Futile Fantasy Football is BACK! Week 1!

FUTILE FANTASY IS BACK!! GET IN THE GAME!! Here are the rules and the player pools you can select from:

Here are the rules again for a quick reminder: remember, you are trying to pick THE WORST team points wise, so cheer for futility.

Who ever has THE LOWEST score wins. So really, we are playing golf. So pick a four pack of bums and get in the game! Here are the rules for a quick refresher.

-Each team will be comprised of one QB, RB, WR and TE. The game is meant to be simple. Pick one of each.

-Each player picked for each position must be a STARTER and must be PLAYING that week. (For instance, you may not pick Matt Cassel because he is not starting (yet), but you may pick Russel Wilson.)

-Your RB slot has to be filled with the first string (and starting) RB from a team. You may not use full backs or H backs.

-Scoring is standard scoring. All touchdowns count as 6 points (including passing TD’s). 25 throwing yards equals 1 point. 10 yards rushing and receiving equals 1 point. -2 for fumbles and INT’s.

-No decimal point scoring.

-No Monday night players. The reason for this is we will be able to get some instant gratification Sunday night. I will post the winners then.

SELECT ONE PLAYER FROM EACH POSITION BELOW!

QB – Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Michael Vick, Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub, Russel Wilson or Eli Manning.

RB – Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Demarco Murray, Daren McFadden, Benjarvis Green-Ellis, Reggie Bush, CJ  Spiller, Stephen Jackson, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson.

WR – Andre Johnson, Lance Moore, Calvin Johnson, Desean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Victor Cruz, AJ Green, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, James Jones, Steve Smith (Carolina) or Brandon Marshall

TE – Kyle Rudolph, Jermichael Finley, Jason Wittin, Owen Daniels, Brent Celek, or Jared Cook.

 

Select one from each pool and leave your team in the comments below! Good luck.

Advertisements

Toplist: Best Fictional Athlete!

College Humor is asking for the public’s help in making the list of the best fictional athlete! Who’s your favorite movie/tv athlete? Help decide once and for all by voting below – feel free to be as thoughtful or as completely-biased as you want!

Click here to vote!

5 Reasons the Stanley Cup Finals Rock!

Here is a list from ESPN writer Scott Burnside. You can find the full article here.

In case you’ve missed them (yeah, right!), here are five reasons the Stanley Cup playoffs have been must-see entertainment:

Zdeno Chara versus Jonathan Toews

Chara is a former Norris Trophy winner. Toews was just named Selke winner as the game’s best two-way forward. Until Game 4, Chara had won the battle — both physically and psychologically — as Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was reluctant to reunite Toews withPatrick Kane because he knew that would put pretty much all his offensive eggs in one basket against Chara.

Neither had scored through the first three games. But even though Chara continues to try to goad Toews into some extracurricular activity, it was Toews and the Blackhawks who earned a crucial 6-5 victory in Game 4. Toews and Kane, reunited on the top line, both scored. Toews respectfully but forcefully reinforced postgame that the Hawks wouldn’t be intimidated by Chara, and further that the Hawks could exploit the big defender with their speed and skill.

In short: “We’re going to be coming after you again, big boy.”

The Bruins, meanwhile, seem nonplussed by the challenge to their captain.

“Z’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and a guy that big and that strong you don’t really want to play around with a lot,” forward Brad Marchand said Thursday. “They’re welcome to say whatever they want. We’re just worried about how we have to play. Z steps up every night and plays his best.”

Don’t change that channel

The Bruins blew a 3-1 lead in Game 1 and lost in triple overtime. The Blackhawks scored first and dominated the first period in Game 2 yet wound up losing in overtime on Daniel Paille’s OT winner.

Game 4? The Blackhawks did their level best to cough up every lead they had before Brent Seabrook evened the series with his overtime blast in a 6-5 game.

The bottom line is that nothing is over ‘til it’s over. The past two springs, the team that scored first in the finals went 13-0, and the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that from 2008 to 2012 the team that scored first recorded an amazing 29-3 record.

The fact that both Chicago and Boston have wellsprings of resiliency has made for a compelling series. There is no give in either team, and the fact each squad knows the other will not take a knee has driven the competitive level in this series through the roof.

“I think it’s two confident teams, two teams that have been in the postseason, and both won championships and know how to play,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “The first goal’s nice to score, but there’s still lots of hockey to be played, and both teams take that approach.”

