Week 13 – Fantasy Waiver Wire Pick Ups

Alright, you’ve finally had enough turkey, stuffing, and awkward conversations with your family.  Now it’s time to focus on what really matters:  getting into the playoffs.  For most of us, this is the last week of the (fantasy) regular season, and if you’re still in the hunt, read on to find out what players can get you into the playoffs.

Fear the Ginger Beard!

Fear the Ginger Beard!

Carson Palmer, QB Arizona (% owned in Yahoo leagues, 46%)

Someone tell Carson it’s not 2005.  In his last three starts, Carson’s turned back the clock, averaging 325 yards a game, and he’s thrown 6 tds with only 1 int.  Suddenly, the Cardinals are on fire, winning 4 in a row, and it’s due in large part to the play at quarterback.  This week, Arizona plays Philly, whose defense has given up 4 consecutive 300 yard passing games.  That bodes well for Carson, who should be able to reach 300 yards and a touchdown.

If you’re an Aaron Rodgers owner, Carson makes a great play this week.

Guess who's back?

Guess who’s back?

Michael Crabtree, WR San Francisco (45%)

Crabtree will see his first action of the season this week.  While most coaches would ease in a player making their debut in Week 13, not Jim Harbaugh, because Harbaugh’s a crazy person.  Crabtree will be a much needed addition to the Niners offense.  We like him as a WR3.

Bilal Powell, RB NY Jets (42%)

Ready to run wild this week.

Ready to run wild this week.

Matchup and opportunity.  The Jets face Miami this week, and the Dolphins have a porous run defense.  Plus, the Jets are 4-1 at home this year, and average 146 yards per game at Giants Stadium.  And with Chris Ivory injured, Powell should see the bulk of the action.

Great matchup, and plenty of opportunity.  We like Powell’s chances this week.


Benny Cunningham, RB St. Louis (23%)

The pride of Middle Tennessee State University!

The pride of Middle Tennessee State University!

It’s only taken 12 weeks, but St. Louis has finally settled on a RB, at least for now.  Undrafted rookie RB Benny Cunningham has taken over (from fellow rookie RB Zac Stacy) as the main back.  Benny has put up back to back double digit performances, and rushed for an impressive 109 yards and a touchdown against the Bears last week.  With Stacy suffering a concussion in that game, and Darryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead complete afterthoughts, Benny’s in line to get plenty of touches this week.  He’s a low RB2/Flex.

Tim Wright, TE Tampa Bay (19%)

Catching on like a staff infection.

Catching on like a staff infection.

Wright is the only healthy tight end on the roster (damn MRSA), and he stepped up big last week, going 8/75/0.  He’s established a pretty good rapport with Glennon, and is now a factor in the Bucs passing game.  He’s also a Rutgers guy, so the chances of Mighty Mouse Schiano stabbing him in the back and releasing him are slim (although it can’t be ruled out).

WEEK 13 Staff Picks (ATS) 2013

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
11/28 12:30 ET At Detroit    -6 Green Bay
11/28 4:30 ET At Dallas    -9.5 Oakland
11/28 8:30 ET At Baltimore    -3 Pittsburgh
12/1 1:00 ET At Indianapolis    -4.5 Tennessee
12/1 4:25 ET Denver    -5 At Kansas City
12/1 1:00 ET At Cleveland    -7 Jacksonville
12/1 1:00 ET At Carolina    -8 Tampa Bay
12/1 1:00 ET At Minnesota    -1 Chicago
12/1 1:00 ET At Philadelphia    -3 Arizona
12/1 1:00 ET At NY Jets    -2 Miami
12/1 4:05 ET At Buffalo    -3 Atlanta
12/1 4:05 ET At San Francisco    -8.5 St. Louis
12/1 1:00 ET New England    -7.5 At Houston
12/1 4:25 ET At San Diego    -1 Cincinnati
12/1 8:30 ET NY Giants    -1 At Washington
12/2 8:40 ET At Seattle    -5 New Orleans
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
Last Week 9 5 0     7 7 0     7 7 0     6 8 0  
Season to-date 87 83 6     86 84 6     89 81 6     82 88 6  
  GB      GB     DET      DET  
  DAL      OAK     OAK      DAL  
  BALT      PIT     PIT      BALT  
  BALT      PITT     DET      DAL  
  INDY      TENN     INDY      TENN  
  KC      DEN     DEN      DEN  
  CLEV      JAC     JAC      JAC  
  CAR     TB     CAR      CAR  
  CHI      CHI     CHI      CHI  
  ARI      PHI     ARI      ARI  
  MIA      NYJ     MIA      NYJ  
  BUF      BUF     ATL      BUF  
  STL      SF     SF      SF  
  NE      NE     NE      NE  
  SD      SD     SD      SD  
  NYG      NYG     NYG      NYG  
  SEA      NO     NO      NO  
LOTW SEA      NE      SD      SF  
LOTW Record 6 6 0     4 8 0     3 9 0     7 4 1  
Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day!

