Saturday, November 30, 2013

The FGR Week 13 NFL Picks

Let's continue with the Thanksgiving themed picks. (Hey, way to knock yourself out on the introduction).

At Indianapolis by 4.5 over Tennessee: The Pick - Colts

I am thankful that the Colts are going down the tubes and it's driving the Mad Tweeter out of his mind. Here is a sample from his November 26th multi-tweet tantrum that was apparently set-off by someone putting their nut sack on his drum set:

"I didn't break the bank, millions cash over cap/Load Brinks Truck, only to be hijacked n stormed on way 2 stadium by machine gun MANIACS!" - @JimIrsay.

"Daddy daddy look at me!!!
I'm funny right? . . . Dad?"
First of all ass hat, apparently you missed the memo but no one wants to hear about money woes in any form from the petulant 54 year old man child who inherited a football team from his daddy that Forbes estimates is now worth $1.2B. Second of all, if you had any real stones, instead of tweeting "we gotta get our heads out of r butts-WAKE UP!," you'd walk into the locker room, excuse your bodyguard and say it directly to the players. And thirdly, if it's time to start removing heads from butts, I'm pretty sure the players and coaches would love a demonstration.

I've got nothing on the Titans. Call us when you get a quarterback who is not mobile/injury prone because I'm pretty sure that's not sustainable.

Denver by 3.5 at Kansas City: The Pick - Broncos

I am thankful that Peyton Manning completely ignored his own Achilles heel and decided to sign with a team that is guaranteed to play in cold weather during the playoffs. In games played where the temperature at kickoff was under 40 degrees, Manning's record is 8-11 with 27 touchdown passes and 27 interception. I will never understand why he didn't go to Arizona to play with Larry Fitzgerald though I must admit that the Manning face is never better than when he makes it with while wearing a turtleneck with his hands stuffed in that man purse around his waste.

As for the Chiefs, I see things getting very dicey after their fast start and I'm thankful that there is almost no chance that I will ever have to see Andy Reid eat a plate of ribs because I would imagine that is not pretty.

At Cleveland by 7 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Browns

I am thankful that Paul Tagliabue decided to screw over Baltimore and put a team in Jacksonville. Otherwise, we could have been saddled with that mess of a franchise. Instead, Baltimore got the Browns, Ozzie Newsome and two first round draft picks in the 1996 draft which yielded Jonathan Ogden (4th) and Ray Lewis (26th).* You're still an a-hole Tagliabue but thanks anyway.

I am thankful that the Browns are in the Ravens' division and I don't think I need to elaborate on that. (Sorry this is a bit Ravens heavy . . . but it's my website).

#3 - Catrinel Menghia from The
Tour Championship Preview
At Philadelphia by 3.5 over Arizona: The Pick - Eagles

Not much to say about this one (though it could be the game of the weekend and I am thankful that we may be seeing the rebirth of Larry Fitzgerald's career) so I'm going to be thankful for the eclectic group of beauties who grace these posts on a weekly basis. Let's pay homage to what I believe our the top three based on FGR traffic to date with a brief montage. Enjoy. (I'd be kidding myself if I didn't believe that the FGR is like one of those steak house/strip joints in that no one really pays the cover charge for the steak though when it's good they think, "well that was a nice bonus").

At Carolina by 8.5 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

I've got nothing on this game either so I'll be thankful for the invention of satellite radio and downloadable podcasts. I have to believe that, as a society, our collective IQ has been increased by the reduction in local radio advertising that permeates our brains. Those ads used to send me lunging for the dial but now, on those random occasions when I hear a spot for a used car dealer or a local rehab clinic, I get a warm nostalgic feeling like when I see someone use their turn signal.**

Chicago by 2.5 at Minnesota: The Pick - Bears

I am thankful that I will get to see Adrian Peterson live next Sunday while he is still in his prime. Despite all of my issues with attending games that I vented about in the Thanksgiving picks (see below), there is still something very cool about seeing one of the all-time best play at the peak of his powers . . . even if the Ravens are going to put eleven on the line of scrimmage and dare Christian Ponder to beat them thereby limiting AP to a bunch of 2 yard dives.

At N.Y. Jets by 1.5 over Miami: The Pick - Dolphins

I am thankful that the NFL has used the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation to jump out in front of this bullying issue with a series of public service announcements featuring high profile players and sending the message that bullying isn't cool. (What's that? Nothing? You mean Ray Lewis and Deion Sanders haven't even found their way in front of a camera to speak on this? Wow).

I am thankful that the Ravens said thanks but no thanks to Rex Ryan and hired John Harbaugh instead. And in the end, it kind of worked-out well for everyone. The big market Jets got a big mouthed coach and a couple of runs to the AFC Championship Game that never would have happened without him. Unfortunately for them, they didn't recognize the tight window that was the Rex Ryan era. If only they'd had some kind of warning sign back around December of 2010 right before things started coming unglued (Mmmmm feet).

At Buffalo by 3.5 over Atlanta: The Pick - Bills

#2 - Rosie Jones from The Waste
Management Phoenix Open
I am thankful that I don't live in either of these cities. One doesn't have a sports soul and the other's is cold, dark and currently at the mercy of a 95 year old owner who thinks it would be a good thing to hear the Canadian national anthem before NFL games. (Just writing that felt weird).

At San Fran. by 7.5 over St. Louis: The Pick - Rams

I am thankful that the Ravens got the Harbaugh who has spent his whole life answering the question, "what's the deal with your brother?" I am also thankful for the Rams' helmets because they're pretty sweet.

New England by 8 at Houston: The Pick - Patriots

I am thankful that, despite having one of the three greatest quarterbacks of all-time, the Bill Belichik led Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since the 2004-05 season. Since that win over the great (ahem) Donovan McNabb, the Patriots have been knocked-out of the playoffs by the following quarterbacks: Eli Manning (twice), Joe Flacco (twice), Peyton Manning, Jake Plummer and Mark Sanchez (yes, that Mark Sanchez). If the NFL season ended today, first there would be mass hysteria and rioting in the streets but then once that was subdued, we'd be looking at a very strong chance of a Chiefs-Patriots Divisional Round game. How great would it be to add Alex Smith's name after the pedestrian quarterbacks at the end of that list? Pretty great . . . that's how great.

