Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Week 13 NFL Picks

"No I did not know that my brother
had dinner with Mr. Snyder last
night. (Gulp) Who told you that?"
Ah late November . . . a nip in the air, autumn colors, 6,000 calories looming on Thursday and the time of the season when Redskin fans traditionally start running Google searches for "2015 Mock Drafts" and "Best NFL Head Coaching Prospects." I can tell you firsthand that the burgundy and gold faithful have blown right through denial, anger, bargaining and depression at record speed this year and have accepted the fact that (a) the RG, III era is over in Washington and (b) his career will inevitably be resurrected by Chip Kelly in Philadelphia or Jim Harbaugh somewhere else. In a related story, my NFL picks continue to decline faster than the watchability of the NFC South.

On a brighter note, my interest in the NFL is being rejuvenated by this intriguing AFC North race where all four teams are currently separated by a half game. At this point, you have to give the Ravens the inside track (HOMER ALERT!) based on their remaining schedule of Chargers, at Dolphins, Jaguars, at Texans and a home finale against the Browns. Meanwhile, the Bengals go on the road to Tampa Bay and then have the Steelers, at Browns, Broncos before finishing in Pittsburgh. The Browns probably have the toughest road starting in Buffalo this week and then Colts at home, Bengals, at Panthers and at the Ravens. And to closeout this full schedule breakdown, the Steelers finish with the Saints, at Bengals, at Falcons, Chiefs and home against the Bengals. At least Steeler fans can take solace in the fact that they escaped that Bucs - Jets - Titans gauntlet with a 1-2 record. Phew!

Time for me to return to my semi-sabatical. What I really need to do is write something so offensive that I'm forced to suspend myself for a few weeks. We'll make that a priority over the holiday weekend.  
Come on Saints . . .
time to snap out of it!
Detroit by 7 over Chicago: The Pick - Lions
Dallas by 3 over Philadelphia: The Pick - Eagles
San Francisco by 1 over Seattle: The Pick - Seahawks
Indianapolis by 9.5 over Washington: The Pick - Colts
Houston by 6.5 over Tennessee: The Pick - Texans
Buffalo by 2 over Cleveland: The Pick - Bills
Baltimore by 5.5 over San Diego: The Pick - Ravens
N.Y. Giants by 2.5 at Jacksonville: The Pick - Giants
Cincinnati by 4 at Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs
St. Louis by 7 over Oakland: The Pick - Rams
Pittsburgh by 4 over New Orleans: The Pick - Saints
Minnesota by 3 over Carolina: The Pick - Vikings
Arizona by 2.5 at Atlanta: The Pick - Cardinals
Green Bay by 3 over New England: The Pick - Patriots
Denver by 1 at Kansas City: The Pick - Broncos
Miami by 5.5 at N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Dolphins

Last Week's Record: 6-9 . . . Season Record: 80-94-1

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The FGR Week 12 NFL Picks

Keeping with the FGR's new direction, here are the week 12 picks and the obligatory website traffic generating cheerleader shot. Now I can get back to that serious writing I talked about earlier this week (and if anyone has a good topic idea, my email address is below . . . seriously).

"How about gift ideas for that hard
to shop for man on your list?"
Atlanta by 3 over Cleveland: The Pick - Browns
Philadelphia by 11 over Tennessee: The Pick - Titans
New England by 7 over Detroit: The Pick - Patriots
Green Bay by 9.5 at Minnesota: The Pick - Packers
Indianapolis by 13.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Jags
Houston by 2 over Cincinnati: The Pick - Texans
Buffalo by 4.5 over N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Jets
Chicago by 5.5 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs
Seattle by 6.5 over Arizona: The Pick - Seahawks
San Diego by 4.5 over St. Louis: The Pick - Rams
Denver by 7.5 over Miami: The Pick - Broncos
San Francisco by 8.5 over Washington: The Pick - 49ers
Dallas by 3.5 at N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Giants
New Orleans by 3.5 over Baltimore: The Pick - Ravens

Last Week's Record: 6-8 . . . Season Record: 74-85-1.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm a Peacock!!!

