July, 2014 Athlete of the Month

Monday, July 28, 2014

 Novak Djokovic: Runners-up:  Jerome Boateng, Rory McIlroy, Vincenzo Nibali

      January - Kevin Durant
February - Malcolm Smith
March - Breanna Stewart
April-Meb Keflezigh 
May - Troy Tulowitzki
June - Lionel Messi
      July -  Novak Djokovic

7 down, 5 left in the race for 2014 Athlete of the Year. 

MLB 2014 - 100 games down

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We're 100 games into the MLB season - here's the update.

AL East
Baltimore - 86
Toronto - 83

AL Central
Detroit - 90
Cleveland - 82

AL West
Oakland - 96
LAA - 92
Seattle - 84

That would mean Angels/Mariners in the knockout game; A's with the top seed.

NL East
Washington - 90
Atlanta - 85

NL Central
Milwaukee - 87
St Louis - 87
Pittsburgh 84

NL West
LAD - 89
SFG - 88

That would mean Giants/NL Central runner up in the knockout game; Nats with the top seed.

Here are the best players at each position through 100 games with their WAR (B-Ref+Davenport)

C SPerez KC 2.9
    DNorris Oak 2.6
1B MCabrera Det 3.45
      JAbreu CWS 3.25
2B RCano Sea 4.25
      JAltuve Hou 3.4
SS EAybar LAA 2.85
      ARamirez CWS 2.7
3B KSeager Sea 4.5
      JDonaldson Oak 4.45
LF MBrantley Cle 4.1
      AGordon KC 3.65
CF MTrout LAA 5.3 MVP
      JEllsbury NYY 3.25
RF JBautista Tor 3.6
     KKiermaier TB 2.2
DH VMartinez Det 2.9
       NCruz Balt 2.8
P  MTanaka NYY 4.3
    FHernandez Sea 4.3 CY

C JLucroy Mil 4.05
    DMesoraco Cin 3.1
1B PGoldschmidt Ari 4.55
     ARizzo Chi 3.25
2B DGordon LAD 3.3
     CUtley Phi 3.05
SS TTulowitzki Col 5.5 MVP
      JPeralta StL 3.2
3B TFrazier Cin 3.5
      PSandoval SFG 3
LF SSmith SD 3.6
     JUpton Atl 2.45
CF AMcCutchen Pit 4.7
      CGomez Mil 3.45
RF GStanton Mia 4.9
     JHeyward Atl 3.8
SP CKershaw LAD 4.75
      AWainwright StL 6 CY

What To Do With Injured Running Backs In The Draft

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The following is a sponsored post, authored by Grant Helena.

What To Do With Injured Running Backs In The Draft

In fantasy football, injuries can really do a lot of damage to a team. Injured running backs are especially difficult to handle since they provide so much value. There is always reason to be hesitant, but here’s a look at a few top running backs worth the risk early on.

Doug Martin

After a stellar rookie year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Martin had to suffer through a shoulder injury for most of 2013. It was unfortunate that he could not put up solid fantasy football numbers, but the good news is that running backs can recover from an injury like this rather quickly. It would have been much more devastating if something happened to his legs.

Martin is a young, talented running back who is going to get a lot of touches in Lovie Smith’s system. Some might be worried that Charlie Sims could steal some touches from him, but Tampa Bay will run the ball enough for both to have success.

Arian Foster

The Houston Texans were terrible last year, and it certainly did not help that Foster missed a significant amount of playing time. However, Houston will really need him to be a solid contributor since they have yet to address the quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be the starting quarterback, and he is not exactly a standout in fantasy football.

Backup Ben Tate is now with the Cleveland Browns, so Foster will get plenty of opportunities to have success. He might not be as good as he was in his prime, but he is still talented enough to take in the 1st round.

CJ Spiller

Unlike the previous two running backs, Spiller is not considered to be a potential 1st rounder. A big reason why is because he is going to be splitting time with Fred Jackson. However, Buffalo has big plans for their running back this upcoming year now that he is healthy.

