Saturday, March 25, 2006

FOREVER... FOREVER... FOREVER



The infamous words of Michael "Squints" Palledorous, in one of my 10 favorite movies ever, "The Sandlot." Maybe it's not the best movie, but it was my favorite growing up, because it was about baseball. A game I played from age 7 to 15, and I'm not ashamed to admit was quite good at. 3 allstar teams, and one year batter .416. Yes, I was 13, but it's still quite the accomplishment. I'm a natural righty, but for some reason, batted lefty. I always had a good arm, but never was accurate enough to pitch. So I was the shortstop. Pretty glamorous for a white kid with a belly on him. I never won a championship, I did get to the chamionship game one year, and we had a 3 run lead going into the last inning. However, things didn't work out. I realize it's Wikkid's territory to reflect on good times from yesteryear, but the great the about baseball is everyone grew up playing it, and everyone can relate to how much fun it was. I'm sure somehow that segues into fantasy baseball rankings.



C:

1. Victor Martinez Cleveland
2. Joe Mauer Minnesota
3. Jason Varitek Boston
Faded down the stretch (suprise suprise) and that may happen even earlier this year with him taking place in the WBC. Still hit 22 HR's though.
4. Ramon Martinez Baltimore
New ballpark will suit him nicely. Yahoo still has Javy listed as the starter, but it's Hernandez's job.
5. Michael Barrett Chicago (NL)
6. Jorge Posada New York (AL)
7. Rod Barajas Texas
One year wonder? Could be, but 21 HR's from a catcher is worth the risk.
8. Kenji Johjima Seattle
Won't put up the 24 HR's he did in Japan because of better pitching andhaving to devote most of his time to getting to know the staff, but I can see 15/45 from him.
9. Bengie Molina Toronto
Had a very good season, then wasn't picked up in free agency 'till a week before pitchers and catchers report. Whatsupwiddat?
10. Brian McCann Atlanta
The Braves will need someone to breakout on offense if they want to reach the playoffs again. McCann is a good hitting catcher, and while he won't tap into his full potential this year, he could still put up good numbers.

The Past:

Pudge Rodriguez Detroit
Was he on the 'roids, or are his numbers just slipping because of his age?

Javy Lopez Baltimore
Still has catcher eligibility on Yahoo. Will likely be forced into being strictly a DH if he can't improve defensively at 1B.

The Future:

Josh Willingham Florida
If he gets C eligibility as well as OF,1B or 3B, he could be extremely valuable. Supposedly is a very good hitter.

Jeff Mathis Anaheim
Power hitter who has a good chance to start the year.

Sleeper: John Buck Kansas City
I had him here last year too.


1B

1. Albert Pujols St. Louis
2. Mark Teixeira Texas
3. David Ortiz Boston
4. Travis Hafner Cleveland
Tough to call the guy with the AL's highest OPS underrated, but he is. If anything, he'll improve this year.
5. Derek Lee Chicago (NL)
He'll still have a very good season, but not as good as last year. Probably 30/110 with 15 SB's.
6. Todd Helton Colorado
Was red hot at the end of last season. Hopefully will continue.
7. Ryan Howard Philadelphia
Has had an amazing spring. Phillies made a great move getting rid of Thome.
8. Lance Berkman Houston
9. Paul Konerko Chicago (AL)
10. Adam Dunn Cincinnati

The Past:

Carlos Delgado New York (NL)
Just because the Mets will always stink.

Nomar Garciaparra Los Angeles
Oh yeah, THIS will work.

The Future:

Mike Jacobs Florida
Wherever the Marlins move to, will have a world championship in 5 years.- Nufced.

Prince Fielder Milwaukee
Got rid of Overbay because he's ready to play full time. May not be ready this year, but will eventually be a .300AVG/30HR guy.

Sleeper: Adam Laroche Atlanta
It's all about the eyebrows, baby



2B:

1. Chase Utley Philadelphia
The hottest young commodity in fantasy baseball today!
2. Jeff Kent Los Angeles
3. Rickie Weeks Milwaukee
Is ready this season to produce. Will hit for average, power, and steal bases.
4. Tadiahito Iguchi Chicago
Should only improve after a year of getting used to America and its pitching.
5. Marcus Giles Atlanta
6. Jorge Cantu Tampa Bay (AL)
Don't know where the hell his power came from, but I sure enjoyed it, having him on a couple of my teams. I really have noclue what he'll do this year, so this seemed like a fair place to put him.
7. Brian Roberts Baltimore
8. Ryan Freel Cincinnati
9. Orlando Hudson Arizona
10. Placido Polanco Detroit

The Past:

Kaz Matsui New York (NL)
He didn't even have a present!

Luis Castillo Minnesota
Only stole 10 bases last year. Unless her runs more, he's worthless fantasy-wise.

The Future:

Ian Kinsler Texas
Has good numbers in the minors, and is going to be playing in a hitter's park. Works for me.

Craig Biggio Houston
He can play FOREVER!

Sleeper: Polanco
I REALLY liked him on the Phillies, but Utley was ready to start. Should've replaced David Bell, but he's a good fit in Detroit. Had to mention him twice.


3B:

1. Alex Rodriguez New York (AL)
2. David Wright New York (NL)
3. Miguel Cabrera Florida
I've been hearing a lot of talk that he is turning into a headcase. Won't affect his fantasy value much. Juat expect "Muguel being Miguel" to be on a t-shirt soon.
4. Scott Rolen St. Louis
5. Aramis Ramirez Chicago (NL)
Has put up good numbers the last 2 years despite getting hurt in both. If he stays helthy all season, he'll get 40 HR's.
6. Chone Figgins Anaheim
Seriously, how does C-h-o-n-e sound like "Shawn." Yeah, my name's Creek, but it's spelled Cr337x_J.
7. Chad Tracy Arizona
I really like this guy, but I've only seen him play a handful of times. His numbers are very promising. Boosted his HR's , RBI's, and average exponentially last season.
8. Morgan Ensberg Houston
If he holds true to form, he will have a terrible year this year. After his original breakout season, he followed with a 10 HR effort. He's baseball's version of Kordell Stewart.
9. Chipper Jones Atlanta
10. Adrian Beltre Seattle
Has vowed to get back to his 2004 form when he had 48 dingers, and carried the Dodger's offense. However, O.J also vowed to find the REAL killer. So, whatever

The Past:

Hank Blalock Texas
Yes, already. The year he took Eric Gagne deep in the all star game he was on his way to being a premiere 3rd baseman. Somewhere along the line though, he picked up the nasty habit of sucking during the 2nd half of the season.

David Bell Philadelphia
My 3 year crusade to get rid of David Bell will not cease. He's not even that good defensively ot make up for how much he sucks at everything else.

The Future:

Abraham Nunez Philadelphia
Good hitter, decent defense, has speed, and needs a shot to play everyday. And yes, David Bell is terrible.

Mark Teahan Kansas City
Had a tough time up until September. Showed that he got the hang of big league pitching, and is ready to produce.

Sleeper: Vinny Castilla San Diego
Really impressed me in the WBC. Might consider taking him in a deep league.


