Fantasy Must (Not) Haves

Happy Draft Week!  If you’re like us, you spent the weekend neglecting familial duties and receiving disapproving glances from your spouse as you pour over preseason game tape and review player stats from the past 3 years (chances of getting action from Mrs. Machine:  Zero).  But all that hard work is about to payoff, as you approach your fantasy draft. 

Ok, so you’ve done your research.  You may have even bought yourself a fancy fantasy football magazine (you know that shit was written in May, right?).  The truly devoted (and smartest and prettiest) have been checking in with The Machine for their fantasy hook ups.  And let us be your wingmen for success. 

First up, our Top Fantasy Must (Not) Haves.  These are guys that either (a) we think are going to flame out this season, (b) are being drafted too high, or (c) we don’t like.  Let the other suckers in your league take these guys, unless they’re readers of The Machine too…then they’re cool.

The look of dejection:  The trademark of a Miami Dolphin.

The look of dejection: The trademark of a Miami Dolphin.

Mike Wallace, WR Miami.  Two words:  Ryan Tannehill.  Did you see that clip Roid Rage threw up of Dustin Keller blowing out his knee?  100% Tannehill’s fault.  A well placed ball (hell, even a reasonably placed ball) and Keller still has his ACL attached to his knee.  And that, friends, is what Mike Wallace will be dealing with all year.  Wallace will have a Larry Fitzgerald-like drop in production, for exactly the same reason Fitz did:  inconsistency at the QB position.  It certainly won’t be for lack of talent.  Wallace is a legit 1WR with speed to burn, but will produce like a 2WR because of the offensive limitations.

Hi, this is Sparkles, my Unicorn.  WTF...

Hi, this is Sparkles, my Unicorn. WTF…

Arian Foster, RB Houston.  We’re believing Dr. Mike and his injury concerns with Foster (even if he’s been widely discredited by other Physical Therapists at major sports outlets).  More so than the injury concern, is his production.  Foster has decreased YPC in each of the past 3 years, 4.9, 4.4, and 4.1.  Compare that with Adrian Peterson – 4.6, 4.7, 6.0.  That puts Foster at or below 4.0 YPC this year, not what you want for someone that is trending at an average pick of 2.7.  Believe us, Foster shouldn’t slip out of the Top 6, but he just may not be the lock at 2 that he once was.  Handcuffing with Ben Tate is a must.


Pulled a hamstring posing for this photo

Pulled a hamstring posing for this photo

Darren McFadden, RB Oakland.  Perhaps it’s because The Machine’s been burned by Run DMC each of the past two years, but dammit we’re not falling for this again.  McFadden is too fragile to be consistently counted on and, if you believe Shaun King, could care less about playing.  Either way, stay far, far away from McFadden (and really anyone in a Raiders uniform).




As long as no one hits him and he never falls down, you'll be fine.

As long as no one hits him and he never falls down, you’ll be fine.

Hakeem Nicks, WR New York Giants.  When healthy, Nicks is a Top 5 WR.  Problem is, he’s never healthy.  Nicks has played a full season…um…never, and he’s already had multiple injuries (groin, knee, foot) this offseason.  Further complicating matters is that Eli has multiple weapons to throw to, including Victor Cruz, who has replaced Nicks as the G-Men’s 1WR.  If you draft Nicks, you must handcuff him with Reuben Randle.

Joe sporting his To Catch a Predator mustache.

Joe sporting his To Catch a Predator mustache.

Joe Flacco, QB Baltimore.  What?  The defending Super Bowl winning QB’s on your list?  Indeed.  The Ravens have been decimated this offseason by injuries and departures, especially at the receiver position.  This leaves Flacco with the one-two punch of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.  What this means is the offense will flow through Ray Rice even more than before, which will lead to mediocre (at best) fantasy numbers for Flacco.  Flacco should never see the light of day in any lineup this year. 

Dis-honorable Mentions:  Ron Gronkowski, Tavon Austin, Chris Ivory, Russell Wilson.


Injury Report – Arian Foster

Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware:   Dr. Mike says Foster’s bound to breakdown.

