Week 8 Waiver Wire Wonders

After this weekend the NFL season will be officially at its halfway mark. For fantasy players, that means the playoffs are right around the corner. For those of you trying to make a playoff push, I suggest taking a look at last week’s second-half breakout star projections along with this week’s list of waiver wire wonders. Jacksonville, Washington, Buffalo, and Philadelphia are all on bye this week meaning anyone who has a piece of the surprisingly effective Jags trio of Bortles, Hurns, and Robinson will definitely be in need of some fill-ins this week.

**Note owning percentages are based off of ESPN Standard Fantasy Leagues**

QB

Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – Owned in 38.4% of leagues

Smith hasn’t been very stellar the last few weeks, but he hasn’t been terrible either. He’s thrown for a touchdown in three straight games and hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 3. I fancy his chances of throwing a multiple touchdown game this weekend at home against a very beatable Detroit Lions secondary.  For Bortles or Bradford owners, Smith is a nice pickup. In two quarterback leagues, Smith is a must-start this weekend.

Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans – Owned in 13% of leagues

Despite getting blown out by the Dolphins this weekend, Hoyer still managed to produce an effective fantasy game (thank you garbage time). He finished with 273 yards, three scores and an INT brining his stat line over the last three games to an impressive total of 878yds/8TD/2INT – not too shabby at all. He’s facing divisional rival, Tennessee, this weekend at home and I like his chances of continuing this under-the-radar hot streak.

RB

The Arian Foster Replacement Sweepstakes:

 Alfred Blue (owned in 19% of leagues) and Chris Polk (owned in 1.2% of leagues)

With Foster out for the season the Houston Texans’ backfield is up for grabs. Both Polk and Blue are worthy pickups, but Blue is clearly the favorite. He filled in nicely last year for the injured Foster and has the coaching staff has the confidence in him to be the lead back moving forward. With that said, Polk will still be used quite often especially since he is the better pass-catching back out of the two. In PPR leagues, Polk will likely be a nice flex-play pickup fitting the mold of similar players like Shane Vereen (NYG) and Theo Riddick (DET).

Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys – Owned in 43% of leagues

I had him on my list two weeks ago and he has not disappointed. He blew up this weekend for 152 yards and a score. With Joesph Randle still nursing an oblique injury I expect another heavy dose of Run DMC this weekend against Seattle. Despite the tough match-up, McFadden is still worth adding to your team. He will be relied on heavily as the season moves on and he is still a solid pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

Antonio Andrews – Tennessee Titans – Owned in 31% of leagues

An extremely under the radar prospect, he will be spearheading the Titans backfield in lieu of Bishop Sankey’s ineffectiveness. He posted an admirable 57 yards on 10 carries against Atlanta last week and I like his chances of exploding against Houston this weekend.

Photo Credit: Google Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Google Creative Commons

**Vulture Alert**

Khiry Robinson –New Orleans Saints – Owned in 8.4% of leagues

Believe it or not Robinson has more points-to-date than C.J. Spiller. After a two touchdown performance last week against the Colts it has become pretty apparent that Robinson is a go-to goal line back. Mark Ingram is still the feature back in New Orleans, but look for Robinson to finish off drives in the endzone.

WR

Nate Washington – Houston Texans – Owned in 6% of leagues

Any time a player records a nine catch game, he should be on fantasy players’ radars. In Washington’s case his 9-catch 127 two touchdown performance came during a second half garbage time blowout, but it was still an impressive performance none the less. Hoyer has been on fire recently and with Cecil Shorts still out of the lineup it might be time to pick up Washington before his stock really soars.

Danny Amendola – New England Patriots – Owned in 16% of leagues

This week should be Amendola’s last ride and if you need a replacement for Hurns or Robinson he should definitely be it. Even with Brandon LaFell back I do not expect LaFell to play much this week especially given the short week the Patriots are facing. That means, Amendola should continue to see the majority of targets behind Gronk and Edelman in the Patriots offense. Keep in mind Amendola has had 15 catches for 191 yards and a score over the last two games – he’s no slouch.