SS:

1. Miguel Tejada Orioles
Not happy in Baltimore, but I doubt that affects his numbers.
2. Michael Young Texas
3. Jose Reyes New York (NL)
Same reason Figgins is a good pick a 3B. Hitting is getting better, and adding Delgado will get him more runs.
4. Jimmy Rollins Philadelphia
Pretty soon, we'll be hearing stories about Jimmy Rollins at Dinky Donuts.
5. Derek Jeter New York (AL)
6. Felipe Lopez Cincinnati
Put up basically the same numbers as Peralta, except with 15 SB's to Jhonny's 0. Strikes out a lot (like the rest of the Reds) and he's only had one good year, but it's worth the gamble.
7. Jhonny Peralta Cleveland
8. Rafael Furcal Los Angeles
How many times has a star left the Braves only to become terrible? Ask Johnny Estrada and J.D. Drew how they're doing.
9. Edgar Renteria Atlanta
How many times have the Braves taken a washed up player and rejuvinated them? Ask Mike Hampton and Andres Galaraga. They'll tell you.
10. Khalil Greene San Diego

The Past:

Jack Wilson Pittsburgh
it's seems likely his '04 campaign was a.... you know, one of those things you see in the desert where you think you see something, but it isn't there. What the hell are those called?

Alex Gonzalez Boston
Not to be confused with Alex S. Gonzalez who is also over the hill.

The Future:

Hanley Ramirez Florida
Duh.

J.J Hardy Milwaukee
Was supposed to have his breakout season last year. After a rough start, hit .300 after the AS break.

Sleeper: Bobby Crosby Oakland
Hurt last year. If he stays healthy, he'll be a very valuable pick.


Will put up OF's and pitching next week sometime, because THAT'S... How I roll!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

THE PASTIME by wikkidpissah


Ain’t drafting a treat? I mean, to the real fantasy fan, fingering the “select” button with all one’s work, hopes & fears at play is probably a more pleasurable experience than claiming championships. Why? A new chance to be right will always beat having been so. It’s part of the human program that’s existed longer than walking on two legs. Eating’s necessary, but hunting’s fun. Nufced.

Maybe it’s cuz the Pastime has been in my heart longest of any sport, perhaps it’s because there are a lot more out-of-nowhere stories than the other sports, could be cuz it’s spring, but baseball is my favorite draft. Let’s see what I’ve come up with that might be of use to you. I’m breaking each position into its studs, duds, sleepers & snoozers. You’re likely familiar with the first three classes – snoozers are players with absolutely no glamour value, high ceilings or general Hubie Brown appeal, but who will ably man a position to your satisfaction without the muss & fuss. Let’s have a look:

1B:

STUDS – Al Pujols is probably the least famous superstar in any major sport. The man is soooo sickly competent that he’s off to the best start in baseball history (AVERAGING .330-40-125 his 1st 5 yrs) that nobody ever noticed. It’s just plain wrong that more people know Giambi that Albert…Ryan Howard will be a consensus 1-2 round draft pick in '07 and he’s going 5-10 now. Grab him – he’s Big Papi without the learning curve.
DUDS - I had a team last year in Fanball’s B2P league with Hafner (1B eligible), Sexson & Paul Konerko. The man had 40 homers & never made it into my lineup 'cept when the ChiSox played on Thursdays. And I never felt bad about it. This year, he'll go in as the object of pitching coaches attention & will suffer for it. And, if Jim Thome's back don't hold up, PK drops even more....Barry Bonds isn't the Bay Area steroid user I hate most. This previously-mentioned now-Yankee will be a Lambino in '06.
SLEEPERS - All the knowsters are picking Casey Kotchman (Pocoima Angels) as their sleeper this year, but I got a question: when nobody's picking Sean Casey or Lyle Overbay in the 1st 20 rds this season, why would anyone be excited about someone who aspires to be Sean Casey or Lyle Overbay?!....Conor Jackson (Az) is also mentioned as a more-contact-than-power guy, but he'll be a 25-30 homer guy almost out of the box. If he could only get ahead of Tony Clark at the position. Dan Johnson will have a better '06 than Prince Fielder
SNOOZERS: 1B is the most important position to have a good snoozer. As I mentioned in Monday's draft-theory column, the 25th 1B selected usually puts up better #s than the 3-4th 2B-C-SS. While they're being picked higher than I like for snoozers, Chad Tracy & Aubrey Huff's 1B-3B-OF eligibilities make them big value pix - don't let them get too far into the double-figure rds...Mike Sweeney is easily the best stick going in the 20+ rds. As usual, grab him & pray - he WILL be traded this year & could be huge if he is...Jay Gibbon will have the most invisible good season in baseball this year.

2B:

STUDS: Chase Utley will dominate his position like no one else in '06. Thanks to Creekie for putting me on him early last season...Rickie Weeks will be what Utley was in '05.
DUDS: Soriano's too easy, so I'll go for my best sleeper of '05, Jorge Cantu, to fall back to earth. Marcus Giles is also looking like he'll never deliver on his '04 promise. You may think that having Yankees as duds in the first two positions I analyze is the Bostonian in me breaking thru, but Robinson Cano is a bum who wouldn't merit discussion if he wasn't in that lineup.
SLEEPERS: Hopefully, Bagwell & Biggio will realize their Brokeback Baseball feelings for each other and run away to Montana together and give the others a chance. If they do, Chris Burke (Hou) could be your best WW pickup of the season...I put Burke in front of Jose Castillo (Pgh) cuz I had a joke there, but he's been knocking at the door and is my Cantu for '06.
SNOOZERS: Great position for snoozers this year. People think of right-handed sluggers when they get excited about players coming to Fenway, but I think contact hitters thrive even more. Mark Loretta will win the batting title this year. Not bad for a 15+ rounder. Mark Ellis (Oak)not only is multi-positional and a good source of cheap speed but was really tattooing the ball after he came back from injury late in '05...Luis Castillo (Min) is an interesting case. A top 2-3 selection among 2nd sackers last yr, his decrease in steals from 40-50 to 10 last season has him going undrafted this year. A change of scene could work wonders and would be a great choice if you're in the last round and realize you have nooo speed. Is there a steadier baseball player than Placido Polanco (Det)?

3B:

STUDS: I don't care if he's got the Swarthmore girls' softball team batting around him, Miggy Cabrera is the second best hitter in baseball (he moves ahead of ARod this year) and, if you pass on him at any point after the Big Four, you're an idiot. Nufced...David Wright is Scott Rolen with speed, Scott Rolen is David Wright on speed. Rolen is my pick for bargain (7-9th rd) of the year.
DUDS: This is a bad year for Duds, Sleepers & Snoozers at this position. Almost every middle-of-the-line 3b (and there's about a dozen) could sizzle or fizzle this year & I can't choose. Plus, Rolen's such a value this year I just can't imagine picking any of them over him. Since it would be chickenshit not to pick one, Morgan Ensberg's '04 was soooo bad that his excellent '05 doesn't yet have me convinced.
SLEEPERS: Edwin Encarnacion has nice power but a huuuge hole in his swing & is the Reds' Wily Mo for this season & Ryan Zimmerman is being rushed way too quickly and is the most overrated rookie so far. That's about it on prospects, so my sleeper will be the immensely frustrating Dallas McPherson who we and the Angels of West Covina may have given up on too quickly.
SNOOZERS: Odd to put a second year player who reminds me of George Brett (the best unjuiced hitter of the last quarter century) up as a Snoozer pick, but Garrett Atkins (Col) will make a great safety pick at the position. Could even challenge for the NL batting title.