After about three and a half years of cranking-out NFL picks ranging from the above-average (a 2013 regular season of 137-113-4) to the putrid (this season), it's time to pull the Fantasy Golf Report out of the lazy formulaic rut it has fallen into and hopefully get it back on the path of cutting edge, hard-hitting investigative journalism . . . or something. The bottom line is that I'm tired of coming-up with reasons why NFL Team A is going to beat NFL Team B by X amount of points for the same two reasons anyone gets tired of doing anything: (1) I suck at it and (2) I don't really care anymore. (The fact that I spent anytime deliberating over the eventual outcome of last week's Redskins-Bucs game is really quite pathetic when you think about it).

"Analyzing" games also means I have to come-up with a dozen or so ideas every week instead of just one and that results in me peddling information that sounds a lot like the "expert" crap that Schefty, Merril and Jaws are selling. And no one wants that, especially me. I'd rather write about things like why an NFL player who beats his kid doesn't generate the same amount of vitriol as one who beats his fiancĂ© (uh oh). I'm going to keep picking the games to finish what I started and maybe even get more involved again in January when they matter again but for now they'll just be a bunch of guesses at the bottom of the page (so really nothing's changed).   

Kansas City by 7 at Oakland: The Pick - Chiefs

In light of my stellar Thursday night record, how consistently well the Chiefs have been playing and how the Raiders are a lot closer to 0-16 than anyone wants to talk about (look at their remaining schedule and find me a win), I actually feel pretty good about this one. And just like that, I've said too much. Dammit!

Last Week's Record: 6-8 . . . Season Record: 76-85-1.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The FGR Week 11 NFL Picks

This week's excuse for delayed picks is the fact that I spent all day on Saturday at a soccer tournament in Columbia, Maryland, the home of the perpetually frenzied soccer mom working her minivan through traffic like an Italian cab driver. If you've never made the trip to Columbia, don't. It's a Stepford like community built in 1967 and based on a master plan of ten villages with a mall as its centerpiece. The original architecture called for all outlying businesses to blend into the landscape so, as you drive down the road, the gas station, the dry cleaner and the karate Dojo all look exactly like the middle school and the drug rehab clinic. Let's just say that it's not for everybody. If you happen to live there, I'm sorry on a couple of levels. And now that I've thoroughly offended roughly 100,000 people, let's make some football picks!

Cleveland by 3 over Houston: The Pick - Browns

Raise your hand if you're starting to believe in the Browns at least a little bit (that would be my hand rising as I look around the room to make sure I'm not alone). They flat-out dismantled the Bengals last week although we've learned this year that the Bengals are, if nothing else, highly dismantlable (new FGR word). Look for a rocky start to the Ryan Mallet era against an underrated Browns' defense (hey, that was like some real authentic frontier football analysis).

Chicago by 3 over Minnesota: The Pick - Vikings

Come on Vikings! Are you
going to just take that!?!?
The Bears just lost their last two games by a combined score of 106-37 which pretty much makes them a really awful high school girls basketball team with Jay Cutler as their pouty point guard who shoots everyone a dirty look after they miss a shot or make a turnover. So how must the Vikings feel being underdogs to that Mongolian Clusterfuck?* I'm going to guess it's got them pretty fired-up.

Green Bay by 5 over Philadelphia: The Pick - Packers

OK, I'm 0-1 betting against the Sanchize but that was a home game versus the inept Carolina Panthers. If there was ever a double-down opportunity, this has to be it right? Not to mention, the Packers are due for a string of games that shows that they're at least as good as the sum of their ridiculously talented parts.

