Articles By Athlon Sports

Path: /overtime/100-twitter-accounts-every-sports-fan-should-follow-40-21
Body:

Twitter can range between being awesome and being the most annoying thing in on the Internet. So to help sports fans figure out which Twitter accounts they should follow, we put together the list of the best 100.

This list contains everything from journalists to athletes to comedians. To make sure there's a broad enough apeal, we tried to keep it national (sorry, the guy who tweets about your high school football team didn't make the list). Feel free to let us know who we missed in the comments. Here's 40-21.

40. Every Day Should Be Saturday, @edsbs
Category: College Football
Every Day Should Be Saturday is worth following even if it’s Tuesday.


 

39. Fake Dan Beebe, @DanBeebe
Category: Humor, College Football
The account for the fake head of the Big 12 knows more about where conference realignment will take us than the real Dan Beebe.


 

38. Mike and Mike in the Morning, @MikeAndMike
Category: All Sports
I’m pretty sure Greenberg likes it when you send him tweets about how much the Jets suck.


 

37. Juan Pablo Montoya: @jpmontoya
Category: Racing
According to his twitter page, he spends more time in planes than he does in cars. Maybe he should start racing jets? He also has over 700,000 followers, so he must be doing something right.


 

36. Matthew Berry, @MatthewBerryTMR
Category: Fantasy
Up-to-the-minute fantasy advice, stats and rankings. If you have a fantasy team of any kind (except jai-alai), you need to follow this feed.


 

35. Fake Walt Frazier, @NotWaltFrazier
Category: Humor
The fake account for Walt Frazier will have you mouse clickin’ and finger lickin’!


   

34. Chip Brown, @ChipBrownOB
Category: College Football
Chip has the inside track on anything Big 12 or Texas Longhorns-related. If anyone knows how what number will come after “Big” in 2012 and beyond, it’s Chip.


 

33. Dan Wetzel, @danwetzel
Category: College Football, All Sports
Dan uses Twitter the way it should be used. Instead of filling up his page with tweets like “@Gatorzfan99 thanks” and “@thebigbubba why?”, he just sends out interesting links and takes on all things sports.


 

32. EJ Hradek, @EJHradek_NHL
Category: NHL
NHL news that you want to read (if you want to read about the NHL.)


 

31. Ashton Kutcher, @aplusk
Category: Celebrity
Yes, he’s a celebrity, but he’s also a huge sports fan. Plus, anyone who was on the “Walter Payton: A Football Life” show deserves to be on this list (I would’ve put Matt Suhey’s Twitter on here, but his twitter page kind of sucks.)


 

30. Chad Ochocinco, @ochocinco
Category: NFL, Athlete
The Twitterverse is much more awesome with Ochocinco in it.


 

29. MLB Stats, @STATS_MLB
Category: MLB
This is a combination of hardcore trivia and stats about baseball. But you may have gathered that from its name.


 

28. Bruce Feldman, @BFeldmanCBS
Category: All Sports
Bruce Feldman’s combination of in-depth news links and interesting fact makes you realize how good Twitter can be.


 

27. ESPN College Football Conference accounts, @ESPN_SEC, @ESPN_BigTen, @ESPN_ACC, @ESPN_BigEast, @ESPN_Pac12blog, @ESPN_Big12
Category: College Football
Instead of picking one, a real college football fan would follow all of these conference feeds.


 

26. The Iron Sheik, @the_ironsheik
Category: Humor
The Iron Sheik’s twitter page could also be number one since it’s one of the funniest pages on the Internet, let alone Twitter. But wrestling rides a fine line of “sports” so he gets bumped down a bit. It’s also about as NSFW as you get (it took me 25 minutes to find a sample tweet that didn’t use the “f” word or the phrase “raisin balls.”)


 

25. Erin Andrews, @erinandrews
Category: College Football
She’s Erin Andrews, that’s why you should follow her.


 

24. Doug Gottlieb, @GottliebShow
Category: All Sports, College Basketball
To quote Fast Times at Ridgemont High: “Whenever people say, ‘That Gottlieb, he’s a loudmouth.’ And they say that a lot, I always say, ‘You just don’t know Gottlieb.’”


 

23. Fake Bill Walton, @TheBillWalton
Category: Humor
I know this says it’s fake, but I like this feed even more when I tell myself it’s real.


 

22. Rich Eisen, @richeisen
Category: NFL
The NFL network host has a solid podcast. And his twitter feed is the best place to keep up with said podcast.


 

21. Chris Mortenson, @mortreport
Category: NFL
Before there was Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson, there was just Chris Mortenson giving the up-to-the-second breaking NFL news. Respect.


 

Continue Reading: 100-81     80-61     60-41     40-21     20-1

Teaser:
<p> Here are the 100 Twitter feeds you should follow if you consider yourself a sports fan</p>
Post date: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 18:12
Path: /overtime/100-twitter-accounts-every-sports-fan-should-follow-80-61
Body:

Twitter can range between being awesome and being the most annoying thing in on the Internet. So to help sports fans figure out which Twitter accounts they should follow, we put together the list of the best 100.

This list contains everything from journalists to athletes to comedians. To make sure there's a broad enough apeal, we tried to keep it national (sorry, the guy who tweets about your high school football team didn't make the list). Feel free to let us know who we missed in the comments.

80. Jason LaCanfora, @JasonLaCanfora
Category: NFL
NFL insider who tweets the things you hear about in the NFL before you hear about them.


 

79. Daniel Negreanu, @RealKidPoker
Dan’s kind of a big deal in the poker world. If you want an insider’s take on the professional Poker Tour, follow his feed.


 

78. Ryen Russilo, @ryenarussillo
Category: All Sports
Ryen Russillo co-hosts the Scott Van Pelt show and combines humor and insight. Which is nice, because Twitter is mostly full of idiots.


 

77. Ralph Vacchiano, @TheBlueScreen
Category: NFL
The NY Daily News writer covers the NFC East and in particular the G-Men. I’m pretty sure his Twitter feed is called “The Blue Screen” because no one knows how to spell his last name.


 

76. Clay Travis, @ClayTravisBGID
Category: College Sports
Nashville-based radio host and EIC of OutkicktheCoverage,com likes to get people riled up with his take on college athletics. He’s pretty good at it, too.


 

75. Dwight Howard, @DwightHoward
Category: NBA, Athlete
If Twitter had a team, I would want Dwight Howard to be my starting center.


 

74. Kristi Dosh, @SportsBizMiss
Category: Sports Business, College Sports
The ESPN and Forbes Sports Business writer tweets about money, the law and sports (and sometimes all three).


 

73. Danica Patrick, @Danicapatrick
Category: Racing, Celebrity
This Twitter feed is all Danica Patrick, all the time. And there's also links to her GoDaddy.com commercials.


 

72. Chris Cooley, @thecooleyzone
Category: NFL, Athlete
There’s two things you need to know about the Redskins tight end’s Twitter feed. 1) It’s called The Cooley Zone. And 2) There’s a picture of Chris making a piece of pottery a la Ghost as the wallpaper.


 

71. The UFC, @ufc
Category: MMA
So much UFC news, giveaways and RT’s you might just tap out of Twitter.


 

70. SB Nation, @sbnation
Category: All Sports
The collection of blogs is sort of like the Megatron of sports info (not the Lions receiver, the real one Megatron that get his ass kicked by Optimus Prime.)


 

69. Sports Illustrated Photo Vault, @si_vault
Category: Photos, History
Sports illustrated has an amazing collection of photos throughout sports history. And this Twitter feed picks and chooses the most interesting ones and pulls them out of the archive. I don't know why more magazines don't do this.


 

68. Numbers Never Lie, @ESPN_Numbers
Category: Sports Trivia
If the Elias Sports Bureau had a twitter feed (and they really need one), this would be it.


 

67. Mardy Fish, @MardyFish
Category: Tennis, Athlete
Tennis player Mardy Fish is kind of awesome. So is his Twitter.


 

66. Sports Pickle, @sportspickle
It’s sort of like the Onion. So it has that going for it.


 

65. Maurice Jones-Drew, @Jones_Drew32
If a professional athlete like MJD can get excited about fantasy sports, then fantasy sports isn’t just for nerds, right? Right?


