focused on Brian Urlacher on most plays and discovered that all he is good at these days is getting blocked and overrunning runners when they cut back inside. Still, I'm not taking Ryan Grant here. Thomas Jones should be able to run all over Seattle, though. Unless...the emotions of Holmgren's last home game combined with early Favre picks put the Jets down 14-0 early and they have to pass to catch up.

Chris Johnson is going nowhere against the Steelers, let's just get that down first. Although if Pittsburgh is up 28-0 in the fourth quarter, I would not mind seeing Johnson break one just to find out if Polamalu could run him down. God, that would be like watching a nature film on gazelles and lions. Bad news for the Swirls, Westbrook is questionable this week. Oh, hang on. He's questionable every week, including training camp. Never mind. Doesn't Westbrook usually kill the Redskins? Eh, maybe not. In the first matchup this season he had 14 fantasy points, but only 33 yards rushing.

The best backfield in the WVFL is not showing up for the playoffs.

TE - Tony Gonzalez vs. Jason Witten

The tight end doesn't exactly find a lot of soft zone spots against the Ravens, you may have noticed. Gonzalez is going to win this one by default.

W/R - Larry Johnson vs. Maurice Morris

We covered this earlier, but as an addendum, it is very hard to run against the Jets. Partially because of Kris Jenkins and partially because passing against the Jets is so easy and fun that the run gets neglected like an old toy on Christmas morning.

K - Joe Nedney vs. Ryan Lindell

Flip a coin, basically, to decide this battle of remarkably tall kickers. Both San Francisco and Buffalo face terrible defenses, so points can be had. But Nedney plays in a dome this week, so let's pencil him in for a 51-yarder and give him the edge here.

DEF - Baltimore vs. Houston

The Houston defense is terrible, but the Oakland offense is historically awful, so I can see why the Texans are an appealing start.

Baltimore ordinarily would be good, but it's the last game ever at Texas Stadium and I'm sure Dallas will be fired up for that one.

The Pick: Caulen has sassily pointed out to me that he has three different league championship games this week and that I should somehow bake that into a cake and eat it. In response, I will calmly use my future-control powers and make him lose this game.

St. A's Crusaders 88 - Purple Swirls 75

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Somebody Is Trying To Send Us A Message

Upon arriving home last night, I found a small pillowcase worth of feathers on the front step, un-pillowcased. Just a pile of feathers all over the welcome mat. Our front door is not clear, the shades were drawn and there was no bird carcass to be found. Just feathers. There are a few possible explanations for this.

1) Our new dog got out of her kennel, turned off the alarm, unlocked the front door, slaughtered a small bird, disposed of the body, cleaned up the blood, went back inside, locked the door, turned the alarm back on, got back in her kennel and closed it, only then realizing she forgot to clean up the feathers, but it was too late. I find this to be the least likely explanation.

2) A neighborhood cat happened by at the exact moment a bird was on our doormat for the first time ever. A skirmish ensued and the bird lost. Not a bad guess, but there was no blood to be found. Though maybe a snapped neck doesn't bleed.

3) Some Croatian is sending us a threatening message. It's well known that Italians send a dead fish as a warning that you are about to be brutally murdered and thrown into a body of water, where you will sleep with the fishes. Croatians, however, use feathers to symbolize that like a bird falling out of the sky, you are about to be dead. I need to find out if I have a neighbor named Dag Zaboblevic who is upset about some property line matter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WVFL Semi-Finals Review

St. A's Crusaders 104 - Vanduhlay industries 97

Well, not paying an ounce of attention to NFL injuries and bye weeks finally caught up with VI, as they started Brandon Jacobs over Steven Jackson in the semis. Jacobs, who was ruled out this weekend, posted a zero while Jackson ran all over Seattle for 18 points. If only...if only there was an easy way to get NFL news on television or the computer. A heroic 30-point effort from Andre Johnson was completely wasted.

I was right that Thomas Jones wouldn't score 20, I was right that Ryan Grant wouldn't pick up the slack, I was right that Gonzalez would outscore Gates and my playoff picks are 4-0 so far. How is it that I can never win in fantasy football!?!? And how is it that I'm such a remarkable egoist that I can turn a review that has nothing to do with me into a screed almost entirely about me?!?!?

