Thursday, October 30, 2014

Checking in on my Fantasy Football Bold Predictions

It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through the 2014 NFL season already!  And with that, we are MORE than halfway through the fantasy football season.  That means it’s time to check in on my preseason “bold predictions” for each NFL team.  I’m not sure if I said this before, but when I make these predictions I have a standard scoring system in mind:  1pt for 20 yards passing, 4pt passing TDs; 1pt for 10 yards rushing/receiving, 6pt rushing/receiving TDs.  No points per reception.  And I reference the scoring from my long running “Daddy Daycare” league – which uses that “standard” scoring system.  
So, with that said, let’s see how poorly I’ve done so far using a PASS/FAIL/WAIT and SEE approach…
Arizona Cardinals:  My prediction:  WR Michael Floyd will overtake Larry Fitzgerald and finish as a top 15 fantasy WR.  This was looking half-decent until last week when Floyd put up a goose egg (screwing me over in 2 fantasy leagues in the process).  There is still time for him to break out in the 2nd half of the season now that Carson Palmer is healthy, but he’s 49th overall at the position right now.  FAIL
Atlanta Falcons:  My prediction:  WR Julio Jones will stay healthy and finish as the top scoring fantasy WR.  He currently is 10th overall at the WR position and will need a big second half to get to #1.  But it’s possible, and 10th overall is still pretty darn good.  So I’m going with WAIT and SEE. 
Baltimore Ravens:  My prediction:  RB Bernard Pierce will grab the starting RB gig from Ray Rice during his suspension and finish as a top 20 fantasy RB.  Well, SOMEONE grabbed the starting RB gig from Ray Rice during his suspension and is currently the 8th highest scoring RB in fantasy.  Unfortunately, that’s Justin Forsett, not Pierce.  And Pierce was a healthy scratch last week.  FAIL
Buffalo Bills:  My prediction:  Rookie WR Sammy Watkins will finish outside of the top 30 WRs in fantasy.  He’s currently 12th.  He’s a stud, so let’s cut to the chase:  FAIL
Carolina Panthers: My prediction:  Rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin will be a better value than Sammy Watkins and finish as a top 30 WR.  While it may be true that Benjamin is the 13th highest scoring WR, 1 spot behind Watkins, he is firmly inside the top 30 and should remain there all season.  PASS
Chicago Bears:  My prediction:  RB Matt Forte will finish the season as the #1 fantasy RB.  He is currently 3rd, only behind Demarco Murray and his crazy awesome season, and a point behind Arian Foster.  Forte, by far, has the best health track record among these 3 RBs and therefore I’m going to say he still has a legit chance of finishing #1.  PASS
Cincinnati Bengals:  My prediction:  The change in offensive schemes will have a negative impact on WR AJ Green and he will finish outside the top 10 fantasy WRs.  Well, injuries have derailed Green’s season moreso than any change in offensive scheme. However, even when healthy, Green was not putting up top 10 numbers.  He almost certainly will not finish inside the top 10 even if he returns this week and plays awesome.  Therefore, I’m being generous and going with a PASS.
Cleveland Browns:  My prediction:  RB Ben Tate won’t stay healthy, opening the door for rookie RB Terrance West to emerge as a top 25 fantasy RB.  This prediction was looking SO good early in the season.  Tate started the year on the shelf, and West looked great early on, scoring over 35 fantasy points the first 3 weeks of the season.  Since then, Tate has returned, and the other rookie RB Isaiah Crowell has entered the mix.  I could cheat here and say that West is currently only 20 points away from the top 25.  However, he’s scored a TOTAL of 6 points the last 4 weeks.  He’s not the Browns rookie RB you want.  FAIL
Dallas Cowboys:  My prediction:  The Cowboys will have top 10 fantasy performers at QB, RB, WR and TE.  Also, WR Terrance Williams will finish as a top 20 WR.  I guess this is really like 5 predictions in 1, and frankly they are all looking pretty good:  Tony Romo is currently the 12th highest scoring QB, Demarco Murray is the highest scoring RB, Dez Bryant is the 8th highest scoring WR and Jason Witten is the 12th highest scoring TE.  Also, Terrance Williams is the 17th highest scoring WR.  That is a big, emphatic PASS.
Denver Broncos:  My prediction:  RB Montee Ball will finish the season as a top 5 fantasy RB.  Really happy I hung my fantasy hat on this one as well.  FAIL
Detroit Lions:  My prediction:  WR Golden Tate will finish as a top 15 fantasy WR.  Boom, roasted.  I nailed this one, as Tate is currently the 7th highest scoring fantasy WR.  It will be interesting to see how he performs once Calvin Johnson is healthy, but I don’t see any reason for him to fall out of the top 15.  PASS
Green Bay Packers:  My prediction:  WR Randall Cobb will break out and have a top 10 fantasy WR season.  I nailed this one as well.  Cobb is currently the 2nd highest scoring fantasy WR and if you think that’s a fluke, consider that WR Jordy Nelson is 4th.  There are plenty of targets to go around in Green Bay.  PASS
Houston Texans:  My prediction:  Well, I had a lot of them.  I said RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson would both bounce back and have top 10 seasons at their respective positions.  Foster is on track, Johnson is not.  I also said that the Texas D/ST would finish as the #1 scoring unit in the league; they are currently 5th.  And finally, I said that WR DeAndre Hopkins would break out and finish as a top 20 fantasy WR.  Hopkins is currently the 18th highest scoring fantasy WR and his stock is tracking up.  PASS
Indianapolis Colts:  My prediction:  RB Trent Richardson bounces back and finishes as a top 10 fantasy RB.  Richardson has actually looked better this year, but the presence of Ahmad Bradshaw (currently the 5th highest scoring RB!) has kept him in check.  Well, that and the fact that he just isn’t that good.  Richardson is actually the 23rd highest scoring RB right now and frankly, an injury to Bradshaw could push him significantly higher on the list.  But for now, facts are facts.  FAIL
Jacksonville Jaguars:  My prediction:  RB Toby Gerhart will finish as a top 15 fantasy RB.  This was bad.  Like, really bad.  Gerhart has been banged up, but even when healthy, he’s looked awful.  And now RB/WR Denard Robinson has taken over the gig and doesn’t appear to be looking back.  This one hurt me in fantasy as well.  FAIL
Kansas City Chiefs:  My prediction:  RB Jamaal Charles will finish outside of the top 15 fantasy RBs.  I’ll be honest; when I did my prediction for the Chiefs I had absolutely nothing to go on.  I decided to just randomly predict that Charles wouldn’t be good this year, even though I had no reasons or stats to back it up.  Well, I got lucky.  Charles has dealt with a few injuries and mixed in some disappointing performances.  All of that adds up to Charles being the 15th highest scoring fantasy RB right now.  Considering he was drafted as a top 3 pick in EVERY league, I think this qualifies as a PASS.  However, I expect it to be a fail by the end of the season….
