Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jim Harbaugh To Michigan

According to John U. Bacon, Jim Harbaugh will be named the head coach for the Michigan Wolverines football team. He says the announcement could come as early as Monday. Terms have not been released.

As soon as Brady Hoke was fired I said Harbaugh was going to end up at Michigan. It just made too much sense. His style just isn't made for the NFL. He's a very good coach, that's obvious. But his approach doesn't fly with grown men. Not only that, but he'll be an absolute GOD in the football world if he can bring Michigan back to national prominence.

As much as I hate the Wolverines, and I do, I hope he's successful there. College football is better when Michigan is part of the conversation rather than being a punchline.

Will update as more info becomes available.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

JJ Watt For MVP

Seriously, he deserves it. Watt is clearly the defensive player of the year this season, but he should be the overall MVP as well. Here's why.

Put JJ Watt on any team in the NFL and that team instantly gets better. He has no equal. The same cannot be said for anyone else in the league. Take Aaron Rodgers, who is likely to win the award, and put him on the Broncos or Patriots. Those teams might be better, but in all likelihood they're in the same position. Same goes for DeMarco Murray. He's had an incredible year. But there are quite a few running backs who would have performed just as well as he has had they been given the volume of work he's received.

Look, I know it's a quarterback league. I know the NFL desperately wants the award to go to Rodgers, Brady, or Manning. I know those guys get 10x the amount of coverage Watt gets. Granted, Watt has seen a lot more attention this year, and rightfully so. Imagine how bad the Texans defense would be without him. The impact he has every week is astonishing. Coming in to this week he had 17.5 sacks, 1 interception (that he returned 80 yards for a TD, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries (1 of which he returned for a TD). Oh yeah, he has 3 receiving TDs this year as well.

Just stop. Give him the award. No one in the NFL has had that kind of impact this season.

JJ Watt should be the NFL MVP this year.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Nelson Cruz Is Proof PEDs Will Always Be A Part Of MLB

On August 5th 2013, Nelson Cruz was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for his connection to the Biogensis Scandal. To put it more bluntly, he was caught taking performance enhancing drugs.

Now we can go back and forth about the actual benefits of performance enhancing drugs and never end up anywhere close to an agreement. But that's not what matters here. What matters is PEDs are a violation of the rules. Not only that, but using PEDs is a violation that on the surface seems to carry a fairly stiff penalty. Herein lies the issue. The penalty is stiff but doesn't do much to dissuade players from using. Nelson Cruz is a perfect example of this.

After being reinstated it wasn't exactly easy for Cruz to find work. He did eventually sign an $8 million deal with the Orioles for 2014 and helped them win the AL East. This contract was lower than what he could have made had he accepted the Rangers' $14 million qualifying offer. Sounds like the punishment worked right? Received a suspension and had to take a pay cut. Definitely an incentive to not use PEDs.

However, reports have come out today that Cruz is in agreement with the Mariners on a 4-year deal worth $57 million. The vast majority of baseball writers, reporters, tweeters, "experts," and so on are saying they're clearly over-paying for him. It's entirely possible that's the case, but it's also the climate of baseball right now.

My issue is the fact that he clearly benefited from taking PEDs. His punishment really didn't matter. Think of it this way. If you were caught taking illegal drugs at your work, you'd likely be fired. Not only that, but you'd have a tough time getting a job in that field again. I realize baseball is different, but something has to be done. If you're an average player who is on the verge of breaking out, what's stopping you from taking PEDs? A 50-game suspension clearly isn't doing the trick. If MLB wants to actually rid itself of PEDs, the penalties need to be stiffened.

I'd like to see the punishment for PED use to be go from 3 strikes to 2. First time caught gets a 100-game suspension and the second offense would be a lifetime ban. Now you're effecting a massive part of one season, or a good portion of two. That would make guys think twice about breaking the rules. Only being able to play in 62 games rather than 112 is going to seriously impact a performance and therefore future contracts. Or not being eligible for the end of one season and the beginning of another.

Yes, it's a great PR move to suspend these guys for 50 games. But it ultimately has no effect on them. If MLB truly wants to address the issue of PEDs, the penalties needed to be increased to the point where they will impact the player's future contracts.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

NFL Week 5 Betting Trends

It's been a strange NFL season so far. There are only two undefeated teams through 4 weeks, the Cardinals and Bengals. The Patriots looks downright awful, the Cowboys look competent, the Packers went from looking terrible to looking pretty good in the matter of about a week, and the Saints are a huge question mark. All of this combines to make it rather difficult to have a great deal of confidence when it comes to putting money down on some games. But fear not, RJ Bell of Pregame.com has sent out his week 5 betting trends, and there are some good ones in there. 

