Michael Sam: The First Gay Gladiator

Welcome to a seminar on sexual orientation and the workplace…Let’s begin. I’ll spare you the agonizing b.s., but what if your workplace is a football field? Better yet, what if much of your workplace activity revolves around following and debating things that happen on a football field? Well then, chances are you know the name Michael Sam by today.

The Missouri graduate is eligible for the NFL draft this May and he is gay. Players are and have been gay while earning NFL paychecks but they never have entered or at any point in their career been open about their sexuality until now prospectively. The media seized the opportunity, and rightly so, to publicize this heroic announcement for Sam. The question quickly arose: How will this affect his draft stock? Unfortunately, that’s a valid question due to the culture of the sport in question but also the fanaticism attached to that culture.

The NFL is a physical game, a sport that glorifies toughness, strength, even anger. It is a sport of intimidation. Some might accurately call those primal characteristics, while others are fans of the sport because of this gladiator worship. But, this news story framed against the backdrop of the NFL’s image of brutality brings about a meaningful discussion of abhorrent stereotypes associated with homosexuality. Let’s examine a few

Gay men are weak: Michael Sam lead this SEC in sacks this past season at a position that demands physical strength.

Gay men are a locker room distraction: Why? Because once everyone hits the showers they are just going to rape the enitre locker room? This idea is homophobic, born out of fear by heterosexuals. Being homosexual is not equivalent to being a sexual predator. Get over yourselves straight men. What makes you think you’d even attract gay men?

Why does a gay athlete have to be open about his or her sexuality? This comes from a starting point of bigotry. The only reason this is news is because we are such an intolerant people and worship traditionalism even in the realm of sports which is such an asinine ideal that sports deserve some sort of sanctity. Michael Sam didn’t have to come out before he becomes an NFL player, but he felt it was important that he did so that there could be a shift in the NFL status quo which I find admirable.

Now, more importantly, consider the reverse of some of these stereotypes. Why is it assumed that masculine male athletes in the NFL are heterosexual? I think this is important because there is an association that develops. Masculinity=glorifying the gladiator mentality which is celebrated therefore gay men are excluded yet that assumes that we are to take gender cues and subsequently sexuality clues from this primitive idea of the male athlete (hero). This is a huge issue because we want our boys to play sports and compete and emulate their pro athlete role models but why must that encouragement be reinforced with the idea that this is the only way to be a man? Michael Sam is a gay football player. There are straight ballet dancers too but yet our associations tell us that those caricatures are to be gawked at. This comes from an unexplored place in our culture that has everything to do with gender when it doesn’t have to. Our love affair with the NFL has adverse affects when it comes to ideas about how the next generation of men should behave. This is extremely problematic and ignorant. You are not more or less of a man if you tackle other men, or if you have a “mean streak”, or if you play the piano, or tap dance. This big news about Michael Sam is big news because of our tendency to compartmentalize and stereotype but we often do not consider that this mistake permeates to subsequent generations who will do the same unless we teach them tolerance and openness when it pertains to gender and sexuality. The NFL is so mindless, the gladiator mentality so pointless and impractical, so why should we allow it to be so prominent in what we think a masculine man should be? Why do we strive to emulate that archetype? There were Michael Sams before and there will be more gay athletes and the way Michael Sam is accepted or rejected will have a lot to do with how comfortable those athletes are in sharing their true identities with the unforgiving sports world. We all should reflect on why it has taken this long and prioritize what is truly valuable if anything about the NFL while realizing that it’s reach extends further than we acknowledge it does.

Who Dat 12th Man? Danny California’s 2014 NFL Divisional Round Playoff Predictions and Analysis

Last week’s Wild Card Playoff round was just as crazy and interesting to watch as promised. The first game between Indy and KC was a wild one, with (as I predicted, at least, the comeback part) the Colts coming roaring back from a 28 point deficit to humiliate a Chiefs team that put a hurting on Indianapolis (even without Jamaal Charles) in the first half. Andrew Luck is starting to cement himself as the most elite quarterback of his draft class, and perhaps is destined to be the NFL’s best someday soon. Following that game, New Orleans went into frigid Philadelphia and behind journeyman kicker Shayne Graham’s leg, the Saints found a few rounds of birdshot left and shot down the Eagles and their playoff hopes in the final seconds. On Sunday. we saw Andy Dalton post his best postseason QB rating yet out of three total games (at a 67.0 rating, yikes) and the Bengals get destroyed by San Diego despite the flurries and the fact that Philip Rivers is still under center. And finally, in what seems to be proof that cold weather isn’t as much as a factor as I thought, San Francisco went into the negative wind chill temps of Lambeau Field and pulled out a close win over Green Bay.