 

64. Brett McMurphy, @McMurphyCBS
Category: College Football
CBS’ college football writer actively tweets the top stories with his very informed take mixed in with his dry humor.


 

63. Michelle Beadle, @ESPN_Michelle
She’s cranky about a lot of stuff. And usually it's sports stuff.


62. Dan Wolken, @DanWolken
Category: All Sports
The highly opinionated Daily.com writer is not afraid to tweet said opinions for your enjoyment.


 

61. Pete Thamel, @PeteThamelNYT
Pete writes for the New York Times, so there’s more journalism here than links to funny photos of Li’l Ron Washington.


 

Continue Reading: 100-81     80-61     60-41     40-21     20-1

Teaser:
<p> Here are the 100 Twitter feeds you should follow if you consider yourself a sports fan</p>
Post date: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 16:40
Path: /nfl/nfl-predictions-ravens-steelers-jets-bills-and-three-other-playoff-implicating-games
Body:

Every team in the NFL will have reached their halfway point of the season by the time this weekend’s games are finished, which means we are about to be officially in the stretch run. And the timing couldn’t be better. There are several games this weekend that could set the tone for the entire second half.

There are some huge division battles, key tests for top teams, and a few last chances for teams hoping to remain the playoff race. Nothing will be settled this weekend of course, but a whole lot of things will become much clearer.

You’ll learn a lot, in fact, from the outcomes of these five huge games:

NEW YORK JETS (4-3) at BUFFALO BILLS (5-2)
Do you believe in the Buffalo Bills? Their huge win over the Patriots earlier in the season should’ve convinced everyone. They even proved they can stomp on a bad team with their shutout win over Washington last Sunday. But this is a different challenge. The Jets were one of the AFC favorites, left for dead, and now clawing back to reclaim their season. If they knock off the Bills in Buffalo, a lot of the momentum in the AFC East could end up swinging their way.

Also, regardless of how the Jets have struggled, this Rex Ryan defense figures to be the toughest test so far for Ryan Fitzpatrick and his efficient and sometimes powerful offense. He’ll see blitzes he hasn’t seen before and he’ll likely lose his top receiver (Steve Johnson) to the coverage of Darrelle Revis. How will the Bills adjust? That won’t just tell the story of this game, it might tell the story of whether they’re truly contenders in this dangerous division or not.

Prediction: Jets 23, Bills 20 … The Bills won’t be finished after this, but letting the Jets back into the race will likely haunt them down the stretch.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-3) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-3)
You think you’ve got the NFL all figured out, and then the winless St. Louis Rams – behind quarterback A.J. Feeley – take a 24-0 lead on the Saints and beat them 31-21. And now the Saints have lost two of three, including a 26-20 loss at Tampa two weeks ago. Now, that might make you think the Bucs have the momentum, but that Saints game was their only win in the last three games. It was sandwiched around a 24-18 loss in London to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago, and a 48-3 beating they took in San Francisco four weeks ago.

The Saints won 11 games last year, the Bucs won 10, and they finished second and third in the rough NFC South behind the 12-win Atlanta Falcons. So which of them can make a run this year? Or are they both just killing time until the Falcons straighten themselves out? Someone’s going to have to take control of this division in the second half. One of them could start right now.

Prediction: Saints 33, Bucs 20. … The Saints have more talent than any team in the division, despite their maddening inconsistency. They can be unstoppable on offense at times, especially at home.

NEW YORK GIANTS (5-2) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-2)
The NFL doesn’t seem too sure what to make of either of these teams. The Patriots are their usual selves on offense and everyone knew they’d be a contender. But their NFL-worst defense and passing defense is more than alarming and has a lot of people wondering if they can win the tough games when they count. The Giants, meanwhile, are 5-2 thanks to a soft schedule and are about to take an enormous step up in class with a dangerous run of potent opponents. It doesn’t help that their two biggest issues – besides injuries – are that they can’t run the ball or stop the run.

If the Patriots win this, the NFL will yawn, accept their greatness and move on to other concerns. The Giants, though, will look like just another pretender about to get slapped down by superior opponents. A Giants win, though, and they’ll suddenly look like the NFC East favorites, while the Patriots could be in for a big race over in the AFC.

Prediction: Patriots 37, Giants 27. … Too many injuries for the Giants and too many problems on defense to hang with a true Super Bowl contender.

BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-2) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-2)
What has happened to the Patriots? Their once-powerful running game seems like a distant memory. The last two weeks they barely scored in a loss to Jacksonville in front of a national TV audience, then they struggled to beat the pathetic Arizona Cardinals. They’re another team that looked like true contenders only to fall in a bad rut. Here’s the thing, though: They’re still 5-2 and just a half game behind the Steelers, who looked like they could beat anybody last week when they laid out the blueprint on how to beat the Pats.

This is the perfect chance for the Steelers to get on a roll and get some separation in their division, especially with the upstart Bengals and, to a lesser extent, Browns ready to take a tumble with an increase in difficulty of schedule. The Ravens, though, need to right their ship quickly, rediscover Ray Rice and their running game and straighten Joe Flacco out otherwise they’ll be chasing the wild card and could have a very difficult postseason road.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Steelers 24. … The Ravens are so much better than they look, and nothing brings out their best more than a matchup with their bitter rivals.

CHICAGO BEARS (4-3) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-4)
Have we all had a good laugh at the expense of the self-proclaimed “Dream Team”? Good, because guess what? They aren’t dead. In fact, their 34-7 hammering of the Dallas Cowboys last weekend sent shivers down the rest of the NFC East. All of a sudden they’re two games back of the Giants, who are hitting the tough spot of their schedule, and with the Eagles home to the Bears and Cardinals in the next two weeks they could be battling for the lead in the division when they face the Giants in three weeks. A win here and they could find themselves on a roll.

This game is just as important to the Bears, though, who need a win to keep pace with the Detroit Lions in what appears to be a race for second place in the NFC North. Given some of the powerful teams in the NFC South, the Bears might need to leapfrog the Lions if they want a wild-card berth. That will get a lot tougher if they’re sitting at .500 halfway through the year.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Bears 20. … The Eagles may not be a Dream Team, but they have so much talent they remain a nightmare for opponents when they’re playing well. And they’re playing very, very well.

By RALPH VACCHIANO
 

Teaser:
<p> There are five huge games this Sunday. Who will come out on top?</p>
Post date: Saturday, November 5, 2011 - 08:50
Path: /fantasy/santonio-holmes-years-biggest-wide-receiver-bust
Body:

There are busts all over the fantasy landscape this season.

Count New York Jets No. 1 Santonio Holmes as one of the top busts at the receiver position. Through seven games, he has 22 catches for 311 yards and three scores. Holmes is the 52nd-ranked receiver in points per game. And only his three touchdowns are even keeping him ranked that high.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer continues to say Holmes is the team’s No. 1 target in the Jets’ offense. Yet, his 40 targets this season have him ranked not only 49th among receivers but third on his own team (TE Dustin Keller 46 and WR Plaxico Burress 45). He was targeted a season-low three times in the Week 7 game against San Diego, and his 13 targets over the last three games are one less that rookie No. 3 receiver Jeremy Kerley.

Holmes has only had two double-digit target games, and they produced very little He was targeted 10 times for six catches and 70 yards in the opener and targeted a season-high 12 times but caught just three balls for 33 yards in Week 4. Burress has not been targeted over nine times this season.

It’s not an indictment on Holmes. It’s an indictment on quarterback Mark Sanchez not getting the ball to the team’s supposed top target. Sanchez is a top-12 fantasy QB at the midway point of the season, but he still completes just 56.1 percent of his passes. Accuracy is a problem that has plagued him his entire career, and it’s bringing down what should be a legitimate threat at the receiver position in the process.

