Tuesday’s Takeaways from the Trenches — Week 10

The Socratic Paradox goes a little something like this: “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

sodahead.com
sodahead.com

This famous maxim is derived from Plato’s account of the writings of the Greek philosopher Socrates. So when was the last time you read a fantasy football column that began with a reference to Socrates and Plato? Hey, I’m here to educate as well as entertain, people. I’m so more than just a talking monkey.

Who knows if Socrates wasn’t some secret fake football prophet and closet fantasy football player? Hell, at one point Ashton Kutcher co-owned a fantasy football site and hosted a weekly fantasy radio show. I mean, would you rather get your knowledge from Socrates or Ashton Kutcher? But I digress. Perhaps Socrates knew that Week 10 of the 2014 NFL season would wholly carry out his axiom in every imaginable fashion. At the very least, his declaration absolutely applies.

You need examples? Glad you asked.


  • Just … Win (or … Something?), Baby

Al Davis was a maverick, an innovator and a winner. From all accounts, his infectious spirit and leadership infiltrated the entire Raiders organization back in the day. And I’m pretty sure he’d agree with Socrates this year. The Raiders are winless, and leading the pack as the worst team in football. Not overly surprising. But have they really been close yet? What are the loyal and dedicated Raider Nation hanging their collective silver helmets on? I’d suspect it’s not this:

That’s hard to do, I’d think.

Offensive Coordinator: Hey, let’s get James Jones a bunch of catches. I started him in my PPR league.

Head Coach: OK, but I’m playing against him in my standard league, so … let’s keep those yardage totals down.

OC: Winner winner, chicken dinner!

  • Big Ben or Medium-Sized Ben?

So you may have heard, Ben Roethlisberger has had a pretty solid last couple of weeks. His last two outings saw him complete 75% of his passes, while averaging 431 passing yards and 6 TDs. Oh yeah, he also averaged 40.2 fantasy points the previous two weeks. Meanwhile, the Jets have been a turnstyle defense, allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs this year. So what happens? Sure, as expected, Big Ben and the Steelers passing attack barely showed up. If not for a last minute 80-yard garbage-time TD bomb to rookie phenom Martavis Bryant, Ben would have finished with under 10 fantasy points.

USA Today
USA Today

Perhaps they need to go back to the bumblebee uni’s, or play tougher defenses, like Baltimore in Week 9. Uh oh, Ben could be in trouble again this week; the Steelers are playing the Titans and their soft defense.

  • How Did That Happen?

In one of my leagues, Team A (It Ertz When I Pee) faced Team B (The Double Ent-Andre Ellingtons). I do enjoy good wordplay. And you see, the Ellingtons failed to set their lineup this week; not sure what happened exactly—family illness/out of town/conspiracy theory to get the top waiver pick next week?—but they left three spots (WR, K, D/ST) empty.

The League, FX
The League, FX

Additionally, they started Toby Gerhart, so I guess they essentially left four spots empty. But they DID have a guy going who was ALL beast mode. And then the Ertz’ians were done in by Ronnie Hillman and Delanie Walker injuries, as well as no-show’s from AJ Green and Jeremy Hill. So, a team with 40% of their roster empty defeats a league-leader. I know the Ertz Pee’ers blame this on Socrates.

  • Name Drop … No, Actually Go DROP These Guys

OK, time for a visit to some name players perhaps still sitting on your roster that you … must … drop. Do not pass go; do not collect $200. It’s safe to go directly to your waiver wire and dump these guys, based on performance. Obviously, the size of your league and your roster make-up apply here, but you know what I’m saying.

  1. Zac Stacy: This guy was the lead back in St. Louis coming into the season with a seemingly bright future ahead. He was in the Top 15 ADP for RBs. After 10 weeks? He’s #3 on the Rams depth chart and, in standard leagues, he sits at #50. Among RBs. Yikes.
  2. Michael Floyd: Floyd was to come into his own superstardom in the desert, cracking most drafts Top 20 WRs. Michael is behind Malcolm in the infamous Floyd WR Race of 2014. Michael is at #56 for WRs, and clearly not being prioritized.
  3. Vernon Davis: Another guy who was relying on name value, Vernon was the #4 TE picked, only behind Jimmy, Julius and Gronk.
    AP Photo/Greg Trott
    AP Photo/Greg Trott

    Admittedly, TE is the most shallow position for fantasy football this year and he’s been hurt, but C’Mon Man! He’s not even in the Top 30 TEs (total standard points) this year. When Daniel Fells, Josh Hill and Anthony Fasano are ahead of you, something ain’t kosher.

  • Prime Time or Slime Time?

