Archive for December, 2010

Fantasy NBA: Player Pickups for The New Year

Friday, 31 December, 2010

By Vidur Malik

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Ed Davis – Davis has seen a boost in minutes lately, and an increase in production as well. In the Toronto Raptors’ win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, Davis saw his first extended playing time of the season. He led the Raptors with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes. Davis can also contribute a few blocks and steals per game, so he should be able to get you points in a wide range of categories.

Beno Udrih – Udrih is a starter again for the Sacramento Kings, and he’s had a solid year so far. He scores 13.8 points per game, the highest total of his career. He’s also averaging 32 minutes per game for the season, so whether or not he’s starting, he’ll get his opportunities. If your guards aren’t cutting it in terms of scoring, you should seriously consider picking up Udrih.

Wes Johnson – On a struggling team like the Minnesota Timberwolves, Johnson is getting a chance to show his skills. The rookie swingman from Syracuse can be a good scoring guard for your team. The Timberwolves have size, so Johnson doesn’t get many rebounds despite his height advantage over most guards, but he is shooting well from the floor and is an efficient scorer, meaning that he doesn’t need many shots to get you points.

Marvin Williams – Williams is part of a young and athletic Atlanta Hawks team, and has begun his sixth year in the NBA on a good note. He’s shooting 48%, the highest mark of his career in that category, and is putting up 11 points per game with just under five rebounds a game. He’s become a key member of the Hawks, and if they can contend with the elite teams in the league, Williams will have to play a major role. Pick him up if you’re looking for more rebounds and points on a more consistent basis.

Jonny Flynn – Like Johnson, Flynn is a young player getting opportunities on the Timberwolves. Flynn has been making use of the playing time he gets and can be a good pickup if you’re looking for another guard to provide some points. He won’t give you a lot of points or assists if he continues to get the amount of minutes he’s getting now, but if you need more production, it wouldn’t hurt to get him off waivers and see what he can do.

Terrence Williams – Williams has yet to get playing time after being traded to the Houston Rockets, but when he does, he could be another scoring option. Williams also averages 3.6 rebounds a game this year, but that number should increase on a team that doesn’t have a player who averages double-digit rebounds per night. Forward Luis Scola leads the Rockets with 8.4 rebounds a game, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Williams to both score and rebound on his new team.

Shawne Williams- Williams is garnering more playing time every night he continues to produce in limited minutes. His coming out onto the court and adding another deep threat from three for the Knicks. He is currently 19 of 32 from three point range. An astounding 60%. He may be the new Channing Frye in Dantoni’s system.

Fantasy Baseball: Affects of Free Agent Signings

Friday, 31 December, 2010

By Greg Dillard

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Heading into the 2010 offseason, everyone knew the free agent market would not only be focused on ace lefthander Cliff Lee, but two All- Star outfielders as well.

Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford hit the free agent market with high expectations, and both outfielders struck gold with big paychecks and new homes.

After four above average seasons in Philadelphia, Werth entered free agency looking for big money. However, no one expected the Washington Nationals to be players in the Werth sweepstakes. $126 million and seven years later, Werth now calls the nation’s capital and Nationals Park home. There are several precautions before drafting Werth to serve as your middle of the order, right fielder.

First and foremost, Werth bolted Philly, but remains in the ultra competitive National League East. With almost no protection in the Nationals’ lineup, Werth will face the Marlins, Braves, Mets, and Phillies almost 20 times each every year. Clearly, there is an abundance of strong pitching in this division with Ricky Nolasco, Javier Vasquez, Johan Santana, and Mike Pelfrey in the division. Then there’s the all star rotation in Philly that consists of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels.

Facing elite pitching day in and day out won’t be easy for Werth and the Nats. Werth was never the go to go in the extremely powerful Philadelphia lineup, and it will be interesting to see if he can deal with being the “big bat” for Washington.

Then there’s Crawford who despite being courted by the Yankees and Angels, signed a seven year, 142 million dollar deal with the Red Sox. Similar to Werth, Crawford remains in a division that is loaded with talented pitching, but Fenway Park and Boston’s potent lineup make the difference.

Boston manager Terry Francona will most likely choose to bat Crawford third in his lineup, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in front of him. Those two will provide plenty of RBI chances given their speed and ability to get on base. Most importantly, newly acquired first basemen Adrian Gonzalez will bat cleanup after Crawford. Talk about good protection. Opposing pitchers won’t want Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Crawford on the base paths with Gonzales stepping into the batter’s box.

With his speed, power, and the talent surrounding him, Crawford is poised for a big season in Boston. He is a sure bet for your fantasy outfield.

