Monday, August 30, 2010

The Win/Fail Entitites in the 18 Game NFL Schedule

The NFL owners look to be going ahead with their idea for an 18 game schedule as the future of the NFL. Let's take a look at who wins and who loses with this decision:

WIN- Owners: Mo money, mo money, mo money! That's what this all comes down to. Fans aren't falling for the pre-season garbage anymore and stadiums are only half filled, so the owners now make the games count and watch the green come flooding in.

FAIL- Players: Think you were sore after a 16 game schedule? Get ready to have your career further shortened and go ahead and say goodbye to your knees and various other joints right now.

WIN- Agents: Mo money, mo money, mo money! Don't think the additional gate for two extra games won't be involved in future contract negotiations.

FAIL- Veterans under contract: What is Darrelle Revis doing? He's trying to get this multi-year contract right now, which is being discussed under a 16 game schedule. Soon he'll realize that he could have made more. Pity the veteran that has his multi-year contract already in place. He'll have to play the extra games, but won't get paid for them. Well, don't actually pity him...

WIN- Wild card teams: Two more games to right the ship and get momentum going as you go into the playoffs

FAIL- Fans of early division winners: Remember the Colts last year? They had the division sewn up by week 13 and the final games were this mish mash of reserves throwing out a complete gong show while everyone asked if the team was losing it's mojo with the sudden loss of intensity in games. Now add two extra meaningless games at the end of the Indy season. Yawn.

WIN- Coaches on the hot seat: Two extra games to try and prove you belong before the inevitable guillotine falls on your headset.

FAIL- NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball etc: The juggernaut NFL puts in two more regular season games = two more weeks where Americans completely ignore your sport. It's a machine.

WIN- 1972 Miami Dolphins: Those annoying men in aqua have long beaten us down with their yearly champagne parties once the final undefeated team loses in the NFL. Yes, they went undefeated. The 2007 Patriots actually won more games, but since Belichick's boys couldn't take out the Giants in the Super Bowl, it wasn't a perfect season. Now you add two extra games. It will be nearly impossible for a team to go undefeated ever again. Once again, we'll hear the likes of Don Shula and Mercury Morris babble on about how their team was the best ever because of the perfect record despite the fact that the Dolphins played a ridiculously easy schedule during a 14 game season. Joy.

FAIL- Fantasy football players: Get ready for more injuries and more giant red "Questionable" tags attached to the players on your team. My head hurts just thinking about it.

WIN- NFL Fans: More football = happy me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010 Preview--RB

Okay, it's draft time for most of you, so let's go over the most important position on your team. Running backs won't score the most points and with the pass happy offenses these days, several receivers can score nearly as many fantasy points. So why are running backs considered so valuable? Because like some bitter woman once said about men; a good running back is hard to find.

If you have a top pick in your fantasy draft, you almost have to spend it one with the holy four backs: Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones Drew or Ray Rice. All four of these guys are rare birds. They are the workhorse running backs which is a position that is quickly becoming extinct in today's specialized NFL where you have the big back and the "change of pace" guy.

The other reason running backs are so important early is that there is usually the biggest point discrepancy between the top running back drafted and the last running back drafted versus any other position. If you wait too long to get your running backs, you're going to be giving up a lot of points to the league members who grabbed them early.

THAT'S why all you see on mock drafts are running backs running backs running backs.

Top Dog: Chris Johnson
Look, I usually hate taking a consensus number one pick because the chances of him being number one two years in a row are slim, but Chris Johnson...daaaaamn. Barring injury, I don't see him slowing down. He plays in a run first offense with a defensive minded head coach who won't abandon the run. Plus, he's just a missed tackle away from going for a 78-yard touchdown. You're sitting there watching him get handled by a defense and then BAM, he's got 100 yards and a score. Can't argue against that.

