Friday, September 26, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Bronco Sugar Cookies

contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women straggled into the rec room at the home for the Seattle Seahawks game. One of them had baked a plate of horse-shaped sugar cookies with orange frosting . She said some extra luck couldn't hurt and just couldn't think of eating horse meat.

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, not an old women favorite, was at once the heart of the old women's ridicule His 36 year old spaghetti arm was worse and his hairline is receding, and his arrogance of trying to look like the best player on the field didn't work. He was only among the oldest. And it showed.

The old women just roared when they realized that most of them were twice Peyton's age.

It was a game to to just settle back and cheer their boys on to victory...except for the last 41 second Bronco drive to tie up the score. As one, the old women screamed and groaned thinking this could not happen. They were not sure about the tie/overtime play rules.

Russell Wilson said after the game the interception he threw to hit Percy Harvin for an outside run was a learning experience. Russell thought he could thread a pass to Harvin but Bronco Chris Harris made the crucial interception.

The Bronco biased and annoying CBS game announcers stated often that Russell was too small and a 3rd round draft choice. Old women hate anyone who picks on their 'Hawks, especially Russell.

His final 80 yard drive some old woman said looked like pure Russell; keep moving forward and hang onto the ball just like Marshawn. In overtime with the 'Hawk's TD, the old women could breathe again. In between the screaming and laughing many offered proposals to Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman and Steve Hauschka ...again. It was noted that the Seahawks management better start saving up for what its going to take to keep Russell in Seattle.

The old women had many lascivious comments about their surfer boy coach, Pete Carroll. Old women don't care what others think about what they say. Just living long enough gives them the right to say what they please. They did worry that Pete wasn't chewing enough gum. Another home down the street said all the old women there were going to bring gum to chew for the next game...whether they had teeth or not. Many said they might have to nap in the afternoon as the Washington 'Skins game wasn't until 5:30PM
The old women made fresh coffee and the Bronco sugar cookies were passed around. Cookies are much better eating than horse meat.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 4

It took until Week 3. The Creepers Fantasy Football Franchise suffered its first loss. Last week's Wonder Twins, LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, took the form of humans, combining for 72 yards and a fumble. I felt Danny Woodhead would be a good play until about 10:05. (Get well soon, Danny.) Randal Cobb's 29 yards plus Shane Graham's 2 extra points plus whatever Baltimore was calling defense equals a bad Creeper day. A 25 point loss to "da Expected Champions".

In other Creeper news, the other squads went undefeated in Week 3. I have two 3-0 teams, one at 2-0-1 and one at 2-1. The Creepers are staying the course.

Stay active finding depth at RB and WR. Keep streaming the best defensive matchup this week. Trust the experts and don't overthink anything.

Anyone see the Seahawks/Broncos game?

Ten thoughts for Week 4 about football, real or otherwise, and other gibberish:

#1 An Instant Classic

Russell Wilson versus Peyton Manning will be a rivalry on the level of Manning/Brady for as long as Peyton stays in the game. Grant us a February rematch, somebody.

A friend argued that this win, with Seattle recovering from Manning's final-minute strike and pulling together on the winning overtime drive, indicates the team is a step above the one that blew out the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

I concur. That game-winning drive builds a well of confidence the team can always drink from.

Remember that time Peyton Manning came out of nowhere to force overtime and we drove the ball right down their horse-throats? Let's do it again.

Russell had it all. Timely scrambles for first downs. Crisp passing off play action. And Beast Mode was in full growl.

I haven't felt this good since the Super Bowl. Now Seahawks and Broncos fans must suffer through a bye week.

#2 Bye Week Adjustments

I don't like the early bye week. I liked the Week 12 bye from last year better. Get the rest as close to the post-season as possible. Yet it isn't up to me so I'd better like it.

Arizona, Cleveland, St. Louis and Cincinnati also have the week off. So if you have players on those six teams, do you keep them or dump them?

I have Russell three times and Peyton once on my four teams. Yeah, they stay. Percy and Demaryius too.

Larry Fitzgerald is almost on my fence. Michael Floyd is looking like the Cardinals' #1 instead.

Cleveland will have Ben Tate healthy again, putting Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell back in the three-man platoon. I don't think anyone gets enough production to save.

Sure, Giovani Bernard is sticking around and AJ too. Jeremy Hill I'd hang on to. The Bengals' team is looking very real and they could support two backs. Marvin Jones will be healthy by Week 5, putting him and Mohamed Sanu in an iffy situation. It depends on your other receivers and the size of your bench.

Zach Stacy I'm keeping based on the fact that he's the most stable offensive piece on the team. Other Rams? I don't think so.

