Sunday, November 30, 2008

FDH Lounge Show #39: November 30, 2008

By Rick Morris

THE FDH LOUNGE makes its Sunday night swan song tonight on as we prepare for a consolidation of FDH programming on Wednesday nights. For one last time, we appear from 8-11 PM EST before getting ready for our new home of 7-10 PM EST every Wednesday starting December 10. Subsequently, THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER and THE GOON SQUAD will become half-hour shows-within-a-show, tying together all FDH programming into one nice, neat bundle each week!

For this final Sunday extravaganza, we start with The FDH Lounge Dignitaries’ Opening Statements, then we’re honored to welcome in ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Jayson Stark. We will discuss his excellent book THE STARK TRUTH: THE MOST OVERRATED AND UNDERRATED PLAYERS IN BASEBALL HISTORY as well as his thoughts on the recent baseball postseason. As a former sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s got thoughts on the accomplishments of the Phillies as well as the historic nature of what the Rays managed this year.

From there, we take a look at some of our best FDH Lounge segments on Sunday nights, specifically some from our debut episode on January 14, 2007. These roundtables included the following:

^ Why can’t pro wrestling be an Olympic sport (a serious question meant to challenge why it couldn’t be in as a form of performance art much as figure skating and synchronized swimming presently are)?

^ Celebrities that burn our a$%es!

^ It takes two to tango but three to die (celebrity deaths in threes).

Then, in Hour Two, we are joined by STN Pro Wrestling Insider contributor Mike Ptak. With a work schedule that has kept him recently from commiting to a regular STN schedule, Mike is preparing to join up with FDH for some fine on-demand video as part of the new FDH Lounge TV project. With videoblogs on pro wrestling and Major League Baseball on the way, Mike still has a lot to say and he’ll be on with us to talk about these topics.

Then, well into Hour Two, we break down the conclusion of one of the longest-running music stories of all time: the release after a decade-and-a-half of the G’n’R CHINESE DEMOCRACY album and also take a look ahead to our first Wednesday Lounge show with a special theme: fantasy supergroup drafting! Much as we have assembled teams of beautiful women and presidential candidates in the past, we will each be drafting our ultimate rock bands and competing for the approval of our guest judge. Who has the best musical taste in The Lounge? We will find out December 10.

Towards the end of Hour Two, we will rate the first batch of musical mashups found on YouTube and brought into The FDH Lounge.

Then, much of our third hour will feature The FDH Lounge Pigskin Report, as we first navigate a weird and troubling college football BCS situation, then evaluate the happenings in the National Football League.

Be sure to join us in The FDH Lounge for our Sunday night finale! A new era begins on December 10, be there as we bring down the curtain for this one, only on STN.

I don’t get it

By Rick Morris

Just a few things that continue to elude my understanding …

^ Mature anime. I remember the first time I saw this in a video store a few years back and being a bit freaked out. I’m not much into porn and not much into anime, but I at least understand the appeal of each. But putting them together? Not exactly chocolate and peanut butter making the ultimate combo if you ask me, but as somebody who’s not a perv who enjoys lurid cartoon images of women, I guess I’m not quite their demographic.

^ People who kept putting fresh “Kerry-Edwards” bumper stickers on their cars all throughout the last four years. Living in the greater Cleveland area, I saw quite a bit of this over the past few years, new stickers that kept appearing on cars well past the November 2004 election. How do I know that they were new stickers? That’s easy: in this Rust Belt city, something on your car gets dingy approximately 3.2 seconds after application, whether it be from road salt in the cold weather or windy dirt from construction areas in the warm weather. Clearly, sore loser idiots kept replenishing their cars with these bumper stickers as some kind of statement in their demented minds. Without election results to rebel against, how will these angry misfits continue to live their lives?

^ Morons in SUVs, trucks and vans who don’t realize that not everyone’s tires grip in the wintry weather. The proliferation of monstrosity vehicles has depleted the public’s understanding that not everyone is on a level playing field in poor weather. Just because some yuppie in a minivan is able to drive normally notwithstanding six inches of ice on the roads, it doesn’t mean that other drivers can do the same and it doesn’t mean that said clue-deprived yuppie won’t end up crushed to death at the bottom of a 54-car pileup that he instigated.

^ People who go out of their way to crack on hockey. Hockey haters are about as fresh as Red Sox fan. Yeah, the game has had its fair share of setbacks in the last decade-and-a-half, which these dweebs are more than content to recite at a moment’s notice, but the “nobody cares” take is stale, and by the increasing NHL attendance patterns, quite untrue.

^ The cult of the unwashed masses. “I paid my money, I can [fill in the blank] if I want to” is the stupidest and most played-out take this side of anything spewed by Hockey Hater Guy. There are few more unwashed masses than perennially soused Browns fans, who don’t know how to do anything other than complain about how anything that just happened is worse than anything that ever happened before. For the record, nothing has ever been worse than the antics perpetrated by Art Modell and Butch Davis and ignorance of this fact is anything but blissful for those of us in the fanbase who have to deal with uneducated bellyaching. It’s fine to vent, but have some consideration for your fellow man and at least try to make sense! Please try to criticize where appropriate, try to give credit where appropriate and do something other than vomit some hackneyed drivel that regurgitates the worst of terrestrial radio. Perhaps I’m spoiled by the fact that the FDH programming at attracts a higher caliber of listener and that I can count on one hand the number of times a caller has made me irate in a half-decade, but I honestly don’t understand why all fans can’t be thinking ones along the lines of the STN faithful.