Whatever has happened to the QB-WR connection that a year ago produced 95 targets for 52 catches, 746 yards and six scores in just 12 games is gone between Sanchez and Holmes this year.

Thanks to Sanchez, Holmes was never a high-end WR1 type of play, but he can’t even be considered a low-end WR2 play at this point.

Don’t expect Buffalo to be the get-well game for Holmes. The Bills have not allowed a receiver to score a TD since Week 5, and have not allowed over 11.6 points to a fantasy receiver in a half-PPR format since Week 5. Holmes was held to one catch for 17 yards and a score in his only meeting with the Bills in Week 17 of last season.

All we can do is hope that there is some glimmer from Holmes this week against a Buffalo team the Jets face again in Week 12 and that he can carry it into some receiver friendly matchups in between the two meetings (New England and Denver). 

By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> The New York Jets wide receiver has been rough on owners in 2011</p>
Post date: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 15:15
Path: /fantasy/new-york-giants-receivers-start-%E2%80%99em-if-you-got-%E2%80%99em
Body:

Hakeem Nicks is battling a hamstring injury that might keep him out of the New York Giants Sunday tilt at New England.

Even if Nicks was/is in the lineup, this is a start ’em if you’ve got ’em game at the receiver position for the Giants. That means if you were debating between Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, both of them need to be in your starting lineup this week when Big Blue takes on the worst (or best) defense a fantasy receiver and quarterback can face through eight weeks this season.

The Giants’ receiving corps is the fourth best in fantasy points per game. Nicks received 10 targets for six catches and 67 yards last week against Miami, but his two counterparts were right behind him. Cruz had nine targets for seven catches, 99 yards and a score; Manningham also had nine targets for six catches 63 yards and a score. Cruz has caught 28 of his 42 targets this season for 497 yards and four scores. Manningham has caught 24 of his 45 targets for 290 yards and Sunday’s TD was his firs of the season.

Giants QB Eli Manning certainly trusts all three, and you should too against this New England pass defense.

The Patriots are last in the NFL in pass defense (323.1 YPG, which is 34.2 yards more than the next team), are giving up the most points per game to fantasy quarterbacks and receivers. New England also surrenders the third most passing attempts per game (40.7)

Manning has scored 18-plus fantasy points in four of the last five games and 21.6-plus in three of the last five outings. Plus, the Giants will likely be without RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and you never know what Brandon Jacobs you are going to get. Behind Jacobs are veteran D.J. Ware and rookie Da’Rel Scott.

The Pats have been relatively decent against fantasy running backs. They go into this week’s game as the 12th best team against the position in fantasy. No back has rushed for more than 83 yards this season against New England and only four rushing touchdowns have been surrendered.

So it goes back to riding Manning’s hot hand. He has attempted 30-plus passes in all but one game, thrown for 220-plus yards in every game and thrown for at least two scores in all but two games (no TD passes in Week 1 or Week 6). New England has allowed two touchdown passes in five of seven games.

The Patriots might stink against fantasy quarterbacks and receivers, but the offense is still high powered. They are the No. 2 passing team at 324.7 yards per game and No. 4 with 18 touchdowns. That should make this a high-scoring game, one in which Manningham and Cruz will have plenty of opportunities to shine.

By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 09:31
Path: /fantasy/carson-palmer-top-12-fantasy-quarterback-against-denver-broncos
Body:

There’s nowhere to go but up for Carson Palmer after his -1.36-point debut to fantasy owners in 2011.

The new Oakland Raiders quarterback should have no problem raising that point total quite a bit against a Denver Broncos team that apparently decided to revert back to familiar ways last week.

The Broncos, with Champ Bailey (hamstring) in the lineup had been pretty stingy to quarterbacks. Jason Campbell threw for 105 yards and a score in Week 1, Philip Rivers threw for 250 yards and a score in Week 5 and Matt Moore threw for 197 yards and a score in Week 7.

Then there was Matthew Stafford.

After having scored 23-plus fantasy points in the first three weeks, Stafford began a run of three out of four games at 16.5 points or less, including an 11.32-point effort at home against Atlanta.

Enter Denver.

The Lions’ quarterback threw for 367 yards on 21-of-30 passing, three scores and no picks.

This will be the second meeting between Denver and Oakland this season. Two different teams face off this week, however from the ones we saw in Week 1.

Oakland obviously has a new quarterback and will be without RB Darren McFadden (foot sprain), who gashed the Broncos for 150 yards on 22 carries in the first meeting. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who booted a 63-yard field goal to give the Raiders the win over the Broncos in Week 1, one of his three field goals that game, may be gimpy in returning from an injured hamstring.

McFadden and Janikowski are two key components to putting points on the board for Oakland. With no Run DMC and an iffy Janikowski, it will fall on Palmer to generate the points. He has plenty of speed receivers at his disposal and should have plenty of time to look for them. The Raiders protect their quarterbacks better than any other team in the league, having given up a league-low eight sacks.

Denver is 31st in the league against fantasy quarterbacks and receivers. The Broncos have allowed a passing touchdown in all but two games this season (Week 1 vs. Oakland and Week 7 vs. Miami). The Broncos are tied for 31st with just three interceptions. They are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.1 percent of their passes (ranking them 31st in the league), throw for 249.7 yards per game (19th) and are tied for 31st in the league with 14 touchdown passes allowed.

It will be just his second game in a Raider uniform, but with the combination of Denver being terrible against the pass, the Raiders perhaps without two of their top point producers and Palmer having had the bye to get more familiar with a Hue Jackson offense he already knew, the quarterback is a top-12 start for me this week. I would start him over Mark Sanchez, Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Jay Cutler.

It’s basically a toss up between Palmer and Joe Flacco as to who’s 13th. I’d rather take my chances with Palmer vs. the Broncos in Oakland than a very inconsistent Flacco in Pittsburgh.

By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 09:02
All taxonomy terms: Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, NBA
Path: /nba/mark-cuban-talks-family-and-championship-mum-buying-dodgers
Body:

This article originally appeared in Athlon Sports Monthly, available in newspapers around the country.

So does Mark Cuban still sleep with the NBA championship trophy? We figured there was only one way to find out. So we asked him. Along with a lot of other questions — some probing, some whimsical.

When it comes to pro sports franchise owners, there are those who are conservative, some who are outspoken and one who has shown he can detonate some atomic reactions with his opinions.

Cuban has owned the Dallas Mavericks since 2000, and his team won the first NBA championship in franchise history in June. Like everybody else, they are waiting for the labor situation to allow the 2011-12 season to begin. It’s the lockout that has helped Cuban keep a relatively low profile since the parade and post-championship glow subsided and the work stoppage began July 1.

In the meantime, Cuban has had to spend a summer without hanging around any of his players, many of whom he counts as good friends.

We caught up with the 53-year-old billionaire for a quick Q&A about what has been going on with him and how life has changed since winning the title.

How different has this summer as a champion been compared to all those summers spent tied for last, as you like to say?
I get to enjoy ending the season on a win. It’s been unbelievable. It feels great.

Anybody treat you any differently, like maybe getting free stuff at the store or different kinds of questions from folks?
I’ve walked into places around the country and people have stood up and clapped. It’s kind of bizarre, but it gets the emotions stirring in me every time. No free stuff, though. The other cool thing is that people don’t congratulate me, they thank me. That has never happened before.

How about your outlook on life? Does a championship soften the edge a little?
Not really. I love to compete.

Are your daughters now starting to understand what daddy does and grasping what a championship means?
Not fully, but they like all the Mavs outfits their mom makes for them!

Has being an NBA champion made any difference at all in your more important job, which is being a dad?
No. Basketball is a small part of my life compared to my kids.

What’s the average day like with you and the kids (even though there’s no such thing as an average day with kids)?
Get up for school, listen to them complain about something. Force them to eat. Get them to school. After school they have so many activities, I don’t see them until dinner. Fortunately this summer we took a few weeks off and went on a family trip, which was great.

