Archive for November, 2013

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#10 Coby Fleener – Luck is losing touch with himself lately but Fleener is still getting looks. Can’t count him out.

#9 Jordan Cameron – He is going against JAX if he didn’t make the list there would be an issue.

#8 Greg Olsen – Cam is liking this guy as much as Smith lately and is becoming the redzone target of a lifetime there somehow.

#7 Antonio Gates – The Chargers are back in the race and its time for veterans to show why they are vets.

#6 Vernon Davis – Get ready for play action and drop passed to Davis going against a week run DEF

#5 Tony Gonzalez – He needs to end his career on a personal high note and this is where it starts

#4 Julius Thomas – The man has been an animal all year and is getting the red zone targets. Last week seemed more precautionary than anything else. Expect results from him.

#3 Jason Witten – He is becoming a top TE again and the ball is rolling in Dallas!

#2 Rob Gronkowski – He is going against HOU and has been the most targeted player on the team since he returned.

#1 Jimmy Graham – Graham is Graham even against SEA I believe he will strive. He hasn’t let anyone down except against Aqib Talib

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#10 Maurice Jones-Drew – He is feeding owners with 1 yard scores and getting involved in the passing game he’s a bust overall but is starting to be productive averaging about 14.5 points since week 6!

#9 Ray Rice – THANKSGIVING is a day of thanks and its time to thank the PIT DEF for being so nice to the screen play all season and Rice to put up Rice numbers.

#8 Lesean McCoy – The year of the screen pass and the bomb for PHI makes McCoy’s value stay high even against ARI

#7 Knowshon Moreno – He is only here because of his injury. Seems like he MAY miss this week and will be a game time decision. He was held to under 9 points against KC last time, but it looks like the books are going to change if he’s back healthy.

#6 Marshawn Lynch – The man can run and I expect him to run the living daylights out of himself even if it won’t be his best game of the season.

#5 Andre Brown – Been dropping double digits since he got the job and makes the Giants look like a contender even if they aren’t much anymore.

#4 Jamaal Charles – Yes Denver had his number when they played before, but he is a PPR monster this season leading his team in receptions with over 50 as a RB! Look for a score this time against DEN.

#3 Adrian Peterson – He is the best RB in the league now although now he is hurt. He is going against CHI who took him out of the equation last time they met. Look for him to be more involved this time in the passing game.

#2 Frank Gore – STL has the worst rush DEF out there. Coming off two eh weeks and Kaepernick is hot which will make the defense just worry about them too.

#1 Matt Forte – Going against MIN with weapons like Jeffery and Marshall seems like its going to be a day with heavy scoring and killing the clock.

Gary & Avi go over the game from Sunday night. From the conditions, to Peytons Arm, to the finals calls.

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#10 Desean Jackson – Going against a strong DEF is why he is just #10, but he has a good QB and is a great WR.

#9 Josh Gordon – JAX defense isn’t that bad but Josh Gordon is getting thrown to all the time giving him the opportunities he needs to capitalize.

#8 Jordy Nelson – He is going against DET but also has Matt Flynn and not Rodgers. He is a talented WR and looks like he can flourish this week against a second rate DEF.

#7 Antonio Brown – He is a personal favorite of Big Ben and seems like he isn’t turning the jets off anytime soon. Look for a score and a bunch of targets from this guy.

#6 Alshon Jeffery – Going against MIN, if they cover Marshall someone is going to open and it’s gong to be this guy.

#5 Demariyus Thomas – At the end of the day he is a Peyton Manning favorite right now and that means MONEY.

#4 AJ Green – Going against SD isn’t a shoe-in but when you have hands like Green you can do a lot against a second rate DEF.

#3 Dez Bryant – They have been connecting well lately together QB-WR here. Dez is playing a weak secondary and has a great QB throwing to him. Expect a show with this boy.

#2 Brandon Marshall – MIN again is the weakest DEF in the league and Marshall is one of the top WR in the game! Seems like he drops another good day this week.

#1 Calvin Johnson – Is this really a surprise? He is a beast and that’s really it. Nobody stands a chance against him to cover him unless you double team him or shadow him with a zone and that just leaves open the other WR and Bush.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M69s4Gdu1V4&feature=youtu.be Gary, & Avi talk hockey with beat reporter Jeremy Tuch and president of the queens college radio station Ben Burwood

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Months ago, the NHL introduced the Stadium Series, which will be 4 extra outdoor games, on top of the already existing Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. That jumps the number of outdoor games from 2 to 6. Here’s a list of all the games, just in case you don’t know already:

January 1 – Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings @ Michigan Stadium

January 25 – Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings @ Dodger Stadium

January 26 – New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils @ Yankee Stadium

January 29 – New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders @ Yankee Stadium

March 1 – Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks @ Soldier Field

March 2 – Heritage Classic: Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks @ BC Place

There are those fans who are thrilled with this, and there are those fans who are vehemently against it. Both sides have very good reasons to their argument.

