Tag Archives: Tony Romo

The NBA Free Agency Circus, Led by Ringmaster DeAndre

In case you have been on Mars, Pluto, or in a no-Internet zone, you have missed a WHALE of an early free agency period in the NBA.

LeBron is a free agent. Okay, not really. Dwayne Wade is a free agent. Speculation was that he would join LeBron in Cleveland. He did not. He stayed in Miami, the only home he’s ever known. There are countless others who are being courted, or who have already decided where they are going to play. To check out the full list, click here.

  • Kevin Love, off the market.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, off the market.
  • Goren Dragic, off the market.
  • DeAndre Jordan, off the market. On the Market. Off the market. On? Off?

Jordan’s story is one of intrigue, indecision and reneging on his word.

According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement found hereThere is a specified time that teams can negotiate contracts BUT CANNOT SIGN them.

Each season, the NBA has a Moratorium Period in which teams may hold negotiations, but cannot sign contracts. Limited exceptions to this rule apply to Rookie Scale Contracts with first round draft picks, minimum contracts of one or two seasons (with draft picks and free agents) and acceptance of Qualifying Offers by Restricted Free Agents. The Moratorium Period for the remainder of the term of the CBA will be as follows:

  • 2015-16 July 1, 2015 through July 8, 2015
  • 2016-17 July 1, 2016 through July 11, 2016
  • 2017-18 July 1, 2017 through July 11, 2017
  • 2018-19 July 1, 2018 through July 10, 2018
  • 2019-20 July 1, 2019 through July 9, 2019
  • 2020-21 July 1, 2020 through July 8, 2020

The drama between DeAndre Jordan, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers will surely change the landscape of this agreement. I would be surprised if this is still in effect next year.

In essence, the player holds all the cards. For example, Jordan agreed verbally with the Dallas Mavericks to join them as a free agent signing. He was courted by several Dallas sports icons, including: Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and others.

Ultimately, it was Jordan’s decision. In the NBA, verbal agreements mean nothing. In business matters, the only things that matter are signed contracts. Even then, they often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because of the “renegotiations” that occur.

Let’s say Player A signs a 4-year deal. After one year, he has a monster season and demands more money. He already has a signed contract, a legal, binding document. However, he is allowed to threaten to sit out games or a season if he does not get a new contract. This is where we are in sports. In real life, you would be sued in court for breach of contract.

deandre jordan dunk faceFor the purposes of this article, Jordan’s word was worth a $3 bill. It is within his right to do what he wants. It’s HIS life. His career. What he did to the Dallas Mavericks is both deplorable and juvenile, even for a 26-year-old.

How, you say?

  1. He held the Mavericks hostage, because once he agreed to terms with them, he locked up some $80 million dollars and change. Money they didn’t have to pursue others.
  2. By going back on his word, he hamstrung the Mavericks in every phase of the game. His indecision caused the Mavericks problems in going after other potential free agents. Granted, that was the Mavericks fault for not going after other big men once they thought they had landed their big fish. They let Tyson Chandler go. They let Monta Ellis go. They let Al-Farouq Aminu go. Thinking they got a good big man caused the Mavericks to pause and take a breather, and that will cost them dearly.
  3. His reported refusal to speak with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to let him know he decided to return to the Clippers was nothing short of childish. As a man, he owed that much to a man who was willing to pay him a LOT of money.
  4. Because of this decision, the Mavericks have not only lost out on Jordan, but the wheels are likely set in motion for Rick Carlisle‘s exit, as well. Carlisle is on record stating that he will not stick around for a rebuilding session.

This is a free country where we are free to choose what we will and will not do. Once upon a time, many moons ago, the Greatest Generation (baby boomers) did business with a handshake. To them, a man’s word was his bond. You did what you said, and said what you did. If you wanted to do something, no contracts were needed. Your word was as good as gold. Not anymore.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

The days of true team players like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are coming to a close. These two men epitomize class and respect for the game. Both men have made a lot of money and left a lot of money on the table so that their respective franchises can compete for championships.

It will be a sight to see when the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center for the first time. It will probably be deafening inside, but not for the right reasons, if you are DeAndre Jordan. In fact, if you were to take a poll in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for most-hated  NBA villians, the following would probably be true:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. James Harden
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. San Antonio Spurs

Take a step back for a moment and consider the most recent athlete to experience the ire of the entire DFW Metroplex. Bear in mind that this fan base really isn’t prone to boo. Only after exhausting their hopes and dreams will they resort to booing.

