Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Official Gatekeeper Preview

The NHL probably trails only the major leagues in the number of hotshot, can't miss prospects that end up missing. The 1999 NHL Draft alone saw Patrik Stefan, Pavel Brendl, Brian Finley and Kris Beech go in the top 10, setting their teams back a year. What could be more fun than swinging and missing just like the GMs whose posters adorn our walls?

Hence, a keeper league. Finally, all the 22-year olds Caulen picks to show us how smart he is will pay off...even if it's not for three years.

With the first overall pick, The Dynamite Kid passed on Davey Boy Smith and went with Ovechkin. It was all downhill from there. Of course, how could it not be? Everybody after the best fantasy player is downhill. Dynamite provided us with the first keeper-level pick with Bobby Ryan in the third round, and then they took their diploma from the Michael Krogmann School of Winners (accredited) and loaded up the blueline with Weber and Streit.

Dynamite's 7th round pick of Thomas Vanek was clearly the best pick of the evening, as six other owners immediately chimed in with groans. Vanek was the porterhouse thrown into the lion cage and the quickest beast devoured it.

That is not to say The Dynamite Kid is not without problems. The pivot position could be better and even if Ryan moves up to the 80-point level, right wing is thin. Nathan Horton has shown his ceiling, Ryan Callahan is not a dynamic scorer and Mikael Samuelsson is just some guy. Also, as Turco winds down his career, another goalie will have to be found somewhere.

But oh, that Ovechkin and blueline!

2009-2010 Outlook - A lot of good players, and with Huselius, Staal, Horton, Turco and Tanguay, a lot of maddening inconsistency.

2011...And Beyond! - Well, they'll probably sign Ovechkin to 10 years, Ryan to 7 and figure out the rest later. But there's a solid enough core here.

Well, they didn't actually take Scuderi, which seems like underpromising and underdelivering. And Skoodles is actually wearing #7 at L.A. Live, but other than that, a good team name. Name aside, this is a really, really good team. In fact, Scuderi's main issue is going to be figuring out how to keep this group together. Malkin, Green and Zetterberg should get five years minimum, Kessel needs to be hung on to for this Brian Burke Toronto overhaul, and Wheeler, Perron and Steve Mason should be kept. Shane Doan, make sure you rent, not buy!

The quantity approach Scuderi took in net won't last and at least one, if not two, guys will be pared once the season starts and a hot free agent identifies himself. The only problem this team has, and this is nitpicking, is that it's potentially more top-heavy than balanced. But hell, hang on to the stars and plug in a new backing band every fall.

2009-2010 Outlook - Good.

2011...And Beyond! - Really good.

MooseJaw went a bit through the looking glass, confusing building an actual NHL franchise with a keeper fantasy team. Unless...I mean, I guess they could choose to keep Tavares, Varlamov, Little, Filatov, Neal, Stalberg and Lisin for five years each until they're useful fantasy providers. While keeping Crosby for ten years. And I don't think Erik Johnson will be an offensive blueliner even in his prime. Hey, I grok the idea of drafting sleepers in a keeper league. But one or two, not an entire KOA campsite.

So what we have here is a team with lots of potential, not enough contract years to go around, no PIMs and the chance to go -100 on the year. Now sure, I might end up with egg on my face come January, but there's a better chance MooseJaw ends up with Filatov in the minors and half of their team tossed back into the 2010 draft.

But they do have Crosby.

2009-2010 Outlook - Even with Crosby and Luongo, I'm willing to say this team misses the playoffs. Even though 60% of the league makes it in.

2011...And Beyond! - How far beyond are we talking?

The Prime Minister of Holland is outraged that Nate left the extra E out of hoeven, and if he's a President and not a Prime Minister, he's even more outraged now. Nate drew the cliff spot, the big dropoff between the three easy picks and where you have to start thinking, and he did well to take Ryan Getzlaf, a guy that will put up 90 points for a long time. He also reunited the Lennon-McCartney of Ottawa, Heatley and Spezza.

Nate also got perennial employee Henrik Lundqvist and hometown favorites Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury. I'll go so far as to say this is Nate's favorite team that he ever drafted. I think basically everybody on his bench right now except Hedman is going back into the pool next season, because none of them are going to provide the secondary scoring this team so desperately needs.

2009-2010 Outlook - Eh. Okay, I guess. Nothing too flashy.

2011...And Beyond! - Getlzaf, Heatley, Edler, Lundqivst and Fleury are a good core. But will he have the patience to wait on Hedman? Defensemen usually need five years to blossom.

The only thing I don't like about my team is the name, and I'm holding out hope I can improve that before the season. Caulen and I have a fundamental disagreement on the relative values of defensemen and goalies. I've finished 1st and 3rd the last two WVHL seasons by focusing on defense and ignoring goalies, and I feel that is empirical evidence. If this in fact the case, I will be cruising to the title on the backs of the greatest fantasy blueline ever assembled. It is The Beatles of blueline. Sure, Mike Green is Ringo and I have to hope Ryan Whitney can be Pete Best, but look at any preseason fantasy rankings, and I have 3 of the top 5 guys on defense. The +/- and PIM categories are mine! Clearly, this ongoing debate will be settled this season.

Unless I finish fourth.

But ANYWAY, I do really like my team, even more than usual. Ditching losses increases the value of Gustavsson and Khabibulin in net, and having Brodeur (6th round!) for the first time ever promises to be fun. Backstrom, Alfie and Kopitar will deliver assists while Nash, Eriksson, Franzen and Hemsky pile up goals. If any of the X factors of Kunitz, Dubinsky and Stafford come through, this team won't even need a name. The league will refer to it simply as "Oh, Shit".

2009-2010 Outlook - This team is so good, it will probably meet itself in the finals.

2011...And Beyond! - A good core to build around and we'll have at least two of the league's best defensemen for a long time.

For only being one meter tall, these Mexicans are tough little guys. Perry, Backes and Blake should capture the PIMs point almost every week and Souray and Bieksa aren't exactly wallflowers. Los Mexicanos should also dominate in net and in the frustration category, with Kovalev and Antropov being about the two most frustrating guys in the league.

There's nothing else too remarkable about this team and there's no real identity to it. I mean, I guess their anchor is Marc Savard? Even though they drafted Perry first? Something they didn't really seem too keen on at the time. But if they're controlling five of the scoring categories each week, they'll begin to frustrate us as much as Antropov frustrates him each week.