Regarding Texas fans, does it humble you a little knowing that what your team does can have an impact on so many lives, and do you look at Dallas and North Texas as a really good sports area?
Yes and yes. I learned early on that I don’t really own the team; all of North Texas does. It really is a great feeling to know how much the Mavs can positively impact kids and families. North Texas is a great sports region. We love our teams. And while we make a lot of noise when we don’t win, we always end up being there to support them, win or lose.

What about your television exploits? We know about the “Dancing With the Stars” experience, but what about “Shark Tank,” where you have a recurring role fielding business proposals from aspiring entrepreneurs?
I’m a huge fan (of “Shark Tank”). I love what they do and I thought it would be a good idea to go on. I get pitched business proposals every day. I solicit ideas on my blog. That’s just part of my life. If I see a way somebody can have a successful business and create new jobs, I’ll invest.

What was more gratifying, an NBA title or selling Broadcast.com for a bajillion dollars, and why?
Broadcast.com. No question. That changed my life and the lives of future generations. With a championship, the trophy is only yours for one year and you have to do it again. That said, it was an amazing feeling that I wish would never end.

You’ve toyed with the idea of owning another sports franchise like the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs. Do you foresee that in your future?
Don’t know about that.

What’s the hardest part about owning a sports franchise?
Recognizing that the mood of North Texas goes up and down with the Mavs every fall.

Who do you consider your best friends among other NBA owners? Or are they all just competitors?
I get along with most of the guys. Most of the time.

What’s your favorite sport to watch, outside of the NBA?
Rugby. I played a lot in college. It’s a blast.

What do you do with the trophy? Do you keep it with you when you are driving around? Please tell me you aren’t still sleeping with it.
No. When it’s not visiting Mavs fans or customers, it’s in my office or kitchen so I can see it every day.

Now that you have a championship, are you less or more likely to be open to selling the Mavericks?
No change.
 

Teaser:
<p> The Dallas Mavericks owner talks about his family, a championship and Texas sports</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 13:10
All taxonomy terms: nascar archive, Tony Stewart, NASCAR
Path: /nascar/tony-stewart-history-repeats-itself
Body:

Athlon Sports’ upcoming 2012 Racing annual will mark its 10th anniversary covering the sport of NASCAR. In honor of the milestone, Athlon will take the next four months to look back at memorable interviews, feature articles and driver profiles that have appeared in its Racing magazines over the years.

Up first is an exclusive Q&A with Tony Stewart done prior to the 2005 season. Stewart was coming off a sub-par campaign at Joe Gibbs Racing, but would go on to win his second Cup title later in the year.
 

Tony Stewart, the 2002 Cup champion, finished sixth in the 2004 standings after winning races at Chicagoland Speedway and Watkins Glen, bringing his career total to 19 victories in stock car racing’s top series.

Stewart was not happy with his season, however. The Chase for the Nextel Cup format, with a champion determined by the season’s final 10 races, seemed made to order for Stewart, who had a history of closing fast in his Cup career. But Stewart was never really a factor in the Chase.

Stewart returns to the No. 20 Chevrolet owned by Joe Gibbs, with Greg Zipadelli as his crew chief, for his seventh season of Cup competition in 2005. Stewart sat down with Athlon Sports to talk about where he’s been and where he hopes to go in the sport.

Athlon Sports: Look back at the 2004 season for a minute. You won two races and made the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But you got wrecked in the first Chase race at New Hampshire and then never really got untracked after that.
Tony Stewart: I don’t think there were very many highlights for us, to be honest. I think we had a very terrible season. It wasn’t our worst finish in the point standings, but we just really never had that pizzazz we’ve had in the past in the second half of the season. We didn’t have it in the first half, either. I really felt like our whole Joe Gibbs Racing organization struggled and we’ve got a lot of improving to do for 2005.

AS: What went wrong?
Stewart: Well, if we knew the reason we would have fixed it by now. I can promise you that one reason wasn’t due to a lack of determination and effort on our team’s part. Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing has dug their heels in, but we just couldn’t find that missing piece to the equation. I can promise you that when we do, we will be back on form again, and after having a year like we had in 2004, if we can get it back on track in 2005, we’ll be tough to beat.

AS: Have you made any major changes in the team for 2005?
Stewart: Personnel-wise, we’ll be the same. That’s something I am really proud of. Our team has stayed intact through the whole time I’ve been there. We’ve only had a couple of changes. All we’ve done is add people. Everybody will have to make changes for 2005 because of the different rules package, but you just have to go out and do the work and see what you can do.

AS: What would you do to change the way the Nextel Cup champion is now determined?
Stewart: It’s not my job to do that. I’m a race car driver. It’s hard enough just trying to concentrate on doing my job each week, let alone trying to do NASCAR’s job for them. I think they do a pretty good job on their own. We don’t need to be promoters, we don’t need to be NASCAR. That’s why they pay guys like Mike Helton the big money they pay him — to worry about those problems.

AS: You won a championship under the former system and Kurt Busch won his under the Chase system. How much respect do you have for what he accomplished in 2004?
Stewart: If you look at some of the problems he had in the last 10 races, there were three or four times where he had to bounce back and overcome problems. That’s what you have to do to win any championship. He performed well when he didn’t have problems, and in the races where he did, he rebounded and performed well in some of those. You have to give him a lot of respect.

AS: Which was harder to win, the championship under the system in which you won it or under the system in 2004?
Stewart: I don’t know. Every year is so different. It’s really hard to say. If you could put back-to-back two identical years it would be easier to compare. I think the whole moral to the story is that we all know what the system is going into the season. It is what it is and we aren’t going to change it. We couldn’t if we wanted to. It’s fair for everybody. There’s nothing that’s unfair about the system. We know what it is and it’s our job to go out and do the best we can with it.

AS: You’ve had your share of disagreements with NASCAR, with fellow competitors and with members of the media over your years in the sport, and sometimes you’ve gotten in hot water over some of those. Last year, though, you had a chance to be sort of a bystander and see the controversy that followed a 25-point penalty against Dale Earnhardt Jr. for using a four-letter word in Victory Lane. What was your view of that situation? Did you have empathy for Dale Jr.?
Stewart: I think that was highly blown way out of proportion. I think we’re starting to nit-pick and scrutinize way too much in this series. Since when does something that somebody says have an effect on winning the championship? And when should it have that effect? From the time that car goes through tech, to the time that checkered flag drops — any time in that period where anything that happens can affect how the race was run — that’s when points should be taken away, not something that happens before that period and not anything that happens after that period.

The last time I checked, we had freedom of speech, correct? Since when has that changed now? I didn’t know the Constitution changed. What Dale Jr. said didn’t cheat anybody on the race track. It didn’t have any effect on how the race was run.

Where is the process going to stop? What’s going to be the next thing now? If we don’t show up to the car for practice on time are we going to lose 25 points for that next? Where is it realistically going to end?

AS: Let’s talk about some of the things you’ve faced in NASCAR. Do you feel like people already have their minds made up about you in a way that makes any incident that happens anywhere around you automatically your fault?
Stewart: I don’t think it’s me on the track that has given me two strikes (against me), I think it’s the way I’ve handled things off the track that has given me those strikes. Just like the deal at Chicago (where Kasey Kahne wrecked after contact from Stewart on a restart). If NASCAR thought I did something wrong, they would have done something obviously. I talked to NASCAR, Kasey talked to NASCAR, (and) their explanation of what happened in what they showed me backed up exactly what I said happened. I stuck to my guns saying I didn’t do anything wrong. The reason I did that was because I didn’t do anything wrong.

At the same time, if I do something off the track, I know I’ve got those two strikes on me already. This is not the deal to go through as a driver. It’s not just about driving race cars any more — that’s the way up to this point it’s always been. Now, we’re representing multi-billion dollar companies and we have a TV package. NASCAR is very image-conscious now, which they haven’t always been.

Driving the race car, which is what I got hired to do in the first place, and what I have been doing the past 25 years of my life, is only a fractional part of my overall job as a Nextel Cup driver. There’s a lot more changes that go on in your life than the media could understand in one conversation. It’s something you really have to be behind the scenes. You need to live it and breathe for more than a day or two or a week to fully understand what all is involved in it.

