Friday, October 20, 2017

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #895 – 2017 Fantasy Football Week 7 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #895 of The FDH Lounge, another edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, previewing Week 7 of the 2017 fantasy football season.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #894 – 2017 NFL Week 7 preview


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #894 of The FDH Lounge, previewing 2017 NFL Week 7.


       


       


       


       

2017 NFL Week 8 power rankings


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings from start of season are in parentheses.


TOP TIER

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

2 Philadelphia (15-17-17-8-6)

3 Atlanta (3-2-2-2-2)

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

5 Pittsburgh (7-6-6-3-9)

6 Carolina (14-16-16-14-7)

7 Seattle (6-7-10-11-8)

8 Minnesota (11-11-9-13-10)

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

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

11 Denver (10-8-7-5-4)

12 Buffalo (26-26-20-10-12)

13 Detroit (18-14-14-12-14)

14 Jacksonville (23-24-23-26-13)

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

16 Washington (24-18-18-20-20)

SECOND TIER

17 Tennessee (13-12-8-17-18)

18 Houston (25-25-25-15-19)

19 Miami (17-13-13-25-24)

20 Baltimore (9-9-11-18-15)

21 Cincinnati (28-28-27-22-23)

22 Dallas (8-15-15-19-22)

23 Chicago (19-23-22-23-25)

24 Arizona (22-20-24-24-26)

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

26 Oakland (5-4-5-7-16)

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

THIRD TIER

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

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

30 Indianapolis (30-30-30-30-30)

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

FOURTH TIER

32 Cleveland (29-29-31-32-32)


BIGGEST RISERS: New Orleans (11 spots), Oakland (10 spots), Miami (5 spots), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington (4 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: Green Bay (12 spots), Tampa Bay (8 spots), Denver (7 spots), Baltimore (5 spots)


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

1 NFC SOUTH 44

2 NFC NORTH 60

3 AFC WEST 65

4 NFC EAST 69

5 NFC WEST 71

6 AFC EAST 73

7 AFC NORTH 78

8 AFC SOUTH 79


RANKINGS BY CONFERENCE

1 NFC 242

2 AFC 295

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.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #889 – 2017 Fantasy Football Week 5 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #889 of The FDH Lounge, another edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, previewing Week 5 of the 2017 fantasy football season.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #888 – 2017 NFL Week 5 preview


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #888 of The FDH Lounge, previewing 2017 NFL Week 5.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: 2017 MLB playoff preview


By Rick Morris                                          


Mini-Episode #887 previews the 2017 MLB postseason with FDH Lounge Dignitary Steve Kallas.


       


       


       


       

Friday, October 6, 2017

2017 NCAA football Week 6 picks


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 2-3 last week, 17-8 for the season


Central Michigan +10 ½ over Ohio

Maryland +30 over Ohio State

West Virginia +13 over TCU

Michigan -10 over Michigan State

Wisconsin -10 ½ over Nebraska

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Eagles may benefit from schedule in NFC East quest


By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)


The NFL has done a relatively good job of having the members of each division play similar opponents over the course of a season.  For example, in 2017, everybody in the NFC East plays each team in the NFC West and the AFC West.  And, of course, they play each other twice.  While we can and should criticize the NFL for making three of the four NFC East teams (Philadelphia, New York and Washington) fly across the country up to four times, the schedule is what the schedule is.
 

BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE EXTRA TWO GAMES?
 

It’s the make-up of the extra two games that, in this writer’s opinion, might greatly help out the Eagles, who are already all alone in first place in the NFC East at 3-1.  Yes, the Eagles were 3-1 last year, but this is a different/better Eagles team in a division where Dallas isn’t nearly as good as last year and the Giants have already fallen off a cliff.  Let’s take a look at the two games that are individual to each NFC East team.
 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
 

It says here that the Eagles, already a first-place team, have the easiest two-game opponents of any NFC East team.  While this is being written after Week 4 and before Week 5, we can certainly draw some conclusions about the opponents for each team.
 

The Eagles two opponents are Carolina, in week 6 and the Chicago Bears in week 12.  Carolina was awesome two years ago (15-1, Super Bowl birth) and terrible last year (6-10).  During the first three weeks of this season, there were grave questions about Cam Newton and his shoulder.  Indeed, he was pretty bad the first three weeks of the year.
 

But in week 4, Newton went 22-29 for 316 yards, throwing three TDs (and one pick) while also rushing for a TD against the pretty bad Patriots defense.  Newton looked better and no matter how bad the Patriots defense is, the Panthers beat the Patriots in Foxboro.
 

