Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Does This Make Me a Bad Fan?

I am a die hard Washington Redskins fan.

I am old enough to remember watching two of the three Super Bowls in their franchise history.

I have sat through the last 23 mostly pointless seasons.

I cried when Sean Taylor died.

I cried after Chris Cooley scored three times while I was at my first live Redskins v Cowboys games which was just days after my cousin died in a car accident.

I bought a RGIII jersey for me and my newborn son and had him on my fantasy team during that magical 2012 run.

I would be happy if the 2015 Redskins lost two of their final three games this season.

You read correctly and no this does not make me a bad fan. At 6-7 the Redskins are in the catbird seat of a very underwhelming NFC East. In my mind they have already matched expectations going into the season. Would a 9-7 season and a division crown be great? Sure, of course it would. But, and this is a big but, this team is not winning a Super Bowl. They still have far too many holes, have suffered too many injuries that crippled their growing depth and just cannot compete against the best the NFL has to offer. We have already seen them get outscored by the two Super Bowl favorites (the Panthers/Patriots) 71-26. They haven't won back to back games during their last 21 games played. They just snapped a pesky nine game losing streak on the road. To win a Super Bowl they would have to not only win 8 straight games, but four more road games including road games against the same Panthers and either Arizona or Green Bay. It is not happening.

For the first time since 2012 and maybe even more so because they didn't give up draft picks recently, I can honestly say that I believe the Redskins are on a good path. They have a proven person in charge of finding talent and depth. They have a quarterback who seems to grasp an NFL style offense. They have plus talent at some key skill positions and they are not cap strung nor have they mortgaged their draft picks. All this and they are still probably two years away from hopefully being a contender. They need to bring in 20 more draft picks, avoid the injury bug, stick with Kirk Cousins and the entire coaching staff and see what happens. This is how it is done in the NFL. You can't buy a Super Bowl. It comes via the draft and continuity.

Now the reasons why I want the Redskins to lose out this season.

1) I don't want to lose to Seattle by 30 on our home field in the playoffs.

2) I want a better draft pick

3) I want an easier (in theory) schedule next year

The East is locked in as the #4 seed for this years playoffs in the NFC. The Seahawks are the current #5 seed and can't win their division. The last three times the Redskins have made the playoffs, their season has ended with a loss to Seattle. No thank you, been there done that. They aren't ready for that.


You have to get playoff experience in order to know how to win in the playoffs. Yes and no. Making the playoffs is one thing, but being good and winning 10+ games repeatedly is far more important. Let's look at the last few champions:

2010 Season

Champion Green Bay Packers went 10-6 a year after going 11-5

2011 Season

Champion New York Giants went 9-7 a year after going 10-6

2012 Season

Champion Baltimore Ravens went 10-6 a year after going 12-4

2013 Season

Champion Seattle Seahawks went 13-3 a year after going 11-5

2014 Season

Champion New England Patriots went 12-4 a year after going 12-4

So the last five champs won their Super Bowl with 10.8 wins but also won 11.2 games the previous year. Only the Giants in 2011 failed to win 10+ in a year during or before winning a Super Bowl.

Fact: The Redskins can't win 10 games this year...but a few losses will serve two purposes.

It is about time Washington builds through the draft. If you count RGIII as all but gone, the Redskins will have just one 1st or 2nd round draft pick on their roster from 2012-2014. That is embarrassing. In 2015, their first year with new GM Scot McCloughan, the Redskins actually drafted both a first round pick and a second round pick! One small step for....well you get it. Do it again in 2016 and it's a trend. Do it again in 2017 and it's a miracle. The last time (and realizing this won't help prove my points) the Redskins had three consecutive years drafted in both the first round and the second round was 1993-95. As long as the Redskins don't need to draft a QB (Heath Shuler) this strategy might actually work.

Right now Washington would draft 21st overall. With 2 or more losses to end the season, they could crack the top 12. That's the easiest way to trade up in my opinion.


Kirk Cousins is average at best. The Redskins need to draft a QB.

Go away. This is how the trouble started in 2012. Kirk is good enough to win a Super Bowl. You don't have to be Tom Brady to win a Super Bowl, hell Eli Manning won two and he's downright awful at times. You can hide an average to above average QB around a great defense and quality offensive line. I'm looking at you Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson. It takes 53 people to win a Super Bowl. The Redskins have about 20 people so far that can get them there. That's up from 10 last year. Get it to over 40 and you're in the mix.

So how do you win 10+ games? For the Redskins it will involve not having to travel to the Meadowlands more than once, to undefeated Atlanta, New England and Carolina in 2016.

 We already know 14 of the 16 opponents for Washington next year. The six games in the division and four each against the NFC and AFC North. What is up for grabs could be the difference between 9 wins and 11 wins for them next year if they keep progressing.

If the Redskins win the NFC East here is who they play:

Home vs Carolina (3 time defending NFC South Champion)
Road at Arizona (Won 10, then 11 and already with 11 wins with 3 to go last 3 seasons)

If the Redskins finish 3rd in the East here is who they play:

Home vs either Tampa Bay (Redskins beat), New Orleans (Redskins beat) or Atlanta (lost 7 of 8 since squeaking by Washington)
Road* at St. Louis Rams (Redskins beat) *Also this game would be played on a neutral site in London where I'm sure Washington fans would outnumber St. Louis fans, because St. Louis is an apathetic fan base for football.

A third place finish gets Washington 8 home games, 6 true road games and two games in London (as they are already guaranteed a 'road' game vs Cincinnati across the pond.

