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Fantasy Football Talk: Who Is In Your Back Field



Fantasy Football Talk: Who Is In Your Back Field

Time to pencil in the guys you want to run the ball.  Yes, I’m talking about Fantasy Football!  And no other position is more pivotal than Running Back.  These are the guys who guaranty Fantasy Football Points.  Just by being in the game they are a sure fire way to get at least one carry.  If you pick a Number 1 RB for a Team you are sure to get a lot of Points.  Here are some things to look for in an RB:

Who is getting the carries?  What you want from an RB is carries.  Carries = Points.  Listen there are some RBs that just don’t get the ball enough.  Whether they are part of a passing Offense or a Hurry Up Offense, they just might not get the ball.  Think DeMarco Murry who was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago.  He is a fantastic RB but he never got to touch the ball.  It was disappointing especially with what he did for the Dallas Cowboys the year before.

Think DeMarco Murray who was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago.  He is a fantastic RB but he never got to touch the ball.  It was disappointing especially with what he did for the Dallas Cowboys the year before.

Does he get yards with nearly every touch?  What are his yards per carry?  What you want from your RB is someone who is always getting positive yards.  Think LaGarrette Blount who played for Patriots last year.  He grinds out yardage with every carry.  He would even get more yards after contact, this is a good thing.  It means he was always in the positive.  More importantly, it made him a TD threat in the Red Zone.  There were a couple of times last year where he carried the pile into the End Zone.  I mean seriously, it was incredible!

Is he a dual threat?  Does he catch the ball?  Listen having an RB who can catch the ball adds value to your week to week Fantasy Line Up.  Some times the week to week match up is against a sturdy Defensive Line.  In weeks like this, you want an RB who is flexible.  Someone who is a receiving threat. Some players that fit into this category are Derren McFadden for the Dallas Cowboys and Le’Veon Bell for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  These guys are always making big plays.  They can score any time they get the ball and yes they can catch it.

Does the Running Back stay consistent?  Listen having an RB starting in your line up is not enough.  What you need is at least one RB who is always making plays.  The main rushing threat for the Team.  Think David Johnson for the Arizona Cardinals and Jay Ajayi for the Miami Dolphins.  These guys both had monster seasons last year.  They both had well over 1000 yards last season.  Remember Yards = Points. So go out there are get someone dependable who can carry your Fantasy Team week to week.

Look for sleepers week to week because injuries will happen.  Listen Running Backs are always tentative and questionable, health wise, week to week.  It can be difficult to predict who to play when an RB is listed as questionable.  In my opinion, it’s best to be proactive and watch who is getting hot.  If you have indecision on who to play then go with an RB who is most likely to score TDs.  TDs = Max Points.  All you really need in a week like this is Points, to carry your Team on to the next week when your RBs are healthy again.  Always look at the Fantasy News Updates for who is getting the ball in the Red Zone.  This will steer you true.

It’s almost here, opening day!  You best get your Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets out for your Live Draft in the next two weeks!  RBs will most likely be the first players to be picked because hey, you’re guaranteed points if they play. Go out there and pick up a good RB before the other guy picks your dream ‘Back!

I'm a self published writer and illustrator. I follow Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, some Golf and some eSports.

New England Patriots

Patriots Win in Spectacular Fashion against the Texans 36-33



It was late in the 4th Quarter with a little more than 2 Minutes left on the clock.  The Patriots were down by 5 and needed a TD badly.  No worries this is Tom Brady territory!  Tommy had the ball and that is all you needed hope in.  He was all set for his 50th 4th Quarter comeback.  Yes that’s right, I said his 50th comeback.

TB12 is notorious for his comebacks as we can look at the Super Bowl as a clear example.  He is just automatic!  This is a guy who refuses to lose.  This is a guy who will throw the ball to the end zone for a needed TD.  And you know what it works!  I don’t know how he does it, I mean really, this guy is just incredible.  He works like magic in the 4th Quarter.  And if he has the ball with 2 Minutes left, you best be on your guard.