#3 I Told You the 49ers Would Suck

No need to point out the things I've said that are wrong. I was right when I said the Seahawks looked more stable than the 49ers. The team leads the league in penalties with 36 and has been out-scored 52-3 in second halves this year.

Jim Harbaugh spent the off-season wrestling for a contract extension the team wouldn't give him. Good luck with that this year.

And just like the NFL Championship Game, give Colin Kaepernick a chance to make plays and win the game, he'll get stripped or throw picks.

#4 Defenses I Like

My method for picking defenses is simple: note who the high scoring defenses played last week and see who's playing those victims this week.

Week 3 victims: Buccaneers, Jaguars, Jets, Packers.

Week 4 versus victims, in order: Steelers, Chargers, Lions, Bears.

I now have Pittsburgh versus Tampa Bay in all four leagues.

Detroit put on a surprising show last week against Green Bay. They should look even better against NYJ.

I don't think Aaron Rodgers and his crew get shut down again, so don't get excited about Chicago's D.

#5 Why I Don't Watch the News

You don't read me getting into politics or much outside my bubble of family, football, restaurants and writing. I don't care. I don't pay attention.

Most of all, I don't think I get the information straight.

Information is mostly delivered by one of a few sources competing against one another. Each one wants to gain the most attention when it shouts from the top of its roof. That's why no one makes money from good news. People tune in for the shocking, tragic and evil.

Furthermore I think government feeds the media the story as it wants it told. Do I know what's really happening in the Middle East? No. Neither do you. You know what you're told. That's it.

I don't know what's really going on in North Korea. Neither do you.

I don't know the true story of 9-11. Neither do you.

If you are on the ground in one of the world's hotspots and are close to those making the news, you know a pebble of the truth. I hope you get it out without getting shot and I hope someone believes you.

So I don't get excited over information I can't vet or filter. I don't sweat politics because they affect me, but I don't affect them. Fortunately, most of the crazy ideas politicians have never come to fruition. Thank you, checks and balances.

But my point eventually is, I should stop worrying about NFL news. I'll watch games and read statistics. Game recaps can't be spin-doctored too much. But what some source claims to know about what some guy did? Blah-bitty-blah.

What did Roger Goodell know and when did he know it? Did Steve Bisciotti try to cover up the Ray Rice thing or is Ray's camp saying anything necessary to start the reinstatement discussion? I don't know and neither do you.

Starting to sound like a court drama. Let's watch some football played by people not on the exempt list.

#6 The Kirk Cousins Effect

Somebody writing for one of the NFL sites I used to write for was attempting a drama about the quarterback controversy suddenly aswirl in DC. Who should the Pigskins start when RG3 is healthy again?

This is why sportswriting makes me ill sometimes. Writers must generate noise even if it's over nothing. OK, dude. Let's look at this argument: RG3 won't be healthy for weeks at the soonest. At that point, Cousins will have either excelled or failed. Until then, we can't discuss much.

We can talk about the situation at hand. If healthy, Cousins will start for most of the fantasy season at least. He may not throw for 427 again, but he'll throw it and he has good weapons. He may play from behind a lot. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson will stay firmly in the picture.

I made the mistake of thinking DeSean's shoulder would outweigh his hate for the Eagles and I benched him. Didn't cost me the game, at least. He should be even better this week against the Giants.

Niles Paul could end up as a great TE grab until and maybe even after Jordan Reed returns to health.

Cousins is my fill-in for Russell and Peyton in 3 leagues.

#7 I Sold a Joke for $5

Writer Access has provided me with a crazy and sporadic range of writing opportunities. Recently, a cartoonist was looking for jokes he could use as single-panel gags. I pitched a few and he picked one:

A drunk wobbles into a bar and stumbles over a chair. The bartender points to a sign that says: "If you can't say Unacceptably Intoxicated then you're Unacceptably Intoxicated."

The drunk shakes his head and replies: "I'm not ceptanuptably zintosicated. Gimme a garmarita."

He liked it so much in increased my pay by 125%. I'd like that percentage all day. I earned $5.76 rather than the proposed $2.80 something.

#8 Cigar Review from the Oscuro Corner

Get on the mailing list for as many cigar sites as you can because some days you get stupid deals. Cigars International was running a 2 Buck Chuck event and, among others, was selling 5 Vegas Series A Apotheosis 15 packs for $29.99.

Yes, please. My birthday is coming up.

Always and also always search for coupon codes when buying anything online. For CI, you'll find a 10 cigar sampler for $8 you can add to any purchase. Include a 5 count Herf-a-dor for another $5. I have one, but I added the 10 pack, which included singles from Rocky Patel, Nestor Miranda and (my new favorite cigar name) Jesus Fuego.

