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The Wacky Week in Sports

FOOTBALL!!! It’s back, folks, as the NCAA opened its doors for the 2014 college football season. There were some exciting football games for week one, especially amongst the top two spots. Elsewhere, the NFL made some news not by who made certain teams, but more so for who didn’t. Baseball has been creeping along, but Monday is September first and that’s when the final leg of this intense playoff race really heats up. And today, my Nitro League drafts on Labor Day Weekend Sunday for the 17th year in a row. Now, that’s just wacky, my friends. So sit back and get caught up on you Wacky Week in Sports.

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Week one is usually filled with some laughers to get the good teams rolling with some decisive victories. It didn’t quite go down that way, especially for the defending champs and Ol’ Saint Nick’s Rolling Tide. Jeremy Pruitt proved to be amongst the best defensive coordinators in the business, not just for what his new Georgia Bulldogs did in the second half of their game, but for how lost the Seminole defense looked without him. The unranked Oklahoma State put a huge scare into the number one seeded Seminoles, scoring 14 points in the final quarter to make Florida State sweat it out. The final score was 37-31 as the Cowboys outplayed the champs in the second half, outscoring them by one point. The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic was almost an instant classic as unranked West Virginia hung around with Alabama for nearly the whole game, losing 33-23. TJ Yeldon made his presence felt as he went off for 126 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Down the road in Athens, the Dogs came out shaky in their first half of the Hutson Mason/ Jeremy Pruitt era in the matchup of the day that pitted number 12 Georgia versus the number 16 Clemson Tigers. After a first half that saw the Bulldog defense get run over to a score of 21-21, the Dawgs completely shutdown the Tigers in the second half, outscoring them 24-0 for a 45-21 victory. The attack was led by 2014 Heisman Trophy winner (yea, I’m penciling it in already) Todd Gurley who went off for 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on a thrilling 100 yard kickoff return touchdown. Can I just take Gurley with my first pick in today’s fantasy draft? The Jerry Bowl, the other marquee matchup of the day, must have given my boy Jason Steen a heart attack. His number 13 LSU Tigers were down to the number 14 Wisconsin Badger’s 24-7. With the Badgers notorious clamp down defense and time killing rushing attack, it looked like the Tiger’s day was done. However, behind wide receiver Travin Dural’s 80-yard touchdown and 151 yard day, LSU came roaring back with 21 unanswered points for the 28-24 victory. Finally, my boys in Delaware made a bold move by opening their season against the ACC powerhouse Pittsburgh Panthers. We lost 62-0 and now my football season is over. The Florida Gators game was cancelled due to scary conditions. Aaron Hernandez escaped and was running amok in The Swamp. No official NFL suspension of Hernandez has yet to be handed down.

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Which brings us to the NFL. Iron fisted Commissioner Goodell upheld Josh Gordon‘s one year suspension for smoking marijuana. Goodell admitted this week that he blew the Ray Rice domestic violence case in which he inexplicably only suspended Rice for two games after beating his wife unconscious. The punishment has now changed to a mandatory six game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Now, while Goodell made one thing right, he blew a chance to make Gordon’s wrong a right. There is no excuse for a year suspension on any crime that doesn’t endanger someone else’s life. Think about it, a then 22-year old kid who should still be in college, was caught with marijuana. In other words, he was being a 22-year old college kid. He didn’t hurt the face of the NFL like Rice did who had feminist groups up in arms over the decision. He didn’t hurt anyone else, like Aaron Hernandez and his multiple killing sprees (who as I already said, still has no official suspension from the NFL). It didn’t effect his game in anyway as a performance enhancer (unless of course he is like Ki-Jana Carter and openly admits that he can’t play if he isn’t high, dumbass). The only people hurt by Gordon’s one year suspension are Cleveland fans and Fantasy Footballers like myself who now can’t have the second best wide receiver in football on their rosters. Thanks, Rog.

This week was also final cut week for the 53-man Opening Day rosters. There were some surprises, like The Law Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis from the Bengals and Daniel Thomas from the Dolphins, but none rang out louder than Michael Sam from the Rams. It was a lousy fit from the get go with the Rams being so deep on the defensive line, but Sam came out and did a lot of things right that gave him a positive grade from Pro Football Focus. In the end, his two sacks (one of which leveled Johnny Football to the tune of Sam throwing that stupid Cash Money Dance right in Manziel’s face) and quarterback hurries weren’t enough to make him the 53rd player on the roster. The Rams hope to keep Sam on the practice squad, however most experts don’t feel Sam will make it through waivers and may join another team this Monday.

