2013 Philly Fantasy Sports: Building a Better Sports Site

After dealing with family matters, this site will be rebuilt for the better. Fantasy news for football, baseball and hockey will be returning. Additionally, some Australian and European football news and views will be added. Stay tuned.

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2012-13 NFL Season Preview for Fantasy Football: Chaos in Motion

With most of the fantasy football leagues already in tow with their drafts and the preseason games closed, it’s time to see how this season will fold.  Now onto my predictions for the NFL 2012-13 regular season:

  • Rookie Quarterbacks.  After the Wildcat, rookie quarterbacks are the new sensation in football.  With Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton both performing well, given their short tenure in the league, now it’s time for others to shine — and collapse under the burden of the NFL.  Washington RedskinsRobert Griffin III is a hot commodity to be sure, but you better count your eggs before your chickens in his case.  Otherwise, he might leave your basket half-empty.
  • Chaos, Chaos Everywhere.  With veterans already injured, like Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, fantasy football players will be scrounging early and often.  Waiver wire will be the godsend and disaster for many, many people.  Whereas in earlier seasons, the waiver wire was fundamentally for backups and gamblers.  EVERYONE will be scrounging.
  • Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck vs. The World.  Andrew Luck has high expectations on his shoulder in the Indianapolis Colts locker room.  He has almost the same quality weapons that now Denver BroncosPeyton Manning has, but will he live up to expectations?  He should get close and surpass Robert Griffin III.  Anything beyond that, I won’t risk.
  • Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning vs. New York Giants’ Eli Manning.  The Mannings have already done their commercial work.  I don’t think Peyton Manning won’t be driving his Buicks through any goal posts this season.  He should do a better-than-average job as quarterback for the Broncos.  He should be capped as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2.  Eli Manning should be capped as a high-end QB2.  Both will average each other out.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and Nick Foles: The Jeff Garcia Effect.  You know how history repeats itself.  The Eagles will repeat history again.  Vick will get injured, and Foles will indeed take the Eagles at or near the playoffs with his leadership and ability.  Once the Eagles get into the playoffs (or near it), Vick will miraculously return and take the reins.  However, the wheels will fall of the Eagles truck — once again.
  • New York Jets’ Tebow Wildcats and His Jesus-Voltron.  Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan created a combustible quarterback situation.  How long do you think Tim Tebow will take a backseat in the Wildcat formation?  Hmmm, not too long, I think.  Once Mark Sanchez fails even slightly, Sanchez will be pulled.  If Ryan doesn’t pull him, the angry New York fans will.  The clock is ticking…

This is a short taste of what’s to come during the NFL 2012-13 regular season of fantasy football in my honest and blunt opinion.

Pro Bowl 2012: Reeling the Regulations and Needed Changes

With the Pro Bowl 2012 over, the Pro Bowl in of itself needs several changes.  Although I realize that the NFL does not want any of the players hurt, it does not mean they should play glorified flag football for the fans.  The fans paid hard money in this depressing economy, and they deserve the players to actually show up for the game.  Unfortunately, the NFL players got most of the fans’ hard earned money for this charade of a game.

Here’s my list of approved changes to the Pro Bowl in 2013:

  • Make tackling relevant.  The NFL All-Stars on defense showed up for a reason — to tackle.  Illegal tackling, such as horse-collar tackles and spearing, should be avoided, but everything else should be legal.
  • Tight End Formation. Having a tight end on each down is good, but the tight ends should participate more as blockers and tacklers like they do during the regular season.
  • Needs More Twists.  Seriously, the linebackers need to allow to twist.
  • Needs More Gadget Plays.  As gimmicky as this sounds, the NFC and the AFC for the 2012 Pro Bowl did this well.  At least, the  coaches were allowed to reinvent the wheel and experiment.  Hopefully, this opens up more varied tactics during the upcoming regular season.
  • Running Backs Need to Rush More. As inclined as say the New England Patriots Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints Drew Brees might be to pass instead, running backs need to be on display again.  They barely showed up in the first half of the 2012 Pro Bowl.
  • Needs More Touchdown Celebrations.  The referees should withhold their excessive celebration flags and allow the players to use props and celebrate however way they like when they score a touchdown.
  • Cornerbacks and Safeties Should Play Hard on Coverage.  They should be permitted to close down the breathing room of wide receivers like they do during the regular season.
  • Overload Blitzes Should be Permitted. C’mon, dude.  The defense should allow overload blitzes more often to sack the quarterback.  With the quarterbacks this elite in the Pro Bowl, they should be permitted to manhandle the offensive line like they do during the regular season.

