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Week 3 NFL Takeaways and Bets for Week 4

Thursday Night Melee

It’s pretty funny how we all justifiably criticize Thursday Night Football for being a terrible product and leading up to last week’s game. It was set up for a brutal game to watch, with the 49ers and Rams, teams that combined to win six games a season ago, set to play. Much to everyone’s surprise, we were treated with the most thrilling Thursday Night game in many years as Los Angeles topped San Francisco 41-39. The NFL amazes me in the sense that so often the opposite of what we expect ends up happening.

Giants in Trouble

If you told me after Week 3 that three teams would be 2-1 and one would be 0-3, I wouldn’t guess it would be the Giants. Their struggles are a true testament to the importance of an offensive line, as they were manhandled by the Eagles’ defensive front this past Sunday afternoon. New York still has a lot of talent and it may be premature to say their season is over, but they look like a team in turmoil that has dug themselves an enormous early hole in the NFC East.

Falcons look hangover free

Just about every prognosticator assumed the Falcons would struggle mightily after their Super Bowl collapse last February. There has been a documented history of teams losing the Super Bowl to have down season in the following year. Based on the way Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead to New England, it seemed inevitable this trend would continue. After starting 3-0, the Falcons look like one of the best teams in the NFL, thus are not showing any signs of a Super Bowl hangover. It’s a strong sign for how good of a coach Mike Smith is.

Browns look to be in for a long year (again)

Stop me if you heard this before. But, after watching the Browns lose in Indianapolis this past Sunday to the Jacoby Brissett-led Colts, it looks like it will be another tough year in Cleveland. They may finally have a QB to build around in Deshone Kizer, which cannot be overlooked, but the Browns look destined to finish with double-digit losses for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. I like a lot about what the Browns are doing in terms of their Sam Hinkie approach to acquiring draft picks and building for the long-term, but it looks unlikely that we will see dividends this season.

5 Bets for Week 4 (3-2 Last Week, 7-3 Overall)

New Orleans -3 Miami

In the second London game of the season, I think we have the potential for another lopsided outcome. I’m not suggesting the Saints dominate the Dolphins to the degree that the Jaguars did to the Ravens. But I like the prospect of Drew Brees lighting up the lowly Miami secondary. If I were to throw in an intangible argument to strengthen my case, I think the Saints get an added advantage by traveling over to London a day earlier than the Dolphins, giving them a little extra time to adjust.

Green Bay -7 Chicago

Seven points may seem like a lot to lay in a division game, especially against a team that just defeated the Steelers a week ago. But despite this being the most storied rivalry in NFL history, the Bears are due for a major letdown as they travel to Lambeau Field Thursday Night to face the Packers. The Packers look like a true Super Bowl contender and I like them to win this game comfortably.

Dallas/Los Angeles Rams Over 47.5

I have hit the under’s pretty hard through the first few weeks of the regular season, but this game has shootout written all over it. The Rams finally have a QB who can sling it in Jared Goff and will be facing a banged up and inexperienced secondary. For all the talent on the defensive side of Los Angeles, they have really struggled against the run. This sets up for a big day for Ezekiel Elliott. I like the total for this game to get in the fifties.

Buffalo/Atlanta Under 48.5

I am going the other way with an over/under just one point higher than the last bet. The Bills offense has been borderline prolific at home the past couple years but has been anemic on the road. I see Buffalo really struggling to score points against a very talented Atlanta defense. On the other side of the ball, the Bills have just enough on defense to keep the Falcons potent offense in check just enough to make the under a good play here.

New York Giants +3 Tampa Bay

The Giants are the definition of being “up against the wall” as they travel down to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. The Bucs are really banged up on defense and the Giants have a good opportunity to capitalize. New York still has an elite defense that is run by arguably one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL, Steve Spagnuolo. With as much promise Jameis Winston shows, he is still a young QB who is very prone to mistakes. I like the Giants to cover the three if not win outright.

Photo Credit: http://lastwordonprofootball.com/2017/09/24/week-three-new-york-giants-takeaways/

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Week 2 NFL Takeaways and Picks for Week 3

Not to overreact to one game, but…

The Cowboys were severely exposed by the Denver Broncos in their 42-17 loss on Sunday. As talented as they may be on offense, their defense is mediocre at best. This has been the case for the past few years. Fortunately for Dallas, they have been able to cover up for their flaws on defense with terrific ball control on offense and a great coaching job by Defensive Coordinator, Rod Marinelli. It may only be Week 2, but this game should certainly slow the roll on anyone suggesting the Cowboys are serious Super Bowl contenders.

