I listen to Mike & Mike in the Morning every day at work.  If it weren’t for Greeny, Golic, and fantasy football, I’m not quite sure how I would get through the week.  Well, the day after Brooks Conrad committed 3 errors for the Braves which led to 2 unearned runs and effectively the end of Bobby Cox’s career, Greeny made the argument that you have to feel bad for the 30 year old journeyman who toiled away in the minors for years and wouldn’t have even been in that position if Chipper and Prado hadn’t been injured.  Golic made the argument that he never feels bad for professional athletes because they’re exactly that: professional athletes.  But even Golic deviated from the norm a little bit and almost felt bad for the guy.


Normally, in fantasy football, especially when money is on the line, I don’t feel bad for anyone.  I’ll generally root for some guys in our league more than others, but even if a good friend like Gideon loses a heartbreaker, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, and I know it’s a two way street. However, in light of the Jets/Vikings game I feel bad for Duncan.  All he needed was 3 points from what really should be one of the better defenses in the NFL, and up until the end of the game, he had those points.  The Jets scored a touchdown with 4:30 left which left Duncan with a 0.2 point advantage. The ensuing kick return gave Duncan a 1.2 point lead.  Then with 1:30 to go, Brett Favre throws a pick six, which counts against the Vikings defense and puts Duncan behind for good.  Brutal.


Hard to believe that “pick six” swung two games in our league, though. Even though he totally effed me over in trades on Thursday and Friday, and even though his 0.3 point loss ended up being a 0.3 point win for me, and even though I know he wasn’t even watching the Monday night game to sweat it out like I was, I feel bad for Dincher as well.  I could do a Simmons-esque retroactive diary of the weekend and point out the times I was on cloud nine and the times I was in the seventh circle of hell, but I’ll narrow it down to the 2nd half of the Monday night game.


<i>Going into the game, I was down by about 8 points. I had the Jets defense. Dincher had Adrian Peterson.</i>


Halftime: You know what? The Vikings can’t do anything against this defense. I’ve got a 7 point lead, and as long as Peterson doesn’t end up breaking one for a touchdown and immediately swinging this thing 20 points in Dincher’s favor, I might somehow be able to pull this off.


27:45 to go: Favre fumble! Just keep raining! Just keep raining! Just keep raining, raining, raining!


20:00 to go: 3rd down and 15 for the Vikings on their own 34. Jon Gruden just declared this an impossible conversion for the Vikings. Thanks Jon. Your prediction that the Jets would come out and march down the field to start the second half was oh so prophetic. I mean, they only lost 12 yards on the drive. So much for hoping for a punt.


19:00 to go: 3rd down and 12 for the Vikings on their own 48. Well, they can’t convert 2 consecutive 3rd and double digits to go against the best defense in the NFL. Oh wait…


17:17 to go: 3rd down and 17 for the Vikings on the Jets 37. Okay, there’s no chance they do this 3 straight times; it’s just a matter of whether or not Longwell can hit a 55 yarder…


17:14 to go: Sack him!!!


17:12 to go: Uh-oh.


17:11 to go: Uh-oh.


17:10 to go: Dammit. Well, at least I’m still up by a couple points.  I could really use a kickoff return for a touchdown right about now.


17:08 to go: Wait a minute…


17:07 to go: He’s got a seam!


17:06 to go: Ahh! Tackled inside the 20. So close.


15:30 to go: Peterson for 30 yards. I’m in disbelief.  I was up by ten just two football minutes ago, and now I’m losing. I’m never playing fantasy football again.


12:47 to go: Percy Harvin just scored one of the easiest touchdowns I’ve ever seen.  The entire middle of the field was vacant of any Jet defenders. Unbelievable. There is now a distinct possibility I won’t be able to work in the morning because my computer will be in a million pieces against the wall.


7:00 to go: Peterson just picked up another 1.3 points on that drive. I need some sort of turnover pretty much as soon as Minnesota gets the ball back, because I’m down by 1.7 points now.


4:30 to go: Brett Favre sack! I’m back in this thing! Less than a point to make up now!


4:00 to go: Peterson 20 yard completion. Down by 3. This isn’t looking good.


