Friday, December 26, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Pluck the Cardinals Again

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women in the rec room today are excited. They've followed their Seahawks all year and know this game with the Arizona Cardinals is a really important game to win. Many don't understand seeds, ties, and point spreads, but they do know by winning today their boys could have home field advantage for the playoffs and make them the winners of the NFC West.

The snack table is full of holiday creations, not one of which is good for you.

The Cardinals get on the board first. The old women are not pleased. The first field goal is where their boys start. After watching the hapless Cardinals' Ryan Lindley work to find his way as a starting QB, the old women relaxed and just watched the Hawks dismantle the Cardinal defense and offense. Seeing Wagner, Chancellor and Bennett throw Cardinal players around to get at Lindley brought out the blood-thirsty side of the old women. Even the 2 men in the room were taken aback by the ferocity of the screams to drop the QB. The old women commented that if the kid was going to learn anything it might as well be from the most aggressive front line in the game.

Touch downs and interceptions by their boys reduce the old women to raucous yells and applause. The disbelief that the kicker, Steve Haushka missed 3 field goal attempts did quiet the old women down a bit. Motherly excuses took over the conversation: maybe he didn't feel well, maybe he had problems at home or on the team. That last was dispelled when he was encouraged that it was OK by his team.

Richard Sherman picking off a Lindley pass and getting going in the right direction was pure Sherman. The old women think he has got the spirit of the Hawks.

Russell Wilson just destroyed the Cardinal defense's game plan of keeping him in the pocket. They learned you can't blink and still keep up with his scrambling to the goal line. The old women scream “run Russell run” loud enough to have other residents on the upper floors come down to see what is going on. Three of the Hawks TDs were classic Russell. On the mark passes and trademark hustle is his game now. The earlier season shakiness seems to have passed.

Watching Marshawn drag Cardinals all over the field to the end zone is something they love. The old women were worried when he did not come out to play early in the first quarter. Many did offer a shoulder or tummy rub for him if that would help. They didn't sound too Motherly with subsequent very risque comments. Old women say they could always kiss it and make it better. Must be a Mom thing.

Luke Willson, a former Canadian Lacrosse player, brought the rec room group to their feet with his touchdown run. He is one of the fastest tight ends and was just having so much fun. The old women cheered him on as he lumbered down the field.

Winning this game and looking forward to burying the Rams next week makes these shared afternoons/evenings a gift well appreciated. Noisy teasing and constant shushing keep them together, keep them caring for one another.

All the old women were a bit hoarse and one said she clapped so much her arthritic hands hurt. They did all over-eat so there was not much food to take back to their little rooms. Old women share. They know some can really use it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 16

I'm getting to the report. I've been hired to write several articles on green cars plus some other things this week.

Besides, did any of us get to Week 16 on the backs of Titans and Jaguars? The Charlie Whitehurst/Chad Henne Bowl? You may want to play Jacksonville's defense here, but please have some better options.

Baltimore is in the middle of a three game stretch playing rookie quarterbacks. Try that instead.


Alright. I knocked out most of my work last night. I wrote about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Mitsubishi concept cars, the Toyota RAV4 EV. I have a piece on Tata, an Indian conglomerate, and a couple pieces on Elon Musk ahead of me. It's good to be busy.

I told you that last night would have little fantasy football meat on the bone. If you were crazy or desperate enough to start Toby Gerhart, Leon Washington or Jordan Todman, you earned double digit points. Both quarterbacks did so-so. Blake Bortles surprised me by playing with a sprained foot.

How'd you like to be the guy that said: "Aw, screw it. I'm starting Chad Henne."

As for The Creepers, because I know you care as much as me, we're fighting for two championships this week. Bethanie's league has a Week 17 championship and I'm still in the final four. The only league I can't win is Andy's, where I predictably was bisected by the buzz-saw. DeMarco Murray didn't break his hand until he'd beaten me. I was still alive Monday night and only lost by 10 rather than the predicted 32. A top 4 finish ain't bad.

Please note that we have two games on Saturday, so get your lineups ready before you black out tonight. And do us all a favor and black out on your couch or at least with your keys at the bottom of a bowl of Kool-Aid in the freezer, for safety's sake.

If you've made it this far, you know what you're doing. Don't do anything crazy. Here're a few notes regarding this weekend though:

Rashad Jennings is Out

Fortunately, it's a nice clear O and none of that Q crap. Andre Williams is getting the start, against St. Louis unfortunately. That's a nasty D, but he'll get touches and is worth a play unless you're stacked at RB.

Jonathan Stewart is Starting

DeAngelo Williams will play in an emergency situation. Cam Newton's back and should run sparingly, so that's Stew's job. I expect the Panthers to feast on Johnny Manwich, providing plenty of short fields and run-out-the-clock opportunities.

Jordan Cameron was a Blink

What was that on my fantasy radar? For a moment last week, I thought maybe Jordan Cameron would benefit from Manziel starting. I was needy at TE and rolled the dice. One catch, four yards, crapped out. Picking up Dwayne Allen.

Giovani the Back-Up

Jeremy Hill has firmly taken the lead and goal-line role in Cincinnati. Giovani Bernard is far from dead, but I'm not believing in him for the rest of this year. Against Denver, they'll be chucking it and neither back will see much groundwork. Outside of a big pass play, I don't think Gio puts up too many points.

I Hate the Raiders

This is not a news flash. Also non-shocking: the Jets offense is not good. I have Chris Ivory on a couple teams and don't want to start him. I have the chance to grab Latavius Murray. Seeing him play against the Seahawks in the preseason, he looked dangerous both running and catching it. He's finally getting a chance. Now, I don't like my heart making decisions my head should make, but I just don't want to put Week 16 in the hands of a Raider. Ain't owned one all year. Ain't starting now. Let's go, Chris Ivory.

Fantasy Football Reflections Coming

It's good to look back while the season is still fresh in your mind to see what you did right and what you did wrong. What predictions came true and which were hooey? I did a lot of yapping this year. Let's see how much looks brilliant now.

In the weeks following the season, I'll look into the draft, tight ends, defenses, individual predictions and next year's stars.

