Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fantasy baseball Weekend Wrap

Bat Of The Weekend: Brandon Phillips – 6/12, 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB

Phillips went 30-30 in a breakout 2007 campaign and entered 2008 as the top rated second baseman in some preseason rankings. Phillips got off to a slow start from a power perspective but is really beginning to turn it on as we head into May. The Reds’ 2B is a legitimate 30-30 threat and one of the elite players at his position.

Arm Of The Weekend: James Shields 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (CG, W)

James Shields was nasty Sunday afternoon in Tampa, throwing a complete game 2 hitter and in the process giving the Rays their first series sweep of the rival Red Sox. Don’t look now but the Rays starting pitching ranks among the best in baseball and will only improve once Scott Kazmir returns in early May....wierd to read. I know.

Worst Weekend: Giovany Soto - 0/8, 8 K



Josh Hamilton - 8/13, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Nate McLouth – 4/12, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI - PRINCE's MINIONS
David Murphy – 6/13, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI
Matt Kemp – 5/12, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Alex Rios – 7/13, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SB - PRINCE's MINIONS

I had a nice weekend having had two of the weekends Studs starting on my team. Obviously if you can pick up any of these guys you should do so. If you're in a deep league I'm guessing you won't have a chance at picking up any of these guys. If that's the case monitor them through most of this week and if they continue to produce like this you may want to think about swinging a trade. If your league isn't that deep you might be able to pick up Kemp or Murphy but dont' count on it.

Pat Maholm – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Vicente Padilla – 9 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Jonathon Sanchez – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (W)
Brian Burres – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (W)
Chien-Ming Wang – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (W)

Billy Wagner – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 Saves

Boy I could have used any one of these guys for my pitching staff this weekend. Personally of the bunch I like Wang and Padilla the most. I think you can look for those two to keep it going most consistently of the group. So if you have to decide between them my advice is with Padilla or Wang but all are pitching well right now. Also Wagner gave up his first hit of the year this weekend. All I have to say is, "Wow".


Alex Gordon - 1/11, 6 K
Casey Blake – 0/9, 5 K
Jim Thome – 1/9, 6 K
Gary Matthew Jr. – 0/10, 3 K - PRINCE's MINIONS
Kevin Youklis – 0/10, 3 K

YIKES! With most of these guys I wouldn't be too concerned. I'm leaving GMJ in my starting lineup and I think most of you can afford to do the same with these struggling players.

Barry Zito – 3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (L)
Livan Hernandez – 2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K(L)
Matt Morris – 1.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (L)
Miguel Batista – 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (L)
Ubaldo Jimenez – 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (ND)

Bob Howry – 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (L)

That's ugly. These struggling pitchers I would treat differently than the struggling hitters. I think with Zito, Livan, and Morris you need to drop immediately. Livan hasn't been good in a while while Barry Zito’s latest debacle moved him to 0-6 and possibly the bullpen and Matt Morris finds himself out of a job. As far as Howry concerned he looks to be out of the mix for closer now and Marmol will probably be up next. Which works great for me because I have Marmol! If you can pick up or acquire Carlos Marmol at this point you may want to consider it. He will get you a lot of K's, a great K/9, he has an ERA of 1.65 and a WHIP of .8 so I don't see what's not to like. Plus, I see him succeeding as a closer in Chi-Town. He's got the stuff.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Chiefs Are HUGE Draft Day Winners

As I watched the NFL Draft the past two days, I just hoped that the Chiefs would bring in someone that would make the Jared Allen trade worth while. I was maybe one of the only Chiefs fans not happy with the trade, and while I still am not 100 percent happy with the move, I definitely can live with it now.

First Round

If you have to give up a great defensive player in Jared Allen, no doubt getting the best defensive player in the draft is worth it and thats what the Chiefs got in Glenn Dorsey. Taught under the tenacious coaching of Bo Pelini, Dorsey is a guy that can just flat out push over offensive linemen. He will definitely be the anchor of the Chiefs defense for years to come. Then with their second first round pick they got the guy many mock drafts were predicting the Chiefs would pick at #5 in Branden Albert. Both guys will start day one for the Chiefs.

Second Round

With Ty Law gone and Patrick Surtain getting up their in age, the Chiefs needed a corner and they got a first round corner in the second round in Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers. He is a very hard hitting corner with some pretty decent speed. He has a very strong upper body. Expect Flowers to be a starter from day one as well.

Third Round
Three picks in this round starting with running back Jamaal Charles out of Texas. Now I really didn't want a running back in this draft, but if we had to get one Charles was the guy. He is very explosive and has break away speed to leave defenders in the dust. The first questionable pick I thought was two picks later with getting tight end Brad Cottam out of Tennessee. This guy has some work to do but he could definitely pan out for the Chiefs. Big guy at 6-7 but doesn't seem to have good hands. Hopefully he can learn a thing or two under Tony Gonzalaez. I just didn't think they really needed a tight end. The last pick the Chiefs had in the third round they used on DaJuan Morgan out of NC State who should be a very solid back up safety for the Chiefs. Morgan was the Wolfpacks leading tackler in 2007 with 97 tackles to go along with three interceptions.

The rest of the draft
Loved the pick in the fourth round getting Will Franklin out of Missouri. He is the second fastest receiver in the draft and did very well last season at Missouri. He does have some injury problems which is why he fell into the fourth round. Brandon Carr out of Grand Valley State maybe a steal. He played for a two time Division Two National Champion and has excellent speed. Seeing him crush Northwests dreams twice in the national championship was enough to have me sold on this kid. They also got a good kick returner in Utah State's Kevin Robinson who had a total of four touchdowns ran back on kick returns.

