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Archive for the ‘Fantasy Sports’ Category

I’m just a caveman. Your telecommunications devices frighten and confuse me. But I will still play in Awful Announcing’s football league just for the everlasting glory attendant upon getting down in the muck to wrassle with you fine folks.

Join AA’s Leeg

While the joy of competition is enough for me, AA is also offering a top prize of an iPhone to the winner of the league. If you’re reluctant to drop cash on something new, this is the perfect way to try it out at no cost to you. But you have to win first, beeeeyotch.

While we’re here, I have a few more links for you:

You know how I love a good sports name. Here is Jay Busbee’s account of his childhood meeting with old-school Brave Brian Asselstine.

Great. Just great. Now if I want to watch bikini beach volleyball, I have to deal with a bunch of angry Samoan dudes.

My friend Walker has started reviewing for The Hot Sauce Blog. His first assignment was Duck Butter sauce. This is tangentially related to sports because of…. nachos.

Sometimes I think athletes know they will get in big trouble, but they shoot their mouths off anyway. It just feels too good not to. Well, Big Z is now eating the poo that comes after a blowup.

Over at Strike Zones & End Zones, Sarah is calling Virginia Tech/LSU the Tragedy Bowl.  Her suggestions for ways the media and schools can overplay the angle are great, but I started laughing out loud around #3:   Instead of the teams ceremoniously running into the stadium before the game, the players will start inside and run out, evacuation style.

JP interviews Liston. I remember when I was a hot young blogger once. Ah the good old days of three months ago…

Joe Montana’s not walking through that door.

When the Diamondbacks face the Padres, there’s always potential for Chris Young-on-Chris Young crime.

In case you need just one more Fantasy Football League, here’s a joint that lets you join up just 30 minutes before the final draft of the season.

Finally, OMDQ is running a great game. He’s going to do a reverse-survivor deal where he keeps track of which teams in 1-A are winless. Until we get down to the most winless of them all. And then we will pelt them with garbage.

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Usually, I realize that my own fantasy football league inside jokes are of no interest to the general populace. But this week, we have started the keeper-league flaming via email and many questions have arisen about the proper way to swear on the league message board and inter-office email. The commissioner of our dork-fest, the Gentlemen’s League of American Football, posted this helpful guide, with accompanying photograph of the man in black, for our edification:

johnnycashfinger.jpgFrom time to time, as Commissioner, I am called upon to make judgment calls within the GLOAF. Recent events make it necessary for me to address an important issue within our league. Before we proceed with the season, I believe it is important that we clear the air.

I am speaking, of course, about the proper method for cursing within the GLOAF.

The accepted format for years, has been the use of the asterisk in place of vowels. For example, “d*mn“, “h*ll“, or even “sh*t“, are classic renditions of the standard form. We believe this traditional method provides a readily recognizable and elegant avenue for conveying the profane.

However. Other schools of thought do exist. We, here in The Office Of The Commissioner, would be the first to acknowledge these differing opinions.

Some have approached the problem with the “shift key” method. Here, we see such expressions as “@!#$%” or even “^$&#”. This method is perfectly acceptable. It readily conveys the intended licentious message in an energetic fashion.

Also in use is the “Nastro formulation”. This approach can be seen in the use of such expressions as “dam” or “krap”. In a “no child left behind” world, we readily accept this as an equally valid mode of expression.

Recently, some discussion has arisen over the “at” school of cursing. This revolutionary approach has given rise to phrases such as “c@cks@ck@r” “m@th@rf@ck@r” and the breathtaking “c@cks@ck@rm@th@rf@ck@r”. As with the previously mentioned techniques, we welcome, and even embrace, any attempts to broaden our means of expression.

In summary, The Office Of The Commissioner is willing to embrace the many and varied conversational modes that exist within our league. It is, after all, a Gentlemen’s league. Beyond that, there are few hard and fast rules. I merely ask that we always remember that this is just a fucking game.