Newton’s comments to a female reporter aside (come on, Cam, it is 2017), he looked healthier and better than he has all year for the 3-1 Panthers.  While they are 3-1, they were hammered by the Saints in Carolina (34-13) and were all out to beat the surprising Bills (9-3), also in Carolina. It says here that, even with the game at Carolina, the Eagles have an edge, especially when looking at the schedules of the other teams in the NFC East (see below).
 

Philadelphia has more than an edge against the Chicago Bears, who are not a very good team.  Having said that, the Bears are making the change from Mike Glennon to Mitchell Trubisky this week, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.  The Bears are 1-3 this season, don’t appear (yet) to have a QB and will play the Eagles in Philadelphia.  Big advantage: Eagles.
 

WASHINGTON
 

Washington’s two different (from the other NFC East teams) opponents are the Vikings in week 10 and the Saints in week 11.
 

This still looks tougher than the Eagles two games, but the Vikings have now lost rookie sensation Dalvin Cook for the season (torn ACL) and there’s a question as to when Sam Bradford will be back.  Bradford has a bone bruise (no structural damage) in his knee and has not played for a few weeks.  Case Keenum has been up and down, but he’s no Bradford.  The Vikings are 2-2, but they’ve had a tough schedule (beating the Buccaneers and Saints, losing to the Steelers and Lions (with Case Keenum having a very bad game)).
 

If Bradford comes back before week 10 and the Minnesota defense can play to its high potential, this will be a tough game for Washington, even in Washington.
 

It’s not the brutal game it once was for the visiting team to go to New Orleans, but it will still be tough for Washington to win in New Orleans.  Drew Brees is still Drew Brees and the Saints defense has played much better of late.  The Saints (2-2) have won their last two games by giving up 13 points to the Panthers (in a 34-13 win) and shutting out the Dolphins, 20-0, in London.
 

Historically, the Saints have been much better at home and this game is in New Orleans.  A very tough spot for Washington.
 

DALLAS COWBOYS
 

No objective football analysis would have come up with Dallas winning 13 or more games this year.  The Cowboys are 2-2, but their win over the now 0-4 Giants obviously isn’t the big win many (including this writer) thought it was after week 1.  Nor is their victory over Arizona (without David Johnson) that impressive as well.  The Broncos mauled the Cowboys, 42-17, by shutting down the vaunted Cowboys’ running game, holding Ezekiel Elliot to single-digit yards.  And then the surprising Rams beat the Cowboys in Dallas, 35-30, proving (again) that the Cowboys are weak defensively.
 

From a scheduling perspective, the Cowboys are in the worst shape for their “different” two games.  They have the Packers in Dallas this week and are at the Falcons in week 10.
 

Uh-oh!  It says here that the Cowboys will have a lot of trouble with Aaron Rodgers and reigning (regular season) MVP Matt Ryan, especially if they can’t shore up their defense.  The Packers are 3-1 after manhandling the Bears in week 4.  Their only loss is to Atlanta in Atlanta, in a game that many think might be an NFC Championship game preview.  Their defense seems to be a little better and the Cowboys are only a two-point favorite at home, meaning the Packers have a decent chance to win outright (since you essentially get 3 points when you are the home team).
 

As for the Falcons, they haven’t been the dominant team many thought they would be.  But they are 3-1 and beat the Packers at home, 34-23.  Having said that, the surprising Buffalo Bills did beat them in Atlanta, but it says here that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the Cowboys, with their not-very-good defense, to go to Atlanta and beat the Falcons.
 

NEW YORK GIANTS
 

It would be a waste of time to analyze the New York Giants for, essentially, two reasons.  First, the Giants are 0-4 and have eliminated themselves with end of game losses to both the Eagles and the Buccaneers.  Two, given our analysis of the two different games for each NFC East team, the Giants have already lost both games, to the Lions and the Bucs.  Had these games been in the future, or had this article been written before these games were played, an analysis would have been two tough games but probably a 1-1 record for the Giants. 
 

CONCLUSION
 

A general view of the two different games that each team has (again, as opposed to the other teams in their NFC East division) shows that the Eagles, already a game up in the NFC East, have an advantage over the other three teams. 
 

It says here that the Eagles have the best chance to go 2-0 in those games.  It also says here that Washington has a good chance to be 1-1 in their two games while the Cowboys have the toughest two and a decent chance to go 0-2 in their games (starting with the Packers this week).  Finally, the Giants are already 0-2 in their two games.
 

While you never know what is going to happen week to week in the NFL (you know, on any given Sunday …), the Eagles have the advantage in this part of the schedule.  We’ll see what happens.
 

© COPYRIGHT 2017 BY STEVE KALLAS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED