12/20/14

Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks went out and got themselves an early Christmas present trading for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The full deal went like this; Boston traded Rajon Rondo and Forward Dwight Powell to Dallas for Guard Jameer Nelson, Forward Jae Crowder, Forward-Center Brandan Wright, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a 2016 second-round draft pick. While this deal may give the Mavericks the best starting five in the NBA it doesn’t guarantee them anything in the tough Western conference. Rondo was entering his 9th season with the Celtics and is coming off of two injury shortened seasons. He played 38 games in the 2012-13 season and then 30 games in the 2013-14 season. Rondo was playing a little under 32 minutes per game for the Celtics this season and has looked like he’s past his injuries. The knock on Rondo has been his shooting. In 22 games this season Rondo is shooting 44% from the field, 25% from behind the three point line and just 33% from the free throw line. Rondo has always been a good rebounder for a guard and some experts believe that he’s the best rebounding point guard in the NBA. Rondo is averaging 7 1/2 rebounds per game along with handing out an average of 10.8 assists per game; which is leading the NBA right now. Rondo is added to the Mavericks starting line up of Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons. While that will be an impressive starting line up with Wright going to New York in the deal the bench has been weaken especially when it comes to big men. Does Charlie Villanueva become the first big man off of the Mavericks bench with Wright being traded? While dealing for Rondo is the kind of move that will make Dallas one of the favorites to come out of the Western conference if they can’t find a solid big man coming off the bench they might not get to the end of the rainbow and win that NBA title.

The wheeling and dealing continues in Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres being the team that grabbed center stage. The Padres went out and got themselves a new starting outfield as the Matt Kemp trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Will Myers trade with the Tampa Bay Rays where finalized and then making a trade with the Atlanta Braves to acquire Justin Upton. The final deal has Justin Upton and right-handed pitcher Aaron Northcraft going to the Padres for left-hander Max Fried, second baseman/shortstop Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson, outfielder Mallex Smith, and international bonus compensation. The Padres then went out and made a deal with the Oakland A’s as catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Seth Streich and an international signing slot are on the way to San Diego. with right-handers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez going to Oakland. The Padres still weren’t done making deals as they had ab extra catcher in the roster; so they sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks. It looks like the Padres aren’t done dealing as they have a glut of outfielders on the roster right now. Besides Upton, Myers and Kemp they have Will Venable, Seth Smith, Cameron Maybin and the oft injured Carlos Quentin on the roster. It’s possible that one of these players ends up at 1st base as Myers and I believe Venable have played some 1st base at the major league level. We had Billy Brost on Sports Time Radio yesterday (Friday) from Friars On Base and he wrote an article suggesting that Quentin might be the best choice to try to move to 1st base. With his injury history Quentin doesn’t have a whole lot o value on the trade market, but a move to 1st base might help him stay healthy and get another bat in the Padres line up. The Padres may also have some starting pitching to deal as well. With Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Odrisamer Despaigne, Robbie Erlin, the recently signed Brandon Morrow and the resigned Josh Johnson looking like candidates for the rotation. There’s even a chance that the Padres trade closer Joaquin Benoit as they have the hard throwing Kevin Quackenbush possibly ready to take over the closer role. You’ll need to keep an eye on San Diego and see what their next move is.

Not to be out done, the Miami Marlins kept their off-season activity going as they made a pair of deals. In the first deal the Marlins traded right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, 1st baseman Garrett Jones and right-handed pitcher Domingo German to New York Yankees for right-handed pitcher David Phelps and Martin Prado. With Prado’s ability to play all over the diamond it looked like Miami might use him as a super utility type of player. That wasn’t the case as Prado will be the Marlins everyday 3rd baseman as last season 3rd baseman Casey McGehee was traded to the World Series champion San Francisco Giants for young righties Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo. McGehee will replace Pablo Sandoval at 3rd base for the Giants. As most of you know by now Sandoval signed with the Boston Red Sox earlier in free agency. McGehee was the National League Comeback Player of the Year last season for the Marlins.