3:10 to go: I. Hate. Percy. Harvin. I’m down by more than 8 points now. Not even a pick six saves me. I basically need a sack/fumble/TD in order to get 9 points, and the Jets are just going

to run out the clock anyway. I have to be up in less than 6 hours. I might as well just go to bed.


2:04 to go: Did the Jets seriously just throw the ball? Why does any coach ever do that? Hey Rex Ryan! You just wasted an opportunity to waste 40 seconds! That’s 33% of the rest of the game! On behalf of those of us who still need points from the Jets defense, thank you.


1:30 to go: Whoa…whoa…whoa…pick six. I’m down by 0.7 points again. Someone get the AED ready; my heart’s about to stop. All I need is for Favre to get sacked while he’s scrambling around the pocket trying to make something happen.  It’s like rooting for the sun to come up in the morning…just a matter of time.


:54 to go: There it is! The sack! I’m up by less than half a point. Tick! Tick tick! Tick tick!


:15 to go: They’re less than 40 yards from the end zone now. Favre may be 40, but he can throw the ball 40 yards…if I end up losing on a hail mary…


:05 to go: Or a checkdown to Peterson?!?! NO!!!!


:03 to go: Fumble! Grab it! @&!%*@!!!!!!


:03 to go: Incomplete pass? What? Seriously? Where’s the AED?! There’s no way he didn’t have possession and take two steps with the ball. That was a gift from the referee. He is now on my Christmas card list.


:02 to go: Knock it down!


:00 to go: Knock it down!


Game Over.  Final score: KC 112.6 – 112.3.


I swear that ball hung in the air in the end zone for 28 seconds, or maybe I just died for half a minute.  Now I just have to spend the next 3 days refreshing the league scoreboard to make sure ESPN doesn’t screw me over by retroactively changing some stats.  Dincher, I somewhat feel bad for the way you lost, but I need that win way more than you do, and you’ll probably end up getting the $10 bad beat bonus now.  The best part about that news?  It transitions perfectly into the Eliminator picks, because that bad beat bonus would go directly towards Dincher’s buy-in for the eliminator pool since I know I won’t get it any other way.  To the rest of you, only one person responded to my text on Friday regarding the $10 buy-in.  I’m going to hope that the majority of you decided to just say nothing and put $10 (or $30 if your name is O’Neill) in the mail, because I still need the buy-in from well over half the guys in the pool.  I’m keeping track of who has paid.  At this point, if I don’t win the Eliminator Challenge within our group (which we all know is going to be the case since I’ve never made it past week 8), I’m just going to pass along the “hit list” to whoever wins and it’ll be up to that person to get their money.


My picks were absolutely horrible last week, but I said several times that I wasn’t feeling good about any of them, so I offer no apologies to anyone who relied on my picks in choosing the Saints, since I basically apologized before I wrote them.  I ended up going off the board and picking the Colts to beat my Chiefs which worked out great.  Now there are 5 people left in our pool (my roommate, J. Troutman, doesn’t count towards our prize pool because he didn’t do the buy-in).  I highly doubt this week will shake anything up in our standings, because there are a lot of good options this time around.  If I go 2-3 again this week, I might have to get rid of this segment altogether.


#5. Toss-up between San Francisco (0-5) over Oakland (2-3) and New Orleans (3-2) over Tampa Bay (3-1)


Every week in this spot I end up picking a team that I think just absolutely has to win, and for 3 consecutive weeks I’ve been wrong, but one if not both of these teams is bound to win.  We’ve been waiting on the Saints’ offense to wake up, and losing to the worst defense in the NFL is either going to kick start that team or finally make us really question whether or not they’re a good team this year. And in the other game, San Fran eventually has to win a game, and Oakland has to lose because they haven’t won back to back games in several years.  In other words, this #5 pick will continue to be my gut call.  But let’s face it, if you’ve waited this long to use the 49ers or the Saints, you’re not about to use them now until they’ve proved THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!