2009-2010 Outlook - Better than you think

2011...And Beyond! - This team is going to look pretty different next year. Most of these guys must be going back in the pool, right?

The Winterflyers not taking Mike Richards in the first round is probably the upset of the century, unless them not getting Claude Giroux beats it, but at least they got Carter and Hartnell for their 2009-10 descents to reality.

They also took Cam Ward wayyyyyyyyy too high and Jonas Hiller even though Giguere is still the actual starter in Anaheim. And no Ray Emery? The blueline will provide tons of points, but Cammalleri has the potential to join Carter and Hartnell on the downslide. Elias, Blake...Keystone basically drafted the opposite of a keeper team. Old guys on the way down instead of young guys on the way up.

Maybe it will work.

2009-2010 Outlook - Cloudy

2011...And Beyond! - It's going to be interesting to see how many contract years are given to Carter. This has a lot of Bob Clarke potential.

This team was humming right along in the draft, opening up with a rock-solid nucleus of Datsyuk, Semin, Kane and Backstrom the goalie. But then, like somebody noticing they were perfectly on rhythm and then losing the beat, the Muhziks took Ray Whitney in the 6th round. The pick was so jarring that Klevyy hadn't recovered by the 8th round, when they took Michael Frolik. Intentionally.

This another PIM-heavy team with Lucic, Clutterbuck, Burrows, O'Brien and Montador all earning frequent-traveler points at the Penalty Box Hotel. Unfortunately, too many of those guys don't do anything else and this team needs help at center, left wing and more points from the blueline. These needs are too glaring and specific to lend themselves to pithy remarks. Besides, Russians hate humor, finding it frivolous.

2009-2010 Outlook - Not amazing

2011...And Beyond! - The Muhziks might be the most active team in next year's draft.

As the draft started, Caulen crowed about his planned first round pick and how sly it was. Then he took Ilya Kovalchuk, who has been a first round pick for about nine years now. Like somebody from Pitchfork declaring The Rolling Stones to be their favorite band, we were left expecting more. Keeping the music analogy going, this keeper league is a dream come true for Caulen, who loves potential more than players. He loves to draft young guys like a Pitchfork editor only seeing underground shows, then ignoring a favorite band's major label debut. It's what he was made for.

So what gems did Caulen unearth? What acts did he break? Claude Giroux, Derrick Brassard and his precious, Alex Goligoski. That's it? Peter Mueller? Kyle Okposo? Patrik Berglund? Only guys we've already heard of? What a letdown! And to top it off, I drafted Jonas Gustavsson just to mess with Caulen...only Caulen told me I talked him off Gustavsson during the WVHL draft! And he seemed remarkably pleased with "stealing" the constantly maligned Carey Price in the sixth.

Lecavalier, Thornton, Kovalchuk and Toews will be great, and getting Hossa back in December will be a free boost, but this team will be seriously hurting for goals. Man, I knew this team would have trouble scoring goals when they were still playing open mic nights!

2009-2010 Outlook - Decent. Let's not plan a release party just yet.

2011...And Beyond! - Giroux and Goggles are the future.

If Zach Parise is your first round pick, you don't want to hear that Jacques Lemaire is back coaching the Devils and promising more defensive responsibility. With Richards and Pronger, then Frolov and Brown, the Slashers twice took teammates with consecutive picks, then later took teammates Mikko Koivu and Zidlicky with 2 out of 3 picks. If nothing else, hotel room assignments are settled.

The Slashers have one good goalie and then two very significant question marks fighting for the other spot. But if Gaborik can hold up (Ha! I know! Seriously!) and they can figure out how to squeeze six centers into three lineup spots and Parise, Richards and Krejci all follow up career years, things could be okay.

Interestingly, the Slashers should up around even on the +/- because half of their guys will be +20 or better and half will be -20 or worse.

2009-2010 Outlook - They're okay.

2011...And Beyond! - Pierre McGuire would give Richards 39 years and cut everybody else. The Slashers should only give Richards 38 and give Nabokov 2.

WVFL Week 4 Review

The Monday morning ritual in American workplaces for the past decade has become issuing projections more far-fetched than Enron's quarterly earnings forecasts. "Well, I have Player X tonight and if he can do A through M and my opponent's guy only gets two yards and fumbles, I can still win."

Not me. I didn't even have a micron of hope that Felix Jones would score the 33 points I needed. In fact, I was mostly curious to see how I would lose. Shocking Carolina upset? Barber miraculously suiting up? The worst possibility seemed to be Jones posting 28 points through three quarters, getting me excited and hopeful and then Tashard Choice scoring Dallas' final touchdown.

I forgot about my old standby. The injury. Jones looked positively electric early on, then tweaked his knee and may miss 2-3 weeks. Wonderful. I started Holmes and sat Benson, so Benson had a TD, Holmes did nothing and the Steelers lost. Oh, and Reed missed another field goal. Shame that I wasted Ray Rice's first - and probably last - touchdown of the year.

As predicted, Willie Parker had a great game after being declared all but dead, including his first receiving touchdown in three years. And Joe Addai scored a touchdown just to prove to me that he could. Drew Brees had his first dud game and it didn't even matter. Not a bit.

Oh, and by the way, I still could've beaten half the teams in the WVFL this week. With the right scheduling, I could be 3-0. It truly is a wonderful sport.

Oh, and by the by the way, I had the #1 waiver spot and put in a claim for Glen Coffee. No, I don't think he'll make me start winning. I just want to screw with the good teams that have hurt me so.

No matter how good I think I am or should be, I have the same 0-3 record as Nate. Buccaneer teammates Winslow and Bryant combined for 2 points. And it's not like they stuck out on the Elbow. In fact, Peyton Manning had 30 points, more than the rest of Elbow combined. Hell, Le'Ron McClain posting 3.6 points probably qualifies as a pleasant surprise.

What is going on with Donald Driver this season? Wasn't he supposed to be done by now? Terrell Owens didn't catch a single ball for the first time in about 140 games, but when you're playing the Elbow, a 0 from one player isn't going to kill you.

