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The NBA season tips off in less than a week and I’m here to break down each conference for you so you have a little more knowledge of the teams and players going into the season. I started with the Eastern Conference and comes the Western Conference which has an pretty even balance of teams for the first 8 or 9 spots.  Unlike the East, which is very top heavy.

Utah Jazz – The Jazz made no signifigant moves in the offseason and losing Andrei Kirilenko to free agency will not help them as they move forward.  They drafted Enes Kanter, who is a work in progress as well, to go along with last year’s pick #3 pick Derrick Favors.  While the frontcourt may be overloaded, with the likes of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the backcourt that has struggled since the trade of Deron Williams.  This looks like a rebuilding year for the Jazz and it will show in their record at the end of the year.

Fantasy Upside – Al Jefferson is a double double machine.  Look for the Jazz to go to him a lot this year and he would be a very nice addition to your team in the second round.

 

Sacramento Kings – The Kings could be the feel good story of the year or the most disappointing story of the year.  They have two possible up and comers with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins but finding enough shots for these two seems to be a problems.  They lost probably their best defender in Chuck Hayes to a heart irregularity and replaced him with a 3 point shooting no defense forward in Travis Outlaw.  Now, you add the “Jimmer” to a bench of J.J. Hickson and John Salmons and you can get even more scoring on the court but, again, no defense either.  If this team can stop some people then look for the Kings to make the biggest jump from last year to this year.

Fantasy Upside –  Tyreke Evans is probably your best bet to be the first King off the board but you don’t have to look for him until the 4th round.  He will give you solid points and steals for a PG but don’t look for him to carry you if fg% is involved.

 

New Orleans Hornets – Everyone on the planet knows that they traded away their best player in franchise history in Chris Paul but what went under the radar for the Hornets was also losing their second best player in David West to free agency.  Granted, they took a lot from the Clippers, Gordon, Kaman, Aminu and future 1st round pick, but replacing these two may be more than coach Monty Williams can handle in a condensed season.

Fantasy Upside – Eric Gordon is a premier scorer and with not many other scoring options on the court, should be called upon quite a bit.  But, I see no reason to pick him up until, at least, the 3rd round.

 

Minnesot Timberwolves – Oh, you didn’t know, well I got one word for ya……….Rubio.  That’s right, Ricky Rubio is here and playing alongside Kevin Love and rookie Derrick Williams this could be one of the more entertaining teams to watch this year.  New head coach Rick Adelman likes to move the ball up and down the court creating a lot of scoring oppurtunities for his players.  Look for better play, offensively, from Michael Beasley and the addition of J.J. Barea coming off the bench could set the T-Wolves for a run at a lower playoff spot.

Fantasy Upside – Kevin Love comes into the season looking a little buffer.  He is always gonna get you a double double and is a very strong late 1st round or early second round pick.  He also comes up very big in 3 pointers.

 

Golden State Warriors – After making a run at the Clippers DeAndre Jordan, the Warriors stepped up and paid $7 million for Kwame Brown, yes that Kwame Brown.  With Brown, David Lee and newly acquired Brandon Rush making up the frontcourt for the Warriors and the talented backcourt of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry the Warriors could present some matchup problems to teams.  That is, until foul trouble, schedule fatigue or standard subbing off the bench.  Basically, after these 5 the Warriors turn into a pick up game at the Y.  Look for the Warriors to start out strong but fade as the season goes on.

Fantasy Upside – With Stephen Curry’s sprained ankle and rebounding going down for David Lee, the smart fantasy pick for this team is to take Mona Ellis somewhere in the 2nd round.  Good fg%, points and every now and then an assist make him a solid pick.

 

Phoenix Suns – The Suns are where old players go to and retire.  Steve Nash and Grant Hill headline a team that didn’t make any signifigant upgrades to the starting lineup but aslo didn’t lose anyone to free agency.  Thus, once again, the Suns sit in the horrible position of not being bad enough to get a lottery pick but not good enough to secure a playoff spot.  3 point shooters are everywhere on the floor from the PG to the PF and when they are cold, then it is behind the wood shed time.  Nash needs to be traded for draft picks or younger players this year.