This weekend promises more balmy temperatures (even in Foxboro, Massachusetts) compared to last week, and also throws the teams with first round byes into play, making things a little bit more interesting.

Saturday, January 11th Games

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:35 PM EST

According to popular consensus, most people though that the Saints would win last week. With Drew Brees at the helm and a better tested coaching staff and roster, New Orleans held the slight advantage over Philadelphia. Typically, Saints football is thought to be Brees throwing for four scores and the defense doing just enough to ensure that the don’t get outscored. Last Saturday though, perhaps everyone not nicknamed “The Wolfman” was surprised as Brees threw two pretty bad picks, and the defense and running game stepped up and came through to produce a win for the Saints. New Orleans also exorcised the demons of playing on the road in the playoffs, going into frigid Philly and shutting down rushing champion Lesean McCoy. It seemed though, that the Eagles lost the game more than the Saints won it, as some key mistakes and overt conservativity of Nick Foles doomed the Philly offense. If the Saints are going to advance to the NFC Championship game, they will have to keep their turnovers down (3 against the Eagles was almost too many), and have an aerial attack that was missing when these two teams met earlier this season in a Seattle blowout.

The Seahawks have been one of, if not the favorite to win the NFC since the start of the season. With a healthy Percy Harvin alongside weapons Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch leading the way on offense, Seattle plays punishing defense on the other side of the ball which paves the way to victory. By giving up the second fewest PPG on the season built on giving up the fewest offensive yards, Seattle’s defense is the reason this team wins, and is even capable of scoring by themselves by leading the league in INTs with 28, and forcing the fourth most fumbles with 15. Add in an offense that scores the second most points in the NFL per game and has the third most rushing yards on average, the ‘Hawks control the clock, make minimal mistakes on offense, and force mistakes on defense. There really isn’t a better all-around team in the league. Combine that with CenturyLink field and the “12th Man” that the crowd dubs themselves as, and it’s hard not to pick them to go all the way. And yet, in this divisional round, I am doing the unheard of and picking New Orleans. The Saints have already been embarrassed in Seattle, they know what it’s like and will deal better a second time around. They’ve gotten the road victory monkey off their back and their defense is coming together well as a unit. Last week they shut down McCoy to the point where he was completely irrelevant, which I believe they can replicate against Lynch. And, I think Drew Brees is due. To have him go on the road and throw three touchdowns is exactly what is needed for the team from the Big Easy, with Shayne Graham delivering again to send the Saints to the championship game. 27-24 New Orleans

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, 8:15 PM EST

Anybody who watched last week’s Wild Card game involving the Colts had to be astonished. I haven’t talked to anyone yet who turned it off at halftime thinking it was over, but I’m sure those piteous people exist somewhere. Andrew Luck led a seriously insane comeback against the playoff greenhorn Chiefs, and helped solidify his name as the best up and coming quarterback in the league. Unfortunately for Indy, their defense was exposed and they lost a few players to injuries which never helps in a playoff run. But, they still have the explosive TY Hilton and talented Luck to put up points on the scoreboard in a hurry. The Colts are riding momentum right now having now won four straight, and for a streaky team like theirs this is nothing but good news. The only serious problem shown on Saturday was the running game. Trent Richardson is turning out to be totally useless with Donald Brown completely taking over the ground attack. Although when a team is down by 28 they shouldn’t really be running the ball, it’s still a little concerning that Richardson is such a bust. Indianapolis also signed ex-Patriots receiver Deion Branch to plug the gap filled by Darrius “Todd Pinkston” Hayward-Bey. Whether this helps or not is yet to be seen, but it would be nice to see Branch burn his former team once or twice at the ripe age of 34.