Which 2-0 teams have the biggest uphill battle?

Speaking of the Broncos, they joined the illustrious 2-0 club along with the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, and Kansas City Chiefs. According to Oddshark.com since 2007, 57.8% of teams to start 2-0 made it to the postseason. That would indicate it being likely five of the eight 2-0 teams will make the playoffs. If I had to predict the three who will be on the outside looking in, I’d wager it be the Panthers, Ravens, and Lions.

Both the Panthers and Ravens are similar in that they have very good defenses, big questions on offense and faced inferior opponents in their first two games that have a combined record of 1-7. I’m not saying their defenses cannot carry them to the postseason, but both appear to have the largest uphill battles.

I had a tough time going with the Lions for the third team because they look really solid on both sides of the ball. My skepticism comes from looking at their schedule. Starting with this weekend’s matchup with the Falcons, Detroit gets the very competitive NFC South, two games against the Packers and Vikings (which won’t be easy assuming Bradford is playing) and matchups against the Steelers and Ravens. Those are ten potentially tough games which they will probably need to win at least five of to make the playoffs.

What 0-2 team has the most hope?

On the flipside, the 0-2 teams include the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears. Since 2007, 10.8% of 0-2 teams have made the playoffs. Those trends would indicate only one of the nine 0-2 teams will make the postseason.

My money’s on the Los Angeles Chargers. While they play in the best division in the NFL, they are easily the best team in this group. They have elite talent on both sides of the ball and are led by the best quarterback among any of the current signal callers of the nine 0-2 teams. As I said, playing in the AFC West doesn’t make things any easier as I anticipate three playoff teams coming from this division, but I think they have a better chance than any other team.

5 Week 3 Picks (4-1 Last Week)

Los Angeles Chargers +3 Kansas City Chiefs

It may be a stretch to call this a home game for the Chargers, given their temporary soccer stadium situation in a city that couldn’t care less about their existence. But Los Angeles will be entering this game in ultimate desperation mode, following two very tough, close losses that have pitted them at 0-2. They face their division rival Chiefs, sitting a 2-0 and due for a letdown on the road. I’m backing the Chargers with the points and like them to come out with a straight up win on Sunday afternoon.

Dallas Cowboys/Arizona Cardinals Under 47

The Cowboys were stifled by a dominant defense a week ago in Denver and things do not get much easier in Arizona. Therefore, I expect the Dallas offense to be kept in check for the second straight game. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals have multiple significant injuries on offense. I have a tough time seeing how both teams score in the 20’s, making the under a solid play here.

Cincinnati +9 Green Bay

The Bengals have had a brutal start to the season, as they have not scored a touchdown through their first two games. They fired their Offensive Coordinator after last Thursday Night’s loss, which generally provides a spark, even it may be temporary. Cincinnati has enough talent on defense to keep the Packers’ offense from completely blowing this game open. While I like the Packers to win the game, this spread is big enough given the circumstances to make me think the Bengals will keep the game respectable and cover the nine points.

New Orleans/Carolina Under 46.5

The Panthers defense has been dominant through two games, and given the Saints history of not being as prolific on offense on the road, I cannot see them mustering many points in Carolina on Sunday. While the New Orleans defense continues to struggle, the Carolina offense has not quite been in sync and it starts with Cam Newton’s struggles. The under looks like a really strong play.

Jacksonville +3.5 Baltimore

There is a lot to be said for a team that has become used to playing in London, as the Jaguars have. This will be the fifth straight year Jacksonville has played at Wembley Stadium while this will be the very first time for Baltimore. In addition to having a lack of familiarity, this is a dangerous look-ahead spot for the Ravens, as a game with Pittsburgh looms the the following week. I like the Jags to keep this within a field goal if not win outright.

 

Source Credit: https://www.fanragsports.com/how-broncos-front-7-dominated-cowboys-ol/

Players Who Sucked This Week

Football

The Chicago Bears couldn’t get their run game going, managing just 20 yards on 16 carries along with a fumble – Jordan Howard finished with less than a yard per carry. Marlon Mack rushed six times for -3 yards. Total rookie move!

Deshone Kizer completed less than 50% of his passes and threw three picks, but I guess we can blame that on migraines. Blake Bortles continues to struggle as an NFL quarterback, turning the ball over three times and losing to division rival Titans.

