Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 9

None of it was easy to watch. Nothing came without struggle and stress. It was like watching a monkey order sushi.

But the Seattle Seahawks won and The Creepers went 4-0. Three of my teams did it with below average numbers from Russell Wilson. The other team did it with sub-superhuman performances from Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas.

(My son called him Delaryius. I told him it was Hilaryius.)

Never forget about the unusual rules. Bethanie's league (which features PP-Everything including kick return yardage AKA the league that made Jordan Todman the #3 overall RB in Week 4 thanks to 174 kick return yards) allows only 4 roster moves a week and has a bench of only 4 players. I'm a guy who habitually makes a bunch of moves early in the week. I had to use my last roster move to replace Paul Posluszny at IDP. I was forced to choose between Reggie Bush or Trent Richardson at RB2. One of those guys put on a uniform this week. Neither played.

Thanks to Antonio Brown, all was forgiven.

After 8 weeks, The Creepers are 5-3, 6-2, 5-2-1 and 7-1. My worst record is in my only free league.

So you should listen to at least a tiny bit of what I have to say.

Ten things about fantasy football and the ripples it causes:

#1 Time to Dump Percy Harvin?

Last week I declared that Week 8, 2014, would be the best game of the rest of Percy Harvin's career. 50 total yards on 7 touches? Yup, that could be it. The quarterback he left Russell Wilson for threw 3 picks in 8 passes in the first quarter and got yanked forever. Michael Vick is starting next week. The New York Jets are a train wreck that crashed into a dumpster fire.

Pick a team. Any team. Could Percy have gone to a worse team? You know I hate the Oakland Raiders, but even they have a good young quarterback and acknowledge that they're rebuilding. Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are good enough and finally realized yesterday he has no QB of the future.

This was the worst move possible for Percy. He'll realize that within days, pull a Randy Moss/Oakland Raiders and shut himself down for the rest of the season. He'll try to stay healthy, get cut and look for a new team next year.

Meanwhile, it was...

#2 The Best Move for the Seahawks

Being the defending champs predicted to repeat just didn't suit that team. They won the Super Bowl because no one thought they could and they went to work every day to prove everyone wrong.

After Gregg Easterbrook of Tuesday Morning Quarterback pointed out that a 3-3 team had a 1% chance of winning the Super Bowl, the Seahawks were again in familiar territory. When an underdog gets on top, it gets lost.

Last year began with a dirty 12-7 win in Carolina. Seattle spent the rest of the year scratching and clawing for respect. This week's 13-9 victory over the same team, also capped with a late Russell Wilson touchdown pass, should start another run for redemption.

Coming along with all the Harvin fallout is more blah-blah about locker room discord, including talk about Russell not being black enough, working too hard and being the coach's pet.

Anyone complaining about the franchise quarterback working too hard and being tight with the coach can go look for pirate treasure at the bottom of the Puget Sound. As for not being black enough? Sounds like the sort of stereotyping successful black men resent. I'm as white as a sack of flour, but that statement doesn't sound right.

My time in the unrewarding world of sports writing has taught me that writers need to write. Today and now. Their words, whether true or not, need to cause sparks and flames to be valuable. Otherwise they're just more bubbles in the waterfall that is the internet.

It was true about me and it's true about most of them: they don't know anything except what bounces around the web. They seize on a quote, a stat or an inference and try to make it go viral before anyone else does.

I tried it. Can you believe I wasted your time with this? But I had to. Forced to write every day, I tried to be TMZ Jr.

Good win, Seattle. I promise to ignore as much digital pulp as I can.

#3 Running Backs You Should Be Watching

I try to avoid New Orleans Saints running backs. Drew Brees has that annoying habit of being very good at passing and spreading the ball all over. You never know who's getting fed that day. But now because of injuries, Mark Ingram is getting his chances. He exploded on Green Bay for 172 yards. The Saints get the Panthers thursday night. With a short turn around, I expect Ingram to remain hot and New Orleans to stay with him.

I try to avoid New England backs for nearly the same reasons. Bill Belichick is tough to predict. Jonas Gray dominated the run game, but Shane Vereen is just as likely to get the ball next week against Denver. The Patriots will find themselves in a shootout and Tom Brady will be throwing rather than handing off. I'd hate to have to roll the dice on Gray or Vereen.

Lorenzo Taliaferro keeps getting the dirty work while Justin Forsett gets the flashy stuff. Bernard Pierce is getting spoonfuls of Alpo. Lorenzo is one injury away from bubbling to the top in Baltimore.

Theo Riddick, a converted wide receiver, did his best Reggie Bush impression while Reggie was out. He'll continue that role if Bush does not mend soon. The Lions have a bye this week, so Week 10 may not be Riddick's, but keep an eye on him.

#4 My Fantasy Fantasy League

I dream about a fantasy league of the absurd. One in which you attempt to predict the most ridiculous and undesirable things.

You would have a penalty team on your squad that would earn you points based on number of penalties allotted, penalty yardage and points called back due to penalty.

You wouldn't select a team defense, but an offense. Your defense would be whoever was playing against your offense. I'm taking the Raiders in the dynasty version.

You'd get points every time your player appeared on "C'mon, Man" or "Not Top Ten".

You'd get points for dropped passes and interceptions.

Wardrobe malfunctions, definitely.

Injuring yourself while celebrating would earn huge bonuses.

Of course you'd have a punter.