When Josh Hamilton played his last season for the Texas Rangers in 2012, he was by all estimations mailing it in. The strikeouts, jogging in the outfield, and lazy running to first base were all there for the fans to see, yet they did not boo. It wasn’t until he started making excuses for why he was not playing well that the tide started to turn, culminating in a remarkable moment in a game that would determine the 2012 AL West Champion. Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that gave the Oakland A’s a 7-5 lead in a six-run fourth inning. To make matters worse, he jogged after the dropped ball, with no concern or urgency. Fan anger began to bubble to a boil.

Then in the one-game Wild Card Playoff, after his awful at-bats where he swung at everything in the air or in the dirt, the fans finally had enough and let the boos loose.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

As bad as that was, it didn’t compare to the booing he received when he came back to Texas with the Angels after he flippantly stated that Arlington was not a “baseball town.” The booing he received as an Angel was incredible. I was at a game and could not believe it. Not even Alex Rodriguez got that much hatred.

Josh Hamilton‘s experience will pale in terms of what DeAndre Jordan will get. I shudder to think of how that will sound in an enclosed stadium. Heaven forbid if he has to make free throws to win the game. It appears that he did NOT want to “be the man” in Dallas, but is perfectly happy being the “third option” behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Right now, I am sure Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, and CP3 are all removing their red noses and clown makeup. After all, this is the NBA circus.

Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.


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.”


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

    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.

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.


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.


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).


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.


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).








(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.


#FantasyFootballCostumes, from Guest Writer Diane Sevenay

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


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.


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.


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.


Manti Te’o

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


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.


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. 

Friday’s First and 10 – Week 2

Just like those seriously annoying Maxwell the Pig commercials from Geico, I’m baaaack. For another edition of TGIFFF, or Thank God It’s Fantasy Football Friday. (Yes, we eliminated an “F” from the Week 1 column. Budget cuts.)

maxwell the pig

I experienced mediocrity at its finest last week; my teams finished with a .500 record. They say a tie is like kissing a pig. Hope it’s not Maxwell. I scored the most points in one league. Thank you, Matt Ryan and AJ Green. I also nearly brought up the bottom of the proverbial barrel in another. NO thank you, DeMaryius Thomas and Andre Ellington.

Week 1 certainly had its share of surprises; here’s looking at you, kids. And by kids, of course I mean the rookies, covered here. But we’re not looking back anymore; we’re crystal-balling it, watching for the following:

  1. Trouble in Big D?

Yeah, I know. I think I could just ‘cut n paste’ that title (Trouble in Big D?) several times per year into my fantasy columns, referencing America’s Team. Jerry Jones is in trouble with ex- strippers, that defense looks to be historically awful and Tony Romo is officially to blame for the conflict in the Gaza Strip. But—from a fantasy perspective—I’m not throwing in the towel. They’ll give up points. In droves. Which means their offense will have to continue trying to put up points. I think I’m in the minority, but I’m buying low on their weapons: Dez, Witten and even Romo. If you can steal them at value from an already weary owner, snatch away. Real on-the-field football trash often translates to fake on-the-field football treasures.

  1. Give ‘Em the Damn Ball!

As an homage to Keyshawn Johnson, some big name WR’s didn’t see many touches in Week 1. You may have heard about Larry Fitzgerald’s dad taking to social media to educate The Twitter on the politics of who does and who does not get passes thrown their way (and why). I just love it when parents, wives (remember Brenda Warner, anyone?) and even siblings (Michael Vick’s brother Marcus) feel compelled to stand up publicly for their boyzzz.

And the salsa king Victor Cruz is saying that the Giants success depends on him getting more targets. I think there’s juuuuust a bit more to it than that, Vic. [Insert Eli Manning joke du jour here. Oh that’s right. The entire 2013 season WAS an Eli Manning joke? My bad.]

By the way, if you’re unaware of Keyshawn’s marquee phrase, he even wrote a book on how to increase increment of receiving said damn balls.

  1. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?

The NFC East has the highest name recognition per divisional starting QB in the entire NFL. There’s a Manning (granted, not the elder Manning, but this one has two Super Bowls), a Romo (Cowboys’ QBs who date pop singers and don’t win playoff games will always be polarizing), RG III (whose Subway endorsements, smile and dreads are unmistakable) and Nick Foles (last year’s golden child who threw only two INTs, and Napoleon Dynamite’s twin). Yet, get this stat. None of them surpassed 10 fantasy points in Week 1. Foles’ 9.88, the highest among the bunch, was good for 25th in the league, behind the likes of Derek Anderson, EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel and Derek Carr.

I’m watching to see who will answer the bell this week. Anyone? Anyone? My money is on Romo, he types with shaking hands.