I just might start using that name in vain. Jesus Fuego! Will you just throw it to DeSean?

Back to the cigars. I purchased another 5 Vegas Series A before: the 4.5"x44 Anomaly. My only knock against it was that the narrow gauge made it taste too hot and peppery.

So when I got a chance to buy its 5.5"x55 big brother, I pounced.

It lacks the cedar sheath of the Anomaly, so the flavor is not so woodsy. It's a box-press, so the draw is firm and the burn is slow. It has the meaty, earthy, dark leathery flavors a good oscuro should have. The Anomaly hinted at these, but I tasted more of the peppery wrapper and less of the rich filler.

I like this smoke a lot. I like the whole line and still enjoy an Anomaly for those short-attention-span sessions. You need a little guy in the lineup. But the 5.5"x55 box press is a very nice vitola for this blend.

You can't get them for $2 anymore, but 10 packs are $60 or less. They're available in a range of sizes. I'd like to sink my lungs into a 6"x58 Apocalypse one day.

#9 Haiku for Sale

I just got involved with, a site specializing in $5 freelance jobs. It takes a lot of $5 jobs to make a living, but some people make five figures working for them. You can grow into larger paying jobs and build your reputation.

Look at the last post to see how I've become a word whore.

Asking myself what I could do for 5 bucks, I decided I could give a lucky buyer 17 syllables of 86 goodness.

But don't just dedicate one to your bonsai tree. Give one as a gift, or a joke, or a compliment, or a prank. Have fun with them. I do.

#10 But this Haiku's Free

Last year with the Penalty Flag, I included a weekly limerick. This year, I'm going haiku. Next year, if wealth gives me the time, I'll give you a five act Shakespearian comedy or tragedy every week.

Marshawn gazes down:
One yanked dread on the turf. Vows
Overtime vengeance.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Pen is on the Street, Hooking

"What can I get for five dollars?"
"Everything you want."
"Everything. As long as it takes less than a quarter hour."

I am a word whore. I'll do it all for money. From the American Revolution to Flipped Classrooms, I'll take it all and I'll take it deep.

But it's only because I like it. I enjoy stretching myself to engulf new topics. I like to spread wide and expose my verbal flexibility. I'm not happy until I've serviced as many clients as possible.

My new john is, who asked me what I was willing to do for five bucks.

Everything you want, I replied.

Please be more specific, it suggested.

How about a haiku?

Too boring and formal.

How about a zombie haiku, John?

I only have eyes
For you. The hearts were too ripe.
They were out of brains.

Okay, but I get to keep one dollar.

It seems I've just been pimped. At least he was honest about it.

Before I go take a shower and burn my keyboard, please investigate my offer of a haiku from Fiverr.

Share it. Think of who needs one. Don't get all pastoral about it. I will do one about blossoms in spring, but I'd prefer one zinging your ex-boss. Or taunting your ex-lover. Or pranking your room-mate.

You spend $5 on less. Buy something that will last. I promise to spend the proceeds on my 86 Logo tattoo. You could be permanently imbedded in my skin.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Over Charged

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

Old women lose. Some more than others. They could not understand how their Seahawks lost to the San Diego Chargers. Old women are really good at excuses. Some old women live their lives one excuse to the next. But with the 'Hawks, excuses were all from a Mom point of view: it was too hot, refs favored the Chargers, etc.

It took a while to just say the Seahawks were outplayed. The women expected another win as a given. After all, their Seahawks were the Super Bowl winners, weren't they?

Philip Rivers, trash-talking 33 year old QB of the Chargers scrambled, stayed in the pocket just long enough and his linemen covered him like a blanket. The women yelled for the defense to hit him in the knees.

Russell Wilson was left open to getting dropped, rushed, stopped and rendered only marginally effective. "Don't hurt him," they screamed.

The old women yelled for the Seahawks' defense to get with it. A sense of foreboding surfaced when they watched the offensive line melt in the sunny San Diego heat.All the usual conversations came to a halt when one of the women mentioned Ray Rice.

They all had seen the elevator scene over and over. A few quiet comments were made about the bastard husbands who slap their wives and kids around. Old women can get real sad and sullen very quickly. The collection of women and men at the home reflects some hard times. They know even rich families suffer domestic abuse, not just women like them.

Football players are big and strong and have no business hitting their families for any reason. The one old man would like to get his wrinkled arthritic hands on a 2x4 and straighten that Rice kid out. The old women had to laugh at that vision of this skinny old guy with 4 teeth beating up a player.

It did take the gloom out of the room and the women got back to screaming for their boys to DO something.

The Rec Room bunch did agree that the Chargers played well, but thought some Seahawk could have tripped Antonio Gates on at least touchdown play. It was his game. They couldn't take that away from him.

