Archive for August, 2008

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FIGHT ON!

August 30, 2008

USC 52 – UVA 7
What a fantastic way to start the football season
USC Football 2008 – Win Forever

Next up: Ohio State

In other news– I am 11-1 on my Saturday picks, 13-2 on the weekend overall.

I can more than live with that!

-Your Gridiron Goddess, who really likes winning by 45 points

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Your Fantasy Football Reality Check is off this week

August 28, 2008

Hey Football Fiends,

Stephen is taking a week off from Your Fantasy Football Reality Check. We’ve covered all this ins and outs of the draft and figure nearly all of you have had your fantasy drafts already.

So sit back, pop open that beer and enjoy 4 days of College Football, a/k/a/ The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (post coming soon).

Stephen will be back next week with advice on who the best players are to put into your Week 1 lineups.

-Your Gridiron Goddess, who needs to dig her USC jerseys out of the back of the closet.

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ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?! (Week 1 CFB picks)

August 28, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up 13-4

Football Fiends!

The LONG — 40 weeks! We should have built an Ark to get us through the long, dry, desert known as the weeks without college football–wait is over!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON STARTS TODAY. (Go ahead, I’ll give you time to digest that info.)

It’s going to be an all college football weekend this Labor Day and I can’t wait.

Without further ado, here are my Week 1 picks:

Thursday Games:

  • Wake Forest over Baylor 41-13
  • South Carolina over NC State 34-0
  • Oregon State over Stanford (I had a feeling about this game and almost went with Stanford, first “trust my instinct” lesson of the 2008 season) 38-26

Saturday Games:

  • Utah over Michigan ( I just can’t shake the feeling that RichRod’s Wolverines are still in a bit of chaos) 25-23
  • USC over Virginia (Prediction for final score: 31-14) 52-7
  • Florida over Hawaii (The spread here is Hawaii +34–not quite the Colt Brennan/June Jones days anymore, is it?) 56-10
  • Clemson over Alabama 34-10
  • Mizzou over Illinois 52-41
  • ASU over Northern AZ 30-13
  • UNLV over Utah State (Utah State is getting 12.5 points. UNLV won 2 games last year. Yeah.) 27-17
  • Oregon over Washington 44-10
  • Boise State over Idaho State 49-7
  • Nebraska over Western Michigan 47-24
  • Ole Miss over Memphis 41-24
  • California over Michigan State (Kevin Riley’s getting the start for Cal, not Nate Longshore, this should be interesting.) 38-31

Monday Games:

  • Tennessee over UCLA 27-24
  • Rutgers over Fresno State 27-4 (Lesson #2 of trusting my instincts right here folks. Oh well)

I’ll be checking in throughout the weekend to update the wins and losses and comment. ENJOY the first weekend of the College Football Season! Only 11 more! (So sad, isn’t it? Shortest season in sports.)

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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Sanchez cleared to play Saturday @ Virginia

August 26, 2008

USC QB Mark Sanchez, who dislocated his knee cap on Aug. 8, has received final clearance from team doctors to start at Virginia.

Whew.

Especially since redshirt freshman Aaron Corp has started to edge out Mitch Mustain for the #2 spot on the depth chart. I am a Mustain skeptic as you all know, but at least he’s started and won 8 NCAA games, in the SEC no less!

I will be posting WEEK 1 PICKS on Thursday morning. As I did last year, I will choose 16 games to highlight and will be picking the winners, no point spread.

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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FOUR DAYS.

August 26, 2008

FOUR DAYS.

I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

It’s Competition Tuesday down at USC. More on who comes out on top this evening.

FOUR DAYS.

IIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

-Your Gridiron Goddess, who will be humming “Fight On” all week.

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Harem of the Gridiron Goddess: Walker Sports’ AFC South Preview

August 24, 2008

Football fiends, friend of the Gridiron Goddess Walker Sports is back to share his views on the AFC South with us.

Walker-Sports:AFC South Preview

Welcome back everybody, Walker-Sports is back to continue our previews. Our last edition on the NFC South certainly got a solid rise out of Panther nation. Did not realize there were that many Carolina Panther fans on the net. Nonetheless, today we are back and we are talking about the AFC South. This may be the toughest division in league and it will be an entertaining one to watch.

Indianapolis Colts: I don’t care that Peyton had his knee worked on 8 weeks before the season starts. He will be back and at 100% by the time opening day comes around and that is all that really matters. The Colts had a great year last season and that was with two Pro-Bowlers going down with injuries. This year they should have everyone back and ready to play at their highest level and they will need it. Their division is stacked and it’s going to take a lot out of the Colts to win it all. However, they have everything to play for. The energy with the new stadium is good for two maybe even three wins this season. Add in the fact that this is likely head coach Tony Dungy’s last season and you can chalk that up for another two wins.