Until then, good luck and happy creepings.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Shooing Harbaugh

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women come to the rec room in good spirits. For this game they just know their boys will hand the San Francisco 49ers and their annoying coach, Jim Harbaugh, their collective butts.

All they've heard all week is how much discord and and lack of direction the 49ers are suffering. Good. The old women have learned if you can't keep your work planned out and your respect for your team mates together, winning at anything is harder to do. In-fighting is something old women do really well. They don't always fight fair but they fight smart. A couple of old women who came to the rec room to chat during the game were told in no uncertain terms to take it down the hall.

The Seattle Seahawks got off to a less than a Super Bowl quality start. The 49ers QB, Colin Kaepernick actually looked like he knew what he was doing for some minutes Their defense tied up Russell Wilson and showed up the lack of a cohesive offense, something the Hawks just couldn't get together at first.

Getting on the board in the first quarter with a Steve Hauschka field goal always makes them proud. For some old women, Steve just isn't on the field long enough.

Then watching Kaepernick unravel when he really started getting hit, tackled and sacked was just plain fun. Old women don't like cocky QBs and watching their Wagner and Bennett and Smith drop him brought screams and cheers .

When Frank Gore ran in for TD early in the second quarter, one old woman got up and left. Said she couldn't stand the Hawks even giving up one TD to the 49ers. She came back a little later and yelled for her boys to get going.

That was the only real possession the 49ers would ever get. Holding Kaepernick to just 46 yards made the old women happy.

Watching Marshawn Lynch sort of jog into the end zone for a TD and getting all excited for Paul Richardson scoring his first ever NFL TD was icing on the cake.

The most fun for the old women was watching their Hawks get really into the trouncing of Harbaugh's 49ers. The rumors about him being removed as head coach are probably true. Favorite moments again are seeing their surfer boy coach, Pete Carroll, challenge the refs for his team.

His constant refusal to accept what he considers bad calls is like the old women. They have had to wade through conflicts all their lives. Most of them know about the courage to get what they want. They know all about challenges. Some are beaten, some are afraid but old women step up to give a little help; a cookie, a kind word. It's what they do.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 15

Despite a nasty cold, I'm cranking out the Creeper Report for you anyway.

Dude, you didn't have a cold Monday night when you were supposed to be writing this.

So I have the heater cranked in the office and some tea with ginger. Let's do this.

Your office is downstairs from your bedroom. How was the commute, Nancy?

I'm doing as little as possible this Thursday, but I'll get this done for you.

Boo hoo. So you got to sleep in instead of going to the gym.

Because it's playoff time and no games matter more than these, let's get down to business.

Making it sound like sitting in a chair, wiggling your fingers and saying things about football that will be at least 50% wrong will be hard.

Congratulations on Making the Playoffs

...or at least caring enough about the consolation rounds to keep working. The Creepers are, for the second year in a row, 100% in the post-season. Maybe I'm figuring this game out. Certainly a lot of luck to it, but sticking to some fundamental rules is important.

I'll spend more time on the fundamentals after the season is over, plus look into what we can learn from this season. Until then, let's keep one fundamental in mind: don't overthink it. Continue to use trusted rankings and don't get cute. Keep doing the things that got you here and don't try to outsmart yourself.

Some Quarterback News

Two major quarterback shakeups we need to take note of:

-Cam Newton hurt his back in a car crash and is out for the week, at least. Derek Anderson gets the start. It's a shame. Just after the Panthers finally woke up against the Saints, Newton's out.

So what does this mean to us? Well, what do you do if you're a backup quarterback thrust into the starting job? Run the ball and throw it to your biggest targets. That means play Jonathan Stewart if you have no better options and stick with Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen.

I expect the Panthers' defense to play some inspired ball against Tampa Bay. You may have better choices, but don't be afraid to keep picking on a 2-11 team. Of course, if you wanted to pick on a backup QB, using the Buccaneers' D wouldn't be the worst choice ever. Good luck.

And Cam owners need a new quarterback. I'd suggest Eli Manning against Washington or Joe Flacco against Jacksonville. Oh, and Johnny Manziel gets his first start against Cincinnati. What a handy transition...

-Manziel didn't earn the job, but he's got it. I doubt he's got the stuff to make a great quarterback in this league, but we're talking about this week in fantasy football. He will probably run for one and throw for one, making him a respectable play if he doesn't turn the ball over too often. He's playing at home, so he'll be supported and won't have to deal with heckling. And he has big-play upside.

This makes Isaiah Crowell a good play. The Browns will run to support Manziel. Crowell has separated from Terrance West as the lead back.

Josh Gordon is still too dangerous not to play. He could win the game for you if he gets on track. Plus last year he showed he just doesn't care who throws him the ball.

I'm rolling the dice on Jordan Cameron. (Or is it Cameron Jordan?) At the end of the year, I'll study the tight end situation this season. It's been nuts for me and probably everyone else. I said in July that tight ends are the new kickers. Then ESPN's Christopher Harris said it last week. Maybe I'm onto something. Or on something.

Back to Cameron. I was looking at Jordan Reed, Dwayne Allen and Jared Cook, not liking any of it. The first and third guy have questionable QBs. The second is coming off injury and has to compete with Coby Fleener. Looking at ESPN's ranks, those guys are back-to-back-to-back. So I'm going with a guy who was a star last year and has the best chance to be Manziel's snuggly blankie.

Please Enjoy your Buzz-Saw, Creepers

Fortunately I was already locked into a playoff spot in Andy's league when I got smoked 162-107 by the #1 team in the league. My reward? The same team in round one, highlighted by Luck, Murray, Bell and Lynch. I'm predicted to lose 132-107 this week. Come save me, Russell Wilson.

RW will have a huge game at home against the 49ers. Momentum is on their side and San Francisco is collapsing. While we're flashing back on things I wrote for RantSports, I told you they were a mess in June. Don't worry. We'll go into things I predicted that were dead wrong soon enough, Percy.

Defenses I Like

After a career of picking on the Raiders, I just decided I like Baltimore versus Jacksonville more than I like Kansas City versus Oakland. There's some fight in that team and after last week's win over San Francisco, I'd rather not mess with them this week.

