Wednesday, December 19, 2007

30 Games for Simple Simon

I've read a couple of people's comments on other boards that state something to the effect of "Well, the guy wasn't hurt. Simon should've just gotten two minutes."

Um...not the point, guys.

Whether the player was hurt or not is immaterial. The intent to injure was clearly there. The NHL or Colin Campbell (whom I have been very tough on in this blog, but his actions here go a small way towards earning my respect) cannot just punish the results of violent behavior. If they only dish out two games because the player wasn't hurt, how is that going to deter other acts of violence? If you wait until someone does get seriously hurt, it's a bit like closing the barn door after all the animals have escaped.

There is clearly something wrong with Chris Simon. He not only loses control of himself, he looks to seriously injure an opponent. I was outspoken last season after the Hollweg incident and I will repeat myself here: As a longtime fan of this team, I do not want (nor have I ever wanted) Chris Simon to be an Islander.

As a human being, I hope he gets the psychological help he needs so that he can, one day, be a productive and useful member of society.

As a hockey fan, I never want him to take the ice again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Start/Sit: Week 15

Ok, guys and gals: This is it...Fantasy Playoff Time.

Conventional wisdom states the following: You dance with the one that brought you. In other words, this is not the time to get cute trying to outfox the experts by starting some lower regarded player in the hopes that he busts off a big game and makes you look like a genius. If you have Peyton, you play Peyton. It's just that simple.

But what if you don't have Peyton (or LT or Randy Moss or Antonio Gates)? Well, then it's my job to help steer you to a player on your roster who might help you win. I make no guarantees, but I have sacrificed a virgin goat to the Fantasy Gods in the hopes of covering my bases this week. Try finding a virgin goat sometime....not as easy as it looks. One farmer told me the average goat gets more action than you've had hot dinners.


Start- Matt Hasselbeck- The Seahawks have been living up to their namesake by taking to the air often in recent games. That bodes well for Hasselbeck, who draws the toothless Panthers, the team that allowed David Garrard to hang 249 yards and two scores on them. Matt is getting hot at the right time of the year for his owners. Ride him to the finish line. Forecast- 280 yards, 2 touchdowns

Sit- Ben Roethlisberger- It's really not all Big Ben's fault. He has had to deal with numerous roadblocks to Success recently, ranging from poor field conditions to having to face the Patriots. However, the numbers show that he hasn't thrown for more than 200 yards a game for the past four weeks and that's not likely to change against a ravenous Jacksonville defense. You may not have a better option, but use him at your own peril. Forecast- 175 yards, 1 touchdown

Running Back:

Start- Rudi Johnson- Johnson has had an awful, injury-marred season However, he has risen from the dead and is back to producing again. He has scored in each of his last three games and, with Cincy's once-feared passing attack mired in a deep slump, seems primed to run all over the 49er's. Start him with confidence. Forecast- 90 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Kolby Smith- He came from nowhere to win Fantasy players' hearts and then broke those very same hearts last week in a crucial matchup, delivering only 12 measly yards on the ground. He's also banged up right now and is questionable for the tilt against Tennessee. Want some more evidence against him? The Titans desperately need this game to stay in the playoff hunt, Albert Haynesworth is back and they only give up an average of 101 yards per game on the ground anyway. Forecast- 50 yards

Wide Receiver:

Start- Brandon Marshall- Marshall is the lucky beneficiary of the injuries to Javon Walker and Brandon Stokely. He's become the Main Man in Denver and is coming off a huge effort against KC (115 yards, 2 touchdowns.) Houston, despite spending draft pick after draft pick on defensive players, is still not very good. Look for another fine week from Marshall. Forecast- 8 receptions, 100 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Roddy White- White played okay last week against New Orleans (3 catches for 75 yards), but most of that yardage came on one big pass play. That was before Atlanta was completely thrown into a maelstrom of confusion caused by their head coach resigning on Tuesday. Tampa Bay shut down White the last time they played him. I wouldn't recommend any Falcon this week and, if I did, White certainly wouldn't be the one. Forecast- 4 receptions, 30 yards.

