Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Checking in on my Fantasy Football Bold Predictions

The 2013 NFL and Fantasy Football seasons are in full swing.  Hard to believe we are almost 1/3rd of the way through the NFL season already - and more than 1/3rd of the way through most fantasy regular seasons that run 13 or 14 weeks.  I figured now was a good time to check back in on my pre-season "Bold Predictions" column and see how I'm doing. 

I forgot to mention in that Bold Predictions column that the scoring system I was basing the predictions on is standard, non-PPR scoring.  This is the most common scoring system for fantasy leagues and also the scoring system that my longest running league uses.  20 yards per point for QBs, 4pts per QB passing TD.  10 yards per point for rushing and receiving.  6pts for all rushing/receiving TDs. 

Now, let's see how good or bad my predictions are looking on a PASS/FAIL basis:

Arizona Cardinals:  I said that Larry Fitzgerald would end up as a top-3 fantasy WR this year now that the Cardinals had a semi-legit QB in Carson Palmer.  It's early, but this is looking like a poor prediction.  Fitz's numbers are about the same as they have been the last couple seasons - as he currently ranks as the 25th highest scoring fantasy WR.  Unless something major changes, I don't see him cracking the top 10.  FAIL

Atlanta Falcons:  I predicted that Steven Jackson would get hurt and finish outside the top 20 RBs.  Welp, the sun came up and Steven Jackson got hurt.  In the first quarter of week 2.  And hasn't played since.  Baring a crazy fantasy explosion in the 2nd half, I think I'll chalk this one up as a PASS.

Baltimore Ravens:  I predicted that Torrey Smith would end up as a top 15 WR.  Right now he is ranked 8th in WR fantasy points with 556 yards and 1TD through 5 games.  That yardage total ranks him 2nd at the WR position.  This prediction is looking very strong, as Smith no longer is super boom or bust, but has been surprisingly consistent.  Again, it's early, but we are going with a PASS.

Buffalo Bills:  The Bills offensive production has not gone as expected.  RB CJ Spiller has been mostly a disappointment and WR Stevie Johnson is barely rosterable.  Instead, it is the rookies who have impressed.  WR Robert Woods is off to a strong start with 265 yards, 2TDs and a 2pt conversion.  And rookie QB EJ Manuel was well on his way to making my prediction come true - that he would finish as a top 20 QB.  Unfortunately, Manuel suffered a sprained knee this past weekend and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.  Thus, FAIL.  What a shame, what a shame.

Carolina Panthers:  I said that rookie RB Kenjon Barner would eventually take over as the starting RB and emerge as a flex-worthy fantasy player.  DeAngelo Williams has been fine, so unless he gets hurt or really starts to struggle, I don't see this prediction coming true.  However, I can't give myself a fail after only 4 games, and truth be told, Barner was hurt until last week.  So this one is a WAIT and SEE.

Chicago Bears:  I predicted that Matt Forte, who was being drafted in the 11-15 range, would finish as a top 7 fantasy RB and should be drafted at the end of the 1st round.  Right now, Forte is 4th in fantasy points at the RB position.  So that would be a PASS.  As a side note, how about Alshon Jeffrey emerging?  We had a good laugh at our draft when someone kept Jeffrey as their only keeper in the 8th round.  Jeffrey is ranked 7th, yes 7th, in WR fantasy points thus far.  Wow.

Cincinnati Bengals:  I said to draft Giovanni Bernard early as he would eventually emerge as the go-to RB in Cincy.  Well, that pretty much has already happened.  While Green-Ellis leads Bernard in carries, they are actually tied in rushing yards (209), Bernard has over 100 more receiving yards and they both have 3 total TDs.  Trade FOR Bernard now, as his value will only increase, especially in keeper leagues.  PASS.

Cleveland Browns:  This is a hard one to grade.  I did hype up Josh Gordon, who since his suspension ended has performed like a top 10 WR.  But I also said that RB Trent Richardson would finish as a top 3 RB.  Now, Richardson has been fine, but he was also traded to the Colts after week 2.  And since the trade, he has been very average.  Because it has only been 5 games, I will go with a WAIT and SEE, but I'm guessing this will be a fail by the end of the season.