I am thankful that no one ever got the opportunity to buy Arian Foster stock. If you're not familiar with this story, check it out here but in short, Foster was going to sell stock in himself for $10M and shareholders would get 20% of his football related earnings in return. On it's face, this would appear to be a very risky proposition for investors in light of Foster's injury history and the fact that he plays a position not known for its longevity. But when you really give it some thought, you realize that it would be like buying shares of Blockbuster out of the trunk of a Cadillac with a license plate that reads "Madoff1."

At San Diego PK against Cincinnati: The Pick - Chargers

I am thankful for the impending implosion of both the Bengals and Chargers which will begin with this week's match up for one of them ("Implosion Bowl I"). After this, the Bengals head home to play the Colts ("Implosion Bowl II") and then they go to Pittsburgh. By the time they're done, we should be looking at a 7-7 team on the verge of collapse. The Chargers get a bit of a pass as they are only the third best team in their division but upcoming losses to the Giants and Broncos should put the finishing touches on another mediocre effort in 2013 (the Chargers record over the last four seasons is 29-30 with a high of 9-7 and a low of 7-9 which pretty much tells the whole story).

At Washington by 2.5 over N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Giants

#1 - Lucy Pinder a/k/a
Amber Watney. ****
I am thankful for the never-ending saga that is the RG, III era Redskins. If you've never been around Redskin fans for an extended period of time, you probably can't appreciate the assoholic arrogance that they exude. It can best be described as a more refined form of douchebaggery than that found in Boston sports fans. It's a little less rough around the edges and Redskins fans don't get mad when the season turns sour, they just kind of turn sour with it.

I am thankful for Eli Manning beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl . . . twice. And if you ever doubted my pure hatred for the Patriots, the fact that they inspired me to root for a New York team should tell you everything you need to know.

At Seattle by 5.5 over New Orleans: The Pick - Saints

I am thankful for Marshawn Lynch who produced one of the greatest runs in NFL history on this play the last time the Saints visited Seattle. On the other side, I am thankful for Jimmy Graham who has almost single-handedly dragged one of my fantasy teams to first place despite a revolving door of quarterbacks which has included starts by Michael Vick, RG, III, Nick Foles and Joe Flacco. It's been a bit of a bumpy ride.

And finally I am thankful for NFL scheduling which, starting with the Broncos-Chiefs match-up in Week 11, has and will produce some major impact games as they play out the season. In Week 12 we had Broncos-Patriots, this week its Saints-Seahawks and on the horizon we have Panthers-Saints (twice), Seahawks-49ers, Ravens-Lions (OK, that's a stretch), Patriots-Ravens and five games in Week 17 that will likely have playoff implications for both teams involved: 49ers-Cardinals, Chiefs-Chargers ("Implosion Bowl III"), Rams-Seahawks, Ravens-Bengals and Eagles-Cowboys. Remember, you can't spell "parity" without "party." (Not necessarily sure that's at all relevant but ending these things can be a pain in the ass).

Email the Fantasy Golf Report here.

Record against the spread to date: 98-77-3.


* That entire first round has to go down as one of the best ever as 15 of the 30 players picked went on to be Pro Bowlers including Eddie George, Simeon Rice and Marvin Harrison. Who were some of the teams that missed their 50/50 shot at one of those impact players? Pretty much who you would expect - the Raiders, Lions, Bucs, Dolphins, Redskins and Rams (twice). And of course you can't forget the Browns who lost their team just as it was about to draft two future Hall of Famers. I'm not sure "God hates Cleveland covers it on that one." I think that's more a of a "Cleveland slept with God's wife and then left an unflushed bomb in the toilet" situation.

Sorry, but that one's on you bro for
letting her drive in the first place.
** For my younger readers, a "turn signal" was a blinking light on either side of the front and back of a car that you would activate to courteously tell other drivers that you were preparing to make a turn. It also used to serve as a safety feature before driving while talking on the phone made it more dangerous to use because it would result in a lack of hands being available to operate the steering wheel. But don't worry, driving while talking on the phone isn't any more dangerous than say, driving while filleting a halibut.

*** Rosie Jones is to the FGR what Alec Baldwin is to Saturday Night Live but I went with the Waste Management Preview because (a) it's one of my personal favorites and (b) I know there are a lot of crossover fans between Downton Abbey and the FGR.

**** Lucy first appeared in The Zurich Classic Preview when I mistook a picture of her for Nick Watney's wife Amber. The next thing I knew, the FGR was getting bombarded with hits and a new editorial direction for the website was born. The fact that there is actually a picture of her taking a turkey out of the oven while wearing Ravens purple for the Thanksgiving edition just tells me that we have a bond that runs deeper than simply stalker/stalkee (how can "stalkee" not be a real word)?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The FGR Thanksgiving Day Picks

Welcome to what may become the first annual Thanksgiving themed edition of the FGR NFL picks (now if I can just remember to do it again next year). Here are just a few things for which I am thankful: (1) I am thankful that I am traveling no further than the bar in my brother in-law's basement across the street on this post-apocolyptic Wednesday afternoon; (2) I am thankful that we are not hosting Thanksgiving dinner which means that I will not be in my kitchen tomorrow night wearing an itchy sweater with a low-grade wine buzz trying to futilly scrub turkey grease out of a pan; and (3) I am thankful that your are reading the Fantasy Golf Report right now because if you keep reading it, I'll keep writing it. Deal? Good. Now let's get on to some Thanksgiving themed picks.  

At Detroit by 5.5 over Green Bay: The Pick - Lions

I am thankful for Jim Schwartz and the Ford family's track record of retaining underperforming employees when anyone else would have fired them long ago (see: Matt Millen). That means that we can expect the headset smashing hothead to entertain us for at least another three years which should just about waste Calvin Johnson's prime so, while he will continue to rack-up other worldly stats, he will never quite make it into the greatest receiver of all-time discussion with Jerry Rice and, um, Jerry Rice because the playoff runs won't happen.*

"God I hate the two minute drill."
On the Packers' side, I am thankful that I didn't draft Aaron Rodgers on any of my fantasy teams though it wasn't for lack of trying. Someday Rodgers is going to learn that there is no regular season first down worth running for (note: this does not apply to about 75% of the quarterbacks in the league who might as well run for as badly as they throw). Until then, the Packers need to figure-out a way to keep him in the pocket. Maybe they could put him in the shotgun and put a ball and chain around his ankle and then have the center carry the ball between plays. It would be like incorporating a bit of the World's Strongest Man Competition into the game and that would be nothing but a positive.