I will preserve the Commish’s identity, since my posts also appear on the Cville.com feed aggregator, and his kids probably don’t know he swears. Or, worse yet, hangs out with fantasy sports bozos. But I think these are words that all of us fantasy jacka$$e$ can live by, are they not?

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vadergg01.jpgCaveat: We know damn good and well that KSK did this first, so save it. This is still the best and most fun way to get a final member for a fantasy league when you have so many good friends to choose from:

The Channel Four News Team is looking for a Fantasy Football partner!

Read the post and do as the man says, and nobody will get hurt.

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OK, today’s post will be a bit shorter than yesterdays. I am a busy fella today. I am also at a loss for words because I am going to do the expected, even though I spent a great deal of time trying to talk myself out of it. I considered Drew Brees with the first pick in the second round of the Hazean mock draft, but just couldn’t convince myself that Marques Colston would be a hit as the #1 reciever – at least not enough of one to make Drew this high of a pick. I looked at younger RBs like Reggie Bush, Clinton Portis, and Willis McGahee, but felt they would probably struggle along with their teams. So I’m pulling the trigger – mark it down:

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I have a pretty firm “no RBs over 30” rule, but Shaun slips in under the wire at 29 (for one more month… I’m such a sucker). The fact that he already struggled with injury last year could be a bad sign, but nobody else (except possibly Portis) has the kind of potential to score in bunches that Alexander does. If I had to actually play a season with just these two guys, I would feel like I’d done my best. In fact, I kind of hope the Hazeans keep track of our stats just out of curiosity.

Thanks for the opportunity guys! See you around tha intarwebs!

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You may not be aware of the Hazean mock draft, but you are about to go to school. The Hazean blog here on WordPress has invited several of us NFL-obsessed sports bloggers to participate in an early, early mock draft just for fun. Starting around the beginning of the month, each blogger made a pick a day. Read the recap here.

We’re only doing two rounds, in the typical “snake” fashion. I got the spot that I love to hate – I am both the ass and the head of the snake, as I have the 12th pick at the end of the first round, and the 13th at the beginning of the second. In a live draft, this sucks, because you sit and wait in agony for a small eternity as others snatch everyone you had your eye on.  Between second and third round, you might as well go home and water the plants and walk the dog.

In this case, it’s not so bad. I’ll get to make my two picks this week and then sit back and watch my fellow bloggers finish out the draft. I know for a fact that I can have the top two guys left on my draft list.

So, on with the show. The two best QBs were taken already – Peyton Manning by Next Gen Pro Football at #7, and Carson Palmer by my erstwhile Channel 4 News Team compatriot Signal To Noise. Other than that, it’s been all running backs, all the time, which is good fantasy drafting. After the dominant backs are gone, you get into two-back system guys and unproven players who might lose their jobs in training camp. It’s best to get at least one beast right up front.

With that in mind, I’ll alleviate the suspense and just blurt out my pick: “Fast” Willie Parker.

willie-parker.jpg

In general, I suspect my fellow GMs were not particularly sold on Willie’s size (5’10”, 209), but that’s the kind of thinking that left him as an undrafted free agent a couple of years ago. Willie’s carried the load since then, including the longest run in a Super Bowl ever.

If it’s the Steelers as a team that kept WP available for me, I can talk myself into that one, too. Roethlisberger might have had an off year last season, but he still has the tools to get it done. With Hines Ward and Heath Miller still taking heat off of the line of scrimmage, Willie should see some room to run. In my opinion, Najeh Davenport is insurance for the team, not real competition for Willie. If the Defense, led by the colorful Troy Polamalu, can keep games from getting out of hand, there should be plenty of opportunities for my guy to lug the ball late into the fourth quarter.

So that’s my guy. Entertain yourselves until tomorrow by wondering this: will Extra P. take another running back like Shaun Alexander to shore up the crucial position, or will he grab a QB?

