Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stanley Cup Playoff predictions Round Two

By Rick Morris

First round picks were 5-3. Can you guess which three were wrong?


5 Detroit over 1 San Jose in 6
2 Chicago over 3 Vancouver in 6

4 Pittsburgh over 8 Montreal in 6
6 Boston over 7 Philadelphia in 6

2 Chicago over 5 Detroit in 6
6 Boston over 4 Pittsburgh in 7

Chicago over Boston in 6

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #100: April 28, 2010

By Rick Morris

It’s here. It’s finally here.

The “Road to 100” culminates with the “centennial” episode of “The Great American Radio Show on Internet TV,” where “nothing is “off-topic.” THE FDH LOUNGE (7-10 PM EDT on celebrates some of the greatest moments in the history of the program and creates some more in this memorable edition (for additional background, check out this column on the evolution of The FDH Lounge and the press release touting #100). We’ve added a fresh coat of polish to the program as we have updated our show’s peerless imaging and we’re excited to unveil it as we move forward with this program.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, Original Dignitary Nate Noy joins us for a look back at the biggest stories we have seen since coming on the air in January 2007 and we’ll also take a look ahead.

From that point, we deliver something we were saving for this program: a super-hardcore football “Xs and Os” segment. John Bena of The Mile High Report joins us to break down some of the game’s enduring strategic questions. Why (in a win-now league) do more and more NFL teams prefer the 3-4 defense when almost no colleges of note churn out players who are experienced in it? Why don’t more teams try to convert larger running backs to fullback, thus allowing for the real threat of more than one potential ball carrier on the field at a given time? Why won’t more coaches try to dictate terms to the other team, instead coaching scared with formations that don’t take chances but also don’t allow for big plays? With a decade just behind us that saw widespread use of the spread, the Cover-2 and the Wildcat, what other strategic innovations could be on the horizon? We’ll look at these issues and more.

After re-living a short clip in which WFAN’s Joe Benigno hijacks a segment to berate one of the Dignitaries for admitting to the “crime” of rooting for two football teams, Joe’s partner Evan Roberts of WFAN in New York makes a return to the show to talk New York and national headlines.

We wrap up Hour Two and start Hour Three with two great clips from the archives:

^ Our second interview with Bob Barker, conducted on September 9, 2009, two days after he served as Slammy Award-winning guest host of Monday Night Raw.

^ FDH Lounge Dignitaries Jason Jones and Ryan Isley dueling it out on the pressing question of whether John Wall is overrated.

In our final segment, we welcome in two gentlemen who came in from outside the FDH family to receive the designation as Dignitaries: Russ Cohen of Sportsology and Card Corner Club and Steve Kallas of Sports Plus/Kallas Remarks. As with Nate, we’ll look back and ahead at some of the biggest stories of note to our “nothing is off-topic” audience.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE FDH LOUNGE 100th Episode press release

On April 28, 2010, the world’s most unique program celebrates its 100th episode.

THE FDH LOUNGE launched on January 14, 2007 as a spinoff of the fantasy sports entity The firm’s principals, already involved with producing Internet television programming for, decided to apply their form of analysis and entertainment to the wider world – sports and non-sports. They embraced the slogan “Nothing is off-topic” and formed an ensemble of “Dignitaries” capable of speaking knowledgeably and entertainingly on the widest range of topics anywhere.

Originally airing every other Sunday night on The Sports Talk Network, THE FDH LOUNGE moved to its present timeslot of every Wednesday night from 7-10 PM EDT in December 2008 and now “The Great American Radio Show on Internet TV” celebrates its 100th episode. FDH Enterprises Managing Partner Rick Morris and FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones are the co-creators and executive producers of the project and they still remember with fondness the vaunted “Red Robin lunch meeting” that set the tone with the original crew.

“Our cast of Dignitaries has expanded over time, but originally, we had a few months to start to build a smart and entertaining cast capable of fitting into the design. Some of these contributors knew each other already, some did not,” recalled Morris. “I started by speaking on a general level about what we were trying to accomplish and then Jason whipped out a detailed schematic about what a sample show might resemble with all of the different possibilities tied together in a way that actually made sense. Everyone’s jaws were on the floor and it became clear immediately that we had something special.”

Every episode features a blend of interviews and Dignitary roundtables. Over time, the show has evolved and has reached a new level of creativity and ambition with the addition of Senior Producer “The New York Bureau” Steve Cirvello.

“In our first year, we came to the attention of Steve, who is a versatile media professional and somebody who I like to call a “black belt networker,’” explained Morris. “With him on board, the guest booking reached a high level sooner than we ever could have imagined. We certainly weren’t getting the likes of Bob Barker, Liz Claman, Tommy Lasorda or The San Diego Chicken without him and all of the people that he has brought to us – whatever their level of fame – have all fed into the tapestry of this unique venture.”

The program has since added several online companions, including The FDH Lounge Multimedia Magazine, an eBook looking back at the last decade and ahead to the next one, The FDH Lounge Ultimate Links Page, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter pages and The FDH Lounge home page. With a range that encompasses sports, politics, television, music, movies, geopolitics and pop culture, the show’s ambition is quite bold and it has spawned creations such as The FDH Lounge Pantheon and the Rock Band Fantasy Draft. But Morris is fully aware that it is the cast of characters involved that sets the program apart from anything else in broadcasting.

“On one level, it is incredibly daunting to embrace the challenge that we can tackle any subject that is topical, relevant or even remotely interesting to people. When you invite people to hold you to that standard, your credibility is constantly on the line in terms of being able to deliver on what you promised,” said Morris. “But the unwavering confidence I had from Day One, which stemmed from enthusiasm about the group we had assembled, has been justified. There is nothing in the world like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from melding the collective skill sets and interests of our FDH Lounge Dignitaries and producing a unique, compelling product on a regular basis.

“And it’s even better to know -- given our track record and growth curve -- that our greatest impact is still on the horizon.”

Full information about The FDH Lounge is available at the show’s home page at .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

THE FDH LOUNGE hits 100 episodes

By Rick Morris

It’s pretty much a cliché to describe something as a long, winding path whenever a milestone gets hit, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not so. As THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on reaches its 100th episode this week, it’s worth reflecting on how the show where “nothing is off-topic” came into existence.

In 2006, had just peeled, amiably, off of We were focused on the aspects of fantasy sports that we wanted to cover that were different from what our friend Pat Luft at Drafthelp was doing, but our overall efforts were admittedly somewhat unfocused in retrospect. We were producing programming for the Sports Talk Network in many different areas, not just fantasy sports, but we hadn’t really begun to define ourselves as anything more than a fantasy sports company.

Later in that year, my Senior Editor Jason Jones and I began talking about applying our love of breaking down fantasy sports to all areas of life – meaning that we would actually go well beyond sports altogether on regular occasions. A fateful car ride to watch our Ohio University Bobcats football team that October led my old friend Chris Galloway and I to talk about the concept further – and when THE FDH LOUNGE was put into development in short order, Chris was one of the first on board.

