Tag Archives: ESPN

Top 10 2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers

If you are a serious, no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall fantasy football player like I am, then you already know what I am about to say, so feel free to skip ahead a bit.  As for the rest of you, here goes: there is no offseason in fantasy football.  Right now you should be paying attention to who, among the teams in the playoffs, is getting the ball and how much they are getting it.  Bernard Pierce’s game against the Colts told me more about him then all 16 games of the regular season did combined.  To prove my point, I submit the fact that Matthew Berry, the preeminent fantasy guru, has already released his top 200 players for 2013, which got me thinking.  I know its early, but I immediately identified more than a handful of players whom I think were undervalued based on his initial rankings.  In the words of fantasy athletics these are known as “sleepers”.  So here you go, for your reading pleasure I submit my list of 2013 fantasy football sleepers.  And just so we are on the same page, here is my definition of what a “sleeper” is:  I define a sleeper as a player who will outperform his average draft position by no less than 10 spots, or one full standard league round.  So a fifth round sleeper would be expected to perform as well, if not better than, a player selected in the fourth round.  So, without further ado, here they are.

  • #53 Greg Jennings, WR22, 6th Round.  In 2012 the 22nd best WR was Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers with his 73 receptions for 1,174 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Jennings missed most of 2012 with an injury but did show he was back at 100% in Green Bay’s season finale in which he caught 8 balls for 120 yards and 2 TD’s.  He will be one of the most highly coveted free agents this offseason and at only 30 years old should have no problem being a top 15 WR next year worthy of a selection within the first five rounds of the draft.  1200 yards and 8 touchdowns are easily attainable.  Even if he were to stay in Green Bay it changes nothing as Jennings is Rodgers favorite target.
  • #69 Torrey Smith, WR29, 7th Round.  In 2012 the 29th best WR was Austin Miles of the Dallas Cowboys with his 946 yards and 6 touchdowns.  In 2012, Smith’s second year in the NFL, he had 984 receiving yards and 10 TD’s.  Traditionally, a wide receiver usually really starts to come into his own during his third year in the league.  Anyone who watched the Baltimore-Denver AFC Divisional game last week knows that it is laughable to actually think that Smith will regress in 2013.  Barring any unforeseen setbacks, if you’re on the clock in the fourth round and he’s still available then he has the potential to be the steal of your draft.
  • #70 Vick Ballard, RB25, 7th Round.  In 2012 the 25th best running back was Willis McGahee and his 952 total yards and four touchdowns.  Come on!  What the Colts have going on the offensive side of the ball is something special.  The Donald Brown era is all but over.  I fully expect Ballard to enter 2013 as their primary, if not feaure, back who will get all the goal line work.  In today’s NFL no primary+goal line back lasts until the 7th round of a fantasy draft.  Barring a move via the draft or something unexpected during free agency, Ballard is no worse than a top 15 RB worth selecting during the first five rounds of the draft.
  • #86 Jacquizz Rodgers, RB29, 9th Round.  The 29th best running back of 2012 was Denver’s Knowshon Moreno and his 748 total yards and 5 total TD’s.  Much of my argument for Rodgers is the same as above for Ballard.  Michael Turner’s role in the Atlanta offense is being reduced, if not phased out entirely by next year, and Rodgers is who they are going to turn to.  To sum it up, as a rookie, in a part time role, Rodgers totaled 836 yards of offense and 2 TD’s.  With him having an increased role next year, there is no reason not to think that he won’t compile another combined 400 yards of offense and an additional 4-6 TD’s.  He is an ideal flex candidate with RB2 upside worth selecting by the 6th round.
  • #89 Josh Gordon, WR40, 9th Round.  In 2012 the 41st best WR was Santana Moss and his 592 yards and 8 TD’s.  Josh Gordon was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 supplemental draft.  What that means, the nuts-and-bolts of it at least, is instead of joining his team in April like all the rest of the rookies did, he didn’t join the Browns until July. But that didn’t stop him from leading the Browns in receiving yards with 805 receiving TD’s with 5. And, oh by the way, did I mention he didn’t even play a down of competitive football in 2011 because of off the field problems?  At 6’3” 225lbs Gordon has the potential to be a star in the NFL and should be drafted as a WR3 with serious WR1 potential no later than the 6th round.
  • #90 TY Hilton, WR41, 9th Round.  In 2012 the 41st best WR was Larry Fitzgerald and his fantasy season-ruining 798 yards and 4 TD’s.  In 2012 Hilton, a rookie, had 927 yards and 7 TD’s.   506 of those yards and 5 TD’s came over Hilton’s final seven games, which means to me, as the season progressed, he and fellow rookie Andrew Luck, really began to develop some chemistry.  Next year Reggie Wayne, who Matthew Berry lists as his 13th best WR, 37th overall, turn 35.  I expect Wayne to produce closer to where Mr. Berry projects Hilton to be and vice-versa.  I’ll say it again, what Indianapolis has brewing on the offensive side of the ball is something special and fantasy owners had better pay attention.
  • #97 Kendall Wright, WR46, 10th Round.  In 2012 the 46th best WR was Donnie Avery with 793 yards and 3 TD’s.  Last year, as a rookie, Wright led the Titans in both receptions, 64, and targets, 104. His 626 yards were good for second on the team and his 4 touchdowns put him in a four-way tie for the team lead.  I expect him to easily surpass those numbers in 2013.  Why?  If for no better reason than we are not even through January yet, and Kenny Britt has already had to talk to the police about a shooting/stabbing.  There is no way this guy lasts another seven months without some type of off the field incident which will undoubtedly negatively impact his fantasy value.  Wright is a steal as early as the 8th round and should be viewed as a WR3 with WR2 upside.
  • #119 David Wilson, RB41, 12th Round.  In 2012 the 41st best fantasy football was Bilal Powell and his 577 total yards and 4 TD’s.  I know, Wilson can’t pass-block, I get it.  He does everything else at a nearly elite level.  The whole pass-blocking thing will get figured out, the Giants need Wilson on the field starting game one in 2013 and 1,000 combined yards, 8 total TD’s is what I set the minimum bar at.  Draft as a flex no later than round 8 and expect big time production from him as you become the envy of your draft.
  • #132 Bernard Pierce, RB45, 14th Round.  In 2012 the 45th best fantasy running back was LaRod Stephens-Howling with 463 total yards and 4 TD’s.  If in 2013 you own Ray Rice, than you need to also draft Pierce.  He is a necessary handcuff that may wind up sneaking into your lineup, even with Ray Rice playing, as a viable flex option.  You don’t take a player in the third round of the NFL draft, as Baltimore did with Pierce, to have him sit on the bench.  The Ravens will find a way to get the ball into Pierce’s hands and I expect him to make the most of his opportunities.
  • #135 Kendall Hunter, RB 48, 14th Round.  In 2012 David Wilson was the 48th best fantasy running back with 395 total yards and 5 TD’s.  Before tearing his Achilles tendon, Hunter was doing a great job as Frank Gore’s backup, averaging 5.2ypc.  Hunter is another player who falls under the category of must-have handcuff with serious upside.  Frank Gore had a superb 2012 campaign with 1,200+ yards and 8 TD’s but will be 30 next year and at some point he will start to slow down.  I’d feel comfortable taking Hunter in the 10th round knowing, at the very least, if Gore were to get banged up, then I am sitting on a lottery ticket by way of having a RB1 on my bench.  (On a side note, if LaMichael James were to be #2 on the 2013 SF depth chart, and not Hunter, then insert him here instead.)
  • #141 Ronnie Hillman, RB51, 15th Round.  The 51st best fantasy RB in 2012 was Maurice Jones-Drew who got hurt in the Jaguars’ sixth game of the year.  Another young, talented back, who was a third round draft pick, playing behind a productive, but aging (by NFL running back standards) veteran.  Willis McGahee will be 32 years old next year and can not be counted on to carry a full workload, which is where Hillman comes in.  Draft him around round 10 and you won’t be disappointed.
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BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WRAP UP

By now just about everyone is aware of the of tsunami -esque beat down the Alabama Crimson Tide gave to the Notre Dame Fightin’  Irish in their 42-14 win in last nights’s BCS National Championship game.

It was a complete and total domination by “Bama start to finish.  The Irish got off to a good start by winning the coin toss but that was about it for the things they did well.  But at least they’ll have that. “Bama got the ball first and ND got to losing right away as they gave up a five play 82-yd touchdown drive.  Which, oh by the way, was the longest drive the Manti Te’o led ND defense had given up all season.

There is no better way to illustrate the dominance Alabama’s offense had over the much (as it turns out) over-hyped Notre Dame defense than this, going into last night, the Irish had surrendered only nine total offensive touchdowns all year to their 12 regular season opponents combined but on the first play of the second quarter Alabama’s T.J Yeldon’s 1-yd touchdown run gave the Crimson Tide a 21-0 lead over the Irish.

What that means is, in only 904 seconds of BCS Title game play Notre Dame allowed Alabama to score one third as many touchdowns  as they let all 12 of their  opponents score during the 20,736 seconds of the regular season combined (excluding overtime, 12G x 60MPG = 144M x 60s =, 20,736seconds). So much for that famed Irish-luck.

The real BREAKING NEWS from the game was  last night Brent Musburger got his first boner of the 21st century!  It seemed as if after every “Bama score,  ESPN would cutaway to a very attractive woman in attendance named Katherine Webb who, in addition to being Ms Alabama 2012, was also AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, hence their excuse for throwing her up there every couple of minutes for Musburger to objectify/wax poetically over.  Let’s just say it was unrequited-love at first sight for the 73 year old Musburger who at one point simply just said “WO!”.

It’s being widely reported that when Webb went to bed yesterday she had approximately 2,000 Twitter followers but when she woke up that number was over well over  100,000!  It would seem as if Brent Musburger’s slacks weren’t the only things “trending up” last night.

AJ isn't the only champ

AJ isn’t the only champ

If you want my opinion, any woman that’s nice enough to make pictures of herself like this available on the internet deserves no less than 100,000 Twitter followers.

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Turkey Day Football Notes

  • Brandon Moore’s butt meets Mark Sanchez’s face

  • In case you missed it, on Thursday night the Jets proved they only need 53 seconds to lose an entire football game.
  • Stat of the Day: Brandon Moore’s ass had more sacks then the entire Jets defense.   Sanchez hits the hole, hard.
  • The Jets and Patriots played the funniest game of football I’ve ever seen.  The Jets have comedic timing that is surpassed maybe only by the 3 Stooges.  They can’t even fumble right, the ball goes flying through the air.
  • Looking for a fun game to play with your buddies?  Watch the Jets-Patriots game and drink every time they say the name of a former Miami Dolphin player. You’ll be wrecked by halftime. Donald Thomas leads the way, drink.  Clyde Gates checks into the game, drink.  Lex Hilliard is the starting fullback, drink.  Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has his hands full, drink.  That’s special teams coach Mike Westhoff, drink.  Rob Ninkovich gets the sack, drink. Welker for 14, Welker for 9, Welker for 16, drink, drink, drink.  Welker gets brought down by Yeremiah Bell, drink double.
  • Every time i watch RG3 play i remember that he is better than i think he is.  Are there better examples of quarterbacks who do “more with less” than he and Andrew Luck?  There are question marks and rookies all over both of their offenses but somehow they get it done.
  • On the other side of the coin, is there a better example of a quarterback who does “less with less” than Mark Sanchez?  I get it, your team sucks, deal with it, I’m sick of hearing about it.  What those rookies are accomplishing with their offenses puts your argument to shame.  Great QBs find a way to make it work, inferior ones use it as an excuse.
  • Just because the play would have been reviewed (and thus overturned) if Jim Shwartz had not violated the stupidest rule in the history of the NFL does not let the referees from the Lions-Texans game off the hook.  Both the runner’s elbow and knee touched the ground.  It’s inexcusable that the refs missed that.
  • So far this NFL season we have seen two touchdowns scored which have ultimately decided games that everybody watching  knew was not a touchdown except for the employees of the NFL.
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Charges Dropped Against Adrian Peterson

The resisting arrest charge against Adrian Peterson from a July 7th incident outside a Houston area night club has been dropped.

This is good because, in Texas, the punishment for resisting arrest is death by electrocution plus firing squad then they hang you, and I really need AD alive and well for the fantasy playoffs stretch run. (Seriously, screw the money, my league has a trophy, that’s all I want.)

But on a serious note, when these “star athlete arrested” stories first happen, they’re breaking news. Then when the outcome is like this,charges dropped, the story is  nowhere near as sexy, so it gets treated as less than an afterthought, more of an unwanted obligation really, and that annoys me.

Other than his bone crushing handshake, I’ve never heard anyone say anything even remotely negative about Peterson so his name being cleared should be news.

On a side note, am I the only one who finds it fishy when someone is arrested for resisting arrest and that’s it? Shouldn’t there be another charge accompanying it in which you originally resisted and so the police charged you with both?  Could you imagine what that conversation would be like?
“Hey you’re under arrest.”
For what?
“Nothing”
Okay then bye.
“You resisted, now you’re really under arrest! Fool you!”

read the full story here on ESPN

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@nhl @nhlshanahan @espn_nhl – I want an answer that actually makes sense regarding the Boyle no goal

Why was the obvious Brian Boyle short-handed goal with 8:28 left to go in the game not a goal, even after it was reviewed?  I want an answer that makes sense.  The referee clearly blew the whistle well after the puck had crossed the line.  So far all the explanations I have heard involving words like “intended” “lost sight” and “interference” are absolute garbage.  Are you seriously trying to tell me that at any time the refs can waive off any goal they want with an explanation that is as simple as “I blinked at the wrong time and intended to blow the whistle earlier then I obviously did, even though I clearly didn’t”?  Smells like garbage to me.

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Bad News Joba Fans

He’s done for this year, most likely next year and possibly forever.  He was playing on trampoline with his son when he suffered what they are calling an “open dislocation of his right ankle.”   And while I’m not completely sure what that means, it sounds pretty gruesome.  Here are three excerpts about it from ESPN New York website: “expected to remain in the hospital for several days for the injury, which resulted in an open flesh wound around the ankle… Chamberlain lost a significant amount of blood and was taken by ambulance to the hospital…The wound in an ankle open fracture/dislocation typically is treated promptly to prevent infection before a fracture reduction is performed with plate and screw fixation carried out.”  I have read that last one 5 times and i still have no idea what it means but it can’t be pleasant.  It sounds like some seriously gruesome zombie horror movie type of stuff though.  Nothing funny about this, I just hope Joba’s okay.

Here’s the link to the ESPN article: http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/7727304/2012-spring-training-new-york-yankees-joba-chamberlain-suffers-severe-field-ankle-dislocation

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3/13 Boston 1 New York 0

Game Notes:

  • Man it is hard to watch a spring training game, even if it’s New York-Boston, that goes 9 innings of 0-0 baseball. But I did my best.  I was almost glad when Boston scored a run, just so the game wouldn’t end in a tie.
  • Has Bill Hall been cut yet?  I haven’t seen him do anything in the field or at the plate that says he deserves a roster spot with this team.  Hopefully Nunez is ready to go sooner rather than later.
  •  Good solid start out of Nova.  Four innings of shut out ball.  He was up in the zone a little bit but he was spotting his fastball well, had good movement on his breaking balls and effectively mixed in some change-ups.  Barring a melt down, I don’t see any reason why he’s not right on pace to take the ball, at worst, every fourth day.
  • Boone Logan has really impressed me so far this spring.  Another solid 1-2-3 inning out of him yesterday and he faced both righties and lefties.  He looks more and more like he’s going to be a major factor out of the pen and not just the teams obligatory southpaw.  So far this spring he’s got 4IP 2Hits 0Runs 0Walks 6K’s.  Now that’s getting the job done.
  • Another perfect 1-2-3 inning out of Mo and he broke two bats.  This guy is a machine.  He’s gonna be the Yankee we miss the most when he’s gone.
  • Zoilo Almonte was compared to Robbi Cano yesterday.  If by that they meant prone to stupid mistakes in the field and swinging at awful pitches at the plate, then i agree 100%.  I don’t want to be too hard on the kid, he’s only 22 years old and he hopefully  he can deem himself worthy of that comparison, but come on.
  • The David Phelps kid looked pretty good on the mound last night.  He worked fast and went right at the hitters.  He got the loss but it wasn’t his fault the aforementioned Z. Almonte turned what should have been a single into a triple and then let the only run of the game score with a throwing error.  He’ll have to be a guy I keep my eye on down in Scranton or Trenton or wherever he winds up.
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Brandon Marshall

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/nfl_star_belted_me_gal_KkFMFRvOerJNsHci3itYkO

So long and good riddance scumbag!  I knew when I saw you were traded to the Bears for only two 3rd round picks there was more to the story then we knew.  Men who are 6’4″ 230lbs should not be punching women in the face, regardless of circumstances.  Maybe if you fought for the ball as hard as you fight broads, Revis wouldn’t have completely embarrassed you with a 99yd pick 6 in week 6. I’m sure Miami will have no problem finding a receiver who drops 5 TD’s a year to replace you.  Good luck with this trash Chicago!

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Good News Yankee Fans

David “D-Rob” Robinson is out of the walking boot and proclaims that he will be ready for opening day.  Yankee fans everywhere can breath a sigh of relief.  With a 42 yr old Mariano Rivera, D-Rob’s position as set-up man is as important as it’s been for the Yankees since Mo manned the position in ’96 before he took over for then closer John Wettland the following season.  Hopefully the Steinbrenners have read my blog and hired Robinson a butler handle all the day to day chores like carrying boxes up and down stairs.

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Welcome Back Mo!

On Sunday the legendary Mariano Rivera made his spring training debut for the Yankees.  He worked a 14 pitch perfect 1-2-3 4th inning in their 3-0 victory over the Phillies.  10 of those pitches came during a Hector Luna at bat.  Rivera eventually won the showdown when he got Luna to ground out.  Hearing his trademark “Enter Sandman” brought out a little more excitement then usual because it’s widely speculated that Rivera’s 18th year in pinstripes will be his last.

CC Sabathia got the start and threw 28 of his 39 pitches for strikes, which means he’s right where he is supposed to be for March 11th.  He worked into and out of trouble in the first inning.  With two on and no outs he got two Philly regulars, Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton, to fly out and end the threat.  Things like this are what I look for in spring training.  Because these guys know the games don’t count and just want to “get their work in”. But we also  know no pitcher, at any level, wants to give up runs.  Spring training or otherwise, no pitcher take the mound with the mindset  “I don’t care how many runs I let up today.”  So two on no out in the first inning against proven, legit MLB hitters (as opposed to roster fodder with a number in the 80’s or young AA prospects)  is about as close as you get to simulating a real pressure situation in March.

There wasn’t much offense to talk about.  The Captian, Derek Jeter, singled off of Philly starter Kyle Kendrick twice.  Again, good signs for Jeter being the hits came off a major league starter who will be in Philadelphia’s starting rotation and not one of their minor league affiliates.

Most of the Yankee offense came from Chris Dickerson. With bases loaded, 2 outs in the 4th, he worked a 2-0 count then slapped a 2 run single to right.  One of the Yankee hallmarks is working the count, so this coupled with the great relay throw he had the other day against Tampa to nail a guy a 3rd ,shows he may have enough skills to help out the big club either on the field or as part of a trade down the line if and when the Yankees need to add any pieces.  Like say a middle reliever if D-Rob’s foot doesn’t heal.

All in all a shut out by your pitching staff, regardless of when it occurs, is exactly what you want to see if you’re Girardi or Larry Rothschild (the pitching coach).  The Yankees have shown that their veteran group of players are right on target to be in the mix for the always contentious AL East crown.

One final note, again, why does Russell Martin have 4 stolen bases?  If it’s a matter of conditioning can’t he just run a few extra sprints after the game?  When he jams his thumb sliding into second in a meaningless spring training game we are all going to regret this and talk about how stupid/useless it was.

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