When it was all over, the old women said that their boys needed a reality check. The Seahawks would certainly feast on some horsemeat next week when the Broncos come to Seattle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week Three

I suppose I'm a free agent again. After a year and half with The Penalty Flag, I decided the income was not worth the effort and I quit. I did learn a lot and established myself as a performer. I went from grunt-writer to editor and leader of two divisions. 

But things that keep me from my family must pay me money. That's Rule Number One.

After a few months off, I joined RantSports. Instantly, I could tell they were a more professional operation. They know how they want things done, have greater organization and deliver a tighter product.

Their required quota was tough, though. In August, it went from four pieces a week to seven. It's hard pumping out that much quality, unless the money is right.

I toiled for about two months for ad revenue alone, unaware how much that would be. Then I found out. I stopped working almost immediately.

Rule Number One.

Outside of football, business is good. I'm writing for Bright Hub, College Factual and Writer Access. I'm building relationships with other sources.

I just started working four days a week rather than five and am replacing the income with writing. That's a win in my book.

Still, I'd love to be writing about football for someone other than myself. I won't do it for cheap. I'm not looking for an internship. I won't do it if it takes the fun out of the game.

But I will do it for you. Without further screwing around, here's this week's Creeper Report:

#1 Still Undefeated

I actually had a tie in Andy's league. If New York got the Percy Harvin call right, I'd have lost. Crazy how much man-power and technology missed that walk-on-the-chalk. I think I know where the Ray Rice elevator tape ended up.

The combination of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles came up big for me in Nate's league, helping me sting Nate himself. I can't remember starting two running backs on the same team. I certainly don't recall it working.

Russell Wilson didn't win it for me in three of my four leagues, but he didn't lose it either. If 202 yards and a pair of scores with no turnovers is a bad game, I'll take the floor everyday. But I can't wait for some ceiling time.

#2 How Do You Beat Your Kids?

As of this writing, it seems like the Minnesota Vikings are starting to do the right thing. They waited until the whole world and their sponsors turned their backs. The sun released a statement that it wouldn't shine on Minnesota if Adrian Peterson was in uniform.

In general, I agree that the league and teams should not act until the court system has done its job. Innocent people, especially wealthy and popular ones, get accused of things that aren't true or aren't as big as they once appeared.

But Mr. Peterson, did you hit your kid with a stick?


Did you leave welts and cuts all over his legs, back and buttocks?


And scrotum?


Were there defensive wounds on his hands?


And this child was fourteen years old?

No. He was four.

I'm sorry. My mistake. Four years old. You're fired, Mr. Peterson.

We don't need to wait for the courts to decide anything about motive or intention. Peterson has admitted to doing it. It's his parenting style. He learned it from his father.

Cycle of abuse.

His employer needs to decide whether to stand with him or against him.


You might lose some football games without him. You might lose your fans with him. You might be surprised how the other players on the team step up.

#3 Everybody Hurts Sometime

Some players missed time for reasons not related to domestic violence. They were injured by football players. How should the fantasy football world react?

Robert Griffin III will be out for much of the season, at least. That opens the door for Kirk Cousins, who did a solid job in relief. This week he plays at Philadelphia. If the pattern holds, the Eagles will play bad in the first half and good in the second. Cousins could put up a couple hundred and a couple scores.

Speaking of Philly and DC, DeSean Jackson could make his return if his shoulder is okay. It seems he sprained his AC joint. I think will and desire should put him in pads. Hell hath no fury like a DeSean scorned. I have to decide whether to play him, Steven Jackson, Steve Smith, Knile Davis, Stevan Ridley or Antonio Gates at W/R/T. Let me think about that.

AJ Green could suit up against Tennessee this week, although the wise decision could be to wait until after the Week 4 bye. Mohamed Sanu gains value. Giovani Bernard turned into the most valuable receiver against Atlanta. The Bengals chose to run in Green's absence and Jeremy Hill put up solid numbers. He's worth an add, too.

With Jamaal Charles out at least a few weeks, you already missed the Knile Davis grab. Sorry I didn't get this out Monday night. I was writing about the top marketing colleges in the country.

Too bad I didn't go to one. I might have sold an ebook this year.

Carson Palmer is somewhere between day-to-day and week-to-week, making Larry Fitzgerald into a flex and Michael Floyd into a head-scratcher.

#4 At Least San Francisco's Loss was Uglier

The Seattle Seahawks got beat. The San Diego Chargers had a great game plan and executed. They held the ball for 42 minutes, much like they did when they beat Denver last December, keeping Seattle from getting into any offensive rhythm.

Nice to see Russell Wilson getting the Peyton Manning treatment. Keep him bored and on the sideline.