In trying to assemble the perfect ensemble, we looked at our friends who had the interest level and speaking ability on a wide array of subjects. Jason and I convened the now-legendary “Red Robin lunch meeting” that December, weeks before we first hit the air – and the detailed schematic that he passed around the table wowed those who were there. They began to see the possibilities about how we could apply this broad ambition on a show-by-show basis and tie it together through ambitious production. Our initial crew of “FDH Lounge Dignitaries” included some really gifted people, including Chris (a very inventive political consultant), FDH Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones, longtime FDH baseball contributor Tim Foust and longtime FDH fantasy sports contributor Nathan Noy. Initially, many of these smart and interesting people only knew each other through me, so it was interesting to watch the chemistry form during those early shows right before my eyes.

Jason, by far the most gifted pro I have ever known in terms of creating imaging and audio production, created many interesting commercials that ran on The Sports Talk Network that were collages of sound bites from famous people from all walks of life. They answered no questions as to what we were about, preferring instead to raise them about this new show that was going to debut on January 14, 2007.

We hit the ground running, establishing the Lounge as a second division of our company along with the fantasy side. For “The Great American Radio Show on Internet TV,” the challenge of living up to our vow to talk sports, politics, TV, music, movies, geopolitics, pop culture, fun web stuff, sports entertainment and all areas in between was as fun to live up to as it was audacious to put out there in the first place.

Inevitably, the brand grew to encompass many projects that served as a multi-platform complement to reinforce the core identity, including a home web page, a Multimedia Magazine, an eBook looking back at the first decade of the new century and looking ahead to the second, an FDH Lounge Ultimate Links page (now closing in on 2,000 links in 52 well-organized categories) and beachheads on Facebook and Twitter. But as always, the show is the sun around which these planets revolve.

The show has evolved through many issues, such as its move from a Sunday night every-other-week program to its present every-Wednesday timeslot at the end of 2008, the move of Jason and Samantha to Denver in late 2007 that created adjustments for how we were best able to incorporate them and the addition of many new Dignitaries. By far, the biggest positive development came in that first year when we brought on board Creative Consultant and Senior Producer Steve Cirvello.

A well-rounded media professional based out of the Big Apple, our new “FDH New York Bureau” actually sought us out and soon thrust himself into the role of guest booker and segment creator with amazing gusto. This “black-belt networker” is boundless in his faith in the Lounge and absolutely fearless in how he goes about approaching potential guests – from the less famous to the wildly-famous – on our behalf. Here’s just a few of the noteworthy names he has corralled for us since ’07 (many of whom have been on more than once): Kenny Albert, Bob Barker, Brutus Beefcake, Chip Caray, The San Diego Chicken, Liz Claman, Jim Cornette, JJ Dillon, Bret "Hitman" Hart, Missy Hyatt, Don Jamieson, Al Jaffee, Dhani Jones, Tommy Lasorda, Will Leitch, Ben Lyons, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, John Oates, The Phillie Phanatic, Jeremy Schaap, Jayson Stark, George "The Animal" Steele, Luscious Johnny Valiant and Ziggy cartoonist Tom Wilson. Steve’s networking also created the basis for The 21st Century Media Alliance, a hothouse for collaboration among many other ambitious and growing New Media outlets. Key among those entities are Sportsology and Card Corner Club; Russ Cohen, who is very instrumental in both of them, has become a very good friend of ours, collaborating on podcasts with us and attaining the status as the first outsider to come into the fold as a full-fledged Dignitary.

Along the way, we have been fortunate to draw the attention of some brilliant and successful professionals who have spread the word about all aspects of The FDH Lounge. As such, it is now overwhelmingly likely that some or all of our platforms will experience substantial growth in distribution in the time between our 100th and 200th’s episodes. When that happens, at least I will have this column and my wrapup in particular as a template to properly express my appreciation for everyone involved.

As the Managing Partner of FDH Enterprises, LLC, I cannot ever properly thank everyone involved in the growth process of The FDH Lounge. So many talented people, not least of which my partners, have put their faith and trust in me to lead us to great places because they believe so strongly in the Lounge, which I take very personally because it has really almost become an extension of myself. Their inevitable moment of vindication will be one of the greatest moments of my life. Additionally, the nurturing that my abilities received along the way from my parents and my brother has already been vindicated, because this Lounge project has become the kind of creative outlet that I was subconsciously searching for during a great part of my life. I appreciate everything that everyone has done directly and indirectly for The FDH Lounge and for me along the way and along with all of these people, I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds past this point.

NFL Draft post-draft podcast

By Rick Morris

Last night, The 21st Century Media Alliance recorded our first-ever collective podcast thanks to our good pal Russ Cohen at Sportsology and Card Corner Club, who has the necessary recording equipment. The original plan was for Russ to join FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones (who is in charge of our NFL Draft ratings) and myself in my capacity as FDH Managing Partner for a recap of the just-concluded NFL Draft. It actually proved necessary for Russ to devote all of his attention to managing the technical aspects of the podcast, so Jason and myself went back and forth with our analysis. I want to thank Russ for the yeoman's work he furnished in keeping this on track and to thank Jason for his excellent breakdown of what we witnessed over three days. Our podcast can be heard by accessing the following address:

NFL Draft winners and losers

By Rick Morris

I would like to start by referring you back to our liveblogging from the first night of the draft and our compilation of highlight videos from the top prospects.

Winners are considered to be the teams above a grade of C+ (because if you didn’t do any better than standing still, you actually lost ground with other teams improving).

(A) Seattle: If you include the trades, they addressed most of their biggest needs and with explosive picks in most cases.
(A) New York Giants: Even if their know-nothing fans continue to dump on him, Jerry Reese just proved again that he is one of the best GMs in the game and he’ll look like a genius once they’re really able to turn Jason Pierre-Paul loose.
(A-) Detroit: You have to like their picks: the best player in the draft in Suh, an explosive complementary back, and an upgrade in the secondary.
(A-) Philadelphia: They improved many key areas and if they had included a complementary RB, they could well have had the best draft of 2010.
(B+) Baltimore: It’s not a deep draft in terms of their haul, but the upgrade on defense from a few picks is just immense.
(B+) St. Louis: Got their franchise QB, a very necessary WR and some help on D.
(B) Oakland: In addressing several needs very well, even with a bit of a first-round reach, this was a very un-Al like draft – and there could be no higher praise.
(B) Green Bay: Wonderful first-round value foreshadowed a pretty good process for this team.
(B) New York Jets: Nobody made fewer high and middle picks count for more.
(B) Tampa Bay: RB is still a goofy picture, but much-needed help on defense and at wideout really helps.
(B) Miami: A nice offseason of progression continues for the Fish with several position upgrades.
(B) New England: WR Price is an excellent move for the future and the team got better and younger in some key areas.
(B-) Tennessee: While they might have wanted to address OL a bit more, they upgraded many other critical areas.
(B-) Cincinnati: TE Gresham is a huge hit and they added some other talented players, but did not work as hard as they could on filling remaining holes.
(B-) San Francisco: First round reach aside, they added some more core players to a rising squad.
(B-) Minnesota: It’s a strange draft; they didn’t fill many of their few needs, but they cleaned up on value with some nice players dropping to them.
(B-) Cleveland: Straight need – not value – picks in the secondary, but a necessary move-the-chains change-of-pace RB and the team getting totally lucky in having QB McCoy drop redeems the process somewhat.
(B-) Kansas City: Berry is the rare safety capable of going in the top five and he wasn’t the only upgrade in the secondary – although it’s fair to wonder how McCluster fits into the offense.