  • Bengals: the away team has covered only 4 of last 22 Cincinnati games
  • Bills: the home team in Buffalo games 17-4 ATS
  • Broncos: Peyton Manning off a bye has won 8 straight ATS
  • Chiefs on road: lost only 1 of last 11 ATS
  • Cowboys off a win, then favored the next game: 2-13 ATS
  • Cowboys as home favorite: covered only 6 of last 25
  • Eagles at home: covered only 7 of last 30
  • Falcons off a loss by 6 or more points: 20-4 ATS
  • Lions off a win: covered the next game only 5 of 19
  • Patriots: home underdog for only second time since 2005
  • Patriots: off a loss as a favorite, then an underdog the next week: 17-2 ATS
  • Patriots: off a loss as a favorite, then playing a winning team the next week: 14-1 ATS
  • Saints (with Payton coaching): have not lost a game at home against the spread since the 2010 
  • season! (18-0-1 ATS)
  • Saints (with Payton coaching) when favored by more than a touchdown: 14-2 ATS
  • Saints off a road loss: 21-4 ATS the next game
  • Steelers as a road favorite of 6 or more points: lost 10 straight ATS
  • Titans have not covered a game at home in over one calendar year (0-7 ATS since 9/29/13)
There's a lot of good information in there, but some of it has to be taken with a grain of salt. The Patriots for example, would you put any money on them this week? Sure, teams bounce back after bad losses all the time. But those teams typically have an impressive offense who just ran into a better defense. Impressive is not a word you'll hear anyone use when describing the Pats offense. I do like the Saints this weekend. They're -10 at home against the Bucs and they need a big win after last week's dismantling in Dallas. I also really like the Steelers this weekend despite the trend. They're -6.5 on the road, but they're in Jacksonville. I'm fairly certain you could take the top 50 college players and they'd be able to give the Jaguars a decent game right now, the Jags are that bad. 

Once again, thanks to RJ Bell of Pregame.com for taking the time to put this information together. 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Free NFL Survivor League- $200 To The Winner

For the past few years I've either run or been a member of an NFL Survivor league. It's a fun way to stay involved outside of just fantasy football and it's really easy. You pick one winner each week and if you win you move on. If you lose twice, you're out. But the catch is you can't pick a team more than once. So for instance if you pick the Patriots to beat the Dolphins in Week 1 you cannot pick the Patriots again at any time. Interested?

Here's the deal, I'm not actually running a Survivor league this year but I'm part of one that is open to the public. Best of all, this league is free to join. The winner will receive $200 and if you have a perfect season that will be doubled to $400. Survivor leagues are fun, profitable, but can be insanely stressful. Trying to gauge when you should pick teams like the Broncos or Packers isn't as easy as it sounds.

Like I said, this year's NFL Survivor league is open to the public. All you have to do is sign up on ViceHood then go to this forum and enter your pick. All the official rules can be found there as well. No double entries are allowed and your pick must be in before the Thursday game kicks off each week, except for week 1.

Please feel free to invite anyone who you think would be interested in this and if you have any questions just hit me up on Twitter.

Friday, August 22, 2014

2014 Fantasy Fooball TE Rankings

Most leagues will be drafting in the next few days. If you haven't already started doing your homework you're behind. Unless you're in a league with a bunch of rookies, you need to do some research. Learn your league rules, do some position ranking, and actually think about what you're going to do if you draft first or last. Continuing my series on ranking players by position, here are my 2014 fantasy football TE rankings. And no, you cannot be successful in fantasy football and overlook the TE position. 

1. Jimmy Graham- This should be obvious. No one compares to Jimmy Graham. Put it this way, in my league last year Graham went for 260.5 points. The second-highest scoring TE was Vernon Davis with 189 points. In fact, there were only six position players in my league who scored more than Graham last season- Jamal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Josh Gordon, Calvin Johnson, and Demaryius Thomas. All of those players, save for Gordon, should be drafted before Graham. However no one is going to blame you if you draft Graham low in the first round. If he's somehow available in the second round, take him.

2. Rob Gronkowski- This actually worries me a little bit. We still don't know if Gronk is going to be medically cleared for Week 1, though my feeling is he will. More than that, we don't know what all that missed time is going to do to Gronk's game. When he's at his best he's pretty much unstoppable and his fantasy value is ridiculous. Gronk is definitely one of the best TE in the game when he's on the field. His injury history does worry me, but the good outweighs the bad. I wouldn't take him before the third round, but don't be surprised if someone does. 

3. Julius Thomas- Oh Peyton, my Peyton. Without Peyton and that ridiculous offense in Denver I doubt Julius Thomas would be on this list. But he is, and for good reason. He missed 2 games last season and still found the endzone 12 times. He's a top-option for Peyton in the redzone, and in a pass-happy offense he's going to see a ton of targets. I like Thomas in the mid-to-late third round. 

