A Quick Survey For All The Nerdy (and not so nerdy) Cats Out There!

Here is a quick survey I’m throwing together to see if there is any relationship between video game fans, comic book fans, and their aligned preferences towards certain heroes/movies/genres. Hope you enjoy it and as always keep on, nerdin’ on!

You can check out the survey HERE!

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Week 4 Waiver Wire Wonders

Well another weekend of football is over as we head into Week 4 of the NFL season. Hopefully your fantasy squad is performing well, but with a few teams already having their bye weeks this week you may need a little waiver wire magic. Here’s a look at a few of my hidden gems for the week.

**Note the owning percentage is based off of ESPN Fantasy Leagues**

QB

Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills – Owned in 45% of leagues

You wouldn’t think it, but Taylor is proving himself to be a valuable fantasy quarterback. He’s now had back-to-back three touchdown games and proving why he beat out Cassel and E.J. Manuel for the starting gig. If he can duplicate his stellar performance against Miami like this past weekend – watch out.

Michael Vick – Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in .6% of leagues

I wouldn’t necessarily start him this week in a rivalry match up against the Ravens (although history has proven that Steelers’ backup quarterbacks have performed modestly against Baltimore), but he should be on your radar. For anyone who drafted Big Ben he might be a worthwhile pick-up. After all he has control of a dynamic offense for the next month; he is bound to put up fantasy numbers during Ben’s absence.

RB

DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in 76% of leagues

With Le’Veon Bell back, his role has diminished significantly. However, with Ben’s injury and a tough AFC North match-up against the Ravens Thursday night, I’d expect the Steelers to focus on controlling the clock with their ground game as much as possible. Williams proved very capable the first two weeks filling in for the suspended Bell (led the NFL in rushing yards after Week 2) and with their star quarterback injured I’d expect Todd Haley and Co. to utilize their backfield tandem heavily and often.

Karlos Williams – Buffalo Bills – Owned in 24% of leagues

Didn’t I warn y’all last week? He got my vulture award last week and he has now produced a touchdown in each game this season. Even when Shady comes back 100% Williams has carved out a significant role for himself in this offense. He’ll look to spearhead the Bills ground game this week against the New York Giants.

Lance Dunbar – Dallas Cowboys – Owned in 13% of leagues

Dunbar is only a worthwhile flex play in PPR leagues and PPR leagues only (for now). He caught 10 passes for 100 yards this past weekend as Brandon Weeden seemed confident in him as a check down receiver. Going against a rather soft New Orleans defense should be an intriguing match-up for Dunbar, but be wary. Being a pass-catching running back can be feast or famine – just ask Shane Veeren owners.

WR

Rishard Matthews – Miami Dolphins – Owned in 16% of leagues

I was waiting to see what Matthews did this past week before deciding to put him on my waiver wire wonder list and he did not disappoint. The Dolphins’ receiver now has back-to-back six catch, 100-yard games and has proven to be a reliable target for Ryan Tannenhill. He’s a legitimate WR2 option at this point, especially in PPR formats.

Allen Hurns – Jacksonville Jaguars – Owned in 5% of leagues

Interestingly enough Hurns is tied with Allen Robinson with a team-best  eleven receptions. He’s more of a big-play threat than a consistent weapon like his teammate, but if you are hurting with New England or Tennessee’s bye weeks than he might be a worthwhile flex option for you. He’s going against a weak Indianapolis defense that is surrendering  27 points per game.

TE

Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – Owned in 33% of leagues

He is proving to be a solid fill-in for the injured Pettigrew. He hasn’t exploded on the fantasy scene by any means, but he has been a consistent target in Detroit’s passing game. If you need a quick fix at tight end this week, Ebron wouldn’t be a bad fit.

**Keep an eye on, Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns (Owned in .3% of leagues) – he had six catches for 65-yards and score last week and seems to have good chemistry with both Cleveland quarterbacks. If he can continue to get good looks he could be an effective play at tight end as the season progresses.

As always good luck this week and let me know how your #waiverwirewonders work out!!

 

Local Nerd-Centric Shops In Pittsburgh

Credit: Neil Strebig

Credit: Neil Strebig

Ever wonder where the best comic book shops are here in Pittsburgh? Maybe some of the best places to aid your retro gaming habits? Look no further, I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite local hangouts. I broke down each store into a list of what type of books they offer, any collectibles they have to sell, and what types of games they promote. Majority of the shops are right here in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, but there’s a few gems like Big Bang Comics up in Sewickley and New Dimensions down in West Mifflin that are certainly worth the trek outside the city. Check out the link below to view the best nerd shops in the area!

