Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 16

Jamaal Charles got to know the end zone very well on Sunday. (GETTY)
FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.PLAYOFF EDITION: We're not focusing on lower % owned players, but those with choice match-ups for the playoffs.


Thursday night seems like a long time ago, but for many fantasy owners it was the beginning of a bad, bad week. The elite group of fantasy points hit men known as the Denver Broncos fell on their face Thursday night at home against the San Diego Chargers. As the clock ticked down on the first game for virtually everyone in the fantasy playoffs, Peyton Manning had tallied 18.56 fantasy points. The second highest fantasy point scorer for Denver was the 1% owned Andre Caldwell at 17.90 points. As for all those other elite fantasy options the Broncos trot out on the field on a weekly basis their point totals went as follows:

Knowshon Moreno: 5.50
Julius Thomas: 4.90
Montee Ball: 4.80
Demariyus Thomas: 4.50
Eric Decker: 4.20

And, I'm all like ...




Sure, FAABulous Week 15 pick Ryan Mathews had a great game, but that's not what I signed up for when I put my life in the hands of a random assortment of football players back in August! How can a squadron of world beaters like the Broncos lay such a goose egg right when it matters? Well, that's fantasy football. As frustrating and annoying as that game was to watch, Sunday had a lot more surprises in store for us.

Here's a quick overview of what happened on Sunday.

The best scoring quarterbacks of the week were Nick Foles (fine), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel, Matt Flynn, Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, EJ Manuel, and Jay Cutler.

The best RUNNER was Matt Asiata who had a meaty 1.7 YPC but of course scored 3 TD's.

The best receiver was a running back.

The best tight end on the planet had his fantasy output doubled by Clay Harbor ... and if you started Jeff Cumberland, Mychal Rivera, or Cory Harkey you would have more than tripled Jimmy Graham's production!

Two kickers scored more than 20 points.

And finally, two defenses let up 31 points or more, but still got 19.00 fantasy points.

It was an insane weekend. The silver lining in all of that mess was that it wasn't likely you were facing many of those quarterbacks and Asiata was still on waivers by the time he was stumbling into the paint for his 3rd TD of the game. The one player that truly made or broke your fantasy dreams was Jamaal Charles.

Charles etched his name into the record books on Sunday and left an indelible mark on fantasy football forever after his 51.50 fantasy point effort. In a laughable display of Raider defense, Charles was able to break three huge screen passes (49, 39, 71) along with another 16-yard catch and 1-yard run for 215 total yards and 5 TD's.

If you were facing a Charles led team, you probably felt like ...

Poor punter :(

Yes, it was a historic performance not only in numbers, but in time of the year. To do this in a decided fantasy football playoff week is amazing. ESPN's Tristan H. Cockcroft summarizes everything beautifully here.

Obviously after a game like this, Charles is going to be at the forefront of a lot of talk. Fantasy MVP, next year's No. 1 overall fantasy pick, real life NFL MVP, and so on. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Charles' performance on Sunday not as him throwing his hat into the fantasy MVP ring, but as an exclamation point to a fantastic year that should end on a high note this Sunday against a lowly Colts defense.

Charles has been the most consistent fantasy star this year. He was my #5 ranked RB coming into the season, which was probably a little higher than the average ranking. ESPN has his ADP entering into the year at #6. Next year, he's assuredly a Top 3 pick, but his career at this point has been anything but consistent. He was bound for super stardom before he tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2011 season, and last year in Kansas City, then head coach Romeo Crennel wanted to limit his touches so he didn't get hurt again. After all, that's how to prevent ACL tears, right?

Well, as I mentioned in my running back rankings, the two wild cards this year were LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles. Namely because they were both getting new offensive minded coaches. It's pretty clear that they were picking up what Andy Reid was throwing down in Kansas City; same goes for Reid's replacement in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly. Using Charles was the best thing for him. Not just driving him between the tackles, but implementing Reid's trademark screen passing game. Getting him open in space so he can avoid getting roughed up every time he gets the ball, oh, and you might want to take a note Romeo, but utilizing one of Charles' elite skills.

This is the kind of Jamaal Charles we should see on the football field, and he is cashing in on his immense talent. The 26-year-old still has more room to grow, and while he'll always be remembered fondly by his 2013 fantasy owners, there are some years ahead he can spread to joy to others in 2014 and beyond.

For many people, this is the championship week, and likely the last week I'll do previews, so best of luck with everything. It's been a crazy fantasy year, but I will be back with my year end wrap-up for FAABulous looking at my hits and misses.

Delanie Walker is a weapon in the suddenly aggressive Titans' pass game. (rantsports.com)

QB - Nick Foles, PHI v +Chicago Bears, Colin Kaepernick, SF v +Atlanta Falcons 

More Nick Foles. You know what to do with him. Kaepernick on the other hand has probably been the most disappointing QB this year. Whether it's Jim Harbaugh's decision to stop running Kaep that much or it's just a learning curve, the 2nd year starter has not lived up to expectations. The 49ers have shown some signs of life and getting Michael Crabtree back has helped, so there is an opportunity for a big game against the defeated Falcons.

If you're desperate: Andy Dalton, CIN v +Minnesota Vikings, Jay Cutler, CHI @ +Philadelphia Eagles  

These look good on paper, but when it comes to Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler you just never know. I'm rather surprised that many people are looking past Cutler's fleas after one decent performance back from his injury. The Eagles had their toast buttered by Matt Cassel last week, but you have to imagine their performance will more resemble how the team has played in previous weeks - Dallas victory or not - on Sunday night. But I get it with Cutler. If the Eagles push the pace, then that's more opportunities for Cutler to launch it to the best WR tandem in football, but that also increases his opportunities to make a mistake. Cutler's season high for fantasy points is 23.02. Tread lightly.

RB - Jamaal Charles, KC v +Indianapolis Colts, Matt Forte, CHI @ +Philadelphia Eagles  

Yep, that's right don't bench Jamaal Charles. You're welcome. Overall though this is a hat tip to two of the most consistent fantasy players this year. In head to head match ups, there is no denying the comfort of not having any bum performances by your top tailback.