How should we award points to your cheerleading squad?

But who would host such a league? I'm not flashing back to the early days of fantasy sports and doing all the math with a newspaper.

What other absurdist categories could we use?

#5 Defenses I Like

Thanks, Miami, for mauling the Jaguars in all 4 of my leagues. Did anyone notice me looking smart for a minute? But it's time to move over, Dolphins. You get San Diego next. Welcome to Dropsville.

The answer to the obvious next question is Cincinnati. I'm picking them up everywhere I can. The Bengals play better at home and should mow Jacksonville down.

If Kansas City is free in your league, grab them because they get the Jets. At least the Jags are trying.

Cleveland versus Tampa Bay is worth a shot.

Not many other juicy match-ups this week. Many of the lousier teams are playing defenses already largely owned. Seattle at Oakland? Tasty.

#6 Wide Receivers You Should Be Watching

Martavis Bryant may have been a lucky recipient of a freak Ben Roethlisberger game, but the rookie is working his way more and more into the game plan. The Steelers even have a package featuring him in the backfield. They want to get him the ball.

Donte Moncrief made 7 grabs for 113 and a score playing catch-up with the Steelers. Andrew Luck and Eli Manning could get slingy. With Reggie Wayne less than 100%, Donte could remain in the sun.

Andrew Hawkins just keeps catching passes. 36 for 470 but only one score. He's a small slot guy at 5'7". I have a blind spot for the Browns. I haven't wanted to believe in them all year. But Hawkins is staying in the picture.

Odell Beckham gets to start opposite Rueben Randle. Fresh off the bye, he could make an impact against Indianapolis.

#7 Players I'm Not Getting Back Yet

Rashad Jennings is still recovering from his knee issue. After the bye, he still may not play against the Colts. That leaves rookie Andre Williams in a choice role. He'll be riding with me this week.

Montee Ball may be back for Week 9, but Ronnie Hillman's success has hurt Ball. His hands and breakaway speed have fit perfectly into Manning's attack. Ball may be relegated to goal-line vulture when he returns.

The Lions have been cautious with Calvin Johnson. After the bye, we should see caution get flushed and Megatron get back to business. I think Golden Tate continues to thrive.

#8 Victor Sinclair Comes To Visit

The big fat ones with the red band.
Fed up with my primitive sponge humidifier, I finally decided to go with a Xikar Gel Jar. In order to qualify for a $5 discount, I needed to spend $25. After much hunting and searching, I selected a Victor Sinclar 10 cigar sampler.

They were less than $2 a pop, delivered. I'm intrigued. An array of oscuro, maduro and corojo sticks with one Connecticut lancero. Mostly my type with some variety thrown in.

The first to ignite was the Cabinet 99 Red. It's a chubby boy, at 5.7" and over 60 ring gauge. Not the deep earthy style that is my true love, but leathery and rich with a certain tea-leaf flavor without being too herbal.

I liked it, but it didn't burn great. I had to touch it with the flame a few times to keep it even. Eventually it took on those stagnant flavors of a cigar not burning evenly and I chucked it before it reached my knuckles. Now, I did smoke it right out of the package. Cigars always burn and taste better after some time in the box.

Fortunately, 2 came in the sampler. I'll let it sit for a couple months and revisit.

#9 86 the Rub Gets its First International Order

My sister-in-law and her husband (aka Shark as Muffie and Vinor Bastards of the East Crown league) just had a little daughter in Prague. We sent them a package of gifts. One request they had? Some of my barbecue rub.

I buzzed them up a batch and sealed it in a zip-loc bag. I wonder what the dogs at the airport thought about that. Get a deep whiff of that chili powder, Fido. Maybe smugglers are getting creative, mixing sea salt and ginger with their drugs.

I use the stuff for everything. I have photos ready to post a recipe for Three Shadows Chicken Thighs. I just haven't got around to it. Then a Writer Access client was looking for easy football snack recipes. I'm going to give them a version of that recipe. I just need a football name and theme other than Three Shadows.

If you're fast, you can help. I'm writing it up tonight. Give me a title. Touchdown Chicken Thighs? Too easy. Help me out.

#10 Still Picking on Percy

Wanna be a Jet:
I can catch Geno passes
For fifteen minutes.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Honorable mentions for the featured sushi monkey image:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Rammed

Contributed by Kathe Frahm.

The old women knew that their boys could beat the loser St. Louis Rams.
After the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the old women were in need of some reassurance that their team was OK. Dallas played good football. Scary football.

Fewer old women traipsed into the rec room for the Rams game. Comments were made that those not there were a bunch of 'fair weather sissy fans'. No old men showed up for this game and when the women met them in the halls at the home they already said the Seattle Seahawks were just a flash in the pan. Not even the free food brought the old men in.

The old woman who left some leftover little cupcakes in the rec room freezer after the Cowboys game was really not surprised that they were gone. Old men and women take advantage of what they can. This is learned behavior. Lives of privation make this easy. No one really got upset about it. They probably had all been there. She went upstairs and got a box of store-bought Halloween cookies to share.

Austin Davis, the Rams' QB, looked to be another easy baby-faced target for the 'Hawks defense. The old women's confidence began to waver a little when it was plain the Hawks were in trouble at the half, down 21 to 6. It did get better when Russell Wilson took over the game with 313 passing yards and 3 tds. Screaming and yelling gave a little life to the room. The old women believed that their boys would pull off a win and get a lead in the NFC West even though 4 of their favorite boys were out with injuries: C Max Unger, TE Zach Miller, CB Byron Maxwell and LB Bobby Wagner. Missing these big boys was worrisome.