**Note The Exchange has stores located all over the area, but the one in Robinson I’ve found to have the best selection for video games and music**

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.05 AM

View Nerd-centric Stores in Pittsburgh in a full screen map

Some of the stores like 8-Bit Electronics and Ninja Electronics are gaming-specific shops. They both have great selections for retro gaming addicts and gamers who are looking to trade in games/consoles outside of commercial shops like GameStop.

As far as collectors go, I have to recommend Eide’s Entertainment down in the Strip. They have a stellar basement area full of some great gems from the Bronze and Silver Age of comics.

Good luck shopping and as always keep on nerdin’ on guys!

Week 3: Waiver Wire Wonders

Well it is Week 3 of the NFL Season and your fantasy team should be beginning to take shape. At this point you are beginning to realize one of three things:

photo credit: Michael via Flickr

photo credit: Michael via Flickr

  • A) You’ve got a solid, top-notch, playoff-caliber squad
  • B) Your team isn’t too shabby, but it could use some help
  • C) You’re in for a long season and are going to need some waiver wire wonders if you plan on seeing the playoffs.

Well, for all of you fantasy players out there in the B & C categories have no fear. He’s a list of a couple waiver-wire wonders for this upcoming week’s games.

**Note owned percentage is based off of ESPN.com leagues**

QB

Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – Owned in 17% of leagues

Carr torched Baltimore’s secondary last week and despite coming up against a relatively sound Browns defense this week, he might be a solid value pick-up. It will be a tough test for the young QB on the road, but with Amari Cooper at his disposal he is sure to have a few big plays in him this weekend. Plus, he’s got a soft Chicago secondary next week – might be wise to pick him up now before he torches another AFC North team.

RB

David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – Owned in 63% of leagues

Everyone is jumping on the Matt Jones (WSH) ship after his 123-yard and two score game last week. Yet, the rookie Johnson may be the back with more upside. Jones’ only had one more carry than Morris and  only a 39-yard TD scamper to truly separate him from the veteran starter. Meanwhile, Johnson needs to get past the weathered Chris Johnson and after recording a receiving, rushing, and kick return touchdown in his first two games (first NFL player to do so) the man is sure to unseat the former 2,000-yard rusher sooner than Jones will Morris.

Vulture Google Creative Commons

Karlos Williams – Buffalo Bills – Owned in 23% of leagues **Vulture Award Nominee**

Williams is my best bet to vulture some touchdowns this week. He is still behind Shady in Buffalo’s backfield, but he did manage to score last week against New England. With Shady still nursing a hamstring injury it is fair bet that Williams may steal a few more goal line carries this week against Miami.

WR

Travis Benjamin – Cleveland Browns – Owned in 63% of leagues

The kid is a homerun threat every time he takes the field. He’ll likely lose some value now that McCown is back to starting, but he still has a ton of big-play potential. He is certainly more a threat when Johnny Football is in the pocket, but regardless if he’s still on the waiver wire you better snag him up now – like right now.

TE

Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – Owned in 59% of leagues

If he is still around you might want to grab him today since he’s playing tonight’s TNF contest against the Giants. He clearly has a great relationship with QB Kirk Cousin producing back-to-back solid performances (WK1 he managed 7 catches for 62yard and a TD and WK2 he had 6 catches for 82-yards). As long as Cousins remains the starter Reed should remain a legitimate starting fantasy tight end.

Jared Cook – St. Louis Rams – Owned in 17.1% of leagues

He’s always been a decent flex-option player in fantasy and this is his week to continue on in that role. He’s facing a Pittsburgh defense that has been more than gracious to tight ends this year. Unless the Steelers’ secondary learns how to close down on the underneath routes expect Cook to have an impressive game on Sunday.

D/ST

Cleveland Browns – Owned in 27% of leagues

I know I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here having both Carr as a waiver pick up and the defense he is squaring off against this weekend. But as any fantasy player knows -it is all about your needs. This week, if you need a decent defense to play, my money is on Cleveland. They have some favorable match-ups against Oakland and outside of a few big play possibilities I don’t see Cleveland getting surprised like Baltimore did last weekend.