Of course, the Patriots are used to these January battles with the Colts, this time without Peyton Manning at the helm of the opposition. That means that Tom Brady and Emperor Belicheat will have an evil game plan that is tried and true, and this time around should result in Brady receiving high fives from his teammates. The thing I don’t like about New England is that they’re rather untested during the regular season. Sure, they beat Denver and New Orleans, but most of the other games they played were really soft. The AFC East is a partial joke, as the Bills are a bad team, the Jets are a bad unpredictable team, and the Dolphins are an above-average mediocre team. Still, the Patriots managed going only 4-2 in their own division, losing their other two games to playoff teams Cincinnati and Carolina. The Patriots are also banged up on offense, missing all of their good pass catchers (Gronk), as Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman will need to come up big for Tom Brady. Stevan Ridley has also shown some promise on the ground, basically splitting carries with LeGarrette Blount, who between the two of them average 4.75 YPC. New England’s defense is underrated too , as their run defense is the only thing that is a problem, which against the Colts isn’t a real problem at all. If Andy Reid’s Alex Smith can throw for four TD’s against Indy, just imagine what Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can do. I don’t want the Patriots to win, but the combination of a good ground attack, solid pass defense, the home crowd in Foxboro,. and the intangibles that are the Brady and Belichick combo should pull it out against the young Luck(y) upstarts. 38-27 New England

Sunday, January 12th Games

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers, 1:05 PM EST

The Niners managed to pull it out last week against Green Bay, I’ll give them that much. The only problem is, they played such a close game against the weakest division champion outside of Philadelphia. Colin Kaepernick overcame his mistakes by using his legs to torch the Packers defense, who you would have thought would have learned by now to keep a man spy on the QB. Michael Crabtree also came up huge for San Fran, grabbing 125 yards worth of passes, completely overshadowing Number One receiver Anquan Boldin in the Green Bay game. They also played good downfield coverage, not allowing receivers to run loose in the secondary and letting Aaron Rodgers beat them. This should be a low-scoring, grind-it-out defensive game, just like the 10-9 Carolina victory that these two teams played back in Week 10.

Of course, I don’t think anybody could have predicted that the Panthers would be here after starting the season 0-2. Looking back on their season though, it is almost amazing how nobody could have seen how good this Panthers team was. Their only bad loss was to a Buffalo Bills team on the road by one point. Their other losses were in New Orleans where everybody loses, and against the Seahawks and the Cardinals. They weren’t really gifted with an easy schedule either, as they had to play the West (Seattle, San Fran, and Arizona all had 11 or more wins), the Saints twice, and the Patriots and Dolphins. Going 4-3 in those games is a testament to the talent of Carolina, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve given up the least points per game of any team, along with only an average of surrendering 80 yards a game on the ground. Although not a high-caliber offense, being able to grind out yards on the ground and having a multi-talented quarterback in Cam Newton give this Panthers squad enough to work with in terms of reaching pay dirt. All the Panthers have to do is shut down Kaepernick’s running game, and they’ll win this game. 17-12 Carolina

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos, 4:40 PM EST

Well, the Chargers sure proved me wrong last week. I don’t know if it was more of the Bengals channeling the Bungles of old, or San Diego actually putting a charge into something, but that was one game that I got sorely wrong. They’re playing good football, Philip Rivers isn’t making mistakes, and the running game dominated last week. Except, again, you were playing the Bengals who turned the ball over in embarrassing fashion. Don’t expect that from Peyton Manning and the best offense in NFL history this week. Although the Chargers have played Denver pretty well this year, I don’t see this game being very close. It’s Manning time, and he’s going to reign. The good news is, since San Diego beat the Broncos once this year already, all those bothersome people who say “it’s so hard to beat the same team three times in the same year” can keep their traps shut. But come on, this is the Denver Broncos, and this is Peyton Manning, who will have Wes Welker back in addition to every single other offensive weapon this team has. Denver cruises. 38-24 Denver

The Wild, Wild Wests : Your Guide to the Correct Predictions and Analysis of the 2014 NFL WildCard Playoff Weekend