There where also some minor transactions made that will affect your favorite team. A couple of veteran players were released by their teams as the Oakland A’s released infielder Nick Punto and the Dodgers released relief pitcher Brian Wilson. The Kansas City Royals traded 2nd baseman Johnny Giavotella to Los Angeles Angels for right-handed pitcher Brian Broderick. The Chicago Cubs have signed Jon Lester’s personal catcher David Ross to a two-year, $5 million contract. They look like minor moves for teams right now, but you never know how it will affect a team or where some of these guys will end up.

Both mine and Dan the Man’s fantasy hockey teams are off to good starts in the Sports Time Radio league. Dan’s team is the #1 ranked team overall for the season and I am ranked 6th out of the 18 teams. Vladimir Tarasenko the St. Louis Blues right-winger has been a big surprise and is the #1 ranked forward/defenseman in our league right now. Tarasenko was rated as the 157th player starting the season, but with 20 goals, 17 assists and a plus/minus rating of +19 he’s moved to the top of the rankings. Tarasenko is actually the #2 overall ranked player in our league, but the top offensive one. The #1 overall ranked player in the Sports Time Radio league is Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne has 20 wins against 6 losses with a Goals Against Average of 1.76, a Save Percentage of .937 and three shutouts so far this season. Sadly neither Dan or I have either of these players, but are teams are doing well just the same.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?

12/17

Week 15 is in the book in the National Football League and with just a couple of weeks left in the regular season Mr. Fantasy has taken the overall lead in our picks. Mr. Fantasy is 148-74-1, I am two games behind Mr. Fantasy at 146-76-1, Schaumburg Stu is 3rd at 145-72-1 while Dan the Man is at the bottom with a record of 140-82-1. In Week 15 Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy where both 13-3 while Dan the Man was 12-4 and I ended up at the bottom for the week with a record of 11-5. Week 16 starts tomorrow with the Tennessee Titans against the Jacksonville Jaquars and then there are two games on Saturday this week as well.

Let’s check in and see how the Greg vs. Mr. Fantasy challenge went for Week 15. At quarterback Greg went with Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions while Mr. Fantasy choose Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Stafford finished 17th among quarterbacks for the week with 9.51 points while Brees was the #1 scoring quarterback for Week 15 with 25.45 points. At the running back position Greg went with Jamal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs while Mr. Fantasy’s pick was Arian Foster of the Houston Texans. Believe it or not Charles was actually the 3rd highest scoring running back on the Chiefs in our league for Week 15. Knile Davis with 23.68 points finished 5th for the week and De’Anthony Thomas scored 12.27 points finishing 12th for the week. Charles scored 9.05 points which was good for 42nd place among running backs. Foster scored 21.70 points which was good for 8th place among running backs in Week 15. At the wide receiver position Greg picked T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts while Mr. Fantasy took Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants. Hilton scored 8 points finishing 47th among wide receivers while Beckham was the highest scoring wide receiver in Week 15 with 41.43 points. For tight ends in Week 15 Greg liked Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans while Mr. Fantasy liked Larry Donnell of the New York Giants. Walker finished in 8th place with 12.30 points while Donnell scored 2.60 which was good for 34th place among tight ends. At kicker Greg went with Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens while Mr. fantasy took Shaun Suisham of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tucker scored 8 points which was good for a tie for 10th among kickers. Suisham scored 9 points which put him one place ahead of Tucker which was a tie for 9th place for the week. Sleepers is the toughest category to deal with as I have to decide who I actual feel is a sleeper and who isn’t. Since there are only a couple of weeks left in the regular season and then the playoffs; yes they’ll be making picks for the playoffs, but I don’t think Greg or Mr. Fantasy know that yet. I will have sleeper pick guidelines for next season. Anyway for his sleeper pick Greg took New York Jets running back Chris Johnson while Mr. Fantasy went with Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson. Johnson scored 8 points and finished 21st among running backs while Anderson scored 12.69 points which was good for 8th place among quarterbacks. The scoring system is base off of the Next Year is Here league that we’ve played in for many years and is run through Yahoo.