SS:

STUDS: I am Fantasy Baseball's biggest fan of Miguel Tejada, as anyone who read one of my many "Miggy's jiggy & I'm not wiggy, ask Ziggy" post on Fanball last season. He was my first round pick in every draft he was available (even @ #1) last year. At the All-Star break, I was floating on the waterwings of my special genius. Then, the pool broke (damn above-grounders!). Dunno what happened to the O's in the 2nd half, but there was such intense malaise that you'd swear they were being managed by vintage 1979 Jimmy Carter. Do you realize that Michael Young produced 205 runs last year. Just checkin'...Jhonny Peralta scares me a little, but the speed with which the Indians moved him to 3rd in the batting order once he started hitting & how he thrived once they did was the best surprise of last season.
DUDS: Felipe Lopez comes back to earth bigtime this season - wouldnt take him in the 20th. Got a feeling Clint Barmes will do the same...Are Bobby Crosby & Khalil Greene the same person? They have the same skill set, faith of their teams and, at best, only one of them ever seems to be playing (due to injury) at any one time. If anyone has actually seen them together in one place, let me know.
SLEEPERS: JJHardy (Mil) - just a feeling. Dont like Adams, Hill, RCedeno, IKinsler or any other rookie middle infielders AT ALL! Maybe Seattle's JLo, but I just found out Yahoo has him eligible only at 2b for some reason. He came up with phenom written all over him & may be worth giving a 2nd chance - especially if he picks that SS eligibility back up.
SNOOZERS: Carlos Guillen. Suck it, Creekie!!

C:

STUDS: CANNOT recommend to anyone another 1st half from VMart like last year, so Joe Mauer is my only unqualified stud at the position. Only player I'm over-drafting this year...IRod ain't giving up yet, so give up on him at your own risk. Second-best value pick of the season.
DUDS: National League catchers. All of 'em.
SLEEPERS: Everybody's picking Josh Willingham but, having been one of the first to give him out off watching him play here in Albuquerque, I gotta halfway back off him. I think he'll be fine eventually, but he's got a big, wild swing. My enthusiasm about him was because I thought he'd win a job in the Marlins' putrid outfield & have the Inge factor going for him there. Apparently, though, he's won the catching job. Dunno if he can both manage learning the position at the major league level & maintain control of that swing. Buyer beware!
SNOOZER: Answer me this - why is everyone so excited about Cano cuz he's in the awesome Spankee lineup, but downgrading Jorge Posada when he's been a vital part of it for years. I know he's older than Regis but, come on.

OF:
STUDS: First off, since he's also OF eligible, go back and read my comment on Miggy Cabrera again, you stupid fuck...Carl Crawford is still only 24 years old. I predicted that he would be the biggest star in baseball last year. I am not predicting that for '06, but still like him to improve...Bobby Abreu is my favorite hitter. Not since Wade Boggs has there been a player who enjoyed hitting with two strikes as much as he. Seems like he WANTS to get to the edge before taking it seriously. Of course, he's getting to the age that, if his swing slows AT ALL, that tendency could put him in big trouble...Speaking of the insane, ManRam has been knocking in virtually a run a game for a decade. Nobody else has done that better in the 50 years I've been on this planet. He & Papi have now passed Mantle & Maris and Mays & McCovey as the most exciting 1-2 punch since Ruth & Gehrig...Lance Berkman is a pure stick who got waylayed a little by injury last season. There are a lot worse batters being drafted waaay ahead of him. Smarten up...Hideki started '05 like he was about to join the stratosphere but leveled off. I'm giving him one more chance...Ichiro comes back - except the steals...I'm still not sure about Grady Sizemore, but I'll be damned if I'll have the next 30-30 man happen without having mentioned him.
DUDS: No real duds in the outfield this year, but a couple worth mentioning. JayBay is being drafted in the 1st round by some this year. That's a mistake...I was going to announce that this is the year that Sheff goes bad, but he's sinking like a stone in avg draft position, so i guess you already know that. Never liked Andruw, never will.
SLEEPERS: I am flat freaking amazed that Jeff Francoeur is lasting to round 10 in many drafts. My boy Frenchy is Vlad Guerrero in the Montreal years, kids, simple as that...he's not really a sleeper because he was drafted pretty high last but, though Vernon Wells was overrated last year, he's underrated for '06 & the reason for both is the same. BEWARE when a hitter (who's not Miggy Cabrera) becomes the lone good hitter in a lineup. Pitchers can and do save their best stuff for that target player in those situations. When they don't have to worry about exhausting themselves for the rest of the order, they can pitch to one player at closer velocity without consequence. Mike Sweeney has been suffering this for years in the KC lineup & this was Wells' situation last year - easy to pitch to when Hillenbrand & Rios are hitting around him. Conversely, when a hitter returns to having some support he should be upgraded. Vern is a 3rd rd hitter who you can get in the 7th. Yum!...I didn't like the way Jeremy Hermida looked when he came up last year, but a look as his minor-league numbers convince me he was pressing and will do very nicely this season. His OBP & speed should take some of the pressure off my Miggy (maybe I'm just gay for the name Miggy) in the Marlin lineup.
SNOOZERS: Every year, Luis Gonzales (Az) puts up roughly the same excellent stats & each year he sinks further in draft position. Cracks me up! Gonzo is the very definition of the Snoozer. Same with Jim Edmonds...Maggs is being verrry overlooked this year...Brady Clark is virtually the same player as Coco Crisp. Why are they being drafted well over a hundred spots apart?

SP:
STUDS: Johan, of course. But remember - I don't believe in taking a starter in the 1st three rounds. So, forget Johan...Chris Carpenter was on every freakin team I had last year. I had a VERY good year last year...Jake Peavy & Roy Halladay are players you should salivate over should they last to the afore-referred fourth round...Rich Harden's shit is as filthy as Johan's - remember I said that...Jason Schmidt is nowhere near done...Josh Beckett reminds me of the Curt Schilling of the '90's - a huge talent who loooves the spotlight but hasn't the focus to find the stratosphere. Who better to mentor him then than Curt Schilling?
DUDS: Pedro has BMS - Baseball Munchhausen Syndrome. He LIKES having an injury situation goin on from which to frustrate the living bejeesus out of his owners for weeks on end & then rescue your opinion of him with 2-3 starts where he pitches as only Pedro can, then rinse & repeat. The toe gives him the perfect excuse for one of those years...I don't really have anything against Roy Oswalt. I just got a feeling that everybody on the Astros but Berkman is gonna suck this year...Dontrelle Willis is the Marlin who suffers most from the roster dump. He doesn't have the makeup to survive the pressure of having to shut out the opposition game after game....All fat pitchers...By the way, Carlos Zambrano is the Andruw of pitchers.
SLEEPERS: Ervin Santana is my SLEEPER OF THE YEAR. He has the same filthy stuff, filthy attitude & filthy sneer as the young Pedro. That pays off in spades for him in '06.....I really should have put John Patterson in the Studs section off his promising '05, but it's only in the last couple of days that word of his new changeup has me convinced this kid could be the Chris Carpenter for this season...the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff - add the best pitching coach in baseball history to some of the sickest ballthrowers in the game & summin's GOTTA happen.
SNOOZERS: Don't like snoozers as starting pitchers. They're all perfectly competent at everything but striking people out. You know who they are. If strikeouts are fascist, then I'm Benito Mussolini. Nufced.