(C+) Atlanta: They picked up some nice players, but didn’t do much to address existing needs.
(C+) Dallas: They didn’t have the picks to add many impact players, but they did get a few.
(C+) San Diego: See Dallas.
(C+) Carolina: With great help on both sides of the passing game, the Panthers made the most of their limited middle and high picks.
(C) Denver: Minus the massive Tebow reach and unacceptable price paid to acquire him, this would have been a good haul.
(C-) Indianapolis: They should have done more to address needs on both sides of the trenches.
(C-) Arizona: Some nice additions don’t do enough to offset the losses caused by the cheap ownership.
(D+) Houston: For a team on the verge of making the playoffs, their inability to fill more needs was disappointing.
(D+) New Orleans: They got some players, but should have worked harder on augmenting their front seven.
(D+) Pittsburgh: RB Dwyer was a great late value and C Pouncey helps a lot, but the team having the NFL’s worst offseason could have used more help on the D line and at CB.
(D) Buffalo: With few needs substantively addressed, Spiller needs to live up to the billing of being the next Chris Johnson to keep this from being rated down with the Marv Levy drafts.
(D) Washington: Looks like a one-player draft right now in terms of addressing needs.
(D-) Jacksonville: A first-round reach set the tone for a very underwhelming draft.
(F) Chicago: With no high picks, there wasn’t much opportunity to achieve much, although Dan LeFevour in the fifth is an interesting hedge on the progress of QB Cutler.

NFL Draft post-draft observations

By Rick Morris

I would like to start by referring you back to our liveblogging from the first night of the draft and our compilation of highlight videos from the top prospects.

^ I appreciate the NFL honoring the military by allowing for the “guest drafter” device to be utilized there. But what was up with the gimmick of allowing all of the other “guest drafters” to come to the podium to make the picks? I’m half-expecting Carrot Top to come out next year with a bag of wacky props before making a pick. Then again, this is the same league who compromised the integrity of the process in order to make it a prime-time, made-for-TV miniseries, so additional lapses in decision-making from that point are almost superfluous.

^ How the heck were there so many TEs being drafted when Jermaine Gresham was the only legitimate franchise player at the position? Teams around the league really forced their desires to shore up at the position into a marketplace that had almost no legitimate answers at the position. That was one of the weirder examples of groupthink we’ve seen recently.

^ Personally, as a Browns fan, may I express my outrage that the stupidity of those picking before the Ravens allowed for the Cody/Kindle supreme values to arrive in Baltimore in the second round. The rich get richer and the idiocy of teams making big reaches allows it to happen. I’m looking at you, Jacksonville and Denver.

^ Speaking of the Browns, their defining pick of the draft was the huge value of QB Colt McCoy in the third round. Many are hailing the team for its brilliance in waiting for him to fall to that spot. I couldn’t disagree more; it was raw luck in terms of everyone else in the draft being asleep (as Jimmy Clausen can tell you, this was another Aaron Rodgers/Brady Quinn situation this year in which top-rated QBs plummeted on the draft boards as teams drafted strictly for need in many instances). Brilliant? Sure, in the same way that the Cavs were “brilliant” for playing the 2002-03 season without a point guard in the hopes of landing a whopping one-in-five chance of being able to draft Lebron the next June.

^ Actually, one more point about the Browns, because it illuminates a larger truism and this has come out of conversations with FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, who heads up our draft coverage: the team did not get good value on CB Joe Haden at #7 overall, because he is not a shutdown cover corner, merely a borderline one (and one who could still have been there a few picks back had they found a trading partner). We heard a great deal about how Eric Berry better be the real deal to be selected at #5, because only franchise safeties should go that high, but the same relates to cornerbacks, left tackles and wide receivers: if you are a franchise player at any of these positions, you belong in the top ten overall. If not, you don’t.

^ Any Giants fan questioning the great Jerry Reese for pulling Jason Pierre-Paul – the best edge-rusher in the draft – off the board at 15 when he could well have gone higher should be dispatched to a leper colony posthaste. It’s as if these mouth-breathers have forgotten Reese’s awesome draft history and the fact that Rutgers was one of the teams their new player dominated!

NBA power rankings for end of regular season

By Rick Morris

Start of April rankings in parentheses.

1 Cleveland (1)
2 Orlando (3)
3 LA Lakers (2)
4 Dallas (4)
5 Phoenix (5)
6 Atlanta (8)
7 Denver (7)
8 Utah (6)
9 Boston (9)
10 Oklahoma City (10)
11 Portland (11)
12 San Antonio (12)
13 Miami (13)
14 Milwaukee (14)
15 Charlotte (15)
16 Houston (17)
17 Chicago (19)
18 Toronto (18)
19 Memphis (16)
20 New Orleans (20)
21 Indiana (21)
22 LA Clippers (22)
23 New York (23)
24 Detroit (26)
25 Philadelphia (24)
26 Washington (27)
27 Golden State (28)
28 Sacramento (25)
29 Minnesota (29)
30 New Jersey (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: none more than two spots
BIGGEST FALLERS: Memphis and Sacramento (3 spots)

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XVI

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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 NFL Draft Liveblog

By Rick Morris

Along with our fellow members of The 21st Century Media Alliance, we at FDH are happy to bring you our collective liveblog of tonight's NFL Draft Round 1. We are incorporating Tweets from a who's who of experts from across the entire landscape as we look to deliver the ultimate supplementary viewing experience -- or substitute viewing experience for those of you unfortunate enough to have to work or otherwise be deprived of the TV coverage tonight. We are confident that you will conclude that nobody can bring it the way that we can.

2010 NFL Draft highlight videos

By Rick Morris

We've started doing this feature for the past few pro sports drafts, NFL, NBA and NHL -- viva la YouTube! Being able to embed highlight reels of top prospects is just another slice of what makes this an incredible time to be a content provider.

Before the reels, two quick notes, one good and one bad.

^ First, the good. Our PRO FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010 is the ONLY resource you will need on Draft Day. Accept no feeble imitations!

^ Next, the bad. In the course of combing through to try to bring you these quality videos, I frankly had to wade through a ton of crap in the form of losers who are incapable of stringing together decent highlights without putting some crappy rap music in there. Memo to the wannabees inflicting this garbage on the world: nobody cares about your idiotic music bed with Three Six Mafia layered over the football action. Just grow up already. In an ideal world, we could watch all of these videos without any trace of music -- hey, we love music also, good music that is, but even good music with highlights is like dipping steak in chocolate sauce -- but some of these are at least minimally tainted in that way.

Sam Bradford

Jimmy Clausen

Colt McCoy

Tim Tebow

CJ Spiller

Ryan Mathews

Dez Bryant

Ndamukong Suh

Gerald McCoy

Eric Berry

Jason Pierre-Paul

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #99: April 21, 2010

By Rick Morris

The “Road to 100” is almost over as the 99th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on proves for the 99th time our credo of “nothing is off-topic.”

