Tag Archives: Tom Brady

Where Have You Gone, Willie Mays?

AP Photo
AP Photo

No doubt, if you are a sports fan, you’ve noticed a couple of things. First, there is a vast disparity between the major sports in terms of color within that sport. Secondly, in some sports, there is virtually no diversity.

According to a report by Henry Johnson of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, for example, there are issues with diversity in basketball. The NBA, WNBA, and NFL are predominantly African-American, while MLB and MLS are predominantly Anglo.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-11-at-5.46.36-PM
Harvard Sports Analysis Collective

 

In a story written by Paul Hagen for MLB.com, fewer African-Americans are playing in Major League Baseball today than two decades ago; the percentage was 8.5 percent on this season’s Opening Day rosters. Some have estimated that number to be around 27% in the 1970s, but exhaustive research by Mark Armour, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, shows that the actual number never exceeded 19 percent.

So, what is Major League Baseball doing about this? Commissioner Bud Selig announced in April the formation of a task force to tackle the issue of on-field diversity.

“To be fair, the numbers have dropped. I believe the numbers have dropped from 18-19 percent, which is what they were for about two decades. From the 1970s through the ’90s, the numbers were in the high teens. Now they’re half that,” said Armour, who writes software for the Environmental Protection Agency. “What I determined, and I analyzed data from 1947, when Jackie Robinson made his debut up to 1986, is that the number never got to 20 percent. The black-player number, counting all dark-skinned players, was in the high 20s for a period. But not the African-American number. All the press stuff that comes out every April compares the African-American numbers from today with the all-black-players number from the ’70s. And that’s where they make their mistake.”

Even with all his data, Armour can’t fully explain why fewer African-Americans are playing big league baseball beyond the fact that there are so many players of other ethnicities, primarily Latin American and Asian, now in the game.

Let me hazard a guess: MONEY.

First off, where is the allure for baseball? While it may be “America’s Pastime,” the money can be made elsewhere. The NBA has shoe endorsements and multi-million dollar contracts. In my job as an educator, I come in contact with many athletes. 98% tell me that they are going to play basketball in the NBA or play football in the NFL. The NFL has popularity and name recognition. If you play in the NFL, chances are good that you are well known, at least in your region. Same is said for basketball.

The NFL and NBA have a sexiness to them. Major League Baseball has a workman ethic. Not sexy, but more of a grind. While the NFL has a 16-game season, and the NBA has a 82-game season, Major League Baseball has a whopping 162 games. With football being played once a week, it captures more attention. An NBA team may play 2-3 games in a week’s time, but baseball plays almost every day. Perhaps it’s a case of oversaturation?

SLAM Magazine
SLAM Magazine

The NFL is at an all-time high in popularity and the NBA is very visible with stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden. The NFL has superstars like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady, among others.  Major League Baseball has stars like Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and others. Notice a trend? The majority of superstar athletes that play in the NBA and NFL are African-American; the majority of superstars in MLB are Anglo or Hispanic.

Why? Again, I go back to the money issue. Who remembers the Peyton Manning commercials where he chants, “Cut that meat!”?

Who remembers the McDonald’s commercial where Larry Bird and Magic Johnson play HORSE for a meal?

Remember that baseball commercial where…uh…where…ah…well…you get my point. Major League Baseball doesn’t have that appeal to fans, although you will always have diehard fans who keep scorebooks at games. When’s the last time you went to a football game and kept a book for penalties called? When’s the last time you saw someone keeping a book at a basketball game?

Check out these numbers provided by the NCAA.

baseball_0

football_0 mbb_0

In these statistics from the NCAA, you can clearly see that NOT MANY athletes make the cut. Many boys and girls grow up dreaming of playing sports in college and the pro ranks. But of the nearly eight million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. And of that group, only a fraction will realize their goal of becoming a professional athlete.

The sad part is, while some athletes are good enough to play in college, their grades will not get them into college. That frequently forces them go to Junior College where some, if not all, never make it out.

USATSI
USATSI

Baseball is the only sport now that allows players from high school to go straight to the pro’s. Noah Syndergaard, a pitcher from Mansfield Legacy High School in Texas, went from high school to the New York Mets farm club. He is currently on the major league roster.

The NBA has enforced the “one and done” rule, requesting high school basketball prospects to wait at least one year before declaring for the draft. Contrary to popular belief, the NBA does not require athletes to attend one year of college, but they must wait an entire year or be at least 19 years old to declare for the draft.

The NFL will not draft a player from HS. They prefer the player have at least 2 years in college. More underclassmen are declaring for the draft, and more and more are going UNDRAFTED.

Sexy vs. the Grind. Which would you choose?

