Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week 8 Prospecting

Miami -1 over Cincinnati
Cmon vegas, you can do better than this

Green Bay +6 over New York Jets
too many points here

San Diego -4 over Tennessee
chargers have to win big sometime right. this feels like the week

St Louis - 3 over Carolina
Panthers had their moment last week, now they can get back to being the worst team in the league

Detroit -.5 over Washington
one of those games where vegas is begging the public to take washington. i'll side with the house.

Song of the Week
Third World - Committed

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mondays Minings

What We Learned Chiefs-Jaguars
Not to take the Chiefs and their gaudy record too seriously. Last week, the Jags were dominated by the Titans at home. At home this week, where they supposedly have one of the best home field advantages, they played a poor Jacksonville team even until the last 5 minutes. Sure, they ran over the Jags, but Cassel did nothing outside of some poor throws that Dwayne Bowe turned into touchdowns. The continued split of carries means that its rare when you can start either Charles or Jones. Against Denver you can easily start both, but in most weeks I would hope to have a better option.

What We Learned Falcons Bengals
Bengals: Bad. Falcons: Mediocre. Michael Turner: Good play against bad defenses but not the first round pick many though he was, too slow. Roddy White: Alongside Andre Johnson as most talented receiver, if not always the best fantasy play. Cedric Benson: Not getting the help he needs, from his defense or quarterback. TO: Not a fluke, playing much better than last year. Will get lots of looks in quasi-garbage time.

What We Learned Steelers-Dolphins
That refs should not be allowed to do games involving their hometown teams. Why can't this be a principle. They do it in World Cup. While rarely would it actually affect games, why are we chancing this. The glee in which that Roethlisberger touchdown was incorrectly was called was barely restrained at best. If they treat this like the tuck rule, it means the end of scrums, since it apparently no longer matters who comes out of it with the ball. Sadly, this is the end of the season in Miami.

Quick Hits
After the first few possessions, it seemed as if Heimerdinger had read what I wrote last week. The first two running plays I saw were a step in the right direction although the line is still laying like garbage, such that I was salivating over the blocking schemes the Vikings were using Sunday night.
Not that it mattered after the performance from Woo Woo Kenny Britt, but without occasionally creating a hole, the Titans will be pressed to defeat better teams.
Browns over Saints was a mild upset at best. Anyone that thought the Saints were still elite going into this game didn't watch the first 5 weeks.
Sand Francisco is officially bad. Bottom 5 bad. This week's performance is just about par. No surprise for for the worst team to beat the 4th worst team by 3 at home.
Bottom 5: Carolina, Denver, Arizona, San Francisco, Buffalo.
Gettis might be a nice flier in deep leagues, but I can't see starting him. He put up 125 against one of the worst defenses in the league. Won't see this good a matchup again.
Now can we stop pretending Baltimore defense is good. It's been obvious since week 2.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What's wrong with CJ2K?

Now at first it may sound strange to think something is wrong with a running back that stands second in the league in rushing yards and fantasy points. But compared to last year his yards/carry is down and after watching every snap, all is not right in the Tennessee backfield.

1. Defense
Defenses are keying on Chris Johnson. Not exactly a surprise, but they are doing a very good job of containing him by blocking his path to the edge.

2. Playcalling
The Titans are playing right into the defense's hand. Over and over again, they simply hand the ball off to him in the middle of the field. I never see a pulling guard leading the way to the edge. I never see Vince Young move out of the pocket and swing it to Johnson on the edge. Every play, Johnson ends up sitting in the middle with no hole to run to and the edges covered.

3. Trying to break one
CJ set some pretty lofty goals for himself and he has been clearly aiming to take each carry to the bank. Now, with the aforementioned problems, this leads to the back sitting in the backfield looking for a place to go that just isn't there. By ignoring potential 4-5 yard gains, he hurts himself in the end. The big runs will be there if he runs hard and lets them happen, like he did last year.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Perfect BCS Solution

Briefly, this is a +1 solution. I'm going to call it BCS+. In essence we would return to a more traditional bowl alignment, then use the BCS system to select the contestants for the national title game after their completion. I am prompted to post this because of Lou Holtz's comments in favor of this type of system on Mike and Mike this week. However, there are a few wrinkles that make it better, enough that I think it worthwhile to put this online. Before setting out the solution, we have to consider what we are actually looking for. The college football arena is complex, with many moving parts that need to be satisfied.

