Posts Tagged ‘National Football League’

yank

Now that we’ve seen all of the negatives of the Alex Rodriguez story, lets look at the positive to come out of this ruling. The New York Yankees have reclaimed the $25 million salary that they were supposed to pay Rodriguez and are now free to spend it however they please. With that in mind, here are three ways the Yankees could decide to use that money that would benefit them.

 

It is no secret that Yankees are well below the championship caliber team that fans expect. They (officially) no longer have a starting third baseman, Mark Texeira is returning after missing the entire 2013 season, and Derek Jeter is a shell of his former self.  With all that being said, the number one thing the Yankees need right now is starting pitching. CC Sabathia struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 14-13 record and a career high ERA of 4.78. In addition, Ivan Nova was up and down all of last year and Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and also lost some of his momentum in the second half of last year. To make matters worse, the Yankees don’t even have a set #4 and #5 pitcher right now. Now they can look at this two ways.

The first way to look at this is to go for the big splash (in true George fashion) and sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 28 starts last season, the former Rakuten Golden Eagle went an astounding 24-0 with and ERA of 1.27. At only 24 years old, Tanaka has the potential to be the Yankees number one starter going forward. However, Tanaka does not come without risk. As the Yankees know, a lot of Japanese pitchers have struggled with their transition to the MLB. Daisuke Matzusaka, Hideki Irabu, and Kei Igawa are all perfect examples of that. Of course that doesn’t mean that Tanaka will not be the next Yu Darvish, it just means that he could also be the next Hideki Irabu.

If the Yankees decide against the Japanese star, they definitely have other things they can do with that money. One hypothetical scenario would be bringing in a solid starting pitcher with a solid relief pitcher for a total of less money than Tanaka would cost. Two starters that are immediately available are Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both have struggled in the past couple of years and are both likely to command no longer than two-year contracts. Garza in particular, with a career ERA of 3.84, but past AL east experience with his time with the Rays, would cost only around 8-12 million on a year for a short amount of time. With no need for commitment, either of these pitchers can be a good temporary fix to the starting pitcher problem.

As far as the relief pitchers, there is once again a decent crop of short contract players available. Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, and Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez could all be had on 1-2 year contracts for about $12 million. These would all be good temporary players for the Yankees to have if they want to make a chase for the playoffs.

Now this third option may scare most Yankee fans. I is a terrifying notion that will be a new concept to those who love the pinstripes. Save the money. The 2015 free agent market is going to be filled with significantly better crops. Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Max Scherzer, and James Shield will be highly coveted players who would fit the Yankees perfectly. Not spending money this year will all but guarantee no playoffs this year, but it may be worth it in the long hall.

What should the Yankees do? Go after Tanaka? Get some short-term player? Maybe save the Money? Let us know what you think it s comments.

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Now that we are approaching the playoffs, its about the time where players are having there fantasy seasons evaluated. Instead of going player by player, the team here at The Fifth Quarter decided to make things a little more interesting. We present

                                                        The Fantasy Awards.

Rookie of The Year

1.    Giovani Bernard- The 2nd round pick out of Notre Dame has flourished in the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Despite splitting carries with Benjarvus Green Ellis, He was top 10 in fantasy points for RB’s going into the Bengals bye week. He has been even more valuable in PPR leagues. Even though he cooled off a bit toward the end of the year, Bernard will definitely be a RB2 going into next year.

2.    Eddie Lacy- Even with the injury problems and handcuff back James Starks, Eddie Lacy has put up fantastic numbers this year. Since returning from a concussion, he has put up double-digit fantasy points in all but 2 games. The Alabama bruiser will be a top 10 pick next year without hesitation.

3.    Julius Thomas- As if the Denver Broncos didn’t have enough weapons, they draft a 6’7 former basketball player to play TE. Thomas is 2nd in points among TE only trailing Jimmy Graham. He has become an elite fantasy option and will stay this way as long as Peyton Manning is at QB.

                                                Injury Replacement of The Year

1.    Fred Jackson- Fantasy owners enraged by CJ Spiller (more on him later) have at least found a silver lining in the whole situation. Fred Jackson took the role of feature back and has cherished every minute. He has rushed for 896 YDs, rushed for 9 TDS and added 387 YDs in the passing game. He finished a top 11 running back this year, but don’t expect similar numbers next year.

2.    Harry Douglas- Ever since fantasy owners suffered the heartbreaking loss of Julio Jones, many wondered if anyone would be able to replace him. In walks Harry Douglas. Douglas has been extremely impressive in his four games as a starting WR for the Atlanta Falcons. Douglas has put up 42 points in those four games. He isn’t a viable starter going forward, but he provided some good value for this year.

