Weekend Football Notes
  • Sounds like the Steelers are game planning for Jamal much in the same way the Browns did. Until Kyle Boller proves he can beat someone, it might be tough for Jamal to run through all 11. This story suggests Kordell may make an appearance.
  • Lavar Arrington has been downgraded to questionable. Shockey owners may benefit.
  • Shaun Alexander will be a game-time decision. That's not good cause it's a 4pm start and most of your players will be locked by then.
  • Duece McAllister talks about his strengths and weaknesses.
  • The Indy Star has this about Rhodes and James sharing carries, 10/30.
  • Moe Williams will not play Monday night. Smith will start. Moore is a talented backup.
  • Tony Hollings probably won't be around to steal carries from Davis on Sunday.
  • The Football Project has their Numbers Game out for week 2. Lots of good stuff this week by Brandon Williams. Here are just two of the highlights:
Pittsburgh (1-0) at Baltimore (0-1) Number: 26 Points or more scored by the Steelers in five of their last six matchups with the NFL’s most vaunted defense. Pittsburgh is one of the few teams that have has sustained success against B-More, mainly because of its ability to spread the ball out and neutralize the Raven pass rush. CB Deion Sanders will be a factor as his presence in nickel and dime coverages could make Steeler QB Tommy Maddox think twice when looking toward slot WR Antwan Randle-El, whose speed will provide a challenge to a still-not-ready-for Prime Time. Miami (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1) (Sunday Night) Number: 204 Yards per game rushing allowed by the Bengals in their last four games dating back to last season. Dolphin RB Lamar Gordon will make his first start and won’t have a better chance to make a first impression than running through a Cincinnati defense that has given up more ground than John Kerry in the polls. Having Gordon and Travis Minor control the clock will take pressure off QB A.J. Feeley and would provide the Miami offense more diversity that it displayed in the loss to Houston. The Dolphins emptied the clip on themselves, committing three turnovers and 14 penalties, nine from the offense. They can’t afford a similar effort on the road against a Bengal crowd stoked over a rare national TV appearance.
  • Mike Wilkening over at PFBW has a quick bio on Antonio Gates and what makes him so good.
  • John Clayton has some useful notes in this week's First and Ten.

Today's Baseball
  • Roy Halladay might make three starts before the end of the season.
  • Kaz Matsui might return to 2B for the Mets as early as tonight. The Mets say he'll stay there for next season. Reyes at SS in 2005.
  • Japanese players have struck. Plans for them to play as NHL replacement players in the works.
  • As soon as I speak out about Jayson Worth, he goes and hurts something. Too bad, with Coors field and all.
  • Jake Westbrook is always a good start at home. And the Indians could use a win. They face KC tonight.
  • A nice pitchers dual tonight in Seattle. Zito vs. Meche, and both have been effective lately. That will probably mean it'll be a 10-7 game.
  • Sydney Ponson has decent numbers at the Metrodome for his career, and the O's are facing 67 year old Terry Mulhulland tonight. They only have hit .253 this year vs lefties, but how long do you think Terry's gonna last?


If you like laying peanuts and have 10 minutes of spare time: Read.

Friday Football
  • I guess this is important news. Stephen Davis is out 2-5 weeks according to the Observer. I don't know whether to finish this post or to go through my leagues and see if Foster is still available.
  • Jim Kleinsasser is probably out for the year. Jermaine Wiggins is a decent pass catcher, but this may hurt the ground game a bit. At least until the Vikings adjust, if they already haven't.
  • Chris Brown practiced. Last I saw he was still listed as questionable. With such a big game, he'll play. But as his college career indicates, he'll be hurt again.
  • Deion Branch wants to be real good. I think he is.
  • Hopefully good news for Jamal Lewis owners. Except for that whole legal thing.
  • Saints, Niners game will go on.
  • Suggs feels good. But there still maybe something wrong that will keep him from playing Sunday.
  • Edgerrin, in his contract year, loves Indy. He loves Miami too.

More to come...

Friday Juice

Take advantage of the Friday specials. Things don't change too much before game time. Except the line and if it changes for your benefit, there's probably not a good reason.