If you're desperate: Reggie Bush, DET v +New York Giants, Ben Tate, HOU v +Denver Broncos 

It's hard to trust Matt Stafford after watching that game last week. He looked atrocious, and he certainly cost some of his owners a playoff win. Bush was able to battle back from a calf injury to look explosive and productive. Stafford will always air it out to Calvin, but it would make sense for the Lions to try to keep his errors in check by relying heavlily on Bush.

The Texans season was over a dozen weeks ago. What a train wreck. However, let's keep in mind that Mr. Ben Tate has put together a great season filling in for Adrian Foster as well as playing for that fat contract he's looking to land in the off-season. All systems are a go for Tate to get carries even if the Texans are down 100.

UPDATE: I don't normally do this, but Ben Tate broke another rib and hours ago was put on IR. Dennis Johnson is the Texan to add, but I'll toss some love towards Fred Jackson, BUF @ +Miami Dolphins 

WR - Chicago Bears receivers, Demaryius Thomas, DEN v +Houston Texans, Julian Edelman, NE v +Baltimore Ravens, Antonio Brown, PIT v GB

Alshon, always and forever.


People are worried that the Broncos will be up 70 and halftime and rest everyone. Well, guess what? If they score 70 by halftime, someone still catches those touchdowns. This feels like a Demaryius game. He had a clunker last week, but before that consistently has gotten to either 100 yards, a TD or both. He's a safe play even if Wes Welker is back.

Let's also hail Mini-tron, Julian Edelman. I was a tentative believer in him early on, but he's really come along as a Tom Brady favorite. Sure, it took his star tight end to get injured yet again, his top RB to be benched, and Danny Amendola to be completely untrustworthy to happen, but still.

And Antonio Brown continues to be the most underappreicated offensive player in football.

If you're desperate: Riley Cooper, PHI v CHI, Kendall Wright, TEN @ +Jacksonville Jaguars

People are gaga about the Bears' offensive possibilities, but the Eagles' offense is pretty good too. Cooper is due.

Fear Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Titans. It's almost like they can't wait to cut Chris Johnson when the year is over.

TE - Julius Thomas, DEN v +Houston Texans, Delanie Walker, TEN @ +Jacksonville Jaguars  

Thomas hasn't been his usual self since his injury, but after two games back in action I think he's ready to go. The Broncos are looking to make a statement and they're not going to be happy or tentative heading to Houston. TD's galore.

Delanie Walker is a fave of mine this year. I loved him last week as a TE play, and with Jordan Cameron getting diagnosed with a concussion on Monday, I like Walker even more.

If you're desperate: Zach Miller, SEA v +Arizona Cardinals, Tyler Eifert, CIN v +Minnesota Vikings 

Miller has not come through for me, but I'm not one to quit on a guy so fast. The Cardinals have a solid defense, and I'm not sure how much damage the Seahawks receivers can do against Patrick Peterson's group. I would expect Miller to be one of the more available options for Russell Wilson.

Eifert might be sliding into starting TE duties against Minnesota, and that's a great thing.

K - Phil Dawson, SF v +Atlanta Falcons, Alex Henery, PHI v CHI

DEF - Kansas City v +Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions v +New York Giants     

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 15

Rob Gronkowski left the field, not to return for the rest of the year. (GETTY)
FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.PLAYOFF EDITION: We're not focusing on lower % owned players, but those with choice match-ups for the playoffs. 


Well, if your league didn't start the playoffs last week, they certainly are this week. What a way to kick things off. Week 14 was the highest scoring week in NFL history with 104 touchdowns total. Yes, if you didn't put up a lot of fantasy points this weekend, then I don't know what to tell you. 

As if the high scoring wasn't enough, there was a storm that passed through the East coast leading to some snow bowls. None quite as ridiculous as the Eagles and Lions game, which I attended. The snow fall was so severe in the first half that I left my plastic beer cup in the cup holder and within 15 minutes it was filled with snow. You couldn't really see what was going on 35 yards down field, and replays on the big screens looked like your cable went out. Note: LeSean McCoy was not affected.



So we have scoring, we have snow, we have fun gifs - what else? Well, there was a coach fired, another coach seeming wanting to be fired, a failed miracle play in Pittsburgh due to another sideline controversy, oh and Alshon Jeffery.

There's fun football weeks, there's great football weeks, and then there's Week 14. Well, for a small percentage of fantasy players Week 14 wasn't all snowballs and points. Yes, two major injuries went down. Rob Gronkowski, fresh of his multiple arm breaks, was hit low in a gruesome hit by Browns' safety T.J. Ward (at least it wasn't Bernard Pollard) nullifying him for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. The other injury wasn't as severe, but just as brutal for fantasy owners as Adrian Peterson picked up a foot injury. The most recent reports don't show Peterson's foot injury as serious - as in surgery serious - but will likely cause him to miss Week 15 and potentially sit out for the rest of the year as a precautionary measure because if you're the Vikings, really, what's the point of throwing him back out there?

Ideally, if you're a contending team you have solid back-ups, but it's a big blow regardless. The best part of the playoffs though is that you don't need Toby Gerhart to carry your hopes and dreams for 6 weeks, just a couple, and match-ups play a big part in possibly getting through these kinds of injuries.

God speed to you fellow fantasy players, and let's look at some Love/Hate (h/t +Matthew Berry , Flames/Lames (h/t Brad Evans).

Cam Newton is here to rescue you. (winsnlosses.com)


QB - Nick Foles, PHI @ +Minnesota Vikings, Cam Newton, CAR v NYJ

Yes, you can't keep Nick Foles down. You just can't! He's walking into another favorable match-up against the Vikings. I doubt the crowd in Minny will cause much of a fuss, and Foles should have time to pile up the stats. The one stat I heard that caused me some pause was that Foles - unexpectedly - is among the league leaders in seconds it takes to get rid of the football. You'd assume that in Chip Kelly's offense he'd be winging it around, and although this past weekend was a bad indicator of this as visibility was terrible in the first half, I did start to notice it watching some of his past highlights. This is certainly a kudos to the Eagles' offensive line, but should they have an off day, the Vikings do have the D-line to cause some issues.

It's hard not to have a love/hate relationship with Cam Newton. He can pile up the points with the best of them, but sometimes he just goes into stink mode and doesn't do anything. He is running at a higher clip recently averaging 9.45 yards per carry and had at least 2 touchdowns in 3 of the last 4 weeks. He gets the Jets at home, and he will be looking to bounce back from a poor performance in New Orleans.