Don't get me wrong. Take KC if you must, but given the choice, I'm going Ravens. I also like either end of the Arizona/St. Louis game or the Cleveland/Cincinnati game. Both will be black-and-blue divisional battles with scores in the teens. As previously stated, I like Carolina too.

Time to wrap myself in blankets and watch the Cat in the Hat near, but not too near, my kids. I'll try not to sneeze on them.

Poor guy. Do you want your dollie and your bah-bah, too?

Good luck and happy creepings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Bird Fight

More old women and men came to the rec room at the home for the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles game. Even an old man brought snacks. Ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Old women do food well. They don't have anyone to cook for. The rec room snack table was full of hot baked biscuits, sliced cheeses, salads and Christmas candies.

The old women's decorating committee outdid themselves with this year's rec room holiday display. They wrapped everything hanging on the wall: pictures, corkboard and calendars with Christmas gift wrap and bows. Someone did take down the Hawks' schedule and tape it to the TV before it got hidden. Greenery, colored ornaments, lights, more bows and toys were placed all around the room... everywhere.

The old women as a group had a good feeling about the Eagles game. They read how tough Eagles coach Chip Kelly was. They immediately compared him to their surfer boy Pete Carroll. Some comments made about Kelly weren't nice: too out of shape and grumpy. Old women don't have to be nice.

The one old women know-it-all went on and on about the Seahawks hawk really being an Augur Vulture from Africa and is never around water. This brought cries to sit down and shut up. The old women did not need a lesson in ornithology.

The Eagles were another team with a young fill-in QB. Mark Sanchez got good points for being really handsome. Coach Carroll and Sanchez were part of the USC '09 team that got beat by Coach Kelly at Oregon State.

When the opposing team gets the first TD, the old women quiet down. With so many in the room, there were at least 10 conversations going on at the same time. Shushing each other is done loudly and not too politely. Old women don't have to be polite.

It soon became apparent that their boys were completely in charge of this game. Russell Wilson was in top form throwing for 263 yards and running for 48 while Sanchez gained 96 and 7. One old women noted that their boys seemed to hang on to the ball most of the game. Someone said later that the Hawks were in control of the football over 40 minutes.

The old women's heroes were all in top form. Marshawn, Russell, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner and most fun was watching Richard Sherman point at and tease the fans and the players. Old women love that attitude. They said he was lucky he didn't get a penalty call for taunting.

The old women grudgingly said that the refs for this game in Philly were at least not just on the Hawks. "Fair" is not a word that comes up much regarding refs as old women believe their boys get picked on with penalty calls more than the opposing teams. The call to repeat a play because the ref wasn't "in place" just baffles the old women. Who tells the refs where they are supposed to be? Seemed to be the funniest question.

For those old women who know, sportscasters said the whole week that the Eagles fast no huddle offense would be a problem for the Hawks. One old woman said they obviously did not experience Kam or Bobby or KJ Wright or Michael Bennett heading in their face. The "Legion of Boom" took no prisoners this game. For the old women it is an attitude thing. They like that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 14

Here it is. The final regular season week for most fantasy football leagues. I hope it finds you well.

The Creepers are doing just fine. Somewhere in the rush of turkey prep, extra holiday work and writing about the best psychology colleges in the Southwest, I forgot to mention in last week's report that the Creepers and I went 4-0.

So I'll do it again. Because we did it again. Back-to-back undefeated weeks in crunch time feels good. Thanks CJ Anderson, Connor Barth, Rashad Jennings, Mark Ingram and Antonio Brown.

We're not fully dipped in gold yet. Nate's league has a six team, three week playoff format in which I've landed a bye. That's pretty golden. I'm in first place and clinched in Bethanie's league. Also shiny and yellowish.

Still fighting in my Euro league. The Euro is free but I have a $20 bet with Gabe of U MAD BRO? over who would finish with the most points. I came screaming from behind this week and closed the gap by almost 40 points to a mere 4.08. I told him we'd be creepin'. Also, if I can win or not let 4th place gain 17 points on me, I'm in the post-season. I do badly want to defend my title from last year, in which I started 2-6 then went undefeated for the rest of the year.

That leaves Andy's league, where if I don't beat the #1 team in the league and Patrick wins I will be out of the playoffs by a skinny half game, thanks to a tie I suffered. That's the highest paying league I'm in and the one I've played the longest, so it's time for me to win it.

Evaluating my Trade

I can say that the only trade I make this year has paid off so far. At the deadline, I sent my Alshon Jeffrey and Denard Robinson away from Antonio Brown. The trade did not process until the end of Week 11, so Alshon's 135 and 1 counted for me.

Antonio was on a bye the next week, yet I still clinched a playoff spot that week. Last week Denard only totaled 54 yards, so despite Alshon's 2 scored, the pair only scored about a point more than Antonio. Meanwhile, I played LeSean and Joique at RB for about 20 each. Chris Ivory at flex slightly outperformed Denard.

So I like the move. My trade partner made the playoffs with the fourth seed, so this was mutually beneficial. If we both make the championship game, the trade will get its final test.

Who Will and Who Won't

Who is going to repeat a big performance from last week? Who won't? Who's worth picking up and starting?

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Will not throw for 6 scores but is facing Jacksonville. Eli threw for 247 before fumbling the game away. Fitz has DeAndre Hopkins on fire and a healthy Arian Foster. I hope you have a steadier choice at QB this deep in the year, but if not go for Patrick Fitzryan.

Colt McCoy - Won't put up 392 again, even though that was mostly in garbage time. The Rams pass rush is back and they'll treat the Pigskins like they did the Raiders. I think DeSean Jackson disappears in this one.

Tre Mason - Will run wild against Washington. I think Shaun Hill and St. Louis get a lead after causing some turnovers and will run to the finish. I only wish I'd been patient enough to keep him on my bench.

Rashad Jennings - Won't repeat his 91 yard, 2 score performance against Tennessee if his ankle doesn't shape up. But Andre Williams will. The Titans have the worst run defense in the league. Reports I've seen say the ankle won't keep him out, but keep an eye on it late in the week. (Wish I had a better won't, but most of the double-digit scorers last week look pretty good still.)