 

Week 16 Spread Selections

Friday, 24 December, 2010

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Two weeks left to pick from a wide selection of NFL games. Not only are games on Thursday, but Saturday games will occur as well. This is the part of the year where teams that are out of the playoff picture can be unpredictable. You have to be cautious when looking at those matchups. On the other hand young teams that are out of the playoffs tend to finish the season strong to build towards next year. We’ve got a couple of those teams that are underdogs as our picks this weekend.

Overall Record: 115-107-4

Last Week’s Record: 7-9

Arizona +7- One thing about Arizona is that they have been a decent team at home. Were not saying that translates to a win, but covering seven will be a possibility. Dallas hasn’t looked as strong as they did during Jason Garrett’s first few games as interim coach. Instead they’ve reverted back to poor defense and special teams miscues.

Detroit +3.5- Detroit is one of those teams that is an exciting young team building forward. If Stafford hadn’t been out with injuries this team could of easily won six or seven games. Miami has all types of issues. Quarterback, Chad Henne has struggled all year and the offense can’t muster points. 3.7 yards per carry combined between Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams isn’t going to cut it.

Philadelphia -14.5- We hate taking the bait of double digit points, but in this game we have too. Joe Webb will step back onto the field, and obviously isn’t ready for this type of situation. The defense just gave up over forty points to a Bears team that has been offensively challenged all year. We’ll bank on a Kevin Kolb appearance in this blowout.

Washington +7- Even with MJD being listed as out we still liked Washington in this game. Jacksonville’s been a team playing above their record for awhile. Sure they’ve managed to pull out some close wins, but they’re not a playoff caliber team. Too many holes defensively, and Garrard is a hot/cold quarterback.

San Francisco +2.5- The division will become interesting once the 49ers get this victory. Switching to Troy Smith this week was a smart move by Singletary. His legs and ability to extend the play will pose problems for the Rams defense. Over the last two to three games, Bradford seems to be entering a rookie slump period. The offense has had too many three and outs, and has lacked any spark via the pass.

Tampa Bay -6- Seattle just can’t slow down teams that have a top twenty rushing attack. Tampa Bay is borderline of that, but is coming of a devastating loss to the Lions. They won’t have two consecutive let downs. Raheem Morris is a well liked coach by the Bucs and his team will play to his standards this weekend.

New England -7.5- Buffalo covered a double digit spread earlier this year at New England. Home or away this Patriots team plays to the same beat. Their defense will respond after last week’s ripping by the Packers. The offense is never a question.

New York Jets +1- This is where the Rex Ryan defensive background will come to the fore front. All year the Bears have got away with the short route throws with no running game. That plays into the hands of the Jets. Jay Cutler is coming off a game where he actually threw some decent balls. If he gets pass happy this game could get ugly into the Jets favor.

Baltimore -3.5- You hate to lose that half point, but Baltimore has too repay this Browns team for what they did earlier in the season. Making a game of it when there shouldn’t have been a challenge. We believe this will be the game Baltimore clamps down defensively, after having a tough month.

Kansas City -5- Matt Cassel doesn’t throw the ball much every game, but when he does it’s usually a quality play. The team was out of sync the first quarter against the Rams, but started rolling off points with three consecutive drives for points. Tennessee’s beat down over the Texans was just a mirage. They’re a team embroiled with needs for change, while the Chiefs are looking at hosting a home playoff game.

Oakland +3- If you watched the Colts last week, once Collie exited with another concussion the offense lost all its rhythm. Manning just doesn’t have the chemistry with Blair White and others out there. Reggie Wayne is blanketed all day due to the fact that Dallas Clark is out. This will be a big upset as the Raiders will be able to run the football and put up points.

Denver +2.5- Yes, Tim Tebow will get his first win. Houston loves to try and dig themselves out of holes. Trailing big in more than a handful of games this year. This loss here could spell the end for Gary Kubiak.

Green Bay -3- The Packers are more than happy to have Rodgers back for this one, as they’ll have to air it out to win. This game won’t be a touchdown explosion affair that many would expect. It’ll have big plays but both defenses will be ready. Take the under in this one, and Green Bay pulling off a close win.

San Diego -7.5- Talk about another team that has decisions to make. Cincinnati has major ones. Quarterback Carson Palmer has had an awful season. At receiver they have an option for Chad Johnson, and likely have already parted ways with TO. It’s one of those games where the team steps onto the field and delivers a poor performance that symbolizes their entire year. Blowout city here.

Atlanta -2.5- This division is now Atlanta’s, and the NFC will have to figure out a way to end Matt Ryan’s phenomenal home streak in the playoffs. This team just wins at home, and they’ll get the season sweep over the Saints on Monday night.