Let’s stick with football. Johnny Manziel got the 1st start of his NFL career against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and he was bad. They better way to say it is Manziel looked like a rookie quarterback making his 1st start in the NFL. Manziel was 10 for 18 for 80 yards throwing 2 interceptions. Manziel also ran 5 times for 13 yards and was sacked 3 times. Not the start Cleveland Browns fans where looking for out of their #1 draft pick. Brett Favre was 14 for 19 for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns in his 1st start, but remember John Elway was 1 for 8 for 18 yards and was pulled in his first NFL start. Will Manziel be as good as Favre or Elway; no probably not, but you had to expect him to struggle in his 1st start. The thing I’m having a hard time understanding is the fact that most of the experts where calling for the Browns to make a change from Brian Hoyer to Manziel at the quarterback positions. The Browns actually make the change; Manziel struggles and anyone who said Manziel should be the starter denied it and turned on Manziel as quickly as they could. Man; how would you like to be in a fox hole with one of these guys? If you’ve listened to the podcast you know that Dan the Man and I are Johnny Manziel supporters while Mr. Fantasy hates the guy and doesn’t think he belongs in the NFL. I’ll be the first to admit he was bad on Sunday and I even said on the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcast that if you owned him in fantasy you shouldn’t play him, but he didn’t deserve the attacks that he suffered at the hands of people who were supporting him a week before. There are always growing pains with rookie quarterbacks. Look at Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater; all rookie quarterbacks who’ve started for their teams this season and have had struggles. Why did the mainstream media decide that Manziel was the guy to parade out in front of everyone and try to embarrass?

There where some more moves made in the baseball off-season. Melky Cabrera signed a 3 years $42 million dollar deal with the Chicago White Sox. Jed Lowrie signed a 3 year $23 million dollar deal with the Houston Astros. Chase Headley is staying with the New York Yankees as he signed a 4 year $52 million dollar deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Brett Anderson for 1 year at $10 million dollars. The Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Alex Rios for 1 year and $11 million dollars. Michael Morse signed a 2 year deal with the Miami Marlins for $16 million dollars. Coming off of an arm fracture that cost him most of the 2014 season Gavin Floyd signed a 1 year $4 million dollar deal with the Cleveland Indians. There was also a trade made as The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have sent reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Matt Joyce. Who’s the next guy to sign or be traded? Will or has your favorite team made the moves they need to contend next season?

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

12/13/14

The winter meetings this year where a haven for baseball fans. With the trades and the signings it seemed as every team was in on a player or a deal. Not all of them went through, but let’s see which teams did what and where they might go from here.

Let’s start in the National League West with the World Series champions. The San Francisco Giants lost Pablo Sandoval in free agency to the Boston Red Sox and where in the running for Jon Lester, but he signed with the Chicago Cubs. The Giants are still looking for a starting pitcher and possible someone to play 3rd base and another outfielder. There’s been talk of Buster Posey playing 3rd base and the new rumor is that Joe Panik may be moved over there. Marco Scutaro will return from injury and he’ll be in the mix somewhere. If you’ve heard Mark O’Neil from AroundtheFoghorn.com on our podcast you’ve heard the name Matt Duffy as a possibility at 3rd as well. The Giants have also started to take a look at James Shields. While they haven’t made a move they’re looking for guys who fit their system. Remember the Los Angeles Dodgers won the West last season and they went out and changed quite a bit of their roster for next season. Dee Gordon and Dan Haren where traded to the Miami Marlins for left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher, 2nd baseman Enrique Hernandez and catcher Austin Barnes. Heaney was then moved to the Los Angeles Angels for 2nd baseman Howie Kendrick. The Dodgers went out and got Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies to fill to opening at shortstop left by Hanley Ramirez. The long talked about move of an outfielder happened as Matt Kemp was traded to the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers sent Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego, with the Dodgers receiving catcher Yasmani Grandal, righty Joe Wieland, and a third player, likely pitching prospect Zach Eflin. It is being reported that Eflin won’t be a Dodger for long as he is headed to Philadelphia as part of the Rollins deal. The Dodgers are going to look different come opening day, but they added Brandon McCarthy to an already solid starting rotation and good pitching can keep you in a lot of games. The Arizona Diamondbacks where able to land one of the top Cuban free agents in Yasmany Tomas before the winter meetings started, but at the meetings they traded C Miguel Montero to Chicago Cubs for RHP Jeferson Mejia and RHP Zack Godley. Then the Diamondbacks traded LHP Wade Miley to Boston Red Sox for RHP Rubby De La Rosa, RHP Allen Webster and SS Raymel Flores. The Colorado Rockies traded 2B Josh Rutledge to Los Angeles Angels for Jairo Diaz, but the move everyone is waiting for out of Colorado didn’t happen. Will they open the season with Troy Tulowitzski and Carlos Gonzalez on their roster? The Kemp trade was the Padres big move. They did sign Clint Barmes as a free agent.