Eddie Royal - Will catch several with a good chance hosting the Patriots. The Chargers are in the playoff hunt and will go down scrapping. Bill Belichick will likely try to eliminate Malcom Floyd or Antonio Gates, making Royal a good choice if you're reaching at WR.

Donte Moncrief - Won't score on two long bombs again. He only saw 4 targets last week. Don't rely on this sort of streaky production. I'd rather have a guy who caught numerous short ones, like Royal or Harry Douglass.

Jordan Reed - Will catch a bunch of passes from Colt McCoy. What's the easiest way to escape a pass rush? Dump it to the big guy.

Heath Miller - Won't catch 8 passes against Cincinnati. This is going to be an AFC North winter dog fight with a low score and lots of Le'Veon Bell.

St. Louis - Will put pressure on McCoy and cause mistakes. I wouldn't doubt a special teams touchdown against the accursed Pigskins. This ain't their decade.

Jacksonville - Won't be recover two fumbles for touchdowns, so don't even think about taking my most picked-on team and turning them into a streaming defense.

I Could Write Forever, but No One Wants Me To

Good luck and happy creepings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Colin Kaepernot

Contributed by Kathe Frahm.

Old women aren't always sad. Sometimes they put their aches and worries behind them and just have fun. A Thanksgiving smearing of the San Francisco 49ers by the Seattle Seahawks fit the bill for a happy start to the holidays at the home.

At the start of the game, only two old women were in the rec room. They really had no place to go. Later, more and more old women and some old men came in when they got back from their friends and families. One old woman hoped she wouldn't fall asleep after all she ate. Falling asleep was not an option for this much awaited game.

The only NFL quarterback that the old women hate more than Peyton Manning is Colin Kaepernick. With a few exceptions, no NFL player is as good as they think they are. Kaepernick would just like to be that good. He has had falling stats for many games in a row. One of the broadcasters mentioned that he heard 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh tell his QB to shoot up the middle and stay away from the Seahawks' Richard Sherman. Some teams will do anything to keep from throwing in Richard's direction. An old woman saying Kaepernick must have missed the memo brought gales of laughter from the others.

Nothing can get the rec room crowd more worked up than a Hawk interception or a recovered fumble. They were not disappointed. Having favorites Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor to muscle the defense made a difference in the team's attitude. The old women said their boys got the bad boy attitude back that carried them to the Super Bowl.

One old woman, a former old-time Raiders fan, worked to explain penalties.

The Raiders are always among the most penalty-prone teams and never back away from a good fight. She said if your boys are going to be aggressive, they have to play hard and worry about penalties after they are called. The object is to make 15 penalties and only get called on 13. Coach Pete Carroll says the Hawks get more than their fair share. He spends a good part of the game running up and down the sidelines yelling at the refs. The old women love to see him get up in a ref's' face defending his players. Of course it was mentioned that he is so much more handsome when he is screaming mad.

There were many standouts in this 49er game. The old women knew the stakes were high. Russell Wilson proved again that the 49ers defense couldn't take their eyes off him for a minute. Richard's interceptions, Turbin's TD and Marshawn Lynch's running brought out the screaming the rec room fans were famous for. Steve Hauschka made kicking field goals look easy.

Some of the old women hoped their boys would beat the 49ers by many points. But 19 to 3 was enough.

Even if some of the old women had no one to see or no place to go on this holiday, their boys gave them a certain amount of joy. They have to take it where they find it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 13 - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, Creeper fans, Vultureheads and fools who just wandered in here from the World Wide Wasteland.

And because of Thanksgiving, this is going to be a more concise but more focussed version of my weekly fantasy football goofballery. I have a turkey to brine and a busier than usual work week ahead of me. I can usually park myself in the office and spend a couple wandering hours on this thing. Not this week. You get one hour. Boom.

Please take the time to investigate Kathe Frahm's "Seattle Seahawks and Old Women" series here at Eighty Six the Poet. No one, guaranteed, delivers a post-game wrap like she does. Way back when we actually wrote up restaurant checks with pencils, Kathe and I tended bar together. She was the salty veteran and I was the peachy youngster. To understate, I learned a lot. Now she lives with a wild collection of well experienced people who are not as prim and proper watching football as your grandma might be.

Just read them. I'm so happy to have her as a guest writer.

But we're here to prep our fantasy teams, right? It's Week 12, so you're in one of the three following situations:

1. Playoffs Clinched

Congratulations. Your season is successful. Maybe you make some money, too, but getting this far is a win. Victory in the playoffs is somewhat random, so bask in a little glory now.

In Nate's league, I'm clinched. But he has a 3 week playoff with two teams on a bye, so I have no time to coast. A bye means one less chance to lose by bad luck, so I'm taking one if I can.

If you're in, look past the next two weeks. They mean nothing to you. Make no personnel moves based on your Week 13 and 14 match-ups unless you have a potential bye situation like me.

Look at the first week of the playoffs and plan for that. Especially look at defensive match-ups. Make your moves before your opponents do. Week 15 the Chiefs host the Raiders.

2. Fighting for a Spot

You've been fighting all year, so don't change much. No need to go crazy and hit home runs with high risk/high reward players. Continue to use the most reliable guys.

Yet don't be afraid to dump Montee Ball or Cordarrelle Patterson now. They ain't done nothing for you yet, so if you need to clear space to grab Dan Herron or Martavis Bryant, drop them.

And play your hunches. Not your crazy hunches. Just the regular ones. Don't sit all off-season regretting that you played it safe. Go down swinging. If you think Tim Wright catches another score or two in a shoot-out with Green Bay, play him.

3. You're Out

Never forget that you owe it to the rest of the league to try and win. Someone is fighting for a playoff spot against your opponent. Don't make it easy. Make roster moves and put up your best players.

Besides, soon enough you'll not be playing fantasy football for a while. Consider it a one week season. Go 1-0 this week. It's more fun than fizzling out.