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You know who it must suck to be? Bryce Harper. He comes up side by side with Mike Trout as the face of the new era of the MLB. The two of them were to rewrite the beloved books of stat filled history for saber metric geeks everywhere. Since then, Harper has become an injury-prone, whiny, little, disrespectful baby, while Mike Trout has become the face of baseball. Yes, Harper’s Nationals are making quite the run at the NL pennant, but Trout’s Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball, and a lot of that has to do with Trout. And who doesn’t love to watch Trout play? Does anyone outside of the DC area even care about Harper? I know Atlanta fans would love to see him duct taped at home plate so their pitchers could rifle endless fastballs at him. Anyone else?

Anyway, Monday is September 1st and that means two things. One, rosters expand and we get to finally see all of those heralded minor league top prospects we have been hearing about all season. Two, these playoff races are heating up for an exciting finish. The AL has a legitimate six team Wild Card race going on, while the NL is a five team race with the surprise Miami Marlins still in contention. What is even more exciting is that aside from the AL and NL East, four of the divisions are still wide open. Justin Verlander finally put in a Justin Verlander performance to even the Detroit Tigers up with the surging Kansas City Royals atop the AL Central. Now the Michael Brantley led (yea, I actually typed that) Cleveland Indians, who are in a crucial series with the Royals, are creeping back into the hunt just 3.5 games out of first. By the way, is Corey Kluber the best pitcher in the AL? Where did he come from? In the NL, as Yusmeiro Petit keeps retiring batters (46 in a row, seriously?) and Madison Bumgarner continues throwing gem after gem, the San Francisco Giants are looking a lot like those 2010 and 2012 Giants. You know, those guys that wound up putting their one-time ace Tim Lincecum in the pen and got by on lights out pitching and timely hitting? Don Mattingly and his Dodgers better look out behind them!

That’s a wrap for this week, folks, because let’s admit it, no other sports really matter right now. That’s because we are just four days away from the kickoff to the NFL season. Enjoy your last Sunday of the Wacky Week in Sports because next week we move to Monday’s to recap all of your NFL action!

The WN Fantasy Football Report: Draft Day

This past Sunday, I had my first of three drafts. This one was for the Brookhaven Fantasy Football League (The BFFL) which is run by our own fantasy expert Nomi the Greek, and has all of the members of The Thread and even my fiancé as participants, even though Sperry is on his one year sabbatical. Being that this was the first draft that contained three of our own fantasy experts that brought you MVPs, busts, breakouts and rookies to keep an eye on, I thought I would recap my draft strategy and round by round performance to help guide you for your drafts.

I had the third pick in the draft. My whole goal was to put together a team that can compete for the title by going against the traditional way of thought that you need to grab one of the Big Three running backs with the first three picks.  I think that I did that, however, as anyone who has played fantasy for a long time will tell you, what looks good on paper usually changes about 45 seconds into that first magical Sunday. But that’s why we play, right? Well, that and an excuse to sit at a bar for eight hours every Sunday shoving wings and beer down our throats.

 

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Round One: The picks were, in order: Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoyCALVIN JOHNSON, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Jimmy Graham, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers.

I wasn’t surprised at all by who went in Round One, however, the order in which they went was a bit surprising. I thought Brandon Marshall would go in Round One before Julio Jones coming off his injury, but you need to remember, this draft is a bunch of Atlanta Falcons fans. I’m surprised Saucy T didn’t grab Matt Ryan on the comeback!

MY PICK (THIRD): Megatron. Leading up to the draft, I was rather ho hum, I will take whichever of the Big Three running backs landed on me. I was relieved that I didn’t need to make a pick. But then the morning of the draft I asked myself: Self? Do you want the third best running back, or do you want the best wide receiver in the universe? The answer became very clear. Take a look at Megatron’s three year average: 1712 yards, 11 touchdowns and 101 receptions. Not including any bonus systems for long touchdowns or 100 yard games, in a Point Per Reception scoring league, that means Calvin Johnson has averaged 338 points per season over the last three years. That’s ridiculous. I don’t care if they added Golden Tate, I don’t care if Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are receiving threats out of the backfield, and I could care less about the prospects of Eric Ebron stealing red zone targets. It goes Jerry Rice, then Calvin Johnson, end of conversation. If Megatron comes close to his 2012 season this year, we may see a wide receiver go number one sooner than any fantasy nerd imagined.

Round Two: Arian Foster, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Jordy Nelson, DeMarco Murray, Drew Brees, Julius Thomas, Montee Ball, Antonio Brown and Gio Bernard.