Personally, I wasn’t sure that the Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games could collectively get any worse. Then we were treated—wait, we were tricked a weekend late—with the Bengals disappearing act, the Packers beat-down of the hapless Bears, followed by Cam and the Panthers deciding not to show up in Philly. And, as mentioned, we’ll get to witness Pittsburgh visit my fair city (Nashville) next Monday night for a riveting Steelers versus Titans affair. Good thing Nashville is Music City; I may opt out for some tunes and BBQ.


Some Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

  • WTVT
    WTVT

    QB: Your Top 5 QBs this week: Rodgers? Check. Peyton? Check. Then Romo and his National Security Back Issue. Um, ok. Then Butt Fumble Mark Sanchez. Really? Then the teary Josh McCown. What??

  • RB: CJ Anderson finished ahead of everyone other than Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett with 22.3 points. Coming into the week, CJ had 11.6 points on the year. Now he’s dead even with another Anderson, Carolina backup QB Derek, for #245 in total points.
  • WR: Deja vu all over again here, as the rooks show up again bigtime. Four of the Top 7 WRs this week are freshmen. Jordan Matthews makes an appearance on this list at #3, Mr. Productivity Martavis Bryant drops in at #4, Kelvin Benjamin in garbage time lands at #6 and Mike Evans secures the #7 spot. Very impressive, boys.
  • TE: Philly teammates showed up on the scoresheet like this: Zac Ertz 1 catch on 2 targets for 17 yards. Brent Celek 5 catches on 6 targets for 116 yards. Coming into the game, Celek had been nearly doubled on targets. Oh yeah, fantasy points? Celek 11.6. Ertz 1.7. It DOES hurt when I pee. [Editor’s note: you might want to get that checked out, Jay.]
  • Bonus: A D/ST hits the Top 3 in total points this week for the first time all year, as the Eagles tallied the top DST score all year (31.0). In Week 2, the Patriots D/ST finished at #4. Interestingly, the Eagles now have three Top 10 weekly finishes, also cracking the list in Weeks 4 and 5. Can you say opportunistic?

Well, there you have it for this week. And whether you’re an intellectual Plato/Socrates type or more BBQ and Ertz Pee jokes, we still like you. You’re welcome any day in our little—I guess it’s not actually so little—fake football fraternity. And as such, you must always, always stay strong, show kindness and have NO RAGRETS.

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Standard scoring fantasy stats courtesy of FantasyPros.com.].


Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

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The Dodgers Will Regret Not Going After Joe Maddon

Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune
Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

When Joe Maddon opted out of his contract as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays on October 24, 2014 (as reported by CBS Sports), I thought there was only one destination for his next job. It was as clear to me as a Santa Monica day.

Inevitably, the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to announce they were going to let go of Don Mattingly as manager after 4 seasons, and reunite Maddon with his former Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman. Everything lined up perfectly and it would be a match made in baseball heaven.

I even began writing a somewhat snarky column for this website about the Dodgers being coy with their intentions while clearly pushing Mattingly out the door.

Oh, publicly, the Dodgers backed Mattingly, as they did here in the LA Times, but who were they kidding? Arguably the best manager in baseball was there for the taking.

Remember when Joe Torre suddenly became available after the 2007 postseason and Dodger manager Grady Little just HAPPENED to resign? What a coincidence that Torre was hired before poor Grady was done packing the office.

The Dodgers were poised to take on the champion Giants next year, and baseball would see a Maddon-led team take on Bruce Bochy’s boys with two of the best skippers in the business in the same division.

Then a funny thing happened to Joe Maddon, and also to this smart aleck know-it-all writer. The inevitable signing with the Dodgers turned into a Chicago Cubs love fest.

MLB.com
MLB.com

Maddon headed to Wrigley, bought everyone drinks (always a fool-proof way to win over Cubs fans) and seemed poised to take credit for the emergence of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.

Poor Rick Renteria was kicked to the curb. While the stench of tampering hangs over the move, nobody could blame the Cubs for wanting to bring in Maddon (no offense to Renteria, who will no doubt find another job.)

Maddon is going to join the likes of Leo Durocher, Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella as high profile managers hoping to complete the Don Quixote-like quest of winning a title for the Cubs.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers go into 2015 with Don Mattingly still at the helm.

Can someone please explain to me how this happened? Why didn’t the Dodgers at least put on the full court press and wine and dine Maddon? They offer one of the sweetest managerial jobs baseball and could be the fast track for Maddon’s elusive title.

AP
AP

The appeal of “Dodger manager Joe Maddon” was staggering. From the 2008 World Series to the 2013 Division Series, the Rays reached the playoffs in four different seasons, with a payroll slightly larger than the average In-and-Out Burger location. Friedman made all the right moves, and Maddon handled the continually changing roster perfectly, winning Manager of the Year in 2008 and 2011.

One could only wonder what kind of success that tandem could have had with a solid payroll and fan support.