RP:
STUDS: Mo fo sho, mofo....Closers are, by nature, studs so it's harder to refine this category....Huston Street enters the Pantheon this year...BJRyan dont miss a beat...Nate, Waggs, several Corderos all deliver the goods. Forget the talk of lost velocity - Bobby Jenks is a bring-the-women-inside monster.
DUDS: Brad Lidge has the very best stuff in baseball. I say his '05 post-season failures mess up his head...this is the year KRod's arm blows up & we lose him for a year-and-a-half...Brian Fuentes returns to pre-'05 levels of obscurity very quickly.
SLEEPERS: Haven't seen him pitch, but I hear Chris Ray has all the ingredients...the most ungodly pitches i saw from a young pitcher last season were thrown by new Royals' closer Ambiorix Burgos. He don't know where they're going, though...Bobby Cox should be smart enough to put Joey Devine into the closer role sooner rather than later. Grab him off the WW the very second you hear he might be thinking of doing that. You're welcome.
SNOOZERS: Again, snoozers don't close. So my snoozers will be every setup man whose due for a shot.

There you go. One last piece of advise - do all your studying up as you should before any draft, but then dont read anything the last coupla days before. Gotta let the head process information into knowledge. Only then can one turn knowledge into wisdom. Play hard -

Sunday, March 19, 2006

THE PASTIME by wikkidpissah



DO YOU FEEL A DRAFT?

Aaaah, baseball. The most elusive of all sports in its enjoyment. Nothing more exciting in person or more boring on television. Less happens per minute at a baseball game than in any other sport, yet no sport is more longly or vividly remembered. Not gonna get all Ken Burns on you, but baseball is in my blood. And, strangely enough, the DNA of my passion comes from my mother. Dad is a farmboy who grew up to be a scientist – frivolity is only for conversation & to him few things are more nonsensical than ball sports. Mom, however, is a nut. She worked for Western Union in her single years and, for part of that time, sent out the WU wire reports for Boston Braves’ games. It was love at first sight. Virtually nothing has a greater capacity to send her into transports of delight than the sights, sounds, smells of the game. She dated ballplayers (Alvin Dark, Eddie Stanky) and, to this day, the dreamboat of her imagination is always a baller. The memory place to which I go, when I want to feel that nostalgic peace we occasionally need, is Mom ironing in front of a ballgame on TV. She let me take the subway to Fenway by myself years before she would relinquish autonomy to me in any other fashion. My Easter gift (I haven’t been a Catholic for almost 40 years, but we still give Easter gifts) to her every year is cable subscription to the Red Sox games which regular service doesn’t offer.

My love for the game deepened into a lifelong passion when I first discovered the weekly stats in the Sunday Globe. I had no patience (much to Dad’s chagrin) for mathematics or science as school subjects, but I could make numbers sing when it came to the esoterica of quantifying performance on the ball field with four columns of numbers in the paper. I have had my own sabermetric formulas as long as Bill James and still insist two or three of them to be better than anything he has published. Strangely enough, since I got a computer a couple of years ago, opening arenas for active use of such passive knowledge, I have lost the desire to compile this analog arcania. Perhaps fellow LOCKEROOM statnut Mr. Ellipsis can turn me onto programs where I can feed the box scores into my old equations.

At any rate, this space seeks & serves to invite, incite & excite you with my enthusiasms, as they pertain to Fantasy Baseball. A good start would probably be draft theory. My best stat (and, therefore, the one I most regret no longer compiling) is Positional Value Index. I would use five different statistical categories to create a single number that graded a batter’s performance. Then, I would average the top 25 performers at each postion and adjust each players Value Index for the median at their position compared to the median of all batters. Using 100 as a median for all positions, here is the average for each position the last year (2003) I worked the formula (each number traditionally fluctuated 2 pts in either direction each year):

C – 89
1B – 128
2B – 92
3B – 110
SS – 98 (usually the same as 2B, but ’03 was a BIG SS yr)
LF – 131
CF – 111
RF – 118
DH – 102

To explain it as simply as one can, 89 RBIs from a catcher is as valuable as 131 is from a left fielder. Another way to look at it would be that the 25th best 1st baseman gets more than the median (100) score, while only the top four 2nd basemen do. It can be far more complicated than that, but its not a bad yardstick. And a good yardstick is worth its weight in gold.

Just as running backs dominate the early picks in fantasy football, hitters should be at least 70 of the first 100 players chosen. The reason is the same and simple – the performance of hitters is at least twice as consistent and predictable as pitchers. By the same token, 20 or so of the 1st 30 pitchers chosen should be closers – easily the most consistent category of performers in the game. Matter of fact, if there was greater distance between 1st and 20th among top relievers, they would be far & away the most valuable players in FBB. No category can be dominated with so few & low choices as saves.

Next in importance during a draft is the value of speculation. Once you’ve locked up 8-10 solid players, it’s gamble time. Those whose goal is to have steady players at the end of their bench are destined to lose. Of the 250 or so players on rosters of the average FBB league, the bottom 50-70 are virtually interchangeable. At draft time, ALWAYS select a prospect over a journeyman – those types will be available on the WW each year. It’s the teams who yield a coupla of stars from 15th round or lower picks that win titles.

Lastly, embrace the idea of going the opposite direction from positional runs. If 8-9 catchers are selected in a round & you don’t have one yet, concede the position. For every player picked in a run, there is a better player in another position that has fallen to you. Carlos Guillen or Armando Benitez will ALWAYS help you more than Michael Barrett.

And there lies the key to the game. The key to success in fantasy baseball is as simple and exactly the same as in reality baseball and was solved for good & all by 19th Century baseballer Wee Willie Keeler: “Hit ‘em where they ain’t”. Play hard -

Back Friday with some studs & duds to consider for your draft.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NCAA Tourney Picks

For my intro, I wanted to comment that this week the record was shattered for most columns starting "It's that time of year again." Yeah, it is that time of year again, time for grown men to gamble their family's future away on their "sure bet" 12 beating a 5. It's time for young men to crumble under the pressure of a national audience, and make them hate the game they've been playing since childhood. Oh yes, it's like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Bob Hope's birthday all rolled into one! Anyway, onto the picks:



Atlanta Region:

Duke over Southern easy.


