Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fantasy Thoughts: High on Ricky

Fantasy owners hope Ricky Williams blazes more on the field than off.

So by now everyone has their teams, and probably their Week 1 starting lineup penciled in. Now is the time to search the waiver wire for that last minute sleeper, or maybe begin laying some groundwork for an early season swap of a guy you barely missed out on but expect a breakout season from.

A few thoughts to aid you in those, or any other fantasy endeavors:

Ricky Williams could be primed for a 1,000+ yard rushing season, and no, we are not smoking the same stuff

Yes, that's right. Word on the street is that R-Will is having the time of his life in Miami right now, finishing up his college degree and studying holistic medicine. Perpetually cantankerous GM Bill Parcells is even embracing him, and head coach Tony Sparano has all but named Ricky the starter. Not only that, but the team has extended his contract through 2009. Ronnie Brown is certainly a capable and explosive back, but health has been an issue since he came into the league. Expect the 'Phins to rely on Ricky to do all the heavy lifting on the offensive side, as Chad Pennington is still studying the "Jay Feidler's Guide to playing Mediocre Dophins QB" video tape series.

Swoop in on Chris Perry if someone else hasn't already

A familiar face to Michiganders. That's a funny word.

The Bengals' release of both Rudi Johnson and Kenny Irons makes Perry the de facto starter in Cincy. Not bad if you drafted the guy on a flyer in the late rounds or was able to acquire him as a free agent. At Michigan, Perry showed the ability to be a slashing-style runner with good receiving skills out of the backfield. While he may not be your prototypical workhorse back, he's worth being your 3rd or 4th running back, and could post a 1,100 all-purpose yard total with six or seven touchdowns.

Patriots Defense in Turmoil

Currently, the Patriots team defense is ranked number three on Yahoo!, following the Vikings and Chargers. However, there are signs pointing to a decline,and it would be wise to shore up at other positions before drafting/trading for New England, as they are sure to be overvalued by most owners. While the Pats remain solid up front, their linebacking corp is a mixture of aging veterans (Mike Vrabel, Teddi Bruschi) and inexperienced rookies (Jerod Mayo, Shawn Crable) that is cause for concern. However, the biggest hole appears to be in pass coverage, as both cornerback free agent signings Jason Webster and Fernando Bryant were both recently cut, and Pro-Bowler Asante Samuel signed with the Eagles. Starting Ellis Hobbes (who was exposed in the Super Bowl by Plaxico Burress) and Lewis Sanders at conerback will leave them exposed to the outside passing game, and Brandon Merriweather enters his first year starting at safety which could open up the middle. The quick signing and release of John Lynch might leave some to wonder if Belichick and Co. are grasping at straws in order to avoid a post-Super Bowl loss hangover. Don't avoid these guys altogether, just move them down your rankings sheet below the likes of Pittsburg, Jacksonville and the New York Giants.

"The way I left made it difficult. To come back and clear my name is important to me.”

-R-Will on his latest tour of duty in Miami

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sir Charles, telling it like it is

Charles Barkley talked politics at the Democratic National Convention and ... didn't suck. I especially like his answer about what he thinks of Hillary dead-enders who claim they'll vote for McCain. Is he Winston Churchill? No. But he ain't Ocho Cinco either. Look out 'bama, this could be your next Gov.

More evidence that being an SD fan sucks

Sadly, LT was forced to place his ESPYs on ebay to afford Padres tickets and an extra nacho cheese cup.

Forbes magazine just published a "study" discussing the worst sports cities to be fans in. Not only do they take into account how good the actual teams are, but the cost of attending a game relative to the average household income.

According to the study, only Miami is worse, probably due to the extremely high cost of living and attending an vent. But the fact that the Heat have recently won an NBA title you would think could offset that. In any event, here are the top 5, feel free to re-order the rankings or make a case for another city via comment. In parentheses are Forbes' rationale:

1) Miami (teams have combined to win just 40% of their games, tickets and concessions are the seventh-highest rate among 29 major sports metros.)