These are my suggestions for the next Pro Bowl.  With that, it might make the game more exciting to watch.  Although high offensive scoring might appease some of the crowd, it does not appeal to fans who actually watch football instead of being an armchair quarterback.

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NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Epilogue, or A Fan’s Retrospective

Dear NFL,

Now it’s been two weeks since the lockout has officially been over for the NFL, and everything is seemingly falling into place as the players and head coaches go forward onto their regularly scheduled business.  Even the fantasy football leagues are promoting themselves across the internet, as if nothing happened.  But something did happen…the past few months while the millionaire players union and the billionaire team owners argued…

These past few months have been long and taxing to say the least.  As much as the NFL team owners and players may have compromised in their collective bargaining agreement, it may have exhausted much of the patience of some of their fanbase, including myself.  We all  have seen how much greed governs much of professional sports with the lockouts recently, as in the case of the current NBA lockout.  What goes around comes around as this collective bargaining agreement is stalled in the courts.

Trades have come fast and furious in the past couple of weeks as quarterbacks, wide receivers, cornerbacks and running backs have been traded onto other teams.  Official training camps have started, and the new players are learning the new gameplans in the works.  But for some fans, football has been tainted somewhat.  No longer is there the enthusiastic jump onto the fantasy football leagues across the internet.  Rather there lies a deep skepticism as they are feeding into the big green monster, the NFL…

But it will come to pass as all things do, like with the MLB and the NHL.  Skepticism by the fans ultimately brought out a better game, and hopefully, with this upcoming season, things will have changed.

Perhaps it will.

Perhaps not.

Sincerely,

A Football Fan and Philadelphia Eagles Fan

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+136, or The Beginning of the Beginning At Last

Better late than never…

The collective bargaining agreement has finally been agreed upon on yesterday, lockout day+136 or thereabouts, on both sides.  Even the Tom Brady, et. al union decertification case was put to rest as the NFLPA decided to unionize once again.  It happened with little drama, although it was quite lengthy.  Now both sides can be back to making money and playing football.  The multi-billion dollar industry will begin in early August as free agency, trades and mini-camps will begin.

It was a public relations scene as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith made their announcement of their 1o-year agreement to the media.  The terms of the new collective bargaining agreement came with some wins and some losses on both sides.  The team owners get 53 percent while the NFL players get 47 percent of all annual revenues going forward.  The team owners now must commit to spending near their salary cap limits.  On the other side, the players get safer practice sessions during the off-season, and the players now get five days off their bye week.  This should lead to better competition between the teams going foward as the players will be able to recover their injuries no matter how slight.  Those prone to injury like Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick will see immediate benefit from this. The veteran players will also get their minimum salary increased.  Lastly, for the players, the rookie wage scale means that future rookies will have a significantly reduced salary going forward, no matter if their first or thirty-first.  The only factor that wasn’t decided entirely was the 18-game schedule.  It will be decided at a later date supposedly, but that remains to be seen once the mini-camps and the upcoming season begins.

This has been a long and testing time for the NFL fans, and more drama has already begun.  The Brett Favre drama has begun yet again, as it appears that he may have sights for the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, I believe it’s a nightmare wrapped within a pipe dream for most Eagles fans.  The draft boards can now begin to prepared for fantasy football fans, and if it’s anything like the previous season, fantasy football fans should be prepared for anything.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Unprecedented Two Lockouts in the NFL and the NBA

After five days worth of discussion between the NFL and the NFLPA concerning their collective bargaining agreement and their lockout, the progress has recently regressed.  With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NLFPA head DeMaurice Smith and U.S. Judge Magistrate Arthur Boylan and a few team owners including New York Giants John Mara, Kansas City Chiefs Clark Hunt, Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones and New England Patriots Robert Kraft, it appears that the divisive issue of the annual revenue, with the players taking 45 percent, has fallen as some team owners have resisted against that amount.  It comes as no surprise really as $9 billion is a lot of money to part with and divide among the NFL players and team owners.  Greed is what greed does.

