Friday, September 14, 2012

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXIX: The Beach Truly Beckons, Plus A Predictable Start For State & ‘Fins

A coupla months kinda rough
Still fortunate and doubly tough
So a trip down to the OBX
Is a much-deserved trip up next
Wind, salt, sea and beer are enough

Stop me if you’ve heard this before
The Scooters on the wrong end of the score
Wes Welker went MIA
Did Stephen Jackson even play?
Injuries, underachievers and déjà vu more

Mouth Breather would always walk and travel
But avoided the ACC refs’ gavel
His Mom a homewrecker and thief
Sleeping with another UNC queef
The Carolina Way continues to unravel

Progress can seem so slow
But faster at home it could go
The good fight she has fought
With prayers and happy thoughts
Proud of and hopeful for strong Mo

Rather go mow my lawn
Then watch a squeaker up at UConn
Can State put it together for wins
Unlike my unsalvageable ‘Fins?
Another season already gone

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Deep Thoughts By No-Look McFadden: Episode 60

There is not a finer journalist in the land than Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. Unquestionably one of my writing heroes.

Another week, another scandal over at UNC, this one involving TylerWill “The Mouthbreather” Hansbrough’s mother and fraud and infidelity and embezzling and whatever else you can pretty much think of. At this rate, the Tar Heels are encroaching on dirtiest athletic program in the history of the NCAA. The Carolina Way, indeed.

Brilliance from J.R. Moehringer of ESPN the Magazine, breaking down the push and pull of football. I would say No.s 85-87 pretty accurately describe my life philosophy to fandom.

Thanks to “Song of Mitt’s Self,” we finally get a chance to see what Romney stands for. Inspiring stuff.

Did you know they made a horrific sequel to the epic “Christmas Story”? Yeah, me neither.

So Triangle sports media thought Duke would not only cover, but win, at Stanford this past weekend. The final? Stanford 50. Duke 13. Reason #814 why sports media in this area is a sad, running joke.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But how can you not like a President who brews beer in the White House?

So Ed Hochuli’s son, Shawn, is also a football official. It was good to see him not draw attention to his arms while also not blowing several calls and telling 75,000 of his closest friends about them for 3-4 minutes in the Utah-Utah State game the other night.

This LSU R2D2 keg is unquestionably the greatest thing of ever.

This Bud commercial, called “Clydesdale Respect,” aired once, right after 9/11. It was powerful to view it again on an emotional anniversary.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

That Time Don Draper Got Rickrolled

More Joanie dancing needed ...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVIII: The First Lady Owns Charlotte, Plus Long Nights And Hopeful Days

In the midst of hatred and ire
A memorable speech to inspire
Michelle Obama took the stage
And used logic to defuse rage
An elegant role model to admire

Dez Bryant, an immature young pup
Strip clubs, arrests and piss in a cup
His Mom just 13 years older
So he punched her in the head and shoulder
Now he has a babysitter, can’t make it up

Against Tennessee, State laid a big fart
Didn’t play physical or smart
Expectations lessened once again
“Groundhog Day” meets “Just win”
Another year, another slow start

Cheat enough to change your fate
Say sorry then increase the cheating rate
The Pack makes the NCAA nervous
So they took it out on Wilson and Purvis
So mad at the cheaters they punished State

Too many moments of touch and go
Too many answers of “We don’t know”
So we burned up I-40 East
And were there, at the least
To offer what we could to beloved Mo

Thursday, September 06, 2012

FF2012, Part Deux: Wrapping Up And Escaping The Hell’s Angels of Wake Forest

As you could have surmised from Part I of our draft recap, we were drafting in a rather, um, colorful environment. By the time there were only a few rounds left, we were starting to get some looks and the pace of the picks ramped up (thank goodness).

Anyway, here’s what went down the rest of the way ...

10th round, 133rd overall: Cowboys, D/ST, Dallas
In need of a defense, I snagged Dallas here. Though they face a difficult schedule, I like the additions of Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr at cornerback, and Claiborne could bring some return TDs as well. The Cowboys should give me at least a competitive D/ST this year, with the potential to develop into a top-five-caliber unit (that’s what she said). Of course, whenever Jerry Jones is in the mix, the possibility of a cataclysmic disintegration of the entire team is possible.

11th round, 148th overall: Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans
In Round 9, the dude picking one spot ahead of me nabbed Jason Witten, who I had tabbed as a mid-round steal due to, well, a ruptured spleen or something. Anyway. Cook was a guy I had targeted as a sleeper-type, and the dude I had as a TE sleeper last year turned out pretty OK—Jimmy Graham. Cook was hard to stop down the stretch a season ago, and the hope is that second-year quarterback Jake Locker will look his way early and often this year, as young signal-callers are wont (look it up) to do. I’ll need a strong backup in case Cook tanks, but at this point, I’m digging the pick.