Spiller has always been known as a guy who has big-play talent. The passing game is still a work in progress in Buffalo, so they will be running the ball. Start thinking about Spiller in the third round.

2014 Top 100 NFL Players 10-1

Monday, July 14, 2014

The players list via NFL Network is first, mine is second. 

11-20 is here.

10. Jimmy Graham TE NO (my #16)
9. AJ Green WR Cincinnati (my #34)
8. Jamaal Charles RB KC (he's below)
7. Richard Sherman CB Seattle (he's below)
6. Drew Brees QB NO (he's below)
5. LeSean McCoy RB Phil (he's below)
4. Adrian Peterson RB Minn (he's below)
3. Tom Brady QB NE (#44 on my list)
2. Calvin Johnson WR Det (he's below)
1. Peyton Manning QB Den (he's below)

10. Richard Sherman CB Seattle
9. Robert Quinn DE St Louis
8. LeSean McCoy RB Philadelphia
7. Drew Brees QB New Orleans
6. Jamaal Charles RB Kansas City
5. Adrian Peterson RB Minnesota
4. Calvin Johnson WR Detroit
3. JJ Watt DE Houston
2. Peyton Manning QB Denver
1. Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay

Every 2014 NFL Secondary Ranked 1-32

Thursday, July 10, 2014

1. New England
2. Seattle
3. New Orleans
4. Denver
5. Cincinnati
6. Minnesota
7. Arizona
8. NY Giants
9. San Diego
10. Green Bay
11. Jacksonville
12. Tennessee
13. Atlanta
14. Buffalo
15. Philadelphia
16. Oakland
17. Houston
18. Miami
19. Pittsburgh
20. Kansas City
21. Detroit
22. Cleveland
23. Baltimore
24. San Francisco
25. Indianapolis
26. Dallas
27. Chicago
28. Tampa
29. NY Jets
30. Washington
31. StLouis
32. Carolina

Every NFL Defensive Front 7 Ranked 1-32

Now, more than ever, separating defenses into a line and linebacking corps doesn't make as much sense as just considering the full front 7.

1. Seattle
2. Carolina
3. Kansas City
4. Denver
5. Detroit
6. San Francisco
7. Buffalo
8. Philadelphia
9. Baltimore
10. NY Jets
11. Tampa
12. Tennessee
13. Cleveland
14. New England
15. Washington
16. New Orleans
17. Miami
18. St Louis
19. Indianapolis
20. Atlanta
21. Cincinnati
22. Pittsburgh
23. Green Bay
24. Minnesota
25. San Diego
26. Oakland
27. Houston
28. Chicago
29. Arizona
30. NY Giants
31. Dallas
32. Jacksonville

Every 2014 NFL Offensive Line Ranked 1-32

1. Philadelphia
2. Denver
3. Minnesota
4. San Francisco
5. Cincinnati
6. Cleveland
7. New Orleans
8. New England
9. Dallas
10. Pittsburgh
11. Detroit
12. Houston
13. Green Bay
14. Tampa
15. NY Giants
16. Tennessee
17. Baltimore
18. Oakland
19. Buffalo
20. San Diego
21. New York Jets
22. St Louis
23. Chicago
24. Carolina
25. Seattle
26. Miami
27. Arizona
28. Indianapolis
29. Atlanta
30. Washington
31. Kansas City
32. Jacksonville

2014 NFL Running Backs 1-35

Not a fantasy list, it's a qualitative prognostication for 2014 performance. Not every team is represented; 35 is a weird number, but there's no good way to pick 5 more.