Looking to Thanksgiving's Games

Bears at Lions

When they're done scrubbing "Bills" out of the end-zones, this will be a classic NFC North matchup. The 5-6 Bears still have a chance and the 7-4 Lions are dueling with the Packers for the division title. Expect a show-on-turf. Your big names will put up numbers: Cutler, Marshall, Jeffery, Forte, Bennett and Stafford, Megatron, Tate. Alshon in particular wants me to regret trading him and Denard Robinson for Antonio Brown. I'm sure that's all he's thinking of.

You're playing Calvin Johnson of course and you'll be happy to. He's frustrated after what the Patriots did to him and he'll go off.

I don't trust Reggie Bush. He's Questionable and could disappear at any time. I hope you have better options than Joique Bell. This is going to be an air show, but he'll pick up a few dozen yards running and catching.

I don't like either defense here.

Eagles at Cowboys

The Eagles are ranked #30 against the pass. That's the most telling stat. Philly has started slow but been a great second half team. This will be another air show. Dallas gets up early and Philadelphia plays catch-up. Mark Sanchez gets an equal number of touchdowns and turnovers on the way to a double-digit loss.

McCoy and Maclin are startable, but the rest are unreliable. Terrance Williams I'd play in deep leagues. Murray, Bryant, Witten and Romo, of course.

As for defense? The Eagles have scored a D/ST touchdown in almost every game this year. You almost have to. Sanchez should account for enough turnovers and sacks to warrant use of Dallas' D, but I'd rather have St. Louis versus Oakland, NYG versus Jacksonville, Miami versus NYJ, Cincinnati versus Tampa Bay or Indianapolis versus Washington.

I guess I just covered the defenses segment. Moving on.

Seattle at San Francisco

This is going to be the lowest scoring game of the day. No more than 40 combined. First team to 20 wins. Nasty, chippy, emotional divisional battle between two teams fighting for the same playoff spot. Cannot fudging wait.

But not high scoring for anyone. Both Lynch and Gore finish under 100 with a chance of touchdown. Wilson and Kaepernick run for 50 or so each and throw for about 200 with one or two scores each.

Receivers? Best bets are Boldin and Baldwin, although I wouldn't be surprised to see neither crack 10 points.

My crazy prediction? Cooper Helfet outscores Vernon Davis. Highway to Helfet.

To conclude: Seattle wins by 7 or less. In crunch time, Russell Wilson executes a game winning drive. Colin Kaepernick turns the ball over twice in the fourth quarter and fails to win the game when he has the chance.

Jim Harbaugh coaches the Raiders next year and is broadcasting in 2017.

Jonas Gray

I wrote nothing about Jonas Gray last week and I'm disappointed in myself. I never said pick him up and start him, although I tried to grab him.

I don't trust Belichick's running backs. Never have and do less this week. I just wish I'd have put it in print last week so I could look wise when he went from 200 and 4 to zero snaps while the ex-Steeler LaGarrette Blount walks off the street and gets 2 touchdowns.

Won't touch them. Not one of them.

Your Haiku

It's totally your turn. Right now, my wife wants me to go upstairs and crack some dungeness crab for her and the kids. I don't do that for just anyone. I must really like you if I'm cracking the crab for you to eat.

So write me a football haiku. Represent the 5-7-5. Most certainly getting shared next week. Did you ever dream of being read in The Creeper Report?

Me neither, but here I am.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Pluck the Cardinals

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old woman who always brings the Mickey Mouse doll and blanket wasn't at the home for the Chiefs game. There were only two old women in the rec room for that game. Naturally it was her fault that their boys lost.

She was here for the Cardinals game with Mickey and somewhat edible muffins. Old women are tough critics.

From the first kick-off, the old women buzzed about a different attitude they were seeing. Their Seattle Seahawks were already having fun. When Steve Hauschka got on the board with a field goal, the old women relaxed a bit. For a while some of them were saying that the Hawks would just field goal the Cardinals to death. That seemed to be OK. This way they would see a lot more of Steve.

Russell Wilson made the old women proud. Comments about him being so cute and sneaky topped the conversation. They screamed when he got sacked... every time. But when he rolled right or left and took off running “Run Russell, Run” must have been heard all over the home. Into the game it looked like the Cardinal replacement QB Drew Stanton was taking lessons from Russell: taking off with the ball and sliding to keep from getting hurt.

It did come up that Carson Palmer had just signed a new contract for 50 million and then soon after ended his season with a torn ACL. Well, at least the old women thought his 20.5 million guarantee would probably help him get by while he was off work.

A big worry for the old women was Marshawn Lynch. After all these months of watching him bulldog right into the front line defense, they knew he would probably get hurt. And he did. He even took some time off the field to get some rest for his back. The good news was that he did continue to play and run up some more rushing yards.

The old women were happy to see some favorites back in the game after injuries: safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

It seemed that with all of these boys back, the Cardinals could not win. The old women couldn't explain the 'legion of boom' but they thought they saw it working. When Cooper Helfet picked up Cardinal Rob Houlser and threw him, it gave the spark the Hawks needed and the ball. The only TD was made by Cooper with a 20 yard catch and run to the end-zone.

There is nothing that can make old women a part of a home Seahawks game like the sheer volume of the 12th man. Little gray-haired old women in their Hawks t-shirts, blue and green earrings, home-made junk food, yelled as loud as they could and chanted along with the Hawk chant.

It mattered that their boys won against the 9-1 Cardinals

But what meant more, was that the old women shared the excitement of winners. In their lives, they haven't always won. Some hardly at all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 12

Is it metaphorical that all my Creepers teams feel just like the Seattle Seahawks right now? All four squads are performing just well enough to stay above .500 and remain in the playoff picture, but if we don't do something serious we'll be watching the post-season.

A brutal weekend. My only win was a whimpering 79-74 in Andy's league. Fortunately, that's my biggest money league and the one in which I most needed a win. I snuck back into 4th place, at least.

In Nate's league, I ran into the two-bladed buzz saw of LeVeon Bell and Jamaal Charles. 108 isn't a bad score, unless the other guy has 161.

In all 4 leagues, Brandon McManus kicked me one whole extra point. Is that what you'd expect from Denver's offense? More on that later.