Since the advent of the Winter Classic in 2008, where the Penguins faced the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, fans have been clamoring for their team’s chance to host the game. The New Year’s tradition that sparked was such a big hit, that people were fighting over which city should host it next. So far, Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia hosted the Winter Classic, and Edmonton and Calgary have hosted the Heritage Classic, the Canadian edition of the Winter Classic later in the season. Washington has been announced as the 2015 host, venue and opponent undecided.

Fans sold out every single game, with the hopes of attending this once in a lifetime event. They showed up and braved the cold to every game and event leading up to it, including alumni games among others. The fans also bought all the new merchandise that come with the game, such as new uniforms and winter hats for example. Also, with the game nationally televised, fans can sit down together with their families on New Years’ Day and watch the game together.

The teams also hope for the game to come to their city also. As mentioned above, there are tons of new merchandise opportunities and ticket sales opportunities to capitalize on. Filling a football stadium or baseball park with fans who want to buy merch and concessions brings them big revenue, and that isn’t even including the advertising and TV rights they get. It’s a financial boost to their bottom lines, with the hopes that it will return soon. This also goes for the road team, as fans travel up and still pay for everything. It helps everyone financially.

The players love it too. Many of the players reminisce about the times they were a kid growing up in a Northern locale, braving the elements and playing shimmy games on the frozen ponds. Not to mention the national recognition they get when they step on the ice surface, under the lights and in front of tens of thousands of eyes in the stands and the millions watching at home. It’s a whole new experience that the players know come very infrequently, and they long for it every year.

However, since 2008, there has been one, maybe two games played outside per season, making it a very special game for fans and players and upper management all the same. But this year, there are 6 games. Is this watering the product down?

I do understand that most teams want to host the Winter Classic if they can. It’s understandably tough for teams in Southern communities like Phoenix or Florida. That test will be performed in Los Angeles in 2 months. But when it was a once a year thing, everyone wanted to be that one team who was hosting it. Not that it’s made out to be a jealousy bit, but it was special for that host city to have the festivities and events surrounding the game itself going on in the city, much like the All Star Game, for instance. The fact that 4 new cities and one repeat city are hosting the games make might dilute the overall product of the event. Think of having two All Star Games in a season. The thought of it is blasphemous.

With this new amount of teams playing, as expected, there are a couple of repeated teams. The Penguins, Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Rangers have all participated before in outdoor games. This will include the third games for the Rangers and Penguins. It seems, to some fans, that the NHL is repeating some teams, such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, or the Rangers. Those teams also have the majority of national broadcast games. Some fans may take it as a slight to their team who are less recognized by national networks.

That being said, I think it’s fair to introduce more outdoor games, despite it possibly diluting the product. The one that stands out the most is the game in L.A., which is testing if the NHL can play outdoors in a warmer climate. It introduces more opportunity for the less nationally recognized markets to take advantage of a special event with national recognition and new financial opportunities that they haven’t seen in the past. It also will promote national growth of a game that we know isn’t getting as much attention as, say, the NFL. With special events like this taking place all over the country, it will be a move in the right direction for a bigger, better NHL. Sure, you may think it’s a ploy for national attention, but it’s working, and come New Years, expect the 115,000+ fans who sold out the Winter Classic at the Big House to enjoy it as if it’s the only outdoor game they will ever see.

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#10 Matt Flynn -Thanksgiving just hasn’t been the same without a good GB QB in the past few years, but Flynn could surprise us. Lets see why he gets paid to take vacations.

#9 Andy Dalton – Going against SD that just gave up 38 seems like he is in line for a solid day.

#8 Josh McCown – Has the receivers and is going against the most giving DEF in the league. Get ready for the underdog to throw.

#7 Tom Brady – HOU has a good defense, but their offense won’t be on the field that long leaving Brady time to show off his skills.

#6 Tony Romo – Not time to break down yet! The train isn’t at the station yet! going against OAK look for Romo to throw for a pair at least and get some yardage.

#5 Nick Foles – He has the run game and the WRs. He is in a tight race and tends to put on a show when he can. Expect a nice day from the youngster.

#4 Cam Newton – Finally the guy we want! Cam is back to making electrifying plays as he did in college. He is running and making his options wider than every other QB out there.

#3 Drew Brees – Going against SEA isn’t easy and doing it at their house is even harder! Drew Brees though is off to prove that they are the team to beat in the NFC over SEA.

#2 Peyton Manning – He is Peyton Manning in the end of the day. Yes he was stopped for 15 points last time and yes he doesn’t have Moreno probably, but he is Peyton and the Chiefs just gave up 41 to the chargers.

