Why football fans are hypocrites: Entertainment vs Integrity (and why I despise instant replay)

Instant replay is the worst thing that ever happened to sports, and nowhere is this more evident than in football. And those of you who enjoy the NFL for its entertainment value and, meanwhile, believe that instant replay has improved the integrity of the game are hypocrites.

There, I said it.

Now, here’s why.

There are two very different sides to sports that need to be held in balance in order to present a game that is worth our watching and debating. First, the game needs to be entertaining; it doesn’t matter how great the athletes are if a sport is completely unwatchable. And second, there needs to be some integrity in determining who is better at the game. Casino slots may well be entertaining but nobody’s going to pretend that the winner of a slot machine game has some prodigious slot skills.

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Your 2013 Minnesota Twins recap

Well, that was a fun year, said no one ever. Listen, this team has no attractive storylines. None. When Sano and Buxton get up they will be worth your time again but until then just ignore the All Star Game next year. Seriously, it won’t be worth it. Don’t give them a dime.

Am I bitter? Yes. But it doesn’t mean I’m not right.

But also… I think the Twins are OK long-term. They have bottomed out three years in a row. Things suck. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. They have drafted and developed well finally. I don’t know what happened in those intervening years but the fact that there were like zero acceptable prospects between when Joe Mauer came up like 8 years ago and today is a really, really, really sad statement. Seriously, people want to blame the Twins problems on letting Cuddyer and Gomez go, but what the heck happened to our farm system for 5-7 years? Where did the talent go?

And with that… your 2013 Minnesota Twins (with my projections revisited)

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Week 2 Fantasy Pickups – Not Buying Chargers

In reviewing this week, nobody really jumped off the page that warranted a full profile.  So instead, I’ll focus on a few players that I’m not buying into this early in the season.  Philip Rivers is the first name that comes to mind.  I’m sorry, but he is not THIS good, and there’s no way he keeps up this pace.  At best, he’ll be a decent bye-week filler, but nobody you want to trust; stay patient, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady owners.  Similarly, I don’t believe in Eddie Royal.  Go ahead and buy-in if you want to, but my bet is he won’t score 5 touchdowns the rest of the season.

Also, this year, I’m going to try to not list the same players in back-to-back weeks, so I’ll just give a brief ‘in or out’ on players from the previous week.  From last week, I’m still ‘in’ on Terrelle Pryor, Carson Palmer, Julian Edelman, Brian Hartline, Harry Douglas, Andre Roberts, Kenny Stills, Marlon Brown, Joique Bell, and surprisingly, Kellen Winslow.  However, I’m ‘out’ on Daniel Thomas – Lamar Miller looked better this week and I believe he’ll keep earning more touches. Continue reading

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Week 1 Fantasy Pickups – Impact Tight Ends

Of all the storylines coming out of week 1, the most understated was the impact the tight end position had.  12, count ‘em, 12 TEs recorded double-digit fantasy points this week, in standard scoring – for what it’s worth, only 15 RBs scored double figures.  And which of those 12 scored the least amount of points? Jimmy Graham – yes, consensus #1 TE and potential 1st round pick, Jimmy Graham.  Of course, the reason Graham was so highly-regarded is because of his consistency – and he proved to be that on Sunday.

However, it was clear all offseason that there were plenty of tight ends capable of joining the Graham’s and Gronkowski’s of the world atop the tight end pedestal.  For example, I highlighted Jordan Cameron, Zach Sudfled, Rob Housler, Julius Thomas, and Tyler Eifert, in the offseason sleeper lists.  Of those 5, 1 went off, 1 recorded a top-12 performance, 1 put up a dud, 1 didn’t play, and 1 was a rookie, so not much was expected.  However, before I get too high on the Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas calls, I deserve to be shamed for Zach Sudfeld, and then admit I completely missed another guy, as well.