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we bring back a big-time guest from Episode #67, one of the most prominent duel-threats in the world of sports and entertainment: Dhani Jones! This guy is a dual threat and we don’t mean that he’s adding offensive snaps to his linebacker duties; this Bengal linebacker is also a media superstar! His Dhani Tackles the Globe series on the Travel Channel showcases slivers of other cultures in a completely unique manner and his multimedia contributions to the ESPN media family stand out as well. We’ll talk about the just-starting Season #2 of his program and the revival of the Bengals’ fortunes in 2009. Then, we bring back in our good friend Simon Applebaum from the hit webcast and blog Tomorrow Will Be Televised to talk about the Conan bombshell that hit this week and all of the implications that will flow from the move to TBS.

In Hour Two, NFL Draft preview talk gets fired up with our correspondents live from the scene in New York, Ira Lieberfarb and Ken Palmer [SPEAKING OF THE NFL DRAFT: C’mon back to tomorrow night as we join our buddies in The 21st Century Media Alliance in streaming the best NFL Draft liveblogging you will find anywhere!]. From there, another big-time past guest, Episode #65’s Kenny Albert will be back on to discuss his work broadcasting Rangers and Knicks games in New York, Olympic hockey for the NBC networks, college hoops for ESPN Plus and NFL and MLB for Fox Sports. He’s a busy guy! And, proving how timely this return really is, he was the play-by-play announcer for last Saturday’s Mets-Cardinals marathon game on Fox!

In Hour Three, THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER conducts our annual Triple Crown fantasy draft and then we deliver our breakdown of the now-underway Stanley Cup Playoffs on THE GOON SQUAD. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 NFL Draft guide now online

By Rick Morris

PRO FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010, the FDH draft guide produced in conjunction with our friends at 1stDownScouting, Sportsology and Card Corner Club, is now online. We're immensely proud of all that it has to offer. Here is what you will find:

Page 1: 2010 NFL Draft Overview
Pages 2-4: Projecting Tim Tebow: At QB, FB and ILB!
Page 5: Russ’ Rants: Comparing the 2005 Draft to 1998
Page 6: Draft Priorities By Team
Page 7: Quarterback Rankings, Center Rankings
Page 8: Running Back Rankings
Page 9: Wide Receiver Rankings, 2010 Rookie Draft Class Fantasy Analysis
Page 10: Tight End Rankings, Strength of Positions in Draft, Draft Play-Along Game
Page 11: Offensive Tackle Rankings, Offensive Guard Rankings
Page 12: Defensive Tackle Rankings (4-3 and Nose Tackle) and Defensive End Rankings (4-3 and 3-4)
Page 13: Linebacker Rankings (Outside 4-3, Outside 3-4 and Inside), First Look Ahead to 2011 Pro Football Draft
Page 14: Safety and Cornerback Rankings, Black Draft Tracking Worksheet
Page 15: Top 100 Rankings Regardless of Position
Page 16: Jason Jones Mock Draft, Rick Morris Mock Draft

Thursday, April 15, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XV

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.

NBA Playoff predictions - Round One

By Rick Morris

1 LA Lakers over 8 Oklahoma City in 6 -- If you think the Lakers aren't worried about a tough and potentially long series, then consider why Phil Jackson is working the officials days before the games even start.
2 Dallas over 7 San Antonio in 7 -- Dirk/Duncan 5 is going to go right down to the wire, with the deadline acquisitions made by the Mavs trumping the disappointing Richard Jefferson.
3 Phoenix over 6 Portland in 6 -- Even without Roy and Oden, the Blazers have the depth to stay competitive against a hot squad.
4 Denver over 5 Utah in 7 -- The Nuggets can overcome an absent George Karl by the skin of their teeth with home court adventage and a somewhat better bench.
1 Cleveland over 8 Chicago in 5 -- Like "Transformers," the league's best team will start to deploy a level of shape-shifting to fit any situation and the Bulls will be on the receiving end of Number 23's magic this time around.
2 Orlando over 7 Charlotte in 5 -- The Bobcats are pesky, but Orlando is on an inevitable path to the big rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals.
3 Atlanta over 6 Milwaukee in 5 -- Without Andrew Bogut, the Bucks will have trouble matching up with the versatile Hawks.
4 Boston over Miami in 7 -- The decrepit Celts have enough to limp by a Heat team without enough firepower to advance in the playoffs.


1 LA Lakers over Denver in 6
2 Dallas over Phoenix in 6

1 Cleveland over Boston in 4
2 Orlando over Atlanta in 6

1 LA Lakers over 2 Dallas in 6
1 Cleveland over 2 Orlando in 6

Cleveland over LA Lakers in 6

Watch out for Tea Party sabotage today

By Rick Morris

I would say that I hate to tell you I told you so … but who am I kidding, I’d be lying.

Repeatedly on our FDH LOUNGE Internet TV show (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on, I have proclaimed that the Tea Party movement is ripe for sabotage and that those schooled in the ACORN/Alinsky movement may well have been responsible for the ugliness directed at Democratic members of Congress on the day of the health care vote – if indeed the slurs actually were fired at them, which no recording devices to date have actually recorded, but that’s another story for another day.

And now, thankfully, because of the attention-whoring of one slimebag statist tool, this warning has been reinforced for the public record.

Some jerk named Jason Levin has set up a “Crash the Tea Party” movement and website (sorry, I’m not doing him the favor of linking to his crapola site) and he divulged the tactics of he and his fellow dbags in this article. In short, they’re going to do everything they can to infiltrate Tea Party rallies today and give the patriots involved a bad name – even if it means wearing Nazi uniforms. Now the Tea Party folks at least are able to gear up for a response. Nevertheless, things may get ugly at many of the nationwide rallies today.

Above all, as thinking citizens, don’t let the media dictate a narrative of Tea Party extremism today – especially since my previous words on the subject have unfortunately been proven.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #99: postponed to April 21, 2010

By Rick Morris

Due to critical, late-breaking circumstances involving a key liason with ours at The Sports Talk Network, tonight's program moves to "Best Of" mode with our next live broadcast scheduled at our usual time of Wednesday 7-10 PM EDT. We send our best wishes to our friend and his family and hope and pray everything will be OK and we will be back with you next week as per normal.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Round One

By Rick Morris

EDIT: Updating with late-breaking picks from The FDH New York Bureau, Senior Producer Steve Cirvello.

1 San Jose over 8 Colorado in 5 – A young, fading, battered team is just what the doctor ordered for a team always scared of the latest NoCal spring choke job.
2 Chicago over 7 Nashville in 5 – Like the Sharks, the Hawks draw the first-round matchup they need in a squad unlikely to cause a crisis of confidence in net.
3 Vancouver over 6 Los Angeles in 7 – Notwithstanding a very surprising regular season, the pesky Kings still don’t appear poised for an upset of this magnitude, but they should be in it all the way against a Canucks team built for a deep run.
5 Detroit over 4 Phoenix in 6 – Desert Dogs get dealt a cruel hand as their awesomely-overachieving regular season only buys them a first-round confrontation with the surging and supremely-tested Winged Wheel.

