Week 17 Staff Picks – ATS

Games Roid Rage Ginger King Results
Last week (Year to date):
8-6-2 (70-59-5)
7-7-2 (70-59-5)
NYJ @ Buffalo (-3.5) Buffalo  Buffalo
Carolina @ New Orleans (-4.5) Carolina  New Orleans
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (N/A) Pittsburgh  Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-3.5) Tampa Bay  Tampa Bay
Chicago (-3) @ Detroit Chicago  Detroit
Philadelphia @ NYG (-6.5) NYG  NYG
Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-4) Jacksonville  Tennessee
Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-2.5) Cincy  Cincy
Houston (-7) @ Indianapolis Houston  Indy
Green Bay (-3.5) @ Minnesota Green Bay  Green Bay
Kansas City @ Denver (-16) KC  KC
Oakland @ San Diego (-10.5) San Diego  San Diego
Arizona @ San Francisco (-17.5) Arizona  Arizona
St. Louis @ Seattle (-10.5) St. Louis  St. Louis
Miami @ New England (-10) NE  NE
Dallas @ Washington (-3.5) Washington  Washington
Lock & Load!
RR:  Washington (-3.5), San Diego (-10.5), Chicago (-3)
GK: KC (+16), Arizona (+17.5), Indy (+7)



  Remember, Whiskey & Eggnog.  Whiskey & Eggnog.

Week 16 – Sleepers

It’s Championship Week (for most self-respecting fantasy leagues)! Fortunately, even the best teams in the NFL have something to play for this week, the same can’t be said for next week (see: Atlanta Falcons), so you should be getting max effort (hopefully).

I know this repeatative, but we can’t stress it enough: Don’t get too cute! Roll with the squad that got you this far.  Dez Bryant last week is a perfect example of this.  There were questions surrounding his bum finger, even reports of the Cowboys shutting him down for the season.  But when word came down that he was suiting up last week that was your sign to plug him in.  He has been an absolute beast the second half of the season and didn’t disappoint last week with a nice 4/59/1 line.  The point is, we’d rather roll with Dez and his big game potential than a shaky option like M. Floyd (2/39 last week fyi).

But if you’re in a jam, have no fear, The Machine is here!  Now pay attention, last week we pimped D. Pitta to the tune of 7/125/2! This week we like…..

1. Washington Def (17%Y!) – They easily have Top 10 potential playing a Philadelphia team that can’t run, can’t pass and more importantly have thrown in the towel.  Washington’s secondary is abysmal, but it won’t matter.  We like their chances to score a TD in this one.

2. Sam Bradford, QB STL (26%Y!) – He is certainly a hard guy to trust.  The Machine wonders if the Rams regret not drafting RG3…..because they should!  But given the match-up, Bradford could deliver a respectable stat line for you this week.  If you’re in a jam, roll with the former No. 1 overall pick (over the likes of Cutler, Flacco, Rivers, etc.)

3. Brandon Gibson, WR STL (18%Y!) – Well, somebody has to catch all those Sam Bradford catches, right?!  Sure, it makes us a little queasy recommending to Rams this week, but he’s developed nice chemistry with Bradford the last couple of weeks (12/176/2) and TB is a mess right now.  5/75 with a score perhaps isn’t out of the question.

4. Ronnie Brown, RB SD (9%Y!) – All apologies if you have to start Ronnie freaking Brown this week!  But with Ryan Matthews out you could do worse.  A little more appealing in a PPR format……don’t expect more than 50 total yards, and 3-4 catches. 

Others who could come through: Mike Tolbert, RB (7%Y!), Ben Watson, TE (4%Y!), Mike Goodson (4%Y!), Rod Streater (4%Y!).

Just Win, Baby!