  • Auburn vs. LSU (even) - I'm going with what seems to be popular opinion. That usually isn't a good thing in a closely matched game since the same players who are playing this game are also placing bets on it. But in this case, Auburn at home with 2 good RBs against a team that looked less than great last time is good enough for me. Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
  • NC State vs. Ohio State (-1) - Another home team versus another possibly overrated team. Phillip Rivers took OSU to the limit in three OTs last year and that was in Columbus. This is another trendy pick that would still be one of the week's big upsets. Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
  • Arizona State vs. Iowa (-1.5) - Third home team on the list. Iowa is playing its first road game and also struggled vs rival Iowa State. They now face what seems to be a solid ASU team that is usually strong at home. This one seems too easy. Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
  • Rams at Falcons (+120) - The Rams, in a dome, on turf, against a team that can't match its speed should be a win. Atlanta looked okay for one half against San Fran last week, but barely held on to win. Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
  • Jets at Chargers (-170) - This one should be a shootout. But I like the Jets. Chad's first road start was here in 2002 and the score was 44-13. Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
  • Dolphins at Bengals (+200) - I hate Miami. But something seems right about this. Call it a hunch. Three college homers, three road pros. What could go wrong? Yahoo - ESPN - CBS
UPDATE: Guest Picks of the week come from our local Magistrate. Let he declare:
  • LSU will beat Auburn. Going against my grain. He'll be lucky if he gets asked back.
  • Georgia Tech -8.5 to UNC as the 'shoe in of the day.' Not a bad one either. Reggie Ball is a good QB and that team has a lot of fight in them.
  • Ohio getting 19 from Miami of Ohio
  • And the College 'lead pipe lock' is Florida +3 at Tennesse.
  • Indy +1 at the Titans in what is turning into a 'get in while you can' situation.
  • Eagles giving away 3 at home on Monday night versus the Vikings. A pick he'll regret, mind you.
  • The 'lead pipe lock' in selecting Washington -3 at the Football Giants. A good pick that is gaining steam.
  • Sir Magistrate finds agreement with the Jets, and His Highness has them at -3 as the 'shoe in of the week.'
  • And finally, the Bengals -5 at home versus the Dolphins. I can't say I blame him, but this is a reactionary selection. Primetime does weird things to teams, especially those Sunday night games. I'm staying with the Fish.

These picks were made by someone who's been known to lay it all on the line in a game of chance without discern for life or limb, wife or newly purchased home. Proceed accordingly.

UPDATE: 5:16pm Sunday- Reports are coming in from the home of our guest picker that his citizens have staged a coup. It may be some time before we hear anything more from him. And another note, I feel good about my picks so far. NC State laid down like dogs at home. I can't believe how bad they looked. Auburn and ASU came through though. In my pickem league, I went with the Bears as my upset of the week. For some reason, I didn't talk about it here. I swear I picked them. I just swear it. As for the Rams, well, I forgot to mention to myself that Arizona scored zero points off three rams turnovers in week 1. They should have lost that game too. And was that Michael Vick we saw playing football today?

Today's Baseball
  • Every season, a pitcher comes on strong sometime after the All-Star break and becomes a star the next season. Recent history: Roy Halladay (2001), Jason Schmidt and Carlos Zambrano (2002), Johan Santana (2003). This year's candidates are Jeremy Bonderman, Brett Tomko, Zach Greinke, Gil Meche, Kris Benson, and maybe some old time heros like Jeff Weaver and Jon Lieber. Not exactly the caliber of their predecessors though.
  • Carlos Delgado played 55 games before the All-Star break. Last night was his 56th after. Take a look at these stats. Night turns to day.
  • Lance Berkman is finally looking healthy. He hit .347 in August and is at .388 for Sept.
  • Out of the box today talks about BJ Upton playing third. It still may be a year early for him if you're trying to win a championship. He's 19 years old. Jorge Cantu hit a face-high Curt Leskanic fastball last night into the upper seats of the green monster. Impressive bat speed and contact. He'll be 2B eligible soon, which is the only reason it's worth mentioning.
  • Jason Werth has four HRs in his last 6 games. He's playing everyday and will be in Coors starting tomorrow.
  • Brian Roberts hasn't stole a base since August 3rd.