In the N.L. Central the St. Louis Cardinals made their move early getting Jason Heyward in November. The Cardinals did sign free agent Mark Reynolds to a contract. The Pittsburgh Pirates brought back their own when they signed free agent LHP Francisco Liriano. Remember they also signed free agent RHP A.J. Burnett to bolster the starting rotation. The Chicago Cubs got their man. They said going into free agency that Jon Lester was their #1 target and they sign him this week to a six years and $155 million. The deal also includes a $25 million dollar option for a seventh year with a $10 million dollar buyout. Jason Hammel was also brought back by the Cubs to add to the starting rotation and Miguel Montero was brought in from Arizona to catch them. The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t make any moves this week, but remember they did trade Marco Estrada to the Toronto Blue Jays for 1st baseman Adam Lind in November. The Cincinnati Reds on the other hand dealt off a couple of starting pitchers. RHP Alfredo Simon was traded to Detroit Tigers for SS Eugenio Suarez and RHP Jonathon Crawford and RHP Mat Latos to Miami Marlins for RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach. It was expected that the Reds would move a starting pitcher or two as they where all come up to their free agent years and there was no way they could resign all of them.

In the NL East the Washington Nationals made a minor trade moving LHP Ross Detwiler to Texas Rangers for 2B Christopher Bostick and RHP Abel De Los Santos. All the talk was that we’d see the Nationals deal Jordan Zimmerman or Doug Fister; so they could get in on the Max Scherzer bidding. Now it’s being reported that Washington may take another run at signing Zimmerman to a long-term deal. In Atlanta Braves signed Nick Markakis to replace Heyward. They added Shelby Miller in the Heyward deal and let Ervin Santana go in free agency. The Braves are even going to try to get something out of Jim Johnson; who at one time was a top closer. The Miami Marlins big move of course was getting Giancarlo Stanton to sign a long-term deal to stay with the team. They then went out and proved to him that they where serious about contending. The Marlins added Dee Gordon from the Dodgers and Mat Latos from the Reds without having to move any players in their starting line up. The New York Mets added Michael Cuddyer early in free agency and then this week signed another outfielder in John Mayberry Jr. There’s been a lot of talk about the Mets adding a shortstop, but will have to wait and see if they can get that deal done. Besides dealing Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers and letting A.J. Burnett go in free agency the Philadelphia Phillies also made a minor deal with the Pirates sending middle reliever Antonio Bastardo to Pittsburgh.

For the American League let’ start in the East. The Baltimore Orioles won this division last season. The Orioles didn’t make any moves this week, but remember they signed Nelson Cruz very late in free agency last season and that worked out well for them. The Orioles will also get Chris Davis back from suspension as well as Manny Machado and Matt Wieters returning from injury. After finishing at the bottom of the division last season the Boston Red Sox went out and made moves to change that this coming season. The Red Sox signed both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez in free agency. Ramirez will move to the outfield this season. The Red Sox then traded for Wade Miley from Arizona, Rick Porcello from Detroit and signed Justin Masterson as a free agent to shore up their starting rotation. If Clay Bucholtz can establish himself as a #1 starter this will be a good rotation. The New York Yankees where another team that made their moves before the winter meetings getting the shortstop they needed in Didi Gregorius and then adding to the bullpen by signing free agent Andrew Miller. Add the Toronto Blue Jays to that list of teams who made moves before the winter meetings. They did claim Chris Colabello off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins this week. Before the meetings they added catcher Russell Martin as a free agent and acquired Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders in trades. The Tampa Bay rays look to be rebuilding as there are more names leaving the Rays than signing with them. The rays did add closer Ernesto Frieri as a free agent.