1 Washington over 8 Montreal in 4 – This series is a joke, not because Montreal is awful – they’re squarely amongst 18 mediocre-to-below-average NHL teams – but because none of them would stand a chance against a team with this historic level of firepower.
2 New Jersey over 7 Philadelphia in 6 – Throw out the regular-season record between the teams; the Flyers won’t get past their underachieving regular-season record with the disparity in goaltending.
3 Buffalo over 6 Boston in 6 – Shades of the above series with the underdog having won the season series and having underachieved through the year – and with the same outcome, because it’s impossible to imagine Ryan Miller letting the Sabres go out early after the year he has had.
4 Pittsburgh over 5 Ottawa in 5 – The Cinderfella Sens meet their reality check.


5 Detroit over 1 San Jose in 6
2 Chicago over 3 Vancouver in 6

1 Washington over 4 Pittsburgh in 6
2 New Jersey over 3 Buffalo in 7

2 Chicago over 5 Detroit in 6
1 Washington over 2 New Jersey in 5

Washington over Chicago in 6

And here are the first-round playoff picks from The FDH New York Bureau, Senior Producer Steve Cirvello:

Washington over Montreal
Philadelphia over New Jersey
Boston over Buffalo
Pittsburgh over Ottawa
San Jose over Colorado
Chicago over Nashville
Vancouver over Los Angeles
Detroit over Phoenix

NHL power rankings for end of regular season

By Rick Morris

Start of April rankings in parentheses.

1 Washington (1)
2 San Jose (2)
3 Chicago (3)
4 Phoenix (4)
5 Vancouver (5)
6 Detroit (9)
7 New Jersey (8)
8 Pittsburgh (7)
9 Los Angeles (11)
10 Buffalo (6)
11 Nashville (10)
12 Colorado (14)
13 Ottawa (12)
14 Boston (16)
15 Montreal (15)
16 Philadelphia (17)
17 Calgary (13)
18 St. Louis (19)
19 NY Rangers (21)
20 Anaheim (20)
21 Dallas (18)
22 Minnesota (24)
23 Atlanta (22)
24 Tampa Bay (23)
25 Carolina (26)
26 Columbus (25)
27 NY Islanders (28)
28 Florida (27)
29 Toronto (29)
30 Edmonton (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: Detroit (3 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Buffalo and Calgary (4 spots), Dallas (3 spots)

Morality play at Augusta? Ya, you betcha!

By Rick Morris

Inevitably, the vapid talking heads of Big Media are out there cautioning those of us who they think are lapping up their gems of “wisdom” not to apply the “black hat/white hat” dynamic to the fates of Tiger and Phil at Augusta?

Well, why the f not?

Seriously, we saw all of the entitled punk act from Tiger Woods that he falsely told us would disappear from his game when he came back … from the creepy “Exploit Earl” ad from his enablers at Nike to his loud, foul and repeated use of God’s name on the Sunday after Easter to his ungracious final interview, the garbage continues to flow apace. Deep down – and if you looked hard enough, you could see this even before his multiple scandals – Eldrick just isn’t a very nice guy. Fair enough, and he’s in broad and deep company in the world of professional sports, but he feels bound to try to portray himself as a better person than he really is in order to keep his sponsors happy. That spells P-H-O-N-Y. I don’t waste a minute hating him, and anyone else who does is really a loser, but I do have a sense of “just go away” whenever he pops up on my teevee.

And as for Phil Mickelson, I have to admit, I haven’t always been a huge fan for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint. He too seemed to me to be something other than what the public image was supposed to be … perhaps not quite the clean family man he portrayed. But I have to admit, I have come around on him and I could not be happier that he was able to win one for his mom and his wife, both battling breast cancer. My family was hit with the same disease and I know the immense challenges he faced to be able to concentrate this weekend through the pain of his family. In the process, he took an enormous step towards permanently rehabilitating his big-tournament reputation, but amazingly, that’s actually a distant second in the grand scheme of things.

If you believe as I do that all things happen for a reason, you don’t have to look far to contemplate the meaning of this past week. We in American society entered The Masters consumed with the story of a man whose family had suffered immense pain – through his selfishness and irresponsibility. We exited the tournament consumed with the story of a man whose family had suffered immense pain – and were inspired to keep fighting by his grace under pressure and the unselfish love and dedication he showed in always putting them first.

That doesn’t sound too random to me.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XIV

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.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #98: April 7, 2010

By Rick Morris

The “Road to 100” gets ever closer to the final destination on the 98th installment of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on and our trademark blend of variety will stand out this time as always.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we bring you what we promise will be the best and most comprehensive breakdown of the NCAA’s disastrous forthcoming expansion of the NCAA men’s hoops tournament to 96 teams. Original FDH Lounge Dignitary Nate Noy, who is also the FDH Chief College Hoops Correspondent, has analyzed this move from all sides – in preparation for a feature on this site that will be forthcoming shortly – and he will present his findings to his fellow show participants. In some cases, he will debate his predictions going forward, because this decision and the implications have so many ramifications that we at FDH have some internal differences on our predictions for the implementation of the concept. At any rate, you won’t find a better look anywhere at the consequences of the money-grab that the NCAA is foisting on the American public.

In Hour Two, we take a last look back at the great NCAA tournament we just saw and the fiasco that emerged from CBS’s One Shining Moment transformation. From there, the hoops talk continues into your FDH preview of the NBA playoff tournament. Before the top of the hour, we preview a segment tentatively slotted for Episode #99 or #100 by taking a look back at one of the great moments in the history of the show: an interview with Dhani Jones! Back on July 29, 2009 – that’s Episode #67 – he joined us to take a look at Season One of his big TV show. Here’s what we said at the time:

“This guy is a dual threat and we don’t mean that he’s adding offensive snaps to his linebacker duties; this Bengal linebacker is also a media superstar! His Dhani Tackles the Globe series on the Travel Channel showcases slivers of other cultures in a completely unique manner and his multimedia contributions to the ESPN media family stand out as well.”

With his return to The FDH Lounge targeted for the very near future, we’ll revisit one of the great moments on the “Road to 100.”

On THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER at the top of Hour Three, we utilize the NFL Draft analysis of FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones to view all of the offensive players in the draft through a fantasy-like prism: the different tiers of talent at each position. Then, we close with THE GOON SQUAD and an in-depth examination of the way that the NHL playoff bracket is materializing.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

By Rick Morris

We in the FDH family wish everyone a very Happy Easter and in keeping with our holiday tradition of posting videos to help get across the message of the day, here is a look at the Stations of the Cross – a ritual that takes a walk through the painful yet inspiring final days of Lent.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 MLB predictions

By Rick Morris

These predictions are updated from our FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010 guide, released in early March.