Fantasy Upside – Steve Nash is the ony vialbe option on this team and unfortunately you can get him probably in the 3rd round.  His assists should go down again as the Suns will need him to score more points.  His fg% should fall a little with more shots but, as always, he is good for assists and 3 pointers.

 

Houston Rockets – The Rockets were heavily invested in the vetoed trade for Chris Paul, looking to get Pau Gasol, but after the veto, “no comment” is all we have heard from the Rockets.  At this point the Rockets have no Center and possibly the worst player in the league in Hasheem Thabeet.  Kevin Martin is a solid SG and Luis Scola is an underrated PF for the Rockets.  They are also right on the cusp of being a lottery team of lower playoff team and that comes down to if Kevin McHale can get this team to play a little defense this year.

Fantasy Upside – If you are need a SG after the first couple rounds don’t be afraid to snag Kevin Martin.  He will put up solid numbers down in Houston and picked late enough could be the steal of the draft.

 

Playoff Teams

 

8. Portland Trail Blazers – A healthy Greg Oden would have been the ultimate Christmas gift for the Blazers but the 50 year old looking Center is on the IR again.  Combine that with the early retirement of Brandon Roy and you are probably wondering why they are even a playoff team.  The reason is they have two All-Star calibur players in LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace.  They also brought in Jamal Crawford to help carry the scoring load and the never aging Kurt Thomas to solidify the bench and give Aldridge must needed breaks.  The Blazers will soldier on becasuse that is all they know how to do and don’t forget the gave the Mavericks their toughest matchup in the playoffs last year.

Fantasy Upside – LaMarcus Aldridge is developing into quite the stat sheet stuffer in Portland.  He can score, rebound, pass and shoot from the line, all valuable assests on a fantasty team.  Picking him up in the 2nd round will no way hurt your team.

 

7. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets are this year’s team of basicall no names that play well together.  Re-signing Nene and Arron Afflalo play along the side of probably the most unselfish team in the NBA, as long as J.R. Smith stays in China, and play something called defense in the NBA.  After the Melo trade last year, this team ranked first in defensive efficiency.  They have a great coach in George Karl and with a determined bunch of no name players, anyones night in Denver will be exhausting.

Fantasy Upside – The Nuggets don’t give their fans too many options of fantasy gems to choose from with the unselfish play but the Nene would be a great 5th or 6th round pick for anyone needing rebounding.  He is not a scoring option but his fg% is decent and he will drop in 10-14 points for you a game.

 

6. San Antonio Spurs – Basically, I am going to take the Boston Celtic review and replace names of them with Spurs.  Eventually age catches up with everyone. This year, age may finally catch up with the Celtics Spurs. The lockout about took a demoralizing blow out of Kevin Garnett Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce’s Manu Ginobili’s careers, and unless they can muster the strength to compete in a tighter, smaller schedule, I fully expect the Celtics Spurs to fall off this season.

Fantasy Upside – There’s no one “must have” player off the Celtics Spurs team, but Rondo’s Parkers’s assists make him a nice asset for any team devoid of a good passing guard on their team.

 

5. Los Angeles Clippers – Those who know me are probably shocked that I don’t have the Clippers higher.  They are at five because they are the most difficult team to figure out.  A total overhaul was done and how will the new players interact with the remaining Clippers.  I have a feeling, like the Miami Heat, the start will be a little slow but once they figure everything out “Lob City” will be must see TV.  If they get it together sooner rather than later then they could be even higher than a 5 seed.  All the pieces have been put in place and now it is up to Vinny Del Negro now to mess this up.

Fantasy Upside – CP3 will be at the top of the fantasy boards with the assists, points, steals, 3′s and FT%.  After Durant and LBJ come off the board, CP3 is a solid pick for your team.

 

4. Memphis Grizzlies – Oh boy, if I wasn’t such a Clippers fan, this could my team of the future.  They pretty much have it all: A talented Center in Marc Gasol, an above average PF in Zach Randolf, one of the best SF’s in the game with Rudy Gay, a compitent SG in O.J. Mayo and a very solid PG in Mike Conley.  Bring Tony Allen off the bench to guard any perimeter player and you have the makings of a very solid NBA team.  And remember, the bounced the Spurs out of the playoffs last year and gave the Thunder everything they wanted without Rudy Gay in the lineup.