Good luck this week guys and don’t forget to follow on Twitter @NerdintheBurgh #waiverwirewonders

Fantasy Football: The Dreaded 50/50 Weekend

Football season is underway and more importantly fantasy football season is here. Quite frankly, it may be my favorite part of the football season. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing my Steelers win on Sunday (just like they did this weekend against San Fran), but I equally love when I dominate on the fantasy gridiron.  Yet, every so often a 50/50 Weekend comes along. A 50/50 Weekend is when your real-life NFL team wins, but your fantasy team(s) lost.

It can crush your Sunday and sometimes even drag the rest of your week down. The high of seeing the Steelers big home opening win is currently be drowned out by my lackluster losses in both my fantasy leagues this week. It is the dilemma every fan and fantasy player understands all too well. The melancholy feeling such a weekend brings is at times unbearable.

Unlike my Steelers (which I have no control over) my fantasy team and I must now trudge into a new week carrying the burden of a horrible defeat handed to me by a friend and a co-worker (work league), respectfully. That means my Tuesday mornings are the worst.

My phone, courtesy of the ESPN Fantasy App, will alert me of my recent fantasy scores, reminding me of the humiliating weekend I just endured. Once, I open my phone my message cue will remind me that there’s an array of smack talk waiting on the horizon. As the morning drags on I’ll be reminded by texts and Facebook posts about the horrific beat down I was recently handed by my fantasy football foes. Then as if it couldn’t get any worse I’ll have to stroll into work with my confidence at all-time low only to be welcomed by more peer’s jeers and vulgar jests at my porous squad and the even poorer result.

The trash talk will continue throughout the week. Albeit, the reminder that my Steelers won this past weekend will keep me sane, the turmoil in my fantasy leagues will continue.

Sure enough as each day gets closer to Sunday my confidence in my fantasy squads and GM skills will steadily build back up. I’ll likely add a few waiver wire wonders and drop a few drafted duds (sorry Terrance West). I’ll start reanalyzing my team, refocusing on the goal – the light at the end of the tunnel – my leagues’ fantasy championships. I’ll continue to use my Steelers’ big win as a crutch. After all, even though my fantasy squad is doing badly, my Steelers are doing just fine. I’ll have to remind myself the reality is better than fantasy.

By Friday, my friends’ and coworkers’ trash talk will be muted out by my rediscovered pride. All of a sudden I’m back to feeling like the fantasy mastermind I am.

As Sunday begins I’m back to firing on all cylinders. My squad will be ready to go. My smack talking will be on point. I’ll be back to my winning ways – hopefully. Because let’s face it. If my Steelers and my fantasy teams lose this week I’m in for a horrible, horrendously long week. Keep me in your fantasy prayers people.

Good luck to all my fellow fantasy players this week and stay tuned for my Waiver Wire Pickup Guide later this week! Of course, big ups to all my fantasy players and players also going through a 50/50 Week, like me. To all y’all that had an 0-fer (both your real-life team and fantasy teams lost) this week, keep your head up it is only Week 2 after all!

North Shore Festivities

PNC Park Photo Credit: Neil Strebig

PNC Park Photo Credit: Neil Strebig

A few co-workers and I decided to head on down to North Shore this past Thursday to catch the afternoon Cubs games. Unfortunately, the Buccos lost (and lost big) to the Cubbies, but we all still had a blast. After the game we managed to bum some tickets for the Death Cab For Cutie show down at Stage AE that evening.

You can check out our adventures from the day here! 

**Note: all the photos in the slideshow are accredited to  Neil Strebig**

Pittsburgh Voted One Of The Best Sport Cities In America

Anyone who lives in Pittsburgh knows that is the epitome of a sports town. The city bleeds black and gold for its trio of professional franchises, so it should come as no surprise that Pittsburgh made Wallethub.com’s list of Best and Worst Cities For Sports Fans (check out full article here).

The rankings took in consideration for all five major sports: football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer (yes the MLS has finally gained enough recognition to be considered with the fab four). The Burgh was voted the best city for hockey fans and was kept out of the number one spot due to its subpar rankings in basketball and soccer – ranking 85th and 95th.

Yet, how can a city with only three sport teams crack the top five? Is the allure of only having one team to focus on during the height of each sport season? I mean without a basketball team fans can focus on hockey during the winter months; without a MLS team football fans can focus on baseball and the start of American football rather than battling for viewership with sports’ sharing the same season.