TE

Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in 35.7% of leagues

Pretty simple here, if Big Ben plays Miller is back to being a TE1 option. Similar to Jason Witten in Dallas, Miller tends to carve up divisional foes and with Ben likely to be back under center this weekend I expect Miller to get back on track against Cincinnati.

Benjamin Watson – New Orleans Saints – Owned in 45% of leagues

I brought him up last week and I’m still big on Watson. He slightly under performed this weekend compared to his 10-catch game two weeks ago, but I expect Watson to cut up a Giants defense that just surrendered 73 yards on 6 catches to Jason Witten last week.

Richard Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Owned in 34.5% of leagues

This is strictly a gut pick. Rodgers has been consistent this year and has been harvesting a decent amount of attention from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Following the Packers’ bye week and preparation against a dangerous Denver defense, I expect Rodgers to be the surprise breakout star this weekend on Sunday Night Football.  Whether or not my prediction bodes true, Rodgers should still be a player on your watch list – as he could definitely be a second-half stud.

 

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Ranking The Star Wars Films: Episodes I-VI

In light of the new Star Wars trailer and the on-going fan-fueled discussions I’ve had at work this week, I’ve decided to rank the original six Star War films in order from worst to best. The upcoming installment, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, slated for a Christmas release has every Star Wars fan foaming at the mouth in anticipation. The trailer not only teases the return of one of the best movie franchises of all-time, but also a return of some of our favorite characters from the previous six films. In true, Star Wars nerd honor, I’m showing my respect and excitement for the upcoming film by ranking its predecessors.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Clone Trooper - Photo Credit: Flickr

Clone Trooper – Photo Credit: Flickr

I believe this is a unanimous pick amongst fans as the worst of all the films. The prequels or newest trilogy (however you’d like to decipher them) are viewed as the weaker set of films in comparison to the original movies. However, Episode II takes the cake as the absolute worst. We get to see the behind the scenes mastermind work of Senator Palpatine, but that’s about the only positive we get out of this one. The Yoda vs. Count Dooku fight is a kind of take or leave it thing between fans and the final battle may have been one of the lamest things I have ever seen on film, let alone a Star Wars film.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode IV: A New Hope film poster - Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Episode IV: A New Hope film poster – Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

I know I’m going to get a lot of slack for this, but to me A New Hope is a rather weak film. For starters, it is a rather slowly developing film that drags on. Granted that is partial to how film making was back in the 70s, but to me unless you’re already a Star Wars fan, A New Hope can be a little brutal to watch. It does not stand the test of time as much as we all want to believe it does. I know, it is the first and yes it introduced the world to Star Wars, but sometimes the original isn’t always the best. I don’t think any one of us would ever take the original Terminator over T2 – just saying.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Darth Maul and podracing, without those two things, The Phantom Menace is falling right behind Attack of the Clones. The podracing scene is by far one of the coolest scenes in the movie and helped introduce a whole new generation to Star Wars in an extremely exciting fashion. Fans that grew up with the original trilogy expected so much from this film and it definitely fell flat at times (i.e. Jar Jar Binks), but what everyone forgets is that it also helped introduce an entirely new generation to the Star Wars franchise. Even though, I saw the original trilogy before I saw Episode I, I still consider the prequels my generation’s trilogy (after all I was in grade school when it came out) and perhaps that is also why I put it ahead of the original. And again I can’t stress it enough – Darth Maul. He was one of the most badass Sith of all-time and definitely helped propel this movie over the original on my list. To be fair, I do believe this film gets a lot of unnecessary slack from older fans because of the hype leading up to it. Let’s hope The Force Awakens does not succumb to the same ill fate.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Easily the best out of the prequel lot; fans get to see Anakin Skywalker take that final turn and become the baddest villain in the galaxy, Darth Vader. The movie still has a little clunky dialogue and the flat acting that plagued all three of the newer films, but it still is an all around solid and entertaining movie. The final half hour  – Mace Windu vs. the Emperor, Yoda’s last ditch effort, and of course Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin, those scenes alone propel this movie into the top three.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The Empire's second attempt on building the Death Star - Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