All in All I am very impressed with the Chiefs draft. They hopefully will make some strides into getting back to the playoffs.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sleepers in the 2008 Draft

While everyone is talking who is going to be going in the first round, I am going to talk about some guys that aren't getting a lot of press that could very well make an impact at the next level.

1) Xavier Omon RB Northwest Missouri State University-Yes I might be biased, but I have seen him play for the past two years in person and ladies and gentleman the man flat out has game. Over 2,300 yards this last season and is the only back in any division college football to rush for over 1,500 yards in four consecutive seasons. He rushed for over 600 yards in two playoff games (309 against Chadron State and 292 against Grand Valley State). Yes he doesn't have Darren McFadden speed but the guy has pretty good speed running a 4.55 40 yard dash. I can easily see Omon being taken in the late rounds (probably 6th or 7th round).

2) Paul Smith QB Tulsa-Stellar senior year for Smith throwing for over 5,000 yards and 47 touchdowns. He also rushed for 13 more. His leader ship skills helped Tulsa win big in their bowl game against Bowling Green and to a 10-4 record. Some experts say he is a system quarterback and may have poor arm strength but his accuracy is comparable to the other quarterbacks in the draft. I don't see him slipping past the 6th rounds and could even go early in Day 2.

3) Todd Blythe WR Iowa State- Huge receiver out of Iowa State University with very good hands. The only reason he is not higher in the draft is he played for a bad team. Brett Meyer never really stayed in the pocket long enough to find Blythe down field. He was an All-Big 12 candidate in his sophomore season at Iowa State as well. A team that would draft Blythe is a team looking deep in the draft for a guy that could possibly come in a fill the #3 wide out spot. I see him going around Round 6 maybe late 5th but not much higher than that.

4) Dexter Jackson-WR Appalachian State-This kid has tremendous speed. Jackson runs a 4.37 40 yard dash and he could really be a great punt returner or kick returner at the next level. Didn't really have outstanding numbers receiving in college but his senior season was the best catching 30 balls for 688 yards and 8 touchdowns. He could be put in as a fourth or fifth wide receiver too. I see him going middle of the second day in the late fourth early fifth round pick.

5) Josh Johnson QB San Diego-Finishing up with a quaterback which had a 43:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Thats right Johnson only threw one interception this last season in college football while completing 68% of his passes. The only knock against him is he is very skinny for a quarterback and some are questioning his toughness in the pocket. He is a threat though to run the football at anytime. I see Johnson going early in Day two being a early to mid fourth round pick.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NHL Playoff Report

In the spirit of more predictions, I thought it would be a good time for a little NHL playoff talk, complete with random thoughts....

-ESPN needs to get the NHL back. Having it on NBC isn't too bad, and I don't hate the coverage on Versus, but the fact remains that it's on Versus. A lot of people I'm sure don't even get Versus. Of course, if you live in the north country like I do you get CBC, which is the best channel ever.

-My biggest problem with the NHL playoff structure is the division winners getting the top three seeds. The Washington Capitals should have finished in 7th in the East, but since they won their division they were rewarded with a 3 seed and home ice in the first round. Of course justice was served when they lost to the Flyers. Out West it wasn't as bad, the 3rd seeded Wild would have been bumped down to the 4 seed if the NHL ran their playoffs correctly. Although they did manage to win their division with only a +5 goal differential, maybe they should have played the lottery instead. Justice was served there when they were bounced by (and dominated by) the Avs in 6 games.

-Speaking of the Avs, Jordan Leopold was a healthy scratch for the first 3 games of that series, and then in Game 4 he was probably the best player on the ice.

-Segue into the healthy scratch category: the Bruins sat their 3rd leading scorer Phil Kessel for the first pair of games. Kessel was also one of only 3 Bruins players to play in all of their regular season games. Puzzling to say the least.

-Some Cup favorites struggled in their opening round series'. Montreal went 7 with Boston, although in the games I watched they look like the much better team. The defending champs got bounced by the Dallas Stars and Marty Turco, one of the NHL's most embattled goalies. And the San Jose Sharks, who a lot of experts have picked to win the Stanley Cup, went 7 with the Calgary Flames. In the end I still like the Sharks to come out of the West, but more and more it looks like an East team could win the cup.

- The team that has looked the best so far, and hopefully I'm not jinxing them, is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Granted Ottawa is awful, but the Penguins defense really showed up, and if they bring that every series they're going to be tough to beat. Everyone knows they can score with anybody, but now it looks as if their D can at least hold teams off enough, and Marc Andre Fleury could be blossoming into the type of goalie that can stand on his head for the majority of a series.

Ok enough with that, on to the Round 2 predictions:

West: (1) Red Wings over (6) Avalanche in 6 games
The Wings struggled to put away Nashville while the Avs dominated the Wild. That being said, unless Jose Theodore stands on his head, the Wings just have too much skill to be denied in this one.

(2) Sharks over (5) Stars in 5 games
The real Marty Turco returns as Joe Thorton really starts to make a bid for the Conn Smythe Trophy. The Sharks also have a pair of good young former collegians in Joe Pavelski from Wisconsin, and Matt Carle who won the Hobey Baker award at Denver.