#4. Houston (3-2) over Kansas City (3-1)


Despite what I’m about to say about Houston in my next pick, and despite the fact that I believe in the Chiefs as the potential AFC West Division Champions, I really don’t think my boys can win this game, and it’s more than just a gut feeling.  Both teams are among the best in the league at rushing the ball, among the best of the league at stopping the run, and both teams pretty much suck against the pass.  The difference maker in this game will either be Schaub and Andre Johnson or Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas.  I’m leaning towards the former.  Schaub has had 4 poor games and 1 great game.  The great game came against the defense that’s 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game.  The 4 poor games came against teams that are all in the top 50% against the pass, including the teams ranked 2 and 3 in yards allowed per game.  The Chiefs are ranked 25th, and I’m pretty sure that Andre Johnson will be close to full health by kickoff.  I love Brandon Flowers, but I don’t even think Darrelle Revis could contain Andre when healthy.  And it’s not like Matt Cassel is going to throw the ball well, or that Dwayne Bowe will even catch the ball if he does. Good thing we’ll probably be favored in 10 of our remaining 11 games because we’re going to be 3-2.


#3. New York Giants (3-2) over Detroit (1-4)


The key to the Giants’ success thus far has been playing against teams that can’t move the ball and can’t pass protect.  Two of their three wins came against Carolina and Chicago who definitely fit that bill. Their two losses came against the Colts and Titans, who can both score in bunches and protect their quarterback unless they’re playing against the Steelers.  And then they have the win this past week against the Texans who actually aren’t a very good team if you can jump out to an early lead against them and effectively shut down Foster.  I’m sure Harshbarger can confirm that Matt Schaub hasn’t been the Matt Schaub we expect him to be.  He threw the ball well against Washington (who hasn’t?) but has failed to put up 250 yards in any of his other 4 games.  And the Texans give up a lot of sacks.  What’s my point?  This will easily be the #1 pick among Eliminator competitors, and I think the Giants will pull it off, but I’m not insanely confident in it because the Lions pass protect pretty well and inexplicably lead the NFC in scoring right now.  Also, the Lions aren’t horrible against the pass and might be able to contain Eli Manning.  In conclusion, this game scares me a little more than it really should.


#2. Chicago (4-1) over Seattle (2-2)


Obviously, I am operating under the assumption that Jay Cutler plays a complete game.  If Todd Collins is at quarterback again, I begin to question this pick a little bit, and it may drop out of my top five altogether.  But Seattle is horrible on the road, horrible against the pass, and more importantly than anything, they’re a West Coast team playing a 1:00 game.  I’ve been preaching this stuff all season, and for the record, the West coast team playing a 1:00 game is now 1-7 this season, including the Seahawks losing by 3 possessions at St. Louis 2 weeks ago.  If Cutler plays, I think the Bears could win this game by 30, but I might bail if he’s out again, because Todd Collins makes Derek Anderson look like a hall of famer.


#1. Pittsburgh (3-1) over Cleveland (1-4)


No way I’m betting on the Steelers giving 14 points since these games somehow always end up being close right down to the wire, but there’s also no way the Steelers lose at home against Colt McCoy and the Browns in Big Ben’s return.


The Commish’s NFL Upset of the Week:


St. Louis Rams (+8.5) over San Diego Chargers


I finally got one of these right last week, so now I’m 1-2 picking significant upsets (underdogs by 4 or more points), and I’m going to ride the Chargers again. For whatever reason, San Diego just finds ways to lose on the road.  Figure this out: the Chargers are first in the league in yards per game (450.8) and 2nd in the league in yards allowed per game (246.2), and they’re a 2-3 team?  How do you move the ball an average of 2 complete football fields further than your opponent and end up with a record below .500?!  I’m certainly not complaining, because I hate the Chargers, but I don’t think their special teams could possibly let them down more than they already have.  In the first loss it was a punt return for a TD.  In the second loss it was two kick returns for touchdowns.  In last week’s loss it was 2 blocked punts resulting in 9 points, and 3 lost fumbles, one of which resulted directly in a touchdown.  And now they have to be a West Coast team in a 1:00 game.  I just don’t see how they pull it off, you know, aside from the fact that the Rams are still the Rams and are getting injured left and right.


No more three team teasers. I’ve already lost too much money and this post is already too long.