Thursday's Football
  • Dan Rather works for the Browns. Lee Suggs has Stenosis again. They say it's not what is causing his current troubles. He practiced, sort of. Hope you've got Green.
  • The Bucs receiving situation is a mess. Stay away.
  • Travis Minor won't play this week. Lamar Gordon is getting pumped up.
  • Nice stuff about Alge Crumpler.
  • Sean Taylor, despite showing that he can play, probably won't much.
  • Deion both ways?
  • Beware if you have any Saints or Niners. New Orleans was saved, but will the game be?
  • Don't be surprised if Miami shows up to play Sunday night.
  • Either Flutie or Brees are on their way out.
  • Green running for green.
  • Lots of things to watch here. Too much to reprint.

College Football

Podolsky has his picks out. Too bad Ivan postponed the So Miss/Cal game. I was looking forward to earning some peanuts on that. Here's the rundown: Kentucky -1 Georgia -18.5 Syracuse +2 NC State +1.5 (best bet) Auburn -1.5 (best bet) UAB +24 Rice +1.5 ASU (even) Oklahoma -28 TCU +6 (best bet) Rich hasn't started the year very well, and his best bets are 0-5 through the first two weeks. He was 92-76-3 last year, so I'd tend to believe he's trending upward.

NHL Alternatives

The WHA is making some kind of comeback. Gretzky will send out a 4 on 4 tour. But many big names will be headed to Europe. Some like Peter Forsberg and Niklas Lidstrom, may not return.


Sports Guy has a nice non-NBA article here (It's about Entourage).

Wednesday's Football
  • What seemed to be the likely future of Warrick Dunn is becoming more obvious after Week One. All he's ever wanted was to be an everydown back and I think Mora, Jr. is giving him the opportunity and the confidence to do so.
  • Nice, free match-up index from Fanball via Yahoo. Please add grain of salt.
  • As I wrote yesterday, Proehl will remain #3, with Colbert given the chance to play the Steve Smith role.
  • Chris Brown says he'll play this week vs. Indy.
  • Here are some more grumlbings about the whole Lamont Jordan situation. Imagine how fast things will change if the 31 year old Martin is injured.
  • PFW has their matchups out. They seem a little reactionary but still something to consider.
  • Travis Taylor is out for a month.

Today's Baseball
  • The Devil Rays will lose today. Count on it. Take a picture. (They'll probably lose tomorrow too)
UPDATE: The DBacks will win too. Parlay them together. It'll pay even.
  • I finally saw the entire video of the chair throwing incident. The things that strikes me - other than the obvious - is to what length Francisco had to go to launch the chair into the seats. He seemed to be four or five deep in the scrum and had to lean around the pile to heave the chair like a Bernie Kosar or Jeff Garcia throw. No wonder he missed and cracked that lady in the nose. I also saw her husband on ESPN and he almost seemed pleased that he was going to get an opportunity to file a civil suit against a Major League Baseball player. I went looking for Francisco's 2004 salary to see who the Rangers are going to end up paying more to, him or this woman. Couldn't find it. He probably makes the minimum. I did notice his birthday is September 11th though. Happy Birthday, Frankie. Welcome to America, get a good lawyer.
  • The thing I like best about Johan Santana is that he probably won't face major surgery anytime soon. He's like Mark Mulder, only better. Kids all over the world should emulate Johan. Fastball, changeup. Left, right. Up, Down. Never down the middle. Oh, and do it left-handed.
  • FOLLOW-UP on Zack Greinke: Rob Neyer's blog has some insights. It requires an ESPN Insider login, so here's a snip:
Greinke's got excellent control, but what really distinguishes him are the variety of pitches he throws and the variety of speeds at which he throws them. He typically throws his fastball in the 88-91 range, but lately he's been muscling up more often and hitting 93 and 94 on the radar gun. He also throws, among other things, a slow curve that registers in the low 60s, and two starts ago he unveiled a really slow curveball that resembles some sort of blooper pitch.
Zack Greinke

Greinke's got two weaknesses. One, he's so young, which means we just don't know if his valuable body can withstand the stress of throwing 200 innings in one season. And two, he's given up 25 home runs in 125 major league innings. But Greinke's so smart and has so many pitches that I think he'll come up with a cure for his gopheritis. So if he stays healthy and winds up with a good team, someday he'll be a Cy Young candidate.

  • Pizza is good.
UPDATE: Art Howe has been fired, effective at the end of the season. Exactly what he was not asking for. ANOTHER UPDATE: Francisco barely speeks English. I guess he knows enough to get mad when someone tells mother jokes.