East: (1) Canadiens over (6) Flyers in 7 games
Both these teams go 7 again, and the Canadiens have just enough again. Carey Price, a former first round draftee, looks to be the real deal and the Canadiens showed why they have the league's top ranked power play in that game 7 win over the Bruins. Since the Bruins 3rd leading scorer had less than 20 goals, their margin for error is very slim.

(2) Penguins over (5) Rangers in 6 games
I'm tempted to say 5 here, but Henrik Lunqvist can definitely steal a game or two. A quick and dirty look at the numbers suggest that he should win the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender. But I just think Crosby, Malkin and company have too much for the Rangers blue line corps and win it in 6.

Thats all for now, feel free to bash my predictions in the comments.

Fantasy Baseball Weekly Wrap & Awards

Bat Of The Week: Chipper Jones - .565, 6 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1.773 OPS

Chipper had a monster week, making only 10 outs on the way to hitting 4 homers, driving in 7 and putting up an OPS over 1.700. Buster Olney thinks that Chipper’s approach at the plate right now is the best it has ever been. I think I would have to agree. Jones’ injury history certainly has to scare fantasy owners as naturally none of this means anything he isn’t on the field. Given the gaudy numbers he has put up over the past 3 years (in remarkably quiet fashion) he is simply a risk worth taking at this point. As far as availability I'm guessing he isn't available in most leagues (depending on how deep you league is). If you have him don't trade him away right now. If he cools down substantially or gets a little banged up you could get some worth for him but as for right now definitely keep on riding this.

Arm Of The Week: John Danks – 2 GS, 2-0, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K

Danks pitched 2 shutouts this week and was dominant in both outings lasting 7 or more innings in each start. Danks also showed excellent control walking only 2 batters over 14.2 inning while striking out 12. If you take out Danks’ awful outing against Minnesota on April 9th, the young lefty has allowed 1 earned run in 21.2 innings spanning 3 starts. Danks will try to build on his big week 3 on Saturday against the Orioles at home and I think you can look for his success to continue. Start him!

Pickups Of The Week: Mark DeRosa - .421, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 1.222 OPS

John Danks was also a pretty good choice here but since he already won Arm of The Week I gotta give this one to Mark DeRosa. He has filled in great for Alfonso Soriano thus far. Derosa has seen his ownership rise from 43% to 73% (in CBS leagues) after this week. Another plus is that he is a superutility man who can play a wide variety of positions so even when Soriano comes back if he's still hot they have many options to keep him on the field.

Worst Week: Tadahito Iguchi – 0/21, 4 K, 1 R, 1 SB

The 1 run and 1 steal accounted for all of Iguchi’s production this week as he did literally nothing at the plate going 0/21. I think it goes without saying that if you own him drop him and if you don't then stay away. If this persists the next stop is the bench.

TSF All-Week 3 Squad (If you had this lineup you'd be amazing)

C Ivan Rodriguez - .291, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .916 OPS
1B Conor Jackson - .480, 10 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 1.599 OPS
2B Chase Utley – .391, 6 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 1.548 OPS
SS Jose Reyes - .428, 7 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 1.305 OPS
3B Chipper Jones - .565, 6 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1.773 OPS
OF Manny Ramirez - .480, 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1.475 OPS
OF Alex Rios - .392, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 1.075 OPS
OF Aaron Rowand - .444, 2 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI 1.278 OPS
U David Wright - .521, 5 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 1.633 OPS
U Miguel Cabrera - .428, 7 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 1.204 OPS

SP John Danks – 2 GS, 2-0, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
SP Scott Olsen – 2 GS, 2-0, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
SP Andy Pettitte – 2 GS, 2-0, 14 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K
SP Ervin Santana - 2 GS, 2-0, 15 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 14K
SP Randy Wolf – 2 GS, 2-0, 13.3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 K
MR Scot Shields – 3 Holds, 1 Save, 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
CL Billy Wagner – 3 Saves, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Don't you dare drop any of these guys right now! I'll be back in a week to give out weekly awards and my All-Week 4 squad.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Look Ahead to the 2008-2009 College Hoops Season

We all know the 2007-2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Season just finished. But there are a lot of us anticipating next season already. With a lot of young talent out there this past season, next year should be just as exciting!

Let's take a look at some of the top teams for 2008-2009:

UNC Tar Heels
Even though they could still lose Tyler Hansbrough, Tywon Lawson, and Wayne Ellington to the NBA, I really doubt they will all leave; one will be the most that leaves, even if that. Hansbrough will likely be back and Lawson's stock is down. Even if Lawson bolts injured PG Bobby Frasor is back and Danny Green is a very capable player as well. They only lose Quentin Thomas for sure and Deon Thompson and Alex Stephenson will be good as well.

UCLA Bruins
They could still lose a lot. Kevin Love has already announced he is going to the NBA, same with Russell Westbrook, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (which puzzles me). But Moute will likely be back, Westbrook could too. Josh Shipp, Alfred Aboya, Michael Roll, and James Keefe still return. Darren Collison still needs to make a decision, but even if he leaves they have a great recruiting class lead by Jrue Holiday that are ready to step in.

Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns could have everybody back from a team that lost in the Elite 8. D.J. Augustin still needs to make a decision, but it looks like he'll be back. A.J. Abrams, Damion James, Connor Atchley, Justin Mason, and Gary Johnson are all back and should help them contend for a national title.