  1. The Patriot Way

You called it, didn’t you? The entire AFC East is undefeated! Oh. Wait. Hoodie and his boys from Foxboro lost Sunday. I think Brady’s grizzly beard threw their entire team’s timing off. Gronk is day-to-day—what else is new?—and, other than Gronk and Vereen, they still have an otherwise unimpressive corps of backs and receivers to throw out there, and Belichick plays matchups as well as anyone on a weekly basis. This, obviously, equals a crapshoot from week to week on who gets to carry Tom’s Uggs bag. Having said that, I smell bounceback. If one can actually smell such a thing. Brady, Gronk and [YOU insert your favorite Patriot here] will put up numbers.

  1. The More, The Merrier

Again, who saw this coming? Oh wait, I did. As if on cue to demonstrate the textbook display of the RBBC model, the Titans employed the following RB touches in Week 1. Shonn Greene: 15; Dexter McCluster: 10; Bishop Sankey: 6; Leon Washington: 4. Will this continue? Will the good Bishop slowly take some footing on the job, or simply continue being a pawn in this situation? See what I did there? Or will still more names—plodding vet Jackie Battle?—be added to the committee mix? I think I heard the crowd at LP Field (Titans homefield) chanting, “We want Jackie! We want Jackie!”

  1. The Hit Man

I’m not sure who gave him the nickname [feel free to contact me, so that proper credit can be appropriated], but Allen ‘Hit Man’ Hurns just rocks. For those unaware, Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns was a beast-mode boxer, who made his name back in the 1980s. The dude was the first fighter in history to win five world titles in five different divisions. But I digress …

Here’s the question for me. Does our 2014 Jaguars version of Hit Man have any sustainability? Sure, he was the first rookie WR since Anquan Boldin in 2003—and fifth overall—to have 100 receiving yards and 2 TD’s in his debut.  And as you can see, he’s in rare company, catching TD’s on his first two NFL catches.

So the question remains … will he be another Anquan Boldin, with a long and productive career? Or will he flame out, in line with the legendary Mike Siana and Bobby Johnson? Personally, I hope this Man becomes a Hit.

  1. The New York Two-step

I’m anxious to see how the backfields for both New York teams play out. The Jets essentially displayed a 50/50 split between the Chris’s (Johnson played 34 snaps, while Ivory played 30). Meanwhile, in a somewhat surprising development, the newest Giant tailback Rashad Jennings got 20 touches, versus only five for Andre Williams. Trend-worthy? Or one-week situations?

  1. Rams Retreat

Even before Sam Bradford was lost for the year via injury (do I need to simply rename this entire column Déjà Vu?), no one confused the Rams offense with the Broncos. But now, that injury combined with Jeff Fisher’s proclamation that a committee approach will be used going forward—Benny Cunningham actually was on the field for more plays than Stacy Week 1 (33 to 31)—is there anyone fake football owners can depend on? Are you starting Jared Cook or Tevon Austin or Brian Quick? Heck, right now, I’m hesitant to confidently start Stacy OR Cunningham.

  1. Big Boys Are Back

Some of the consensus top 10 fantasy draft picks didn’t make much of a Week 1 fantasy splash. Charles, Peterson, Lacy, Demaryius, Graham, Ball and Dez had less-than-expected weeks. Specifically, I am watching for JC Superstar, AP, DThomas and Dez to bust out.

10.  Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

Anyone else find this expression just a bit creepy? Yeah, I get the whole intrinsic meaning—suggesting an action is an avoidable error when something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, but when you think about it literally versus literarily … Morbid Much? But back to our regularly scheduled program here:

Too many fantasy football players have a microwave mentality, wanting their draft picks to heat up immediately, and not demonstrating patience. I heard even expert @DaveRichard from CBS recall giving up on Zac Stacy after one week last season, when he started slowly but finished strongly. Stacy owners are hoping it’s déjà vu all over again this year, where he’ll rebound to have a solid season.

But I’m watching to see how 2014’s slow starters respond after a slow Week 1. And how fantasy footballers respond to their responses. For the record, I don’t think anyone’s dropping guys like Jamaal Charles, Aaron Rodgers, Demaryius Thomas or Jimmy Graham because they had down first weeks. But what about guys like Michael Crabtree, and the aforementioned Fitzgerald, Cruz and Witten?

Patience is a virtue, people. Of course, so is chastity. And continence. And cleanliness. Those never stopped any of us from playing fantasy football. So … your call here. Pick a virtue, any virtue.

And now your Week 2 food and drink recommendations. The season is just beginning, we’re barely into September, and it’s still warm out. So that sweet tea vodka I teased you with last week? Go for it this time. The weather’s nice, but pace yourselves. Therefore, the BBQ grill should be in full use – burgers, dogs, the works.

Until next TGIFFF—yes, the grammar police double and triple-checked our use of the “F’s” … hey, get your mind out of the gutter—don’t forget … stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS.

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

Plays (Fantasy Football) Well With Others

USA Today
USA Today

That noted philosopher Jay Mohr–yes, that Jay Mohr–has eloquently stated:

Fantasy football is not only a good thing, but a great thing.