I saw a few surprises in this round. I am a Texan fan through and through, but I think Foster and Andre may have gone a bit too high. I saw them more as a third or fourth round target. They are two aging, injury-riddled players. Then you throw on top of it that they are learning a new offensive system under a new quarterback and head coach, and it may take a few weeks for them to start putting up the points most are used to from them. Based on where Peyton Manning and Rodgers went, I think Drew Brees was a steal for John Smith. Has there been a more consistent QB in NFL history? There have been eight 5,000 yard passing performances in NFL history and four of them belong to Brees including the last three in a row.

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MY PICK (22nd): Montee Ball. This was my dream target and he somehow fell to me. I thought for sure Jon Blalock was going to grab him as a Denver Broncos fan, but he went with Manning’s favorite red zone target instead. Although Orange Julius may be a reach in round two, I get his thought process because he wouldn’t have been there much longer. And it gives me the running back I want. Manning does what he needs to do to get in the end zone, and if that means passing for 99 yards every drive to the one yard line and handing it off to his RB, he’ll do it. I think Ball is poised for a huge season.

Rounds three, four and five:

MY ROUND THREE PICK (27th): Matthew Stafford. I jumped maybe a round early on Stafford, but with the Big Three QBs off the board, I didn’t think he would have been around when I was up 18 picks later. And he wouldn’t have been, as Shane Goode, who grabbed Andrew Luck five picks later said he would have grabbed Stafford first. I have one of the best offensive monsters in football in Megatron and I wanted the hand that feeds him. In his three full seasons in the NFL, Stafford has never thrown for less than 4,500 yards and that is insane. Does his desire to win come into question? Maybe. Does his maturation, or lack thereof, worry some people? I could see that. But that’s for the Detroit Lions to worry about, I just need him to do what he has always done sine his days as a Georgia Bulldog and that’s sling the ball, preferably to Megatron.

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MY ROUND FOUR PICK (46th): Pierre Garcon. If you think having DeSean Jackson scares me about Garcon’s 2014 production, you’re nuts. The biggest concern with Garcon is himself. He was targeted an inconceivable 182 times last season and was only able to haul in 113 receptions and five touchdowns. But that was under the terrible Shanahan regime and an unhealthy Robert Griffin III. Garcon may not catch 113 balls again, but I can easily see a boost in his other numbers.

MY ROUND FIVE PICK (51st): Shane Vereen. Didn’t love this pick, but I wanted to lock up my second back with slim pickings left. I wanted nothing to do with Ray Rice after what he did to me last season and I felt it was too early to gamble on Bishop Sankey, who I like, but still has Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster to battle with for touches. Vereen is in a Belicheck backfield, which means you never know what can happen, but he has supreme receiving skills and has never played a full season. Maybe this is the year he puts it altogether. If not, I am in a bit of a pickle.

The Rest of the Draft:

I really liked snagging Kendall Wright in the sixth round. Sure, he is a number one receiver who only had two touchdowns, but he’s still a number one. Hopefully, this is the year Locker stays on the field and puts it together as he has looked sharp in the preseason. I did not like taking Frank Gore, but he has some value in the seventh round. The way I see it is that I get to start him week one against the Dallas Cowboys Swiss cheese defense and then he can ride the pine. At 31 and a long list of dinks and mileage, he may not make it past week two! I misplayed the tight end position. My goal was to snag Kyle Rudolph who I thought would slip to me in Round 10, but the reigning champ, The Englishman, snagged him up in round nine. Any tight end in a Norv Turner offense is a great pick. So I called an audible and gambled on Ladarius Green. He is a monster of a specimen, but does have to contend with Antonio Gates in front of him. I hope the aging TE great misses a few games or plays limited snaps to keep him fresh throughout the year. Riley Cooper was a steal in the eighth round as the Eagles offense is a nice blend of passing and rushing, and with the amount of plays they see, he is sure to be a solid bye week replacement. My wild cards are two rookie receivers with very questionable quarterback play. Mike Evans in Tampa with Josh McCown and Marqise Lee with Chad Henne in Jacksonville could be breakouts or busts. Obviously I am hoping for the breakout. Garrett Graham is a safe play at TE, and being the homer that I am, I need a Texan.