Oh, wait! There wasn’t a need to just wonder. The Dodgers could have brought Friedman and Maddon together with a $200 million payroll, the best attendance in the National League and an ability to keep stars instead of shopping them.

Forget trying to juggle a rotation without David Price, James Shields or an injured Matt Moore; Maddon could call on Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in LA!

He would inherit a team that has won back-to-back Division titles and posted 94 victories last season. But they also have seen their division rival Giants win 3 World Series this decade, two since the new ownership took over.

As a sports city, Los Angeles is first and foremost a Lakers town. But with the Lakers on a downward spiral, the Dodgers have a chance to take over Southern California for the cool sports dollar.

USA Today
USA Today

But with a huge payroll and an easily distracted fanbase, losing in the playoffs to the Cardinals in back-to-back seasons is not going to cut it.

The Dodgers are going into 2015 with a sense of urgency. Kershaw is going to be 27 and Greinke 31, probably the peak year of this tandem. Yasiel Puig is a budding star, but difficult to predict. The left side of the infield is in disarray and the bullpen was, to be kind, unreliable.

Changes were made. Friedman pushed GM Ned Colletti to a vague new role. Farm director DeJon Watson and scouting director Logan White have moved on.  Oakland’s former Director of Baseball Operations, Farhan Zaidi, is making to move to LA.

And yet with all these behind the scenes moves, Mattingly remains.

Why?

Todd Kirkland / Associated Press
Todd Kirkland / Associated Press

Mattingly has been  the Dodgers manager for four seasons. That is a Presidential term. Plus, he was a hold-over from the Frank McCourt ownership. When Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson et al took over the team in 2012, they inherited Mattingly and Colletti.

Colletti’s inability to have any depth on the team for $200 million pushed him out. But what about “Donnie Baseball?”

For two straight years, he has made questionable decisions in the postseason. Whether it was pulling Adrian Gonzalez in a one run playoff game in 2013, or turning to Scott Elbert in a critical Division Series moment this year, there is no shortage of head-scratchers for Mattingly.

And of course Mattingly benched Yasiel Puig in an elimination game. Yes, Puig was not hitting well (except for an extra base hit the previous game.) Is it wise to remove one of the best bats the team has in a winner-take-all game? It didn’t work.

Is Mattingly a difference-making manager? Probably not, for good or for ill. But Maddon IS one of the few managers who at least seems to make a difference. And perhaps the arrival of Maddon to Los Angeles could have given the team a spark that is lacking with Mattingly.

Maybe Maddon would have figured out how to run the bullpen. Perhaps Maddon could get the best out of Puig and his former left fielder, Carl Crawford.

And what would firing Mattingly cost the Dodgers? He is signed for two more years, and eating that contract would mean swallowing roughly $9 million total, according to ESPN.com.

Look, I know it is not my money. But that is less than what LA is going to pay Brian Wilson, and there is not even a guarantee he will be able to pitch next year.

Carl Crawford is going to cash checks for $60 million more dollars! But they are too cheap to bring in Maddon?

The Dodgers run with Don Mattingly as manager is like a stale relationship. They are together because of circumstances that are no longer relevant and they are staying together because it beats being single.

Esquire.com
Esquire.com

Now imagine someone in a stagnant relationship has a chance to date Charlize Theron. In that situation, you at least have to ask her out!

All the Dodgers had to offer was a huge budget, a gigantic media market, a contending team, the best pitcher on the planet and a chance to reunite with the GM who turned the laughing stock of baseball into a pennant contender.

The Dodgers have not seen a World Series since Kirk Gibson limped around the basepaths in 1988. Clayton Kershaw was a 7-month-old baby during that Series.

That same year, Mattingly was a star with the Yankees, who missed the World Series every year he was in uniform. He made his debut in 1982, just after New York’s 1981 World Series loss. He stayed until 1995, never winning a pennant, and retired. The Yankees went on to win 6 pennants in the next 8 years, winning 4 championships. He returned as a coach in 2004, and the team couldn’t win the pennant. He left in 2007 for LA, and the team won in 2009.

Mattingly was essentially The Cooler!

And guess what, Dodgerland? Mattingly will be managing your team and making his trademark moves that make all of Southern California say “huh?”

If the Cubs win the pennant before the Dodgers, they may never live it down.


Paul “Sully” Sullivan is a Sports Contributor for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @sullybaseball.

 

25 Most Important People in Baseball History

My friend Graham Womack hosted an interesting crowd-sourced project at his fabulous blog Baseball: Past and Present.  To participate this project, each voter picked 25 people whom they believe to be the most important in the history of baseball.

I, of course, cast a ballot, though it was a tough quest. I considered an unfathomable number of people who contributed something significant to baseball. There’s no clear measurement like, say, WAR, to judge how great they are. It’s completely based on my opinion. It took me more than 5 hours, but I was finally able to fill out my ballot. If you ask tomorrow, I’d probably choose a different 25. But for today, here are my picks, sorted by an alphabetical order.