Ezekiel Elliott was held to eight yards on nine carries. Fantasy owners were mad; Broncos fans and Cowboys haters were not.

Keller Chryst had a QBR of 4.9 with less than 100 passing yards and three turnovers. Stanford lost to San Diego State, then dropped out of the rankings. Conner Manning turned the ball over four times, but it’s a lot harder to play at Penn State when you’re Georgia State.

The Ragin Cajuns’ Jordan Davis was responsible for five turnovers against Texas A&M, not like they were gonna beat them anyway. Tyler Keane of Coastal Carolina completed 44% of his passes and threw three picks. Brandon Duncan of Arkansas-Pine Bluff three three picks en route to a 48-3 beatdown by Arkansas State. Darquez Lee of the Southern Jaguars started but couldn’t finish the game against UT San Antonio, completing only three of 13 passes with two interceptions. Bryce Rivers came in with a big league but had three turnovers, one being a pick-six. Rough week for the small schools.

Zach Smith and Baylor are winless after losing their first three games of the season, against teams they should’ve blown out. He turned the ball over four times in his first start, and their offensive troubles are going to make for a dreadful season.

Nevada are 0-3 to start the year, their latest loss against Idaho State. They lost to who you ask? Exactly.

Kent Myers was benched after going 9-28 passing for 54 yards and a pick. Think he’ll get the start next week? Doubtful.

Quarterback blues: Morgan State’s quarterbacks combined to throw 8-23 for 65 yards and four turnovers (3 interceptions).  I know they were expected to lose against a Division I school, but they should play a little better than that. Kent State’s combined for 117 yards on 17 throws – only seven of those were were caught, and one of those by the defense. And lastly, Rice’s completed 11 of 25 passes for 113 yards and an interception.

San Jose State had some bad luck to start the game against Utah. Sam Allen was brought in to replace Montel Aaron after a lack of offensive production cost him. Allen was much worse though, throwing two interceptions in only five attempts. He completed two passes for a measly 15 yards

 

Baseball

The Worst Player of the Week goes to Dylan Covey. In two starts, he gave up nine runs in 9 ⅓ innings, walked eight batters, lost both games, and now sits at 0-6 with a 8.18 ERA for the year. (More on that horrific second start later.)

Chad Bettis and Wade Miley gave Covey a run for his money as the worst. Both gave up five and six runs, respectively, before being pulled midway through the first inning. Strange coincidence both games were on the same day.  

Doug Fister and Matt Harvey were their own worst enemy twice last week, losing both starts with a combined 23 earned runs in 13 innings. Actually Fister lost his first one because his team bailed him out last night.

The weekly one-and-done’s: Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Sean Manaea, Carlos Martinez, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Jeremy Hellickson, Andrew Cash, Myles Jaye, Seth Lugo, and Erasmo Ramirez. Tyler Glasnow made his first start since June and the rust showed – five runs and six walks led to a 2-8 loss to the Brewers.

Travis Wood, Jose Valdez, and Cory Mazzoni combined to allow 16 runs in nearly 7 innings last Tuesday against the Twins. Then Jordan Lyles and Miguel Diaz followed suit by allowing 10 runs in less than five innings on Saturday. Mazzoni came into that game to surrender six more and wouldn’t you believe it, the Padres lost 16-0 TWICE in the same week.

Calling all relievers who can’t hold a lead or just make deficits worse: Matt Bush, Jacob Rhame, Chris Rowley, Brian Ellington, and Jesse Chavez. Francis Martes somehow managed to let four guys score without getting an out. Austin Pruitt and Chase Whitley combined to give up eight runs (five earned) in the 14th and 15th innings against the Red Sox Friday night.

Chad Bell, Warwick Saupold, Joe Jimenez, and Victor Alcantara combined to allow 15 of the White Sox’s 17 runs last Thursday. Dylan Covey, Chris Beck and Mike Pelfrey returned the favor Sunday night, losing to those Tigers 12-0.

 

Players Who Sucked Again

Joe Biagini would be a dishonorable mention for his eight-inning no decision, but he blew it Sunday night unable to escape the second inning before giving up six runs.

Before the Phillies starting annihilating the Marlins Thursday night I thought to myself, “Whenever Vance Worley is pitching the Marlins are at a great advantage to lose.” He didn’t even last two innings before giving up 9 runs.

