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Archive April 2009

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Playoff Observations -- Thursday

Just a few things that caught my eye
  • I think Kyle Wellwood had some of that new ginseng-infused, ancient grain, organic, west-coast granola for breakfast. He hasn't been that motivated since the last 99-cent buffet he passed. 
  • Paging the Blackhawks; paging the Blackhawks. What might have been had they arrived before the third period? 

The Silver Lining of the Garnett Injury

Had Garnett not gotten hurt, maybe we would have seen a great series between the Celts and Cavs for much higher stakes. But even though it's merely the first round, the Bulls-Celtics series will have made these playoffs worthwhile even if the rest of the series are 4-0 sweeps.

What's Gotten into Rajon Rondo?

Not only is he the star of the electrifying Celtics-Bulls series, but he's committing flagrant fouls and throwing elbows. And his foul on Brad Miller at the end of Game 5 was as flagrant as it gets.

MMA Freak Show

Apparently, Jose Canseco is making his MMA debut in a few weeks against a 7-2, 330-pound South Korean.

Did Arod Tip Pitches?

The latest charge leveled against Arod from Selena Roberts' soon-to-be-published book is that he juiced in high school. Maybe so, who knows. I can't get worked up about that. Much more provocative, though, is the charge that Arod tipped pitches to opposing hitters.

Why Calvin Johnson Might Score 20 Touchdowns in 2009

While doing some research for our magazine, I remembered that Scott Linehan had taken over as the Lions offensive coordinator. That bodes very well for Johnson.

MLB Notes

Josh Anderson isn’t going to hit .341 all year long, but he needs to be owned in most formats right now. Injuries have opened the door for regular playing time, and although he’s hitting toward the bottom of Detroit’s lineup and offers little power, Anderson is a major threat on the basepaths. Over his last nine starts, he’s stolen six bags, and during his brief major league career, he’s posted an 85 percent success rate (17-for-20). This is no fluke, as Anderson averaged 46.7 steals per season over his six years in the minors. And that’s not factoring in his 40-game stint with Atlanta last season. With steals such a coveted commodity, Anderson is firmly on the fantasy radar.

Coyotes in Major Financial Peril

That the Phoenix Coyotes are in deep financial trouble comes as a surprise to exactly nobody, but perhaps the extent of that trouble is eye-opening.

Which Pitchers Are Throwing Harder This Year?

Great article at Vegas Watch looking at improved pitch speeds and how it correlates to better performance. (Hat Tip: Pete Schoenke).

Celtics and Bulls match-up part 2: The Garnett Effect

The first round match-up between the Bulls and the Celtics has been one of the best in NBA history.  These teams are almost exactly evenly matched, and Big Baby Davis is replacing almost all of Kevin Garnett's box score stats.  But if Big Baby is putting up Garnett numbers and the Celtics are clearly better than the Bulls with Garnett, why is this series so incredibly close?

Playoff Observations -- Tuesday

Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • Gale-force winds swept through Newark tonight. It was a quick storm; 48 seconds long, in fact. Wind direction? From the right circle through the crease. New Jersey's world was shattered with a mere 1:20 left. Just when you think you're home free, a hurricane can change your future in a blink of an eye. One word -- WOW!
  • Was the pilot light completely out in Washington in the first 20 minutes? No spark, no nothing -- the Caps got damn lucky.

Mercy Rule in Basketball?

New rule: if your team gets beat by 58 points in the playoffs, the series is stopped.  It is the only humane thing to do.

NFL Draft Recap

The Cardinals may have preferred Donald Brown, but the team has to be happy Beanie Wells fell to them at No. 31. The offensive line isn’t a great run-blocking unit, but Edgerrin James will be cut soon, and Tim Hightower has proved he’s not an effective NFL back. Hightower may still factor into goal-line duties, but at 6-1, 237 lbs, it’s not like Wells can’t be a short-yardage option as well. He may not catch a bunch of passes, but with defenses focused on stopping one of the league’s best passing attacks, Wells will definitely be a Rookie of the Year contender. Durability is a concern, but Wells is a beast – consider him somewhere in the 13-17 range on your running back rankings.

Playoff Observations -- Monday

Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • So, the NHL is looking hard at staged fights, eh? How exactly did Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton arrange their little dance just two seconds into the game if there wasn't premeditation? Next year, that's a 10-minute misconduct. This year, it's just different rules for skill players.
  • Mikka Kiprusoff has started 299 of the Flames' last 328 regular-season games. Any wonder why they've gone one and out in the playoffs for so many years?

NFL Draft Initial Fantasy Thoughts

Here's a quick glance through the NFL Draft with my initial thoughts on players that may change the fantasy landscape.

Are the Spurs done?