^ The “Lebron’s leaving” hack media weasels. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. With tens of millions of dollars that the Cavs can pay Lebron that other teams are not allowed to match, the ball (as it were) is in their court. He just built an ultimate dream house in the Northeast Ohio area and he’s aware of what bringing a championship to America’s most title-deprived city would mean to his legacy. Granted, he’s on record as identifying as an Akron, not a Cleveland native, so sentimentality will play no role here, but there are reasons far beyond that that give the Cavaliers the upper hand. Other teams may be able to hollow out their salary caps enough to afford him in 2010, but what other assets could they afford? Lebron James’ bottom line is all about winning. If Cleveland continues to take steps forward as the early portion of the 2008-2009 season indicates they have, he will stay. If he’s disgusted with a lack of progress in C-Town, he will go. End of story; your move, Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume I, Issue XIII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ignorance of American History

By Tony Mazur

Facebook is a very innovative social network that let's you keep up on the lives of your "friends". One of the features the site has is the Status Update. Each member can update their "Status" at any time, either giving updates on their whereabouts, what kind of mood they are in, or any random thoughts that may pop up. As of recently, Facebook allows users to comment on other people's status.

On holidays, most statuses will say "Happy/Merry [insert name of holiday]." In this past Thursday's case, it was Thanksgiving. One status in particular got on my nerves.

Alyson says "Hooray for the day Englishman forced N. Americans to live on reservations and convert to Christianity!"

If this sarcastic tidbit wasn't enough, a gentleman with the I.Q. of Kelly Bundy from Married...with Children decided to comment.

and technically this holiday was before we did the whole get the eff off our land thing. remember they had to teach us to plant corn and give ohio the fields of boringness. and somewhere theres a scary man with a pug....and this crazy racoon. or is that pocahontas? hmmm CAN YOU PAINT WITH ALL THE COLORS OF THE WIND??? HUH??? CAN YOU???? didnt think so.

I typically ignore imbeciles like this, but it goes to show how ignorant Americans really are. It's sad, really.

When I was attending a suburban Catholic school outside of Cleveland, I was taught what I thought was the true story of Thanksgiving. We were all taught that a ship full of Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and were greeted by "Indians". They helped these English settlers learn the way of the land, and eventually celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Not long after, the Pilgrims killed the Indians and forcefully took their land.

The idea that America was founded on genocide is balderdash. A fact omitted in history textbooks was that the Native Americans perished due to harmful diseases. But that will not be brought up, since the agenda of a teacher is not only to teach their students, but to fill their empty minds with propaganda.

I'm rather tired of the notion that America's accomplishments were because of eminent domain and slavery. I am not oblivious to the fact that the Trail of Tears and slavery were low points in our history. However, we need to get over this guilt factor that has plagued many Americans.

The new hotness is the issue that the framework of America was to be a secular nation, and not the Judeo-Christian society it is today. Atheists and agnostics make Thomas Jefferson look like Kirk Cameron, pre-Growing Pains. In actuality, Jefferson believed that faith was essential for both the growth and security of the United States of America.

Throughout the past eight years, we have heard atheists and liberals alike shout the words "separation of Church and State", especially during the 2006 issue about taking stem cells from dead fetuses. I performed a little research. Back in 1802, Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists, saying that one Christian denomination should not form a monopoly, thus creating "a wall of separation between Church & State". No where does it mention that the practice of religion should be abolished during government settings.

Americans tend to ignore history, whether they choose to or not. The media is at fault much of the time, and so are parents, teachers, and guardians, but it should be reliant on each and every one of us to embrace history. I believe that if one should protest against a person, group, or law, they should read a little background information before burning flags and stomping on crosses.

Video Clips: music mashups

By Rick Morris

I really enjoy mashups, particularly but not completely related to ones that cross different genres. The combinations they represent sort of embody the variety here in The FDH Lounge, so we're going to be posting some videos in the days ahead. We've got far too many to post at once -- frankly, this first chunk is pretty substantial -- so we'll get them up here in manageable pieces.

This first batch segues pretty smoothly, with one artist or group generally transitioning to another one as the chain goes along. Enjoy!

TOTO/50 CENT Africa’s Club

ABBA/50 CENT Queen of Da Club

BEE GEES/50 CENT Stayin’ Alive in Da Club

BEE GEES/SNOOP DOGG Drop It Stayin’ Alive


COOLIO/SISTER SLEDGE 1-2-3-4 The Greatest Dancer


LINKIN PARK Bleed Out Faint



LINKIN PARK/JAY-Z/KANYE WEST Stronger, Numb & Encore


JAY-Z/THE VERVE Brush Your Bittersweet Shoulders Off

Friday, November 28, 2008

Burke to Leafs: huge news for legacy franchise

By Rick Morris

If you believe as we do at FDH that the NHL still comprises part of the "big four" of the American sports landscape (with allowances for NASCAR and perhaps college football and college hoops on that level as well), then one of the more significant long-term stories of the year -- which materialized in the past 24 hours -- is sliding under the radar. Brian Burke has agreed to a six-year contract to take over as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We have followed this developing story the past two weeks on the FDH hockey program THE GOON SQUAD, which airs Wednesday nights on (presently from 9-10 PM EST, to change on December 10 to a "show within a show" from 9:30 to 10 PM EST when THE FDH LOUNGE takes over the Wednesday prime time block on the network). It is manifestly huge news for the entire hockey world.

In most sports, the question of what constitutes a "legacy franchise," one of the most historic and special of all teams, is somewhat open for debate. But in the NHL, it seems a bit more clear-cut than most, as the "Original Six" that were around before 1967 have special historical clout. Ironically, '67 was the last year the Leafs won Lord Stanley's Cup, although they have 13 in all! I'd compare them to the Cleveland Browns, who last won an NFL title in 1964 (yes, there were titles before they were called Super Bowls, Squeeler fans!), but won eight championships in all and boasted such names as Paul Brown, Otto Graham and Jim Brown -- all of whom were easily in the top five all time at what they did. The Leafs and Browns haven't done much for 40-plus years -- but what came before that keeps them in a special place and adds to the glory that will accrue to the men who lead them out of the wilderness.