Dishonorable Mentions

LeSean McCoy matched Howard’s terrible rushing performance on 12 carries (0.8 YPC), but he was the team’s leading receiver. The Bills’ offense was sad anyways, putting up 3 points against the Panthers.

Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, but ran for two scores. His late interception solidified Nebraska’s loss. Colgate’s Grant Breneman completed just 26% of his passes for 56 yards. However, he led his team in rushing with 68 yards on 14 carries.

Josh Allen couldn’t figure out Oregon’s defense, having a 38% completion percentage with two turnovers. But he did score the only touchdown for the Cowboys.

Nick Pivetta and Dan Straily started the week with bad starts, but made up for it last night.

 

*Stats week of 9/12-18

Photo Credits:
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http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/vance-worley-of-the-miami-marlins-reacts-after-walking-in-a-news-photo/806577390?esource=SEO_GIS_CDN_Redirect#vance-worley-of-the-miami-marlins-reacts-after-walking-in-a-run-in-picture-id806577390

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Week 1 NFL Takeaways and 5 Picks for Week 2

Due to Hurricane Irma, I was not able to put anything out prior to Week 1. So this piece will kick off our NFL coverage for the 2017 Season.

Week 1 Takeaways

Top Picks of 2016 Shine

It only took a year, but Jared Goff looked like a guy who was worthy of a #1 overall draft pick. I’m curtailing my long-term expectations because it was against the lowly Colts and would still rather have Carson Wentz. But, Goff looked great leading the Rams to his very first career win. If he can build on Sunday’s performance, it should help remind us that highly drafted players don’t always make an impact right away. The Rams didn’t draft him to be a star his rookie year, which he surely wasn’t. They drafted him to be their QB for the next decade, which he sure could still be.

While Carson Wentz was not perfect in Sunday’s win in Washington, he made multiple jaw-dropping plays that displayed his athleticism, awareness and arm strength. What may be most notable was his first completion of the game, a scramble on 3rd and 12 that ended up being a 58-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor. He still needs to work on his deep ball accuracy and timing, but Wentz looks primed to make a big jump in his second season.

Giants Struggling O-line

The Giants offensive line may be even worse than we thought they would be. This was an area that was scrutinized all offseason, a criticism that was exacerbated by the fact that New York did very little to address what was clearly an issue in 2016. While the Giants may have one of the most talented receiving corps in the NFL, it won’t mean diddly if Eli Manning doesn’t have the time to find them. If the line doesn’t improve, it could be a long season for Big Blue.

The Jags (Defense) is For Real

The Jacksonville Jaguars showed their blueprint for what it will take for them to have their first winning season in ten years. They upset the Texans in Houston by running the ball, limiting the passing attempts of Blake Bortles and playing good defense with what is a very talented group. If they can manage to execute a similar strategy for the next 15 weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sneak into the Playoffs. It looks even more feasible in the perennially mediocre AFC South. How bad has the AFC South been in recent years? Only once since 2009 has the AFC South sent multiple teams to the postseason (2012.)

Pats Aren’t Flawless

The Patriots are contenders, but they are far from perfect. That may sound obvious after the drubbing they took at home from the Chiefs to open the season last Thursday night. Before the season, there was a lot of 16-0 talk, and understandably so. The Super Bowl Champs arguably got better (on paper) by adding Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in the offseason. Kansas City exposed New England’s flaws on defense. While Bill Belichick is one of the most brilliant defense minds and will probably figure it out, it was proven that the Pats have their flaws – just like everyone else.

5 Week 2 Picks

Minnesota +6 Pittsburgh

The Vikings have an elite defense, one that is capable of keeping the high-powered Steelers in check. On the other side of the ball, Sam Bradford and an offense not devoid of playmakers have all the potential to move the ball against average defenses. That’s exactly what Pittsburgh’s defense is, average. I like the Vikings to keep this within less than a touchdown.

Green Bay/Atlanta Over 53.5

This is a high total. But these are two of more potent offenses in the NFL. Both the Packers and Falcons offenses were limited by their standards in Week 1, scoring 17 and 23 points, respectively. Now these teams will square off indoors in a game I really think has a good chance to eclipse 60 combined points.

Denver +2 Dallas

Both teams are coming off divisional primetime wins. The over-achieving Dallas defense was able to feast on the inept Giants’ offensive line. They won’t be able to that again against the Broncos, who upgraded their line in the offseason. Dallas was able to move the ball just enough to get the Week 1 win, but things will get even tougher in Denver against an even stronger defense. I think the wrong team is favored here and I think Trevor Semien will get the ball in the hands of his playmakers enough to come away with a win.