Miami Dolphins:  My prediction:  RB Lamar Miller will hold off Knowshon Moreno and finish as a top 15 fantasy RB.  It took a Moreno injury, but nevertheless Miller has been great this year.  He’s currently the 12th highest scoring fantasy RB, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he finished in the top 10.  He’s legit.  PASS
Minnesota Vikings:  My prediction:  PAIN.  Ok, that wasn’t my prediction here.  But it might as well have been.  Not only did I say that I still liked RB Adrian Peterson as the #1 overall pick, but I also said that WR Cordarelle Patterson and TE Kyle Rudolph would both finish in the top 10 at their positions.  Ouch.  We all know the story on Peterson by now.  And Rudolph got hurt, which is a semi-excuse.  But man, Patterson has been super disappointing.  They finally got him more involved last week, but too little too late.  FAIL
New England Patriots:  My prediction:  Don’t draft TE Rob Gronkowski because he won’t finish as a top 10 TE and you’ll need to draft him in round 3 or 4.  Man, this was looking SO good…until last week.  Gronk is finally healthy, and I don’t think anything can stop him other than another fluke injury.  Before last week, Gronk was hovering around the top 10.  Now, he’s #1.  A 9-149-3 line will do that.  FAIL
New Orleans Saints:  My prediction:  Draft your Saints early and often because QB Drew Brees will finish as the #1 QB, WR Marques Colston as a top 20 WR, rookie WR Brandin Cooks a top 30 WR, RB Pierre Thomas a top 20 RB and TE Jimmy Graham as the #1 TE.  Not good.  The Saints have struggled as a team, and therefore so have their fantasy options.  Brees is 11th, Colston isn’t in the top 50, Thomas is 35th and Graham is 8th.  Only Brandin Cooks, inside the top 25 WRs, has made me look good.  That’s not enough.  FAIL
New York Giants:  My prediction:  WR Victor Cruz returns to elite status and finishes as a top 10 fantasy WR.  Nope.  Not only is Cruz out for the season with an injury, but he was struggling even before the injury.  Move along, nothing to see here.  FAIL
New York Jets:  My prediction:  I’m not even sure I can type this without my keyboard catching on fire and burning down my house.  I said that RB Chris Johnson, yes, THAT Chris Johnson, would finish as a top 10 fantasy RB.  He’s barely in the top 50 right now, and with RB Chris Ivory currently the 8th highest scoring fantasy RB, I don’t see Johnson improving.  FAIL
Oakland Raiders:  My prediction:  RB Latavius Murray will end up leading the Raiders RBs in fantasy points.  Well, certainly this cannot qualify as a pass right now.  However, I’m not going to call it a fail either.  Jones-Drew is basically irrelevant now, with less than 9 TOTAL fantasy points to date.  McFadden has a decent 55, but that ranks just inside the top 30.  The Raiders are winless, and I could totally see them starting to work Murray in more often.  We are going with a WAIT and SEE here.  I still have faith.
Philadelphia Eagles:  My prediction:  TE Zach Ertz will finish as a top 5 fantasy TE.  I also hinted at WR Jeremy Maclin finishing as a top 15 fantasy WR, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on that one because of his injury history.  Bad mistake, as he’s currently the 5th highest scoring WR!  Oh, as for my actual prediction, it hasn’t been a good one so far.  Chip Kelly just doesn’t feature the TE in his offense.  Hence Ertz’ place as the 13th highest scoring fantasy TE to date.  I can’t see him climbing into the top 5.  FAIL
Pittsburgh Steelers:  My prediction:  WR Antonio Brown finishes as a top 5 fantasy WR.  He is currently #1.  So yeah, I think this one deserves a PASS.
San Diego Chargers:  My prediction:  WR Keenan Allen will finish as a top 10 fantasy WR and RB Ryan Mathews will struggle to be fantasy relevant.  Ok, so the Allen prediction was the real one, but I had to mention Mathews since I kinda got that one right.  But back to Allen and his disappointing first half of the season.  He had a nice game last week, but even if he continues that pace for the remainder of the season, there is no way he’s cracking the top 10.  FAIL
San Francisco 49ers:  My prediction:  WR Michael Crabtree will greatly exceed his draft value and finish as a top 10 fantasy WR.  And of course, I drafted him based on this prediction.  Not a great decision.  He’s barely useable in fantasy right now, even as a flex.  I do like him to have a better second half, but no chance he gets into the top 10.  FAIL
Seattle Seahawks:  My prediction:  WR Percy Harvin will finish outside of the top 30 fantasy WRs.  The fact that the Seahawks traded him to the Jets for a bag of peanuts is all you need to know about this prediction.  Harvin has been nothing short of a disaster from a fantasy perspective (and pretty much a real life one as well).  I don’t see things improving with the Michael Vick led Jets.  PASS
St. Louis Rams:  My prediction:  RB Zach Stacy isn’t worth his draft stock (top 15 RB) and will fight with rookie RB Tre Mason for carries as the season wears on.  I might give myself two passes for this one.  A few weeks back the Rams started giving Mason carries, and while he is far from a workhorse lead back, he definitely has the upper hand at the RB position.  In fact, Stacy is probably 3rd on the depth chart behind both Mason and Benny Cunningham.  PASS
Tampa Bay Bucs:  My prediction:  RB Doug Martin isn’t any good and will finish outside of the top 20 fantasy RBs.  I gotta say, I’m doing better on these predictions that I thought I would.  Martin has been the definition of average this season.  He’s been banged up a little, but that is certainly not an excuse for his poor performance.  Tiny RB Bobby Rainey has outperformed Martin on less touches.  And now rookie RB Charles Sims is coming off the IR.  Like Stacy in St. Louis, Martin is likely now 3rd on the Bucs depth chart at RB.  I don’t see him bouncing back.  PASS
Tennessee Titans:  My prediction:  RB Shonn Greene will hang onto the starting RB job and post top 25 RB numbers.  I have no idea why I predicted this.  I even drafted Greene in multiple fantasy leagues.  Turrible.  As everyone ELSE predicted, rookie RB Bishop Sankey has taken over the starting RB job and Greene isn’t even rosterable in fantasy.  FAIL
Washington Redskins:  My prediction:  RGIII will be the 2nd highest scoring player in all of fantasy football.  This was another one where I had no clue what to predict and went with this ridiculous prediction that I never, ever, ever thought would happen.  Massive FAIL
I have to say, I did a lot better with these then I remembered.   Certainly, some are still up in the air and others that I called a PASS could quickly turn into a FAIL.  But all in all, not bad.
I may or may not check back in on these at the end of the season.  Maybe I’ll just touch on them briefly in a future blog post on the Daddy Daycare league, because that league needs its own post at this point.  Who knew that expanding to 12 teams would changes things up so drastically?!  Stay tuned, and good luck the rest of the season!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The "Next Best" and new(ish) TV dramas you need to watch