G-Dub isn't really that good (or at least didn't look it against St. Joes). I'm guessing Pops won't play, or play very little, but it isn't a huge loss for them. With or without Pops, I like N.C. Wilimington.

'Cuse continues their winning ways in a tough matchup against the Aggies. Syracuse could be in for a run ala Michigan St. last year. Seeded the same as they were too.

I like LSU for their frontcourt, and I don't know much about Iona. Haven't seen this as an upset special by too many experts.

Southern Illinois is very good defensively, and I wouldn't be at all suprised if they won. Howver, I like WVU's experience from last year, and they're a good shooting team. Plus someone has to get Pittsnoggled in the tourney, or I quit.

I've been a big Iowa fan this year. They have a sketchy past in the tourney though, something to be weary of.

Cal's overrated, and NC State finished the season horribly. You're telling me we couldn't let St. Joes in over one of these two? Whatever, I'll go with Cal.

Texas over them crackers at Penn.


2nd Round:

Duke keeps on rollin'. I can't envision a scenario where they won't make it to the final four. Unless....


"Without Gerry McNamara we wouldn't have won 10 fucking games this year!" Not going to pick against 'Cuse just yet....


Iowa vs WVU should be a very exciting game, but like I said, I'm high on Iowa this year. (and drugs.... lotsa drugs)


Texas shouldn't have any problem with either Cal or NC State.


3rd round:

Unless of course Duke were to go against Syracuse. Hear me out, Duke was dropped by #5 seed Michigan St. last year, and I have already deemed 'Cuse this years Michigan St., so why not? The Orange advance to the elite 8.


A game I'm looking forward to is a possible Iowa/Texas matchup. As much as I like Iowa, Texas has all the tools to get to the final four. I don't even like Texas, but they got a good draw.

Who Advances:

Texas

I don't know why I think 'Cuse is good enough to beat Duke, but not Texas. All I can say, is that March is the one time where you always want to go with your gut. Otherwise, it's not nearly as much fun.



OAKLAND REGION:

Some people like Oral Roberts as a possible OMG MEGA SUPER UPSET, but I the only way they could pull off an upset, it if the combined rosters with their sister school to the south. Maybe you've heard of them, Anal Roberts. Memphis wins.

Arkansas is a damn good team. Bucknell got a higher seed than they should have because of their win last year against Kansas.

Pitt had just the opposite happen to them. I thought they would be a higher seed.

Most popular upset pick is SDSU over Indiana. It's popular for a reason.

The Zags have been stumbling as of late, but Xavier's luck ran out when the beat St. Joes. Which never really happened.

I don't know one players name on Marquette, but feel they'll go on a run. How's that for analysis?!

UCLA < Belmont

2nd Round:

Having some trouble deciding between Arkansas or Memphis. Will be a close game, and I've read so many "Darius Washington making up for last year" articles, I'm starting to think he will. The pick is Memphis

Kansas over Pitt inwhat may be the best game of the tourney. Should be a dandy.

Zags STILL not ready to bow out. Morrison will be tough to beat from this point on.

Marquette over UCLA. Just for the shits and giggles.

3rd round:

Kansas takes out the #1 seed. I hate to take teams all of the "experts" like, but I can't resist this team.

I know what you're thinking, "Is he really going to take a team he knows hardly anythiong about over a powerhouse like Gonzaga?" Hell yes. Marquette to win.

Who Advances:

Kansas.

Like I said, I'm really loving this team. And I love theidea of a Texas/Kansas rematch in the final four.


Washinton Region:

Time to speed up the picks. Losing intrest in typing!

UCONN over Albany

UAB over UK

UTAH ST. over Washington (needed a 12 over 5 pick)

ILLINOIS, MICH ST, UNC all win. No suprises there.

WICHITA ST. over a Seton Hall team that keeps reminding people they play in the Big East. We know. You still suck.

Wouldbe pretty funny if winthrop beat UT, but it ain't happenin'.

2nd round:

UCONN, ILLINOIS, UNC, and WICHITA ST. all advance.


3rd round:

Look, UConn is going to win this bracket. They'rebetter than everybody, and they're coached well. Illinois isn't talented enough, and this UNC team is a bit of an enigma. If UCONN doesn't make the final four, I'll eat my hat. They advance.


Minny Region:

1st Round:

Possible cinderellas Northern Iowa and Nevada (yes they still count) both win their 1st round games.

'Nova, tOSU, Florida, and BC all advance.

Wisconsin is a lock over 'Zona in the 8/9 game.

Bot a big Okie fan. Wisc-Mil proved they can hang with the big boys last year.

2nd round:

'Nova won't go down that easy. Wisconsin gets crushed.

BC wins a close one over Nevada. Nevada was my original pick here, I may regret changing it.

Florida over Wisc-Mil in a squash.

Northern Iowa suprises tOSU as the start, but tOSU manages to skate by with a win.

3rd round:

BC pulls the upset over Villanova. Too bad Sumpter got hurt to start the year, or 'Nova is my pick to win it all.

tOSU over Florida.

Who Advances:

BC suprises most (including me) and comes out on top. Their reward: facing UCONN in their next game. congrats.


FINAL FOUR:

UCONN over BC and Kansas over Texas in the rematch, with UCONN winning the title game. I know, lame pick, but it's true, they're that damn good. And what are you complaining about, it's that time of the year again. So be quiet, sit back, get fat, and watch some basketball with me because THAT'S... How I roll.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Noodle in a Haystack

The other day I was perusing the fanball forums and I found myself in a debate over who has the best WRs in the NFL.
As a Colts fan, I obviously think they have the best WR core in the NFL, but deadlift boy makes what on the surface appears to be a good case for up and coming duo of Arizona Cardinals.

His post is quoted below:

Harrison 82 rec., 1146 yd, 12 TDs
Wayne 83 rec, 1055 yd, 5TDs
Stockley (omg fluke season 2 years ago) 41 rec 543yds 1TD Boldin 102 rec, 1402 yds, 7TDs
Fitz 103 rec, 1409 yds, 10TDs
that's in a worse system and a worse QB, and a worse oline and still check the numbers, you can say I dont know alot about football because manning and the colts are football gods and cant do no wrong but Id take Fitz and Boldin.. So Noodleboy dont say Stockley puts them over the hump either. Who cares about Stockley....I guess I dont know anyting about football.


Simple stats like those are fine for fantasy football, but if you really want to compare players you have to take a look at the context. Saying that extra yardage makes Boldin and Fitz better than Harrison and Wayne ignores that stats happen because of the game, not the other way around.