Ryan Grant was the only Crusaders to not reach double digits as St. A's stormed into the finals. A nice change of pace from 2007, when the Crusaders started off 0-6.

Purple Swirls 89 - Lowcountry All Stars 83

The media cacophony is quickly reaching a crescendo. Jeff Webster cannot won the big game! But you can't blame Dallas Clark, who racked up an impressive 20 points. Impressive and remarkable...and ultimately useless. It's a fitting tribute that in a 31-27 game, Lee Evans only notched 2 points and his owner lost in the playoffs. Lee Evans is fantasy poison!

Second place in 2004. Third place in 2006. No worse than second place in 2008. Caulen is the Bret Saberhagen of the WVFL, shining in even years. The best backfield in the WVFL combined for 12 points, but Steve Smith rode to the rescue and carried the Swirls into the finals.

Monday, December 15, 2008

WVHL Week 10 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Whitechapel Rippers - 5-4-4

It seems like a bacon-wrapped travesty dipped in a disaster gorgonzola sauce to score 11 goals and 22 assists and just barely the win the week, but only two goalie starts will do that to you. Both goalie starts were atrocious, so at least I'm not playing the what if game.

Richards had 6 points and Knuble had 3 and the fact that Larry doesn't mind the Pens losing 6-3 on Saturday because of those points shows that fantasy sports is skewing our reality. First-round draft pick and trade untouchable Dany Heatley had 1 goal and a -2 this week. Did you know Ottawa has the fewest goals in the league this season?

***UPDATE*** - The Rippers also did not meet minimum goalie requirements, so ODWTC won 5-0-8. One of my goalies was hurt, I don't know what Whitechapel's excuse is.

Dynamo Mockba def. IC Pounders on Ice - 7-6

In two starts this week, Cristobal Huet allowed 1 goal in all. His netmates, Backstrom and Sabourin, combined for 5 losses. Not only that, Nate's 1 SO lost to the Pounders' 2! What a week between the pipes. Marleau, Elias and Dustin Brown each had 3g, 2a and Malkin had another 6 points. No wonder Nate won every offensive category except for SHG.

The Pounder goalies went 4-1 with a 1.28, .960 and 2 SO. Looking at the team's 41-56-20 record, I'm guessing they don't get that kind of performance very often. Zach Parise had 5 points and it is driving me crazy that the Devils can play boring hockey for a decade and then start scoring 5 goals a game when Brodeur finally gets hurt. God, I hate that team.

Medicine Hat def. Camelsfoot Range - 9-1-3

After finally learning out to win last week, Medicine Hat got good at it in a hurry. Marty Turco provided the Hat's one goalie loss this week and for that he was cut. Six points for Nicklas Backstrom. So is he good now, or what?

With 50 PIMs, at Caulen impressively won his one category this week. A meltdown by Jason Arnott provided 17 and Scott Niedermayer tacked on 12 more, with no points. Are we sure that wasn't actually Rob Niedermayer? Milan Lucic's provided a full 1/3rd of Camelsfoot offensive ouput.

Kitchener Ks def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 7-4-2

Eventually, you will see all sorts of statistical oddities, so how about this one: Kitchener was 2-1 in net and Dublin was 2-4...but Dublin won GAA and SV%. That, I'm pretty sure, is a new one. But it gets even more funner. One of Kitchener's wins came from a 1 GA effort from Scott Clemmensen. The loss came from Jason LaBarbera posting a 6.05/.769. The lesson, as always, is don't start/pick up/look at Jason LaBarbera.

Dublin had 9 goals and Vanek and Ryder combined for 8. Vanek had 5g, 0a and has 24 goals, 5 assists this season. He is getting his and not worrying about yours. Which is fine, because Dublin has the most total assists so far this season.

Keystone Winterhawks def. obamanators - 12-0-1

Somebody should pull the obamanators aside at the next league function and inform them that you are allowed to pick up goalies on the free agent wire. In fact, just this week there will 16 different goalie transactions. I mention this because with only two starts from Nabokov, the obamanators forfeited their L, GAA, SV% and SO wins and turned this one into a rout.