The Leafs are followed with a fervor in all corners of Canada, much like how the Browns are followed worldwide by the largest geographic network of fan clubs in sports. The passion is almost impossible to put into words, and Toronto fans today feel that they got their crown jewel. Burke helped to restore Vancouver's fortunes when he got his first GM job a decade ago and then he led Anaheim to their first Stanley Cup in '07. There was nobody with a similar resume that Toronto could have hired and as soon as he began subtly wiggling out of his contract with the Ducks (by refusing to sign an extension, thus forcing their hand in terms of promoting his successor and easing him into the "consultant" role that would allow him to sign elsewhere immediately), speculation has been building to a fever pitch.

He inherits a team that has cleared out most of its bad contracts of the past few years and he'll have the cap room necessary to augment a good young roster with the superstars he'll need for the team to take the final steps. An ownership committed to winning and a fanbase that will accept nothing less will both help in terms of establishing the proper expectations and lay on some additional pressure. But Burke has won with substantially fewer resources than he will have in what is Canada's cultural capital (a city often referred to as the Canadian equivalent of New York and Los Angeles put together). Today, for the Toronto Maple Leafs, all things seem possible and I believe that they are. We will see the Cup paraded through the streets of that city within five years.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

PFT's agenda journalism is Savage indeed

By Rick Morris

One is left to constantly wonder about whether Phil Savage once left a Number Two in Mike Florio's Wheaties, because the Fire Phil Savage agenda at Pro Football Talk is packing more momentum than even the Browns' downward slide. Even innocent (and obvious) public utterances from Savage about how coaches coach and GMs just supply them with the players are taken by Florio as being treasonous towards the man he hired to wear the headset.

Well, I certainly would disagree with Florio about the urgency of the need for the Browns to whack their head football man. FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones and I have been pointing out for well over a year now that the current Cleveland roster is light years ahead of what Botch Davis left behind in '04 (if admittedly thin on depth and still light at LB and CB). So I could file my disapproval of Florio's obvious agenda under "we agree to disagree" ... until he crossed a line I can only consider to be one of religious bigotry.

Now, the latest opportunity for Florio to get his delicates in a wad came from Phil Savage's profane -- and yet wholly appropriate -- reaction to an asinine email from a know-nothing drunken dipwad fan. To hear Florio pontificate about this is to be exposed to the perspective that this is the greatest offense against human decency since a mustachioed guy named Adolf was goose-stepping through Europe. Again, fair enough up to that point, I can agree to disagree -- until he criticizes him for being a proud and open Christian!

Not content to slime a public figure for trying to use his job to promote the life-affirming aspects of his faith and religious awareness, Florio then tries to pose as somebody who knows about such matters himself with a gratuitous Matthew 6:5-7 reference.

"5And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."

Cute, Mike. Very cute.

Now, as your stereotypical Roman Catholic who can't recite any Bible verses and just puts my full trust in my parish priest to lay everything out for me (not that that is particularly admirable on my part, it's just the way it is), I'll admit that I had no idea what that passage was until I read it -- although I could certainly surmise where Florio was going with his cheap-shot attitude that Savage was a phony who wore religion on his sleeve. To whatever degree, we can all take issue with Savage's football decisions; I take less issue than most, but that's irrelevant to this point. What we should all agree is that Phil Savage's religious convictions and his efforts to be in compliance with them should ideally be respected and at minimum not be held against him.

I do not subscribe to Savage's particular form of Christianity, but I do subscribe to his larger worldview. And even with my admittedly feeble grasp of specific Biblical passages, I do know that the Good Book is chock full of admonitions to use your relationship with God to help others as Savage does. For Mike Florio to nourish his vendetta against this man by propagating the false notion that God wants men and women of faith to carry around their crosses and other manifestations of faith in a burlap sack is vile indeed and representative of the false faith that elevates secular humanism into a religion. Confine your grudge to the areas where decent people can agree to disagree, Mike.

Happy Thanksgiving from the FDH Family

By Rick Morris

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us. To help you celebrate the occasion with some laughs, here's the "Britney and K-Fed Thanksgiving" video:

The A-11 offense: great football innovation

By Rick Morris

On a day when so many of us gorge ourselves on turkey and watch football all day long, what better time to celebrate some great gridiron innovation? As somebody who really loves the "Xs and Os" of football, the chess game aspect of matching up and trying to outwit the other side, I was really intrigued by a recent feature on Deadspin about the A-11 offense, a concept introduced by a high school football coach in Piedmont, CA.

As is the case with many programs, he knew that his team was not going to be able to measure up to most opponents in terms of skill and stature and, possessed of a great competitive spirit, he wanted to do whatever he could to help his team transcend those limitations. The answer? A schematic system that exploited a loophole in the rules about what was permissible in a punt formation:

"Any five players on any given play are eligible to go downfield and catch a pass, and the defense never knows which five. With two quarterbacks in the backfield, no one under center and three receivers split wide on each side, it's basically a kick formation, where the standard receiver eligibility rules don't apply. There can be direct snaps to any of three players in the backfield, lots of end-arounds and reverses."

Wow -- and to think that some people have said that the Miami Dolphins bringing back the Wildcat offense was radical!

Piedmont now has a website devoted to spreading the word and sharing ideas about the A-11 because it has become a trendsetter for other high school programs nationwide.

Here's some highlights from the 2008 season:

And here's some more '08 highlights:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FDH Insider/Goon Squad November 26

By Rick Morris

Tonight's FDH Wednesday night promises its usual variety of content through its three hours.

On THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (7-10 PM EST), we take care of a couple of housekeeping matters at the outset. We'll lead off with what we consider to be proper criticism of our peers in the industry and then we'll talk about how we are adapting our fantasy programming on Wednesday nights starting in two weeks. From there, we'll examine our Top 5 waiver wire picks for NFL Week 13 before getting into a game-by-game fantasy breakdown for this weekend.

ON THE GOON SQUAD (9-10 PM EST), we pick up where we left off last week with our Brian Burke discussion. He appears to be moving closer and closer to the Toronto GM job and STN hockey analyst (and lifelong Leafs' fan) Kyle O'Rourke will surely have thoughts on that! I'm sure that he, a Canadian, will also have thoughts on the latest breakdown of NHL players by nationality. Hint: less players from The Great White North! Also: recent studies have shown that the NHL may be nipping on the heels of the NBA in terms of growth. Hoops fans feel that it's a phony indicator; hockey fans think it's legit. Which is it? We'll tell you.