Current win/loss % of 2015 non-NFC East opponents: 70-60 .538
Current win/loss % of 2016 non-NFC East opp (1st place schedule): 75-55
Current win/loss % of 2016 non-NFC East opp (3rd place schedule): 62-68

It's not often you can double your wins and get a potentially much easier schedule the following year. Plus you only have to play 6 true road games!!

This is the best case scenario for the Redskins if they hope to get to double digit wins in 2016. This will lead to dreams of a 2017 Super Bowl season which is what we all want, right?

So please Washington, do us all a favor and lose to Buffalo and Philadelphia and then beat the crap out of Dallas. Lock in that 3rd seed, draft well and take advantage of a very soft 2016 schedule.

I'll see you back in Minnesota in February of 2018 where the Redskins will defend their Super Bowl crown there.

Friday, October 9, 2015

My Dream Theater

If I had all the money in the world...

How many of us have started a journal entry like this? I have just returned from watching 'The Martian' in theaters and no I'm not going to give you a review (go see it). I always have the same thought when watching movies, especially now that I'm older and have seen multiple generations worth of movies.

Why aren't there theaters that show older, similar, versions of the new movie you're going to see? I'm going to cut out all the red tape and live in a world where movie studios have worked out an agreement to share revenue made off of this idea and the SAG have done likewise for all revenue generated to be split up to the actors.

Now that we have cleared that up, here is what I would like to see:

I want theaters to offer double features for $2-$3 more where I could have watched 'The Martian' and a combination of either 'Apollo 13' 'Red Planet' or 'Mission to Mars.' Provide a 5-10 minute intermission between films and in house food/drink and you're all set for a good time.

If you assume two movies would run about 4-5 hours total you could still have time slots of 11a-3:30p 4-8:30p and 9p-1:30a. Some of the losses of less showings will be made up in food costs (just stop offering free refills for large popcorn/soda) along with alcohol costs for the adults.

Most blockbuster movies are sequels/remakes anyways nowadays so there shouldn't be an issue finding a suitable pairing of movies. This could also revitalize the dwindling numbers of Drive-Ins. It's amazing that outdoor movies are so popular during the summer, but Drive-Ins are nearing extinction. The last time I went to a Drive-In was to see the low budget, but effective thriller 'Open Water.' Imagine if they had paired that up with 'Jaws?' (which I have also watched outdoors) Don't you think the allure of seeing Jaws again on the big screen would give a bump to Open Water and bring together generations of movie watchers?

Recently I took my wife to see the original 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' on the big screen. The theater brought two of the original cast members in to sign posters and do a Q&A. I love the thinking behind this. There were older people in the audience and obviously younger people attending and the theater charged extra, but guess what, it was sold out. Now take out the Q&A and add in a screening of Johnny Depp's version for the same cost or a bit less and who would have complained? Not me.

In my life I've tried to see re-releases in theaters or at outdoor film fests as much as possible. Especially for the movies I never had a chance to see during their original theatrical run.

If you look back at the top grossing movies of 2015 what would you have paired them up with?

Jurassic World (Sequel) Pick a Jurassic movie
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Sequel) Avengers
Inside Out - Anything Disney/Pixar
Furious 7 - (Sequel) Any Fast & Furious or go outside the box with Paul Walker's 'Into the Blue'
Minions - (Spin off) Despicable Me
Cinderella (2015) (Remake) A Cinderella Story or the original Disney animated version
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (sequel) Stay in the franchise or older Tom Cruise with 'Top Gun'
Pitch Perfect 2 (sequel) Pitch Perfect since it gathered steam after it left theaters
Ant-Man (spin off) Lots of Marvel to choose from, I say the Edward Norton version of 'The Incredible Hulk'
Home (2015) Dreamworks' 'Antz'
Fifty Shades of Grey - Basic Instinct
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water - I'd go with The Rugrats Movie
Straight Outta Compton - 'Notorious' or 'Menace II Society'
San Andreas - Pick an end of the world movie like 1974's 'Earthquake' starring Charlton Heston
Mad Max: Fury Road - (Remake) Mad Max 2
The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Sequel) Divergent
Kingsman: The Secret Service - The Original Austin Powers
Spy - 'If Looks Could Kill' with Richard Greico (a guilty pleasure of mine)
Trainwreck - How about 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'
Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sequel) or 'Casper' with Christina Ricci
Tomorrowland - You could stay safe with Disney or go with 1973's 'Westworld'
Get Hard - Black/white buddy films...I'm going 'Money Talks'
Terminator: Genisys (Sequel/Prequel) 'The Terminator'
Taken 3 - (Sequel) Taken or a more classic good guy vs all the bad guys like 'Dirty Harry'
Ted 2 - (Sequel) Ted or the cult classic 'Meet the Feebles'
Pixels - 'Wreck-It Ralph' or 'The Wizard' with Fred Savage
Paddington - 1998's 'Madeline'
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sequel) Paul Blart
The Martian - 'Apollo 13' 'Red Planet' 'Mission To Mars'
Magic Mike XXL (Sequel) Magic Mike or 'The Full Monty'
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Sequel) Maze Runner or 'Cube' because you probably missed it

 The options are really endless as Hollywood continues to regurgitate the same story lines, but updated with better special effects and higher budgets. Bringing back movies of your parents generation would help keep people going to the theaters for years to come. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NFL Crystal Ball 2015

The only question that should be on your mind is: 'Can he do it for a third straight season?'

Let's look back at my Super Bowl prediction from two years ago... HERE

And then for good measure, last year... HERE

Two years in a row I picked the correct teams in the upcoming Super Bowl and two years in a row I picked the wrong outcome.