WEEK 12 Staff Picks ATS (2013)


Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
11/21 8:25 ET New Orleans -9.5 At Atlanta
11/24 1:00 ET At Detroit    -9 Tampa Bay
11/24 1:00 ET At Houston    -10 Jacksonville
11/24 1:00 ET At Green Bay    -4.5 Minnesota
11/24 1:00 ET At Kansas City    -4.5 San Diego
11/24 1:00 ET Carolina    -4.5 At Miami
11/24 1:00 ET At Cleveland    -2 Pittsburgh
11/24 1:00 ET At St. Louis    -1.5 Chicago
11/24 1:00 ET At Baltimore    -3.5 NY Jets
11/24 4:05 ET Tennessee    -1 At Oakland
11/24 4:05 ET At Arizona    -3 Indianapolis
11/24 4:25 ET At NY Giants    -2.5 Dallas
11/24 8:30 ET Denver    -2.5 At New England
11/25 8:40 ET San Francisco -5 At Washington
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
Last Week 5 8 2     7 6 2     4 9 2     6 7 2  
Season to-date 78 78 6     79 77 6     82 74 6     76 80 6  
  ATL     NO     ATL      NO  
  TB      TB     TB      DET  
  HOU      JAC     JAC      JAC  
  GB      GB     GB      MINN  
  SD      KC     KC      KC  
  CAR      CAR     CAR      CAR  
  PITT      PITT     PITT      CLE  
  STL      STL     CHI      CHI  
  NYJ      BALT     BALT      BALT  
  TEN      OAK     OAK      TEN  
  ARI      ARI     INDY      INDY  
  DAL      NYG     DAL      DAL  
  DEN      DEN     DEN      DEN  
  SF      SF     SF      SF  
LOTW SF      KC      KC      JAC  
LOTW Record 5 6 0     4 7 0     3 8 0     6 4 1  
The party's over in Tampa.

The party’s over in Tampa.

Tuesday Teabag, November 19, 2013 – Roc Nation Sports and Robinson Cano


Got 99 problems but Cano ain't one.

Got 99 problems but Cano ain’t one (yet).

We interrupt this NFL season to bring you some news from the diamond.  We’re just two weeks away from Baseball’s Winter Meetings, and things are starting to heat up.  Not familiar with the phenomenon that is the Winter Meetings?  It’s the one time a year where GMs and Execs from all 30 teams get together to discuss current issues in baseball (why no one under 50 watches), potential rule changes (expanded instant replay), and free agents.  There’s more excitement in the Winter Meetings than the first half of the baseball season.  There’s also more bullshit than a Congressional hearing on Obamacare, especially when it comes to free agents.

In the weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings, teams and shameless agents will try to pimp create buzz for their players, in the hopes of striking it rich at the Winter Meetings, or planting the seeds to strike it rich.  And there’s no better example than this than with Robinson Cano.

Cano is the prize jewel of this years’ free agency class.  He’s played his entire 9 year career with the Yankees, and is now looking to ca$h in on free agency.  Sure, he’s a great player that will add value to any lineup.  But is he a player you build your team around?  Is he a franchise player?  Well, if you believe his agents, he’s that and much, much more.

Yes, Cano’s sports agent, led by Jay Z and Roc Nation Sports, are playing crazy hardball trying to drive up the price.  First, they are pushing for a 10 year, $310 million dollar contract.  The Yankees have offered 7 years, $160 million.  $310 million would easily make Cano the highest paid player in baseball, but that’s not even the craziest thing.  No, the crazy part is Team Cano is comparing him to Michael Jordan.  Wait, what?  You don’t throw out an MJ comparison unless you can be damn sure to back it up.  As a general rule, we loathe when people make MJ comparisons…only Kobe comes close.  And in Cano’s case, it’s not even close.

Before we get to the MJ thing, let’s look at some other factors, like stats.  Here’s Cano’s numbers compared to A-Rod’s first 9 full years in the league. 

  Cano A-Rod
Home Runs 204 376
RBI 822 1075
Hits 1649 1663
Average .309 .307
Slugging % .504 .581

Cano’s numbers are good, really good, but they’re not A-Rod numbers, and Cano’s looking to crush A-Rod’s 10 year, $275 million contract.  Despite all the hype from Hova, there’s no way he should even come close to getting A-Rod money, and, unless something crazy happens, he won’t.  Here’s why.

Cano as MJ?  Not.  Even.  Close.

Cano as MJ? Not. Even. Close.

Star Power

This is what’s most infuriating with the MJ comparison.  Quick:  when you think of current Yankees, who comes to mind?  How long did it take you to get to Cano?  Be honest.  Jeter, A-Rod, Mo, then maybe Cano (arguably CC, Tex, and Grandy could go before Cano).  It’s not even close when you consider past Yankees.  Ok, now when you think of the Chicago Bulls, past, present or future, how long does it take you to get to Jordan?  Shit, when you think of the word Chicago or basketball, how long does it take you to get to Jordan?  Exactly.

Cano is not an iconic, face of the franchise/league player like MJ.  As the Daily News points out, Cano has the 5th highest selling jersey for NY players (Christ he’s behind two Mets) and doesn’t even have the highest selling jersey for second basemen, trailing Dustin Pedroia.  Jordan trails nobody, and since the NBA started tracking jersey sales in 1998, Jordan still reigns supreme


Numbers don’t lie, and Cano’s on the wrong side of 30.  He’s 31, and seeking a 10 year contract.  Do you think the recent horrible long-term contracts given to star players in their 30’s…like A-Rod and Pujols, are fresh in the minds of baseball execs?  Indeed.  Cano’s got about 5 more consistently productive years left, and then it drops off.  The Machine thinks the best he’ll do is a 7 year deal with a player option for 8, and club option for 9.

No other suitors

Despite being the biggest talent, there’s no market for Cano, because everyone knows his demands are ridiculous.  It’s just the Yankees.  Perhaps the Mets step up as a bidder…they certainly have a strong track record of making horrible baseball decisions.  Quick trivia question:  who’s the highest paid outfielder on the Mets?  Answer:  Bobby Bonilla.  Yes, even though Bobby hasn’t played a game in over 12 years, the Mets pay him over $1 million a year until 2035.  Holy shit.  So, I guess you can’t count the Mets out, but so far it’s only the Yankees, who are wise to sit back and not move from their 7 year $160 million offer.