Seattle's only turnover was Percy Harvin's fumbled kickoff return. They didn't lose as much as they got beat. Hats off the Philip Rivers and his crew.

The 49ers, however, blew it. Colin Kaepernick turned the ball over four times. The defense gave up 21 fourth quarter points. Kaep got a fifteen yard flag for the brand-new abusive language penalty. "He knows what he said," stated the officials, although Kaep denies speaking. He also had a delay of game in the final two minutes.

I'm not sick about the Seattle loss. That will motivate the team against Denver. 49er fans should be sick and frightened of the 2-0 Cardinals that won without Carson Palmer.

#5 Defenses I Like

Houston is for real again. JJ Watt and ten of me might do well against the Giants. If they're still out there, get them.

Cleveland is not as lousy as I thought and the Jets are not as good as you think. Geno Smith could prove me wrong, but he was consistently inconsistent last year. He's due for a flop.

Screw whatever power rankings put the 49ers in the top 10. Take the Cardinals against them this week. Kaep will fold.

The biggest hunch: if you're feeling crazy, believe the Vikings will huddle against the storm and rally together, putting up a gutsy show against the Saints. They'll lose, but not without getting some turnovers and sacks. Maybe they'll block a kick or score a non-offensive touchdown. Watch for it.

#6 The Restaurant Business is on its Head

Anyone who knows the restaurant business understands it's one of the rare industries where a promotion is a demotion.

In the world of gratuity, the hourly supervisor or salaried manager makes less money than the servers and bartenders they oversee. This is most true in Washington, with the country's highest minimum wage.

For the half year I had to be a supervisor, I estimated I could make more money getting ice and emptying trash for the bartenders.

Therefore I've avoided elevation from the front lines for most of my 20+ years. This year, I realized another truth:

Full-time status is inferior to part-time.

Benefits? Medical insurance through work is costly. Dental insurance is cheap anyway. My main benefit is Paid Time Off. For tip-earners, that equates to minimum wage hours. I accrue less than $100 worth per month.

The trouble is, full-time status means they can schedule me whenever they want. Typically, they put me on the best night shifts. But they may throw me in the occasional Sunday brunch or mid-week lunch. Not wanting to put me into overtime, this costs me a prime-time night shift.

In other words, less money for me. Working Tuesday lunch instead of Tuesday dinner equals all the PTO I'd earn all month.

If I'm part-time, I can tell them when I can't work. As of September 1, I'm working only the four nights I choose so I have time to free-lance.

I make more money working part-time. Your job is not this weird.

#7 Other Pickups

This is a fantasy football column.

Ahmad Bradshaw will succeed with or without Trent Richardson touching the ball.

Bobby Rainey's getting the ball in Doug Martin's absence. Atlanta's a good matchup. See if Martin is an O, D or Q.

Niles Paul has a good thing going with Kirk Cousins already.

Owen Daniels is coming back to life after coming to Baltimore with Gary Kubiak.

#8 At Least He Didn't Use a Stick

Suddenly, there's little Ray Rice talk.

Way to make Ray look good, Adrian.

It was despicable. No man should ever deal with a woman with a fist. That doesn't mean my irreverent ass can't take a few swings.

He didn't use a stick or stuff leaves in anyone's mouth. He did it in front of cameras so at least there's little question about what happened. At least she was an adult. She was old enough to attend kindergarten, even. Their argument was presumably not over a video game. He didn't outweigh her by 180 pounds.

Peterson leapfrogged Rice's villainy.

#9 Butterflies

In lighter news (aka not involving women or children getting beaten) Monarch butterflies have begun their annual 3000 mile migration south to the tropical jungles of Mexico.

Lets close our eyes and float away on diaphanous wings, riding perfumed thermals to sun-drenched paradise. Lets spend the winter licking the nectar from flowers and mating.

Scientists estimate 90% of the Monarch population has disappeared over the last 20 years because of dwindling food supply and environmental pollution.

Pop goes the bubble.

#10 The Ocsuro Corner is Still Dark

Forgive me for not posting about cigar deals very often.  Forgive me even more for not tweeting about a deal that found me last week.

Cigars International put a bunch of good things on sale for $2 each. I grabbed some 5 Vegas Series A and rediscovered another deal. Look for the coupon code and you'll get a 10 cigar sampler for $8 with any CI purchase. I grabbed the sampler over a year ago. I liked some. I didn't like others. This time, they're all different and look even better.

So in time for my 40th birthday, I'm getting 23 cigars for under $45. I'll take it.

Speaking of the birthday, I decided with my freelance income I finally earned my 86 Logo tattoo.