Teams that have been on the wrong side of the Toyota blowout ad are now 0-2 the following week, and the Rockers have their second chance in a row to break the hex. Roddy White and Laurent Robinson combined for 5 points, which makes it seem like the Rockers need some help at WR. But even if you have four good WRs, the Rockers aren't willing to part with the disappointing Matt Forte. Believe me, I checked. Clinton Portis posted 4.8 against the Lions, which is probably the worst effort of the week when you factor in the difficulty multiplier.

Maurice Jones-Drew decided enough was enough this week, slamming in three touchdowns. DFA has already decided enough is enough this season and apparently is going to lay waste to the WVFL like locusts in Kansas.

And because fantasy football is fantasy football, I promise, promise, PROMISE you DFA will not win the title this year.

You shouldn't have Julius Jones on your team. And if you do, for whatever reason, the bench is the best place to put him. But if the Hawks start Jones over Darren Sproles this week, they win. Instead, they did not win. As promised, Ocho was too busy talking to actually do anything this week, and we've probably never come closer to seeing a murder on an NFL sideline during a game than Steve Smith eyeballing Jake Delhomme last night.

Joe Flacco started his fantasy career with a nice game, but Eddie Royal did indeed get Nnamdied, as I promise. (SIDE NOTE: Not only can I predict what individual players will do, my picks went 5-1 this week. I KNOW the NFL very, very well. This fantasy hex I have is AMAZING!) Pierre Thomas didn't play the first two weeks, did nothing in the first half Sunday, then ran in two long touchdowns to seal the game. Patience is indeed a virtue.

Roy Williams sucks. That short fade he dropped in the end zone completely on his own, if somebody made a drop like that in the backyard during a barbecue, I would be disappointed. Derrick Ward had 0.9 against his former mates and DeAngelo Williams is shockingly not living up to last year's historic effort. And yet, the WBG won by 25. Thank you, Aaron Rodgers.

Braylon Edwards has 13 points on the entire season. The Browns are so bad that the Cavaliers are already 0-2. Their stink is affecting the entire city. Shame that Doppelganger wasted Steven Jackson's first nice game of the year.

John Carlson hasn't quite followed up Week 1's 20-point effort. Maybe he's only good on the bench. Speaking of Seattle, thank god they lost in those Arena2-level uniforms, lest they start thinking they were lucky and we have to see them again. Those things are not acceptable in the NFL. Kurt Warner posting 15 points in a 31-10 loss is a minor miracle. I can see why he's such a religious fellow.

Atlas started an injured Wes Welker, absorbed his 0, saw Adrian Peterson held in check and still won by 32. Must be nice.

Friday, September 25, 2009

WVFL Week 3 Preview


Two weeks into the season, very few trends are presenting themselves. We've yet to have the waiver wire hero come out of nowhere and we've only had one really close loss. About the only throughlines we're seeing are more teams than ever putting up triple digits, and Ray Rice becoming my latest back who runs wild for 80% of the field, but never scores touchdowns. Probably don't need touchdowns in a year when teams are cracking 100 on the regular, though.

Actually, here's one thing. It's early, but the 12 teams in our league are perfectly arranged by point total. Yes, having eight teams 1-1 helps that quirk, but still. Except for one rogue team that had to wear red on St. Patrick's Day. That jerk team with the 7th-most points sitting in the 11 spot.

I have to admit, my team name was intended as a joke and not a forecast. But here we are. Can the Nev-R-Wins fly as high as one game under .500? We shall see. With the death of Tomlinson forcing Rivers to heave it more often, Johnson and Moss finally out of the shadow of Revis Island, Ray Rice running (but not scoring) against Cleveland and Felix Jones subbing in for an injured Marion Barber, things have never looked better. It is my vow to you, as I sit here and breath, to change my team name to The Seld-M-Wins if we pull this one out.

Would 3 touchdowns against Buffalo be considered a disappointment for Brees? Yeah, probably. Greg Jennings will bounce back against the Rams and Joseph Addai will probably continue the trend of former players having great games against me. People are saying Willie Parker's career is over, so look for him to hit paydirt against the Bungles and Baltimore could score two touchdowns off of bad Brady bombs.

This one is going to be closer than people think.


Nate sent out the clarion call for a #1 receiver this week, offering anybody in a trade. I'm sure 10 teams in the league looked at Nate's roster, realized he didn't have anybody they wanted back in a trade, and moved on. The other owner, Clint, didn't see the alert. Ryan, Jacobs, Slaton, Owens and Gonzalez all face bad defenses and the Pounders face a bad team. Shouldn't be too much of an issue. About the only concern for the Pounders is that if Slaton doesn't get going this week, he's probably a bust.

Nate dropped Le'Ron McClain for Mario Manningham on Wednesday, then dropped Michael Jenkins for McClain today. I guess this was the Elbow's version of a timeout in the corner. But here's where the joke is on me. It's possibly - nay, likely! - that after this week, I'll still have the same record as what is literally the worst team in West View history. In all sports.



One thing working against the Rockers this week is that no team on the wrong side of the Toyota blowout ad has won the following week. Now sure, the sample size - just me! - is small, but there's no arguing with statistics, is there? Another thing working against them is that Deathfromabove is an accurate a team name as Nev-R-Wins. DFA is just strafing people right now.

When Firerock fires a surface-to-air missile Sunday, will it make contact? Well, Forte should finally live up to his draft slot, Portis is playing Detroit and with Westbrook limping again (already!), McCoy could be a nice play. So maybe.

Then again, maybe it'll just make DFA mad. I mean, I have never seen a Yahoo projection as high as the 118 they're calling for DFA this week.


And Joe Flacco steps into fantasy relevance, ladies and germs. Right at home in purple, too. He's going to need to be really relevant for the Swirls, because things are not looking good. The pre-season warning note about Fitzgerald's big games coming only when Boldin is out are proving prudent, Eddie Royal will be shut down by Nnamdi, Kevin Smith faces a strong Redskins defense and Pierre Thomas is only probable right now.

If Matt Schaub can keep from getting hurt, he should pile up points (throw it to Johnson!) against a Jacksonville that's crumbling like a week-old pecan sandie. Ocho promises to make Ike Taylor "kiss the baby" this week and while I'm still semi tuned-in, I have no idea what that means. I do know that the more Chad talks and promises, the less he ends up doing. I also know Stringfellow will be kissing DFA at the 3-0 Cafe by Tuesday.