What they couldn't see was the little Rams WR, Tavon Austin, who faked a fair catch on a John Ryan punt and the 'Hawks defenders had to just try and catch up to receiver Stedman Bailey, who ran 90 yards for a TD. This and what the old women believed was an unfair call on a Richard Sherman fumble recovery with about 1 minute to go convinced them that their boys had to play against the referees as well.

The old women left the rec room more dismayed and a little sad after this loss. It was supposed to be a cake walk to hand the Rams another defeat and move up in the NFC West. Even though many of them have had a lot of practice at losing, they still don't like it.

This time the old woman who brought the Halloween cookies took the leftovers home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 8

The Creepers came within 6 feet of 4-0. Had Heath Miller only gained 2 more yards, I wouldn't have lost by 1/10 of a point to my old college buddy. What's up, Rod Dog? I'm sure I did something to deserve it back in '95.

Come on, stat corrections. Nothing better than winning a fantasy football game in the middle of the week.

At least the loss was in my only free league. In my 3 pay leagues, I'm holding tough at 6-1, 5-2 and 4-2-1. Creep on creepin' on. Roll with the punches.

This puts some frosting on the sour pill that was the Seattle Seahawks' game. I could taste it. Seattle was rolling. They got the defensive stop they needed and were about to get the ball back. Russell Wilson had the offense cooking and a game winning field goal was almost on my tongue.

Then that Skittle turned out to be an aspirin.

So let's get to it. 10 things about this week in fantasy football, non-fantasy football and things that are not important, like real life:

1. Jeff Fisher's Testicles are Actually Giant Brains

What the hell is a fake punt return? I'm familiar with fake punts, fake spikes, fake orgasms (I've heard of them), fake lady parts and fake-and-bake. Yet I woke up Sunday morning unaware of fake punt returns.

Now I know. So do the Seahawks.

My wife wondered why the punt return team wasn't watching the ball instead of the St. Louis Rams. If you're looking up while running down on kick coverage, someone is going to end you. So you run to the punt returner and avoid the assembling blockers. Then the ball goes to the other side of the field, where one lonely gunner takes the ball the distance. You, the cameraman and gaggle of 12s are trying to figure out what happened.

Really brilliant, Mr. Fisher. You did your homework, guided your squad and executed a crazy one.

Then later on you had the huevos to attempt a fake punt from your own 18. The balls or the brains? Some of each, but in truth, you hardly had a choice. With just under 3 minutes to go, the Rams were doomed if they punted it.

Russell was on fire. All he had to do was move the ball within Steven Hauschka's ample range and the game was over. If the Rams punt the ball they probably lose.

But execute a fake punt and you win. No doubt. Unless something crazy happens like Tre Mason fumbles the ball away.

I'll admit I can't remember a Seahawks' loss that stung so bad. Nice work. Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel deserves a lot of credit, too.

See you Week 17 in Seattle, you magnificent bastards.

2. What About the 3-3 Seahawks?

Like Aaron Rodgers said: Relax. We're behind the shockingly 5-1 Arizona Cardinals and the 4-3 San Francisco 49ers. We play both of them twice and have four games to get our feces consolidated before that happens. We have good players and we've jettisoned Percy Harvin.

So a star newcomer has beef with Russell Wilson, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin? Two times (and one preseason game) when the team is putting together a comeback he decides he doesn't want to play? Get out. Get your things and go or we'll burn them for you. A draft pick in return? We'll give you him and a draft pick. You wan't to take his salary?


So I was right about Russell Wilson being a fantasy star this year. By ESPN scoring, he's the #5 quarterback. I'm happy I reached for him and own him in 3 leagues.

I was wrong about Percy Harvin being one. I figured the move to a Super Bowl contender with a great quarterback would cure his attitude problems. I still don't think he's more injury prone than the next guy. I think he doesn't want to play, which is the difference between being on the field and being in the trainer's room sometimes.

Get Doug Baldwin on your squad. He always has something to prove. Now he's proving that the Seahawks don't need Percy. His 7 catches for 123 and a score were not a fluke. He wants it and he gets what he wants.

Very cool seeing Christine Michael get some touches. Don't do anything yet, but keep your eye on him.

The next 3 games (@ Panthers, home versus Raiders and Giants) should give Seattle a chance to get things right.

The true problem, and the reason I don't draft defenses, is Seattle's defense. They need to shake things up. Remember last year when the amazing thing was that they played base defense and got things done with man-to-man coverage? Not the case this year. They need to start blitzing, mixing up coverage and surprising teams.

3. Percy and the Jets

I hope you read the 3 pieces I did regarding the Harvin trade. Look at me: I was being topical and timely. As a fantasy owner, don't give up on him yet. He's about to have the biggest game of the season.

It's honeymoon time in New Jersey. The Jets need to prove they made a good decision. They'll pump Percy the ball like he was back in Minnesota. At least this week. Then he'll realize he hates Geno Smith and that 1-6 means 1-6. He'll try to get out before long. Week 8 is the best game of the rest of his career.

Week 8, 2014, will be the best game of the rest of Percy Harvin's career. Cut and paste that.