I think having only three professional sports teams helps, but the true passion behind Pittsburgh’s fandom comes from the majestic allure each of its team’s pull in. The allure starts with all three teams sharing the same colors – the legendary black and gold. No other city in America can say that and it is a novelty many Pittsburghers take great pride in. Despite sharing color schemes each team captivates fans in their own unique way.

Steelers Nation - Photo Credit: Wikimedia via creative commons

Steelers Nation – Photo Credit: Wikimedia via creative commons

Take the Steelers for example. Once the laughing stock of the NFL, then suddenly -seemingly overnight – a young ambitious coach by the name of, Chuck Noll, created the most successful franchise of the 1970s. The team’s fan base grew with success, but so did the team’s appeal. The Steelers currently hold the most Super Bowl titles out of any NFL team, continue to be a perennial playoff contender, have produced a plethora of Hall of Fame players, and to top it all off they have had only three head coaches in the franchise’s history. That sort of tradition and reputation for sustained success is what makes Steelers Nation so powerful.

The Pirates 1979 World Series win helped catapult Pittsburgh into sport city folklore, crowning the nickname, The City of Champions. However, unlike their North Shore counterparts, the Pirate’s charm comes from a sling of historical MLB moments. Whether, it be their epic 3-1 comeback in the 1925 World Series over the Washington Senators (a feat that has never been duplicated) or ‘The Greatest Homerun Ever’ Bill Mazeroski’s  solo walk-off homerun to give the Buccos a 10-9 victory of the New York Yankees. Their place in baseball immortality secured. The Pirates have always and will always be a fan favorite to any baseball fan. Producing legends like Roberto Clemente, Dock Ellis, Tim Wakefield, Barry Bonds, and today’s current superstar, Andrew McCutchen. Even on the wrong side of history, during their two-decade playoff drought, the Pirate fans remained loyal. Today with the help of Cutch and Co., they’ve gone from lovable losers to possible NL Central champs.

Lastly, comes the late-blooming Penguins. The Pens were an awful franchise in their early years and one that certainly played third fiddle behind the Steelers and Pirates in the 1970s. Then suddenly, in 1984, the arrival of Mario Lemieux changed everything. The lowly franchise quickly became a NHL powerhouse winning back-to-back cups in 1991 and 1992. Producing stars and fan favorites like Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Luc Robitaille, Martin Straka, and Darius Kasparaitis the Penguins rallied off 11 consecutive playoff seasons from 1990 to 2001. The team’s darkest hours came in the 2000s, where superstar after superstar left the team (we all remember the Jagr to Capitals trade and Kovalev’s final season) and fans watched as new stories about the team’s possible move to Kansas City caused city wide panic. Yet, under the guidance of Penguins legend-turned owner, Super Mario managed to produce one last bit of magic –striking a deal to keep the team in Pittsburgh. Uniquely, enough history repeated itself as the deplorable 2000 seasons (just like those 1970s seasons) paved way for the Penguins to strike gold in the NHL draft again. In 2005, they drafted Sidney Crosby – this generation’s Lemieux. With the help of Sid the Kid and fellow superstars Kris Letang, Malkin, and Fluery the Penguins are in the midst of a 9-year playoff streak with one more Stanley Cup to boot. The teams history of epic highs and pitiful lows make it one of the most intriguing in all of sports. Not to mention the interstate rivalry between the Flyers and the love/hate relationship Sid the Kid produces with rival NHL fans.

Now, I don’t want to dive into the decade-by-decade history of each team. Instead, I just want to reiterate that Pittsburgh is one of the few cities in America that remains loyal to their teams no matter the roster, the coaches, or the superstars. There’s no doubt the early success of the Steelers and the Pirates certainly helped aid the Burgh’s unmatched fan loyalty (as did the subsequent list of Hall of Famers for all three teams).

However, there is no denying the true reason why Pittsburgh is such a sports town is because it loves all their sports teams. If you visit St. Louis you quickly realize it is a baseball town in love with their Cardinals above all else. If you swing through Detroit it is easier to realize they love their Red Wings more than the Pistons, Tigers, and Lions combined. Heck, Green Bay is strictly a football town. And then you have Pittsburgh. The lone city in America that treats each team with the attention, respect, and passion it deserves during their respected season. It may be fair to say that Steelers Nation draws the most nationwide attention, but make no mistake this city loves the Penguins and they’ll raise the Jolly Roger every chance they get.

I don’t care what the survey says, Pittsburgh has the best fans and the Burgh is the best sports city in America. Period.