Grenade: Joseph Addai
He's going in the seventh round and he's a starting runner. Everyone is worried about Donald Brown stealing carries and he will, but Shonn Green and Ryan Matthews are going in the top two rounds and they have third down backs to deal with. Don't give me this "Indy is a passing team" crap. Peyton knows how to use the running game to manipulate the defense. Addai won't get ignored.

Torpedo: LeSean McCoy
Not being drafted until the sixth round, but he's still being used as a starting running back. McCoy will be in an Eagles offense that is used to the smaller, quicker, Brian Westbrook. Plus, he has a first time starter at quarterback in front of him and word is McCoy isn't doing so well at picking up the blitz. Did I mention the Eagles' offensive line has been injured all pre-season? I smell growing pains. No, not the 80's sitcom.

Desperation Pick: Carnell Williams
You drank too much during your draft and passed out in the middle rounds. You wake up to see that you still need to fill a running back slot and it's the tenth round. Fear not dumb one, grab Cadillac. He's an injury risk, but he's the starter in Tampa. You aren't getting another starter in the tenth round unless you draft with monkeys. Then, maybe.

Rankings: See, this is how much I care about you, the PantsCast reader (even the Chinese ones who send me spam.) I'm giving you rankings knowing damn well the people in my fantasy leagues will look at it and use it agianst me. Best of luck to the Pantsers and to my leauge mates: screw you. Get your own rankings.

Chris Johnson
Maurice Jones-Drew
Adrian Peterson
Ray Rice
Frank Gore
Michael Turner
Steven Jackson
DeAngelo Williams
Rashard Mendenhall
Shonn Greene
Ryan Mathews
Cedric Benson
Jamaal Charles
Ryan Grant
Jonathan Stewart
Pierre Thomas
Jahvid Best
Joseph Addai
Beanie Wells
Knowshon Moreno
Matt Forte
LeSean McCoy
Ronnie Brown
Arian Foster
C.J. Spiller
Michael Bush
Justin Forsett
Rickey Williams
Cadillac Williams
Ahmad Bradshaw
Thomas Jones
Jerome Harrison
Marion Barber
Clinton Portis
Felix Jones
Montario Hardesty
Brandon Jacobs
Darren Sproles

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 24- Fantasy Football General Draft Preview

How do you set up your draft? How do you avoid the moments in a fantasy draft where you just scream profanities and draft some random guy?

The PantsCast crew go over game planning a draft and what you should be looking for as the base of your fantasy team.

Also, white trash is alive and well in this week's What's Wrong With Humans.

Pay the money, take the ride.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010 Preview--WR

I'm going on a zombie pub crawl tonight, how about that? So it's time to figure out which wide receivers will be dead ends (HAHAHAHA kill me) this season.

Wide receivers are more up and down than any other position. One week they'll give you 150 yards and two touchdowns and then the next week they get shut down for 30 yards. This is because so many things have to go right for an NFL passing game to work. If your offensive line sucks, your quarterback won't have time to throw the ball deep (ask Greg Jennings owners about that problem last year). If you quarterback sucks, he might miss when the receiver is wide open (ask Steve Smith owners about that last year.) I happened to own both Jennings and Smith so I'm an expert on the subject and I also nearly had a stroke every Sunday last year.

The key is getting the receivers who will be a big part of a good passing offense. These are the receivers that offensive coordinators figure out ways to get open. It doesn't matter if a defense aims to stop them, the offense will find a way to make it work. That's the key in receiver grabbing during the early rounds. After that you just grab guys that you hope will emerge as pass catching threats. Let's took a look.

Top Dog: Andre Johnson
There isn't one mock draft that doesn't have Andre Johnson as the number one receiver. The guy is a beast. If you're sitting in the back half of your first round, consider passing on a running back and getting Johnson, he's as close to a sure thing that a receiver can be. He's big, fast, and he has a pretty lethal offense around him. He might be doing nothing for you and then BAM! he has a 69 yard touchdown. It's the way that offense works and he will always be in the mix for the ball.