If you're desperate: Jason Campbell, CLE v CHI, Ryan Tannehill, MIA v +New England Patriots 

These are both great match-up plays for two relatively low % owned quarterbacks. If Campbell can make it through the game, he can just launch balls to Josh Gordon all day and it just appears that Josh Gordon will undoubtedly catch them. Also as a note, last week's pick-up at TE Jordan Cameron came back to life with Campbell tossing him the football. A good sign all around.

The Dolphins and Bengals are both teams I quit on. The Dolphins around the whole bullying incident and the Bengals when they lost Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. Well, they've proven me wrong and cost me gambling dollars in the process. For all the conversation that goes around having young quarterbacks in the right situation, it certainly appears that Tannehill has been in anything but that. However, he's improved over the course of the year, and has a high floor. He's recorded double digit fantasy points in every game this year (his lowest output being 12.88 at New England in Week 8) and he's put up 19, 22 and 24 fantasy points the last 3 weeks at Carolina and on the road against the Jets and Steelers respectively. Pretty impressive, young Tannehill.

RB - Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ +New York Giants, Shane Vereen, NE @ +Miami Dolphins 

Yes, I love Shady McCoy and Jamaal Charles, but here are two lower projected backs that I think will have a big day. The Giants have only pride to play for, and the Seahawks will be travelling a long way for another road game after a tough loss to San Francisco. I would expect Lynch to see the ball a lot to set up Seattle's play action and to grind the game down after the Seahawks go up big. Take note of the stadium in New Jersey, Seahawks, you might very well be back there in a couple of months.

Vereen graduates from "If you're desperate" to start him this week. He established himself in a big way last week with 153 receiving yards, and with Gronk out there will be an even greater focus on Vereen and Julian Edelman.

If you're desperate: Alfred Morris, WAS @ +Atlanta Falcons, Ryan Mathews, SD @ +Denver Broncos 

Well, this Washington team is a mess. We're not sure who is starting for the Shanahan led squad, but if it's Robert Griffin III or Kurt Cousins it really won't matter for Morris. The run option plays that led to Morris' breakout campaign last year have been thrown out of the playbook due to their ineffectiveness, not wanting RGIII to run and get hurt, or both. When Washington trails, they don't run the ball, but this week, they won't have any other options. Now only if Shanahan would give Morris the red zone touches as well, we'd be on to something!

For all the ills that Mathews has caused in his career. Fantasy owners can't be disappointed in what he's given to them this year as a much lower round draft pick. The injuries are still lingering, but he's gotten steady carries and steady production. I do like him more than Toby Gerhart simply because the Eagles defense - who Gerhart will face - has been playing much better lately, especially at keeping teams out of the end zone. He's a good desperation play if your bench running backs consist of BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Lamar Miller, but Mathews has more upside.

WR - Calvin Johnson, DET v +Baltimore Ravens, Alshon Jeffery, CHI @ CLE, Andre Johnson - HOU @ +Indianapolis Colts, A.J. Green, CIN @ +Pittsburgh Steelers 

Lots of big time receivers lining up for big time games. You would think A.J. Green is a no brainier, and he really is, but while his season has been good, it's been spectacularly quiet. The numbers are there, but he's not in that top tier of receivers I thought he'd be coming into the season. Facing Joe Haden multiple times a season won't help, but you wonder if Andy Dalton is taking his toll on Green.

I'll never question Jeffery ever.


If you're desperate: Torrey Smith, BAL v +Detroit Lions , Anquan Boldin, SF @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN v +Philadelphia Eagles, Julian Edelman, NE @ +Miami Dolphins 

Two of these three are total home run plays. Smith and Patterson have the potential to go off. Smith is actually a very nice play against the Lions, and Patterson is starting to figure things out as of late. Boldin will likely be the guy not covered by Darelle Revis, which is always nice. Sorry, Michael Crabtree.

TE - Jordan Cameron, CLE v CHI, Charles Clay, MIA v +New England Patriots 

Cameron is back baby! And don't let the Cowboys' terrible performance Monday night fool you, the Bears' defense isn't very good.

If you haven't enjoyed a week out of Charles Clay then shame on you. The FAABulous favorite has 6 TD's on the year and is approaching 700 yards receiving. He's outperformed Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates.

If you're desperate: Delanie Walker, TEN @ +Denver Broncos, Zach Miller, SEA - v +New York Giants 

The tricky thing with Walker is he's a Thursday night play which, if it goes poorly, puts you in a hole. But he would be my #1 widely available addition to replace Gronk. Miller is a more risky play, but his match up in NJ is a favorable one. He has shown the ability to make a big play here or there, and he slightly beat out Brent Celek, who is even more TD dependent than Miller.

Plus, now we need more options at TE than ever since we can all accept that Ladarius Green is just a figment of fantasy experts' imagination and move on with our lives.

K - Stephen Gostkowski, NE @ +Miami Dolphins, Mason Crosby, GB @ +Dallas Cowboys 

People want to keep ranking Crosby so low, and I don't understand it. If the Aaron Rodgers injury benefited anyone fantasy wise it's Crosby, and he hasn't disappointed all year.

DEF - Carolina v +New York Jets, San Francisco @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Yes, you're playing Seattle against the Giants, and Kansas City is capable of still giving bad teams trouble, but Carolina going up against the Geno Smith or Matt Simms combo platter? Yippy skippy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 14

Eric Decker, just when I thought you couldn't disappoint me any more you go and do something like this. (ctpost.com)
FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems. PLAYOFF EDITION: We're not focusing on lower % owned players, but those with choice match-ups for the playoffs. 
AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!

If this was a week you needed to win and get into the playoffs or if it was just the penultimate week in your league, there were no shortage of big time players doing their best to help you if they were on your roster. Most notably the wide receivers.

Those point totals, also were the top 3 in all of football for Week 13. Even weirder, the first QB doesn't show up until Peyton Manning at #6, who just threw for 403 yards and 4 TD. Adrian Peterson is #9 with the quietest 211 yard game you'll ever have. It was a weird, crazy week.

But let's get back to the receivers. Yes, it was historic, yes if you lost starting any of these three receivers you should be embarrassed, and yes, out of these three receivers one needed this kind of game more than the others. That one receiver is Eric Decker.