Week 16 Staff Picks – ATS

Games Roid Rage Ginger King Results
Last week (Year to date):
11-5-0 (62-53-3)
9-7 (63-52-3)
Atlanta (-4) @ Detroit Atlanta  Atlanta  Atlanta by 13
San Diego @ NYJ (-1) San Diego  San Diego  SD by 10
Minnesota @ Houston (-9) Houston  Minnesota  Minny by 17
STL @ Tampa Bay (-3) St. Louis  St. Louis  STL by 15
New Orleans @ Dallas (-1) New Orleans  Dallas  NO by 3
Washington (-7) @ Philadelphia Washington  Philadelphia  Wash by 7
Indianapolis (-7) @ Kansas City Indy  Indy  Indy by 7
New England (-14.5) @ Jacksonville Jacksonville  New England  NE by 7
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-3.5) Cincy  Cincy  Cincy by 3
Buffalo @ Miami (-4.5) Buffalo  Miami  Miami by 14
Oakland @ Carolina (-9.5) Carolina  Oakland  Carolina by 11
Tennessee @ Green Bay (-13) GB  Tennessee  GB by 48
Cleveland @ Denver (-13.5) Cleveland  Cleveland  Denver by 22
NYG (-1) @ Baltimore NYG  NYG  Baltimore by 19
Chicago (-5.5) @ Arizona Chicago  Chicago  Chicago by 15
San Francisco @ Seattle (PK) SF  Seattle  Seattle by 29
Lock & Load!
RR: NYG (-1), Buffalo (4.5), Chicago (-5.5)
GK: San Diego (+1), NYG (-1), Minnesota (+9)

Tuesday Teabag, December 18, 2012 – Jerry Jones & The Dallas Cowboys….

…because what’s one without the other, right Jerry?! The Machine has refrained from handing out this award to Jerry in the past.  God knows he could have racked up a handful of TT awards; be it his late game sideline pace, despicable draft selections, shameless self promotion or preseason cackling.  This crusty old dimwitted bastard deserves all the scorn and ill-will directed his way.  The only reason he hasn’t received this award is because we’d rather not feed the flame of his ego.  You know damn well that the guy with the biggest stadium, biggest jumbotron, biggest “personality” in sports, has the biggest trophy shelf.  And since the Cowboys haven’t won shit in the last decade, Jerrah will take any and every award he can get his oily little hands on.  So with great reluctance we present you this award, because we just can’t hold back any longer.

Pay attention kids, this is a story on how not to show brevity, honor, respect and leadership during a difficult situation.  On December 8th, at 2 am (a mere 32 hours before kickoff of the Cowboys-Bengals game) after a heavy night of drinking, Josh Brent lost control of his vehicle, allegedly hitting a curb at high-speed causing his car to flip at least once.  His passenger, practice squad player and close friend Jerry Brown, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.  An eyewitness report claims that Josh Brent sat roadside, watching his flipped vehicle burn while cries of help from his trapped friend went unregistered.  Only after repeated and forceful pleas from the eyewitness did Josh pulled his friend from the burning wreckage before it was completely engulfed in flames.  It’s a horrific scene and all too frequent tragedy that claimed such a young (25) and promising life.

The Cowboys, undoubtedly playing with heavy hearts and cloudy minds, beat the Cincinnati Bengals on December 9th.  In his post game press conference, “Head Coach” Jason Garrett spoke candidly and frank about the difficulties and emotions his team was battling.  He shared some of his memories of Jerry – what kind of player and person he was and what he meant to the team.  The Machine was rubbed the wrong way when Garrett found a way to slid in that his team “found a way to win”.  Coach, when one of your players dies on Saturday, it’s not about winning or losing on Sunday.  It’s not about football at all.  You could honor Jerry’s life just the same had you not beaten the god damn Cincinnati Bengals.  But in light of the situation we give you a free pass on that one.

But we sure as hell aren’t giving you a free pass for the debacle this past weekend.  Apparently, Josh Brent didn’t have anything better to do on a Sunday afternoon (well, the clubs weren’t open yet and church is for suckers) so doesn’t dear old Josh decide to show up to the Cowboys game…On. The. Sideline. WHAT?!  The only thing more despicable than Brent showing up is the fact that nobody stopped him!  Nobody.  Did not the guard at the front gate, or the kid stocking the nacho warmer, or an usher, or maybe like a fucking team executive, stop to think that maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t be such a great idea to let big ol’ Brent roam the facilities?!