As promised, below is a list of shows that I really, really like, but that couldn’t crack the top 10.  The “Next Best” list, if you will.  The same caveats apply here – these are mostly shows from the 21st century, I’m only briefly commenting on why I liked the show or didn’t quite like it enough to make the top 10 and I’ll, of course, avoid spoilers.  In no particular order….

Six Feet Under:

Another HBO show (this makes 6 including the top 10), Six Feet Under, while awesome, is just a notch below the others.  This might be the darkest of the HBO stalwarts, and rightfully so considering the show is based on a family that owns, operates and lives on the property of a funeral home.  Two great performances by Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause, actors who also star/starred in other shows on this list.


Perhaps there is a theme here, seeing as though Justified is the story of Raylan Givens, a throwback wild west US Marshall, played by actor Timothy Olyphant who also starred in Deadwood.  Or maybe great actors just tend to make the shows they star in great.  Either way, Justified is a very cool show, with a crazy good supporting performance by Walton Goggins, who, surprise surprise, starred in The Shield. 


Lost is an example of the network model really hurting a quality show.  By being a network show (and for those of you who don’t know what that means, it just means a show that airs on one of the big 4 networks – CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC), Lost typically aired 20-24 episodes per season.  As a result, a lot of Lost episodes were lacking, as the show used the larger episode order to focus on specific characters and their backgrounds; often a weak point for the show.  Nevertheless, it makes this list, which means I really liked it.  I had no problem whatsoever with the fact that Lost introduced many, many mysteries that ultimately went unsolved; probably the biggest complaint you’ll hear about the show.

The West Wing:

This is certainly the oldest show on the list, having aired from 1999 to 2006.  But it still holds up fairly well, and is the staple show that all future shows about politics and the White House would try to live up to.  Great dialogue and performances all around, with creator Aaron Sorkin at the top of his game.  It’s another network show, so you won’t get the sex/language/violence that you’ll see on a newer politically charged show like House of Cards (Netflix), but ultimately I don’t think that hurt The West Wing. 

The Good Wife:

Here is another show that I had virtually no interest in watching, kept hearing it was good and then finally gave in and played catch up.  A quality legal drama that mixes in enough other stuff to stay interesting, and has ongoing storylines that keep it from being your typical CBS “procedural” where each episode has its own story that concludes at episode’s end.  Once again, great performances, this time by Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, Chris Noth and others, and probably the show that utilizes the best guest performances/actors (especially great guest actors as recurring judges).  This is another network show, so there are A LOT of episodes to catch up on, but they are a “quick watch.”


Homeland, of all the shows on this “Next Best” list probably had the best shot to crack the top 10.  Season 1 was amazing and most of season 2 was just as good.  But the show dipped a bit towards the end of season 2, and then struggled in season 3 when it couldn’t decide what to do with one of its main characters.  Homeland has just the right combination of terrorism and CIA spy stuff that if Season 4 regains the show’s early momentum, I may have to revisit my top 10 at some point down the road. 

Sons of Anarchy:

If you liked The Shield, then you are likely to enjoy SOA.  It was created by Kurt Sutter, who was a staff writer for The Shield, and wrote most of the crazy, effed up scenes/episodes from that show’s run, which is very evident here. I never thought I’d enjoy a show about biker gangs, but again, that’s judging a book by its cover.  The show mixes the violence surrounding biker gangs with some good family drama, and has arguably the worst mother character of all time in Gemma Teller (Katey Segal).  And by worst, I mean she’s a horrible and nasty person (it’s a great performance). 


Parenthood is basically Friday Night Lights, but instead of high school football, you have a big nuclear family and all of its drama.  It’s created by Jason Katims, the same guy who created FNL, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  I’m not sure this is a show for everyone – if you love Breaking Bad, Sopranos, 24, etc., then you likely will find Parenthood lacking.  There’s no violence or suspense.  Instead, it’s just a great family drama with interesting performances.  Rumor has it the show is also a major tear jerker. But of course I wouldn’t know that because I’m a manly man who doesn’t cry….


Likely the least popular show on this list by far, Treme is a barely watched show set in a post-Katrina New Orleans.  If you asked me to describe the plot, this is pretty much all I could come up with: the show follows multiple characters around in their life after Hurricane Katrina.  Clearly, not much happens plot wise, but Treme is still a super fun show to watch.  The performances are great – it was created by David Simon, the same guy who created The Wire – so there are a lot of the same actors from that show, including Clarke Peters (Lester from The Wire) and Wendell Pierce (The Bunk).  They are both awesome.  And the music is great.   


Dexter seems to be the show that most people were surprised didn’t make my Top 10, or at least commented about how it was one of their favorite TV dramas.  Season 1 was fantastic, as was season 4.  2 and 3 were good.  But the rest?  Meh.  By the 2nd or 3rd season, all you really cared about was Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and whether he would continue to get away with being a Miami Metro PD blood splatter analyst who moonlights as a serial killer who only kills bad guys.  8 seasons of that was a little tiring.  So were the supporting characters.


Shameless is clearly a drama, despite the fact that it was placed in the comedy category for the Emmy awards this past season.  And since I really like the show, I’m putting it on this list.  I would probably classify it as a dark dramedy, as the show is based on the Gallagher family; a bunch of misfits whose dad Frank (William H. Macy) is a disgusting drunk who rarely makes it home at night.  One of the few shows where the kid actors carry the load successfully (though Macy is, predictably, great).

Finally, below are some new (ish) shows that have shown promise, but will have to sustain that promise for a few more seasons before they are candidates for the Top 10 or Next Best.

The Americans:  Great premise: two Russian KGB spies pose as a regular married American couple during the Cold War era.  Season 1 was good.  Season 2 was great.  Could see this one rising quickly.