Julius Thomas

That player I missed was Jared Cook.  It’s not that I didn’t know who Cook was, but every year it seems like he’s a no-brainer to ‘breakout’, only to burn owners all season long.  He was pegged by many yet again this year, but I refused to believe it.  After all, sure he was going to a new team, but it was also the team with the same head coach who had so many chances with him in Tennessee, Jeff Fischer.  I figured to see much of the same ‘ol Jared Cook on Sunday.  But no, he goes on to explode and score the highest points of the week for a tight end (after my Julius Thomas had set the bar so high on Thursday night) – about time, Mr. Cook!

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2013 Fantasy Football Preview – Deep Sleeper List

While preparing the previous Fantasy Football Preview article, I realized I had far too many players to analyze in 1 list; therefore, the deep sleeper list was formed.  This list consists of players who may not even be drafted in your league, but are worth keeping an eye as potential pickups as the year progresses.  And for those of you in dynasty leagues, this list might be the most valuable to you.  Keep in mind, as with most deep sleepers, they may not breakout right away (or even at all), but patience is the key in reaping their benefits down the road.

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2013 Fantasy Football Preview – Breakout Candidates

Yeap, it’s that time of the year again, ladies and gentlemen!  Fantasy Football season is upon us, and with that, marks my 3rd year of writing weekly articles here at Land of 10,000 Losses.  Before we organized this site, I would spend hours a day answering text messages about who to start/sit, pickup/drop, buy/sell, etc., so I figured I should just start publishing my insights to everyone at once.  Well, it turns out, that’s a double-edged sword – the more you share, the more people want to know.  Either way, I still love doing it, so I hope you enjoy, and feel free to bring on the questions and/or general comments!  You can tweet me directly at @Casey_Maikkula – and reach our group of contributors at @10kLosses.

Speaking for the five of us that started the site, it’s been amazing seeing just how much this thing has grown over the past 3 years, and we thank you for your support!

And with that, let’s break the seal on the 2013 fantasy football season with a few players (going in the mid to late rounds of fantasy drafts) at each position that I’m crushing on this season.

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The Twins are actually kind of good. Weird.

So, the Twins are weirdly good. As far as I can tell, it’s for these reasons, most of which don’t make any sense:

1. Justin Morneau. He isn’t hitting home runs like we might want and so I think a lot of people are assuming he’s done, but look a little deeper and things are kind of intriguing. He now has 28 RBI in 34 games, so guys are clearly getting on base for him, but he’s also hitting .349 with RISP (he’s also 5-for-5 with the bases loaded). Most interestingly, he is making contact on 84.7% of his swings. That’s about 5% more than normal and is equaled only by his 2008 season. Moreover, his flyball % is back up to pre-concussion levels, which is a good thing for him since he was hitting a lot of weak grounders in the last couple years.

2. Above average-ness. It’s not that anybody is greatly exceeding expectations in our lineup. It’s mostly that everybody is slightly exceeding expectations. Florimon is 2nd on the team with 0.7 WAR. Escobar and Dozier have been more than serviceable. Nobody, besides Hicks, has been bad… and then Hicks went and did what he did tonight. Sometimes certain teams just have the right mix of people stepping up–see 2012 Baltimore Orioles.

3. Our bullpen is rightfully getting a lot of credit for the good start, but something else has been happening that’s harder to quantify. Our starting pitching has been nearly terrible, as advertised, but the weird thing about it is that our guys seem to have great games when they are needed, followed by terrible games when we weren’t going to win anyway. Case and point: Mike Pelfrey has a 6.03 ERA and a 5.20 xFIP, but his FIP at 3.67 is better than Correia’s and he has a 0.6 WHIP, which is not only second on the team but puts him 26th (!!!!!!) among starting pitchers in the American League. That means he’s been more valuable so far this year than Cobb, Pettitte, Price, Tillman and Dickey!

A cynic would say that all this means is that the Twins have been getting lucky (fangraphs guys have said as much). But here’s the thing about metrics: sometimes they do a better job of illustrating truths than they their creators envisioned. Sometimes a good BABIP actually demonstrates not luck but a change in approach that’s been beneficial. And sometimes good hitters are just clutch.

Just saying.

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