Matt Stafford, Kelly Hall

So my opening day line-up pans out like this:

QB: Stafford
RB1: Ball
RB2: Gore
WR1: Megatron
WR2: Garcon
Flex: Vereen
TE: Green
K: Sebastian Janikowski
Def: Arizona Cardinals

Did I succeed in building a playoff contender by passing on AP and Forte? I think I did. I have a few high risk, high reward guys, but overall, I drafted a team built on consistency. Most of my starters are of the what you see is what you get variety, and I like knowing that I have a team that can put up 100 points week in and week out. But, I will let you decide. Was my strategy right or wrong? Feel free to sound off below!

Well, with The Nitro League and Old School Football League drafts just a few short days away, be on the look out for 5 Bold Predictions for the 2014 Fantasy Football Season. Until then, happy drafting!

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The Wacky Week in Sports

One more meaningless week of preseason football, and the NFL is back, folks! This week was a tease as many of the starters went well into the third quarters of their games. Elsewhere around the world of sports a 13-year old makes the Sports Illustrated cover, buckets of ice continue to douse our star athletes and baseball’s pennant races are prepping for an exciting home stretch. Sit back and get comfy, as Wayniac Nation takes you around the week of sports.

-Click here for all that was wacky!>

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The WN Fantasy Football Report: MVPs, Busts and Breakthroughs

A few days ago, Wayniac Nation brought you the Inaugural WN Fantasy Football Report answering 5 Burning Questions for the 2014 Fantasy Season.  Today, we will break it down further and bring you our picks for the MVP, some breakout stars, some busts and some rookies you may want to gamble on. First, you need to meet the Wayniac Nation Fantasy Experts.

Nomi the Greek is a member of The Thread and commissioner of The Brookhaven Fantasy Football League (BFFL) that I joined last season. He is a die hard Atlanta Falcons fan and knows the NFL up and down. Sperry is a member of both The Thread and the BFFL as well, although he will be taking a one year hiatus in his pursuit of law schools and a career. Damn higher learning, see where it gets you? Still, one year removed from being champion of the BFFL, Sperry has agreed to chip in on some fantasy advice. You probably remember Saucy T as Wayniac Nation’s NFL Draft expert and his first annual Mason’s Mock Draft. He is also the commissioner of his own league, THE LEAGUE (which Nomi the Greek is currently reigning champion of), and member of  the BFFLBenny Smalls is reigning champion of my 17-year league, The Nitro League. He defeated me last season as I went for back-to-back championships. Anyone who wins the coveted Nitro Trophy is worth listening to for some sound advice. Wayniac Nation’s golf expert, Mike Dunton, is also a member of The Nitro League. His name is on the trophy as well, and would have been even more if I hadn’t beaten him for my first championship back in 2005. Fee is the Commissioner of The Nitro League. He hasn’t won a championship since 1999, however, his team strung together one of the longest playoff appearance streaks in our league history. His Swami Squad has the distinct honor of running into the hottest team every post season. JD is my team mate in fantasy baseball. He also joined our Old School Football League three years ago and was in the championship game a mere one year later. Mike Cochran is the single greatest fantasy sport mind I know. I am in two of his baseball leagues and The Old School Football League with him for 11 years. He easily has close to 20 combined championships over that time. He will be the first to tell you that I would have at least three more championships in fantasy sports if it weren’t for him. He has knocked me out in the semi-finals or finals in three of the last four years. Ted Reed is not in any leagues with me, but has worked with me for the last three years and we talk fantasy football every day… even during baseball season. He is the reigning champion of his league and his 2014 draft is underway. Cavadi #2 is my brother Jonathan. We teamed several years ago to form the powerhouse Gumbel-2-Gumbel but that was the only year we have ever played together.

Now, that we are all acquainted, let’s get to it:

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Nomi the Greek (reigning THE LEAGUE champion)

Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning. If he has a season where he puts up 75% of last years stats, he is a fantasy stud.
Fantasy ROY: I like Teddy Bridgewater a lot….. if he plays. I’ll go with Jordan Matthews. He has the size and speed to be an elite receiver in the NFL. Chip Kelly’s offensive system is also going to help Jordan.
Biggest Bust:
 Rookie: Odell Beckham, Jr. is my guy here. He has all the tools and talents to be great. He has one problem though. He doesn’t seem to want to play through any pain and Tom Coughlin, historically, doesn’t seem to care much for players who can’t tough out small injuries.
Veteran: Eric Decker. Geno Smith is not Peyton Manning. Do I need to continue?
First non-running back taken: Calvin Johnson in a PPR league. He is Matt Stafford’s favorite weapon in a very pass happy offense.