In the NBA, their negotiations have apparently stalled as well.  NBA Commissioner David Stern said a lockout will go into effect after their present collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday at midnight. It would be their first lockout since 1998-99 season.  With their union head Billy Hunter, it appears that the NBA players union will not decertify, but at this junction, anything can happen.

After doing some research, two lockouts in professional sports at the same time are unprecedented with the NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements in limbo.  I believe this is sincerely disappointing to fans of professional football and basketball and sports in general.  With the U.S. economy still struggling, these lockouts could not have happened at a worst time.  Financially, either of these sports give the economy much-needed jolts with the selling of assorted merchandise, paraphernalia, tickets and foodstuffs.  In terms of morale, fans of these sports could enjoy cheering on their favorite teams and players, instead of dwelling on whether they’ll be able to pay their mortgage and utilities next week.  These are bitter times indeed…whether any sweetness will come out after the Fourth of July celebrations, it may be best to remain with tempered optimism as the issue of money isn’t so good right now for either professional sport.  Unfortunately, no amount of commotion of fans will speed up the process.

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back LeSean McCoy: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had a relatively subdued 2010 regular season, considering the splash he could have made.  Although McCoy hasn’t reached the potential of his predecessor in Brian Westbrook with his 1,333 rushing yards in 2007 and 9 total rushing touchdowns in 2008, he still had a productive season in 2010 with 1,080 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns.  Considering the quarterback Michael Vick accumulated 676 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns last season, LeSean McCoy could have potentially had a better season than Brian Westbrook with even the addition of half of Vick’s rushing yardage and touchdowns.  Potentially, McCoy could have had 1,418 total rushing yards and 11 to 12 touchdowns for the 2010 regular season.  That would’ve meant that LeSean McCoy could have been in third overall in terms of rushing yards during the regular season and would have had more yardage than Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner.  Additionally, he would have tied for fourth overall during the regular season with Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner and Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson.  He would have been with great company and possibly enjoy much better contracts in the future as a Philadelphia Eagle and elsewhere.  Back to reality…with his 1,080 rushing yards during the regular season, he was 14th overall in terms of rushing yardage below Cincinnati Bengals Cedric Benson, and in terms of total touchdowns, he was 13th tied with Bengals Cedric Benson nonetheless.  In reality, he was only about as good as an overrated Bengals running back on a dysfunctional team last season.  That kind of speaks for itself.

During the 2010 regular season, he did have a great performance every now and then when he wasn’t content running less than 50 yards per game.  In the Detroit Lions game in week 2, he had perhaps his best overall performance of the season with the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Detroit Lions 35-32.  In that game, he had 120 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns.  Surprisingly, in that fateful Washington Redskins game on November 15, he did not earn the lead rushing stat on that night.  Ironically, his backup Jerome Harrison accumulated 109 yards and a touchdown, and LeSean McCoy himself had 43 yards total rushing that night.  Like the former Giant Killer of the past in Brian Westbrook, he had a nice run against the  New York Giants with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown in the following game.  He had his most rushing yardage that season with the Dallas Cowboys with 149 yards later in the season.  However, against the tougher defenses of the Chicago Bears, the Tennessee Titans (early on) and Minnesota Vikings, he was virtually stuffed at the line, keeping below 50 yards total rushing during the entire game.  Although he has some bright spots during the 2010 season, he had more blemishes in his sophomore season as a Philadelphia Eagles running back.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

In reality, McCoy has become a comparable replacement for Brian Westbrook.  They both have about the same amount of yards per rushing attempt — 4.6 to 4.7.  Compared to Brian Westbrook’s sophomore season, however, LeSean McCoy had accumulated far more rushing yardage than his predecessor by 467 yards.  He also had the same number of touchdowns as his predecessor.  That is quite impressive, but McCoy could have done a whole lot more during the regular season.

McCoy has demonstrated he has the potential to become better than his predecessor and perhaps become one of the league’s elite running backs in the future.  However, he is ironically capped by his quarterback Michael Vick in terms of reaching his full potential.  If Michael Vick continues to play as rushing quarterback, LeSean McCoy could potentially be stunted in his development although it has been demonstrated statistically that he is well-capable of excelling in this league.  Talent, he is not short of; with Michael Vick at the helm, the number of carries may be.