As always, tune in tonight for entertainment and enlightenment you can't get anywhere else, only on The SportsTalkNetwork.

Legitimate Matt Berry criticism

By Rick Morris

Since my initial column attempting to clear up our stance on ESPN's Matt Berry, I've since had the question posed to me about what our legitimate criticism would resemble. I believed when I wrote that column that I had put keyboard to digital paper saying some of the same things I regularly say on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER program on It turns out that I have not.

So I will do that here and now and explain some of the areas that have been major philosophical differences with Berry. I preface this by noting again that we regularly address pieces of advice being put out by those with significantly bigger megaphones than us (and Berry probably has the biggest with the "Worldwide Leader" platform). On last week's show, for example, we took issue somewhat with advice from Sports Weekly's Mat Pitzer when he advised that fantasy owners may well want to bench LT when the playoffs materialize. He cited the possibility that some owners may also have Matt Forte or Tim Hightower, for example. We stated that, while this may be the case, we're dubious that very many fantasy owners have two other running backs who are on the top tier where LT still resides and that Pitzer's point probably didn't merit being the lead item in his weekly column.

Without further ado, areas of sharp disagreement with Matt Berry:

^ Value: It's what we're obsessed with in terms of building teams and it's the building block of (all successful) pro franchises when they're conducting their own drafts. When Berry drafts Thomas Jones 11th overall in The Sporting News experts' draft a few years ago without regard to his market value, that makes our teeth grind. Championships are won and lost by patiently grinding out value all through a draft or auction and we don't see this truism addressed, at least explicitly, by Berry.

^ One-size-fits-all advice: His 25 rules for drafts are of an absolute nature that we abhor. Example: 2006's first rule, to avoid Terrell Owens. We complained about this at the time. Avoid him? What if he drops to the sixth round because everyone's listening to Matt Berry? Doesn't he become a sufficient value at some point, especially if you've already got your starting WRs?

I can practically hear the rebuttal coming from here. "Rick, you're taking me out of context. I didn't mean to absolutely 100% avoid him if he drops to an insane point. Don't put words in my mouth!" To that hypothetical protestation, I would reply with the following: "Matt, people take us completely literally at almost all times. I've been interacting with the public through my webcast since 2004 and writing about fantasy since 2001, both on significantly smaller platforms than the one you've got right now (and also smaller than the old Mr. Roto site). In other words, anything that has been made plain to me has been made plain to you ten times over and probably, ten times earlier. If I've had somebody scream at me about a piece of advice that I didn't intend to be taken to an illogical conclusion, then surely it's happened to you and you're not unaware that people do this. It's the reason that I preface most pieces of advice with preambles and conditions. I'd rather risk somebody's eyes glazing over with a preface and know that I'm delivering something that they won't easily misuse."

There's been a notable lack of nuance all around ESPN in recent years, the rollout of what some have called the "Skip Bayless culture." It may be unfair for me to lump in some of Matt Berry's absolutes with the mandate at ESPN to grab people with something catchy at all times, but the other explanation, a personal lack of regard for nuance, isn't much better. Regardless of why it materializes, it's something that I feel hurts all fantasy touts when our industry leader puts it out there. That's the motivation for counteracting that, nothing more, nothing less.

For that matter, I would like to politely disagree with one of my colleagues who has criticized Berry for some alleged fence-sitting opinions. I don't see him falling into the "Captain Obvious" stuff more than any of us accidentally do on occasion. I think that the valid criticism is on the other extreme, when he appears to say provacative things almost for the sake of it (i.e. the infamous advice to bench AP against the Chargers). I don't see him as a fence-sitter and I don't agree with that perception, on the contrary, I see him as somebody whose love of the provocative opinion is something I don't justify. Which leads me to the next point ...

^ He loves him some matchups: Now matchups are always quite relevant in fantasy sports and we'd be the last to deny that. By the same token, in recent years a "cult of the matchup" has sprung up in recent years, one that glorifies them to an unhealthy extent. We see Berry as a part of this issue. We strongly disagree with the notion that there are not "untouchable" players. To us, AP is somebody who never gets benched unless there is an injury question and there are others (not as many as there were even 2-3 years ago due to the preponderance of running back committees) who fit that same bill. We see Berry's approach as encouraging overmanaging.

So there it is, without rhetorical excesses or anything that could be deemed personally hurtful. Ironically, if we were ankle-biting to even half the degree that some have thought, I'd have taken the time to write out what I've said on the show before. And I hope that these points are now clear, separated from the hyperbole and trash-talking that I see in retrospect was not in good fun and for which I have already apologized for approving to be published.

But also, as promised, I looked over his recent writings to see if there were any areas where I could commend his advice in good faith. I did find a few.

He talked up Dom Hixon and Jerome Harrison as good potential pickups, advice that we have given as well. I don't really agree with him about Hixon being better than teammate Steve Smith (Hixon has a higher ceiling, but Smith is more likely to produce week-to-week), but I think he's promoting a couple of diamonds in the rough. As somebody who is based out of Cleveland, I have long seen Harrison (nicknamed "The Ghost" in college) as being quite an explosive potential weapon.