Grenade: Dwayne Bowe
He's very boom or bust, but Bowe is the man in Kansas City. The only issue is his work habits. More accurately, it's coach Todd Haley's concerns with Bowe's work habits. Haley likes to play mind games with his players and do things like put them at third string so embarrass and motivate them. As a result, people get scared off by Bowe. He's not being drafted until the middle of the sixth round in most leagues and he's by far the most talented receiver in K.C. The Chiefs will be behind a lot so that means plenty of targets for Bowe. Boom.

Torpedo: Donald Driver
Poor Donald Driver. He's been nothing but consistent over the past few years and this is how I repay him. Football is a vicious bitch of a sport and Driver is old, that's the problem. He's old and he has two freshly operated on knees. He's a gamer, but there's a good chance Driver gets hurt or is just a step too slow this year. That means a big drop in production. Considering he's being taken less than a round after Bowe, he should be avoided.

Deperation Pick: Lee Evans
You've spent your drafting loading up other positions and now you find yourself looking for a second or third receiver in the tenth round. Not a good position to be in. Get Evans. He'll drive you insane because he's the poster child for getting you 30 points one week and 3 the next, but he's the number one receiver in Buffalo and that means they'll at least try to get him the ball. Just don't watch his games because it will drive you crazy. Don't watch Buffalo Bills games...now that's good advice.

Rankings:
Andre Johnson
Randy Moss
Larry Fitzgerald
Calvin Johnson
Reggie Wayne
DeSean Jackson
Miles Austin
Roddy White
Greg Jennings
Brandon Marshall
Marques Colston
Steve Smith-CAR
Sidney Rice
Anquan Boldin
Steve Smith-NYG
Chad Ochocinco
Hakeem Nicks
Michael Crabtree
Dwayne Bowe
Mike Sims-Walker
Percy Harvin
Jeremy Maclin
Johnny Knox
Santana Moss
Terrell Owens
Malcolm Floyd
Lee Evans
Vincent Jackson
Dez Bryant
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Devin Aromashodu
Pierre Garcon
Robert Meachem
Derrick Mason
Jabaar Gaffney
Golden Tate
Mike Williams
James Jones
Dexter McCluster

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 17- Fantasy Football RB Preview

It's the big one. We preview fantasy running backs and discuss why wearing a ball cap will cost you your job.

Click Here and enjoy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010 Preview--QB

It's my birthday and yet here I am helping you prepare for your fantasy league. You're welcome. And yes, I know I'm pretty pathetic. Just shut up and read:

Like the other positions, I've already discussed quarterbacks on the PantsCast which you can download as an MP3 if you'd like some entertainment. We do have ourselves some fun on there.

If you're so terribly busy that you can't or you're just too lazy to be bothered, here are some thoughts on the QB's.

Quarterbacks are the position that can most change depending on your league settings. If you're a touchdown-heavy league (50 yds passing = one point and TD's = six), then you really want a quarterback like Matt Schaub: a guy in a good offense that can't run the ball in short yardage situatuions. In this kind of league you drop down guys like Tony Romo and Matt Ryan because both play for teams that like to hammer the ball in the running game which means a greater chance for a rushing touchdown.

If you're in a standard league (25 yards passing = 1 point, TD's are six points) then here's what to look for:

Top Dog: Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers led all quarterbacks in scoring last year and that was with two dead offensive tackles. There were no deep threats on Green Bay last year because Rodgers would be buried in the dirt before he could throw the ball. Yet he led fantasy QB's in scoring. Now his linemen are healthy. Do the math.

Grenade: Kevin Kolb
Kolb is only the tenth quarterback taken this year because no one knows what to expect from the first year starter. If you find yourself late in the draft with no quarterback, get him. He's been studying for three years under Donovan McNabb and now he will quarterback a passing offense that has DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The last quarterback to tutor under a passing legend for a few years before he started was Aaron Rodgers. See above.