True Detective:  Only one season and it was a doozy (do people still say that?).  Knock out performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson and an interesting, dark premise made this show a true breakout hit for HBO this year.  However, it’s an “anthology series”, which means season 2 will have an entirely new cast of characters and premise.  Just yesterday, HBO confirmed that Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn are signed on for season 2.  Sign me up as well.

Fargo:  Another anthology series, Fargo successfully adapted the Coen Brothers’ most iconic movie into a TV show that was spectacular in its first season.  If it never aired again, Fargo would make the “Next Best” list – it was that good.  No clue what Season 2 has in store, but I’ll be watching.

The Leftovers:  The first season of The Leftovers just concluded, and frankly, I loved it.  I don’t think it’s for everyone though, as it was very dark and depressing (Premise: 2% of the World’s population randomly disappears one day without explanation).  Co-created by Damon Lindelof (Lost), it introduced a lot of mysteries without answers, something Lost fans HATED.  I clearly didn’t mind.

The Bridge:  Another cool premise and setting – the “bridge” being the one that connects Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.  The first season was good, but had its weaknesses.  Season 2 has been really good so far, though no one is watching and FX hasn’t ordered a 3rd season yet. 

Hannibal:  An interesting “new” look at an old story – that of Hannibal Lecter.  The first 2 seasons cover Hannibal’s early years, before he was discovered to be a cannibalistic serial killer.  And season 3 will apparently cover the “Red Dragon” period.  It’s a little weird, but in my opinion that’s what makes it good – it’s not just an attempt to copycat the tired Hannibal Lecter story.

Rectify:  Tough to explain this one.  The premise: due to new DNA evidence, Daniel Holden is released from prison after spending 15 years on death row.  Not much action.  Just a slow, interesting look at Daniel’s reintegration process and the toll it takes on those around him.

Orange is the New Black:  Another show where I am sort of “cheating”, in that, like Shameless, it was classified as a comedy for the Emmy’s.  It’s certainly a funny show, but anyone who has seen it knows it is more drama than comedy.  Everything about the premise would ordinarily keep me away – a suburban 30 year old white girl ends up in a women’s federal prison for a crime she committed years ago with her drug dealer girlfriend – but I loved the first 2 seasons.  Yes, I like this show better than House of Cards, Netflix’s other big hit, which frankly, isn’t even making this list. 

So, what do you think?  Other than House of Cards, did I miss any shows that you think are great?  Hopefully you can use these lists as a place to go to when you are looking for a new show to watch and don’t want to waste your time on a new network show that will likely be cancelled in a month.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ranking the Top 10 TV Dramas

Ok, enough sports posts already, right?  After all, the headline of this blog says it’s a blog about sports, TV and whatever else is on my mind.  I have written a lot about sports lately.  And that usually mixes in whatever else is on my mind.  So now it’s time to focus on TV.
I have been meaning to write this blog post for a while now, ranking what I consider to be the top 10 TV dramas of all time.  First, some caveats:  (a) this list is 100% my opinion based on shows that I have watched; I am not trying to be a TV critic here, so there is absolutely NO weight given to how the public perceives a show or how trendy a show might be; (b) I have watched very few TV dramas that took place primarily in the 1990s or earlier, so you’ll see that reflected in the rankings; (c) I am ranking the top 10 in order, and then will have a “Next Best” post later in the week that will touch on shows that, in many cases I really loved, but couldn’t fit into the top 10 and also shows that are new(er) and have shown promise, but they will need to sustain that promise for a few seasons before they come close to cracking the Top 10 or even the Next Best list; (d) this is not intended to be a review/recap of each series – I am going to avoid spoilers and just give a brief thought on each show and why it ranks where it does; and (e) I’m going to include a video clip for each show, most likely a scene that I would consider to be one of the show’s best/most fun scenes.  Some of them may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the show and plan to watch it, don’t click on the video!
So, without further ado, I present the Shots of Jame-O Top 10 TV Dramas.

#10:  Game of Thrones
This is likely to be the most controversial of the shows that are ranked.  Some people would probably have this show ranked in the top 5 no doubt about it.  And some refuse to watch a “fantasy” show with dragons.  The bottom line is that Game of Thrones is really, really good show that has a chance to be great if it continues to improve.  I was firmly in the “won’t watch a dragon show” camp after the first season or two.  But there was enough buzz about the show being great that I gave it a shot, and all the great things I had heard were right on the money.  I’m not sure I know a single person who started watching GoT (more than a couple episodes) and didn’t enjoy it.
#9:  Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk Empire is another show that I could have left off the top 10 list, but I like it just a touch more than some of the “Next Best”, mostly for the setting (1920’s Atlantic City gangster drama) and the characters/actors/performances.  Steve Buscemi is great as the “lead”, but he arguably takes a back seat to some supporting characters throughout each season (including Michael Kenneth Williams aka Omar from “The Wire”).  If you were looking for BE to be the next Sopranos, then you probably have been disappointed with it.  Now in its final season, Boardwalk Empire has a chance to move up a spot or two if it really sticks the landing.
#8:  Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights is probably the most out of place show on this list.  Not because it is bad or undeserving, but because it is the only show here that could be described as a “family drama”, with virtually no violence or any need for a TV-MA rating.  For anyone who has avoided watching FNL because you think it’s a “football show”, you are sorely mistaken.  It’s truly a fantastic look at high school football in Texas (and really, high school in general), mostly through the eyes of the head coach’s family.  Great, great performances by all the “kids”, and even better by “Coach and Mrs. Coach”, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.

#7:  24
There was a time when I thought 24 would be my favorite show of all time (“Jack Bauer” as a name for a cat?).  That was during law school when I “caught up” with 24 – and by caught up I mean binge-watched 4 seasons (24 episodes in a season, about 17 hours of running time) in the span of maybe 6-8 months.  If 24 had ended after season 5, it would almost definitely be in the top 5 on this list.  But it didn’t, and seasons 6-8 were average at best; still fun though, and I watched almost every episode live.  24 returned again this past summer, and while it wasn’t quite up to the standards of seasons 1-5, it was pretty darn great and I was glad to have Jack Bauer in my life again.  Hopefully it continues.
#6:  The Shield
If Game of Thrones is the most controversial show on the list, then The Shield is likely a close 2nd and probably the most unknown.  I recommend The Shield to pretty much everyone I know that is looking for a “new” show to watch, and I use quotes there because the final season of The Shield aired 6 years ago!  It was an FX cop drama, and frankly, maybe the best pure cop drama ever (depending on how you classify my #1 show).  Just do yourself a favor – if you are looking for a show to catch up on, rent/buy/borrow The Shield, and thank me later.