Connecticut Huskies
UConn will likely return everybody from a loaded team. Hasheem Thabeet could still jump ship but his mom told ESPN that he is likely staying. This Husky team could be dangerous with A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien, Stanley Robinson, Jerome Dyson, and Craig Austrie all back. With a very good recruiting class lead by PG Kemba Walker, they should be the favorites to win a stacked Big East.

Memphis Tigers
Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Joey Dorsey, and Andre Allen are gone, but the Tigers should still win the C-USA. Robert Dozier, Antonio Anderson, Shawn Taggart, Willie Kemp, and Doneal Mack are a very solid core returning. Add one of the top PGs in the country in Tyreke Evans and you have another Final Four contender.

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville will have one of the deepest guard rotations in the country again with Edgar Sosa, Andre McGee, Jerry Smith, Preston Knowles, and Will Scott all returning. They do lose David Padgett and Juan Palacios, but forward Terrence Williams is back and they add one of the best centers in the nation in Samardo Samuels. Earl Clark said he will return for his junior year after testing the waters, which should make Louisville a contender again.

Duke Blue Devils
Duke only loses DeMarcus Nelson to graduation. They will still be a big threat from behind the arc with Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer, Gerald Henderson, and Kyle Singler all back. But the problem still lies in the paint as they still don't have a big-time threat inside.

Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga should be a top 10 team again with 4 starters back and a good bench, plus they have a good recruiting class coming in with Demetri Goodson. Jeremy Pargo put his name in the draft, but is expected to return. Matt Bouldin, their leading scorer is back along with Austin Daye, Steven Gray, and Micah Downs. Also, Josh Heytvelt will be one of the top big men in the country.

Other teams to keep an eye on:
Kansas, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan St., USC, Arizona, Tennessee, Xavier, & Davidson.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

NBA Playoff Predictions

Sorry this is a little late but I still wanted to get an NBA Playoff post in. Here's some brief playoff predictions.

Western Conference

LA Lakers over Denver Nuggets in 7
Too much Kobe and Gasol down low

Houston Rockets over Utah Jazz in 6
Rockets play great defense and Luis Scola has filled in great for Yao Ming

San Antonio Spurs over Phoenix Suns in 6
It's tough to beat the Spurs in a 7 game series. Too much defense, team play, and Duncan and Parker for the Suns.

New Orleans Hornets over Dallas Mavs in 7
The Hornets are for real and Chris Paul won't let their chances slip away.

2nd Round
LA Lakers over Houston Rockets in 6
Kobe will keep Tracy McGrady in check

San Antonio Spurs over New Orleans Hornets in 6
I'll take Duncan and Parker over Paul and West

Western Conference Finals
San Antonio Spurs over
LA Lakers in 7
Once again, I'll take team basketball and defense over Kobe and Co., plus it always seems Tony Parker brings it in the playoffs.

Eastern Conference
Boston over Atlanta in 5
KG, Pierce, and Allen will dominate the Hawks

Washington Wizards over Cleveland Cavs in 7
Gilbert Arenas is back and I don't think the Cavs will make another run this year.

Toronto Raptors over Orlando Magic in 7
I had to pick some kind of upset. Raptors were here last year, Magic weren't.

Detroit Pistons over Philadelphia in 5
Pistons have the best defense in the league

2nd Round
Boston Celtics over Washington Wizards in 7
I think Arenas, Jamison, and Butler can take it to 7 games but the Celtics have too much fire power in the end.

Detroit Pistons over Toronto Raptors in 6
Pistons have been here before

Eastern Conference Finals
Boston Celtics over Detroit Pistons in 7
This should be a great series. Both teams play great defense but I still like the Celtics' overall talent.

NBA Finals
San Antonio Spurs over Boston Celtics in 7
I'm gonna stick with my gut and my pre-season prediction. This is like last year where everybody was doubting the Spurs and they won it out of no where. They still have Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and Bruce Bowen can still shut people down. As always, team basketball and defense usually prevail in the NBA.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thoughts on Jared Allen's possible trade to the Vikings

Big news today as the Kansas City Chiefs have confirmed they are shopping star defensive end Jared Allen. The Vikings are thought to be one of the frontrunners - along with Tampa Bay and possibly Jacksonville.

Of those teams, the Vikings have the highest first round pick to dangle in front of the Chiefs. And they have the greatest need for a sack specialist, so they should be willing to give the Chiefs what they want.

It should be mentioned however, that Allen has a booze problem, notably two outstanding DUIs. This seems very contradictory for a team that Zygi Wilf is trying to assemble that is "accountable for it's actions" and trying to build up the team's character problems that surfaced around the "sex boat scandal". His problems with the law propose more problems than that though. He'd also have to be signed to a long-term deal for big money and would take up a lot of cap space and one more run-in with the law like that would result in AT LEAST a 4-game suspension (probably more than that). Still, this is a risk worth taking for the Vikings.

Legitimate pass rushing ends are hard to find. The Vikings have been looking for one for years. Allen is that kind of player. He had 15.5 sacks last year and has 43 in his four-year career. And he's not just a pass rusher, he can defend the run, make tackles, knock down passes, and even catch touchdowns as well. He's 26 and in his prime. He's been a durable player. He fills perhaps the Vikings greatest need. He could have the kind of effect on the Vikings defence that Patrick Kerney had in Seattle last season.