A new addition to The Machine, please welcome our Chief Physical Therapist, Dr. Mike (think Stephania Bell but hotter), who signed an exclusive deal with The Machine this offseason (we pay in beer).  Dr. Mike will periodically chime in with important, need to know injury updates and status reports.  He’ll use fancy doctor words (I love it when you say corticosteroid injection) but he’ll also give you the knowledge you need to dominate your league.  First up on Dr. Mike’s exam table, Arian Foster.

Everyone knows Adrian Peterson is the number one fantasy pick this year, but who is number 2?  The general consensus thus far has been Arian Foster.  Picking Foster #2 overall is kind of like picking up the hot (read: easy) chick in the bar a 9:00 PM.  Yeah, there is still plenty of time to find a hotter (read: easier) girl, but taking this one is a sure thing.  Not a bad philosophy for fantasy drafting, or for a Friday night.  Over the past week, however, this has changed. 

Foster is still a hot chick, but now may have an STD.  Even though he’s still attractive, you could feel the burn for the rest of the season (pun intended).  Foster is suffering from a bout of low back pain that may or may not be related to a calf muscle issue.  Now he is also complaining of pain down his legs.  Up until the past 48 hours everyone has insisted that he will be ready for Week 1.  The latest news reports that he is undergoing corticosteroid injections in his lumbar spine.  Normally this includes 3 injections at least 1 week apart.  Even if the injections are 100% effective (which they rarely are) he will probably not play a single live snap until Week 1.

Foster owners will be praying that his back/calf/legs/body hold up.

Foster owners will be praying that his back/calf/legs/body hold up.

If the reports of leg pain and calf spasms are true, then he is dealing with a nerve impingement.  These are the same symptoms that Gronk and JPP dealt with prior to their offseason surgeries (and all of us G-Men fans saw the effects of back pain on JPP’s performance last season).  The question is what is causing this impingement?  It could be any number of things:  extruded disk, stenosis, or significant degeneration that is causing pressure on a spinal nerve.  None of these are good options for a guy that is about to be tackled 350+ times this season.  In my opinion, Foster is headed for back surgery.  The question is when?  Can it wait until the off season?  Unclear at this point, which is why taking Foster #2 is no longer a sure thing.

The machine that is a RB’s body can only take so much punishment before it has to be repaired or retired.  This is evident by the usual drop-off in production by RB’s the season after they have 370 touches.  Over the past 30 years, only freaks of nature like LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, and Walter Payton are immune.  Every other back that has carried the ball more than 370 times has seen an average of 30% drop off in yards (including 4 that tore their ACL’s and 6 that ended their careers.)  This does not bode well for Arian Foster coming into this season.  He is quickly falling down draft boards. 

Dr. Mike’s advice:  Proceed with caution.  I would not touch him in the top half of the first round, but just like your 9:00 PM hookup, sometimes it turns out that STD is just an itch.  If that’s the case, congrats on dodging a bullet.  It’s certainly possible that Foster can shake off the injury bug and live up to expectations, it’s just that he comes with a lot of risk.  If you do draft him, listen to your high school health teacher and stop for condoms on the way home (read: draft Ben Tate for protection).

2013 Fantasy Football Pecking Order: RBs & WRs

At last, now that the salad (TEs) and appetizers (QBs) are consumed it’s time for the real meat & potatoes portion of fantasy football: RBs and WRs.  Let’s strap on the old feed bag and have at it shall we: (Note: Rankings are based on PPR-scoring, because lets face it, if you’re not doing PPR than you’re not doing it right)…