What happened before all this was patriots football as usual.  A TD to Rob Gronkowski, 2 TDs to Chris Hogan, and a TD to Brandon Cooks.  It looked like it would come down to the team that scored last.  And I have to tell you I had my doubts when the Houston Texans scored a late Field Goal to make it [33-28].  I mean how do you comeback from being down by 5 late in the 4th Quarter.  I know that the team’s offense looked a bit stagnated with their last possessions.  It didn’t look good.

But you know nothing looks good until the end of a comeback and TB12 was not about to lose.  He got down the field with help from Gronk, Amandola, Hogan, and Cooks.  Then near the Red Zone with 30 something left on the clock he threw it to Cooks for the TD.  It was a spectacular catch!  Cooks toe tapped his way in the end zone and controlled the ball all the way to the ground.  Wow, what a great catch!  And just when they needed it too.

The Pats weren’t done there, they wanted to make sure that they had it in the bag.  [34-33] wasn’t good enough.  What they needed was to take the Texans out of the game with 20 something seconds on the clock.  They went for a 2 point conversion and got it with a Brady-Cooks hookup on the far side of the end zone [36-33].  It was the proverbial nail in the coffin!

TB12 showed us just why he is legendary today, he is the GOAT.  Give him 2 Minutes and he’ll win the game!  He had done it 49 times before this one and I’d have to say that this one was just as memorable as the others.  It just was unbelievable.  I wasn’t sure he had, another one, in him.  But you just can’t doubt him.  He knows the 2 Minute drill inside and out.  He knows his receivers inside and out.  He knows the play calls inside and out.  This was just another reason to love Tom Brady.  His comebacks are simply timeless.  Here’s to 4th Quarter comeback number 50!

The Patriots next game will be against Carolina at Foxboro, Sunday at 1pm on Fox.  Look for them to be doing football as usually going into the week.  I’m expecting Gronk, Amandola, Hogan, and Cooks to have big games.  Hogan and Cooks had a huge game today.  Now that they have those Big Game jitters out of their system, expect them to ride high into next game.

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Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Hockey Talk: Do You Have a Team That Makes the Grade



October is right around the corner and you know what that means.  Halloween!  No, actually I’m talking about the NHL Hockey Season.  More importantly Fantasy Hockey Season.  Fantasy Hockey is like Fantasy Football, except its not Football.  No, seriously it is for “die-hard” Hockey Fans.  Fans who enjoy playing their favorite players in the “top tier” Leagues.  And you guessed it, yours truly plays Fantasy Hockey.  So let’s get right to the “meat and potatoes” of it.

Does your Fantasy Hockey Team make the grade?  Listen the most enjoyable part of playing Fantasy Hockey is starting your favorite players but also winning in one of many Top Tier Leagues.  Your Fantasy Team needs to have a subtle balance between Offense and Defense.  But what you really need is some good goaltending.

Goaltending is a skill position where each win contributes points for your Fantasy Team.  It is something you will need in this “Hard Core” type Fantasy Matchup.  The other players in your League will most likely be sporting the best of the best.  So don’t get skittish in drafting a Goalie a little bit early.  I’m thinking Round 3 to Round 4.  Hey, this isn’t some laid back Fantasy Football slouches, these guys are “serious”.  Pick up a high valued Goalie and thank me later!

Overload on Forwards.  It is something that is an easy way to figure out.  Forwards give you Goals and Goal = Points.  Your Fantasy Team should have more than enough Forwards on it.  Check out the high valued Forwards available and put together a roster with them.  What you want are real playmakers.  Like Brad Marchand, Sidney Crosby, and Steven Stamkos.  I know Stamkos is on the list but don’t be afraid to pick up the top valued players in the 1st Round of the Draft.