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Sperry (the doesn’t even play fantasy fantasy expert)

MVP: Jamaal Charles. His ceiling will get even higher this season when Aaron Murray takes over at QB in week 6.
Rookie of the Year: I think Brandin Cooks and Drew Brees are going to get on the same page and thrash some coverages. You know what? Scrap that. SAMMY WATKINS! Having the most talent and being, virtually, the only option I say he explodes in Buffalo and makes EJ look like a Pro Bowler (not really).
Biggest Bust: I love Beast Mode, but something isn’t sitting right with me about him this year. It might be the hold out. It might be the gifted young RB nipping at his heels. Whatever it is I would not take Marshawn as high as you would have to.
Best Comeback: I am going with Jay Cutler. I have bet on him in the past and he has let me down, but I think this just might be the year that he puts it all together.
Breakthrough: I want to be different here, but I just can’t see anyone having a bigger breakout year than Montee Ball. With light boxes all year Ball will be able to imitate Knowshon’s success from last season.
First Non-RB: Megatron. Megatron. Megatron. If it is not Calvin Johnson, then I would want to be in whatever league that is seeing as how you could probably get Jimmy Graham in round two.
Sleeper: Ladarius Green isn’t a name that most of your buddies will know offhand, but it should be. 6 feet 6 inches of 4.5 running goodness coming off the line for Phillip Rivers to play long ball catch with. He could very well be Jimmy Graham before he was Jimmy Graham.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions

Saucy T (fantasy legend and Wayniac Nation NFL Draft expert)

Fantasy MVP: Calvin Johnson. Megatron played the last month or two of last season injured and playing through it still managed to be a top 3 fantasy receiver.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Carlos Hyde. I don’t love this rookie classes for fantasy purposes, but if I had to pick one I would take my chances with the most talented RB in this class who’s playing behind a RB past his prime on one of the most run heavy teams.
Biggest Bust: Arian Foster. Sorry Wayne, but I don’t know that he can stay healthy and if the Texans are 1-4, what reason does he have to play through it?
Breakout Candidate: Michael Floyd. Larry Fitzgerald is still a great receiver, but if you look at their numbers after the bye week last year, Floyd started to become Arizona’s number one.
Sleeper: Travis Kelce. Kelce is a Gronk-lite playing in Andy Reid‘s pass happy system on a team who’s RB was their leading pass catcher last year. I expect Kelce to challenge Charles for that honor this year.

I think Megatron is first non QB to go. I’d say pick 7 in standard, pick 5 in PPR

Bounceback: Roddy White. Maybe it’s the homer in me, but I could see Roddy having a 90 catch, 1200 yard bounce back.

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Benny Smalls (reigning Nitro champ)

Fantasy MVP: Adrian Peterson – All Day has been consistently atop the rankings for the past few years.
ROY: Brandin Cooks – speed, catching ability and a dangerous weapon throwing to him.
Biggest bust: Le’Veon Bell – he’ll still be productive, but Blount will pull from his numbers.
Best comeback candidate: RGIII – weapons to throw to, no knee brace & options in the backfield…lets not forget how scary good he was prior to his injury.
Breakthrough candidate: Monte Ball – the backfield is all his and Manning takes pressure off any RB as D’s will have a hard time stacking the box against him.
First non RB taken and when: Unless folks draft with their hearts, the smart pick here is Calvin Johnson at 5 – guaranteed production. Taking a qb seems risky, can’t waste this on a Eddie Lacy, only other option would be Jimmy Graham at 5.
Biggest sleeper:  Since I rarely discuss any fantasy anything with folks in my league I am hesitant to answer this question more than the others…HOWEVER, in an effort to support The Wayniac’s Fantasy Edition…I will go with Kai Forbath!

Divisional Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos

Mike Dunton (my 17-year arch rival in Nitro)

Fantasy MVP: Petyon Manning. This could be Peyton’s last ride in Denver and it’s Super Bowl or bust for these Broncs.
Rookie of the Year: Sound like a homer here but I’m going with Eric Ebron. This guy is on a team of offensive weapons and he may become Matthew Stafford‘s second favorite target.
Biggest Bust: Cam Newton. He will be taken way too early in drafts, he has no WR’s and this ankle thing bothers me.
Best Comeback: Roddy White or Julio Jones are great candidates but that Atlanta offensive line scares me. So with that being said, I’m going with Jay Cutler. He has weapon upon weapon and a healthy Jay Cutler could put up numbers similar to Aaron and Drew.
First Non RB Taken: Our league is known to be non traditional. Don’t be surprised if the first non RB taken happens at #2 when Swami Squad picks. Back to back Jimmy Graham years? I would not put it past them.