Yeah, you might see a picture of that soon.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 2

The Internet loves lists. Although it makes me feel like gnawing my arm off in the morning and she is a whore who gets around worldwide, I love the internet.

So the Creeper Report is taking list form. Ten things on my mind regarding fantasy football, real football and the world in general.

I am pioneer of the 10 by 10 poem, after all, and I need to know where to stop and start.

#1 4-0, You Punks

I'm following up on my best fantasy football season ever. All four teams made the playoffs and two won it all. I made more money than I spent for the first time ever. Maybe I've learned how to draft. Maybe I've learned not to overthink.

I won all four games this week. The tightest match was won with a combination of Golden Tate and Joique Bell. Calvin Johnson helped me win another.



My two teams that didn't win it all last year were quarterbacked by Matthew Stafford and tanked at the end of the year when he did.

I say to the Lions like Cheech once said to his cheeks: "Keep it together."

#2 Steve Smith is Still a Beast

I thought Steve Smith was getting old and starting to disappear. He kept getting quieter and quieter in Carolina.

In his 14th year and with a new team, Smith is not being gentle. He tells Pacman Jones to go make it rain someplace else and stay out of his way.

I added him on a couple teams. If Joe Flacco wants to throw 62 times a game, Smith has a spot on the Creepers.

#3 Another Story about the Ravens

And here's my obligatory Ray Rice mention:

Amazing it took over half a year for the public to see video from inside the elevator when the feed from outside the elevator was available instantly. Someone was concealing evidence and the NFL was not pushing hard enough to find it.

I'm shocked that Roger Goodell went from the No Fun League's Grand Inquisitor to a wrist slapper in just a few years. He's like the dad that wore himself out disciplining his eldest child and lets the youngest do whatever.

How do you make a disciplinary decision without seeing that video? You know it's someplace. You run a multi-billion dollar corporation. Use your weight.

But after everyone messed up at least a little, the right thing has been done. Ray's out of the sport and the league is mobilized against domestic violence like they'll be saving the tatas in October.

#4 Pickups this Week

In addition to grabbing Steve Smith if he's available, I like Justin Forsett at least a little this week. With only a few days before facing Pittsburgh, I think he stays hot and Bernard Pierce takes a few more days to get out of the doghouse.

Kelvin Benjamin did good with Derek Anderson at QB. With Cam Newton coming back, he should do better.

Markus Wheaton will find space opposite Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger is bringing Pittsburgh's offense back around.

Ahmad Bradshaw just won't stay down. From cracked feet to neck surgery, Bradshaw has seen a lot of Ps and Qs with some Os. Yet here he is, with 85 yards on 8 touches against a much improved Broncos' defense. He gets Philly this week. If he stays healthy and Trent Richardson slips, he could get 20 touches or more a game. He can still break tackles and outrun defenders.

#5 Things I don't Believe

Neither Ben Tate, Terrance West or Isaiah Crowell emerge as an important fantasy back unless two are hurt.

Allen Hurns will not bust long touchdowns every week. 4 catches on 9 targets? Almost invisible in the second half? I don't trust deep-ball dependent receivers. I don't like whack-a-mole.

The NFL and NFLPA will not radically restructure their drug legislation in the middle of the season. They'll do it, but not until they have time to focus on it. Too many arguments over the details will keep this from going down until the offseason. So don't expect Josh Gordon's suspension to go bye-bye that fast.

I won't be trading Percy Harvin for Larry Fitzgerald and Keenan Allen. Not only do I believe Percy is set to have a huge year, but I roll deep at receiver. I don't need to divide one great receiver into two good ones. But thanks for asking.

I have a side-bet in the East Crown league with a co-worker over which one of us earns the most total points this year. I asked him today what's that guy with mismatched shoes that scores field goals. "A kicker?" he replied. I told him he should own one. Trying to beat me in points with no kicker on the squad? I'm ahead by 29, so far.

#6 Why did Andy Grab Josh Gordon in Every League?

I look up and a buddy in three of my leagues snaked Josh Gordon in each one of them. He's one of the savviest FF players I know. The best sportswriter in the world not writing about sports. When he speaks, he delivers opinion, history and stats without a teleprompter or even thinking about it.

So when he does something like that, I wonder what he knows that I don't. Hours later, I hear about the possible restructure of the NFL drug policy. Oh, that's what he knows.

I don't think it will happen soon enough, but Andy will be ready if it does.

#7 Defenses I Like

I like Philly against the Jags last week and it was a good idea in the second half. Versus Indy this week? Not so much.

So Philly's getting dropped. I like Houston against Oakland, not just because I like picking on the Raiders. Only partly.

I like Green Bay against the Jets. Geno Smith will turn it over against a pissed-off Packers' team. They don't like what Seattle just did to them.