Thank you, Mr. Mohr. If that’s not a reason to go watch Gary, Unmarried and give it another chance. Wait, on second thought …

So just how popular is this fantasy football phenomenon? According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 30 million people play the game annually. Still millions more participate in daily leagues—essentially a sort of street junkie’s version of fantasy football. On steroids. While drinking a Red Bull.

That’s a lot of folks trash-talking and eating bad draft party snacks, and one unfortunate brah picking the just-recently-retired-because-of-chronic-injury David Wilson as his backup RB because he saw Wilson do that ‘cool backflip that time’. I mean … there are less than 30 million people who inhabit entire countries. Countries like Australia, the Netherlands and Burkina Faso. [Yeah, I’ve not heard of that last one either. But, I’m willing to bet you one of Peyton’s Papa Johns pepperoni pizzas that there’s some Burkinabe dude Googling “Fantasy Football TE rankings.” Right. Now. And yes, Burkinabe is the accurate way to refer to the natives. I do my homework, people.]

So who are some of these 30 million fake football managers?

Well, NFL.com had a celebrity FF league last year which included personalities like Jerry O’Connell, Bobby Flay, Jerry Ferrara (a self-proclaimed “junkie”) and more.

Last year, Ashton Kutcher fessed up to assigning an underling to handle analysis and research for his fantasy teams. Now that’s commitment. I think. In a hand-me-down, pass-the-buck sort of way. Don’t know about you, but I want that gig.

So what do you do?

ME: I advise Ashton Kutcher.

Very cool. Financial advisor?

ME: Um, no. I help him decide if Tom Brady or Tony Romo sits.

Excuse me?

Heck, even other professional athletes are aboard the train. Clayton Kershaw, MLB pitcher extraordinaire—you might have heard of him—is actually one of the co-engineers of this Fantasy Football Train. He’s on record estimating that “… 40 to 50 percent of MLB players are playing fantasy football.” And we’ve heard legendary tales of NFL players drafting and starting themselves on their teams. Hello there, Chad Johnson, wide receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco.

But perhaps the tell-tale sign for reaching the pinnacle of industry popularity and mainstream culture culminates when the Mannings (Mr. Omaha—with that trademark red helmet spot on the forehead, and the little bro—he of the pained sideline facial expressions) join forces with DirecTV to promote their shiny new toy, the NFL Sunday Ticket’s new Fantasy Zone Channel. And bonus points for all of us … Peyton and Eli rapping. Again.

So, how ‘bout you? Go for it. Step up to the plate. Join a league or three. Yes, we’re promoting the age-old Be a Sheep, Not a Shepherd philosophy here. [I’m officially championing that hashtag now, #SheepNotShepherd. Join the revolution, friends.] Remember all those times your mom admonished you with the “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow?” speech? Well, there ARE 30 million people who play fantasy football. That nearly constitutes “everybody’s doing it,” right? Who needs individuality? Be like the others. Follow the crowd.

Maybe you’re saying you don’t have a pair of Cy Young Awards on your mantle. You may not be a semi-humorous former SNL’er. Or the former Mr. Demi Moore. But you should play fantasy football. Sure, the critics or uninformed or your girlfriend will criticize by saying it’s not real football. Or not even really managing a football team. I’ve heard it before, my friends. People have said to—or dare I say, screamed at—me, “Hello … it’s FAKE football!” But hear me out. The benefits are obvious and rewarding, if not even just a skosh self-serving.

Camaraderie. Perhaps even some financial incentive, if you’re lucky AND good. Pride. Maybe some solid food and adult beverages will flow at league gatherings. And then there’s the obvious, overriding reasoning. You get to group text all your buddies / leaguemates at 2am with your own version of “TJ Who’s Your Momma, Bitches! Championship!”

If you’ve not watched this clip, stop what you’re doing immediately and spend 30 seconds making your life better. It will certainly get your fantasy juices flowing. Fantasy football juices flowing. Ahem.


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

Dave’s Darts: A Chat With Tony Romo’s Back


Hi, everyone. It’s me, Tony Romo’s back.

I actually have a name. Clarence.

I know, not your everyday name. But I like it.

Everyone sure is curious how I’m doing. The best I can come up with is “kinda okay”.

Tony’s wife tickled me the other day and I seized up and Tony grabbed a stack of red pills and swallowed them and 15 minutes later I was out of it and trying to drunk text Jessica Simpson’s back.

I think it would be great if Tony would wear a Red Cross jersey during the games so the defense stays away from me.

Anywho, just thought you would want to put a name to the back.

Hope I hold up. Almost out of duct tape.


Dave Little is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @imdavelittle.