#5:  Mad Men
Mad Men can often be labeled as “boring,” simply because the show doesn’t involve anything that most people would classify as “action.”  Mad Men is not boring.  It’s great.  Set in the 1960s NYC advertising world, and created by former Sopranos staff writer Matthew Weiner, the show has a lot of the same elements as The Sopranos, just without the whackings.  Of all the antiheros on TV these days, Don Draper might just be my favorite.  The things he does are loathsome, and yet for some reason you root for him every step of the way; most likely because of Jon Hamm’s magnetic presence on screen. I’m going to repeat this principle again later on, but if you give Mad Men a chance, watch at least 4-5 episodes.  You can’t judge a show based on 1 or 2 episodes, and too often I hear “I watched the first episode and it just didn’t really interest me.”  Mad Men will interest you.  I promise.
#4:  Deadwood
Another show here that most people I talk to have yet to watch, and what a big mistake that is.  I think Deadwood gets overshadowed by the other HBO stalwarts, The Sopranos and The Wire, and unfairly so.  This is maybe the most unique show on the list, blending an interesting time period (1800s gold rush) with some of the most vulgar and unique language of any show that has ever aired on TV.  Also, Deadwood might be the most violent show on the list, despite not really having a reputation for violence.  The two main characters, Al Swearingen (Ian McShane – you might recognize his voice as the voiceover during the British Open telecasts) and Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant – his best role ever) are both incredible and have incredibly combustible tempers that create a fun and thrilling partnership.  Deadwood, like all HBO shows, is available on HBOGo, a free service for all HBO subscribers (and allows unlimited “log ins” if you want to borrow someone else’s password).  There were only 3 seasons of Deadwood before it was abruptly cancelled.  So if you are one of those people who feel overwhelmed starting a new series that has 4, 5, 6 seasons, Deadwood is the show for you.
#3:  The Sopranos
It’s kinda crazy to me that a show as amazing as The Sopranos ranks 3rd on my list.  I am in the middle of a re-watch right now (starting from episode 1 and continuing through the entire series) with Kait (my wife, who is watching it for the first time), and I am even more blown away by its greatness than I was when I originally watched the series.  The Sopranos is so great that no one has even attempted to create another mafia series since.  Sure, Boardwalk Empire is generally about the mafia and organized crime, but that is a historical piece with real life Mafiosos created by a guy (Terrance Winter) who wrote for The Sopranos.  It has virtually no other similarities.  The Sopranos is also likely the one show on this list that has been watched, at least in parts, by the most people.  While it may be surprising to see it ranked “only” 3rd, I never (even for a second) considered moving it up.  That’s because my top 2 are basically perfect TV shows.
(These last 3 shows need multiple clips each)

#2:  Breaking Bad
I know the trendy thing right now would be to put Breaking Bad #1 and call it the greatest TV show ever.  And frankly, I couldn’t argue with that assessment.  I can’t really think of a single negative thing I could say about this show.  Maybe, MAYBE you could say that the first season is a little slow.  That it really doesn’t become the Breaking Bad we all know and love until the last episode or two of the first season (you might recall that the first season of Breaking Bad aired during the writer’s strike, and thus it was only 7 episodes long, as opposed to the 13 episodes most of the future seasons had).  But that is a minor quibble, and really, every show is slower and a little more boring during the first few episodes while it settles in and finds it voice.  Once it found its voice though?  Wow.  Breaking Bad became a non-stop thrill ride, without a doubt the tensest show on this list (and maybe of all time).  And Bryan Cranston as Walter White puts on the performance of a lifetime.  Has there ever been a better character on TV?  I don’t think so.  However, I do think there has been a better show….

#1:  The Wire
The Wire is the greatest TV drama, probably TV show in general, of all time.  That is my opinion.  You can argue with me about it, you can make the case for Breaking Bad or for The Sopranos, but my opinion will stand.  I don’t remember how I got into The Wire initially.  Most likely it was from reading Alan Sepinwall, TV critic for the website Hitfix and formerly a TV critic for the New Jersey Star Ledger (the newspaper that Tony Soprano famously walks to the end of his driveway to retrieve in so many episodes of The Sopranos).  At the time, no one that I regularly discussed TV shows with had seen The Wire.  I became so enthralled with it that I bought all the seasons on DVD and immediately began lending them out to friends and family members, hoping that someone else would see the brilliance in this show.  Thankfully, almost everyone I loaned the DVDs to enjoyed the show as much as I did.  And I would bet that The Wire would rank somewhere in their top 3 TV shows of all-time list as well.  Borrow my DVDs, watch on HBOGo, or find the episodes On Demand.  Whatever you do, please make it a point to watch The Wire if you have not done so already, so that you can enjoy the decay of the city of Baltimore from the viewpoint of drug dealers, druggies, police officers and politicians alike.  I’m almost positive there will never be another show quite like it.

So, what do you think?  Did I leave off your favorite show?  Did I rank a show too high or too low in your opinion?  Be sure to check back sometime over the next week when I break down my “Next Best” list, which includes 10 shows that I really, really liked, but for one reason or another couldn’t crack the top 10.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Very Bad Week for the NFL

As most of you are aware, the National Football League (NFL) just had arguably the worst week from a PR standpoint in the league's history.  The two major story lines involved two of the more successful, fan-favorite running backs in the league, Ray Rice (formerly of the Baltimore Ravens) and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.  These stories were so huge that they essentially rendered everything else that happened last week in the NFL irrelevant, including a major change to the league's drug policy that will reduce suspensions for two of the league's premier wide receivers (Wes Welker and Josh Gordon).  Before getting into the particulars of the two stories, I want to say first and foremost that domestic violence and child abuse are two very serious issues that have absolutely no place in sport or in society in general.  Those who engage in domestic violence and/or child abuse should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  Unfortunately, the law becomes a little distorted when we are dealing with superstar athletes who are also employees of the NFL and members of the NFL's players association, organizations that have their own "laws" and rules that govern such atrocious behavior.  Add in the media and our never ending, 24/7 news and social media outlets, and these stories tend to take on a life of their own, where the culprits are punished and penalized in ways that do not conform to the law or the rules and regulations of the organizations to which they belong.

Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are likely scumbags who deserve all of the public vitriol that they are receiving.  If you are a superstar athlete who knocks his wife unconscious or beats his child repeatedly with a stick, this is what happens.  The problem, however, is the way that the organizations who employ these scumbags handle the situations.  They react, sometimes overreact, and those reactions are almost entirely based on the media/publics perceptions.  Should the Ravens have cut Ray Rice?  Absolutely.  But why did they wait until after the video of Rice knocking out his then fiancĂ© surfaced?  What exactly changed between the time Ray Rice told the Ravens and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he knocked his fiancĂ© unconscious until the video surfaced?  Nothing, other than the media and public's perception of the incident.  And it's that perception that caused the NFL to overreact and try to retroactively fix the issue by suspending Rice indefinitely.  Again, the NFL had already suspended Rice for this incident, issuing a sickening 2 game suspension.  Now, in order to try to save face, they pile on and suspend Rice indefinitely.  Rice is going to appeal that suspension and frankly, I believe he should win that appeal.  What changed between the initial 2 game suspension and the indefinite suspension?  Absolutely nothing, other than public opinion.

As for Peterson, the Vikings announced today that he would be reinstated to the team and likely will practice and play this Sunday.  Is it disgusting that an indicted child abuser will most likely be cheered on the field on Sunday, as soon as he breaks off a 10 yard run?  Sure.  Should the Vikings keep him deactivated simply because he was indicted for child abuse and despite the fact that he has not been convicted?  No.  And if they decide to cut Peterson, or if the NFL decides to issue a "Ray Rice penalty" and suspend him, then guess what?  Peterson will appeal and/or sue, and he will likely win.  Because again, the NFL already has rules and regulations in place that supposedly deal with these issues.

So what is my point here?  My point is that just because an incident takes on a life of its own and grows into a media shitstorm does not mean it's time to throw out the rule book or rewrite that rule book on the fly.  The NFL gave Rice a 2 game suspension, most likely under the belief that this video would never surface, he would serve his suspension and the incident would go away.  The Vikings deactivated Peterson for this past Sunday's game, most likely because the NFL was under fire with the Ray Rice fiasco and so they didn't want to get bashed by the media/public.  Unfortunately for the NFL and for the Vikings, they cannot just throw out the rule book in an effort to calm the shitstorm.  They have to follow the rules.  And if those rules state that Peterson can and should be active this week, then play him.  If those rules state that the commissioner can issue whatever penalty he chooses, and he chooses a 2 game suspension, then that is the penalty. 

There are always going to be players who are scumbags and do things that violate rules and break the law.  And those players should be punished.  But we can't allow the media and public perception to cloud the application of the rules and laws to these players and their actions.  Or else why even have them in the first place?

Ok, now for some quick thoughts on the NFL teams and their results after (almost) 2 full weeks:
  • Parity:  The NFL has always been a league where teams can go from first to worst in a single season.  Recent examples include the Houston Texans, who were contenders from 2010-2012 and then went a league worst 2-14 last year, or the Kansas City Chiefs, who were a league worst 2-14 in 2012 and went 11-5 and made the playoffs last year.  2014 is no different.  As of this writing, only 6 teams are 2-0 and only 6 teams are 0-2.  One of the 2-0 teams is the Buffalo Bills, something no one predicted.  And one of the 0-2 teams is the New Orleans Saints, again a shocker.  This parity is part of what makes the NFL so successful, despite the fact that it's made up of a bunch of scumbags. 
  • Sticking with the parity theme, my favorite team, the Detroit Lions, could not have looked any different from week 1 to week 2.  In week 1 on Monday Night Football, they thrashed (an admittedly terrible) New York Giants team 35-14, prompting all the talking heads to discuss the Lions as the "it" team this year and maybe win the NFC North division.  So what did they do in week 2?  Got curb stomped by the Carolina Panthers 24-7.  SOL.
  • The unstoppable Seattle Seahawks were handled fairly easily by the San Diego Chargers Throwback Machine (Antonio Gates with 3 TD catches?).  Thankfully for them, the San Francisco 49ers fell apart in the 4th quarter last night, giving up 3 Chicago Bears TDs in route to a 28-20 loss.  As we all expected, the Arizona Cardinals lead the NFC West at 2-0.
  • What a horrendous day for injuries that likely caused many fantasy footballers to scream at their TVs.  Top draftees such as Jamaal Charles and AJ Green, and promising week 1 standouts like Knowshon Moreno and Ryan Mathews went down with injuries, a few before scoring even 1 fantasy point.  While it stinks when your studs are out with injuries, it's even worse when they get hurt early in the game and stick you with a big, fat 0 points for the week.  Hopefully Charles and Green don't miss any additional time.  If they do, be sure to check your waivers for Mohammed Sanu (WR Cincy) and Knile Davis (RB Chiefs) as they both looked good Sunday.  Also, I would like a redo on my RGIII prediction please.  Paging Hydroworx! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fantasy Football 2014: Bold Predictions

Alright alright alright, it's Bold Predictions time!  This post always seems to be the most popular post I write each year (I guess that's not saying much, since I average about 2-3 posts a year).  Fantasy football season is in full swing, with many drafts taking place this week/weekend and next.  So let's make some predictions.  As I did last year, I will check back in during the season to see how these predictions are looking.  And a reminder - I'm trying to be bold here.  Saying that Calvin Johnson will be a top 5 fantasy WR is not bold.  If I get 1/3rd of these correct or mostly correct, that would be surprisingly good.

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 2014, team by team:

Arizona Cardinals:  Last year I said that the addition of Carson Palmer would help restore Larry Fitzgerald's fantasy value and he would end up as a top 3 WR.  I was wrong.  However, Palmer did help the Cardinals passing game, and after a year of getting comfortable with his new weapons, I think it'll be WR Michael Floyd who benefits the most.  Floyd will pass Fitz as the best Cardinal WR, and will end up top 15 in fantasy points at his position. 

Atlanta Falcons:  The Falcons were terrible last year, mostly due to injuries.  This year the weapons are healthy again and while a trendy prediction would be for Matt Ryan to bust out and be a top 5 QB, I still think he's only a borderline starter in 10-12 team leagues.  But that won't stop Julio Jones from staying healthy and finishing as the top scoring WR in the NFL.  Yes, #1.   

Baltimore Ravens:  Should I go for 3 years in a row predicting that Torrey Smith will be a stud fantasy WR?  Nah, I'm over him.  Instead, I think the 2 game suspension for Ray Rice will signal the passing of the torch.  Grab Bernard Pierce as your flex, because I think he will thrive as the starter and emerge as a top 20 RB at season's end.

Buffalo Bills:  The Bills made a huge move on draft night, trading up to the 4th pick and grabbing stud WR Sammy Watkins.  I love Watkins and think he will be a perennial top 10 fantasy WR.  Just not this year.  The fantasy draft price for prized rookie WRs is always high and very rarely do they pan out.  So let someone else draft Watkins as a top 20-25 fantasy WR because he won't finish inside the top 30.  Unless you are in a keeper league, then go nuts.