It really is amazing what a difference a year can make. A year ago, my Washington Redskins had just come off the NFC East division title and were set to host their first playoff game against the upstart Seattle Seahawks. Everything was going well, RG3 was firing on all cylinders as the ‘Skins put up a 14 point lead that quickly started to fade as Griffin III got injured and was kept in the game by Shanny, which basically took away RG3’s playmaking ability. A healthy Robert Griffin would’ve had Pete Carroll selling used cars out of his back yard, but we all know the ending to this story. Washington proceeded to go 3-13 this year, forfeiting their Number 2 overall draft pick to St. Louis from the trade up to grab Griffin, and Mike Shanahan got canned because of disagreements with Darth Daniel Snyder.

Just as one year can make a difference to my favorite team, so can it affect the overall playoff scheme in the NFL. So if you need to make some quick cash, read the factual predictions and analysis that I have below, and prepare to become a rich man.

Saturday, January 4th Games

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts 4:35 PM EST

Remember when people were talking about KC running the table and being undefeated? Obviously that hasn’t been realistic since Priest Holmes was their star player, but Andy Reid has certainly turned this team around. In a division where three out of the four teams made the playoffs, Kansas City’s 11-5 record can be rather deceiving. They haven’t really beaten anybody very good, and other than blowing out horrible teams like Jacksonville, NYG, and the Redskins, they’ve lost to every playoff team except for a game against Philadelphia. There are some great things about this team, with Reid doing an amazing job turning the keys of the offense over to an electric player in Jamaal Charles, and creating a terrific defense that can take advantage of the offense controlling the clock. But, Alex Smith is still their quarterback, and he fails to make plays when he needs to, lacking good receivers to help him out. I like what this KC team has built so far, however they’re not battle tested enough to survive in the world of the playoffs.

Indianapolis on the other hand is perhaps the most battle tested team in the league. They’re very streaky, and despite the loss of veteran offensive leader Reggie Wayne, have come together to see the emergence of TY Hilton and a team with a defense that is built to bend but not break.  They’ve beaten both number one teams in each league, and wrecked the Chiefs during the regular season at Arrowhead. They also beat the 49ers, but got shellacked by the underrated Arizona Cardinals and the terrible St Louis Rams. The Colts have built a reputation on starting slow but coming back, led by Andrew Luck who has cut his interceptions in half from last year. I don’t think they’re going to come out guns blazing, even though they are on a three game win streak. Two of those wins came against the awful teams in Houston and Jacksonville, and the other was against KC who turned the ball over four times to gift wrap the victory to Indy. I expect them to be down 14-3 or so at the half, but to come back and force Alex Smith into a bad play or two and coast to victory. 27-17 Indianapolis

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles 8:10 PM EST

I love the Saints and cannot stand the Eagles and their obnoxious fans. As I’ve said before, living in the great state of Pennsylvania is torture if you’re not a fan of either of their football teams. Steelers fans are like the village idiot, whereas Eagles fans are like the village drunk. You simply can’t win either way. Although the Saints are playing away from the friendly confines of the Louisiana Superdome, I really think this team is vastly underrated. People say “oh, well the Saints are playing on the road so they’re definitely going to lose this game.” Yes, all their losses have come on the road this season. But look who they were playing. They barely lost in a game that they should have won to New England, they lost to the best team in the NFC in the most hostile atmosphere (whose crowd noise registers on the Richter Scale) in Seattle, and they lost to division champion Carolina. Granted, they also lost to the most inconsistent and unpredictable team in the NFL in the New York Jets, as well as the St Louis Rams (who, it may be noted, embarrassed the Colts as well), but they also beat a healthy Chicago Bears team on the road. Don’t forget that this team has the best statistical quarterback of our current generation in Drew Brees, and a much improved defense under Rob “the Wolfman” Ryan.