If I were a Vikings' fan (for some godforesaken and unforeseen reason) I would be very excited about this. To get this deal done I would pull the trigger for a 1st and a 3rd in a heartbeat. I think they should do it if the deal is for a 1st and a 2nd round pick. If, however, they are wanting two 1st round pick the Vikings will find themselves in a pickle. In that case I would almost say that they should save their money and hold onto their picks and take the best DE available at pick 17 in this year's draft.

Now, as a Packer fan, I was pretty concerned upon first hearing about this trade rumor. However, upon further thought going into it I'm ok with it. This is come Monday Night Football in Week one when Jared Allen injures Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose, Brett Favre will come out of retirement and lead the Pack to a 15-1 season and a Superbowl championship. Then afterwards entertain the thought of retirement or staying once again.

Allen is going to be at Winter Park this weekend and if/when this deal goes down it's gunna be before the draft. So, we'll just have to wait and see. If it happens for the Vikings they will have a pretty boring draft day, but I think it would be worth it for them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fantasy Weekend Wrap - Week 2

OK, so I'm really busy with school and house hunting right now. But what else am I finding atleast a little bit of free time for? Fantasy Baseball. Here's some studs and duds as well as some insight behind my own personal management.

Weekend Studs

Casey Kotchman – 8/12, 1 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
BJ Upton – 6/11, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Ryan Ludwick – 5/11, 3 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI
Carlos Pena - 3/9, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB
Jeff Francoeur – 4/11, 3 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI

If any of these players are available in your leages (I would imagine not many would be but theres a chance) you should not hesitate to pick any of them up. They're all really hot right now and would be great additions to any team. I would say in a lot of leagues you would have the best chance of picking up Kotchman off of waivers or FA. I'm a little skeptical of his hitting ability however. I would say I see him batting around .250+ with no more than 25 HRs and 80 RBI this year but he's smokin' hot right now and I would take him if he's there. Also Ludwick should be available in most leagues if you need a quick pick-me-up.

Chien-Ming Wang – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (CG, W)
Roy Halladay – 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (CG, W)
Tim Hudson – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (W)
Derek Lowe – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (W)
Javier Vasquez – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (W)

Eric Gagne – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. 2 Saves

All these guys pitched great this weekend. However, I wouldn't really expect them to be available in many leagues so we'll just leave it at that. As far as Gagne is concerned I am a huge Brewers fan and a giant Gagne skeptic. I still don't trust him but this weekend was definitely a good sign and I'd take a chance on Gagne right now if you can swing a favorable trade somehow.

Weekend Duds
Adam Jones - 0/8, 5 K
Jose Guillen – 0/12, 4 K
Troy Tulowitzki – 0/8, 3 K
Andruw Jones – 0/9, 4 K
David Murphy – 1/12, 3 K

While a cold spell like this hurts your team and is a cause for concern I wouldn't worry too much with a lot of these gusys. If it continues you may look to trade or to drop one of them but wait them out in this case. We'll see how they're doing after next weekend.

Kenny Rogers – 4 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 1 K (L)
Joel Pineiro – 3.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (L)
Chris Young – 3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (L)
Roy Oswalt – 4 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (L)
Phil Hughes – 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (L)

Mike Timlin – 2 G, 0-1, 0.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

All of these guys were not good at all. With some of the guys, Rogers, Timlin, and maybe Piniero I would consider dropping if this trend continues for about another week or so. However, with the others I would give them almost as much time as they need. I mean, we all know waht Oswalt and Young can do. I'm shaky on Hughes. He's looked awful but we know his upside it huge and he has a great hitting lineup to score runs for him.

As far as my team (Prince's Minions) is concerned right now I'm doing pretty well. I'm currently sitting in second in my league (The cacfruit league). If there's any advice I can offer it is this.

Don't worry about Prince Fielder. He's historically started each season of his incredibly short career slowly (minors included) and hit for power very streakily last season. If you want my opinion I think we are all pending an explosion of power from Mr. Fielder in the near future.

Also I drafted Evan Longoria and held onto him for the first 2 weeks although he was in the minors. Now that he's up he's everything that I was expecting and if there's any chance at all you can pick him up or get him from someone for a reasonable cost I would do so (especially if you're in a keeper league). This kid is going to be a total stud.
Now, I don't want to give away too much of my managerial insight as I continue my quest for a 1st place finish in the Cacfruit League. However, I will be back to offer more next week.

That's about it for this week. I've got a big accounting exam to study for but I'll surely be back with even more for you fantasy readers next week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baseball has had Backward Start To Season

For all my fellow readers out there I want to apologize that it took me until the middle of April to actually start talking about. You see to me the baseball season doesn't begin until the Final Four is over so last Monday was actually the first time I had even paid any attention to baseball. However, after the week I have used to get caught up on whats happening in the baseball world I have seen that there has been one reoccurring theme throughout the early going, its all backwards through the first few games.