Decker had gone 4 games without a score, and in those 4 games amassed 170 yards - otherwise known as a Josh Gordon first half. The lure of keeping Decker in your line-up every week was strong because let's face it, he's a good receiver and Peyton Manning could decide to get him the ball any given Sunday. Well, this past Sunday was that day.

Coming off a 0.50 point game, benching Decker had to be on plenty of people's minds. I know one person in my money league did it, as well as my Facebook friend who solicited advice previously for Gio Bernard (his options were Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, or Eric Decker: FWIW I would have gone with Wright and Decker).

Well that turned out not to be the best decision. Decker had the game of his life. As the recipient of every Manning TD pass, Decker actually outscored himself for the whole season in this one game (3 TD prior to 4 in the game) and sent owners swooning either in joy or fainting that he's chilling on the bench.

Decker owners have been annoyed with him all year. And no, it's not just because the guy has a hot wife (please feel free to Google ... I'll wait) but it's because his inconsistency and ADP haven't paid off. With the new look passing game in Denver, I assumed Wes Welker would be the key contributor to a slight Decker decline as I noted in my WR Ranks.

Thomas seems to be the safest pick out of all the Denver wide receivers simply because he's the most dynamic out of the bunch. Welker seems geared up to get his catches, and Decker might be viewed widely to get the small piece of chicken, those two are a lot closer than most rankings state. Thomas though is the match-up nightmare with the ability to make plays in all quadrants of the football field.

As it turns out though everyone from Knowshon Moreno, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball have contributed to Decker's inconsistency.

Sadly, it's to be expected that many Decker owners didn't get to cash in. He was slumping and if you had another reasonable alternative there's no shame in benching Decker. To bench Josh Gordon just means you aren't paying attention, and Jeffery against Minnesota is a good match-up but not something you'd go out of the way to start him against (for the record I started him over Moreno at Flex in my money league and it was probably the highlight of my 2013 fantasy season). While it has been frustrating with limited rewards to keep Decker in your line-up, this was the payoff that many owners were hoping for.

Hope is exactly what this time of year is all about in fantasy. The big game, the playoff hero that will carry us to an upset or a deserved victory. Yes, more than any other fantasy sport, you only need to get into the playoffs to rattle off a couple of miraculous wins. I won a fantasy title in 2007 basically due to Aaron Stecker. These things happen and match-ups and hope are the most important things to look at. So with the playoffs here and many, many players having already been mentioned throughout the season, I'm going to list some players I like for specifically Week 14. Call this Love/Hate or Flames/Lames or whatever, but I figure this would be the best way to provide more pertinent info this late in the year.

Good or bad, Matthew Stafford can pile up fantasy points. (si.com)
QB - Matthew Stafford, DET @ +Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles, PHI v. +Detroit Lions 

These QBs will be going head to head in a big game for both teams. In some ways, these teams are similar in their high powered offense and shoddy secondary. It's hard to foresee anything but a high scoring game.

The beauty about Stafford is that even when he's bad, he puts up fantasy points. Hell, the guy had 4 INT's two weeks ago and still rattled off 20.48 fantasy points - which is amazing considering the guy doesn't run a la Cam Newton.

Foles isn't quite fantasy proof, but he can have a decent game but still put up big points based on the fact that he doesn't turn the ball over. In all of his starts this year, he's only thrown for more than 300 yards once, but Chip Kelly trusts him in the end zone and with a 19:0 TD to INT ratio, how could you not?

If you're desperate: Josh McCown, CHI v. +Dallas Cowboys , Joe Flacco, BAL v. +Minnesota Vikings 

We know what Flacco does this time of year, and a Minnesota secondary that got battered by Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery last week will be happy not to have them around, but they will be chasing down Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones all day.

RB - Eddie Lacy, GB v +Atlanta Falcons, Shane Vereen NE v CLE

Lacy was a no show on Thanksgiving, so call him well rested. The Packers won't be trailing by nearly as much against the punchless Falcons at Lambeau. Stevan Ridley was inactive for the Patriots this past week, and it doesn't look like they really want him back in the mix. Vereen is the constant, but Brandon Bolden did great as well. The Browns don't have a bad rush defense, but Vereen is able to catch the ball out of the backfield and brings a lot of options for Brady and company.

If you're desperate: C.J. Spiller, BUF @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Donald Brown, IND @ +Cincinnati Bengals 

If Eric Decker can give us something back this holiday season, then why not Spiller? You're looking for home run plays from C.J. and that's really all you can hope for. Also, in case you haven't watched the Colts for the past month, they've been terrible. But at least they're trying to put their best players on the field by benching Trent Richardson in favor of Donald Brown.

WR - Alshon Jeffery, CHI v +Dallas Cowboys, Vincent Jackson, TB v +Buffalo Bills, Riley Cooper, PHI v +Detroit Lions 

It's pretty clear which wide receivers have tasty match-ups based on my QB picks. You're obviously starting Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant so here are some widely owned but lesser mentioned receivers. Jeffery and Jackson both deserve a lot of attention for this Sunday, and I like Cooper more than DeSean Jackson as well.

Also, not that I would bench Josh Gordon, but he has a sneaky tough match-up against the Pats. The Pats have their issues, but the Pats do a great job locking down the opposing teams' #1 receiver. All year only three have found the end zone (Stevie Johnson - if he counts, Antonio Brown, and Demariyus Thomas). That's it. Aquib Talib's health plays a factor, but with Bill Belichick it's always about the strategy.

If you're desperate: Mike Wallace, MIA @ +Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacoby Jones, BAL v +Minnesota Vikings 

 Mike Wallace going off against his former team in the Steel City would be such a Mike Wallace thing.

TE - Rob Gronkowski, NE v @ CLE, Jordan Cameron, CLE v +New England Patriots 

I mean, it's impossible not to love Gronk. Also, if BB is able to keep Gordon in check, then QB Browns has to get the ball to Cameron.

If you're desperate: Ladarius Green, SD v +New York Giants, Tim Wright, TB v +Buffalo Bills 

Every week there's a new hot shot TE out there. Green's value is tied to if Antonio Gates can go, and it looks like he will. Green will still get plenty of action as the Chargers seem content with a two TE set. When it comes down to end zone looks though, Gates is still the top target.