12th round, 161st overall: Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans
Speaking of Locker, it behooves me to share that, in our league, any player taken after the 12th round in a draft can be “kept” as a sixth-rounder the following season provided you keep that 12th-rounder on your roster all year long. So I likely would not have chosen Locker here except that I needed a backup quarterback and he fits the mold of a player with breakout potential, which would make him a keeper next year. He also brings a mobility dimension to the position that plays well in fantasy football ... but I do admit that I am somewhat concerned that I took back-to-back Titans players.

13th round, 176th overall: Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Thus far in the preseason, the reviews on Floyd have not been favorable, and he hasn’t made the impact that many had predicted thus far in Arizona. I considered him to be a bit overrated and a bit of an off-the-field risk coming into April’s draft, so that doesn’t shock me, but as another potential keeper, there is a lot of talent there if the light comes on. I’m not sure John Skelton is the triggerman of whom any wideout says, “This guy can get me to the next level,” but Floyd is a solid No. 5 wideout on my squad and plays for a team that is likely to find itself playing from way behind most of the year.

So do we get any points for stiff arms?

14th round, 190th overall: Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans
Daniels certainly isn’t a game-breaker, but he’s long been a solid target and favorite of Schaub, making him a nice fit as a backup tight end on the Scooters. I was a tad surprised he lasted into the 14th round, but with the focus for many shifting to kickers and defense, this seemed like a nice value selection. Speaking of kickers and defenses, I had to start scrambling for those—always the least-favorite part of your fantasy football draft day.

15th round, 205th overall: Alex Henery, K, Philadelphia Eagles
The Iggles seem to score a lot of points. Michael Vick seems destined for a dislocated pancreas this year. That should mean more field goals. Sold.

16th round, 218th overall: Devery Henderson, WR, New Orleans Saints
Henderson was a guy that I liked a lot more than most, as you can never go wrong with a Saints skill player. And with Robert Meacham off to San Diego, he has moved up to No. 3 on the WR chart for New Orleans—behind two guys who seem perpetually injured (Marques Colston and Lance Moore). Anyway, this was an extreme value pick and a guy I had pegged for going a couple of rounds earlier, so this was the ideal way for me to round out my receiving corps.

17th round, 233rd overall: Mike Nugent, K, Cincinnati Bengals
I hesitated to draft someone who even shares a last name with that disturbed piece of shit Ted Nugent, and my mood didn’t improve much when I found out that Mike had already been injured. But as my No. 2 kicker, I filed it under the advice provided by that sage guru Clark W. Griswold: “Do you really think it matters Eddie?”

18th round, 246th overall: Rams, D/ST, St. Louis
This was my final choice of a marathon draft and one of the only defenses left. Beyond that, I have absolutely nothing cogent to offer about this choice.

Headed into this draft, I already had a cornerstone wide receiver in Antonio Brown as a keeper, so there certainly wasn’t a concrete decision made to use three of my top four picks on wideouts. But that’s just how the draft board fell for me, and with the rise of RB-by-committee approaches and the rules changes to benefit aerial attacks, WRs are gaining in value on running backs.

Obviously, I am tremendously strong at wide receiver, and I also like the depth of my running back corps. I am cautiously optimistic at quarterback, iffy at tight end and likely looking to play a bit of waiver-wire bingo to shore up my defense/special teams units. Kicker? I mean, it’s hard to tell.

As the season progresses, I have more than enough ammo at the skill positions to upgrade at tight end or defense or even quarterback if necessary—which is always a good position to be in. I think the boom-or-bust player is likely to be Matt Schaub; if he can play like he did before he was injured, my team should really take off. If he is rusty and/or reinjured, I’m going to be scrambling at that spot. But the reality is most teams in fantasy football likely feel the same way.

On a side note, I was borderline shocked that LeGarrette Blount wasn’t selected at all in a 14-team, 18-round draft. Sure, he’s lost the starting job to a rookie, but the guy has done some strong things in this league and ... well, I just was very surprised at that. Carry on.

Anyway, I am once more happy overall with the way the draft came together for the Scooters, but I’ve certainly been in this position before. Will injuries take mercy on my squad this year? Will youngsters blossom and oldsters dig out one more productive year? Or will jitters and growing-old-overnight ruin my chances?

The answers to those questions are why we play, mates. They’re why we play.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

FF 2012: Challenging Irish Samoan Biker Fans In North Carolina

It’s not every year you have a fantasy football draft at an Irish pub in North Carolina populated by bikers and dudes wearing Haloti Ngata jersey T-shirts, but that’s where I found myself a few days back. Throw in some leather-faced ‘neck chicks assaulting a slot machine of a serene summer eve, and you have all the signs that football is back in the air.

Of course, not 24 hours later, I found out one new player had a foot infection and then 10 minutes after turning on the TV, watched as another player turned his ankle. So it is already shaping up to be another Scooters fantasy football year very early on ...