Which brings me back to my first question: Where have you gone, Willie Mays?


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 @TheRonMann.

Advertisements

Boxing, The Force, and a 7-Year-Old’s Awakening

HBO
HBO

MayweatherPacquiao proves boxing needs a fight and a fighter to get it off the ropes

I was positively giddy the week before the bell was set to ring; I plunked down $94 with the push of a button on my television remote for the fight that would launch boxing’s greatest comeback.

I mean, what could be better? Mayweather versus Pacquiao. The most anticipated fight in at least a generation, and the 12 rounds that would bring boxing up off its near 20-year canvas. Boxing has suffered from a lack of superstars, and UFC/MMA has surpassed the sweet science in the sports pecking order.

Twelve rounds and a plate of nachos later and I was clicking. Too bad it was a URL on YouTube that took me back to why I fell in love with the sport in the first place.

“The Force” and Sports

Like a lot of other seven-year-olds in 1977, I had two primary obsessions: sports and Star Wars.

While my sports knowledge was restricted to the daily newspaper, the school library and highlights on the nightly news, I ate, slept and thought about nothing beyond sports.

From the NHL to the NFL and CFL, to the NBA and Major League Baseball, I was a confirmed sports junkie at this precious age. And in my advancing age, I was all too willing to expand my reach beyond the ‘big four’ sports.

Flickr: Growing Up Star Wars
Flickr: Growing Up Star Wars

The only challenge to this obsession was, of course, Star Wars. Action figures, posters on my wall, clothing – if it was Star Wars, I wanted or obsessed about it, and I know I’m not alone.

Whether you were a kid curled up on the edge of your seat in a theatre in 1977, or watched it first on videotape, DVD or via download, I believe that there aren’t too many boys who when they see Star Wars for the first time, their life doesn’t change.

Thankfully on one chilly night in late September, I put down the X-Wing fighter long enough to take on another sport and another somewhat healthy obsession, and in essence, Star Wars helped open that, well, ‘universe.’

Laser Sound Effects, and Darth Vader meets “The Greatest”

It began with a short briefing from my brother the night of September 29. He was seven years older, and as babysitter he was my ‘defacto Darth Vader,’ which meant no amount of rebellion would recapture my entire 11-channel universe.

But somehow my brother had a different air about him. He’d always enjoyed being the ruler of my galaxy when Mom and Dad went out, but this was a night he was looking forward to.

EyeontheRing.com
EyeontheRing.com

Muhammad Ali versus Earnie Shavers. ‘The Greatest’ against ‘The Black Destroyer.’ Fifteen rounds for Ali’s heavyweight title from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Right there on that grainy, 24-inch screen in the corner of the living room, and on national television no less.

I know that by then I had a working knowledge of Ali in addition to my older brother’s spotty and altogether hyperbolic overview of his boxing career. The primary reason I knew him was simply because he was as much, if not more, mainstream than Lebron James or Tom Brady in 2015. Whether it was a highlight on the nightly news, a variety show or even ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” Muhammad Ali continued as one of the most polarizing and engaging figures in sports during at that period.

I’m also sure I had options that night. It wasn’t like I was being forced to watch, rather, I was simply being brought up to speed on what would be on the television that evening. Minus the chokehold from The Dark Lord, who rather than wearing a cape, sported a Keep on Truckin’ t-shirt and bell-bottoms.

While somewhat dismissive and bored, I was ready to pass on this opportunity and return to the Millennium Falcon, and then, I heard it.

The opening trumpet blast of the music that was currently the soundtrack to my life. And there HE was. Fired up, talking, cocky, and led to the ring by the music and laser sound effects. Even though it was the stylized ‘disco’ version, I could handle it. I didn’t know much at seven, but I knew that disco sucked.

No ridiculous entrances with Justin Bieber, Jimmy Kimmel, or the Burger King, just a bunch of guys surrounding Ali who looked even more determined than the man himself.

Legends-Legacies.com
Legends-Legacies.com

While the theme from the movie was my personal “boxing tractor beam,” one epic round of trash-talk and a derisive rub of Shavers’ bald head by “The Champ” had me hooked, and 15 rounds later I found something else to obsess about.

I took in a full 45 minutes of ferocity and technical skill, where Ali scored enough to win, but was wobbled more than a few times. Shavers had a lethal right hand that had him considered as the hardest puncher in the 1970s, and in spite of that big right hand, he still couldn’t match Ali’s best weapon in the latter stage of his career: his chin. And like me, in revisiting this fight, Muhammad Ali‘s ability to withstand punishment is second to none.