Philadelphia isn’t exactly a pushover this year though. They’re probably the most volatile team in the playoffs, capable of losing hysterically or creating an utter blowout. Nick Foles it seems is the answer to the Eagles’ quarterback search, and with one of the most talented running backs (and rushing champion) Lesean McCoy, their offense is very potent even without mentioning playmaker Desean Jackson. However, like Kansas City, their record is a bit deceiving. They played in the worst divison in the NFL, and yet failed to have any convincing victories against any of those horrible teams, even losing to the Giants and the Cowboys once each. For being gifted three turnovers by Kyle Orton and the Dallas Cowboys last week, they still almost found a way to lose the game. The defense is a leaky siv, and it seems like their team almost quits in the second half letting teams back into games with ease. They also have only beat one team that is currently in the playoffs (the Green Bay Packers), and that was when Green Bay didn’t have Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles have several things going for them, such as the weather and the Saints on the road, but barring a massive offensive output, I don’t seem them winning this game. 24-20 New Orleans

Sunday, January 5th Games

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1:05 PM EST

The Chargers in my mind simply don’t belong here. Yes, they’ve played in the second best division in football, but if Philip Rivers wasn’t having a career year this team would be under .500. San Diego has quietly been able to beat playoff teams in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and the Chiefs backups, but they have also lost games to the dreadful ‘Skins, Texans, Raiders, and Titans. Keenan Allen has had a breakout season, and it seems that Ryan Mathews might finally be restoring decency to the running game of the Chargers. Danny Woodhead has also been a key acquisition, fitting nicely into the utility playmaker role by catching the second most passes on the team and rushing for over 400 yards in a backup role. This team is all about offense, with a defense focused on bending as much as possible and trying to desperately not get outscored by the opponent. Even though their D is middle of the pack where PPG (points per game)  is concerned, they rank fourth to last when it comes to YAPG (yards allowed per game). It’s all about the offense in Sea World, where if the Rivers doesn’t dry up, the team has a chance to win.

Cincinnati is a bit of a question mark in these playoffs. They have beaten Indy, San Diego, Miami, New England, and Green Bay, but they’re playoff untested. Remember how they got blown out by TJ Yates and the Texans last year? This team is virtually unchanged, sporting a better defense but benefitting majorly from a division that has gotten considerably weaker. Andy Dalton is progressing and maturing, but still is missing a soul. AJ Green has turned into a monster of a wide receiver, capable of torching any cornerback for a huge gain. Giovani Bernard still has the run of the year, but the split carries role he gets with “The Law Firm”, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is hindering his talent. The trouble with this team is that if Dalton does nothing, this team will lose. Without a threatening running game, Dalton has to put points on the board by himself, and have a good game for the Bengals to win. Which, with the Chargers defense and undefeated Bengals record at home, shouldn’t really be much of an issue. 34-20 Cincy

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers, 4:40 PM EST

The Niners are 12-4. And they’re a five seed. The Packers have won eight games, and they’re a number four seed. It really sucks to be San Francisco, because they’re going to lose this game even though they’re such a good team, and only because they play in the same division as the Seattle Seahawks. Why? There’s only one thing you need to look at. The weather. In Green Bay on Sunday, the high is going to be 1. One degree Fahrenheit. With a low of -19 at night. The record low in San Francisco for January 5th is 39 degrees, a whole 38 degrees warmer than the highest predicted temperature on Sunday. The furthest North San Fran has had to play this year was against Seattle, in September. There’s no way this tropical team is going to be ready to play in the utterly bitter cold that is at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers and the Packer faithful will thrive and create a hostile environment for Colin Kaepernick and the rest of the 49er team. 35-10 Green Bay

The Correct Guide to Scoring Settings in Fantasy Football

Let’s face it. The vast majority of men, or even football fans in general have at the very least one fantasy football team. It is estimated that over 19 million people have a fantasy football team. The only problem is, everything is so scattered across multiple websites such as NFL.com, Yahoo!, ESPN, and CBS Sportsline, that somewhere along the line the standard system of scoring gets lost in the plot. Fantasy managers will argue until the end of time how a league should be scored and what makes the most sense, but I am here to enlighten you on how the league standard should be.

You should aim for 12-14 teams in a league. 10 is too small, and 16 is too much. In a 12 team league, the top six should make the playoffs with no playoff byes. In a 14 team league, the top eight should make playoffs with the top two receiving playoff byes.