Tune in tomorrow to find out.

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Young Guns (Vol. I)

Today marks the first of what I’m hoping becomes the monthly Young Guns series. The first week of every month I will examine the top young arms in both the American and National League. My basis for these rankings? I will use a mixture of fantasy baseball statistics and common sense. In other words, if I were a GM, where would I rank these young hurlers?

NO BRAINERS

1. Johan Santana – Only 6-5 so far this year, but the guy’s body of work is unquestionable.
2. Jake Peavy – San Diego’s strikeout machine is finally healthy & he looks terriffic.
3. Roy Halladay – He got roughed up last night, but Roy is still 5-2 with 46:10 K:BB ratio.
4. CC Sabathia – He’s the league leader in wins with 9 & he picked up a CG shutout last night.
5. Roy Oswalt – The Astros ace is sometimes overlooked, but imagine if he had any run support.

American League

1. Jeremy Bonderman – Take a look at his season thus far, he should be at least 8-1 right now.
2. Dan Haren – He has a 70:21 K:BB ratio and still boasts a 1.70 ERA. Wow!
3. Justin Verlander – Not the strikeout pitcher some thought he might turn into.
4. John Lackey – 9-3 record with a 2.73 ERA for the unheralded right-hander.
5. James Shields – Forget Scott Kazmir, this kid is the Devil-Rays ace by far.

National League

1. Cole Hamels – Sky’s the limit for Cole who I see as a future Cy Young winner.
2. Brandon Webb – The reigning Cy Young is an innings eater who flys under the radar.
3. Chris Young – They say that at 6’10’ his 89 mph fastball looks more like 99 mph coming at you.
4. Tim Lincecum – If you take away his two outings against the Phillies, Timmy’s numbers are scary good.
5. Oliver Perez – Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson might just be Yoda.

 

Notable Omissions

Dice-K, Rich Harden, King Felix, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zamprano & Ben Sheets


Shorty is creator and lead writer of Milk Was a Bad Choice

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The Flyin Hawaiian

Seriously, is there a cooler nickname in all of baseball than The Flyin Hawaiian? Isn’t that like a ham & pineapple pizza? Shane Victorino is a speedy switch-hitting outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies who is also equipped with a rocket launcher for a right arm (he already has 8 outfield assists this season). He was also the biggest reason that the Phillies shed no tears when they shipped Bobby Abreu to New York last season.

Earlier today I had a vested interest in the Giants-Phillies game, mostly because my prized fantasy possession, Tim Lincecum, was on the mound for San Francisco. Well, Tiny Tim didn’t have his best stuff today and although he left the game in the seventh with the lead, Ryan Howard’s 3-run moonshot off Giant reliever Jack Taschner ruined his chances of getting the victory.

After the Phillies blew their one run lead in the top half of ninth, Victorino stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the inning and drove his first ever game winning home run over the left field fence and mayhem ensued on Shane’s very own bobblehead day.

Alright, I’ll admit it, if I didn’t have the ‘Flyin Hawaiian’ on my fantasy team, I probably wouldn’t even be posting this right now. But the fact is, this kid is ridiculously fun to watch on a baseball diamond. He steals bases, throws out baserunners and now he even hits dramatic walk-off home runs. I mean what more could you possible want from the talented young outfielder? A more edible nickname? Mahalo!

Shorty is creator and lead writer of Milk Was a Bad Choice

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smellslikepujols.JPG

Smells Like Pujols is a feature that will run throughout baseball season. Rookie hitters will be ranked using the concept of Similarity Scores, through which they will be compared to one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time – that of Albert Pujols. Pitchers will be similarly ranked, rated, poked, and prodded by Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism through the GoodEnough For Me system.

This is not an official column. I finally took the time to research my prospects via CBS Sportsline/Rotoworld, since they are the host for my office fantasy league. The players listed below are on Major League rosters as of today. Everyone else from the old list has been officially sent down.