Jeff Carter has 32 points this season and it is not April yet. The Winterhawks won the SHG goal category with a single shorty from...you will never, ever guess...no really, never...give up yet?...JOHNNY ODUYA!

Abomidable Snowmen tied The Awful Stench - 5-5-3

A furious 3 goal rally plus a PPG Sunday night spurred the Stench to a comeback. Ryan Getzlaf has cooled off considerably, with only 1a and a -1 this week. I don't think Daymond Langkow was ever hot, but he was definitely cool this week with 0 points and a -1.

There isn't too much more to say about this one except the last place team blew a 3-point lead and has to settle for a tie.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Graffito Spoiler

I am not maudlin enough or simple of mind enough to read Mitch Albom books. Tuesdays With Morrie, Marley and Me and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I think those are the ones. I really have no idea what is in these books except for easy to understand words and emotions.

Except now I know what it is Marley and Me because somebody spray-painted THE DOG DIES on a movie billboard that I passed this morning.

Finally, some graffito I can get behind.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WVFL Semi-Finals Preview

Last Week: 2-0
Season: 55-38

Vanduhlay industries (8-6) at St. A's Crusaders (8-5)

Temperature at kickoff Thursday night will be around 15 degrees, and if Brees can rack up that many points, it'll be a nice little upset. Not sure if you've heard, but dome teams with pass-heavy offenses don't usually travel to the Northeast and Midwest in December all that well. The Crusader passing game won't be completed iced up, though, because Moss will take Asomugha away from Welker, and even though Washington is averaging something like 3 points a game in their last 6, Cincinnati is a good way for Santana Moss to get healthy.

Yahoo! has pencilled in Thomas Jones for 20 points, but that seems incredibly ambitious, even factoring in his recent hot streak, and Ryan Grant probably won't pick up the slack.

On the other hand, I don't like any of the VI matchups. I even think he'll be on the short end of this game's tight end battle, Gonzalez vs. Gates. The magical, barely paying attention ride for Vanduhlay comes to an end this week.

The Pick: St. A's Crusaders 86 - Vanduhlay industries 71

Purple Swirls (9-5) at Lowcountry All Stars (9-4)

The best backfield in the WVFL won't be facing much opposition this week. You could combine Houston and Cleveland's defenses and they would still be less rigid than a Jenga tower with all of the middle pieces pushed out. Steve Smith going against Denver is equally ridiculous and those three guys make it possible to ignore the problems Matt Ryan will have with Tampa Bay and the problems Maurice Morris will have with sucking.

Though, in a weird way, Ryan's struggles against Tampa could actually help the Swirls because Roddy White will struggle for the All Stars by default. It's too cold for Reggie Bush to do anything, Marshawn Lynch has been shaky all year and Lee Evans is back to sucking.

It's appropriate that the All Stars are relying on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark for points, because the All Stars are about to be just like the early '00s Colts - a great regular season wasted with a playoff loss.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 96 - Lowcounty All Stars 81

Deathfromabove (8-6) at Crafton Tough Kids (8-6)

(Previews not available for consolation games)

The Pick: Who Cares 1 - No Thanks 0

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WVFL Wild Card Review

Vanduhlay industries 77 - Deathfromabove 67

I am not at all afraid to point out that I called this upset. You might wonder how I know so much about football and yet manage to miss the playoffs every year, but that it a discussion for another time. Brandon Jacobs actually did play, but wasn't all that noticeable. Jay Cutler was plenty noticeable, racking up 19 points against the Chiefs, which may actually be a disappointment.

Yahoo! missed on their Peterson projection by a factor of 2 and missed on their DFA projection by 37 points. Only scoring 11 against Detroit in the first round of the playoffs makes Peterson the draft bust of the year. Thanks for nothing, chumpstyle! In short, secondary receiver roulette, DFA started Lance Moore and Eddie Royal over Kevin Walter. Unfortunately, Moore and Royal combined for 8 points and Walter had 20 all by himself. Such is life.

Purple Swirls 131 - Crafton Tough Kids 53

Wild card weekend occasionally features some blowouts. Like Dan Marino's last game when Jacksonville beat Miami 62-7. Or this game here. Vincent Jackson's benching was actually irrelevant, so at least Larry won't spend the offseason rocking back and forth in a dark corner.