Torpedo: Phillp Rivers
I don't think you should worry if you get Rivers. He'll be solid. The problem is he's being drafted with the top QB's. He's missing his best receiver for at least three games and it's possible Rivers won't get him back again. Plus, stud offensive lineman Marcus McNeil is holding out. Even if he makes it back before the season, he'll be behind schedule. What makes Rivers the biggest torpedo candidate, however, is the drafting of running back Ryan Matthews. Last year the Chargers couldn't really pound the ball, so Rivers took to getting the ball to his running backs via the pass. This year, count on the rookie running back to get the ball early and often. Good for the Chargers offense, bad for Rivers' numbers.

Desperation Pick: Joe Flacco
Aw crap! You trade to make it one more round before you picked a quarterback and now four teams just made a QB run that left you in the dust! Not to worry, just draft Joe Flacco. He's ready to bust out and he has Anquan Boldin now. Plus, he's being drafted as the 13th quarterback in most leagues. Get him and pick another quarterback whose schedule meshes well with his (hint: Donovan McNabb should still be around). Then you can play mix and match with your mest match-up every week. My only concern with Flacco is the run first attitude of the Ravens.

Rankings:
Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees
Peyton Manning
Tony Romo
Matt Schaub
Tom Brady
Philip Rivers
Kevin Kolb
Brett Favre (just tell us you're coming back you jackass).
Jay Cutler
Joe Flacco
Matt Ryan
Eli Manning
Donovan McNabb
Carson Palmer
Matt Satfford
Ben Toothlesburger

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010 Preview--TE

We've already previewed the TE position on the PantsCast a few weeks back, but for those of you who still haven't tasted the delicious fruit of our podcasts, I'll lay it out for you here.

These tight end rankings are based on basic league settings (non-ppr) with 6 points for a touch down, one pt. per 10 yards rushed or received, and 1 pt. per 25 yards passed.

Top Dog: Antonio Gates
Lots of experts picked Dallas Clark as number one and he's a consistent top performer, but Gates has been as well and the Chargers are missing Vincent Jackson for at least three games. That means even more targets for Gates since he has the best connection with QB Philip Rivers of the guys that are actually playing. If ole Vincent misses more time or is traded, Gates could become the number one target for Rivers which means a huge season.

Grenade: Zach Miller
Jermichael Finley will have a monster season in Green Bay, but he's on everyone's darkhorse list, so I don't consider him a guy that could come out of nowhere and blow the league up (criteria for a grenade). If you want Finley, you're probably going to need to grab him right after the top guys go.

However, Miller is still lasting late in drafts. He was already a favorite in the passing game last year and now the Raiders have quarterback Jason Campbell who can actually get him the ball. Campbell made Chris Cooley a star in Washington and now he has outside receivers who can't catch and an offensive line that can't pass block for more than a nanosecond. The result will be many dumpoffs to Miller.

Torpedo: Owen Daniels
Beware the major knee surgery victim who claims he's ready to go the next season. Daniels is currently being drafted as the eighth tight end based on his production last year before the injury. I don't buy it. Any position that involves speed and quickness (receivers and backs) is not one you trust to a guy still working his way back into full shape. It's always the season after the return from surgery that usually works well for a player. So draft Daniels wherever you please next year, just no this one.

Desperation Pick: Chris Cooley
If you suddenly find that dreaded tight end run happens and leaves you as the only guy in your league without a tight end, you're probably going to have to throw a dart and hope it hits a decent guy. Cooley has been a reliable tight end for years, but a season ending injury ruined him last year. Now people are worried about backup Fred Davis stealing the catches, but Cooley has a big contract and he's not going to be shut out of the offense. New QB Donovan McNabb will throw to the tight end and Cooley should grab his share.

