Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I've Got the Shotgun Blues... Week 2


That's the best adjective I can think of to describe week 2 of the 2014 NFL season.  

Brutal.  And, perhaps, weird.

It was a week of deactivations, appeals, a vote to change the league's substance abuse policy (after the season started?  Really?), reduced suspensions, more litigation, reactivation... no, wait.  Deactivation.  Indefinitely.  Until tomorrow.  Maybe.

The NFL is in a whirlwind right now.  Some might say a tailspin.  It has suddenly become a league void of leadership and ripe with indecision.

And yet, there were still games to be played.

If you were fortunate enough to somehow get through this week without an injury (or two, or three) on your fantasy roster, I'd advise that you buy a lottery ticket.  You've got some good karma.

Yes, I had a bad week of fantasy football, but I must collect myself and the show must go on.  It's time to scour the internet on my weekly fact-finding mission, leaving no stone (or football) unturned.

Although I must admit...

So severe was this week's damage to fantasy rosters across the nation, that I've decided to rename this little weekly update to the more appropriate "Shotgun Blues."  So let's take a look.

In week 2...

The Jaguars allowed 10 sacks, which is a new franchise record.

Good news!  RGIII didn't break his ankle.  He just really f***ed it up.

DeMarco Murray has lost two fumbles this year.  He had lost just three fumbles in the past three seasons combined.

Eli Manning has now thrown an interception in seven consecutive games.

Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu is 3-3 for 148 passing yards in his career.  That's a pretty good average.

Lions rookie kicker Nate Freese missed two field goals.  He's now 2 of 5 on the season.  Ol' Jason Hanson lies a-smoldering in his grave.

Terrance West has 90 or more yards from scrimmage in his first two professional games.  That hasn't happened since 2008, when Chris Johnson and Matt Forte did it.

Emmanuel Sanders recorded his first career 100-yard receiving day.

Calvin Johnson surpassed Herman Moore with 108 consecutive games with a reception.  That is a new Lions franchise record.

Josh McCown rushed for two touchdowns.  The last time a Buccaneers quarterback did that in a game was Steve Young in 1986.

J.J. Watt has a fumble recovery, a sack, a blocked extra point, three tackles for loss, a batted pass and a touchdown reception in the first two weeks of the season.  As Howie Long says, J.J. Watt is a grown man.

The Packers were 1-56-1 when trailing by 15+ points in a game over the past 22 seasons.  They are now 2-56-1 thanks to the Jets choking away a 21-3 third quarter lead.

Darren Sproles already has 350 all-purpose yards.  At the age of 31, he clearly has no gas left in the tank.

Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions.  This is the 47th game in which he has done so.

In a completely unrelated story, Matt Cassel made his first career start on a college football field (he didn't start a game at USC).  The results were as expected.

Apparently, Allen Hurns' 15 minutes of fame are over.

Tony Romo has now thrown a touchdown pass in 30 consecutive games.


Ben Roethlisberger needs 151 yards to move into 20th place all-time in passing yards (unseating Jim Everett).

Peyton Manning needs three more passing touchdowns to reach 500.  Only Brett Favre has passed for more than 500 touchdowns in NFL history.

While we're at it, Manning needs just 12 more passing touchdowns to become the all-time leader in passing touchdowns.  (Peyton, not Eli)

Reggie Wayne needs seven more catches to move into 7th place all-time in career receptions.  (bumping Isaac Bruce).  He is just one of nine players in NFL history to have more than 1,000 career receptions.

Wayne also needs just 86 yards to move into 10th all-time in receiving yards.

Antonio Gates needs two touchdowns to move into 10th all-time in touchdown receptions.  He is just the second tight end to have 90 or more touchdown receptions in league history.


Here's hoping the fruits of week 3 are far more bountiful than the rotten apples of week 2.  It can't get much worse, right?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Annual Draft...

Last Saturday was our 24th Annual Fantasy Player Selection Meeting for the More Beer Fantasy Football League.  It is a weekend of good food, cold beverages, great fun and old friends.

My wife always asks me, "What do you do on draft weekend?"  My answer is always an ambiguous "Oh, we have a good time!"  So with that in mind,  I decided to document the draft this year.

Don't worry, graphic content has been edited for the sake of good taste.  And to save my marriage.

I'm kidding, of course.  Sort of.

So what happens at the More Beer annual draft?  Read on....


On draft day morning, the Honorable Commish, yours truly and two other league owners, Bob "What Position?" Branstner and Gary "Pet the Kitty" Porter headed to downtown Ottertail, Minnesota, and had a breakfast of champions at Betty's Pantry.

I initially thought Bob, who suggested the restaurant, said "Betty's Panties," which gave the rest of us good reason to pause.  However, it was an honest mistake.

Anyway, a good breakfast is required for draft day.

