The weather has been getting a little cooler at night, including my need to wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt to the Journey and Heart concert, in the rain, last night. BTW, that show was amazing. I had forgotten how many great songs Heart had and I would have to say that they stole the show for me. They closed with Crazy on You during their encore and I about lost my shit when the guitars started at the beginning. Always reminds me of Harold and Kumar when Kumar ends up marrying the bag of weed. Classic stuff.
Anyway, as I was saying, with the cooler nights, it can only mean one thing...the approach of the NFL Football season. The Skins play their final preseason game tonight and open the season in ONE WEEK against the Giants. And more important than all of this, this also means the return of fantasy football.
I've been playing fantasy football since I was like 12 years old and it never grows old. Thankfully, I no longer have to look up the box scores in the newspaper to get the stats like we did as kids, but now I've expanded my addiction out to three different leagues. I've already drafted my league with Kevin, Eric and that crew, and this weekend I have my drafts with Langley and that crew on Sunday and Zack (the proud new daddy, BTW) and that crew on Monday.
It's good and bad to be in this many leagues. The good side is that usually at least one team is going to be doing well, so I don't lose all hope entirely by mid-season. The bad side is that when all is said and done, I'm usually rooting for a player on my team in one league, who I happen to be playing against in the other league...so my cheering is torn. I remember one year rooting for Edgerrin James to get less than 50 yards (against me) or more than 80 yards (for me), so that I would win at least one of my games. He ended up getting like 60 and I lost both.
This year, I was fortunate enough to grab the first pick in the first draft I was in, which is a no-brainer pick of LaDainian Tomlinson, but I thought I'd give you guys a couple J-Man sleeper and stumbler predictions to help you out (though I'm going to be drafting against you in a couple days) and to also see how good my predictions are later in the year. I haven't made too many side bets yet, but here's what I've got with those thusfar as well. I did predict the Browns resurgence last year. Double or nothing Pogue?
With Kevin: $20 Bet: He says skins win 7 or less, I say 9 or more. 8-8 is a wash.
With Kevin: $20 Bet: He's gay for Vernon Davis and says he'll be the highest scoring TE by Yahoo scoring rules.
With Stephen: $20 Bet: He says Calvin Johnson get 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs. I say Jericho Cotchery does the same. If one gets both, that person wins. All other conditions occur, it's a push.
Jericho Cotchery WR NYJ: I have a lot of faith in this guy's skills this year with the new addition of Brett Favre. He's technically considered the #2 receiver on the Jets behind Lav Coles, but I expect him to put up numbers rivaling the #1 receivers across the league. Hell, I even put an extra $20 on it (see above).
Thomas Jones RB NYJ: I'm sticking with the Jets for my second sleeper pick, again the beneficiary of the signing of Brett Favre. But more importantly, the addition of Alan Faneca and maturing of D'Brickashaw Ferguson on the line. He should certainly improve greatly from the TD production he got last year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see 1250 yards and 10 TDs.
Isaac Bruce WR SF: Yes, he's old, but as of right now, he's the number one receiver for a Mike Martz-run offense. He's played in a Martz system before, so he should be very comfortable, and playing in the NFC West against the same opponents he's used to should help him maintain some steady stats. I'd peg him for 1000 yards and about 6 TDs.
Jay Cutler QB Den: Cutler has a career completion percentage of 62.1% and threw for 3500 yards and 20 TDs last year, all while suffering from the effects of diabetes, which he didn't know he had. Without the fatigue he's experienced in the past, now that he's got treatment, I think this is his season to shine.
Carson Palmer QB Cin: The perennial 4000 yard man may be in for trouble this season with both of his primary receivers banged up. Add to that a big question mark at RB and I'll be steering clear of old Carson.
Ryan Grant RB GB: For the same reason I am pulling for Thomas Jones, I am pulling against Ryan Grant. Aaron Rodgers is a big wild card and Grant has yet to play a full season at RB. Both are reasons to stay far away from him in the 1st round and possibly avoid him through the 2nd round. Matching up against the Vikings and Bears twice doesn't help either.
Antonio Gates TE SD: He's considered one of the "elite" tight ends but I have a feeling he's not going to produce like he has in the past this season. The foot injury and the improving relationship between Chris Chambers and Phillip Rivers both make taking Gates up with the Witten, Winslow, Gonzalez group a bit more risky.
Jamal Lewis RB CLE: I think most people would consider last year a bit of a fluke to begin with, but if you're not one of that crowd and you really think the old Jamal Lewis is back...you might be in trouble. There's a bunch of injuries on the Browns right now, including Lewis, who has an injured hamstring. Hamstring injuries don't usually go away very quickly, so I'm guessing he's in for a season of ups and downs that will have you wishing you made better use of your 3rd round pick.
Ahh, I do love football. Glad I didn't give up my outdoor leagues too.