In the ALCentral the Kansas City Royals decided to let Billy Butler go as a free agent and signed Kendrys Morales to fill his spot. The Royals haven’t added any other pieces to a team that went to Game 7 of the World Series last season. Being the prototypical small market team you have to wonder if the Royals will deal one of their three bullpen pieces for what they need this season. The Detroit Tigers add pitching and power to their team. Alfredo Simon was acquired from Cincinnati; they also received Shane Greene from the Yankees in a deal. The Tigers then got Yoenis Cespedes in a deal with the Red Sox to fill Tori Hunter’s spot. The Cleveland Indians only move was trading minor league 2nd baseman Joe Wendle to the Oakland A’s for outfielder, 1st baseman Brandon Moss. The Minnesota Twins went out and added a couple of free agents bringing Tori hunter back to Minnesota and then signing Ervin Santana to a 4 year deal worth 55 million dollars. Do you remember last season when Santana went into free agency and was asking for 18 to 20 million dollars a season. The Chicago White Sox added players early signing 1st baseman Adam LaRoche and lefty reliever Zach Duke, Then at the winter meetings they went out and traded with the A’s for Jeff Samardzija to add to the rotation. The sign free agent David Robertson to close games and also added middle reliever Dan Jennings in a trade with Miami at the end of the winter meetings.

in the AL West the Oakland A’s revamped their roster by adding Billy Butler as a free agent along with Brett Lawrie, Ike Davis, Marcus Semien plus 6 other minor leaguers players in trades. The A’s will look different on the field this season, but should continue to have strong pitching. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim added Josh Rutledge from Colorado, catcher Drew Butera from the Dodgers and top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney in a separate trade from the Dodgers. The Houston Astros addressed their biggest need in free agency signing relief pitchers Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. The Astros also went after Andrew Miller and David Robertson, but they choose to sign elsewhere. Sergio Romo may still be on the Astros radar to add to the bullpen. The Texas Rangers added Ross Detwiler in a deal with the Nationals and resigned pitcher Colby Lewis. The Rangers also selected Delino DeShields Jr. in the Rule 5 draft. The Seattle Mariners added the power hitting right-handed bat that the experts said they needed signing free agent Nelson Cruz. The mariners also traded for pitcher J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays.

There are still a lot of moves to be made before teams get to spring training, but here are some of them that went down. Who’s a winner and who’s a loser in these deals? I don’t think you cam answer that until you see what else these teams might do and how they play together once the season gets started.

A brief correction from Wednesday’s blog. I credited Greg with picking wide receiver James Jones of the Oakland Raiders in last Sunday’s head to head challenge against Mr. Fantasy. He actually selected Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons as his wide receiver. It was an honest mistake on my part as I wrote down J. Jones at the wide receiver position for Greg. Now I’ve known Greg since high school and he’s always been a Raiders fan; so when I saw J. Jones I thought Raiders not Falcons. Sorry Greg.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?

12/10/14

The baseball winter meetings are rolling along this week and there have been some big name players signed and traded. Late last night the Chicago Cubs where able to sign their #1 free agent target; Jon Lester. Lester gets a six year deal for $158 million dollars and a vesting option for a 7th year. The 7th year option is being reported to be worth $15 million dollars. This offer beat out the Boston Red Sox to who were the other team left in the Lester derby. The Red Sox final offer to Lester was six years and $135 million dollars. Lester joins Jason Hammel in the Cubs 2015 starting rotation. Hammel signed back with the Cubs earlier in the week for two at $10 million dollars. The Cubs dealt Hammel to the Oakland A’s last season. The Cubs also acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks for young pitchers Zack Godley and Jefferson Mejia.

The baseball team on the south side of Chicago was busy as well as the White Sox agreed to a deal with the Oakland A’s that sends Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago, though this time with the South Siders. Righty Michael Ynoa is going with him in return for infielder Marcus Semien, righty Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo. The White Sox also added a closer having agreed to sign David Robertson to a four year deal worth more than $46 million dollars. Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value.

Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a deal with left-handed pitcher starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. The deal is for three years at a total of $39 million dollars. The deal seems quite a reasonable price for a pitcher with Liriano’s ability to dominate. The Pirates had express interest in bring Liriano back, but with the resigning Pittsburgh will give up the ability to add draft pick compensation, which it was in line to receive if Liriano had found a new home after declining a qualifying offer.

The story I kept hearing reported from the winter meetings was that the Houston Astros where looking to add to their bullpen. They where in on left-handed reliever Andrew Miller and actually offered Miller more money then what he got when he signed with the New York Yankees. Robertson was also a reported target of the Astros before he signed with the White Sox. Today the Astros added two relievers that should help improve their bullpen. The Astros have agreed to a three-year, $18.5 million dollar deal with reliever Luke Gregerson. Also the Astros have reached a deal with fellow right-handed reliever Pat Neshek. Neshek receives a $12.5 million dollars guarantee over two years, with an option for a third.

Also earlier in the week the Oakland Athletics have officially agreed to ship outfielder/first baseman/DH Brandon Moss to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle. This deal had been talked about between these 2 teams for a couple of weeks and they finally agreed to it Tuesday.

We’ll have to see if they are a couple pf more moves out there before the winter meetings end, but if we don’t it’s been a pretty exciting week for baseball fans.

Let’s look at how we did in Week 14 of our NFL picks. Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy tied for the best record at 12-4. I finished a game behind them with and 11-5 record while Dan the Man ended the week at 9-7. For the season Mr. Fantasy and I are ties for the lead at 135-71-1. Schaumburg Stu is three games behind us with a record of 132-78-1. Dan the Man is stuck at the bottom of the standings with a record of 128-78-1. Let’s see what Week 15 brings us.

How did Greg and Mr. Fantasy do against each other in Week 14? Well let’s take a look at who they picked and how they did. At quarterback Greg took a chance on Thursday night with Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears while Mr. Fantasy went with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Cutler scored 24.22 points and finished 8th in the quarterback standings for Week 14 while Brady scored 17.54 points and ended up 12th for the week. It was Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton who led all players at that position for Week 14 with 39.82 points. It seems like both Greg and Mr. Fantasy rate their running backs similarly as they managed to select the same player again. This time it was Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Lacy finished 4th for the week with 29.60 points. He was behind Joique Bell (Detroit Lions), DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys) and Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers who topped all other running backs with 52.50 points in Week 14. At wide receiver Greg went with a Oakland Raiders player as he likes to do and this week it was James Jones. Mr. Fantasy took Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions for his wide receiver. While the Raiders did get their 2nd win of the season in Week 14 Jones only scored 2.60 points for Greg and finished ranked 103rd among wide receivers. Johnson had a little better week scoring 28.05 points and finishing 6th among wide receivers for Week 14. At tight end Greg took Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins while Mr. Fantasy went with Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers. Reed scored 4.75 points and finished 26th among tight ends for the week. Gates scored 7.15 points which was good for 17th among tight ends for Week 14. At kicker Greg picked Matt Prater of the Detroit Lions while Mr. Fantasy selected Mason Crosby of the Green bay Packers. Prater scored 11 points in Week 14 and tied for 6th place. Crosby out up 15.25 points which was good for 3rd place among kickers for Week 14. The sleeper picks for Week 14 where Sebastian Janikowski the Oakland Raiders kicker for Greg and Charles Johnson the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver for Mr. Fantasy. Janikowski scored 9 points for Greg while Johnson scored 19.55 points for Mr. Fantasy. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a kicker being a sleeper pick, but hey why not. Let’s see who Greg and Mr. Fantasy like for Week 15. You can hear Mr. Fantasy make his choices Sunday morning in between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. during the Sports Time Radio preview podcast for Week 15 of the NFL on www.blogtalkradio.com Sadly you have to wait until I write this blog on Wednesday’s to know who Greg selected and how they did against each other.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

I need to thank NHL.com for the stats and awards that Jean Beliveau won during his career. Without that site I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about Beliveau.