Dallas CowboysFAIL.  Get that out of the way early.  I said Dez Bryant would not live up to the hype, and he has returned the favor by performing as the TOP fantasy WR to date.  The only good thing is that I drafted him in a couple leagues, figuring he'd prove me wrong. 

Denver Broncos:  Let's start by saying WOW to Peyton Manning's performance.  20 TD passes, 1 INT and 1900 yards in 5 games?!?  He is crazy good.  I also think my prediction here should get a WOW as well.  I said that Knowshon Moreno would be the highest scoring Broncos RB.  At the time, Montee Ball was hyped as the next great rookie RB and Ronnie Hillman was labeled the "starter."  Well, Moreno is the 7th highest scoring fantasy RB right now with 69.8 points.  Ball and Hillman have combined for 40.  PASS.

Detroit Lions:  Nothing to see here, folks.  Other than maybe my worst prediction thus far.  I said Broyles would break out, to the tune of 80-1000-8 and finish as a top 20 WR.  Well, after starting the season hurt, he is finally healthy and NOT taking advantage of opportunities.  With Calvin Johnson sidelined last week, Broyles caught 2 passes for 27 yards.  He has 6 fantasy points this YEAR.  FAIL.

Green Bay Packers:  I went out on a limb here and said that Jonathan Franklin, not Eddie Lacy, would lead the team in RB fantasy points.  Now, this seems like an easy fail.  However, Lacy got banged up a few weeks back and when he did, Franklin stepped up with a big fantasy day.  Lacy has 21.9 fantasy points to Franklin's 16.7.  I'm gonna go with a WAIT and SEE here, thinking that if Lacy gets hurt again, Franklin could run with it.  Wishful thinking.

Houston Texans:  I predicted that Andre Johnson would have another healthy, studly season in 2013 and finish as a top 5 fantasy WR.  Currently, he has scored the 32nd most fantasy points at the WR position.  Not good.  However, he is 7th in receiving yards at the WR position. He just hasn't scored a TD.  Unfortunately, I don't see this improving much, as Matt Schaub has seemingly turned into Mark Sanchez.  I'm going with a FAIL - but not giving up entirely.

Indianapolis Colts:  Another tough one to grade here, as Trent Richardson has screwed up my prediction that Ahmad Bradshaw would finish as an underrated top 20-25 fantasy RB.  I am going to give myself a FAIL, mostly because Bradshaw is hurt and the injury has nothing to do with Richardson.  But as a side note, I did say that Andrew Luck would repeat his good rookie season and finish as a top 10 fantasy QB and Reggie Wayne would finish as a top 15 WR.  After 5 weeks, Luck is 7th and Wayne is 17th.  Not bad.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  YUCK.  FAIL.  Maybe the worst team in the history of the NFL here.  I did say I liked Blackmon after he returns from suspension (he returned last week and caught 5 balls for 136 yards and a TD).  But I also predicted RB Maurice Jones-Drew to have a top 10 fantasy season.  Let's just say he's not exactly on his way.

Kansas City Chiefs:  Maybe my worst 2 predictions in a row here.  I was right about liking the new Chiefs offense with Andy Reid as HC and Alex Smith at QB.  The Chiefs are 5-0 (a year after finishing 2-14) and Jamaal Charles may be the NPM (non-Peyton Manning) fantasy MVP thus far.  Unfortunately I also said that Dwayne Bowe was the Chiefs player I was most excited about and that he would finish as a top 10 WR.  FAIL.  He is barely startable in fantasy right now. 

Miami Dolphins:  Yikes, not picking up anytime soon here.  I said RB Lamar Miller would finish as a top 15 RB.  I thought the "splitting carries" talk with RB Daniel Thomas was a smoke screen.  After 5 games, the Dolphins continue to give Thomas carries despite his 2.6 yards per carry average.  This has limited Miller, who has looked like the MUCH better RB thus far.  I still have faith here, but I'm forced to give myself a FAIL, since Miller has only scored the 29th most points at the RB position.  Buy low.

Minnesota Vikings:  I had no faith in any Vikings fantasy players other than RB Adrian Peterson, so I "boldly" predicted that Peterson would be the top fantasy RB and also break the NFL rushing record.  Well, he's only played 4 games (Vikings had a BYE last week), but Peterson ranks 3rd in fantasy RB points.  So that #1 prediction is looking good.  However, he "only" has 421 rushing yards, an average of 105 per game.  Thus, he's not really on pace to break the rushing record and I have to give myself a FAIL here. 