2011 Fantasy Football Running Back Prospect

Continuing into 2011, LeSean McCoy at this point could be no higher than a low-end RB2.  He might gain you yardage but with his limitations put on him by his quarterback, he won’t be considered any higher.  He could potentially be worth trade bait as the season progresses, but for the most part, he should remain a reserve on the bench at the best.  He doesn’t lack the talent to become a RB1, like say Cedric Benson who will never excel beyond a RB2.  Unfortunately, with the way the team is structured, his talent –and his speed — are wasted generally.

NFL and the NLFPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+104, or the Beginning of the Beginning

With the NFL-NFLPA lockout appearing to coming to a close, after Tuesday’s discussion in Boston, Massachusetts between the NFL team owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the players trade association have finally negotiated a potential collective bargaining agreement.  This collective bargaining agreement has some stipulations like before.  Some of them are:

  • Players will get 48 percent of “all revenue” without the extra billion that was initially requested by the team owners.
  • The players’ share of the profits will never dip below 46.5 percent.
  • The NFL teams are required to spend a minimum of 90 to 93 percent of their respective salary caps.
  • New 16-game Thursday night television package beginning in 2012.
  • The owners will still get some expense credits for funding new stadiums.
  • NFL retirees will benefit from improved health care and pension benefits.
  • Lastly, the rookie wage scale is still pending.

Of course, no negotiation, particularly in the NFL, could be complete without resistance of some kind, and in this case, from a few owners.  These owners appear to be from the AFC teams, and they apparently are unsatisfied with the original issues not covered from 2006.

But what does this mean for the NFL, the players and their fanbase?  To start off, the NFL gets a deeper cut of the profits from the players, but the expected revenue is expected to increase to $18 billion by 2016.  So both sides will get about $9 billion with this new contract potentially.  That’s a lot of cash, more than most of us will ever see in a lifetime, and NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith was complaining about the 53 percent earlier.  For the team owners, now they are expected to spend 90 to 93 percent of their salary cap.  This could potentially mean more employment of players, but it could be at the expense of profits for the owners, particularly if there is a collapse in the locker room like last season.  Remember the Titans…and in the worst case scenario, the implosion of the Washington Redskins last season.  On the other hand, the NFL players receive more of the revenue, and the NFL retirees now have some degree of optimism that their injuries during the season will at least be assuaged.  An increased pension should help most retirees but not the spendthrifts.  Lastly, for the fans, with a collective bargaining agreement perhaps coming to a close, it could mean a full season within a month or so.  With the new Thursday television package being implemented in the future, it could mean more packed games within the season.  It could also mean more of the NFL Network, which could be an added value for those who have it.  Intriguingly, it could mean that the NFL players will play with lesser rest between games.  This could mean more significant injuries than ever before which the players originally and ironically wanted to stop.

In NFL news around Philadelphia, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced with his former teammates in an informal workout.  Interestingly, McNabb hasn’t practiced with the Washington Redskins squad, but perhaps he has been shunned by the Redskins.  Then again, he is expected to be traded or released once this lockout has ended.  Where will he end up?  Anywhere Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is not.  The Arizona Cardinals seem like one of the more logical teams with him practicing there during previous off-seasons without this business melodrama.  However, even I am skeptical whether the Cardinals want Donovan McNabb to leave his legacy there with a younger and more easily groomed Kevin Kolb on the table.

We have heard some potentially good news already, but it should be tempered as the process will still be lengthy.  The National Labor Relations Board has yet to make their crucial decision that will cause a cascade of legal decisions down the road.

In the meantime, are you ready for even more NFL Network?

No?

Me either.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+90, or the Secret Meeting II and Epic Silence

Another week gone, another week full of nothingness.  This is really sounding repetitive…and honestly, quite depressing.  The media and myself could be writing about the mini-camps, the draftees of the respective NFL teams and other things, but the NFL and the dissolved NFLPA are still at an impasse.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is still hopeful of a season, and NBC is hopeful for a Super Bowl to be held in Indianapolis.  At least, if there is indeed a Super Bowl, even with a shortened eight-game season, we won’t watch the Black Eyed Peas and their horrific techno-rave performance again.

According to an unknown source, who for sake of excitement and rhetoric we’ll call Deep Throat, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and assorted team owners and players were in a secret meeting last Tuesday  in a New York City hotel.  Again, nothing of any significance has happened between the collective bargaining agreement between the two gorups.  Perhaps they were talking about the release of former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress from prison.  Perhaps not.  The $9 billion industry of American football has been held in a stalemate for too long.  I am frustrated, like other fans of the game.  With great optimism, fantasy football promotions are hitting the web, but it’s far too early to count the chickens before they hatch.  Both sides are still awaiting the decision of the  National Labor Relations Board since it will directly impact all court decisions and labor negotations going forward.

