Monday, August 29, 2011

Fantasy Football

Fantasy football allows a lot of football fans to have their ultimate fantasy job – own, manage and coach a professional football team.   Just like a NFL general manager, you get to draft the players that you want and trade them throughout the season.  You also get to put on your coaches hat and select your starters each week. 

Most fantasy football leagues are set up so you draft a quarterback, running back, tight end, wide receiver, kicker and one team’s defense.  Some leagues use individual defense players (IDPs) instead of team defenses.  Scoring is based on how your players perform in their actual games.  You will get points when one of your players completes a positive action such as scoring a touchdown or sacking.  You will lose points when a player does something negative like throws an interception.  (See the complete list of scoring opportunities.) 

You can try out fantasy football by playing in the Heels & Helmets fantasy football league on  The team rosters will include: 1 Quarterback; 2 Running Backs; 3 Wide Receivers; 1 Tight End; 1 Kicker; 1 Defensive Team; and 6 Bench players.  We are using the NFL managed scoring setting.  There is not a fee to participate.  Just register using the password redzone. 

When drafting players for your fantasy football team, do not base it on how well you think a team will perform.  Review individual statistics and consider how much playing time a player is anticipated to have this season.  Watching preseason games will give you an idea of who the top players are and how they are performing.  It also gives you a glimpse at the depth each team has because you will see second and third string players play. 

Here are three easy things that will help you be successful with your fantasy football team:

1. Keep up with your players’ schedules and do not have them on your roster when they have a “Bye” week.
2. Check in on injury reports and make sure that you are starting players who are still healthy and able to play.
3. Have patience and don’t trade immediately.  A player may start off slow and end up with a great season.  Try benching a player before you trade.

Heels & Helmets

Monday, August 22, 2011

NFL does college football’s dirty work

Today is the NFL’s 2011 supplemental draft.  The supplemental draft is used to accommodate players who did not enter the regular draft.  Most of the time, players enter the supplemental draft because they missed the filing deadline for the NFL Draft or because issues developed which affected their college eligibility such as academic or conduct issues.   

The supplemental draft was scheduled for last Wednesday.  It was postponed until today because the NFL had to decide whether or not former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor could participate.  Last December, Pryor was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season because he accepted cash and discounts on tattoos for autographing memorabilia.  This summer more information surfaced about Ohio State, the coach Jim Tressel “resigned” and Pryor left college for the NFL. 

At the end of last week, the NFL announced that Pryor was eligible for the supplemental draft, but will not be able to practice or play for the first five weeks of the season.  Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, is basically executing the punishment that Ohio State and the NCAA gave Pryor for accepting improper benefits.  Pryor accepted it without any problems.

I can’t believe that I am getting ready to take up for a former Buckeye, but I think Goodell’s decision is ridiculous.  What makes this so absurd is that the timing of the punishment was senseless in the first place.  If Ohio State and the NCAA were that serious about the infractions that Pryor committed, they would have suspended him immediately.  Instead, they chose to allow him to play in the Sugar Bowl.  The offense was not worth Ohio State being without its star quarterback and losing viewership, money and another bowl win. 

In my opinion, Goodell just made himself the conduct czar for college football and set a huge precedent.  Ohio State did not do what they should have done; so the NFL is disciplining Pryor.  The “crime” that Terrelle committed did not break NFL policy.  He was a student at the time, not a NFL player bound to the league’s personal conduct policy.  When does an employer punish someone for what they did in college?

Shame on Ohio State and the NCAA for not immediately suspending Pryor last year.

Shame on the NFL for getting involved with disciplining future employees for actions committed before they were employed.

The supplemental draft begins at 1:00 pm.  The other eligible players for the supplemental draft are Georgia running back Caleb King, former Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson, former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, former Lindenwood University defensive end Keenan Mace, and former North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo.


Heels & Helmets®

Monday, August 15, 2011

NFL Preseason

I do not get into NFL preseason games.  They are not real games.  They are not even exhibition games.  They are expensive scrimmages that mean nothing.  The 2008 season solidified this for me.  The Detroit Lions went undefeated during the preseason that year.  Then with key player positions still intact, they did not defeat one single opponent during the regular season.  Yes, they were 4 – 0 when it did not matter and 0 -16 when it actually counted.