So if you're on the ropes and in the same boat as me, to mix boxing and sailing metaphors, then it's time to get going. Make bold moves. Be fearless. If you're going down the drain, make sure you splash the whole way.

And on top of that, don't do anything stupid you'll regret all winter, spring and summer. You probably can't take both pieces of advice at the same time, but that's how guys like me ensure they're not completely wrong all the time.

It's time to confuse you more specifically and less generally. Here come ten things about and not about fantasy football:

#1 Will the Seattle Seahawks Evolve Already?

Last year they got away with playing base defense, running predictably and passing conservatively. This year, they're taking fewer risks and not surprising anyone. The league had the whole off-season to figure them out and it did.

I just said something about going down the drain and splashing for dear life the whole way. Seattle is circling quietly with the occasional mumble about Percy or Marshawn or injuries.

What it really looks like to me? Seattle is a group of Neanderthals and the rest of the league are Homo Sapiens. (Or to paraphrase Beck: in a league of chimpanzees, they are monkeys.) While the Seahawks are rubbing the same poop on the walls of their cave and wondering why it's not a different color, other teams are building fires and chipping stones into spearheads.

The Sea-Pterodactyls need to evolve or die. To be more literal and less figurative, their defense needs to be more like Tennessee's. No more expecting four linemen to pressure the quarterback. In a valiant losing effort, the Titans were sending crazy stuff at Ben Roethlisberger.

One play they'd rush seven and the next they'd cover with eight. Blitzes would come from all angles or they wouldn't. For most of the game, the Steelers offense was off balance. And they were doing it with a no-name defensive backfield.

Would it kill the Seahawks to trust the Legion of Boom to cover some guys for four seconds while some linebackers blitz? Or is Ray Horton so much smarter than Dan Quinn?

Russell Wilson is ranked #26 among NFL quarterbacks in air yards per attempt. That is: how far his passes travel before reaching the intended target. He's not throwing the ball downfield. Defenses know it. They're crowding the line to prevent yards after catch and stop the run.

Last year he ranked #3.

Speedy rookie Paul Richardson's longest catch of the year is 11 yards.

The playoffs start now. The 7-3 Eagles and Cowboys plus the 6-4 49ers stand between us and a wildcard spot. Losing is not an option. Beating the Cardinals twice could actually win us the division. We know home-field advantage is yummy.

It can be done. The Seahawks just have to stop playing caveman ball.

#2 One Extra Point for Denver's Kicker?

The Rams might not like going to the playoffs any more, but they sure like to spoil it for other people. All of a sudden, the Broncos look like a wildcard team and the Chiefs look like division champs.

Denver is losing weapons everywhere and their offensive line looked shaky. They gave up 2 sacks and let Manning get pressured all day. He looks human when you get players in his face.

But he'll adapt. If Julius Thomas can't play, get yourself some Jacob Tamme. I also like Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer if Emmanuel Sanders doesn't pass his concussion protocol.

But 1 point from McManus? I don't think much about kickers, but I figure the kicker for a potent offense should be a good call. If I was brilliant at this, I'd look for good offenses with bad red zone production against bend-but-don't-break defenses.

Montee Ball isn't healthy yet, so I've got to trust CJ Anderson to be the guy. But 9 carries for 29 yards? You don't like Denver backs just because they run. He also caught 8 for 86 and you know that's a lucky number.

No freaking out. Peyton without hideous pressure will make average receivers look good and make covered guys seem open.

Miami's coming to town and, although they have a good pass rush, things should be okay in the thin air for Denver.

#3 Defenses I Like

I like Miami, in general, but not against Denver.

I like Green Bay against anyone right now. Certainly Minnesota outdoors.

Buffalo against the Jets. Just picking on them.

Colts against the Jaguars and Cowboys against the Giants. Throw five picks, I'll pick on you next week.

Mostly obvious opponents, but that's the way I play it. It works at least half the time.

If you are feeling gutsy, roll with the Rams against the Chargers. They did it to Manning. They can do it to Rivers.

#4 What the Hell, Comcast?

I had the most curious experience watching the Bills versus Dolphins. As usual, I recorded it and started to watch about an hour late. I hate commercials and will only watch halftime if I feel like it.

The pre-game was normal but then the play-by-play was completely in Spanish. Not uncool. I was curious to hear what they translated and what they didn't. Team names they did not. No one called Miami "Los Delfines". I found it strange penalties like "holding" were not translated.

All in all, it was kind of neat. Often announcers get so full of blah-blah, I'd rather tune them out. Thursday night, that was easy.

Besides, exposing my bi-lingual kids to a third language can't be bad.

Then, part way through the second quarter, the sound stopped entirely. Halftime was silent. The occasional commercial would have sound, but the whole rest of the game was mute. Was it just my recording? Even tuning in after the game to NFL Network live, I found it silent.

I searched for "NFL network audio problems" and found forum discussions about past incidents but not this one.

I tweeted about it and so did My Gorgeous Illustrator. No one responded.

Was our household the only one infected? Was it a broadcast thing or a DVR thing? Did it happen to you?

If you don't tell me, I'll never know.

#5 Who's Not Suspended Anymore?

Aldon Smith is back, but I don't think that changes whether or not you play San Francisco's defense.

Josh Gordon will return next week against a very generous Atlanta defense. Provided he's been catching more than a buzz during his time off, he should step right back into form. He's on a better Browns team than he was last year when he led the league in receiving yards. Someone in your league probably had the patience to retain him. He's available in one of my leagues and I have a waiver claim to drop Steve Smith for him.

Speaking of Brown things, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West are easier to play now that Ben Tate has as many jobs in the NFL as I do.

Adrian Peterson will not be back. He can't be reinstated any time before April 15. By that time, Minnesota will be spending its cap space on other people and is unlikely to re-sign him. So the off-season's hot topic will be: where will Peterson land? Someone will sign him if he has the brains to act remorseful and do what the league wants him to do.

Does your team want Adrian? How will your fans react?

#6 Just When I Said There Were Never Trades...

...I pulled off a trade. Several days back someone in Nate's league offered me 3 players for Alshon Jefferey and Denard Robinson. Not wanting to dilute my starting lineup, I countered with his Antonio Brown for my Alshon and Denard.