Lets take a look at the 20 players who had 1000+ yards receiving last year:


Receiving Yards

RankPlayerTeamRecYdsAvgTDs
%YWB


1Steve SmithCAR103156315.21248

2Santana MossWAS84148317.7951

3Chad JohnsonCIN97143214.8948

4Larry FitzgeraldARI103140913.71070

5Anquan BoldinARI102140213.7766

6Torry HoltSTL102133113.0960

7Joey GallowayTB83128715.51050

8Donald DriverGB86122114.2557

9Plaxico BurressNYG76121416.0731

10Marvin HarrisonIND82114614.01212

11Terry GlennDAL62113618.3758

12Chris ChambersMIA82111813.61154

13Rod SmithDEN85110513.0640

14Eddie KennisonKC68110216.2533

15Antonio GatesSD89110112.41037

16Derrick MasonBAL86107312.5358

17Reggie WayneIND83105512.7516

18Jimmy SmithJAC70102314.6653

19Antonio BryantCLE69100914.6458

20Randy MossOAK60100516.8874


I'm sure that most of you are wondering what the heck %YWB is. %YWB stands for Percentage of Yards While Behind.


Anyone who has watched football knows that when a team is behind, they are forced to throw the ball more than they otherwise would. Conversely, teams that are ahead rush the ball more often in an attempt to run the clock out. %YWB is an attempt to to quantify that effect on a receivers yardage totals.

Of the top 20 receivers, 12 had %YWB between 40% and 60%. I haven't looked back through the years, but I would guess that this is a range that you would expect for most starting wide receivers. Harrison, Wayne, Boldin and Fitz all fall far outside of that range.

Harrison and Wayne are both over 15% lower than anyone else in the top 20. Why? Obviously because they play for a team that was very infrequently trailing last year.

Looking back, it is obvious that the Colts record winning streak had a profound effect on the numbers of Harrison and Wayne. The Colts can't be expected to go 2 months without trailing in a game, as they did last season.

Boldin and Fitz are the complete antithesis, gaining more of their yards while behind than anyone else in the top 20 with the notable exception of Randy Moss, who has made it entirely clear that he plays for himself first and the team second.

Can there be any doubt that Harrison and Wayne would put up similar yardage numbers if they played from behind as often as these 2 world class accumulators?

There more to sports than a quick glance at the stats, sometimes you have to look at the scoreboard too.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mock 'em out the box, Creek. Mock 'em out.

1 Houston- Reggier Bush RB USC
Seems less likely they will trade back as the draft gets closer. They still could, but I think they've settled on Bush as their guy. It's still not the smartest pick, but by drafting him, not only do you get a pro bowl running back, but you keep one away from every other team in the league. Does that make sense? I didn't think so.

2 New Orleans- Matt Leinart QB USC
The Saints don't need a project like Vince Young at QB. With all the offensive talent they have, bringing in the most NFL ready QB in the draft (and the best for that matter) may be able to get them over the hump to get in the playoffs in the next 2 years. In this era of the NFL, it's not so much about having a QB who can win your team games, but one who won't lose them. Leinart knows how to rely on teamates, and to not force things. And when in a pinch, he might even win you a game or two (see: Notre Dame game).

3 Tennessee- D'brickashaw Ferguson OT Virginia
It'd be tough for them to pass on Young, and in the end they probably won't, but since it was announced during the combine that Vince Young doesn't know how to read (or something to that affect), he's been falling faster than Chingy's rap career (remember Chingy? He said "thurr" instead of "there" and became a huge hit because of it. I never understood it). D'Brick is a great player, and after having him at #8 for the last month or so, it feels nice to have him back in the top 5 where he belongs.

4 New York Jets- Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt
I'm officially sick of Jay Cutler. I was a big fan of his coming into this year, but all this hype he's been getting is making me want to send him a envelope full of anthranx. He's good, but if I here one more "expert" say he's their #1 QB just because said expert wants to be cool and hip, I'll hit someone in the face with a shovel. Swear to god, right in the face. He put up some nice numbers at Vandy, and has had good showings at various practices and camps and what not, but remember those two QBs who played in the national championship game? Wouldn't you rather have a guy who's competed and won at the highest level a competition available to him, over some guy who goes to Vanderbilt?

5 Green Bay- Mario Williams DE NC State
It's pretty much down to Williams and Hawk for this spot, and I've been putting Williams here all along, and I have no reason to buck the trend. Best defensive player in the draft is the first defensive player off the board.

6 San Francisco- Vernon Davis TE Maryland
Could really use A.J Hawk here, but I've been reading for months that they love Vernon Davis, and after his workouts he's being called a "lock for the top 10." Hopefully this will help out their passing game, and if they can trade Brandon Lloyd to get a real #1 WR, that'll be even better. Tried to go with something different than what I have been doing with this pick.

7 Oakland- Vince Young QB QB Texas
I read that Al Davis hates drafting QBs early, but Vince is the type of talent that would change his mind. They cut Kerry Collins, and Tuiasasoapopera (or whatever his name is) hasn't been very good in the appearances he's made thus far in his career. They have Andrew Walter, but can they really pass up at a chance to have a potential franchise QB for the next 10 years?

8 Buffalo- Haloti Ngata DT Oregon
Lost Pat Williams last year, and Sam Adams this year, so I figure it's time to get another big hogmolly in the middle. Ngata, besides having total disregard for vowel placement in his name, is the perfect fit at a need position.

9 Detroit- A.J Hawk LB Ohio St.
Sticking with the old BPA theory for Detroit. They proved last year, that no matter who the player or what the position, Matt Millen is going to take the player he thinks is the best available. While the theory hasn't worked out as well in Detroit as it has in Baltimore, this pick would be great news for Lions fans. Their LB's aren't that impressive to begin with, so this is an all around good pick. But I can't shake the funny feeling Matt Millen may find away to screw this draft up as well.

10 Arizona- DeAngelo Williams RB Memphis
Why am I thinking about the Arizona Cardinals at twelve o'clock at night? I think this officially means I have no life. Anywhoo, the real problem here is their offensive line, but I have the feeling they'll go for a RB here. There's a reason your RB's average 2.9 and 3.3 YPC a piece. It isn't because they're not talented, hell, even Samkon Gado couldn't run behond that line. And he's Samkon f'n Gado!

11 St. Louis- Michael Huff DB Texas
Need DB help and LB help, but Huff will help them better than any of the LB's on the board. The Rams could go a lot of different ways with this pick, but it's easier to find a LB who could turn out to be a good player later in the draft, then it is to find a CB who could be. Rams desperately need a shutdown corner.

12 Cleveland- Manny Lawson DE/OLB NC State
I hate to make the "sexy pick" (except for when it comes to the ladies. You know what I'm talkin' about), but this is a really fun pick. We've all heard how he's this years DeMarcus Ware, and that's a valid point. Ware really worked his way up to a team with a 3-4 who needed a rush backer, and Lawson will do the same.

13 Baltimore- Lendale White RB USC
Maybe not the BPA, but with all the turmoil in the backfield, White is certainly close enough to take him. Chester Taylor may not be back, and even if Jamal Lewis comes back, will he be the J-Lew of old, or last years?

14 Philadelphia- Winston Justice OT USC
Was going back and forth here between Justice and Bunkley, but I don't know what's going on with the Eagle's o-line. Is Runyan gone (ok, I know the answer to that), is Hermanns ready to start? Is this Thomas' last year too? Is Andrews better suited at OG or OT? If I keep asking myself questions, will I eventually know the answer?