Hank Aaron CardHank Aaron

Great baseball player, even greater person. 755 home runs, 3771 hits, 2297 RBI, 142.6 bWAR, 21 all-star selections. Also, he’s said to be one of the classiest guys in the sport.

Barry Bonds CardBarry Bonds

The best player the game ever had not named Babe Ruth. In the light of his great talent and the darkness of all the steroid crap, he represents how baseball looked like in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Alexander Cartwright CardAlexander Cartwright

He didn’t create the game from the scratch. But he and his New York volunteer firemen colleagues were an unignorable part in forming the rules of the game, and played the first recorded baseball game in history.

Chadwick's American Baseball ManualHenry Chadwick

All he created was RBI, pitcher W-L, and many of the stats classified as “useless” by stat heads these days. But Chadwick invented the box score itself. It’s even possible that advanced stats wouldn’t have existed without his invention of a way to record the game in the books.

Curt Flood CardCurt Flood

After becoming a regular in 1958, his age 20 season, Flood had accumulated 42.2 bWAR before he turned 32. But he sacrificed his borderline Hall of Fame career in the fight to get players the right known today as free agency.  In fact, he got only 40 more plate appearances afterwards. Without his effort,  there wouldn’t be 9-figure contracts today.

sabr.org
sabr.org

Sean Forman

For us baseball nerds, Baseball Reference is a part of life. Eat, sleep, brush teeth, browse through various B-Ref player pages. Forman changed the way we watch the game by creating the encyclopediac baseball database.


Rube Foster CardRube Foster

Pioneer of African American baseball when they weren’t allowed to be in the big leagues.  The Texas native played a huge part in establishment and improvement of the Negro League.

Melissa Lacey/Journal-World Photo
Melissa Lacey/Journal-World Photo

Bill James

Without this man, advanced baseball analysis wouldn’t look as it does today. Bill James is to sabermetrics as Jimmy Page is to rock n’ roll, or Galileo Galilei is to astronomy.

Ban Johnson CardBan Johnson

Johnson is known as the founder and the first president of the American League. While a few other leagues,  like the Federal League, lasted for only a couple of years or so, the Senior Circuit has been there for more than a century.

Mike Groll/Associated Press
Mike Groll/Associated Press

Frank Jobe

An uncountable number of pitchers’ career would’ve been cut short had Jobe not invented the way to reconstruct torn UCLs in their elbow. The image we’ve chosen for Dr. Jobe includes his most famous patient, former pitcher Tommy John.

Connie Mack CardConnie Mack

With a 3731-3948 record, Mack is both the winningest and losingest skipper in history, by a thousand light years. In today’s game, no one manages for 50 years, let alone stays with one team for that long.

Willie Mays CardWillie Mays

This  spot could easily be given to Stan Musial, Micky Mantle, or Tris Speaker. But John Fogerty sung about none of them in his universally known classic song. Well, Ty Cobb missed the cut because of his personality. Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio, in my opinion, didn’t have a long enough career. So I’m going with Say Hey Willie.

sabr.org
sabr.org

Voros McCracken

McCracken’s legendary research on pitching and defense is one of the most significant events in the history of sabermetrics and, furthermore, the game itself.  Advanced pitching stats like FIP or BABIP would probably not have been exposed to our eyes had McCracken not done this research.

Associated Press
Associated Press

Marvin Miller

During his tenure as the executive director of the MLBPA, the average annual player salary went up more than 1700%. He also played an important roll in the establishment of free agency, along with Curt Flood. It’s a shame that Miller wasn’t elected into the Hall of Fame before his death (and he still hasn’t been).

Branch Rickey CardBranch Rickey

Player development would’ve been completely different without Rickey. Among Rickey’s many innovations are affiliated farm system and the 20-80 scouting scale. But he did even greater things for the game itself (see below).

Jackie Robinson CardJackie Robinson

Branch Rickey’s best known accomplishment is signing the first African American player in modern baseball history, Jackie Robinson. Imagine if Robinson had failed. We would never have had Aaron, Mays, and Bonds at the top of all-time leaderboards. The role he had was huge, and he surpassed the stratospheric expectation.

Babe Ruth CardBabe Ruth

No one has changed (or ever will) the game in the way this great American did.

 

Vin Scully CardVin Scully

It would be blasphemous to go without mentioning the greatest broadcaster of all-time.

 


Shoriki MatsutaroMatsutaro Shoriki

He probably was an awful person. He even was arrested for supporting  WWII. But he’s the guy behind the founding of NPB. The Japanese Professional Baseball League would have been less than it is now without him. He’s enshrined in the NPB Hall of Fame.