Jay Z as agent

Jay Z has stepped into the sports agency business, forming Roc Nation Sports.  He’s been acquiring a decent amount of talent, including Victor Cruz, Geno Smith, Kevin Durant, and now Robinson Cano.  Roc Nation Sports seems to not only want to maximize their clients’ sports earning potential, but also their marketing potential as well.  It’s not a novel concept—to maximize the total earning potential of a player—but it’s novel in the sense that marketing and sponsorship opportunities are at the forefront on contract negotiations.  The bad part of that is it narrows your market to only major market cities (it’s no surprise that 3 out of the 4 clients are in NYC).  Side note:  If Jay Z brings Durant to the Knicks, all will be forgiven.  Do you think Jay Z’s going to listen to offer from the Brewers or the Astros?  H to the Hell no.  Being a Jay Z client means you’re limited to NYC, LA, and maybe Chicago. 

Also, Jay Z is currently being investigated by MLB for giving an improper gift to Cano.  You got to think that the NFL, NBA, and MLB are weary about this new cross-over venture, which has the potential to take an athlete’s focus (gasp!) off of playing sports.  If the MLB comes down hard on Jay Z, that could

So, we get that there’s an element of puffery that always occurs with contract negotiations.  But come on, there still has to be an element of good faith and reasonableness, and comparing Cano to MJ defies logic.  It’s completely transparent, and a piss poor attempt to elevate a person to a level where they have no business being.  But Hova’s backed himself into a corner where he has to get close to what they’re asking.  If reality sets in and Cano ultimately accepts a reasonable deal (somewhere around 7-8 years, $160-200 million) Jay Z and Roc Nation Sports are going to look like fools, and this will set the tone with all clubs for future negotiations.  But that’s what you get when you pull the MJ card.  That, and a teabag.

Enjoy your teabag.

WEEK 11 Staff Picks ATS (2013)

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
11/14 8:25 ET Indianapolis -2.5 At Tennessee
11/17 1:00 ET Atlanta    -1.5 At Tampa Bay
11/17 1:00 ET At Buffalo    -1 NY Jets
11/17 1:00 ET Detroit    -2.5 At Pittsburgh
11/17 1:00 ET At Philadelphia    -3.5 Washington
11/17 4:05 ET San Diego    -1.5 At Miami
11/17 1:00 ET At Chicago    -3 Baltimore
11/17 1:00 ET At Cincinnati    -6 Cleveland
11/17 1:00 ET At Houston    -7 Oakland
11/17 1:00 ET Arizona    -7 At Jacksonville
11/17 8:30 ET At Denver    -8 Kansas City
11/17 4:25 ET At Seattle    -12.5 Minnesota
11/17 4:25 ET At New Orleans    -3 San Francisco
11/17 4:25 ET At NY Giants    -5 Green Bay
11/18 8:40 ET At Carolina -2.5 New England
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
Last Week 6 8 0     9 5 0     8 6 0     7 7 0  
Season to-date 73 70 4     72 71 4     78 65 4     70 73 4  
  INDY     INDY     INDY     INDY  
  TB      TB     ATL     ATL  
  NYJ     BUF     BUF     NYJ  
  DET      DET     DET     DET  
  PHI      PHI     WASH     PHI  
  SD      SD     SD     SD  
  BAL      BAL     CHI     BAL  
  CLE      CLE     CLE     CIN  
  HOU      HOU     HOU     OAK  
  ARI      ARI     ARI     ARI  
  DEN      KC     KC     KC  
  MINN      SEA     SEA     MINN  
  NO      NO     SF     NO  
  GB      NYG     GB     NYG  
  NE      NE     NE     NE  
LOTW HOU      TB     DET     NO  
LOTW Record 5 5 0     3 7 0     3 7 0     6 4 0  


Tuesday Teabag, November 12, 2013 – Fantasy Football Busts

Happy Sequential Numbers Day!  Nerd alert:  this is the penultimate sequential number day of the century.  Don’t worry, The Machine’s already planning its 12/13/14 bender.  Until then, let’s talk a little fantasy football.

Way back in August, The Machine gave you 5 names to avoid this season, and, not to toot our own horn but damn we’re good.  Mike Wallace?  1 td.  Arian Foster?  Out for the year.  Hakeem Nicks?  0 tds.  Darren McFadden?  Out.  Joe Flacco?  11 ints in 9 games.  Chances are, if you got one of those guys on your team, you’re struggling.  But these are far from the only disappointing players this year.  In this Tuesday Teabag, we give you 5 additional players who have earned the right be called a bust.

It’s important to note that, when we say bust, we don’t mean players who get injured.  Injuries are part of the game, they’re unfortunate, and sure, they can kill your fantasy team.  But injuries have a sense of finality to them.  When Julio Jones goes down, don’t get mad, get your ass to the waiver wire and pick up Harry Douglas.  But with busts, it’s different.  These are people who had high expectations and are simply underperforming, and in the process are slowly and painfully killing your team week after week.  To make matters worse, (a) you probably spent a high draft pick on them, (b) because they now suck they have no trade value, and (c) you’re forced to continue to play them because, the moment you sit them they’ll have their breakout game.  Do I sound bitter?  It’s probably because 3 of the following 5 assholes are currently on my team. 

Suddenly, Indy's hoping Vick Ballard heals quickly.

Suddenly, Indy’s hoping Vick Ballard heals quickly.

Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis

By far, the biggest disappointment this season.  At the beginning of the year, Trent was a late first round pick.  He had a solid rookie year, running for over 1,300 yards, 13 tds, and 65 receptions for Cleveland.  When he got traded to Indy after Week 2, everyone thought this would elevate Trent to a Top 5 running back, including yours truly who quickly traded for him, sat back, and laughed at what I steal I got (and what a steal Indy got, giving up a first round pick for the #3 overall pick 17 months prior). 

Everything was in Trent’s favor:  he was going to a contender, and was going to play the Edgerrin James to Andrew Luck’s Peyton.  At only 22 years old, Trent was the perfect complement to Indy’s offense.  On paper, it was perfect.  In reality (and fantasy) a total bust.  In his 7 games as a Colt, Trent’s rushed for a total of 250 yards, a whopping 35 yards per game, and has barely factored into the passing game, averaging one catch a game. 

Move over sophomore year slumpbuster, trading for Trent is now my biggest regret.

Hey Ray, got any deer antler spray I could borrow?

Hey Ray, got any deer antler spray I could borrow?

Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore

Ray has been a huge disappointment this year, both to fantasy owners and Ravens fans.  In nine games, he’s rushed for 289 yards.  His 2.5 YPC are nowhere near his career average (4.4), and he almost has as many fumbles (2) as tds (3).  Ray was a consensus first round pick and, at 26, is in the prime of his career.  Unfortunately, he’s a shell of his former self, and sucking the life out of your team.

Justin's problem isn't catching the rock...it's smoking it.

Justin’s problem isn’t catching the rock…it’s smoking it.

Justin Blackmon, WR Jacksonville

The wise fantasy football player picked up Blackmon with a late round pick during the draft and waited, knowing that a small 4 game suspension is worth it for a player who was a Top 5 WR the last half of the 2012 season.  Ginger King was so high (pun intended) on Justin that I drafted him in not one, but two, leagues.  And Justin delivered.  When he came off of suspension, Blackmon was an absolute monster, highlighted by a huge 14/190 performance against Denver.  He averaged over 7 catches and 100 yards in his first four games back.  His only problem:  those were his only games of the season.  Justin was suspended indefinitely for his third (yes, third) violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, impressive considering he’s been in the league less than two years.  It appears he smokes the rock as good (if not better) than he catches the rock.  We’re hoping Justin gets the help he needs…we’re also helping his (inevitable) trip to rehab goes like this:


Why won't Aaron return my calls?

Why won’t Aaron return my calls?

Greg Jennings, WR Minnesota

Does the quarterback make the wide receiver or the wide receiver make the quarterback?  In Greg Jennings’ case, the answer is clear.  After switching from Green Bay to rival Minnesota, Jennings talked some serious trash about his former employer and quarterback.  He was supposed to provide the outside threat that would open up more running lanes for AP.  Instead, Vikings fans have been treated to Troy Williamson 2.0.  He’s averaging an abysmal 3.7/45.5 per game.  Granted, the triumvirate of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman is horrible, but a #1 WR should be able to put up solid numbers regardless who’s under center.  Christ, Justin Blackmon lit it up (pun intended) with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert at the helm.  The only thing Jennings has proven is that he can talk like a #1 WR.

How much weed does $56 million get you?  A lot.

How much weed does $56 million get you? A lot.

Dwayne Bowe, WR Kansas City

After signing a 5 year, $56 million dollar contract in the offseason, much was expected of Bowe.  With only 2 tds and 33 receptions so far, Bowe is averaging a dismal 3.6/41 per game.  Now, we know Alex “Game Manager” Smith will never make a king out of a wide receiver, but Bowe is simply too good to be putting up such wretched numbers.  As if his problems on the field weren’t bad enough, he now has this to deal with.  Puff puff give!!!

Honorable mentions:  Eli Manning, RGIII, CJ Spiller, MJD

If any of these guys are on your team, we feel your pain.  Based on their output this season, the logical thing to do is to bench and/or trade these fools.  However, based on their body of work thus far, you’re never going to get good value for them on the trade market, and dropping them outright is too much of a kick in the balls.  Instead, because of their immense talent and your stubbornness to let go, you’re forced to continue to play them (except Blackmon), wistfully hoping that they will come out of their funk in time to turn your team around.  Good luck with that.

Enjoy your teabag.

Week 10 – Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups

If you’re in a deep and/or competitive league your waiver wire probably reads something like this:

Kenny Britt anyone?

Kenny Britt anyone?

Luckily The Machine has done some deep digging to uncover possible diamonds-in-the-rough for your Week 10 consideration.  Remember, this is a slippery slope, there is a reason these guys are on the waiver wire to begin with.  They could easily turn out to be nothing more than coal.  But if you’re in a bye-week crunch or have been hit by the injury bug you have to take some risks.  Here goes:

Garrett Graham, TE Houston Texans (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 29%) Garrett has a few nice things working in his favor this week.  First, he gets a second start with Case Keenum [see below] under center (sidenote: Case is quickly becoming one of our favorite players).  Last week wasn’t anything spectacular, as Graham finished with a 4/46 line (on 6 targets) against the Colts.  But the Colts actual defend the TE, unlike the Cardinals, whom are allowing the most fantasy points per game to tight ends.  After last weeks game you have to figure the Cardinals are going to key in on Andre Johnson, leaving targets galore to Double-G.

courtesy of puntingiswinning.com

courtesy of puntingiswinning.com

Rashard Jennings, RB Oakland Raiders (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 47%) Surprise surprise, Darren McFadden tweaked something (does it even matter what it is at this point).  McFadden has been ruled out, leaving bell-cow duties to Jennings.  He stuffed the box score last week after McFadden went gimpy early in the game; going for 176 all-purpose yards, 7 receptions and a TD.  Most of his passing game production (7/74) was a result of trying to keep pace with Nick Foles (?).  This week the G-Men’s beleaguered, uninspiring, over-rated defense is on the docket.  Jennings should be able to top 100 yards and find paydirt again.

Doug Baldwin, WR Seattle Seahawks (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 22%) I know, I know, this one is going to require a leap of faith.  Since Sidney Rice has gone down Baldwin has had one crummy game (1/12/0) and one good game (6/75/1).  If he could just give you an average of the two it would be good for 3.5/44/0.5.  That would be 7.5 points in a standard league or 11 in a PPR.  You could do worse, right?!

Jake Locker, QB Tennessee Titans (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 37%)

This is purely a matchup-whore type of pick as the Titans host the Jaguars this week.


The Titans will lean heavily on the ground game, because that is what you do when your coach is an old school former offensive linemen.  But they shouldn’t have troubles moving the chains and Locker should have some chances to make some plays.  As a bonus, he gets you some yards on the ground (averaging 23 rushing yards per game).

Some deep sleepers (for the brave fantasy gamers only):

Peyton Hillis, RB NY Giants (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 24%) Andre Brown is going to take over feature duties, but probably not until next week.

Mike Brown, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 10%) Somebody other than Cecil Shorts III has to catch pass, right?

Zach Ertz, TE Philadelphia Eagles (% owned in Yahoo Fantasy League, 3%) The rookie is getting more and more involved in this offense, which can be explosive (at times).

How We Got Here/ Where We’re Going – NFL Mid-Season Report! (Part 1 – Bottom of the Barrel)

More than half of the 256 NFL regular season games are in the book. There are some compelling, absolutely engrossing story-lines. Be it the undefeated Chiefs, Drama Dez does Dallas, Peyton Manning’s record breaking production or the Meltdown in Miami. Then there’s just the gross: enter the Jaguars and Buccaneers, two teams still in search of their first win (update: both teams now with 1 win each, but they’re still horrible). We take the temperature of each team and layout the best-case/ worst-case scenario for the rest of the season (ROS): (teams ranked in reverse power-ranking order, because we can):

32. Jacksonville (Current Record: 0-8; Projected Record: 1-15)
In the same damn annoying vein as the ’72 Dolphins, do the ’08 Lions have Champagne on ice until the last win-less team finally wins?! A weekly double digit dog, the Jaguars seemingly have no bite. Defensively they can’t stop anyone. Offensively they have some nice young pieces on the outside in Shorts and Blackmon. [Editors note: Justin Blackmon is doing his damndest to drink himself out of the league. Somewhere, Matt Jones is proud]. However, they don’t have a competent signal caller to feed these guys the rock. The Owner is publicly questioning why this team hasn’t been blown apart yet. It seems likely that Gus Bradley will join the exclusive fraternity of coaches that survive a 2-win (or less) season.

Best Case ROS: Denard Robinson is given a long look at tailback and flashes big time potential. The team guts out a win or two, but still finishes with the worst record, securing the top signal caller in the 2014 NFL Draft (I get excited just typing that!).

"Offensive Weapon"

“Offensive Weapon”

Worst Case ROS: Really?! Could it get much worse, really? Here is a microcosm of the Jaguars season: a week after trading starting LT Eugene Monroe for a draft pick (wise move), LT Luke Joeckel (your 2013 No. 2 overall pick) goes down with a season ending injury.

2014 Draft Considerations: There are about 7 QB’s coming out this year that would be a vast improvement to anything on the Jags current depth chart. Could Teddy Bridgewater have the best selling jersey in London this time next year? I’m sure Darren Rovell will let us know.

31. Tampa Bay (Current Record: 0-8; Projected Record: 2-14)
Everyone knew the Jags would suck this year, I mean they did roll with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at QB. But Florida’s other win-less team is a bit more shocking. There were relatively high expectations for the Buckaroos at the start of the season, and for good reason: Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson had developed good rapport the previous season; Doug Martin had the makings of a 1500+ all purpose yardage back; a healthy Carl Nicks would solidify the offensive line; they pulled perhaps the biggest off-season move in trading away the No. 13 overall pick for Darrelle Revis and added top safety free agent Dashon Goldson. Well, I guess we all discounted the Greg Schiano iron-fist crazy factor (not Ginger King, he was beating on the douche bag drum since last years victory formation blitz!), because he promptly chased Freemen out of town, ran Doug Martin into the ground, and perplexingly placed the leagues best man-to-man cover corner in Cover-2 zone.

Best Case (ROS): The “Mike James Jumppass” becomes the next offensive “fad” and the Bucs continue to jump (pun intended) out to 21-0 first quarter leads. The defense should continue to get better, and the Bucs have admitted that Revis wasn’t quite as healthy at the start of the season as we were lead to believe. Gee, who would have thought Darrelle MEvis would put himself before his new team just so he could trot out there against his old team in Week 1?! (Answer: Ginger King!)

One of these does not belong.

One of these does not belong.

Worst Case ROS: Everyone on the team contracts MRSA and they are forced to forfeit the remainder of the season and blow up Raymond James Stadium and rebuild the entire organization, literally! Would that really be so bad though?

2014 Draft Considerations: Jadeveon Clowney will be extremely difficult to pass up, but this team HAS to draft a QB. Perhaps they can move down a spot or two with another big off-season/draft day trade.