Three weeks now, I've been able to recognize which team is the real one and which is Clint's simulacrum simply by looking at the rosters. I am that tuned in with this league. WHAT in the HELL is WRONG with me?!

Yahoo projects Jamal Lewis to score 0.47 points against Baltimore. They...they are predicting he'll have 4 yards? Where does the extra .07 come from? Either way, that is rough. Might want to get Ward or Cotchery or any other player in the league in that flex spot. Or maybe Lewis is in there intentionally to make Larry Johnson feel better about his own weak effort.

This one is really the moveable object against the resistible force. Marshall is still in the doghouse, Edwards sucks, Gore faces Minnesota, LenDale is chubby and faces the Jets...outside of Jackson against Green Bay, it is not looking good.


Hopefully Warner puts up 75 points this week, because Brookline has nobody. This lineup looks like a Starbucks after a G20 protestors storm through it. Empty and sad. Bowe is hurt, Westbrook is hurt, Ward is the second fiddle, Johnson plays a great defense. The Pirates farm system looks more rich.

Atlas has some major holes, but the positives they have are way positive. Cutler, Boldin, Peterson and Brown should all be just plain delightful.


Monday, September 21, 2009

WVFL Week 2 Review


I was starting to worry a bit that my complaining about my preposterous fantasy football luck was descending into delusions of grandeur, paranoia and annoyance. That I was becoming the Glenn Beck of the league. Then St. A's yelled at me picking up Jeff Reed and making him miss two field goals in a row for the first time in his career, costing the Steelers a sure win. That cemented my beliefs and, like Glenn Beck, I believe that Nelson Rockefeller founded a secret sect that was expressly created to one day destroy me, America and my second-favorite country, Belgium.

What else could explain Marques Colston scoring five TDs for me all of last year, but three already this year, including two against me this week? What else could explain me being the only team in the league this week to post 100+ and lose? What else could explain me having the 7th most points, the 0th most wins and the most points against?

Right now, winning a fantasy football game would feel as good to me as climaxing and sneezing at the same time. However, both phenomena are equally freakish and elusive.

Nelson Rockefeller built the Mauna Kea resort in Hawai'i in the '60s and I was married there in 2003. Somehow, it's all tied together.


Another conspiracy that came to light this week was Greg Jennings not catching any balls against Cincinnati and then mysteriously refusing to talk about it. Hester only posted 2 points himself and, in fact, if you were a Crusader this week, you either had more than 20 points or less than 10. And Barber could've had more if his leg didn't explode on the 10 like he was Moses about to finally step into the Promised Land.

This was actually a 2-point game when Monday started, but the Ronnie Brown vs. Joseph Addai matchup fizzled when it turned out that Addai was actually competing with Donald Brown for Colts carries. Ronnie Brown carried the Shruggers to an easy win.

Chris Chambers only had 3 points, but it's good to know he's still in the league.


Here's the good news for Nate. It was easy to set his starting lineup this week with Bryant, Tomlinson and Lynch all out. Here's the bad news. His starting lineup is beyond atrocious. For the second week in a row, Lance Moore didn't catch a single pass, and he was barrrrrely the worst Elbow. Only Peyton's late, game-winning touchdown prevented DFA making making the Toyota Blowout of the Week ad twice in a row.

DFA has rolled so thoroughly in the first two weeks that they probably haven't noticed that their first two picks - MJD and Brady - struggled this week, and that when Marshawn Lynch returns from suspension, Fred Jackson's role will be reduced greatly. Eh, I'm sure they'll be fine as long as Willis McGahee keeps stealing touchdowns.


Hello, Toyota! If not for Dallas Clark's unbelievable Monday night game, this could've been a 60-point loss. That kind of thing will happen when your top two running backs only combine for 15 points. Which is as much as Michael Turner had on his own for the Hawks, and 6 less than what Darren Sproles had.

Matt Schaub was having a great game, but when he tacked on 4 rushing yards to push his total to 30.68 on the week, things were really looking good. Antonio Gates and Rian Lindell were the only Hawks who didn't score touchdowns in this game. Don't thrown garbage on Lindell's lawn, please. He's just a kicker.


Well, whatever bragging rights there might be in this one go to Clint, who is now two legs through the Kress Triple. This matchup was decided entirely in the San Francisco - Seattle game when Matt Hasselbeck broke a rib and had to leave early...and Frank Gore went for 40 points. Interestingly, outside of Gore, the other Doppelgangers were pretty terrible. 4 for Olsen, 2 for LenDale, 3 picks for Romo.

Caulen might be somewhat concerned that his 6th-round selected defense only has 13 points so far this season. Or that Denver scored 27 points with Royal only getting 20 yards. In fact, Brandon Marshall only had 4.80 points as well. How the hell did Denver score 27 points? Oh, they were playing Cleveland. That's right. It just happens.


The Whizzers are going to have to tighten up that run defense, or else it's going to be a long season. 40+ for Peterson in Week 1 and now 50 this week for Chris Johnson. Interestingly, one Johnson TD came on a play where Houston literally didn't cover him out wide, Collins simply flicked him the ball and Johnson jogged 70 yards down the sideline. John Carlson, naturally, had 4 points this week since Skip Henry actually played him.

The WBG can't stop the run and they can't throw the ball either. Wayne and Roy Williams combined for 5.5 points. Jamal Lewis, who snuck onto the field when nobody was looking, only had 4.6 points.

Both of the teams had their backup QB outscore their starting guy. It mattered in neither case.

Friday, September 18, 2009

WVFL Week 2 Preview



One nice thing Yahoo! added this season is free stattracker. Now, I can get minute-to-minute updates on how badly my team is losing. Which brings us to the one not nice thing Yahoo! added this season. A Toyota-sponsored Biggest Fantasy Blowout banner. I lost by 32.84 points last week and Toyota spent $50,000 on to tell everybody about it.

Another new development I heard about today from a friend was that YouPorn or xtube or one of them allows you to sign in and create a favorite playlist. (No, seriously! I had no idea.) I can't think of what that does except allow people to go onto your laptop and find out that you're way too into nude Muy Thai boxing matches. I can't decide which new thing is more embarrassing.

As for football, in Week 1, Darrelle Revis held Andre Johnson to 35 receiving yards. Last year, Revis held Randy Moss to an average of 58 yards in their two matchups. The smart play would be for me to sit Moss this week, but with my luck, Moss would then score 35 points and there's no way I'm setting myself up for that. Instead, I'll play Moss and just take the 5 points.