The Spurs are down 3 - 1 right now to a Mavericks team that struggled to make the playoffs this season.  It is an odd year, so the Spurs are supposed to win the title.  Instead, they look old and injured.  Is this the end of their run at the top?

Week 4 Staff League FA's

Here are the results to this week's bidding in the RotoWire Staff Keeper League (18-team mixed, 5x5, $100 FAAB budget, $360 in-season cap):

Playoff Observations -- Sunday

Just a few things that caught my eye.
  • All those years slugging sod on his parents' farm sure taught Eric Staal a lesson -- doing the dirty work pays off. Staal was a force all game long and all zones of the ice.
  • Dead men skating. You know who I'm talking about. Even zombies show more emotion when they're coming to get you. The Rangers are in trouble. 

NFBC Free Agent Results, Week 4

Once again, 15-teams, mixed league, no trading, $1,000 budget.

Dear Clint Hurdle

Please stop using your closer in mop-up situations, when nothing possibly good can happen. That's why you carry 12 pitchers, right? That is all, thank you.

Dead on Arrival - Whose Injury History Dooms His Prospects for Success in the NFL?

The NY Times blog, Fifth Down cited a study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine suggesting certain prior injuries are especially tough on players at particular positions. For example, old shoulder damage, even after it's healed, often limits the effectiveness of offensive and defensive linemen. Meniscus tears in the knee are particularly hard on defensive backs, according to the study.

Playoff Observations -- Saturday

Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • When will the Flyers figure out that goaltending in the reason you win -- and lose -- in the playoffs? They do know the latter, that's for sure. Martin Biron couldn't steal a candy bar from a blind convenience store owner. Thank goodness for free agency.
  • Dion Phaneuf was Phaneufed not once, not twice but easily a half-dozen times by the hungry Hawks, culminating in that Troy Brouwer smack that sent him to the room. Whiplash? The "Big C?" Don't count either out.

Live From The NFL Draft

I'll be attending the NFL Draft today and will try to provide updates via my cell phone. The RotoWire Fantasy Football player news will give you all the details on picks, trades, etc. .. I'll try to chime in with some of the atmosphere from the event and my take on the picks. I'm hoping for a lot of trades, surprises and chaos. I'll be bummed if we don't hear "with the xth pick, we have a trade to announce" several times in the first round.

Playoff Observations -- Friday

Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • I swore the ice was littered with jockstraps in the second -- Alexander Ovechkin absolutely undressed at least three Blueshirts en route to that goal. Debate -- was it better than his infamous on-the-back-and-rolling goal? Discuss.
  • Anyone know how to get beer out of a suit? Does club soda work for that, too?

Fantasy Football Debate: Matt Ryan v. Jay Cutler

Perhaps the Bears will shake things up by adding another receiver during the draft this weekend, but which quarterback would you rather have as your regular fantasy starter this season -- Ryan or Cutler?

MLB Notes

Over his last three starts, Melky Cabrera has four homers. With Hideki Matsui’s knees still a major issue and Brett Gardner off to a horrendous start (.240/.283/.300), Cabrera should be looking at increased playing time. Last season was a humbling experience for Cabrera, who doesn’t figure to take anything for granted this time around. This type of early power isn’t going to stay, but with the new stadium appearing to be a major hitter’s park, there’s still some upside here, especially if he decides to run more frequently. Austin Jackson is the future, but Cabrera can be valuable in the meantime and needs to be picked up in all but the shallowest formats.

Players I'd Trade For

The price has to be right, of course, but I think in the following cases many of these players are likely to be available at a discount to their draft-day prices.

Letting the Boys Play

So the Red Wings-Blue Jackets series ended with its inevitable conclusion last night, but Thursday's 6-5 Detroit win was nothing like the first three games. Columbus actually showed up for this one, finally showing the grit and fight you'd expect from a Ken Hitchcock-coached team. They rallied back from two deficits and were matching the more-talented Red Wings hit for hit and blow for blow... only to be called for too many men on the ice with about 90 seconds to go.

Who's Available in Your League?

I often draw from my leagues to see who's out there on the waiver wire as potential free agent grabs when writing our FAAB articles, but because most of my leagues are deeper, I miss out on who's available in your garden-variety 10-12 team mixed leagues. So I'd like to get your feedback. Who's available in your leagues right now? What players are you looking to bid on/pick up?

Playoff Observations -- Thursday

Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • Most Americans think the metric system used up here in Canada is whacked. I think that Ohio math is worse.
  • Chris Osgood isn't right. OK, so you're saying to me that he wasn't right before the game; I agree. He got worse. The Wings catch a break as he'll have more than a week to rest his clearly ailing nether-region. Watch the replays; you'll see what I mean.
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