Caulen boasts that he has the best backfield in the WVFL and with 22 points from Johnson and 32 from Westbrook, it would be hard to prove otherwise. Rookie QB Matt Ryan had 24 points! This might just be a team of destiny. And point density.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

WVHL Week 9 Review

Camelsfoot Range def. One Day With The Cup - 7-2-4

Facebook word games aside, I never beat Caulen. I just never do. So even though I had a 5-4 lead entering Sunday, it was like I was watching somebody go outside to investigate a strange noise in a horror movie. I knew what was going to happen, but not how.

The how was Kris Versteeg picking up 29 PIMs with 2 seconds left in the game, Kiprusoff throwing a shutout and Michael Leighton allowing 1 goal days after I dropped him for allowing 5 goals. Michael Leighton, you are a dick.

Chicago won 7-1 Sunday, only 1 goal in the whole game was on the power play and Brian Campbell had no points and was even in 21:00 of ice time. You know how hard that is to do? Hell of a way to snap a 5-week winning streak.

Dynamo Mockba def. Whitechapel Rippers - 7-4-2

The Mockba just keep on rolling, much to the surprise of their own GM. Malkin had an average 4 point week as he allowed Crosby to carry the team for a few games. On the other end of the fantasy stick is Trent Hunter, who should only be picked up in 22-team, 24-man leagues. Trent Hunter is terrible and his head is too skinny.

Mike Richards and Dany Heatley had good weeks, so they are the only Rippers not in danger of being dropped in a fit of panic or anger. Joey MacDonald's loss this week featured 5 goals allowed and a save percentage of .706, maybe the lowest save percentage I've seen this season. The Rippers were so porous in net that Carey Price's .896 is the team's high water mark.

Medicine Hat def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 6-5-2

The Donkey Punchers got tough Sunday and racked up 6 PIMs to bring their weekly total to 18. Perhaps they actually donkey punched somebody on the ice. But it was not enough to win the PIMs category and they did not do enough to win the week. Though I suppose winning the +/- with a -3 is fairly interesting.

The good news is that Medicine Hat has their first win of the year and it only took 9 weeks to do so. A 4-week losing streak and 0-6-2 record have fallen by the wayside. The bad news is that they are only moving up to 10th place.

Kitchener Ks def. obamanators - 6-5-2

Kitchener now has two straight wins over teams out of the bottom quadrant. Things are looking up! Except where Daniel Briere's groin is concerned. He's out anouther 6 weeks after testing his muscles too early. Kitchener was -7 on the week and Islander old man teammates Guerin and Weight were a combined -6. However, they will probably still be on the the United States' 2010 Olympic team.

Ilya Kovalchuk is being wasted on two teams, Atlanta and the obamanators. Incidentially, I feel like I've made that joke about a fantasy player at least 15 times this year between hockey and football. Kariya, Richards, Kostitsyn, Miettinen, Gonchar and Luongo all posted hyphens this week. - - - - - - - -. They all missed time with injuries. That's a pretty talented training room right there.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Abomidable Snowmen - 6-5-2

This score is mainly a Sunday night guess because the goalie situation is so crazy. Bryzgalov was left in for all 7 against Chicago in shade of Patrick Roy 1995, so I think the Snowmen will flip the GAA category, but the not the save % category. If I'm wrong, the Snowmen won 6-5-2 and you all found out three hours before I did out here on California time.

Even more astounding than Bryzgalov's 7.00 / .750 is that the Winterhawks won the +/- category with a -9. -9! The Snowmen were -10. Nik Antropov alone was a -6. Joe Thornton had 6 points, Lidstrom bounced back with 4, Jeff Carter continued tearing things up and Manny Fernandez parlayed a rare start into a shutout.

Joe Corvo had 0 points and a -2, so it's not all good news.

The Awful Stench def. IC Pounders on Ice - 8-3-2

The Stench burned a hole in the nets this week with 12 goals, 23 assists and a +14. Sidney Crosby had 6 assists and even Vaclav Prospal had 2 and 2.