Bottom line is the Colts can win this division. The key will be avoiding the injury bug.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags have been knocking at the door since about 2005 and this season they will be oh so close to breaking through. Matter of fact if the Jags can sweep Indy (and it’s very possible) I have no doubt that they will win the division and more importantly get a buy in the playoffs. David Garrard stepped up huge last season when he was awarded the starting job during training camp. He made his coming out party in the playoffs last season against the Steelers. I have no doubt he will build on that going into the 08 season. Garrard also has some amazing help in the backfield with him. Fred Taylor is coming off a Pro-Bowl season and despite his injury prone past he will have another great season. Even if he is a bit slow to it, Jacksonville is blessed to have another great back in Maurice Jones-Drew, the toughest little man in the game. Don’t believe me? Just ask Shawne Merriman what this guy can do.

Houston Texans: This is the Texans year. I know that sounds strange, but watch they will make the wild card this season. Last year they showed great improvement, and those young players are finally getting it. The key to the Texans success will depend on them getting stability at the quarterback position. Last season Matt Schaub got the start but injuries sidelined him midway. Sage Rosenfels is there as well, but I can see the Texans dealing him pretty soon especially if Schaub can just be steady. The Schaub to Johnson connection can be dangerous if developed properly. On the other side of the ball, the Texans don’t look so dumb now picking up Mario Williams with the first pick. Williams has matured into a Pro-Bowl caliber player and O-Tackles across the league will have their hands full trying to contain him.

Tennessee Titians: The Titians made it to the playoffs last season, but in 08 they will e the only team in this division to miss out on the post season. This is the make or break year for Vince Young. He showed a lot of promise his rookie season, but failed to advance on that in 07. Now it is year three and it is time to put up. Young is already responsible for Norm Chow going back to the college ranks now we get to see if he is a balla on the field or a coach killer (my guess is the later). Now granted the blame cannot be completely places on Vince, he has no one to throw the ball to. The Titian receivers are amongst the worse in the league. Not to mention the running back situation is not ideal. LenDale White is another 07 draft pick that has failed to live up to expectations (see why that Mario Williams pick was so good now?) and is in danger of eating himself out of a job. The Titians defense will keep them in plenty of games this season and they will probably have a close to .500 record but they just won’t have enough talent to get into the post season.

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Your Fantasy Football- Reality Check #7: Reflections on a Draft

August 21, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining me here at Gridiron Goddess for another installment of Your Fantasy Football- Reality Check.

A friend of mine contacted me last Thursday offering a spot in his alternate league because someone wasn’t available to participate this year. The draft was held last Saturday and I thought I’’d discuss some of the trends and surprises that cropped up during this event.

Be prepared everybody- quarterbacks have returned to the top of the draft! I had the #4 pick in a 12- team league, my first selection was Joseph Addai. Before I even had the opportunity to make my second selection, 6 quarterbacks had come off the board. My original intention was to take a QB with my 2nd or 3rd pick, but the draft dictated otherwise. The team that took Brady #9 overall followed that pick by grabbing Randy Moss in the second round, and then drafted David Garrard in the THIRD ROUND- still no running back! That was the clear indicator that times have changed indeed.

Since half of the league put their emphasis on the top quarterbacks, I had to slightly adjust my strategy. Knowing that I had to grab two of the top ten receivers, I spent my 2nd and 3rd round choices on Terrell Owens and Larry Fitzgerald. By the time it came back around for my 4th pick, two tight ends had been selected, but not exactly in the order I expected. Witten and then Winslow were taken ahead of my eventual choice- Antonio Gates, which surprised me somewhat but I’’ll certainly take it.

Here’’s a real life example of what I’’ve claimed in the past was true- that running backs in the 3rd to 5th rounds are alarmingly similar to RB’s you’’ll find in the 5th to 7th rounds.

The league I’’m in requires that we start two RB’s, two receivers, a tight end, and a flex player- that can be either a RB or WR. As my 5th round choice approached I had one running back, both receivers, my tight end, and that was it. So I took Rudi Johnson in the 5th banking on a bounce back effort this season, and landed LenDale White in the 7th, to round out my #2 RB and likely flex player. I got even more excited by the White selection when I was able to get his backfield mate, Chris Johnson in the 11th.

The two players stock that I was intrigued to see play out were a couple of WR’s that will be missing at least a couple of games a piece because of suspensions- Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall. It turned out that one owner wasn’’t afraid to spend a third round choice on Smith when equal value receivers were still available- Marques Colston, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Plaxico Burress were still on the board.