After an excellent base to start our day, it was back to draft headquarters: Gary's cabin and Bob's cabin, which sit next to each other on the shores of West Leaf Lake.

At noon on draft day, the keg is traditionally tapped.  That particular honor, of course, goes to the Honorable Commish...
Step one: tap the keg.
Step two: pour the beer.
Since joining the league, "Pet the Kitty" Porter has taken it upon himself to buy and transport the keg illegally to draft headquarters.

The Toilet Bowl loser then conducts the annual "Payoff."
The Payoff: Last year's Toilet Bowl loser, "Topless" Kusch (right), gives straight cash, homie, to "Pet the Kitty" Porter (left).

The next step is to ice, ice the baby down.   
Then we embark on our traditional Booze Crooze around beautiful West Leaf Lake on Gary's pontoon...
It was a perfect day for cruisin' around one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes.

Back on land, we have a "friendly" bean bag tournament before our potluck feast.
If anything breaks up this league, it will be the arguments that ensue during the bean bag tourney. 

Perhaps if we all agreed how to keep score, the game would be a bit more in control.

The shirt pretty much says it all.  This is the Senior Citizen of More Beer and three-time league champion.  He's Bob.

After our feast at Gary's cabin (creating another good base), it's time to make the Walk of Destiny over to Bob's garage and get down to the serious business of drinking beer drafting.  Now, it gets intense...

The loser of the Toilet Bowl not only must purchase the keg, but he also must sit on a toilet seat during the first round of the draft.

Yes, it really sucks to lose in this league.
And the draft begins...
Bob's garage has become the draft war room for the last seven seasons (and hopefully the next seven!). 

We frequently get caught up in conversation and forget what round it is... or which player has been selected.  League Rule 5.4, Paragraph 2: If you pick a player already drafted, you must take a shot of the most putrid homemade tequila known to mankind, which sits in Bob's garage year round.  The FDA would classify this crap as a Schedule I controlled substance.  In the summer, Bob allegedly uses it as lawn mower fuel.
The reigning league champion, Rick, poses with the Golden Pitcher; this is his third championship.  Shortly after this picture was taken, he informed us that he was allergic to Kleenex.  (I guess you had to be there)...

A view of the projection screen, cheat sheets, beer and chips.  Indeed, it's a thing of beauty...

My view of the night with cigar in hand.  It's the best night of the year.

After the draft, we retreated back to Gary's cabin and enjoyed a fire, discussed how terrible our teams were, listened to some tunes and polished off the keg.

And I absolutely cannot wait until next year!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

History in the Making, Week 1

Hello friends... I hope your first weekend of fantasy football started with a bang.  We had an excellent draft in More Beer FFL on Saturday; I will be posting more about that later this week.

However, first things first.  One of the reasons I love fantasy football is because I'm a bit obsessed with stats.  I also love history (in fact, I've got a degree in that very subject).  When you combine the two, you get this here thing that you're about to read:  a weekly overview of history in the making in the NFL.

Just as I did last year, I will scour the internet on a weekly fact-finding mission, leaving no stone (or football) unturned.  I will then post this "week in review," which combines history-making moments in the league as well as meaningless trivia and unsolicited opinions from yours truly.  It will be fun and informative.

...or at least I hope so.


Percy Harvin had more receptions in the first quarter than he had in the entire 2013 regular season.

The Vikings were the sixth team in the last 20 years to go winless on the road the season before and open a new season with a road win.

Matt Ryan threw for a career-best 448 yards.  He is the fifth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw for 440+ yards in a season-opening win.  The other four led their teams to the playoffs and two made it to the Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 278 yards in the first half.

Darren Sproles' 49-yard touchdown was the longest rush of his career.

Nick Foles had four turnovers in the entire 2013 season.  He already had three in the first half of the season opener.

Arian Foster rushed for 103 yards on Sunday; no player has more 100-yard games in the last five years.

Jamaal Charles attempted just seven... SEVEN rushes for a laughable 19 yards.

The Seahawks had the most rushing yards (207) in a season opener in franchise history.

The three active quarterbacks on the Rams roster (Shaun Hill, Austin Davis, Case Keenum) are all undrafted.

Knowshon Moreno had the most rushing yards (134) by a Dolphin in an opener in 15 seasons.  He also had the most by a Dolphin vs. the Patriots since 2001.

Picking up where he left off last year, Doug Martin had nine carries for nine yards.

Charles Woodson has joined Hall of Famer Darrell Green as the only two players with at least one interception in 17 consecutive seasons.

Frank Gore became the 29th player in NFL history with 10,000 yards rushing.  He's also the 10th player in history to have 10,000 yards rushing with the same team.

Calvin Johnson had two touchdowns and 98 yards receiving in the first quarter, both career bests.  Prior to that, he had never had a season with two first quarter touchdowns.