Al Spalding CardAl Spalding 

Not only was he a fine player, Spalding also was a  successful businessman. After his playing career, in which he pitched 2886.1 innings and had a 252-65 record in a span of 7 years in the 1870s, he founded a sports equipment company named after himself. Spalding one of the biggest players in the business today. Moreover, he’s said to be the first known player used a glove.

O'Meara/Associated Press
O’Meara/Associated Press

George Steinbrenner 

The last owner in history who single-handedly controlled his team.  The Boss and his Yankees  were always at the center of baseball journalism, or somewhere around there, during his tenure as an owner.

Bill Veeck CardBill Veeck

He was an even more influencing owner than Steinbrenner. He was a man of many ideas. One of them was using a midget as a pinch hitter.

AP
AP

You may or may not have seen this photograph of a tiny guy squatting at the plate.  He deserves my vote for the Eddie Gaedel at-bat (well, it’s officially a plate appearance), along with many other weird stuff he did.

Ted Williams CardTed Williams

It wouldn’t be a proper list without including the best hitter in the history of game in my 25. Yes, Teddy Ballgame is even a better batsman than The Bambino, in my honest opinion.  I always wonder what his career stats would’ve looked like had he not lost 5 years to serving his country.

Horace WilsonHorace Wilson

Not many baseball fans have heard of Wilson.  He’s said to have brought the game of baseball to Japan in 1871, when he was a teacher at a school currently know as Tokyo University.  To this Japanese author, it’s important enough to put his name here. Wilson was elected to the NPB Hall of Fame in 2003.

Cy Young CardCy Young

It’s called the “Cy Young Award,” not the “Walter Johnson Award,” nor the “Nolan Ryan Award.” Johnson might have been a better pitcher, but for this reason, my 25th pick belongs to Denton True “Cy” Young, both the winningest and losingest pitcher in history.

That’s my Top 25 – who’s on yours? Let me know on Twitter. The overall project results will be posted on BaseballPastAndPresent.com sometime during the week of November 10, 2014, so be sure to have a look and see what the 262 voters came up with.


Kazuto Yamazaki is a Contributor for The Scoop, based in Japan. Follow him on Twitter at @Kazuto_Yamazaki.

 

Tuesday’s Takeaways from the Trenches – Week 9

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Election Day. And I want to encourage you to go out and vote. Seriously. No pun or witty comment here. We all have a voice. Go vote.

How does that relate to fantasy football? Well, I’ll show you who made my ballot in this week’s Quick Hits and Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm.

Week 9 was another fun one for me, going undefeated in my main LOR’s (Leagues of Record). I’m climbing back into the races, y’all.


Quick Hits

  • Jerry’s Kids

OK, so I’ve done my darndest to avoid too much Cowboy Nation chatter in this column. But, I can’t resist the urge any longer, kids. Up front, may I just pronounce that the frailty and foibles on this team are, at worst, oppressive to fans and, at best, mesmerizing to haters.

Sarah Hoffman/Dallas Morning News
Sarah Hoffman/Dallas Morning News

At times, watching the Cowboys is like watching an 8-car pileup; you don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it’s too entertaining to not look. You’ve got Jerry Jones’ infamous stubbornness and arrogance, Dez Bryant’s oft-times childish rants and Tony Romo’s pervasive injuries. For the record, I also want to add that, as a long-time closet champion of Romo, at least his fantasy game, the dude is one tough soldier. Perhaps too tough for his own/the team’s own good. I mean, should he really be sitting on a plane for 10 hours with a recurring bad back to go play the Jags? Is this a must-win? Is Brandon Weeden that bad? OK, so you may have a point there. But they have the best offensive line in football, and Demarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing TDs and yards after contact.

ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Additionally, his personal Beast Mode season also has him leading all fantasy RBs in scoring.But my real question surrounding the Cowboys is this: Why isn’t it garnering more media attention that the Cowboys have the first father/son combo playing for an NFL team? Slot WR Cole Beasley is Brandon Weeden’s long-haired, rebellious son, right?

  • #IGotPercy’d … The Sequel to The Sequel (to The Sequel)

After the litany of well-documented flubs and snubs that one Percy Harvin has dished out to the fantasy community, Week 9 provided the latest in the maddening line of unpredictability from the man.

DAVID EULITT/THE KANSAS CITY STAR
DAVID EULITT/THE KANSAS CITY STAR

One week removed from a 7-touch, 8-point (PPR) game in his first with the Jets, he soared to a 12-touch, 24.7-point (PPR) game this week. One of my college buddies had asked me what to do with Harvin immediately after the trade. I advised to remain in a holding pattern, to see how he would be utilized by the beautiful mess that is the Jets offense. And yet, even I didn’t follow my own advice, dropping Percy this week. Then the Jets braintrust—is that an oxymoron? Asking for a friend.—decides to bombard Percy with targets (13) in the passing game. Will it last? I’d love to see someone’s crystal ball on this one, so that I don’t reach the baker’s dozen on my #IGotPercy’d quota this season.

