- The Season's Over -

NBA Picks and Rolls: New Year, New Team for Kyle Korver

December 31, 2007


Jerry Sloan Rules His Roost

Jerry Sloan Photo Credit: Matthias B. Krause/Icon SMI

In the last edition of Picks and Rolls we talked about the Knickerbockers of New York, where the inmates are running the asylum. Madison Square Garden is a three-ring circus where nobody appears to have any power (outside of perhaps Stephon Marbury), and the hierarchy changes on a nightly basis. This is clearly not the case in EnergySolutions Arena. After Gordan Giricek had an altercation with Jerry Sloan on the sidelines two weeks ago he was immediately sent to the locker room. Then Sloan sent him home from the road trip, and Jazz owner Larry Miller backed Sloan up. A week later, Giricek is no longer wearing a Jazz jersey.

Jerry Sloan is the unquestioned leader in Utah. Just ask Gordan Giricek or Andrei Kirilenko.

In fantasy terms it’s not a major trade, but a mildly intriguing one. Giricek should be given a fresh start for the 76ers, and while he’s always been a slightly above average shooter, he’s never been a fantasy mainstay in his six years in the NBA. Perhaps more significant in Philly for fantasy owners is the minutes and shots this should open up for Louis Williams, a 2005 second-round pick out of South Gwinnett High School, where he was named a member of the McDonald’s All-American East Team and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year as the nation’s top high schooler the same year. Williams is an electric scorer who has taken time to adjust to the NBA game, but he’s going to be a fantasy player sooner or later- maybe very soon.

On the other side, Kyle Korver should also see a boost in value. While the Jazz already have a number of options on offense and a clearly-defined pecking order, they have a dearth of perimeter scoring. Utah has lacked an elite outside shooter, and Korver fits the bill. He really wont provide much outside of points, threes, FT% and modest returns in other categories, but those strengths are enough to make Korver a strong play when he’s on his game. That should happen more frequently in this loaded offense. As Korver said in his press conference, “In Philadelphia I was standing around waiting for the ball… Now I feel like I’m playing with a great point guard, where if I make the right read or the right cut, I know he’ll get me the ball.”

The move also nets Philly a lottery-protected, first-round pick and leaves them about $10 million in cap space this summer. Keep an eye on Philadelphia, and specifically veteran point Andre Miller, because these guys aren’t done. New GM Ed Stefanski said after the trade, “People really wanted Andre, too… I’m not saying we’re done. We do have chips that people like. I will say this: Teams have (noticed) how good Miller is. Anyone can get traded, but he is a very good asset for the 76ers right now.”

While the Utah Jazz continue to field the whitest team in the NBA, here are your other fantasy fluctuations of note…

Up and Down Game

Push It:

Delonte West, PG/SG: After his second season in the league where he posted 12 points, 1.2 steals, .7 blocks, 4.6 assists and 4.1 boards on 49% FGs and 85% FTs, we were big fans of Delonte West in Boston. That kind of all-around production and efficiency is rare and invaluable to fantasy squads. He inexplicably saw less playing time in Bean Town last season, so the change of scenery in the offseason made him one of our favorite sleepers this year. Unfortunately the 2004 first-round pick out of St. Joseph’s has struggled to find minutes again this year, fighting injuries, Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson for tick. Whenever he sees playing time he produces though, and West has dropped 15 dimes, 29 points, 8 boards and 2 threes in 25+ minutes over the last two games. It’s still unclear if West or Ridnour is the better long-term bet this season, but Delonte is worth an add right now.

Antonio Daniels, PG: In his 14 games as a starter filling in for Gilbert Arenas, Daniels was putting up 11 points, 6.6 assists, 4.4 boards and 1.4 steals on 50% FGs and 82% FTs. Gilbert is no sure thing to return to full strength this season, but when Daniels went down with a knee injury on December 15th he was dropped in most leagues. If he’s still available, now is the time to scoop Daniels up. He should return any game now and will resume those extremely solid numbers shortly after, while Arenas isn’t expected back any time before the middle of February.

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 31, 2007 at 11:15pm in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

The Sordid Draft History of Matt Millen, or How to Build a Laughingstock in Today’s NFL

December 31, 2007

Matt Millen, NFL GM

Matt Millen Photo Credit: Todd Rosenberg/Icon SMI

This is indeed the most magical time of the year for Detroit Lions fans–the offseason. Scapegoats are run out of town, saviors are inked to hefty contracts, promises of improvement are made, and, ah yes, Matt Millen and his team of ace scouts bunker down for another game of darts NFL draft.