He accepted on the day of the trade deadline, but the trade won't go through until this week because I had Alshon in my lineup.

Let's see how it works out. Robinson was on a bye but Jefferey outscored Brown 20.5 to 15.1 this week. I still lost bad.

My one miscalculation: Brown's on a bye next week. In this league, playoffs are 3 weeks long and start Week 14. I'm in, but for one of the last 2 weeks I'm missing a stud receiver. And for both, I'm missing my handy Auto-Flex.

If I don't miss the playoffs because of this, it's a good trade.

#7 Rat-a-tattoo My Ass

I got it done. My 86 the Poet tattoo. I had to earn it first.

I had always wanted a tattoo of the title of the first book I ever published. I hadn't anticipated the ease of ebook publishing. I have not earned enough money in a few years on ebooks to afford a drop of ink.

So I changed my plan. I had to earn enough money with my pen name to justify tattooing my logo on myself. A month before my 40th birthday, I started working 4 rather than 5 days a week at the restaurant and freelancing part time.

That justified it, so I went to Anchored Art in Spokane and had it done. Very clean and professional, by my rookie standards. They were selected best local tattoo shop by the local voters, so I did not look much further. I'm pleased with the work.

If you're in Spokane and need one done, look up Billyjack.

By the way, taking a selfie of one spot on your arm is hard. 20+ takes later...

#8 Don Rafael Vintage 2004 6" x 54 Box Press

Bottom Right with the White Band
Another item from the Victor Sinclair sampler I grabbed a few weeks ago. For $17.95, I'm about to say those 10 smokes were a great deal. Thanks, Thompson.

I'm liking the wide gauge box presses. A good solid feel with an easy draw. This was the perfect mellow maduro: rich and earthy without any edges. Smoked smooth from start to finish. And the ash?

I'm not a long-butt guy. I don't smoke 'em vertical hoping to create the longest ash I can. I will tap it after a while to make sure the ash doesn't fall in my drink or my lap.

While I believe a good cigar should grow a good firm ash that doesn't want to drop, it's not the only measuring stick. But as a general rule, I hope to only ash a cigar twice before stubbing it. Cheap cigars will shed ash like your dog in the summer.

But this Don Rafael? That ash went for days. I didn't have a tape measure or a camera with me as I sat by my fire pit. The cigar at one point was 3/4 ash and 1/4 cigar. Only about an inch of cigar was left when it finally fell.

The ash is still sitting on the edge of my fire pit a few days later.

That's a solid build, my friends, with a great flavor to match. I'll buy them again.

#9 My Kids are More Awesome than Yours

I could brag about my kids for pages, but that's not what this column's for. What is it for? You tell me.

But I will brag a bit.

My 5 year old has share day (what we used to call Show and Tell) at his preschool every week. He decided to bring his sawfish. He has to supply 3 clues and his classmates guess what he brought. I was wracking my brain that morning for the technical term for the protuberance on the upper lip of swordfish, paddlefish, sawfish and the like. I asked my son.

"Rostrum," he said. "It uses its rostrum to catch prey."

Are you smarter than a 5 year old?

My toddler, although he won't be 3 until March, has already been invited to join the 3 to 5 year old gymnastics class. He has good balance and strength for a kid that age and never runs around like the other rascals. He doesn't talk to his coach, but he does listen and follow.

If a slobbering "pbpbpbpblt" is a word, then my baby just said her first word. She says it all the time.

#10 Ink for my Pen Arm

Stamped into my skin
So I don't forget: I am
Poet and temple.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 11

Dissatisfaction, although not complete disappointment, in the Village of the Creepers this week.

My teams went 2-2. One team is in second place. Two are in third. One is a half game out of the playoffs in fifth. Ain't no problem that I can't fix 'cause I can do it in the mix.

My failings were due to 2 positions I historically draft late: tight end and defense. Defenses I stream and roll the dice on. Sometimes I hit. Sometimes I don't. But the tight end thing I need to get better at. More on that later in the list.

More dissatisfaction with the Seattle Seahawks. I've been shooting down people early this week who want to say they beat up on the New York Giants. Don't let the score fool you. They barely won.

They were down 17-14 at the half and tied after 3 quarters. They turned the ball over too much. They were lucky to not fumble away the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson was not throwing it well. Only because Seattle's offense wore out the Giants' defense were they able to run the ball well in the fourth quarter.

Seattle would have lost to a playoff-quality team. They'd better tighten up.

I can't wait for the finish of this year. The pressure will be on and I think the Seahawks play best with their backs against the wall. After Kansas City this week, Seattle finishes the season with 2 against Arizona, 2 against San Francisco, 1 against Philadelphia and another against St. Louis, who is always down to play spoiler.

Taking the division won't be easy, but it's in their hands.

What's in my hands? A list of 10 things relative and not relative to this week in fantasy football.

#1 Putting Butt Fumble Jokes on Hold

Maybe Mark Sanchez will not be the death of the Eagles' dreams.

He was supported by a good defense mauling a bad Panthers' offense, but he didn't screw anything up. In fact, his passes looked tight and he had a better vibe about him. Winning does that. The chance of scenery can too. In a pre-game interview, he was ecstatic about the Chip Kelley organization.

So for us fantasy people, don't bail on Sanchez's weapons. You're sticking with Shady. Jeremy Maclin will produce. Brent Celek is back on the radar. Darren Sproles is healthy and dangerous again, but I think he'll be a streaky play. Your situation may vary. Jordan Matthews just became a hot pickup.

And if your quarterback situation is iffy, you can give Sanchez a shot. They go to Green Bay this week. The Packers put up 42 in the first half against Chicago. The Eagles will have to air it out to keep up.

#2 You and I have Tight End Problems

Your scoring is different, but in my Euro league only 6 tight ends are averaging over 9 points a game. If you drafted Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Julius Thomas, you got repaid. Yet, about 50 wide receivers and running backs are scoring over 9 per game.

Right now, I'm stinging partially due to Martellus Bennett's bye in two leagues. My gamble on Luke Willson, in particular, did not pay off. After the top few tight ends, it's quite random. My other two leagues, I'm in trouble at tight end. It's definitely a weakness that superior depth at WR is only partly hiding.