I like Arizona against the Giants. Eli Manning and his squad looked really sloppy. Arizona, despite all the losses on defense, looked good. Larry Foote was flying around, making plays and leading the troops. It didn't look like the Cardinals were weak at ILB.

I even like Tennessee against Dallas. This could go one of two ways. Tony Romo could be cracked and throw more ugly, early interceptions. Or, he could get the air power going for about 95% of the game before blowing it at the end. Do what your gut says.

#8 Percy

Since the moment Seattle traded for Percy Harvin, I've been excited to see how he would open up the Seahawks' offense. After jet sweeps and read options against Green Bay, you can see how disruptive Harvin in motion can be. Him in a wing formation behind Russell Wilson is making 31 defensive coordinators seasick this week.

Double digit touches weekly? I think so, with about 10% of them going big. A good thing for Marshawn too. The rest of Seattle's playmakers will split the other third of the ball, however. Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin will be an occasional flash.

#9 Michael Sam Just Needed a Lousier Defense

Michael Sam got drafted onto one of the best defensive lines in the game. He stood little chance of making the Rams' team. Already they had 8 defensive linemen likely to make the team.

Give him a chance on a horrible defense? Presto, he has a job. And he deserves a shot. He works hard. And he did it the right way.

Just when NFL teams were getting over the Super Bowl and thinking about the draft, Sam stepped up and said: "No surprises. Draft me knowing that I'm gay." By the time rookie camp was starting, all the media blah-blah had died down a little and it was mostly about the football.

ESPN wouldn't stay out of his shower, but that's what they do.

#10 When You've Been in the Restaurant Business Too Long...

I called my dog "Corner" the other night.

In the hospitality biz, we say "corner" all the time when walking around a bend so we don't crash into each other. At my job, I need to say it 3 times just to drop off a dirty plate. I say it hundreds of times a week.

I was playing frisbee with my dog at the local middle school. We came around the building. I got the leash out and called him "Corner". Like a good dog, he knew what I meant, forgave me and walked home with me anyway.

Sorry, Oli.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Green Bay Packers Unpacked

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

Old women don't care much about pre-season games. They have learned don't bother unless it counts... in everything.

Back in the rec room at the home, all wearing Seahawks T-shirts now, the old women troop in with more food than anyone can eat, including the lone old man in the back. They all bring the excitement and nervous laughs that precede every game. But this year, so much more is riding on their expectations. All remember poor showings from former Seahawks teams. They need winners. Old women are familiar with loss. They withstand and endure and soldier on, but that doesn't mean they like it.

The old women comment on their boys that are missing. Golden Tate was a favorite. One woman said Tate was just plain cute. Walter Thurmond too, even though he was a screw up. If you're using drugs, don't get caught.

The women weren't too sure about the Packers. Oh, they thought Aaron Rodgers was kind of nice to look at, especially every time he overthrew a receiver or got sacked. No sympathy here for a kid who was so outclassed by their Russell Wilson. Packers getting any score on the board was met with anxious screams, but with kicker Steve Hauschka's perfect field goal, they calmed down and breathed a sigh of relief that all would be well. Of course again when Steve was in kicking position, many somewhat risque comments were made about his great long legs.

The old women stop talking only when plays are being run. If there are ten women in the room, there are five completely different conversations going around the room. The old man in the back of the room is in on all of it, enjoying his exclusive status. He does have helpful knowledge of the game but the women are quick to shut him down if they think he is showing off or talking down to them. There are limits of tolerance. Old women have much experience with overbearing men and do not suffer them gladly.

He did make one comment about seeing an uncalled Packer foul that made the women howl with laughter. He yelled that he could see the foul and he was miles away.

Marshawn Lynch was just doing his job with Packers hanging off of him. The old women counted the Packer defenders he dragged along with him. Remarks about him earning his pay were common. Yet when he got hit especially hard by the Green Bay defense, one old woman jumped up, hands on ample hips and screamed: “Stop it boys! Don't make me come over there!” A Mom thing.

Cleaning up the room and carefully saving left-over food, the talk was mostly about their Russell and how the California surfer boy, Coach Pete Carroll, still is classy and so good at what he does. Bringing fifty some young men with such passion and egos into a cohesive working and winning force is no small feat for any coach. Carroll has and is succeeding. Some old women know that drive. Some never had it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week One

The Creeper Report returns for its second season. Last year it sprawled and wandered across The Penalty Flag, covering the usual fantasy football topics and including a cigar review and a limerick.

Since then, I've dumped TPF, dabbled with RantSports, and have decided to post it here at Eighty Six the Poet. I'm too late to talk draft strategy, although I've written some articles and slideshows on the topic for Rant.