More Fantasy Football
  • With Steve Smith out indefinitely, people seem quick to pick up Muhammad but keep your eye on Keary Colbert. I don't know if they'd want to move Proehl out of the slot, 3rd WR spot and Colbert seems to be a lot like Smith, minus the experience. And a side note, remember how nice it is to have a DB like Chris Gamble to get a shot at returning kicks.
  • Doug Gabriel is talented and he hooked up with Kerry Collins for a couple of long TDs in the preseason. But he's still going to share time with Rice, at least for the immediate future.
  • Don't forget that David Terrell was once a 1st round pick (8th overall) from Michigan.
  • With Moe Williams injured and Michael Bennett still out, Onterrio Smith should get a good opportunity on Monday night. Use him while you can. He's good, but that offensive line is better.
  • Ken Dorsey looked poised during his brief stint. He's starting this week at least and ESPN has reported that Rattay has a separated shoulder. But these are 49ers so...
  • Quentin Griffin had a nice debut. And it's tough to tell how much the Cheifs defence had to do with that. People are saying that this week's matchup against the Bills will be the true test and they are right. Do what Mike Shanahan would do, try to trade Q for a first rounder like Moss.

NHL Labor

This is something I'm sure that will be explored more in the future, but as I watch this world cup final match and hear such pessimistic words from both the players and the league's representatives, it's not hard to notice that there is one basic idea that keeps us from enjoying NHL hockey on schedule. Salary Cap, aka Cost Certainty. There are so many different types of markets in the NHL and there are so many players who probably shouldn't be in the league, perhaps something as radical as the English football system could be used as a model here. The league basically already operates in this fashion de facto. Just look at all the players who have left Edmonton and Calgary because they had become "too good too afford." I'm certain that in more recent years Oilers GM Kevin Lowe and other Oiler personel people have looked at how likely a player is to want to leave Alberta for bigger markets in their player evaluations. I'm not saying that Edmonton and Calgary should be part of the B league automatically. In fact, I'd argue for just the opposite. Level the financial playing field and let the teams play for the right to belong in the NHL...

Tonight's Baseball

Keep your eye on Zack Greinke tonight at home against the Yankees. This should be a good test to see how good this guy is. The line on KC is at +210 and its not a bad shot. Careful though since Mussina has been better lately and has good career numbers at Kaufman.

Today's Football

The biggest scare owners had over the weekend was probably learning Shaun Alexander went down. Most who were watching this game had probably turned to a different one by the time this happened, although watching such an uninspired Saints team probably accomplished that well before the fourth quarter came around. Anyhow,, it sounds like he'll be okay in a few weeks. Mike Holmgren seems to think he might play this week, but I think that he may be saying that more because he's facing Monty Kiffin this week. Nonetheless, this from Len Pasquerelli struck me as an interesting note:

Shaun Alexander scored three times for Seattle but few people know that the Seahawks were kind of dangling him around the league this summer. They definitely called the Dolphins. There are some people in the organization who feel that Alexander, in the final year of his contract, isn't nearly as good as the leaguewide perception of him.

That's all Len wrote about Shaun. Here's the whole link. Plenty of good reads.

But it does bring up some interesting thoughts. Alexander is very much a between the tackles kind of runner. On the Emmitt Smith vs Barry Sanders scale he's definitely more Emmitt. Shaun breaks long runs by his vision and instinct, not so much because he makes people miss. Maurice Morris, is more of the typical west coast type. If the Seahawks are truly looking to cash in on Alexander's value (ala Shanahan with Portis), having Morris start a game or two plays right into this (see Griffin's testing late last season). Not to say that Morris is the answer. But it could open the window larger.

UPDATE: I failed to mention that this is a contract year for Alexander.


The World Cup of Hockey plays its final match tonight. People say it could be the last professional hockey for a while. I'm skeptical about that just as much as I am skeptical about the two sides reaching a timely agreement. With that said, Mikka is the key for tonight. I've been told the line on this game has Canada at -350? Can that even be right? They'll win, but in a one game decides all with Kiprusoff as the opposing goaltender, no thanks. Whichever team gets that third goal will win the trophy.

UPDATE: Three goals it is.


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