Tight End:

Start- Ben Watson- Though he hasn't been very impressive lately, it is "elementary" to start my dear Watson this week (sorry, couldn't resist.) The Jets will probably concentrate all their efforts on blanketing Moss and Welker (yeah, good luck with that.) The Pats' waterboy may even score in this one. Watson should see a nice uptick in his numbers. Forecast- 5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Desmond Clark- Clark has been strong this season, holding off the challenge of young buck Greg Olsen. However, he now faces Minnesota with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. Granted, teams have thrown on the Vikings this year, but I think the whole Chicago air attack gets a downgrade with K.O at the helm. You can likely do better. Forecast- 3 receptions, 30 yards


Start- Seattle- Five sacks and five interceptions last week against Arizona ought to be enough to convince anyone of Seattle's viability against Detroit. For those who still doubt, keep in mind that Seattle allows less than one touchdown per week through the air. Yes, I know Detroit ran well last week, but do you really want to be the guy betting that they can do it two weeks in a row? Didn't think so. Forecast- 4 sacks, 2 interceptions

Sit- Kansas City- This team just looks whipped. They've now lost 6 six games in a row and got pasted by the Broncos 41-7 last week. They can be beaten both in the air and on the ground and seem to have given up the ship. Vince Young and Company should definitely be able to exploit this bunch of Surrender Monkeys. Forecast- 1 interception

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fantasy Hockey: Go Get 'Em

As the football season winds down, we will be concentrating a little bit more on the "Pucks" side of things here.

Here's a list of players who a.) Might be available on your waiver wire or b.) you should possibly target in trades.

You won't find a Crosby or Ovechkin on these lists. They're most likely unattainable anyway (and if you're their lucky owner, you should thank your lucky stars and hang onto them like a life vest in the middle of a shipwreck).


Ray Emery- Emery is proving to be the lesser of two evils in the Ottawa goaltending duo with Martin Gerber. While he's no sure thing and still lets in his share of bad goals, at least the Senators tend to compete harder and have a decent shot of winning when he is in the nets. He can probably be had for a relatively cheap price as well.

Tomas Vokoun- Florida is showing signs of life after a mediocre start to their season. Vokoun will be the beneficiary of the improved play in front of him. He's also started 26 of the Panthers games, never a bad statistic for a fantasy goalie.


Joe Corvo- Continuing with the Ottawa theme, Corvo has been very active lately, recording at least one point in 5 of his last 6 games. A smooth skater with an offensive flair, he is also a +12 on the defensive side of things. With other defensemen currently struggling for the Sens, look for Corvo to get more ice time and to continue his fine season.

Pavel Kubina- Prior to his knee injury which shelved him for 10 games, Kubina was being very productive. Since returning, he has picked up where he left off, recording a point in each of his last 3 games. He has a healthy +9 rating and sees time on the power play also.


RJ Umberger- Last night's 5 point game (including a hat trick) notwithstanding, Umberger has been fairly "Feast or Famine" this season. Though he has recorded points in only 12 of the 26 contests he's played in, 5 of those game were multi-point affairs. If you can withstand a few dry games, you ought to be rewarded with some nice outbursts from him (hopefully at a point when you need it.)

Brendan Morrison- Morrison is not a main weapon on the Canucks, but he does play an important role, one which you can utilize for your fantasy squad. More than half of his points (11 of 20) scored this year have come on the power play. He still needs to shoot more and he's not going to blow anyone away with his overall stats, but he can be a nice compliment to a team who desperately needs depth at the Center position.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Start/Sit: Week 14

Many, many leagues begin their playoffs this's an exciting time of the year for us fantasy geeks.

This column will be a little shorter than usual due to my attention being diverted by a developing situation outside the realm of fantasy sports (gasp...there's a realm outside fantasy sports??) My apologies.


Start- Kellen Clemens- True, he might be down a couple of weapons. However, this one will be a shootout due to Cleveland's excellent offense coupled with their awful defense. Kellen will be flinging the rock all day long, never a bad thing. Forecast: 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception

Sit- Marc Bulger- Yes, he's been medically cleared from his concussion to play against the Bungles. That doesn't mean he should be in your lineup. One sack could end his day fast. Forecast: 150 yards

Running Back:

Start- Kolby Smith- Running backs going against the Denver Broncos tend to be an automatic start. Smith gained 83 yards last week against an improving San Diego line last week, so he's shown he has the right stuff to succeed. The only cautionary flag is the fact that his o-line is banged up right now. Forecast: 90 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Willis McGahee- McGahee keeps rearing his head in this column on both sides of the Start/Sit meter. This week, we're going with the Sit option. He did play very well against New England on Monday night, but the Colts have studied that game tape and will focus on stuffing him and making Kyle Boller beat them through the air. Forecast: 65 yards

