- The Season's Over -

Money Talks, and So Do the Warriors

September 29, 2009

By: Zachariah BlottStephen Jackson

Oh Stephen Jackson, why must you talk? The public opinion on the talented swingman is absolute trash, with most fans seeing him as a thug with a slew of criminal charges and misdemeanors, including assault and multiple counts of battery. As most people knew before Golden State’s media day on Monday, he was recently trying to strong arm Golden State into trading him one year after signing a three-year extension.

He is the captain of the team and has called the Bay Area his “second home.” At the time of the extension signing last November, Jackson said, “This organization has put me in a position to succeed and, for that, I will be forever grateful.”

Well, he wisely decided not to say anything else about his trade request on Monday. Instead he had such gems as “I respect the game” and “I’m not stupid.” I’d like to point out that Jackson was Exhibit 1b in the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl of 2004 with regards to unbelievably stupid and disrespectful behavior. After Ron Artest ran into the stands to attack a fan for throwing a plastic cup (a fan who still had a plastic cup in his hands – hopefully not Artest’s best detective work), Jackson chased after him.

To stop the insanity? To pull Artest back to the court? No, to throw more punches at more fans in a hostile environment. He watched sheer lunacy break out in front of him and didn’t hesitate for a second to replicate it. I understand that Jackson is beloved by teammates and he now participates in a lot of charitable causes, but the only way he could respect the game would be to join the Grizzlies and convince them to disband from the NBA.

The excitement at the Warriors’ media day didn’t end with Jackson. Teammate Monta Ellis was asked about playing in the backcourt with rookie Stephen Curry, something coach Don Nelson has been mentioning for a few months. Ellis reportedly responded, “Us together? No.” When pushed for details, he added, “Can’t”, “We just can’t”, “Just can’t”, and “I just want to win. Not going to win that way.”

Oh boy.

More on the Warriors, LeBron James, and Lamar Odom after the break….

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1 CommentPosted by ETB Contributor on Sep. 29, 2009 at 10:50am in NBA

Week 3 Monday Morning Hangover, Where the Lions Get King Kong Off Their Back

September 28, 2009

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford Photo Credit: Icon SMI

The day belonged to the Detroit Lions.

Brett Favre and Greg Lewis were brilliant in their miraculous, game-saving hookup in the back of the endzone that gave the Vikings a dramatic 27-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers and a 3-0 record to start the season. Maurice Jones-Drew broke out for one of the year’s biggest fantasy days in racking up 147 total yards and 3 TDs against the abominable Houston Texans defense. And the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and, yes, the New York Jets all remained undefeated and further established themselves as serious contenders. (The Saints, especially, are looking scary.)

But we’ve come to expect late-game heroics from Favre. We know that Jones-Drew is an elite fantasy running back. The Giants won a Super Bowl just two years ago, the Saints have boasted one of the league’s most high-powered offenses ever since Drew Brees came to town, and the Jets… well, that one actually is a surprise, but not as significant a shock as a Detroit Lions victory.

Say it with me, Lions fans, and let it fully sink in: a Detroit Lions victory.

Savor it like a bottle glass of fine South American Malbec after a long day at the office. Celebrate it like Kool & The Gang. And live up to your reputation, Detroiters: riot in the streets! Tear down vacant buildings! Burn cars! TERRORIZE! Just kidding.

In the wake of this momentous occasion, I don’t want to hear about how bad the Washington Redskins are (even though they are pretty terrible); I want to hear about how much better this Detroit Lions team is than last year’s version. About how the organization is making strides towards respectability, about how the team is learning from their mistakes and has so far gotten better week over week, about the dedicated, underrated fan base that’s stuck with this team through decades of ineptness and shook Ford Field with thunderous applause when the final score was settled. ETB commenter BRS was at the game:

Even though Ford Field was only 2/3 full, the noise at the end of the game was deafening. You would think we had just won the Super Bowl. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we ever host or actually win a playoff game. As a longtime Lions fan, it was just nice to see them finally win. It’s only one game, but hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. I did see some signs of mediocrity returning. I long for the glory days of 9-7 and 8-8. All kidding aside, GO LIONS!!!

The Lions have taken, and earned, their fair share of punches while going an imperfect 0-19 over the past 2+ seasons. They’ve become a pop-culture phenomenon, a running joke that even non-football fans understand and laugh at. Well, guess what: the Lions aren’t the worst team in the NFL anymore. Not by a long shot. (See St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Bucaneers…). They have, as owner William Clay Ford so aptly put it on Sunday, “not only got the monkey off [their] back, [they] got King Kong off [their] back.”

Oh, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, not to mention player talent. The secondary is still one of the league’s worst, as Santana Moss proved in catching 10 passes for 178 yards and a long 57-yard touchdown. The pass rush is still sporadic at best (1 sack on Sunday), and the offense still relies far too heavily on kicker Jason Hanson to put points on the board.