Trade deadline's coming soon. I may have to get wheeling.

#3 Fantasy Football Trades are a Myth

Women like nice guys. Cars with big mufflers are always fast. People singing on the radio can actually sing. Trades happen in fantasy football.

All of those things are mostly false almost all the time.

You don't want a guy. You want another guy. You offer a trade and the other owner agrees with you: he doesn't want your dude either.

You want to trade multiple players for one player, hoping the other owner thinks two fives equal a ten. The problem here: he can't start any more players than you. He doesn't want to weaken his starters and strengthen his bench. He'll have to drop someone after the trade anyway.

So fantasy football trades only happen if you trade with a dummy, right? Not quite.

You must search your whole league for someone with a fortunate surplus and an unfortunate paucity. My best trade, and one of my only ones, was one of these. It also pissed off half the league.

Just because you didn't see it and I did doesn't mean you can be upset.

A few years ago, I was having QB issues. I drafted Peyton Manning the year he sat out with the neck injury. I forget the details of this one, but someone traded me Matt Schaub. Then Schaub got hurt and I was in trouble again.

I scanned every team in the league and found one owner with Cam Newton backing up Aaron Rodgers with the byes behind them. No way he's ever using Cam, so I asked him what he wanted. A running back, he said. Which one? I asked. James Starks, he replied.

Okay. He wants my third or fourth running back. I'd have considered a better one, but that's what he offered and that's what I took. The guy in question was in fourth place and firmly in the playoff hunt, but grumblers still wanted to talk collusion.

In a free league, mind you.

Just because you didn't see it and made the move doesn't mean you can get grumbly.

Someone somewhere in your league just might be rich where you are poor and the other way around. Take a shot. You'll probably get shut down anyway.

#4 Pickups this Week

Like I said, look at Jordan Matthews. The Eagles will be chucking it against the Packers.

CJ Anderson may get stuck in a Denver RB committee, but if Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman are less than healthy, he could be an ace.

I still don't know what to think about the Giants' passing game. They keep putting up ugly numbers. Rueben Randle seems to be falling out of the back end while Odell Beckham Jr. looks like the truth. Preston Parker is an interesting acquisition if you need the depth.

If you need another tight end to drive you crazy, Kyle Rudolph is coming back in a week or two. Will he become Teddy Bridgewater's good buddy? Watch and see.

Overall a tricky week for pickups. So many questions with so few answers. I'm sitting with guys like Rashad Jennings and Montee Ball on the verge of coming back. I'm trying to be patient and keep the faith.

Unlike the guy who just dropped Giovani Bernard in Andy's league. He's a Creeper now. Maybe the bit of luck that 5-4-1 team needs.

#5 Defenses I Like

My usual question is: who am I picking on? Pittsburgh failed to crash the Jets last week. They're on a bye so I don't have to decide if I'm still picking on them. So are the Jaguars.

The Oakland Raiders travel to San Diego, so the Chargers are a favorite. After Derek Carr passed to one of his linemen, who fumbled the ball away, I can feel good about this.

The Eagles put up big numbers against the Panthers, but won't do it against the Packers. Will Atlanta hit Carolina as hard? You take that guess. Will the Packers find beautiful Sanchez or ugly Sanchez?

Cleveland looked sharp against Cincinnati on Thursday. They get a long week to prepare for... Ryan Mallett. New starting quarterbacks are always a tempting snack, making the Browns my second favorite defense to stream.

#6 Can I Start an Offensive Tackle?

Garry Gilliam played tight end and defensive end in high school, where he caught 20 passes for 4 scores. At Penn State, he started his career at tight end but shifted to tackle in 2013. He was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Seahawks this year.

The 6'6" 306 pounder has been seen most often lined up as an eligible extra blocker in power formations. With Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy and now Luke Willson injured, Seattle has been using more 6 offensive lineman sets.

They're throwing to Gilliam one of these days and it will be a touchdown. Don't tell anyone. It's a secret Pete Carroll doesn't want me to tell you.

#7 Is Anything For Certain Anymore?

So many things seem upside down in the league right now. But just past the halfway point, they usually are. That's why they play the games.

Arizona with the best record in the league? Cleveland leading the AFC North? Everyone in the AFC North with a winning record? No one in the NFC South with a winning record? Justin Forsett outrushing Jamaal Charles?

Who'd have called these things? This week looks crazier than most. Looking up and down the schedule, I see no locks outside the Broncos/Rams.

What do I feel good about? The Patriots/Colts game will be a high-flying quarterback duel. You should be able to count on big money from Brady, Luck, TY, Gronk, Wayne, LaFell, Bradshaw, Edelman and one of Belichick's running backs. As a desperate TE seeker, I'm liking Dwayne Allen over Coby Fleener.

#8 5 Vegas Series A Apotheosis Revisited

I first got one of these in my face back in Week 4. I gave it a solid review, but like all new smokes right out of the package, it needed to season.

7 weeks later, it has. I had another. The burn was smoother, the draw was easier and the flavor more expansive. I pick up on more of the cocoa notes. The box press feels a little more puffed up, like the time out of the tight wrappings has allowed it to relax.

This just jumped from an OK cigar to a very good one. I'm glad to have a dozen more aging in the box.

I suggest the whole Series A line and badly want to get cracked in the head with a notoriously intense Triple A.

#9 Is That My Alter Ego, or Just My Ego?

Something I wrote for College Factual about the best academic schools for Division 1 football ended up at USA Today. The site preferred a name that does not sound like it belongs to a robot prototype, so the byline reads "David Klenda". Somehow, that feels weird now.

I'm happy to be published and shared under any name. Call me Betty Boop, just pay me. Still, I've been trying to consolidate my brand and seeing my birth name next to my writing is odd once again.

Where's the best football school for academics? You'll have to look. Not all of the schools on the list are perennial powerhouses, but they will get you a degree that matters in case you are part of the huge majority that goes professional in something other than football.

#10 A Haiku for Al Davis' Zombies

Wideouts are covered
So pass to linemen. Brilliant.
They're always open.

Good luck and happy creepings.