Tennessee -2 Jacksonville

I am a big fan of 0-1 teams against 1-0 teams in Week 2, and usually, that’s all I need to like a particular play. In this case, we have the Titans who are favored by many to win the AFC South, coming off a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders, who are coming off a 12-win season and look to be a serious AFC contender. The Jaguars are coming off one of the more shocking victories of the weekend after dominating the Texans in Houston last Sunday. This has “let-down” written over it for Jacksonville.

New England -6.5 New Orleans

There was a time not too long ago when you wouldn’t dream of going against the Saints at home as touchdown underdogs. But the Saints aren’t the same juggernaut and as witnessed on Monday Night Football, look to be weak on defense aging. That is a bad recipe for a Patriots team coming off a bad loss with ten days to prepare. I like New England to win by double-digits.

 

Source Credit: 

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/jared-goff-or-carson-wentz-rams-player-prefers-one-over-the-other/

 

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Players Who Sucked This Week

Let’s start the week off with what used to be the biggest name in sports, and is now the biggest gossip surrounding sports: ESPN. They mistakenly identified the Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph. See for yourself.  That other guy looks way too chill to be a head coach.

 

Football

The Worst Player of the Week goes to Andy Dalton. Less than 50% passing and five turnovers (four INTs) led to a 0.7 QBR which is the third worst ever, according to that gossip site.

The Worst Team of the Week goes to the Indianapolis Colts. They lost to the Rams by 37 points, their biggest loss since losing in Jacksonville (Week 14 of 2015) by 45. Both of Scott Tolzein’s interceptions turned into pick-sixes. And yes, Tolzein also makes this week’s list due to his 50% completion rate and those two interceptions.

The Saints’ rushing attack was very weak for the amount of talent they have – 60 yards on 21 carries (53 on 19 carries from Peterson, Kamara, and Ingram). Fans are hoping it’s just week 1 blues.

The Houston Texans made a terrible season debut in front of their home crowd, losing to the Jaguars 29-7. What’s even worse is that Bortles threw just over 50% with no touchdowns and a pick. Four turnovers by Watson and Savage didn’t help matters. Only good news was seeing JJ Watt back in action.

Carson Palmer and Kirk Cousins both turned the ball over three times on their way to a Week 1 loss. Unfortunately, one of them is their team’s future and the other is on his way out.

 

Baseball

Seth Smith, Corey Dickerson, and Dexter Fowler managed to got hitless last week. Smith struck out in every game (6 total), Dickerson struck out 10 times in 17 at-bats, and Fowler struck out in half of his at-bats. Surprisingly none grounded into a double play, and Dickerson and Fowler each scored a run.

There were a lot of one-hit wonders last week: Steven Souza Jr., Alex Mejia, Welington Castillo, Yonder Alonso, Andrew Romine, Mallex Smith, Martin Maldonado, Tommy La Stella, Sandy Leon, Andrelton Simmons, Jay Bruce, Stephen Vogt, Yasmani Grandal, Bradley Zimmer, Joc Pederson, and Luis Valbuena.

Guillermo Heredia hit .095 for the week with several K’s. Domingo Santana hit .158 with nine strikeouts. Chris Davis hit .100 with half of his at-bats being strikeouts.

Kevin Gausman has had an up-and-down season, the latter being what happened last week – five runs in three innings with a  WHIP of 2.67. He better be on the up if the Orioles want to make the playoffs.

Joe Biagini continues to be a detriment to the Blue Jays rotation, allowing five runs in 3 ⅓ innings against the Red Sox.

Mike Pelfrey was bad as a starter and a reliever. It’s been a long time since he was an effective pitcher. Myles Jaye and Anibal Sanchez had similar weeks, but there is still hope for them.

“Did I really lose another one?”

These dude just had a bad start: David Holmberg, Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Matt Andriese, Jake Thompson, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Griffin, Brandon Woodruff, Miguel Gonzalez, Matt Garza, and Travis Wood. Maybe next week fellas.

Mike Montgomery, Justin Grimm, and Rob Zastryzny gave up 14 of the Brewers’ 15 runs in seven innings on Saturday evening. Let’s chalk it up to a Cubs fluke.