The Good Surprises

  • As of Sunday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball. Yes all of baseball. They have scored a Major League leading 77 runs through 12 games while only giving up 45 runs. Justin Upton has been the leader for the Diamondbacks hitting .400 with 5 home runs and 11 RBI's with an on base percentage of over 1.100. And with Brandon Webb already having three wins in this young season, the Diamondbacks are quickly become the team to beat in the NL.
  • The team with the lowest payroll in baseball is leading the NL East. Yes it is not a typo the Florida Marlins with a 7-5 record have a game and a half lead in the NL East, the same Division as the New York Mets and Philadelphia Philles. It surprise me especially since the Marlins have given up 14 more runs than they have scored on offense. (56 Runs Scored 70 Runs Allowed).
  • The state of Missouri baseball teams has a combine record of 16-9. The Kansas City Royals have had a very good start to the season sweeping the Detroit Tigers in Detroit to begin the season and have been 4-5 since then. They also took 2 of 3 games from the New York Yankees. While the St. Louis Cardinals are leading the NL Central with a record of 9-4 while Albert Pujols is hitting .390. Going to school in Missouri I hear about both teams a lot and I have to say I am surprised by both teams fast start. Something to keep in the back of your head, A source of mine who is a Kansas City Royals fan said if the Royals are still around by the All-Star break that the Royals will go out and get another power hitter like the Reds Adam Dunn.
The Bad Surprises
  • The Detroit Tigers are the worst team in baseball with a 2-10 record. If you told me the Tigers would start 2-10 I would of thought you were smoking weed. How can this offense only score 33 runs? They have a payroll this season exceeding 150 million dollars. Thats absurd.
  • The AL East has all five teams within one game of the lead, and one of the teams on top isn't New York or Boston. Both are 6-6 and 5-5 in there last 10. David Ortiz is off to the worst start of his career with only three hits this season. Will Big Papi, the Yanks, and the Red Soxs get out of this early season slump. Stay tune. By the way the Mets aren't much better at 5-6 and a game and a half out of the NL East race. While Missouri has a record of 16-9 the state of New York is 11-12. Explain that one.
  • The NL Champs last year are 4-7. The Colorado Rockies haven't seem to shake off the World Series loss hang over just yet. And with how competitive the NL West has been in the early going, I don't see things getting any easier of the Rockies.
Right now the Division leaders are Arizona (NL West), St. Louis (NL Central), Florida (NL East), Oakland (AL Central), Chicago (AL Central), and Toronto/Baltimore (AL East). I know its early, but if this continues we are in for an interesting baseball season.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Friday, April 11, 2008

Should I stay or should I go now?

Time to talk some NBA Draft and my thoughts on who should stay and who should leave. (This isn't a prediction on who will leave and stay, it's what I think they should do).

Let's start with the national champions:

Kansas Jayhawks
Brandon Rush

Rush was solid this season, he showed that his injury didn't slow him one bit. He improved his slashing ability that many draft experts we're saying was his big weakness. He has great size for an NBA SG. Plus, he won a national title. He's a lock for the first round.
Decision: Leave

Darrell Arthur

Arthur has a boat load of potential and the sky is pretty much the limit for this kid. He needs to bulk up a little bit more to become a good NBA player. Must also improve his FT shooting and his foul trouble.
Decision: Leave

Mario Chalmers

Chalmers' stock rose after the championship game. He's a pretty inconsistent scorer and he still needs to truly prove he can be an everyday PG in the NBA.
Decision: Stay

Memphis Tigers
Chris Douglas-Roberts

He came back to win a title and he fell one game short. Will that make him yearn for more? Roberts has all the intangibles of an NBA player. He can slash and shoot and he's very versatile.
Decision: Leave

Derrick Rose

He was the best PG in the country this past season. He can do everything. He is a more natural scorer than most PGs. He reminds me a lot of Chris Paul with more size. Has tremendous strength but he still needs to become a more consistent shooter. Could be number one pick.
Decision: Leave

UCLA Bruins
Kevin Love

Love is a tremendous player. He can pass and shoot from anywhere. He is slow on his feet and his weight could slow him down the first few years in the NBA.
Decision: Leave

Darren Collison
Collison was another player who came back to win a title, but came up empty handed. Collision is quick and has good handles but he lacks strength. Size isn't a plus either.
Decision: Stay

Josh Shipp
Shipp was great at the beginning of the season but he started to wear off and lose his touch towards the end. He can be a great shooter at times but at other times it can be ugly.
Decision: Stay

Russell Westbrook

Westbrook really improved his stock over the season. He is an absolute great defender and because of it he could be a top 10 pick. He also showed he can score but who really knows about that at the next level.
Decision: Stay

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Luc was close to leaving last season. He was injured this year which will likely keep him back again. He is a pretty good rebounder and a decent shooter for his size. Should think twice about his injury.
Decision: Stay

North Carolina Tar Heels

Tyler Hansbrough
Tyler is a great college player, but who knows how he'll be in the NBA. He is strong, physical, and has a great work ethic.
Decision: Stay

Tywon Lawson

Lawson's stock has dropped ever since his injury. There is no doubt he can be an NBA PG, he is so fast, great in transition, can score, and dish the rock. But will his injury make some scouts and GMs think twice?
Decision: Stay

Wayne Ellington

Ellington is a pure shooter and will be a great NBA SG. But he is too one-dimensional. He needs to work on his driving ability and defense as well.
Decision: Stay

Texas Longhorns

D.J. Augustin
Augustin may be a good NBA player, he can shoot, drive, and also dish. But, not many 6' point guards make it in the NBA.
Decision: Stay

Jerryd Bayless

Bayless could be a top 5 pick. Can be inconsistent at times, needs to establish himself as a true PG. He can no doubt score, but he needs to learn how to dish and become a complete player.
Decision: Leave

Chase Budinger

He is very athletic. Needs to become a better defensive player, he lacks quickness and his rebounding is weak.
Decision: Stay