I'm not under any illusions about affecting the approach of anybody bigger than us in this industry. They've all succeeded by doing things their way, regardless of any philosophical differences we may have with them. By the same token, the fantasy sports arm of FDH is going to keep doing it our way, agreeing and disagreeing with the "big boys" as we see it, but we'll be sure to lay things out point-by-point as we did here and not give any ammunition to anybody ready to dismiss us as haters.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NFL power rankings for Week 13

By Rick Morris


1. New York Giants


2. Tennessee

3. Pittsburgh

4. New York Jets

5. Tampa Bay

6. Indianapolis

7. New England

8. Washington

9. Carolina

10. Arizona

11. Dallas

12. Atlanta

13. Baltimore


14. New Orleans

15. Chicago

16. Miami

17. Minnesota

18. Green Bay

19. Philadelphia

20. Buffalo

21. Denver


22. San Diego

23. Jacksonville

24. Houston

25. Cleveland


26. San Francisco

27. Seattle

28. Kansas City

29. St. Louis

30. Oakland

31. Cincinnati

32. Detroit

Criticizing Matthew Berry

By Rick Morris

Very recently, a trusted friend, one who deals with members of the sports media on a regular basis, said something to me about the tone of some FDH criticism of somebody we have written a fair amount about, ESPN fantasy boss Matthew Berry. My immediate reaction was incredulous disbelief, as I knew for a fact that everything I had ever written was substantively based and did not cross any personal lines. Knowing that I am not the only person to have written about Berry, though, I searched our archives ... and found myself at a place I never like to be: having to say "touche."

Let me be very clear on this. The side of FDH Enterprises, LLC has taken issue with Mr. Berry on numerous occasions for what we believe to be impeccable reasons. We place value at the very core of everything we advocate and we are critical, I believe appropriately so, when his advice does not place a premium on that (i.e. his past advocacy of two running backs in the first two rounds of a football draft no matter what and his notion of where certain players should be drafted in contravention of their market value). Furthermore, we see him as frequently delivering "one size fits all" advice and that pretty much makes our teeth grind when we see that. Fantasy games are all about exploiting certain situations and advice to "never draft So-and-So" -- when people take advice literally, as I have found out through our website and webcasts repeatedly -- is not so good. Additionally, he takes the concepts of "matchups" to a point where he advocates being open to benching untouchable players -- such as the infamous example last year when he said that Adrian Peterson should sit against San Diego and then AP carved them up for the single-game rushing record. Matt Berry has, as I have often said, the greatest megaphone in our industry. With that comes a certain responsibility, not merely for his own credibility, but for all of the rest of us because he does represent us -- this is the case even though he did not ask for the responsibility and even though all of us in this industry wish to be judged on our own merits and not on what "the ESPN guy" said. It is for that reason that we critique him and others with large megaphones, so that we may set the record straight when we feel it is warranted and when folks may be led astray by something we find inaccurate.

I have always taken great pains to do that a certain way, but I feel upon rereading some of our content that that is not good enough and that I am shirking my moral responsibility if I hide behind the notion of "at least I never said it." As Managing Partner of FDH, I review everything that we publish and I am responsible for approving everything. I let some material go by in the notion that it would be taken as hyperbole and in a fun trash-talking spirit. That was a mistake, one that is mine alone. Nobody else deserves any criticism whatsoever. I love the passionate spirit of everyone who writes here and I hope that everyone involved never changes how they write. It's up to me, though, to reign that in if it crosses a line. I can say with certitude that nothing was ever written to intentionally hurt somebody's feelings, we're all good people here, but anything along the lines of "what kind of jerk would give advice like that" is something that I have to admit I would fail to take as merely passionate hyperbole. May I say also that the criticisms that others have made of Mr. Berry are every bit as solid as I have found my own to be and I regret that the heat they generated may have kept some from perceiving the light they were trying to shed. In other words, how we said some things undermined the strong effectiveness that we had on the merits.

Now, the irony is that I have personally written far harsher things about some politicians than anything that was written about Matt Berry and I stand behind them. Frankly, what Berry does, and what our fantasy sports division does, is not a life-and-death issue. I believe that as citizens, we are entitled, nay obligated, to speak with outrage when harm is being perpetrated on us by politicians and any of their allies in any way. No piece of fantasy sports advice dished out rises anywhere near that level of seriousness.

So in pursuit of doing the right thing as my parents raised me, this column ends in a pretty uncomfortable way for me. I hope that my FDH colleagues don't feel that I'm going soft or renouncing legitimate fact-based criticisms of Matthew Berry's content. I'm not doing either and I trust they will see that; along those lines, though, I will try to review his work more often so that I can give credit for where I strongly agree and not just respond every time I see something I find outrageous. And I really hate giving any of our detractors something to smile about, so being publicly contrite just grinds on me. But my judgment about the wording of some of the evaluations of Berry was wrong, and, I am given to understand, may have led to hurt feelings. For this, I apologize. Lesson learned.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reaction to Barack Obama ES

By Tony Mazur

Last night, I posted a blog about a Long Island elementary school changing their name to "Barack Obama Elementary School". Kind of premature, don't you think? The man hasn't even become the president yet. Even Obama supporters should feel that this is too early.

However, as I read the comments on the story, a rage came over me. While I agreed with many of the comments (from both sides of the political spectrum), there were a few that proved to me what is truly wrong with America. Those who supported the name change accused the other posters as being racist and full of hate, a common theme. Let me share a few with you, misspellings and inaccuracies in all. The comments from the ABC website are in italics, and my two cents will be in bold.

"WOW! The hate I see spewed here is incredible! I guess it just goes to underline that ABC is actually a Republican media outlet...

All you haters out there: Can't you see that the last eight years were solely the result of republican 'leadership'? The president (Cheney...) was republican, Congress was republican (yes, we had a slim majority of dems the last 2 years, but not enough to affect any change, because of something called FILIBUSTER), so ALL THIS MESS we are in is THANKS TO REPUBLICANS and their combined greediness!

So, now we finally have someone who promises HOPE and CHANGE (even IF it would be just change from the direction of the disatrous last eight years!), and people in the street are starting to breathe sighs of relief and excitement again - and here you come, trying to squash them.

Kids are excited, black kids have a rolemodel, and you are demeaning them? Here you have one black person who 'made' it, and who is willing to help YOU and willing to help get some selfesteem into the black (as well as white and latino and asian!) community, and you poo-pooh the pride coming out of kids.
Way to go, repubs! You are just jealous that 'YOUR' president has not inspired kids to rename 'their' schools after him!
(What would that name be: "Dumbya" school? or "My Pet Goat" school? or "I got my millions, don't care about you" school? How about "Abu Ghraib School" or "Guantanamo's Best" school.)
Apparently this person is allergic to proper grammar, punctuation, and bringing up intelligent points.