After receiving the equivalent of a social media kick to the groin, the Cowboys brain trust went into full damage control.  Initially they reported that they had no idea that Brent was on the sidelines until pre-game warm-ups, at which point the impending game was too important than the 300 pound (alleged) felon who just killed a fellow teammate less than ten days prior.  Of course this claim was a boldface lie, as later reports indicate that dozens of players had talked with Brent and encouraged and supported him to join them at the game.  I’m willing to bet some of Jerry Jones monopoly money that he knew Brent was going to be at the game.  Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Jones himself was the driving force behind the appearance.  Think about it.  You’re the Owner.  You have FULL and unyielding control of everything.  Everything!  If you want your coach to wear a wig and a clown nose, so be it.  Want to see a punt on second down, pick up the phone.  Want your son-in-law to clean your glasses for you because you can’t be bothered?  Your wish is your command.  Having Brent on the sideline was going generate press and show everyone that the Cowboys were a united team!

As public (negative) pressure mounted – the CBS crew absolutely crushed the Cowboys – Jerry and crew hatched what they considered a fool-proof cover.  At his Monday presser, Jerry’s favorite puppet explained that the Cowboys were simply following the wishes of the Jerry Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, who wanted the team to support Josh and keep him involved as much as possible.  Okay.  Our sympathies’ are with Ms. Jackson and all, but we aren’t buying this.  Not one bit.  You mean to tell me that a billion dollar corporation, financed largely by television revenue and the millions of weekly consumers tuning in, is going to let the mother of a deceased employee call the shots and dictate their policy?!  Sorry, but we call bullshit on that.  And we call bullshit to the fact that Jerry and his cronies are hiding behind the victim’s mother.  The whole thing stinks!   In fact, the stench must have been unbearable at JerryWorld, because today the Cowboys announced that Josh Brent will no longer be allowed at the facilities.  A day late, ‘boys.

RIP ‘Decal 53’…you deserve better.

Week 15 – Sleepers

If you’re reading this it probably means you’re deep into a playoff run, congratulations!  The best piece of advice The Machine can give you when in comes to setting your playoff roster is this: Don’t Get Too Cute!  Roll with the studs and productive players that have gotten you to this point!  For your marginal players/ borderline guys, check out the match-ups and recent history.

If you’re in a bind (RG3, Dez owners….watch for the inactive reports in both cases) then here are a few plug-and-plays that could help you reach the promised land…..

1. David Wilson, RB NYG (67%Y!) – Sure, a 67% owned player is hardly a “sleeper”, but in fairness Wilsons ownership has spiked 39% this week based on his monster showing against the Saints.  Further, Ahmad Bradshaw has been ruled out this week, clearing the path for an increased workload for Wilson.  Wilson has elite quickness and speed, which more than makes up for his penchant for fumbling.  The Giants simply can’t keep this guy off the field anymore; he can take it to the house on any given play.  Backflips…err…gangnam style dances should be a plenty this weekend!  If you are in one of those 33% leagues that he is still available, or if you are questioning whether or not to start him, hesitate no longer! 

2. Brandon Weeden, QB CLE (13%Y!) – If you’re an RG3 owner (has taken zero 1st team reps and could be seriously limited with a sprained MCL) then maybe you want to downgrade (just a bit) to this fellow rookie.  He is certainly a hard guy to trust (hence his 13% ownership) considering the ideal Cleveland game plan is to run the ball 80 times a game, however the matchup this week is tasty.  Washington’s secondary is atrocious!  They are almost a lock to give up 250+ yards passing.  Plus, Josh Gordon has developed into the player the Browns were hoping Greg Little would become, a legitimate No. 1 WR.  We put Weeden in that Phil Rivers – Joe Flacco – Carson Palmer range; so while he isn’t going to win you a fantasy championship, he won’t kill your chances this week.  We recommend Weeden with a shot of Jack followed up by a frost brewed Coors Light…..(or 12)!  Enjoy!