Bowl Games

First, we need to preserve the bowls as meaningful competitions. They are a tradition, they are money-makers they are important to alumni and various factions. We need a system that not only preserves them, but increases their importance. Currently, each bowl game is an also-ran to the national championship. Under a tournament, the name would survive, but by seeding entries as 1-8 or 1-4 matchups, little else would. Under BCS+ each of the big 5 bowls would serve as a showcase for teams that still had a chance at the title game. We want to see a traditional Rose Bowl every year. Some years, it would be a de facto semi-final. Other years, one of the teams would be earning a spot with their opponent playing the role of spoiler. Some other year, both would be playing with an outside shot at reaching the title game. No matter what, there is a traditional Rose Bowl, and almost always, there are title implications. I've singled out the Rose Bowl because it has the most tradition, but I find it just as meaningful in this system for the SEC champ to host the Sugar Bowl every year.

Helping the Little Guys

There is a lot of interest, especially among the casual fan, in giving a shot to the Utah's and the Boise States. (Not to mention potential anti-trust suits.) We don't want an undefeated Boise State left out in the dark, but we don't want to hand a spot in the title game to a team with a soft schedule. What we want is to see that undefeated team play their way in against a big conference champion. Now I'll concede a tournament satisfies this objective just as well, but this system does significantly increase their chances. There would have to be at least 5 undefeated teams at the end for someone to be denied a shot. Might that happen on occasion, yes but a look at previous seasons shows it would be rare. Currently, a Boise State can be looked over for a one-loss big conference team. In this system, where an undefeated Boise State would be matchup up against one of the top 4 teams automatically in a major bowl game, they would receive the boost both in human polls and computer rankings to lift them to the title game if they won.

Creating Buzz

This is secretly the most important factor in my opinion. The best selling point is the controversy it creates. You want sports analysts yelling at another about who deserves to be in. You want various scenarios that need to be dissected on ESPN endlessly. You want a situation where a late season upset results in a ripple effect changing multiple bowl games and scenarios. This is important, this is where a tournament fails, and this is where the BCS+ excels above all others.

Major Conferences

The major conferences are an important part of the puzzle so the system must accommodate them in some way. BCS+ gives them everything they have now, an automatic bid for its conference champion. In addition, by offering an additional chance for undefeateds to lose, one-loss conference champions are right in the mix.

Every Game Counts

We don't want to lose the situation where a September loss means something. The best part about college football to some is that a loss can really cost you and a second lost knocks you out of the title chase. Under a tournament, one loss means you are still in for the highly-ranked preseason teams. Unlike every other sport, every game truly matters in college football. We want Oklahoma's season to be on the line against Texas, not just their playoff seed. Under BCS+, a USC team that two games during the season, won a parity-filled PAC 10 than upset an undefeated Big Ten champ in the Rose Bowl, would likely be deservedly shut out of the NC game.


Now, may people claim this argument is a false one, but regardless, this system changes nothing from the current one in terms of student-athletes missing classes. Two teams would play a week beyond New Years Day, exactly as they do now.

Tournament Proponents

This also gives something to the tournament proponents. It is not a true tournament but it is closer than what we have now. As discussed above, it also maintains the integrity of the bowls, gives more of a chance to the small schools and more often than any other solution, provides a great national championship matchup. To be fair, I don't think the current system is that bad. It gets it right most of the time, but the screwups, such as undefeated Auburn getting shutout of NC game, can be brutal. I do not support an actual tournament, the scenario where a two-loss Michigan gets hot near the end and beats an undefeated team in the title game is a nightmare.

The System

Under BCS+, 10 teams are chosen to participate in 5 major bowls(6 conference champions, the highest BCS rated non major conference team, and 3 wildcard selections). To accommodate this, one additional major bowl will have to be added to the current 4. I will use the Cotton Bowl as an example, but if another bowl stepped up it would work the same. Each major game,(except the rose) is paired with a conference that serves as its typical host. The rules for which hosts and guests are assigned are what drives the controversy, the buzz and most importantly, keeps undefeated teams from getting left out of the picture. Without delving into the details, the rules create the best possible matchup of tope teams that will lead the least ambiguity in selecting champions. After the bowls, the two participants are selected for the title game, now one week in the future. As an additional bonus, multiple fanbases retain title hopes through December. After being treated to 5 bowl games with possible title implications, the polls are done once again and the BCS is recalculated.

