Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NCAA Preview

Well, Im back in the house, bringing you my preseason prediction for men's college basketball. Here they are starting with your first round exits
One and Done
Western Kentucky
Utah State
Jackson State
App St.
Texas A&M CC
Morehead State
Holy Cross
Mt. St. Mary's
Morgan State
Kent State
UC Riverside
Weber State
Iowa State
Kansas State
Oregon State
Mississippi State
Penn State

Two and Out
Notre Dame
Illinois State
South Carolina
West Virginia
Ohio State
Georgia Tech

Sweet 16
Ole Miss
Florida State

Elite 8

Final 4

Runner Up
Michigan State

National Champ

Explanations and conference previews to follow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How To Put Together A Fantasy Team Part 2

Ok so Sunday night presented me another opportunity to show off my drafting skills. This time it was a 12 team league with a mixture of people from my church and family. There were some players that have played before and several who were first timers. I have no soft spot in my heart for first timers, so i went out and did what i have to do.

Unfortunately I drew the 11th pick in the draft. Although originally I was not happy with the pick, as the first round progressed, I was happy to be right where I was. The first round went as such, Michael Turner, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, DeAngelo Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Slaton, Matt Forte, Randy Moss. These picks dumbfounded me as I managed to get Chris Johnson with the 11th pick in the draft. I'm not in love with him, but for picking 11th, I was ecstatic. After the turn I took Andre Johnson, and was feeling very fortunate to leave round two with the 6th best running back and the second best receiver.

After the long wait, it finally came back to me. A lot of mediocre players had gone, and I knew it was time to win the draft. I did just that. I selected Kevin Smith who could be a key force in Detroit and certainly has the role of feature back locked up. After that I selected Dwayne Bowe. By all accounts, I absolutely hit the jack pot with this one. First of all, he is entering his third year in the league; the year that receivers are known to make a giant leap in their production. He is also losing Tony Gonzalez from his team, meaning there will be more red zone targets heading his way. The Chiefs also added Matt Cassell and a pass happy offensive system, all good signs for Bowe.

From there I was looking for value. I selected Pierre Thomas from the Saints, and Knowshon Moreno, rookie from Denver. I really like Moreno's chances this season. He comes from a balanced team who traditionally runs the ball well. If he stays healthy and plays like he can, I can see him having a Forte like rookie year. As far as Thomas goes, I've not been a huge fan, but he slipped so far, I couldn't help myself.

From there I felt like I was in a bit of no-man's land. There wasn't really anything that I wanted so I decided to fill a need and get my tight end. I chose Owen Daniels because I feel like he may have a nice season with Schaub throwing him in that vertical offense. With my second pick, I grabbed some depth at receiver in Kevin Walter, yet another Texan. He could very well be this years' Anquan Boldin.

Once the pick got back to me, I decided that it was time to go ahead and grab my slipping quarterback. I truly believe that this is the year that Matt Schaub stays healthy and lights it up. Considering I have three of his favorite targets, I may be set. I also went ahead and grabbed my sleeper special of the year, Josh Morgan. He supposedly is the most talented receiver on the 49ers roster, and yes that includes Michael Crabtree. Morgan may disappoint, but I think its more than likely that he will be a top 15 fantasy receiver this year.

At this point in the draft, I usually start looking for guys that have fallen and guys with potential for making an impact this year. I found a slipping Donald Brown in round 11. If he beats out Joseph Addai, which is very possible, I have stumbled upon a starting running back, and if not, he becomes a talented back in a time share; you could do worse. I took Dominick Hixon with my 12th round pick. Considering he is now a number one receiver for Eli Manning, you could definitely see a boost in his production, making him potentially valuable.

With four picks left, I had two bench spots and my defense and kicker slots till to fill. I decided to grab a defense before they were all gone and grabbed the Dolphins defense. Their defense is average, but I really like their return possabilities with Tedd Ginn. After that I took what may turn out to be the value pick of the draft. I selected Shonn Greene, the rookie running back from the Jets. Considering the back in front of him, Thomas Jones, is nearing the end of his career, a young, hungry back up like Greene could prove to be very valuable in case of injury or the team deciding to go with a youth movement.

With two picks left, I contemplated selecting my kicker, but boom or bust receiver Nate Burleson was still on the board so I went ahead and grabbed him. With my final pick I nabbed Cowboys kicker Nick Folk. He has a good leg and plays on a decent but not especially potent offense.

Final Thoughts
So I really like th team that Ive put together here. There is a lot to like in my starting lineup. A nice mix between established greatness and untapped potential. My bench is filled with boom or bust players. Obviously I don't expect all of them to hit, but if half of them live up to my expectations, I could have great production from my starters and plenty of depth and trade bait from my bench. Every year a rookie emerges as a legit fantasy threat, considering I have the three top rookies in the league, there is a good chance that I have one of them on my bench. I like this team that I've put together. It probably not a team that I can run the table with, but I like my chances of bringing home the glory.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How You Put Together A Fantasy Team

Heres a look from start to finish at how I put together my team that will win the league. I started out at one of the most challenging draft positions, 10th overall, so I had to bring me A game, plan ahead, and stick to my game plan to come out with a respectable team. I did that.

So, by some stroke of luck, I was presented with the opportunity to grab LaDainian Tomlinson with my first selection. He is one year removed from being the top rated running back in the league. He was injured last year, prompting a low rating. I believe that he has one good year left. We'll see.

Having the eleventh pick I was able to take the second best receiver in the game, Andre Johnson. By doing this, I set myself up to be consistent with both positions.

Having to wait for the rest of the guys to pick twice, I was worried that when it came back to my turn there would be nothing left. Fortunately for me, I was able to end up with the exact two guys I wanted in the third and fourth round. Kevin Smith, running back from the Lions, should build on a strong rookie season, and with a more consistent line and passing game, could develop into a star. Marques Colston could be an absolute steal in the fourth round; he is Drew Brees' favorite target and should get 10 to 15 targets a game. Lot to like there.