I made my all too early Super Bowl prediction again at the end of last year and it was Green Bay over Indianapolis, but that was before Frank Gore was brought to Indy and before Jordy Nelson tore his ACL for the Packers. So much has changed so I went back to my XBOX this past weekend and played every single NFL game to come up with another practically perfect prediction.

The one part about my predictions that never come true is the individual performers. My breakouts become busts and my busts challenge for MVPs. No worries, I'm a results oriented person and nobody can take away my playoff predictions from a year ago (especially the AFC bracket).

Here are your 2015 break out candidates:

QB - Teddy Bridgewater - probably because I follow way too many people from the Minnesota area on Twitter for someone who lives in Virginia, but I'm on board with everything Teddy and the Vikings this year. AP is back, Kyle Rudolph will be healthy and the wide receivers can't be as awful as they were last season as a group. The playbook will open up and Bridgewater will flourish. 27 TD passes and 3 more on the ground for Teddy.

RB - Isaiah Crowell - Everyone and their mother is picking Duke Johnson to be the Browns running back to own in fantasy football, but not me. Sure he will get his touches, but Crowell gets the first shot and with a healthy Browns offensive line, it'll be his breakout season, not Johnson. 10 rushing touchdowns for him on the season.

WR - I'm not going to chicken out here, but it seems like everyone is picking from the group of Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, John Brown and DeVante Parker. Who is left to choose? Do I go other obvious rookies like Amari Cooper, Nelson Agholor or Devin Funchess? How about vets in new places like Jeremy Maclin or Andre Johnson? No I'm going with Allen Robinson of your favorite team that you forget is in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars. As I explained to a fellow fantasy drafter, he is the number one WR in Jacksonville and not Allen Hurns. 1100 yards and 8 touchdowns for the true Allen.

Here are your 2015 bust candidates:

QB - Russell Wilson - Yeah he got Jimmy Graham and yeah he can run like the wind, but cracks are forming for the Seahawks. The offensive line is in shambles, Wilson has suffered a concussion and thinks he can fix it with water and the team will still lean on Marshawn Lynch. This year Wilson misses 2 games and struggles at other times as he doesn't live up to his high fantasy rating. 19 total touchdowns.

RB - So many choices: DeMarco Murray who is bound to injure himself after his 9000 touches last season? LeSean McCoy who is already injured and on the Bills? Alfred Morris who everyone assumes will be relegated to a backup role my Week 6 in Washington? AP who missed a full year and passed 30 years of age? Matt Forte who will catch about half the passes as he did last year with a new offensive coordinator? Justin Forsett who could be a one year wonder when we look back? More rookie busts like previous seasons with Melvin Gordon and T.J. Yeldon? Well I'm going off the board with Mark Ingram. I actually think the Saints will surprise, but it will have to be an entire team effort. The Saints just do not lean on a single running back for a whole season. He fails to top 1000 yards and scores just 6 times.

WR - Alshon Jeffrey - As go the Bears horrible season goes the production level of the already injured Jeffrey. He is fully elevated to the #1 WR in Chicago as Brandon Marshall has left for New York so he gets all the attention from defenses and he still has Jay Cutler throwing to him (at least until Cutler is benched in Week 7 as the season becomes lost).

MVP - Andrew Luck narrowly edges out a pissed off Tom Brady

Here are your future 2015 NFL Standings:


Philadelphia Eagles 11-5

Dallas Cowboys 10-6New York Giants 8-8
Washington Redskins 6-10 


Green Bay Packers 11-5

Detroit Lions 10-6
Minnesota Vikings 9-7
Chicago Bears 4-12


New Orleans Saints 12-4 

Atlanta Falcons 8-8 
Carolina Panthers 5-11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-12


Arizona Cardinals 11-5

Seattle Seahawks 9-7
St. Louis Rams 4-12
San Francisco 49ers 4-12


New England Patriots 13-3

Miami Dolphins 9-7
Buffalo Bills 7-9
New York Jets 3-13


Baltimore Ravens 10-6

Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6
Cleveland Browns 6-10


Indianapolis Colts 13-3 

Houston Texans 8-8
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12
Tennessee Titans 3-13


Denver Broncos 12-4
Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

San Diego Chargers 7-9
Oakland Raiders 6-10



1. New Orleans 12-4
2. Green Bay 11-5
3. Philadelphia 11-5
4. Arizona 11-5
5. Dallas 10-6
6. Detroit 10-6

Wild Card Round:

Arizona over Dallas
Philadelphia over Detroit

Divisional Round:

Arizona over New Orleans
Green Bay over Philadelphia

NFC Championship:

Green Bay over Arizona


1. Indianapolis 13-3
2. New England 13-3
3. Denver 12-4
4. Baltimore 10-6
5. Kansas City 10-6
6. Cincinnati 10-6

Wild Card Round:

Kansas City over Baltimore
Denver over Cincinnati

Divisional Round:

Indianapolis over Kansas City
New England over Denver

AFC Championship:

Indianapolis over New England

Super Bowl:

Green Bay over Indianapolis 27-24 - Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Samuel L. Jackson and 2015 Fantasy Football

'I'm tired of these motherfucking blogs about this motherfucking fantasy football!'

I am pretty certain this was the exact quote Samuel L. Jackson used in the director's cut of 'Snakes on a Plane.' What an entertaining flick that was, but that is what usually happens when one sits down to watch one of the roughly 8,000 movies Jackson has appeared in over the last three decades. He's not always the star, but he usually leaves a lasting impression on the viewer with every minute of screen time he receives. There is, after all, a reason he gets as many roles as he does year in and year out.