What BCS+ Isn't

It is not a system for ranking teams. There are already a multitude of ways to do this, both subjective polls and computer systems. This system requires the existence of a ranking system, such as the BCS.

What BCS+ Is

A system of logic that tells us when and how to implement rankings. The current system says little other than to have the two highest ranked teams face each other. This is a system that creates the best scenarios for the bowl games to accomplish multiple purposes(select the two best teams for the NC game, maintain tradition and satisfy multiple parties). I'm not going to divulge the logic chain that makes it up. Instead I will go back through previous years and explain what would have happened. In all cases examined, it produces the same or better result than the current system.


Alabama would host the Sugar Bowl, with 5 undefeated NRB teams, #3 Cincinnati gets pulled in as Guest.
Texas, as number 2 in this scenario, hosts the Fiesta Bowl against Undefeated TCU.
The Rose Bowl features a non title-affecting but traditional matchup of Oregon and Ohio State.
Georgia Tech would host the Sugar Bowl against Boise State.
This is the worst case scenario where possibly an undefeated could be left out but if Boise State beat Georgia Tech convincingly enough....
Result: most likely the real one, Alabama and Texas although without the guilt of snubbing two unbeatens.

1-loss USC against 1-loss Penn State in the Rose Bowl
#1 Oklahoma hosts the Fiesta Bowl, pulling in undefeated Utah
#2 Florida hosts the Sugar Bowl, pulling in #3 Texas
Virginia Tech vs (likely) Alabama in Orange
Cincinnati vs (likely) Ohio St in Cotton
Result: Utah now has a chance, win and they are likely in, otherwise, 3 bowl winners have a shot at being chosen. Florida and Oklahoma are win and in, if Texas beats Florida, the Rose Bowl winner could pass them with a solid win.

#1 Ohio State would plat USC in the Rose Bowl, USC playing the role of spoiler
#2 LSU would play undefeated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl
#3 Virginia Tech would play Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl
Kansas inherits the Fiesta Bowl and likely plays Georgia
West Virginia hosts the Cotton Bowl
Result: After LSU defeats Hawaii, they go to the National Championship against Ohio State if they win. If USC knocks off OSU, the VT-Oklahoma winner takes their spot

BCS+ produces 2 de facto semifinals
#1 Ohio State plays #5 USC in the Rose
#2 Florida plays undefeated Boise St in the Sugar
#4 LSU and #3 Michigan are likely left out of the NC but neither won their conference so they cant complain. Michigan goes to the Cotton against Louisville while LSU plays Oklahoma in the Fietsa.
Wake Forrest hosts the Orange Bowl against Notre Dame

will continue to add these, going back to the beginning of the decade..

Mondays Minings

Quick Hits
What happened to the Bears defense. Even a decent performance against the Seahawks and Mike Williams gets them the win yesterday.
The NFC South may be the worst division now. Carolina is the worst team in the league, Tampa is awful, Atlanta is decidedly mediocre and New Orleans is slightly above average at best.
Washington fans seem to be very appreciative of McNabb. Unlike Philly fans who got much better than they deserved for all those years.
Speaking of Philly, the most overrated team in the NFC at the moment. (To quote Joe Fox's dad, that's extremely ironic.) Extremely soft schedule will toughen up over the next few weeks.
If the Packers do make move and pick up a running back by the deadline, the only teams that can keep them from the SuperBowl are the Giants and Cowboys.
Right now, who is the leading MVP candidate? There isn't one player who deserves to be in the conversation.

That's it for the minings today. Wasn't much that really happened. Since Lou Holtz was talking about it on tv this week, I'm going to put up my perfect BCS solution early this week in a separate post. I may post further thoughts if I see anything interesting on short cuts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 6 Prospecting

Chicago -7 over Seattle
bears defense is rolling, seattle is terrible on the road and cutler is back.

Saints -3 over Tampa
After losing to arizona despite dominating them, saints will be hungry. tampa is coming off an undeserved win over a bengals team that just isn't that good

Texans -4 over Chiefs
time for houston to get back on track

Jets -3 over Broncos
This is not high enough

Chargers - 9 over Rams
Smell a slaughter here

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mondays Minings with Matchup Rankings