You see, despite what his rosy bio on the official Detroit Lions website claims, Matt Millen is not a very good NFL General Manager. In fact, he’s a very, very stinky one on many levels. His track record on coaching hires is abyssmal, his trades and free-agent signings are depressing at best, and then there’s his performance on draft day. The foundation for any successful NFL franchise is built upon solid picks in rounds one through seven, as well as through savvy undrafted free-agent pickups along the way. No team nails every one of their picks, but Millen nails hardly any.

With another chapter in Detroit Lions history mercifully over, ETB takes a look at how this once-proud bumbling franchise has gotten to where they are today based on Millen’s draft picks over the past seven years. Lions fans, you may want to stop reading now.

2001

First Round: Jeff Backus, T, Michigan
Second Round: Dominic Raiola, C, Nebraska
Second Round: Shaun Rogers, DT, Texas
Fifth Round: Scotty Anderson, WR, Grambling
Fifth Round: Mike McMahon, QB, Rutgers
Sixth Round: Jason Glenn, LB, Texas A&M

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17 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 31, 2007 at 2:09pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Spud Webb: Hero to Short People Everywhere

December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays from ETB

No, these are not highlights culled from the 1993 NBA Jam for Super Nintendo.

To book Spud Webb for your next event, call 1-888-883-SPUD. Seriously.

1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 24, 2007 at 3:11pm in NBA

ETB’s NFL Week 16 Crystal Ball

December 22, 2007

We’re all about the ballsy predictions here at ETB. We’re always analyzing and second-guessing other “expert” picks, but we’ve been putting our balls on the table all season as well. Our Crystal balls. It’s been a lot of fun gazing into our Crystal Balls, revealing ghastly events yet to take place, bewildering sights to behold, breathtaking new vistas of human consciousness and (mostly) NFL player performances from week to week. Alas, this is the last Crystal Ball of 2007. Perhaps we should probably turn our precognitive powers on another subject during the offseason, like the stock market or stopping crimes. Meh.

They’re almost certainly all going to come true like always, but one or two of these picks may not. You had better believe we’ll be bragging about the ones we nail. Repeatedly. In your fat, soft face. And if/when we miss, it’ll be like it never happened. You’ll forget about it…. forget about itforget about it

It’s the last edition of ETB’s NFL Crystal Ball for the 2007 season. Seasons greetings and all that stuff… more importantly, here’s hoping you embarrass another grown man on Sunday, and take his money.

Andrew’s Predictions:

Chad Pennington could die on Sunday

1. Coming into the season and in the early going the San Diego pass defense was very susceptible, but Antonio Cromartie, Drayton Florence and Quentin Jammer have taken strides as the season has progressed. They’re shutting down wide receivers and taking advantage of quarterbacks’ mistakes. They still allow 220.4 yards passing per game, but the Chargers have limited opposing QBs to just 19 TDs and snagged an NFL-best 27 INTs (Seattle is second with only 20). It all adds up to a bad week for the talented, yet inexperienced Jay Cutler, who nearly repeats his Week 5 performance against the Bolts: 20-of-32, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 3 sacks.

2. For the love of all things holy, please don’t start Chad Pennington in your championship game. The Tennessee defense has been a revelation this season, while Pennington has proved completely incapable of standing up to a strong pass rush or throwing a football any further than I can. The Titans allow just 200.8 through the air per game and have let up only 19 TD passes with 20 INTs and 32 sacks on the season. Albert Haynesworth & Co are going to mangle Pennington’s internal organs. The Crystal Ball only sees two options for this foppish dandy: 1) he will finish 18-of-34 with 179 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs and get sacked 5 times; 2) he will leave the game with a season-ending injury.

3. The Bungles are the worst in the NFL at stopping wide receivers, and Cleveland wideout Braylon Edwards puts an appropriate exclamation point on his incredible, breakout season: 9 receptions, 140 yards, 2 TDs.

(Chad Pennington Photo Credit: Anthony J Causi/Icon SMI)

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3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 22, 2007 at 2:32pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week 16 Cheat Sheet

December 21, 2007

Aaron Stecker tops the WR/RB flex ranks
Aaron Stecker Photo Credit: Aaron M. Sprecher/Icon SMI

Plugging in your fantasy studs at RB, QB, and WR is easy; sorting out the fringes of your roster, not so much. We agonize over these decisions until 5 minutes before kickoff, then kick ourselves about the guys we started 10 minutes after kickoff. We’re talking about the WR/TE Flex and WR/RB Flex plays, and they’re a pain in the friggin’ arse.

