Friday, August 26, 2005

A good day for the Worldwide Leader

They must have heard my complaints because there are two strong efforts on the front page of today. One is this piece from Gary Gilette analyzing the fundamentals displayed by the Cubs and Braves during their game on Wednesday afternoon. Although he states that the game showed why the Braves win and the Cubs don't, it seemed from the article that both teams made plenty of mistakes, mainly by swinging at bad pitches and/or not shortening their swings with two out. Neither pitcher could get a bunt down properly, which is something that starting to irk me about the Braves' pitchers, probably because I was spoiled in the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz-Avery era, when all of our pitchers did that part of the game properly. (I'm about to start sounding like Bob Feller.)

My favorite line was this one about Raffy: "With one out, Rafael Furcal does everything he can to avoid walking, taking big swings on a pair of two-strike pitches before finally taking a free pass on the 10th pitch." Incidentally, either AJC Braves beat writer David O'Brien has been reading this site or we both seem to be on the same wave length regarding Furcal, because O'Brien fronts today's AJC sports section with this piece noting that Furcal has played himself into the $8-10M/year contract range with his terrific play over the past month. I'm seriously wondering now if the Braves shouldn't pay him and give up on signing Marcus Giles, since Furcal is clearly the key to the team's offense and Giles' bat can be reproduced by other players on the team, but Furcal's work as a table-setter cannot. There's no reason Betemit can't play second, is there?

The second strong piece is Sports Guy's fantasy rankings. When he's not taking gratuitous shots at Peyton Manning and whining that the Patriots don't get enough respect, he's a very funny writer on the NFL. His reasoning on Manning is the same reasoning that I offered to my friend Ken before his fantasy draft last year: the running backs always go high, but they aren't very consistent. It's a physically brutal position and you never know whose odometer is going to hit the limit in a given season. Manning is never hurt and is a guaranteed 40+ TD player. If you're picking at the top of the draft, you can't risk a flame-out.

Incidentally, my college fantasy draft was last week and I haven't even had a chance to blog about it this week. Here's Peace/Elkon's roster:


Brian Brohm (Louisville)
Drew Tate (Iowa)
Ryan Hart (Rutgers)

Running Back

Gerald Riggs, Jr. (Tennessee)
Joseph Addai (LSU)
Cornell Brockington (UConn)
Ken Darby (Alabama)

Wide Receivers

Steve Smith (USC)
Chad Jackson (Florida)
Sean Coffey (Missouri)
Broderick Clark (Louisville)

Tight Ends

Dominique Byrd (USC)
Charles Davis (Purdue)


Florida St.

We were picking sixth in a seven-team draft and our dream was to get Brohm and Riggs with the #6 and #9 picks. The dream came true. We're betting heavily on SEC runners, which is a traditional fantasy losing proposition and if my theory on the SEC heading into an offensive upswing is wrong, or even 1-2 years premature, then this could be problematic. Addai was not on the roster initially, but when we learned that our third round pick Seymour Shaw had transferred earlier in the week, we were allowed to drop Shaw at the end of the draft and pick up Addai, who could be a major producer if Justin Vincent keeps his head in his bum. Returning offensive line plus coach who produced consistently great running games at Oklahoma State and learned under Bo Schembechler? Sign me up. Similarly, we're hoping that Jackson is Chris Leak's go-to guy over Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell; the consensus among Florida fans is that he will be, but there are some major touchdown-stealing possibilities for both of our top two receivers.

In case you're wondering, the top five picks were Cody Hodges, Adrian Peterson, Chris Leak, Marshawn Lynch, and Jarrett Hicks. Matt Leinart, Mike Hart, Laurence Maroney, Greg Lee, and Reggie Bush were all franchised. Our franchise back, Vernand Morency, will hopefully have a big year for the Houston Texans, the lying bastard.

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