You go, kids of Barack Obama School! Don't let anyone take your excitement away from you! Now, follow his example and strive to be the best you can be, and don't forget compassion to others! Follow his example of lying about your background to get elected into office, and if someone calls you on it, play the race card.

A lot of these comments demonstrate why the Republican Party now has a 61% disapproval rating. Keep it up. Maybe you can drive it into the 70's or 80's and make yourselves completely irrelevant. That is, until the American people get fed up with the Democratic Empire and vote Republican in 2010.

What a very nice and inspiring thing to do... With so much hate out there, it's good to know that there is also HOPE. What is this 'Hope' word I've heard so much about. Whatever it means, I haven't seen any.

It's wonderful when a President, who ran a campaign based on integrity, honesty, fairness, no dirty stricks, and his life is a model of hard work despite big obstacles to aim for the highest level of education, has inspired little children to do the same in their own life. I am sure that from now on all of them will work harder with a smile on their face and are proud of themselves. Obama's wish to make things better from each one of us and from the bottom up already has happened. I had wished the same and am so proud of all those little ones. He ran a campaign based on cult status. The only thing he inspired me was to not vote Democrat. And what were the big obstacles? Denouncing a racist preacher that you've went to for twenty years? Having a wife that won't shut her fat mouth? Having ties to anti-Semites, anarchists, anti-Christs, and terrorists?

What a great story. As someone who works in the juvenile justice system, it's wonderful to see those children energized about our political system. I think P.E. Obama will be a great role model for our young minority children. Through him, they will see that they can achieve great things through hard work. Three cheers for the Barak Obama Elementary School. You go kids!!! Mom and dad should be at the top of the list when it comes to role models in a child's life, no matter the race, gender, or sexuality.

I'm sure a lot of the haters on here have done such great things for this country, NOT.
Oh, I get it. This poster used sarcasm on us! He took me one way when I thought he was going another. How clever of you!

This is a great story. All of the negative comments about what these kids did seem to be from sore losers or something worse. It is about time our young people take pride in their government. Young people have NO SAY. A citizen cannot vote until they are eighteen years of age. Who cares what a bunch of 5th graders say about the state of our country. Talk to me when a 5th grader brings up a poignant idea when it comes to foreign policy and the financial crisis.

TOTALLY AWESOME! Like, far out! Marvy!

What a wonderful story! I expect many more schools, post offices, buildings and CHILDREN to be named after our new President! Explain to your children why their name and/or the name of their school is named after an incompetent Chicago politician.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Barack Obama Elementary School

By Tony Mazur

No joke.

The five-member school board in Hempstead, Long Island, New York voted unanimously to change the name of Ludlum Elementary School into Barack Obama Elementary School. The change is effective immediately.

This will be the first of many Obama-themed changes to various schools, streets, cities, and even points of interest. The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda has said he's taking measures to have Boggy Peak renamed Mount Obama. Even parents have named their newborns Barack.

I'm at a loss for words. The man hasn't even become president, and the media has already hailed him the next Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Christ. The media fills the minds of the ignorant masses that think Obama rose from poverty to become what he is today. That is certainly not the case. He attended prestigious schools his entire life, and happened to rise through corrupt Chicago politics they way every Illinois politician has in years past. His story is by no means inspirational.

Do you remember how both Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama stated that this is the first time they are proud to be Americans? In this case, I am embarrassed to be an American. I am both stunned and ashamed at the ignorance of the American people. Wake up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ohio State-Michigan postgame analysis

By Rick Morris

[NOTE: This story was written after attending today's Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus.]

After the mammoth OSU-Michigan game of '06, which featured the first #1 vs. #2 meeting in the history of the series and was arguably the biggest college football regular season game of the decade, the next meeting of the two teams in the Horseshoe would never be able to top the aura of that moment. But that clash set in motion a series of events that rendered this rematch a mirror image of the game of 20 years ago.

With Lloyd Carr already on thin ice with the Wolverine faithful after dropping four of his first five to the Buckeyes since Jim Tressel took over, the 2006 game loomed as a must-win for his talented squad. And when his biggest protector, Big Bo, passed away the day before the game, he knew that the alums would be even more empowered if he lost. In a thriller that somehow managed to exceed the hype, Ohio State prevailed, 42-39, and set the stage for Carr's final sad series of events at Michigan. The following fall, his team opened with a shocking upset at the hands of Appalachian State and closed with a plodding, uninspired loss to OSU that came just before his retirement announcement.

There were at least some surface similarities to the final days of Earle Bruce at Ohio State in 1987 and the open of the John Cooper era the next year. Like Carr, Bruce did not survive more than a season after his biggest booster and legendary predecessor Woody Hayes passed away (although, unlike Carr, Bruce went out with a shocking upset win in the big rivalry game). Like Carr, Bruce was succeeded by a flashy swashbuckler who was a complete outsider to the program. Having made a good part of his reputation by beating Michigan in the Rose Bowl at Arizona State (in what would later become a painfully ironic twist), Cooper limped through his maiden season with a record of 4-5-1 going into the home finale against Michigan. A 34-31 loss sealed a losing season, the first in decades at the school.

New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was already assured a losing record coming into today's tilt, as his roster, depleted by 2007 graduations and completely unmatched to the new spread option he installed, came in at 3-8. Like Cooper's '88 Buckeyes, his Wolverines were given a small chance of victory and were in fact three-touchdown underdogs. Unlike Coop's team, though, Michigan could not keep the game close past the midpoint of the third quarter and ended up unraveling thoroughly en route to a 42-7 drubbing, one of the worst in the history of the series and an unprecedented fifth straight win for Ohio State in this rivalry.