AS: To a degree, is it OK with you if you get a “bad boy” label hung on you?
Stewart: Look at wrestling. If you had all the popular guys, the “good” guys in the sport, and you had them wrestling each other each week, I’m not sure it would be as appealing to the fans as if you got somebody that people like and somebody that they dislike. So I think that adds flavor to the sport. I don’t really take it personal. I don’t think it’s a personal deal; it’s just a title that’s given to many of us. I guess I lead the pack of the bad boy group. I think there are fans out there that are looking for that guy. Dale Earnhardt didn’t get his reputation or popularity by being a good guy. He got it by being aggressive, and he was probably the bad boy in his era. So I don’t think it’s such a bad thing after all.

AS: At times you’ve hinted that the frustrations of dealing with the rigors of being a Cup driver might just lead you to get out of NASCAR and just go race sprint cars somewhere. Is that really something you think about doing?
Stewart: No, not necessarily. I think there are days that I’m frustrated and I feel that way, but I think there are more days that I wake up and it just doesn’t bother me anymore. We’ve been through so much controversy in my whole career in the Cup series, I’m just kind of numb to it all I guess, so to speak.
It’s not a distraction to me; it’s not an aggravation to me. I’ve found a way to simplify everything and not worry about it. Controversy is controversy; it’s just something for people to read in the paper and something for them to talk about. When I’m in the race car, I mean, my job is to go out and win the race and that’s what my passion and desire is whether it’s in a midget or in a sprint car or in the Nextel Cup car. At the end of the day I still get a paycheck and still have a job that I thoroughly enjoy.

I guess I’ve come to the realization that I’ve learned what my role is here. Every other series that I was a part of, the drivers had a lot of input and the officials really worked with them. At this level, it’s done in a totally different situation. You realize it doesn’t matter what your opinion is. They don’t care about your opinion. I think that’s why this series has been as successful as it is too, because they’ve stuck to their core organizing skills. This formula they’ve had for over 50-plus years has been pretty successful. So I guess I’m not as frustrated as I used to be because I’ve realized that’s partly why it’s gotten where it has is because they’ve done it their way and not listened to everybody else who has come and gone throughout the series.

AS: Your love for sprint-car racing is well known. You own U.S. Auto Club and World of Outlaws series sprint car teams and work on - and drive - those cars whenever you can squeeze it into your schedule that’s choked with Nextel Cup commitments. And now, you’ve purchased one of the most revered dirt tracks in the United States, historic Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, from the legendary Earl Baltes, who retired. Did you do that because you want to protect the legacy of a place that is so much a part of the history in a part of racing that’s so dear to your heart?
Stewart: I think that’s why Earl and Bernice had the confidence and why Earl came to me and said he’d really like me to have that place. I think Earl knows I respect the history of the sport and the history of his speedway. I will do everything I can to take what Earl has built and not change it a lot. I don’t want to take things away to put something else in place, I just want to take what’s there and add to it. I think there’s a great foundation there, and with my popularity in NASCAR I think we can take some of that and help attract sponsors to the speedway and attract a new breed of race fans who’ve never heard or Eldora or gone to a race there. Hopefully we can take the success there and build on it.

AS: There are hundreds of race tracks around the country, many of which you’ve raced on. What makes Eldora so special?
Stewart: I have never been to a race at Eldora where people didn’t have a good time. Even if the track isn’t prepared the best as it has been or they had bad weather, everybody always found a way to have a good time. Eldora kind of allows you to let your hair down. It’s not so sponsor-driven to where you’re being force-fed from that standpoint. It’s sort of like going to the Kentucky Derby, sometimes people couldn’t tell you who won the Derby, but they can tell you how much fun they had. Eldora is like a happening. They can tell you who won the race, I can promise you that, but it’s just the atmosphere around it, an aura you don’t find at a lot of tracks across the country. It’s just a special place.
 

Teaser:
<p> Our 2005 Q&amp;A with Tony Stewart feels a little like deja vu</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 10:37
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

2011 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports has all the position rankings you need to help set your Week 9 fantasy line up.</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 07:21
Path: /fantasy/ahmad-bradshaw-has-broken-foot-possibly-out-year
Body:

Update: When first reported, it looked like Bradshaw could be out for a significant stretch. Now reports are surfacing that his foot injury is not that serious and that he may actually play this Sunday. Stay tuned.

Ahmad Bradshaw was having a pretty good fantasy season so far. While his week-to-week numbers haven't been that stellar, he has managed to find the end zone 6 times and has offset a lack of yardage with a few catches each week, making him an RB1 in PPR leagues.

And now he may be out for the rest of the season with a broken foot, suffered in last week's come from behind win against the Dolphins.

The Giants haven't officially announced his injury, but multiple Giants beat writers and ESPN insider Adam Schefter have reported that Bradshaw is at best out "indefinitely". 

He may or may not need surgery to repair his foot which is currently swollen and sore.

So all those good little fantasy owners who drafted Ahmad Bradshaw and made sure they handcuffed him with Brandon Jacobs should be very happy as Jacobs takes the majority of carries with D.J. Ware serving as his back up.

Now is Jacob's chance to put his money where his mouth is. Earlier this year he told Men's Fitness that he didn't expect to be with the Giants next year, and complaiend that he had been underutilized as he's taken a back seat to Bradshaw this season in terms of workload.  Also in the interview, he made it clear that he was looking to get a starting job somewhere in the league next year.

OK, Brandon, here's your chance. There's no better way to show every team in the league (including the one you currently play for) that you are still worthy of being a #1 back.

And there's no better game to prove yourself than against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's Patriots (who the Giants play this Sunday.) One thing that may be going for him, is that Belichick usually takes away what a team does best, and I'm guessing Bill doesn't think Brandon Jacobs will be a strength on the Giants offense. 

If you have the space, go ahead and pick up D.J. Ware, as you don't know how Jacobs will respond to this, and if Jacobs goes down, then Ware could be the feature back for the Giants for the remainder of the year.

Teaser:
<p> Very bad news for the New York football Giants' running game and fantasy owners</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 06:17
All taxonomy terms: NBA lockout, NBA
Path: /nba/nba-where-nothing-ever-happens
Body:

The NBA Lockout in a nutshell: my television is currently playing Major League Soccer.

This is what my life has become. A week ago, I was watching the Cards top the Rangers in The Greatest/Worst/Best/Sloppiest Baseball Game Ever. Tonight, the Seattle XBOX’s are going up against the Dudes in Red Shirts.

I’m a diehard baseball, football and basketball fan. That’s it, and in that precise order. Baseball and football are 1A and 1AA, respectively. Basketball is a distant but still beloved third. I don’t like hockey and I sure as shit don’t like soccer. I’m a marginal college football fan at best. By any measure, I currently reside on the sports fan equivalent of a desert island.

Some people have surmised that the NBA owners are stupid to risk losing the momentum of the league’s best season in over a decade. They argue the NBA doesn’t have the same luxury that the NFL did: people won’t miss it all that much. And for a while, I agreed.

The NBA season starts in a week? Who cares: I have baseball to watch. Besides, the NBA has always been the third wheel on a bicycle built for two.

Now, I’m eagerly awaiting the NBA’s return. Who gives a flying f*ck about BRI, the mid-level exception or Stern’s last stand? Five nights out of the week (usually six given MNF’s heinous 2011 schedule), there are no sports on TV. That makes for one hell of a WTF.

NOTE: Unless otherwise specified, quotes are paraphrases of idiocy.

“Chris Johnson.”

Okay, so that isn’t even a quote. But that’s the point. I recently asked a Titans fan friend what he thinks the issue with the halfback-formerly-known-as-CJ2K is.

In response, he muttered something about defenses ‘figuring him out’ and changed the subject.

No one knows what to think of this guy. Not even that many people want to talk about him. He’s hesitant. He’s slower. He’s being weighed-down by his grillz.

No one seems to know anything, except that none of it makes any fucking sense.