30. Minnesota (Current Record: 1-7; Projected Record: 3-13)
As a football fan it is depressing watching Adrian Peterson’s (not to mention Jared Allen’s) best years being pissed away by this franchise. AP has received handoffs from Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman this year. If this franchise is smart and/or serious about winning, he won’t receive any from these guys next year.

Best Case ROS: Someone, anyone, emerges from the three-headed QB suckfest competition to help back the eighth (and ninth) defender out of the box. Maybe Cordarrelle Patterson goes on a record setting spree by returning a kickoff in 8 consecutive games (because he sure as hell isn’t getting it done at WR). [Editors note: nice touchdown last night, CP!]

Worst Case ROS: Adrian Peterson misses time.

2014 Draft Considerations: The Vikings were the darlings of the 2013 Draft, with draftniks falling over themselves to give the Vikings a post-draft A+ grade because they, well simply because they landed 3 first-round draft picks.  So how’s the A+ draft working out?  Well, Xavier Rhodes has been a liability in coverage and has been dinged up; Shariff Floyd has flashed some potential and Patterson looks completely lost on offense. It’s still extremely early and naïve to classify what kind of players they’ll develop into, but when it’s all said and done I hardly believe the Vikings will go down as the “winners” of the 2013 Draft. As for next year, this team could go in just about any direction (except RB): OL, DL, DB, LB, QB.

29. Houston (Current Record: 2-6; Projected Record: 5-11)
How bad was the first half of the season? It was head-coach-stroke-bad! Get well Gary; you’re going to need your health to endure the rigors of job searching next year.

Best Case ROS: This little bastard Case Kennum (whom they literally plucked out of their backyard) gets a chance to showcase his talents and he makes the most of it. I personally like Case’s mentality and in-game strategy: just chuck it in Andre’s direction. Perhaps they rally behind their fallen coach and put together a wild card run….

What would possibly go wrong?!

What would possibly go wrong?!

Worst Case ROS: ….or perhaps they give Wade Philips a heart-attack (seriously, it can’t take much…RIP Bum Philips). The fantasy community will spend a great deal of this off-season wondering if Arian Foster’s insane workload is catching up to him or if he’ll bounce back (at a reduced price) in a big way. My money is on the former, not the latter. Football is a young mans game and RB is a young mans position. Move on while you still can.

2014 Draft Considerations: A pass-rushing outside linebacker to compliment JJ Watt. Perhaps Barr or Mack (the pride of UB!)

28. Pittsburgh (Current Record: 2-6; Projected Record: 5-11)
Here is a franchise that has done it right for so long that it’s shocking to see them have the type of season that is unfolding this year. But, digging a little deeper into some of their recent draft classes reveals one thing; they’ve been undeservingly getting a free pass. Since Tomlin took control **cough inherited a Super Bowl ready team**cough , the Steelers selected their fair share of head scratchers (translation: busts) in the draft: 2008: R. Mendenhall (R1), L. Sweed (R2), B. Davis (R3); 2009: E. Hood (R1), K. Urbik (R3); 2010: J. Worilds (R2), E. Sanders (R3); 2011: C. Heyward (R1), M. Gilbert (R2); 2012: M. Adams (R2), S. Spence (R3). For a team that doesn’t bring in many free agents, missing on all these (top 100) picks is catching up to them in the form of a 2-6 record.

Best Case ROS: Honestly, these draft picks sap the overall talent of the team, but nothing has done more to destroy the direction of this franchise than replacing Bruce Arians with jackass Todd Haley. Best Case (for Steelers fans) should be the continued downward spiral that leads to this guys firing.


Worst Case ROS: See Best Case ROS.

2014 Draft Considerations: The Steelers offensive line depth is a joke.  A stud tackle should be high on their priority list.

27. Oakland (Current Record: 3-5; Projected Record: 5-11)
Honestly, I had the Raiders as the worst team at the beginning of the year, so this is a mildly pleasant surprise. While they may be one of the most inconsistent teams week-to-week (quarter-to-quarter for that matter) they certainly can be entertaining. Terrelle Pryor has be an intriguing dual threat QB, averaging 205 yards passing, 69 rushing yard and about 1 TD per game. The interceptions are higher than you’d like with 9 in 7 games, however, given his penchant to run he surprisingly hasn’t lost a fumble yet.

Best Case ROS: They aren’t going to run down the Broncos or Chiefs this year. Best case is seeing continued strides in Pryor to the point you’re comfortable building the team around him and using the draft and free agency to address some of their (gaping) holes.

Worst Case ROS: They announce they will be moving to Los Angeles.

2014 Draft Considerations: Someone on defense that can actually cover AND tackle would be a nice change of pace.

26. St. Louis (Current Record: 3-6; Projected Record: 5-11)
This is a Jeff Fisher team through and through: mildly mediocre. They weren’t playing that great before their “franchise” quarterback went down. Now with Kellen Clemons pulling the trigger, it looks like it’s going to be double-digit loss type of season.

Best Case ROS: It looks like Zac Stacy has separated himself from the muddled tailback mess, as he has run like a man on a mission the last few weeks. If this defense, which has some playmakers, can step it up they could keep this team in a lot of ball games down the stretch.

Worst Case ROS: They continue to struggle finding creative ways to get the ridiculously punitive Tavon Austin the ball in space.

2014 Draft Considerations: First, they might want to re-evaluate their height/weight ratios by position. Second, the Rams will have to decide this off-season whether or not to continue will Bradford under center. My hunch is they bring him back and continue to hope that it all clicks for him AND that he can stay healthy.