Jeff Baker – Colorado
Kory Casto – Washington Nationals
Alex Gordon – KC
Chris Iannetta – Colorado
Akinori Iwamura – Tampa
Kevin Kouzmanoff – Cleveland
Miguel Montero – Arizona
Dustin Pedroia – Boston
Vinny Rottino – Brewers
Chris Snelling – Washington
Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado
B.J. Upton – Tampa
Chris B. Young – Arizona
Delmon Young – Tampa

That gives us fourteen legitimate candidates. I imagine I’ll track them all but only post the top five or so, depending on how close they are statistically. If the #8 hitter is not too far off the pace, I’ll go eight deep. For now, I’ll need to work on my html skills a bit and try to make the visuals snazzy.

Damn. Isn’t it Sunday yet?

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Jason Jennings

Yes, I do know that the Most Improved Player is an NBA award. Perhaps most Major League Baseball fans don’t really care which player is most likely to see an upswing in his numbers this year, but us fantasy sports nerds sure do. In a league full of sharks, your season will hinge on identifying talent that is undervalued. I think Jason Jennings is one of those guys.

I was just able to pick up Jason in round 24 of my fantasy draft. I suppose a look at the raw numbers bears that out. Since his 2002 Rookie of the Year performance, Jason’s ERA went north and stayed there, and his wins decreased.

Last year, despite winning nine games and losing thirteen, he pitched a career-high 212 innings and kept his ERA below 4.00 for the season. Not only was that his best average since joining the Rox, he became only the second pitcher to hit that mark in Denver, joining Joe Kennedy (2004).

The key to all of these stats is not a number, but a word: Denver. The Mile High City air turns good pitchers into mediocre pitchers, and mediocre pitchers into horror shows. Jason Jennings’ ability to rebound from three disheartening seasons to post career highs shows me a player who is mentally strong and adaptable. He obviously learned a little bit about how to pitch smart, since he couldn’t bend the rules of physics.

mosquitocoasthouston.PNGNow comes the trade to Houston. Remember all of those stories about the Rockies putting baseballs in humidors to give them more movement? Well, Houston is one giant humidor. Minute Maid ballpark might have a retractable roof, but humidity don’t care about no roof. The atmosphere might not be as swampy indoors as it is outdoors, but compared to Colorado, it will feel like the Mosquito Coast.

Perhaps my case would be stronger if Jason hadn’t pitched so well in so many losses, but there’s so much room for improvement, despite the venue-appropriate ERA in Colorado, that I think the difference will be striking. Like I said, Mr. Jennings learned how to pitch in Denver. Throwing harder just causes injuries up there. Getting movement on a ball in Houston should feel effortless to him after his experiences in the mountains. He’ll also have a much better hitting lineup to shore up any incipient wins. Minute Maid Park does not particularly favor pitchers, but it’s orders of magnitude better than Coors Field in that respect.

So, that’s my guy. Most of you have probably done your fantasy drafts already, but maybe you can still get your hands on him for nothing before he starts turning in steady performances night after night.


Note: For more reliable analysis and all the bells and whistles, consult The GNUru. Where I use Voodoo Sabermetrics, he uses cold, hard, rational thought.

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smellslikepujols.JPG

Smells Like Pujols is a feature that will run throughout baseball season. Rookie hitters will be ranked using the concept of Similarity Scores, through which they will be compared to one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time – that of Albert Pujols. Pitchers will be similarly ranked, rated, poked, and prodded by Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism through the GoodEnough For Me system.

OK. We’re finally at the culmination of the “wait and watch” portion of Smells Like Pujols. By next Monday, we’ll have some actual stats to work with, and I expect the list will be definitively whittled down by live game action.