Wide Receiver:

Start- Bobby Engram- If you own Engram, you've got to be very pleased with his 38 catches and 2 touchdowns since his bye week (October 28). He has taken advantage of the instability involving the Seattle receiving corps and proven himself to be a steady force to be counted on. Start him with confidence against a banged up Arizona defense. Forecast- 8 receptions, 100 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz picked the wrong time of year to come down with a groin strain. He is likely a game time decision against Seattle. Even if he goes, he's still not going to be healthy enough to take advantage of Anquan Boldin's absence. Forecast- 4 receptions, 50 yards

Tight End:

Start- Ben Watson- Watson's numbers have been nothing to write home about lately. He also had a couple of crucial drops against the Ravens. However, he makes for a sneaky play against Pittsburgh, who will be concentrating hard on limiting Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Forecast- 4 receptions, 40 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit- Alge Crumpler- Crumpler did have a big game last week against St Louis. However, he has done little else this season to justify a starting role in your lineup. Call it a hunch, but I have a feeling he doesn't do a lot on Monday night against New Orleans.- Forecast- 3 receptions, 30 yards


Start- San Diego- The Chargers have been pretty hit or miss this season. However, they face a Tennessee team that is banged up and running on fumes these days. The Titans defense won't be able to hold back LT, so their offense is going to have to air it out, which will play right into San Diego's hands. Forecast- 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery

Sit- New York Giants- In the last game they played against the Eagles, their pass rush destroyed Philadelphia and Donovan McNabb. I can't see the Eagles letting that happen again. Besides, this is a statement game for the Iggles at home and I expect them to come out gunning. Forecast- 1 sack, 1 interception

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not "Raven" about the "Reffin''... and other thoughts from Week 13

I am not a "Conspiracy Theorist" by any means. Nor am I a fan of the Baltimore Ravens. However, I think there might be some slight credence to opinion that is making it's way around the NFL these days: The league is more interested in the Patriots having an undefeated season than it is in fair play.

There were several questionable calls made during Pats-Ravens game Monday night. Towards the end of the fourth quarter, with the Patriots driving and seemingly running out of hope, the calls against the Ravens started to get more bizarre. Granted, the refs didn't force Rex Ryan to take his ill-advised timeout which cost the Ravens the game (the defense had stopped the New England on 4th & 1, only to have the play nullified due to Ryan calling a timeout moments before the ball was snapped.) However, the call on Bart Scott for complaining about a ruling was unjustified. Scott's overreaction in throwing the flag into the stands, costing his team another 15 yards, was his own fault. But the frustration was certainly understandable.

Then comes the "Boy" allegation made by Samari Rolle, contending that one of the officials referred to him in a derogatory manner. The league is investigating this as well. Stay tuned.

Onto the other thoughts:

- I think the Redskins' starting the game with 10 men on the field in tribute to Sean Taylor is one of the noblest gestures I've ever seen. The organization chose to honor one of their leaders in a unique fashion and showed us all that, shockingly, there are more important things in this life than winning a football game.

- I suppose we can all stop worrying about Adrian Peterson's knee now. Not a bad performance by "Hey, I was here first!" Peterson of Chicago either.

- The Jets proved, despite the god-awful ugly uniforms, they are able to beat up on somebody. Memo to Miami: If you can't beat the Jets, you're not beating anybody.

- I think Sidney Rice may turn out to be the steal of the wide receivers in last year's draft. And yes, that includes "Megatron" Calvin Johnson.

- Javon Walker, please stay off the field until you are healthy enough to contribute fantasy-wise. I haven't been teased this badly since the fourth grade, when someone discovered my last name is the same as a very popular corn oil with an annoying jingle.

- Would anyone have ever guessed before the season that Fred Taylor would have more rushing yards than MJD? You go, Triple F! (Formerly Fragile Freddy)

- So, let me get this straight: Chris Redman, the guy who couldn't hold off Kyle Boller in Baltimore, is the latest quarterback savior for the Falcons? Have you no shame at all, Bobby Petrino?

- I guess we can give Randy Moss a mulligan for dropping that pass in the end zone, even though he cost me an undefeated fantasy season in one of my leagues by doing so. However, his fashion sense is atrocious. The pin stripe suit he wore to the post game press conference went all the way to 11, if you know what I mean.