3.    Keenan Allen- When 6’5 receiver Malcolm Floyd suffered his season ending injury in week 3, people once again wondered who would be the fill in. Initially it seemed it would be journeyman Eddie Royal. However, after a few weeks, it was clear the 2nd round pick out of Cal was going to be the guy. Since week 4, Allen has put up 1,046 receiving yards and 8 TD. His value is based on the play of QB Phillip Rivers, but he should be a safe pick in next years draft.

Waiver Wire Pick Up of The Year

1.    Julius Thomas– Up for his second nomination, Thomas has been a gods send for fantasy owners. In a particularly week year for TEs, Thomas has proven to be a true gem for whoever was lucky enough to get him. With Peyton throwing to him, Orange Julius had 788 Rec Yards and 12 TDs. Thomas value will be put into question when a new QB steps in, but until then count on him as a top 3 TE fantasy.

2.    Zac Stacy- While he hasn’t proven himself entirely yet, all signs point up for the rookie 5th round pick out of Vanderbilt. Since his first carry in week 5, Stacy has put his foot on the gas and hasn’t let up. He ran for 973 yards with 7 touchdowns and has added an extra 100 yards and a touchdown through the air. Stacy ended the year in RB1 conversation and could be a first round pick come next year.

3.    Nick Foles- After Foles suffered a concussion against Dallas in week 7, a lot of people threw Nick Foles to the waiver wire and continued playing their every week quarterback. That move could have very easily cost many people a championship. The Eagles signal caller was electrifying in his return, scoring over 20 points in six straight weeks.  In the exhilarating Chip Kelly offense, Foles will easily be a top five quarterback next year.

 

Bust Of The Year (Injury Related)

1.     C.J. Spiller- Oh what could have been. Had Spiller sat out a couple of weeks and let his ankle heal, he could have ended being worthy of his first round pick status (e.g. Roddy White). Instead Spiller insisted on playing and killed his value in the process. Despite a bit of resurgence towards the end of the season, Spiller only finished with 927 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Spiller will fall to the third or fourth round next year, but he will have tremendous upside.

2.     Steven Jackson- Coming into the season, many thought that long time Rams running back would have a rejuvenation year in a much better Atlanta Offense. They weren’t totally wrong. Jackson had a nice stretch to end the year with three straight double-digit games. The problem is a little stretch isn’t acceptable for someone you spent a second round pick on. Jackson suffered a thigh injury in week 2 and was held out for six weeks. When he came back he just couldn’t put it together. S-Jax finished the year with 543 yards and 6 touchdowns. Not the production expected from a RB2

3.     David Wilson. The hype was endless. The New York Giants speed back started off as the biggest sleeper of the year and ended up being ranked as high as 14 on pre draft rankings. Out of the gate, he looked like a disaster, scoring negative two points against the Cowboys. He finally showed a little promise four and scored his first touchdown in week five. However, the excitement was shortlived. Wilson left the same game with a neck injury and was later ruled out for the game with a neck injury. Low and behold it was much worse. Wilson was ruled out for the year and his entire career may be over. Wilson has vowed to play again but there is serious doubt behind that. As far as fantasy, he shouldn’t even be in your thought process going forward.

Bust Of The Year

1.             Ray (Fried) Rice- The wheels just fell off the bus this year. The number six ranked player (according to Yahoo) was just miserable this entire year. With a lack of a passing game, opposing defenses focused on Rice and absolutely destroyed him and his handcuff back Bernard Pierce. Rice finished the year with 660 yards and 4 touchdowns. If the Ravens don’t improve in the passing game and on the offensive line, Rice should be no more than a flex player come next year.

2.             Hakeem Nicks- Now no one expected Nicks to be an MVP for your team, but he was expected to be a solid WR2 and a possible difference maker. Instead, Nicks fell into complete oblivion. With a dysfunctional offense and contract issues Nicks pretty much fell behind Ruben Randle in terms of targets. He wasn’t playing with his all and frustrations with his coach showed when he was randomly benched in week 12. Nicks put up a total of three games with over 100 yards and scored no touchdowns all year. Being on a new team may help him, but don’t trust Nicks immediately as anything more than a WR3

3.             Trent Richardson- Seems like he was too busy making sextapes to learn the Colts playbook. After being traded after week 2 from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, growing pains were expected, as he had to learn a whole new offensive system. However, no one expected growing pains like these. In 14 games with the Colts, the 2012 number three overall pick ran for 468 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 fumbles. This was just simply unacceptable. Richardson ended up being benched at the end of the year for backup Donald Brown. Richardsons season high rushing yards was 64. This is just insane for a player ranked 10th overall. With Donald Brown likely leaving in free agency and having the whole offseason to learn the playbook properly, all hope isn’t lost for the Alabama bruiser. In terms of next years draft though, he shouldn’t be any higher than a 10th round pick.