2) San Diego ($300 a game for a family of four; .425 combined winning percentage for the Chargers and Padres)

3) Indianapolis (a lower-income market with middle-of-the-road ticket prices)

4) New York (second-highest prices in the country for teams that lose just over half their games, the Super Bowl champion Giants not withstanding)

5) Cincinnati (The Reds are headed for their eighth straight losing season. The Bengals' 11-5 record in 2005 was their only winning mark since 1990. Yet costs for fans run higher than in Denver or Phoenix, whose teams have gone well over .500 this year).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Zai Jian, Beijing

Well, the ’08 Summer Olympics are over. Michael Phelps broke records, the Chinese broke the bank, and Morgan Freeman broke my tear ducts with those cloying-yet-you’d-have-to-be-made-of-Terracotta-not-to-cry-at-them Visa ads.

Here are a few observations/highlights to wrap up the Games as we put them in our rearview mirror and prepare for a life blissfully ignorant of water polo, archery and men’s field hockey.

1) Please, God, don’t ever let us go to war with China. I watched the awe-inspiring opening ceremonies at a bar with a few friends, and as we watched thousands of drummers pounding in determined unison, one of my friends leaned over to me and said, with an almost frightened quaver in her voice, “We could never do this.” She wasn’t wrong. The people of Beijing, and China in general, pulled off a jaw dropping display when it was only really a matter of national pride. Imagine what they could do if it was a matter of national security. ::Shudder::

2) You proved me wrong, US men’s basketball. Congratulations. Count me among the joyless sports purists who get really annoyed with the selfish showboating that the NBA has become famous for, and which was partially blamed for the US team’s (relatively) poor showing in Athens in 2004. This year’s team kept claiming it was different and that it wanted to prove itself in a sport it should own. In the final game, the US played with a lot of heart, and whooped it up like schoolboys when they pulled off the gold. It was something men’s Olympic basketball hasn’t been for a while – fun to watch.

3) Jacques Rogge is kind of a d-bag. The president of the International Olympic Committee couldn’t be bothered to call out China for some its human rights abuses, but he could take the time to wag his finger at Usain Bolt for celebrating his 100m win before it was technically over. Admittedly, it would have been cool if Bolt kept his head down, only because he would have had an even lower world record, but at that point he had locked up the race and he was excited. He’s entitled to his fun. Why do you hate fun, Mr. Rogge? Why?

4) The Dutch really love orange. Yet there is no orange in their flag. Discuss.

5) Not all American Olympic athletes are rich and/or have token jobs at Home Depot. One of my favorite stories out of Beijing was Stephanie Brown Trafton’s unexpected discus gold medal – the first for an American woman since 1932. When she’s not throwing, Brown Trafton works as a computer-assisted designer for an environmental consulting firm. Hope for desk monkeys everywhere!

6) Last but not least, my favorite moment of the games. With barrels full of all due respect to Michael Phelps, Debbie Phelps, Jason Lezak, Usain Bolt, Nastia Liukin, the US women’s soccer team, Dara Torres, Bryan Clay, the female shooters from Georgia and Russia who symbolically hugged during their medal ceremony, the little Chinese boy who rescued his classmates in that earthquake and walked out with Yao Ming in the opening ceremonies, the openly gay diver from Australia who won gold, the German weight lifter’s tribute to his late wife, and that fox Ryan Lochte, my favorite Olympic moment came on the last day, when the US men’s volleyball team beat Brazil for the gold.

This wasn’t my favorite because the US won (though I’ll admit most of my fav moments came from US wins) or because I'm a huge volleyball fan (I'm not), but because their coach overcame so much to make it happen. On only the second day of the games, Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father-in-law was killed and his mother-in-law seriously injured when they were stabbed while site seeing in Beijing. McCutcheon’s wife went home with her mother, but he stayed and coached the team to victory. His face after the win said it all. It was really something.

I don't "get" your sport, but well done men's volleyball. Well done.

OK, that about does it. Now, who’s ready for some football?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Around the Web

We were so GOOD together! (sob)

-FYI, Cal Football Fan Fest is this Saturday. Come out to support the Asian American Bone Marrow Donor Program and maybe even meet Marshawn the dog! [Bears With Fangs]

-With John Smoltz and Tom Glavine both sidelined for the year with injuries, new Dodger Greg Maddux appears to be the "Last Man Standing" from those great 90's Braves ptiching staffs. And don't even ask me what Steve Avery and Mark Wholers are doing right now [Bugs & Cranks]

-It's been on TV, but in case you missed it, Chargers receiver Chris Chambers lobbies to be on your fantasy team by amazingly catching three balls thrown at him from behind. Pretty sure this is real. I mean, the guy has had only like, 15 years of playing football to practice this trick! [Bolt Hype]

-Clippers' center Chris Kaman declares that he "is not a traitor" for being on the German team for the Olympics. [ClipperBlog]

-Minnesota Twins pitcher Pat Neshek gives rave reviews to the recently released Topps Allen & Ginter trading card set. He pulled a Vlad Guerrero game-used jersey card, and special inserts of Cleopatra and the Mako Shark. [On the Road with Pat Neshek]

-Kevin Martin might be the only person that wishes Ron Artest was still on the Kings. That's only part of a nice interview with the rising star. [Sace Bee Kings Blog]

-Four words: Olympic. Lego. Sports. Villiage. So rad. [And One]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Science of Crotch Shots

So what EXACTLY happens when you get hit in the nuts with a tennis ball at high speed? Well the people Fox Sports Network: Sports Science are more than happy to pelt a guy named Jason in the nether-regions in such a fashion, and the result is quite entertaining. And educational, too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Throwbacks and Fitteds

Above is a sweet new design from The Padres minor league affiliate Rancho Cucomonga Quakes have always had a popular lid, but they've taken it to another level with the actual fault line across the bill. Pretty sweet for us hat dorks (FYI, the other cap is of Phillies' minor leauge affiliate Clearwater Threshers).

And for even more Padres-related stuff, this one will come as a trip. Throwback Padres jerseys have made waves ever since Jay-Z donned the '84 home Alan Wiggins jersey in the "Girls, Girls, Girls" video, but this one takes the cake. Who would ever have thought that the "Camo/Miltary Salute" jersey would ever be manufactured as a classic? Well, the fine folks at Mitchell and Ness have done it. Behold:

And in case you forgot, here's Mr. Roc-A-Fella himself representing SD:

Happy Tuesday, as we continue with the Olympic-sized Inspirational Quotes:

"Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition."

-Track and Field legend Jesse Owens

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Weekly Weddle: Hart Hearts EW

When trey-duece is on the scene, people go down.

For those readers out there that rely on PHN for the most in-depth, quality and comprehensive Eric Weddle coverage, fear not. The Weekly Weddle will resume it's semi-pseudo-weekly schedule with even more precision and accuracy than in the past.

First, let's take you around the Weddle-Web. The North County Times recently published a nice article about of incumbant strong safety Clinton Hart is meshing with E-Dub in the defensive backfield. It's pretty obvious that the departure of New England playoff goat Marlon McCree is helping both players become more effective in the defensive backfield.

And here's another good piece from the Daily Utah Chronicle about the advice he had for some current Univeristy of Utah players hoping to be playing in NFL regarding the combine and draft process.

Finally, we have a new feature here on the Weekly Weddle. This is the first of many Eric Weddle haiku poems to come:

Made great plays at Indy.
The league will come to fear him.
Pro Bowl in '08?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LT Meets Kimbo, You gotta see this

This is an awesome new Nike commercial (via Awful Announcing). Now whether or not the last part was real, who knows. But I love this backyard training stuff. Tony Simpson-Romo should try it:

And here's an Olympic-sized Inspirational Quote for everyone:

"If I had a bad performance in a particular leotard, I threw it in the trash."

-Former gymnastics gold medalist Mary Lou Retton

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fantasy Football: The cure for Blog Hibernation

Same picture from last year's blog hibernation. Go ahead, look it up. I dare you.