The Empire’s second attempt on building the Death Star – Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Ewoks. The freakin’ ewoks. Without those little demonic furries,  I may very well put Return of the Jedi at my number one spot. Unfortunately, the fact that a race that was outnumbered and at a technological disadvantage somehow managed to help the Rebel Alliance defeat the Galactic Empire is still beyond me; the whole cowboys vs. Indians theme of the movie still agitates me. Other than that, the film is epic.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back film poster - Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

The Empire Strikes Back film poster – Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

It is simply the best. The scenes, the memorable moments – The Empire Strikes Back is quite possibly the Star Wars film that sticks with everyone not just fans. Planet Hoth, Cloud City, Bobba Fett, Luke’s training with Yoda, the list goes on and on – it embodies everything we all love about Star Wars.

Let’s hope Episode VII can live up to the hype and perhaps even supplant The Empire Strikes Back as the best Star Wars film to date. What’s your favorite Star Wars film to date?

Week 7 Waiver Wire Wonders

We’re inching closer and closer to the halfway point of the season, which means it is time to start looking for second-half breakout stars. This week’s list isn’t going to provide too many elite finds on the waiver wire, but it does contain a list of players that most certainly deserve your attention. Keep an eye on these guys, especially coming into the second half of the season.

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

QB

Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars – Owned in 55.4% of leagues

The Jags have produced a few fantasy gems this year with an above average offense that is flying extremely under the radar. Bortles has now thrown back-to-back 300-plus yard games and has thrown four multiple touchdown games this year. He’s got a tough test versus Buffalo this week and will be on bye the following week, but he’s a quarterback worth picking up as a number two option. In two quarterback leagues he is currently a must have.

RB

Don’t believe the hype on Starks

James Starks – Green Bay Packers – Owned in 38% of leagues

Starks blew up last week, but don’t go buying into the hype train. Lacy is still the main man in Green Bay despite the lackluster start he’s suffering from. In addition, anyone that has played fantasy the last few years understands that Starks is always flex-option at best. He’s a flash-in-the-pan type player, he’ll have a few big games here or there, but predicting them is more trouble than it is worth. Unless Lacy is injured, I’d stay clear of Starks, here’s nothing more than a handcuff at this stage.

WR

Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings – Owned in 24% of leagues

Chemistry. That’s why Diggs is the only surefire pickup on this week’s list. The rookie has developed a serious chemistry with quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, and has cemented himself as a big-play (possible), go-to WR for the Vikings. He blew up against a stout Denver defense for 6 catches on 87 yards and blew up last week against a legitimate Kansas City secondary for seven catches and 129 yards. He’ll be facing off against the Lions this week in a divisional game poised to turn into a shootout.

Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals – Owned in 46.5% of leagues

Floyd is a big-play receiver who thrives on the deep ball. Now that he is hundred percent healthy he’ll be a good flex option the remainder of the season. Even though he’s behind Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown on the depth chart, he is still the team’s best deep threat and we all know head coach Bruce Arians loves to throw the deep ball.

Torrey Smith – San Francisco 49ers – Owned in 56.5% of leagues

The 49ers offense struggled to start the season, but the last two weeks they seem to have found some rhythm. Smith is still a very capable receiver and if quarterback Colin Kaepernick can limit the turnovers, Smith’s value will continue to increase. He’s definitely a player you should have in your watch list going forward.

Brandon LaFell – New England Patriots – Owned in 27% of leagues

LaFell started the season on the IR, but is rumored to be coming back this week. If that’s the case he’s a must-add player. He was a heavily targeted last year by Tom Brady and he has the quarterback’s trust. Next to Gronk, LaFell is one of the most lethal offensive weapons in the Patriots massive arsenal. Even if he doesn’t come back this week, he’s a player worth having on your bench; seeing that he will be making his return much sooner than later.