15 Atlanta- Jimmy Williams DB Virginia Tech
They do need a safety, and I think it's cute how they have that whole Virginia Tech thing going on down there. Bring in Marcus Vick and we'll really have a party! Just remember not to invite any 14 year old girls, or Elvis Dumerville. Marcus can't control himself around either. He'll be humping at stomping uncontrolably. What was my point again?

16 Miami- Antonio Cromartie CB FSU
I definately see his stock being this high come draft time, and the Dolphins secondary was much worse than there o-line last year. They would always blitz to try to make up for it, so getting a possible shut down corner like Cromartie would help the whole defense immensely.

17 Minnesota- Laurence Maroney RB Minnesota
They've got Mwelde Moore, Michael Bennett, Ciatrick Fason, Canada Smith, and all of them suck. Well, maybe not suck, but not good enough to carry the load. Maroney has always split time in the backfield, but in Minnesota, splitting time still means at least 25 carries a game.

18 Dallas- Bobby Carpenter LB Ohio St.
Inside tip from a Dallas fan. Makes sense to me.

19 San Diego- Chad Jackson WR Florida
Damn this kids agent is good. 1st he did the exact same thing for Troy Williamson last year, and managed to get him picked in the top 7, and I honestly wouldn't be suprised if Jackson worked his way up that high. Note to all juniors who leave school early: Show up at the senior bowl. Just answer some questions, and be friendly. Apparently it works.

20 Kansas City- Santonio Holmes WR Ohio St.
The passing game wasn't that good last year. As an owner of Trent Green in one of my fantasy leagues, I can remember him taking quite some time before deciding to throw a touchdown pass. From the Chief games I have watched, it seems that most of their passing game is swing passes and screens. A guy like Holmes could stretch the defense, and maybe even add on some time to Tony Gonzalez' carrer.

21 New England- Chad Greenway LB Iowa
It really wouldn't be fair if this happened. I remember the Patriots getting what I thought was a then steal in Vince Wilfork a few years back, but this would be an even bigger steal than that. Coming into the year, the big debate was Hawk vs Greenway. A.J. Hawk has taken the lead, but Greenway is still close as far as potential in the NFL.

22 Denver (f/WAS)- Brodrick Bunkley DT FSU
Why they were under the impression they thought they could win a super bowl with a defensive line the Cleveland Browns didn't even want I'll never know.

23 Tampa Bay- Marcus McNeill OT Auburn
This pick allows them to reshuffle the o-line, and cut some dead weight, getting better all around. McNeill's stock his been fluctuating more than Oprah's weight during the holidays, but I think he's found a home in the late 1st round.

24 Cincinnati- Donte Whitner S Ohio St.
I always thought that Nate Salley was the better player in college, interesting that Salley is projected as a 2nd day pick, while Whitner has worked his way all the way up into the 1st round. Cincy needs to go defense in round one whether it be safety or DT. there will be plenty of TE talent available in the 2nd round.

25 New York Giants- Ernie Sims LB FSU
Reason #1 (of many) why I don't like Ernie Sims:

When his team is trailing, and on defense in the 4 quarter with about 3 minutes remaining, he will always fake a cramp to save a timeout. Everytime. And if he ends up going to the Giants, and does it against the Eagles, I will fly to Tallahassee, rip off Bobby Bowden's arm, fly to New York and beat Ernie Sims to death with it. And if you don't beliebe me, try me. Please, try me, I'm begging you, because we can go out there, and I will show you what it's like!

26 Chicago- Leonard Pope TE Chicago
Boring pick, and they do need a CB, but I don't feel like thinking at the moment, and I don't think anyone will complain too much about this pick.

27 Carolina- Gabe Watson DT Michigan
Kris Jenkins is more fragile than a muslim's feelings about cartoons. Which is a shame because he's a great player. Watson has a lot of knocks on him, but most of them are Lloyd Carr's fault. Plus wiht Buckner leaving they really do need a DT.

28 Jacksonville- Tye Hill CB Clemson
Officially this years Fabian Washington. I've heard he will go in the top 20, but I ain't buying it. Not a great corner, but has great speed, and you know what they say, you can't teach speed. However, I'm sure the Jags will be able to coach Hill up into a very solid CB.

29 Denver- Tamba Hali DE Penn St.
He falls in my mock, and I don't have a reason. He just does. Cutting Pryce leaves a spot open, and Hali can dominate (see: Ohio State game). They already have the original courtney Brown, why not get the sequal?

30 Indianapolis- Joseph Addai RB LSU
Edge is more than likely leaving, and Addai is a great fit in Indy. Can catch, run, block, and all that other stuff that teams like in a RB. Although I did read that Manning and Harrison restructured their contracts incase a new CBA wasn't reached. I wonder if that gives them more money to sign Edge.

31 Seattle- Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston College
Kiwi just keeps falling and falling, which is a shame, becuase I really like him. Being judged by his performance against D'brick is a shame, because D'brick would dominate the majority of NFL DE's. Grant Wistrom is almost over the hill, and Bryce Fisher is decent, but a pass rusher like Kiwi would be much appreciated in Seattle.

32 Pittsburgh- Ko Simpson S South Carolina
I really don't know what to do for Pitt. They will need a WR in case Randel El leaves, they could always at youth to the O or D-line, and can you really have enough pass rushers? But with Chris Hope maybe leaving, a safety will be needed. Simpson is a top 15 talent, but is young, and this is a crowded DB class.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Let's Get This Party Started




Call off the APB. Tell Missing persons to go home. Yes, it’s true. The Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reached. By a vote of 30-2, (Cincinnati and Buffalo) the owners have approved the proposal at the last minute for the third time. Somehow, I knew that the deal would be done, mostly for the reason that it kept getting delayed. For if it wasn’t going to happen, they would have just started Free Agency days ago.

It seems as though the league has learned from other sport’s mistakes. Good for them. Paul Tagliabue has done a great job of getting everyone to understand what was at stake and thankfully we will not endure a work stoppage anytime soon.



So, finally the free agent period of the NFL will begin in less than a day and I imagine that teams, well the ones with money anyway, have contracts laid out on the table ready for signatures.

One thing that the new agreement does it that it obviously raises the salary cap. The commish said that it will be about 102 Million Dollars. This extra 7.5 million will help some teams keep some of the players that they otherwise would have released. However, the teams like the Raiders and Redskins are still well over their means and will need to free up space, just not as much as before.

I was hoping that they would wait until after this year so that my EAGLES, one of the teams with money to spend, would go after players with a fury. I am not saying that it won’t still happen, but I just don’t think that as many players will be as available as they would have been.

Take Hutchinson from Seattle for example, before the agreement, there would have been virtually no way they could sign him for the money that some teams could offer. Now, they have a chance to be able to match, considering he is a transition player.

I absolutely love the Free Agent signing period of the NFL season that for me is a yearlong affair. There will be big names switching teams and every team has the golden opportunity to fill some holes.