What We Learned Bengals-Bucs
It was against the Bucs, but the Bengals look like who reasonable people thought they were. They can run and play defense but struggle in the passing game. However, they really struggle in the passing game. In a year in which an unprecedented amount of bad quarterbacks are starting, Carson Palmer looks like the worst. He hit very few receivers that weren't running hooks. Despite rarely facing pressure, he just couldn't hit his targets. Benson looked outstanding, the line looked good, and Palmer repeatedly killed drives by missing easy targets. That said, the Bucs were still very lucky to win this game. Their first touchdown was a pick six on a horrid throw by Palmer. Their second touchdown was courtesy of pass interference on an ill-advised hail-mary on 3rd and 10. Another scoring drive was kept alive by the luckiest bounce on a fumble that I have ever seen. A sack and strip of Freeman bounced about 12 yards to create 2nd and 5 instead of 2nd and 17 or so if he had held onto it. Towards the end, had Palmer kneeled instead of chucking it downfield, they could have pinned the Bucs deep with a punt and won the game. Marching down the field against the prevent, they were set back to first and 20 with less than a minute left. Given the way he'd been throwing, I'd have just gone into overtime instead of giving Palmer license to sling it. What did we learn? The Bucs are terrible, none of them should be on your roster. The Bengals are a potentially decent team, with a massive flaw. Except in deep leagues, I would not feel comfortable starting Owens, despite the numbers he has put up so far.

Quick Hits

Nice to see Ray Rice get back in the mix, although this was one of the better matchups he will see all year.
Interesting to see what happens when Moreno comes back. The running game has to be party suffering because of running talent. I foresee a a large hit to Orton's value, and time to drop any receiver not named Bloyd.
Why on Earth did Todd Collins start that game. The fact that they had to put up with that catastrophic passing attack show the mettle of the Bears defense. Cutler playing with leads and the once-again reliable Matt Forte should go a long way towards the playoffs.
Did you sell high on Jahvid Best? Probably too late now.
Perfect time to sell high on Hakeem Nicks. HIghly doubtful he keeps this up.
If someone thinks their selling high on one of the oyds, Malcolm or Brandon, I think you are buying at fair value.
If the Packers were sucessful in the way hey have been spreading it around, I wouldn't complain, but they scored one touchdown this week. With Finley out, maybe it's time to utilize your best weapons.
It may be finally time to get on board the Felix Jones train. Even in a loss he racked up carries once he saw the bulk of them.
Will Norv ever see the light? RMatthews>JHester>Tolbert>Sproles. Then again, it is Norv.
Seneca Wallace is a better quarterback than many(including me) gave him credit for. Much better than anything Cleveland had last year and yesterday, better than Matt Ryan. He knows how to avoid pressure and make throw on the move. If Cleveland didn't have the hardest schedule in the league, they might do something.

Matchup Rankings

Rankings are based on a consideration of each of the first 5 games. Based on and A to E scale, it seems that the numbers are skewed towards the top. But it seems that compared to recent years, teams are running well, or failing to stop the run. Few teams seem like must-avoid matchups. Of course, these matchup rankings indicate who you want to send your running back against.

Buffalo Bills - In the last two weeks, they gave up 250 yards to the Jets and 70 to a Jaguar rookie in garbage time.

Tampa Bay Bucs - Even in their wins their run defense has been a sieve.

Detroit Lions - Offense scores quick of fizzles, leaving extra times for their opponent to run

Arizona Cardinals - Season-high rushing totals for San Diego and Atlanta

Carolina Panthers - The 200 yards from Chicago was probably an anomaly, but at least 90 yards against each week.

New Orleans Saints - Offense isn't keeping their opponents in the air as much as last year.

New England Patriots
- Defense has been weak, offense is about to give it less help

St Louis Rams
- No disasters, but everyone has run well against the Rams.

Oakland Raiders - Shutting down the Chargers this week is enough to bump the Raiders down to a B.

Philadelphia Eagles - Similarly, the Eagles have upped their stock by shutting down Gore. 2 of their first 4 showings were worrying.

San Francisco 49ers - Did well against two toughest opponents but torched on the ground by Kansas City.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Nothing notable, just consistently subpar run defense

Cincinnati Bengals - We knew the Bengals would struggle to pass, run the ball and play tough defense right? Well what's gone wrong on this team has been the run defense.

Indianapolis Colts - Couple of nice games and three tough ones.

Cleveland Browns - Browns have given up yards but against a slew of solid running teams

Washington Redskins
- Mix of poor and respectable performances

Tennessee Titans - Decidedly mediocre showings until they became the first team to let Dallas run wild.

Denver Broncos - They are constantly throwing because their porous defense leaves them constantly behind.

Atlanta Falcons - What's there to say about a team in the middle?