 Running Backs

Player Composite Rank Ginger King Roid Rage
Adrian Peterson (MIN) 1 1 1
Arian Foster (HOU) 2 2 5
Doug Martin (TBB) 3 4 3
LeSean McCoy (PHI) 4 5 6
Jamaal Charles (KCC) 5 7 4
C.J. Spiller (BUF) 6 9 2
Ray Rice (BAL) 7 3 9
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) 8 6 7
Alfred Morris (WAS) 9 8 11
Matt Forte (CHI) 10 11 8
Trent Richardson (CLE) 11 12 10
Chris Johnson (TEN) 12 10 15
Stevan Ridley (NEP) 13 17 12
David Wilson (NYG) 14 15 17
Steven Jackson (ATL) 15 16 16
Reggie Bush (DET) 16 18 14
Darren Sproles (NOS) 17 19 13
Frank Gore (SFO) 18 13 21
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) 19 14 20
DeMarco Murray (DAL) 20 20 24
Lamar Miller (MIA) 21 25 22
Ryan Mathews (SDC) 22 21 27
DeAngelo Williams (CAR) 23 31 19
Chris Ivory (NYJ) 24 26 25
Vick Ballard (IND) 25 22 30
Le’Veon Bell (PIT) 26 29 23
Mark Ingram (NOS) 27 23 34
Rashard Mendenhall (ARI) 28 30 28
Fred Jackson (BUF) 29 28 33
Andre Brown (NYG) 30 24 41
Bryce Brown (PHI) 31 34 32
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (CIN) 32 27 45
Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL) 33 35 37


Eddie Lacy (GBP) 34 33 42
Danny Woodhead (SDC) 35 32 47
Giovani Bernard (CIN) 36 43 36
Marcel Reece (OAK) 37 41 40
Ben Tate (HOU) 38 47 38
Daniel Thomas (MIA) 39 42 48
Denard Robinson (JAC) 40 44 46
Ahmad Bradshaw (IND) 41 48 43
Darren McFadden (OAK) 42 18
Montee Ball (DEN) 43 26
Pierre Thomas (NOS) 44 29
Vick Ballard (IND) 45 30
Shane Vereen (NEP) 46 35
Ryan Williams (ARI) 47 36
Michael Bush (CHI) 48 37
Donald Brown (IND) 49 39
LeGarrette Blount (NEP) 50 40
Daryl Richardson (STL) 51 44
Michael Turner (FA*) 52 45
Anthony Dixon (SFO) 53 46
Lance Dunbar (DAL) 54 49
Zac Stacy (STL) 55 50
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) 56 49

Wide Receivers

Player Composite Rank Ginger King Roid Rage
Calvin Johnson (DET) 1 1 1
Dez Bryant (DAL) 2 2 3
A.J. Green (CIN) 3 4 4
Brandon Marshall (CHI) 4 7 2
Julio Jones (ATL) 5 3 7
Andre Johnson (HOU) 6 5 9
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) 7 10 5
Vincent Jackson (TBB) 8 9 6
Victor Cruz (NYG) 9 8 8
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) 10 6 11
Roddy White (ATL) 11 11 12
Marques Colston (NOS) 12 16 10
Randall Cobb (GBP) 13 14 13
Wes Welker (DEN) 14 12 17
Reggie Wayne (IND) 15 15 18
Jordy Nelson (GBP) 16 18 15
Hakeem Nicks (NYG) 17 13 23
Danny Amendola (NEP) 18 22 16
DeSean Jackson (PHI) 19 17 24
Antonio Brown (PIT) 20 21 20
Pierre Garcon (WAS) 21 28 14
Eric Decker (DEN) 22 26 19
Steve Smith (CAR) 23 20 26

Stevie Johnson (BUF) 24 24 22
Dwayne Bowe (KCC) 25 23 25
Torrey Smith (BAL) 26 25 27
Mike Wallace (MIA) 27 19 35
James Jones (GBP) 28 30 32
T.Y. Hilton (IND) 29 34 28
Anquan Boldin (SFO) 30 32 31
Cecil Shorts (JAC) 31 47 21
Miles Austin (DAL) 32 29 41
Mike Williams (TBB) 33 31 38
Greg Jennings (MIN) 34 27 45
Kenny Britt (TEN) 35 33 40
Lance Moore (NOS) 36 37 37
Sidney Rice (SEA) 37 38 39
Justin Blackmon (JAC) 38 42 36
Golden Tate (SEA) 39 49 34
Kendall Wright (TEN) 40 44 42
Rueben Randle (NYG) 41 45 43
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) 42 43 49
Denarius Moore (OAK) 43 46 50
Mohamed Sanu (CIN) 44 33
Tavon Austin (STL) 45 35
Nate Burleson (DET) 46 36
Brian Hartline (MIA) 47 39
Devery Henderson (WAS) 48 40
Malcom Floyd (SDC) 49 41
Jeremy Kerley (NYJ) 50 46
Andrew Hawkins (CIN) 51 47
Vincent Brown (SDC) 52 48
Santana Moss (WAS) 53 48


Tuesday Teabag, August 20, 2013 – Boston Red Sox

Anyone think this was an accident?