Meanwhile, it seems owners may be weary of drafting Brandon Marshall considering he fell to my team in the 8th, and I’’m perfectly happy to have a bye week/backup receiver/flex of his caliber.

You’’re probably wondering what direction I went with my QB since all I’’ve harped on since the inception of this column is that you need to acquire a top-flight quarterback in order to have fantasy success. As it happened, I was fortunate enough to get Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers to be my field generals. I know what I’m getting from McNabb- a great start to some sort of midseason injury. That’’s why I’’m glad I was able to get Favre, because my feeling is that by the time McNabb goes down, Favre should have a good handle on the Jets offense. Finally, if all else fails at least I have the potential of Rodgers to fill in on any unforeseen disasters.

Overall, I have to admit that after seeing the top six QB’s exit the draft board in the first round and a half, I’’m surprised that I still left the draft with two of my top ten fantasy QB’s and my third is ranked in
my top twenty.

The remaining available slots open on my squad were soon occupied by: Vikings D/ST, Heath Miller, and lastly Stephen Gostkowski.

The REALITY CHECK I’’d like to impart to all of you participating in a draft this week is this: It’’s going to happen, someone’’s going to take a player you’’ve coveted entering the draft. The way you respond to the ebb and flow of the draft will largely determine how your team is structured. Don’’t panic or develop some emotional involvement to the outcome of a particular pick. Keep your cool, become a stoic, and respond by living in the moment. When a player is no longer available- cross him off your list and move on to the next best, it’ is really that easy.

There’’s one more observation I’’d like to touch on and it’’s regarding rookies. The philosophy I have when filling out my roster is to draft the highest production level you feel you’’ll be getting from a certain player. If a rookie is the player that fills the bill at the time in the draft you select him- no worries, nothing wrong with a little potential. However, I warn all of you to be conservative when considering drafting potential over guaranteed production. I’’d much rather have a roster filled with 29-30 year-old producers over 21 year-old never taken a snap in the NFL names. There’’s a team in my league that spread the rookie love up and down his roster from running back to wide receiver and even a tight end sprinkled in there as well. Not the course of action I’’d recommend by any means outside of a fairly deep salary keeper league.

  • Beware of the pitfalls you can create for yourself!
  • Stay calm and focused on the task at hand and act like you’’ve done it before (Because most of you have!!).
  • Do have fun BUT not at the cost of missing out on a player because you’’ve been clowning around. Trust me on this one and you might not end up with rookies for half of your squad- save the beers for your after draft victory party (Let’’s be real- we all think we’’ve got the most potentially dominant team right after the draft).

Good luck to everybody and draft wisely!!

Happy Football!

~ Stephen Lamare

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R.I.P. LeRoi Moore

August 19, 2008

Football Fiends, you know how I feel about my Trojans. Well I feel equally passionately about the Dave Matthews Band.

LeRoi Moore, saxophonist for DMB and a founding member of my most favoritest band ever, died today at the age of 46 from complications from his June ATV accident.

Not since Kurt Cobain have I felt such loss.

I urge you all to go to Itunes and download THE STONE and listen to his melancholy bass sax on it.

I need a few days folks. Music means the WOLRD to me and this is hitting me hard. Back w more previews before the weekend.

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Harem of the Goddess: Walker Sports on AFC West

August 17, 2008

Football fiends, friend of the Gridiron Goddess Walker Sports is back to share his views on the AFC West with us.

Walker-Sports:AFC West Preview


Coming down the home stretch, we are almost done with our NFL preview. We are wrapping up our coverage out on the left coast and talking about the AFC West. This is by far one of my favorite divisions in football, got to love the 4 PM game on CBS with Jim Nance.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers got off to a rocky start in 2007 but coming down the stretch they were as good as any team in football. Philip Rivers might be an ass, but he is a great quarterback. In fact his emergence as such a strong leader could lead to some dissent within the Chargers. Rivers is becoming the face of the team but L.T. is still there and after L.T.’s no show in the playoffs, the team has shifted even more into Rivers favor. And L.T. needs to have a redeeming moment. Even with this mini rivalry the Chargers are a very talented team. The one weakness would be at the wide out position, where the Chargers still lack a deep threat. Gates will be healthy at the T.E. spot and that will help to loosen up defenses and keep them from sticking 9 guys in the box. At the end of the day there is one looming factor that Charger fans have to aware of; Norv Turner. Norv is an interesting character, and he is good for 4 wins on his own as well as a 5 game losing streak.