X-New York Yankees 95-67 (Pitching may be a bit overrated and the outfield could be shaky, but the team is 2-3 years away from the kind of salary inefficiency we saw from 2005-2008.)
Y-Boston 91-71 (They won in '04 and '07 with dominant middle-of-the-order hitting and they're now not even making a pretence of getting that back.)
Tampa Bay 89-73 (The third-best team in the league is in the one division where that gets you bupkis.)
Baltimore 73-89 (Super-dangerous ... in 2011 or 2012.)
Toronto 71-91 (Few standouts, lots of patching, a poor man's Mets -- how depressing!)
X-Chicago White Sox 86-76 (The best rotation in the division and a reborn outfield make them the one-eyed man in the land of the blind.)
Minnesota 85-77 (What a role reversal, as their lineup is now miles ahead of their rotation; loss of Nathan hurts just enough to cost them the division.)
Detroit 81-81 (They're in flux right now and better hope to know by 2011 whether they're trying to be a team of the present or the future.)
Kansas City 75-87 (They have just enough standouts to finally escape the cellar, if not mediocrity.)
Cleveland 73-89 (A Swiss cheese rotation and a slaptastic lineup equal last place.)
X-Los Angeles Angels 83-79 (Losing to the Yankees in the ALCS caused the team to pull back on their aggressive commitment to win it all this year, but they benefit from their foes' remaining issues.)
Seattle 82-80 (Still too many slappys in this lineup to take it over the top.)
Texas 82-80 (Before Ron Washington controversy, they looked like a time that could win the West, but now such a pick is too risky.)
Oakland 75-87 (They're a year away from making this a legitimate four-way scrum for the divisional crown.)
X-Philadelphia 90-72 (If they'd have kept Cliff Lee and also brought in Roy Halladay, they'd be the slam-dunk World Series favorites; as it is, they remain solidly on the short list of potential winners.)
Atlanta 84-78 (A lineup that is below-average in power even with Jason Heyward will cause Bobby Cox's last season to be a playoff near-miss.)
Florida 84-78 (A still-young core could either take the wild card or finish below .500 if the wheels come off altogether.)
New York Mets 77-85 (Too few standouts and too many questions: a microcosm of the Minaya era.)
Washington 72-90 (Progress is coming for this organization, albeit way too slowly.)
X-St. Louis 91-71 (They're still arguably the best-balanced team in the league.)
Milwaukee 83-79 (Wild-card contention is the ceiling for this mid-level team right now).
Chicago Cubs 82-80 (Way too many questions going on right now at many positions.)
Cincinnati 81-81 (They're close, but you can't really count on either the pitching or the hitting yet.)
Pittsburgh 73-89 (Some excellent young pieces are in place, but not nearly enough and probably not for at least two years.)
Houston 71-91 (If it weren't for Brad Mills being able to get a lot out of this collection of journeymen and aging stars, they could easily lose 100 games.)
X-Colorado 86-76 (Unlike 2008, their momentum should carry over to an extent this year.)
Y-Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77 (Due to ownership squabbles, the pitching wasn't shored up as much as it needed for the team to finally get over the hump.)
Arizona 81-81 (If Brandon Webb is healthy and some of the question marks of the past few years get answered, this team could make a nice run.)
San Francisco 80-82 (Way too limp of a lineup to tally more than .500.)
San Diego 67-95 (They'll really be horrible in the short run once they trade Adrian Gonzalez.)

New York Yankees over Los Angeles Angels in 4
Boston over Chicago White Sox in 4
St. Louis over Los Angeles Dodgers in 5
Philadelphia over Colorado in 5
New York Yankees over Boston in 6
St. Louis over Philadelphia in 6
St. Louis over New York Yankees in 6

AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz
AL Most Valuable Player: Kevin Youkilis
AL Cy Young Award Winner: Felix Hernandez
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Gardenhire
NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward
NL Most Valuable Player: Hanley Ramirez
NL Cy Young Award Winner: Roy Halladay
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox
World Series MVP: Albert Pujols

1 New York Yankees
2 St. Louis
3 Boston
4 Philadelphia
5 Tampa Bay
6 Colorado
7 Los Angeles Dodgers
8 Chicago White Sox
9 Minnesota
10 Atlanta
11 Florida
12 Milwaukee
13 Los Angeles Angels
14 Texas
15 Seattle
16 Chicago Cubs
17 Arizona
18 Detroit
19 Cincinnati
20 San Francisco
21 New York Mets
22 Oakland
23 Kansas City
24 Baltimore
25 Pittsburgh
26 Cleveland
27 Washington
28 Toronto
29 Houston
30 San Diego

Health care debate post-mortem

By Rick Morris

The aftermath of the recent adoption of ObamaCare by the federal government brings up several different points, some related and some unrelated. As I noted during our debate on this subject during Episode #97 of THE FDH LOUNGE this past week (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on, because I am a paleocon and thus not tethered to inane partisanship -- the worst aspect of which being the infantile notion that one political party actually constitutes the "good guys" instead of the "slightly less evil screw-over guys" -- my perspectives are bound to be different than the norm on either side.

^ First of all, I differentiate among the talk-radio screamers. Rush Limbaugh, Mike Gallagher, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity are Republican toadies who spent eight years trying to convince America that George W. Bush was on a par with Lincoln and Washington. They're party-line hacks with no credibility when it comes to intellectual honesty. But there are some guys who have that intellectual honesty and come at this from interesting points of view, like Dennis Prager, Michael Savage (although he really is a loon!) and especially Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck is technically correct when he describes the entangling of Big Government and Big Business as being similar to what the National Socialists practiced on a much bigger and more sinister scale in the Germany of the '30s. Certainly, Big Insurance and Big Pharma were bought off by this crowd, which should only drive home once and for all the paleo point about how small business and not Big Business should be exalted. The great columnist Timothy Carney also writes about this with great regularity. But unlike Beck and some of the more panicked Tea Party members, I don't fear Barack Obama and his congressional Democrats. Left to their own devices, they'd have delivered a much more harmful bill and really throttled off free enterprise -- but they couldn't, and that's the point. With overwhelming majorities in both houses, they got a bill that falls short of what the biggest screaming liberals really wanted and that was at the height of their power (now, I do believe that it could set the stage for single-payer or at least the public option in another decade by collapsing key industries -- but that just makes a rational, cold-eyed approach to assessing the situation that much more important). The question of whether Republicans could have made it "less bad" through negotiation is a valid one even if it was raised by that weenie David Frum, but in the end it seems doubtful that the pluses would outweigh the minuses in terms of the Republicans having to co-sign onto a bill that would still make matters worse. The November pasting that is on the way assures that we have probably seen the worst of what this crowd can do, at least in a first Obama term (more about that later).

^ Do we still live in America? So now Henry Waxman is summoning CEOs who are talking about how much ObamaCare will cost their industries and lead to job loss to hearings where he will badger them and live out his fantasy of acting like a Third World junta leader. Remember when we actually still had free speech in this nation?

^ Elections have consequences. If anybody thought that Obama's election as president would mean avoiding at least one large negative being passed through, they were naive and unrealistic. Don't want the bad public policy? Then don't lose the elections. Grown-ups understand this basic principle. And that leads to the next point and the election of 2012.