At this point, I was just trying to fill some bench spots and get some value. Derrick Ward was available in the 5th round, so I decided that I couldn't pass on a feature back this late into the draft. In the next round, I took Knowshon Moreno, the best rookie option this season. If he establishes himself as the starter, there is potential that he is this years' Matt Forte talk, about 6th round gold.

By the time I got to round 7, I decided that I should go ahead and grab my quarterback before someone else did. I grabbed McNabb because he should have some explosive weapons at receiver and the backfield is nice. Could be a big year for Donovan. After McNabb, I took Kevin Walter, who by all accounts should be the Anquan Boldin of Houston, a great secondary option to an explosive primary target. Should be a big year for Mr. Walter.

At that point, i was still looking for value, and when you find a feature back in the 9th round, you've got to take a chance on him, so I grabbed Cedric Benson. He played well at the end of last year and should get better ypc this year with fewer guys in the box with the return of Carson Palmer. I grabbed my Tight End, Greg Olsen, at that point, proving that you can wait and still get good tight end. With Cutler not having any good targets, Olsen should get lots of targets.

In the 11th round, I went ahead and took my sleeper. Its good to wait on taking your guys under the radar, but you need to make sure you get him. I love Josh Morgan this year. Nobody had him on their radar, but I felt like if I waited someone else would've lucked into him. He is supposedly the best receiver in the bay area, thats including Crabtree and Hayward-Bey. Felix Jones was available after that, and with a stroke of luck, or bad luck as the case may be, he could vault into a starting role in Dallas. Marion Barber is a fragile beast, and one bad cut or rough tackle, and I may have found myself a steal.

At this point, I deemed it time to take my backup QB. I looked for a guy with high upside or value. Matt Hasselback is coming off an injury plagued season, if he can return to his old value, he is incredible value here. With my last bench spot, I went upside with Rashard Mendenhall. He may have a big impact or he may not, but with Willie Parker's fragility, he could be a nice addition to my team.

After that I went with my defense and kicker. I picked the panthers for no particular reason. I picked Robbie Gould because though I think the Bear's offense will be better, I can see them stalling in the red zone, making him a nice option.

So thats how I put together my team that will win my league. I went with youth, upside, and value to snake some guys that could potentially win the league for me. My starting lineup is good enough to win games, and if my sleepers come through, it could be dangerous.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fantasy Football Draft Manifesto

When it comes to having a successful fantasy team the draft is the where it all begins. You can win or lose a league based on how you draft. That’s not to say that you can’t win a league if you don’t draft well or are a lock to win with a good draft; but by doing certain things on draft day you can establish yourself as the favorite going into the season.

First things first, we need to go over how the first round should be played out. Let’s be honest, there is a giant gap between the first four picks and everyone else. Regardless of how the order goes the first four people off the board in every league should be Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Matt Forte. Everyone has love for a different one of this group, but if you can get any of the four outside of the top four, go for it. Now if you are stationed later in the first round, things are a little less cut and dry. At five, I would go with one of two players; Chris Johnson of the Titans or LaDainian Tomlinson of the Chargers. The safer play is Johnson who will get more carries each progressive week as LenDale White gets fatter each progressive week. At past those six guys there are a lot of ways you can go. As far as I’m concerned the best remaining back would be Steven Jackson, although he comes with significant injury risk. After that I would suggest taking the top rated wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. Now comes a plethora of somewhat impact running backs that could help your team, but are a ways behind the first group in value. DeAngelo Williams, Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, and Steve Slaton are good choices, or you could also go with Andre Johnson or Drew Brees.

Your first round selection dictates your second round selection. If you went running back, you may want to go receiver in the second round, but if you went receiver in the first round, you more than likely will want to grab a top back while you still can, unless you can grab Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss in the second.

The timing of drafting your quarterback, tight end, kicker, and defense is what really can set you up for success. As far as your quarterback goes, you definitely can wait this year. Outside of Brady and Brees, there are no real game breakers that are worth taking high. Everyone ranked from 3 to 15 are virtually going to give you the same stats. You might as well fill holes elsewhere while everyone else gobbles up the mediocre mid round quarterbacks. Around round seven you can start to look for a quarterback. Names that I would keep in mind are Donavon McNabb, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, or Kyle Orton. Don’t panic if there is a run of quarterback in say the third or fourth round, once everyone takes their quarterback, they will not look for another one until the later rounds. After the top 8 or so are off the board, the rest will slide until you’re ready to take yours. Tight ends are another very interesting question when it comes to timing. In round five or six, you can get a top four tight end. You could snag Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, or Dallas Clark and you would be justified in doing so. However after those four, tight ends are a dime a dozen. You could easily wait until 10 and take an undervalued Kellen Winslow or 14 and take Vinsathe Shiancoe, the most underrated tight end in the league. As far kickers and defenses go, the thing to do is to wait. There is no point in using a high pick on either because there is little difference in value from the top rated defense to the fifteenth ranked defense is very little. Same goes for kickers, so wait and take a kicker with your second to last pick and a defense with your last.

One more way you can take advantage of your less intelligent league mates is through knowing their game. Chances are, if you’re playing on ESPN, the rest of the people in your league will come to the draft with cheat sheets and ranking pulled off of, and consequently, most play straight off those sheets. You can use this to your advantage. Knowing when guys are going to go is a huge advantage, therefore if you like a guy, you know when you’re going to need to draft him, and if you like a guy better than he is ranked, you know you can wait on him and fill another hole in the mean time.

Now drafting two backs from the same team can prove to be very advantageous, especially ones from teams the rush the football well. These would include Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall from Pittsburgh, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart for Carolina, and Chris Johnson and LenDale White from Tennessee. Often they will be good enough to play together and if by chance there is an injury to one, you now have a feature back with the other.