This isn’t a case of a holdout languishing over a lack of preseason reps. It’s not even a case of normal running back decline; Johnson is barely 26—young even by NFL standards—and a year removed from being the league’s most electrifying player.

With one touchdown, a 2.8 YPC average and just one 60-yard game (he picked up 101 yards on 23 carries in a week 4 matchup against the Browns) Johnson’s decline hasn’t just been precipitous—it’s been WTF-worthy. Sure, Tennessee’s offensive line isn’t great, but fantasy handcuff Javon Ringer has still been able to find success at times. As opposed to years past, the Titans actually have a viable passing attack. If anything, putting eight men in the box against CJ should be riskier than ever.

The worst part? Tennessee just paid the man, so they have no choice but to stick by their $30 million dollar headache. Johnson is in the first year of a four year deal. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and the Titans have to believe that the superduperstar that torched NFL defenses for three seasons will resurface at some point.

“FRANK MCCOURT IS GONE! CELEBRATE! THE DODGERS ARE BACK!”

Not an incorrect sentiment, but certainly a premature one. The much-maligned LA owner may have finally given in and put his team up for auction, but Dodger fans aren’t out of the Redwood forest just yet.

First, there’s the obvious bidding process, which could end up lasting throughout the 2012 season. When that wraps up, MLB will need to approve the new ownership (in the unlikely scenario that ownership is led by Mark Cuban, that might take awhile). Then, it will probably take some time to put the right people in place to make people forget about the old guy.
In other words, it’s going to be a while.

“Albert Pujols won’t be back in St. Louis next year.”

A week after losing their hall-of-fame manager three days after winning the World Series, one of baseball’s most storied franchises is going to let the GOAT walk over a few million dollars? Riiiiiight.
“Are you kidding me? Theo’s not going to give the managerial job to Ryne Sandberg?”

No, I’m not, and he’s not.

Yes, Ryne is a Windy City legend who is just as marginalized in Wrigleyville as he is in Cooperstown. But he also has zero major league coaching experience, something that might come in handy when trying to turn around a franchise that hasn’t won anything in, ya know, awhile.

“The Bulls are the consensus favorites for the 2011-2012 NBA Championship…if it happens.”

If it happens, the Bulls should be considered among the favorites for this year’s O’Brien Trophy.

Chicago has one of the league’s three best players, the league’s best defense and one of the league’s best coaches. They have a well-rounded bench that is as formidable on the boards as it on the perimeter. Outside of Carlos Boozer, there’s only one reason not to be jumping on the Bulls bandwagon:
Actually, not just one reason. Not even two. Not three, not four, not five…

Miami’s Game Six Finals loss was taken as a validation of all their perceived faults. And why wouldn’t it be? Everyone had been looking for a reason why the Heat would fall flat from the moment “South Beach” escaped LeBron’s lips. The critics had been vindicated.

The thing is, the critics weren’t wrong. The Heat had a terrible bench and no viable center or point guard. Meanwhile, Chris Bosh was doing his best to turn the Big Three into the Big Two-Point-Five.

Yet, despite all of their faults—real, perceived, or somewhere in between—two men came within two games of taking home an NBA title and silencing the doubters. Without any significant assistance, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade almost did what everyone expected (but certainly didn’t want) them to do in the first place.

They’ll do it eventually. They might not win seven titles, but Miami still has a bright future. LeBron is still just 26; Wade is just 29. Reinforcements will come at some point, whether through the draft, free agency or trade. Soon enough, the Big Two will have a better-than-terrible supporting cast. And the rest of the league will cower in the corner.

For the time being, this is still the same team. But that’s the same team that almost already did it.

So why can’t they do it this year? Because the NBA is where nothing happens. And that’s not just a problem for the Heat—it’s a problem for every non-hockey loving sports fan out there.

Jesse Golomb is the creator and lead writer of TheFanManifesto. Follow him on twitter at @TheFanManifesto or drop him a line at [email protected] 

Teaser:
<p> The NBA Lockout in a nutshell: my television is currently playing Major League Soccer.</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 03:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 San Francisco 49ers at WAS
2 Houston Texans vs. CLE
3 Cincinnati Bengals at TEN
4 Baltimore Ravens at PIT
5 Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
6 Green Bay Packers at SD
7 New York Jets at BUF
8 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. BAL
9 New Orleans Saints vs. TB
10 Kansas City Chiefs vs. MIA
11 Oakland Raiders vs. DEN
12 Philadelphia Eagles vs. CHI
13 Atlanta Falcons at IND
14 Buffalo Bills vs. NYJ
15 Chicago Bears at PHI
16 New York Giants at NE

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 16:21
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Kicker Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Mason Crosby GB at SD
2 John Kasay NO vs. TB
3 Dan Bailey DAL vs. SEA
4 David Akers SF at WAS
5 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. DEN
6 Nick Novak SD vs. GB
7 Billy Cundiff BAL at PIT
8 Matt Bryant ATL at IND
9 Neil Rackers HOU vs. CLE
10 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. NYG
11 Mike Nugent CIN at TEN
12 Robbie Gould CHI at PHI
13 Alex Henery PHI vs. CHI
14 Shaun Suisham PIT vs. BAL
15 Ryan Succop KC vs. MIA
16 Rian Lindell BUF vs. NYJ

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 16:08
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Tight End Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. TB
2 Jason Witten DAL vs. SEA
3 Jermichael Finley GB at SD
4 Owen Daniels HOU vs. CLE
5 Antonio Gates SD vs. GB
6 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. NYG
7 Fred Davis WAS vs. SF
8 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. NYG
9 Tony Gonzalez ATL at IND
10 Vernon Davis SF at WAS
11 Dustin Keller NYJ at BUF
12 Kellen Winslow TB at NO
13 Dallas Clark IND vs. ATL
14 Heath Miller PIT vs. BAL
15 Jake Ballard NYG at NE
16 Jermaine Gresham CIN at TEN
17 Brent Celek PHI vs. CHI
18 Jared Cook TEN vs. CIN
19 Benjamin Watson CLE at HOU
20 Scott Chandler BUF vs. NYJ
21 Ed Dickson BAL at PIT
22 Daniel Fells DEN at OAK
23 Kevin Boss OAK vs. DEN
24 Todd Heap ARI vs. STL
25 Anthony Fasano MIA at KC
26 Zach Miller SEA at DAL

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 15:54
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Wide Receiver Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Greg Jennings GB at SD
2 Wes Welker NE vs. NYG
3 Mike Wallace PIT vs. BAL
4 Marques Colston NO vs. TB
5 Roddy White ATL at IND
6 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. STL
7 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. MIA
8 A.J. Green CIN at TEN
9 Vincent Jackson SD vs. GB
10 Brandon Lloyd STL at ARI
11 Miles Austin DAL vs. SEA
12 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. CHI
13 Dez Bryant DAL vs. SEA
14 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. CHI
15 Mario Manningham NYG at NE
16 Brandon Marshall MIA at KC
17 Julio Jones ATL at IND
18 Anquan Boldin BAL at PIT
19 Sidney Rice SEA at DAL
20 Pierre Garcon IND vs. ATL
21 Hakeem Nicks NYG at NE
22 Victor Cruz NYG at NE
23 Jordy Nelson GB at SD
24 Steve Johnson BUF vs. NYJ
25 Santonio Holmes NYJ at BUF
26 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. DEN
27 Mike Williams TB at NO
28 Michael Crabtree SF at WAS
29 Greg Little CLE at HOU
30 Deion Branch NE vs. NYG
31 Nate Washington TEN vs. CIN
32 Reggie Wayne IND vs. ATL
33 Antonio Brown PIT vs. BAL
34 Plaxico Burress NYJ at BUF
35 Malcom Floyd SD vs. GB
36 James Jones GB at SD
37 Lance Moore NO vs. TB
38 Jabar Gaffney WAS vs. SF
39 Eric Decker DEN at OAK
40 Kevin Walter HOU vs. CLE
41 Davone Bess MIA at KC
42 Jonathan Baldwin KC vs. MIA
43 Doug Baldwin SEA at DAL
44 Jerome Simpson CIN at TEN
45 Johnny Knox CHI at PHI
46 David Nelson BUF vs. NYJ
47 Braylon Edwards SF at WAS
48 Steve Breaston KC vs. MIA
49 Jacoby Jones HOU vs. CLE
50 Early Doucet ARI vs. STL
51 Denarius Moore OAK vs. DEN
52 Torrey Smith BAL at PIT
53 Arrelious Benn TB at NO
54 Devin Hester CHI at PHI
55 Jason Avant PHI vs. CHI
56 Jacoby Ford OAK vs. DEN
57 Robert Meachem NO vs. TB
58 Hines Ward PIT vs. BAL
59 Ben Obomanu SEA at DAL
60 Devery Henderson NO vs. TB
61 Dane Sanzenbacher CHI at PHI
62 Anthony Armstrong WAS vs. SF
63 Damian Williams TEN vs. CIN
64 Demaryius Thomas DEN at OAK