My final pre-season column will involve the personal dimension. To wit, how “the list” has affected my personal life. Last night was my fantasy baseball draft, which is always a fun occasion. Our league is called the Money Market Baseball League (MMBL), because the league was founded by employees at Money Market Directories (a subsidiary of Standard & Poor’s!) as the in-house time waster par excellance. Since the inception of the league, many of the participants have moved on to other jobs but stayed in the league, or invited trusted friends to fill open slots, so at this point, only five participants in the 12-team league work in the building.

Our draft is held in The Red Room at Delmar, otherwise known as Jay’s Rec Room. It is the epicenter of cool in Charlottesville proper:

garymikericksmallest.JPG

I am going to mock these gentlemen because it pleases me to do so. The fact that you, the reader, do not know them or care to see them mocked will have no impact on my decision. I will tie the mockery into SLP by pointing out which of these gentlemen chose rookies or prospects featured on my list.

The league is a long-standing keeper league, with no limits on number of players kept. As a result, last year’s winning teams held around ten players apiece and had to sit out long portions of the draft while us losers picked new crap to replace our old crap. We play a typical 5×5 roto scoring system, but added corner infielder and middle infielder positions for the first time this year, giving some impetus to players who would have normally sat a while longer on draft day.

Right now, the ladies have never wanted me more.

The Players (by team name, in draft order, worst to first):

ricksmall.jpgThe Pimp Daddies – Rick is the most popular morning radio host in Charlottesville. His gravelly voice and off-color jokes have awakened citizens of this town for more than a decade. Sadly, he is a fan of the Dodgers and Orioles, and tends to overvalue their players. His bottom-three finishes in several consecutive years have led to speculation that the entry fee is coming out of the station’s promotions budget, with instructions that Rick should build community goodwill by giving the money away.

mikesmaller.JPGHoof Hearted – The only thing more alarming than a scruffy radio DJ is a clean-cut radio ad salesman. As an employee of Clear Channel Communications, Mike is nominally the enemy of listeners who enjoy variety on the FM dial. Fortunately for him, nobody ever went broke underestimating the American public. He loves the Red Sox, and wore a tie to the draft. That’s three strikes, mister.

pujols.JPGSmells Like Pujols – C’est moi. The man who brought you “The Funny Names Draft”, in which I chose the likes of Shin-Shoo Choo (bad) and Jonathan Papelbon (good), as well as the “Season Without Royals”, also known as the anti-homer draft. None of these have worked, and I tend to wallow near the mid-bottom of the standings. Also, my beard frightens dogs and children. I jumped first, of course, drafting Delmon Young with the third pick in round 7, then Alexi Casilla and Billy Butler for my bench in rounds 22 and 23.

darrenhaden.JPGEville 9 – For some reason, every photo I took of Darren at the actual draft came out fuzzy or underexposed. And I was using a digital camera, so there is obviously some government malfeasance going on. At a minor-league game, Darren took part in an on-field pitching promotion that led me to pen a “Casey at the Bat” -style ode to his prowess. If we could combine his moustache with my beard, we could rule the world.

dustyfinger.JPGThe Haden Agenda – Dusty is Darren’s brother. He is also the commissioner of our league, which means he collects all of our complaints about unfair trades, rules violations, and bad owner hygiene and considers them with all due gravity before dumping them in the bulging recycle bin on his computer desktop. Contrary to popular opinion he is not permanently surprised. He does, in fact, have eyebrows, they are simply too light to be seen with the unaided human eye. Did Darren steal his brother’s eyebrows to form that glorious ‘stache? I don’t know. Dusty drafted Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with the fifth pick in round 21

bsuheads.JPGThe Big Sales Unit – The two-headed monster. As MMD salesmen, they know the value of a dollar, and they stretch theirs by combining forces to run one team. Jay (left) is an outspoken South Carolinian with roman numerals after his name. Dave (right) is…. well, Dave is Canadian. We’re planning to hire a native of Mexico before next year’s draft, so we can call these guys NAFTA. I’m sure they won’t mind splitting those theoretical winnings three ways instead of two. And yes, that joke is a fine example of the pot calling the kettles black.