New England PatriotsFAIL.  I said Tom Brady would still finish as a top 3 fantasy QB despite his lack of weapons.  After 5 games, he's 19th in QB fantasy points and the lack of weapons is clearly the reason.  In the first couple games, Patriots WRs were dropping passes at an alarming rate.  They have recovered, slightly, but it hasn't been enough.  It would take a Peyton Manning-like run for Brady to prove me right.  Hey, if anyone can do it....

New Orleans Saints:  If you are keeping track at home, that is 7 straight fails for me!  Well, it won't be 8, and that is thanks to superhuman TE Jimmy Graham.  I said Graham should be drafted in the 2nd round and would produce like a top WR.  Well, through 5 games, the highest scoring WR (Dez Bryant) has scored 76.3 fantasy points.  Jimmy Graham?  95.3!  That would be a PASS.

New York Giants:  I predicted that WR Rueben Randle would step up and finish as a top 30 WR despite being the 3rd WR on his own team.  The prediction wasn't looking great until last week when Randle caught 2 TD passes.  But points are points, and right now, Randle has the 34th most WR fantasy points.  I see the trend continuing and that would be a PASS.

New York Jets:  What a win last night!  Maybe I underestimated the Jets when I said they wouldn't have a single player finish as a "starter" in a standard fantasy league - meaning no top 10 QB, top 25 RB or top 30 WR.  Right now,  QB Geno Smith ranks 14th in QB scoring, RB Bilal Powell ranks 14th in RB scoring and WR Santonio Holmes ranks 50th in WR scoring.  I guess that is a FAIL for me right now.  However, I'll double down on this bet.  No way Geno climbs into the top 10 or that a guy named BILAL stays in the top 25.  Book it.

Oakland Raiders:  This is a nice win here.  I said that QB Terrelle Pryor would win the starting QB job by week 6 (he won it in the preseason) and that he would put up Cam Newton-like numbers, be a regular bye-week fill-in QB the 2nd half of the season, and drafted as a top 15 guy next year.  Pryor currently has the 20th most QB fantasy points and I can only see that improving.  Pass.

Philadelphia Eagles:  Another nice win, as I said RB Lesean McCoy would thrive under Chip Kelly and finish as a top-3 fantasy RB.  McCoy is currently the 2nd highest scoring RB, just behind Jamaal Charles.  I don't see that changing much, if at all.  PASS.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  0-4.  That's a win in my book any day of the week!  Oh, yeah, we are talking about the predictions.  I said Emmanuel Sanders would finish as the Steelers top WR over Antonio Brown.  Wrong now, and likely wrong by the end of the year too.  FAIL.

San Diego Chargers:  He got me again!  Damn you, Ryan Mathews!  I said he'd finally stay healthy and make me look dumb for dropping him in a keeper league.  Well, he was just dropped again in that keeper league, this time in mid-season!  You know that cannot be good.  FAIL.

San Francisco 49ers:  I have never been more angry about being right in my life!  I said QB Colin Kaepernick would be drafted as a top 8 QB but finish outside the top 15.  Unfortunately, I decided to hedge my bet here and draft him in my longest running fantasy league as my starter.  Predictably, he ranks outside the top 20 right now and looks every bit the game manager that Alex Smith was in San Fran.  PASS (but I'm not happy about it).

Seattle Seahawks:  I predicated that Golden Tate would step up for the injured Percy Harvin and put up top 20 fantasy numbers for the 1st half of the season.  Tate currently is the 38th highest scoring fantasy WR.  So this is a FAIL...but not necessarily by much.  A couple good weeks in a row for Tate (who looked great last week), and he becomes a fantasy starter.

St. Louis RamsFAIL.  I really, really liked RB Daryl Richardson to emerge as a fantasy star, predicting that he'd hang onto the starting RB gig and finish as a top 20 option.  However, he seems to have lost that gig, and the Rams backfield is a complete mess.  They are now starting Zach Stacy at RB, and Richardson will only continue to lose carries.

Tampa Bay Bucs:  I predicted that Vincent Jackson would continue to fly under the radar as a top 5 fantasy WR.  That hasn't happened.  He has been extremely average so far and now has an unproven rookie QB at the helm.  I'm hoping he ends up proving me right, since I drafted him in a few leagues, but right now this is a FAIL.