The Jagr factor

Yeah, we know: Jagr hasn’t scored in the playoffs. But really, who cares? The five-time regular-season scoring champ is logging important minutes for the Bruins, and in Game 4 his hard work deep in the Chicago zone (including being knocked down and bouncing up to regain possession of the puck before feeding it to Patrice Bergeron in the slot for a goal) was exemplary.

More than that, his presence simply enriches the series, as it does the league. We saw Jagr with the Philadelphia Flyers last season and how beloved he was there after just a short period of time. The same was true with the Dallas Stars this season before his trade to Boston. His midnight jaunts on the ice after games and his sometimes meandering postgame conversations (we personally loved the suggestion after Game 3 that frail people shouldn’t watch this series because it’s too exciting and they might have a heart attack) have been a revelation. When a player as great as Jagr so obviously loves the game at this stage of his life and career, it’s intoxicating.

He’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer after he retires. This series has taught us to hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.

Speed versus grinding opportunism

One of the great storylines at the outset of this series was which of the competing styles and visions behind the building of these two teams would prevail. Both teams had won championships, with the Bruins grinding down a more skilled Vancouver team after dropping the first two games of the ’11 finals in Vancouver, and Chicago using its superior skill and speed to best Philadelphia in ’10 in a six-game set.

We have seen each team’s style prevail at times during this series, have seen each team look like it would take over the series — starting with the Blackhawks’ stunning comeback in Game 1, followed by two tight-checking affairs that went the Bruins’ way, followed by Wednesday’s wild and woolly affair that saw Chicago even the series.

Boston coach Claude Julien seemed to take some offense to this characterization Thursday.

“I’m talking about our team’s game because people construed, again, Bruins hockey as being rough and tumble and not much else,” Julien said. “But I talk about not playing our game, and our game was more, as I mentioned, getting our transition game going in a better direction.”

This isn’t to suggest the Bruins need to win every game 2-1 or match up in the skill department with Chicago. As Julien pointed out, they did score five times against Corey Crawford, who’s had an outstanding playoffs for the Blackhawks.

But the fact of the matter is that the Bruins’ five goals weren’t enough because the Blackhawks used their speed and desire to stretch the ice with long passes, which created several odd-man rushes.

In the end, both teams are capable of winning 6-5 or 2-1. It’s just that the Blackhawks are built to win more 6-5 games than they are 2-1 games — at least, that’s the theory.

The hero/goat factor

How about Michal Rozsival? Two assists in Game 4 plus the shot that became the winner in triple overtime in Game 1 after it caromed off Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw. The veteran Czech, who has never won the Cup, has just four assists this spring, but three have been in the finals. We call that clutch.

What about Rich Peverley? His role has been dramatically reduced since the Bruins last won the Cup in ’11, but there he was in Game 4 producing his best game of the postseason, scoring the Bruins’ second goal and sending the puck to a wide-open Chris Kelly late in regulation with the game tied, only to have Kelly fail to deposit the puck in the open net.

“I thought Rich had a great game last night,” Kelly said with a rueful grin. “I think he could have had a few and definitely could have had an assist if someone would have scored for him.”

Through four games we’ve had four players score winning goals. Brandon Saad is playing his best hockey of the playoffs, this after a difficult start for the rookie-of-the-year nominee. He set up the Blackhawks’ first goal Wednesday with a brilliant short-handed effort. Daniel Paille, Kelly and Tyler Seguin were the heroes in Games 2 and 3. Patrice Bergeron has been a dynamo all over the ice in pretty much every game.

But there have also been questions asked about top players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who answered the bell with strong Game 4s. David Krejci and linemates Milan Lucicand Nathan Horton have had some dry spells, thanks in large part to strong defensive play from Toews.

With two wins separating these teams from glory, the hero/goat storyline will take on even more drama.

In Honor of James Gandolfini: The Toughest Guys In Sports

by Tommy Gimler of The Daily Upper Decker

I’m not Italian, I’m not in the mob, and I’m not a hard ass. But when James Gandolfini died from an apparent heart attack in Italy on Wednesday, I feel like a part of me died as well.

For six seasons Gandolfini played Tony Soprano, perhaps the toughest guy to ever grace the small screen. Yet what made him just as memorable was how he had to deal with problems outside of the family business that most of us can relate to. You know, like an uncle with dementia, fantasies about your therapist, and a wife who won’t let you bet on the fucking Jets.