4. Greg Olsen- I honestly feel bad for Cam Newton. The Panthers just won't give the guy a solid receiving corp to work with. However this likely will benefit Greg Olsen this season. The receivers in Carolina are new to the team, Olsen is not. Granted he doesn't light up the scoreboard like the guys I've listed above him, but I won't be surprised at all if he improves on his 2013 numbers of 816 yards and 6 TDs. That being said, I wouldn't draft him before the 7th round. You need to fill in your big spots before taking a non-star TE. 

5. Vernon Davis- Why did the TE who scored the second-most points in fantasy last year slip this far? Michael Crabtree. Crabtree missed 11 games last season which freed up a ton of opportunities for Davis. With Crabtree healthy, it's almost guaranteed Davis is going to see fewer balls thrown his way. That being said, don't be surprised if he comes close to double digits in TDs again. He and Olsen are pretty interchangeable in terms of where they're drafted, in fact I'd expect Davis to be drafted before Olsen just because of his production last year. But I wouldn't draft him before the 7th round. 

6. Jason Witten- Oh great, here comes this idiot with another homer Cowboys player. Look, I watched every Cowboys game last year and saw how his production dropped. Nothing frustrated me more than seeing Witten get overlooked, other than the Cowboys complete ineptitude on defense and reluctance to run the ball. I see Witten having a big bounceback year. Their new offensive coordinator should be looking to stretch the field, which is going to open up Witten over the middle. I'd be happy if Witten fell to me in mid-to-late 7th round and gladly scoop him up. 

7. Jordan Cameron- He had a fantastic 2013 season, but I don't expect him to come close replicating those numbers. A new head coach and an ongoing quarterback controversy/competition in Cleveland is going to make things tough for Cameron. However, he's still a good mid-draft option. I'd take him around the 10th round and feel very good about it. 

8. Dennis Pitta- I've got him lower than a lot of the experts do, but that doesn't mean I don't have as much confidence in his abilities. As ESPN puts it, "New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is famous for featuring athletic tight ends out of the slot, and Pitta's connection with Joe Flacco is strong." However Flacco also now has Steve Smith opposite Torrey Smith and the Ravens added Owen Daniels. Pitta could end up being a top-five TE this season, I just don't think it's worth the risk of taking him super high. He got hurt last year, playing only the last four games of the season and scoring only once. He's another TE I'd be very comfortable taking in the middle or late rounds of the draft as my starter. 

9. Kyle Rudolph- This one is definitely a gamble. However, it's an educated gamble. Rudolph was nothing short of awful last season, except for week 6 against Carolina when he caught 9 passes for 97 yards and a TD. Over the nine games he played, Rudolph scored a total of 52.7 points. That's not good enough to warrant being a starter. However Norv Turner is now in Minnesota, and if any offensive coordinator loves TE it's Turner. Look what he did for Antonio Gates and last year with Jordan Cameron. Rudolph has the athletic skills to be a great TE, he just needs to use them. 

10. Jordan Reed, Martellus Bennett, and Delanie Walker- All of these guys are capable of being near the top 10 of the league in terms of fantasy points. However, they're not really in a system that benefits their scoring opportunities. All three of these guys had weeks where they went off last season and all three had weeks where they scored 1.5 fantasy points or fewer. They're definitely feast or famine. If you end up with a TE like this you're going to need to make up the points elsewhere. 

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football WR Rankings

Part III in this series will cover my top 10 wide receivers for the 2014 fantasy football season. There are a lot of things to consider when drafting your wideouts. First, where are they on the depth chart? You need to have at least one top weapon. You will not make the playoffs with a team of second options. Sure, you'll get some wins and some big games, but the consistency won't be there. Another thing to keep in mind is your league rules. If you're in a PPR league it should change where you're taking your WRs and who your backups are going to be.

1. Calvin Johnson- Who else. Megatron had a down year last year and was still the 2nd highest-scoring, or third depending on your league, wide receiver. He's damn-near impossible to defend and his combination of size and speed makes him an absolute monster. Contributing to his "down year," which still saw him go for nearly 1,500 yards and 12 TDs, were injuries to his knee and finger. Both of those were addressed with offseason surgery. He is the best wide receiver in the NFL and should probably be taken in the first round of the draft. I wouldn't take him before the fifth pick, but anytime after that is perfectly fine.

2. Demaryius Thomas- Have you met Peyton Manning? Thomas put up the same amount of points in fantasy as Calvin Johnson last year, at least in my league, and there is no reason to think he won't have another monster year. He's a beast when it comes to yardage after the catch, 1,225 yards last year which was best in the league, and he caught 14 TDs. What makes him so dangerous is Peyton looks for him in short-yardage situations too. He scored 9 of his 14 TDs on short throws. Is he a first-rounder? He certainly could be, but I'd expect him to go early in the second.