Tennessee Titans:  Chris Johnson, I just cannot quit you!  I said he's finally underrated and would finish as a top 10 fantasy RB.  Johnson still ranks 18th in fantasy points at the RB position, but he looks really awful running the ball.  He would rank much worse, but he caught a shuffle pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday and took it 49 yards to the house.  If he can't run the ball, he can't finish top 10.  FAIL.

Washington Redskins:  I predicted that QB Robert Griffin III would have an Adrian Peterson-like bounce back from ACL surgery and finish as a top 5 fantasy QB.  As of now, I have to give this a FAIL.  RGIII looked timid and average the first 2 games of the season, and with a BYE last week, he ranks nowhere near the top 5.  I did draft him in a bunch of leagues though, so here's to hoping he breaks out!

Lots of FAILS, some PASSES and a few WAIT and SEES.  I'll check back most likely at the end of the season to give myself a final grade.

P.S.  Mike McCarthy is 0-1 on his predictions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bold Predictions: Fantasy Football 2013

The 2013 NFL season is about to begin in a couple weeks and that means fantasy football drafts are in full swing.  I start my drafting this Saturday and figured what better way to sabotage all my picks than to post a blog about fantasy football.  I did this same thing last year, and it was BY FAR the most popular blog post I've done.  Thankfully, my friends STILL do not read my blog, so I do not have to worry about giving away my draft secrets!

Again, props to ESPN's Matthew Berry, as this post is basically a combination of his "Love/Hate" and "You Heard Me" columns.  So, without further ado, my bold predictions for Fantasy Football 2013, team by team:

Arizona Cardinals:  The Cardinals made some major off season changes, including bringing in a QB who should finally be able to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald.  With Fitzgerald, no one ever questioned his skills, just the skills of his QBs.  Now with Carson Palmer at the helm, I think Fitz is ready to return to top tier status.  Larry Fitzgerald will end the season as a top 3 fantasy WR. 

Atlanta Falcons:  Once again, the Falcons are loaded on offense with fantasy weapons.  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez make up one of the most prolific passing attacks in the NFL.  This year, however, they added Steven Jackson to take the offense to the next level.  Everyone is on the "SJax" hype train....but me.  Steven Jackson, most likely due to injuries, will finish outside the top 20 fantasy RBs. 

Baltimore Ravens:  After winning the Super Bowl last year, you would think the Ravens would be full of fantasy stars.  However, only one member of the Ravens is regularly drafted in the first 5 rounds this year - Ray Rice.  I made the prediction that Torrey Smith would be a top 20 fantasy WR last year, and I was wrong.  So let's double down - Torrey Smith will finish as a top 15 fantasy WR in 2013.

Buffalo Bills:  CJ Spiller is the big fantasy name on the Bills this year.  In mostly a split role last season, Spiller broke out and is now being drafted as a consensus top 10 fantasy pick.  I agree with the consensus and think he will finish as a top 6-8 fantasy RB.  However, that isn't bold.  Instead, I'll say that rookie QB EJ Manuel will win the starting job and finish as a top 20 fantasy QB; meaning he should be drafted in fantasy leagues and used as a backup/bye week replacement.  Big potential.

Carolina Panthers:  Not much to love about the Panthers in fantasy outside of Cam Newton, who remains a solid option at QB.  Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have been teasing us with fantasy potential for years, but neither has proved to be a reliable fantasy starter.  Therefore, I will say that rookie RB Kenjon Barner from Oregon will eventually take over as the starter and will be flex worthy the last 1/3rd of the season.  Don't draft him, but keep an eye on his carries week to week.

Chicago Bears:  With new head coach Marc Trestman at the helm, I think the Bears will focus a bit more on a balanced offensive attack; meaning that Matt Forte should get more work than he has in the past.  As a result, I see Forte finishing as a top 7 fantasy RB.  Right now, he is being drafted in the 11-15 range among RBs.  Take him at the end of the 1st round.

Cincinnati Bengals:  Love the potential of shifty speedster rookie Giovanni Bernard.  Unfortunately, I fear the Bengals are going to stick with BenJarvus Green-Ellis as their starter for far too long, making Bernard only an RB4 type of back.  That said, grab him earlier in drafts, as I can see a big second half leading to Bernard being a fantastic option for keeper leagues going into next year. 