Another strategy that I use all the time is looking for high impact rookies. Rookies can be well worth taking late over a stagnant veteran. There are a couple of things to look for in a rookie. First of all is opportunity. If there is an established veteran ahead of him, chances are you’re not going to want him, but if there is a chance for playing time, it’s often worth the risk as rookies are usually the first to get an opportunity. Also it’s good to look at the offensive style of the team they play for. If the team throws the balls 50 times a game, chances are their rookie running back is not going to have great value and same with rookie receivers on a conservative running team. Two names that I’ve been enamored with are Knowshon Moreno of Denver and Hakeem Nicks of the Giants. Both come into good teams with balanced offense. Both seem to have a clear chance to perform and both have a lot of potential.

Finally, it is never a bad idea to take guys from good teams. I’m not saying fill your team with guys from the same team, but it’s not a bad idea to have five or six key offensive pieces from the same team, so long as they can move it. The Patriots have had a great offense in the past few years and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a lineup filled with Pats. The same goes for the Bears. Adding Jay Cutler to an already potent rushing attack makes a potential powerhouse offense. If you start with Matt Forte, it might not be a bad idea to surround him with Jay Cutler, Devin Hester, Mushin Muhammad, and Greg Olsen. You might take a hit the week the bears are on bye, but other than that, it could be scary.

My final tip for you is to invest wisely in your backup quarterback. Remember, as long as your starter is respectable, your backup is only going to be playing when your starter is on bye or injured. There is no need for a steady but unspectacular veteran. It’s safe, but not necessarily smart. I like to take impact potential young guys or veterans who are stepping into great situations. Overall, just look for breakout potential, that way if they are busts, you’re only out a couple points one week, but if they hit big, you never know they might have trade value or might be able to replace your starter. Guys in this mold that I like are rookies Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford, emerging young veterans Taveris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels, Matt Schaub, or Eli Manning. Finally, if you are still not convinced he is done; Brett Favre will probably be available late.

Lastly, I don’t care how good you think he can fit in the wildcat with the Patriots; don’t even think about drafting Michael Vick.

Guys that I like better than they’re ranked
Donovan McNabb
Matt Schaub
Jay Cutler
Carson Palmer
Matt Hasselbeck
Kyle Orton
Maurice Jones-Drew
Kevin Smith
Ronnie Brown
Derrick Ward
Jamal Lewis
LeSean McCoy
Jerious Norwood
Tashard Choice
Dwayne Bowe
Marques Colston
Lee Evans
Desean Jackson
Kevin Walter
Anthony Gonzalez
Lance Moore
Donnie Avery
Devin Hester
Domenik Hixon
Greg Olsen
Kellen Winslow
Visathe Shiancoe

Guys that I don’t like as well as they’re ranked
Phillip Rivers
Matt Ryan
David Garrard
Michael Turner
DeAngelo Williams
Thomas Jones
Reggie Bush
Fred Taylor
Steve Smith
Roy E. Williams
Braylon Edwards
Santana Moss
Santonio Holmes
Michael Crabtree
Tony Gonzalez
Chris Cooley

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mock 4.0 (Final)

Well, its finally time to pick em. A lot of reading and preparing have gone into this, so i am proud to present my final mock draft. With that being said, there are a few things I would like to say before this draft goes down. First of all, people are way to low on Ricky Rubio. It seems like every sportscaster you hear is calling him all hype. The kid has "it." His floor vision, passing, and ability to run a team are off the chart; and these are skills that you cant teach. Second, I think people are way too high on Stephen Curry. To me he is nothing more than a undersized JJ Redick. We've already been through this. Underathletic guards who aren't especially proficient at handling the rock just dont have big impacts at the highest level. Im sorry, but I dont see him as much more than a seventh or eighth man. Jeff Teague, wherever he is selected will be a steal. He can flat out put it in the hoop. Midway through the season he was a top 5 pick, the only thing that has changed since then has been time. He is the real deal. Lastly, as long as the pistons take Austin Daye, Earl Clark, BJ Mullens, or a point guard, I will be fine. ok so heres the last mock:

posted 6:57
1. LAC- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
2. Mem- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
3. OKC- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
4. Sac- Tyreke Evans PG
5. Min- James Harden SG Arizona State
6. Min- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse
7. GS- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
8. NY- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
9. Tor- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
10. Mil- DeMar Derozan SG USC
11. NJ- Terrence Williams SG Louisville
12. Char- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
13. Ind- JRue Holiday G UCLA
14. Phx- Earl Clark SF Louisville
15. Det- BJ Mullens Ohio State
16. Chi- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
17. Phi- Ty Lawson PG UNC
18. Min- Sam Young F Pittsburgh
19. Atl- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
20. Ut- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
21. NO- Eric Maynor PG VCU
22. Por- Omri Casspi F Isreal
23. Sac- Austin Daye F Gonzaga
24. Dal- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
25. OKC- Chase Budinger G Arizona
26. Chi- Toney Douglass G Florida State
27. Mem- DeMarre Carroll F Missouri
28. Min- Jonas Jerebko G Sweden
29. NY- Dejuan Summers F Georgetown
30. Cle- Taj Gibson F USC

Mock 3.1

Posted at 3:08 PM adjusted for recent changes

1. LAC- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
2. Mem- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
3. OKC- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
4. Sac- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
5. Min- Tyreke Evans PG Memphis
6. Min- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse
7. GS- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
8. NY- James Harden SG Arizona State
9. Tor- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
10. Mil- DeMar Derozan SG USC
11. NJ- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
12. Char- Terrence Williams SG Louisville
13. Ind- JRue Holiday G UCLA
14. Phx- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
15. Det- BJ Mullens Ohio State
16. Chi- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
17. Phi- Ty Lawson PG UNC
18. Min- Earl Clark SF Louisville
19. Atl- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
20. Ut- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
21. NO- Sam Young SF Pittsburgh
22. Por- Omri Casspi F Isreal
23. Sac- Austin Daye F Gonzaga
24. Dal- Eric Maynor PG VCU
25. OKC- Chase Budinger G Arizona
26. Chi- Toney Douglass G Florida State
27. Mem- DeMarre Carroll F Missouri
28. Min- Jonas Jerebko G Sweden
29. NY- Dejuan Summers F Georgetown
30. Cle- Taj Gibson F USC

Mock 3.0

Posted at 11:10 AM

1. LAC- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
2. Mem- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
3. OKC- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
4. Sac- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
5. Min- Tyreke Evans PG Memphis
6. Min- James Harden SG Arizona State
7. GS- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse
8. NY- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
9. Tor- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
10. Mil- DeMar Derozan SG USC
11. NJ- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
12. Char- Terrence Williams SG Louisville
13. Ind- JRue Holiday G UCLA
14. Phx- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
15. Det- BJ Mullens Ohio State
16. Chi- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
17. Phi- Ty Lawson PG UNC
18. Min- Earl Clark SF Louisville
19. Atl- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
20. Ut- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
21. NO- Sam Young SF Pittsburgh
22. Por- Omri Casspi F Isreal
23. Sac- Austin Daye F Gonzaga
24. Dal- Eric Maynor PG VCU
25. OKC- Chase Budinger G Arizona
26. Chi- Toney Douglass G Florida State
27. Mem- DeMarre Carroll F Missouri
28. Min- Jonas Jerebko G Sweden
29. LAL- Patty Mills G St. Mary’s
30. Cle- Taj Gibson F USC

Guys who I wouldnt mind seeing the Pistons take:
Ricky Rubio- I honestly would not mind if Joey D traded anyone on our roster to get Rubio. Well maybe not Stuckey, but after that, nobody. Rubio's flash, exuberance, and showmanship are something that we have not had in the d in a long time. The kid has unbelievable intangibles, he just gets it. He supposedly has the ability to think and see the floor multiple plays ahead. He has outstanding basketball IQ, and with all the shooters and athletes the Pistons have, I really think he could flourish. Wouldnt need him to be a scorer, just facilitate Stuckey, Rip, Tay and whoever else is left after the trade. All of this on top of the fact that having him on the roster would make a great draw when trying to attract the big name free agents that they will try to get next summer. I know its risky, but as the poet one wrote "scared money dont make none."
Austin Daye- Has the tools to be a superstar, still a few years away. Ironicly enough, so are the Pistons
Earl Clark- second coming of Lamar Odom. This one may try harder though
BJ Mullens- Pistons are going nowhere fast, why not take a chance on the former #1 recruit in the nation.
Ty Lawson- Would let Stuckey move back to the 2 guard. Road runner point guard could have a similar effect as Rubio.
Jeff Teague- Can flat out put the ball in the hoop. Never can have enough scorers
Jodie Meeks (2nd)
Toney Douglas (2nd)
Marcus Thornton (2nd)
Nando De Colo (2nd)
Guys I would not like to see the Pistons draft.....
Dejuan Blair- destined to be a Kendrick Perkins like overweight bust.
Omri Casspi- Dont need another guy to wait on while he chills in Europe.
Tyler Hansbrough- For obvious reasons.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mock Draft 2.0

1. LAC- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
2. Mem- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
3. OKC- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
4. Sac- Tyreke Evans PG Memphis
5. Was- James Harden SG Arizona State
6. Min- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
7. GS- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse
8. NY- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
9. Tor- JRue Holiday G UCLA
10. Mil- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
11. NJ- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
12. Char- Terrence Williams SG Louisville
13. Ind- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
14. Phx- DeMar Derozan SG USC
15. Det- BJ Mullens Ohio State
16. Chi- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
17. Phi- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
18. Min- Earl Clark SF Louisville
19. Atl- Eric Maynor PG VCU
20. Ut- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
21. NO- Sam Young SF Pittsburgh
22. Dal- Marcus Thornton PG LSU
23. Sac- Austin Daye F Gonzaga
24. Port- Omri Casspi F Isreal
25. OKC- Chase Budinger G Arizona
26. Chi- Toney Douglass G Florida State
27. Mem- Jonas Jerebko G Sweden
28. Min- Victor Claver F Spain
29. LAL- Patty Mills G St. Mary’s
30. Cle- Taj Gibson F USC

Thursday, June 4, 2009

MLB After Two Months

Well... the first two months of the Major League Baseball regular season are in the books. There have been some surprises and some disappointments. So here are my takes on the first couple months.
Teams For Real
1. Detroit Tigers- Haha you knew it was coming. Cant say enough about Justin Verlander, he has been out of this world. The rotation ERA leads the AL and the bullpen, though weak, has held its own. The offense still is not nearly where it can be, and with Marcus Thames coming back, who knows, maybe theres the spark. I like this team to push their lead and end up winning the AL Central pretty easily.
2. New York Yankees- pitching is everything in baseball. I love their rotation and the bullpen is finding ways. With ARod and Tex driving the ball, the offense is clicking, and as always the Melk Man delivers.
3.LA Dodgers- They're keeping their heads above water without Manny, and the offense is gaining confidence by the day. Watch out when big man gets back. The rotation is filthy, and Clayton Kershaw is my quiet name to watch in the Cy Young race. Shh.
1. Toronto Blue Jays- pitching is everything in baseball. I believe that I mentioned that, but its worth being said again. Obviously Roy Halleday is the big boss, but are Scott Richmond and Purcey going to bring home the division? hah. Offense is nice tho. Not great, but nice.
2. Texas Rangers- If everyone stays healthy and they add an arm, I can see them making a push in the wretched AL West, but there is not enough punch in that offense to compensate for a staff like that. Like Millwood and Francisco, loathe everyone else.
3. Milwaukee Brewers- I just cant see all these pieces continuing to perform. Braun and Fielder are great, but losing Weeks is rough. Cameron and Counsell are not going to keep them in this tight race.
Teams That Are Down, but Will Make A Surge
1. Tampa Bay Rays- To this point in the season, they couldn't have caught any more bad breaks. They lose their middle infield, Kazmir is roughed up and Sonny has been garbage, yet somehow, they're only five back. Theres too much talent there not to finish right along the big boys again. I see them coming in third in the AL East, but finishing just out of the money.
2. Atlanta Braves- There a little ways back in the east, but there rotation is solid. Getting Nate McLouth is a nice step and as they bring up some of their talented kids, I see this team catching fire and making a wild card run. Chipper gives them that veteran presence thats been there before. I'm calling it right now, if the Braves acquire one more bat, they win the wild card.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks- What the heck happened here? This team was my preseason pick to win the division and a playoff series. They are 13.5 games out currently. Obviously that is a huge deficit to come back from, and as good as the Dodgers are, I doubt they'll give that up, but the DBacks will turn it into a race. I just know it. Getting Brandon Webb back will spark this team as they can turn to two aces on back to back days and know what they're getting. Scherzer has been a nice surprise and the bullpen has nowhere to go but up. If a couple of their bats turn it around, this could be a dangerous team.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where I Went Wrong, And Where Im Still Right

Sometimes as a journalist, you must admit when you’re wrong. I was wrong about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I drastically overrated the Cavs and maybe underrated the Magic. The fact of the matter is the Cleveland front court is not good enough to win this series, let alone the championship. When you look at what they’re working with, there isn’t much there. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is flat out washed up. Looking at him at the start of the series, I saw a skilled big man that can rebound, post up, and shoot from the outside. What I saw from him in the past four games was a slow old man that has no will to compete and balky knees that prevent him from being effective. Joe Smith is not what he once was. He was never a great player, but he has had his moments, just not this year. Anderson Varejao is a very good player. I personally don’t like him, but he fills a role very well. Unfortunately, he is being forced to do his role and then some. He is providing all of the interior defense and still being expected to provide some scoring. He’s never going to be a big time scorer. If they were to ask him to just rebound, block shots, and defend, he’d be stellar, but he’s not. Finally, it’s become very apparent that Ben Wallace is past his basketball expiration date. Enough talk about him. Cleveland needs a big time down low scorer. That truly is what separates them from the rest of the elite team, they don’t have that guy that they can throw the ball to down low so LeBron can take a possession off, every now and then. Aside from that, LeBron penetration should make your frontcourt devastating; a guy with a couple decent moves would flourish with LeBron getting him the ball in good position. They have Darnell Jackson and JJ Hickson on their bench developing, but neither of them are explosive scorers. With the $13 million contract of Wally Szczerbiak coming off the books, they will have a good amount of room to pursue a nice low post scorer this summer. Someone like Jermaine O’Neal or Carlos Boozer would be an awesome addition to go with LeBron.
Now, on to something more positive; where I was right. I am still right about Stan Van Gundy not being a good coach. All of a sudden, everyone assumes that just because he got his team up to 3-1, that he is a good coach. That is not necessarily true. Shaq Diesel once called Stan Van the Master of Panic. I still have not seen something that changes my mind about that. Great coaches not only get their teams out to leads, but they overcome deficits. Getting out to this lead does not prove anything. So far in this post season, he put away Philadelphia, edged out an old Boston team, and now has got Cleveland down 3-1. He still has not showed me anything. He still cannot slow down, let alone stop LeBron. The Magic were even unable to stop the gunners of Cleveland tonight. Once Stan Van finds adversity and completely brings his team back, then people can say that he has shed the Master of Panic role, but for now, all I see is a frightened coach who’s players pretty much coach themselves.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mock Draft 1.0

Its time for the first mock of the year, here it goes:

1. LA Clippers- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma No surprise here
2. Memphis Grizzlies- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn They need to avoid the temptation of Rubio, they have Conley and can use the help inside.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder- Ricky Rubio PG Spain The most exciting prospect in the draft. Would combine with Westbrook, Durant, and Jeff Green to make the best young nucleus in the game.
4. Sacramento Kings- Jordan Hill PF Arizona Kings need help everywhere, might as well start inside, should team with Jason Thompson for a nice inside combo.
5. Washington Wizards- James Harden SG Arizona Agent Zero needs a backcourt mate that can play off the ball and get his own shot both, Harden fits the bill.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Tyreke Evans G Memphis On a team that lacks playmakers, Evans would be a star.
7. Golden State Warriors- Earl Clark SF Louisville Golden State loves long, athletic players. Clark seems like a natural fit.
8. New York Knicks- Stephen Curry G Davidson A guard who has many skills for D'Antoni to work with.
9. Toronto Raptors- DeMar DeRozan SG USC On a team with lots of skill players, adding an explosive guard like DeRozan would be huge.
10. Milwaukee Bucks- JRue Holiday PG UCLA With Ramon Sessions potentially a goner, Holiday would fill a big need at the point.
11. New Jersey Nets- James Johnson F Wake Forest There is a need at the power forward position that Johnson could fill.
12. Charlotte Bobcats- Gerald Henderson G Duke After taking care of a need at point last year, they will fill the two guard spot this year.
13. Indiana Pacers- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse With both Jarret Jack and TJ Ford having awful seasons, its time for someone else to take command of the offense.
14. Phoenix Suns- Brandon Jennings PG Italy There is little backcourt depth in the desert, Jennings can play both positions and learn from Steve Nash.
15. Detroit Pistons- Ty Lawson PG UNC The Pistons lack a true point guard on their roster, adding Lawson would allow them to move Stuckey off the ball and leave him free to gun all he wants.
16. Chicago Bulls- Dejuan Blair PF Pittsburgh The series with Boston showed their lack of inside muscle, Blair would solve that.
17. Philadelphia 76ers- Wayne Ellington SG UNC The shooting touch of Ellington would bring another demension to the 76er offense that includes slashers like Iguodala, Andre Miller, and Willie Green.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves- Gani Lawal PF Georgia Tech After adding a scoring guard, they look to another inside presence to complement Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.
19. Atlanta Hawks- Jeff Teague SG Wake Forest The Hawks backcourt has been relatively thin, adding a shooter would definitely help.
20. Utah Jazz- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC Jerry Sloan likes the hardworking type. Hansbrough is more on the skill-less hardworking type, but whatever. With Boozer and Millsap potentially on their way out, there is a need here.
21. New Orleans Hornets- Omri Casspi Isreal Supposedly the best European player not named Rubio. Would be just another weapon for Chris Paul.
22. Dallas Mavericks- BJ Mullens C Ohio State The Mavs have Dampier, allowing Mullens to develop slowly.
23. Sacramento Kings- Eric Maynor PG Virginia Commonwealth After adding some help inside, they take care of a need at the point.
24. Portland Trailblazers- Terrence Williams F Louisville The Blazers are a very deep team, the take the best available player here.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder- Derrick Brown PF Xavier Drafted Rubio earlier, now they add some fromtcourt depth.
26. Chicago Bulls- Chase Budinger G Arizona After getting stronger upfront, they shore up the backcourt with a shooter.
27. Memphis Grizzlies- Nick Calathes PG Florida Having Mike Conley, there is little risk in taking a guy who could become a star. Boom or bust pick.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves- Taj Gibson PF USC Third pick for the TWolves will be another banger inside.
29. Los Angeles Lakers- Darren Collison PG UCLA The playoffs have exposed their need at the point. This isnt the pick to grab a game changer, but he should contribute.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeff Pendergraph PF Arizona State A high basketball IQ guy, should fit in with the older bigs in Cleveland.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Difference Between Kobe and Bron Bron

With the miracle of Friday night, people are putting LeBron in the same category as Kobe and Michael Jordan. I absolutely love LeBron, but these claims are absurd. Hitting one big shot does not vault you into that category. Im sorry, but LeBron really has not been a clutch shooter his whole career; he has had his magical moments, yes, but he lacked a three pointer to win a game until Friday, and has struggled for the majority of his career in clutch situations. LeBron may end up being the best player the game has ever seen; and he will have done that with all the expectations in the world, but he is not there yet. Right now, he is missing three things that Kobe Bryant has, and those would be rings. Granted Kobe did it with a dominant post player, but he was the major contributor in the last championship run, and was an equal to Shaq in the first two. Kobe finds ways to get it done in the fourth quarter. He hits open teammates, and hit the impossible shots; and he has done this on a consistent basis for many years. One key aspect where LeBron is lacking is free throws. Tonight he went 18-24 from the line. He missed clutch freebies while Dwight Howard stepped up and nailed his. Kobe Bryant went 15-17 and was ice in the final minute, 4-4 in the final 22 seconds. Kobe always had the game in the palm of his hand. LeBron was challenged tonight by another rising star, Dwight Howard, and he was pummeled, not only in the score of the game, but Howard controlled the emotion of the game, despite his foul trouble. LeBron is getting his points, but considering he is playing with a current All Star and several former All Stars, there is no excuse for the clunkers the the Cavs have thrown up. There is obviously still time for LeBron to pick up his act, and he most likely will, but he is still in the tier below Kobe Bryant and Dywane Wade.
Some other observations about the game. What the heck is Zydrunas Ilgauskas doing shooting three three pointers? Every time I see him jack up a three it makes me cringe. Has the Cav's offense become so brutal that Ilgauskas shooting threes is the best option. My goodness. Also, I think that people are making far too much about Dwight Howard coming close to the limit for technical fouls. I think Dwight has the ability to keep his emotions in check and he uses the T's to fire up his team. He is an underrated leader and I thing people drastically underestimate his influence because he is a warm, friendly player.
Still hate Stan Van

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why Cleveland Will Still Win In 5

Ohhhhh Noooooo. Cleveland lost game one at home. Might as well throw in the towel right? As Dwight Schrute would say, "False!" People are going way overboard. How quickly sportscasters and the general public forget that 48 hours ago, the Cavs were being touted as the undeniable best team in the league. One game and everyone is off the bandwagon. Well, I am not. Lets look at the game a little. Statistics dont lie, and they surely dont lie in regards to the game last night. The first sample i want you to look at is Mo Williams' line. 6-19 from the floor. Thats 32%. A very poor outing. On the season he was a 47% shooter from the floor. Delonte West went 4-13, or 31% last night. He was a 46% shooter on the season. Do you honestly think that Mickael Pietrus, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, and Anthony Johnson are going to hold down those tremendous shooters all series, I highly doubt it. None of those four are tremendous defensive players, while Mo and Delonte are nice offensive pieces. With that being said, where exactly is the defense on LeBron going to come from. Stan Van himself said that he has no idea what to do with LeBron. Is Hedo Turkoglu going to magically going to lose 25 pounds and gain quickness so he can d LeBron? There is no way that Orlando can stop the big man. LeBron's sidekicks will show up in the coming games, they are just too deadly to miss all the looks that he will give them. Now lets look at the greatest thing to happen to the world, Dwight Howard. Big man went 14-20 from the field. That is stunning to me. How can the Cavs allow him to get 14 dunks. Goodness knows dudes got no offensive game, the fact that he scored 30 points last night only goes to show that last night was a career night for superman. He will not score that many points against Z, Big Ugly, Ben, and Joe Smith again, he simply doesnt have the game to do that again. The Cavs took the best shot the Magic had to give. They held down LeBron's sidekicks, Howard went off, and Hedo, Lewis, and Alston could not miss down the stretch. All of these things contributed to the win, and all of these things will not, scratch that cannot happen again. LeBron shouldnt have to carry the team again, but even if he does, a little more effort and they'll win. The Cavs have taken the fury of Orlando and only lost by one. There is too much LeBron for Orlando to win again. One more thought, I heard someone say that the Cavs cant beat the Magic with Hedo, Lewis, and Howard going off. Got a prediction for this person, they all three wont go off again this series. I got Cleveland in 5.

Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 MLB Season

OK, so the 2009 season has just gotten underway, and I’ve been swamped with people who want my perspective on what is going to happen. I’ve made this blog to address this and a lot more. So here is what to look for this season.

American League
1. Boston Red Sox- This prediction is becoming a tradition, teams seem to shuffle below the Sox, but they always finish at the top. This year should be no different. Their starting rotation is one of the best in baseball and Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester are extremely difficult to beat in a seven game series. I expect a big year out of Jason Bay, who is in his contract year, and a bounce back season from J.D. Drew. Look for them to be right there in October.
2. New York Yankees- With all the money they spent, they better be up here. Baseball starts with pitching and their starting rotation is great. Andy Pettitte is a great number five starter. As always, you worry about injuries and expectations taking their toll on the team, but I think this should be the year they get back to the post season.
3. Tampa Bay Rays- A lot of people are calling for a huge drop off from the Rays this year. Barring major injuries, I don’t see that happening. I love their entire pitching staff. Their starting rotation is good enough that they can keep David Price at triple A to start the year. The lineup is full of young guys that are prone to inconsistency, but they are all unbelievably talented. They are a great team, just not great enough to beat out the Yanks and Sox for a playoff berth.
4. Baltimore Orioles- A lot to like here compared to previous years. Matt Weiters and the addition of Adam "Don't Call Me Pac Man" Jones give them two legit superstars in the making. They have a lot of young guys that are a couple years away, but they will continue to struggle until they develop and they replace Jeremy Guthrie as staff ace.
5. Toronto Blue Jays- This team has a very talented bullpen, staff ace, and outfield. The rest of the roster leaves a lot to be desired. The lineup lacks punch outside of Rios and Wells and the rotation sucks outside of Halleday. They are an easy choice for last in the division. Next year, with Marcum and McGowen back, will be a different story.

1. Minnesota Twins- If I loved their rotation anymore, you could call me a gay. This rotation is going to be absolutely dirty, and now. Liriano, Baker, and Slowey rival any one-two-three punch, and Blackburn and Perkins are not far behind. Their bullpen is thin, but with Nathan and Crain they should be okay. Their lineup is not amazing, but with the pitchers only giving up 3 runs a game, they won’t need that much offense. Look for Carlos Gomez to turn into more than a speedster with a good all around season.
2. Detroit Tigers- My favorite team, so it’s hard to view them objectively. My first impulse was to have them winning the division, but then I remembered that our bullpen sucks, the rotation has a ton of question marks and we've put ourselves into a position where Marcus Thames needs to play regularly. On the positive side, that rotation with so many question marks also has a ton of talent, and our lineup can put runs on the board with anyone. I think we'll fall just short of the postseason.
3. Kansas City- Surely you jest, but not so fast. The royals have put together a rotation you can work with, a reliable bullpen, and a lineup filled a lot of young talented players mixed with valuable veterans. Once again, I'm going to tell you to look out for Billy Butler in the MVP talk, he can absolutely stick. This will be the year they rise out of mediocrity into the middle of the pack.
4. Cleveland Indians- The Indians are the sexy pick in the division, but quite frankly, they don’t scare me. Outside of Lee and Carmona, they have no established major league starting pitchers, and even Lee and Carmona have been hot and cold. Their lineup could be deadly, but has been ravished by injuries in the past. If they stay healthy and some pitching steps up they could finish better than this, but I don’t see it.
5. Chicago White Sox- Man, they got old in a hurry. It’s not good when your three top offensive weapons are older than some dinosaurs. The bullpen has issues, the rotation faded down the stretch and they're old as all get out. Not sold on these guys.

1. Seattle Mariners- Well, I bought in to the hype last year, and I'm buying them again this year, with less hype. Granted their bullpen is a mess, and the rotation has holes, but overall, I think they are good enough to win this pathetic division. Felix Hernandez has a Cy Young in his near future, it may be this year, I’m not sure, but he is a keeper. Although Bedard has no friends, he still is a very good pitcher when healthy. I think he will be, and I think Ichiro, Jose Lopez, and Jeff Clement will lead a surprisingly potent offense.
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or whatever- This team is an example of how spending the most money doesn’t always make you a winner. I think the rotation is overrated, and the lineup has no pop. You can’t argue with their bullpen, but if they don’t have a lead to protect.......
3. Texas Rangers- Same Old, Same Old. They never learn. Having a potent offense only gets you so far. Their powerful lineup will keep them in games, but Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla at the top of the rotation is terrible. Their bullpen is unsettled as well. If suddenly their staff steps up they could be dangerous, but they haven’t stepped us for the last ten years, no reason to think they will this year.
4. Oakland Athletics- Not that there was much here to begin with, but their hopes have taken two huge hits with injuries to Justin Duchscherer and Joey Devine. The lineup in weak, the rotation is awful and Brad Ziegler is the only pen guy that is experienced, and I have a hunch that people will figure him out this year. Potentially the worst team in the AL.