*******Games of the Week*******


~~~~~~~Blowout of the Week~~~~~~~

Nelson’s Steelers (3-2) over Damn’s Bills (0-5)


<i> Projected Lineups:


Nelson: V. Young, S. Greene, D. McFadden, M. Wallace, M. Colston, N. Washington, Witten, Steelers, M. Bryant




Damn: Cutler, Lynch, R. Brown, A. Johnson, Sims-Walker, K. Walter, C. Cooley, Seahawks, ? </i>


Damn may have just pushed me over the edge on a policy I’ve been tempted to initiate for awhile now, in which the person who wins the league has the option to kick out one owner from the league who finished the previous season with 9 or more losses so long as they are able to find a replacement for said owner. Obviously, it wouldn’t be fair for me to put that into effect mid-season, but that MJD trade wasn’t exactly fair either.  Maybe next year.  But for the rest of this year, now that Damn only has one or two players on his team that anyone in a 10 team league would ever even consider starting, I’m probably just going to pick against him in this spot by default.  Has anyone ever been luckier with their defense than Nelson?  Dude is averaging 21.5 points per game from that roster spot, and now this week he has the Steelers against the Browns.  Chalk up another 25 points there on the way to another convincing win.  The only way this ends up being close is if McFadden ends up not playing and then Nelson is forced to scramble to fill his roster, but I doubt that will even matter since Damn has 2 terrible running backs going against 2 great rushing defenses.


Final Score: 124-81.



~~~~~~~Upset of the Week~~~~~~~


O’Neill’s Buccaneers (2-3) over Meyers’ Cowboys (3-2)


<i> Projected Lineups:


O’Neill: Rivers, Charles, T. Jones?, Amendola, R. Moss, B. Edwards, Da. Clark, Falcons, K?




Meyers: A. Smith, M. Turner, D. Brown?, D. Bess, D. Jackson, B. Tate, Shiancoe, Saints, Prater </i>


I think I’m 4 for 4 with my upset picks, and probably because I spend the most time on it, so let’s keep up the good work.


5 reasons:


#1. Philip Rivers vs. St. Louis.


The Chargers aren’t winning many games, but it isn’t Phil’s fault.  He’s quietly the #2 fantasy quarterback right now, and based on how many fantasy points they just allowed to Shaun Hill, I find it hard believe that the Rams won’t let Rivers put up 30 points.


#2. The #2 running back on Meyers’ team.


Who’s it going to be?  Third string Tashard Choice or banged up back up Donald Brown?  I presume Meyers will make a claim on some combination of guys on free agency, but there’s nothing out there that strikes me as someone you want to start this week, let alone again in Week 8 when Turner is on his bye.  I fully expect to either be offered Owens in a trade, or to process a trade involving Owens at some point in the next couple of days.  I do like me the TO.  If I may reiterate one of my bold predictions from back when TO got traded to the Bengals: “Bold prediction #2: Terrell Owens makes the Pro Bowl, causing Matthew Berry to suffer a stroke due to utter disbelief.”  All I’m saying is that I like Owens, and if he wants to continue to compete in a competitive NFC conference, Meyers can ill afford to have two weeks in which he basically punts one of his running back positions.


#3. Randy Moss vs. Dallas.


We caught a glimpse of it with Dallas putting up 24 points in the last 32 minutes against Tennessee and Minnesota putting up 20 points in the last 18 minutes against the Jets, but these teams are starting to click, and I have a hunch that this is one of those fantasy wet dream types of games in which both teams score in the 30s or 40s.  Obviously, Moss would greatly benefit from that.


#4. Kick Returners aren’t Wide Receivers


I loved Dante Hall, but he was never a viable fantasy option. I love Joshua Cribbs, but he’s very rarely a viable fantasy option. I would gladly have Dexter McClusterf**k on my team, but I would never start him.  Meyers is stuck deciding whether to play Devin Hester or to play Devin Hester lite in the form of Brandon Tate.  I don’t think you can count on either guy for more than a handful of points, but you almost have to play Tate and just hope he has a lot of “Randy Moss is gone and I’m taking the reins” potential.


#5. Braylon Edwards vs. Denver.


I love the drunk bastard and I’m not ashamed of it.  Flacco didn’t do much against the Broncos, but he didn’t have to.  I feel the same way as Colin Cowherd does, meaning I think the Jets are going to struggle and potentially suffer a loss in Denver this weekend.  This means I think the Sanchise has to throw the ball a bit, and I don’t even remember seeing Santonio Holmes on Monday night, so I think that still means Edwards profits.


X-Factor: Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Hillis.


