Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

At Least We’re Not Mike Missanelli.

Mike Missanelli is the most popular sports talk host in Philadelphia.  He has an ego commensurate with this position.  He has the ultimate knack you need in his profession, the ability to drive people crazy.  Crazy to the point that they have no other choice but to call his show for the privilege of having Mike tell them why they are wrong.  He reminds me a bit of Phil Mickelson in a sense, because Phil has that hard to shake nickname from early days on Tour, FIGJAM.  It stands for, “F*ck I’m Good.  Just Ask Me.”  Along with his skills on the air, Missanelli talks often of his law degree and just beneath the surface is a slightly too strong affinity for his own amateur baseball career–and athletic prowess in general.  He’ll totally destroy you in tennis.  Unless you happen to actually play tennis.  It’s hard to turn the guy off, though, and that’s why I hear his football picks every week.  He is the ultimate, “line is telling me something,” guy.  He probably believes he coined the phrase.  In fact, I’m not sure Mikey Miss watches college football, but he still makes his picks, needing nothing but the line.  He wins, he loses, just like everyone else.  But, right now, Mikey Miss is on an uncommon cold streak.  Zero for his last 8, a big fat doughnut hole for 8.  As much as we struggle around here, we’ve never hit those depths.  So, no matter your standing, feel good this morning that you aren’t Mike Missanelli.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Big Dub:  32-19-4
  2. Grossy:  30-22-3
  3. JCK:  29-25-1
  4. Kraft:  26-24-5
  5. Nichols:  25-28-2

The “Lump Free Mashed Taters,” Pick of the Week:  It wasn’t our best week around these parts.  There was a lot of bad money chasing the same teams.  We’ll get to that in a second.  There were also some pushes this week.  Those aren’t great for business, though I personally was happy to get one out of the Titans.  About the only pick we had with any originality came in the game I joked about in the opening segment.  That Jags/Browns thriller.  JCK had the Browns.  Why?  Who knows?  If I was Bill Simmons I’d break down where Colt McCoy ranks in relationship to Blaine Gabbert on some fictional hierarchy of Patriots coaches.  But, I’m not.  So, if you’re courageous enough to take the Browns, you get the hardware.

The “Store-Bought Pie Crust,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Come one, come all to the Buffalo Bills’ funeral.  They’re not that bad we said.  And, Miami isn’t playing that well.  The wrong team is favored.  No, the correct team was favored.  Just by not nearly enough points.  The Dolphins are playing like they might actually put up some kind of fight on Thanksgiving in Dallas.  It’s the worst game on a nice slate, but how classic would it be to see the Cowboys go down to Miami on Thanksgiving once again?  Very retro.  Anyway, if you had the Bills, like me, you should be ashamed of yourself.  When Vegas tells you a team’s season is over, it’s over.  Pay attention.  And, that goes for Mikey Miss too.

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D.A. Fantasy Football Standings and Summaries:

Will someone please, pretty please take Ryan Fitzpatrick in the draft?  What does the man have to do?  Pretty soon he’s going to get benched and you’ll have missed your chance.   I guess you could say we have some parity in D.A.  Still, even with 3 weeks remaining, everyone is alive for a playoff berth, but that spot is being pursued by 5 teams.  Can’t afford too  many more losses, especially if you don’t have a good point total.

D.A. Standings:

  1. Neckbeards and Codeine:  8-3  (292.25 points)
  2. JCK:  7-4 (220.50 points)
  3. Kraft:  6-5 (348.75 points)
  4. Fake Chow:  5-6 (252.75 points)
  5. Team Horse Face:  5-6 (234.50 points)
  6. Eli Esses D:  5-6 (135.75 points)
  7. The Shiva Cry: 4-7 (252.25 points)
  8. The Slop Jocks: 4-7 (181.25 points)

Team Horse Face Uses Big Thursday to Roll The Shiva Cry, 39.5 to (-17.5)

When I’m looking at my fantasy lineup this time of year, I always like to stay away from Thursday action.  You can’t get behind the 8-ball with a 2-pt fantasy night if you don’t play anyone.  In this week’s Thursday draft the action was fast and furious for Tim Tebow.  He went 1st overall to DC and scored 14 points.  It was Mark Sanchez, at pick #16 that carried the day, his pick-6 and 25.5 points put Shiva Cry in a massive hole.  When Matt Moore came out against the Bills looking like Joe Montana’s son (not his real son, but if he had a kid that could actually play QB), it was all over for Shiva Cry.  The loss and negative point total was a big hit to their playoff hopes.

Eli Esses D beats Fake Chow, 36.75 to 21.25, Springboards into 6th Place

It’s been a year of growth for Eli Esses D.  Sixth place.  A new high-water mark.  I think he’s something like 4-2 since he rededicated himself to the league, which is bad news for the others fighting for that last spot.  This week it was faith in rookie QBs that got the job done.  Cam Newton and Andy Dalton both threw for a ton of yards, but were woefully inaccurate and fired off 7 INTs.  That helps.  They also both lost.  Fake Chow should be blaming the Cowboys defense, because his rookie, Blaine Gabbert, did the job as well.  But, Rex Grossman was a little too Rexy.  That late TD more than sealed it, and Fake Chow gets sent back into the dog pile, holding onto 4th by a slim margin.

JCK Steamrolls The Slop Jocks, 80.25 to 28.  

Little bit of bad luck for the Slop Jocks to run into JCK on a career day.  They needed a win, but JCK is still chasing the top-seed and showed no mercy in this one.  Sam Bradford (36 points) is officially a cautionary tale at this point.  You can’t trust a QB until he puts up numbers for 3 straight years.  Otherwise, he could implode at any moment.  Bradford was second fiddle on this day, though, for JCK.  John Skelton announced his presence with authority (44.25 points) and then almost as quickly vanished in a cloud of Rick Bartel.  A clean, and inspired performance.  The Slop Jocks debuted Vince Young (12 points), but this was long over by Sunday night.

Neckbeards and Codeine on Verge of Clinching Playoff Berth with 31 to 20 Win over Kraft

This was a battle for the top of the standings.  Kraft, the points leader against Neckbeards who have been consistently out front the whole season.  The week of the rookie continued in this match-up with Christian Ponder leading the way for Neckbeards (30 points).  Rookies are just clueless.  They throw picks.  All the time.  Oh, he never saw him!  Pick Six.  Anyway, Kraft had the hammer with Tyler Palko (27 points) on Monday night, but Joe Flacco put him in too big a hole with his unfortunate Sunday (-7 points).  The win puts Neckbeards in cruise control, and leaves Kraft needing at least one more win to clinch a post-season berth.

The 3-PT D.A. of the Week:  

I’m a little surprised that John Skelton’s parents didn’t name him Derek Anderson Skelton.  If only they had that kind of foresight.  Skelton winning this award feels like his birthright.  As Kraft mentioned in the comments section, what is the Cardinals’ scouting department doing? From the moment this guy was drafted he was compared to Joe Flacco.  Now, if I was drafting a QB, Flacco would not be my ultimate goal, but Skelton is an insult to the Unibrow–even if he did have to flee Pitt to make room for Palko.  Anyway, 3 Picks, a horrid percentage and getting replaced by Rick Martel/Bartel.  Yep, podium is yours, Skelton.  Speech!  Speech!

A World Without Cutler-Face

Cutler's Thumb Derails Bears Juggernaut?

After the Bears pushed aside the flailing Chargers I was going to lead off the post with an anxious eye toward Christmas Day.  Bears @ Packers.  Game of the century.  Packers could be sitting on 14-0, Bears could be riding a 9 game winning streak of their own.  Forget about presents, we’ve got the best football game of the season.  But, Cutler’s hurt.  He broke his thumb, and the Bears will be ushering in the Caleb Hanie era.  I know what you’re thinking.  What about Todd Collins? Well, he’s no longer on the depth chart.  The 3-hole is being occupied by Nathan Enderle.  Who?  The pride of Idaho.  This feels like a case for Jeff Garcia.

The question is, are the Bears really done?  They’ve won plenty of games this year without Cutler being stellar, but with Cutler in there, there’s the threat he could make a throw or two.  Is this going to be one of Cutler’s hot games?  And, now you’ve got to wonder if Hanie can be good enough to allow the Bears to continue to do what they do, which is pound you into dust with Matt Forte and their defense.  You look at the next four games for Chicago, (Oakland, KC, Denver, Seattle) and think that Hanie could probably keep them competitive, but it’s further down the road you’ve got to look to see the real impact of losing Cutler and his gun-slanging potential.