Kansas City by 1.5 over Seattle: The Pick - Kansas City

Since a random opening day loss to the Titans, the Chiefs have proven themselves to be the team that wins the games it should win. The question is whether this is one of those games and I think the answer is "yes"? The Seahawks have kind of righted the ship if you can call wins over the Panthers, Raiders and Giants "righting the ship" (seems a little more like "straightening the tie" or "adjusting the boxers"). In the meantime, they've dumped Percy Harvin, questioned the future of Marshawn Lynch (who then scored four touchdowns last week) and questioned whether Russell Wilson is "black enough."** Apparently Pete Carroll has implemented the full USC rise and fall plan in Seattle.

Carolina by 2 over Atlanta: The Pick - Panthers

These two teams are a combined 6-12-1 and a win by either of them this week combined with a Saints' loss will mean at least a share of first place. Ladies and gentlemen . . . your 2014 NFC South!

New Orleans by 7 over Cincinnati: The Pick - Saints

And with that being said, I'm still taking the Saints here as the Bengals have lost their last two road games by a combined score of 70-17 and their two quality wins this year are over the Ravens who seem to be the only competent team in the league that hasn't figured-out how to force at least three turnovers out of Andy Dalton. Hey Cinci, how's that $21.6M cap hit from 2015-17 looking? Ouch.

Washington by 7 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

You mean like this?
The Redskins' secondary couldn't cover Mark Carrier at this point (Carrier is the Bucs' all-time leading receivers and he's currently 49 years old so that's why the prospect of the Redskins not being able to cover him is funny HAHAHA. . . ). OK, let's all settle down because Tampa Bay actually might have one of the best receiving tandems in the league this year with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Add the fact that Josh McCown returned last week to knock some of the rust off and we could be looking at a deserted FedEx Field by 3:00 p.m. today.

Denver by 9.5 at St. Louis: The Pick - Broncos

Thank God the Austin Davis run came to an end before we had to watch Jon Gruden favorably compare him to Drew Brees again (yes this happened during the October 13th game against the 49ers and I'm assuming that highlight package has disappeared from the Monday Night Football archives by now). Peyton Manning is still annoyed that other quarterbacks are being discussed as his regular season equal so look for another week of stat padding to rectify that.

San Francisco by 4 at N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Giants

There is absolutely no reason to think that the Giants, who have lost four in a row by a combined 74 points, can hang with the 49ers but I need another underdog pick and San Francisco had to travel to New Orleans last week so here is the random totally unsubstantiated upset pick of the week.

San Diego by 10 over Oakland: The Pick - Raiders

The Chargers appear to have replaced their traditional slow start with a midseason malaise. I should have unloaded fantasy Phillip Rivers when he had some value. Now I'd be lucky to get Maurice Jones-Drew and a Ray Rice jersey for him (too soon?). Speaking of Jones-Drew, he's racked-up 64 yards on 29 carries and no touchdowns for the 0-9 Raiders this year. Who knew you could make a bad career moving by getting out of Jacksonville? With that being said, this line is too high and the Raiders are due to back their way into at least a cover if not a win.

Arizona by 2 over Detroit: The Pick - Cardinals

It's getting very lonely at the Lions Non-Believer meetings and, if they pull this one off, I'll be the next guy to mention "hey, I have to take a leak" and not come back. I just know the timer on the Matthew Stafford turnover time bomb is going to run-out sooner or later and the Cardinals have the secondary to make it sooner.

Indianapolis by 3 over New England: The Pick - Colts

"This next song is all about
my love of hardcore barely
legal pornography."
The Patriots have reeled-off five wins in a row which feels like about enough as they head to Indy to play a team that, other than losing to the first half of the Roethlisberocalypse, may have been the best in football since week two. Also, this feels like the right time for Andrew Luck to stop getting slapped around by Brady and Manning and pull the reversal like the little brother who just turned sixteen and found the weight room. I will warn you, however, that my pick in this game was partly fueled by my massive hatred of the Patriots much like Neil Diamond was creatively fueled by his massive hatred of, well, you know.

Pittsburgh by 6 at Tennessee: The Pick - Steelers

I can only explain this Monday night match-up by theorizing that there was a Duke brothers like bet at NFL headquarters that they could air the worst possible match-up of the week and still triple the ratings of the next most watched show. After watching a fair amount of the Titans-Ravens game last week, I am here to report that the Titans are really bad . . . like Caddyshack 2 level bad.

Last Week's Record: 7-6 . . . Season Record: 68-77-1


* If you've never watched George Carlin's performance at Carnegie Hall, do yourself a favor. Here's a taste including the aforementioned, "Mongolian Clusterfuck."

** These are Charles Barkley's words not mine. All I know is that no one has ever accused me of not being "white enough." I think it's because I like Journey and Rush, write something called the Fantasy Golf Report and own seventeen pairs of khakis.

Email the FGR at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The FGR Week 11 Thursday Night Pick

From a competitive standpoint, has there been a less relevant division in sports over the last ten years than the NFL's AFC East? Since 2002, the only team to win it not named the New England Patriots was the 2008 Miami Dolphins. That team was led by renowned knuckleball pitcher Chad Pennington and was ultimately manhandled and found wanting by the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.* That was also the asterisk year that Tom Brady threw only eleven passes before Bernard Pollard ended his season and spawned the "Tom Brady Rule" which makes it illegal to hit Tom Brady in the knee (of course you can hit just about anyone else in the knee just as long as their name doesn't happen to be "Tom Brady").

I know I know, the Jets supposedly made it to the 2009 and 2010 AFC Conference Championship games but, in hindsight, are we sure that really happened? As I sit here in 2014, are you honestly trying to tell me that a team assembled by Mike Tannenbaum, coached by Rex Ryan and quarterbacked by Mark Sanchez won playoff road games against the Bengals, Chargers, Colts and Patriots and came within five points of beating the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl? I'll take your word for it on the Bengals and the Chargers because there is no one you would want see on the other sideline in a playoff game more than Norv Turner or anyone wearing a Bengals' hat but Manning's Colts and Brady's Patriots? I'm going to need more evidence because it strains credulity to say the least.

Miami by 4.5 over Buffalo: The Pick - Dolphins

. . . and warm weather cheerleaders.
And that brings us to tonight's ultimately meaningless match-up between two non-Patriot AFC East teams. Fittingly, the Dolphins are coming-off a loss in which they blew a lead to the Lions and the Bills are coming-off a loss where they blew a lead to the Chiefs. Both teams are 5-4 which means a win tonight should launch the winner on its way to 9-7 and the loser to 7-9. One team is led by a journeyman quarterback who looks like Dave Grohl while the other is led by a promising young stud with a model caliber wife. As much as I like Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, I'm going with the model caliber wife.


* That was the season when Ed Reed decided he was going to score a touchdown every time he touched the ball so, when Pennington launched this duck in the playoff game, we pretty much knew he was going to get flattened ten seconds later as Reed stepped over him on the way into the endzone.

 Last Week's Record: 7-6 . . . Season Record: 68-77-1

Email the FGR at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The FGR Week 10 NFL Picks

(Editor's note: These picks are being posted at approximately 12:45 p.m. EST on Sunday to ensure that they are used for minimal gambling purposes and don't cost someone their kid's college fund).

For lunch on Friday I ate an organic turkey sandwich with soy cheese on Quinoa bread. It is part of the FGW's recent approach to better living through whatever the opposite of chemistry is and the only place I see this heading is a diet consisting of nothing but freshly fallen leaves, rain water and kelp. One of the byproducts of this kind of diet is supposed to be a healthier brain. A healthier brain should lead to better decision making. Better decision making should lead to better football picks. In short, I'm pulling-out all of the stops.

Dallas by 6.5 over Jacksonville (in London): The Pick - Cowboys

You got to hand it to white people, when
we get pushed out of the old sports, we
just hunker down and invent a new one.
I hate giving this many points in a London game because they always seem to devolve into slop-fests with weird scores like 22-15 (this is based on no actual research which will be a common theme running through today's picks). In the defense of the players, it's got to be a little weird playing in front of a bunch of fans clad in Quidditch robes who cheer the loudest everytime the ball hits someone's foot.

Detroit by 2.5 over Miami: The Pick - Dolphins

One of these teams is starting to really look legitimate and it's not the Lions who are currently the FGR's 2014 team with what appears to be a deceptively good record. I don't know. Maybe it's the wins over the Jets, Vikings and Falcons. The upcoming stretch against the Dolphins, Cardinals and Patriots in which the over/under on interceptions thrown by Mattew Stafford shoud be 6.5 will restore some sense of order. 

Kansas City by 2 at Buffalo: The Pick - Chiefs

This is a must win for the Chiefs because, other than two remaining games with the Raiders, they might have the most brutal remaining schedule of any team in the league (Seahawks, Broncos, at Cardinals, at Steelers, Chargers). Or at least the most brutal of all the teams I have checked which would include the Chiefs and um . . . there you have it. 

New Orleans by 5 over San Francisco: The Pick - Saints

When things start trending south with a coach and his players as they are in San Francisco, they rarely stop trending in that direction. Especially when the coach in question is a simmering fire in the janitor's closet of a chemical plant like Jim Harbaugh. The introductory press conference at his next job is going to be appointment viewing. And don't tell me he's going to Michigan. He's one of the five best coaches in the NFL. Harbaugh going to Michigan would be like me going back to litigating amusement park slip and fall cases. ("So let me get this straight, despite the twelve posted warning signs and the fact that water is generally recognized as the most common cause of slippery surfaces, you were surprised to find the steps entering the wave pool to be slippery? Just one follow-up question . . . are you fucking kidding me?").

Baltimore by 9.5 over Tennessee: a The Pick - Ravens

"This sucks hon."
Unfortunately for the Ravens, despite their Super Bowl win just twenty-one months ago, they are under a lot of pressure from the Baltimore fans thanks to the Orioles somewhat sudden demise in the ALCS. At this point, we're basically a bunch of spoiled kids who's X-Box just broke. A Ravens' loss at home to the Titans would pretty much be the equivalent of our parents telling us we're not getting a new one until Christmas. WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Pittsburgh by 5 at N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Steelers

In the two weeks since I buried Ben Roethlisberger's Super Bowl potential, he's thrown for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. As the athlete who has delivered more daggers to the gut of my sports happiness, all I can say is "well played sir." 

Atlanta by 2.5 at Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

A game only Matt Ryan and Mike Glennon's mothers could love and even that is debatable as everyone has their own limit on how much bad football they can watch:

Matt Ryan: "What'd you think of the game mom?"

Mrs. Ryan: "Well Matty, you know sometimes we don't get your games on TV up here wherever we live."

Matt Ryan: "But I bought you that dish and the NFL Sunday Ticket . . ."

Mrs. Ryan: "What's that Matt? I'm sorry, now the phone's not working either. Curse this technology."

Denver by 11.5 at Oakland: The Pick- Broncos

We know two things for sure about Peyton Manning: (1) His forehead is so big that you could paint a replica of the Mona Lisa on it and (2) he can't stand not being recognized as the best quarterback in the league. Because of No. 2, you know that getting shown-up by Tom Brady last week combined with Roethlisberger's shenanigans are driving him nuts. In a rare piece of fantasy advice from the FGR, I'd advise starting every Bronco you have including the left tackle.

Arizona by 7 over St. Louis: The Pick - Cardinals

"Aw prairie shit . . . they can
play in the Go Daddy Bowl."
I've got nothing on this game so instead let's acknowledge the Arizona St. Sun Devils for knocking Notre Dame out of the college football playoff picture last night. To paraphrase Olson Johnson, "alright, we'll give playoff spots to the Bulldogs and the Ducks . . . but we don't want the Irish."** 

Seattle by 9 over N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Giants

OK, we peaked with the Blazing Saddles reference so let's run out the rest of these picks. Hard to believe the Seahawks are still getting this much respect for a Super Bowl that they basically won with a different team. Meanwhile, this is right about the time the Giants start getting on everyone's nerves by looking like a contender one week and drek the next. I'm going with contender this week.