Come on, Tim Wright! We can do this together!

K - Blair Walsh, MIN v +Baltimore Ravens, Nick Novak, SD v +New York Giants 

DEF - Cincinnati v +Indianapolis Colts, Arizona v +St. Louis Rams 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 13

Stevan Ridley is forcing Bill Belichick to look for other options at RB. (GETTY)
FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.

As sports fans, we like to romanticize games in our minds. When many of us forget the epic Pats and Broncos game Sunday night, we will most likely remember the story of two halves. Peyton Manning leading his juggernaut Broncos team to a commanding 24-0 lead at halftime, only to have Tom Brady do Tom Brady things and bring his Patriots back to secure an overtime victory. This was certainly a huge win for the Pats, and time will tell if this victory served as a warning of the Patriots tenacity, or just a reminder to keep the pedal to the metal for the Broncos once the playoffs get underway. 

Yes, it's easy to want to look at the offensive side of things, but what really caused this raucous affair to unfold on national television was something much uglier. Turnovers. 

Each team can attribute 17 points allowed due to seven total turnovers (3 for the Pats, 4 for the Broncos) which wildly swung the game from start to finish. 

Two of the main culprits of the turnovers were Stevan Ridley and Montee Ball. Two running backs who have almost made it their calling card this year. Ridley, the primary back in New England, leads all non-QB players with fumbles lost (3 rushing, 1 receiving) and Montee Ball, the rookie back who has fumbled and lost the football 3 times on minimal carries as the back up to Knowshon.

Both were immediately benched for the rest of the game. Presumably not as "punishment," which is an antiquated thought since this is the NFL and not preschool, but so these two couldn't go back on the field and fumble again. 

Ridley and Ball have shown time and time again that they have trouble securing the football. When opposing teams know this, I'd say their efforts at ripping the ball from these RBs loose grips increases about 72.1%. They are a liability on the field and whether it's mental or a flaw in their technique, this isn't going to get any better for these struggling, albeit talented backs.

So far this year, both have had fantasy relevance. Ridley was the 24th player taken on average in ESPN fantasy drafts, and Ball is the highly rated rookie out of Wisconsin and took my #22 RB ranking pre-season, and the player whom many thought was going to be the starter in Denver by this point in the year. He's even been sneaking into some goal line opportunities recently despite his issues. Given their individual hype, both have been a bust so far this year. The final hammer may have fallen on these backs Sunday night, with the fear being that both would be relegated to the bench for the rest of the season. Let's look at each player's situation and see if that's the case.

Starting with Ridley, he is both the more important fantasy player, but also the one in the most jeopardy. Ridley was the undisputed starter for the Patriots, granted with a lot of competition. Shane Vereen has his role as third down back, Brandon Bolden as well, and LeGarrette Blount as a change of pace. Vereen and Bolden have had injury issues throughout the season, but now both are back and healthy. 

This leaves Ridley in the doghouse of Bill Belichick with plenty of viable options to take his place. Belichick, of course, has the gumption to outright bench Ridley for his crew of other runningbacks. Belichick has a system in place on offense with players that are interchangable, unless it's Tom Brady. 

Bolden had a solid game filling in for Ridley running for 58 yards and a TD along with an 11 yard catch. If he can up his game, he is a legitimate threat to take Ridley's spot. 

Vereen will continue to be utilized primarily as a pass catcher, and I'm sure BB will feed him the ball if he's on his rushing game. 

Blount, who had a fumble of his own, isn't really a threat to anyone. 

The positive thing for Ridley is that he is the most talented every down back the Patirots have, and they are looking to win a Super Bowl. Suddenly benching him and limiting the offensive options the Pats have won't help anyone. Belichick has some trick up his sleeve that will help Ridley overcome this issue one way or another. If that's drilling during practice or limiting his touches on the ball, Belichick will pull out all of the stops. Ridley is too important a player for the Pats to become an afterthought, but the primary risk I see is if Bolden has a big game. That could have Bolden and Ridley swap roles.

Ball has been looming over the past couple of weeks. He's fumbled three times on 75 carries, but he's still gotten double digit touches in his last two games; including a 2 TD performance against Kansas City. This whole time Knowshon Moreno has been a destroyer of worlds in fantasy. Currently rated the 7th overall player in fantasy this year, Moreno carried the ball 37 times for 224 yards and a TD on a bruised ankle. While Moreno has been underappreciated all year, he really put his stamp on the starting RB position with that performance. 

Along with Moreno's herculean performance, Ball's latest fumble also paved the way for C.J. Anderson - an undrafted rookie from California - to get some significant action. He's only gotten to line-up next to Petyon in two games this year, but is averaging over 5 yards per carry. Certainly a limited sample size, and no one knows what his ball handling ability is (he almost lost a hand off on Sunday), but there have been positive returns. 

If Moreno can't go (it appears he will) against a weakened Kansas City defense, I would imagine Anderson and Ball will split carries. The Broncos aren't going to give up on Ball, but if his fumbling issues can't be corrected, then there will always be next year for him. Ultimately, barring injury, it doesn't look like Ball will be the primary back in Denver for the rest of the season.

It's interesting that these two backs, in this one game, can have their issues boil over and truly jeopardize their involvement in the team moving forward. That's not to say that there isn't a bit of bad luck on their side (I'm sure Bill Barnwell agrees). Plenty of running backs have fumbled as much as Ridley and Ball. Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, and Jamaal Charles all have 3 fumbles, but only Peterson has lost all three. Statistically, Ridley and Ball should have had some better fortune on their own team recovering these errors, but at the same time, no one will mistake either of their on-field impact in the same terms of an Adrian Peterson. The mistakes for these two backs are much less forgivable. 

Sorry for all the doom and gloom pre-Thanksgiving. I would have liked to just watch this .gif over and over again. Man, did anyone's afternoon go from awesome to terrible faster than Scott Tolzien?




Carson Palmer, QB - ARZ (40% owned) @ +Philadelphia Eagles 

Good Gawd, it's Carson Palmer! The Cardinals ar 7-4? I had no idea. Palmer has really clicked with Michael Floyd recently and he also has that Larry Fitzgerald guy which has produced back to back 20+ point games. A road game in Philadelphia is a bit tougher than it was earlier in the year, but the potential is still there for Palmer to make this his third straight 20 point day.