1. Adrian Peterson Minn
2. Jamaal Charles KC
3. LeSean McCoy Phi
4. Marshawn Lynch Sea
5. DeMarco Murray Dall
6. Matt Forte Chi
7. Eddie Lacy GB
8. Alfred Morris Wash
9. Pierre Thomas NO
10. Arian Foster Hou
11. Andre Ellington Ari
12. CJ Spiller Buff
13. Darren Sproles Phi
14. Joique Bell Det
15. Frank Gore SF
16. Doug Martin TB
17. Reggie Bush Det
18. Giovani Bernard Cin
19. Fred Jackson Buff
20. Shane Vereen NE
21. Ryan Matthews SD
22. Jonathan Stewart Carol
23. Maurice Jones-Drew Oak
24. Stephen Jackson Atl
25. Ben Tate Cle
26. LeVeon Bell Pitt
27. DeAngelo Williams Carol
28. Lamar Miller Mia
29. Knowshon Moreno Mia
29. Chris Ivory NYJ
30. Rashad Jennings Oak
31. Stephen Ridley NE
32. Bishop Sankey Tenn
33. Mark Ingram NO
34. Danny Woodhead SD
35. Zac Stacy StL

2014 NFL Wide Receivers/Tight Ends Ranked 1-48

Not a fantasy list, it's a qualitative prognostication for 2014 performance. Not every team is represented.

1. Calvin Johnson Det
2. Andre Johnson Hou 
3. AJ Green Cin 
4. Julio Jones Atl
5. Rob Gronkowski NE TE 
6. Brandon Marshall Chi 
7. Dez Bryant Dall 
8. Jimmy Graham NO TE
9. Antonio Brown Pit 
10. Demaryius Thomas Den 
11. Vincent Jackson TB
12. Vernon Davis SF TE
13. Alshon Jeffery Chi
14 Larry Fitzgerald Ari 
15. Reggie Wayne Indy 
16. Percy Harvin Sea
17. DeSean Jackson Phi 
18. Jordy Nelson GB 
19. Michael Crabtree SF 
20. Anquan Boldin SF
21. Jason Witten Dall TE
23. Victor Cruz NYG 
24. Mike Wallace Mia 
25. Roddy White Atl 
26. Pierre Garcon Wash 
27. Kendall Wright Tenn 
28. Keenan Allen SD  
29. Marques Colston NO 
30. Cordarrelle Patterson Min
31. Golden Tate Det
32. TY Hilton Indy 
33. Marvin Jones Cin 
34. Doug Baldwin Sea
35. Dwayne Bowe  KC 
36. Wes Welker Den 
37. James Jones Oak 
38. Jerricho Cotchery Carol
39. Greg Jennings Minn 3
40. Julian Edelman NE 
41. Brian Hartline Mia 
42. Nate Washington Tenn 
43. Michael Floyd SD
44. Dwayne Allen Indy TE 
45. Julius Thomas TE Den 
46. Martellus Bennett TE Chi
47. Jordan Reed TE Wash
48. Josh Gordon WR Cle

All 2014 NFL Starting QB Ranked 32-1

Not a fantasy list, it's a qualitative prognostication for 2014 performance. ESPN had a league "insiders" ranking that's behind the paywall. I'm going to give it away here - those ranks are in parentheses below.

32. Chad Henne Jacksonville (26)
31. EJ Manuel Buffalo (27)
30. Matt Cassel Min (28)
29. Brian Hoyer Cleveland (29)
28. Matt Schaub Oakland (25)
27. Geno Smith NY Jets (32)
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick Houston (30)
25. Jake Locker Tennessee (31)
24. Josh McCown Tampa (24)
23. Andy Dalton Cincinnati (T-19)
22. Carson Palmer Arizona (T-21)
21. Sam Bradford StL (T-21)
20. Alex Smith KC (18)2
19. Joe Flacco Baltimore (12)
18. Ryan Tannehill Miami (23)
17. Nick Foles Philadelphia (15)
16. Jay Cutler Chicago (17)
15. Matthew Stafford Detroit (13)
14. Cam Newton Carolina (16)
13. Robert Griffin III Wash (T-19)
12. Eli Manning NYG (T-8)
11. Tony Romo Dall (T-8)
10. Phillip Rivers SD (6)
9. Ben Roethlisberger Pitt (7)
8. Colin Kaepernick SF(14)
7. Andrew Luck Indy (5)
6. Russell Wilson Sea (T-8)
5. Matt Ryan Atl (T-8)
4. Tom Brady NE (T-1)
3. Drew Brees NO (T-1)
2. Peyton Manning Den (T-1)
1. Aaron Rodgers GB (T-1)

2014 Top 100 NFL Players 20-11

Thursday, July 3, 2014

30-21 is here.