Just three short weeks ago, The Machine made a bold confession:  we stopped becoming A-Rod apologists.  In the face of Biogenesis, we could no longer overlook and explain away his utter-douchbagedness.  Since then, Team A-Rod hasn’t done much to change our opinion: he forced his way back in the Yankees lineup (to a chorus of boos), (allegedly) leaked info implicating Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli (yup, his teammate) and somehow managed to retain an attorney that’s even more of a douchebag than he is.

Yes, in the wake of all of this, the one thing The Machine was certain there was one thing that A-Rod would never become: a victim.  However, thanks to the Boston Red Sox, A-Rod has become just that.

On Sunday night, the Yankees were in Boston, where it was expected that A-Rod would be greeted with a hearty (and well-deserved) hazing from the Boston faithful.  However, in his first at-bat against Ryan Dempster, he faced 4 pitches:  inside, inside, behind him, plunked in the back.  Clearly, Dempster was aiming for A-Rod, but (surprisingly) the umpire did not eject him.  Instead, Joe Girardi gets ejected for arguing, and Boston (somewhat dickishly) cheers A-Rod’s intentional beaning.  But that just set the stage for this:

Anyone think this was an accident?

Anyone think this was an accident?

Sixth inning, Boston comfortably up 6-3, Dempster’s still in the game, and A-Rod steps back up to the plate.  BOOM!  A-Rod drills a homer to (deep) center, and sparks a 4 run inning.  Yanks go on to win 9-6, and the A-Rod redemption tour has officially begun.

Leave it to Boston to turn A-Rod into a sympathetic figure.  Overnight, he’s gone from complete villain to someone who maybe got a raw deal from MLB (211 game suspension for a first time offender (in the eyes of the MLB testing policy) is a lot).  There will be stories abound about laying off A-Rod, and giving him the due process that every other player enjoys.  In fact, there already is one

And, the League’s response to the Boston beaning is laughable.  MLB announced today that Dempster will be suspended for 5 games.  Sounds pretty harsh, until you know that (a) he’ll be paid and (b) he won’t miss a start.  In other words, it’s a completely toothless suspension, which shows that the League is not at all concerned about protecting A-Rod from any future plunkings.  This only further ups his sympathetic appearance in the eyes of the public.  Sure, he’ll never get back to where he used to be, but he’s slowly gaining back some of the public trust.  Thanks to Boston (oh, sweet irony).

Also, the story about Dempster hitting A-Rod because Alex snubbed him at some public event makes Dempster look like a complete tool.  No wonder he fits right in Boston.

Enjoy your teabag.

2013 Fantasy Football Pecking Order: TEs

For those of you that had Dustin Keller on your cheatsheets (here’s looking at you Ginger King), consider sending DJ Swearinger a thank you card…..


Player Composite Rank Ginger King Roid Rage
Jimmy Graham (NOS) 1 1 1
Rob Gronkowski (NEP) 2 3 2
Tony Gonzalez (ATL) 3 2 5
Vernon Davis (SFO) 4 4 4
Jason Witten (DAL) 5 5 3
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) 6 7 6
Brandon Pettigrew (DET) 7 6 11
Brandon Myers (NYG) 8 8 9
Jermaine Gresham (CIN) 9 10 10
Greg Olsen (CAR) 10 13 8
Martellus Bennett (CHI) 11 14 7
Antonio Gates (SDC) 12 12 12
Owen Daniels (HOU) 13 9 16
Jermichael Finley (GBP) 14 11 15
Heath Miller (PIT) 15 19 13
Marcedes Lewis (JAC) 16 15 18
Jared Cook (STL) 17 17 17
Jordan Cameron (CLE) 18 14
Fred Davis (WAS) 19 16
Dustin Keller (MIA) 20 18
Robert Housler (ARI) 21 19
Ed Dickson (BAL) 22 20
Dwayne Allen (IND) 23 20