12/06/14

While the NBA season is only about 20 games old for most teams there are some questions out their this early in the season. If you’re a fan of the New York Knicks are you asking yourself if the triangle offense is the right fit for your favorite team. The Knicks are off to a 4-17 start to the season after a last second loss last night to the Charlotte Bobcats 103-102. Carmelo Anthony is averaging 23.2 points per game, but Amar’e Stoudemire is the only other Knicks player averaging in double figures per game at 12.8. Stroudemire also leads the team in rebounds per game with 7.8. At 3.9 assists per game Jose Calderon is leading the Knicks in that category. While those might be solid individual stats for players it’s the team stats that show where the Knicks are suffering. The Knicks average 93.5 points per game and this is good for 26th place out of 30 teams. They are 13th in opponents scoring giving up 98.9 points per game for a difference of -5.4 points a game. As a team the Knicks are shooting .448 % from the field which puts them in 19th out of 30 NBA teams. Knicks opponents are shooting just a little better per game at .450 % from the field which ranks at 13th out of 30 teams. New York is one of the better 3 point shooting teams in the NBA. The Knicks make .371 % of the 3’s they take which is tied for 7th in the league. In return though opponents shoot a better percentage from behind the 3-point line. Knicks opponents make .379 % of the 3’s they take which is 25 out of the 30 NBA teams. New York is middle of the pack with turnovers per game at 14 this ranks tied for 14th in the NBA. There opponents are committing 13.9 turnovers per game which ranks 15th out of 30 teams. Before the season started the experts said it would take the Knicks some time to adjust to playing the triangle offense. How long is too long? To use the old if the playoffs started right now line; yeah the Knicks wouldn’t be close. The Knicks are 5 1/2 game behind what would be the 8th seeded Brooklyn Nets. I heard someone say just yesterday that resigning Anthony in the off-season was a mistake, but without him who’s scoring for this team. The triangle offense can and has worked with one top scorer in it. It’s the pieces around that player that have to really fit the system. Anthony doesn’t quite fit the triangle like Michael Jordan did for the Chicago Bulls or Kobe Bryant did for the Los Angeles Lakers, but there’s no doubt he can score. You have to wonder how Knicks fans will react if this team misses the playoffs for the second straight season in a row in the Eastern conference.

It was brought to my attention that I forgot to add Greg and Mr. Fantasy’s sleeper picks for Week 13. So here are there picks; so we’ll be all caught up. Greg went with Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery was targeted 5 times; he caught 2 of those targets for 20 yards and 3.50 points for the week. Cotchery was 95th among scoring for wide receivers in Week 13. Mr. Fantasy picked Indianapolis Colts running back Dan “Boom Boom” Herron. Herron carried the football 8 times for 88 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted twice in the passing game catching both passes for eight yards. Herron did lose a fumble, but totaled 18.35 points in Week 13 was 12th highest scoring running back for the week. Now we’re all caught up and we’ll see who Greg and Mr. Fantasy like in Week 14.

Did your fantasy football playoffs start this Thursday when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 41-28? The better question might be; did you make the fantasy football playoffs? For your leagues Week 14 is the last week of the regular season and I find myself on the outside looking in, but I am in position to sneak into the playoffs. In our Next Year is Here league I am in 9th place and 8 teams make the playoffs; so I need a win and then a loss by the team ahead of me. In the Sports Time Radio league which is our auction draft league I sit in 10th place, but record wise just 1 game out of 8th place. I did have a couple of players go in the Thursday night game, but my guys didn’t put up great numbers. Our Next Year is Here league is the one you always hear us joke about that we start two tight ends a week. I have Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboy as one of my starting tight ends. Witten caught 2 passes for 26 yards and put up 4.10 points in our scoring system. Witten was projected to score 11.71 points in Week 14; so that team is in the whole to start. I the Sports Time Radio league I had two players going in Thursday’s game; both wide receivers. Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears and Terrence Williams of the Cowboys. Marshall looked like he was on his way to putting up good numbers for me, but a rib and lung injury ended his game and what appears to be his season. Marshall had 4 targets catching 3 of them for 61 yards. Marshall was projected to score 14.90 points in Week 14, but ended up scoring 8.35 points. Williams on the other hand had 0 targets which of course means 0 catches and 0 yards for a total of 0 points. While Williams wasn’t expected to put up huge numbers; he was projected to score 8.20 points in Week 14, but it’s tough to come back from a starter getting a big old 0 in points for your team. Here’s hoping your Week 14 started off better than mine did. That is unless you’re playing against my team.