Ride it while you can and then make your own plans for Week 9. Thankfully, he's only on one of my squads. But he's starting.

Chris Ivory should get a momentary boost from this. He came up big for me this week, although I had little faith in the Jets and started him with reservations. Expect some of that jet sweep/read option stuff that worked for Marshawn Lynch early in the year.

As for Jeremy Kerley, Eric Decker and the rest of them? They get musty in Harvin's shadow for a week. As for the rest? Let's talk about it next week.

4. Some Good Running Back Pickups this Week

The waiver wire has potential. I hated to see it, but Tre Mason looked good and it's easy to drop Zac Stacy now. Benny Cunningham is worth a look, particularly in that kick return yardage league I'm in.

Denard Robinson took over the running back role in Jacksonville. Although I feel nothing good about the Jaguars, except playing defense against them, Robinson is intriguing because he's listed as a WR/RB. He's an instant flex and a big play threat. He'll be a handy bench asset.

Jerick McKinnon seized the starting job from Matt Asiata. Again, I don't feel good about many things Viking, but starting running backs are worth grabbing when they come available.

Anthony Dixon is almost the only back left for Buffalo now that Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are both hurt. We're continuing the theme of starting runners for questionable offenses here.

5. Speaking of Defenses against Jacksonville...

I like Miami against the Jaguars. Blake Bortles is still throwing interceptions. Yeah, they slapped up the Browns last week, but prove me wrong this week.

Yeah, the Cleveland Browns got slapped up this week, but they get the Raiders this week. My FF Defense Rule #1 is: play against the Raiders. Does Cleveland give another team their first win? At least get some sacks and turnovers on your way there.

If you got to, take Houston against Tennessee. Sure, they have JJ Watt, but they don't seem to be able to play a whole game of good defense.

6. Congratulations, Elliott Nix

Thursday, Elliott Nix became the first person ever to ask me online for fantasy advice. He wanted to know if he should start Brandon Bolden or James Jones. Too bad he asked me minutes before the Patriots' game and I was unable to respond in time. Maybe not too bad, because as a Raider Hater I would have told him to go with Bolden, who ended up with 1 catch for 4 yards.

Well, James Jones caught 4 passes for 35 yards. Hope that didn't sway it for you. Did I mention I lost by 1/10 of a point this week?

But thanks for asking and keep reading. Give me a little more lead time and I'll give you some advice worth ignoring.

7. I Have Given Up on Being an Author

No I haven't. I wrote 4 ebooks in the last few years. Somehow I never mention them. The covers and links are on this blog somewhere. Life is conspiring against me. Kids, work and my new freelance writing thing have eaten all my creative writing time. The only creative things I've written in the past year have been slam pieces.

I should YouTube those. I'll whisper them into the webcam when the shorties are sleeping.

Find me on Smashwords. I'm on Amazon, too, but I'm such an underdog fan I'm drawn to Smashwords. Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo truly reads better on paper. It's a collection of 10 line stanzas and ereaders just don't show it right.

I thank you in advance.

8. Paul Richardson

The Percy Harvin trade, among other things, is a compliment to Paul Richardson. The speedy rookie is more than just a burner. He runs tight routes, catches tough passes, shows good footwork near the sidelines and was impressive in the preseason. He's been mostly invisible until Harvin was gone. He's done everything but go deep in a game.

Richardson is the new Harvin, only young and humble. In my deeper leagues, I've added him. Maybe it's a hometown move, but I think he could become a factor later in the year.

9. ¡Jesus Fuego! That's a good cigar.

In my last sampler, a very pleasant surprise was the Jesus Fuego Corojo Oscuro Toro.

At 6" x 50, it's a meaty smoke without being chubby. The light and burn were perfectly smooth. The flavor was not my typical style. It's woodsy and leathery with a certain rich tea leaf flavor. Normally, I'm a squid ink maduro guy. But I like this one a lot. It was a good break from my normal, though not too far away, and exactly why you need to try random stuff sometimes. I was unfamiliar with the brand, but now I'll perk up when I hear the name.

And ¡Jesus Fuego! just became my new favorite way to use the Lord's name in vain. I pledge to work it into conversation as often as I can.

"¡Jesus Fuego! Heath Miller couldn't get me pinche dos fantasy points?"

10. Harvin gets a Haiku

I need a new team.
One that loses and likes it
When I cry and punch.

Good luck and happy creepings.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Percy and the Jets Part Three: What it Means for Fantasy Football Owners

Percy and the Jets...

Again robbing Elton John and forgetting to mention Bernie Taupin

Sure the Percy Harvin trade affects real football teams and actual business owners. But what about what really matters? Fantasy football.

One of my four Creepers teams owns Percy. First of all, he's not playing this week. What do I do this week, what do I do next week and how does this whole chunk of mayhem affect the entire fantasy world from here on out?

As mentioned in the latest Creeper Report, Rueben Randle will see more action with Victor Cruz out. I'm plugging him into Harvin's spot in Andy's League. On a wide-receiver deep lineup, I also have Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate and Kelvin Benjamin starting with Chris Ivory and Lamar Miller at running back. I'm looking to be sure that Kelvin plays despite his concussion. I may have to audible in a few hours.

Next week, when Harvin first puts on a Jets' uniform against the Buffalo Bills, I'm sure New York will try to prove they made a good choice. They'll get the ball in Percy's hands. He'll see double digit touches. Start him and expect his best game of the year.