So, to honor Gandolfini, The DUD has come up with this short list of the closest things the sports world has to Tony Soprano:

James Harrison – LB, Cincinnati Bengals

How tough is James Harrison? After Roger Goodell fined him over $200,000 in 2010 and 2011 for numerous vicious hits that knocked out a few receivers and quarterbacks, he informed the entire league that he was going to be tackling low from there on out. But even that couldn’t keep him from injuring opposing players, as the destroyed Eric Decker’s knee in a playoff loss to Jesus Christ and the Denver Broncos…

Dustin Pedroia – 2B, Boston Red Sox

After breaking his foot in 2010, Dustin Pedroia refused to just sit and let it heal. According to his Wikipedia page, he was so concerned about his fielding skills diminishing, that he would practice taking ground balls from his knees. Last year, he told turd manager Bobby Valentine through the media to go fuck himself. This season, Pedroia completely tore his UCL ligament in his thumb on Opening Day, yet he has played in every game except one. Even with the injury, Pedroia is hitting .312 with an OPB of .396, 4 home runs, 40 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases…

Kobe Bryant – SG, Los Angeles Lakers

According to a 2011-12 survey of NBA general managers, just over 32% of them said the toughest player in the NBA was Kobe Bryant. We wouldn’t know because we don’t watch fixed sports. But when the next highest player on the list was Rajon Rondo at just 10.7%, we’ll take their word for it. All we know is that it sure as shit isn’t Andrew Bogut…

Zdeno Chara – D, Boston Bruins

Look at the size of this fucking guy. The Hockey News and Yahoo! Sports named Zdeno Chara the toughest player in the NHL last month even though at that time he had only been in 54 fights in 1,055 career games, including one in which he broke an opposing player’s jaw. But when you’re 6-foot-9 and 255 pounds, you don’t have to fight to get you’re point across. Especially when every player in the league has seen video of you do this:

RIP, James…

 

Check out more sports crudeness from The Daily Upper Decker here!

Fantasy Baseball: MLB Nerd Maker!

Today, we get an article from friend of the site Sam Mark. It combines two of this sites favorite things, Sports (and in particular, baseball) and nerdism. Please enjoy Sam’s words:

Let’s get something established here.

My first indoctrination to baseball was piggybacking on my father’s shoulders as the Minnesota Twins World Series parade celebrated in downtown Minneapolis in 1989.  I, of course, only know this because of shotty video recordings of me.
Then, came T-Ball, where my highlights included me running into the outfield to avoid being tagged out at 2nd base (I got out).
Later, I went to my first Twins game, where one of the players threw me a ball, to only have it ripped out of my hands by a no good selfish friend.  I would end up being his best man at his wedding.
Lastly, I played a year of baseball in 4th grade, where I was beamed by the 2nd fastest pitcher in the league, cried all the way to 1st base, and solidified my black sheepness on the “All-Star” team I was placed on.
What I’m getting at, is I had no reason to enjoy baseball growing up.  Sure, the Twins won two World Series’ during my life, but the ninja turtles were just far more interesting (and forgiving) than baseball.
Baseball grew a little more interesting, when girls I knew enjoyed baseball.  But, let’s face it, it wasn’tbaseball’s bases I was attracted to…
Frankly, baseball was boring.
Fast forward to 3 years ago.  A friend of mine sends me an e-mail to join his Fantasy Baseball league.  I scoffed.  I was a die hard Fantasy Football guru and anything BUT was a waste of my time.  But, the friend was in a pinch and needed people.  I joined and named my team, “The Hot Ice,” after my favorite baseball movie: Rookie of the Year. (It’s the best of both worlds.)
Researching for my first draft, I only had one thought: “Fuck, there are a lot of players in baseball.”
What did I just get myself into?  Sure, the league was free, but to filter through both the NL AND the AL?  I didn’t even know what an walk-off homerun was (true story… at that time)!
I went through multiple mock drafts, basically going through the motions… until the actual draft happened.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I would rank “drafting a fantasy team” up next to vacationing in the tropics or sex.  It is a euphoric, adrenaline pumping, exciting experience that when it’s over… you are in withdrawal and a little sweaty.
I had my team picked and I was ready to win it all.  I’m a competitive person.
However, there was still that underlying truth that I had no idea what I was doing.  When my team suffered, I wanted to drop and trade everyone at the drop of a hat. When my team did well, my ego was the biggest it’s ever been.
Now, I’m about to get to my point and it’s a little cheesy, but if you weren’t interested, you would have stopped reading by the time I mentioned baseball being boring.
Honestly, baseball is still a little boring.  But, I found myself SO fascinated with details like a batters OBP or a WHIP based on home or away games… I found out I was becoming a nerd.  A fantasy baseball nerd.
 