Without further ado ...

1st round, 8th Overall: Megatron, WR, Detroit Lions
With Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady already off the board at No. 8, this was a relatively easy pick. I thought for a few seconds about Matthew Stafford because of how quarterback-slanted our league’s scoring leagues are, but I just think Calvin Johnson was way too good to pass up here. The dude catches anything within a 20-foot radius, has go-go-gadget arms and boasts the speed for distance scores. Also, he’s a Transformer.

2nd round, 21st overall: Stephen Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Somehow, some way, I always end up with S-Jax on my team every freaking year. Every year, I think the Rams are going to be better and he’s going to get more goal-line opportunities. Every year, he destroys his body racking up yards, only to see Insertkickernamehere miss a 52-yarder. Well, dammit, here we are again, and I’m fighting for optimism once more. I cain’t quit you, Stephen Jackson. He should catch more passes out of the backfield and benefit from a few breathers every now and again. And if not, I’m never drafting him again. Seriously. I promise. Well ... I mean, maybe if he slides ...

3rd round, 36th overall: Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
For a Dolphins fan, you must understand that this choice is like choosing the devil as your bowling partner. However, with Megatron and Antonio Brown (my sixth-round keeper) already in the fold, I now have the makings of a stellar WR corps as the core of my team. I was surprised Welker slid this far, and headed into a contract year, I think he’s going to benefit from added attention for “Meathead” Gronkowski and “Tattoo” Hernandez all season long. And as a side bonus, I won’t be that upset if Welker gets injured or disappears. And yes, I’m fully aware that I jinxed myself in a big way.

4th round, 49th overall: Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
OK, so I have a love-hate relationship with Steve Smith. I love the way he plays the game, his tenaciousness and the competitive fire to prove everyone whoever doubted him wrong. But I hate his attitude and his lack of focus, which always seem to pop up at the worst possible times. I think Cam Newton has rejuvenated Smith’s career, and Smith is worth having simply because of how valuable he is on distance broken plays created by Newton buying time. And with Megatron, Welker and Brown, I also have coverage in case Smith, you know, beats the giant teeth out of Newton’s head on the team plane or something.

5th round, 64th overall: Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
Every year features a pinch-your-nose-and-gulp pick, and this was it for the Scooters. In my defense, I was in need of a running back and Greene was the only back left without a large question mark next to his name in terms of injury, workload or offense (Was there one next to talent? Maybe). New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-field goals coach, and my guess is he’ll hammer the absolutely crap out of Greene since there isn’t a legit quarterback on this squad. What does that translate to for Greene? Hard to say, but the hope is that I won’t have to use him too often. [Insert your own Tebow-is-the-best-back-on-the-team-anyway joke here.]

6th round, 77th overall: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
As a post-12th-round selection from the year before, I was able to designate Brown a sleeper for the price of a sixth-rounder, so I pulled the trigger. This move looked even better when Mike Wallace was holding out, but I still think Brown is Ben Roethlisberger’s most reliable non-bar-bathroom-stall target, and Wallace has post-holdout-hamstring-injury written all over him this year. Either way, I’m a Brown fan (though I fear he’s going to injure himself doing his TD dance) and liked the idea of landing my fourth top-notch receiver in this spot.

7th round, 92nd overall: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
I was mildly surprised that Stewart was still around in this position, and even though he injured his ankle in the preseason, I snapped him up. There are obvious questions about the Panthers RB situation with DeAngelo Williams and even Mike Tolbert in play, along with goal-line vulture Cam Newton. The good news is that, in my estimation, Stewart is their best back, and I was happy to offset the Greene choice with a back of Stewart’s caliber here. If all goes right, he’ll be more of a bye-week contributor anyway ... as long as he stays on Steve Smith’s good side.

8th round, 10th overall: Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
Again, I was surprised to grab a quarterback of Schaub’s pedigree at this point. Sure, he’s coming off a major injury and is arguably on the downside of his career, but he’s got some intriguing weapons and is only a couple of years removed from a near-5,000-yard campaign. And after losing some firepower on defense, I have to wonder whether the Texans will be in more shootouts in 2012. With Arian Foster and Ben Tate lugging the rock, the play-action shots to Andre Johnson should continue to flow, so despite missing out on the big QB names, I was pretty happy with nabbing Schaub at this spot.

9th round, 120th overall: David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
I wasn’t really looking to round out my running back corps with this pick, but when Wilson was still around, I took the plunge. The rookie out of Virginia Tech was a first-rounder for a reason, and Ahmad Bradshaw hasn’t been the healthiest of backs during his time in New York. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilson at least splitting carries at some point this year, and his sheer upside made him a quality selection at this stage. Halfway through the draft, I was a little nervous about tight end and defense/special teams, but in terms of skill-position depth, I didn’t think it could’ve gone a whole lot better for the Scooters.

Next up: Part II ...