25. Atlanta (Current Record: 2-6; Projected Record: 5-11)
They were supposed to win the NFC South, weren’t they? The team kind of crumbled with offensive injuries: Steven Jackson, Roddy White and Julio Jones (who was putting up Megatron type numbers before his injury) all missed significant chucks of the first half of the season, with Julio being lost of the year. The Falcons are like the Jonathan Martin of football teams: soft (too soon?)!

Best Case ROS: It appears they’re getting healthy at just the right time. Perhaps this offense can regain its mojo and make a playoff run. I wouldn’t put it past them….

Worst Case ROS: …although their schedule isn’t all that favorable, with matchups against Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans and Carolina (who just beat them down) still left.

2014 Draft Considerations: A youth movement on both sides of the ball is needed.

24. Washington (Current Record: 3-5; Projected Record: 6-10)
I’m convinced Mike Shanahan is simply researching for his next book, titled “How to Ruin Your Franchise Quarterback in Two Seasons.” Forward by Norval Turner.

Best Case ROS: Daniel Snyder caves and changes the team name.

Worst Case ROS: Daniel Snyder caves and changes the team name.

23. Baltimore (Current Record: 3-5; Projected Record: 6-10)
We’ve had some pretty epic Super Bowl hangovers ourselves, but come on, this is borderline ridiculous.

Best Case ROS: Well, they are trying to run down Cincinnati and Cleveland, two franchises that historically have mastered the fine art of losing-streaks.

Worst Case ROS: Hey Joe, you’ve just won the Super Bowl and signed a $120M deal, what are you going to do next?! Oh, star in McDonald’s commercials of course!

Supplemental Income.

Supplemental Income.

22. NYG (Current Record: 2-6; Projected Record: 6-10)
What’s wrong with the Giants you ask? Well, they can’t run the ball; they can’t hang on to the ball; they can’t cover anyone; they can’t get pressure; they can’t stop throwing it to the other team; they can’t block and they can’t score touchdowns. But other than that the G-men are right where they want to be! Yeah, that’s it! They thrive in the underdog roll (just ask any of their fans, they’ll be more than glad to tell you this)!

Best Case ROS: The best thing that the Giants have going for them is that they play in the NFC EAST. No shame in being the skinniest kid at fat camp, isn’t that right Ginger King?! The Giants finally found a way to get David Wilson to stop fumbling: put him on IR.

Worst Case ROS: Lose 6, win 2.

21. Miami (Current Record: 4-4; Projected Record: 6-10)
Lawrence Taylor thinks Richie Incognito is a pussy. If LT were playing in this era he’d be leaving those messages on Roger Goodell’s phone. I’m not sure what more I can say that hasn’t already been said here and here. This is either going to be the rallying cry that bonds the team and propels them down the stretch or the nuclear bomb that blows them apart. I leaning (and rooting) towards the latter.

20. Buffalo (Current Record: 3-6; Projected Record: 6-10)
Time will tell if Buffalo got it right with QB EJ Manuel. When he’s played he has flashed some potential. But that’s the problem; injuries plagued him in college and have marred his rookie campaign. One thing that does appear to finally be resolved is a coach (and coaching staff) that knows what the hell they’re doing. Outside of the Saints game (in the Superdome) the Bills have been in every game.

Best Case ROS: Getting EJ Manuel and CJ Spiller back to form should help the offensive get its punch back.

Worst Case ROS: The Bills show you why it’s next to impossible to win with your 4th string QB at the helm.

2014 Draft Considerations: As mentioned, the jury is out on Manuel. However, Robert Woods and Kiko Alonso look like legitimate NFL starters with Pro Bowl upside.

19. Philadelphia (Current Record: 4-5; Projected Record: 6-10)
So we’ve got two incredible offensive performances, and 7 shitty ones in between. Not exactly the revolution you had in mind, huh?

Best Case ROS: I’m not one to beat a dead horse with a ball pen hammer, but: the NFC East. The Buccaneers would still be alive in this division.

Cheese-steak vs. BBQ

Cheese-steak vs. BBQ

Worst Case ROS: I for one am really looking forward to the inevitable Chip Kelly/Eagles divorce (within the next 2 years). Back to the college ranks for you Chip Spurrier.

18. Tennessee (Current Record: 4-4; Projected Record: 7-9)
This team seems to do a lot of things good, but nothing great.

Best Case ROS: Chris Johnson is finally back! Long live CJ2K!

Worst Case ROS: Shonn Greene is finally back! Long live SG450!

2014 Draft Considerations: I’m guessing they won’t take an offensive linemen with their first pick.

17. Cleveland (Current Record: 4-5; Projected Record: 7-9)
7-9 is pretty ambitious for a team that traded away their starting running back in Week 2 and is trotting out their third string QB. However, Cleveland’s front seven is nasty. And when you mix in a healthy, lock-down Joe Haden, their defense is a handful for most teams in the league.

Best Case ROS: Jason Campbell is able to game manage; the defense and special teams continue to play at a high level and the Browns put some pressure on Cincinnati for the division crown.

Worst Case ROS: LeBron James goes three-peat and doesn’t return to the Cav’s next year.