Fantasy Upside – If you don’t get a SF in the first couple rounds and Gay is still available in round 3 or beyond……TAKE HIM.  He does a little bit of everything on the court and doesn’t hurt your squad in any area of stats that your league records.  They are just so many SF’s in the league that it pushes him back to a 3rd round selection but don’t let that fool you.

 

3. Los Angeles Lakers – Yes, I know they did not get CP3, they traded Lamar Odom for a bag of balls and have no bench.  But, they do have Mr. Kobe Bryant, you know the guy who was going to be the next Michael Jordan.  About the only thing “like Mike” for Kobe is the desire to win.  He will NOT let this team be a bottom feeder and I am expecting the Lakers to make a play on someone to help the bench other than Metta World Peace.  If that is the guy you want coming off the bench to be your difference maker then you better be in the shopping mood.  The Lakers are the Lakers and playoffs are their given right.

Fantasy Upside – Kobe is the attention grabber but somehow people still don’t get how good Pau Gasol is.  This guy is a steal in the 2nd round and what he brings to the table is pretty amazing.  He can score, rebound, FT%, and is one of the best passers for a big man in the game today.

 

2. Dallas Mavericks – Last year’s champions lost a key ingredient to their formula.  Tyson Chandler standing at the rim to play D was one of , if no the biggest, the reasons the Mavs won the NBA title.  Lamar Odum and Brendan Heywood are just not the same as Chandler at protecting the rim.  Although Lamar does bring a championship pedigree to the table, he fed off of Kobe’s ability to get to the rim and kick it out to him.  Do we really see Vince Carter or Delonte West doing this for Lamar?  Me neither.  With that said, the Mavs still have more than enough to make it to the Western Conference Finals and possibly the NBA Finals again.  Dirk, Kidd and Terry supply the offense while Shawn Marion and Haywood supply the defense.

Fantasy Upside – Dirk will put up his solid numbers again this year but everyone else is a crap shoot on this team.  They could excel in the offense or age might catch up to them with the back to back to backs.  Getting Dirk in the 2nd round would not be overpaying.

 

1. Oklahoma City Thunder – It would be nice to see one of the smaller markets make it into the Finals.  They are doing it the right way in OKC by keeping their stars and surrounding them with affodable role players.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the headliners but signifigant minutes are produced by James Harden, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.  These players are young and hungry enough to push through the condensed season and no one wants to play them at home or on the road.

Fantasy Upside – Kevin Durant is a possible first pick in most drafts but I don’t see how anyone could pass on LeBron.  If you wind up with Durant at the #2 pick you will not be dissappointed.  He scores every night and shoots the most free throws in the league at a very high percentage.  I bet his assist numbers will go up this year along with his rebounds as he tries to be a more complete player.

 

So, if everything works out correctly we have a NBA Finals matchup of the Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder.  I don’t know about you, but I would watch that!!!

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The NBA season tips off in less than a week and I’m here to break down each conference for you so you have a little more knowledge of the teams and players going into the season. Starting out with the eastern conference, which has produced some very top heavy conference play the last few years, unlike the western conference. There’s a huge disparity from top to bottom, and really after about the top five or six, there’s work to be done.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs had two of the top four picks in a pretty lacking draft class this season. They did get a considerable point guard in Kyrie Irving and a decent working piece in Tristan Thompson. It’s just not enough this year though, as they’ll continue to struggle. Antawn Jamison is in the final year of his huge contract, so expect him to be dealt to a contender for some young talent. Anderson Varejao is a decent player, but he’s a sixth man on any other team, on Cleveland, he’s their second best player.

Fantasy Upside – Kyrie Irving – He’s going to have chances to score, and he’ll have the ball in his hands a lot, so it’s worth a mid-round pick to go after him.

 

Toronto Raptors – Toronto has attempted to build around Andrea Bargnani for a few seasons now to no avail. Granted, the loss of Chris Bosh was enough to set the team and franchise back a few years, there’s still hope for some development here. DeMar Derozan is an athletic, young guard who could be decent with a developed jump shot. Aside from him, you know what you’re getting from Barbosa and Jerryd Bayless, and that, unfortunately, is about 25 wins again this season.