Pick up a “Mid Ranged” Defense-man a little later in the Draft.  Listen you will want as many Forwards as you can get in the Draft, wait a little bit before pulling the trigger on getting a high valued Defense-man.  Ice Time is an important stat to look for, expect to see lots of Ice Time from your Defense-men.  I’d say start to look for Defense-men in Round 6 to Round 8 of your Draft.  These guys Value Scores are way lower than Forwards.  But remember your Fantasy Team needs to be balanced as you’ll be facing some “Hard Core” Fans.

Power Play Minutes and Scores contribute to your overall Points, pick up Players on PP Lines.  This is one of those Fantasy Stats that only Die Hard Fans will look at.  Look at Defense-men to give you this Stat, they are the ones with the most Ice Time.  If you don’t know how to figure this Stat I’d say look at the Team that they are on.  If they are one of those Power Play happy Teams, ahem Boston, then go pick them up.  I know that I had a chance to pick up Tory Krug, don’t be like me pick up Krug.

If you paid attention to my Drafting you might notice that I didn’t include the Utility Position.  It’s simple, play a Forward it this spot.  If you’ve been drafting accordingly, you should have plenty of them to rotate around as your Utility Player.  Typically the Utility Player is in because of injuries to your other player.  No worries here, if you’re picking Forward heavy, then you should have plenty of players to play.

As I said before Fantasy Hockey is for Die Hard NHL Fans, so do yourself a favor, and if you’re a newbie and follow these Drafting suggestions.  If all goes well, by Round 12 you should have a decent Fantasy Hockey Team that makes the Grade.  Will you make a breakthrough with a Top Tier League?  Maybe.  Just stick with the players that you know and love after Round 14, ahem Bruins, you should be OK!

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Boston Red Sox

Who’s Going to the Bullpen?



Who’s Going to the Bullpen In October For The Boston Red Sox?

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t think that the Red Sox will be sending a left-handed starter to the bullpen, come October. Boston’s going to need at least 1 more late-inning southpaw to navigate around playoff caliber line-ups. The only question is: Who will it be?

Recently John Farrell alluded to this bullpen deficiency when commenting on the injury-status of exorbitantly paid lefty David Price. As you may have heard, Price has been making strides towards a regular season return on the mound. He threw a simulated game against Sox hitters last Wednesday. Purportedly he had all his stuff working nicely.

If David Price is to make such an expeditious return (what a fighter), it would come right on the threshold of the playoffs. John Farrell has been asked whether Price could be pitching out of the bullpen in October. His response: “At this point, you can’t rule that out.”

You have to see where Farrell is coming from here. The Sox have just 2 lefty pseudo-specialists in the pen. I tenuously concede that title, to these 2 guys, simply because they’re left-handed pitchers. We’re talking about Robby Scott and Fernando Abad here. That’s it. Those names don’t exactly inspire confidence, do they?

What Is

That’s right, at this juncture, the Red Sox are relying on 2 left-handed pitchers to come out of the bullpen in high leverage situations. The problem lies with the fact that both Scott and Abad are not utilized, nor do they present any real threat, against left-handed hitters.

Fernando Abad has had a good, if not a super-solid year for the Sox as a 7th inning arm. In 42 games, he has a 2.68 ERA. Awesome, for a guy who is just the epitome of mediocrity. What should somewhat concern fans is his ERA against left-handed hitters. It’s actually a tick higher than the mean. Against batters from the same side, Abad has a 2.81 ERA. He has 8 innings fewer, recorded against lefties than he does against righties in 2017. This betrays his role out of the pen. Abad is a general 7th inning guy. He is not the invariable shutdown southpaw that the Red Sox need to face left-handed hitters in critical October situations.

Robby Scott is a middling and shriveling hose on the mound (look at this goofball’s arm slot). Good ol’ “Bob O” is slinging with a 4.05 ERA out of the bullpen. You could call Scott Boston’s lefty-specialist, but he has an inherent weakness. This is something that will definitely rear its repugnant head in the playoffs: His ERA is 7.20 on the road. Ouch! So theoretically, Robby Scott’s only dependable for about half a postseason series.

Thus something’s gotta change.

