2014 Portland FFL Week 6 and 7 Recap

We are now more than halfway through the FFL regular season, and the lower playoff seedings are less clear than the “before” picture in a Proactiv commercial.

While Tim, Moe, and Ben have begun to get some breathing room between them and the rest of the pack, both of the 3-2-1 teams (Nathan Y and Pat) fell back into the fray in Week 7.  Pat, who remains the only FFL participant whose name is a form of football scoring (Point After Touchdown), undid his massive 155 point outpouring over Kevin in Week 6 that saw Joe Flacco vomit out 32 points alongside more strong showings from Aaron Rodgers and DeMarco Murray.  Week 6’s big kahuna was Ben, whose 162 (behind Brady and the rampaging T.Y. Hilton) bested my 147.  I guess four total points from my three running back slots (Doug Martin 4, Chris Ivory 1, and C.J. Spiller -4) isn’t likely to get it done.  Anyone is likely to be an upgrade over that sorry showing, including obscure strangely-named backups like Texas alum Fozzy Whittaker.

fozzywhitakerApparently, Fozzie Bear uses the same phone that Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson used to call plays against the Colts

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2014 Portland FFL Week 5 Recap

Week 6 is upon us, which means it’s high time for a Week 5 recap.  The closest match of the week was Ben vs. Tim, which featured the battle of the four veteran quarterbacks and the coming out party of Andre Ellington (largely due to one big play).  Ben came up just shy despite a 9 for 9 (5fg, 4xp) from Stephen Gostkowski, and Tim managed to eke out a win and stay undefeated despite the end of the two-week streak of strong play from the exquisitely named Lorenzo Taliaferro.

limerick1Tim, not surprisingly, also employs a player named Giovani

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2014 Portland FFL Week 4 Recap

In the wake of the recent NFL woes, I give you the following Commissioner’s quote: “I deserve to be fired.  I was put in charge of a successful league and, although the league remains a rousing success, I have mismanaged all the resources under my control.  I have failed to hold certain people accountable for their deplorable actions, and I have offended many with my poor decisions and lack of attention.”  Alas, those words do not belong to Roger Goodell, and certainly never will.  No, they are mine.  As FFL commish, I am embarrassed that I failed to replace a bye week starter and, most of all, I am ashamed to have started the Carolina Panthers defense for two straight weeks.  What does a defense have to do to end up with back to back weeks of -7 and -8 fantasy points?  Apparently, give up 37 and then 38 points, give up (strangely) 454 yards twice in a row, and generally get kicked in the testicles at will by the AFC (“Actively Fucking Carolina”) North.


Tim put up a solid showing in beating me, largely on the heels of Eli Manning’s breakout performance in an ugly Thursday night thrashing of Washington.  Eli completed 28 passes and threw for four touchdowns (before running in a fifth) in a game that allowed many millions of forlorn Yankee fans to smile again.  Continue reading

2014 Portland FFL Week 3 Recap

Although some trends in the standings have started to take shape, six of ten teams managed to score between 108 and 112 points this week.  That’s a startling number.  Luckily for those of us who enjoy drama, four such teams happened to play each other.  In two of the closest games of the year (obviously), Nathan Y eked out a victory over Pat, and Andrew scratched and clawed his way to a narrow win over Kevin.  In the Pat/Nathan tilt, it’s easy to blame Pat’s Larry Fitzgerald (1 point) and his apparent third banana status behind Michael Floyd and John Brown.  Through three weeks, Larry Fitz is tied for 73rd (73rd!) among wideouts with 2.7 points per week.  Maybe he needs a change of scenery.  Maybe he needs a haircut.  Maybe he needs an alter ego who can be the “bad boy” prima donna who won’t sit quietly as his position is usurped into decoy status.  Come to think of it, alter egos never end well.

?????I, like you, am still waiting patiently for the Sasha Fierce/Ziggy Stardust/Chris Gaines compilation album

Henry Ford once said of his new Model T, “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”  Well, Nathan L can field any fantasy football players he wants so long as they suck.  Continue reading

2014 Portland FFL Week 2 Recap

That was a hell of a Week 2.  Although only one match provided real drama, there were three closely contested battles, seven 100+ point scorers (for the second straight week), and six teams with at least one 23 point scorer.  The true drama came in the matchup between Moe and Andrew, wherein Andrew was clinging to a 10 point lead in the third quarter of Monday night’s Eagles/Colts tilt.  Moe was fielding both Riley Cooper, who dropped a long TD pass in that very quarter, as well as Andrew Luck, who logged a respectable 18 points but came up short in the more important battle here.  Andrew will be in ecstasy as he gets to reintroduce Wes Welker this week.  The real story was the embattled Jay Cutler, who tossed three TDs in the final 8:05 of game time Sunday night.  Andrew immediately signed up for the Kristin Cavallari fan club and mailing list after the game.

“It’s too many questions at once!”