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 15:26
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Running Back Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU vs. CLE
2 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. CHI
3 Matt Forte CHI at PHI
4 Fred Jackson BUF vs. NYJ
5 Michael Turner ATL at IND
6 Frank Gore SF at WAS
7 Ray Rice BAL at PIT
8 Steven Jackson STL at ARI
9 Beanie Wells ARI vs. STL
10 LeGarrette Blount TB at NO
11 Shonn Greene NYJ at BUF
12 Cedric Benson CIN at TEN
13 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. BAL
14 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. SEA
15 Mike Tolbert SD vs. GB
16 Darren Sproles NO vs. TB
17 Chris Johnson TEN vs. CIN
18 Jackie Battle KC vs. MIA
19 Brandon Jacobs NYG at NE
20 James Starks GB at SD
21 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE vs. NYG
22 Michael Bush OAK vs. DEN
23 Pierre Thomas NO vs. TB
24 Knowshon Moreno DEN at OAK
25 Marshawn Lynch SEA at DAL
26 Reggie Bush MIA at KC
27 Chris Ogbonnaya CLE at HOU
28 Ryan Torain WAS vs. SF
29 Willis McGahee DEN at OAK
30 Delone Carter IND vs. ATL
31 Daniel Thomas MIA at KC
32 Javon Ringer TEN vs. CIN
33 Ben Tate HOU vs. CLE
34 Ryan Grant GB at SD
35 Roy Helu WAS vs. SF
36 Joseph Addai IND vs. ATL
37 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ at BUF
38 Donald Brown IND at ATL
39 Kendall Hunter SF at WAS
40 Marion Barber CHI at PHI
41 Bernard Scott CIN at TEN
42 Kregg Lumpkin TB at NO
43 Isaac Redman PIT vs. BAL
44 Ricky Williams BAL at PIT
45 Lance Ball DEN at OAK
46 Taiwan Jones OAK vs. DEN
47 Thomas Jones KC vs. MIA
48 Stevan Ridley NE vs. NYG
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 14:50
Path: /overtime/awesome-mike-singletary-magazine-error
Body:

Magazine editors make mistakes all the time. We're all human, but we found this error from the September 2011 issue of Texas Monthly to be especially enjoyable.

According to their "Regret The Error" page:

Our college football package also contained a mistake. The item regarding throwback jerseys erroneously stated that Baylor University linebacker Mike Singletary once made 79 tackles in a single game. That is pretty much impossible--even for Mike Singletary. In fact, the most tackles the two-time All-American ever had in a game at Baylor was 33. We regret these errors.

So there you have it. I think it should be pointed out that 33 tackles in a game is still pretty damn awesome. Even if it's nowhere close to 79.

Teaser:
<p> Magazine editors make mistakes, even when it comes to the great Mike Singletary</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 08:32
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-9
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 9 — Quarterback Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Teams on bye this week: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Aaron Rodgers GB at SD
2 Drew Brees NO vs. TB
3 Tom Brady NE vs. NYG
4 Michael Vick PHI vs. CHI
5 Eli Manning NYG at NE
6 Tony Romo DAL vs. SEA
7 Philip Rivers SD vs. GB
8 Matt Schaub HOU vs. CLE
9 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. BAL
10 Matt Ryan ATL at IND
11 Josh Freeman TB at NO
12 Matt Cassel KC vs. MIA
13 Tim Tebow DEN at OAK
14 Jay Cutler CHI at PHI
15 Mark Sanchez NYJ at BUF
16 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF vs. NYJ
17 Joe Flacco BAL at PIT
18 Andy Dalton CIN at TEN
19 Carson Palmer OAK vs. DEN
20 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. CIN
21 Sam Bradford STL at ARI
22 Alex Smith SF at WAS
23 Colt McCoy CLE at HOU
24 John Beck WAS vs. SF
25 Curtis Painter IND vs. ATL
26 Tarvaris Jackson SEA at DAL

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 07:35
Path: /nfl/mile-high-misery-destruction-denver-broncos
Body:

Tim Tebow might be bad, but Josh McDaniels’ tenure with the Broncos was much, much worse.

The only reason to think Tim Tebow is anything other than awful is because you want to.

Those are the paraphrased words of Bomani Jones, ESPN personality and radio host. They were expelled in tweet-form, in no more than 140 characters, yet they comprise easily the best summation of Tebowmania we’ve yet to hear, read or say.

In a nutshell, their simplicity is why the Broncos are so—for lack of a better word—screwed. Nothing good can happen when ineptitude is this obvious. Nothing at all.

Now, crack open the nutshell. How did the Denver Broncos get to this point? Why are they starting a player whose mediocrity is apparent even to the most uneducated of football laymen?

The 2011 Denver Broncos are a team destroyed by pettiness past, derailed by two men who have since moved on. The story is an old one, but its ramifications are only now revealing themselves. The Cutler trade, and the flurry of moves that succeeded it, have decimated the Broncos’ recent past, present and foreseeable future.

On April 2nd, 2009, just weeks before that year’s NFL Draft, the Broncos flipped Cutler to the Bears for Kyle Orton, two first round picks, a fifth round pick and uncertainty at the league’s most important position.

The Broncos traded knowledge for faith. They knew what they had in Jay Cutler—a young, cannon armed quarterback who led them to seven wins in his rookie campaign. They merely hoped Kyle Orton was an average quarterback who would improve under the “expert” tutelage of McDaniels.

Although the Broncos were giving up their then 25-year old face of the organization for a man once benched in favor of Rex Grossman, the move made some sense; the relationship between Cutler and the Broncos organization was likely irreconcilable. All things considered, Denver had no choice but to trade Cutler. They might have been lucky to get as much as they did.

But if a risky move ends up backfiring, the offending executive or coach is almost always shown the door. McDaniels had doubled down on his risk; not only would he have pulled the trigger on disaster, his tenuous relationship with Cutler had made disaster necessary in the first place.

Josh McDaniels was on the hot seat before he ever coached his first game.

If the team McDaniels was inheriting had won seven games with Jay Cutler at the helm, surely expectations would be tempered with Orton stepping in. McDaniels needed to win games to save his job, so he would need to find a way to improve the team in other areas.

As McDaniels searched for answers, the Cutler deal served as the catalyst for a series of ill-advised moves, just one of which was handing the keys to the Broncos’ future over to Tim Tebow’s college resume.

As head coach and GM of the Broncos, McDaniels made 18 trades involving draft picks in ’09 and ’10. Six of these trades came in the first round of the 2010 gala alone. More than once, the Broncos received a pick in exchange for a player, only to trade that pick for another pick, and then flip that for a selection later on. Just when it appeared as if the chaos had passed, the Broncos traded a seventh-rounder back to the Patriots in exchange for Ross Hochstein, a 32-year old guard with only 20 career starts.

Perhaps McDaniels’ vision might have been successful if his eyes weren’t so crossed. But the Belchick disciple continued his mindless shuffle, flipping picks back and forth so quickly that it seemed impossible he had any semblance of a plan.