I don't know what happened to Toronto this week, because besides Antropov's -6, Kubina had a -5 for the Pounders and if I recall, Kaberle was -4 for Camelsfoot. I guess maybe Brian Burke isn't the easy answer after all.

Friday, December 5, 2008

WVFL Wild Card Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 53-38

According to research rustled up by Clint, Drew Brees was the highest-scoring player in the WVFL this year. The scoring change from 50 passing yards per point to 25 certainly had an effect on our league. Sure, Brees has had a great year and all, and Tomlinson finally had a down year, but this is the first season I can remember in which not only did a back not have the most points, no running back cracked 200 points. In fact, the top 5 scoring players in the WVFL in 2008 were QBs and top WRs were more valuable than second RBs.

The thing is, I figured all of that before the draft, picked my team accordingly and it still didn't matter. Sorry to waste your great season, Anquan Boldin.

Deathfromabove (8-5) at Vanduhlay industries (7-6)

The highest-scoring 7-6 team with the fewest man games, VI claimed the final playoff spot by knocking off the Elbow last week. They practically had a blank spot from Gates Thursday night. Antonio managed to put up 0 points in a 34-7 win. Cutler, Johnson, Jacobs and Forte all have delightful matchups, but it might not be enough because the DFA matchups are preposterously good.

DFA has two Yahoo! projection rarities. 100+ for the team and 20+ for a player, Adrian Peterson. Factor in Warner at home against the Rams and various Titans against all of the Brownies and this game is going to see a lot of points.

VI is used to getting 0s from roster slots and it hasn't slowed them down much this season, so here's to the upset.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 110 - Deathfromabove 108

Purple Swirls (8-5) at Crafton Tough Kids (8-5)

The Swirls are not thrilled about going into Crafton to play this game. West End Stadium's historically shitty field is littered with dirt clods, mole holes, broken beer bottles and unwrapped - but also unused - condoms. Right before kickoff, Larry benched Vincent Jackson, perhaps fearing the great Nnamdi Asomugha. In a pique, Jackson put up 148 yards and a TD. Probably don't want 20 points on your bench in the playoffs, though I'm sure Amani Toomer can make that up.

Personally, I think Yahoo! is being too ambitious with their projections for Steve Smith and Westbrook. Tampa historically aces out Smith and the Giants are too good all around. Also, 20 points for Peyton Hillis? I know he's the best white tailback since Craig James, but Kansas City isn't that bad. Still, Chris Johnson and the Vikings DST should be enough to carry the day.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 89 - Crafton Tough Kids 70 (90, if Jackson played)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Trio Of Lunchtime Observations

What an interesting lunch I just had. Not because of the food or the company or the conversation, but because of the three fun oddities I encountered.

1) While I was waiting for my lunch partner, a cute, whitebread girl was waiting to meet somebody. A guy finally came over, looked around, found the one single person waiting in that area and asked, "Juh-MY-uh?" And she said, "JAY-mee."

Now, did she mistype her own name as Jamia in the email she wrote this man to arrange their lunch meeting? Or is the spelling of her name so convoluted that the pronuniciation is open to interpretation? And if it's the latter, what is that spelling? My best guesses are Jamieh and Jamye.

2) Plan B, a local strippery, has a van and we spotted it driving around town on our way to lunch. Does the van pick up groups of men and transport them to the club? At 1230pm, is it picking up strippers that lost their licenses after a DUI and bringing them to work? And either way, does a girl dance on a small pole in the back of the van while it's driving around?

3) In line of front of us at Chipotle was a man of Mediterrean descent wearing a pinstriped wool suit, wraparound sunglasses and a small ponytail. He looked like a background extra from Pretty Woman. I'm not sure if he sells couture or diamonds or leather, but I am sure that 75% of his sentences end with, "...my friend."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Recipe

We're having a little holiday dinner tonight at home. Nothing special, just something to get into the spirit of the season. And, actually, this isn't a recipe so much as a technique.

We're gonna make some pasta, roll it out into sheets for ravioli and use a basic filling like sausage, ricotta and chard. Chard is green and sausage was reddish at one point and ricotta looks like a snowbank, so I suppose it hits all three parts of the Christmas color wheel.