This was enough to inspire something within me that was so lost when I was growing up.  I was discussing strategies and player potential with people I had otherwise considered strangers.  I grew more connected with friends and new friends.
All from fantasy baseball.
Sure, baseball most likely instills this in the biggest fans, but for something to inspire someone so uninterested in baseball is a powerful medium.  You could even say it’s a spiritual ritual.
OK, maybe not, but as a Twins fan, what else could possibly make me want to root for the White Sox?
 Check out this awesome ESPN 30 for 30 about the creation of fantasy sports. It is called “Silly Little Game”
Sam Mark is a comedian, improviser, and all-around decent guy who’s trying to be better at being on time for things.

5 Reasons It’s Hard Being a Fan of the Minnesota Twins!

This guy, Chris Shad, nails it. It is hard being a fan of this team. But, like my father reminds me, as hard as it is to be a fan of the Twins, at least we aren’t fans of the Cubs..

Article by Chris Shad:

The Minnesota Twins have a loyal fan base. As one of Major League Baseball’s small-market franchises, they’ve done everything imaginable to ensure they have a competitive team.

Five division championships in the past 11 seasons doesn’t do anything to hurt that reputation, and for fans of other small-market teams, the Twins are the model of what their favorite team could become.

But wanting to become a Twins fan is a case of being careful what you wish for.

While the success of the 2000s and two World Series championships look nice, there are several reasons why a level of tolerance that needs to be reached in order to cheer for MLB’s little engine that could.

 

1. The recent run of success has given several Twins fans a sense of entitlement.

Prior to the 2001 season, the Twins hadn’t seen much success as a franchise. They had won two World Series championships, but, as a 14-year-old at the time, I had become accustomed to 90-loss seasons and high draft picks such as B.J. Garbe and Adam Johnsonthat had never worked out.

Then came the renaissance for the franchise, as they scorched out of the gates with a 15-3 record in 2001. Even the national media was paying attention as outfielder Matt Lawton was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The Twins were back … and so was everybody else.

Twins hats popped up everywhere, and people who hadn’t watched a game since the Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series started dusting off their Kirby Puckett jerseys and marching to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to see what all the fuss was about.

It would be a decade-long stretch for the Twins that goes down as the most successful in franchise history, as they won five division championships and gave Twins fans everywhere a false sense of entitlement.

Suddenly, Twins fans everywhere became angered that star closer Joe Nathan could shut down the weak lineups of the American League Central but not the New York Yankees.

Then, they started pointing the finger at catcher Joe Mauer because he wasn’t hitting well over .400 and therefore wasn’t worth his $23 million a year salary.

And that was when the Twins were winning the division.

The Twins would take a fall from grace after 2010 and lose 195 games over the next two seasons. Mauer didn’t help his case by missing half the 2011 season with bi-lateral leg weakness, and suddenly the torches and pitch forks were out in Twins Territory.

They pleaded with Terry Ryan to do something, and became offended when other teams refused to take their garbage. Top free agents also spurned them because they had finished in the basement of the AL Central the past two seasons.

Still, some asked, “How dare they?” as the Twins are still an elite organization in their eyes despite the fact they haven’t won a playoff game since 2004.

As a loyal fan from the days where I just wanted to see Kirby Puckett come to the plate in a half-empty Metrodome, I cringe when I hear a spoiled Twins fan chew out Mauer for being injury prone despite playing in a career-high 147 games last season.

I guess to the victors, go the spoiled.

 

2. The Twins believe that winning the American League Central is like winning the World Series.

Fans of every organization in MLB dream of winning a World Series. The thrill of October is like nothing else when your team is involved, and for Twins fans they’ve seen plenty of postseason baseball.

It just hasn’t been of the quality variety.

That’s because the Twins have been obsessed with winning the division rather than focusing on a deep run into the playoffs.

For years, the Twins have looked impressive in their handling of the division, only to come unglued once they run into the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series.