The players list via NFL Network is first, mine is second. 

20. Russell Wilson QB Sea (#57 on my list)
19. Robert Mathis OLB Indy (#103 on my list)
18. Joe Thomas T Cleveland (he's below)
17. Earl Thomas S Seattle (#36 on my list)
16. Josh Gordon WR Cleve (#125 on my list)
15. Luke Kuechly ILB Carolina (#27 on my list)
14. Marshawn Lynch RB Seattle (he's below)
13. Robert Quinn DE StL (not yet...)
12. JJ Watt DE Hou (not yet....)

20. Andre Johnson WR Houston
19. Geno Atkins DT Cincinnati 
18. Clay Matthews OLB Green Bay
17. Von Miller OLB Denver
16. Jimmy Graham TE New Orleans
15. Brandon Marshall WR Chicago
14. Joe Thomas T Cleveland
13. Marshawn Lynch RB Seattle
12. Ndamukong Suh DT Detroit
11. Patrick Willis ILB San Francisco

I Watch Every NBA Slam Dunk Contest, 2010-2013

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Part 4 of a series.  Part 3 is here.

Judges are wearing matching sweater vests.  Could Mark Aguirre_be_giving out any more 10s?

Spud Webb didn’t get one, perhaps they don’t come in ladies sizes, am I right?

Only 4 compete, pretty low wattage dunk contest; DeRozan gets a 42, Shannon Brown a 37, Gerald Wallace was a Bobcat back in 2010; Reggie Miller rips the dunk attempts so far and rightly so.  Little Nate’s the 4th competitor and does small guy stuff.

Nate and DeRozan advance after their second dunks, easily so (Derozan’s was better).  This was the “use a teammate” dunk, popularized after the Patriots were introduced as an entire team instead of individually for that one Super Bowl so we keep looking to shoehorn teamwork into every corner of our sports experience.

Fan voting for the winner starts before the finals, adding to the credibility.  Derozan goes over a teammate in the final round, missed live by the cameras because there are so many other things to shoot during a dunk contest.  Derozan easily the best dunker of a bad night. 

Nate becomes the three time champ, the fans had the entirety of the final vote – maybe Nate had a better final round; this was, I think, the worst dunk contest ever.

The announce table is covered in chili dogs. 

The judges all look miserable.  

The participants have coaches, DeRozan’s is Daryl Dawkins who says the first dunk is East Bay Funk Remix.  DeRozan goes under the backboard and through the legs, better than any dunk the year before. 

Barkley says DeRozan has a great body and then invites Dwight Howard to come to his house and watch videos.  Get in that van!

Ibaka hits the foul line dunk, that’s a lot of size for that dunk. Ibaka gets a toe on the line but that’s further back than recent foul line dunks – really solid effort. 

CWebb is Javale McGee’s coach and calls out Howard wrestling promo style.  Howard was not in on the gag.  McGee tries to go off the backboard and dunk two balls in two different baskets, misses, then misses without the bounce, but then converts.  Solid.  DeRozan’s is still the best, but all three of these dunks were worth watching and the dunk contest is back! (Magic Johnson flashback).

Here’s Blake.
He misses a 360.  Kenny Smith is his hype man and the building energy really builds for Griffin’s 360.  Not as good as DeRozan’s dunk, but every dunk in this round really strong.  Kevin Harlan says it’s the best first round ever. 

DeRozan’s second dunk is better than his first, bounces the ball, does a one handed up and under as he goes under the rim.  

There’s a kid and a prop, a toy stuck in the net which Ibaka pulls down with his teeth – really tremendous.  

This is a helluva contest.

Griffin shows a lot of power in his second dunk, not as good as several of the prior dunks even though he goes to the final.

McGee dunks three balls on his second dunk, he takes DeRozan’s final slot – I gotta say, the two guys who didn’t make the finals were a little better than the two who did.