3.  Nate Washington, WR Tenn (51%Y!) – Washington has had a forgettable season this year, registering only 39 catches for 648 yards and 4 scores.  In many ways, Washington epitomizes that Titans offense this year: awful!  Drafted as a WR3, fantasy owners have been largely disappointed and have rightfully either benched Nate or dropped him altogether.  If you’ve hung on, and are in deep shit at WR and/or FLEX this week, your patience might just be rewarded.  The thought process behind this one is simple.  A. Cromartie (insert Christmas shopping joke here) has been balling this season; his efforts are largely overshadowed by the train wreck that is the New York Jets.  Cromartie should be matched up on the surging Kenny Britt for this MNF tilt, leaving Washington to prey on the rest of the NYJ secondary.  He has shown nice rapport with Locker in the past, so hopefully these to get on the same page this week.  This move wreaks of desperation so sure, but it might not be as crazy of an idea as it sounds.

4. Dennis Pitta, TE BAL (30%Y!) – I’m not afraid to admit this is merely a “gut pick”.  But I’d be surprised if Pitta doesn’t at least match his production (5/46/1) of last week.  Take that as you may.

Others to consider: Dallas Clark, TE TB (25%Y!), Miami DEF (41%Y!), Danny Woodhead RB NE (34%Y!)

Week 15 Staff Picks – ATS

Games Roid Rage Ginger King Results
Last week (Year to date):
6-8-1 (51-48-3)
8-6-1 (54-45-3)
Cincinati (-4.5) @ Philadelphia Cincy  Cincy  Cincy by 21
NYG @ Atlanta (PK)  NYG  NYG  Atlanta by 34
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-3.5)  TB  TB  Saints by 41
Indianapolis @ Houston (-9.5)  Houston  Indy  Houston by 12
Denver (-2.5) @Baltimore  Denver  Denver  Denver by 17
Jacksonville @ Miami (-7)  Miami  Miami  Miami by 21
Washington (-1) @ Cleveland  Cleveland  Washington  Wash by 17
Minnesota @ St. Louis (-1.5)  Minny  Minnesota  Minn by 14
Green Bay (-3) @ Chicago  GB  GB  GB by 8
Seattle (-5.5) @ Buffalo  Seattle  Seattle  Seattle by 33
Carolina @ San Diego (-3)  Carolina  San Diego  Carolina by 24
Detroit (-6) @ Arizona  Arizona  Detroit  Zona by 28
Pittsburgh (-1) @ Dallas  Pitt  Pitt  Dallas by 3
Kansas City @ Oakland (-3)  KC  Oakland  Oakland by 15
San Francisco @ New England (-5)  SF  NE  SF by 7
NYJ @ Tennessee (-1)  Tennessee  Tennessee  Tenn by 4
Lock & Load!
RR: Denver (-2.5), Carolina (+3), TB (+3.5)
GK: Denver (-2.5), Seattle (-5.5), NYG (PK)

Tuesday Teabag, December 11, 2012 – Brandon Jacobs

Bob Costas gets a reprieve this week (although, for the record, the complete 180 he did this past Sunday while commenting on the Josh Brent situation earns him the honor of being a total pussy…that, or he overcorrected because he fears The Machine, in which case, smart move).

No, this week we focus our attention on Brandon Jacobs, the suspended (soon to be former) 49ers RB.  Oh Brandon, 10 months ago you were on top of the world:  you just won your second Super Bowl with the G-Men, you became the Giants all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, and, even though you’re on the wrong side of 30, teaming up with Ahmad Bradshaw ensured some added longevity and a real shot at getting a third ring and a chance at football immortality.  But no, Brandon was disgruntled by his diminished playing time (note: you know someone’s a total d-bag when they’re on a championship team complaining about playing time) and it was apparent he was not coming back.

So, curiously, Brandon signed with the Niners in the offseason.  Yes, the same Niners that have the no doubt undisputed #1 RB in Frank Gore, quality backups in Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon, and rookie LaMichael James.  If he was pissed about sharing time with Bradshaw, how was he going to handle an orgy in the backfield?  Yes, this had train wreck written all over it.  The Machine snuggled in and waited for the crazy.

And so, 13 games into his first season that resulted in five carries for seven yards (a solid 1.4 yards per carry) the train made its final stop in Crazytown.  Brandon, clearly upset with his lack of opportunities and placement on the depth chart, did what any upstanding professional would do: he complained on social media, saying he was “rotting away” on the bench and calling this season his worst, and then, in total buyer’s remorse fashion, posted pictures of his Super Bowl ring and himself playing for the Giants.  This prompted the Niners to suspend Jacobs for the rest of the season (without pay), and it’s likely they won’t bring him back for the playoffs, and almost certainly he won’t be suiting up for them next year.  While normally you’d feel bad about someone losing their job, here, it feels so good for many reason.