Cleveland Browns:  I think the Browns could be a good source of fantasy points this year.  I wouldn't go near QB Brandon Weeden in fantasy, but I do like WR Josh Gordon later in drafts (once his suspension ends) and I LOVE RB Trent Richardson in his 2nd full NFL season.  Last year, he dealt with some early injuries, and again he has some of those concerns this season.  However, that isn't going to stop me from saying that Richardson will finish as a top 3 fantasy RB.

Dallas Cowboys:  Everyone LOVES Dez Bryant this year.  In the 2nd half of last season, he was the top fantasy WR.  It would seem that he has put any issues behind him and finally is ready to take his place at the top of the WR charts.  I disagree.  I think Bryant will go back to his injury-riddled, immature ways and finish outside the top 10 WRs.  Doesn't seem bold?  Right now, he's being drafted as the #2 WR in drafts!

Denver Broncos:  Lots to like here as well.  Manning and his WRs should all have big seasons.  But it's the RBs that are questionable.  Will Montee Ball take the bull by the horns and run away with the starting gig?  I don't think so.  There is enough uncertainty right now in the Broncos backfield for me to make this prediction:  RB Knowshon Moreno, yes, him, will lead the Broncos RBs in fantasy points in 2013. 

Detroit Lions:  Man, that Titus Young prediction worked out well for me last year, huh?  Instead of cutting my losses, I'm going to double down again.  Only this time on WR Ryan Broyles.  With Stafford throwing the ball 700+ times a season, someone other than Calvin Johnson has to catch passes.  This year it'll be Broyles, to the tune of 80-1000-8 and a finish among the top 20 fantasy WRs. 

Green Bay Packers:  The Packers have a ton of weapons, I'm just not sure that equates to big fantasy seasons for any one player (other than QB Aaron Rodgers, of course).  That said, I'll go out on a limb and say that rookie RB Jonathan Franklin, not Eddie Lacy, will lead the Packers in fantasy points from the RB position and will be a flex worthy player the 2nd half of the season.

Houston Texans:  WR Andre Johnson had a nice bounce back season last year, and I do not think it was a fluke.  I see the trend continuing, and AJ finishing as a top 5 fantasy WR.  He is being drafted around 10th at the position.  So jump him early and thank me later. 

Indianapolis Colts:  Wow, what a season for Andrew Luck and the Colts last year.  Luck pretty much brought the team and Reggie Wayne back to relevance.  I think he does it again, as I would take Luck among the top 10 fantasy QBs and Wayne in the top 15 for fantasy WRs.  However, it's Ahmad Bradshaw who I think is being overlooked in drafts.  The Colts didn't sign him to sit him on the bench.  I see him being an underrated top 20-25 fantasy RB this season. 

Jacksonville Jaguars:  I would have loved to predict that Justin Blackmon breaks out and finishes as a top 10 WR.  However, the knucklehead went and got himself suspended for the first 4 games (I still like him later in drafts, after you have 4 or so WRs on your roster).  The Jaguar who is being overlooked this year is Maurice Jones-Drew.  Remember him?  The guy who lead the NFL in rushing just 2 years ago?  I'd happily draft him in the mid-2nd round, as I believe he finishes as a top 10 fantasy RB. 

Kansas City Chiefs:  Andy Reid is the new man in charge in KC this year, and so it stands to reason that the offense will drastically improve.  Many are excited about RB Jamaal Charles.  After all, with Andy Reid as the HC, Lesean McCoy had many great seasons for the Eagles.  I do like Charles, and would happily draft him in the 2nd half of the 1st round.  However, the guy I'm most excited about is WR Dwayne Bowe.  With new QB Alex Smith in town, I think Bowe is finally ready to shine.  Put him down for 1200 yards and 10 TDs, good for top 10 WR status.

Miami Dolphins:  The Dolphins have some promising weapons.  QB Ryan Tannenhill should improve in his 2nd year as starter and the Dolphins brought in WR Mike Wallace to help him out.  While I'm not a big fan of either of them, I do love 2nd year RB Lamar Miller.  The Dolphins keep saying that Miller and RB Daniel Thomas will split carries, but I think that is BS.  Look for Miller to grab the starting gig and never look back.  Lamar Miller finishes 2013 as a top 15 RB. 