To begin, fantasy football is an offensive game. It is about scoring points, racking up yards, and using skill positions to reward good players with points that help their team at the very least compete in real life. The primary objective in football is to score a lot of points, just like in fantasy. As such, the way that points are scored (touchdowns hopefully) should always carry the most weight. Like it or not, in order to create a fantasy version of the game it needs to bear an approximation to how scores are created in the reality version. You win by scoring touchdowns, not by throwing for just 400 yards. The touchdown is almighty, and will always be six points universally. Also, all bonus points for long plays or X amount of yards after a certain amount get thrown out. Those simply do not make sense.

Quarterback

1 QB Slot per team

1 Point for 30 yards passing – A good quarterback should generally have three times the passing yards as a good running back has rushing or three times the passing yards as a good receiver has catching. Just as a 150 yard receiving or rushing game is good, so is a 450 yard passing game.

1 Point for every 10 yards rushing – Universal.

6 Points for Touchdowns – Universal. Even with quarterbacks. Yahoo! standard is 4 points just to balance out quarterbacks with other players, but let’s be honest here.  You have one field marshal on your team, the guy who is calling the plays and reading the defense. He is going to be the most valuable player if your team wins consistently. He should be rewarded in such a way.

-3 Points for Interceptions and Fumbles Lost – Turnovers are killer. Even though some fumbles can be the fault of the offensive line, some interceptions can be the fault of the wide receiver. A 2 TD 3 INT game should not be rewarding. That’s simply not a good (or a standard Jon Kitna) performance.

-2, 0, 2 Points for Completion Percentage Below 50%, between 50 and 70, and above 70 – completion percentage is HUGE and never scored. Although some of it relies on the receivers drops, if you complete less than 50% of your passes, or you complete above 70%, you should be penalized and rewarded accordingly.

2 Points for 2 Point Conversion – Universal.

Wide Receiver

2 Slots, flex option. It’s hard to find teams outside of one that Peyton Manning or Drew Brees is on that uses more than either three wideouts, or two wide receivers and a tight end on a consistent basis. Our settings will be similar.

1 Point for 10 yards receiving – Universal.

6 Points for Touchdown – Universal.

0.5 Points per reception – You have to reward wide receivers for catching the ball, simple as that. One point is simply too much, and can drastically alter the game, especially with running backs. Half a point is a perfect medium.

-.05 Points per drop – Just as catching giveth, dropping taketh away.

1 Point for 10 yards rushing – Universal.

-3 Points per fumble lost – WR fumbling is inexcusable.

2 Points for 2 Point Conversion – Universal.

Running Back

2 Slots, no flex option. A team hardly utilizes more than two running backs in a game unless one is injured. Your team should follow suit.

1 Point for 10 yards rushing. – Universal.

6 Points per Touchdown – Universal.

1 Point for 10 yards receiving – Universal.

.5 Point per Reception – Universal.

-.05 Points per drop – Universal.

-3 Points per fumble lost – You simply cannot put the ball on the ground.

2 Points for 2 Point Conversion – Universal.

Flex Position (WR/TE)

We go one flex position that is receiving only and no tight end slot. Generously, one-third of the NFL has a good consistently receiving tight end. The value in the tight end is not just their pass catching skills, but blocking skills just as much, which are not measured in our offensive style of scoring. This cannot warrant a standalone tight end slot, but for those that wish to take a chance and grab a premier end, there’s still room to stick them in. Otherwise, just go with a third wide receiver.

Scoring the same as Wide Receiver

Kicker

You must have one kicker in fantasy football, bar none. The kicker is essential to scoring plays, and is on some occasions in reality, the leading scorer on the team. Drafting kickers is also rather fickle, because although you want a kicker from a good team that puts points on the board, you also want one that kicks the most field goals because they are the most valuable. Scoring should be as follows

1 Point for Extra Point

3 Points for field goals 0-39 yards

3.5 Points for field goals 40-49 yards

4 Points for field goals 50+ yards

-1 Point for PAT missed (not blocked)

-2 Points for field goals under 29 yards missed (not blocked)

2 Points for Game Winning Field Goal

Defense/Special Teams

This is where it gets the most complicated. The defense and special teams (minus kickers) are units, and as units should be a little more involved in scoring than individuals. It’s like a pitcher in baseball or goalie in hockey. Prevention of scoring is held in the utmost regard, especially when it comes to a unit like a defense in football. Drafting individual players on defense is foolish, because since we do not draft entire 11 man offenses individually, we should not do the same for defense. Because a defense (and Special Teams) is a team effort instead of a skill position effort, they will be displayed as so. Yards against should not be counted for or against a defense. Touchdowns, as I said earlier, rule supreme (as should winning the game as the unit). You can leak like a sieve on defense, but if you limit the amount of scores you have done your job well.