sampsonhead.jpgDead Wood – I’m not sure if Bill is making reference to the HBO show or his team’s failure to hit. Let’s hope it’s one of those and not an unspeakable third possibility. Bill has been convinced that I don’t like him ever since I wrote a smart aleck piece lambasting his first-ever trade in the league. Little does he know that abusive rhetoric and arcane put-downs equal true affection in these circles. We worked it out over a bag of pretzel rods, and now we’re buddies. Bill did not draft any prospects, but has held power-hitting shortstop Brandon Wood since the end of last year. Brandon is not Dead.

garyhead.JPGClover Hill Bucks – Gary took over a crap team that had been run into the ground a few years back and built them into a contender. Don’t you hate guys like that? On his own, Gary is a mild-mannered dude who works for the school system. But in the fall he teams up with his friend Todd to run a fantasy football team, earning them the no-brainer sobriquet of Ambiguously Gay Duo. Gary took Rockies Catcher Chris Iannetta with the 8th pick in the 20th round.

nastronostrilcloseup.JPGThe Rush Bombers – Pete is a knee-jerk conservative from New Jersey. Witness his team name, honoring the pill-popping windbag himself. He is part of the Richmond contingent that regularly brings bipartisanship to our lovely little socialist paradise in Cville. Despite everything I’ve said, baseball is the great leveler, and Pete and I get along quite well as we muddle through drafts asking each other “who?” and “when was he taken?”. Pete works for Pfizer, which used to lead to the inevitable “Pete, can you get some Viagra for Dead Wood?” jokes. Last night he dropped the bombshell that his company now sells HGH by prescription. Is Pete using the cream and the clear? I’ll let the accompanying image of his massive head answer that question.

matthead.JPGMontgomery Biscuits – Matt is the Rain Man of fantasy sports. He has won money multiple times in both football and baseball. He will rock back and forth, staring at his three-ring binder while he’s on the clock. You can make fun of his beard, spill beer on his shirt, and even hum the theme from Jeopardy, but nothing moves him. He simply stares and rocks, stares and rocks, then comes out with “Alex Rios. Yeah… definitely. Alex Rios”. Nobody knows what Matt does for a living. We think winning fantasy sports might actually be his sole means of support. Clearly, he’s living large.

toddhead.JPGActus Reyes – Sleazy Richmond lawyer. Formerly a sleazy logistics specialist for MMD. Likes to argue, and likes to swindle. Todd took Chris Young the pitcher and Chris Young the hitter, and I didn’t write down which was which, so the hitter was taken in the 9th or the 14th. He also snaked the only decent Royal from me by taking Alex Gordon in the 11th. Rarely will anyone trade with Todd, but he somehow manages to pry a good player away from someone every season. And no, I’m not telling you which top-10 player he talked me out of, because it still hurts. Todd has the honor of being the most hated player in the history of both fantasy sports leagues we run. He has been visually represented by an image of a hookworm dangling from a cow’s behind in one in-season news post, and “Todd Sucks” is always the last option in any CBSsportsline Comm Poll, regardless of the question. Without Todd, we would not know how to conjugate the verb to collude. The only consolation for any of us is the fact that Todd was knocked out of first place on the last day of last season by this guy:

jeffhead.JPGHandsome Boy Modeling School – Do I have a better picture of Jeff I could have used here? Yes. But he wins a lot, and we both entered the league at the same time, so screw him. However, he is also my boss, so all I can really say is that Jeff is a paragon of sporting virtue and a shining bastion of skill and research that we can all aspire to reach one day. He is also the person who gave me this link, for which I must be eternally grateful.

So, by the looks of it, a lot of the SLP hopefuls will be out there for me to waste $5 free-agent pickups on in the upcoming season. I really can’t wait for the opening day game, when I can finally get this cumbersome blog concept off the ground for real.

See you then!

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