Minnesota Vikings:  Adrian Peterson will be drafted 1st in every draft I participate in!  Just kidding.  I mean, he will, but that's not a bold prediction.  Other than AP, there is not much to love about the Vikings offense, in real life or fantasy.  So let's stick with AP - he will not only finish as the top fantasy RB, but he will break the NFL record for rushing yards in a season, as he almost did last year.  Draft him first and do not think twice about it.

New England Patriots:  No Wes Welker, no Aaron Hernandez, a banged up Rob Gronkowski and no Danny Woodhead.  Man, the Patriots are going to suck this year!  Only kidding.  If anyone is still doubting Tom Brady at this point, they are nuts.  But apparently people are doubting him, because I have seen Brady fall as far as the 5th or 6th round in fantasy drafts, being drafted behind young guys like RGIII, Kaepernick and others.  That is a mistake.  Tom Terrific will finish as a top 3 fantasy QB in 2013.  Even without the old weapons.

New Orleans Saints:  The Saints are getting kinda boring, no?  I mean Drew Brees is awesome.  Marques Colston is a solid WR2.  Darren Sproles is great in PPR leagues and pretty solid in regular leagues. Etc., etc., etc.  I purposely left out Jimmy Graham, because that dude is anything but boring.  He is basically a fantasy #1 WR from the TE position.  And that is pretty amazing.  I would happily draft Jimmy Graham in round 2 of a 10 team league, as my first WR.  He is that good.  And he will absolutely finish as the #1 fantasy TE in 2013. 

New York Giants:  Victor Cruz is awesome.  Hakeem Nicks is great.  But it's Rueben Randle that I want to discuss, because I think he will finish as a top 30 WR even though he's 3rd on his own team.  Let's face it, Cruz and Nicks cannot stay healthy.  And when they go down, it'll be Randle who steps up.  I can see 1000 yards and 6-8 TDs.

New York Jets:  No offense to my friends who like the Jets, but my bold prediction is that not a single New York Jets player finishes as a fantasy starter at any position.  No top 10 QB, no top 25 RB and no top 30 WR.  I doubt you'll find a Jets player on any of my 6 fantasy teams this year.

Oakland Raiders:  I pushed all my chips into the middle of the table on Darren McFadden last year and now I feel silly.  The guy is so talented but just cannot stay healthy.  So I'm avoiding him this year - maybe RB3 but nothing more.  Instead, I will go really bold and say that QB Terrelle Pryor will win the starting job by week 6 and will put up Cam Newton-like points.  Pryor will be a regular bye-week fill-in QB the 2nd half of the season, and someone drafted among the top 15 QBs next year. 

I'm getting long winded, so let's go rapid fire for these last few teams:

Philadelphia Eagles:  Lesean McCoy will thrive in Chip Kelly's offense and finish as a top 3 fantasy RB.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  Emmanuel Sanders, not Antonio Brown, will be the Steelers top WR and finish among the top 20 overall. 

San Diego Chargers:  Ryan Mathews will make me look stupid for dropping him in a keeper league, will finally stay healthy and finish as a top 15 RB.

San Francisco 49ers:  Colin Kaepernick will be drafted as a top 8 QB but finish outside the top 15.  Stay away. 

Seattle Seahawks:  Golden Tate will step up with Percy Harvin sidelined and put up WR2 numbers the first half of the season.

St. Louis Rams:  Daryl Richardson will hang onto the starting RB gig and post top 20 RB numbers all year.

Tampa Bay Bucs:  Vincent Jackson will continue to fly under the radar as a top 5 fantasy WR.

Tennessee Titans:  Chris Johnson is now finally underrated after a couple disappointing seasons - he will finish among the top 10 fantasy RBs in 2013.

Washington Redskins:  RGIII will have an Adrian Peterson-like bounce back from ACL surgery (thanks, HydroWorx!) and finish as a top 5 fantasy QB. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Shots of Jame-O: Welcome Back

Let's just pretend that I have been writing blog posts a few times a week since last October and jump right in without a mention of the 8-month silence....