As for me, I'm far less entertaining as you will soon find out (way to sell your post high there Jason). Every year I pick a famous Hollywood personality and tie their movie career into some of the hot button topics surrounding the upcoming fantasy football season. Last year I chose Tom Hanks and with mixed results I tried to best guess how the 2014 fantasy football season would unfold. Luckily for me I didn't follow my own advice writing that DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster would be busts. They were my first two draft picks in my 14 team league as I went 10-3 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs to capture my 5th championship in the 17 year history of the league. Now don't get me wrong I also followed my advice of waiting on a quarterback. I took Jay Cutler late and he was just average enough to allow my studs to win games.

My rule for leagues of 12 or more teams: drafting RBs early can easily lose your league for you, but if those picks work out you will have a distinct advantage over those who take a QB/TE/WR combination with their first few picks. I won't always get lucky drafting the #1 and #5 overall running backs with the 14th and 15th picks of a draft. Once again I find myself drafting #14 overall and I might, just might be forced into picking backwards if possible studs aren't around. I won't have my full draft strategy until pick 12 of my draft at the earliest. Keep that in mind, when you are drafting, you must be ready to go to plan B or C immediately.

Before getting to the crux of my article, I provide for you my top 5 movies with Samuel L. Jackson in it:

5. A Long Kiss Goodnight

4. Unbreakable

3. Die Hard: With a Vengeance

2. Pulp Fiction (I'm beginning to think I have an affinity for Bruce Willis and Sam together)

1. Jurassic Park

I skipped out all the new age Marvel movies where Jackson has bit roles for the most part and Goodfellas, because although I've watched it a handful of times, cannot recall Jackson's role. I did want to include The Incredibles though, because that is such a fun movie.

Onto my preview of the 2015 Fantasy Football season, starring the one, the only Samuel L. Jackson:

Patriot Games

As has become my tradition, I tie in the first movie with the defending Super Bowl champions. Patriot Games was the second of the Jack Ryan movies (now at five) made, but the first of the Harrison Ford pair. It isn't the best of the bunch (Clear and Present Danger, Hunt for Red October and Sum of All Fears are better IMO) and Samuel L. Jackson isn't in it for very long, but here we are. I'll always remember my father asking me while driving back in 1994 when I was 16 'Do you want to see Patriot games?' I assumed we were moving to the Boston area because I took it as a sports related question, not knowing anything about the Tom Clancy books.

This past year the New England Patriots returned to glory after the Seattle Seahawks inexplicably passed the ball on the one yard line late in the fourth quarter. As happy and joyous as winning the Super Bowl has been for the Patriots, the off season has been the exact opposite. With endless questions surrounding 'Deflategate', the Patriots saw their owner get duped by the NFL Commissioner and then their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady receive a four game suspension for basically getting a new phone. I said it from the beginning this was basically a suspension for everything the Patriots franchise has been accused of (and found guilty of) since Brady has been in the league.

What does this mean for all the skill position Patriots in 2015? Not too much really. Gronk is still the highest and most valuable fantasy draft option for them. As long as he stays on the field he is good for nearly a touchdown a game (73 games, including playoffs, 61 touchdowns). The wide receiving corps of Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell will be more than serviceable, especially with the absence of the 77 targets and 52 receptions that Shane Vereen took with him to the New York Giants. It really doesn't matter for four games whether it is Tom Brady passing or Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots are a well-oiled machine and the stars will get their numbers. As for the running backs, well that is a horse of a different color. Each week you could have a different hero and goat. The 2014 Patriots had four backs gain between 281-412 yards and those four combined for 12 rushing touchdowns. What a mess. You can't even hope for one being a bye week fill-in for your starter because even up until game time you just don't know who will touch the ball.

As for Brady, sure you have to knock him back a round or two because of the suspension, but don't let him fall too far because you can always plug in Carson Palmer or Joe Flacco for the first quarter of the season and survive. Don't let him slip too far.

Deep Blue Sea(ttle)

I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself for this play on the title of a much underrated action/adventure movie. It has sharks, L.L. Cool J talking to a bird, science you could probably poke a million holes in and probably the third most memorable Samuel L. Jackson monologue scene ever behind his Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane speeches. I won't ruin the fun of the scene if you haven't watched it before. As for the title of the movie, it is just perfect for what had to be the mood for fans of Seattle after that goal line interception. It was such a strange decision for a team that had the second most rushing attempts and fewest passing attempts in the NFL.

They rely so much on their run game and defense. IT WAS ONE FLIPPIN' YARD!!! You feel me don't you Seattle? No NFL play will be as scrutinized as that one. That is a fact.

Have no fear Seattle, sunny days will return. Okay maybe not in reality, but on the football field at least. Your defense is still top notch. Your quarterback was recently overpaid, but he gets the job done (EXCEPT ON THE GOAL LINE WITH THE SUPER BOWL ON THE LINE YOU IDIOT JASON). Marshawn Lynch is another year older with another 380 or so touches under his belt. The wide receivers are still forgettable, but the Seahawks did tinker with their tight end position.

Jimmy Graham is now a Seattle Seahawk. A square peg into a round hole? An overreaction to that Super Bowl play? Just what Russell Wilson needed to become an elite fantasy quarterback? Therein lies the million dollar question. Just how will these two mesh? Last season Doug Baldwin saw just over 21% of all the pass attempts by Wilson which was the most on the team. Could Graham eclipse 30% in 2015 which would equate to 135 targets? He averaged 137.75 over his last four years in New Orleans so that is what it would take. With the already built in running threat and the scramble ability of Wilson I figure Jimmy Graham will be seeing a lot of man coverage with help over the top. He will be a PPR monster and his usual goal line beast self. The thought of him being in Seattle will cause his ADP to drop a bit (currently a late 3rd round pick on ESPN) which will make somebody very happy.