There are a few teams that have money (EAGLES, Vikings, Cardinals, Browns) and there are a few teams that are hurting in their pockets. (Redskins, Raiders, Washington, Kansas City. You can bet your ass that the teams with money will be pouncing on players faster than Anna Nicole Smith pounces on 90-year-old rich men.

I look for the Eagles to be major players as Free Agency opens up. They have already signed Barber and look to be shoe ins for LaCharles Bentley and a Solid WR. I would like to see Peterson or Arrington and I think that they get one of the two. I also look for the birds to make a push for a couple of Seahawks in the name of Rocky Bernard and Steve Hutchinson as Andy Reid tries to take a couple of his mentor’s players from him. Seattle has some money now so they will at least keep one of those guys, and with SA coming back, I’ll bet it’s Hutch.

There are so many players in this league that are just complete wastes of space, cap space that is. Whether it is due to age or declining play or the fact that they make enough money to sustain some countries. One of the biggest examples is Trevor Pryce, he was scheduled to make 10.2 million against the cap and my friends he is just not worth that Pryce, sorry. By cutting him, it saves the Broncos about 8.5 million dollars, which could help them in many areas.



Some examples of overpaid cap guzzlers would be

1. Brett Favre – This guy needs to make up his mind. He is about to get a three million-roster bonus and still seems to be very far away from making a decision that could help his team build their future. His cap number for 2006 is an astounding 12.6 million. Whew! The problem is that if they cut Brett, then they would be hit with an amount of about 26 million over the next four years, whereas if he retires, then they do not get it at all. This guy is still getting past a 29-interception season in which he led his team to a 4-12 record. He is 36 years old and not getting younger. They drafted Aaron Rodgers (ouch) to be the future and the future is now.
2. Kerry Collins – Before the agreement was reached, he was already cut. Now, he has been pulled back in. He did pretty well on a team where he was supposed to go bananas and that’s not good enough when you are about to be worth 13 million. He is due a 2.5 million dollar roster bonus and 6 million in salary along with 4 and a quarter million in likely to be earned incentives. Now that the agreement has been reached, he will most likely restructure and a reunion with Jim Fassel seems unlikely.
3. Eric Moulds – The Bills need his money. They have tried to restructure, but he is adamant in testing the market. The Bills had an atrocious pass offense and he missed a game, but still finished with 81 catches for 816 yards.
4. Aaron Brooks – How in the hell is this guy still employed? New Orleans is most likely taking Leinert at the Draft and are going to need the nearly 5 million they would save by cutting him.
5. Terrell Owens – He complains and bitches and moans his way out of everywhere he goes. He would be about 6.7 million against the cap and the Eagles would get most of that back by tossing him into the driveway so that he can do sit-ups for another team. And another team will pay him what he wants until the day that he alienates himself once again.
6. Brad Hopkins – This is a sad story. He has put in over a decade in the trenches for the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans. He is definitely feeling the effects of his career. Due to reworking his contract many times, his cap number unfortunately is about 11 million and the titans need to do a little more than trim the edges to get under the cap.
7. Simeon Rice – Without the agreement, this guy was gone and he is a true player at DE. I would have loved for the EAGLES to get him, but now it seems as though they will be able to work something out to keep him. DAMN!!
8. Joey Harrington – How is he one of the highest paid QB’s in the league? How did this happen? Oh yeah, Matt Millen. It amazes me that this guy is allowed to manage a team. Joey needs to be let go and Detroit needs to admit they f’d up and move on with as much money as possible. However, Matt would find another way to screw them up. Who wants to bet they draft Santonio Holmes in the first round.

Right now I'll give a synopsis of what I think that some teams with money to spend will try to do in the Free Agency market. I have already more than gone over what I think and want my beloved birds to do so here are some other cap friendly teams for your educational enjoyment.

Minnesota – With over 30 million to work with and promising new coach and outlook, they should be able to sign who they want by offering contracts that few could match. They need help at Running Back and would be mildly surprised if they didn’t land either Lewis or James. I would have thought they would be all over the Bentley or Mawae situation, but it seems as thought they think that Birk can recover. Just what does C-pep’s injury mean for the Viking’s QB position, it means they better get somebody other that old man Johnson in case Daunte isn’t ready or writes his ticket out of town. There are a plethora of LB’s in the draft, which is good, because it seems as though every team in the league needs one.

Arizona – For the past few years it seems as though the Cardinals leave camp with some promise of the coming season and for whatever reason, they always stink. I watched JJ Arrington last season and he is definitely not the answer. I felt that Denny Green was going to push for SA, but that’s out the window now. I don’t think that either Lewis or Edge will want to go there and the money will be comparable elsewhere for them to be justified. I personally think the address the Running back situation in the draft and attack the Free Agent market with their 30 mil going after offensive line and interior defensive line.

Cleveland – Another team with over 30 million to spend and yet another team that stinks with a bunch of holes. The Browns are not as bad as you would think on first glance. They have a lot of questions at receiver past Braylon Edwards especially with Winslow still up in the air. They need, is this a trend a quick rushing LB’er for their scheme, but more importantly need a dominant Nose Tackle to sure up the middle. With plenty of money to spend, you can bet that Crennel will be very active come Friday. He has done well with his rebuilding of the Brown’s organization.

Green Bay – Even with Brett Favre making an ungodly amount of money, Green Bay still has some money to spend. Some would have thought they were going to go after a back, but after signing Ahman to another year and with Gado, it seems as though they will be eyeing another needed position, Linebacker. With the release of Diggs, most people feel they have their sights set for hawk, which is not a bad choice. However, with guys like Peterson and Andre Carter on the market, they should sign one of them and then take Mario Williams with their first pick. O-line is deep in the draft and would be sure to get a talented tackle or guard in the second round. I know that Packer fans would love to sign a guy like Rocky Bernard or Simeon Rice though and the Packers have the money to do it.

San Diego – With the money they have to spend, this is where I think that TO will end up. They are really only missing a playmaking WR to go with that offense and TO can play anywhere for one year. Also, they have the freedom to go after Rocky Bernard and Sam Adams as well. Most likely, they will address their secondary in the draft, but they have plenty of money to find that in Free Agency as well.

There are other teams with money to spend and as the Free Agency unwinds up to the draft the picture of the 2006 NFL season will start to become clearer. I love this period, so much speculation on where players will end up and hoping that our favorite teams gets everyone to take us to the next level.

Oakland, Washington and Tennessee good luck in maintaining your franchises. There are of course teams that are too bad to help at this point, i.e. Buffalo and the Jets. They don’t scare anyone and won’t for some time, barring any miracles. They just plain stink










As we get closer to the draft, I will take a look at each team and their needs as the Free Agent well dries up and teams look to the College kids to sure up final holes. Once the teams pick off the Free Agents, only the Draft will remain to complete their rosters in the quest for Holy Bowl and I will outline what are the major concerns for each team. Another good thing that will come for the CBA is that holdouts by rookies won’t be as much of a problem as they would have been with a lower cap and at camp time, that will be enormous.

Until then, stay alert as things are only going to get crazier and much more exciting.

As always, go with your gut and don’t look back.

…Professor Ellis D Trails