Most Valuable Player

1.                      Peyton Manning- With questions coming into the season about his health, Manning silenced all critics with one of the greatest seasons ever. Finishing with an overall number one ranking, Peyton threw for 5,477 (a new record) and 55 touchdowns (also a new record). In terms of fantasy, Manning scored 419 points in standard leagues, which is 50 points better than second place finisher Drew Brees. The Broncos captain also had five games of over 30 points, which is the most by any quarterback this year. It is undeniable that Peyton had one of the greatest seasons ever on the field and the computer.

2.                      Jamaal Charles- What a breakout year. The already established star running back catapulted himself into superstardom this year with his incredible season. The Kansas City running back ended the year with 1,287 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. Charles wasn’t done as he added 693 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. The former Texas back stamped his season off with an exclamation point game that destroyed all projections. In a 56-31 thrashing of the Raiders, Charles rushed the ball 8 times for 20 yards and 1 touchdown. That seems like an ok fantasy day, until you look at the rest of the box score. Charles added 8 receptions for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns for a grand total of 51 fantasy points. As long as Andy Reid is the head coach, expect Charles to be a top 3 overall pick every year.

3.                      LeSean McCoy- the same that was said about Jamaal Charles, can be said about Shady McCoy. Putting on absolute clinic, McCoy led the league in rushing with 1,607 yards and added 9 touchdowns. Furthermore, McCoy also benefited from the passing game, adding 539 yards on 53 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  Additionally, when the quarterback wasn’t Matt Barkley, Shady never scored under 10 points in a game. The former Pitt running back proved that he wasn’t going to let his bad 2012 season deter him from greatness. Expect just that going into further seasons.

We will announce the winner of each category in the coming weeks. Disagree with our picks? Feel someone was left out? Let us know in the comments!

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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.

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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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 Frank Gore = He or Kaepernick needs to get it going and one of them will if its Gore expect a nice week against an eh run defense.

#9 Eddie Lacy = Going against MIN he will throw off the tempo maybe even find a hole.

#8 Knowshon Moreno = Going against a NE with a powerful offense, its going to be a few checks and play action with him at most.

#6 Rashad Jennings = He is the new beast of the week dropping double digits the past 3 weeks and probably more weeks to chime to that going against TEN.

#6 Zac Stacy = Time to have a run off with the CHI swiss cheese run defense.

#5 Andre Brown = Cant win a game without a good run game and its finally coming.

#4 Jamaal Charles = He has a decent matchup this week against SD and with the screen plays he will be getting the touches.

#3 Ben Tate = Going against JAX he will be killing the clock in the second half and finding gaps in the first

#2 Matt Forte = Going against the worse run defense helps when you are an amazingly talented back already.

#1 Adrian Peterson = He has talent as usual and is injured, but always seems to know what to do against GB.

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Before you read this ensuing article, you should know a couple of things. Firstly, I will admit that I am an Arizona Diamondbacks fan. But secondly, you should also know that I am writing this as a baseball fan, not a disgruntled Diamondbacks fan. I have had the same core view on MVP in the never-ending controversy of “what does value mean” for as long as I can remember. So without any further delay, here is why Paul Goldschmidt should have won the NL MVP award over Andrew McCutchen.

Silver Slugger. Gold Glove. Hank Aaron Award for best offensive player in the entire National League. League leader in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, on base plus slugging, extra base hits, total bases, and numerous sabermetric stats. Sounds like an MVP, right? Actually those are just some of the accolades Paul Goldschmidt accumulated over the 2013 season. This amounted to a total of zero 1st-place MVP votes. Zero.

Goldschmidt did it all at the plate this year. Besides for leading the league in the categories above, he hit .302/.401/.551/.952 with 36 home runs and 125 RBI. He even led all 1B in stolen bases with 15. Maybe his shortcomings came from not being a clutch hitter? Think again. He led the league in go-ahead RBI with 37, game-winning RBI with 19, go-ahead home runs with 20 (4 more than any other player), home runs after the 8th inning with 7, and walk-off home runs with 3. And for the new-age statisticians, he was 3rd in the league this year in WAR, wins-above-replacement, with 7.1, and led the league in win-probability-added with 6.91.