The NFL is obsessed with concussion safety right now, and I really don’t think Rodgers will be allowed to go.  And Hillis has a history with the injury he has and that he reaggravated during the second half of Sunday’s game.  I don’t think either guy plays, which hurts both owners, but it would obviously be more detrimental to Meyers’ cause.  If Rodgers plays, if Hillis doesn’t play, and if Meyers is able to figure out something solid for that #2 running back spot, I don’t see why he can’t improve to 4-2.  But that’s a lot of ifs.


Final score: TB 112-97.



~~~~~~~Game of the Week~~~~~~~


Gideon’s Bears (3-2) vs. Duncan’s Packers (3-2)


<i> Projected Lineups:


Gideon: Brady, B. Jackson, L. McCoy, F/J Jones, Nicks, Houshmanzadeh, Winslow, Chargers, Bironas




Duncan: Romo, Mendenhall, Thomas/Ivory, M. Williams, Austin, Boldin, Gates, Titans, Rackers </i>


Gideon’s suffered a lot of injuries this season, but with a win, he still has a chance to grab a share of the NFC lead nearly half way through the season. Meanwhile, Duncan hasn’t scored less than 100 points in a week yet this season, but he’s also sitting at 3-2.  At first glance, it looks like Duncan should win with ease, but I’ll see if I can’t talk myself into this being a pretty good matchup.




QB: I’ve already made the point that I think the Cowboys game ends up being a scoring slugfest, and given the running back options in Dallas, it seems pretty obvious that Romo would have to be the one to do all the scoring.  Meanwhile, Gideon has Brady going up against the Ravens defense, who I still don’t believe in.  ESPN is ultimately going to give Duncan a significant edge, but I think it’ll be pretty close.  Slight edge: Duncan.


RB: Cleveland still somehow hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season, so maybe Mendenhall doesn’t have a typical Mendenhall kind of day.  If he’s even remotely average and is paired with either an injured Pierre Thomas or a piss poor Chris Ivory, I think Duncan has a miserable day with his backfield.  On the other side of the fence, I like McCoy this week, though apparently not as much as ESPN’s experts do, and I think McCoy’s production along with whatever Jackson is able to scrap together should be more than enough to beat out Duncan’s running backs.  Edge: Gideon.


WR: This is the part where I instantly thought Duncan would have a huge advantage in this match-up, but now I’m not so sure.  Austin will no doubt have a great day, and when Flacco is actually throwing the ball, Boldin is usually the primary benefactor in Baltimore, which is facing a miserable secondary in New England. But Mike Williams is facing the best defensive secondary in the NFL and should consequently have a horrible day.  So Duncan should have 2 solid days from great guys and a sub-par day from an average guy, amounting to around 50 points.  Gideon should have one great day from a great guy and 2 solid days from 2 average guys, which could theoretically amount to around 50 points as well.  Hakeem Nicks is disgusting, which just amplifies the lack of foresight in my pre-season opinion that Keith’s best keeper choice was Ryan Grant while Nicks may very well struggle.  Glad I used up all of my stupidity in one statement, because most of the other things I predicted were pretty solid.  There’s no reason to ever assume Nicks will get less than 20 points on any given Sunday.  Housh is gradually working his way into the mix in Baltimore, and if Jacoby Jones goes, I think he makes for a solid play…but I’ve also been a hopeless believer in Jacoby Jones from day one.  If Jacoby doesn’t go, Felix Jones is all of a sudden looking like a valid flex option, and could just as easily put up good numbers in what I’ve said multiple times should be a score-gasm of a game.  Slight edge: Duncan.


TE/Def: The Saints are great against wide receivers, but they are terrible against tight ends for some reason, and considering Winslow is oftentimes the #1 receiving option in Tampa Bay, he should have a good day.  And despite my upset prediction, the Chargers defense should put up numbers against the Rams. However, Antonio Gates is averaging nearly 21 fantasy points per game, and is showing no signs of slowing. I think the Titans D is going to struggle against a Jaguars team that is all of a sudden scoring left and right even though MJD isn’t doing much of anything compared to usual, but Gates should carry Duncan’s extracurriculars to victory.  Significant edge: Duncan.


Final result: ESPN has the spread on this one at GB -41.5.  I’ll take the points, but I still think Duncan wins.  Score: GB 120-105.