We’re seeing some things in Detroit that we haven’t seen in some time, though. Passion. Play-making. Effective blocking on the offensive line, penetration from the defensive line. Sure-handed tackling from the linebackers. Compelling, if not innovative, play-calling from the sideline. A quarterback with balls.

How many more games will this team win this season? Who knows… but for a few days, at least, a more appropriate question is this: who fucking cares? The Lions won a regular-season game for the first time since December 23, 2007, and as pathetic as it might sound, the 19-14 win over the Washington Redskins is an achievement for a long-suffering franchise and fan base that should be relished all week long.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 28, 2009 at 12:40pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Lions Win! Lions Win! Lions Win!

September 27, 2009

Lions Win!

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 27, 2009 at 4:42pm in NFL

Fantasy Football – Week 3 Defense Rankings

September 24, 2009

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Bringing home the Week 3 fantasy ranks is our top-15 fantasy plays for Team Defense, which sees the rejuvenated Ray Lewis and his Baltimore Ravens running mates topping the charts at #1 despite a so-so start to the season. They are, indeed, currently ranked 24th overall in ETB’s scoring format.

There’s a good reason for the high ranking this week though: the Cleveland Browns, who travel to Maryland sporting one of the most anemic offensive attacks we’ve seen in some time.

They’ve scored just 1 offensive touchdown in approximately 5 years. They’re starting a quarterback in Brady Quinn whose career trajectory is looking more and more like Joey Harrington’s. Their running game is “led” by Jamal Lewis (when he’s healthy, which he’s not), who at this stage in his long career is best described as a plodding mule who makes Cedric Benson look fleet-footed. I won’t bother touching the thin WR and TE corps since Quinn can’t get them the ball anyway.

But, hey, at least they were fortunate to pluck an Eric Mangini from the Bill Belichick Coaching Tree. The future is bright in Cleveland.

See also:
- Week 3 QB Rankings
- Week 3 RB Rankings
- Week 3 WR Rankings
- Week 3 TE Ranks

1. Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE
2. Minnesota Vikings vs. SF
3. New York Giants @ TB
4. Green Bay Packers vs. STL
5. Washington Redskins @ DET
6. New York Jets vs. TEN
7. Philadelphia Eagles vs. KC
8. Oakland Raiders vs. DEN
9. Denver Broncos @ OAK
10. Chicago Bears @ SEA
11. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CIN
12. San Francisco 49ers @ MIN
13. Tennessee Titans @ NYJ
14. Seattle Seahawks vs. CHI
15. San Diego Chargers vs. MIA

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 24, 2009 at 10:33pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 3 RB Rankings

September 24, 2009

Adrian Peterson heads to DetroitLast week’s fantasy darlings Franklin Delano Gore and Chris Johnson should find the row a little tougher to hoe this week as the 49ers head into Minnesota and the Titans travel to the Jets. Those are formidable defenses, no question, but you would be out of your gourd to consider benching these guys regardless of matchup. Ever. They’ve cemented themselves as tier-one studs.

Speaking of tier one, we expect slow-starting first-round picks Matt Forte and DeAngelo Williams to get the ball rolling in a serious way on the road this week. And if Clinton Portis can’t get it done this week at Detroit he’s no longer an every-week starter, plain and simple.

The situation that bears the closest monitoring is Dallas, where Marion Barber has gone from almost certainly out to “good to go” and back in the span of hours. You’ll want to pay particularly close attention as they play on Monday night, forcing you to make a tough decision Sunday morning. If Barber plays he’ll be limited, but if he’s out Felix Jones becomes an exciting RB2 or RB3 option. Also keep an eye on New Orleans, where Pierre Thomas has been gifted a chance to reclaim his starting gig and would love nothing more than to put a stamp on it, but his health remains a potentially severely limiting factor.

See also:
- Week 3 QB Rankings
- Week 3 WR Rankings
- Week 3 TE Ranks
- Week 3 DEF Ranks

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings vs. SF
2. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU
3. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears @ SEA
4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans @ NYJ
5. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons @ NE
6. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers @ MIN
7. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers @ DAL
8. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills vs. NO
9. Steve Slaton, Houston Texans vs. JAC
10. Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins @ SD
11. Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins @ DET
12. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. GB
13. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles vs. KC (Check Status)
14. Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants @ TB
15. Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers vs. MIA

Running back rankings 16 through 36, after the jump…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Sep. 24, 2009 at 3:02am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 3 WR Rankings

September 24, 2009

Andre Johnson has been on fi-yah for the Texans

Andre Johnson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

We’re expecting bounce-back weeks for some highly-drafted wideouts in Week 3. After being embarrassed by the Jets (i.e. Revis, Darrelle) last week Randy Moss, Wes Welker and the Patriots offense will come out angry and looking to prove a point. The Packers should also make an effort to re-establish the rapport between Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings against a hapless Rams squad.