Rankings:

Antonio Gates
Dallas Clark
Vernon Davis
Jermichael Finley
Jason Witten
Brent Celek
Tony Gonzalez
Kellen Winslow
Zach Miller
Visanthe Shiancoe (Depending on Favre)
Chris Cooley
John Carlson
Owen Daniels
Dustin Keller
Heath Miller
Jermaine Gresham

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PantsCast August 10-- Fantasy Football Preview Wide Receivers

Anger at a jowly Hall of Fame blow hard, the big fantasy football wide receiver preview, and a salute to this week's What's Wrong With Humans winner.

Click here to decide if we know what we're talking about.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Now?

Bad calls happen. Just ask Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, who got a perfect game ripped away from him by a blown call by the first base umpire.

Of course, the umpire that made that call apologized to Galarraga shortly after the game and admitted that his call directly affected the game. It was a nice show of humility from a Major League Baseball umpire and one that gave you warm fuzzy feelings in your sports belly.

I guess NFL referee Bill Leavy got caught up in the moment because he came clean and admitted that he blew several calls in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl that was played in January of 2006.

What good does this do now? Football fans have already seen and heard the blown calls dissected 200 different ways and the game makes any top ten list of the referee gaffes in football (along with my favorite, the episode where referee Phil Luckett inexplicably blew a coin toss in a Lions/Steelers game.) Every time they talk about a blown NFL call, there's the footage of Ben Roethilsberger being stopped well before the goalline despite a touchdown call. It was one of many very poor calls that went against the Seahawks in that Super Bowl.

Seattle fans cried about it right after the game and were labled as poor sports at the time. Now they've hopefully moved on with their football watching lives.

And then this gets brought up again. The Super Bowl ref comes out five years later and says "Oh, by the way, I did blow all of those calls your guys were bitching about."

Well no sh** Sherlock.

The Seattle players took the high road and thanked Leavy for finally admitting his mistakes and talked about moving on with this season blah blah blah. Meanwhile they still have no rings on their fingers (though you can't assume Seattle would have won even with the calls).

I just wonder: why now? Why come out five years after the fact and admit wrong doing? It won't change the history books. All it does is stoke the fires in that debate that had gone away.

The only differnce now is that when a Steeler fan is in a bar with a Seahawks fan, the Seattle fan can end his debate with the line, "and he even admitted he screwed it up!" Pittsburgh fans living in the Northwest better be ready, the argument is going to heat up again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fight For Your Right To Own

What a crazy day in Rangers history. The 14-hour court auction to determine the new owner of the baseball team ranks just behind the 10-cent beer night fiasco in Cleveland during the 1970's (where drunk Cleveland fans stormed the field to party causing such a fiasco, the game had to be stopped) in terms of unstable moments for a franchise.

Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan had both been planning on leading a group to acquire the Rangers and most people thought the ownership group would move into place at the beginning of the season. Greenberg was even on local sports radio talking about his philosophy about owning a team.

Then the poop flew right through the fan.

Turns out the previous owner Tom Hicks had taken a few liberties in his financial dealings including leveraging the Ballpark in Arlington (home of the Rangers) as one of his holdings during business moves. The problem is, Hicks didn't actually own the ballpark.

Oops.

Now Hicks was declaring bankruptcy and trying to sell off the Rangers without consulting all of the creditors he owed. Naturally, that did not sit well with those whom Hicks owed money to.

The following months, also known as the 2010 baseball season, turned into such a mishmash of back and forth ownership proceedings, it's a wonder that the baseball team could actually play games.

But play the Rangers have and with the help the of mid-season trade for Cliff Lee (NO idea how that was able to happen with a team technically owned by Major League Baseball), Texas is now the overwhelming favorites to win the AL West and go to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Yesterday, Greenberg and Ryan went to court to legally attain that team they'd been waiting to get for a year. Alas, a new problem arose.

Mark Cuban had decided he wanted the team.