#1 Matthew Stafford – HAPPY THANKSGIVING with such a giving GB defense. Time for our WRs to show off and bring on the thanksgiving joy as Stafford has a field day.

 

New Jersey Devils v Los Angeles Kings

This week in the NHL brought some interesting developments in the standings. Some new teams are heating up for the first time this season, while other teams are coming back to earth. Let’s see what happened last week, and how it will impact the league going forward.

Metropolitan Division

It seems like for the time being, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals will be jostling for the top spot, but with the Caps getting just 1 point this week in 3 games, including a 4-0 loss to the Penguins on Rivalry Night, the Pens have a small cushion for first. They also took 3 games out of 4 this week to help their cause. Another dog fight between rivals is now for the third place spot in the Metro, between the New York Rangers, and the New Jersey Devils. Both teams went 2-1-0 this week, with the Rangers starting a road swing, and the Devils nearly sweeping through California. During the second game of that trip, Devils’ Jaromir Jagr tied Mario Lemieux for 9th overall in goals with 690. Carolina had a tough 1-2-1 week, but the Hurricanes got Cam Ward back, and he already dazzled, with an epic save on Ottawa’s Colin Greening. The Philadelphia Flyers are continuing their charge back, winning all 3 of their games this week, trying to prove that their lull to start the season was a fluke, now just 2 back of the 3rd place team in the division. Columbus continues to struggle, putting up a 7-0 stinkfest in Edmonton against the lowly Oilers. The New York Islanders are now in the cellar, losing all 3 this week, and have struggled mightily since that Vanek trade. With 4 points separating 2nd and 6th in the division, expect a war from here on out.

Atlantic Division

The Boston Bruins are starting to establish themselves as a mainstay atop the Atlantic, getting 7 of 8 possible points this week. Tuukka Rask continues to hold the line behind one of the strongest defensive corps in the game. Toronto took 2 of 3 games, and are now in second place, after passing the free falling Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the Leafs’ only regulation win was against the Islanders, and didn’t look too strong in their other two games. The Lightning had a trip to California, and took 1 point from the Golden State, leaving in 3rd place, and scoring 3 goals in 3 games shows how much they miss Steven Stamkos. The Detroit Red Wings are having a tough go at it, going 2-2-0 this week, but haven’t been winning a ton of games lately. They lead the league with 7 OT losses, though, which is keeping them in the race until they get back on track. They are just a point ahead of Montreal, who had 3 big wins against surging teams this week, beating the Wild, Capitals, and Penguins, and are making their case for joining the B’s and Leafs near the top. Ottawa is struggling to keep pace, winning 1 of 4, and are sliding out of contention quickly, curiously not as stout on defense as they were last year. Florida continues to be the Tim Thomas swan song, seemingly stuck in 7th. Buffalo, like the Islanders, seem like they got the worse end of the Vanek deal, but the draft picks may prove valuable, as the Sabres are making a lottery run. In other Sabres’ news, they finally unleashed the “Turd-Burger jersey” on Sunday, while the rest of the league shielded their eyes. The division is tight, but with struggles of a couple of the higher seeds are making it very fun to watch, as teams will start shuffling between places.

Central Division

The Chicago Blackhawks got slapped in a showdown with division rival Colorado, 5-1, but won their other 2 games to keep the top spot in the Central. They showed that they can blow teams out, with a 6-3 win in Winnipeg, and win the tight games, with a 2-1 win in Vancouver. The defending champs did not suffer a hangover, and continue to be the top dog in the tough Central. Right behind them is the St. Louis Blues, who won all 3 games this week and are showing us that they are a top team in the league. The Blues, with a 6-1 win against the Stars, took over top goal differential in the league, now with +29. Colorado found their winning touch back, taking all 3 this week, including a blowout of the Blackhawks. They are tied with the Minnesota Wild, who took 2 out of 3 this week on the road, 2 back of Chicago. The Wild have had a tough swing, and it ends tonight with another huge game in St. Louis. Dallas lost both their games this week, and are now mired in a 3 way tie at the bottom of the central with Nashville and Winnipeg, 10 back of Colorado and Minnesota. Nashville had a couple of wins this week against Atlantic teams, and Winnipeg lost all 3 games, picking up 2 shootout points along the way. This division has an interesting dichotomy of contenders and non-contenders, and it will take a mighty fall and a massive streak for that to change.