After that? I don't expect him to stay happier with the Jets than he was with the Seahawks. I don't believe in the Jets' offense. The Bills' game could be his best.

I think it will be a good move for Chris Ivory. You'll see some of the same jet sweep/read option stuff Seattle ran with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Harvin will create space and distractions for Ivory. His value will increase.

If you ever thought Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley were startable, stop. They just got pushed toward the rear. One of them may even get punched out.

If you had to consider starting Geno Smith and think Percy may help his fantasy value, quit and get involved in fantasy hockey now. As I said in Part Two, Geno's getting a screen pass to Percy picked for six in the next couple weeks.

Regarding Seattle, the team will come out as happy as you've seen them in a long time. Marshawn and Russell have big days against the Rams. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are on the edge of startable. Depends on your team and the depth of the league. Both guys are capable of very useful 6 point games. Yet touchdowns can happen, too.

I'd wait to see what the Seahawks' offense looks like post-Percy before getting too bold.

I added Paul Richardson in two of my leagues. The ones with the deep benches. The other two have benches of four or five.

I think the Percy trade is a vote of confidence for Richardson. Would you pay a speedy receiver a ton of money to create bad chemistry or choose a cheaper speedster whole create none of it?

I'm stashing Richardson way down deep in case I become right.

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Roped and Tied

Contributed by Kathe Frahm.

The old women walked into the rec room. They brought more food and candy than usual. There were more old men at this game so not much
food went to waste.

They had good times before the game deriding the Dallas Cowboys. The old women told of their dislike for Texas, Texans and the Cowboys, especially QB Tony Romo, another 30+ Quarterback hanging on to play a younger man's game. They were hoping he'd fumble a snap and he did.

The old women heard all the hype about how good the Cowboys' defensive line was. They also believe their Seattle Seahawks could handle anything the Cowboys threw at them. They were wrong. Partway through the first quarter, a feeling of unease went around the rec room. One old woman went to her room to put on her lucky Seahawk T-shirt; another went to get her lucky 'Hawk socks. When they returned to the rec room, they hoped that a little good mojo might help their boys.
The old women were relieved that Steve Hauschka got off an early field goal.

That was a usual start to a winning game. But they worried that their boys were intimidated by the Cowboys defensive line. Russell Wilson was harassed and stopped almost completely. Even Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin were held to unimpressive yardage. The old women saw that their 'Hawks weren't having any fun. This was not good. The Cowboys, on the other hand , showed every 12th fan at Century Link Field just how much fun they were having.

The old men in the room yelled at Russell and the Seahawks' offense to man up and move in on the Texas front line and for the defense to not let Demarcus Murray get loose for a big gain. They complained that Murray running for another 100 yards almost untouched made the 'Hawks look like Junior Varsity.

The old women told the men to stop yelling and get a positive attitude.

Often in the lives of old women at the home they'll speak of what they've lost.

Perhaps the 'Hawks losing when they were supposed to win stirred memories of the helplessness they went through when they could see the losses coming . They've lost children, homes, health, husbands, and with that, the loss of security, finance and family, but they've endured. At least here at the home, with the Seahawks and each other the old women are not completely alone. Someone is nearby to comfort and bring a cookie when sadness takes over.

The old women figure the St. Louis Rams, at 1-4, will be more fun to play. Some in the room remember when the Rams were in LA and played at the Colosseum. There were big stars in those days like Merlin Olson, Rosey Grier, Roman Gabriel, Deacon Jones. Though the Rams left LA in '94, the ghosts of an exciting Southern California football team remain.

Today, the St. Louis Rams have 6 or 7 quarterbacks to use. The old women think it would be fun to run through them all.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Percy and the Jets Part Two: What it Means for the New York Jets

He's got electric boots a mohair suit.
You know I read it in a magazine...
Percy and the Jets.
(Still ripping off Elton John.)

The 1-6 New York Jets pulled off the huge Percy Harvin trade with the Seattle Seahawks, assuming Percy's passing a physical right now. He was previously listed as Questionable for the St. Louis Rams game with a thigh injury. Probably not the sort of thing that nullifies a trade.

This whole thing would make much more sense in reverse. A team that won't make the playoffs swaps talent this year for a draft pick next year. A Super Bowl contender adds one more weapon for the post-season run. Seattle giving up talent at this point doesn't make sense.

On the surface.

Reports are now bubbling up about Harvin's fights with Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. About arguments with Russell Wilson. About Harvin not wanting to get back into the game against the Dallas Cowboys.

If you have beef with hard working team-players who helped my favorite team get a Super Bowl ring, if you aren't interested in being part of a comeback victory, then get the hell out.

But this is about the Jets. NYJ GM John Idzik, and former Seahawks vice president, has been criticized for not getting enough talent in the off-season. He started the year with about $20 million in cap space. Both he and Rex Ryan are on the hot seat.

How is Idzik trying to cool his seat? Big trade. Yet I don't see it coming soon enough to help a 1-6 team. Can the Jets with Percy Harvin with 8 or 9 of the remaining games and burn rubber into the playoffs? Nah.

So what will the Jets look like with Percy? (The fantasy football implications are coming in part 3.)

Look to see the Jets mimic the jet screen/read option stuff Seattle used with Marshawn Lynch. Chris Ivory does a respectable Beast Mode impression. The Jets will have to prove the trade was a good move. They will certainly force the ball to Percy next week against the Buffalo Bills.