The Colts figure to go back to leaning on Reggie Wayne after a quiet game in which they were dominated in time of possession, something that doesn’t figure to be a problem against the Cards. Meanwhile, Terrell Owens and Lee Evans look make the most of a shootout at home against the Saints.

It’s also a week for some mid-round and late-round picks to prove they can still be counted on. Josh Morgan and Lance Moore have been disturbingly quiet, and while the matchups aren’t ideal, they’re good enough that we should still expect some production. Waiver-wire adds like Nate Burleson, Mike Sims-Walker and the Giants dynamic duo of Mario Manningham and Steve Smith look to continue to roll in very do-able situations.

See also:
- Week 3 QB Rankings
- Week 3 RB Rankings
- Week 3 TE Ranks
- Week 3 DEF Ranks

1. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans vs. JAC
2. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts @ ARZ
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals vs. IND
4. Randy Moss, New England Patriots vs. ATL
5. Stevonne Smith, Carolina Panthers @ DAL
6. Marques Colston, New Orlans Saints @ BUF
7. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers @ STL
8. Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CIN
9. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. WAS
10. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons @ NE
11. Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers vs. MIA
12. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bungles vs. PIT
13. Terrell Owens, Buffalo Bills vs. NO
14. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Iggles vs. KC (Check Status)
15. Wes Welker, New England Patriots vs. ATL (Check Status)
16. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs @ PHI

Wide receiver rankings 17 through 42, after the jump…

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Sep. 24, 2009 at 3:01am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 3 TE Rankings

September 23, 2009

The Gates is Always OpenThis might be the strongest year ever for tight ends in fantasy football with at least 10 players we consider pretty damn sexy. We don’t expect annual injury risks like Kellen Winslow (12 catches, 120 yards, 2 TDs), Jeremy Shockey (8 catches, 80 yards, 2 TDs), and Todd Heap (6 catches, 83 yards, 2 TDs) to keep their respective early-season paces up, but the production across the board for projected fantasy contributors at the position has been impressive.

Finally, the Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and Tony Gonzalezes of the fantasy world aren’t locks to hold down the top three spots in the weekly ranks, as you’ll see below. (Maybe #3 is high for Daniels, but he’s quietly racking up impressive numbers [10 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD], and we think he’ll find the endzone at home this week against the sinking ship that is the Jacksonville Jaguars.)

See also:
- Week 3 QB Rankings
- Week 3 RB Rankings
- Week 3 WR Rankings
- Week 3 DEF Ranks

1. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. CAR
2. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts @ ARZ
3. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans vs. JAX
4. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. MIA
5. Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins @ DET
6. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons @ NE
7. Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. TEN
8. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles vs. KC
9. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears @ SEA
10. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Bucs vs. NYG
11. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks vs. CHI
12. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints @ BUF
13. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders vs. DEN
14. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers @ MIN
15. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE
16. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CIN
17. Benjamin Watson, New England Patriots vs. ATL
18. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings vs. SF
19. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers @ STL
20. Tony Scheffler, Denver Broncos @ OAK

See also:
- Week 3 QB Rankings
- Week 3 RB Rankings
- Week 3 WR Rankings
- Week 3 DEF Ranks

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 23, 2009 at 3:04pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 3 QB Rankings

September 23, 2009

Romo Knows RockThis season’s fantasy pecking order is slowly but surely taking shape, but there’s still plenty of early-season anomalies that’ll take a few more weeks to correct themselves. One of them is Byron Leftwich’s surprisingly strong performance through two weeks despite a middling offensive line and a subpar receiving corps that’s thin even with Antonio Bryant in the lineup (he’s not).

Heading into Week 3, Leftwich has racked up the fourth-most fantasy points for quarterbacks in ETB’s scoring format behind Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco. Outside of Brees, these three weren’t exactly projected to be upper-echelon fantasy contributors: Ryan’s average Yahoo! draft position was 85th overall (end of the 8th round), Flacco’s 115th (end of the 11th round), and Leftwich, well, ol’ Byron wasn’t drafted in most leagues. He’s still a free agent in our league.

Those overall rankings will probably change this week, though, with Ryan in a less-than-ideal matchup on the road against an angry New England Patriots team and Leftwich facing an aggressive New York Giants defense at home. We do like Flacco at home against the woeful Cleveland Browns, though, as evidenced by his somewhat ambitious Week 3 rank below.