These relief pitchers were anything but – Jacob Barnes, Caleb Smith, Jace Fry, Vance Worley, Luke Gregerson, Reymin Guduan, Dellin Betances, Paul Sewald, Mark Melancon, Tyler Clippard, Josh Osich, Michael Feliz, Sam Moll, Jesse Chavez, Blake Wood, John Curtiss, Nick Martinez, Matt Wisler. Yes, it is weird that a lot of these guys are on the Astros. Tyson Ross and Andrew Chafin were the worst relievers, with a combined 10 earned runs in three innings and a WHIP of 6.0.

Kelvin Herrera won’t break the Royals’ already-underwhelming season, but five runs and a WHIP of 7.0 sure won’t help things.

“Let’s take you somewhere so we have a better chance to win.”

 

Players Who Sucked Again

Kyle Freeland did it again! He was the worst starter of the week, losing his first start and giving up a combined five runs in just over six innings of work between his two starts. Part of me feels bad for that liner he took to the shoulder, but I won’t let him off the hook.

Never though Madison Bumgarner would make the list, but here he is. He’s lost his last two starts with a combined 11 runs in as many innings. This is really not the year for the Giants.

Jharel Cotton made last week’s list and would have been a Dishonorable Mention this week, so why not put him here? Welcome to the club!

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Neil Walker, Yuli Gurriel, and Roberto Perez all had just one hit in 10+ at-bats, but they were home runs. If you’re gonna avoid hitting the ball, might as make the sole one count.

Jason Vargas gave up seven runs in just two innings in his first start, but turned it around with one run in five innings. He’s now 15-10 after being 13-4 going into August. Bartolo Colon was the opposite, following a good start with a bad one, but he lost both because his team couldn’t score more than two runs in his first.

Ariel Hernandez didn’t record an out in his first appearance despite giving up two runs and three outs, but then pitched like he was paid to in his next. Rex Brothers struck out the side in his first appearance, then allowed four runs without recording an out in his next.

Trevor Cahill wasn’t the worst pitcher in the AL Central, but he definitely was not someone you’d want deciding your game.7 ⅔ innings with eight strikeouts, but six runs and four walks? Make up your mind dude!

 

Got anyone to add? Write ‘em in the comments.

 

Stats week of 9/5-11

 

Photo Credits:
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http://m.mlb.com/assets/images/4/5/6/97389456/cuts/herrera1280_as01v0nq_xksxady3.jpg

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Players Who Sucked This Week

It got a little boring only hating on baseball. So with football back, I’m back to remind players how awful they played. Let’s get to it!

 

Football

The Florida Gators’ offense was useless in their season opener, gaining 192 offensive yards. Eleven of those were rushing, and Malik Zaire had -29 of those. But don’t worry Gator fans! BYU had less than 100 yards of offense against LSU, finishing with -5 rushing yards. And yes of course, they were shut out. Let’s not leave out the Hoosiers and their offensive struggles – they managed just 17 yards on 27 carries against the Buckeyes.

Shame on the FBS schools who lost their opener to an FCS opponent: Georgia State, East Carolina, Baylor, UNLV. It might be a long season for your fans.

Tyler Harris transferred from UCF to Rhode Island, and us Knights fans are glad to see him go after he threw SIX interceptions against the Chippewas.

Riley Ferguson is supposed to be one of the top QB’s in the AAC, but a 40% completion rate with no TDs and an INT is not how you live up to hype.

Kent Myers of Utah State couldn’t do much right against the Badgers, throwing three picks en route to a 49-point loss.

Ben and Davis Cheek are not brothers, but they played like terrible twins. They each completed two passes in 9 and 10 attempts respectively, and both had one interception. Ben threw for 19 more yards than Davis…who only had 22.

James Morgan completed less than 30% of his passes with an interception. Bowling Green would go on to lose to Michigan State by 24; good for you if you picked the Spartans to cover the 17 point spread. Thomas Woodson threw a measly 71 yards with a pick. Akron lost by 52, more than their spread of +30.

Missouri’s defense allowed Missouri State to score 43 points and gain 492 yards of offense. Their SEC opponents are probably looking forward to crushing them with a real offense.

Saturday was further proof Brandon Harris should never be a quarterback. He went 7-16 for 60 yards and two interceptions and was benched halfway through the second quarter.

Gardner Minshew of ECU went 7-18 for 82 yards and an interception. He was benched in the second half, but ECU still lost to James Madison – an FCS school.