^ Playing into Obama's hands at this point is worse than stupid, it is immoral. When Newt Gingrich, in his crowning moment of sheer babbling public incompetence, bungled the budget negotiations with Bill Clinton in 1995 and led the GOP to get blamed for the government shutdown, he ensured Bubba's second term. Now, nincompoops like Hewitt are calling on the GOP to promise to defund ObamaCare if they take control of both houses in '11. Given the complete inability of the Republican party to handle basic public relations even in a good climate, is there a political observer worth his salt who sees a fall showdown in 2011 ending any other way than the one 16 years earlier? If the Republicans don't wake up and realize that rollback cannot possibly occur before winning control of both the executive and legislative branches (by definition, no earlier than 2013), they are doomed. No wonder the Republicans are better off coming up just shy of winning control this year; they would only serve as the blame-deflecting target that President BO needs to win re-election. But then again, succeeding in spite of themselves has worked out really well for the GOP in the Obama era, as they have been able to rehabilitate themselves completely through the unrelated efforts of a fired-up grassroots element.

^ Good politics is good policy. In pandering to the Rush Limbaughs of the world, too many powerful Republicans outwardly embrace the label of obstructionist and "Party of No." I have actually even heard that "change" is a dirty word among many in Republican circles because of Obama's use of it. Frankly, this is insane. They cannot cede that ground to Obama; to do so is fatal. Do Republicans really want to act like the status quo is great, either in terms of health care or any other government functions? Not if they have any clue (which leaves the question completely open). They need to be pushing other-side alternatives, market-oriented solutions like the ones bravely submitted by Congressman Paul Ryan. On health care, there is much that can be pointed out in terms of the distortions in the market that were instigated by Medicare and Medicaid and how these disruptions are actually the enemy and not the free market. But then again, that would take guts and principle and this is a political party that unfortunately still values the shallow advice of the likes of Karl Rove. And they're also a political party that believes in stupidly bragging about trying to shut down all functions of the Congress, as McCain recently did. Going back over several decades, if Democrats had to win elections on their own merits instead of Republican bumbling, they'd really have been in trouble and the more things change, the more they stay the same.

^ In the long run, Republicans can only win by being intellectually honest. The Republican tendency to chastise Obama for squandering the "Garden of Eden" on January 20, 2009 is a huge insult to the intelligence of the American people. Nobody is going to forget just how bad the situation was that Obama inherited and polls continue to bear that out. But what's worse is that the lie is unnecessary because the truth would work much better if only the GOP could summon up the humility for it. It would go a little something like this: "OK, our bad. We spent like drunken sailors and didn't police corruption when we were in charge. But this crew is doubling down on all of our mistakes. They're taking everything we did poorly and going much further in that direction. If you vote for us, we will move matters back in the other direction, if for no other reason than we know that you won't trust us again if we don't." It's a compelling message that people will understand. John McCain tried to run on a similar message in 2008 (remember the whole "we lost our way" honesty, which was remarkable even though it came off as desperate because the GOP was trying to avoid the punishment that inevitably comes with losing your way) and only succeeded because the American people pretty much will not avoid delivering a harsh message to political parties who anger them. The Republican party has come a long way in 15 months, far more than anyone could have forecast, but they have reached the limits of where they can go as "Not Them." They cannot hold onto and consolidate any gains they make this fall, much less achieve a durable governing majority, without treating the American people as adults.

^ As part of being intellectually honest, be honest about what ObamaCare represents. Pretending that this bill represents a zero-to-sixty nationalization of the health care sector gets the grass roots fired up, but it doesn't pass the smell test. As previously mentioned, Medicare and Medicaid started us down this road almost a half-century ago and wacky crap like George W. Bush's prescription-drug boondoggle moved us further in that direction. The Republican party always underestimates the number of people who would be receptive to them if they quit the show-biz gaga and leveled with them. I know many such people, but they are turned off when they hear obviously phony buzzwords substituted for earnest analysis.

^ Call for people to stay within the bounds of the political process. Given the Saul Alinsky/ACORN playbook, I'm very dubious that those who were actually against ObamaCare were responsible for the alleged N-bombs and F-bombs directed at congressmen on the day of the vote. But the pinkos at MSNBC and elsewhere are clearly ready to lay everything at the feet of the Republicans. Rachel Maddow actually has the temerity to put a TV show on the air tying the spirit of Timothy McVeigh to today's anti-government protesters. Bill Clinton and his crew spent 18 months waving the bloody shirt of Oklahoma City in order to ensure their own reelection -- and it worked. In the climate that we are now in, where (and I'm choosing my words carefully) some people and institutions will stop at nothing to label opposition to the federal government as illegitimate, Republican leaders need to be on record as denouncing anything except lawful protest specifically tied to public policy at every occasion.

'Mania 27 card we would like to see

By Rick Morris

My mediocre WrestleMania 26 predictions notwithstanding, I'm ready to take a stab at laying out next year's event (thanks again, BTW, to WFAN's Evan Roberts for his awesome recap of last Sunday's big show).

First, a few basic parameters for the next year in terms of how I would use the draft:

^ I would move Randy Orton to Smackdown rather than clogging up the main event babyface picture on Raw.

^ I would move MVP and Mark Henry to Smackdown, using MVP as more of an occasionally-wrestling "super-agent" character with Henry as his bodyguard. Such an "Arli$$" persona could be used to represent disparate main-event heels who would otherwise never cooperate on a regular basis (i.e. Jack Swagger, Chris Jericho and Edge if/when he turns back).

^ I would move John Morrison to Raw with the setup that he will eventually be the man to take the US Title off of The Miz. Morrison is an underutilized player with big upside which the company should be looking to tap sooner rather than later.

^ I would move Christian to Smackdown to pair back up with Edge eventually and Evan Bourne over to team up with Rey Mysterio in an "ultimate high-flyer" combo that would give Bourne an excellent "rub" for the future.

Now, here's the card I would like to see, 12 months out from the big night in the Georgia Dome:

^ World Title Match: CM Punk (Champion) vs. HHH. While cross-brand world title matches are not ideal in the sense of maintaining storyline continuity about the belts that the wrestlers are chasing during the year, they can help ensure fresh matchups. Punk as the sneering champion trying to make his bones by taking down one of the company's biggest remaining legends would be gold.

^ WWE Title Match: Batista (Champion) vs. Randy Orton. This too would be a cross-brand match, holding off on it throughout the course of the year instead of hot-shotting it by summer -- which would be inevitable if they stayed on the same brand. Much as Orton/HHH II seemed fresh when it first began (before it was beaten into the ground) because significant time had passed since Orton and HHH both turned again, we need another year for this match to really resonate notwithstanding each's successful (so far) and recent turns.

^ Undertaker vs. John Cena. OK, I've been calling for this match for the past few years, and maybe it makes more sense for 'Taker's shot at 20-0, but at this point it can't be assumed that the Dead Man has that many years left to finish the checklist of dream opponents. The heat would be at obscene levels if Cena won, as he should -- and the "rub" would be the greatest in history.