See also:
- Week 3 RB Rankings
- Week 3 WR Rankings
- Week 3 TE Rankings
- Week 3 DEF Ranks

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints @ BUF
2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts @ ARZ
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots vs. ATL
4. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans vs. JAX
5. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. MIA
6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons @ NE
7. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE
8. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears @ SEA
9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers @ STL
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CIN
11. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. CAR
12. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals vs. PIT
13. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals vs. IND
14. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills vs. NO
15. Eli Manning, New York Giants @ TB
16. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings vs. SF
17. Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins @ DET
18. Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Bucs vs. NYG
19. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos @ OAK
20. Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers @ DAL

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 23, 2009 at 11:56am in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Yeah, But He’s No Mike Chatfield …

September 23, 2009

Ron Artest: True WarriorBy: Zachariah Blott

- The Historical Context Award goes to Ron Artest, who bravely told reporters that if the Lakers don’t repeat as champions, everyone can blame it on him. This may not be wise considering how injured most of the title contenders were last year (no KG, a shell of Jameer Nelson, no Yao or McGrady, no Ginobili and a hobbled Duncan). The true genius of his comments, though, came in this quote: “Everybody in L.A. expects a second ring. And if we don’t then yeah, they should point it right at me, throwing tomatoes and everything.” Is he seriously imploring fans to throw things at him if he doesn’t perform well? How did that turn out before? And for future reference Ron-Ron, the guy still holding a tomato isn’t be the one who threw it at you.

Ron Artest Photo Credit: Icon SMI

- Players and upper management all over the league are in love with Jerry Stackhouse‘s workouts as he tries to find a team (in America) for the upcoming year. Whoever signs him will have done a disservice to their club. I’m not sure why, but everyone is a sucker for athletic shooting guards who demand the ball and have poor shooting percentages and assist-to-turnover rates. How can sports fans religiously follow batting averages in baseball, but completely ignore shooting percentages when cooing over high-scoring basketball players?

- I know Michael Beasley is admittedly immature and just came out of rehab, but do fans realize how good he will be this year? As his minutes increased during his rookie campaign last year, his shooting percentages all went up and his turnovers and fouls dropped significantly. He started the last four games of the season for the Heat, during which he put up 24 and 12 per, shooting 56% from the field and 60% from behind the arc. He didn’t start any playoff games against Atlanta, but he had two double-doubles, nearly another two, and averaged 19 and 9 over the last three contests. I’d say he’s ready for a big jump. As a side note, make sure you watch Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a documentary about the 2006 Elite 24 all-star game at Rucker Park. Beasley has the funniest line when he tells Donte Green “You’re ugly as shit” before taking him to the rack for a sweet up-and-under reverse lay-up.

- The NBA is locking out their refs and … no one cares. Frankly, numerous studies have come out recently backing up even passing spectators’ claims that the referees are biased, so I say sack them all and pick a new 57 (although they’re only training a new 44). They couldn’t be any worse than the college football officials this year. The league might even bring back a once-fired ref—Michael Henderson—who, get this, once flubbed up a call at the end of a game to give the Lakers a bogus victory. Hard to believe.

Zachariah Blott is a teacher in Portland, not an Amish Charles Dickens character.

1 CommentPosted by ETB Contributor on Sep. 23, 2009 at 10:06am in NBA

Reading is Great! Week 3 NFL Updates, Accusations, and Cage Dancer Sightings

September 22, 2009

NFL Reading

- Shutdown Corner – Jerry Jones is proud to introduce “America’s Cage Dancers.”
- Providence Journal – Randy Moss isn’t impressed by Darrelle Revis, but we are.
- Rumors and Rants – Brady Quinn’s job might be in jeopardy (as well it should be).
- Bleacher Report – Behind Matt Forte’s early-season struggles in Chicago.
- The Pigskin Doctors – The top 10 non-kicking special teamers of all time.
- Undrafteds – We agree: it’s time to officially change his nickname to “Mangidiot.”
- Deadspin – She’s not drunk, just mad that she bought that Roy Williams jersey.
- It’s Just Sports – Mario Manningham has the talent to be an elite wide receiver.
- SignOnSanDiego.com – Why Chargers HC Norv Turner isn’t necessarily a knucklehead.
- azcentral.com – Larry Fitzgerald’s brother knows how to use Twitter.
- D.C. Sports Bog – And, unfortunately, so does Redskins linebacker Robert Henson.
- Buc ‘Em – Blame the Bucs’ loss in Buffalo on an incomplete effort, from top to bottom.
- The Big Lead– The Tennessee Titans are 0-2; is it time to panic?
- The 700 Level – Two Eagles fans, one Eagles quarterback, and a white man’s butt.
- The Fifth Down – The view from New England following the Pats’ loss to the Jets.

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Sep. 22, 2009 at 3:23pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

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