TE

Benjamin Watson – New Orleans Saints – Owned in 24 % of leagues

Watson is no way near the caliber of player Jimmy Graham was for the Saints offense, but he is the starting tight end for Drew Brees, which means he’ll see a decent amount of weekly production. If you’re in need of a new tight end or need depth at the position, aim to pick up Watson on the cheap. After all he’s scored a touchdown in consecutive games including a 10-catch 127 yard performance last Thursday night.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Owned in 10.6% of leagues

The second-year tight end blew up in Week 1, but has since been shelved by a shoulder injury. It is tough to say if he’ll have the same impact upon his return, but since he is almost fully recovered players in need of better option at TE should keep an eye on Seferian-Jenkins. He clearly has a good amount of chemistry with rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston. Assuming he stays healthy, he has a tremendous amount of upside going into the second half of this season.

Good luck this week folks and remember fantasy leagues are always won via #waiverwirewonders

 

A Timeline Of The Most Influential Games Of All-Time

Video games have become common place nowadays. Nearly everyone plays them; guys, girls, kids, parents – it doesn’t matter. However, it wasn’t always that way. Gaming consoles weren’t always home entertainment systems in disguise, they were – for a long time – strictly used for video games.

Gaming culture didn’t just start with the Super Mario Bros., no it began long before the release of Nintendo’s most famous siblings. While Super Mario Bros. definitely deserves a ton of credit there are so many other video games that helped usher in a new culture of gaming. Heroines, like Samus Aran and Laura Croft helped bridge the gap in what was (and has been) a largely male dominated genre for both characters and gamers.

 CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE TIMELINE HERE!!

There’s games that fly under the radar like Gran Turismo, Half-Life, or even GoldenEye 007; games that were hugely popular, but not known for the contributions they brought to the table. Heck, games like Myst, are barely even known outside of the PC community, yet there’s no denying the influence Myst had on gaming development and story boards.

Of course, I couldn’t make a timeline without acknowledge the massive contributions Blizzard Entertainment has brought to the gaming community. From the early days of StarCraft and Diablo to the massive world of WoW and now to the present-day gaming juggernaut, League of Legends.

Screenshot of WoW Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

I also had to acknowledge first-person shooters. Without them, the gaming community would still be viewed as a bunch of introverted RPG-trolling weirdos. Whether or not, we all like to admit it FPS are a huge reason for the likability and acceptance of gamers and the video game community. Let’s hope the next few decades can bring as much change, passion, and fun to the gaming culture.

Cheers. And of course keep on, nerdin’ on!

Week 6 Waiver Wire Wonders

We’ve got a four teams on bye this week including the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers leaving a few of you out there with some opening in your regular starting lineups. This week isn’t posing too many ‘must-haves’ on the waiver wire, but don’t fret there are still a good amount of gems out there to plug and play.

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

QB

Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins – Owned in 69% of leagues

Surprisingly, Tannehill is available in a good number of leagues. He’s coming off a bye week and if one of your fellow opponents was unwise enough to drop him I suggest you pick him up. Tannehill is a decent QB2 option and despite the ups and downs Miami has had starting the season, he’s been a fairly productive quarterback. With Philbin gone, I’d expect Tannehill to finally start capitalizing on the talented offensive options at his disposal. It doesn’t hurt he’s facing two soft AFC South defenses in a row the next two weeks (away at Tennessee and home in WK7 vs Houston).

Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans – Owned in 1.1% of leagues

If you need a quick plug-in this week at QB or need a second option in a two-QB league, Hoyer is worth the shot. He filled in nicely last Thursday night for Ryan Mallet, throwing for over 300 yards and two scores (he did have an INT). He’s had an extended week to practice with the first-team offense and is facing off against everyone’s favorite fantasy opponents the, Jacksonville Jaguars. Buy low and buy now.