Yes, it's been a while. Yes, we've sucked at keeping this blog updated with the intra-web shenanigans that all of our seven readers have come to expect. Overall things have been slow, and for Padres fans the dog days of summer baseball have been less than inspiring, to say the least.

However, there is a light at the end of the summer sports tunnel (for those of us who are non into the Olympics): football season. So in an attempt to get back in the swing of things, PHN presents a small 2008 preview. A few observations:

We're all sick of Brett Favre. Jericho Cotchery and Thomas Jones won't be.

All the talk has been about Brett Favre's legacy and the quarterback controversy with Aaron Rodgers. However, what most concerns fantasy owners is what kind of impact he'll have on the stat sheet. While Brett himself should be considered only a high-end fantasy backup, his mere presence does raise the value of several other Jets players. Receiver Jericho Cotchery (Philip Rivers' main target from college days) should be able to put up Greg Jennings-type numbers, if not better. He's a polished route runner with toughness and agility. Draft him as your #3 WR and watch him put up stats worthy of a #2.

Order your green "Walls of Jericho" shirt at

The passing game should also open things up for RB Thomas Jones, who was hampered by the inept quarterbacking of such luminaries as Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens in '07. The signing of Pro Bowl center Alan Faneca should help Jones to a 1,200+, 10 TD season. If he's there in round 3, pull the trigger.

Don't forget about the Bills

Yes, quarterback Trent Edwards is unproven and most likely a fringe NFL starter. And yes WR Lee Evans is on track to become the latest disappointing Wisconsin Badger (we're looking at YOU, Ron Dayne and Michael Bennett). But there's talent on this squad that's going to produce and help many fantasy owners that recognize this.

RB Marshawn Lynch got hyphy on the gridiron in 2007 to the tune of 1,115 yards on 280 carries with seven touchdowns in 13 games. Many expect those totals to increase, including Peter King who predicts Lynch will be second in the league in rushing yards this year, even ahead of fantasy darling Adrian Peterson. If you pass this guy in the first round for injury risks and/or aging backs like Clinton Portis, Jamal Lewis and Frank Gore, by week six you'll regret it.

How can you pass on a guy that claims to have a "Beast Mode" ?

Another uber-sleeper on this team is WR James Hardy, a rookie out of Inidana University. He should move up the depth chart quickly, eventually surpassing perennial disappointment Josh Reed. Hardy is quite a physical specimen, reminiscent of a young T.O. He should get a lot of red zone looks at the very least, and his presence will help take pressure of Evans, who's slight build and lack of physicality make it difficult for him to beat double teams consistently.

This year's Sleeper Beauty at QB could be Jason Campbell

It happens every season at every position, a guy slips under the radar during the draft and ends up putting numbers worthy of a guy you'd pick in the top 3 rounds (see: Derek Anderson from last year). Bottom line, this guy has talent, and also talent around him. The main thing that worked against him was Joe Gibbs' conservative offensive philosophy. New head coach Jim Zorn is a former quarterback himself, and is sure to bring a more versatile and effective offensive passing attack. JC threw for 2,700 yards, with 12 TDs and 11 INTs in 2007, numbers not really worthy of an every week fantasy starter. However, Washington returns with passing weapons such as Chris Cooley, Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El. And in addition, USC's pass-catching tight end phenom Fred Davis was taken on draft day, as well as lanky red zone target Malcolm Kelly out of Oklahoma. This team has all the talent to be a formidable passing team, so take Campbell as your backup and shove it in all of the other owners' faces when he starts leading your team to fantasy glory.

Doug Williams reincarnated? Maybe. Well, probably not. Draft him anyways, though.

So that's it, hopefully as things settle down in the Bay for yours truly, there'll be more mayhem and excitement in our little sports-nut enclave. That is all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday PHN!

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this here blog and we all forgot. Kinda like we forget about this little gem most days. We are bad parents.

Thanks to those of you still reading. I'd say we'll try and be better about posting, but lying is such an unbecoming character trait.