Former Browns coach Butch Davis will deservedly take to his grave an idiotic comment from the day that running back Jamal Lewis carved his defense up for a then NFL-record 295 yards. His defense, he stated with a straight face, defended Lewis well for all but five plays. Rodriguez surely has too much of a survival instinct to break out such shameless spin to explain away today's game, but his team did in fact contain OSU except for big plays. Unfortunately for him, the Buckeyes had lots of them.

A defensive stalemate was broken open when Chris Wells rushed for a 59-yard touchdown to give Ohio State first blood. Subsequent scores from the Scarlet and Gray came from the following: a 53-yard touchdown pass from Terrelle Pryor to Brian Hartline, a 49-yard touchdown run from Dan Herron (that was immediately preceded by a 42-yard run by Wells!), an 80-yard punt return by former pariah Ray Small that set up a short TD pass to Hartline, a 35-yard pass from Pryor to Dane Sanzenbacher (an exquisite broken play that saw Pryor run around and elude tacklers effortlessly while waiting for a downfield option to materialize) that set up a short Herron TD run and a Marcus Williams fumbled punt recovery that set up a short TD pass from Todd Boeckman (who looked sharp in garbage time) to Hartline.

In between, Ohio State did struggle to move the ball via sustained drives. Pryor's inexperience did show itself in the form of his stats (5-13, 120 yards, two touchdown passes and one absolute lock-on interception early in the game -- after which he and his teammates got very lucky when Michigan botched a chip-shot field goal) and some coverage sacks that he took. Rodriguez tried to use his limited defensive resources to stack the box against the Bucks and had occasional success in the form of blitzes against empty backfield formations and a decent amount of run-stuffing. But these same moves left his team thin beyond the line of scrimmage and open to the big plays that decimated them.

Michigan's offense, meanwhile, was completely feeble until a 14-play, 65-yard TD drive in the late second quarter that followed an inexplicable Tressel decision to throw long on fourth-and-two from the Michigan 35. The Wolverines also moved the ball fairly respectably in the early third quarter before the Ohio State barrage, a 28-0 run to close out the scoring, that shut down what remained of the spirit of That School Up North.

Tressel showed considerable restraint down the stretch, in marked contrast to Woody's conduct in 1968 when he decided on a two-point conversion late in the game in a 50-14 rout. Ohio State fans to this day proudly remember his reply when asked why he went for two points: "Because I couldn't go for three!" The spirit of sportsmanship was considerably less popular four decades later with a bloodthirsty fanbase.

Cooper's initial missteps in 1988 went far beyond the home loss to Michigan. He developed a reputation as a money-grubber with his aggressive pursuit of any and all endorsements and he immediately began his signature practice of excuse-making and expectation-lowering (aided greatly by media sock puppets like Jimmy Crum, who circled the wagons by throwing Bruce under one of them when he claimed that the previous coaching staff had left the cupboard bare). Ultimately, Cooper could not have survived those thirteen interminable seasons without the support of a university president defiantly proud of his own cluelessness about college football like Gordon Gee. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, he has no such crutch, as the Powers That Be in Ann Arbor will have him on a short leash after this crushing climax to a nightmare season. Tressel will bring a team bereft of senior leadership into The Big House for the 2009 regular season finale. A bad effort against a vulnerable Ohio State, or another pathetic campaign leading up to it, will probably ensure that Michigan will have its third coach in as many visits to Columbus in 2010.

NFL power rankings for Week 12

By Rick Morris


1. New York Giants

2. Tennessee


3. Carolina

4. Pittsburgh

5. Washington

6. Indianapolis

7. Tampa Bay

8. New York Jets

9. New England

10. Arizona

11. Dallas

12. Philadelphia

13. Miami

14. Denver

15. Atlanta

16. New Orleans

17. Baltimore

18. Green Bay

19. Chicago


20. San Diego

21. Jacksonville

22. Minnesota

23. Buffalo

24. Cleveland

25. Houston


26. San Francisco

27. Seattle

28. Kansas City

29. St. Louis

30. Oakland

31. Cincinnati

32. Detroit

Friday, November 21, 2008

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume I, Issue XII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Fairness, But on Whose Part?

By Tony Mazur

On Tuesday December 2nd, the Democrats in Washington plan to take the Senate seat in Georgia, held by Republican Saxby Chambliss in a special run-off race. If the Democrats get the 60 votes they need in the Senate, it will allow the Obama Empire to force his radical agenda on the American people.

One of the targets the Democrat-controlled Congress wants to go after is (conservative) talk radio. The goal will be to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which was abolished back in 1987.

The Fairness Doctrine calls for equal time for both liberal and conservative points of view on the radio. It is not just an opinion, it's a fact. Conservative talk radio shows saved AM radio. With FM radio becoming the analog modulation of choice, AM was in the basement. Once talkers like Rush Limbaugh came out of the woodwork post 1987, AM radio saw a brilliant resurgence.

Liberals' worst enemy is talk radio. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has equated talk radio with "pornography". They see how powerful talk radio is to the common folk that they want to restrict it. A restriction calls for the end of Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, etc., who have huge followings (me included), and to shove Air America talkers such as Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes down our throats. Without conservative talk radio, Obama and the Democratic Congress will be able to push their radical plans to increase taxes and government and to decrease the military without question.

If radio isn't already in the toilet, the Fairness Doctrine will be the handle to flush the industry into an oblivion.

The main issue about a possible revival of this unfair doctrine is that it ONLY affects radio. Not TV or print media, but just radio. That would mean garbage-spewing talking heads such as Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart would be unaffected. Don't get me wrong. I do not want to ban liberal talk radio, either. Since I am a staunch advocate of free speech, I believe one can say whatever they please; I just won't listen to it. The reason liberal talkers do not mind the Fairness Doctrine for radio is that Air America is a complete abortion. They've failed to find an audience, and that's why so many radio stations had to flip formats to AM hip hop or Sporting News Radio.

The Fairness Doctrine is a complete infringement on free speech. It's just another example of liberals saying "I believe in free speech, but only if it benefits me." So what you're saying is, you believe the people can say anything they please, just as long as you agree with it. I see how it is.