Denver Broncos
: The Broncos have been limping through the past 4 seasons and this year will be no different. This has to be considered a make or break year with Jay Cutler at the quarterback position. This is his team; Shannhan is letting the reigns go and giving him a chance to make it happen. I’ve always been a fan of Cutler, but the system he has played in has kept him from showcasing his ability. The Broncos have produced seemingly dozens of running backs and they are attempting to do that again, but in reality the talent well has run dry. Denver’s rushing attack just does not have the big play ability it did six seasons ago, and the rest of the offense will suffer as a result. The one thing Denver does have is the best pair of corners in the league. Bly and Bailey will lock down most any receiver duo in the league. That is important because it will give time to the D-Line when they are attacking the QB.

Kansas City Chiefs
: Okay Okay, I cannot defend the guy any more. Herm Edwards just is not a good coach. At first I blamed it on Pennington’s arm and then on Larry Johnson’s holdout, but now I just think it’s his strategy. Edwards is very old school and likes to run his backs into the ground. Johnson already has a history of injury and a 400 plus carry season will ruin him. Brody Croyle is a good QB but nothing to get excited about. Dwayne Bowe was a great story last year. But as teams got used to him his numbers dropped and they will continue to drop this season. The Chiefs best asset will be their home field advantage, but that will not be enough to make the post season.

Oakland Raiders:
Al Davis still owns this team and that’s all you really need to know. Russell is there to run the show, McFadden will carry to the load as a running back, but honestly I don’t think he will be half the talent that most expect. His vision was terrible in college and I doubt he has done anything to improve that in recent months. Expect another lackluster year and an early draft pick.

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Your Fantasy Football Reality Check #6 – Draft Advice

August 14, 2008

Your Fantasy Football-Reality Check #6: Draft Advice

Ok fantasy leaguers, now that we’re through the meat of your fantasy line-ups, I’ve decided to change things up this week. Instead of wasting my time reviewing the place kickers, I’m going to offer my insights and advice on where your attention should be on draft day.

First let’s cover the obvious; if you have a pick in the top ten, RB, RB, or RB should be your ONLY choice as far as positions are concerned. Next and equally as important, your quarterback can be your most reliable producer- IF you can solidify one of the top 5-7 fantasy QB’s. This one is a personal preference that I don’t mind sharing with our loyal readers (but I don’t particularly care for the boys in my own league knowing!), do your best to acquire two of the top ten wide receivers in the draft.

If you are in a league that requires that you start 3 wideouts, take three of the top 15-20. Lastly, don’t let your starting tight end be more than a place or two removed from the top six named in last week’s review. Pay close attention here- don’t start slacking off or relaxing just because you’ve filled out your starting lineup. This is where you bear down, identify and draft the best talent remaining, and gain a huge advantage over your fellow owners. I know no one wants to hear this, but it’s this week’s REALITY CHECK- you use your bench in fantasy football WAY more than you project or anticipate utilizing.

With bye weeks beginning in week 4 and lasting until week 10, you may only start your ideal lineup 7 of the 13 or 14 regular season fantasy games you participate in- only half the time! That’s not even mentioning the proverbial injury bug that strikes a couple of teams worse than others every season, but gets us all to some degree nonetheless. It’s hard to predict who will be the best available in the 12th round, so my advice is to take as much time on your later round picks as you do with your top 5. While everyone else is just trying to finish the draft, you’ll be impacting your lineup in a positive way. Your bye week bench players can be the key to your fantasy success.

The next piece of advice I’d like to impart is this- if your league doesn’t require you to draft a kicker, then I wouldn’t draft one. The only strategy I have with kickers is draft one that’s on a high-scoring or winning team then call it a day until their bye week. That’s all you really need to know about that.

The last thing I want to touch on is to be flexible when the draft officially commences. Follow the strategy that your most comfortable with, just don’t get locked in on a certain player(s), it’s the surest way to knock you off your game plan. Don’t be distracted or dismayed by who was picked before you had an opportunity to call their name out. You can’t afford to have reactionary picks that you’ll later label as a bad choice- you only get so many draft picks. Have alternatives for your ideal players, create your wish list with enough depth so you won’t be surprised when the QB you’ve been targeting comes off the board.

That’s all I’ve got to say this week everyone. I’m confident that if you use the advice and recommendations I’ve shared with you over the last six weeks, you’ll be well on your way to competing for a title this upcoming campaign!

Thanks to all our readers at Gridiron Goddess- your requests have made this column a reality. A welcome and special thanks to Walker Sports and its readers, I’m honored to join your ranks.

The season is imminent!!

The Dude Abides,

~Stephen Lamare