Carolina Panthers:  I'm about to contradict myself in back to back predictions here, as I think the Panthers' rookie WR, Kelvin Benjamin, IS worth drafting in hopes that he is flex worthy for your fantasy team.  Benjamin is being drafted 50 spots later than Watkins, so there is real value here.  The best reason to draft Benjamin is that the Panthers literally have NO ONE to catch passes from Cam Newton.  So why can't that person be Benjamin, who is almost as much of a beast as Watkins?  I say Benjamin does end up as a top 30 fantasy WR this year, outscoring Watkins.

Chicago Bears:  Last year I said that RB Matt Forte would finish as a top 7 RB, despite being drafted in the 11-15 range for RBs.  I was right on that one (he finished 3rd), so I'm going to double down this year in a big way:  Matt Forte will finish the season as the #1 fantasy RB.  He is currently being drafted in the 4-6 range.  I wouldn't necessarily take him 1-3, but man do I hope to get the 4th pick in my draft this Saturday!

Cincinnati Bengals:  The Bengals overpaid for Andy Dalton's services this offseason, giving him a massive contract despite the fact that he only has average talent.  The Bengals also changed up offensive systems, moving to a more run-first offense.  While I think the change will benefit Gio Bernard, who I think can be a top 10 fantasy RB, I'll be even bolder and say that the change will negatively effect stud WR AJ Green, who will finish the season outside of the top 10 fantasy WRs.  I will happily take Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones and even Jordy Nelson ahead of Green in drafts this year.

Cleveland Browns:  Can I make a prediction here without mentioning rookie QB Johnny Manziel?  Oops, guess not.  I like Manziel but don't see him being a relevant fantasy QB (draft him as a backup if you get a stud like Manning/Brees/Rodgers).  Other than Manziel, Ben Tate is the shiny new toy in town, expected to be the workhorse #1 RB for the Browns this year.  The bad news is that Tate simply can't stay healthy.  And this will open the door for rookie RB Terrance West to take the job and run with it to a top 25 fantasy RB season.

Dallas Cowboys:  I love the Cowboys offense this year, mostly because their defense is going to be SO bad that the offense will be playing from behind most of the year.  But also because they have studs at all the key positions.  I believe that the Cowboys will end up with a top 10 performer at QB (Tony Romo), RB (Demarco Murray), WR (Dez Bryant) and TE (Jason Witten) this year.  Not bold enough?  Ok, how about WR Terrance Williams finishing as a top 20 WR?  Because that is gonna happen.  Also, I like the name Terrance.

Denver Broncos:  Last year I predicted that Knowshon Moreno would lead the Broncos in RB points in 2013; maybe my best prediction of the year.  Moreno is gone, and so Montee Ball will be the featured RB for Peyton Manning's offense in 2014.  Ball is significantly more talented than Moreno and I don't expect the Broncos' offense to miss a beat.  Do the math, and it adds up to Montee Ball being a 1st round pick and top 5 fantasy RB. 

Detroit Lions:  I just cannot win on my Lions' predictions.  Titus Young in 2012 and then Ryan Broyles in 2013.  Ouch.  This time, I WILL triple down and say that the Lions new offensive weapon, WR Golden Tate, will thrive next to Calvin Johnson and catch 90 balls for 1200 yards and 9 TDs, good for a top 15 fantasy WR season.  Also, I think rookie TE Eric Ebron will finish as a top 10 fantasy TE.

Green Bay Packers:  I had no faith in RB Eddie Lacy last year, predicting that he would finish behind Jonathan Franklin here and drafting RB David Wilson over him in my long running keeper league.  Lacy is now a consensus top 5 fantasy RB in drafts this year and I agree with that.  I also agree with anyone who thinks that WR Randall Cobb is an emerging star.  With WR James Jones heading west to Oakland, Cobb should see his targets increase, leading to a top 10 fantasy WR season. 

Houston Texans:  I like Arian Foster to have a bounce back year and finish as a top 10 RB.  I also like Andre Johnson to bounce back and have a top 10 WR season.  But those aren't really bold.  Instead, let's get a little nutty here and say that the Houston Texans D/ST will finish as the top scoring fantasy defense.  I still wouldn't draft them until the second to last round, but can anyone stop JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney?!?  Yes, picking a defense is boring, so let's also say that WR DeAndre Hopkins will break out in a big way and have a top 20 fantasy WR season.

Indianapolis Colts:  Remember that Trent Richardson trade and how everyone (including me) thought he would thrive with the Colts and battle for the best fantasy RB title last year?  I drove the Richardson bandwagon bus last season and let's just say that the bus is now a pile of ashes at the bottom of the cliff.  Rising from those ashes, however, is a now underrated Richardson.  He's being drafted as a non-starter in 10 team fantasy leagues (outside the top 20 RBs), and I think that makes him a great value pick.  I would take him as a top 15 fantasy RB and will boldly say that he'll finish in the top 10. 

Jacksonville Jaguars:  I hyped RB Maurice Jones-Drew here last year and he made me look like an idiot.  However, that won't stop me from once again hyping up the Jaguars #1 RB.  It just so happens that their #1 RB is not MJD, but rather Toby Gerhart, the backup RB to Adrian Peterson for the last 3 seasons.  Gerhart is now a true workhorse #1 RB and I think he will be a great RB2 for fantasy purposes.  I'll say that Gerhart, being drafted 26th at the position will finish as a top 15 fantasy RB. 

Kansas City Chiefs:  Can I get a redo on my Dwayne Bowe prediction from last year?  I drafted Bowe whenever I could get my hands on him in drafts last year and man did he disappoint.  Everything else for the Chiefs went well though, as Charles finished as the top fantasy RB and Alex Smith was even a little fantasy relevant at times.  I don't see that good fortune continuing.  RB Jamaal Charles will be that fantasy player that ruins teams in 2014 as he will finish outside the top 15 fantasy RBs. 

Miami Dolphins:  Here is what I wrote last year:  "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."  Ditto, except replace "2nd year" with "3rd year", "Daniel Thomas" with "Knowshon Moreno" and "2013" with "2014."

Minnesota Vikings:  The Vikings brought in Norv Turner to run the offense, and that has caused many of the Vikings offensive weapons to shoot up draft boards.  I still love RB Adrian Peterson as the #1 overall fantasy pick.  But again, that isn't bold (though I've seen him drop to 4th in some mock drafts).  How about two of the Vikings receiving options both finishing top 10 at their respective positions: WR Cordarelle Patterson and TE Kyle Rudolph.  Love them both. 