Earl Clark

He has tremendous upside and the sky's the limit for his potential. He needs to get a little stronger. He is a little raw still. His versatility will work well in the league. Could use one more college year.
Decision: Stay

Derrick Caracter
He doesn't always put in the effort, but when he does he's a force inside and on the boards. He lacks discipline, which may be enough for everyone to pass up on him.
Decision: Stay

Terrence Williams

He is very strong and athletic, but his size could make him a lower 2nd round pick.
Decision: Stay

Michael Beasley, KSU
- Leave
O.J. Mayo, USC
- Leave
Brook Lopez, Stanford
- Leave
Anthony Randolph, LSU- Leave
DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M- Stay
Robin Lopez, Stanford
- Stay
Eric Gordon, Indiana
- Leave
Taj Gibson, USC- Stay

National Championship Game Preview and Hobey Baker Award Announced

So let's just pretend my predictions on Sunday never happened shall we? Anyways, I'm taking a mulligan on the national championship game.
(2) Boston College vs (4) Notre Dame

In two shocking results, BC and ND advanced to the championship game by dominating the two highest seeded teams remaining in the field. Even though the Notre Dame-Michigan game went into overtime, Notre Dame physically took it to the Wolverines and showed that while Michigan was the most talented team in the field, sometimes extreme effort is enough to overcome that talent gap.

The championship game should be extremely interesting. Boston College's forwards shredded the best defense in the country on Thursday, and it's expected they will do the same to Notre Dame. Irish goalie Jordan Pearce will be a huge key in this game. He probably needs to stand on his head in order to give the Irish a chance at victory. Offensively the Irish have somehow been getting some goal scoring in the NCAA tournament, but it's hard to see them putting up too crooked of a number against the Eagles, even though their defense isn't very good. While the main focus will be on how successful Notre Dame's defense is at bottling up the BC offense, to me the more important matchup will be at the other end of the rink. If Carl Sneep, Mike Brennan, Nick Petrecki and the rest of the BC defensemen can shut down the Irish it will be a long day for Notre Dame fans, but in the end I think Ryan Thang and company will squeak out just enough to give Notre Dame a 3-2 upset win and the national championship.

Porter Wins Hobey Baker Award
As expected, Michigan's Kevin Porter is the 2008 recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey. Porter currently is tied for first nationally in goals with BC's Nathan Gerbe, and he finished second in points. Seen as one of the favorites the whole year, Porter locked down the award by scoring 4 goals in their NCAA Tourney opening round game against Niagara. Even moreso, Porter helped lead the young Wolverines to the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and even though they were upset in the Frozen Four semifinals, Porter was a huge reason they got that far. Porter previously had been named CCHA and national player of the year by Inside College Hockey.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2008 Masters Preview

Everywhere you look, people are previewing the Masters. Granted, my sports world is currently dominated by my excitement for the Frozen four. So, I won't get into too many of the regular issues about the tournament, the players, or the course. I'll keep it short and sweet with what I think will happen at the Masters.

What Will Happen at the 2008 Masters

1) Tiger Woods will post a top five, but he'll come up short because of cold putting late.

2) The winner will either be a repeat champion or a big surprise (maybe a foreigner).

3) People will continue to complain (and rightly so) about the abundance of trees down the right side of the 11th fairway.

4) Someone will make a back-nine charge to win on Sunday.

5) People will complain (and wrongly so) about why old guys like Gary Player, Ray Floyd, Sandy Lyle, etc. should stay home like Nick Faldo because they have no chance of winning.

6) The winning score will be -8 or better. The weather forecast looks pretty good, so there will be plenty of fireworks, but not too many to make the Masters committee go back to planting more trees

Tiger vs. the Field
People always wanna talk about Tiger vs. the field so I suppose I better for a bit.

In all my years of watching golf I have never seen a golfer look more motivated, poised and outright determined to win than Tiger has this season. Expect that determination to increase for Masters week. Even though I think it's a little hokey and people talk about it a lot I think that you can expect it to truly be Tiger vs. the field. Vegas has Tiger at 6/5 with the next closest Phil Mickelson at 10/1. As a poor college student I'm not overly concerned with the betting scene (although I'd love to put down a few thousand on Ben Curtis at 250/1.

The Nitty Gritty
Here's what I actually see as far as players in the tournament

Won’t Win: Ernie Els
Could Win: Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Phil Mickelson
Sleepers: Vaughn Taylor, Justin Rose, Mike Weir

If anyone is going to play spoiler to Tiger this week it would have to be Geoff Ogilvy. Geoff is coming off a win (ending Tiger’s streak at the WGC-CA) and T2 finish in his last two starts and already has a major title to his name (the 2006 U.S. Open). His two shot victory over Tiger three weeks ago will no doubt serve as additional motivation for Tiger, but Ogilvy will not back down from the challenge. Look for him to be in the hunt come Sunday.

Monday, April 7, 2008

National Championship Preview: Third Times a Charm

Let's go back to November, where my Final Four and National Championship picks were still alive. For my pre-season preview I predicted three of the four Final Four teams correctly: Memphis, UCLA, and North Carolina. And I could be right with the national championship pick as I predicted Memphis to win it all way back when.

As I look at this match up I see two very similar styles. Both Memphis and Kansas like to get out and run. Both like to penetrate and kick. This should be a very good championship game tonight. It won't be a boring game, (thank God no Big Ten teams are in it) it'll be a fast paced, high scoring affair which is what nearly every college hoops fan wants to see and deserves.

