Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 NCAA football Week 8 picks


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 3-2 last week, 23-12 for the season


Kent State +19 over Ohio

Penn State -9 ½ over Michigan

Texas +7 over Oklahoma State

USC +3 ½ over Notre Dame

Oklahoma -14 over Kansas State

NCAA Week 8 Top 4 teams for College Football Playoff


By Rick Morris


1 Alabama

2 Penn State

3 Georgia

4 TCU


Next 4 in:

5 Wisconsin

6 Miami

7 Clemson

8 Ohio State

Saturday, October 14, 2017

2017 NLCS preview


By Rick Morris


Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.  October curses have held up strongly through the LDS, with Cleveland and Washington left to lick their wounds for yet another winter.  Now the LA Dodgers try to add an exclamation point of legitimacy to what has been their only good stretch outside of the admittedly monstrous 1941-1988 run that compassed two cities, 16 of their 21 pennants and all six of their World Series titles.


Those Dodgers never went more than eight years without a pennant.  These Dodgers are in the NLCS for the fifth time in a decade and are still looking for their first pennant in that bunch.  That’s harder to do than you might think.  In the LCS era dating back to 1969, 10 teams went to the LCS five times in a decade or less, including the Dodgers.  NONE of them failed to not only make the World Series during that run, but failed to win it – so the stakes are high for Los Angeles to avoid becoming the first team ever to suffer that dubious distinction.  For the record, here are the previous teams that went to the LCS five times within a decade or less:


^ Orioles (1969-74)

^ Pirates (1970-75)

^ As (1971-75)

^ Reds (1970-76)

^ Dodgers (1974-81)

^ Yankees (1976-81)

^ Phillies (1976-83)

^ Blue Jays (1985-93)

^ Braves (1991-96)

^ Yankees (1996-2001)


The 2008-09 Dodgers admittedly seem distant from this team, with Andre Ethier serving as the only connective tissue, underscoring that this team has turned over significantly during this time period.  The 2009-13 years that bookended LCS losses saw an incredible amount of turnover, but at least to the fans and the media, the losses short of the World Series (including those in the LDS in 2014-15) all blur together.


As for the Cubs, their third consecutive NLCS appearance marks this as the greatest run in team history, especially with the ultimate achievement of that elusive world championship last fall.  With a still-young nucleus, even off of a year that was blanketed by a championship hangover until midseason, they would be considered more talented and deeper and thereby be favored over most other teams – but not the Dodgers, who have upgraded substantially since last fall’s loss – even without the loss of star shortstop Corey Seager for this round.


Almost all of the Dodger advantage in depth comes in pitching, in equal measure the starting rotation and the bullpen – although don’t rule out Chase Utley, who tormented this squad in 2008-09, sneaking in an impact moment.  They must fight the negative ripple effect of losing Seaver that plagued the Indians without Edwin Encarnacion in the ALDS (and a hobbled version of him in Game 5).


The best players on each team – Clayton Kershaw for LA, Anthony Rizzo/Kris Bryant for Chicago – will be challenged to step up, with Kershaw alone among the three really needing a great effort here for his legacy.  He’s undoubtedly the best pitcher of his generation, but no previous greatest hurler of a generation had to deal with a goose egg in terms of pennants.


Los Angeles does have the advantage of being well-rested against a disheveled foe coming in to meet them on short rest – the very scenario that helped them to surmount Arizona relatively easily in the LDS.  Just as importantly, their three lefty starters will put Kyle Schwarber on the pine quite a bit – just ask the Indians how important that can be.  The Dodgers have got to grab one of their first two, if not both of them, to avoid that “here we go again” feeling.  The guess is that they will, advancing to their first World Series in 29 years.  Dodgers in 6 (2-2 record through two rounds).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #893 – 2017 Fantasy Football Week 6 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #893 of The FDH Lounge, another edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, previewing Week 6 of the 2017 fantasy football season.


       


       


       


        

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #892 – 2017 NFL Week 6 preview


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #892 of The FDH Lounge, previewing 2017 NFL Week 6.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: NBA Top 10 of All Time – One Man’s Ballot


By Rick Morris                                          


Mini-Episode #891 previews The FDH Lounge balloting for the NBA Top 10 Players of All Time with the picks of FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris.


       


       


       


       

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017 ALCS preview


By Rick Morris


New York Yankees vs. Houston.  Few cities have the sports advantage on the Big Apple when it comes to big events, but between the 2015 AL Wild Card Game and the 1994 NBA Finals (John Starks, anyone?), the capital of America’s Gulf Coast certainly does.