The Shortened 8 Game NFL Regular Season: The Victors and the Spoils

With the NFL preparing for the shortening of the  regular season, reducing the season from a 16 or 18 game schedule down to 8 games, well, at least there is a very little sliver of hope of something coming to fruition at all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell however still intends on playing a full season.  On the other hand, the owners of the teams are less than optimistic and more than silent regarding the subject.  The Super Bowl is still scheduled at Lucas Oil Field Stadium in Indianapolis on February 5, 2012 with contingencies for a reschedule on February 12, 2012, if need be. In light of this, a shortened season will benefit some and not benefit others.

The Victors

  • NFL Players.  Before you say that, they would be victims in a shortened season.  Although financially they wouldn’t receive as much money overall for fulfilling their seasonal contracts, they would risk less physical injury in a shortened season.  This would immediately benefit most quarterbacks and running backs, particularly those prone to injury, into the regular season realistically. Detroit Lions Javhid Best and Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick would be two that would benefit from a shortened season as both are prone to injury.
  • NFL Fans.  Although this would seem like a downfall for the fans, at this point, something is better than nothing in my opinion.  While a full schedule consisting of either 16 or 18 games would be great, an 8 game regular season schedule will do.  However, there is something amiss which I will discuss in the spoils.
  • Television Networks. Whether it’s the NFL Network, ESPN, Fox or any of the other television networks carrying the sport, any amount of playing time in football is better than nothing.  Without football, they bear a drastic loss in revenue from the television advertisers.  Additionally, it would mess up the fall television schedule for the standard television networks, and it could potentially spell disaster in ratings.  With less ratings come less advertising sponsorship, and with the way this economy is free-falling, anything is better than nothing.
  • Television Advertisers and Their Products.  Whether it’s beer, chips or aftershave, these advertisers would take a hit.  Although an eight-game season would help make up some of their losses, at this point, they should be grateful for any season whatsoever.  However, they should be able to recoup their losses in the Super Bowl.
  • Concession Owners and the Like. Those who work seasonal jobs in the stadiums and those who own concessions in the stand with their overpriced foodstuffs, they will have jobs in this economic recession.  Any employment is better than none with the 9% unemployment rate.
  • The Playoffs. It could potentially be a multiple-team horse race, even more than last season.  Even “bad” teams could potentially win the Super Bowl.
  • Standard  and Roto-Style Fantasy Football Players. Although these fantasy football players will be playing for a shorter season, if they play their cards right in their draft, they can still have a sufficient season for bragging rights. Those who play roto-style fantasy football will have more excitement in this shortened season, but the betting will be intense as their star player could be injured at any moment and cost them the season.

The Spoils

  • NFL Team Owners. This would be a lost season for profits in their billion dollar industry.  With less time, they would have deal with some frustrated NFL fans who would otherwise purchase memorabilia, jerseys and such if there was a full season.
  •  NFL Fans. Although some fans will still attend, there remains a question on the price of season tickets.  Will they be reduced pro rata since it is an eight-game season?  Or will they attempt to recoup their losses by still keeping it full price or at least close to it?
  • NFL Players. Some rookies and second and third year players will have their growth potentially stunted.  Also, they could remain bench material for an eight-game season despite their talent.
  • Super Bowl. As this relates to the team owners and the NFL in general, the Super Bowl itself could potentially be less of a spectacle (no more Black Eyed Peas!) than last year as the influx of money would be reduced.  With less money comes less draw potentially, and the Super Bowl halftime show could crash and burn even more than last season.
  • Standard and Dynasty Fantasy Football Players. With a shortened season, if someone had a bad draft in standard fantasy football, there would be insufficient time to pick the waiver wire and remain competitive.  Additionally, an early season injury or injuries could potentially ruin the season in one fell swoop. Additionally, dynasty fantasy football players would be hit as their players would have insufficient time to develop.

Although there hasn’t been any progress to date, at least, both sides are talking about the collective bargaining agreement and attempting to flesh things out.  However, blind optimism won’t work in this valley of legalities and courtrooms.  Realistically, we still have ways to go.