Griffin stuffs his whole arm through the basket, another really solid dunk in a night of solid dunks.

McGee is under the backboard while doing an up and under – a better dunk than Griffin’s. 

Then the car dunk.  The choir.  The R Kelly song.

Griffin jumps over the car and you’ve got to give it to him.

I’ll say 1. BG car 2. DD second dunk 3. JM first finals 4. DD first round 5. SI the toy with the teeth, that’s not just for this year, that’s both years together – a great dunk contest.

The judges are gone, Kenny Smith now emcees the entire competition and interviews Diddy to start the show courtside.  Diddy’s starting a new network.  How’s that working out? It gets us to Chase Budinger jumping over Diddy in a strong opener for the night.

Great Toss by Diddy according to Reggie Miller, who then walks to Brooklyn to get him some cheesecake.

Jeremy Evans has a camera on his ear, Shaq calls him Jerome. Send it in Jeremy!

Paul George jumps over two teammates, including Roy Hibbert.  Derrick Williams enters on the back of a motorcycle driven by a mascot, then jumps over the bike.  All okay dunks here in round one.  A tweet by Diddy is shown on the screen as we step forward technologically.  Budinger, by a small margin, remains the best dunker after his second dunk.  There’s something called a dunk intensity meter being used tonight, which has all the gravitas of the truth booth from MTVs Are You the One.

Evans has the best dunk of the night – catching two balls thrown to him by someone in a chair he was leaping over.  That’s a clear step up in quality.  Paul George does a dunk in the dark.  Guess what’s wrong with that. 

Williams does a 180, taking the ball from a side of the backboard pass by Rubio.  That’s the second best dunk.

Chris Paul’s tweet uses a hashtag.

Budinger does the Ceballos blindfold dunk, if you ask him how many fingers you’re holding up, he’d be able to tell you. 

Now we all pretend that Kevin Hart is funny.

Evans jumps over Hart, putting his hand behind his head as he does. 

These are tribute dunks, apparently.  George’s tribute is to Larry Bird, which doesn’t require much elevation.  He tries to put a Bird sticker on the backboard, he does, but misses the dunk – eventually getting it but after already using two stickers.

So, fans here voting for any of the four dunkers – the winner is Evans, who deserved it, I guess, with the best dunk of the night. Shaq says when he was young he wanted to see Jordan vs Dominique vs. Terrance Stansbury- and that’s his argument for whey we need superstars in the dunk contest.

Kenny’s back with the announcers, there are judges again, including noted dunker Rudy T. 

I see, they’re Rockets.  Yao, Dikembe, Hakeem – a bunch of centers and Clyde. 

Gerald Green, a great 21st century dunker, is back, he dips the ball after catching it from the side of the backboard for a solid start.

Someone names James White has brought out fake stewardesses (clearly appreciated courtside by Latifah) for a foul line dunk. He’s a foot across the line, but uses two hands to hold the ball, which is a good touch.  

This year, the dunkers are separated into conferences.

Terrence Ross does a great behind the back, Vince Carter like dunk. 

Faried and Bledsoe hit fairly pedestrian dunks.  Shaq really complaining about missed attempts, most of them edited out.  Jeremy Evans leaps over a seated Mark Eaton, it was nice.  Ross is the solid standout.

Green cuts down the nets to celebrate his victory in the Western subregional, but then misses a bunch of dunks.

Ross continues his VC tribute act; not as athletic, but all clean.

Faried goes through the legs, it’s the new second best dunk. Bledsoe does a really strong little man dunk. 

Evans and Ross advance to the finals, which is the best result.

Evans jumps over a picture of himself, which is fun.

The announcers finally recognize Ross is doing a VC tribute when he puts on a VC jersey for the new second best dunk.  Ross 1, Ross Finals 1.  Evans hits the new second best dunk of the night with his final dunk.  Ross finishes strong, leaping over a kid.

Ross deserves it, that was a strong night for him, but Evans had a really good finals. 

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