First, complaining about your job on social media is a move reserved for teachers…it’s tough to garner sympathy for someone who’s made millions of dollars playing a game (it’s also hard for The Machine to have sympathy for people that work half the year and get summers off).

Second, this type of petulant, self-absorbed behavior has defined Brandon.  When the going gets tough, he quits.  A google search will tell you that Brandon went to college at Southern Illinois, not a traditional powerhouse program.  However, a beer with The Machine will tell you that he first started out at Auburn, which is a traditional powerhouse program.  In the backfield with him at Auburn were future NFL players Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.  Instead of staying at Auburn, competing with Cadillac and Ronnie and working his way up the RB ladder, Brandon took his ball and goes to Southern Illinois, a Division I-AA (or whatever it’s called now) school.  It’s no wonder why Cadillac and Ronnie became first round draft picks and Jacobs fell to the fourth.

Third, and perhaps more importantly, you knew this was going to happen the moment you left the Giants.  Anyone that knows anything about the Giants (we dare you to test The Machine’s knowledge here) knows that, unless your name is Manning, you are a role player.  The recent list of former G-Men that left to seek richer pastures and have failed miserably is long and telling:  Kevin Boss, Derrick Ward, Steve Smith, Ryan Grant, even Mario Manningham.  All of these players left and have had little or no impact.  These players thought they were better than they really are, and failed to realize they had a pretty good gig in New York.  On the other hand, the Giants plug in players, Jake Ballard (now Martellus Bennent), Victor Cruz, David Wilson, Domenik Hixon) and they don’t miss a beat.  It’s as if Coach Coughlin and Jerry Reese know what they’re doing in building a roster with talent and depth.

So Brandon, while you file your inevitable appeal with the NFLPA and begin your quest for social media rehabilitation (look for a feel good story involving Brandon in the upcoming weeks) The Machine hopes you’ve banked away some cash, cause it looks like you’re playing days are over.  While some team may be dumb enough to sign you (you can’t teach 6’4”, 264) you’re never going to see the kind of cash you think you deserve.  You’re a 30 year old RB with bad knees and an even worse attitude problem.  Instead, you’ll see a one year, heavily incentive laden contract…typical for problem child athletes (see TO).

Bottom line:  you’re not worth the headache and distraction…but you are worth a Tuesday Teabag.  Enjoy.

Week 14 – Sleepers

Ah, we’ve finally made it: the fantasy football playoffs are upon us!  Gone are the weeks of playing the scab team, the injury-ridden hot mess teams, and the teams that never really had a chance.  If you’ve made it this far chances are your team is pretty solid, and you probably don’t have much need to roll with a 14% owned waiver wire WR.  However, chances are that your opponent has a pretty good squad too, so you’ve got to ensure you give yourself an edge at all positions.  In that spirit, this weeks sleepers are composed of kickers, defenses and guys that you could plug into a flex spot if need be:

1. Cincinnati DEF (50% Y!) – Opponent: Dallas – The Bengals defense has really come on of late, registering 4 sacks in each of the last 4 games.  While Paul Brown Stadium isn’t exactly the most rocking of stadiums, the Bengals should have a strong showing as they battle for a playoff spot and take on a “marquee” opponent.  The Cowboys offensive line is a joke; Doug Free can’t get out of his own way and holds on literally every play (leads the league in offensive penalties).  This glaring deficiency as only highlighted Tony Romo’s careless with the football and suspect decision-making.  Bottom line, Romo is always a safe bet for a turnover or two.  The Bengals have zero defensive TD’s and only 1 special teams TD return this year, so they could be due.

2. Buffalo DEF – (27%Y!) Opponent: St. Louis Rams – The Bills defense should matchup well to the St. Louis offense in this contest.  Like the Bengals above, the Bills defense has come on lately, led by Mario Williams who has 5 sacks in his last 3 games and now has more sacks on the season (9.5) than Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and JPP.  If the Bills can contain the Rams running game then the secondary could make some big plays.  The Bills also have weapons at KR/PR.