How does this happen?

Teams are not fully executing their game plan.  They are trying out some guys before forming their final roster at the end of August.  Players are not playing to their full potential.  They are saving it for the season.  No one wants to get injured during the preseason.  The starters who are going to run the show during the season will only play for a few drives.

I’m not totally blasé about the preseason.  After going through withdrawals, it is invigorating to see a game.  It is refreshing to see your team back on the field.  You feel good seeing that a player who had surgery during the offseason has rehabilitated well.  You also get pumped seeing a glimpse of the rookies in a game setting.

I just want to warn you all that it is not an actual game, so you have realistic expectations.  Now, if someone is marching around the office making bold predictions after one preseason game, you can remind them that it’s only the preseason and suggest that they not get too excited.

The first week of preseason games concludes tonight with the New York Jets playing the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium at 8 pm.  We’ll see if Plaxico Burress still has it after being away from the game for two years.

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, August 8, 2011

Charles Haley and Paul Tagliabue should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Over the weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined its newest members.  Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, Ed Sabol, Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders.  These gentlemen are now part of a very exclusive club of professional football’s finest contributors. 

During his speech, Shannon Sharpe mentioned that his brother, Sterling Sharpe, should be in the Hall of Fame.  After hearing this and watching the rest of the ceremony celebrating the 2011 Hall of Fame Class, I began thinking about some men who deserve to be permanently immortalized in Canton, Ohio. 

Everyone will bring up Chris Carter in a debate about who is missing from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Ranking fourth in history with 130 touchdown receptions and eighth with 13,899 receiving yards, he is on my list as well.  However, there are a lot of good wide receivers.  Carter was good, but he did not change the game or elevate his position. 

I want to highlight one player and one personnel who really made a huge contribution to the game and changed the expectation of their positions.  These men are Charles Haley and Paul Tagliabue.

Here is why. 

Charles Haley – He was a force to be reckoned with on the field.  He was the difference maker for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.  In 12 seasons, he had just over 100 sacks.  He was brash on the field and off the field.  The media loved watching him play, but hated the way he treated them after the game.  Some of them are now making him pay for it with their hall of fame vote.  The man who holds the NFL record for most Super Bowl victories by a player should definitely be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Paul Tagliabue - He was the NFL Commissioner from 1989-2006.  He is a brilliant attorney who is an expert in antitrust, communications and media law.  In 17 years, he grew the NFL from 28 teams to 32 teams.  He created the league wide internet network and the NFL Network.  As a result of his leadership, the NFL was the first sports league to utilize the web and new media such as podcasting to engage fans.  He can also be credited with the media deals that the league enjoys.  He earned so much “street cred” that fans endearingly call him “The Commish.”  Canton will have to welcome him soon.

Who do you think deserves to go to Canton next?

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, August 1, 2011

Philadelphia Eagles go hard in free agency

Philadelphia doesn’t have the glam, beauty, style, nightlife, or weather that South Beach has, but it had enough to get five pro-bowlers to take their talents to The City of Brotherly Love.  Count them.  Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Vince Young and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all Philadelphia Eagles.  The fact that all of these guys are defensive players except Vince shows that the Eagles are serious about getting to Super Bowl XLVI.

Last year the Eagles offense led by starting quarterback Michael Vick, carried the team.  They made it to the playoffs because of offense.  Signing Nnamdi, the most coveted cornerback in free agency, brings their defense up to the level of their offense.  If they had a corner like Nnamdi last year, the 3 touchdown passes that Aaron Rodgers got in the NFC Wild-Card game would be a different story. 

What the Eagles did in just three days to upgrade their defense is very impressive.   But, I also like the preparation at the quarterback position.  This is the most important position on the team.  After last season, the Eagles know all too well that it is imperative to have depth at this position.  Getting Vince Young was a great move because he’ll learn from a guy (Michael Vick) who has a similar style.  As a young veteran, he has some experience starting.  If anything happens to Vick, Young should be able to fill in seamlessly.

The Eagles said that they were going to be aggressive in free agency.  That was an understatement.  They have not done anything major on offense, but they needed to focus on defense.  And, remember defense wins championships.

Heels & Helmets®