Don’t believer the hype

Josh McCown – Cleveland Browns – Owned in 4.3% of leagues

Yes, McCown was the top scoring fantasy quarterback last week, but I do not expect that trend to continue. He’s facing off against a turnover-causing machine called the Denver defense and he still has a below average receiving corps.

RB

Kansas City Shuffle
Charcandrick West (owned in 1.2% of leagues) and Kniles Davis (owned in 23.7%)

With Jamaal Charles season-ending ACL tear it is going to be up to West and Davis to pick up the slack. While West has harvested a larger role in the offense of late, Davis is still the veteran back-up and he’s performed very admirably as the Chiefs feature back in the past. This week’s match-up against Minnesota may feature a split-back game plan from head coach Andy Reid, but I expect Davis to eventually win the starting battle here. He’s the more proven back and has just as much explosive capability as West. Regardless, both are must-add fantasy players at this moment in time.

On the PPR Radar

Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Owned in 39% of leagues

Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – Owned in 15.2% of leagues

Both Sims and Riddick are PPR worthy running backs. Neither one is going to get the lion’s share of carries, but both are explosive commodities in their team’s passing offense. Sims is coming off a 138 total yard game (53yds on the ground and 85 through the air) and is being used heavily and often in Tampa’s offense. He is on bye this week, but if you have the roster space he is a worthwhile addition. Riddick is coming off a 10 catch 53 yard performance against Arizona that also yielded a touchdown. He’s currently leading all running backs in terms of catches and will look to continue his impressive start this week against Chicago.

WR

Kamar Aiken – Baltimore Ravens – Owned in 32.9% of leagues

I had him on my list last week and he’ll stay there until Steve Smith returns to the lineup. He had a four catch 78-yard game against Cleveland this past weekend and will look to expose San Francisco’s secondary this Sunday. In Smith’s absence he is still the team’s number one making him a legit flex play.

Ted Ginn Jr. – Carolina Panthers – Owned in 33% of leagues

I’ve never been a big Ginn Jr. fan, but he’s been quite productive this season for the Panthers. He’s got three scores already on the year and is the go-to deep threat for Carolina. He’s got a tough match up against Seattle this week, but with Philly and Indy coming up the following weeks, he’s a guy you should be keeping an eye on.

Marquees Wilson – Chicago Bears – Owned in 5.2% of leagues

Back-to-back six catch 80-plus yard games for Wilson means he’s on majority of player’s radars. He’s definitely a valuable commodity this week going against the Lions (a game likely to turn into a shootout). However, understand that once Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal return from injury (could be as early as next week) his fantasy value is going to take a serious dent. I’d grab him now, play him if you need him and look for long-term options elsewhere.

TE

Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns – Owned in 37.7% of leagues

I’ve been on the Barnidge train for the last two weeks now. After a dominating performance (8 catches for 139 yards and a score) against Baltimore last week he’s established himself as a every week starter (he’s currently third among scoring tight ends). He’s now had a touchdown in three consecutive weeks and hasn’t gone below 75 receiving yards during that span. He’s been the Browns most productive receiver thus far – a trend I expect to continue as the season progresses.

Interesting match-up plays

Darren Fells – Arizona Cardinals (owned in 1.7% of leagues)
Brent Celek – Philadelphia Eagles (owned in .7% of leagues)

Fells has been used in 90% of Arizona’s offense snaps the last two weeks, but his fantasy numbers have not been very glamorous despite his time on the field. His constant usage bodes well for an eventual breakout game, which could very well come this week against a Steelers defense that just got shredded by Antonio Gates on Monday night. Celek is benefiting from Philly’s sudden surge of two tight end formations. He’s found the endzone in consecutive games and is going against the Giants this Monday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if the wiry vet extends that streak against his NFC East foes.