Our Position Rankings now include more running backs and wide receivers, so you can refer to those ranks for your WR3 and RB2 options. ETB’s Cheat Sheet only focuses on those crucial flex-spot ranks.

Week 16 Cheat Sheet Rankings

Jerious Norwood is finally getting more carries

Week 16 RB/WR Flex Plays

1. Aaron Stecker, New Orleans vs. PHI
2. Kolby Smith, Kansas City @ DET
3. Adrian Peterson, Chicago vs. GB
4. Jerious Norwood, Atlanta @ ARZ
5. Derrick Mason, Baltimore @ SEA
6. Kevin Jones, Detroit vs. KC
7. Bobby Engram, Seattle vs. BAL
8. Thomas Jones, New York Jets @ TEN
9. Laurence Maroney, New England vs. MIA
10. David Patten, New Orleans vs. PHI

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Dec. 21, 2007 at 2:10pm in NFL Fantasy News

Anatomy of ETB’s Fantasy Football Title Bout: The Ghosts vs. Rushmore Calligraphy

December 20, 2007

Battle to the death for ETB's Fantasy Football Championship

In The Red Corner…

Rushmore Calligraphy (#5 Seed)

- Regular Season Record: 7-6
- Managed By: Inherently Funny
- Got Here By… First defeated the #4 seed (ETB’s site designer, Will Tran) by 20 points, then knocked off the #1 seed by 0.52 points in the semi-final (thanks to Adrian Peterson’s final carry of -2 yards and Westbrook’s decision not to punch that TD in)
- First Five Draft Picks: Peyton Manning, Cedric Benson, Torry Holt, Carnell Williams, Baltimore Ravens DEF

Overview

It’s a minor miracle that Rushmore Calligraphy will compete for the coveted ETB Fantasy Football League Crown this week. As you can see above, no less than three of Rushmore’s top five picks have been major fantasy busts, and you could argue that Manning has not lived up to his lofty draft status either (third overall). Undeterred by rolling with a RB1 last clocked at 13.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Rushmore stormed the competition early, getting off to a torrid 5-0 start before hitting a wall and finishing out 2-7. In fact, he came dangerously close to falling right out of the playoffs, period. A timely waiver-wire move (Aaron Stecker) and enlisting two of the top eight fantasy tight ends (Jason Witten, Donald Lee) paid dividends, and he now sits on the verge of securing his very first Yahoo! fantasy title.

A Look at the Lineup for Week 16

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No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 20, 2007 at 5:03pm in NFL Fantasy News

NBA Front-Row Seat: Meeting of the Eastern Conference Powerhouses

December 20, 2007

Billups sealed the deal in Boston Chauncey Billups Photo Credit: Brandon Hansen/Icon SMI

Ice water runs through Chauncey Billups’ veins. The ex-journeyman point guard for the Detroit Pistons, coming to an NBA arena near you under the apt moniker “Mr. Big Shot,” displayed the steely veteran poise of a proven winner last night at the Boston Garden in the first meeting between the clear-cut best teams in the Association’s Eastern Conference. Less than two seconds after the Celtics’ Ray Allen nailed a clutch three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 85, Billups took the inbounds pass near the free-throw line, calmly set his feet, and went for the jump shot… or so his defender, Tony Allen, thought. Pump fake, Allen leaves his feet, Billups is fouled, two made free throws, game over.

The Detroit Pistons edged the Boston Celtics 87-85 in a game that lived up to its advance billing. From the moment Kevin Garnett tipped the ball away from Rasheed Wallace on the jump ball, this one had the pace, the intensity, and the gravity of a late-round playoff game. Every possession felt like a big possession. The Pistons, who have been to five straight Eastern Conference Finals (advancing to two NBA Finals) and won a championship in 03/04, knew this was just one game in a long regular season, but you can bet they wanted this one to prove their opponent shouldn’t be anointed the favorites just yet. And on the other side, the Celtics, off to a convincing 20-2 start, yet to lose a home game, and fielding a triumvirate of perennial All Stars intent on milking this opportunity for all it’s worth. Nothing less than an NBA title (or two) over these next few seasons would ultimately qualify this gathering of talent a success story in their minds.

Despite Detriot’s gutsy road win, it’s evident that one game is not enough to draw solid conclusions about which team is better. The appropriate sample size, and it is every year, would be a seven-game series; if there’s any justice in this NBA world, that’s exactly what we fans will get come May 2008.