3. Greg Zuerlein, K (31%Y!) – Since when to kickers get nicknames?  Well I guess when you are popping the net at 50+ yards out you deserve to be called “Greg-the-Leg” or, better yet, Leg-a-tron!  While he has been wildly inconsistent in terms of fantasy scoring, there is no denying Zuerlein’s abilities to drop 50 yard bombs in the course of a game.  This is more a play-to-win (isn’t that the point) play, because while he could come up small, he has the ability to lead all kickers in weekly scoring.

4. Donny Avery, WR (29%Y!) – Sure, he is playing third fiddle to Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton, but Avery had 14 targets.  With that kind of action he won’t kill you at the flex; and offers some big play potential.  Andrew Luck is slinging the rock as well as anyone right now, and we don’t foresee the Titans being the ones to slow him down.

5. Martellus Bennett, TE (56%Y!) –  Has seem to rekindled some of his early season mojo with Brother Eli, netting 8 catches for 126 yards and a TD in his last two games.  The Saints have struggled all season against TE’s.  But in fairness the Saints have struggled all season against QB’s, RB’s and WR’s too.  This game could/should go the way of a shootout, so Marty could register a decent number of looks.  A stat line similar to last weeks 5/80/1 doesn’t seem out of reach at all.

Tuesday Teabag, December 4, 2012 – Bob Costas

No one has been more controversial this past week than Bob Costas.  Who knew such a small man could cause so much controversy.  For those living in bubble, let’s recap:  Over the weekend, the sports world was rocked with a horrible tragedy:  Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, and then headed to Arrowhead where he shot and killed himself.  The story gets even sadder, knowing that he left a 3 month old daughter behind and that his coaches were there when he shot himself.

That should be the story:  a horrible family tragedy that unfortunately unfolded in the public eye.  But no, apparently the story’s not sensational enough for the media.  Cue Mighty Mouse.

While the Machine was (re)checking its fantasy scores Sunday night (don’t worry, we made the playoffs) we listened to Costas deliver his halftime monologue.  And what we heard shocked us.

Instead of respectfully commentating on the tragedy, maybe advocating for more counseling and related services for players, Costas took a sharp left (pun intended) and felt it appropriate to go on a gun control rant.

Quoting Jason Whitlock, who really should share this Tuesday Teabag, Costas proclaimed:  “In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed.  Who knows? But here…is what I believe.  If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”  This is absurd and infuriating for several reasons.

First, let’s stop saying that crimes are committed because of accessibility to guns.  Banning guns won’t stop people from using them.  Drugs are illegal, but the last time we checked, by our unscientific method of attending a Dave Mathews Band concert, a lot of people smoke weed.  Legal or not, if someone wants to get a gun, just like if someone wants a blunt, they’ll find it.

Second, saying they’d both be alive if Jovan didn’t have a gun is sensationalism at its best.  You have no fucking clue what would happen.  OJ (or the real killer) didn’t have a gun.  The rush to blame everything except the actions of people says a lot about our society.  It’s not McDonald’s fault you’re fat…it’s your inability to lay off the fucking McNuggets and Mountain Dew.

Perhaps most infuriating is the blatant violation the “Know your role” rule.  Do you get financial advice from your garbage man?  How about culinary tips from your accountant?  Ever watch the weather for home improvement tips?  Of course not.  The Machine would have less of a problem if Chris Mathews got on a gun control soapbox on Hardball.  That’s his job, he knows his role, and that’s what really puts Costas in The Machine’s crosshairs.  You’re an elf-like man that appears on Sundays for football and every two years for the Olympics.  You’re pretty much a Gremlin (note: do not feed Costas after midnight), but you’re a sports Gremlin.  Don’t think you’re anything more than that (ask Keith Olberman).  Politics shouldn’t find its way into halftime.  Don’t push the leftist media agenda when all we want are highlights from the Jets game. 

Your ceiling, while actually shorter than most because you live in a dollhouse, is sitting fireside interviewing the gold medalist in the Women’s Freestyle.  Know.  Your.  Role.

Enjoy your teabag.