No matter where you side on the political spectrum, you cannot support the Fairness Doctrine. Free speech on the radio was on the hot seat a year ago during the deconstruction of Don Imus, JV & Elvis, and Opie & Anthony. Say goodbye to free speech and capitalism, and say hello the socialism. Enjoy.

Obama, the House Negro

By Tony Mazur

In a rather humorous story, Osama bin Laden's senior deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri condemned President-elect Barack Obama as a "house Negro" doing the bidding of white masters. al-Zawahiri also stated that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice fit into that generalization. He later said that Obama is the "new face" of America only masked by a "heart full of hate".

This has apparently offended the liberal media and black leaders such as Al Sharpton. The amusing part about this story is the fact that the media is shocked that Al-Qaeda would make a "racial statement". This surprises them. You know, Al-Qaeda has killed thousands and thousands of people, with little to no outrage. But so help them God (or Allah?) that they make a racial slur towards our next president!

Maybe liberals have finally come to the realization that prejudice can come from other races besides just white people.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FDH Insider/Goon Squad November 19

By Rick Morris

On Wednesday’s FDH Wednesday night lineup on, we will take you for your usual twirl around the sports landscape.

On THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (7-9 PM EST), we examine some strategy that appeared in this week’s USA Today Sports Weekly before we deliver our NFL Week 12 Top 5 waiver wire picks – before delving into our game-by-game analysis as the fantasy home stretch heats up for real. This will take us into our final half hour, when we review the NASCAR season by comparing some of the expected outcomes to what actually transpired.

On THE GOON SQUAD (9-10 PM EST), co-host Kyle O’Rourke has been all over the Tampa Bay Lightning this year, predicting that the top-heavy young squad would make tremendous improvements. So clearly he must have a take on one of the most shocking stories in years: the whacking of Barry Melrose only 16 games into the season! Also, Kyle as a Maple Leaf fan should have some thoughts on this: Brian Burke resigns from the Anaheim Ducks and is widely rumored to be headed to Toronto to take over their hockey operations. If a man of his resume takes over one of the legacy franchises in the league, it will be one of the top stories in the sport this decade, perhaps on a par with Scotty Bowman’s move to Detroit in the early 1990s. How would Burke handle what might be the hottest of all hot seats in the NHL right now? We’ll examine this in detail. And one more note that might be pretty sweet for Kyle: is Ottawa in its final meltdown mode, on the way to the lottery? Or can these potential moves save them?

Join us Wednesday night for three hours of rollicking sports fun, only on The Sports Talk Network.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Call the wah-mbulance, McNabb

By Rick Morris

Some people are less fun to call out than others. You feel like you're curb-stomping Bambi when you call them to account.

Take Donovan McNabb, for example. He's a respected leader on his team who is probably headed for the Hall of Fame. He's a positive contributor to the Philadelphia community who has had to surmount the skepticism of a hyper-critical fanbase. He loves his momma -- a soup commercial wouldn't lie!

But sometimes he really loves to whine. Previously, he embraced the poisonous notion that a lot of the heat that had come his way was racially biased. Now, he is passive-aggressively whining about the potential for regular-season ties in the NFL -- a possibility that should have remained purely academic but was not because he and his team choked against one of the most putrid squads in the NFL in the Bungles.

Rather than accept responsibility for the tie (which was really a loss for the Eagles because of the crushing blow it delivered to their playoff chances) or at least keep his mouth shut about his embarrassing ignorance, he vented about not knowing the obvious:

"I guess we're aware of it now," McNabb said. "In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner. I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way. I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs."

Well, there's actually sudden death in the playoffs and Super Bowl with multiple overtimes if need be -- but that won't be a concern of yours this year, will it, Don?

Monday, November 17, 2008

RIP Pete Newell

By Rick Morris

Teacher, coach, mentor, friend, family man ... all of these labels and more applied to basketball legend Pete Newell, who passed away at age 93 today after his health declined recently.

Although best-known to today's fans as the proprietor of the "big men camps" that imparted technique to some of the finest centers of the modern era, the Hall of Fame coach actually had a tremendously well-rounded career that included an NCAA championship and a gold medal U.S. Olympic team in 1960 that was headlined by Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jerry West. Having cut his coaching career short for health reasons at age 44 (a wise decision in light of the fact that he made it almost another half-century here on Earth), perhaps the most impressive note on his resume was the fact that he beat the uber-legend John Wooden the last eight times that their teams met!

He was a man of many accomplishments and even more warm personal relationships. This clip from a documentary about his life paints a picture of the lives he touched. RIP, Coach.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

FDH Lounge Show #38: November 16, 2008

By Rick Morris

Tonight’s 38th edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on (8-11 PM EST) will be full of the characteristic mix of topics, interviews and opinions that have come to represent the world’s most unique talk show.

After the program starts with the Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries, FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris will be making good on his promise to eat dog food if Charlie Manuel managed the Phillies to the World Series. Make sure to be watching the show and not just listening at that time! From there, our political roundtable takes its first look back at the presidential campaign that has been underway ever since our first program (January 14, 2007).

In Hour Two, we welcome to the program Eric Fisher from Sports Business Journal as we preview the Sports Media & Technology Conference that they are co-promoting this week in New York. From wireless to gaming to fantasy sports to everything in between, this gathering will help to shape perceptions on where the sports media industry is headed. In the second half of the hour, we return to our political roundtable and another aspect of the show that we have talked about from the very first episode at the outset of ’07: the promising political future of a northern maverick named Sarah Palin. Where does the governor of Alaska go from here and can she become the next Republican nominee for president?

In Hour Three, our FDH Lounge Pigskin Report first examines this weekend’s developments in college football, then the pro game. At the bottom of the hour, we speak to our good friend Russ Cohen from Sportsology about two stories that he’s been all over: the Tampa Bay Lightning’s shocking firing of coach Barry Melrose and the aforementioned Philadelphia World Series win.

No other show brings you this kind of variety with every episode. Be sure to join us for the 38th one live tonight, only on the SportsTalkNetwork!