2013 Fantasy Football Pecking Order: QBs

Football is king; the proof is in the ratings-pudding!  For the broadcast week-ending August 4, 2013 (BW45), not only was the Dallas Cowboys v. Miami Dolphins HOF Game the top rated sports broadcast, it was the highest rated program, period.  And the pre-game show/ceremony was the second-rated show for the week!  Hey Ryan Braun, LA Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, A-Roid and all other MLB storylines: thanks for carrying us through the summer; the big boys have laced them up, we’ll see you guys in April!

You can bet your ass those ratings consist of a large number of fantasy owners checking to see what veterans have lost a step, scouting late round sleepers, and getting an overall vibe from each team as they gear up for fantasy drafts!  The Machine is running on all cylinders this time of the year.  Check out our QB rankings below and check back as we roll out the other skill positions.

Player Composite Rank Ginger King Roid Rage
Aaron Rodgers (GBP) 1 1 1
Drew Brees (NOS) 2 2 2
Tom Brady (NEP) 3 3 6
Colin Kaepernick (SFO) 4 5 5
Peyton Manning (DEN) 5 4 7
Matt Ryan (ATL) 6 7 4
Cam Newton (CAR) 7 9 3

 Cam Newton intro


Eli Manning (NYG) 8 8 10
Matthew Stafford (DET) 9 6 12
Tony Romo (DAL) 10 10 9
Robert Griffin III (WAS) 11 12 8
Andrew Luck (IND) 12 11 13
Russell Wilson (SEA) 13 15 11
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 14 13 15
Jay Cutler (CHI) 15 16 14
Joe Flacco (BAL) 16 14 18
Sam Bradford (STL) 17 18 16
Matt Schaub (HOU) 18 20 19
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) 19 17
Andy Dalton (CIN) 20 17
Philip Rivers (SDC) 21 19
Alex Smith (KCC) 22 20


Tuesday Teabag, August 13, 2013 – Ian Poulter

I'm so mad I could tweet about it.  That'll show those scoundrels.

I’m so mad I could tweet about it. That’ll show those scoundrels.

What a great weekend for sports if you’re from New York…excuse me, Upstate New York (yes, it is markedly different from downstate New York).  The PGA Championship right in The Machine’s backyard, and the Bills win and put up 44 on the Colts (hey, we know it’s preseason but this is the best time to be a Bills fan).  Yes, it was a pretty awesome weekend, especially the golf, and The Machine was right there throwing back $7.50 Gennys at Oak Hill (note:  the fact that Genesee Beer was listed as a “local craft beer” brought a warm smile to The Machine’s face). Anyway, after 72 holes of golf, Rochester crowned its newest major Champion, Jason Dufner.  Duff Daddy is quickly becoming a household name on the tour.  Although 36, he’s one of the newer, hip golfers (like Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, and Keegan Bradley) and represents a change from the old guard.  Calm, cool, plays golf with a huge lipper in his mouth, and seems like a guy you could grill burgers with in the backyard over a couple of brews.  Certainly different from the old guard (can you imagine throwing a few back with Tiger or Davis Love III?)

So, the big story on Monday should have been about Dufner winning his first major, and his chance at redemption following his epic collapse at the 2011 PGA Championship.  Instead, we were treated to stories about people whining about the crowds.

Yes, much of the talk on Monday dealt with people complaining about the growing trend in golf where people yell things after a swing.  It started out innocently enough a few years back with the “Get in the Hole” guy for putts, and, sure enough, that slippery slope brought us the “Get in the Hole” guy for regular shots, which then progressed to shouts of random phrases.  Two common ones at Oak Hill over the weekend were “Mashed Potatoes” and “Baba Booey.”  See below.



Now let’s get something straight.  Are these things childish, sophomoric, and unnecessary?  Of course.  However, they’re also funny and, more importantly, harmless.  People yell out stuff AFTER they swing, so it’s not affecting a player’s preparation or concentration before or during their swing.  Anything said while the ball’s in the air is completely meaningless.