I don't think this makes Geno Smith a great quarterback suddenly, although a screen pass that Percy breaks for a touchdown looks good on the stat line.

My prediction, sometime in the next couple weeks, a defender jumps a screen to Percy and takes one of Geno's telegraphed passes the other way for six. Watch for it.

This feels like a desperate move for the Jets. It's a great bit of math for the Seahawks. At 3-2 including a home loss to Dallas, obviously the Seahawks aren't playing up to their potential. If Harvin's attitude was part of the problem, then this is a brilliant move. Subtracting him while adding a draft pick and increasing the amount of money for Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright and other contract moves next year is beautiful.

Did Idzik just help Pete Carroll and John Schneider out of a jam?



And good luck. If Percy's not happy being on one of the best teams in the league, how will he be happy being a Jet?

Part 3: the Fantasy Impact coming soon.

Percy and the Jets Part One: What it Means for the Seattle Seahawks

Say, Petey and Johnny, have you seen them yet?
But they're so spaced out, Percy and the Jets.
Elton John, Sort Of

I was at work when I saw the news pop up on the TV. Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets.

Numerous thoughts came through my head. First of all, I trust Pete Carroll and John Schneider. I've seen them build a Super Bowl team. They know the game better than me. I'll not second-guess them.

They traded a first and seventh round pick in 2013 plus a third round pick in 2014. After $18.3 million for eight games played, they're trading him for a second to fourth round pick. Pete and John aren't doing it because it's a stupid idea.

I'll continue to dwell on this trade in the hours and days to come. I'll look at what it means to the Jets, what it means to fantasy owners, what it means to former Seahawks' team-mates and what it means to his new team-mates.

But my initial reactions are these: he obviously didn't fit well with a team that won a championship mostly without him and the Jets are picking up a large chunk of salary that will instead go to Russell Wilson.

And Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright and others. You and I never know exactly what goes on at NFL practices and in NFL locker rooms, but obviously Percy wasn't good for the team.

The two most important words from here on out? Paul Richardson. He's the new Harvin. And he's cheaper. And he doesn't come with the attitude.

More to come. I'll look at every angle of this fiasco.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 7

This week's Creeper Report will be a brief one. No time for a list of 10 things. I've been too busy writing about new cars and old colleges, working my normal job, doing immature things with my kids and actually going to the gym.

But I'd better throw a few thoughts at you for this week so you can do the opposite and win.

50/50 Week for the Creepers

I fly with Russell and I die with Russell. Percy Harvin's no points didn't help either. The Creepers and I went 2-2 this weekend. All teams are above .500 and firmly in the playoff chase. No need to panic. Keep picking up useful free agents, starting studs and streaming defenses playing cupcakes.

Defenses I Like

Last week the Raiders spoiled my Chargers call. The worst kind of bad team is the one that shows flashes of okayness at the wrong time.

This week I like:
Buffalo against Minnesota
Cleveland against Jacksonville
New England against the Jets

Hopefully you're already onto the last one because they start playing soon.

Teddy Bridgewater looked good the first time out, but after last week he needs to look good again before I start picking on him.

Stevan Ridley Out

I never trust Patriots running backs, but when the field gets thin it gets easier to predict. Either Brandon Bolden or Shane Vereen have a good day here. If your backfield demands that you have to roll the dice, I'd go with Vereen. More likely to catch passes and he's played more this year.

Speaking of Thursday football, I don't feel good about anything Jets, but injuries and byes have forced me to use Chris Ivory. I like the dude's skills and he's stayed healthier than ever before, but New York could end up down early, killing the running game.

Victor Cruz Out

This opens things up for Rueben Randle and makes opportunity for Odell Bechkam Jr. But after last week's shutout, I don't like anything Giants. I would grab both of those receivers for later, though. I want Rashad Jennings back, but until then Andre Williams will have to do.

And I'm Out

Things to lift, people to tickle and nonsense to write. Next week, the Creeper Report gets started after Monday Night Football. I'll never be worth anything doing this if I can't be reliable. I don't miss deadlines for others. How come I miss my own.

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women coming very soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Wrinkled Redskins

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women have just a bit of swagger as they come to the rec room at the home for Monday night's game. Those that pay attention know that the Washington Redskins have a young QB in Kirk Cousins and they have lost all but one of their games. Their big star Robert Griffin III hasn't healed from an ankle injury. This is another game he won't play. The women said he doesn't look happy sitting on the sidelines and they know all about injuries and slow healing.

It takes a moment to realize the old woman with the Mickey doll is not there. Someone said that she went to her grandson's. It was agreed that at least they wouldn't have to eat the cookies she brings to the games. One old woman said if their Seattle Seahawks lose because their lucky doll isn't there...

The old women had more fun watching this game than most. Watching Russell Wilson run around the 'Skin defense and still be good at throwing through them to his receivers was a laughing, cheering experience. Marshawn Lynch continues to dazzle the women with his strength and in-your-face running style.

When punter John Ryan faked a 4th down punt, the old woman yelled and screamed for their surfer boy coach Pete Carroll to take a sideline bow for that call. Ryan ran for a first down while players and fans and the old women just shook their heads, especially the beefy front line of the 'Skins.