He will have to battle Pat for her, though, who has honored her with his team avatar.  Continue reading

2014 Portland FFL Week 1 Recap

Some things get better with age, and some things don’t.  Take this classic, for example:

I’m pretty sure when I first saw the movie, I didn’t spend the entire scene thinking about the following four points:

  1. That net must have been pretty god damn low if Tom Cruise was spiking over it;
  2. The fast cuts in the scene are so bad that they might have been edited by a capuchin monkey;
  3. Playing in those thick long pants must have been mighty uncomfortable;
  4. Goose kind of looks like Peyton Manning in a child molester costume

Chalk this one up in the “did not age well” column.  Hopefully, these Portland FFL recaps, which are now in year five (but are on a website for the first time) do not suffer the same fate.  After all, I now have multimedia and other fun (joique) bells and whistles at my disposal.

Another thing that apparently has aged well:  Matthew Thomas Ryan.  Continue reading

2014 NFL prognoses

Annnnnnnd… we’re off!  Team-by-team and playoff predictions for the 2014 NFL season:


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: A solid year from a solid team in a solid division.  Yawn. 8-8

Carolina Panthers: Cam “Isaac” Newton blows some teams away but battles injuries all year, ultimately leading to a disappointing first-round loss. 10-6

New Orleans Saints: Marques Colston officially turns into a metronome as he logs yet another 70 catch, 1,000 yard, 8 TD season to little fanfare.  11-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A transition year by the bay, with plenty of friskiness showing through. 5-11

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Team skylines 2.0

Link to the first installment, which includes an explanation of what’s going on here.

xMoscowMoscow:  San Antonio Spurs

Moscow is a strange duck.  It has many older but recognizable features like the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Seven Sisters, as well as cultural touchstones like the Kremlin and Red Square.  This echoes the robust history of the original ABA San Antonio Spurs and its unique and irreplaceable characters like George “Iceman” Gervin.  But the city’s actual skyline is dominated, in particular, by a cluster of modern towers that stand apart from the historic underbelly.  Continue reading

What a Messi made

Why Lionel Messi should thank Michael Phelps, and other ramblings about historical legacies.

It was a chance to stand beside, if not pass, his country’s greatest soccer star.  A rare moment, in his prime, when he could take full advantage of his singular talent.  A golden opportunity to enter the rarefied air of the consensus all-time greatest sporting legends.  Messi (with a massive assist from an excellent defense) made his Argentina squad relevant, at times impregnable, and nearly unbeaten at this World Cup.  But in the end, once the comfort of the group stages were behind him, he looked all too ordinary and could not quite inspire his countrymen to glory.  Even though he dazzled with his usual mesmerizing dribbles and pristine shots, and even though Argentina made it farther than most expected them to, and even though he was even awarded with the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball (best player) award, many will judge this World Cup as a detriment to Messi’s legacy rather than a benefit.  It’s illogical.  It’s not fair.  It’s also sure to happen.  Just look at his face below — despondent for his country’s loss, and surely aware of its ramifications for him as an individual.  Here’s why that’s a bunch of bull.

Lionel MessiPhoto credit: Clive Rose, Getty Images

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A Luis cannon

Maybe it’s all an elaborate toothpaste advertisement.  Maybe his scoring prowess is derived from some form of medieval cannibalism.  Maybe he has a “taste” for the dramatic.  Regardless, the Luis Suarez clown show marches on. Suarez, a singular talent and loose cannon who plies his trade for Liverpool and, more relevantly, for his native Uruguay, has been a rising star on the world soccer scene for several years.  He has scored fantastic goals, energized successful teams, enraged onlookers with flops, and nearly exploded the soccer world four years ago with his strategic handball that bought Uruguay a ticket to the semifinals at the 2010 World Cup.  Now, four days after receiving a four-month ban from soccer, as well as a nine-match international ban and a large fine from FIFA for biting his World Cup group stage Italian opponent Giorgio Chiellini, the Uruguayan striker is making waves again, this time for an apology.

suarezbitePhoto credit: Getty Images

First, some background.  Soon after the incident, Suarez was unapologetic (to say the least).  More specifically, he denied the bite and claimed that he had “lost his balance” and not actually attempted to nosh on the Italian entree in front of him.  This claim did not exactly ring true for me, and, presumably, for whatever percentage of the observing public is not from Uruguay. The primary factor working against Suarez, other than the fact that he obviously freakin’ bit Chiellini, is that, as you surely know by now, he had already been suspended twice in his career for biting opposing players.  In April of last year, Suarez was banned for 10 games for nibbling on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, whose Serbian flesh was simply too irresistible for the clearly hungry Suarez.  He issued an apology for that incident, saying he had committed “inexcusable behavior.”  In 2010, he munched PSV’s Ottman Bakkal during a play stoppage.  That particular bite involved an absolutely unequivocal lunge toward Bakkal’s trapezius muscle that legitimately made it seem like Suarez was seeking nutrients from the victim’s jugular. Continue reading