Okay, maybe his deficiencies are in the field. Nope, try again. He trailed only C Russell Martin and 1B Todd Helton in fielding percentage with a stellar .997. And Helton played 50 fewer games that Goldschmidt. This was rewarded with his first career Gold Glove award.

So how could a player of this caliber not receive a single 1st-place MVP vote, let alone win the MVP award? In short; because his teammates weren’t as good as Andrew McCutchen’s. As illogical as that seems, it’s basically true. The Pirates making the playoffs and the Diamondbacks missing the playoffs is the reason why McCutchen won and Goldschmidt lost.

Team record plays a major role in determining the MVP. The debate over what defines value has been around for decades, and has been argued yearly, including last year in the AL when Mike Trout had arguably a better statistical year than Miguel Cabrera, but Cabrera’s team made it into the playoffs. Should team record play a part in determining the MVP? Yes. But should it to the extent it does now? Plain and simple, no. In 2011, a player with a batting line of .289/.369/.529/.898 with 31 homeruns and just 88 RBI came in 4th place in the NL MVP ballot. Seems like a stretch to call this player an MVP, right? Well that player was former Diamondbacks RF Justin Upton. So why did he get a first place vote and come in 4th overall with a solid but undoubtedly non-MVP-caliber statistical year? Because the Diamondbacks made the playoffs.

McCutchen didn’t even really “lead” the Pirates to the playoffs. His line of .317/.404/ .508/.911 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI is undoubtedly impressive, but it didn’t carry the team. The pitching did. The Pirates were 3rd in the MLB in team ERA, 2nd in opposing batting average, and 2nd in saves. Whereas the Diamondbacks were near the bottom of the league in those respective categories. So Goldschmidt is less valuable because Trevor Cahill and JJ Putz are on the mound instead of Francisco Liriano and Jason Grilli?

If the Diamondbacks had blown as many saves, 20, as the Cardinals, only 13th most in MLB, instead of 29, tied for 1st, they’d make the playoffs. And that probably vaults Goldschmidt into 1st place for MVP. If the Diamondbacks Take David Hernandez & JJ Putz out of 8th & 9th inning and put in Trevor Rosenthal & Edward Mujica, the MLB is saying that’s the difference between Goldschmidt being MVP or not? That’s not even putting Heath Bell’s statistics into account.

I know the Pirates making the playoffs for the first time since 1992 is a nice story and all, but that should bear absolutely no impact on the current MVP race. Crediting a player now for the shortcomings of players that played before McCutchen was even drafted would be absurd.

I may be a Diamondbacks fan but I am presenting only facts. At the end of the day, should team record impact the choice for MVP? Sure. But should the shortcomings of a player’s teammates discredit that player’s statistics, even if they are superior to his competitor? No. But this is just part of the never-ending debate of what value is. So what is value? You decide, because the Baseball Writers Association of America sure doesn’t know.

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#10 Martellus Bennett – TEs are weak but he has a nice upside going against BAL for a TE.

#9 Scott Chandler – the Jets can stop the run so they are going to have to throw the ball this week. Look for him to get a few touches this week.

#8 Heath Miller – The first REAL TE on this list that has a chance to make a splash this week.

#7 Jordan Cameron – Was a boom in the beginning of the season but since the QB situation became a mess his numbers died as well. He is an amazingly talented player but he can’t flourish in such a league without a QB.

#6 Vernon Davis – He is one of Kaepernick’s go to guys in the red zone. He has a top 5 TD total and is hungry for more after a slow start.

#5 Jordan Reed – Talk about proving oneself to the league. Becoming the asset of a lifetime he is just moving forward every week being a favorite of RGIII. The only better receiver he can have is Terrence Williams from his Baylor days.

#4 Antonio Gates – The charger is going against a friendly MIA DEF who can’t block the TE. Look for him to go off against a drama filled Dolphin team.

#3 Jimmy Graham – Unless everything is working and they have a big lead expect minutes out of him this week. He is always a top TE option and has been all day. It’s hard for me to see a team with him not in the top 3 of any league unless they had an injury plague this year.

#2 Julius Thomas – A day of check downs and small plays for BIG yards with Manning injured this week. He won’t be throwing the deep ball with a high ankle sprain, but he will be giving the ball off to the TE, RB, and Slot receiver all day.

#1 Rob Gronkowski – He will bring back any team from the dead on Monday night. He is Brady’s favorite target and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Expect big things out of him with an offense off the bye week.