For the Pounders, Matt Ryan should be okay because Carolina is absolutely falling apart, but if Steve Slaton has more than 4 points against Tennessee, I'll be stunned. Driver and Owens are both washed up, so no worries there. In fact, my greatest concern this week might be the Minnesota defense steamrolling young Mr. Stafford.



Atlas Shrugged stresses the value of the superior and unique individual in helping society, and it definitely takes a unique individual to lose with Adrian Peterson scoring 40+ points. Peterson could post another 40 against Detroit and maybe even flirt with 50, but can Atlas waste another magical performance? Cutler against Pittsburgh certainly won't help, but Welker should thrive against the Jets and Ronnie Brown could work against the Colts. As for Reggie Bush...can you believe only a few years ago people had real arguments over whether Vince Young or Reggie Bush should be drafted first? As it turns out, Mario Williams was the right pick, Haloti Ngata should've gone second and Bush honestly would be about a fifth round pick.

If Cutler is going to struggle against Pittsburgh, then Hester will too, logic dictates. The Philly secondary isn't what it used to be and Drew Brees isn't what he used to be, either. In a good way. I used to watch Chargers game in Brees' first few years and he couldn't even throw a spiral. then Gates showed up and Brees was suddenly good. It was bizarre.

It's gonna be Ronnie Brown vs. Joseph Addai to decide this one on Monday night, but since Peterson will probably stake Brown to a 15-point lead, go with him.



When Seinfeld announced its last season, everybody enjoyed the tributes and the reminiscing and the old reruns...and hated the final episode. If Nate's reunion with The Bullet Train is Seinfeld, we are already at the final episode and Nate is sitting in jail.

Tomlinson has already been ruled out this week. Antonio Bryant is officially listed as both sucky and doubtful. Nate's BEST lineup will feature Lance Moore starting, Michael Jenkins at flex and Le'Ron McClain - a FULLBACK! - at RB2. Also, keep in mind that Peyton usually has trouble with 3-4 defenses. Yahoo's predicted score for this game is 104-57. That is not a joke. This game will be more brutal than going on to a friend's YouPorn favorites list and finding your daughter in half of the clips.

It actually feels pointless to talk about DFA. Though in looking at these matchups, I'm not sure how Yahoo figures them for 100+. Brady could struggle against the Jets, Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson play tough defenses and Fred Jackson has had one good game. Still, if DFA manages to crack the 20-mark, they should cruise.



The conventional wisdom usually trails the truth by a significant margin, and the truth is that the '09 are like the '95 Steelers. A team that will have success flinging the ball all over the field. Perhaps another big game from Ben this Sunday will begin to shift the CW a bit. The CW already knows that Drew Brees is not a man, he's a machine. So playing the Philly defense against him is an interesting career choice. Forte will struggle against the Steelers like 9 out of 10 backs and Housh will find out that the CW has not caught up to the goodness of the 49er defense yet, either.

Jake Delhomme will not get pulled again this week. Not because he's guaranteed to be any better, but because his backup is Matt Moore now that Josh McNown got hurt. Doesn't look so good for little Steve Smith. And the only thing separating Matt Schaub from Delhomme right now is all the turnovers.

God, neither one of these teams is very good. I tell you what is good, though. These remastered Beatles albums. The sound is so full and lush and the bass grooves and snare hits come through so cleanly, that I like to imagine that Paul and Ringo had a Flying Hellfish-style pact in which when they were the last two left, they would simply go into Abbey Road studios, push up the sliders on the bass and drum tracks and then re-release the albums.



I imagine this one is for the bragging rights in the 400lb offices, but I have no ideas how reserved, twee people talk trash to each other. I think around the turn of the last century, they would write novellas about each others's poor taste in port and affinity for zaftig, uneducated women. Now, if you want to know how insecure jocks talk trash, just follow me around for a couple of days and write down everything I say. You fag!

Anyway, Hasselbeck will struggle against the Niners and Kevin Smith will be going nowhere slow against Minnesota. On the other hand, outside of Tony Romo, every other Doppelganger is either terrible, has a bad matchup or both.

Since there's nothing else to say about this one, let's not.



Like my enthusiasm for fantasy football each season, my enthusiasm for these previews starts off strong with lots of energy and really starts to peter out towards the end. This year, I stopped giving half a thimble of fuck last Sunday when I watched DeSean Jackson run a first quarter punt back and realized that my opponent scoring a single touchdown would be tough for me to overcome.

But at least I don't have Larry Johnson on my team. Goddamn, is he terrible. Then again, if I posted the 2nd-highest total last week like the WBG did, I probably wouldn't care either. Out of all of my friends, Larry and Scott are probably the two most Pittsburgh people that I know. Heck, they both joined the Ironworkers Local 377 even though they both have white collar jobs. They know what separates a good chipped ham barbecue from a bad one. (The crockpot you use must be chocolate brown and at least 35 years old.)

You know, I'm sorry to ramble on about nothing here. I need to take this preview more seriously. After all, my writings are so influential that my pointing out that Scott Henry shouldn't have two tight ends got him to drop Owen Daniels, who will obviously catch two TDs.

God, I am stumbling to the finish and I haven't even opened tonight's wine yet.


Monday, September 14, 2009

WVFL Week 1 Review

I woke up Monday morning up 1 point. I'll wake up Tuesday morning down 33 points and 0-3-1 in my last four openers. I feel like I should care, but at this point, I'm so inured to fantasy disappointment that it barely moves the needle any more. I'm much more concerned that I went 0-3 in my betting pool and only have enough points left for two bets before I'm eliminated. Or that I would've taken the early lead in my confidence pool except for Cincinnati losing in a way that has literally never happened before in NFL history.

Speaking of my super hex powers, 2008's leading receiver Andre Johnson had 35 yards, DFA's Tom Brady threw 2 TDs, neither of which went to my Randy Moss, and my Phillip Rivers threw 1 TD to his Vincent Jackson. All a coincidence, I'm sure.

Well, the spread in this one was 19.57, so a real drag for all you punters who backed the favorite. Too bad Anthony Gonzalez went down so early or else they might have covered. The fact that Drew Brees put 37 points and Marques Colston only had 9 probably doesn't bode well for Colston. I think the ball will be spread around more than swine flu in New Orleans this year.