BoxRec.com
BoxRec.com

After Shavers, Ali would only fight four more times; three of which were brutal losses, one worse than the next. But most experts will say, including Ali‘s doctor Ferdie Pacheco, who quit Ali‘s camp after this fight, that it was Shavers who truly accelerated one of the saddest declines in sports. That fact would be quickly realized in due time and punishing detail for me, but from that moment, I’ve traveled with boxing through its ups and downs.

Through Ali‘s decline, the astounding heights of the welterweight/middleweight divisions in the 80s and Tyson (of course), I maintained that passion. But without a polarizing, magnetic superstar, boxing and I, too, have been stuck for the past 20 years in a ‘black hole’ of non-appealing fights, and barely the occasional flash of hype from the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao, De La Hoya, Hopkins, or Jones Jr., and plenty of embarrassment: ear-biting, fan-man, etc.

A Re-Emergence

In the past year or so, boxing has suddenly re-emerged. Interest has been heightened in cable fights on HBO and Showtime. The hype for Pacquiao-Mayweather started in 2014, and the new primetime package on NBC has been stellar, with the network signing a multi-year, multi-million dollar package that even has the network bringing out heavy hitters like Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Marv Albert and Laila Ali to host and broadcast.

For me, and for Madison Avenue, network and pay-per-view television, boxing was on an incredible upswing entering this fight. Pacquiao-Mayweather was going to strengthen the sport and pave the way for a new superstar (Canelo Alvarez? Deontay Wilder?), and maintain the positive momentum that would come from this match of the century.

And then the bell rang.

KTLA
KTLA

Boxing is still on the ropes. And for a fan who was hoping this fight could re-launch his passion for the sport, you can’t imagine the disappointment. In a sport that you wouldn’t think could embarrass itself any further, boxing flopped that night with a 36-minute display of hide and seek. Brilliant defense? Perhaps.

The last I checked, this was supposed to be a fight, and this was supposed to be the fight that brought everyone back to see what fans like me always believed that the sport could be if done properly, and maybe bring a new generation into what that seven-year-old kid saw with the Star Wars theme in his head.

Two men, staring each other down, throwing and taking punches to see who scores or who puts his opponent on the canvas. Simple as that. It’s competition in most raw and beautiful form, not the track-meet and dance contest we saw at the MGM.

May the Force Be With You(Tube)? 

There is plenty of talk now about injuries, penalties for non-disclosure, lawsuits and rematches. But I’m going to pass on another Mayweather bout. If he truly is going to retire and tie Rocky Marciano, my remote will suddenly be lost in the cushions someplace.

For now, I’ll go back to my casual interest in the hope for a savior who isn’t on a movie screen, but is willing to stand in and fight. And every now and then I’ll find the mouse and take a look at a classic fight on YouTube.

No matter what else might be playing, that old familiar theme will be in my head, along with the incomprehensible irony that in the same year a fight was supposed to bring me right back into boxing, a new Star Wars movie is coming out later this year.

And if George Lucas doesn’t deliver? I’m calling Earnie Shavers.


Kevin Donnan is a Contributor at The Scoop.

 

Super Bowl Sanctions Make No Sense

zimbio.com

The game of “How Outraged Can I Be At The NFL?” has reached an all-time high. It’s traveled so high into the stratosphere that a founding member of ESPN The Magazine suggested on Friday that “the Patriots should be benched for Super Bowl XLIX.”

The absurdity of any moment in today’s “react first then reflect later” environment is only topped by the absurd reactions of the paid experts who report on them.

Roxanne Jones, the author of this insane suggestion, is not alone in her blood thirst. NFL Hall of Famer and Cowboys Ring Of Honor inductee Troy Aikman publicly condemned Tom Brady the morning after a Chris Mortensen report revealed that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch.

Such a tremendous reduction in air pressure should be noticeable to anyone who has handled a football in the NFL, so Aikman, Mark Brunell, and several other experts believe to be true.

Then there’s Amani Toomer, who when holding a 10 PSI football compared to a 13 PSI football said, “It’s (the difference in air pressure) not noticeable.” Dan Marino proclaimed belief in Brady’s innocence, and a doubt that he would have paid any attention to the firmness of a pigskin, or lack there of.

So which pro player is more believable than the other? That’s all that this outrage comes down to.

It’s not about what is known, but what is believed.

It is known that the New England Patriots played the 1st half of the AFC Championship Game with footballs that were under-inflated. No ifs, ands, or buts.

However Miss Jones, Mr. Aikman, and a host of other indignant folks believe that it is enough evidence to alter the legitimacy of the NFL’s crown jewel. The bath water is so sour, that the baby that is the 20 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl must be tossed out.

Let’s dance then.

Indy please board your plane to Arizona.