 

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins

Fee (The Commish of Nitro, playoff regular)

Fantasy MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Fantasy ROY: Sammy Watkins
Biggest Bust: Cam Newton
Best Comeback: Roddy White
First Non-RB taken: Peyton Manning – 1st round
Biggest Sleeper: Lamar Miller

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles

JD (my fantasy baseball team mate and fantasy football guru)

MVP: LeSean McCoy
ROY: Sammy Watkins
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Biggest Breakthrough: Toby Gerhart
First Non-RB Taken: Peyton Manning
Sleeper: Ladarius Green

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Cochran (the greatest living fantasy sports player alive)
MVP: Aaron Rodgers or Jamaal Charles depending on scoring (4 points vs. 6 points QB touchdowns)
ROY: Mike Evans, but Blake Bortles if he gets the job
Biggest Bust: Reggie Bush
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Biggest Breakthrough: Ben Tate or Montee Ball. Tate may be crazy good this year.
First Non-RB Taken: Megatron at sixth pick
Sleeper: Toby Gerhart

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Ted Reed (Reigning champ of Braxton’s Shoulder League)

MVP: Peyton Manning
ROY: Bishop Sankey
Biggest Bust: Steven Jackson (again!)
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Biggest Breakthrough: Josh McCown
First Non-RB Taken: Peyton Manning anywhere between 4th and 7th
Sleeper: Eric Ebron

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Jonathan (My brother and only guy I know in a 14-team keeper league)

Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning (and nfl MVP)
Fantasy ROY: Carlos Hyde
Biggest Bust: Arian Foster if you get him Round 1 or 2, Victor Cruz if Round 3
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Breakthrough: Dennis Pitta
First non-RB: Peyton at 6 in a Standard scoring league, but Megatron at 4 in a PPR
Sleeper: Kyle Rudolph – all Norv Turner does is make 1,000+ yard TEs (Cooley, Gates, Cameron)

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And last but not least, The Wayniac:

Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning. Ball may turn out better than Knowshon Moreno and Emmanuel Sanders could be better than Eric Decker.
Fantasy ROY: Johnny Manziel. Oh come on, people, you know I think this guy is a bum. I really like Mike Evans down in Tampa.
Biggest Bust: Colin Kaepernick. No way this guy remains a Top Ten QB for much longer.
Best Comeback: Percy Harvin. If he stays healthy he is one of the most dynamic players on the field.
Breakthrough: I’m going homer here. I don’t care if it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeAndre Hopkins is going to make a huge jump this season. He had a pretty good rookie campaign playing catch with three different QBs and no steady offensive personnel.
First Non-RB Taken: I honestly think Peyton should go number one overall, but I don’t think the Fantasy world is ready for that. I’m going with Megatron.
Sleeper: Gerhart. He’s the only real guy in Jacksonville, and Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing for a terrible Jaguars team a few years back.

 

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The WN Fantasy Football Report: 5 Burning Questions for 2014

It’s that time boys and girls. Fantasy Football drafts have started across the nation. So today marks the first of Wayniac Nation’s Fantasy Football Reports. Each week, we will bring you insights, good starts, better sits and a smorgasbord of information to help you look like a fantasy football genius.

I know what you’re asking yourself. There are millions of fantasy football resources out there, why listen to The Wayniac? It’s justified. What makes me any better than any other fantasy expert? Let’s take a look at the ol’ resume and perhaps I can convince you that out of all the fantasy geeks out there, I am one of the biggest.

I am entering the 17th year in my Nitro League. That’s right, folks, 17 years with essentially the same original owners in a 10-team league. This league is so old it started back when you had to tally scores by hand. We don’t really have bad teams as it is ultra-competitive and has always been more about the trophy and bragging rights than the money. I have been to the last two back-to-back championship games and if I didn’t run into Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and the Junior Mafia, I would have two wins in a row. I have been in my other league, The Old School Football League, for 10 years. It is a 12-team league that has had essentially the same owners for the bulk of its existence as well. Over the past three seasons, no team has more regular season wins or points than my Fightin’ Blue Hose. Unfortunately, although I have finished in the money all three of those years, I have no rings to show for it as a major injury has derailed me seemingly every Week 15 in the semi-finals. It is your typical scoring league and in the history of the league only four times has a team broken the 200 point barrier. Three of those times were the Fightin’ Blue Hose. Last year I joined a third league run by Nomi the Greek and has every member of The Thread in it. The Englishman is the reigning champ in his first year ever of fantasy football.