^ Sheamus vs. Goldberg. Rumors abound that Goldberg will be back in a wrestling capacity with the company, with the obvious details to be solved surrounding his willingness to "give back" in terms of jobbing. The best scenario would be for Goldberg to get a strong push when he comes back -- maybe even a WWE Title run -- and make his eventual put-overs all the more impactful. If Sheamus is to be one of the key players in the company going forward, and he is going to be one of the defining big men of the next decade if he stays healthy, he would be the obvious recipient of this J-O-B on the big P-P-V. This match would fill the non-title, non-'Taker "big match wild card" function of the show that we have seen on the program in the last decade (such as any of the Mr. McMahon matches, Angle-Michaels I, Rock-Austin III, the Flair retirement match, or, ironically, the Goldberg-Lesnar fiasco).

^ Unified World Tag Team Title Match: Edge & Christian (Champions) vs. Hart Dynasty vs. Legacy vs. Rey Mysterio & Evan Bourne. I was dubious about the company's decision to merge the tag belts from the different brands, but I was wrong, because they have come to mean a great amount -- less meaningful than the world titles, but certainly much, much more than the secondary singles titles. This could be one of the greatest tag team matches in 'Mania history, matching up strong elements of the past, present and future with workers ranging from well-above-average to great. This would be a great place to put the belts back on the Harts (as presumably they will carry them at some point in '10) or maybe on Dynasty for the first time.

^ United States Title Match: John Morrison (Champion) vs. The Big Show. Having survived inexplicable early jobbing in the WWE (well, it was the WWF then), Show has actually gone on to become one of the company's most versatile players. Like his former tag team partner Chris Jericho, he can move back and forth between the midcard and main event and work well in both. Like Kane, he's a great "main event gatekeeper" in that wins over him carry great impact (witness John Cena's WrestleMania 20 US Title win over Show at MSG). Here, a win by Morrison would go a long way towards establishing him as a main event player.

^ Diva’s Match. It's impossible to forecast who will be on the roster from one year to the next and these matches never draw money (because they're not in a position to do so, not because all of the women are stinko workers), so it's not worth seeking a specific match.

^ Money in the Bank: Shad Gaspard vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mystery Opponent. This match provides the opportunity to put the final touches on the main-event elevation of The Miz -- and hopefully, the company will not blow that by hot-shotting him in the next year inasmuch as he has unfinished business with many fellow mid-carders. Rather than including ten wrestlers like 'Mania 26 featured, I would limit it to eight -- with one "Mystery Opponent" spot reserved for the winner of a battle royal to be held at WrestleMania Axxess. Highlights of that battle royal would precede the big ladder match.

^ Jack Swagger vs. Kane. There's not an endless supply of "big match" slots on the show, so a win for Swagger here would have much the same purpose as the wins for "main event holding pattern" stars HHH and Randy Orton did last Sunday.

^ Chris Jericho vs. Matt Hardy. Again, with prime matches having been filled in by other wrestlers, you know you can structure a good program and an excellent match with these two. That's the blessing and the curse of having the versatility to work anywhere on the card.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, 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.

WFB called Afghan problems -- back in '89!

By Rick Morris

In the otherwise superlative movie CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, the case was made in ham-handed fashion at the end (as is often the case in Hollywood) that the US abandoned Afghanistan after playing a key role in helping them dislodge the Soviets in the 1980s. The point is true, but I'm dubious about 20-20 wisdom in this regard, since there weren't many experts who said so at the time.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across an old William F. Buckley, Jr. column from February 15, 1989 in National Review [I do have some old magazines on different subjects that I enjoy pulling out from time to time particularly for the "time capsule" perspective of what was being said at the time and which theories are valid even today]. It was about the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and it was meant to be a sobering note about the euphoria many were feeling about seeing the mighty USSA military suffering their version of Vietnam (in retrospect, it's almost impossible to believe the mega-events that would follow in less than three years, from the fall of the Berlin Wall, to German reunification, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the brief coup sidelining Gorbachev and inevitably, the dissolution of the Soviet empire itself).

In light of the rise of Al Qaeda in the 1990s and ultimate culmination of the group's evil attack on a cloudless Tuesday in September 2001, WFB's warning about this group and the Taliban is chilling:

"We have much to be apprehensive about in the months ahead. The mullahs who are destined to take over the country they defended so vigorously are, so to speak, not PLU (People Like Us). It is even conceivable that a few years down the line some people will publicly mourn the government of President Najibullah ...

"In an indication of what may unfold in Afghanistan, two elderly maulavi -- judges appointed by the mujahedin -- have sent out edicts to rebel commanders urging them to exercise more control over the civilians by curbing such excesses as 'the playing of tape-recorded music ...'

"The judges have ordered the execution of murderers, the stoning to death of adulterers, and the surgical amputatin of a thief's hand.

"Still, we must do what we can to influence the mujahedin to moderation ..."

We did not, and the consequences began to make themselves known first during the Clinton Administration when terrorist actions around the world were not answered with sufficient force, then with 9/11 and continuing now with a war that ranks as one of the longest in American history. While the last decade has proved the limitations of neocon adventurism, so too has it shown the fallout of isolationist disregard for the birth of terrorist states. Both approaches are woefully inferior to a rational, America-First approach to solving problems, preferably proactively, on a case-by-case basis.

NHL power rankings for start of April

By Rick Morris

Mid-March rankings in parentheses.

1 Washington (1)
2 San Jose (2)
3 Chicago (3)
4 Phoenix (6)
5 Vancouver (4)
6 Buffalo (9)
7 Pittsburgh (5)
8 New Jersey (7)
9 Detroit (12)
10 Nashville (11)
11 Los Angeles (8)
12 Ottawa (13)
13 Calgary (14)
14 Colorado (10)
15 Montreal (16)
16 Boston (19)
17 Philadelphia (15)
18 Dallas (21)
19 St. Louis (17)
20 Anaheim (22)
21 NY Rangers (20)
22 Atlanta (24)
23 Tampa Bay (23)
24 Minnesota (18)
25 Columbus (25)
26 Carolina (28)
27 Florida (26)
28 NY Islanders (27)
29 Toronto (29)
30 Edmonton (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: Dallas and Detroit (3 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Minnesota (6 spots), Colorado (4 spots), Boston, Buffalo and Los Angeles (3 spots)

NBA power rankings for start of April

By Rick Morris

Mid-March rankings in parentheses.

1 Cleveland (1)
2 LA Lakers (2)
3 Orlando (3)
4 Dallas (5)
5 Phoenix (10)
6 Utah (7)
7 Denver (4)
8 Atlanta (6)
9 Boston (8)
10 Oklahoma City (9)
11 Portland (11)
12 San Antonio (12)
13 Miami (15)
14 Milwaukee (13)
15 Charlotte (14)
16 Memphis (17)
17 Houston (16)
18 Toronto (19)
19 Chicago (20)
20 New Orleans (18)
21 Indiana (25)
22 LA Clippers (21)
23 New York (22)
24 Philadelphia (26)
25 Sacramento (23)
26 Detroit (24)
27 Washington (27)
28 Golden State (28)
29 Minnesota (29)
30 New Jersey (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: Phoenix (5 spots), Indiana (4 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: none more than 2 spots