Things went so well for St. A's that they probably didn't even notice the very clear warning signals that Willie Parker's fantasy relevance is completely over. Or, if they did notice, they didn't care.

Steve Slaton had one of those really cool fumbles that shot straight up in the air, but unfortunately for the Pounders, it did not count for 31 bonus points.

Putting up the third-lowest weekly total in the league isn't all bad, as long as you time it right. Like, say, when you're playing the lowest weekly total. And without Thomas Jones' monster 22-point effort, it would've been even uglier for the Elbow. The fact that the Chargers benched Tomlinson when they were down 20-17 and driving probably does not bode well. The receiving triumvirate of Antonio Bryant, Chris Henry and Lance Moore combined for 8.50 points. Well done, boys.

Don't be too proud of yourselves, Stringfellow.

Roddy White outscored Brandon Marshall and Braylon Edwards all by himself, which sounds impressive...until you realize that White only had 4.20 points. No, the heroes in this one for Firerock were Bensa and Philadelphia, with the Eagles D putting 29 points, with 5 assists to Jake Delhomme.

Greg Olsen had 1 catch for 8 yards and thanks to our new fractional scoring system, he was not shut out this week. Romo, Gore and the Giants DST combined for 56 of Doppelganger's 76 points. That is a very American dispersion.

If a team is going to carry two tight ends for some reason, like Brookline, then they'd better make sure to start the right one each week. Owen Daniels had 4.4 points. John Carlson had 21.5. Guess which one was on the bench?

Matt Hasselbeck only gets to face the Rams once more this season, so his 20-point games could be few and far between. Caulen's 6th round-drafted defense was outscored in this game, but it didn't matter.

We have to be one of the only leagues in the country in which Adrian Peterson's owner didn't win this week. But when Peterson has 41 points and everybody else only has 52, bad things can happen. 1 point from the kicker, 2 from the defense, 1.8 from Anquan Boldin, 5.3 from Ronnie Brown, 4.9 from Reggie Bush. All less than Peterson got from his one long touchdown run Sunday. Reggie Bush, by the way, is a fucking terrible pro.

I watched one play where Larry Johnson tried to gain the edge against Baltimore and he barely gained the opposite hashmark. The Larry Johnson era is over. That is about the only bad thing that can be said about the Whizzer-Bangers today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WVFL Week 1 Preview


LAST WEEK: What are you, an idiot?

I was going to hold off the preview until Friday and just chalk up the Thursday night kickoff as a sunk cost, but then I received two separate queries as to where the preview was. (You lie!) Aww, you guys.

So here we go!


Last year, DFA ran a Sunday afternoon sortie on me in Week 1, turning my team headquarters into rubble. Marques Colston was killed by shrapnel in the bombing. It set the tone for a terrible season and dropped me to 0-2-1 in the last three openers.

This year, that all changes! Maybe. Maybe not. But this game has all the markings of a high-powered shootout. Despite what Yahoo thinks, Cedric Benson has a dream matchup against an atrocious Denver defense. In fact, I’m picking Cincy as a sleeper this year. A defense that’s much better than anybody realizes and the offense should be back. Ray Rice’s matchup against Kansas City is even creamier.

DFA isn’t exactly lacking firepower, either, though with no offensive coordinator and a 14-year old left tackle, don’t expect Fred Jackson to do much against the Bradys.

This matchup is going to come down to both Monday night tilts and in an odd fashion. Phillip Rivers for me will be throwing to Vincent Jackson for him, and Tom Brady for him will be throwing to Randy Moss for me. Lucky for me, Rivers has other options.



Pretty much metric a person can think of indicates that the Falcons will descend to Earth this season after an 11-5 2008. Whether gently or nose first remains to seen. Conversely, every metric a person can think indicates that Drew Brees will put up at least 25 fantasy points on the Lions.

Fortunately for the Pounders, some of the points should go to Colston, which will be a salve on the wound. Steve Slaton should struggle against the surprisingly good Jets defense, and Terrell Owens will probably have slammed his helmet so hard he cracks it by the Bills’ third punt in the first quarter. And Tim Hightower sucks.

Jacksonville is falling apart, but Addai is too, so who knows how that one turns out. Yahoo projecting 10 more points for these teams than mine is more disgusting than hearing a California state rep talk about his jizz dripping out of an energy lobbyist as she walks up the stairs.



I try to exaggerate for comedic effects at times, but sometimes I can’t get wide enough of the truth no matter how hard I try. As I joked in the season preview, Nate did not actually know who Antonio Bryant’s quarterback is. When I joyously informed him it was Byron Leftwich, I could actually hear the groan through IM.

But, amazingly enough, I like the Elbow this week. Yes, I am picking the team I called the worst in the league over the one I called the best. No, I did not forget I wrote that just last week. But life is all about matchups. The Bullet Train traditionally destroys Oakland, Thomas Jones should be okay against Houston, Lance Moore should be a part of the points orgy in New Orleans and Manning can tear up Jacksonville.

On the other side, Schaub, Smith, Turner and Grant all have rough matchups. Live boldly, my friends. This is the upset pick of the week.



Okay, hang on. I have to look at this for a second and remember which team is Clint in this matchup and which is TK. Okay, TK has Big Ben.

You know, the Black Eyed Peas are performing on the TV right now and between that and these two rosters, I’ve just lost my appetite. For life. God, I’m going to score 100 points this week and be 0-1 and one of these two shitpiles will be 1-0. Fuck this. These two don’t deserve a preview.



I wonder what would conflict Skip Henry more. Chris Johnson scoring 3 touchdowns against the Steelers in Week 1 or Glenn Beck saving Heather’s life with CPR. I can’t answer that one with certainty, but if Johnson does score a bunch, Henry shouldn’t reject those points, because he won’t be scoring too many more this week. Westbrook is dinged up, and Jonathan Stewart isn’t even playing. Between Johnson, Ward and Tennessee all playing Thursday, Brookline is going to have two full days to stew on how few points they have.

Kyle Orton’s finger discloated so badly a couple of weeks ago that the bone broke through the skin. With Chris Simms hurt, Denver’s backup is a guy named either Brandtschmidt or Schmidtbrandt. I can’t remember which. I wonder how that will affect Eddie Royal’s numbers.