Jacoby Jones, WR - BAL (12%) +Pittsburgh Steelers 

A word of warning, there are a lot of Ravens and Steelers on this list. The primary reason is that both of these teams were terrible at the beginning of the year, but are starting to emerge right now. Their Thanksgiving Day game has a lot of talking heads saying the winner of that game will be the favorite for the last playoff spot in the AFC. Go figure! Oh, as for Jones, he's a constant deep threat, and for Flacco to win, he needs to air it out.

Jerricho Cotchery, WR - PIT (35%) v. +Baltimore Ravens 

He's not the most exciting player to own. Antonio Brown is the undisputed big dog in the Steel City, but Cotchery has held his own as the WR2B to Emmanuel Sanders WR2A.

Bernard Pierce, RB - BAL (24%) @ +Pittsburgh Steelers 

Not that Pierce has taken the job from Ray Rice by any stretch, but the run game in Baltimore has been so pathetic that at some point John Harbaugh just has to give Pierce 25 carries and see what he can do, right?

John Carlson, TE - MIN (12%) v. +Chicago Bears 

This Bears defense is atrocious. If Cordarrelle Patterson has 3 catches for 183 yards and 3 TDs I wouldn't be shocked. Look for Carlson to get a lot of play.

Dennis Pitta, TE - BAL (3%) v. +Baltimore Ravens 

A pre-season sleeper pick, Pitta is working his way back to the starting line-up. He participated in walk-throughs on Monday, but isn't expected to be ready for Thursday. Could be a good stash if you're thin at TE.

PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED

Benny Cunningham, RB - StL (3%) @ SF

We've been here with Daryl Richardson (fail) and Isaiah Pead (fail), and Zac Stacy (success). I don't expect much from Cunningham on the road in San Francisco. 

THE 1%

C.J. Anderson, RB - DEN (1%) @ +Kansas City Chiefs 

This isn't your Week 10 Chiefs defense. Aside from having a tough time with Denver a couple of weeks ago and two of their best pass rushers picking up knocks, you can't be going into Arrowhead too nervous. Moreno will likely play, but even if he does you have to imagine the coaching staff will look to take it a bit easier on a guy with a bruised ankle that's carried the ball 64 times in the last two games. I'd expect Moreno to have a more "normal" 15 carries and more catches. Anderson and Ball can split the remaining 15, and it's a coin flip rock, paper, scissor from there.

PERSONS OF INTEREST

Julian Edelman, WR - NE (38%), Brandon Bolden, RB - NE (6%), Nate Burleson, WR - DET (23%), Jacob Tamme, TE - DEN (2%), Dennis Johnson, RB - HOU (11%), Tim Wright, WR/TE - TB (17%), Mike Glennon, QB - TB (21%), Cordarrelle Patterson, WR - MIN (18%), Bilal Powell, RB (39%)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 12

Fantasy owners rejoiced Bobby Rainey's Week 11 performance. Fantasy writers rejoiced being able to make easy puns. (si.com)
FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.

I can honestly say that I don't recall dishing out fantasy football info as well last year as I have this year. Perhaps I've been too generous with my information because as I look ahead to Week 12, I see a lot of FAABulous favorites still available on waivers. Under 50% owned. So, I must wonder to myself if this is indeed the case, then maybe they need the spotlight put back on these fantasy factors. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I've added a Persons of Interest section with previous players that I have mentioned in FAABulous, but now in light of seeing how many of these players are prominently involved in Week 12, it would only make sense to bring it back and build a Week 12 line-up after these undervalued players. Hopefully, this will get most of these players off the Persons of Interest List and into more Yahoo! line-ups.

I was going to base this introduction off of The Purge. A movie that I saw the trailer for and it looked interesting, but more than a couple of people have said the movie is a total disappointment. Paradoxically, this is supposed to be about players that are certainly not disappointments, but since I don't know what this movie is about, nor care I'm pushing forward anyway. Here are your Purge List All-Stars.

Case Keenum, QB - HOU (49% owned) v. JAX

We can all admit. What happened to Case Keenum last week was awkward. Having him benched for the hated Matt Schaub. Schaub getting yelled at by one of the nicest guys in the NFL, Andre Johnson (who, oh by the way, has 1000x more TDs this season with Keenum under center as opposed to Schaub), and all of this orchestrated by the head coach who was recovering from a stroke? It's been that kind of year in Houston, but Keenum is still a strong play against those Jaguars.

Josh McCown, QB - CHI (16%) @ StL

Trust in Trestman! Trust in Trestman!

Bobby Rainey, RB - TB (28%) +Detroit Lions 

Rainey was my The 1% pick for last week, but you added Brian Leonard, didn't you?

Montee Ball, RB - DEN (37%) +New England Patriots 

It's happening! The fear of all Knowshon Moreno owners. Ball, despite being a part a fumble early in the game, managed to plunge himself into the end zone twice against the Chiefs for touchdowns. If Moreno gets those, he has a normal Moreno game. Without them you have 7.90 points. The best thing about Moreno to this point has been his consistency in the offense, but the Broncos seem to be looking to shake that up and get Ball more in the mix.

Donald Brown, RB - IND (27%) +Arizona Cardinals 

He's been better than Trent Richardson for a couple of weeks now, and last week was the official game where Brown is so much more effective than Richardson that you can't really ignore it. A tough match-up with Arizona, but Brown should be addded in all leagues.

Kenny Stills, WR - NO (42%) +Atlanta Falcons 

Have you seen this Falcons team play recently? This isn't just a team that has succumb to injuries, this is an absolute mess of a team. Even being in Atlanta won't help them against a Saints' offense that is out for blood.

Cordarrelle Patterson - MIN (17%) @ GB

Patterson has yet to showcase his offensive potential lining up at the line of scrimmage, but his opportunites should increase in the coming weeks. He started his first game of the year last week, and this week he faces a poor Green Bay secondary.

Marlon Brown, WR - BAL (12%) v. NYJ

Brown does have an injury that needs to be monitored, but if healthy he has shown an ability to use his size to be a great target for Joe Flacco.