What Could Be

As our buddy John Farrell suggested, David Price could find himself, in some capacity, pitching out of the bullpen when he returns. Now don’t forget that Farrell has a multitude of options on the table when it comes to the delegation of this staff. Expect to see a roulette-wheel of arms, or a “next man up” sort of rotation in October. It should be fun to watch.

There are 3 guys, Price being one, who are eligible to lead the staff as the “lefty” in the pen.

This youngster has the most untarnished promise: Eduardo Rodriguez. That’s right, E-Rod has already demonstrated his ability and willingness to relieve. Well, kinda. He has pitched 1 inning in relief, in his entire career. In this inning, Rodriguez struck out 2 while giving up not a single hit nor a run. What makes him an enticing option, is that he is still young. This implies that there’s some pliability left in that athlete-psychology of his. If Sox management sells it to the kid tactfully, this move to the pen could have some permanence to it. As a starter, he has a 4.28 career ERA. It’s never too late to find your calling E-Rod!

Drew Pomeranz is another left-handed starter to seriously consider as a bullpen arm, in the postseason. This guy was a full-time reliever in 2015, with the Oakland A’s. That year, he had a 2.61 ERA in 44 games. What amplifies his allure as a potential reliever: His ERA was 2.12 against lefties. Some may be deterred by his underwhelming performance in the 2016 postseason. Last year, in the Cleveland series, Pomeranz pitched 3.2 innings of relief and gave up 2 ER’s. Conversely, he had 7 K’s. These bad numbers were probably a symptom of the nervousness that Pomeranz was experiencing. He was pitching in his first couple and the only, postseason games of his career. Pomeranz is certainly worth another shot.

Lastly, we come to David Price. He is the volatile and toxic pitcher that the Red Sox have handcuffed themselves to for seasons to come. Dave Dombrowski is still desperately trying to produce a bang for his buck with this guy.

General soreness has plagued Price up and down, to his fingertips, since this past Spring. With about 3 weeks left in the regular season, and with Price situated to return after a few more rehab sessions, a decision has to be made. What do you do with this expensive lefty in October?

You can hear it screaming from the tonality of all of David Price’s press conferences: He wants to be loved. But there is also boisterous, yet half-repressed, ego here. Asking a Cy Young winning starter to go to the bullpen is a delicate task. You could kindle an inextinguishable conniption fit, the likes of which we’ve never seen. But if Farrell can spin-doctor the proposal in such a way as to make Price feel like the hero, we might have ourselves a weapon to capitalize on.

Back in 2008, coming out of the bullpen for Tampa, David Price had a 1.58 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched. And this was in the postseason! He was just a wee-little rookie back then. Since these successful relief appearances, which he made nearly a decade ago, Price has established a horrendous track-record in October.

The Hand You’re Dealt

Again, with David Price, the best approach would be to stroke the ace’s ego, when explaining this prospective move to the pen. Pitch it to him like he’d be putting Boston on his back. If the Sox can strategically delay Price’s return, John Farrell could even construe it as a short “rehabilitation period”. You know, just to get things in motion; to shake off the rust David. If I was Price, I would be grateful for any opportunity to restart with a clean slate in October.

As the Red Sox rotation is constituted, practically 70% of their starters are left-handed. Surely a bullpen assignment is on the horizon, for one of these southpaws. With a surplus of starters, the Sox can afford to spin the carousel of this rotation. It’s foreseeable that a right-hander and a left-hander could end up splitting a postseason game almost evenly. Stigmatic honor aside, what matters is the win, not who’s the pitcher on record.

John Farrell is certainly worthy of some sympathy: His bullpen resolution will be a difficult one to reach. Boston has a bunch of cantankerous and talented starter’s here, and all of them want to shine. David Price is the lefty who would be the most suited for a stint in the bullpen. Such a reintroduction would coddle him back into his preferred role as a starter. Farrell admittedly is toying with this exact notion. Let’s just hope that Price is flexible enough to do what’s asked of him.

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