New England Patriots:  I love Rob Gronkowski - he's probably the most talented all around TE in the game and if he played a full 16 game season, I don't doubt that he'd finish as the top scoring fantasy TE.  The problem is, he just can't stay healthy.  And you shouldn't waste a pick in the top 3 rounds on a guy who might give you 8-10 games.  So pass on Gronk, because his ADP (average draft position) of 35.6 is too risky.  He won't finish the 2014 season as a top 10 TE.

New Orleans Saints:  Draft your Saints early and often.  Drew Brees will finish as the top fantasy QB in 2014.  Marques Colston will be a top 20 WR.  Rookie WR Brandin Cooks will be a top 30 fantasy WR.  RB Pierre Thomas will be a top 20 fantasy RB.  And TE Jimmy Graham will once again be the top scoring fantasy TE.  Draft him in the 1st round in 12 team leagues.  He's that good.

New York Giants:  Eli Manning was terrible in 2013.  Really terrible.  And it obviously had a negative effect on his weapons - mainly WRs Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.  Nicks is now in Indianapolis (and I like him to have a sneaky top 30 fantasy WR season - current ADP is 45th at the position), but Cruz is still around, and really, his stock can only go up from here.  Cruz was an absolute stud prior to last season, and I think he returns to that level, finishing as a top 10 fantasy WR.  He's currently being drafted 18th at the position. 

New York Jets:  Would you believe me if I told you that RB Chris Johnson finished last season tied for 8th in fantasy points at the RB position?  Well, it's true.  Look it up.  I'll wait.  He's now in New York, and while the Jets offense isn't any better than the Titans, I don't see why Johnson can't repeat his 2013 numbers.  He's being drafted as the 22nd RB taken in ESPN fantasy drafts, but I'd happily take him as my RB2 this year.  Because guess what?  He's gonna finish as a top 10 fantasy RB again in 2014.

Oakland Raiders:  Honestly, I won't draft a single Oakland Raider on my fantasy teams this year.  If I have to make a prediction (and it's my post, so I say that I do have to), I'll say that RB Latavius Murray will end up leading the Raiders RBs in fantasy points.  He's being drafted 61st at the position, which basically means he isn't being drafted in most leagues.  I'm fine with that.  But when Jones-Drew and McFadden get hurt, grab Murray because he could be fantasy relevant down the stretch.  Let's say he finishes as a top 40 fantasy RB, someone you can plug into your flex spot as a bye week fill-in and be happy about it.

Philadelphia Eagles:  Chip Kelly really impressed as the offensive guru everyone hoped he'd be last year.  And as a result, RB Lesean McCoy and WR Desean Jackson had the best seasons of their careers.  McCoy is now being drafted #1 overall in a lot of leagues, and Jackson (now with the Redskins) is a consensus top 20 fantasy WR.  I want to say that WR Jeremy Maclin will step up in Jackson's place and post a top 15 fantasy WR season.  But the guy just cannot stay healthy.  Instead, I'll be waiting until the late rounds of my draft and snagging TE Zach Ertz, who will finish as a top 5 fantasy TE. 

Pittsburgh Steelers:  WR Antonio Brown proved me wrong last year in a big way, finishing the season as the 6th highest scoring fantasy WR.  I won't let that happen twice.  I think Brown finishes as a top 5 fantasy WR, someone who I will happily draft late in the 2nd round as my #1 WR. 

San Diego Chargers:  I nailed my Ryan Mathews prediction last year, as he finished with the 11th most fantasy points from the RB position.  That's not happening again.  He will fight with Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead for touches and struggle to be fantasy relevant.  The same can't be said for the great year WR Keenan Allen had in 2013.  He's due for a repeat and will finish as a top 10 fantasy WR (currently being drafted 16th at the position).

San Francisco 49ers:  Colin Kaepernick finally has a bunch of healthy weapons, and I like him to finish inside the top 10 fantasy QBs.  But, maybe shockingly to those of us who owned him last year, he finished top 10 in 2013 too.  I think the reason he'll repeat that performance this year is the emergence of WR Michael Crabtree as a top 10 fantasy WR.  When healthy, Crabtree was awesome last year.  And guess what?  He's healthy.  Don't draft him as a top 10 WR - he's being drafted outside the top 20 - but I would happily draft him as my WR2 and watch him put up WR1 numbers. 

Seattle Seahawks:  There is something about WR Percy Harvin that makes him overrated every year in the draft.  This year, it's his awesome Super Bowl performance last season.  Unfortunately, the guy simply cannot stay healthy and thus cannot be relied on as a starting fantasy WR.  He's being drafted 20th at the position, and I think that is probably where you need to draft him if you want him.  But I'll be avoiding him while he finishes outside the top 30 fantasy WRs. 

St. Louis Rams:  Heck of a year for Zac Stacy last season.  In limited duty (he only took over as the full time starting RB about halfway through the season) he posted top 20 fantasy RB numbers and is being drafted as a RB1 option this year.  I'll pass.  I think Stacy played a bit over his head last year and will have to fight off rookie RB Tre Mason as the season wears on.  I'd be happy with him as my RB2 or flex, but that just means I won't ever have him on my team (ADP 25, I wouldn't draft in the top 40).

Tampa Bay Bucs:  Doug Martin is healthy again, has a clear path to the full time RB1 gig in Tampa and should return to his 2012 ways, where he was a top 5 fantasy RB.  Only I don't believe that at all.  I don't think Martin is that good, and I don't think the Bucs offensive line is any good either.  Martin is being drafted as a top 10 RB, but I think he'll finish outside the top 20. 

Tennessee Titans:  Rookie RB Bishop Sankey is the sexy name right now and is being drafted as if he'll carry the RB load for the Titans this season.  His only competition, RB Shonn Greene, is anything but sexy and has never been able to keep a starting RB job.  That said, I think Greene will play well enough to keep Sankey in a reserve role and to post top 25 RB numbers.  Draft Greene as your 3rd RB and actually be happy about it.  Yes, for real.  I also really like WRs Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter.  I think they post WR2 and WR3 numbers respectively. 

Washington Redskins:  RGIII will be the 2nd highest scoring guy in all of fantasy football for 2014.  Bold enough for ya? 

And that's a wrap.  Good luck in your drafts and in your 2014 fantasy football leagues.  Just remember, you can't win your league with your first two picks, but you can absolutely lose it.