 

 

Breaking Down Those Survey Results

Last week, I posted a quick survey for all you fellow nerds to partake in. This week, I’ve compiled some of the results. It seems, that most of the fans that participated in the survey seemed to be fans that have grown up with the newer Hollywood adaptations of superhero-inspired films.

superhero movie films

I say this because majority of the results favored more recent and currently trending movies or video game systems/styles. For example, majority of participants acknowledged The Dark Knight Trilogy as one of their favorite films, but the older Star Wars films received a rather lackluster amount of praise. It also seemed that most of the participants enjoyed superhero films and video games, but wouldn’t necessarily categorize themselves as ‘nerds.’ Majority of fans seemed to read both DC and Marvel comics and naturally casual gamers seemed to dabble in both comics and video games. None the less some very interesting results and a big thanks to all those who participated! Take a look at the results here!

favorite superhero

2015 NL Wild Card Prediction: Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

With the National League Wild Card game only a few hours away I’m going to keep this story short and sweet. The  game is featuring a NL Central Division rivalry with two of the game’s best teams and two of MLB’s best pitchers, Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole. That showdown on the mound is truly where this game will be decided.

We all know the narrative for tonight’s game. Arrieta has been on fire since the All-Star break. His current run is one for the ages and he’s looking to continue on his current 22-scoreless innings streak tonight at PNC Park. He doesn’t hurt that in five starts he’s 3-1 with 0.75 ERA against the Buccos.

Now, Cole hasn’t been all that bad against the opposition either. Posting a 2-1 record with a 2.13 ERA against the Cubs this year. Yet, I’m not so sure the young buc is ready for the sort of pressure tonight’s game brings. This is his moment to step up, take over the game, and lead his team towards the beginning of a potential World Series run. Problem is – I don’t think Cole is ready to do that quite yet.

Pirates fans will detest that fact claiming he’s been stellar all year round and while that is certainly true, this one-game playoff is a completely different beast. This is one game where you cannot mess up; you cannot let the anticipation of the moment break you. Personally, I think tonight may be the night where Cole finally shows his age.

While the home crowd may help him I still see this match-up favoring the Cubbies and Arrieta. While Arreita’s comments earlier this week may certainly rile up Pirates fans I don’t think he at all will be affected by this situation. On the contrary, the fact he came out and called Pirates’ fans out tells me he is ready to relish tonight’s moment – he wants it all on him. An attribute I don’t currently see from Cole (regardless of what the Pittsburgh press says).

Plus, we all have to keep in mind that during last year’s game versus the San Francisco Giants PNC Park’s boisterous crowd feel silent following Brandon Crawford’s grand slam. The crowd – the city – wasn’t the same after that. After the 4th inning the game was over.  So much for being one of the loudest stadiums in the MLB; fans will need to stay loud throughout the entire game if they want to have a chance at rattling Arrieta and Co. Albeit, looking at the Cubs lineup and seeing power hitting first baseman, Anthony Rizzo whose career average is .353 against Cole, history may very well repeat itself tonight (doesn’t help that rookie sensation, Kris Bryant is hitting .333 against Cole)

I will admit that this game is all on Arrieta. He needs to continue pitching damn near perfect and he needs to pitch a whole game. If he can pitch into the 8th inning or even a complete game, the Buccos will lose. However, if he is pulled in the sixth or shortly after then this will give the Pirates and their stellar bullpen a serious advantage.

This game comes down to pitching and right now you cannot bet against Arrieta. Granted this is October and we all know there’s a majestic quality to playoff baseball where anything can happen, but I think fate is on the Cubs’ side tonight.

My X-Factors outside of Arrieta and Cole

Chicago Cubs: Rizzo – He belted 31 homers this year with 101RBI. Considering his impressive average against Cole he could pose a serious problem for the Pirates tonight.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Starling Marte – Yes, Andrew McCutchen is the Buccos best player, but tonight Marte needs to continue coming up with clutch hits and fielding (Marte’s career average is .235 against Arrieta). Cutch will do his thing, but the Pirates need Marte to get on base and be a base running threat all game.

Final Prediction

Chicago Cubs 2 Pittsburgh Pirates 0