The Colts lost by 38 points, though, so wouldn’t it make more sense to advance the team that played the Pats to the closest finish in the playoffs?

Baltimore, you are the logical choice to represent the AFC next Sunday. Or are you?

Indianapolis believed that New England used sub-inflated footballs back in week 11. Wouldn’t that suggest that every Pats game from that moment on should be forfeited?

At 7-9, the Patriots wouldn’t even be eligible for the playoffs. The Dolphins would win the East, so reseed the whole damn thing. That includes the NFC playoffs, because the Lions would be NFC North champs with a bye week and hosting a home game instead of traveling to Dallas in the Wild Card Round.

The sanctity of sport requires us to take every precaution necessary.

Hogwash.

Even with the simplest proposal of suspending Belichick, Brady, or both for the Super Bowl, how could anyone sanely suggest that a Seattle victory would be seen as free from bias?

That’s assuming that proof surfaces that either of those gentlemen had a hand in Deflate-Gate.

Imagine the genuine outrage that would come if a 6-month investigation proved that the missing PSI was an accident. An act of God that no one could account for. How cheap would Super Bowl XLIX be then?

The proper play for Roger Goodell and the NFL is to allow the investigation to play out. If it is found that the Patriots organization intentionally broke the rules, then punish them in due time and with a penalty that is appropriate according to the known facts. (As of this afternoon, the Patriots have now set their cross-hairs on a member of their locker room staff as the guilty party.)

Sadly for some, that means that we will see a fully intact Pats roster and coaching staff on the field of University Of Phoenix Stadium a week from now.

That’s okay though.

At least it gives you someone to root against, but be honest. You hated the Patriots long before nearly a dozen footballs lost some air.


Dustin Copening is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @SNUtilityMan.

 

#FantasyFootballCostumes, from Guest Writer Diane Sevenay

Tom Berg/Icon SMI/Newscom
Tom Berg/Icon SMI/Newscom

“Boo!” 

The 2014 fantasy football season already feels like Halloween with its share of superheroes (Andrew Luck), ghosts (Calvin Johnson), Cowboys (DeMarco Murray), and criminals (Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson).  So what better way to spend this diabetes-inducing holiday than by dressing as your favorite fantasy football hero?

Without further ado, I’d like to present…

#FantasyFootballCostumes   *Feel free to play along on Twitter.*


Super Creepy Ben Roethlisberger

-A redundant costume, because Big Ben is already SUPER CREEPY.

Ben Roethlisberger Looks Drunk


Peyton Manning’s Forehead

-Huge costume. Literally.

Peyton Sheriff Woody


Slutty Antonio Cromartie

-Cromartie has 74 children with 81 different mothers.  Feel free to show cleavage.

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Ray Rice, America’s Sweetheart

-A horrible costume based on a horrible human being.


Amish Andrew Luck

-Andrew Luck’s beard is not allowed to use electricity.

USATSI
USATSI

Eli Manning Face

-Are you crying?  Sleeping?  Having a seizure?  If it looks like a combination of all three, that’s the costume.

NFL Network
NFL Network

Tom Brady, with Uggs

-Because shoes make the quarterback. Or in this case, women’s shoes make the quarterback.

FantasticalFootball.com
FantasticalFootball.com

Brett Favre’s Penis

-There are at least five Twitter accounts named after this tiny costume.

[NOTE: Picture intentionally left blank. Um, no one wants to see pictures of that. You hear that, Mr. Favre? No one.]


Baby Andy Reid

-Because regular Andy Reid is nowhere near this cute.

Baby Andy Reid Costume


Josh Gordon

-Marijuana is sold separately.

FantasyFootballOverdose.com
FantasyFootballOverdose.com

Manti Te’o

-Enjoy Halloween with your “girlfriend” right by your side.

@HumbleSportsGuy
@HumbleSportsGuy

Tony Romo’s Surgically Repaired Back

-Sometimes a great costume hurts.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Michael Prengler
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Michael Prengler

Wes Welker, Extremely High Munchkin

-A tiny wide receiver all messed up on “Molly” is the PERFECT costume for your child.

KorkedBats.com
KorkedBats.com

Hans and Franz and Aaron Rodgers

-This three-person costume will PUMP YOU UP.

State Farm
State Farm

Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences. Check out all of The Scoop’s great content, including more Fantasy Football snark, atTheScoopZone.com!

A note from Fantasy Football Lead, Jay Marks: Diane and I connected due to our shared love of comedy and fantasy football. She attributes her unique and off-kilter take on fantasy football to her being “off her meds.” If there is a funnier, more irreverent fantasy sports writer than Diane, it’s news to her. 

Fantasy Football Mid-Season Awards, from Guest Writer Tyler Dalton

Pool-PartyI was tired, packed around a bunch of college students, and worst of all, I needed another beer. The neighborhood I resided in was throwing a pool party just a few days before school started to celebrate another completed summer, even though most of the people there were at the pool every day.

I preferred to think of it as a celebration after my local fantasy draft.

My league is a tight knit group, so it wasn’t shocking that two of my friends were in the corner of the pool shouting at each other. Was it over a girl? Was it over a spilled drink? No, it was about Arian Foster. My friends were living the college version of The League, the show that used to be funny but now serves up only a few cheap laughs. What started as a conversation between a couple of friends quickly sucked in half of our league.

The debate raged on, including topics such as Julio Jones’ ability to bounce back, and how Cam Newton would produce with hardly any weapons. Insults were dropped, glares were given, and plenty of girls “couldn’t even.” What was fun at the time became totally irrelevant once opening night was upon us.

See, no matter how you feel about your team, the countless mock drafts, endless research, bookstore trips to check out every fantasy football magazine you can find, fan forums, and everything in-between are enough to make any normal person feel crazy. Because you just can’t predict fantasy football. Your sleepers will hit the snooze button and your busts will bust out to personal highs.

In honor of that craziness, I present my mid-season awards. We’re going to laugh at our pain, crown our achievements, and maybe we’ll even escape our regrets.


Every year, some no-name players bust out for a couple scores one week,and everyone flocks to the waiver wire, fully knowing there’s a pretty good chance that will be their best performance all season.

USATSI
USATSI

This year, that honor goes to Allen Hurns. His 100-yard game and two scores left owners swooning over a potential breakout player in Jacksonville, a place where it just doesn’t happen very often. How quickly Hurns fell into disappointment, not even coming close to his opening weekend numbers for the next seven weeks.


The next player I would like to mention is sort of like a newer Adam Sandler movie; you have no idea why you’re there, you probably panicked, and now you’ll have to live with the regret, probably forever.

NFL.com
NFL.com

Say hello to Doug Martin. Despite his drawbacks, he was still picked high in the 2nd round, at least according to his average draft position. With quite an established medical report, and the mess that was going on in Tampa Bay, I wanted no part of him. Unfortunately, some people had to fall into that trap. Hopefully you owners dug yourselves out in time. Hopefully. “Why do we fall down? To get back up.” I’m pretty sure that was in a Batman movie and also probably some other places, point being … just be Batman.


How about a positive award? How about a mid-to-late round guy who is bringing you a lot of fantasy success?

USA Today
USA Today

You can go many ways here, but how about we highlight Greg Olsen. The former Miami product never seems to get enough love. Which is weird because Cam Newton can’t throw the ball to invisible bodies, and Olsen is actually a pretty talented player. He’s on pace for a career year in every category, and has developed quite the buddy-cop chemistry with Cam. Pretty excited about this duo in Lethal Weapon 5.


I can’t think of a better player for my next award than Tom Brady. I’ll give you a little while to guess what it is. By the way, after seeing Gone Girl and Fury, I have to tell you that I have pretty high expectations for films for the rest of the year. I also like to sneak in Hawaiian rolls with some slices of ham to the movies.

Associated Press
Associated Press

Okay, anyway, the award that I’m giving to Brady is for being that guy who you don’t give up on; you stick it out. Or, the guy you traded for because some other owner gave up on him. Either would suffice here. Now, as far as my knowledge of the American Revolution, it really only comes from my middle school textbook. Along with that Mel Gibson movie and one of those Assassin’s Creed games. Brady’s season went from the Battles of Lexington and Concord to straight stabbing Red Coats with the American flag. He’s dropping bombs like on Bunker Hill. Anyway, if you’re still reading, Brady is on fire now. Every Sunday in Foxboro is like the 4th of July.


My last award goes to the flash-in-the-pan guys. The “I need to score a touchdown” or “I was worthless this week” guys.

New York Post
New York Post

Larry Donnell, Terrance Williams, Kendall Wright, Stepfan Taylor, Eddie Lacy, and well, pretty much whomever is on your team that frustrates you every week. This award is for the people. The people who maybe almost did major damage to a pool table after a bad shot because they saw Donnell goose-egg after his outrageous game the week before. This also goes out to the guy, who is my neighbor, who was drunk one night and said his only problem was drafting LeSean McCoy first overall. Just let it out guys.


Tyler Dalton is a guest contributor at The Scoop. He spends his nights in Tuscaloosa, either writing, or in a bar quoting Arrow. Obviously, he’s living the life. Outside of Alabama losing, his usual stress comes from setting his lineup in a million different fantasy leagues and a fridge with no beer. By the time you’ve read this he’s probably tweeted. You can follow him on Twitter @tylerd91.

A note from Fantasy Football Lead, Jay Marks (@FFHottieAsst): I became aware of Tyler from his days of stellar writing for TopTeamFantasy. Since then, I’ve chosen to remain friends from a distance, due to his blatant Crimson Tide devotion. And the fact that I don’t live in Alabama.

Tuesday’s Takeaways from the Trenches — Week 8

I took a one-week hiatus from my preview column last week. And what happened? Fantasy Fireworks! Coincidence? Perhaps I’m a fantasy jinx.

rgthinkcreative.com
rgthinkcreative.com

Week 8 of the 2014 NFL season is complete. And a historic week it was. Christmas came early for fake football nerds everywhere, as we were treated with touchdowns, tons of yardage, throwing the ball out of the proverbial yard, scoring … and LOTS of it.

A mind-boggling six—count ‘em, SIX—players topped the 30-point mark in fantasy football last week, in standard scoring. And if you lean PPR variety, that number reaches EIGHT. Over the first seven weeks of the this season, there’s been an average of less than TWO players topping 30 points, so it’s a significant leap.

pantherzfans.com
pantherzfans.com

What caused the jump this week? I read somewhere it’s the culmination of the cyclical, yet uncertain odds of an individual’s performance capacity … combined with the abstract nature of negative physiological human probability … combined with air-circulated global, ozone patterns … combined with the incessant, colloquial coach-speak—and Mad Chucky faces—thrown out by Jon Gruden on a weekly basis. Granted, I wrote it down earlier, then I read it back to myself. But, technically, I DID read it somewhere.

Whatever the case, let’s recap Week 8.


Some Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

  • QB: The quarterback formerly known as The Neckbeard, Kyle Orton, finished as the #4 scoring QB of the week.
    buffalobills.com
    buffalobills.com

    Just four weeks removed from backing up EJ Manuel, this week he outscored every QB not named Big Ben, Tom Terrific and Amish Andrew Luck.

  • QB Part Deux: In his two series of play, Brandon Weeden (6.3)—oh, Twitter was gushing with stupendous Weeden material Monday night, continue reading for stellar samplings—outscored both Cam Newton (5.2) and Joe Flacco (5.0).
  • RB: Backup Lorenzo Taliaferro (18.9) scored more than LeSean McCoy (9.7) and Marshawn Lynch (6.4) combined.
  • RB Part Deux: Mark Ingram, who had essentially not played since Week 2, returned to a suddenly bare New Orleans backfield to outscore every RB other than Foster, Forte and Charles. Fantasy owners surely fantasize as to his value if he owned the Saints backfield. Weekly bonanza?
  • WR: In a game where Andrew Luck threw 45 times, had 400 yards and completed 26 of those passes, and the 1A WR was out (Reggie Wayne), the depth-chart #3 WR in Indy had one catch for 27 points. Ya think Hakeem Nicks has lost a step? I even thought I saw him playing DE for the Saints. Oh wait, that’s Akiem Hicks.
  • WR Part Deux: See the Young Guns point below, but … three of the Top 9 WRs this week are rookies.
  • TE: Coming into the week as the #2 fantasy TE, averaging 11.3 per game, Greg Olsen finished the week with 1.6 points, or good for #36. Among TEs. Yikes.

Quick Hits

  • Gotta Be the Uggs: Since many in the fantasy community left Tom Brady for dead after the first four weeks of the season, Tom Terrific put on his big-boy-boots (Uggs, of course). Over the past four weeks, he’s put on quite the clinic, leading all fantasy quarterbacks in scoring in Weeks 5-8.

    I’m very thankful, since I handpicked Brady as my QB bounce-back, sleeper candidate this preseason. I just figured he’d be looking at Peyton’s historic 2013 season and not want to be out-headlined. Speaking of … Week 9’s Peyton-versus-Tom matchup could be as juicy as they come.

  • Young Guns. Or Is That Young’Uns? Former NFL coach Brian Billick and NFL.com contributor said, “Wide receiver has become one of the toughest positions for rookies to adapt to in the pros,” and explains further here. Well, Week 8 just chewed that theory up and spit out out. Check out these cray cray numbers from a handful of young WR brethren.

    And, other than Benjamin, all finished in the Top 16 of fantasy WRs this week. Keep it up, diaper dandies; keep it up. 