Fantasy Upside – While Reggie Evans had over 11 rebounds per game last year, Jose Calderon is the guy to take a flier on this year. Great 3 pt and FT shooting are guaranteed.

 

Detroit Pistons – Finally ridding themselves of the locker room cancer that was Richard Hamilton was the first step for this team. Unfortunately, they don’t get three amnesty clauses this season for Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and Tayshaun Prince. There’s some gold in this team though with Greg Monroe and Austin Daye. Daye shot the ball well last year and showed flashes of brilliance and Monroe is a decent big body. Detroit is still a year or two away from contending in the east again though.

Fantasy Upside – Greg Monroe will see regular minutes and put up some pretty decent defensive numbers. Don’t expect him to score for you though.

 

Charlotte Bobcats – Letting your best scorer get away and getting nothing in return is an odd way to run a franchise, but this is Michael Jordan we’re questioning, so it’s better to just keep our mouths shut. This is literally a team filled with sixth men on other team’s at best…as their starters. DJ Augustine, DeSagana Diop, Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw are decent players on contending teams, but in Charlotte, they’re players looked to in order to put up points and stop people, and it’s just not happening this year.

Fantasy Upside – Kemba Walker – Someone has to take consistent shots down there, and Walker showed at UConn that he’s not afraid to shoot the ball. I like Walker to put up some nice and inflated stats playing for a team that’s just not very talented.

 

Washington Wizards – The Wizards are fun, young bunch of athletes. They did not amnesty Rashard Lewis (who is making over 15 million more than their second highest paid player, Andray Blatche). There’s some real pieces here that could potentially make the playoffs. John Wall is a good PG who has Lewis, Nick Young, and Blatche to work with. They also fortified their bench with veterans like Roger Mason and Maurice Evans. JaVale McGee is a player who possesses Dwight Howard’s intangibles, but still needs fine tuning to be a dominant big man in this league. He’s only 23, so he and Wall have a chance to build on something that could become special within two to three years, if not, this year.

Fantasy Upside – JaVale McGee – McGee puts up gaudy numbers defensively, and I look for those numbers to rise again this season. This is a player learning how to play the game at a high level and when it comes to big men, it’s the third and fourth seasons where they really come into their own.

 

Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers are hoping Evan Turner evolves into the player they were hoping he would when they drafted him. People who know the NBA are predicting Jrue Holiday to turn the corner and play well this year, but I just don’t see it. Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand are not an imposing front court when you’re in a conference with Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. Andre Iguodola put up subpar numbers last year (for him) and the trend will continue into this season. Thaddeus Young is a bright spot off the bench for a team looking to get better.

Fantasy Upside – While Elton Brand didn’t play up to his contract last season, he did put up some nice numbers on both sides of the ball. With lockdown defenders stopping Iguodola, Brand may get added opportunities to score the basketball again this season.

 

Indiana Pacers – The Pacers were a scrappy eight seed last year who added David West, but still lack consistent play from the back court to make a significant push in the east. Roy Hibbert is still a giant question mark at times when he’s on the floor. He’s shown signs of Shawn Bradley and then flashes of David Robinson. Needless to say, he’s been unreliable at best. The inconsistent play of Hibbert, Collison and Paul George at SG are enough to offset Danny Granger’s consistent play at the forward spot.

Fantasy Upside – There’s no doubt in what you’re getting with Danny Granger. Just don’t pay too much for him or draft him too high. It’s easy to take his stats at face value, but there are nights when he just plain fails to show up and put up his typical numbers.

 

Playoff Teams

 

8. New Jersey Nets – A healthy Deron Williams can single handedly carry this team to the playoffs. He makes his teammates better and play at a higher level. If Brook Lopez can return to his 2009 level of play and the Nets resign Kris Humphries, they have a chance to make some noise in their already stacked division. The rumors of Kirilenko signing in New Jersey would also give them another distributor and all around player to make this team better.

Fantasy Upside – Depending on if Kris Humphries is a member of the Nets or not will affect Brook Lopez’s value. His rebounds took a significant hit last season, but he could easily bounce back with Humphries out. Lopez and Williams running the pick and roll will also see Lopez’s numbers rise on the offensive end.