 

NFL: Automatic/Don’t Do It Week 16

Thursday, 23 December, 2010

By Vidur Malik

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Quarterbacks

Joe Flacco – Flacco has been playing solid lately. He hasn’t put up huge numbers, but he also hasn’t thrown an interception since week 12. He threw two touchdown passes in the Baltimore Ravens’ 30-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in week 15, and he should have similar success against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Sam Bradford – Bradford is going through a slump in which he’s thrown zero touchdowns and five interceptions in the last three games, but with the exception of a week 13 game against the Arizona Cardinals, those games have been against quality opponents in the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs. On Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Bradford should turn it around. The 49ers rank 25th in pass defense, and Bradford has shown that he has the talent to be a great quarterback, so consider starting him on Sunday.

Don’t Do It: Eli Manning – After last weeks’ devastating loss, it might not be smart to play Manning. Also, he’s playing the Green Bay Packers’ defense, which ranks third in pass defense and first in points given up.

Running backs

Fred Jackson –Jackson only had 36 yards on 15 carries in a win against the Miami Dolphins last week, but he should have a big game against the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Patriots gave up 99 yards to Green Bay Packers’ running back Brandon Jackson last week. The Packers’ Jackson only averages 3.9 yards per carry this year, but had 4.5 yards per carry against the Patriots, so Fred could have opportunities for long runs.

Rashard Mendenhall – After rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets in week 15, Mendenhall will probably do even better against the Carolina Panthers tonight. The Panthers are 23rd in rushing defense and should give up plenty of big plays to Mendenhall.

Don’t Do It: Cedric Benson – Even though Benson is coming off of his best game of the year, a 150-yard, one-touchdown performance in a win against the Cleveland Browns, he should struggle on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers’ run defense is second in the league and hasn’t given up more than 40 rushing yards to an opposing running back since week 13, so you should bench Benson this week.

Receivers

Brandon Marshall – After struggling for several weeks, Marshall had 106 yards and a touchdown in a week 15 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Miami Dolphins play the Detroit Lions on Sunday, who have an average pass defense which ranks 13th in the league, but are 21st in yards given up. Look for Marshall to make some big plays on Sunday.

Dwayne Bowe – Bowe and the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tennessee Titans, who rank 26th in pass defense. Bowe has 941 receiving yards, and should go over 1,000 Sunday against the Titans. He leads the league in receiving touchdowns with 14, and should add to that total as well.

Don’t Do It: Percy Harvin – The Minnesota Vikings’ play-making receiver caught the team’s only touchdown pass in a 40-14 loss to the Chicago Bears in week 15, but that pass was thrown by Brett Favre, who later suffered a concussion in the game. Harvin probably won’t get many looks on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. If rookie Joe Webb starts at quarterback for the Vikings on Sunday, his lack of experience should cause him to have a tough day, which will make it difficult for Harvin to get you fantasy points.

Source for statistics: nfl.com

Week 15: Automatic/Don’t Do It

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

By Vidur Malik

Quarterbacks

Matt Schaub – After almost leading Houston a comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, Schaub should respond with another great game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Schaub had 393 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Ravens, and the Titans are 26th in passing defense. Though the interceptions might be an issue, Schaub should more than make up for any turnovers he might commit on Sunday.

Jon Kitna – Kitna has been solid after Tony Romo went down, and though he’s thrown 10 interceptions in eight games, he should play well against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The Redskins are 29th in pass defense and give up almost 261 passing yards per game. He threw two interceptions in a 30-27 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but the Eagles’ defense ranks first in interceptions with 22, and the Redskins’ defense only has 11.

Don’t Do It: Kyle Orton – The last time Orton and the Denver Broncos played the Oakland Raiders, he threw two touchdown passes, but only had passing 198 yards, and also had an interception and lost a fumble. The Raiders rank seventh in pass defense, so don’t count on Orton to have a good game on Sunday.

Runningbacks

Ahmad Bradshaw – Bradshaw and the New York Giants should get some big play opportunities against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. In their 30-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys last weekend, the Eagles gave up only 41 rushing yards to Cowboys’ running back Felix Jones last week, but Jones also caught four passes for 42 yards. Bradshaw can be the same dual threat on Sunday.

Steven Jackson –Jackson only had 16 carries in the Rams’ 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints last week, and though he only averages 3.9 yards per carry on the season, he had 6.0 yards per carry against the Saints. He ran for 102 yards and a touchdown the week before in a 19-6 win against Arizona, so he’s got momentum going into Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Don’t Do It: Chris Johnson – Johnson hasn’t been very consistent the past few weeks, and the Texans rank sixth in rushing defense. Johnson can make a game-changing play at any moment, but it’s probably smart to sit him this weekend.