Well, this sort of behavior did not sit well with Ian Poulter.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Ian, he’s English, which means he has zero sense of humor (seriously, Benny Hill is not funny) and probably thinks Oasis is a real rock band.  Like all sensible Englishmen, Ian took his frustration to Twitter, where he tweeted the following:

This baba boo shit & mash potato crap shouting wouldn’t happen at Augusta, The Open, nor would it happen at Wimbledon. Tazer the thrushes.

First, we’re guessing thrushes is English for douchebag.  Second, really?  Are you that uptight and pretentious?  Is society as we know it falling apart because someone yelled “taters” after you hit?  Get over yourself, thrusher.  Your whining about people acting uncouth is pathetic, and totally transparent.  Does anyone here think that if Poulter finished in the Top 10 on Sunday (instead of tied for 61st) he’d give a shit what people said after he hit?  Of course not.  Ian’s got to blame someone else for his poor play, it certainly couldn’t be his fault, or those awful fucking pants.

Off the "look-at-me" rack at Marshalls

Off the “look-at-me” rack at Marshalls

No, it must be those boorish Americans.  Hey, for the record Brit, we don’t recall anyone streaking across the 18th green like say, they do at Wimbledon.

How sensible Englishmen enjoy tennis on the lawn.

How sensible Englishmen enjoy tennis on the lawn.

Look brah, I don’t know what you thought you meant to gain from your twitter rage (note: not street cred) but do you think that we’re going to stop, especially for you?  Sorry homie, it doesn’t work like that.  Good luck at the Wyndham Championship next week, I’m sure we’ll be quiet when you hit (note: free Machine t-shirt for anyone that yells “Tuesday Teabag” after Poulter hits).

No, what Ian probably thought to gain from his whining is to get more players on his side to pressure the PGA to change their rules to prohibit this conduct.  And he’s not alone.

Cork Gaines from the Business Insider writes that the PGA should adopt a zero tolerance policy like they have at Augusta, or else “it will get worse before it gets better.”  He also (unconvincingly) argues there’s a difference between the “Get in the Hole” guy and the new guys, explaining that “this new breed of golf yelling is not done out of fandom or excitement.  It is simply just a look-at-me effort to get on TV and get mentions on websites and Howard Stern’s radio show in a game of who can yell the craziest word or phrase.  Ultimately, it is no better than fans that run on to the field to interrupt sporting events for their own simple amusement.”  He’s wrong on many levels.

First, we must note that his name is Cork and he writes for the Business Insider.  Without knowing anything else about him, we’re guessing he’s white, upper middle class, well-educated, and sports a popped collar during the summertime and has at least two seersucker suits.  Shocker he’s against the riff-raff that has invaded the country clubs.

Second, it’s not a “look-at-me effort to get on TV.”  Did you see any cameraman pan over to one person that yelled something out?  No.  Not one got on TV.  Sure, Stern may have played some clips on his show, but they weren’t attributed to anyone.  There is no recognition to be had.  And, it didn’t interrupt the game.  It couldn’t be more different from the fan that runs on the field, a/k/a the creepy English streaker.

Golf is, and will always be, a sport played predominantly by white, upper class men.  It’s always going to have an element of snobbery to it, even if Larry the Cable Guy is in the stands yelling “git-r-done.”  Letting some dude who shelled out a few hundred bones walk around a golf course and yell “Baba Booey” while drinking $7.50 local craft beers is ok.  It’s not going to ruin the 400-thread count fabric that is golf.  And saying that the norm should be Augusta, which just admitted their first woman member last year and first black person in 1990, shows how out of touch with society you are.

If the PGA is smart, they will do nothing.  Perhaps a subtle warning to remind fans to be on their best behavior, but that’s it.  Why?  Because golf is becoming more popular by the second.  Which means more people golfing, which means more people at PGA events, which means more people buying PGA stuff.  The PGA needs to shed its Bushwood persona if it’s going to continue to grow in popularity.  Admonishing your growing fan base is not the way to go.

And Ian, if you can’t take our piggish American behavior, feel free to stay on your side of the pond and live in relative obscurity on the European Tour.

Enjoy your teabag.