Read on for more notes from Round One between the front-running teams in the Eastern Conference:

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No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 20, 2007 at 12:27pm in ETB Articles, NBA

Fantasy Football: Week 16 Position Ranks

December 20, 2007

Owners of the Patriots Team DEF should be in for a big week
New England Patriots Photo Credit: Tom Croke/Icon SMI

It’s so close you can smell it, almost taste it. A fantasy title… or a third-place triumph. Whatever. Soon all will be revealed, and you find out if all those long, lonely nights making roster adjustments at 1:30am paid off. Don’t falter now. A mistake on who to start this week will slowly eat away at your very soul over the next nine long, Scotch-soaked months. Choose correctly, and you’ve earned the right to be a complete jackass for the next week and those leading up to next season. Without further ado, here’s ETB’s top 20 QBs, 30 RBs, 36 WRs, 15 TEs, and 15 Team Defenses based on past performance, injuries, bye weeks, and matchups for Week 15.

Pittsburgh travels to majestic St. Louis on Thursday night, and the Dallas Cowpokes steamroll the Carolina Panthers this Saturday. Make the necessary adjustments to your roster before then.

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7 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Dec. 20, 2007 at 10:41am in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

NBA Fantasy Hoops: Picks and Rolls 12/19

December 20, 2007


Isiah Thomas in The Garden of Discontent

The Broadway stagehand strike may be over, but the best drama in Manhattan is still the New York Knickerbockers. Each home game is a spectacle of unmitigated disaster. Audience members are encouraged to participate in a chorus of boos and insults until their throats are sore, like some grand, participatory dinner theater on steroids where everybody in the arena knows that Isiah did it. It’s pretty clear at this point that Isiah Thomas wants to be fired, but he can’t even seem to do that right.

Set aside the sexual harassment drama from this summer and the countless bad contracts Thomas has handed out, which would be enough for a dishonorable discharge from any self-respecting franchise in professional sports. Since the season started Thomas has publicly criticized and threatened to bench his hand-picked franchise cornerstones Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury. He’s butted heads with nearly everybody on the roster, called out the team for a lack of heart and lost his players in the process. Curry was overhead on the bench last week repeating the phrase, “Get me out of here.” Thomas has jawed with fans near the bench, going so far as to suggest to them that his players were missing layups because the fans were booing. Embarrassing loss after embarrassing loss has piled up.

The team looks clueless on offense and has allowed players like Mike Dunleavy Jr to post career highs in points. They lost to the Celtics by nearly 50 points last month, and were on the brink of a franchise-low in points that game before a last-second shot saved them. The thing is, James Dolan and Isiah Thomas are in an epic pissing contest, with both facing squarely into the wind. Thomas wants Dolan to fire him, and Dolan refuses to pay the severance. Thomas said this week that he’ll fight to the “death” (whatever that means), and Dolan shows no signs of backing down. We’re all left wondering what new low this franchise can reach next. And each game, the chorus in the Garden gets louder and louder. It’s so bad that today Knicks fans staged a “Pink Slip Protest” outside of MSG with a 10-foot pink slip angry fans signed as petition to expedite Thomas’ ouster. But Dolan continues to stand by and play his fiddle as the Garden burns.

It would be hard to imagine any Hall of Fame athlete ever managing to tarnish a brilliant NBA career quite like this. As the drama continues to come to a head nightly in New York, here are your fantasy performers of note from the last week:

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1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 20, 2007 at 12:24am in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week 16 Matchups

December 19, 2007

Gonzo and the Chiefs should have Detroit at his mercy
Kansas City Chiefs Photo Credit: Mark Coffey/Icon SMI

You don’t need us to tell you how important your fantasy matchup against that sniveling little turd who sits four cubicles over is this week. What you do need is a competitive edge, some of ETB’s patented, tax-free fantasy football analysis, to ensure sweet, sweet victory. Armed with this column, our Week 16 Position Rankings, and the rest of our Week 16 fantasy coverage, there’s little doubt you’ll be standing triumphant on Tuesday morning, clenching the still-beating heart of your vanquished adversary, one foot on his throat and the other on his tiny genitals, the sweet nectar of blood slowly dripping from your jowls.

As always, these are not necessarily the guys we think will score the most points or score the least points: there will always be obvious situations and choices we dismiss. These aren’t all sneaky plays, either. These are just the matchups that we think deserve mention*. Good luck, godspeed, and feel free to drop in next week to boast about the spoils of victory.

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2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Dec. 19, 2007 at 12:16pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

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