Whatever. Swirls win anyway.



I’m not sure what the hyphen is doing in whiz-bang. It makes me think of 1902 when newspapers wrote it as to-morrow. Oh well. Considering the 21st century’s ongoing rape of apostrophes, I’m just glad it’s not Whi’z-Bang. Watching a preseason rebroadcast last week, I actually saw a promo for “Falcon’s Season Tickets”. On air. No wonder Sarah Palin is a viable political candidate in this country.

ANYWAY, Yahoo is predicting 104 point’s for Atlas this season, which might be the highest projection in WVFL history. Although giving 12.75 points to Reggie Bush just because he’s playing Detroit is pushing it a bit. Then again, only giving 17.68 to Adrian Peterson against the Browns is also pushing it a bit. In the wrong direction.

Speaking of bad projections, 8.59 for Jamal Lewis against Minnesota. Who in the holy goddamn fucking Christ on a stick are they kidding? Move that decimal point a spot left and then talk to me. But you know what? The TV just informed me that the Black Eyed Peas have won 3 Grammys. There is no justice in the world. Ironically, that chyron came up when Fergie was “singing” in a way that would get her kicked out of the American Idol hotel auditions. At least they didn’t write it as Grammy’s.

Oh right. The game. Take Atlas and lay the points.


Friday, September 4, 2009

2009 WVFL Season Preview

Along with an abundance of tomatoes and people complaining about the setup of the league, Labor Day brings us the annual WVFL preview. Now that the draft hijinks are behind us, let’s look at who will make the playoffs, who will miss the playoffs and who’s fence riding like a kid who got the back belt loop of his jean shorts caught on the chainlink.

To the teams on this list, I’m sorry your season is already over before the Black Eyed Peas kick off the season Thursday, but you should be mad at yourself, not me. On another note, can we have any big event ever again without the Black Eyed Peas? They are the guacamole of television events.

The year was 2003. LaDanian Tomlinson was the best running back in fantasy and reality. Peyton Manning was the best quarterback. Easily-persuaded Americans thought Saddam had WMD. Now it’s 2009. Peyton is still pretty good, but The Bullet Train is pulling into the last station on the line, Saddam is dead and so is the 2009 version of the Elbow.

It’s fitting that Nate and LaDanian are together for one last run. One last, sure to be brutal run. The thing is, Nate knew he was making bad picks as he was making the picks. He was as incredulous as the rest of us that Antonio Bryant is his #1 receiver. The man can’t even name Antonio Bryant’s quarterback.

Thomas Jones is part of a three-man rotation, Nate Washington’s hamstring fell off in practice, Le’Ron McClain gained 30 pounds on coaches’ orders so he could play fullback and Marshawn Lynch has a four-game suspension to start the season.

But at least Nate and Tomlinson are back together, and he didn’t even have to rig the #1 overall pick to make it happen.

During the draft, there was some wonder as to whether this team was being drafted by Phil using an alias for some reason, or a colleague subbing in for Phil. Also, who is Phil? But there is no wonder as to the non-quality of this team. In reality, Jacobs and Slaton would be a great backfield tandem. Slaton could drive down the field and Jacobs could slam into the end zone. In fantasy reality, Jacobs and Slaton will probably just alternate disappointing weeks.

Colston will probably be great since I had him last year and he let me down, but the Terrell Owens first year with a new team magic is probably a thing of the past. At least in Buffalo. Hightower, Santana Moss, Driver and Chester Taylor will mainly combine to do nothing, but the Minnesota defense will be good. They’ll need to be 30 points good most week for the Pounders to win.

It doesn’t seem like Clint likes or follows football, and it’s definitely the case that he bails on his WVFL franchise by Week 5 each season, but he still shows up every season and pays his money to the winner. He is either a better person than me or a worse one, I can’t decide which. In a related story, Nate is his boss.

Clint packed it in earlier than ever this season, not even bothering to draft his team. Cauien floated an excuse that Clint is in Montana. Big Sky Country. MT. But he could be on Mt. Washington and still autodraft, so whatever. And autodraft, friends, is how you end up taking Brandon Marshall in round 4.

Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are big names, sure, but they’ve gone from top five picks two years ago to being on the same team. And Jackson’s QB at some point this season will be Kyle Boller after Marc Bulger schedules his annual injury.

The good news is, none of this really bothers Clint too much. Oh, reminder. If you want Greg Olsen on your team, get that trade offer in now, while the WVFL link is still in Clint’s browser history.

It could go either way for these teams. The sweet smell of success? Or the stank stink of stench? Only time will tell.

Although Barber and Addai seem average at best on paper, thanks to the Krogmann effect, they will probably both have 1500 yards and 15 TDs this season. That is, I had Addai last season and he was terrible, and I have Felix Jones this season and I would like to have him get on the field occasionally.

Jennings is destined to be a top 5 receiver this season and we all know how good Brees is. But this team is not without its holes. In fact, everywhere else in the lineup is a hole. Willie Parker’s useful fantasy season was a long time ago, Gonzalez is still more hype than results as of now and Hester still doesn’t know how to run anything but a go route.

But between the top four and the still aggravating Baltimore defense, this team should be able to slide into the playoffs barring catastrophe.

It is my hope that Old Man Tony sent a note to Caulen after the draft saying that even though he’s out of the house, he’s still a Kress and he still has to play by TK’s rules. Because Caulen was just plain old rude making fun of my draft picks. Doesn’t he know that I’m the one who mocks everybody else? Rude.

As usual, Caulen really likes his team and, as usual, he’s probably correct to. It’s just so uncanny. I mean, look at this guy! If you told most of the beefheads who have sales jobs and play fantasy football that somebody who looks like Andy Warhol’s more arty, less athletic cousin was great at this, they would throw their plastic bottle of Miller Lite at you.

However, this might be the year I finally outdo Caulen in football. Yes, beating him in hockey is pretty much a given at this point. I’m concerned with the oblong now, not the biscuit. Kevin Smith does have great hype this year, but he still plays for Detroit, and won’t be churning out yards as the Lions burn the second half clock too often. Pierre Thomas is already injured and McFadden, though explosive, faces the same game situation as Smith, plus three other backs competing for carries. But Fitzgerald and Royal are really good and McNabb is always good for half a season.