As for Wilson, he'll have to nearly duplicate his rushing stats 800+ yards and scores (6) to be fully trusted #1 QB. The system just won't allow for him to reach upper echelon passing statistics. Jimmy Graham will help, but I have to believe that 200-300 of Wilson's scramble yards will turn into passing yards and that will lower his fantasy points. Wilson is a middle of the pack at best #1 starter who will have games in that rugged NFC West where it devolves into 'ground and pound' and the Seahawks focus squarely on not making a big mistake.

The Great White Hype

A forgettable movie for me and I'm sure one that Samuel L. Jackson would like back, but that's what happens sometimes in the movie making business. Even with an above average cast with a strong background of work, sometimes it just doesn't come together even if it looks great on paper. This brings me to topic number three: rookies. For every Peyton Manning #1 overall in 1998 you get a Ryan Leaf #2 overall in 1998. For every Ki-Jana Carter #1 overall in 1995 you get a Curtis Martin #74 overall in 1995. For every Rod Gardner #15 overall in 2001 you get a Reggie Wayne #30 overall in 2001.

If the 2012 Draft was the year of the quarterback (Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson) and 2014 was the year of the Wide Receiver (ODB, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin) could the 2015 class finally produce a good crop of running backs?

Todd Gurley drafted by the St. Louis Rams who already have Tre Mason who as a rookie last year came on strong down the stretch of the season. Gurley who is recovering from a torn ACL may or may not be ready for the start of the season. He may or may not be the #1 running back in St. Louis when he is healthy. I'm not getting burned by those question marks.

Melvin Gordon drafted by the San Diego Chargers who also were led by a rookie running back last season in Branden Oliver has a much better chance to be a star right away. The starting job is probably his which already makes him intriguing. People don't trust rookie RBs in the fantasy world for good reason so if he drops just enough, he could be quite the steal for an owner who goes non-RB with their first two picks.

T.J. Yeldon drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Good - he could and should be the starter. Bad - he is on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Do you remember how well Toby Gerhart did last year? Denard Robinson fared a bit better in spots, but the team is a mess. Yeldon will be drafted too high for my liking because of the possibilities. He may do well but I'm not risking a RB2 slot on him.

Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman, Duke and David Johnson all have the same problem: they are slotted to start as the backup behind an average at best starting running back. All of them will get their chances to shine in 2015 whether it be from injury, poor performance or just being their turn to tote the rock. These are the top RB4s to stash on your bench for a rainy day from this year’s draft class.

As for Wide Receivers there are another interesting crop coming to play this season. Because of last year’s success they might get an unfair bump in ADP which will lessen their value. Kevin White steps in for the departed Brandon Marshall in Chicago (and then suddenly gets injured and will miss at least the first six weeks of the season). Amari Cooper becomes another in a long line of high draft picks for the Oakland Raiders. DeVante Parker gets the role that Mike Wallace once had. Nelson Agholor jumps in feet first to the run and fun style of Chip Kelly and takes the spot of Jeremy Maclin. For wide receivers who will have ample opportunity to be a fantasy WR2 or better, but best be drafted as you WR3 or later. It'll be a fine line come draft night as to whether they show up on my roster.

At Quarterback this year you get another #1 and #2 overall debate: Jameis or Marcus? I'll take neither thank you. If I had to guess who will be the 'Peyton Manning' and who will be the 'Ryan Leaf' of the two I'd give Mariota the Manning card.

Die Hard: With a Vengeance 

I love this film. Academy Award caliber, no, but that isn't what you hope for in a Die Hard movie. You want a sassy, tough as nails John McClane up against an evil henchman who seems to have everything under control up until it's too late to realize he was never in control. Yipee-kay-yay!! The third installment showed a washed up Bruce Willis who everyone thought he was a joke of a cop and a person prove he had another great effort in him. This brings me to our next topic: veterans who might still surprise.

Reggie Bush - He is just 30 years old, but in the NFL he is ancient. Last season was a disaster for him in Detroit, but now he finds himself in San Francisco. Frank Gore is gone (more on that later) making way for Carlos Hyde. Reggie Bush could settle in to the 3rd down back where he could thrive as a pass catcher. There are worse players to take a flyer on with a late round pick (especially in a PPR league).

Frank Gore - Speaking of Gore he once again proved me wrong by piecing together another solid season. He leaves the boring 49ers offense and gets to possibly excel in a wide open Colts attack. Defense won't be able to crowd the line so even at the ripe old age of 32 he could easily surpass his numbers from a year ago and be a upper echelon RB2 for you.

Vincent Jackson - Coming off a down year where he was overshadowed by a rookie, the 32 year old Jackson is primed for a slight bounce back. He won't be the focus of the secondary and he is bound to catch more than two touchdown passes. He still shouldn't be anything more than a WR3 for you with upside.

Carson Palmer - How many times have you heard 'If he can just stay healthy?' This is all you need to know about Palmer. If he plays, he'll do well. Do you realize Carson Palmer was 6-0 as a starter last year with an on pace average of 4300 yards, and 29 touchdowns over a 16 game season? He could be yours in the 10th round or later easy as well. How lucky do you feel?


This might be a stretch, but when I think about the Norse mythology of the Thor I think of the Minnesota Vikings mascot. After all he is based on Ragnar Lodbrok who 'was a legendary Norse ruler, king, and hero from the Viking Age' according to Wikipedia. See, it all makes sense now right?