And then we will - are you ready for it? - use cookie cutters to cut the raviolis into Christmas shapes! Oh dear! Maybe a little brown butter and sage to finish it off and we are having a holiday meal!

This tree-shaped ravioli is delicious! Oh look! Candy cane shaped ravioli! I got a stocking one!

Fa la la la la la la la la!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WVFL Week 13 Review

As any parent can tell you, if you have a clever idea and it gets a laugh, it's fun the first time. Even the third time. By the 13th time, you're sick of it. This is that version.

Stringfellow Hawks 72 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 66

When I picked myself to score 105 points as one last screwgy, I forgot an important trend. I have now lost the season finale three straight years. At least this one only cost me dignity and not a playoff spot.

The Hawks got the win they needed, but not the points they needed to make the playoffs. Sorry to waste your four touchdowns, DeAngelo Williams.

Vanduhlay industries 97 - The People's Elbow 86

I spend way too much time thinking about fantasy football. I know that. I admit that. A guy who didn't field a full roster for half of his games is now going to the playoffs. VI needed 3 points from Andre Johnson to seal the win and he caught a touchdown on Houston's first drive. Not exactly a flair for the dramatic.

In a must-win game to clinch a playoff spot, the Elbow started Lorenzo Booker at W/R. I'll let you guess how that one turned out.

Crafton Tough Kids 72 - Newbomb Turk 62

I couldn't think of a more fitting finale for Newbomb than scoring 62 points. Fantasy bust of the year Braylon Edwards found his way onto the right team.

Crafton needed a win to make the playoffs and only scored 72 points. They are currently slitting a lamb's throat at the altar of the schedule gods. Vincent Jackson, your 0 is not ready for the playoffs. You don't get any points for catching a ball out of the back of the end zone. Not even one.

Purple Swirls 141 - Brookline Bucs 88

I love, love, love that Skip Henry had two of his best weeks after launching the Great Steeler Fantasy Experiment of '08. (His actual best week? 91 points when facing me in Week 7.) Sure, he lost both games, but he was usually losing anyway.

But even if Lawrence Timmons didn't run out of gas and end his interception return at the 1-yard line, the Bucs were still going to get crushed. The Swirls stormed into the playoffs on the strength of the highest WVFL 2008 point total. They had 78 points by the start of Black Friday!

Deathfrombelow 82 - Iron City Pounders 60

After formally giving up on the season, DFB won two straight. It really makes you think, doesn't it?

Needing a win and a lot of points, the Pounders started Plaxico Burress, who missed Sunday's divisional game with a hamstring pull, a gunshot wound and a warrant out for his arrest. They had 30 points before Steve Slaton put up 30 of his own Monday night. They are not making the playoffs.

Deathfromabove 121 - St. A's Crusaders 111

DFA got the win, but St. A's gets the bye. One wins the battle, the other wins the war. Wes Welker had 3 points, but did not receive a bonus for being on the wrong end of the hardest hit of 2008. It says something about me that I enjoyed this hit even more knowing that it was a penalty. It says something bad about me.

The Tennessee wing of DFA contributed 63 points before the bird was even out of the oven, and Kurt Warner's 18 points in a shitty loss was the fine port that capped off the evening.

Lowcountry All Stars 74 - Atlas Shruggz 66

This game was such a fait accompli that I actually forgot to preview it. Pencil me in for an All Stars pick, will you? Although they enter the playoffs with the league's best record, the All Stars need to use the bye week to reorganize an offense that has posted 63, 87, 85, 69 and 74 points in the last five games.

Atlas Shruggz is the team whose defensive lineman fire off the ball on a kneel down. They keep trying despite the hopelessness of the situation. My proverbial hat is proverbially off to them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

WVHL Week 8 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 9-1-3

This one looked a lot worse than it was because Dublin had insane problems in goal. Basically, if Dublin played a goalie, they struggled. If they benched a goalie, they were awesome. Specifically, on Monday, Dublin benched Sanford on purpose and Giguere on accident, but both goalies had a win and 1 GA. These things will happen when you carry four goalies.