Tim Wright, WR/TE - TB (27%) +Detroit Lions 

Tim, I thought we had something. When I picked you as my The 1% and you began showing signs of promise. You looked to have a good relationship with Mike Glennon, and put up two straight weeks of solid perfomances only to fall on your face in Week 10 and 11. Yes, you even hurt me personally when I needed 2.50 points from you that Monday Night in Miami and you netted 1.90. But we can work this out. We still have a future!

Delanie Walker, TE - TEN (22%) +Oakland Raiders 

While not getting as much attention as Jordan Reed in Washington, Walker has been better than Reed. I don't expect that trend to change. His 22% ownership is criminally low.

PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED

Brandon LaFell, WR - CAR (25%) +Miami Dolphins 

LaFell has always been inconsistent. With Cam Newton making strides this year, you'd expect LaFell would show some benefits of working with the Big Man, but seems to be the same old LaFell. 

THE 1%

Chris Ogbonnaya, RB - CLE (4%) v. PIT

Oh, those crazy Cleveland Browns. Still putting up a fight with their third string quarterback starting, trading away their former 3rd overall pick in what now looks to be a great deal for them, ignoring their star TE Jordan Cameron for no apparent reason, and now it looks like Ogbonnaya is their starting RB. Pittsburgh has been uncharacteristically shaky against the run this year. He's worth an add.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Looking for a Fight @ UFC 167: GSP v. Hendricks

Johny Hendricks looks to end Georges St-Pierre's reign at welterweight. (scifighting.com)
I mentioned that with the UFC celebrating it's 20 years this week that there's a lot to discuss and review. All networks that cover the UFC as well as the organization itself has done a great job showcasing how far the sport has come along in a short time. There's a lot to digest and a lot to take in, so I highly suggest you go peruse everything places like mmafighting.com and UFC.com have to offer. There is a mega card this weekend, so I'll just pass along a couple of quick thoughts on the UFC and how it's affected my sports fandom then get right to GSP v. Hendricks.

Personally, I first started getting into the UFC the first year after I graduate from college. My best friend from home had apparently gotten into it his senior year with his roommates, so he invited me over for a pay per view. I knew a little about the UFC. Very little. This was probably a couple of months before Roger Huerta's Sports Illustrated cover came out.

I'm a big sports fan, so I was intrigued by a sport that had caught the attention of my friend, who at the time, probably didn't know who Peyton Manning was.

We are sitting in the living room of his apartment, and I just start asking basic questions. Not about the rules, as I thought I'd be able to figure those out, but about the fandom of the UFC.

"Who's the biggest star?"
"Chuck Liddell."

"Who is the biggest fan favorite? The guy everyone likes?"
"Randy Couture."

"Who is your favorite fighter?"
"This up and coming guy, Georges St-Pierre (or how I transcribed it in my mind at the time: George St. Pierre)."

These basic tenants are what started my path to become a UFC fan. I can't remember what really made me decide I'm in on this sport. There wasn't a moment where I realized this sport was for me. What I do remember is just wanting to know about the fighters.

This actually proved to be kind of difficult way back in 2007. There was the Ultimate Fighter, but that didn't show UFC stars fighting. There weren't many options for free fights on YouTube or at UFC.com, and the amount of media (Fox Sports, ESPN, Yahoo!, and such) were barely or non-existent. I've never been a big message board guy, so I wasn't digging a bunker in Sherdog world, just looking around.

Over time though, as my friend and I would order the pay per views and watch them I just couldn't get enough. I quickly acted as my n00b self liking the champs, but as my knowledge of the sport developed I started liking other "non-champs" as well.

Slowly but surely I just kept consuming information. Remembering fights and fighters. Of course also finding a passion for the sport itself. My friend and I also grew up on the WWF. So while the UFC wasn't the spectacle the UFC (except for Dana White) was, I was happy to engage in the realness of the fighters and the storylines that UFC marketing put together. Let's face it, to get into this type of occupation, you probably have an interesting history.

Becoming a fan of the UFC wasn't a matter of getting into it, but rather just opening your eyes to the obvious. This is an exhilarating and thrilling sports event. There isn't a regular season in the UFC, it's the Super Bowl every month.

To this day, when people - notably: my friends who are primarily (not to be sexist, the UFC is fine for the whole family to love) 20-35 year old males - don't like the UFC, don't get it, think it's too slow, or most horridly find it to be homoerotic (another note: this specific person is not my friend he was a friend of a friend) I can't even begin to explain how wrong they are. To have those thoughts while watching the UFC is beyond my realm. I have no idea what these people are watching.

But hey, that's their right. If they're not into it, I'm not going to put them in a gogoplata to make them understand. I just don't get it.

So with the 20th Anniversary approaching and a great card about to take place Saturday night I'll be driving to South Jersey to that same friend's house to have some beer, smoke a cigar, eat some pizza, and watch some fights. Congrats, UFC and thanks.

BREAKDOWN

Johny Hendricks wants to knock out Georges St-Pierre. You don't say? Well, he's going to have to in order to get the belt on Saturday.

It seems every GSP fight is surrounded by the strength of his opponent. What the opponent brings to the table and can do to GSP. The spotlight is on the Champ, but when it comes to the storyline, it's about how GSP's opponent exposes certain risks in GSP's game, thus alluding to a close fight or that shocking potential upset. Kind of like when the Batman movies were always about the villain and never about, you know, Batman. "Hey guys, we got Schwarzenegger to be Dr. Freeze!"

The stance with Hendricks is easy. He might be the hardest pound for pound puncher the UFC has. Regardless of weight class, you don't see people get their consiousness clicked off quite as easily has Hendricks has been able to do in his recent fights. This is one-punch knock out power. No follow up ground and pound, no person that got hit attempting to defend himself. This is punch and goodnight.

Hendricks' power along with his elite wresting is certainly a threat. At this point he's probably better as an all around MMA artist than Josh Koscheck and even Matt Hughes in GSP and Hughes' third fight. I must admit, I wasn't a believer at all in Hendricks until his Carlos Condit fight. He was tenacious, closed ground, and made things difficult for Condit the entire fight. Hendricks ability to continually move forward and threaten his opponents is a unique skill for a UFC fighter, especially once you begin taking on elite competition.

Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch serve as good highlight reel fodder, but let's be honest with those two fighters. Kampmann has made his livelihood getting clocked and either rebounding or not to win/lose a fight and Fitch just lost to Josh Berkmann. Neither were equipped with the proper tools to defend against Hendricks' assault while standing. GSP has great striking defense, and it doesn't translate to an easy target for Hendricks and his left hook.

We know the wrestling is there for Hendricks, but we also know GSP has some of the best MMA wrestling in the UFC. He's done well against every fighter, including collegiate champs like Koscheck. It is worth noting though that GSP did have to work harder for those take downs the second time against Koscheck.

Hendricks won't eliminate GSP's wrestling, but he will be able to neutralize it greatly. For that reason, I'm expecting this to be much more of a stand up battle early on. Hendricks will look to pressure and challenge GSP, and GSP will look to utilize his jab and leg kicks to attempt to keep Hendricks at bay.

Hendricks' dogged approach and seemingly reckless ability to keep moving forward does present a challenge for GSP, but GSP also has a devastating jab to work with a 7 inch reach advantage against the stocky Hendricks. Hendricks may want to come forward and be aggressive, but GSP has the physical capabilities to make it hard for Hendricks to get near GSP without incurring a lot of damage. Not to go back to Koscheck again, but that fight was a mighty struggle for Kos once GSP popped his orbital bone. This is something Hendricks cannot take lightly.

Furthermore, in regards to GSP's offensive attack, I expect him to be able to maintain distance, force Hendricks to be highly active and be able to stay away from sustaining major damage. The main thing GSP has to keep in mind that when he looks to counter Hendricks, that Hendricks will keep moving forward. When GSP was rocked by Carlos Condit, it was the result of Condit throwing a two punch combo he had probably thrown a dozen times by that point in the fight, however the time he caught GSP, he finished off that two punch combo with a head kick. GSP had expected the same combo, dropped his hands, and got caught. Hendricks will throw multiple punch combinations and won't stop at one or two, but use his power to force his way inside by throwing three or four punch combos to close the distance. This is something GSP has to be cautious of and not be too aggressive in his counter striking.

For GSP to win, I expect him to be highly elusive from Hendricks and utilize his great jab and leg kicks to attempt to quickly tire the #1 contender.

Speaking of that jab, I had an idea yesterday while I was reading up on coverage of the fight. GSP seems to be keeping back a "secret" that he is looking to show off tonight. Speculation has been that this is a possible retirement, rekindling a super fight, or movies or whatever. People have also positioned this secret to happen post-fight, but I think GSP's surprise is a strategy he will utilize against Hendricks to catch him off guard. I think he's going to come out fighting southpaw style. Call it the reverse Rocky II strategy.

Think about it. GSP's striking is dynamic, but when he does fight orthodox, he doesn't typically fight in a standard muay thai stance, which is more upright and tall in order to better utilize leg kicks and avoid incoming strikes. His stance is based in his karate background with some wrestling modifications. This leaves his base wide, but also keeps his head right in the pocket - even leaning forward a bit. He's been clipped multiple times in the nose and forehead against BJ Penn and Koscheck and Condit as a result.

Standing in a southpaw stance keeps him in a better defensive stance against Hendricks' left hand and will certainly disorient a fighter that is expecting to fight an orthodox fighter. In boxing particularly, where the jab is so highly utilized, many trainers have suggested moving to a southpaw stance because if you're throwing your jab, why wouldn't you use your stronger limb to deliver those blows? I'm sure GSP's jab with his right hand doesn't lose any mustard when he throws it. Even during the weigh-ins yesterday, did GSP give away his secret? He started orthodox then jump switched to his southpaw stance with a smile on his face. Granted GSP usually lines up this way for face offs, but the jump switch struck me as interesting.

GSP lined up in his southpaw stance last night.
Wouldn't this be such a GSP thing to do? He always unveils a new trick. Something he's practiced thousands of time at Tri Star. Away from cameras rolling or reporters reporting.

I think GSP looks extremely focused or even obsess with this fight. In interviews, he doesn't look stoic or frustrated like he did leading up in his last couple of fights, he looks energized. I think Hendricks will struggle to get a hold of GSP in the ring and will incur a lot of damage trying to get to him. As the fight wears on, Hendricks will move a bit slower. If he tries to shoot in and take down GSP early, then you know he's in trouble.

GSP will take his normal calculated approach, but Hendricks will put up a fight and put himself in harms way more than previous challengers. GSP may not have knock out power, but his strikes are damaging. GSP will never move away from his takedowns because it's an important part of his striking game and keeping his opponents guessing, but I don't think he'll lean heavily on the takedowns until the third round. As Hendricks tires, he will expose that and utilize his MMA wrestling and jiu jitsu.

GSP wants a finish and fans have been waiting for a virtuoso performance, and I think accomplishes both tonight. GSP by rear naked choke in the 4th round.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

UFC: 20 Years

Matt Hughes takes on B.J. Penn. (kickassmma.com)

There's a lot of reasons I love the UFC. As it reaches the 20th anniversary, set to culminate on Saturday at UFC 167 in Las Vegas, there have been multiple media outlets and the UFC themselves parading out some of the greatest of. A retrospective for a 20 year-old sport seems premature, but at the same time the growth and story of the UFC amazing enough that it needs to be documented. I don't have the time or wherewithal to dive deep into my history with the sport, but I'm sure I'll share a couple of thoughts in my Looking for a Fight column later this week when I discuss the Georges St-Pierre v. Johny Hendricks fight, but for now, I wanted to pass along a quick ranking I did on ESPN.com for the best UFC fighters over the past 20 years.

My rankings are also listed below, and you can vote for your own selections as well.

SportsNation RankingsPoints#1 VotesYour Rankings
1.Anderson Silva63123031.Anderson Silva
2.Georges St-Pierre5552892.Georges St-Pierre
3.Jon Jones52561013.Jon Jones
4.Chuck Liddell4478434.Chuck Liddell
5.Randy Couture3933315.Matt Hughes
6.Royce Gracie3762656.Randy Couture
7.Matt Hughes293877.B.J. Penn
8.B.J. Penn268348.Tito Ortiz
9.Tito Ortiz258859.Royce Gracie
10.Frank Shamrock2260410.Mark Coleman
11.Mark Coleman1407611.Frank Shamrock