  • Alf Being Alf …With Help From RGIII

Well, Sunday was Alfred Morris being Alfred Morris … from 2012, his rookie season. Prior to Sunday’s contest, Morris was averaging 10.1 fantasy points per game this year, or 18th in average PPG. But after Week 9’s performance (22.9), he now sits at #8 for fantasy RBs (standard).

Redskins.com
Redskins.com

Many have said RGIII’s presence alone would catapult Alf’s production. In Weeks 1 and 9 (RGIII weeks), he’s averaged 5.6 YPC. Without Griffin? He’s averaged right around 3.5 YPC. The arrow is point-up, my friends. Keep an eye of Morris. Perhaps Alf needs to make some guest appearances on those Subway commercials. After all, they do seem to go together more than RGIII and Justin Tuck, no?

  • Here’s Lookin At You, Kid(s)

For a second time this season, the rookie WR class came to play this week. And make a splash they did. You all know me and my affinity for playmaking WRs—after all, I AM a card-carrying, founding member of WR Hoarders, Anonymous—so this bullet-point makes my heart sing. If you placed your vote for one of these freshman wideouts in your lineup this week, your heart might be singing, as well. Mike Evans (#2 fantasy WR, 24.4 points), Allen Hurns (#3, 23.2), Martavis Bryant (#7, 16.7) and Odell Beckham Jr. (#9, 15.6) all cracked the Top 9 fantasy WRs this week. Keep ballin’, boys.

sportige.com
sportige.com

Let’s point out one note in particular here. Martavis Bryant now has five TD catches on the year; sixteen other WRs have at least five, as well. He’s reached that mark in three games and less than 100 snaps. The next fewest activity from the 5-TD Club? Eddie Royal’s 371 snaps. Can you spell “production?” I think it’s spelled M-A-R-T-A-V-I-S.

  • Someone Else’s Garbage …

With this being election season and all, I had to vote on a fill-in QB this week in one of my main leagues.

Bill Kostroun, AP
Bill Kostroun, AP

I was stuck, given Matthew Stafford’s bye, and Romo’s injury. Fortunately, I was able to pick up the younger Manning. For those who watched MNF to the bitter end—for the fantasy perspective, of course—you witnessed that late, pointless touchdown drive by the Giants, as Eli racked up 69 yards passing and a touchdown. Garbage time, you say? I beg to differ. I won that matchup by less than 3 points. Smelled like garbage? No, my friends, that is the smell of victory.

  • Bye Week Victory

One of the more comical things I heard this past week was a variation of the whole “your team is so bad, they might lose on their bye week” dig. Well, living in Titans country, I heard a local sports radio caller express his opinions this way. “The Titans were a 3-point underdog to the bye … and the bye covered the spread.” I wonder who is the worst team in football; there seem to be a few suitors. The Raiders? The Jets? The Titans? Or one of the two Florida teams, the Jags or Buccaneers? It will be a race to the finish before final results are counted. I may lean toward the Jags. Ya know, because Chads are synonymous with Florida football (Chad Henne) and election season (Hanging Chads).

ESPN

 

 

 

 

 

 


(More) Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

Did YOU see these coming?

  • QB:Philip Rivers entered the week as the #4 fantasy quarterback. He had with less points than any QB who played this week. And less points than you had this week. He had a NEGATIVE 2.2 fantasy points. I don’t typically call myself an expert, but that’s not very good, I don’t think.
  • US Magazine
    US Magazine

    QB Part Deux: Eli Manning outscored Peyton Manning this week. Other than in Super Bowl wins, how often can we say this?

  • RB:Matt Asiata outscored every RB other than Jeremy Hill and Marshawn Lynch, all while getting the 24th most rushes (10), and only four receptions.
  • RB Part Deux: In your Top 9 this week: Jeremy Hill, Matt Asiata and Denard Robinson. Their average Draft Position Position is 10 to the nth power. With n being Jerry Jones’ ego.
  • WR: It’s TBT (Throw BackTuesday) apparently, back to Week 1. Allen Hurns had exactly the same number of fantasy points as the combination of: Dez, Crabtree, Michael Floyd, Steve Smith Sr, Kelvin Benjamin, Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson.
  • WR Part Deux: Speaking of Andre Johnson, he was outscored by the likes of Kevin Norwood, Jeff Maehl and Albert Wilson. Who? This in a game where he played 61 of 63 snaps and had eight targets. Hello, DeAndre Hopkins.
  • TE: One-third of your Top 6 this week are Mychal Rivera and Chase Ford.
  • WhoDaThunkIt?: As a quick bonus point here … who in their right mind would have predicted Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick would be the starting QBs for their new swapped ballclubs? In the same week? Gotta love the NFL.

Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret

Soooo, I was wrong.

  • I thought Pierre Garcon would benefit greatly from having RGIII back in the lineup. Uh oh. Wow, that was wrong. PG had a scary 1.5 fantasy points on only five targets.
  • Am I the only one who thought Brady versus Manning would be a bit more alluring? I mean, neither played poorly—from a fantasy perspective—but I also wouldn’t have guessed Eli would outscore his big brother.

My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back

Yessssss, I was right!

  • I said I’d not start Cowboys because of the aforementioned Gramps Weeden starting. Yeah.
  • I said to get your Colts into your starting lineups. That Luck guy is pretty good. Especially when they let him throw it 46 times..

So, go out there and let your voice be heard. Yeah, in fantasy AND in the real-world voting booths. But, beyond all, stay strong, show kindness and have NO RAGRETS.

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Standard fantasy stats courtesy of FantasyPros.com]


Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

 

The Voice of Reason: Founder Jamie Kelly Talks About her Broadcasting Dream Come True

Back on October 6th, 2014, Men’s Health Magazine committed such an egregious faux pas, that the magazine was forced to do the unthinkable. They retracted an online article. In case you missed it, this is how the article read:


The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman (via Men’s Health Magazine)

Men's Health Magazine
Men’s Health Magazine

Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed. The reason? They need story lines. “Most women don’t care about stats,” says Andrei Markovits, Ph.D., coauthor of Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States.

So while you’re enthusing about Dominic Moore’s scoring record, she’d rather hear about how he supported his wife’s battle with cancer—and even took a season off from the NHL at the height of his career. Treat your heroes as people and not just players on a field and you’ll suck her in. Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.


That got me to thinking, so much so that I even tried out their recommendations at home with my wife, and wrote about my results here at The Scoop. My next question was: Where are women in sports broadcasting?

There are a lot of women who make a living covering sports.

Jane Chastain
Jane Chastain

Everyone who follows sports knows who Pam Oliver, Erin Andrews, Suzy Kolber, and others are, because of their visibility. The younger generation knows these names like they know their favorite players. The older generation will remember names like Jane Chastain, Donna De Varona, Jeannie Morris, and Phyllis George.

These women are considered the pioneers of women’s sports broadcasting in the mid to late 1960s. It is generally regarded that Chastain was the first woman to work for a large network (CBS), and thought to be the first woman to do play-by-play.

This lead to doors opening for women like Phyllis George, Jayne Kennedy, Leandra Reilly, Lesley Visser, Suzyn Waldman, Gayle Gardner, Gayle Sierens, Linda Cohn, and Hannah Storm.

In 1987 Gayle Sierens was the first (and so far only) woman to do play-by-play for a national NFL game. That Chiefs-Seahawks matchup was blacked out in Kansas City and seen by only 10 percent of the country.  In 2009, Visser became the first woman to do color for a televised NFL game, a preseason matchup between the Dolphins and the Saints, and Waldman was the first woman announcer to do play-by-play for the New York Yankees.

The opportunities are there. Now, where is the talent?

Jamie Kelly, Founder and CEO of The Scoop, revealed to her Twitter audience this past Friday night that she had been given the opportunity of a lifetime.

Kelly announced that she would be doing radio play-by-play for the the Joshua Owls-Everman Bulldogs football game, airing live at samsclassicrocknroll.com. Sam Meyers, aka Slammin’ Sam Meyers, said that he was thrilled to have a female voice on the air. Meyers said, “When I got thrown into the fire and had to start doing my own broadcast, I was very uncomfortable. When a friend mentioned Jamie, I said sure bring her out. I didn’t give it a second thought about the fact that she was a female. Before the broadcast I brought up the fact that one of my favorite local DJs was a female, and I would rather hear a female voice than a male on the air. So I had no issues with her doing the broadcast based on her gender.

Meyers went on to say, “She seemed very relaxed, and no pun intended, just literally took the ball and ran with it. She has that natural talent and ability to do play by play. Give her a few games to get her feet wet and she will be just as good as any male play by play announcer out there. She has that passion and desire to do this. That right there is what will make her successful.”

Meyers’ station is the official football voice for the Joshua Owls, a class 5A school in District 8-5A in Texas, which includes state powerhouse Aledo.

I had a chance to visit with Jamie via email about this incredible opportunity.


RG: What brought about this desire to broadcast a football game?