Miami Dolphins - Teams have hit their median rush totals against Miami.

Seattle Seahawks - Aside from the week 1 aberration, Seahawks opponents have hit their averages.

Kansas City Chiefs - Except for the week 3 aberration, Chiefs opponents have hit their averages.

San Diego Chargers - Slighty more fearsome then the middle teams.

Baltimore Ravens - Mentioned this a couple weeks ago, but the Ravens haven't stopped the run. Medium nubers with one poor showing and one good.

New York Giants - Have turned it on for two weeks, next time, we may find the Giants a D matchup.

Minnesota Vikings - We know they can stop the run. No surprises here.

Dallas Cowboys - Held 4 of 5 to below their average.

Houston Texans - They give it up through the air so easily that teams rarely bother to run.

New York Jets - A force for two week, still haven't given up 100.

Green Bay Packers - Destroyed the running games of 4 of 5 opponents.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 4 opponents posted season-low totals.

Chicago Bears - Opponents can't count on 10 sacks in a half every week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week 5 Prospecting

Houston -3.5 over New York Giants
Dumbfounded at this spread.

New Orleans -7.5 over Arizona
Isn't Arizona terrible? New Orleans hasn't trounced anyone yet. This should be the week.

Chicago -2.5 over Carolina
DWilliams neutralized by best run defense, no Steve Smith, I sense a shutout here.

San Francisco +3.5 over Philadelphia
Do I dare? At home against Kolb with the season on the line, it's hard not to.

Green Bay -2.5 over Washington

Song of the Week
Buck Owens - Hello Trouble

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mondays Minings

What we Learned: Giants-Bears
Hopefully nothing, in retrospect, this had all the makings of an upset. The Bears riding high after two big wins and the Giants up against the wall. However, I though the gap was larger than it apparently is, and fell for the hype that the Giants had quit. Well, the disaster happened is probably a result of those identifiable factors plus a few other avoidable forces. First, the Bears line has not been great at any point this year and was not able to withstand the kitchen-sink blitzes of the Giants. But, if they could have beat those blitzes a few times, the Giants would have been forced to back off. Cutler and Martz proved not up to the task. Cutler could have avoided many of those sacks by throwing it away. He really should not have been in that situation, as it would have been quite easy to call a few play that offered an outlet pass. Forte should have ripped off 20 yard gain after 20 yard gain until the blitzes stopped. In the end, this is one terrible game among three good ones for Cutler and the Chicago offense. On the other side of the ball, Chicago is offering a challenge to Pittsburgh as the league's best defense. They held New York to 60 yards of legitimate offense and three points despite constant bad field position and three-and-outs from their offense. That is outstanding no matter who the opposition is.

What We Learned Colts-Jaguars
Not much we haven't figured out in the first three weeks. The Colts defense is not as good as last year. They are especially week to a power running game. This ever-present Achilles heel may hurt them in the playoffs but they would have put this game away without the Reggie Wayne fumble. They ran well, 4 yards a clip without breaking one. The put up passing yards. Offense good, defense suspect. They are not as good as last year, but at this point, noone looks nearly as good as last year's superbowl teams. The Jags are destined for 5 or 6 wins, and they will play well when they can run well. Against teams that can stop the run, Garrard will prove inadequate to pull the team to victory.

Quick Hits:
There's at least 10 starting quarterbacks that I would bench for Tyler Thigpen right now.
That isn't that strong a statement about Thiggy.
Top 15 Redraft: CJohnson, Peterson, Foster, Gore, Mendenhall, Jackson, AJohnson, Wayne, McCoy, Jones-Drew, White, Rice, McFadden, Turner, Gates
There isn't a quarterback I would pick before the third round. Said this before the season but there is very little difference within the top 8, 9 if Vick is ok to play next week.
Carson Palmer is putting in an all-time season at padding his stats in garbage time.
Just because Brandon Jackson has been bad, that doesn't mean Kuhn is good. Ryan Grant is a better back than I thought. That said, can't see anyone besides the 1-2 Cowboys beating the Pack in the playoffs.
Has anyone ever gained as much by not playing as the Cowboys this week? Every good team in the NFC humiliated themselves.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week 4 Prospecting

Texans -3.5 over Raiders

Titans -6.5 over Broncos

Chargers -8.5 over Cardinals

Bears +3.5 over Giants

Rams +.5 over Seahawks

Song of the Week
Ken Boothe - Freedom Street