As for the 2014 Minnesota Vikings, if you drafted any of their key players for your fantasy football team, you more than likely didn't win many games. Adrian Peterson played just one game last season after being a consensus top 5 pick. His off the field issues have been resolved in the eyes of the NFL, but he is still a jackass in my eyes. Then there was Cordarrelle Patterson who flopped miserably as an up and coming wide receiver. He was joined by Kyle Rudolph in the tight end slot who suffered through an injury plagued season. Three players, three failed seasons all for different reasons.

The gang is all back together for another fun filled season. Adrian Peterson will be yet another top 5 pick, but nobody know how the year off will affect him. Hopefully there are no more skeletons in his closet as well. Patterson will be the #2 or #3 WR behind Mike Wallace (who swapped places with Greg Jennings) and possibly Chris Johnson who could be a sneaky pick if he falls far enough. Kyle Rudolph gets another chance to be paired with coach Norv Turner who is supposed to be the tight end guru.

The key to how this will all work will hinder on the right arm of second year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who might just be the league’s best kept secret. While everything in Minnesota was falling apart around him, Teddy held his own in his rookie year. With that out of the way, an expanded playbook, a hall of fame caliber running back and God given natural talent, Bridgewater is poised for a breakthrough season. Should you draft him as your starting QB in your draft? Hell no. Don't get me wrong I'm not going all-in on him just yet, but I would love to have him in my back pocket if I waited to grab Eli Manning or Tony Romo as my starter.

The Hateful Eight

For the first time in my five year history of doing this mash-up of movies and fantasy football I am including a movie that hasn't been released. The Hateful Eight is the next Quentin Tarintino movie and I cannot wait for it to come out. The plot is described as a bunch of all around mean and dangerous people stuck in a cabin during a blizzard where all types of mayhem breaks loose. Giggity! Let me guess, long scenes of exquisite dialogue mixed with violent bloodshed? I'm in. As for the title, I used this to give you eight players I am staying away from this year. Let's call it the Frank Gore list because of all the abuse I have given him over the last few years, but he just won't fade away!

 DeMarco Murray - Yes the overall #1 fantasy running back from last year. I'm not touching him. He had the sixth most touches in NFL history last season when everything went right. He was behind a dominant offensive line, he had nobody vying for playing time behind him and he had a predictable coach who leaned on Murray in a contract year when he pretty much knew he wasn't coming back. Now Murray is in Philadelphia who doesn't run the ball at the same rate as Dallas (42% to 50%). Murray saw 77% of the Cowboys rushes last season. The top Eagles back from last season, LeSean McCoy saw just 65.8% of the rushes. Philadelphia also has Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews in the backfield to eat away at some playing time to keep Murray fresh in the up tempo scheme. All signs point to some major regression and a hamstring problem.

Calvin Johnson - For three straight years all of the important numbers for Megatron have decreased. Games played, targets, receptions and yards receiving all down. That is not good for a receiver who is about to turn 30. Fantasy owners don't see nor do they care about this. They see the name and they want him. He is still going mid to late 2nd round in fantasy drafts. There are far too many younger receivers with the same upside to pick before Johnson.

Mark Ingram - This could be the one that comes back to haunt me. It's not that I don't believe in what Ingram could be, I just don't trust the Saints this year. More importantly I don't trust Sean Payton. The last time the Saints had a 1000 yard rusher was Payton first year coaching in 2006. I certainly think Ingram has the best chance anyone has had since then to eclipse that mark, but I'm not risking a late 2nd round pick/early 3rd on that. Add into the fact that C.J. Spiller was brought in to be the 3rd down back and then some, I just am too weary. The Saints won't be a pass happy team, but my fear of Payton keeps Ingram off my teams.

Andre Johnson - New city. Better quarterback. Andre Johnson is back!!! Hmmmmm, no. His numbers have dropped just like Calvin Johnson over the last three years and he has just turned 34. The Colts have brought in Frank Gore to help balance out their offense. They already have T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener and Donte Moncrief. There is only one ball to go around. Andre Johnson has not been a part of an offense like this. Temper your expectations folks. Don't let the glow of Andrew Luck's star blind you into wasting a fourth round pick.

Brandon Marshall - Pssst Brandon Marshall is now a New York Jet. Yes the same Jets who just lost their starting quarterback to a broken jaw in a locker room fight. Remember what happened to Eric Decker when he left Peyton Manning? This isn't going to end well. He's also going in the sixth round of most drafts. That's just silly talk. The Jets are awful and are already on their backup quarterback for the first quarter of the season. Go younger, take another running back or your QB here.

Drew Brees - Did I mention that I'm down on the Saints this year. Call it fear of the unknown. Just how will they look without Jimmy Graham? Graham was such an important cog in that offense I am struggling trying to figure out what we will see this season from Brees and company. Payton has threatened to run more and why not? On one side you have an aging Marques Colston and on the other side you have a young, unknown in Brandin Cooks who missed six games to injury during his rookie year. Like Calvin Johnson, fantasy owners will still see the name 'Drew Brees' and think of the good old days and reach a bit too early for him. This will be a down year for him and for you as well if you draft him as your starting quarterback.

Devonta Freeman - Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman? Is there a correct answer in Atlanta this season? Early drafts on ESPN seem to favor Tevin Coleman, but as I look at other websites, it is still rather muddled. This is how I feel the Atlanta backfield right now. I'll definitely keep an eye on these two during the preseason, but right now I'm steering clear.