A lot of that has to do with the handling of the team by manager Ron Gardenhire. When the Twins clinch the division, the team goes into shutdown mode where everyone is “emotionally drained.”

To counter that, Gardenhire lets his starters sit on the bench for several games at a time to make sure everybody is ready for the big postseason series ahead.

The end result is a three-game sweep.

Perhaps one more playoff run will change their thinking, but the Twins are a team that hears Queen’sWe Are The Champions a little bit differently than everybody else…

 

We are the American League Central Division Champions, my friend.

And we’ll keep on fighting until we win the division.

We are the American League Central Division Champions.

We are the American Leage Central Division Champions.

No time for losers, cause we are the American League Central Division Champions…of the world!

 

3. The Twins never keep elite talent.

Jerseys are expensive. Going to the ballpark to shell out $125 for a replica Johan Santana jersey was one of the biggest clothing investments of my life, but I figured it would be worth it because he was a key piece to the Twins’ success.

However, the marriage between the Twins and their last true ace went sour just a year later, and next thing I knew Santana was a member of the New York Mets.

That’s when I learned that nobody stays around in Minnesota for long.

Since the Twins came back from the baseball dead in 2001, the Twins have grown their own talent and watched them walk out the door to become key staples for other teams.

The Twins treat their players like high-priced chips at a poker table. The organization claims that their the Kenny Rogers of baseball, knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em but in a lot of cases their moves backfire.

There was the decision to trade J.J. Hardy after one ineffective season because former general manager Bill Smith thought Tsuyoshi Nishioka was a better bet to hold down shortstop.

There was the other decision to let Torii Hunter walk because they thought at the end of a five-year contract, he’d be a shell of himself at 36 (he’s currently hitting .361 for the Detroit Tigers after a productive tenure with the Los Angeles Angels).

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue with 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau on the trading block, and super prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton rising through the system.

Odds are that the front office will deem Buxton and Sano too expensive to keep around, and trade them for a bunch of prospects that will likely flame out like the trade that sent Santana to the Mets.

 

4. The Twins always play for the future instead of going all-in.

Once every year, you see a team go all-in on a player because they think that it’s the final piece to building a championship roster.

Unfortunately, that team never seems to be the Twins.

Instead of realizing their time is now, the Twins always believe that their time is two or three seasons down the road.

As they let quality players walk out the door for greener pastures, the belief is that the younger players in the organization are ready to step in and seamlessly fill in their spot.

That’s why you never see the Twins step up and offer a massive contract to Zack Grienke even though their starting rotation looked worse than your beer league softball team.

It’s also why you’ll never see them offer a pair of top prospects to get an established second or third baseman rather than praying that Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe will hit above .230.

Brian Dozier

This aspect becomes extremely frustrating when the Twins are in the mix to be something more than American League Central division champions of the world, and sit on their hands while a fellow contender swoops in and picks them up for an affordable price.

 

5. The Pohlad family is incredibly cheap.

When the Twins came to Minnesota in the spring of 1961, they were owned by Calvin Griffith. He was a man that liked to value a dollar, and it resulted in several teams that were ok, but not World Series contenders during the early years of the franchise.

The Griffith era lasted throughout the 60s and 70s before Carl Pohlad stepped in and bought the team in 1984. With a large bank account, some could have guessed that some of these star players would be kept and the franchise would rise to baseball’s elite.

That didn’t happen.

While the Pohlad era netted two World Series championships in 1987 and 1991, the era was also known for getting rid of key players and refusing to cave into the increasing price of contract demands around MLB.

He also threatened the Twin Cities by agreeing to move the team to North Carolina in an effort to get a new stadium. When that didn’t work, Pohlad decided that the next best thing was to eliminate the team completely and pad his already fat wallet by another $150 million.

Of course, neither of those ploys worked and the financing for what would be known as Target Field was finalized in May 2006.

Pohlad would never see the new crown jewel of Minneapolis (he died in 2009), but his children have picked up right where their father left off, jacking up ticket prices with the arrival of Target Field in 2010 and dropping payroll every year after.

There have been exceptions with the Twins giving catcher Joe Mauer one of the richest contracts in baseball history, but overall the Pohlads have refused to foot the bill for building a contending franchise.

Maybe they’re just waiting for the future so they can sell them off again, and thus goes the cycle of being a Twins fan.

Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering them on through the dark ’90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has been published on Bleacher Report.