Last year's draft board from Nomi the Greek's Brookhaven League won by The Englishman

Last year’s draft board from Nomi the Greek’s Brookhaven League won by The Englishman

Am I bragging a little bit? Sure, but I also want you to know that I do have an idea about how this fantasy thing works. I also bring you insight to how to succeed in a 10-team league as well as a deeper 12-team league. My panel of Wayniac Nation Fantasy Experts that I have put together is an All Star selection of people who I have run in fantasy circles with for nearly the last two decades.

Later this week, we will bring you insight to key players and busts to look out for, but first let me take a selfie.

Did I do this selfie thing right?

Did I do this selfie thing right?

No, seriously, folks, before we get into player breakdowns, we need to first answer THE TOP FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS COMING INTO THE 2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON.

5. When will the first non-running back come off the board?

This is an entirely new fantasy football era and the conversion from running back heavy teams to dominating through the air is complete. That being said, AP, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles will be the first four off the board (in no particular order). I personally don’t see a running back worth taking after the Big Four until the second round. Wide receivers, especially in PPR (point per reception for those not savvy) formats are way more valuable in the right system, and the way quarterbacks amass forty to fifty point Sundays makes a few first round worthy.

4. Can Peyton Manning come close to last year’s production?

Of course not. Peyton Manning set records last season and had the single greatest season for a quarterback in fantasy and NFL history. It’s a lot like watching Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. You knew no matter what, you were watching the best he had to offer and nothing would ever again match that. Now, I’m not suggesting Peyton Manning numbers are going to fall off the way Keanu Reeve’s acting abilities have (Johnny Mnemonic, anyone?), but you do have to tame your expectations. While the Broncos lost Eric Decker when he unforgivably signed his career away to the New York Haven’t Had a Legitimate QB in a Decade Jets, they brought in an even better Emmanuel Sanders so the offense won’t miss a beat. They did also bulk up their defense with big names like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware. That means more ball control and less shootouts for Manning. While his numbers will be down to human level, he is still the best QB fantasy has to offer and may even be in consideration for the fifth overall pick. Plus, he’s already a better actor than Keanu Reeves.

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3. Who do you consider at running back once the big four are off the board? 

I have already said that after McCoy, Charles, Forte and All Day AP are gone, I really feel this is the season that running backs get put on the back burner. But if you insist on being a traditionalist (also known as The Guy Who Finishes Last) and feel you must pick an RB in the first round then there is only one choice. As much as I love Marshawn Lynch and his Beast Mode, I don’t feel he is first round worthy this year. That is based on his past. He held out a few days for a bigger contract and made it open that he considered retirement. When he wanted out of Buffalo, he played like he didn’t care, and with Seattle’s deep arsenal of RBs, we may easily see that down season from Lynch. So if you must take an RB, you go with Eddie Lacy. The guy is a total beast and will have a full season with Aaron Rodgers for the first time in his career. This is a kid with potential for a 2,000 total yard season in that offense, however, I don’t think that season is 2014.

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2. Where is the best place to look for top fantasy advice?

Wayniac Nation, of course. Seriously though, the simple answer is your notes. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely competitive enough that you are beyond the casual twenty dollar “for fun” fantasy league. If you aren’t already, you need to become your own fantasy expert. The best thing to do for starters is to grab a few friends and do some mock drafts on (I can’t believe I am saying anything positive about these shlubs) ESPN. Secondly, do some research on ADP (that’s the average draft pick of a specific player for you newbies). A lot of leagues will have a draft lottery weeks before the draft. Once you know your spot, you can begin researching what players are most commonly going in that location. You can also do your own mock drafts from that slot and practice, practice, practice until you have the team you want. Lastly, and this comes from my own old school mentality, take notes. Make a list of your Top 20 at each position and cross them off as you go. Colin Kaepernick is in everybody’s Top 5 quarterbacks, but this guy would never start on my team. So, my list is going to be very different from other “experts”. So should yours. Nothing sucks more than when you are unprepared and the guy right before you takes the player you had queued. If you are properly prepared with your own notes, you don’t need to spend your minute thirty googling “fantasy advice”!

1. Ok, so who is the first overall pick?

This is a tough question. My Hongbits team in The Nitro League has the first overall pick, so this is something I have been contemplating for some time. All of the big four (again: Charles, Forte, McCoy and AP) are complete studs, yet they all also come with injury risk. All four play for very questionable offenses. Charles’ Kansas City Chiefs are notorious for having a terrible season when following a strong one. While everyone sees Chicago as a legitimate contender this season with a high octane offense, one must remember that Jay Cutler is still at the helms. Was Chip Kelley’s offense for real or was it a flash in the pan like the Wildcat that defenses can now prepare for? And who the heck is going to be the quarterback in Minnesota, Matt Cassell?