Still, the Dude does not abide by taking a defense in the sixth round. That stuff is amateur hour. You’re better than that, Caulen.

Goddamn, does Larry Johnson suck. I’ve actually watched a few Chiefs preseason games this year, for whatever reason, and the main thing I noticed was Matt Cassel running for his life on every play. I actually predicted he would get hurt at some point this season because the Chief line is so bad. And then he did. Johnson doesn’t have the speed or elusiveness or desire to turn a 3-yard loss into a 2-yard gain. Kansas City’s first game is in Baltimore and if Johnson has more than 3 points, consider me gobsmacked.

Of course, Jamal Lewis may get cut and Derrick Ward might only get eight carries a game, so Johnson could end up being the Bangers’ #2 back this season. All I can say is wow. And ouch.

On the plus side, Aaron Rodgers is the most popular guy at the party this summer and Reggie Wayne is still good. And Larry has the Green Bay defense, which is led by Dom Capers, who led the Blitzburgh defense in the mid-‘90s. And when that Dom Capers defense won the AFC Championship in 1995, I saw Larry cry and nearly fall out a 15th floor window as he yelled out of it. When we hugged, he grinded his beard into my cheek for some reason. So at least he’ll have those positive memories to fall back if the WBG struggles this season.

I have a weird history with running backs in this league. In 2006, I watched Tiki Barber run up and down the field, then come to the sidelines inside the 10. Tiki finished the year with 1800 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Why? Because Brandon Jacobs took them all. Jacobs had 9 TDs that year. In 2007, Tiki had retired, so I eagerly drafted new Giants starter Brandon Jacobs. He owed me. Jacobs then spent that season coming out of the game inside the 10 and finished with only 4 TDs. 2007 is also the year I managed to draft Frank Gore both one year too late and one year too soon. Last year, I took Joseph Addai fifth, which was enough to send Addai from a guy who was a lock top-6 pick to a guy who’s not even top-6 rounds this season. A friend of mine is a Bears fan and he literally offered to pay my league fee this year if I had a high pick and didn’t take Matt Forte.

But I didn’t have a high pick. I had a low pick. The lowest pick. So to me, passing on Frank Gore and Steve Slaton for possibly the two best receivers in the league was not that hard. Of Ray Rice, Cedric Benson, Leon Washington, Felix Jones and James Davis, one will be okay, two will get hurt, one will disappoint and one will be off my team by Week 3. But with Johnson, Moss and Rivers, I have the best passing game in the league in a year most people seem to think fantasy football officially switches to a receiver-driven game. We shall see.

And if Rice and Benson turn out to be even average starters…look out playoffs! If not, believe me, I know how to deal with missing the playoffs. Like the year I had the 5th most points in the league and finished 8th out of 10 teams total. Man, the WVFL and I have had some crazy times.

Sexy good times are probably ahead for these teams, party boy!

Dreampads is back but not better than ever, because nobody can match that 2007 season, but he’s probably still pretty good. Calvin Johnson is so good than people are willing to ignore that he plays for Detroit. Vincent Jackson is really coming on. Whenever Chris Wells finally seizes the bulk of the carries from Tim Hightower, DFA is really going to be something to deal with.

I wish I had something pithy to say here, but the good teams, like Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) don’t lend themselves to jokes too much. Hey, what’s the deal with helping people with AIDS and malaria free of charge? See? It’s hard.

If I had the #2 overall pick, I would’ve taken Forte. I like him that much. Portis is boring, but solid, at least early on, and Houshmanzadeh is the same. Uh…let’s see, what else? If Berrian can figure out how to catch balls in triple coverage, he’ll have a big year with Favre, and even though I seem to be the last person in America to still doubt Roddy White, everybody else likes him.

Roethlisberger is better in the fourth quarter of real games than the fantasy realm, and Crabtree would be a keeper, yes, if this was the year we started keepers. Tony won’t do it, but if I had him, I would start LeSean McCoy in week one. Side note, is McCoy the first guy ever to have double capitalization in both of his names? Oh wait, I forgot about former Washington Senator outfielder McDouglass McCrackers.

Let me just say upfront that I think this team is terrible, even by autodraft standards. But I’ve counted out Skip Henry and been wrong too many times to have not learned a lesson. I do know that one Steeler is not nearly enough to slake Henry’s black and gold thirst, but I can’t figure out who I would trade SanAntonio Holmes for. Maybe Chris Johnson, but I’ve had my fill of backs who only play 80 percent of the field.

Kurt Warner and Brian Westbrook will probably get hurt in the same week and Bowe and Hines will have weeks where they don’t combine for 10 points. Jonathan Stewart can’t stay healthy and Torry Holt is old. There is nothing good about this team.

Expect Brookline to clinch a bye week.

Heading into the season, this looks like the best team in the whole shebangle. Though, personally, I do believe that Michael Turner will disappoint. Atlanta is due to drop back a little, the majority of his points last year came in a handful of games against creamy cupcakes and somebody on that line is bound to get hurt this year, which didn’t happen last year. Plus, as TK can attest, the Curse of 370 is real.

Speaking of injury risks, everybody says Matt Schaub is fragile and I watched him sprain his ankle running out of bounds untouched, so everybody might be right. But if those guys hold up, this team is lethal. The biggest problem will be figuring out who to start at flex, and because I’m generous, I’ll give them this cheat sheet right now.
MORENO – Not that often because Denver will be getting killed every week.
EVANS – Only when too drunk to watch Evans play.
JONES – Never
SPROLES – When Tomlinson gets hurt again.

Even the Jets defense will be good with one of those chubby Ryans running the show. You know, when it comes to football family trees, the Ryans and Kresses are pretty different.

I pretty much burned out my collection of Ayn Rand/libertarian jokes last season, so I’d better come up with something new this season. Or, I could follow Rand’s own tome and stop writing this junk, thereby proving my intrinsic value to the league. Hey, my health insurance is fine! Why should anybody else get some if I don’t need it?!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway, right now, Alex Smith is New England’s 4th string tight end and will probably be cut. That is this team’s only problem. Oh sure, Wild Ronnie Cat Brown won’t repeat his performance of last year, but he should be decent at least. And Kevin Walter is probably a better flex play than Reggie Bush, but Peterson, Cutler, Welker and Boldin should rack up enough points on a weekly basis to keep Atlas shrugging.