PASSING:  Matt Ryan, 448 yards
RUSHING: Knowshon Moreno, 134 yards
RECEIVING: Calvin Johnson, 164 yards

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What We Know 35 Days Later

We're almost there, friends.  The NFL season - and the fantasy season - are so close you can smell it.

I mean, literally.  It smells like football.  The crisp morning air, the turning leaves, the random waft of wood smoke drifting from a smoldering chimney.

If I could bottle the smell of September mornings, I'd sell it.

But I digress.

Before the season starts, it's time to take a gander at the past month and answer a simple question: what do we know today that we didn't know August 1st?


There's a saying that goes something like, "You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."  Perhaps that is something Sam Bradford should contemplate.

Back in July, I mentioned I was not high on any Rams receiver.  I referred to this corps as an "enigma";  a group that could be great, but simply weren't.

I'm even less enthused now.  Shaun Hill has been in the league for 38 years (well, more or less) and I will use the same logic I used when some folks were excited that Josh McCown was signed by the Buccaneers in the off-season: he has been a career back-up for a reason.

This is not to say Shaun Hill is Brady Quinn/JaMarcus Russell appalling.  Hill has started some NFL games (he's averaged a little more the three starts a season during his career) and he's had some success, but there is a reason why teams haven't offered him big bucks to remain the starter.

I've got a feeling Zac Stacy's workload will be even larger and the Rams' receivers will be all but worthless from a fantasy perspective.  (Editor's note: perhaps "worthless" is too strong an adjective, but it defines "without worth" ...and, well, that pretty much sums it up).


If you read The Lone Pylon enough (and if you do, thank you!), you already know how I feel about rookie wide receivers.

And it has come to pass.

The Bills hype machine has been full tilt since May over Sammy Watkins, but he's already proving he can't take a hit.  He injured his ribs twice already this preseason and has struggled to stay on the field.  He finished the preseason with 3 catches for 21 yards; and 14 of those yards came on one catch.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: It's the preseason.  But the injuries are cause for concern.  His lack of time on the field is also cause for concern.  This, coupled with E.J. Manuel's less than stellar passing ability, makes me drop Watkins even further down my board.

But at least he's not Odell Beckham Jr.


Way back in June I wondered aloud if BenJarvus Green-Ellis would even make the Bengals roster.  It turns out he didn't.  I was also gushing over rookie Jeremy Hill.  As I predicted in June, Hill is zipping up draft boards faster than a sneeze through a screen door.


I tried to give Arian Foster the benefit of a doubt back in July, but that might have been a mistake.  He's coming off an injury-plagued season, he's still on the injury report (hamstring) and did not make a single rushing attempt in the preseason.  Foster says he feels "wonderful," but color me skeptical.  Jonathan Grimes just might be one of those players you've never heard of to make a big fantasy impact this year, รก la Mike Anderson, circa 2000.


Like Foster, Adrian Peterson has not made a single rushing attempt this preseason.  And that's where the similarities end.  Next subject....


Speaking of the Vikings, Cordarrelle Patterson is going to be even better than I thought.  Maybe that's a homer statement.  ... and maybe not.


Montee Ball has, essentially, missed the entire preseason and most of training camp after an appendectomy.  Still, has his ADP as a late first round pick.  In a league with very few bell cow running backs, fantasy owners are willing to gamble.  He's high risk, high reward.


Wes Welker has almost dropped off the fantasy radar.   He had already tumbled down my draft board like Aunt Bunny on a staircase due to his chronic brain-rattling predicament.  Now with his "I-did-not-knowingly-take-amphetamines" shenanigan (don't worry, Wes, I unknowingly ingest amphetamines all the time... I mean, it's just so easy to do), he's almost an afterthought.  First, he's not available until week six (including the Broncos' bye week).  Second, he could be done for the season with one hit to the helmet.  Draft at your own risk.  And it's a considerable risk.

This is what happens when you mix amphetamines and concussions... 


Michael Sam is a Dallas Cowboy --  or at least he's on the practice squad and that will sell a lot of jerseys.  Er, and it makes the team better.  Yes, that's it.

(And Jerry Jones is even a bigger attention whore than I thought.  And that's saying a lot.)

"We're gonna have ourselves an uphill climb this season.  And if I like anything, it's an uphill climb."


I still would not draft Rob Gronkowski.  He's a human time bomb waiting to blow up your fantasy season.


Matt Schaub unseeded David Carr's starting job in Houston.  Derek Carr unseeded Matt Schaub's starting job in Oakland.  Mind = Blown


I'm much less high on Robert Griffin III now than I was a month ago.  He continues to play far too recklessly.  He won't last 16 games.


Okay, that's enough...  it's time for the season to start!  Stay tuned early next week for The Lone Pylon's first edition of "NFL History in the Making" for the 2014 season.

Good luck in your fantasy leagues this week.  LET'S PLAY FOOTBALL!