  • Bye Week Blues: Week 9 sees six teams sitting out on the bye week, as Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee rest. Plan accordingly; some big-time fantasy names will be stuck on your bench. QBs like Rodgers, Cutler and Stafford. RBs include Forte and Lacy. And WRs of note are Julio, Sammy Watkins, the Bears boys, as well as Jordy and Cobb. [NOTE: As many of you know, I live just outside of Nashville, where the Titans play. Did you notice I didn’t include any Titans on this list of bye week sits? There’s a reason, peeps.] It should be implied here, but roster manipulation and waiver claims this week are likely as important as any week this year. Follow Brady’s lead and put on YOUR big-boy-boots.
  • Twitter. On. Fire. As I referenced, Twitter was nothing short of gold, during Monday Night Football, when we were treated to—for at least part of the 4th quarter—a quarterback showdown between former Cleveland castoffs, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. Here’s just a sampling of the twitter magic you may have missed:

 

Never change, #FantasyTwitter. It was almost more entertaining than the solid MNF game.

All right, everyone, enjoy your post-fireworks week, get your waiver claims in and 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 at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

 

Takeaways from the Trenches –- Week 5

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well, my mom has said it for years. And I’d bet she got it from her older—MUCH older and MUCH wiser—sister. And SHE likely got it from her boyfriend’s grandmother, who … well you get the picture. I’m not sure anyone knows where that phrase originated.

www.youngfreeroyal.com
http://www.youngfreeroyal.com

But I’m here to say that fantasy football season time flies as well … even when NOT having fun. Or at least when not winning, which I’m experiencing far too often this fake football season. We just completed Week 5 already.

Really, doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were gearing up to avoid the pointless Bob Costas and Hines Ward halftime editorial perspectives on opening night? I mean, come on, I have nothing against either guy—in fact, I’ve long been a huge Costas guy, and Ward was an on-field fav—but, truthfully, what do they bring to each broadcast? Serious question here. If someone knows, please tweet me.

In the meantime, let’s look at some high-or low-lights from Week 5. Some of these PPR stats are downright sick, I tell you. Sick, as in not good. Not sick, as in very cool.

Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

  • QB: So yeah. Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer and Kirk Cousins (against Seattle!) all finished with more Week 5 fantasy points than Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Just as we all thought.
  • QB Part Deux: In fact, both Davis and Hoyer EACH had more fantasy points than the combined total put up by Nick Foles and Matthew Stafford.
  • RB: Ladies and gentlemen, I present your leading fantasy RB for Week 5 (PPR). One Branden Oliver finished with 34.2 points on 114 yards rushing, 68 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Paging Donald Brown. Paging Donald Brown.
  • RB Part Deux: Oliver, undrafted out of Buffalo (college) after breaking James Starks school career rushing yardage record, scored more fantasy points than the combination of LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard and Alfred Morris.
  • WR: Three of the Top 10 WRs this week were Kendall Wright, (who scored more in Week 5 than combined prior three weeks), Brian Quick and Travis Benjamin.
  • WR Part Deux: Taylor Gabriel, who cannot be higher than fifth in the ‘looks’ pecking order for Cleveland, finished with more fantasy points than Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, DeAndre Hopkins, Marques Colston, Julian Edelman and Steve Smith, Sr. Oh yeah, and more than Percy Harvin. [See below.]
  • TE: Showing up in your Top 10 fantasy TE list for this week? Timothy Wright and Jim Dray, both backup TEs on their respective teams (NE and Cleveland). Yes, I love fantasy football. Really, I do love fantasy football. I keep convincing myself.

Quick Hits

  1. Happy Fun Time with Tom and Bill: Have you witnessed a more annoying, yet comical, presser than Coach Belichick reminding the Boston media who the Patriots next opponent is?
    Patriots.com
    Patriots.com

    Repeatedly? On every question? In his monotone drone? I may be getting this wrong, but I’m pretty sure The Hoodie was trying to let everyone know the Bengals were coming to town. I think. And then, Brady’s SNF touchdown celebration (Is that what that was?) took me right back to 7th grade. From an outsider perspective, anyhow, those two seem like such polar opposites. I can just hear one of their conversations now.

TomTerrific: Hey, Coach, how’s it hanging?

Hoodie: We’re on to Buffalo, Tom.

TomTerrific: Whatevs. Have you seen the forecast yet?

Hoodie: [pause] Tom, you know we don’t focus on anything but the gameplan. It’s the Patriot way.

TomTerrific: Chillax, Coach. I just mean, will it be cold enough for me to wear my new Uggs? They’re totes amazeballs.

Hoodie: [irritated glare] We’re on to Buffalo.