National League


1. New York Mets- A lot to like here and a lot to dislike. Their lineup is as potent as it gets, Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and Delgado are all MVP candidates. Santana is Santana and Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine are good too, but the fifth spot is anyone’s guess. It’s hard to kick on having K-Rod and Putz in the same bullpen too. If all goes right and they avoid major injuries, I think they should be a participant in this year’s World Series.

2. Philadelphia Phillies- The defending champions still have a lineup to die for. Top to bottom, they’re loaded. The bullpen is solid as well. I’m not sold on the rotation because they lack a decent starter beyond Hamels and Myers. I think the offense will be able to compensate for a lot of this, but I think their poor rotation will keep them from winning the division.

3. Florida Marlins- As you can tell, I love young, talented rotations and Florida qualifies here. Nolasco also has a Cy Young in his future. Johnson and Volstad have developed into reliable starters and I’m a believer in both Andrew Miller and Anibal Sanchez. Throw those guys with Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla, and you could have a huge surprise in the AL East.

4. Atlanta Braves- The Braves are a team that could finish a lot higher than this, depending on health. The lineup is average, but serviceable. I like the rotation, especially Japanese import Kenshin Kawakami. Lowe and Vasquez are nice at the top of the rotation as well. The bullpen will be an issue all year as we discover that Mike Gonzalez is not a closer.

5. Washington Nationals- There’s more to like here than normal. The staff has some nice guys to work with. I like Lannen and Olsen and the bullpen is in decent hands with Joel Hanrahan and Saul Rivera. The offense will be punch less despite signing Adam Dunn. It’s just not going to happen.


1. St. Louis Cardinals- A lot of people have jumped on the Cardinal bandwagon this year, and I’ve got to admit, I’m with them. I like their rotation and think that Wainwright and Carpenter are going to be phenomenal this year. The bullpen is not very glamour, but they got the job done last year and will again this year. With Skip Schumaker at second, it gives them another power bat in the outfield. Put all that with the best player in the Nation League and you have a division winner.

2. Chicago Cubs- There isn’t anything wrong with the Cubs this year. Just like there wasn’t anything wrong with the Cubs last year. Whatever it is, there’s something about the Cubs that keeps them from being winners. The lineup is solid, the rotation could be spectacular, and the bullpen will be solid. Just don’t see it this year.

3. Milwaukee Brewers- Not being able to resign CC Sabathia really hurts them entering this year. It leaves them with Yovani Gallardo and Jeff Suppan at the top of the rotation. The lineup is full of solid hitters. The bullpen is alright but not great. This should be an average team this year unless they trade for some pitching.

4. Houston- Another average team. They don’t everything ok but don’t excel anywhere. I think they should hover around .500 all season. The lineup has Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman, but the rotation has Brian Moehler as the third starter, which could prove to be an issue. Not much upside to this team.

5. Cincinnati Reds- I think this is the boom or bust team in the division. The rotation has the guns to be a brilliant, lights out unit, or they could continue to struggle with control and emotions. The bullpen is solid as well. The lineup has its bright spots but also has some holes. Although they signed Willy Taveras, they still have no true table setter. They should be the most interesting team in the division.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates- There is not much to say here. The lineup is weak, the rotation is subpar and the bullpen is a mess. Probably the worst team in the National League.


1. Arizona Diamondbacks- I firmly believe that this is the year the Diamondbacks put it all together for a deep run. The lineup is nice. There are power, speed, and average guys throughout. The rotation is going to be dangerous again. Webb, Haren, and 100MHP throwing Max Scherzer are a great one-two-three punch, with Doug Davis, Jon Garland, and Yusmiro Petit serving as a solid backend. The bullpen has three closers and plenty of other strikeout arms. They should be the team to beat out west.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers- A lot of experts like the Dodgers to win the division, but I’m just not sold on the rotation enough to go there. I like Billingsley and Kershaw, but I’m not a Kuroda believer and Jason Schmidt will not stay healthy. The lineup is great, especially with Manny back and the bullpen is decent. I like them to keep it close, but ultimately fall to the D-Backs.

3. San Francisco Giants- I think there is a lot of room for improvement here from last year. There is a nice staff here with Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Randy Johnson, and an emerging Jonathan Sanchez. Pablo Sandoval is a blossoming star, and with a little luck, the Giants should be able to place third in this division.

4. Colorado Rockies- The Rockies are clearly a talented team; however they have too many holes to compete this year. The outfield is manned by Spilbourghs and Seth Smith, not Matt Holliday anymore. Also the rotation leaves a lot to be desired. Cook has been good, but around him, there’s very little. The bullpen is great with two closers and a great setup man, Taylor Buchholz. They should be around the .500 mark.

5. San Diego Padres- It’s going to be a long season for Jake Peavy. There will be very little run support and his bullpen is going to be very shaky. Chris Young will be a solid number two, and Adrian Gonzalez will deliver, but there just isn’t enough thunder here to compete.


National League Division Series

New York Mets over St. Louis Cardinals 3-1

Arizona Diamondbacks over Philadelphia Phillies 3-0

National League Championship Series

New York Mets over Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2

American League Division Series

Boston Red Sox over Seattle Mariners 3-0

Minnesota Twins over New York Yankees 3-2

American League Championship Series

Boston Red Sox over Minnesota Twins 4-3

World Series

New York Mets over Boston Red Sox 4-2




1. Miguel Cabrera 1B Detroit

2. Mark Teixeira 1B New York

3. Ichiro OF Seattle

Cy Young

1. Francisco Liriano Minnesota

2. Erik Bedard Seattle

3. A.J. Burnett New York

Rookie of the Year

Matt Weiters C Baltimore



1. Albert Pujols 1B St. Louis

2. Carlos Beltran OF New York

3. Matt Kemp OF Los Angeles

Cy Young

1. Brandon Webb Arizona

2. Adam Wainwright St. Louis

3. Johan Santana New York

Rookie of the Year

Cameron Maybin OF Florida