The 14 Pole

The 14 Pole

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010
2:58 PM
By Frankie O

Thats not my heritage, although it is numerically correct, but where we stand in this NFL season. For us fantasy geeks, it presents the proper time to assess where we stand. I always expect doom, my Philly heritage is never far away, but my team, at 3-1, might surprise, so Ill give it time before I blow it up. The great thing about the NFL is that there have been a lot of surprises, Randy Moss, and more sure to come. No surprise though, that I have some opinions and here they come, its time to go through the 32 teams in 32 sentences.

Ill start with the AFC and New England, no Moss, no matter, Brady will still light it up and how could you not love Woodhead? Miami has a passing game with Marshall as the beast and Bess as a guy who should not be on your waiver wire. I think the Sanchise is the real deal for the Jets, but Id be afraid of over-use of L.T. early, leading to a late-season collapse. If youre a team that is awful, like the Bills, how could you not be playing your 1st round RB, who everyone loves, more than 10 snaps a game? (Free Spiller!) Why I still like Vince Young I dont understand, just like I dont understand the Titans offense. Peyton Manning creates fantasy monsters and in Indy this year, Austin Collie is the one. With all of the focus on the Houston aerial attack, it figures that Arian Foster is the RB with the most up-side this year.

If you see a JAX next to any player that is on your opposition, laugh out loud! Pittsburgh will always be known for its D, and its once again one of the top scoring units, a solid fantasy base. The Ravens offense to me is about as dangerous as any ones, the problem is that with so many weapons, who to take? I would normally not even consider any one playing for Cleveland, but this year Im on the Hillis Highway! In the Queen City, you live with Cedric Benson, then, you die with him! Can you imagine a Chargers game without Gates dominating? Oakland will always be a mess, but when youre mining for gold, youll find Zach Miller. I know the Chiefs are undefeated, but thats not going to last long, and neither will you if you have to depend on one of them to be your stud, besides Jamaal Charles, that is. In Denver, and in fantasy circles, neck-beards are the rage in honor of our throwing-machine, Kyle Orton!

In the NFC, I guess it will take some time here in Chicago for the Martz Express to get untracked! (LOL!) In Detroit, Mega-Tron is my boy, but if you want a sleeper, Id be all over a tight-end with a large up-side, and backside, Jumbo-Tron! Could you imagine if you wasted a high pick on the Vikings diva Brett Favre? My pick for highest point total this year, is the Packers Aaron Rogers and part of the reason is that he has my tight end, Jermichael Finley to throw to. A Warner-less offense in Arizona, means a total mess for anyone who owns a Cardinal. Picking a player from Seattle means that you trust Pete Carroll, and I do not! San Franciscos fantasy output so far reminds me of Singletarys favorite saying: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

In St. Louis, I must be losing my mind, but I think a rookie QB can be a fantasy team savior. In New Orleans, its all about playing Brees roulette, who will he throw to today? Carolinas has always been about the RBs and this year is no different, but the real Steve Smith just disappearing? The Falcons Matt Ryan would be my fantasy comeback player of the year, if there was such a thing. Heres a fantasy football equation: Tampa bay = Abyss. If the Giants could play the Bears every week, they would have the highest scoring defense of all-time, but I just think its a matter of time before they quit on their coach. Everyone wants my opinion about McNabb, in Washington and in fantasy, and in both instances, hell be just good enough to get you beat. That being said, it looks like hes going to be better than any QB option in Philly, where I dont think Vick will stay healthy, and who wants a QB, Kolb, who has the nickname Captain Check-down? And last, and definitely least, I will never, ever have any Cowboy on my team, not rooting against Dallas, for me, wouldnt be right and that is where my fantasy is a reality!

Why Joe Maddon chose Albert Almora Jr. over Jason Heyward in huge Game 6 for Cubs

Why Joe Maddon chose Albert Almora Jr. over Jason Heyward in huge Game 6 for Cubs

With the chance to book their first trip to the World Series since 1945, the Cubs benched the player with the biggest contract in franchise history and started a 22-year-old rookie who began this season at Triple-A Iowa.

Now that says something about Clayton Kershaw’s overall brilliance and Albert Almora Jr.’s precocious nature, but it also again spotlights Jason Heyward’s offensive spiral during the first year of that $184 million megadeal.  

Heyward’s Gold Glove defense in right field, well-rounded skills and clubhouse intangibles certainly helped the Cubs get to this point – up 3-2 on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series – but manager Joe Maddon wanted to go in a different direction for Saturday’s Game 6 at Wrigley Field.   

“Kershaw’s pretty good,” Maddon said. “You look at his numbers, he’s been absurd versus lefties, (so you) get another right-handed bat out there and the way Albert can play defense really makes it a little bit easier.

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“If we didn’t have the opportunity to do something differently tonight I wouldn’t have. But we do. Albert just presents well at the plate – and well on defense – to the point where I thought we needed to give it a go.”

Almora – the first player the Theo Epstein regime drafted here with the sixth overall pick in 2012 – could be the 2017 Opening Day starter in center field if Dexter Fowler cashes in elsewhere as a free agent.

After posting career lows in homers (seven) and OPS (.631) during the regular season, Heyward has gone 2-for-28 (.071 average) in the playoffs and will probably need to reboot during the winter.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of internal work done in the offseason with him, no question,” Maddon said. “You know he’s not satisfied with the year. (But) he was a big part of our 100-plus wins this year.

“It is something that he has to work on – and he will work on it – but by no means is anybody giving up on him. He just needs to probably clear his mind a little bit when this is all said and done and get back to the drawing board.”

Huskers stay unbeaten with comeback win over Purdue


Huskers stay unbeaten with comeback win over Purdue

At halftime Saturday, Nebraska, the No. 8 team in the country, was trailing Purdue, which just fired its coach.

Uh, what?

Order was soon restored, but the Huskers needed to bounce back from a halftime deficit to grab a 27-14 win over the lowly Boilermakers on Saturday in Lincoln.

Purdue threw an interception on the game's opening drive, and Nebraska turned that into a touchdown, something that looked very much like how everyone expected this one to go. But quarterback David Blough retaliated with the first of two first-half touchdown passes, while the Huskers mustered only a field goal on the next drive and then went silent the rest of the opening 30 minutes, punting three times and Tommy Armstrong throwing an interception right before the break. In there, Blough threw his second touchdown, an 88-yard monster to DeAngelo Yancey that gave the Boilers a lead.

That lead didn't last too long, though, as after going three and out on their first drive of the third quarter, the Huskers scored on each of their next three possessions: an Armstrong pass to De'Mornay Pierson-El, a 24-yard run by Alonzo Moore and a 51-yard field goal by Drew Brown. Meanwhile, the Nebraska defense clamped down, and Purdue had just one drive that lasted more than five plays in the second half, with that drive ending in a turnover on downs and Blough adding an interception.

All in all, the Huskers out-gained the Boilers, 409-333, and had the ball for about seven more minutes, avoiding a repeat of last year's matchup, when Purdue scored its lone Big Ten win over Nebraska.

Armstrong threw for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception and added 51 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Terrell Newby had 82 yards rushing.

Blough threw for 309 yards, but the Boilers managed just 24 rushing yards.

The win sent Nebraska to a perfect 7-0 ahead of next weekend's huge Big Ten West Division showdown with Wisconsin.

The loss dropped Purdue to 3-4. The Boilers take on Penn State next weekend.