The 'Skins' Quarterback, Kirk Cousins looked to the old women like a baby-faced kid just dropped into the big leagues. One woman said she read he got married in June, so no wonder he lost a little concentration. Tough being a replacement for the star, RG3. Using just his initials they think is silly.

Their boys were very naughty in the game against the Redskins. Too many penalties even though the Seahawks play rough. The old women like that. The heartbreaker for the old women was seeing Percy Harvin's 3 TDs called back. They don't know much about those rules but they were sure their boys were cheated by the Washington referees. Old women don't like having stuff taken away from them.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Oscuro Corner Needs Humidor Space

To get good cigar deals you need patience and email. That's it.

Connect to as many cigar sites as you can and watch your inbox. Good things will show up. Sometimes great things.

Like when Cigars International put a bunch of good cigars on sale for $2 each and I snagged that 5 Vegas Series A bundle.

Now I just found a deal you really need to grab because I can't. I just bought some a few weeks ago and really don't have the room. Time to spend money on my wife's birthday, not my own anymore.

Maduro Madness is the Weekly Special at CI. Mazos of maduros as low as $1.50 a piece. What's caught my eye from the 15 choices?

5 Vegas Triple A. I keep hearing that these are intense on another level. 15 for $39.99. Damn. I'm thinking about it.

Also the Diesels and the Genesis the Projects have my attention.

I need to smoke these vicariously through you.

In exchange, the Oscuro Corner will keep the antennae up.

One more bit of advice: avoid those Drew Estate Naturals. When you must dip the tips of your cigars in sugar, you're not using good tobacco. Always mediocre leaves with perfume on them from that dude.

Oh yeah. Search for a coupon code and you can get a sampler 10 pack for $8 and a 5 count Herf-a-dor for another $5.

Here's the link. One week only.

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week 6

All I wanted for my birthday was for Russell Wilson to play out of his mind, win a big game for the Seattle Seahawks and single-handedly save my canister in fantasy football.

Thanks, dude.

I did not want Percy Harvin to have a ridiculous 3 touchdowns called back to prevent me from losing a silly fantasy football game.

But it happened.

The Creepers were 3-1 this week, with the only loss in my free league. To my sister-in-law, who has a little baby even younger than mine. She deserves it.

So I sit with two 4-1 teams, one 3-1-1 and a 3-2. I'll take it, but I need to stay crunchy. This is no time to get soggy.

It is time for ten things regarding fantasy football, non-fantasy football and non-fantasy non-football.

#1 Is Percy Harvin a Fantasy Monster Yet?

Or is he an imaginary fantasy football monster?

Somehow with all the times Harvin had the ball and looked dangerous with it, he still managed only 34 real yards on 6 touches. His first giant breakout game is yet to happen. Or did it already happen?

Had either the 16 yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter or the 26 yarder on the next play and the 41 yarder in the 4th quarter counted, he'd be looking at 91 yards and 2 scores.

People would be throwing ape dung at each other in excitement.

Instead, fantasy owners were throwing their own hair into the sky.

#2 Riding the Kirk Cousins Coaster

What to do with a quarterback who put up terrible numbers between two good games? Assume the young guy is improving. Look at his most recent performance.

283 yards and two scores with no turnovers against the Seahawks' defense? He should be proud of that. His deep passes looked good and he made no bad decisions. DeSean Jackson looks healthy and dangerous.

Against Arizona this week, I think he plays solid. If you're looking for a Drew Brees bye week replacement, you could do worse.

Furthermore, while I like Teddy Bridgewater's guts and future, Cousins has more seasoning and talent around him. Teddy faces Detroit this week, who's defense is a bit tougher and offense is more likely to put the Vikings in a hole.

#3 Believe or Not Believe in Repeats?

Of last week's big performances, who do I think will and will not repeat?

Will - Branden Oliver, RB San Diego. Especially if Donald Brown doesn't recover from his concussion. Even if Brown does play, I think Oliver finds plenty of meat against the Raiders and Brown has not looked very explosive this year.

Won't - Austin Davis, QB St. Louis. He won't repeat the gun-slinging performance he had against the Eagles. San Francisco will play a much tighter game with a final score in the teens. Looking for a quarterback? Think Ryan Tannehill instead.

Will - Andre Ellington, RB Arizona. The Pigskins had trouble with Russell Wilson's elusiveness. They'll have problems with Ellington, too. Expect a couple of big breakaway dashes.

Won't - Greg Olsen, TE Carolina. The Bengals got embarrassed and their defense won't look that bad again. They only play lousy in prime-time and in the playoffs. Olsen's line against Chicago looks very ordinary if you subtract the touchdowns. I'd prefer Delanie Walker versus the Jaguars.

#4 Good Service Dog, Great Service Dog

Somehow, for some people nothing in the restaurant industry is more terrifying-to-the-point-of-immobility than a service dog.

It's a touchy subject. Rumor has it you can be sued to the ground for questioning anyone about a service animal. They don't require any documentation nor can you ask about it. They are much more than simply seeing-eye dogs. A service dog can be a comfort to someone with social anxiety.

I've heard of, but never seen, service ponies. I've been told any creature can be a service animal. Is that your service earthworm? Yes, this is my service earthworm and I'd appreciate it if service trout would stop staring at it.

Therefore, some restaurant managers are totally unwilling to question anyone who brings a dog into the establishment. Less scary to have a machine gun in your lap than a terrier.