  1. Getting Percy’d: I’m starting this new phrase, which of course means getting ripped off, hoodwinked, swindled, victimized, bamboozled. You may recall me lamenting that in Week 2, I lost a matchup due to my opponent unfairly receiving touchdown points on a long run, when Percy Harvin actually stepped out of bounds. In other words, I got Percy’d. But I’m not bitter.
    NFL.com
    NFL.com

    Well, it happened again in Week 5, when … not one, not two, but three times, Mr. Harvin scored on touchdown receptions. And all three were nullified by penalties. I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I lost a matchup where, this time, I owned him, and obviously didn’t receive those points. I’m starting a Percy Support Group. Won’t you join me?

  2. Have You Lost Faith in Jesus? Clipboard Jesus, that is. Charlie Whitehurst entered the Titans game versus the Browns in the 2nd quarter when—shockingly!!—Jake Locker got dinged up. His first three plays from scrimmage produced this stat line: 2 completions for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.
    AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
    AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

    I think many believers had hands raised and were singing his praises. He didn’t make any game-changing mistakes on the stat sheet; yet he also wasn’t able to keep the Browns from changing water into wine … or more specifically, a 25-point deficit into victory. And now, rumblings in Nashville are that—assuming The Hurt Locker can’t go Sunday—the Titans may give rookie Zach Mettenberger a look against Jacksonville. Clipboard Jesus, let someone else take the wheel here. Believe me, there are an infinite number of puns to include in one short paragraph here. So many puns; so little space in this story. 

  3. Throwback Top 10: A quick look at the Top 10 fantasy RBs (PPR), through Week 5, provides a couple of major surprise performers from the “After the Top 4” bunch (DeMarco, Forte, Le’Veon, Marshawn); you’ll want to sit down to hear #5, #6 and #8 on the list. That’s right folks, Justin Forsett, Ahmad Bradshaw and Fred Jackson occupy those spots. [Honestly, I’ve discount double-checked this three times to confirm accuracy, because I find it hard to believe.] They all three are part of a timeshare backfield, and their average age is 30—otherwise known as the fated cutoff point for NFL RBs. Granted, receptions play a huge role in all three cases, but it’s still something to watch for. As the season progresses, will the name backs—I’m looking directly at you, Charles, McCoy and Lacy—rise to the top of fantasy lists? Or will it be next man up, in other NFL cities? Speaking on behalf of old guys everywhere, here’s your reminder: Don’t count out the old guys.

Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret

I’m man enough to admit when I got it wrong.

  • I said a Week 5 matchup with the Rams would be Shady McCoy’s slump-buster. Boy was I wrong. He barely topped the 10 point mark (PPR), essentially with volume (28 touches). But he’s still averaging less than 3 YPC and remains outside the Top 25 of fantasy RBs. At this point, you have to wonder if he can be counted on as a reliable RB2. Scary to think, much less, type that last sentence.
  • So, I wasn’t alone on this one! I thought Bishop Sankey would dance like a star against the Brownies. As my friend @RotoPat said, “Did I say more touches for Bishop Sankey? LOL. Whoops. I meant fewer touches for Bishop Sankey. Sorry about that. Love, Whiz.” Seriously, 8 touches, and playing less than 1/3 of the snaps? That’s not gonna cut it for your most talented back. You listening to me, Tennessee Titans? I speak for all of #FantasyFootball Twitter.
  • Jeremy Maclin entered Week 5 as the 6th rated fantasy WR, averaging right at 18.3 points per game. I thought he’d slow a bit, with more target distribution from Napoleon Dynamite’s twin. I was wrong, and I’ll give the fantasy gods their due here for consistency. Maclin finished Week 5 as the 6th rated fantasy WR, and scored right at 18.6 points.

My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back

I also pump my chest when I’m right because I’m the MAN!

  • I will quote myself here; I said Demaryius Thomas “explodes back into relevance” in Week 5. Yeah. 8/226/2 isn’t a bad line. And 42.6 (PPR) fantasy points isn’t bad either. And it could have been even more explosive. Thomas had a 77-yard TD called back due to penalty.
  • I predicted that Martellus Bennett’s fantasy value would slow, and I said it would be due to lowered targets. Shazam! Although playing 86% of the snaps, he was only targeted five times, resulting in three catches. He’d averaged 9 targets per game through four weeks. His 4.7 fantasy points were well below his 20.6 average. Sorry, Big Weirdo.
  • So I picked Justin Forsett to have a good game versus the Colts. Fantasy owners like me were pleased with his 13 touches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Oh yeah, the 22.7 fantasy points didn’t suck either. Now, will it last? I have to ask, ya know, “Justin case”.

So, yeah, fun can come in many forms. In my case, I’ll say I’m having fun getting my ass kicked in a couple leagues. Yeah, that’s fun. But at least I always do my best to stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS. You should too. Until next time …

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Fantasy stats courtesy of eDraft.com.]


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