Receivers

Sidney Rice – Rice leads the Minnesota Vikings with 17.2 yards per catch, so he doesn’t need many receptions to make an impact. He caught five passes in his last two games, so look for him to again be a big part of the Vikings’ offense on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Jacoby Ford – Ford is averaging 19.3 yards per catch this year, so if the Oakland Raiders look to make a big play through the air against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, chances are he’ll be involved. The Broncos’ defense is 28th in total yards, so Ford should have some opportunities.

Don’t Do It: Greg Jennings – According to reports, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is questionable with a concussion, so even though Jennings has been great lately, his numbers may drop because of the problems at quarterback. The Green Bay Packers play the New England Patriots on Sunday, who rank 31st in pass defense, but haven’t given up a passing touchdown in two weeks.

 

Week Fifteen Spread Selections

Thursday, 16 December, 2010
By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com 

Only three more regular season weeks of a full slate of NFL games. Last week was a battle where some backdoor covers cost us a few games. Still we finished at .500 grabbing big wins in the primetime Monday Night games. Check and see who we have before you go to your sports book.

Last Week’s Record: 8-8

Overall Record: 107-98-4

San Diego -9- Just when you want to discredit the 49ers they hammer out a win, and just when you want to ride with the Chargers they disappoint. In order for the 49ers to have a chance they’ll have to ride the arm of Alex Smith. That’s never a good sign. As slim as the 49ers playoff hopes are, they’ll have to win their last two to have a chance.

St. Louis -3 - No line yet on this game but it should be a fairly close line either way. St. Louis has dipped a tad in their play lately, as Bradford finally showed some rookie signs last week. Getting back home, after three straight on the road should do the trick.

Houston +1- Talent wise like Jon Gruden was stating on MNF, Houston is towards the top of the NFL. Yet they love to hover and finish around .500. They’ll show against their divisional rival that they’re prepared to finish off the year strong. Who would of thought that Arian Foster would be far ahead of Chris Johnson as a back this year?

Jacksonville +5- Something about the Jaguars against the Colts brings about solid match ups every time. Last time the Colts were playing far above the Jaguars as nine point favorites and lost. Jacksonville has too much going with their running game right now. Jennings and MJD are a lethal tandem.

Arizona +2.5- 20 Punts combined will happen in this game. It’ll look like a preseason matchup more than a late season game. Jon Skelton gets the start again, and looks like the Cardinals want to set themselves up for a high draft pick. One thing Skelton did last week that we hope happens again, is that he protected the football. That hasn’t been the case for Carolina this year.

Cincinnati -1.5- Turmoil abound with the Bengals. What else is new? The fortunate thing for them is they play a quarterback that loves to throw pick sixes, just as much as Carson Palmer. If they get one early maybe the Bengals can show a flashback game of a year ago and handle business.

Buffalo +5.5- Miami’s back at home which means they’re bound for a loss. This is the classic big win slow start next game pattern. Except they never did anything offensively last game.

Philadelphia +3- Before in their matchup the Giants laid out all the schemes they could possibly think of. That still didn’t work. This time the Eagles will mix in more of LeSean McCoy. He is growing by the week as a bigger and bigger threat.

Dallas -6- The Dallas team that started off the year with high hopes, hasn’t forgot about week one. They had a no time left touchdown pass to win the game, only to lose on a penalty. It set the tone for the whole year. This time they’ll jump out early and often in a dominating win.

Tampa Bay -5.5- Drew Stanton had a horrendous game last week in the Lions win. His throws were inaccurate constantly, and drives really never got going. Luckily Aaron Rodgers missed a large part of the game, and the defense hung in their. Now that teams have footage of Stanton he is having a rough go.

New Orleans- +1- The Saints know the Ravens can be thrown on. Houston validated that as well as many teams have this year. It should be a shootout here but the Saints will show they’re a Super Bowl worthy team yet again.

Atlanta -6.5- It’s been hard to bare watching the Seahawks performances lately. They’ve been blown out by the Giants, Chiefs, Saints, and 49ers in a span of six weeks, and yet they still have a chance to make the playoffs. After another whooping by the Falcons you can waive those wishes goodbye.

Pittsburgh -6- A defensive caliber player such as Troy Palamalu just salivates for matchups like this. The Jets are reeling and it all starts at quarterback. Mark Sanchez has lost the LT/Greene running game he had earlier in the year. He adjusted and won some games with his arm, but in close fashion. Defenses have geared up for the pass now and the Jets have struggled to move the ball. An odd line but don’t be fooled on taking the Jets.

Oakland -6.5- If you missed out on watching the Cardinals Broncos game last week you’re lucky. Denver has lost all identity in a span of eight weeks. They let a rookie fifth round pick blow them out last week. The interim coach looked lost, and Orton did as well without Josh McDaniels to call the plays.

New England -14

Chicago -8