On paper, they’ve got a lot of similarities: young teams with a lot of pop.  Houston has a bit more and is considered less ahead of schedule than the Yankees.  In particular, the matchup of the Astros’ lineup, the most explosive in the league, against the explosiveness of Luis Severino and the back end of the Yankee bullpen will be strength-on-strength at its fines.


Houston’s lineup is less all-or-nothing than New York’s, as exemplified by their respective MVP candidates, Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge.  Having said that, the Yankees are going to have a much easier time scratching out runs.


But this is a series where New York will have to produce runs en masse because they won’t be getting the benefit of a Cleveland team hopelessly beating themselves at the plate this time.  Can they keep up?  They’ll have to do so early, to exploit their advantage in the bullpen (with the exception of Game 1, when the better-rested Astros would be the prime beneficiaries of a bullpen game) – but Houston has the better rotation, so that’s unlikely.  This time, New York’s going up against a very talented squad that also is very loose, unlike the Tribe – because once the Astros made it to the ALCS and avoided what would be considered an unsuccessful season by their rising standards, they were playing with house money.  That’s bad news for the Yankees, a franchise dipped in the gold glitter of history who will now see their opponents become the first franchise ever to win pennants in both leagues.  Astros in 5.

2017 NCAA football Week 7 picks


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 3-2 last week, 20-10 for the season


Ohio -10 over Bowling Green

Ohio State -24 ½ over Nebraska

Oklahoma -9 over Texas

LSU +7 over Auburn

USC -13 over Utah

NCAA Week 7 Top 4 teams for College Football Playoff


By Rick Morris


1 Alabama

2 Clemson

3 Penn State

4 Washington


Next 4 in:

5 Georgia

6 Wisconsin

7 TCU

8 Washington State

2017 NFL Week 6 power rankings


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings from start of season are in parentheses.


TOP TIER

1 Kansas City (4-3-3-1)

2 Atlanta (3-2-2-2)

3 Green Bay (2-5-4-4)

4 Denver (10-8-7-5)

5 New England (1-1-1-6)

6 Philadelphia (15-17-17-8)

7 Carolina (14-16-16-14)

SECOND TIER

8 Seattle (6-7-10-11)

9 Pittsburgh (7-6-6-3)

10 Minnesota (11-11-9-13)

11 Los Angeles Rams (16-19-19-9)

12 Buffalo (26-26-20-10)

13 Jacksonville (23-24-23-26)

14 Detroit (18-14-14-12)

15 Baltimore (9-9-11-18)

16 Oakland (5-4-5-7)

17 Tampa Bay (12-10-12-16)

18 Tennessee (13-12-8-17)

19 Houston (25-25-25-15)

20 Washington (24-18-18-20)

21 New Orleans (21-22-21-21)

22 Dallas (8-15-15-19)

23 Cincinnati (28-28-27-22)

24 Miami (17-13-13-25)

25 Chicago (19-23-22-23)

26 Arizona (22-20-24-24)

THIRD TIER

27 Los Angeles Chargers (20-21-26-27)

28 New York Jets (32-32-29-29)

29 New York Giants (27-27-28-28)

30 Indianapolis (30-30-30-30)

31 San Francisco (31-31-32-31)

FOURTH TIER

32 Cleveland (29-29-31-32)


BIGGEST RISERS: Jacksonville (13 spots), Carolina (7 spots), Baltimore, Minnesota and Seattle (3 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: Oakland (9 spots), Pittsburgh (6 spots), Houston (4 spots), Dallas (3 spots)


RANKINGS BY DIVISION – 1 POINT PER RANKING SPOT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TEAM

1 NFC SOUTH 47

2 AFC WEST 48

3 NFC NORTH 52

4 AFC EAST 69

5 NFC WEST 76

6 NFC EAST 77

7 AFC NORTH 79

8 AFC SOUTH 80


RANKINGS BY CONFERENCE

1 NFC 252

2 AFC 276

Monday, October 9, 2017

NCAA Week 6 Top 4 teams for College Football Playoff


By Rick Morris


1 Alabama

2 Clemson

3 Penn State

4 Washington


Next 4 in:

5 Georgia

6 Wisconsin

7 TCU

8 Washington State

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #890 – 2017 fantasy hoops preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #890 of The FDH Lounge, another edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, previewing the 2017 fantasy hoops season.