2014 Draft Considerations: I’m guessing they won’t invest a first-round pick on a running back!


WEEK 10 Staff Picks ATS (2013)

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
11/7 8:25 ET Washington    -2.5 At Minnesota
11/10 1:00 ET At Tennessee    -12 Jacksonville
11/10 1:00 ET At Green Bay    -1.5 Philadelphia
11/10 1:00 ET At Pittsburgh    -3 Buffalo
11/10 1:00 ET At NY Giants    -7 Oakland
11/10 1:00 ET At Indianapolis    -9.5 St Louis
11/10 1:00 ET Seattle    -6.5 At Atlanta
11/10 1:00 ET Cincinnati    -1.5 At Baltimore
11/10 1:00 ET Detroit    -2.5 At Chicago
11/10 4:05 ET At San Francisco    -6 Carolina
11/10 4:25 ET At Arizona    -2.5 Houston
11/10 4:25 ET Denver    -7 At San Diego
11/10 8:30 ET At New Orleans    -7 Dallas
11/11 8:40 ET Miami    -3 At Tampa Bay
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
Last Week 6 7 0     6 7 0     7 6 0     6 7 0  
Season to-date 67 62 4     63 66 4     70 59 4     63 66 4  
  MIN     MIN     WASH     WASH  
  JAC      JAC     JAC     TENN  
  GB      PHI     PHIL     PHIL  
  BUF      PIT     PIT     PIT  
  NYG      NYG     OAK     OAK  
  INDY      INDY     INDY     INDY  
  ATL      SEA     SEA     ATL  
  BAL      BAL     CIN     BAL  
  DET      CHI     CHI     DET  
  SF      CAR     SF     CAR  
  ARIZ      HOU     HOU     ARIZ  
  DEN      SD     DEN     DEN  
  DAL      NO     DAL     DAL  
  TB      MIA     TB     MIA  
LOTW NYG      SEA     DAL     DET  
LOTW Record 5 4 0     2 7 0     3 6 0     6 3 0  


UPDATE: Richie Incognito

Bully, or Employee of the Month?

Bully, or Employee of the Month?

Yesterday, The Machine awarded our Tuesday Teabag to Richie Incognito (whose name, we’re told, is code for “Dick in Disguise”) for his bullying/harassment of Jonathon Martin and subsequent suspension from the Dolphins.  The story seems simply:  a player with a known history of anger issues and being a douche clown harassed and intimidated a teammate.  Everyone was quick to jump on the “Condemn Richie” bandwagon.  However, this story has elevated to Manti Te’o crazy…we’re learning new things constantly, and it just keeps getting crazier and crazier.  And because journalistic integrity is super important to The Machine, we want to give you the latest, which is this:

Richie Incognito is a victim.

Let that marinate for a second, and then hear us out.  Yesterday, we (astutely) said the following:  “Makes you think that [the Dolphins are] taking it seriously not because they just found out about it, but because everyone else did.”

Bingo!  That’s exactly what’s happened.  Last night, the Sun Sentinel reported that Dolphins coaches instructed Incognito to “toughen up” Martin, and that’s what led to Richie leaving that voice message and his persistent targeting of him.  And the timing supports this.  The voice mail in question was left in April, right after Martin missed two days of (voluntary) team practices.  That’s when Richie, known as the Team Enforcer, was told by coaches to contact Martin to “get him in the fold.”  He did it at the direction of his employer, and now he’s being held out as the sacrificial lamb for doing his job. 

Now, of course the Dolphins will say that they didn’t know what Richie was going to say, they never told him to say those things, and that he crossed the line.  That all may be true, it’s all after the fact, cover your ass bullshit.  Why didn’t the Dolphins ask Ryan Tannehill to reach out to Martin?  Because they wanted to send the right message, and now the Dolphins are doing everything they can to distance themselves from the messenger.

But it’s too little too late.  It’s like hiring Ron Jeremy to teach your son about sex, and then getting pissed when he goes for the money shot on the neighbor’s daughter. 

Richie, get back there and practice that message again, this time with a little more flare!

Richie, get back there and practice that message again, this time with a little more flare!

So how is Richie the victim?  Perhaps he really had changed his ways (or was trying to) but the team kept calling on him to be the Enforcer, the take no prisoners asshole that gets everyone in line.  Maybe he was just doing his job, perhaps overzealously, but still at the direction of his employer.  That explains why there is more support for Richie in the Dolphins locker room than Martin.  He was doing what he was told, for the betterment of the team.  The same team that callously used him and then tossed him aside.

There are a ton of things wrong here, and by wrong we mean actionable conduct that the league will be forced to investigate.  First, the fact that the team is (allegedly) pressuring players to attend voluntary team workouts.  These voluntary practices are exactly that…voluntary, and they are voluntary because that are specifically bargained for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the NFLPA.  Any violation by a team of the CBA is a big no-no, what lawyers refer to as a ULP (Unfair Labor Practice).  To use another legal term:  that’s some serious shit.

Also, it seems that the Dolphins not only knew that Richie was harassing Martin, but instructed him to do so.  Can you say hostile work environment?  An employer ordering an employee to “toughen up” another employee is frowned upon, especially when the employer asks someone known as “the Enforcer” to do their bidding.

The Dolphins quick response to this issue, while championed by folks as showing the world that they’re not going to tolerate this sort of behavior, is all a smokescreen, designed to protect the organization.  However, the spotlight has been (rightfully) put on the team, and The Machine’s willing to bet that the Dolphins aren’t going to be able to withstand scrutiny.  We’re thinking fines, potential loss of draft picks, and suspensions from the coaching staff.  Coach Philbin has some explaining to do. 

This has now become larger than Richie Incognito (don’t worry, he’s still worthy of his Teabag).  This has changed from a player (on his own) harassing a teammate into a team-sanctioned policy of violating the CBA and actively assisting in creating a hostile work environment.  Heads are going to roll.

Who knows where this will end, but this much is for sure:  there’s still a lot more crazy to be uncovered.