Jeremy Cox of Old Dominion ran for 22 yards on 14 carries with two fumbles and losing one. But he did catch seven passes for 43 yards. Maybe they were screens. Of course I didn’t watch the game, who would?

Brice Ramsey is Georgia’s last hope at quarterback, and they better pray he doesn’t have to play again. Both of his pass attempts were interceptions, at home, against Appalachian State.

Brendan Greene of Hampton was benched after completing one of nine passes for 10 yards. Yeesh.`

Shai Werts ran for 16 yards on 23 carries. He completed 50% of his passes for 8 yards and a pick. Montana State’s Chris Murray threw for only 28 yards with a 42% completion rate and an interception. To make things worse, his Bobcats were blanked. That’ll kill your confidence to start the season.

Tony Brooks-James of the not so mighty Ducks rushed nine times for 32 yards and lost two fumbles. Try stickum next time. (Yes I know that is not the best video quality.)

Desmond Hite of Incarnate Word racked up zero yards on 15 carries. That’s right, a donut for a rushing total. He kinda made up for it with 18 receiving yards.

Texas A&M couldn’t do two things against the Bruins – hold a huge lead and throw the ball. They deserved that tragic loss.

 

Baseball

Mikie Mahtook gave Jose Ramirez his first of two homers by trying to be flashy. He was then robbed of a homer by Alex Gordon. Speaking of Gordon, he couldn’t hit for squat last week going 1-12 with five strikeouts.

Leury Garcia is one for his last 20 with eight strikeouts, four coming in the same game. To the batting cages!

Matt Davidson went 2 for 27 last week, striking out 12 times and drawing no walks. But he has 23 home runs on the year. Second coming of Adam Dunn?

Pablo Sandoval has no hits in his his last 31 at bats. His batting average has plummeted from .288 to .196. Given his age and being on the Giants, it’s going to be hard to bring it back up.

Sean Rodriguez had two hits in 18 at bats with at least one strikeout in every game (9 total). His batting average is even worse than Sandoval’s, sitting at .174 for the season.

Joey Rickard hasn’t provided much offensive for the Orioles since coming up from Triple-A, having one hit in 12 at bats.

As good as he’s been and will likely be in the hall of fame, Miguel Cabrera has made it to the list. He hasn’t gotten a hit in his last 16 attempts, but he’s really been terrible all year. Not too happy I took him in the first round of my fantasy league. His teammate Ian Kinsler has also had a down year, hitting .107 in his last seven games.

Mark Reynolds is having quite a comeback year, but hitting .055 in 18 at bats with 9 strikeouts for the week is gonna land you on this list.

Junichi Tazawa was not a helpful reliever, losing in one of his appearances and letting the Nationals cushion their lead last Tuesday. Kyle Crick of the Giants wasn’t any better, but does it really matter when your team is that bad?

Chris Flexen and Chasen Bradford of the Mets gave up 14 combined runs to the Reds last week. Flexen followed it up with almost identical numbers against the Astros.

Mike Fiers had a bad week, not making it to the 5th inning in both starts while giving up 14 combined runs.

It would take forever to individually call out starters who had one bad start, so let’s rattle em off now: Chris Smith, Troy Scribner, Rich Hill, Jerad Eickhoff, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ivan Nova, Derek Holland,

 Parker Bridwell, Kendall Graveman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, Jeremy Hellickson, Marco Estrada, Gerrit Cole, Buck Farmer, Tyler Skaggs, Kyle Freeland, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Lucas Sims, Onelki Garcia, Yu Darvish, Jharel Cotton, Matt Andriese, Chad Bell, Madison Bumgarner. Notice anything odd? Yep, all of the Dodgers’ pitchers made the list. Well except Kershaw, that dude is too good.

Ricky Rodriguez is not a household name, and weekly stats like this won’t get him there: 2 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 BLSV. Same goes for Richard Rodriguez’s first two career appearances: four runs on six hits in two innings. Coincidence they have similar names?

Sam Dyson continues to struggle, giving up five runs and recording only one out against the Cardinals on Friday. Maybe it’s time to call it quits?

Mike Dunn was anything but a relief for the Rockies last week, giving up four runs in three appearances in less than two innings of work. Lucky for him he didn’t record a loss or blown save.

