In case you haven’t noticed

June 19, 2008

I’m not blogging here anymore.  But I do post something about 5 times a week here: http://zackmansfield.com

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Fantasy Football Roster

August 30, 2007

Time to completely dominate the Overlook League.

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Friday NFL Picks: Week 10

November 10, 2006

Overall Standings:

Eller: 18-22-1

Zack 19-21-1


After three weeks of picking NFL games, a couple things are becoming abundantly clear:

  • Picking games against the spread is hard. Really hard. With so much parity in the NFL, it’s tough to know when a lowly team is going to pull a big upset (see Dolphins vs. Bears last week) or when a lowly team is simply going to put up a fight and cover (see Houston vs. NY Giants last week) or when a superior team is simply going to blow the lowly team out of the water (see Jacksonville’s demolition of Tennesee last week). I haven’t come up with a really good strategy for success, and my week 8 performance (8-4-1) is looking like an outlier at this point.
  • But in spite of my inability to pick winners, this extra bit of NFL action each week has amplified what I already thought: the NFL is absolutely amazing. I’ve always been a big sports fan, and in my mind there’s nothing better than January-March when ACC basketball is in full swing. Practically every night of the week there’s an ACC game that I care about – even if it’s just hoping for Duke to lose, or seeing if State can hold off a Georgia Tech. The NFL is like the ACC hoops season, except jacked up on 3 tons of BALCO-grade HGH and available for the whole world to fixate itself upon.I think a bunch of factors play into the NFL phenomenon, not the least of which is the mighty siren that is Fantasy Football. No longer are we constrained to rooting for our hometown team – it’s now OK to watch the afternoon, night game, and MNF too, just to see how many receiving yards Marques Colston gets, or if Nate Kaeding hits any field goals from 40-49 yards. Late game fumbles, interceptions and touchdowns – once just the bane of big time Vegas gamblers – are now water cooler fodder for fantasy managers from Albuquerque to Albany.

While certainly not the only reason for NFL fever – parity, big TV deals, and savvy marketing play their parts for sure – fantasy football is indeed FANtastic. If you’re not in a league yet, do yourself a favor and sign up next year.
The picks: (After feedback from a number of you, I’m switching back to home teams in CAPS)


Chiefs (-1) over DOLPHINS
Let me get this straight – the Dolphins are the laughingstock of the league the entire year, then get one win over the Bears, beat the spread for the first time all yaer, and are suddenly only a 1 point dog against an increasingly hot Chiefs team? Ok, that makes sense.
JAGS (-10.5) over Texans
Houston kept it close against the Giants. Jacksonville blew away the Titans. It’s a test of the two ends of the sorry team spectrum. I have no idea, but I like the Jags with Garrard at QB – dude wins games. Now it’s a matter of whether or not he wins it by enough.
Chargers (-1.5) over BENGALS
Something seems to be wrong in Cincy. Chad Johnson wants more of the ball. After last week’s game Ocho Cinco was blabbering like a crazy man:

“When Christmas comes around, I might as well be a hood ornament. Because all I’ve been so far is a decoration – a decoration sitting out there all pretty, ready for people to jump on.”

Hood ornament? I don’t even know what that means. Give me LT and Philip “Cry me a” Rivers in this one.

Ravens (-7) over TITANS
My buddy Michael Ellis gave so good advice in the comments section of last week’s picks: “Don’t bet against a mad Ray Lewis.” I saw on the ESPN bottom line that Ray Lewis is questionable with a bad back. I heard bad backs make Ray mad.

COLTS (-12.5) over Bills
Peyton didn’t disappoint last week, and my random number generator got me one of my few wins. The Colts are due for a close win, but I don’t think this is the week – the Bills have been throttled several times this year, and this one is close early but is 2 touchdowns (at least) late.

STEELERS (-4.5) over Saints
An absolute must win for the Steelers. And they’ll be at home. Pittsburgh should have beaten the Falcons at the Georgia Dome a few weeks ago, and had it not been for a Herculean effort from Vick, they may have. Drew Brees has been on fire the past few weeks, but this is when the Steelers finally click.

EAGLES (-7) over Redskins
Philly is coming off a BYE week (methinks Brian Westbrook got some rest). Skins are coming off a back-from-the-dead emotional high against Dallas. This one will be all Philly.

GIANTS (EVEN) over Bears
Obviously, the game of the week. I’ve been high on the Giants during their recent winning streak. And it seems like the formula for beating the Bears is somewhat straightforward – don’t turn the ball over, clog up the Bears run game, and make Rex Grossman beat you. Some days Rex is on, and if that’s the case on Sunday, than the Bears will probably win. But other days he’s absolutely atrocious. I’m taking the home team in this one, but it’s really a toss up.

Packers (+5.5) over VIKINGS
The NFC North is officially miserable again this year. I thought the Vikings were going to provide some spark after a good beginning of the season, but then they completely derailed two weeks in a row. The Packers have been fooling us with wins vs. the bottom rung teams of the NFL. Both teams were pathetic last week. Give me Favre plus the points.

Jets (+10.5) over PATRIOTS
I’m going against my Tom Brady rule, but for some reason, I think the Jets are going to keep this close. Pennington & Co. are coming off their BYE week, and have been scheming for this game for 2 weeks. The Pats will win, but I think it’s a close one. If I lose, it’s only because I tried messing around with my rules.

LIONS (-6) over 49ers
You know that long diatribe above about how the NFL is so great and how I love it so much. This game is going to test that theory. Severely test it.

Broncos (-9) over RAIDERS
Could the Raiders offense have looked any worse on Monday night? After getting sacked for the 7th time before halftime, QB Andrew Walter looked like he was going to pull a gun out of his rain coat and start going psycho on his O-Line. I have NEVER, EVER seen a line get so completely dominated. Chances are, though, we’ll get to see it again this week against Denver’s vaunted D.

On an unrelated side note: did anyone else see the shot of Raiders owner Al Davis in his box during the Monday night game – I was glad (for once) that I don’t have HD. Al’s been around for a while, but he looks like he’s aged about 150 years in the past 5.

Rams (+3) over SEAHAWKS
I have no other reason for picking the Rams other than the fact that Seattle is coming off a short week, is still starting Seneca Wallace, has no running game to speak of, and the Rams have Stephen Jackson, who’s on one of my fantasy teams.

Cowboys (-7) over CARDINALS
“Tony Romo is who we THOUGHT he was. He’s who we THOUGHT he was. That’s why we took the field. Now if you want to crown him, then crown his %$*. But he WAS who we THOUGHT he was.”

By far, the highlight of the year thus far. That one will never get old.
Bucs (+9.5) over PANTHERS
Panthers by 9.5?! The Panthers NEVER beat anyone by 10 points. Not under John Fox. Especially not these Panthers. This is a sucker line if I’ve ever seen one, and I’m playing the role of sucker. I’m not even sure the Panthers win this game (they should, but I’m still not sure).


Ellers Picks:
Chiefs (-1) over DOLPHINS
JAGUARS (-10.5) over Texans
Chargers (-1.5) over BENGALS
Ravens (-7.5) over TITANS
COLTS (-12.5) over Bills
Saints (+4.5) over STEELERS
EAGLES (-7) over Redskins
Bears (even) over GIANTS
VIKINGS (-5.5) over Packers
PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Jets
LIONS (-6) over 49ers
Broncos (-9) over RAIDERS
SEAHAWKS (-3) over Rams
Cowboys (-7) over CARDINALS
Bucs (+9.5) over Panthers