Well, it's the "dog days" of summer in the sports world and in Major League Baseball, which means two things:  (1) it's too early to get really excited (Pirates fans!) or worried (Dodgers fans!) about records, and (2) baseball is the only sport active right now so we are forced to get overly excited and worried.  I thought about using this paragraph to make predictions for the season, but again, it's July.  Who cares?  I will say this, the last time I wrote on this blog I was comparing the two best players in the American League, and probably the entire MLB.  Not much has changed.  Mike Trout is having another awesome season, but he's being dwarfed by Miguel Cabrera, who after yesterday's game, has these stats through July 11th:  .366/.457/.682 - 71R - 30HR - 94RBI.  I'm no stats guru, but I'm pretty sure those numbers are good.  Like good enough for an entire season.  And he has 72 GAMES left.

As for other teams, well, I've been impressed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Sure, they are slumping a bit in July, which reminds everyone of the last 2 seasons when they started hot and then fell into the Arctic Enema and missed the playoffs.  But come on, they can't fall below .500 and miss the playoffs again.  Right?  Right?  Ruben Amaro seems to think the Phillies can still compete and wants to buy instead of sell at the trade deadline.  Sorry Phillies' fans, but it's time to move on.  Your roster looks almost the same as 6 years ago.  That's not a good thing.  Howard can't stay upright.  Literally, because his legs are always broken.  Utley/Rollins are good, but old.  Dominic Brown and maybe Cole Hamels are the only building blocks left. I say trade Utley and Cliff Lee for some prospects.

Ah, what the hell - World Series prediction:  Tigers over the Reds in 6 (Jinx alert).

NFL/Fantasy Football:

Coming Soon.  Too early.  Sorry.


You know I am always watching TV shows, so here is a report on some of the good ones that have recently debuted or will be premiering soon:

Ray Donovan - Showtime - Sundays, 10pm:  Ray Donovan, the name of the show and also of the show's main character (played by Liev Schreiber), is a Hollywood "fixer", employed by two high-powered entertainment lawyers to clean up messes created by celebrity clients.  The show is very much a "guy" show - Ray is a badass with a messy family who hail from Boston (with pretty awful Boston accents).  Ray's dad (Jon Voight) plays an ex-con recently released from prison who resumes his role as father of the year, flying to L.A. to blow coke with Ray's addict brother Bunchy and generally wreak havoc in Ray's life.  "Ray Donovan" is definitely a show worth watching.  Just don't ask your girlfriend/fiancĂ©/wife to watch with you.  I learned that the hard way.

The Bridge - FX - Wednesdays, 10pm:   Serial killer drama set in El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico.  The story revolves around a dead body that is found on the bridge connecting the two cities - only the top half of the body is in the US and the bottom half in Mexico.  I've only seen the pilot, and I liked it a lot.  Fair warning, the female lead (Diane Kruger) has Asperger's and plays it up, so she may seem a little annoying at first.  Stick with it - all the reviews I've read are great.

Under the Dome - CBS - Mondays, 10pm:  Not really my bag, but I watched the first couple of episodes so I thought it was worth mentioning.  Plot - a giant dome falls over a small town, essentially trapping everyone inside.  It might be the government who did it, might not.  There are some weird conspiracies going on inside.  And it's based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.  Give it a try and see if you like it more than I do.  I really only watched it in the first place because of Dean Norris aka Hank on "Breaking Bad".

Suits - USA - Tuesdays, 10pm:  Suits is not a new show by any means - I think next Tuesday is the premiere of the 3rd season.  But it's worth a mention because it's a really fun show and not much else is on in the summer.  You can probably catch up On Demand or on Netflix if you want, but this is a show you could jump right into without feeling lost.  The main characters are lawyers at a high profile NYC law firm, one a Harvard grad and partner of the firm; the other a former genius/stoner without a law degree who happened to be at the right place at the right time and is now an associate at the law firm.  Typical USA show, meaning it's not going to win any awards.  But it is definitely worth the watch. 

Breaking Bad - AMC - Sunday, August 11th at 9pm:  And last, but certainly not least, the premiere of the final 8 episodes of "Breaking Bad".  If you are not already watching this show, shame on you.  Netflix has the first 4 seasons and may or may not have the first 8 episodes of the final season by the time the premiere airs.  Either way, get caught up ASAP on the best show on TV and top 5 greatest TV dramas of all time.  You have about a month. 

See you in 8 months....