That being said, I think there are two ways to go with this pick. If you want the home run hitter,  the guy that is capable of getting you 50 points in a game by himself, you go with Charles. He is lightening quick and is a lock for 50 receptions, but can be relied on for over 60 like last season. But if you want to play it safe, the answer is simple. No running back has been more consistent with less talent around him than All Day Adrian Peterson. His lowest touchdown total over the past five seasons is ELEVEN. Last year, despite missing two games and abysmal quarterback play, he still ran for over 1,200 yards. He is not your PPR dream back, but if Teddy Bridgewater takes over, you can be sure there will be a ton of dump offs and last year’s change of pace back, Toby Gerhart, is gone to Jacksonville.

So which direction will I go with my first round pick? I’ll let you stew over it, so be sure to check in weekly for up to date Fantasy Football advice this NFL season!

 

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The Wacky Week in Sports

Do you know what 440 is, sports fans? It is roughly the amount of hours left until the Green Packers and defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks kick off the NFL season. I almost did the calculations in minutes because that’s just how boring this week in sports was. But, as always, we here at Wayniac Nation always find the lighter side in sports to bring you all that you need to know about the week that was.

Click here for all that was wacky this past week

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Dear Tom Watson, From Your Boy Tiger

Dear Tom,

Over the past few weeks there has been an elephant in the room over your three captains selections. My name has been tossed around like Tara Reid. Should you or should you not pick me for this year’s Ryder Cup team? Will my back hold up? Does my career record speak for itself? I have a simple answer to these questions: No. I will allow you a moment to soak in that answer, and then I will give you my reasons.

As much as I would be honored to represent the Ryder Cup for the seventh time in my career, I just don’t feel that my presence on this year’s squad will be what’s best for the good ol’ USA. I am beyond a distraction to the rest of the boys, let alone the European side. In the spirit of the competition, I need to be as far away from Scotland as possible. Maybe Lindsey and I will take a much needed vacation where she can rehab her knee in a bikini and I can rest the back while she is in a bikini. If I am on the squad, the entire week will be focused on me: my back, my game and my mental state.  We should be focusing on the competition and spirit of this bi-annual event. If I stay away, I will be but a blip on the radar compared to matchups, strategies and Ian Poulter’s hot putter.

You are well aware that the US hasn’t won in Europe since 1993. Have you watched my play the last few weeks? Instead of fist pumping after long distance putts, I’m back grabbing like a 75-year old grandma after dancing Gangnam Style! Tom, you know as well as anyone that I would love to help you shock the world, but now is not the time for me to do that. The doctors tell me that the surgery that repaired the pinched nerve seems to be fine. Apparently doctor’s have a different definition for fine than the rest of us who use Webster’s Dictionary.

Let’s face it. Right now the US has a strong team going into this Ryder Cup without me.  Rickie is playing out of his mind and his inevitable matchup with Rory on Sunday is something I will enjoy watching while I lay poolside getting a couples’ massage while Lindsey is in a bikini. You have your veteran leadership with Jim and Phil and strong team golf players in Matt, Zach and Bubba. And let’s not forget that all important, don’t care, youthful enthusiasm with Patrick, Jordan and Jimmy Walker. It’s Dy-no-miiiite! That is a strong nine that presents some interesting matchups and possible player combinations. Now I know what you are thinking.  Who are my three captains picks? Well thats why the PGA has placed it’s confidence in you and I support them. I would go with Ryan Moore, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson in those spots. All three of them offer value to this team and will be guys who will enjoy the moment and play up to the stage that is the Ryder Cup. If I learned one thing this past weekend it’s that I am not bigger than the game. Watching that back nine at the PGA Championship with the record viewership proved that to me. I wasn’t there and yet people still tuned in and were excited about the game. Maybe that’s my legacy, I opened the door for this next wave of young golfers.

I truly appreciate your loyalty over these past few months and especially today but I think it’s time I face reality. If I have any chance of winning one more major, let alone four, I need to fully recover, refocus and rethink my game.  I call it the 3 “Rs” and it’s my new buddhist philosophy. Lindsey calls it my new addiction, but I think she is happy I have not gone back to my old one.

Sincerely,

Tiger

(Be sure to follow Wayniac Nation’s golf expert Mike Dunton on Twitter! @dartbus1521)