As you look at both of the two teams they mirror each other pretty well. I think it's all going to come down to individual match ups, as it usually does in the NCAA Tournament.

The guard match ups should be great with Derrick Rose, Antonio Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Willie Kemp going up against the likes of Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins.

Memphis may have a little more depth here and I gotta give the edge to Memphis in this department, Derrick Rose has proved to me during the dance that he is the best point guard in the nation; and Chris Douglas-Roberts has been sensational lately. Kansas doesn't have anyone that matches up well with CDR.

The frontcourt is fairly even as well. Both have three big men that they rely heavily on. Joey Dorsey, Shawn Taggart, and Robert Dozier have done the little things to help Memphis get this far, (not to take anything away from Rose or CDR). And Kansas wouldn't be here without their big men either.

But in the end, I gotta go with the MEMPHIS TIGERS. Not just because I am a Mizzou Tigers fan. But Memphis has been so consistent this tournament, they've made their free throws when everyone doubted them. Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts have been sensational and they're not going to run out of gas, even when it's $3.19 a gallon.

At a time like this I would like to quote an article I wrote back in June about the Memphis Tigers: "Chris Douglas-Roberts returned for one reason, to get a national title. You know what they always say: “third times a charm”."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Frozen Four Preview

Even though there's a decently big basketball game tomorrow night, my boss (Joe) thought it would be fitting to do a Frozen Four preview tonight.

(4) Notre Dame vs. (1)

This game features the first four seed to ever make the Frozen Four in the current 16 team format against the number 1 overall team in the tournament. The main story for the Irish is their lack of offense. They lost leading scorer Erik Condra to a lower body injury, so
now Sophomore forward Ryan Thang (17-13--30) is the active leading scorer for the Irish. If Notre Dame is going to have a chance, their MVP, junior goalie Jordan Pearce is going to have to have a herculean effort. Pearce had 52 saves in the West regional, and one could expect him to have to make close to that amount on Thursday against the vaunted Wolverine offense.

That offense is led by Kevin Porter, the leading scorer in the country. Porter, who is also first in goals with 31, joins teammate Chad Kolarik on the front line. Porter and Kolarik will also be teammates at the next level, as both are owned by the Phoenix Coyotes. They both also bring it on special teams: Porter is tied for second nationally with 15 power play goals, and Kolarik is tied for third nationally with 4 shorthanded goals.

Prediction: Michigan just has too much offensively and if goalie Billy Sauer avoids having a complete meltdown I see Michigan moving on to the national title game.

(1) North Dakota vs (2) Boston College

These two have gotten to know each other very well, with this being the 3rd year in a row they will play in the national semifinals. This marks the first of these 3 meetings that the Sioux will be wearing the white jerseys.

Up front BC features the 2nd leading scorer in the country Nate Gerbe, a Hobey hat trick finalist, while North Dakota is led by Hobey finalist TJ Oshie (18-27--45). The Hockey East tournament champs have put up 150 goals this season, and in Gerbe they feature the most exciting player in the country. There have been some questions about his character (more on that in the Hobey preview) but there is no doubt that North Dakota will have to account for him whenever he is on the ice.

Defensively is where North Dakota has the huge edge. The Sioux are led by Senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who leads the nation in GAA at 1.64. To contrast, BC goalie John Muse is 19th at 2.26. Lamoureux also leads the nation in save percentage at 93.6%. Shockingly, Lamoureux was not a Hobey Hat Trick finalist, nor was he the conference's first team goalie. North Dakota also features a deep defensive core, led by preseason All-American Taylor Chorney. BC's blueline was hit hard when Brett Motherwell left the team early in the season to pursue a professional career, and they will be susceptible to North Dakota's offense, which has been nothing if not opportunistic this season.

Prediction: North Dakota's overall depth plus Lamoureux's skill in goal will move North Dakota into the championship game.

I'll have a Hobey preview later this week, and since at least one of these predictions is bound to be horribly wrong, I'll have a national championship game preview on Friday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thoughts on Tom Crean and Indiana

Just when the Indiana basketball program looked like it was going to turn into a big disaster it announced the signing of new head coach Tom Crean, the former coach of Marquette.

Crean has a Final Four under his belt and has lead Marquette to the NCAA Tournament 5 of the past 7 years.

Crean will be a great fit for this program but he will have a lot of work to do after recent allegations from the NCAA for recruiting violations by Kelvin Sampson.

Interim coach Dan Dakitch also dismissed Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett, two starters for skipping a team appointment.

Eric Gordon still has to make a decision to leave for the NBA or stay another year. Most expect Gordon to leave, which would leave Crean with all 5 starters gone for next season.

Crean still has a few more tasks at hand. They're also short a scholarship next season, because of Sampson's illegal phone calls and he also needs to maintain the two recruits they've already signed-- Terrell Holloway and Devin Ebanks. Both of them have asked out of their national letters of intent.

So who knows how good Indiana will be next season. The Hoosiers only return two significant players, junior DeAndre Thomas and freshman Jordan Crawford. Eric Gordon may still return, but Indiana fans don't get your hopes up; And who knows what they'll have for recruits.

Overall, this is a great hire by Indiana. Coach Tom Crean is a great fit to revamp Indiana's program. This great basketball program is a disaster right now and Crean has the credentials to fix it and bring Indiana basketball back to prominence.