The other question this raises for me is, why is the NFL’s trade deadline so early in the season?  I know NFL teams haven’t really figured out how to wheel and deal like they do in MLB, but this seems like a classic case where a struggling team could ship off a QB and have a nice little win-win.  Now, this isn’t a good example, because I’m sure now that Donovan McNabb is worse than Caleb Hanie, but I don’t feel like skimming through every roster.  But, say, the Vikings were still starting McNabb and he was playing decent.  They could just package him off to Chicago and go with Ponder.  Or, the Titans could trade Hasselbald.  That kind of thing.  The season is just past halfway done, and the Bears are stuck with what they’ve got, or sweet-talking David Garrard.

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College Football BCS intermission.  So, I’m no college football junkie, but from what I gather, everyone lost this week.  Except the holy SEC trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas.  Does anyone really think Arkansas is the 3rd best team in the country?  Honestly, no one has any idea who the 3rd best team is.  The national high school rankings are probably more accurate.  So, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Clemson all go down.  Oklahoma or Oklahoma St. is going to lose at least one more time, and the way I’m looking at it, an all-SEC title game looks inevitable.  The funny thing is, #2 Alabama who already lost to LSU, has a much easier path to the title game than the #1 Tigers.  They basically have to beat Auburn, and they’re in.  LSU and Arkansas have each other and then the SEC title game.  Is there any way OK State or another team could climb back up to #2?  I’m not a big fan of conference games for the national title.  Even if they are the two best teams.  Shouldn’t a conference decide its champion?  Isn’t that the point?  If we know that LSU already beat Alabama, why not have them play someone else?  If ‘Bama wins the rematch, what does that prove?  It’s so unbelievably messed up.

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Brief Eagles Intermission.  I heard a comedian say once that you could hit a cat in the head with a tennis ball 100 times and it’d be funny every single time.  That’s kind of how I feel about Eli Manning fumbling on a late drive against the Eagles.  Sure, he wasn’t going for a slide this time around, but the result was the same.  The Eagles are still a mess, and still well behind NY, but some measure of relief for Eagles fans that the Giants don’t pull off the sweep.  The Eagles continue a maddening year.  Their next loss will officially bury them, but before that they play the type of defense that if they could have played in half their losses this year, they’d be 7-3–at worst.  And yet, if they were 7-3, it’d be a soft record, because they can lose to any team out there.  They’ll probably prove that against New England and if not, surely the following Thursday in Seattle.   Expectations are a funny thing, aren’t they?  Vince Young was 90% horrific, but one good drive and everyone will be loving him this morning.

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Five Fantasy Eye Pokes, Frustrating Blow-Ups, Etc:

1. Eli Manning.  Manning shredded the Eagles earlier in the year and there was no reason to think he would fare any different this time around, but the Eagles got a ton of pressure, the Giants had some key early drops and the rest was history.  Luckily, I traded Eli on Friday.  Someone else’s problem.

2. Kevin Smith.  Did anyone know Kevin Smith was still in the league?  I really thought the equipment manager was Mo Morris’ back-up at this point.  There was Smith out of the darkness for a buck forty and two scores.  Meanwhile Megatron goes mostly quiet on a 49-point day.

3.  Shonn Greene.  Every.  Single.  Week.

4.  James Starks.  How can the best offense in the league not have a viable RB option in fantasy?  I have Starks.  Was so thrilled with myself when I drafted him late and Grant started the season as terribly as predicted.  But, the Packers refuse to let him in the end zone.  Two, that’s TWO (2), fullbacks got TD runs yesterday.  Starks?  Nothing.

5.  Torrey Smith.  Ok, everyone go pick him up (again).  Start him because you’re desperate.  And, watch him trend back to zero.  Maybe not.  The guy is fast.  But, I’m just bitter because I’ve already picked him up and cut him this year.

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Arbitrary, But Definitive Top-10:

  1. Green Bay 10-0, eked out Bay of Pigs.
  2. San Francisco 9-1, 5 game division lead. Lulz.
  3. Baltimore 7-3, Need an AFC team.
  4. Chicago 7-3, In Memory of Cutler’s healthy thumb.
  5. Pittsburgh 7-3, Standard Bye-Week Bump.
  6. New Orleans 7-3, a soft 7-3, says me.
  7. Houston 7-3, In Memory of Schaub’s healthy foot.
  8. New England 6-3, Assuming they take care of Palko
  9. Oakland 6-4, Carson Palmer: Winner.
  10. Cincinnati 6-4, Still feisty, screw Dallas.