Pacific Division

The Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks finally returned home to the Pond after a 9 game road trip, and their first game back was their first loss, a 4-3 OT loss to New Jersey. After that, they won 2 games to remain at the top of the division. One of those games included handing the Phoenix Coyotes their first home loss of the season. Those Coyotes have dropped to 4th in the division, only playing twice this week, and taking 1 point from them. The San Jose Sharks also had two games, but both were wins, bludgeoning the Lightning and squeaking by the Devils, and remain tied with the Blues for the least amount of regulation losses. The L.A. Kings also crushed the Bolts, but then lost the next 2 in OT, in tough luck losses to New Jersey and Colorado. Vancouver had a 1-1-1 week, but will have a tough time cracking the top 4 of this division unless one team starts to struggle heavily. Calgary took 2 of their 3 OT games this week, but remain hopelessly behind Vancouver for the top trailer in the division. Edmonton finally showed up at home, with two blowout wins against struggling teams. The top 4 teams in the division continued to shuffle, and barring a huge turn of events, will probably keep shuffling around for the next while as things take shape from here on out.

Top 5

1) St. Louis Blues – I know they aren’t in first, but it’s been since October 25th that they lost consecutive games. That counts for quite the something.

2) Colorado Avalanche – They are right back on this list after an off week, and showed that they are no joke, especially with that 5-1 win against the Hawks.

3) San Jose Sharks – The Sharks aren’t getting tons of love, but they should be, because they have points in all but 3 of their games this year.

4) Minnesota Wild – Like the Blues, they haven’t lost consecutive games since October. Their entire next week is a litmus test, playing the Blues, Coyotes, and a potentially epic home and home with Colorado.

5) Boston Bruins – No recognition of the East last week, the Bruins and their brick wall defense are making their case to be part of the recognized elite.

In the box this week

Cam Fowler of the [Mighty] Ducks. Friday night at the Pond in Anaheim, the Lightning and Ducks were tied 0-0 in the early stages of the third period, when Cam Fowler was primed for a line change. He was straddling the bench when the puck came by. Then the hilarity ensued:

Teammate Hampus Lindholm got a good chuckle out of watching Fowler channel his inner flightless bird (maybe a duck?) and take a tumble. Now, Cam gets a different kind of 2 minutes for tripping.

Next week is a big one, as teams have big divisional matchups, and more convolution within divisions. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hannukah, puck-heads!

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As winter break quickly approaches, you’re going to need some extra money for all that time off. Here’s a way to make some money and add some excitement to your Sunday.

Game 1 NYJ +4.5- The Ravens have a better quarterback with a better receiving core than the Jets. To make matters worse, New York has one of the worst secondaries in the NFL giving up 8 TDs on passes over 15 YDs. With all that being said, take the Jets this week. Why? The reason is simply because the Jets lost last week and the rule this season is the Jets beat the good team and lose to the bad ones. I’m fairly confident that this trend will continue today.

Game 2 SF -4.5- Washington is an absolute mess right now. The Coach doesn’t want the Quarterback and the Quarterback doesn’t want the coach. In addition, the Redskins secondary is ranked in the bottom five of the league. Look for Colin Kaepernick and the entire 49ers team to have the bounce back game everyone’s been waiting for.

Game 3 NE +2.5- Tom Brady is mad and motivated. After the controversial call that cost New England the game. With all his pieces back and the weather conditions, look for New England to surprise many and beat the Broncos.

Game 4 CAR -4.5- This is the lock of the week. Despite not having Charles Johnson, The Panthers will still have an incredible pass rush against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Ryan Tannenhill will be on his backside a lot in this game. Look for Greg Olsen to explode and watch the Panthers put another W on the board.

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# 10 RGII = He can run but he can’t hide. Padding the stats as a QB in that fashion is huge for fantasy. Expect a mediocre day from the QB.

#9 Andrew Luck = Against ARI with a solid secondary, but its time for him to put his weapons out and utilize the screen passes and yards after catch his WR and RBs can get him.

#8 Colin Kaepernick = Going against WAS he opens up his range of tricks. Hopefully he can become the Kaepernick of old because this one is boring.

#7 Tony Romo = He needs to prove himself if he wants a playoff seed and to put the giants to bed is exactly what he needs to do. He has his dinner served now all he needs to do is eat it.

#6 Case Keenum = He is going against Jacksonville people. He probably gets them beat once or twice on a big play to pad the stats.

#5 Cam Newton = SUPERMAN! Yes MIA has a solid defense, but they haven’t faced such a versatile QB yet. Expect wonders from the boy coming off a nice week for himself.

#4 Tom Brady = Coming off a bad loss and going against the Bronco’s offense expect it to be a throw heavy day and a nice day from him.

#3 Matthew Stafford = The TB defense is a great one and we probably have Revis Island on Megatron but the kid is talented and has other weapons which makes him my #3.

#2 Peyton Maning = Not our number for once. He has a nice matchup at NE and expect it to be a shootout as usual with this team going against a team with a good offense

#1 Drew Brees = I got him over our BEAST this week because he is on a solid pace of games and is going against a putrid Falcons DEF. Expect him to maybe be the high scorer of the week.