Bishop Sankey - Okay this one is just personal. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice I hate you forever. I don't want to hear the excuses about the Titans sucking last year and dragging Sankey down with them. They won't be that much better even with Marcus Mariota but even if they are I won't reap the rewards of a refreshed Sankey, because I'm not touching him.

Kiss of Death

 How did I miss this film? Shame on me. Maybe it is good, maybe is sucks, but I completely let it pass me by. This brings me to my next topic: Sleepers. If you aren't paying attention you just might miss a gem. Of course if you do go out to see that unknown movie that everyone says is going to be so great you just might come back disappointed and a few bucks poorer. I think back to the movie 'To Die For' with Nicole Kidman. What a heap of crap that turned out to be, but all I heard was how it couldn't miss. You hear that Bishop Sankey?? I'm so bitter.

Of course I've rarely picked a good sleeper which also bring the title of this topic home. As soon as I put these names down, they are destined to fail. This will be their 'kiss of death.'

David Johnson (RB) Arizona Cardinals - As a bitter owner of Andre Ellington I know that it is just a matter of time until the rookie out of Northern Iowa gets his chance. You could probably snag him somewhere between the 9th and 12th rounds depending on your league size and wind up with a starting RB for 4-6 weeks while Ellington is nursing yet another lower body injury.

Sam Bradford (QB) Philadelphia Eagles - As a fantasy owner I'm stuck between knowing he'll get injured and knowing he'll be in the Pro Bowl. I've seen how Chip Kelly's scheme turns the average quarterback into something special. Sam Bradford can be very special as long as he stays upright. You could do a whole lot worse with the 22nd quarterback drafted as he is currently going on ESPN.

Donte Moncrief (WR) Indianapolis Colts - We saw the flashes of greatness last season. Then he disappeared. Then the Colts brought in Andre Johnson. So much for that. Well that's where the definition of 'sleeper' comes in to play. My lack of faith in Andre Johnson and the ability of the Colts to score at will makes me confident enough to snag Moncrief as my WR4 and reap the rewards mid-season.


 I feel like this is the most underrated of the really good M. Night Shyamalan movies. Don't laugh. Obviously there is The Sixth Sense, but I enjoyed Signs and to a lesser extent, but nonetheless The Village. Unfortunately he has turned into what Tiger Woods has become. We all know the talent is there, but as time goes on and the failures pile up you just don't believe he'll ever be good again. Of course this is why we keep buying tickets to watch both of them, just in case they hit lightning in a bottle. The ceiling is so high which make hitting rock bottom so painful to see.

For this topic I will cover the tantalizing option who happens to suffer from the injury bug. You can name this the 'Fragile' Fred Taylor category.

I start in Washington, home of the walking wounded. Lead member, and the perfect poster boy for this category is:

Jordan Reed (TE) - Week in and week out I watch the Redskins hoping for a return to glory. I am always disappointed. Every time Jordan Reed steps onto the field I watch for the hope that he makes it through the game injury free. I am always disappointed. I'll keep my eye on him and stash him on my bench...just in case.

Percy Harvin (WR) - If there is one franchise that makes me happy to be a Redskins fan it has to be the Buffalo Bills. They made a big splash by bringing in Rex Ryan and then LeSean McCoy. Well Percy Harvin finds himself in the land of the bad sports teams with probably his last chance to stay in the NFL. He's been injured on the field, he's been a malcontent off the field. But we all remember him in the Super Bowl. We know the talent is there. We will keep drafting him in the hopes of the glory days of just two years ago.

Jonathan Stewart (RB) - Just as one 'Daily Show' is ending, another one gets his big shot to finally be the one and the only lead back in Carolina. When he returned from his 82nd* career injury (*approximation) last season I added him to my roster because why not? I knew he could perform and when he actually did it was a welcome surprise. If you knew that Stewart would play all 16 games in 2015 how high would you draft him? Think about that when you see him still available in Round 3 or 4.

Hey look another spot where I could've talked about Sam Bradford. Maybe he should be the poster boy for 'Injuries 'R Us'.

For QB outside of Bradford please consider Carson Palmer (plagued, but has talent) or RGIII (plagued, but has issues) for you backup quarterback.

The Other Guys

 I saw this in theaters. I laughed. I barely remember anything about it. I swear it had its moments, but what they were I have no clue. I couldn't tell you if Samuel L. Jackson was a primary character, a secondary character or a voice-over. This is pretty rare for me. It has to be the early signs of getting old.

I've covered a good sampling of players who could be difference makers either for the good or for the bad for your fantasy team this season, but I missed quite a few. Let me briefly touch on some of..wait for it...the other guys.

 Shame on me for ignoring the machine that is the Green Bay Packers. I think the rule should be: you can't draft too many Packers. Aaron Rodgers? Money in the bank. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb? So Good. Eddie Lacy? Dominant. You really can't go wrong.

 The Miami Dolphins seem to be on everyone's list of breakout potential. Starting with QB Ryan Tannehill who has seen his numbers get drastically better year over year. As he gets better, he'll make Jarvis Landry better and in turn open up the running game led by a very inconsistent Lamar Miller. I can easily see these three being big time swing players for fantasy teams. Either the hype will bubble and you'll lose all value or they will stay under the radar and pay off. Before you draft check to see how these three have moved over the last 7-14 days and act accordingly. You do want to get at least one of them on your team.

The Oakland Raiders...are still a NFL team somehow.