JK: It has always been a dream of mine, since I was a kid, to do live play-by-play for a football game. However, being a female, I knew realistically that the odds were not in my favor. When my friend Dave approached me to see if I knew anyone who could fill in for a couple weeks to finish out the radio broadcast season for Joshua High School’s varsity football team, I took a risk and volunteered myself. I know this sounds crazy to most people, but it was a dream come true for me. All of the good things in my life have come as a result of taking a risk, and I saw it as an opportunity that may never present itself again.

RG: Tell me about the experience. What made it great? What surprised you about it? Did you have any preconceived ideas as to how you were going to “make a call?”

JK: I was truly surprised at how naturally it came to me. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. There were words coming out of my mouth, but they were just flowing from some place deep within my brain. I had to go back and listen to the recording to fully appreciate everything. You know, I may not be well-versed in all things, but I am very observant. I absorb everything around me, 24/7, and information comes back to me in the exact moment that I need it. I think that being able to spontaneously recall information is a necessity in this line of work, and I was grateful for the years spent at Soccer News USA which helped me hone that practice. You can’t write notes for everything.

RG: Are you thinking about doing it again?

JK: I will absolutely be back in the booth for Joshua’s last football game of the season this Friday, November 7th, and look forward to being a regular fixture in a booth next season!

RG: Aren’t you primarily a print news journalist? You have a new project on the ground running, correct? Tell our readers more about The Scoop.

JK: What a lot of people don’t know about me is that the bulk of my experience in media has been in television. Back in the late 90s, I was a reporter for a weekly show called Soccer News USA, which aired on Fox Sports Southwest and the Pax Network. It was insane to me that there were actual paying jobs in the world that would allow me to talk about sports, and I caught the bug BIG TIME. Sports writing is a relatively new arena for me, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve had the opportunity to cover the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, and Dallas Stars, as well as work for the Dallas Mavericks as a contributor to their official website.

The Scoop was born this past August after I decided that wanted to bring a unique voice to the sports media world; lots of people write game summaries and player profiles, but very few write about sports from a fun perspective. I wanted to create an outlet for people to write stories that represent conversations you might have with your buddies while watching the game and sharing a few cold ones.

The next project on the horizon for The Scoop is The Scoop Radio, which is set to make its debut next month. We have found an incredible partner to help us attract a large listening audience, and the best news is that you will not only be able to hear our show via a live Internet stream, but we will also be available on the TuneIn Radio app. It’s a major jump for us to go from shooting a Webcast using a webcam and a laptop to broadcasting live on a radio station with actual call letters! The details are still under wraps, but I’ll have lots more to share in the next couple of weeks.

RG: What drives your desire?

JK: I’ve always been one to try and prove people wrong. If you say I can’t do something, I’m going to move heaven and earth to make sure that I not only do it, but that I do it well. This felt like one of those moments. A female doing live play-by-play for a football game is practically unheard of; however, I knew I was perfectly capable of doing it. It was a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream, and to show the world that at least for one night, a female could hold her own in a role traditionally held by men.

RG: For anyone who still thinks what guys like Joe Buck, Al Michaels, and Mark Followill do is easy, what do you say to that? Is there preparation time, what about learning terminology?

JK: I studied up on the players for each team, records, playoff situations, recent games, etc. all week. Preparation is everything. As far as the actual broadcast, I went in with the plan of just being myself. I didn’t practice any lines, or try to come up with any silly catch-phrases. My goal was to describe what was happening from a factual perspective so that those listening at home could keep up with the action on the field. And I knew that once I got settled in, my personality would start to peek out a little bit, and I’d be more comfortable making funny comments (which I did). I’ve always enjoyed the radio stylings of Eric Nadel and Brad Sham. What they do better than just about anyone is make you feel like you are in the stadium, or at the ballpark, including even the smallest details like the color of the piping on the visitors’ jerseys. All of these live broadcast professionals, especially those who are tasked with being the eyes of the home listener for a game that moves at such a rapid pace, are personal heroes of mine. You have to eat, breathe, and sleep your sport. Doing live play-by-play for high school football is a tiny microcosm of the world those folks live in, and the respect I have for the incredible job they do is immeasurable.


Jamie has a business degree from the University of North Texas and completed MBA work at West Texas A&M University. She is obviously a learned woman. The interesting tidbit to this is while her background is firmly rooted in business, she is all about the sports business. One only needs to see her work to understand and be impressed with her knowledge of just about any sport. There is no doubt, that Jamie will be successful in venture at The Scoop, but you will probably hear from her on the airwaves, too. On a personal note, I was in the radio business for over ten years, doing the same thing as she has done. Broadcasting football games, basketball games, baseball games..it is hard work. However, if you love what you do, as she clearly does, then it is HARDLY ever, work.

It’s clear that Jamie Kelly is not a one hit wonder; she may wind up back on television, if she’s not careful.

There you have it, I may have just gotten The Scoop, for you.

RG- OUT.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @CapnDD.