The much-maligned Mikko Koivu had 3 and 3 this week with 4 power play points. Even better, he picked up a garbage misconduct with 30 seconds left in a game, helping ODWTC win the PIMs box. Kitchener kastoff Brad Boyes continued to get acclimated to his new surroundings with 2g, 1a and a PPGWG. It's just a winning environment around here! In the bad news department, Olli Jokinen got hurt and will miss a few weeks.

Dynamo Mockba tied Camelsfoot Range - 5-5-3

Jeb and George tied. Isn't that just the cutest? I cannnot properly express how envious I am of Nate, knowing that he sits in the Igloo watching Malkin score for both the Pens and Mockba. 3 goals, 5 assists, and +7 is quite a week for Gene. I think I know at least one of Liam's Christmas presents this year. On a sad note, once again Nate lost the goalie stats because he was not handed a minimum games forfeit.

With only 8 assists on the week, Camelsfoot is the rare hockey team that actually does want to look for the extra pass. Miikka Kiprusoff did it all by himself in net this week. Literally. With Fleury out and Hiller benched Sunday, Kipper's 3-0 record for the week is all Camelsfoot had. Fortunately, what they had was good.

obamanators def. Medicine Hat - 7-4-2

First, Nabokov was hurt. Then Luongo got hurt. They had been blown out two weeks in a row. Things looked bleak for the obamanators. Then Nabokov returned and went 3-0 with a 1.99 and .918 and they swept the goalie categories and everything was fine again. Except on offense. 4 goals and 13 assists isn't going to get it done most weeks. Imagine how that would've been without Zherdev's 1 and 5. It's not hard to imagine, actually. Without Zherdev, the obamanators had 3 goals and 8 assists for the week.

Medicine Hat will fall into last place after this one and there's plenty of blame to go around. Defensive future star Drew Doughty did have an assist, but he was also -2, proving that both defensemen and wines need time to age. Medicine Hat is proud to announce that Brian Burke has been hired as the team's new GM.

Kitchener Ks def. Abomidable Snowmen - 6-4-3

Thanks to Chris Pronger's 2 PIMs and Chris Mason's .983 save percentage, Kitchener mounted a Sunday rally to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 6-4 win. Huzzah. Ryan Clowe had 6 assists this week, but Bill Guerin somehow managed to go -5. I know for sure he was on the ice for one of Malkin's goals Friday night.

One goal short, two assists short, one penalty minute short, just a tough week all around for the Snowmen. When Antropov and Kopitar combine for 4 goals and 2 assists and you don't win, it can only be considered a waste.

The Awful Stench def. Keystone Winterhawks - 5-2-6

Well, well, well. Somebody else finally stepped up to knock off the Presidents' Trophy front runners. Unfortunately, it wasn't as decisive as it could've been, as the Stench needed a Sunday goalie start to qualify and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers-Green-Ellis got lit up like the strings currently hanging from my gutters. Sidney Crosby, regular reader of the Krog Blog, got fed up with hearing about how Getzlaf was the better center every week and responded with 6 goals, 3 assists and a +8. Cheechoo and Rafalski combined for 0 points and an even rating, which is positively dynamite compared to Prospal and Keith combining for 0 points an a -8.

The Winterhawks got absolutely nothing in net from Bryzgalov and Biron, and although Ovechkin's 5g, 1a week looks impressive, a 4g, 2a week would've been more useful to the Winterhawks. Michal Roszival had 5 assists and a +5?

Whitechapel Rippers def. IC Pounders On Ice - 10-2-1

It's not the first time some boys from White Chapel knocked back some Iron City pounders and it won't be the last. Rob Blake's 24 PIMs make the Rippers look like more of a goon squad than they are, but 50 PIMs total is still impressive. Apparently knowing that one of them could be traded at any moment was all the inspiration this team needed.

With 2 goals and 19 assists on the week, the Pounders are in need of a little balance. Sure, Marc-Andre Bergeron, your 5 assists this week are nice, but you couldn't tickle the twine yourself just once? The Pounders started Lundqvist Sunday night hoping to steal a few goalie categories. For the week, Lundqvist was 3-0 with a 1.90 and .943. It seemed entirely possible that the Pounders could cut the Ripper lead to 6-5. And then Lundqvist gave up 4 goals to the Panthers. And that, my friends, is why I never draft goalies early.