 

7. Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks went and got Stephen Jackson (who’s currently holding out) and kept Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The loss of swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts hurts them a little bit, but Mike Dunleavy more than makes up for his loss in production. Brandon Jenning’s play took a pretty large setback last season, but there’s hope for him to bounce back this season. The play of John Salmons will be missed, but if they can get Jackson signed and taken care of, he can help lead this team back to the playoffs.

Fantasy Upside – Andrew Bogut is a solid pick in the early rounds for his rebounds and blocks alone. Just don’t expect much offensively, but he’s had some offensive spurts in his career. Bogut is a solid defensive centerpiece to build your fantasy team around.

 

6. Boston Celtics – Eventually age catches up with everyone. The Celitcs showed last season just how weak the eastern conference was though by practically tanking their way into the playoffs to maintain health. Then, in the playoffs turning it up a notch and going toe to toe with the Heat in the second round before falling. This year, age may finally catch up with the Celtics. The lockout about took a demoralizing blow out of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s careers, and unless they can muster the strength to compete in a tighter, smaller schedule, I fully expect the Celtics to fall off this season.

Fantasy Upside – There’s no one “must have” player off the Celtics team, but Rondo’s assists make him a nice asset for any team devoid of a good passing guard on their team.

 

5. Atlanta Hawks – The perpetual team that will always wonder “what if” for the last few years. What if the Celtics hadn’t had the big three…what if the Heat hadn’t had the big three. The Hawks were always the team just on the cusp of making it big in the NBA only to have an injury or lack of chemistry derail their conference hopes. This season is no different. The pieces are in place…almost. If this team fails to win, look no further than the point guard position of Jeff Teague as the reason why this team is failing to gel. While it’d be amazing to see a PG like Tony Parker or Steve Nash on this team, there’s little hope in bringing someone like them in. Without a true point guard, Horford, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are relegated to another four or five seed and a first or second round exit in the playoffs.

Fantasy Upside – Josh Smith is a stat sheet stuffer. There’s not much he can’t do, but his long range shooting % does scare some people off. His ability to give you everything else you need though should be enough to take him in the higher rounds.

 

4. New York Knicks – Much like the Hawks, point guard play could seemingly doom the New York Knicks. Melo and Amare are a nice one two punch, but will it be enough to make some noise in the playoffs? Tyson Chandler is a huge acquisition and gives them a much needed defensive presence under the basket. He will also flourish in the offense and get some easy put backs and baskets working with Amare and Melo.

Fantasy Upside – Landry Fields is a long range specialist who can do just about anything on the basketball floor. Look for his numbers to raise from last year with no real point guard on the team and his ability to penetrate and create help raise his assist and field goal numbers.

 

3. Orlando Magic – The huge question is will Dwight Howard be in Orlando all season. As I write this article, he could be traded as you’re reading this…and thus changing the landscape of the eastern conference totally. If he stays in Orlando and everyone stays healthy, there’s a chance for this team to do very well. Glen “Big Baby” Davis was signed to help shoulder the load down low with Howard, but don’t discount Davis’ ability to shoot the mid-range jumper to help give this team another dimension. Hedo and Jameer Nelson should get plenty of long range shots again working off Howard double teams.

Fantasy Upside – Jason Richardson is an offensive guru. From outside shots to penetration and fast breaks, J. Rich is going to take shots and score points. If you can grab him in the 5th – 7thround, it’s a good grab, but don’t draft him too high.

 

2. Chicago Bulls – In an attempt to find a true number two scorer, the Bulls got Rip Hamilton from Detroit. They pretty much already had a Hamilton named Ronnie Brewer, so that roster move makes little sense. Carlos Boozer has to show he can handle the load of being the number two player in Chicago behind Derrick Rose, because the more Rose has to do offensively, the less productive he’ll be overall. You know what you’re getting with Noah and Luol Deng, so it’s a matter of what you get from Hamilton and Boozer to see if Chicago takes the next step from being the top seed to being the best team in the east this season.

Fantasy Upside – Noah is another good defensive pick, but he’s an abyss of offensive stats. So if you’re looking for blocks and rebounds, he’s your choice, but if you’re picking 5th or later in the first round and Derrick Rose is on the board, you should go ahead and grab him because he’s an elite point guard who will put up great stats again.