Service dogs are some of the most professional creatures I've ever seen, humans included. I know of a seeing-eye golden retriever working for a regular bar guest who was so silent and attentive, you could drop a drumstick on his nose and he wouldn't budge.

Last night a very obedient black lab was silently curled in the shadow of his master's chair. My greatest accomplishment of the shift was not stepping on him.

Once a small dog with a red service animal vest came into the house with a couple. As I greeted them, the dog was anxious and yappy. I was thinking it was the worst-behaved service dog I'd ever seen.

In a minute or so, the couple left. The man said they might come back later, but she was about to have a seizure.

How do dogs know these things?

To sum things up, take your alligator and the card of a lawyer to a restaurant and sit wherever you like. If they question your service-gator, start dialing the lawyer's number. They'll let you be.

#5 Defenses I Like

Last week, I actually did good with my predictions for San Diego and Pittsburgh. I also said if Bridgewater does not play, go with Green Bay. I didn't act on it personally and was kicking myself until Sunday, but no regrets now.

Offenses to pick on? Rams, Vikings, Jets and Jaguars. That means go with San Francisco, Detroit, Tennessee and Denver.

Somehow, Philadelphia keeps getting non-offensive touchdowns. Those things are streaky, but they can happen against the Giants.

And San Diego gets Oakland this week. Delicious. I'm sticking with them.

Pittsburgh against Cleveland is worth holding onto as well.

#6 There is No Poetry at the Poetry Slam

As I am fond of saying, and no one is fond of hearing, poetry is a written art form and competitive open mike is a performance art.

For the first time since May, I dropped in at the Slam again this week. It's as thrilling as it is frustrating. Performing from memory in front of a crowd is scary and fun. I'm getting better. The nerves used to screw with my memory. Yet I still can't earn a point. I usually fall into the bottom half and get cut from the second round.

And yet I also try to be as un-Slam as possible. I am not a diary-reader. I do not play the sick kid or sexual misdeed cards. Rather, I acknowledge I'm at a bar trying to entertain a crowd. I break out stuff like "She Scratch the Record" (a euphemism for female masturbation) or "10 Rules for Slam Poetry" including #1: This is not Poetry.

Getting a rise out of the crowd and getting points from the judges are not the same thing. I will simultaneously refuse to try to please them while expecting different results.

It's a maddening sport. By definition, readers are judged on creativity and performance. Yet I've been the only one to perform from memory before and finish 7 out of 8.

I've seen a 12 year old walk into a bakery, realize he was at a poetry slam and decide he wanted to do it. He stepped to the mike, spoke for 15 seconds about leaving his backpack by the door and getting in trouble for it. He finished in the top half while I got cut.

Thankfully, no one ever reads this blog because griping about slam scores is very bad form. No one will know I just did it.

#7 Other Pickups this Week

Andre Williams will be a good fill-in at RB while Rashad Jennings is out.

Likewise, Ronnie Hillman for Montee Ball.

I already mentioned Branden Oliver.

Grab Benny Cunningham and wait, if you have bench room.

I wouldn't play Tim Wright yet, but consider him becoming a Tom Brady favorite.

Roy Helu Jr. showed a lot of ability against Seattle. Facing a worse defense or in case of Alfred Morris injury, he could become a fantasy starter.

#8 You Deserve a Padron

Padron 1926 Series #2 Maduro 5.5" x 52.

I'm breaking away from my normal realm of cigars you can get for $3 or less if you work hard. I'm flashing back on something I had the pleasure of trying back when I worked for a cigar room.

Padron is one of the few expensive sticks truly worth the money. With cigars and many other things, a good name costs money. A great cigar with an unknown name is cheaper than a great cigar with a famous name. Certain brands like Rocky Patel and Arturo Fuente make consistently great stuff, but always charge top dollar. For my money, I choose La Gloria Cubana, My Father and 5 Vegas for value.

But Padron is truly worth $30 or more, if you got it. Their blends have a very dense, rich intensity. Compared to other smokes, there seems to be so much more in there. Their maduros are not simply leather and pepper. They're lighter yet fuller at the same time. Their spice is not the cinnamon/pumpkin-pie sort I just don't like. It's woodsy and aromatic and hard to place.

And the power is undeniable. I've heard it said that sometimes you just have to set a Padron down for a minute. They'll put a spin on you. Respect it. I've had to use both handrails to climb the stairs before. Nicotine rarely does that, but Padron will.

I still dig the 2000-7000 series for a budget Padron experience, but for special occasions or if someone else is buying, get a granddaddy Padron.

You're worth it.

#9 Are You Ready for Thursday?

Lots of blowouts this year or Thursday. I get the feeling Indianapolis will be on the handle end of a beat-down, with Houston on the mallet end. With Arian Foster and Andre Johnson both dinged up, I don't like Houston's chances of scoring much.

I like Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw to do some damage along with the usual names. TY Hilton is streaky but this could be his game.

I like the previously mentioned defenses better, but you could do worse than the Colts. I get tired of looking up and computing Ryan Fitzpatrick's career turnovers, but it's similar to the number of snowflakes in a blizzard.

Trent Richardson will plod his way to double digits and Reggie Wayne will get his catches. Andrew Luck will be the star of my wife's Team Certik. That's Czech for "little devil" if you don't know.

#10 Closing with a Haiku

Three times? C'mon, man.
Percy Harvin touchdowns can't
Be against the law.

Good luck and happy creepings.