6 Points for Touchdowns – On Defense or Special Teams

2 Points for blocked kicks

2 Points for kick returns into opponent territory

2 Points for punts inside the opponent 15

4 Points for Team Win

2 Points for Safety

3 Points for INT or Fumble Recovery

1.5 Points Per Sack

12 Points for Shutout

7 Points for 1-9 Points Allowed

4 Points for 10-19 Points Allowed

0 Points for 20-29 Points Allowed

 

 

 Agree or disagree with how I think fantasy leagues should be scored? Comment and let me know!

NFL Week 10 Picks

Last Week: 4-1 Overall: 24-21

Jacksonville plus 13 at Tennessee. The Jags have lost every game by double digits but hey, if they lose by 10, they cover. Tennessee 24-14

Pittsburgh minus 3 v. Buffalo. E.J. Manuel is back but has been out for several weeks and the Steelers are a desperate team at home. Steelers beat rookie QB’s. Pittsburgh 30-23.

Cincinnati minus 1.5 at Baltimore. Traditionally, the Bengals struggle on the road and Baltimore dominates at home but Baltimore is just bad right now. Ray Rice can’t run and Flacco passes very well to the opposing team. I think the Bengals will have just enough, 20-17.

Carolina plus 6 at San Francisco. This was a tough game to pick but Carolina has a defense now. Newton will make enough plays to keep this one tight. S.F. wins 27-24

Indianapolis minus 9.5 v St. Louis. The Colts are at home coming off of a poor performance and the Rams still don’t have a quarterback. The only way the Colts don’t perform well is if Zac Stacy wins it by himself but he is banged up and questionable. Colts 28-13.

NFL Week 8 Picks

Last week: 3-2 Overall: 17-18

New England minus 6.5 v Miami. New England is at home coming off of a loss. Tannehill is shaky and Miami is in free fall. Pats 34-20

Cincinnati minus 6.5 v New York Jets. The Jets are coming off of an improbable home win vs the Pats but Cincy beat the Pats at home too. The defensive front of the Bengals is too strong for the Jets and Smith will be dared to throw. Cincy wins ugly 23-10.

Denver minus 12 v. Washington. I know Shanahan has ties in Denver but Peyton has ties to destroying bad defenses. Manning will ruin the Mike’s return to Denver because the skins can’t cover a cadaver with that secondary. Denver 45-31.

Minnesota plus 9 v. Green Bay. The Packers are still without Cobb and no Freeman for the Vikings could be a blessing. This seems like a silly pick but AP is embarrassed and the Vikings don’t want to ruin a primetime home game with another clunker performance like last week. Pack win 27-20.

Seattle minus 11 at St. Louis. Sam Bradford is not walking through the tunnel. Seattle will go on a feeding frenzy and win 38-14.

NFL Week 7 Picks

Last Week: 2-3 Overall: 14-16

Kansas City minus 6.5 v Houston: I’ve bet on Kansas City often and it has been very successful this season. Case Keenum will make his first career start and Case Keenum is not an NFL quarterback. Besides, Kansas City’s defense is one of the best in the NFL, especially at home. Chiefs win 24-10.

Dallas plus 3 at Philadelphia: Dallas is not the same on the road and Murray is out but the Eagles defense is terrible and Nick Foles loses more often than not when he doesn’t start against Tampa Bay.  Dallas 28-27

New England minus 3.5 at NY Jets: The Jets did not score a touchdown at home last week and their receiving score is still beleaguered by injuries. Gronk is back and that will serve at the very least as a decoy for Tom Brady and a group of wideouts who are progressing. Patriots 31-17

Pittsburgh minus 2 v Baltimore: This is a tough game to pick but Baltimore is not a good road team. The Steelers have some confidence from finally winning last week and the defense should be able to get to Flacco. Steelers win ugly 23-19.