At Dallas by 9.5 over Oakland: The Pick - Cowboys

I am thankful that the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and saved me from continuing to root for the favorite team of my youth. Yes, I was a Cowboys fan but if you grew-up surrounded by Redskins fans, you'd understand that I had no choice. Add Staubach v. Theisman to the mix, and it became a no-brainer. Theisman was a preening schmo and Staubach was revered as the guy who served his country first before joining the Cowboys.** Oh who am I kidding? I liked the Cowboys because everyone around me hated them and I've been a wise-ass since I was five years old. At least that made it easier to abandon them when they started going down the tubes in the late 90's.

I'm not sure what to be thankful about with the Raiders. They got blown-out in the Super Bowl about ten years ago and they haven't finished over .500 since. Their quarterbacks over that period have included washed-up guys like Kerry Collins and Daunte Culpepper, stopgap guys like Andrew Walter and Jason Campbell and a guy who is heavily involved in the biggest draft bust of all-time conversation in JaMarcus Russell. Their first round pick this year, D.J. Hayden, almost died on the field a year ago and they didn't see that as a potential concern because, like a charlie horse, almost internally bleeding to death is the kind of thing you just shake-off before the next play. Their last first round pick before that was in 2010 when they took Rolando McClain who is now out of the league. Oh yeah, they've had seven head coaches since 2002 including Lane Kiffin who has the people skills of Nick Saban but compliments them with being a terrible football coach. I guess I should just be thankful that I'm not a Raiders fan.

At Baltimore by 3 over Pittsburgh: The Pick - Ravens

I am thankful that I sold my tickets for Thursday night's game and since I seem to be coming clean on some things today (and I haven't even started drinking yet), I might as well add the fact that I don't really like going to the games anymore. I'm not going to get into the overpriced beers ($10), the long bathroom lines (20 minutes), the outrageous ticket prices ($120), the parking hassles or the traffic. For me it comes down to two things: (1) I don't want to watch anything for three straight hours anymore unless it's the best goddamned movie ever made . . . I mean we better be talking Goodfellas meets the Godfather with more quotable lines than Wall Street and better sex scenes than Body Heat and Bound (sorry, you'll have to find those on your own, the FGR isn't that kind of site . . . yet); and (2) the colossal douche bags who sit at the end of my row who act like you're making them give birth every time you try to get out to go get an overpriced beer or to spend twenty minutes in line for the bathroom.

Bravo Jennifer and Gina . . . Bravo!!!
I am thankful that the Steelers exist because everyone needs a few things in this world that they can unconditionally and unequivocally despise. For me, it's the Steelers, people who don't use their turn signals, people who throw trash and cigarettes out of their car windows, people who wait until the lane ends to merge (I have some road rage issues) and, most of all, the douche bags who sit at the end of my row for Ravens games.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Last Week's Record: 8-6 . . . Season Record: 97-75-3


* In what appears to be a debate in its infancy, there are rumblings that Megatron may one day challenge Rice as the greatest receiver of all time. Before we get there, let's just remember that in four Super Bowls, Rice AVERAGED 8 catches for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson has been in one playoff game* so let's just simmer down for now. In his defense, however, Johnson did catch 12 passes for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns in that one playoff game so he's got that going for him . . . which is nice.

** Two things: (1) I stole "preening schmo" from Tony Kornheiser which is how he used to aptly describe Brian Billick; and (2) Staubach played at the Naval Academy and then fulfilled his four year military obligation before turning pro. As someone who grew-up in Annapolis, this served as a constant reminder of why I never want to attend the Naval Academy. Four year commitment after college? Do you have any idea how much I thought I was going to accomplish in those four years? As it turns-out, I think those four years yielded about $70,000 in gross income, some credit card debt and the aspiration to one day manage my own Herman's Sporting Goods Store (since gone bankrupt). I don't really have a joke here. Not sure I need one.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The FGR Week 12 NFL Picks

"There's a new sheriff in town . . . and
his name is the FGR, y'all be cool."
After a two week hiatus, I finally cranked-out some fully analyzed picks and, as of this moment, I'm on track to post them before 11:42 a.m. on Sunday. Why the sudden inspiration? Well for one, I actually wrote some of this stuff a while ago so if it has a stale feel to it, don't worry, that's going to be nothing compared to when I finally put the finishing touches on my Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin piece. More importantly, however, I am about to spend the better part of 36 hours standing on soccer fields in a place called Fallston, Maryland which is (a) in the middle of nowhere and (b) just far enough from my house to be annoying* so it's now or never for this week's picks.

The Fantasy Golf Report is currently 89-70-3 against the spread. How are we doing it in a season where there doesn't seem to be any particular rhyme or reason? Bullshit and experience . . . so sit back and experience some of our bullshit.

At Detroit by 9 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Lions

I've taken my fair share of shots at Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz but now that he has his team at 6-4 and tied for the lead in the NFC North, I guess I should finally admit that the man knows what he's doing. I mean we're talking about a team coming off a complete second half gag job that also boasts a last second home win over the Cowboys and another close one on the road against a Bears' team quarterbacked by a guy who looked like he spent every minute on the bench getting kicked in the nuts by Robbie Gould. That's quite a resume. And another thing. It's not easy to pull together a roster that features a No. 1 overall pick at quarterback and No. 2 overall picks at running back, wide receiver and defensive tackle . . . all of whom are meeting or exceeding draft day expectations. So smash away on those headsets Jimmy. You've certainly earned the right.

At Houston by 10.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Jaguars

The Jaguars are terrible for a variety of reasons but if you had to pick just one, the epic manner in which they have botched their first round picks is a good place to start: 2010 - DT, Tyson Alualu (taken 10th despite being projected as a second round talent . . . now playing like a 6th round talent); 2011 - Blaine Gabbert (his 36.0 passer rating would place him last among current quarterbacks by 16 points . . . if he had enough attempts to qualify); 2012 - Justin Blackmon (taken 5th overall despite numerous character red flags . . . was recently suspended for the rest of 2013 for violating the league substance abuse policy); 2013 - OT, Luke Joeckel (season ending ankle injury on October 8th . . . welcome to Jacksonville Luke).**

At Green Bay by 3.5 over Minnesota: The Pick - Packers

At some point the FGR needs to acknowledge the brilliant work being done by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford** and we might as well use the Green Bay-Minnesota game to do it because (a) Wisconsin and Minnesota might as well be Canada anyway and (b) this game stopped mattering the moment Aaron Rodgers' shoulder hit the turf. Anyway, there are so many great Rob Ford moments that it's hard to pick just one but, since this is ostensibly a football website now (thus the name Fantasy Golf Report), let's go with the fact that the commissioner of the CFL actually asked Ford not to attend the playoff game in Toronto last Sunday. I'm guessing it went down something like this:

"Well if you're going up anyway, I'd love a
corn dog and four Molsons. Thanks."
Commissioner: Mayor Ford, with all due respect we think it would be in the best interest of the league and the Toronto Argonauts franchise if you did not attend the game on Sunday.

Mayor Ford: I don't know.

Commissioner: What do you mean you don't know?

Mayor Ford: Argo fuck yourself!

At Kansas City by 5 over San Diego: The Pick - Chiefs

This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to get back to creating the illusion that they will win a playoff game this year before they have to play the Broncos again next Sunday and we all say, "oh yeah." If the season ended today, they would play at the Bengals in a game that would struggle in the ratings against the tail end of a Police Academy movie marathon (which would include the last hour of Police Academy 6: City Under Siege and a full showing of Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow and the fact that Mission to Moscow was made in 1994 and does not feature Yakov Smirnoff has to make it one of the greatest upsets of the 90's along with the Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight).

Carolina by 3.5 at Miami: The Pick - Panthers

Carolina proved last week that they can closeout a game against a quality opponent on a primetime stage as long as they are allowed to tackle that opponent's receivers on the last play of the game. More importantly, after winning six in a row, they have proven to have one of the league's best defenses and Cam Newton finally appears to be comfortable getting paid over the table.

At Cleveland by 2 over Pittsburgh: The Pick - Steelers

Don't bother Cleveland with
your sports team woes.
Just when you thought the "Factory of Sadness" had run out of ways to crush the hopes of its customers, along comes the 2013 season where the Browns have somehow managed to go from hopeless (Brandon Weeden) to hopeful (Brian Hoyer) to hopeless (Weeden) to hopeful (Jason Campbell) to hopeless (last week's game when they turned a 13-0 lead into 31-13 halftime deficit). If you're a Browns fan, you almost need to take the Ron Burgundy approach when Baxter ate the wheel of cheese and pooped in the fridge and just say, "I'm not even mad . . . that's amazing."

At Oakland by 1 over Tennessee: The Pick - Titans

Speaking of factories of sadness, I'm still carrying Jake Locker on the roster of one of my fantasy teams because when three of your first four picks were Doug Martin, Stephen Jackson and Tom Brady, who really cares anymore? As for picking this game, good luck. You'd have a better chance of walking into a little league girls basketball game and asking a random parent if they want to put a hundy on the red team. (I wouldn't advise doing that by the way).

At Baltimore by 4 over N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Ravens

If the Dolphins lose to the Panthers and the Ravens can pull-out a win against the Jets at home (didn't think I'd be writing that three months ago), then I believe the defending champs will move into control of the second AFC wild card spot with a record of 5-6. It's sad but not quite as sad as the clock management display put on by John Harbaugh last week after he magically found his team with first and goal at the 5 yard line with 1:11 on the clock and two timeouts left (they would have had all three if not for a completely wasted challenge call but that's a whole other topic).

On first down, Ray Rice ran it to the 2 yard line and the Ravens called timeout with 23 seconds left. Fine. Now here's where brainlock set-in. The Ravens had second and goal from the 2 yard line with one timeout which they would need to stop the clock for the game tying field goal if necessary. If they run it there and don't make it, they (a) have to use their last timeout so they can run one more play before kicking the field goal and (b) the third down play will have to be a pass because they will need a touchdown to win or an incompletion to stop the clock. If, however, they pass on second down and don't make it, they will still have a timeout left for third down so the defense won't know if a run or pass is coming. So what did they do? Handoff to Ray Rice for a loss of a yard. Timeout. Fumbled snap. Incomplete pass. Field goal. Overtime. Loss. Blech.

At St. Louis by 1 over Chicago: The Pick - Rams

Note that I was all set to blast Marc Trestman for what I initially thought was his superior clock management screw-up against the Ravens but then I read this explanation and, I must admit, I agree with him. I'm glad to see someone's finally thinking this stuff through. Unfortunately for the Bears, this whole Josh McCown thing can't keep rolling and the Rams are just the defense to derail it.  

These ridiculous outfits are
what happen when you move
a team from LA to St. Louis.
At Arizona by 2 over Indianapolis: The Pick - Cardinals

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere on or about September 5th that the Cardinals were going to go 10-6 this year and take one of the NFC wild card spots (oh wait, here it is FGR Week 1 NFL Picks). Well after ripping-off three consecutive wins over the murderer's row of Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville, the Cardinals are sitting at 6-4, tied for the second wild card spot with the 49ers and Bears. I like them here because I'm starting to think that the Colts might be frauds without Reggie Wayne. At least their recent shaky play has had a pie-hole shutting effect on Jim Irsay and we can all be thankful for that as we head into this holiday week.

At N.Y. Giants by 2.5 over Dallas: The Pick - Giants

For years Pat Summerall was the voice of the NFC East. Every Sunday on CBS, it seemed like their was a match-up involving the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles and Redskins and it always seemed to matter. Pat Summerall died on April 16th of this year and the NFC East apparently died with him as these four teams are scratching and crawling over each other to see who can reach 8-8 first to earn the right to get blasted out of the playoffs at home in the first round. At this point, I'm envisioning a three interception game by Eli Manning against the Panthers so I'm riding the Giants to that inevitable beatdown.

Denver by 2.5 at New England: The Pick - Broncos

Hey look it's the Broncos playing another night game. Or to quote Alan Arkin from Little Miss Sunshine,**** "what's that the Broncos? . . . every night it's the fuckin' Broncos . . . Holy God Almighty . . . is it possible just once we get something to watch around here that's not the Goddamned fucking Broncos . . . I'm just sayin'." (Clearly losing steam on the picks at this point).

San Francsico by 4.5 at Washington: The Pick - 49ers

Remember not so long ago when we were debating the best young quarterback in the league and Ron Jaworski was saying things like, "Colin Kapernick could be the best of all-time." And remember when Kaepernick wore sunglasses inside at the ESPY Awards. And remember when RG, III was "all-in for week one." And remember when his best throw last week was the one where he threw his coaches and receivers under the bus after the game. And remember when the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Ahhhhh . . . the salad days. What? Oh yeah, the 49ers should dominate this game but it's really a no-lose scenario for those of us who despise both of these teams because there is a strong chance that we may get to see the head of at least one really unlikeable coach explode.

Last Week's Record: 9-4-2 . . . Season Record: 89-69-3

Email the Fantasy Golf Report here.

The FGR Fantasy Squad

You may have noticed that I kind of abandoned the fictional fantasy squad and I just wanted to let you know that there is a good reason for that. Everything I write is judged by the same standard: "would I want to read that?" The answers to that question generally ranges anywhere from "yes" to "maybe" to "no" to "can I have that 30 seconds of my life back?" When looking back over the fantasy stuff I had written, I found that most of it fell into one of the last two categories. Besides, I drafted a starting line-up below so I'm pretty sure I'm kicking the crap out of every other fictional fantasy lineup (to the extent there are any) thereby proving my point (season long fantasy rank per position in parentheses):
"Oh my . . . where in the
hell is that kick going?"

QB - Matthew Stafford (3rd)
RB - LeSean McCoy (1st)
RB - Chris Johnson (10th)
WR - T.Y. Hilton (15th)
WR - Alshon Jefferey (11th)
TE - Jason Witten (7th)
FX - Knowshon Moreno (6th)
K - Jay Feely (17th)(Nobody's perfect)
D - Ravens (11th)

Average Points Per Game: An Assload


* For me, that means anything in the 45 to 60 minute range. It's just not quite far enough to get a hotel room for the weekend but just a little too far to drive home between soccer games so you find yourself sitting at the Chick-fil-A asking your kids if they want another refill on their drink like Mark Ratner in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when he forgot his wallet. Speaking of Fast Times, is there a more painful scene to re-watch than Mike Damone and Stacy having sex in the pool house? I know we all looked like that the first time but Jesus, I don't need to see it on screen.

** If you want to know why bad teams stay bad, you need look no further than that 2012 draft. In addition to the Jags taking Blackmon who was a suspension waiting to happen, the Browns screwed-up the chance to trade-up and get RG, III and then used the 3rd pick on Trent Richardson (since traded to the Colts) and the 22nd pick on Brandon Weedon, a 28 year old rookie (seriously) who is currently the 33rd rated passer in the league.

Do the Rob Ford pictures even
need captions anymore?
*** I'm going to be very disappointed if Rob Ford doesn't get his own Kenny Powers style show when his political career finally runs its course. In the meantime, we need The Daily Show or Jimmy Kimmel to hit the streets of Toronto and start asking people the number one reason they voted for Ford because, when you look at pictures like this one, even we Americans are entitled to an explanation as to how this man was elected mayor of the largest city in the third most important country in North America.

**** One of the all-time classic scenes from one of the all-time most underrated movies. If you've never seen it, just enjoy this 14 second segment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The FGR Week 12 Thursday Night Pick

New Orleans by 9.5 at Atlanta: The Pick - Saints

"I agree with the parts
about the Saints and your
schtick getting stale." 
Let's keep this simple. There are currently only three really good NFL teams and in no particular order they are Seattle, Denver and New Orleans playing in a dome (Kansas City? . . . stop it). The Saints are 4-0 against the spread playing indoors and 2-2 playing outside. Meanwhile, the Falcons are a smoldering tire fire no matter where they play. Could they rise-up and take a stand against a divisional opponent? Of course they could but do you really want to go all in with pocket fives against Drew Brees when there's an ace and a king on the board? Could I write an entire paragraph made-up of nothing but questions? Would that be something you'd be interested in reading? Don't you agree that I should stop writing before this schtick gets even more stale?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The FGR Week 11 NFL Picks

Have you ever had one of those nights where you go out late and it seems like you spend the last two hours acting and reenacting the TommyDeVito/Billy Batts bar scene from Goodfellas and then the next thing you know, you're buying rounds to smooth things over to avoid getting pistol-whipped and stuffed in a trunk? (No, that's just you dude). Well whatever I did or didn't do on Friday evening has put me a bit behind on my writing obligations so I never got around to fully analyzing all of this week's games and by "all" I of course mean "any." I do, however, feel a big week looming on the horizon so stay with me.

"Case Keenum and the Texans
v. Matthew McGloin and the
Raiders . . . I don't get it."
The other problem (here come the excuses) is that the NFL has become a bastion of mediocrity and, like a toy building that turns into a robot, what's fun about writing about that? Coming into this week, there were 22 teams with records between 6-3 and 3-7 and it's becoming increasingly difficult to watch them play much less differentiate between them for the purpose of predicting a winner. The slate of 1:00 games today is a brutal potpourri of bad quarterbacks and suspect coaches which is going to make watching the first three hours of Redzone feel like work . . . Bucs/Falcons, Bills/Jets, Bengals/Browns, Chargers/Dolphins . . . ewww.

And the ugliest game of the day will probably be the Ravens/Bears where we'll get to see a team that looks like it's been running in a mud pit all season actually try to run in a mud pit* as Soldier Field may be a quagmire today. The Ravens will be playing against one of the eight teams starting a quarterback that they would have preferred to see on the sideline all season and that doesn't include all of the teams that will have started three different quarterbacks this year by the time the day is done (Browns, Packers, Bills, Vikings and Raiders). People are rightfully scoffing at Joe Flacco's $20M per year contract in light of his 77.3 quarterback rating but the fact is that there are eight teams that would trade a first round pick for him in a heartbeat. The Ravens would never consider it, however, because Ozzie Newsome spent the better part of ten years trapped in the Oort cloud** of awful quarterbacking and he's never going back.

On to this week's picks. If you haven't noticed, I've been delivering a pretty steady diet of winning weeks. You're welcome.

At Tampa Bay Pick 'em against Atlanta: The Pick - Bucs

At Buffalo by 1 over the N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Bills

Detroit by 3 at Pittsburgh: The Pick - Steelers+

At Philadelphia by 3.5 over Washington: The Pick - Redskins

San Diego by 1 at Miami: The Pick - Chargers+

At least Cam Newton and the Pantherrettes are giving
us something worth watching on Monday night.

At Chicago by 3 over Baltimore: The Pick - Ravens

At Cincinnati by 5.5 over Cleveland: The Pick - Bengals

At Houston by 6.5 over Oakland: The Pick - Texans

Arizona by 6.5 at Jacksonville: The Pick - Cardinals+

At Denver by 8 over Kansas City: The Pick - Broncos

At Seattle by 12.5 over Minnesota: The Pick - Seahawks+

At New Orleans by 2.5 over San Francisco: The Pick - Saints

At N.Y. Giants by 4 over Green Bay: The Pick - Giants+

At Carolina by 2.5 over New England: The Pick - Patriots

Last Week's Record: 9-5 . . . Season Record: 80-65-1

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I love this class.
* Much to the chagrin of fantasy football owners who didn't get the memo to avoid running backs who've had over 1,700 touches in their first five years (regular season and playoffs combined), Ray Rice is averaging 2.5 yards per carry this season. On one play in overtime last week, he had one defender to beat in the open field and, after doing his trademark stutter step, he ran straight into the guy who just knocked his legs out from under him. Check-out this cinematic reenactment of the play.

** A hypothesized spherical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals that is about a light year from the Sun . . . but you knew that already.

+Picks of the Week

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The FGR Week 11 Thursday Night Pick

Indianapolis by 3 at Tennessee: The Pick - Colts

If we ever thought we understood which teams were good and which were mediocre, last Sunday's blowout of the Colts by the Rams (and, to a lesser extent, the Panthers' win over the 49ers) blew that notion out of the water. Coming into that game, the Colts had arguably the league's best resume with wins over the Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers (a beatdown on the road no less). The Rams on the other hand had lost three in a row averaging 15 points per game in the process behind journeyman quarterback Kellen Clemens. To paraphrase Lou Manheim* from Wall Street . . .

Hey, cool backpack. Did you
get that at the bookstore?
"Jesus you can't make a buck gambling on this league, the whole thing is goin' to hell faster than when that son of a bitch Layden* was in charge. Too many flawed teams sloshing around. The worst mistake we ever made was was letting Tagliabue put in the salary cap."

With all of that being said, in honor of Mr. Manheim, we're going to stick to the fundamentals in picking this game: (1) the Titans proved that they were capable of losing to the Jaguars and (2) the quarterback match-up is Ryan Fitzpatrick (Harvard) v. Andrew Luck (Stanford) v. If this was a boat race pitting Fitzpatrick and the Winklevoss twins against Luck, Tiger Woods and Sergey Brin,*** I'd go with the Titans. Unfortunately for the Titans, it's a football game.

* In a movie full of grumpy old men, Manheim (played by perpetually grumpy Hal Holbrook) crushes Sir Larry Wildman (Terrance Stamp), narrowly edges Lynch the sales manager (James Karen) but can't quite catch Carl Fox (Martin Sheen) who bitches about everything from his crummy parenting skills to his wife's lousy spaghetti. Unfortunately, he never had the chance to yell at some kids, "HEY, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY AIRPLANE HANGAR!!!"

"Have you even tasted prune juice?!?
Of course not. You young people
know nothing about suffering."
** Elmer Layden was NFL Commissioner from 1941 to 1946. I have no idea whether or not he was good at the job but I needed to throw someone in there and Layden got canned after only five years so he fit the bill. Sorry Elmer. I still love you as the colorful elephant.

*** I'm hoping that a shout-out to Sergey along with the fact that the Fantasy Golf Report has become one of the pillars of the Google empire will land me an invitation to the company holiday party.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The FGR Week 10 NFL Picks

"Hello boys . . . have a good
night's rest? I've missed you."
I'm still trying to crank something out on the ever evolving Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga but it's tough because every time I think I'm ready to lower the boom on Incognito, I picture Alex Karras* in Blazing Saddles* saying "Mongo only pawn in game of life" which keeps leading me back to the conclusion that this is all somehow the NFL's fault. I just can't prove it yet and dammit . . . I NEED MORE TIME!!! Here are the week 10 picks. I apologize for the lack of commentary but it was between trying to come-up with something pithy for thirteen NFL games or watch the second half of the LSU-Alabama game to see what kind of crazy business Les Miles would pull this week. I'll let you guess which I chose. My four favorite games are denoted with a "+".

At Tennessee by 13 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Titans

At Green Bay by 2.5 over Philadelphia: The Pick - Packers

At Pittsburgh by 3 over Buffalo: The Pick - Steelers+

At N.Y. Giants by 7 over Oakland: The Pick - Giants+

At Indianapolis by 12 over St. Louis: The Pick - Rams

Seattle by 6.5 at Atlanta: The Pick - Seahawks

Cincinnati by 1.5 at Baltimore: The Pick - Ravens

Detroit by 1 at Chicago: The Pick - Lions

At San Francisco by 6.5 over Carolina: The Pick - 49ers+

At Arizona by 1 over Houston: The Pick - Texans

Denver by 7 at San Diego: The Pick - Broncos+

At New Orleans by 7 over Dallas: The Pick - Saints

Miami by 3 at Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

Last Week's Record: 7-6 . . . Season Record: 71-60-1

The FGR Fantasy Squad

We're featuring the Titans in honor of
last week's Chris Johnson sighting.
Joe Flacco - 20
LeSean McCoy - 13
Chris Johnson - 32
T.Y. Hilton - 33
Aaron Dobson - 28
Jason Witten - 19
Rob Bironas - 4
Ravens - 11

Total - 160


Matthew Stafford - BYE
Knowshon Moreno - BYE
Bernard Pierce - 1
Alshon Jefferey - 12
Julian Edelman - 1
Marques Colston - 0
Dallas Clark - 1
Browns - 15

Matthew Stafford returns to the starting line-up this week but we'll leave everything else the same and bank on a match-up against the Jags to help Chris Johnson continue his slow thaw from the cryogenic frozen state he's been in for the last two years.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report here.


* The comparison is made that much easier by the fact that Karras played over ten seasons in the NFL before starring in Webster, one of the most bizarrely successful sitcoms ever. Then again, this was the 80's when one of the most popular shows on television starred a wise-cracking stuffed alien that looked like an anteater with the ears of a 90 year old man.

** I'm not exactly sure where Blazing Saddles ranks on the list of all-time best comedies but you almost have to give Mel Brooks his own category and, if you do, I'm going: (1) Blazing Saddles; (2) History of the World: Part 1; (3) High Anxiety; (4) Young Frankenstein; and (5) The Producers. By the way, I've watched (1) and (3) within the last year and they both still hold-up. Harvey Korman is so underrated, kind of like the Steve Largent of comedic actors.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The FGR Thursday Night Pick

I've got a lot to say about the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation but unfortunately no time to say it yet so let's bang-out the Thursday night picks (yes I said picks) until I find an evening to write when I haven't had three glasses of wine with dinner and passed-out watching the World Series of Poker final table (it turns out that, like the real World Series, "almost live" high stakes poker has the power to be both riveting and sleep inducing).

HE'S OUR MAN . . .!!!"
Washington by 2.5 at Minnesota: The Pick - Vikings

Another primetime stink bomb as we draw two teams with a combined record of 4-12 led by two stars who have been mediocre at best this season. Despite that, fans of both teams still have reason for hope. Redskin fans are buoyed by the fact that if they win this game, they will only need four more wins to reach 8-8 which should take the division and they still have four games left against the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles. Viking fans are buoyed by the fact that there are only eight more games until the Ponder/Cassell/Freeman era ends and the Bridgewater/Mariota/Hundley/Manziel era begins.*  

Oregon by 11 at Stanford: The Pick - Stanford

It seems like every season Oregon comes steamrolling into this game after annihilating every team in its path by 30+ points and leads us to believe that this will finally be the year when we'll get to see its offense take on Nick Saban's defense for the national championship . . . and then they choke like dogs. I have not seen either team play a down but I am a big believer in institutional choking and there is part of me that thinks that we're headed for an Alabama-Ohio St. national championship game where the Combined Coach Prick Factor Score (or "CCPF Score") will obliterate the previous record held by Jim Harbaugh v. Jim Schwartz in 2012.**

Pine Valley Team #3 in Two Sets over FGR and Partner: The Pick - Pine Valley

Chances are I will be on the
losing end of the post-game
handshake with this guy. 
I haven't picked-up a paddle tennis racket in over a year due to some lingering elbow issues and the fact that I got tired of losing to 60+ year old guys wearing corduroys. If you've never played paddle tennis, it's kind of like of like tennis in a cage meaning that you never have to chase a ball because it's eventually going to hit something and bounce back to you. It also means that if you ever run more than five steps in any direction, you will crash into something. This leads me to believe that it was invented by a guy who was (a) very good at tennis and (b) very fat.


* Most mock drafts have Johnny Manziel going somewhere between 10-15 but if you don't think he's going top five, then you haven't met the front office of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

** Note that this statistic has only been tracked since 2003 and only applies to football so it does not include the 1977 World Series match-up of Billy Martin v. Tommy Lasorda, the the Super Bowl XXIII match-up of Mike Shanahan v. Mike Holmgren and every single game Bobby Knight ever coached.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The FGR Week 9 NFL Picks

"And Reader's Digest is considering
publishing TWO of my jokes."
I've been hacking away at my fifteen minutes of fame over the past couple of weeks with an email read on the October 14th Tony Kornheiser Radio Show and another one printed by Peter King in this week's MMQB.* And on top of all that, Bill Simmons ripped-off my Andy Reid made a deal with the devil joke last week. (I have no idea why I'm inserting all of these links when I never click on anyone else's links).

Blah blah blah . . . that's enough preamble. Let's stop screwing around and get on with the picks. By the way, other than Bruno Kirby, we're going with all skin in the photos this week because that's the kind of mood I'm in. Any questions? No? Good.

At Carolina by 7.5 over Atlanta: The Pick - Panthers

Coming into last week, the Falcons had four defensible losses that could lead one to believe that there was still hope for the season despite their crippling injuries. Then they went to Arizona and got absolutely manhandled by the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Panthers are heading in the opposite direction after winning three straight as Cam Newton keeps preening like a 7 year old girl after every above-average play he makes. People keep saying that he should act like he's been there before but they seem to forget that he hasn't been there before as this is the first time the Panthers have been above .500 in the Cam Newton era. So keep acting like a front-running douche Cam to forever remind us that the only thing you've ever won is the most suspect title in NCAA sports history since the 1990 UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

At Dallas by 10.5 over Minnesota: The Pick - Vikings

The Cowboys have somehow managed to go 7-1 against the spread despite their 4-4 record this season by winning big and keeping their losses close. At some point that run has to end so I'm going against them until they fail to cover (unless of course they're playing another NFC East team and are somehow favored by less than a touchdown).

Some deals are harder to
pass-up than others.
New Orleans by 6.5 at the N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Saints

So I finally bought into the Jets' hype last week and look how they repaid me. I'm back to picking against them every week. If for no other reason, spite.**

Kansas City by 3.5 at Buffalo: The Pick - Chiefs

This is the last minor league opponent*** for the Chiefs before their three game stretch of Broncos-Chargers-Broncos. I'd be inclined to pick the Bills here if they weren't deciding between a banged-up second string quarterback and some guy who's last name rhymes with "tool." By the time this deal with the devil is paid-off, Alex Smith and Andy Reid are going to come back as a dung beetle and a perpetually constipated hippopotamus.****

Tennessee by 3 at St. Louis: The Pick - Titans

Picking against the team that just played Seattle theory took a hit last week when the Cardinals covered but I'm sticking with it, especially when the Seahawks game was a brutal Monday night home loss on the heels of the Cardinals deflating the entire city of St. Louis in game 5 of the World Series. It's going to feel like everybody's dog just died in the Edward Jones Dome today.

At Washington PK against San Diego: The Pick - Redskins

Earlier this week I found myself in the awkward position of being in the presence of a high-ranking member of the Redskins' front office under circumstances where it would have behooved me to keep my mouth shut in the face of the endless propaganda that was streaming from his lips. I was doing fine until he attempted to make the case for RG, III over Andrew Luck as the quarterback you would take today to start your franchise. For some reason, when he finished he was staring directly at me as if he was asking "don't you agree?" at which point I couldn't take it any more . . . "are you asking me?" Just as I was about to launch, someone quickly and wisely took the subject in another direction.

Philadelphia by 1.5 at Oakland: The Pick - Raiders

I really don't have much to say about this one so I'm going off topic to point out that the Rainbow Loom has caused the biggest spike in rubber production since some guy in 1840 was having second thoughts about doing business with a third world prostitute, noticed the thumb of a surgical glove and thought "wait a minute . . ."  

At Seattle by 15.5 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Seahawks

This is a project yourself into the moment game. As in, I know that's an awfully big spread but project yourself into the end of the third quarter and what score do you see coming across the ticker for this game? Something around 27-6? Me too. 

Baltimore by 3 at Cleveland: The Pick - Ravens

The consensus among Ravens fans is that this is the game that determines whether or not they have a shot at continuing their playoff run this season. I know we're setting the bar a little low considering the Browns are on their third string quarterback and a three game losing streak but, as Joe Haden pointed out, these are not the same Ravens. (This is when you miss Ray Lewis who would have gotten himself in at tight end for a couple of plays just for the chance to blow-up Haden). By the way, every team in the AFC North other than the Ravens has now lost one of their three best players to a season-ending injury so there are no excuses at this point.

At New England by 7 over Pittsburgh: The Pick - Patriots
I'm pretty sure that Bill Murray's
stomach has never looked like that. 

It's the NFL's answer to a match-up between the 1980 Russian Olympic ice hockey team and Camp Mohawk from Meatballs. The Patriots are obviously Camp Mohawk because they're both blatant cheaters. That makes the Steelers the Russians who, let's face it, were really the biggest choking dogs in the history of sports. None of this helps pick the game but I'm really having fun with these parallels.

Indianapolis by 2.5 at Houston: The Pick - Colts

Now that the thoroughly detestable Miami Heat and Boston Red Sox have won the last two significant professional sports titles, the insufferable Jim Irsay has to feel pretty good about the Colts' Super Bowl chances.

At Green Bay by 11 over Chicago: The Pick - Packers

I don't believe that it has gone unnoticed by Aaron Rodgers that he has barely half as many touchdown passes as Peyton Manning and there is no better place to start making-up that ground than on Monday Night Football against the depleted defense of your biggest rival.

Last Week's Record: 8-5 . . . Season Record: 64-54-1

I'm not going to bother to figure-out the weekly average to determine if that was a fictional win. If you can't break 80, you deserve to lose. We'll get T.Y. Hilton back into the starting line-up in place of Julian Edelman in the hopes that he can handle his new found #1 receiver role in Indy. We'll swap the Ravens D back in as well.

Just another reason Browns fans are so
bitter . . . no cheerleaders. Don't worry
Cleveland, you're not missing much. Really.
Matthew Stafford - 29
LeSean McCoy - 5
Knowshown Moreno - 18
Marques Colston - 1
Julian Edelman - 0
Jason Witten - 1
Jay Feely - 9
Browns - 12

Total - 75


Eli Manning - 9
Chris Johnson - BYE
Bernard Pierce - BYE
T.Y. Hilton - BYE
Alshon Jefferey - BYE
Aaron Dobson - 12
Dallas Clark - BYE
Ravens - BYE

Unfortunately, I drafted two quarterbacks with the same bye week (which shows you how much thought I put into this premise) so I need to hit the waiver wire and look who's there, none other than Joe Flacco. So we'll drop one unlikely Super Bowl MVP for another and hope that Joe can stir-up a little post bye week magic in Cleveland. Good Lord I don't have a kicker either. OK, give me Rob Bironas and find the guy who came-up with this stupid fictional fantasy team idea and fire him. Other than providing a nice open space to feature a cheerleader of the week, this is a medium sized pain in my ass.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report here.


Regular readers also knew
that Miss Scarlet was going
to stay in the game.
* Those who know the true identity of the FGR will have no trouble finding these submissions if interested. For those who don't, I've certainly provided enough hints over the years to make it the equivalent of playing a game of Clue and removing every character from consideration other than Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlet.

** I'm not exactly sure when I started despising the Jets so much. I think it stems from their season on Hard Knocks after the pouty scene with Mark Sanchez stuffing his books into his backpack while one of the coaches was trying to talk and the time Rex Ryan was commenting on his "crafty" signing of over the hill Ladanian Tomlinson and said, "man, I love being right." (We all think that sometimes d-bag but we don't say it out loud).

*** And believe me, I call the Bills "minor league" with full knowledge that they beat the Ravens. I have no delusions about the suspect quality of the 2013 Ravens. It's like we've been stuck in one of those movies where we switch bodies to see how the other half lives. I keep expecting to look in the mirror and see myself wearing a Vikings jersey.

**** You have to love the fact that, when necessary, you can Google "worst things to be reincarnated as." Other popular answers were the cave cricket, the naked mole rat and Mike Kryzewski.