Green Bay by 7.5 over Chicago: The Pick - Packers

If the Jay Cutler mega contract taught us anything, it's that you don't hand a ton of money to a guy who's defining characteristic is "petulance" unless he invented Facebook. 

Philadelphia by 6.5 over Carolina: The Pick - Panthers

You might think that this pick was inspired by a lack of confidence in Mark Sanchez . . . and you'd be right.


* I am aware that I have tap danced around race and ethnicity a bit in this one but you know what makes it even better? I'm writing this from the parking lot of a Catholic church while my daughter's at Sunday School. Hey, at least I'm on the property.

Last Week's Record: 6-7 . . . Season Record: 61-71-1.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The FGR Thursday Night NFL Pick

You have to hand it to the NFL (and by "it," I'm not talking about your wallet this time). While they are completely inept at dealing with the public relations aspect of their employees' personal conduct transgressions, they do have a firm grasp on generating revenue. Take the Thursday night games for example. They're a cash cow but no team wants to play them. So to make sure the players and coaches on each team get evenly screwed with same number games on short weeks, the league has each team play one "Thursday night" game per season. (I put "Thursday night" in quotes because two of the games listed on the NFL's website as "Thursday night" games will actually be played on Saturday, December 20th at 4:30 p.m. which is pretty much the same thing as Thursday night except that it's not on a Thursday and it's not at night).*

"(Why is this person speaking? Wait, is
that my nephew . . . well, probably a
good time to nip this in the bud)."
The only problem with this plan was that, right after Roger Goodell pitched it and was wringing his hands while cackling, one of his very brave underlings raised his hand and asked, "what do we do about teams that no one wants to see like the Browns, Bengals, Titans and Jaguars?" Goodell then lowered his beady eyes at the young upstart and coldly seethed, "you fool . . . we'll have them play each other to limit the ratings hit to two nights." He then pushed a button and the chair of the young executive fresh out of Harvard business school tipped-over backwards dumping him into a fiery pit. And that is the story of how we ended-up with the Browns-Bengals tonight and the Titans-Jags on December 18th. Heartwarming . . . literally.

Cincinnati by 6.5 over Cleveland: The Pick - Browns

We can mock these two teams all we want (and we should) but the fact is that this game is for first place in the AFC North which is the best division in football from top to bottom. All four teams have a winning record and each is sitting on a positive point differential (points scored v. points allowed) which may be the simplest way to measure which teams are really good in the NFL.** You can look at the Browns through two very distinct lenses: (1) they would be 7-1 if not for losses at the buzzer to the Ravens and Steelers; or (2) they got blown-out by the Jaguars 24-6. I'm going to call that an aberration game and declare the Browns the 2014 team you don't want to give more than three points to because they will find a way to ugly it up and keep it close. In fact, you can have that Cleveland . . . We Ugly it Up and Keep it Close. Hey, it's better than Factory of Sadness.***


* This inevitably calls to mind item No. 8 on the David Letterman list of Top Ten Things Overheard in Line for "Kickboxer II": "It's a lot like Star Wars . . . only it doesn't take place in outer space and there's a lot more kicking."  

** The top five are: New England (+83), Indianapolis (+79), Baltimore (+66), Kansas City (+62) and Denver/Miami (+60). At the bottom you have Jacksonville (-110) as the Jaguars appear hell bent on defending the 2013 title they ran away with by getting outscored 449-247 (-202) . . . and that somehow included four wins which seems mathematically impossible.

*** Note that I tried to come-up with some suitable artwork but the Browns do not have cheerleaders and searches including the keywords "Cleveland" and/or "Brown" yielded nothing up to FGR standards. Sorry but I don't make the rules.

Last Week's Record: 6-7 . . . Season Record: 61-71-1

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com