Although they suffered through a very disappointing season record wise the New York Giants rediscovered a potent offense. Eli Manning threw for the 2nd most yards and touchdowns of his career. This was obviously due in large part to the team utilizing rookie Odell Beckham Jr. as soon as Victor Cruz went down who responding with seven games of 100+ yards receiving (out of 12) with a touchdown per game average. In the backfield Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings combined for 1360 yards and 11 touchdowns which would be fine for any individual player, but neither proved to be good enough to haul the entire load. This could be why the Giants brought in Shane Vereen. No not to run the ball, but to continue to be the best 3rd down back in the NFL. Jennings and Williams can now focus their plodding efforts on 1st and 2nd down and Vereen can continue to catch 50 passes a year and be a worthy PPR league pick. The big question is can the passing game repeat the magic and will a running back emerge? Also can Victor Cruz return to any level of stardom? Eli Manning will be fine and will surely finish higher than 12th best QB which is where he is going in standard ESPN leagues. ODB will probably regress a bit with a better cast around him and the focus squarely on him this season, but still be a viable WR1 in all formats.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the definition of 'The Other Guys.' I mean, they can be good or mediocre and they get the same national coverage because nobody takes the seriously. This is in due large part to the 'Red Rifle' Andy Dalton. Just when you thought he was ready to make the stride to trusted fantasy option he regressed to worse numbers than his rookie year. Let's compare:

2011 3398 yards, 20 TD, 13 INTS

2014 3398 yards, 19 TD, 17 INTS

'12/'13 average: 3981 yards, 30 TD, 18 INTS

The key stats for me were passing attempts and completion %: Dalton attempted 35 FEWER passes than he had in his four year career, but set a high for completion % at 64.2. This tells me that the Bengals were worried about his INTs so they reined him in by throwing safer passes and fewer deeper passes. His yards/completion were the lowest of his career which solidifies my thought process.

Unless Andy Dalton can regain the trust of his coaching staff, he'll be relegated to a backup role in the fantasy world. 

A.J. Green missed three games, but even when he played his numbers were slightly down over his career as you would expect with the 'safer' play calling. His numbers were close to his rookie year in per game averages which also happened to be Dalton's rookie year as well. They are literally two peas in a pod. For Green to live up to his billing of a top 10 fantasy receiver the Bengals had better learn to live with the ups and downs of letting Dalton air it out.

The backfield is nearly equally as jumbled. Yes Jeremy Hill splashed onto the scene around Week 8 in his rookie season. Through the seventh week his average stat line was: 7 carries for 27 yards and he had scored just 2 touchdowns. In the final 9 games his average was: 19 carries for 103 yards with 7 touchdowns. Quite a leap. All the hype. Will he top 1300 yards and 12+ touchdowns as is expected with his late first round/early second price tag? I just can't see that happening as long as Gio Bernard continues to get 10 rushes a game and plays on 3rd down. I see Hill matching his rookie year at best this season.

Rules of Engagement/The Negotiator/Changing Lanes/Pulp Fiction

 A foursome of movies for my final topic.

Rules of Engagement was a run of the mill military movie where the topic of discussion was whether shooting upon people trying to get into a U.S. embassy was illegal or not.

When it comes to your fantasy football draft, there are no rules...put your shirt back on, okay there's just one rule. (Love that commercial). Old school with heavy RB drafting? I'm cool with that. Zero RB strategy which is the new age? Sure why not? All I can ever tell you is to know the rules of your league and adjust your cheat sheet accordingly. Just because ESPN/CBS/Yahoo! have a cheat sheet for a 10 team league with a flex and 0.5 PPR, doesn't mean that will help me in my 14 team, 3rd round reverse, no flex, no PPR league. Picks will be similar, but when every pick is extremely important, you cannot afford to make too many mistakes.

The Negotiator is, in my opinion, a much underappreciated movie. Maybe I'm just a sucker for Kevin Spacey in it. It's one of those movies that I have to watch if I come across it on television.

 Changing Lanes is one of those movies, on the other hand, which I watched once and never gave a second thought to. It was fine, but it involved people from two different walks of lives figuring out they needed to work together to help make each out a better person. Meh.

These translate to fantasy football in a very easy way. Please trade. Please negotiate. Please be active. Don't waste your leagues time by checking out after a 0-2 or 2-5 start. Give it your all for 13 or 14 weeks. Your roster should be nearly fluid save for 2-3 roster spots. Sometimes you'll trade away a play who is about to break out, but sometimes you'll trade him just before he breaks down.

Pulp Fiction was a game changer for me. I think I could easily list the three movies that stand out as the most profound for me being the movie addict that I am:

 1991: Terminator 2: Judgement Day 

My first R rated movie in the theaters, but what registered with me was grand scale of the action. My dad took his then 13 year old son and I was blown away. I had never seen a movie with effects like that. It opened a world of watching blockbusters in theaters. I love to see the explosions and the world ending on the big screen.

 1992: Rear Window

I was in an 8th grade Theater Arts class and our teacher exposed us to the world of Alfred Hitchcock. I was mesmerized by the style, the characters and subtle suspense. The summer after 8th grade I went through Hitchcock's entire filmography in what one could describe as pre-Netflix age binge watching. Now all suspense movies aim to be dubbed 'Hitchcockian' but for my money nothing tops the original.  

1994: Pulp Fiction

New age film noir? Quentin Tarantino as I described with The Hateful Eight above meshed together lengthy scenes of dialogue with over the top brutal violence while presenting very detailed and imaginative characters. This along with Kevin Smith's 'Clerks' opened me up to the world of R rated movies. Violence, language and hopefully a great story.    

I didn't really have anything more to say about fantasy football, but I had to get Pulp Fiction into this somehow.  

Best of luck to everyone this year and may your office productivity not suffer too much on Monday's as you discuss your fantasy stats with your office mates.