The pitching staffs of the Braves and Cubs on Saturday were non-existent, with the game ending 12-14 in the Cubs favor. Also, the entire pitching staff on the Royals sucked by giving up 17 runs to the Twins.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Ian Kennedy was the Rays’ MVP last Monday letting seven runs go by in less than three innings. He then kind of made up for it next game against the Twins, but wasn’t credited with the win.

Jose Urena went four innings and gave up four in runs in his first start of the week, and then went seven with only one run. Too bad his offense couldn’t help him in Sunday’s game.

Aaron Nola had a great start against the Braves (who doesn’t), but then got rocked by the Marlins.

Corey Dickerson was hitting terribly all week until last night when he hit two doubles and a homer to help the Rays beat the Twins.

 

Got anyone to add? Write ’em in the comments.

 

Stats week of 8/28-9/4

 

Photo Credits:
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NFL Draft Lottery Could be the Response to Tanking

Tanking isn’t prevalent in the NFL like it is in the NBA. Teams in the NBA tank every single year, and there are not any signs that will end anytime soon. You can argue that there has not been a speculated case of tanking in the NFL since the Indianapolis Colts did for Andrew Luck back in 2011 after losing Peyton Manning to a season-long injury.

All signs point to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills attempting a tank for 2017, a season that precedes a very highly-touted quarterback draft class. Seems fitting being that both franchises appear to lack a long-term answer at QB.

During the summer, it looked like the Jets were the only team that wasn’t making winning a priority for the 2017 season. But following a flurry of moves by the Bills, that involved trading away multiple talented players for future draft picks, it looks like they’re following right along. Coincidentally, both teams play each other to start the season. What a barn burner that is shaping up to be.

This is a unique situation for the NFL. Naturally, the question has to be asked. How will the league respond? As I previously stated, tanking has never been very common in the NFL. However, if you look at the sports landscape and look at some franchises that followed the model of selling off players for future assets, clearing cap space and setting themselves up for high draft picks, it’s looking more and more like an accepted way to go about building a team.

Take the Houston Astros, who followed this message a few years ago and now they are one of the best teams in baseball. Look at the Philadelphia 76ers, who did the same a couple years later and now have one of the most talented young cores in the NBA. An argument can be made that the Cleveland Browns have used a similar strategy with their heavy emphasis on analytics, a concept that the NFL has been trying to resist for years.

The Browns, while just winning a game a season ago and look to potentially max out at 5-6 wins in 2017, have assembled a good collection of talented young players. On top of that, they still have several future draft picks that will enable them to continue building with players at the top of the draft. This past offseason, they made what can be considered the most “NBA trade ever” when they took on Brock Osweiler and that gaudy contract from the Houston Texans in exchange for a 2nd round pick. These are the deals that get made in the NBA every single year.

So, back to the original question – what does the NFL do about it? My answer – I think a draft lottery is coming.

The NBA Draft Lottery has become an event. More importantly to the league, it is a national television event. As the NBA is vigorously fighting to close the popularity gap between itself and the NFL, the lottery is an event the NFL simply doesn’t have. I have to think a time will come at the owners’ meetings when they say enough is enough and start coming up with a plan for an NFL version of the draft lottery.

Let’s be real. The NFL tries so hard (if not too hard) to become a year-round sport. As nauseating as I find their attempts to do so, implementing an NFL Draft Lottery will certainly help them fit that description.

Implementing an NFL Draft Lottery will essentially accomplish two things. In addition to creating another must-watch national television event during the offseason, its also a response to teams attempting to tank. The latter was the exact reason the NBA implemented a lottery over thirty years ago. Will the worst teams still have the best odds or ping pong balls? Absolutely. But attempting to be the worst team in the league will no longer guarantee getting the #1 overall pick in the draft.

The structure for it could be a lot of fun. Like the NBA, every non-playoff team would be part of the drawing. Just imagine the storyline associated with that mediocre team that is talented enough to 7-8 games but lacks a franchise QB. In the NFL, winning 7-8 games generally nets a draft pick somewhere in the high-teens, a spot where it can be very difficult to draft a future franchise quarterback. Now if they strike gold in the lottery, that team can either accelerate their rebuild or fill a gaping hole in a way that was not possible before.

It may seem like a long shot now. But I guarantee this idea at least will be discussed before too long. If I were to bet on it, I think we have an NFL Draft Lottery within the next few years.

 

Source Credit: http://touchdownwire.usatoday.com/2017/05/16/nfl-should-use-nba-draft-lottery-as-example/