New York Giants minus 3.5 v Minnesota: Freeman is making  his debut and the Giants have had 10 days to prepare for this home game. The giants finally remove the goose egg in the win column 27-13.

NFL Week 6 Picks

Last Week: 2-3 Overall Record: 12-13

Pittsburgh plus 1 at New York Jets: The Steelers are hungry coming off of a bye, but healthier too. Bell and Miller are back and Dick Lebeau is incredible against rookie quarterbacks. The spread is basically non existent because the Steelers are on the road but I don’t believe in Geno in two consecutive weeks. Steelers win 26-17

Seattle minus 13.5 v Tennessee: Seattle is at HOME. The Titans are starting Fitzpatrick. Seattle will be resting people in this game I think by the second half. Seahawks big 34-13.

New England minus 2 v New Orleans. Brees and company are coming off of an impressive win last week at Chicago while Brady and the bunch are reeling from a road loss at Cincy. If you know anything about the NFL week to week that screams for betting with the home team Patriots. Saints can’t run and the Patriots are proficient in pass defense and they have Tom Brady. Patriots win 31-27.

Washington plus 5.5 at Dallas: I like Washington off of the bye this week. Dallas looked good and lost to Denver but their defense was carved up and RGIII is still very capable. Washington covers but Cowboys win 38-34.

Houston minus 7.5 v St. Louis. I struggled a lot with this one but St. Louis won’t have an answer for the Texans D. Schaub will break his pick 6 streak and the Texans will do just enough to cover. 24-16.

NFL Week 5 Picks

Tough week last week thanks to Houston.

Last Week: 2-3 Overall: 10-10

Kansas City minus 3 at Tennessee: This is solely for the opportunity to bet against Ryan Fitzpatrick.  23-16

Jacksonville plus 11.5 at St. Louis. I know it’s Jacksonville but they have to win once right? St. Louis is not great offensively. Rams win 20-13

Chicago plus 1 vs New Orleans. Saints are coming off of a short week and they think they’re good. Chicago the complete opposite after giving up 40 to Detroit. The NFL is funny this way…bet on Chicago. Bears win 27-24 OT

San Fran minus 6 v. Houston. A long time to prepare for Harbaugh and the troops. Home game in primetime usually favors the Niners. S.F. wins 31-17

Atlanta minus 10 v. NY Jets. The Jets and especially Geno Smith are terrible. Take the Falcons at home who are DESPERATE to win. Falcons 34-10.

NFL Week 4 Picks

Last Week’s Record: 3-2  Overall Record: 8-7

Over .500…not bad.

Pittsburgh minus 2.5 at Minnesota (London) Matt Cassel is seemingly an upgrade over Christian Ponder but he is turnover prone and, believe it or not, Minnesota’s problem is not offense. They have been scoring points, their defense is the issue. The Steelers problem is their offense and I think this week is a perfect matchup to change their fortunes a little bit. Steelers win 24-13

Houston plus 2.5 v. Seattle – Some regard Seattle as the best team in the league but Houston needs this game coming off of a road blowout in Baltimore and Seattle is a different team on the road. I like Houston 23-17

Washington minus 3.5 at Oakland – Never trust an 0-3 road favorite but I think Washington will finally have a satisfactory matchup for thieir awful defense. Raiders are unsure of Pryor’s concussion health and McFadden has been as entertaining as Run DMC’s current rap skills. Washington 27-19.

Denver minus 11 v Philly Denver is 3-0 against the spread so far and the line is high but Philly just can’t stop anyone. I would not be shocked if they cover however because they can score but Denver can so easily win by three scores against any opponent than even money says Denver covers again this week at altitude. Denver 45-28

Atlanta minus 2 v New England: Gronkowski is not expected to play and Wes Welker is still playing for Denver so the Patriots are weapon-challenged. Ridley has been awful and Amendola is also on the shelf. This is a primetime game which usually favors New England but Atlanta is tough at home, especially coming off of a loss, and with the Saints undefeated the Falcons cannot afford to lose this game. Atlanta wins 30-27.