3. AJ Green- While he doesn't have a great QB throwing to him, he gets a ton of opportunities. In fact, Green saw more targets, 178, than any other wide receiver last year. He's quick, tall, and has great hands. This makes him a great vertical threat and a prime redzone target. As I mentioned, he does have Andy Dalton pitching to him which doesn't exactly inspire confidence. But Green makes up for Dalton's shortcomings and he's a very safe pick. I wouldn't take him in the first round, but I'd be thrilled if I could get my hands on him later on.

4. Brandon Marshall- Marshall has more targets since becoming a Bear than anyone in the NFL. He found the endzone 12 times last year and nearly hit the 1,300-yard mark. Yes, you will see Alshon Jeffery get looks that will take away chances for Marshall. But considering he still saw more than 140 balls thrown his way last year I wouldn't really worry about it. Plus, if you can handcuff Marshall and Jeffery you've got a great combo. I'd look for Marshall in the late second round. If he's still available in the third I'd definitely jump at the chance to take him.

5. Dez Bryant- I know, another Cowboy on the list. Hear me out though. When he's not yelling at his teammates on the sideline, Dez puts in work. He had 13 scores last year and over 1,200 yards. The biggest drop for Dez last year was the number of deep balls he saw. However I expect that to change this season. Scott Linehan is the new offensive coordinator in Dallas and I think they're going to stretch the field with Dez a lot more in 2014. Granted he's still got Romo under center, which can be stressful, but Romo does have the arm to get the ball downfield. Plus, Romo loves throwing to Dez in the endzone. Late in the second is where Dez should be drafted, but I expect him to go higher in most leagues. Not a first-rounder or an early second-rounder, but definitely a safe pick early in the draft.

6. Julio Jones- Jones missed 11 games last year with a broken foot. When he got hurt he was on pace to top 1,800 yards and score 6 times. You and I both know he would have found the endzone more than half a dozen times if he played those 11 games. The re-tooled offensive line in Atlanta should give Matt Ryan some more time to find his top option. Roddy White is still going to get some attention, but Jones is clearly the number one receiver. Plus Tony Gonzalez retired, so Ryan's redzone safety net will likely be Jones as well. I'm very comfortable taking him in the latter half of the second round.

7. Jordy Nelson- No one missed Aaron Rodgers more. "Nelson ranked fourth among WRs in fantasy points on vertical throws (118) and tied for 31st on short ones (47)," according to ESPN. When Rodgers got hurt, Nelson's value plummeted. He's a deep threat who is going to find the endzone. Despite Rodgers abscence, Nelson was still able to put up 8 TDs on just over 1,300 yards. I fully expect him to hit double digits in scores and get at least that many yards this season. You can feel confident taking Nelson very late in the second round if you have a star running back, otherwise look for him in the third to compliment your first two picks.

8. Victor Cruz- If you owned Cruz last year you probably think I'm nuts. But just look what he went through in 2013. He got hurt, the Giants had no one to take attention away from him, and Eli was an interception machine. Much like the Cowboys the Giants have a revamped offense. They clearly still have their issues, but they should be much better than last season. Look at what Cruz did in the first 4 games of the season last year and use that as your indicator of how good he really is. Over those four games he averaged a touchdown and 106 yards. That includes a stinker in Carolina where he only 3 balls for 25 yards. Cruz is a solid third round pick.

9. Antonio Brown- Remember what I said about drafting guys who were the number one option? That's Brown. Emmanuel Sanders is now in Denver clearing the way for Brown to have a big year. He caught 110 passes last season for nearly 1,500 yards and scored 8 times. While I'm not sure his yardage numbers will increase, I'd be shocked if he doesn't find the endzone at least 10 times. Roethlisberger looked to Brown on both short and deep balls, expect that to happen again.

10. Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon, Randall Cobb- With the exception of Garcon these guys are all strong number two wideouts. They're all very viable receivers, they just have guys in front of them. That makes them fantastic handcuffs and great value picks. Garcon is different because he is a number one. But that was before the Redskins had DeSean Jackson and who knows what RG3 is going to do.

Looking at what Josh Gordon did last year you probably want to know why he isn't on this list. Simply put, he's likely not going to play this year. He was already facing a season-long suspension for testing positive for marijuana, then he got a DWI. Gordon is a great receiver, albeit on a crappy team. If he's able to play, he's probably a mid to late second-rounder. However drafting him before knowing his status is beyond risky. It's not worth it to me to use anything other than a very late pick on him.

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