As is always the case with the draft, instant analysis was futile. The dust had not yet settled. Nevertheless, everyone seemed frazzled, Mel Kiper’s hair notwithstanding.

With the two first round picks and the third rounder received in exchange for Cutler, Denver ended up choosing Robert Ayers and…no one. They flipped the 2009 third rounder to Pittsburgh, who ended up picking Mike Wallace. Their second number one draft pick, by way of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and New England, ended up being WR Demaryius Thomas.

Oft-injured, Thomas has been a Grade A bust. If injuries weren’t insulting enough, Denver chose the former Georgia Tech receiver over Dallas’ Dez Bryant, who has already developed into an elite playmaker on offense and special teams.

Furthermore, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks and Jeremy Maclin were all still on the board in 2009 when Denver picked Ayers—as was Tampa QB Josh Freeman following their selection of HB Knowshon Moreno.

Besides selecting Bryant and Wallace, teams ended up choosing Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Graham, Johnny Knox, Anthony Davis and Earl Thomas with picks that once belonged to the Broncos.

Trading up to get Tim Tebow meant the Broncos lost out on the opportunity to draft defensive linemen Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap as well as Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and Tampa’s Mike Williams. Former Broncos Tony Sheffler, Brandon Marshall and Montrae Holland—now starting at guard for the Cowboys—were all traded as well.

Instead of having any of those players, the Broncos ended up with Ayers (58 tackles and four sacks through 33 games), Thomas (12 career catches in 12 games), G Seth Olsen, CB Alphonso Smith and LB Jammie Kirlew (now with Indianapolis, Detroit and Buffalo, respectively), Perrish Cox (cut following accusations of sexual assault) as well as Rich Quinn and Syd’Quan Thompson, both of whom have yet to play a down in the NFL.

All in all, not a single one of the Broncos’ 18 trades could be described as anything other than a disaster. Out of their 2009 and 2010 draft picks, only Eric Decker—he of 36 career catches—and Tebow have contributed in any way, marginal as those contributions may be.

Broncos fans should be horrified. How could anyone be allowed to wreak this much havoc on a single franchise? The only explanation involves an image of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth and muttering to himself about how, “It…just happened so fast.”

It’s one thing to take on risk by trading away established veterans. It’s another entirely to do what Josh McDaniels did, setting an organization ablaze and then dousing the flames with kerosene. Unable to get anything of significance out of 18 trades and 16 draft picks, it’s no mystery why Denver has trouble getting anything at all out of the 45 men on their roster.

Nor why McDaniels is currently with another organization, his seat still at a simmer, his job security just as tenuous as it has been from day one in Denver.

Jesse Golomb is the creator and lead writer of TheFanManifesto. Follow him on twitter at @TheFanManifesto or drop him a line at [email protected]
 

Teaser:
<p> <em style="font-family: tahoma; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); ">Tim Tebow might be bad, but Josh McDaniels’ tenure with the Broncos was much, much worse.</em></p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 13:50
Path: /fantasy/legarrette-blount-will-play-sunday-you-shouldnt-start-him
Body:

LeGarrette Blount owners can rejoice. Or at least they can rejoice as much as owners of a one-dimensional 5th round fantasy football pick who's been out for a month can rejoice. But according to the Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris, Blount will return to action this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

The bad news: You probably shouldn't start him this week. 

But why, you ask? The Saints have the 28th ranked defense in the league, you say. Well, almost any other back in the league would get the green light against such a lowly defense, but there's another story at play here.

The Saints are coming off a shocking and embarrassing loss to the lowly (and used-to-be winless) St. Louis Rams last week. That means that Drew Brees and company have a lot to prove, both to themselves and to everyone else around the league.

The Saints are going to come out of the gate strong and angry, and with their (normally) top-notch offense, I think there's a good chance that they will put up a few points in the first half of the game against the Bucs.

And that's exactly the worst thing that could happen to LeGarrette Blount.

Since he's so one-dimensional and doesn't catch any passes, he basically disappears from the game plan. He's one of the best backs in the league when the Bucs have a lead, but when they're down (which they very well could be this Sunday), then he's basically a non factor.

The only thing you can really hope for with Blount is that he gets into the end zone. But th problem with TDs is that they are unpredictable. One week he could get 3, while the next week he could get zero. I think this will be one of those weeks that's closer to zero, with Josh Freeman throwing the ball all over the field as the Bucs will have to keep pace with the Saints offense.

This game is in New Orleans, too, which only makes it worse for Blount's chances.

A few things that could help Blount is that Earnest Graham, the back who normally catches passes is much more suited to a come-from-behind passing game, is out for the season with an achilles injury. With only Kregg Lumpkin left in the backfield, Blount may get the majority of carries anyway.

LeGarrette Blount Prediction: 11 carries, 46 yards, 1 TD

Teaser:
<p> Tampa Bay's running back is healthy but shouldn't be in your starting lineup this Sunday</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 12:29
All taxonomy terms: Funny slam dunk gif, Overtime
Path: /overtime/best-slam-dunk-gif-ever
Body:

Usually when you pull off a huge slam dunk, you don't expect the hoop to come back and turn the tables on you. This time it did.

Teaser:
<p> Sometimes you throw down a slam on a hoop, and sometimes it dunks you back</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 10:44
All taxonomy terms: Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow Bingo, Overtime
Path: /overtime/tim-tebow-bingo
Body:

Watching Tim Tebow is becoming a very enjoyable pastime on Sundays. His erratic play and unpolished style make for TV that you can't take your eyes away from. Much like a car accident, you're just waiting for Tebow to toss a pick-6 or scramble around in the pocket while he gets sacked. So, to make this TV even more fun to watch, here's a Tim Tebow Bingo game you can play the next time you see Tebow take the field for the Broncos.

We were thinking about making this a drinking game, but we figured that you'd probably be way too wasted after just the first quarter. But all you binge-drinker out there can feel free to modify this however you see fit.

Teaser:
<p> Enjoy this game the next time Tim Tebow takes the field for the Broncos</p>
Post date: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 08:26
Path: /overtime/funniest-college-gameday-signs
Body:

Holding up signs at ESPN's College Gameday show has been a tradition for years now. ESPN does their best to screen out the innapropriate ones, but it seems impossible to get them all. Here are some of the funniest ones to have made it on TV.

Teaser:
<p> Here's a gallery of the funniest signs to make it onto College Gameday</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 10:18
All taxonomy terms: Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/andre-johnson-no-go-week-8-out-week-9-too
Body:

Andre Johnson was supposed to play in Week 8. But things don't always play out the way they're supposed to for fantasy football owners.

After practicing on Wednesday and Thursday and looking like he was on pace to start this Sunday for the first time since week 4, Johnson suffered what seems to be a significant setback on Friday. Johnson was held out of practice and the general talk around the Texans' locker room was that his surgically-repaired hamstring is holding him back from getting onto the field.

Texans' coach Gary Kubiak tried to stay positive saying that Andre was "real close" to getting back to playing, but Johnson himself only deemed his hamstring at 70-75%.

What makes this news even worse is that the Texans have a bye in week 10. The smart move, no matter how great Johnson is feeling next week, would be to hold him out not only in week 8, but in week 9 as well, giving him a full three weeks to get back to 100%.

The Texans play the lowly Jaguars in week 8 and the even lowlier (that's a word, right?) Cleveland Browns in Week 9. After destroying the Titans last week, it seems like the Texans could take care of the Jags and Browns without Johnson, giving him plenty of rest to come back fully refreshed.

While this is the smart move in real football terms, it's also a killer move for Johnson's fantasy owners. Those who spent a first round draft pick on Andrew will be without him for 6 weeks, basically half of a fantasy season.

If Johnson owners have been able to keep their heads above water and stay in the playoff hunt, they will also be the team no one wants to play as they get one of fantasy football's leading scorers back right in time for the playoffs.

Teaser:
<p> The Texans receiver suffered a setback and didn't practice on Friday</p>
Post date: Friday, October 28, 2011 - 16:45

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