Drafts have happened. It's time to play the game.

My Leagues

East Crown: My free friends and family league returns, still with a strong representation from the Czech republic. Last year I started 2-6 after drafting Michael Vick then starting Geno Smith and Nick Foles at all the wrong times. With the help of Josh McCown, some crafty pickups and a humidor full of luck, I won every game from Week 9 one and stole the championship. My wife led the league from wire to wire until she tangled with me in the playoffs. Sorry, lasko.

Last year East Crown had 16 teams with huge benches. This year, only 10 teams and a bench of 5. Gotta be shrewd with pickups and drops.

Andy's League: The guy that go me into all this. Some of the players have changed, but I've been in one of his leagues for 8 years. He plays it straight forward with non-funky scoring and no gimmicks. The owners here know what they're doing and are quick to make smart pickups. Last year I made the playoffs, but swirled down the drain with Matthew Stafford.

Nate's League: I've been in this league 3 years now. The scoring is also non-weird, but this was my first exposure to IDP. I'm still not an expert with them. I usually pick a quality guy and stick with him. If he doesn't create turnovers or get sacks or end up in the end-zone this week, he should next week, right? Nate does start 3 WRs and 2 RBs with one flex, so it's important to be a little receiver heavy.

Bethanie's League: I've played with her but never in a league run by her. She's being adventurous with the scoring. Completions are worth 1 point. Carries are .5. Receptions are worth 2. I'm glad I thunked about this pre-draft. It seems obvious to me WRs will outscore RBs and QBs will outscore everyone. So I went Peyton Manning in the first followed by 3 WRs. I may be the only one to change draft strategies radically.

I may have given myself a big advantage. Stay tuned.

So Who Did I Draft?

I stayed with my strategy of loading up on wide receivers and running backs. As usual, I did not draft a defense or kicker and picked a tight end late.

I feel Russell Wilson was heavily undervalued and was happy to take him in the 7th round in every league but Bethanie's. Yes, I'm a Seahawks fan and I love the guy that brought us our first Super Bowl, but I also objectively think he'll have a great statistical year.

I reached for Percy Harvin, too. I hope I'm not a tremendous homer.

I did avoid Marshawn Lynch, who I love but I don't think he puts up huge numbers again.

I was big on Victor Cruz for a bounce-back year and I like Rashad Jennings to flourish with the Giants. I also felt Martellus Bennett was undervalued and was glad to grab him late twice.

The Mess with Wes

What the hell, Denver? So your kicker and slot receiver are both in trouble for substance abuse? Matt Prater and Wes Welker are both out for 4 games. They call Welker's suspension a PED thing because of the amphetamines in his ecstasy, but partying at the Kentucky Derby is partying.

I won't over-react to a breaking news story. Wes says the sample was tainted and he'd never put anything like that in his body. I've always respected him as a hard-working professional who excelled despite not having great measurables. We'll see how it pans out.

But for fantasy purposes, this is good for Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer. I found them both available in most of my leagues and stashed them despite my preexisting WR depth. Jacob Tamme gets a boost, too. Emmanuel Sanders is no longer a question.

Defenses I Like

Some good teams playing bad ones this week. It's hard to say what defenses outside the marquis few will be any good this year, but calling offenses that are a mile from being decent is not so hard. Jacksonville will not come together soon. Neither will Cleveland or Buffalo, so grab Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Chicago if they're around.

Philly is starting on every one of my teams.

Who's Running the Rogue Program Now?

After suspensions to Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Bruce Irvin, plus Richard Sherman's successful appeal, folks were muttering about the shady camp Pete Carroll was running in Seattle. Jim Harbaugh even said: "You want to be above reproach, especially when you're good, because you don't want people to come back and say, 'They're winning because they're cheating.'"

With Aldon Smith suspended for 9 games and Ray McDonald becoming the pioneer of Roger Goodell's new domestic violence rules, who's above reproach now? The only noise from Seattle's camp was a made up accusation against Marshawn Lynch. The 49ers have a player beating a pregnant woman and another guilty of DUI, weapons charges and being stupid in an airport.

Reel it in, Coach Harbaugh. This one's getting away.

What did I say about the Seahawks looking more stable than the 49ers? San Francisco fans were all pissed off. Too bad I was right.

Just when I thought the NFC West was going to be the strongest division in football, the 49ers' defense is collapsing, the Cardinals have losses on D and the Rams lose Sam Bradford. Get well soon, Sam. Calais Campbell too.

And Stay Tuned for Next Week

Not too much fantasy football writing to do after the draft yet before the season. Next week I'll have more to work with. I promise to go off on more tangents.

I'll put in some study for the cigar review.

Good luck and happy creepings.