 

1. Miami Heat – If the loss to the Mavericks last season was not enough to motivate this team into becoming a championship contender, then there’s no chance for a title in Miami. I believe the Shane Battier signing in Miami went severely under the radar as a big move. Battier, much like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can play different positions and give the big three a chance to guard others on defense instead of being matched up with the best scorers on the other teams. If Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem can play above their level and play championship caliber basketball in the front court, then the Heat will be the one seed and go to the finals.

Fantasy Upside – Lebron James gives you so much at every vital statistical position, you can justify a number one overall pick on him. Durant may score more, but Lebron gives you everything from points to assists to rebounds. If you need some outside shooting, Mario Chalmers is a great late round pickup.

A breakdown of the Western Conference will be out before the season starts as well.

Follow on twitter @candjbasketball for more on NBA thoughts.

 

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Last Sunday, my beloved Dallas Cowboys were taking on the New York Giants. Although I expected and wanted the ‘Boys to win, every single time Eli Manning dropped back to through a pass, I was happy. It wasn’t because I enjoyed the Cowboys dilapidated secondary featuring Hall Of Fraud Mike Jenkins and 4 Years past his prime Terence Newman (who blew the game by playing some of the softest coverage I have ever seen on 4th and 3 in a critical spot), but because I am the proud of Hakeem Nicks in my favorite fantasy league. I was in a position where I was literally cheering against the team I had been raised to love. With the explosion of fantasy football, the way people view the NFL has irrevocably changed. Gone are the days of strictly being loyal to one team.

This has been one of the reasons the NFL has continued to out earn the MLB, NHL and NBA. While fantasy sports originated in 1983 with the invention of rotisserie baseball, the game has gained the most support with fantasy football. The game of fantasy football has become a billion dollar a year industry. Millions of Americans play every single year and spend their money both on entry fees and using subscription sites to track player information. Every single pregame show has injury reports not just for the sake of it, but so fantasy players know who to put in their digital lineup. As the Internet continues to grow, so does the game.

This has done nothing but create more revenue for the NFL. Whereas most of the leagues money used to come from ticket and merchandise sales, the largest proportion of money now comes from television deals. NFL games are consistently the highest rated programs on television. One of the main issues behind the NFL lockout was that of revenue distribution. There was literally too much money to go around, and the owners and players couldn’t decide where the overabundance was supposed to go too. The value of an NFL franchise has grown exponentially over the last 20 years as a result of the exploding TV deals. This is where fantasy football comes into play.

Last weeks Monday night game featured two teams that are, realistically, not a part of the playoff picture whatsoever. Yet, million of Americans tuned in to watch. Some, just because it was on, but others because Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Maurice Jones Drew are major contributors to their fantasy football teams. The pure exhilaration that comes from watching one of “your guys” score a touchdown is what drives the entire industry, and as long as fantasy football continues to exist, massive ratings are going to keep going to these inconsequential games.

Fantasy football has driven away the team mindset. When watching NFL live or any of the other various football television shows, analysis greatly favors individual performance. The Tim Tebow phenomenon focuses on the play of one man. While much of the success of the Denver Broncos has to be given to the incredible defense the team has been playing, a majority of the mainstream credit has gone to Tebow. The reason why is easy to explain: society has begun to credit the individual, because the individual is what benefits the collective “us”.

As long as people continue to the play the game of Fantasy Football, the NFL will continue to grow. ESPN’s pregame show will continue to be Fantasy Football Now. People like Matthew Berry and Stephania Bell will continue to receive paychecks based on their knowledge of the individual, and fans will continue to be in a situation similar to mine. Should I root for my team or should I root for the individual who benefits me? Realistically, if the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl, my life doesn’t improve. As a diehard fan, I will be happy, even ecstatic; but my life doesn’t benefit. However, if Hakeem Nicks, a player on a team that I hate (the New York Giants), continues to perform well, I have a shot at winning my fantasy football league, which benefits me financially. This is the crux of the game’s popularity. As America has become a Me-First society, we continue to care more about what benefits us the most. Therefore, I will continue to cheer on Hakeem Nicks, even if it goes against what I feel to be morally correct.

by

Davis Mattek

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Fantasy Football Preview for Week 14

 

As week 14 rolls around in the NFL this week, the playoffs are the main discussion for those teams on and off the field. The first round of fantasy football starts this week with much anticipation for those whose dedication reaped the rewards and tears for those that pretend the consolation bracket can be competitive. For those warriors of the waiver wire, injuries and brutal matchups might require a late season pickup that can lead you to the promise land.

 

Marion Barber

Marion “the Barbarian” Barber will be taking over the starting role for Matt Forte who went down with a knee injury in last week’s game. All year he has played the scavenger role as the goal line back, but as long as Forte is still “hurt”, Barber will be carrying the load. With Caleb Hannie struggling tremendously, expect Barber to carry the rock 20 times for 75 yards and a touchdown against a rather stingy Denver Broncos defense.

 

Santana Moss

Yes, trusting a Redskins receiver is a painful thought with “Sexy Rexy” Grossman behind center. But with the matchup this weekend against the pathetic Patriot secondary, Moss is destined for a big game. Leading the team in targets last week and Fred Davis being suspended for the rest of the year, Mr. Moss will hit pay dirt once maybe twice with 100 yards receiving.

 

Maurice Morris

With the return of Kevin Smith being halted by a reoccurring ankle sprain, Maurice Morris is in line to be the starter this week. Smith is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, who have an average run defense. The Lions are a pass first offense so Morris would be good flex play as they do incorporate the running backs in the passing game. If Smith doesn’t play, he’ll be good for 70 to 80 yards and possibly a goal line touchdown.

 

Christian Ponder

No need to ponder over this pickup. The Vikings quarterback had the best game of his career last week against the Broncos and has a favorable matchup this week against the Detroit Lions. With Adrian Peterson potentially playing this week, it will give Ponder more weapons to use in a game that could be a shootout. 280 yards, 3 touchdowns and a interception will make any fantasy owner happy.

 

Seattle Seahawks Defense

NFC West. That’s all that needs to be said. They have been solid the last few weeks and they host the St. Louis “Lambs” on Monday Night Football this week. St. Louis gives out more sacks to defense than the bag boys at the grocery store. Expect huge numbers from the Seahawks Defense the next few weeks as they will be a Top 5 defense for the last 4 games of the year.

by

Patrick Garlick

 

 

103

The #1 overall consensus draft pick for standard fantasy leagues has done it again. With an estimated recovery time of 6-8, “the machine” has bested that mark by 3-5 weeks with his activation on Tuesday. Even though he wasn’t in the starting lineup, he was at least available to pinch hit. Although he hasn’t performed like the highest scoring and most reliable fantasy player of the last decade, “the machine” is still lined up for a big second half.
Pujols owners should feel relatively safe continuing to roll with the all-star in every format since he has very little history of injuries. Fantasy aficionados might remember the Jimmy Rollins incident of 2010 when the former NL MVP got diagnosed with a mild calf strain which should have put him on the shelf for only few weeks. Instead, fantasy owners were rewarded with 88 games of marginal production more akin to Emilio Bonifacio than Rollins all-star self. There’s not a very large chance of such a major drop in production but in fantasy the injury bug never discriminates.
If you happened to jump the gun and traded “the machine” for cents on the dollar as soon as he was injured, then shame on you. If you just so happened to believe a month of production from Pujols was worth a trade after his initial diagnosis, then congratulations because you could have just made the difference between not being in the money and winning your entire league. Here’s a list of a few players that are poised for a big 2nd half after struggling through the 1st. that should be the target of trades here at the all-star break. These projections are based on 10-team, standard 5×5 mixed leagues.

• Chris Carpenter – SP St. Louis
• Yovani Gallardo – SP Milwaukee
• Alex Rios – OF Chicago WhiteSox
• Zack Grienke – SP Milwaukee
• Nick Markakis – OF Baltimore
• Matt Garza – SP Chicago Cubs
• Bartolo Colon – SP NY Yankees
• Pablo Sandoval – 3B San Francisco
• Eric Bedard – SP Seattle
• Rajai Davis – OF Toronto
• Jayson Werth – OF Washington

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Without the NFL Crime Will Take Over the World

 

Well, if you thought the Doomsday prediction of May 21, 2011 was crazy, now Ray Lewis has thrown his own prophecy into the ring.  Lewis stated in an ESPN interview that

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