Oh yeah, Mark Cuban, the crazy, intense, pontentially explosive owner of the Dallas Mavericks wanted to get into baseball. He had tried once with the Chicago Cubs, but had been denied by the other frumpy baseball owners who were no doubt frightened of what kind of change Cuban might bring to their stubbornly evolving sport.

So like a jilted lover, Cuban was going to go after another team and dare the owners to try and vote him down again. And therein lay the issue:

Cuban is a smart businessman, but he's also a very emotional owner. If he had made up his mind that he was going to get the Rangers, there might be no way to stop him because he'd possibly pour his entire fortune just to win the bidding. He'd been denied and this was his chance to thumb his nose at the baseball boys club by resurfacing.

It took 14 long hours of court bidding before Greenberg and Ryan threw out a bid that Cuban refused to top. By the time the new owners were celebrating, only people on the west coast would have been awake to hear the news.

And that's what I love about this process. Greenberg and Ryan didn't just walk up and purchase a team with ownership trouble. They fought for this team. You don't get into a bidding war unless you really want something and they went to the wall to hold off Mark Cuban. As a Rangers fan, I'm beyond happy because I see an ownership group that are proud to own this team. When you're proud of something you tend to take care of it.

I would have been happy with Mark Cuban too, he's already proven what he can do by taken a joke of a Mavericks team (previously owned by scumbag buisnessman Ross Perot Jr. who only owned the team to finalize a real estate deal and make a gazillion dollars) and turned that pile of garbage into an NBA contender. But Greenberg and Ryan wanted the Rangers longer.

Greenberg has been visiting the Rangers clubhouse for the better part of a year to get to know his players. He really wants to be a part of this thing. Now he is. And it's about damn time. Finally, the Rangers can look forward instead of running in place.

Oh the times, they are a changin'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PantsCast August 2-- Fantasy Football Preview D and K

Baseball trade deadline talk and we preview defense and kickers. Plus a drunk dialing problem on What's Wrong With Humans

Click Here for summer fun.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Carnage Begins

If you're a fantasy football player, the beginning of NFL training camps throughout the country make you pay close attention to the news, not because training camps are so interesting, but because you want to see which players go down with the inevitable training camp injuries.

This year has been no different. We haven't even made it to the first pre-season game yet and already you have reports start receivers like DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin being carted off the field, soon to be star running back Knowshon Moreno blowing a hamstring, and big named rookie Dez Bryant suffering the dreaded high ankle sprain on the second to last play of practice.

It's part of the game with a sport this violent. Guys will get hurt. More are going to get hurt too because when draft picks don't sign and players hold out, they come in behind and aren't up to speed with the rest of the players. Then they take a brutal shot and whammy, they're out for another three weeks.

But does the NFL pre-season really need to begin in late July? There was a time when players needed training camp to get back into playing shape. Today there is no real off-season in the NFL with all of the organized team activities, rookie mini-camps, and "voluntary" workout sessions. Most players come into camp ready to go. In fact, many teams have conditioning tests before camp even starts.

Sure, players get timing down and have more time to learn the play book, but is that more important than giving their bodies a rest before the onset of a brutal 16 game regular season? Ask any player and they'll tell you that they get tired from camp and they aren't really fresh for the regular season.

The reason we have such a long pre-season is one reason: money. Owners don't want to give up the earnings they can get from four meaningless pre-season games.

Okay, so that's not going to change. Why not have a one week training camp followed by the four games? Guys are preparing during the week just like they would during a regular season. They've had a week to shock their systems back into football mode and now have the four games to look forward to.

Better yet, open training camp at the normal date, but for rookies, new additions, and bubble players. That way they can get work in while the veterans can relax until mid August. You don't have to tell the Philadelphia coaches that DeSean Jackson is going to make the team. He doesn't need to run drills all day.

I'm a football fan! I want to see the best players doing their thing out there. I don't want to see an All-Pro lying dead on the field in August. I know these kind of things will happen because of the nature of football, but can't the NFL at least let players go into a season without feeling like they just finished one?