The New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers have officially announced a three-team trade sending shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees, right-hander Shane Greene from the Yankees to the Tigers, and left-hander Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to the Diamondbacks. Is Gregorius the long-term answer for the Yankees at shortstop or is he going to just be a gap filler until a bigger name comes along. In two seasons with Arizona Gregorius played in 183 games. He is a career .241 hitter with 25 doubles, 8 triples and 13 home runs. They Yankees also announced the signing of Andrew Miller to a four-year contract. Miller, a client of Frontline Athlete Management, will reportedly receive a $36 million dollars guarantee, but the contract does not include a no-trade clause. The 29-year-old Miller (30 next May) broke out in a huge way in 2014, pitching to a 2.02 ERA with an eye-popping 14.9 K/9 (an AL record) in 62 1/2 innings for the Red Sox and Orioles. He went on to throw another 7 1/3 shutout innings with an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in the postseason as well. Miller will pair with Dellin Betances; an electric breakout story himself at the back of the Yankee bullpen, giving manager Joe Girardi a pair of dominant late-inning options. Does signing Miller mean that David Robertson is no longer in the Yankees plan. Will the Yankees still add a starting pitcher; which a lot of experts think they need. There’s still a lot of off-season left for teams to sign or trade for players; so we’ll see who ends up where before the 2015 season starts.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?

12/3/14

For Week 13 Mr. Fantasy was the winner in picking games at 11-5. Dan the Man and I ended the week tied at 10-6 while Schaumburg Stu was 9-7 for the week. Overall I have a one game lead on Mr. Fantasy. I am 124-66-1 so that makes Mr. Fantasy 123-67-1. Schaumburg Stu is holding onto 3rd place by a game with an overall record of 120-70-1. Dan the Man is still in the basement with a record of 117-71-1. Now it’s on to Week 14.

Since there where three games on Thanksgiving I allowed Greg and Mr. Fantasy to use those players in their head to head match up. So here’s how it broke down for Week 13. At quarterback Mr. Fantasy went with Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions while Greg took Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Stafford finished 11th among quarterbacks for the week with 18.05 points. Romo finished with -1.87 points for the week and was behind quarterbacks Tom Savage of the Houston Texans and Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans. Not the best week for Romo. Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Houston Texans and his six touchdown passes led all quarterbacks for Week 13 with 4.66 points. At running back Mr. Fantasy and Greg both went with Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. Charles scored 17.40 points and finished 14th among running backs for the week. Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers led all running backs for the week with 42.90 points. Mr. Fantasy’s choice at wide receiver for Week 13 was Charles Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Greg went with Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys. Johnson ended up as the 2nd highest scoring wide receiver of the week with 35.10 points. Bryant scored 10.30 points and finished 43rd among wide receivers for the week. DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans was the only wide receiver to score more points than Johnson in week 13. Hopkins ended the week with 42.80 points. At tight end Mr. Fantasy picked Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans. Greg’s choice was Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys. Walker scored 1.35 points for the week and finished 47th among tight ends for Week 13. Witten wasn’t a whole lot better finishing 44th among tight ends with 1.55 points for the week. Coby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts was the tight end to have in Week 13 as he topped all scores with 27.95 points in Week 13. Everybody needs a kicker so Mr. Fantasy choose “The Leg” Greg Zuerlein of the St. Louis Rams while Greg went with the Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker. While the Rams put up 52 points in their Week 13 game Zuerlein got just one field goal attempt in the game, but did kick seven extra points and totaled 10.00 fantasy points for the week. Zuerlein finished 7th for the week among kickers. Tucker put up 15.00 fantasy points for the week and tied for 3rd among kickers for Week 13. It looks like Greg’s strategy of going with the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving didn’t work out for him. It looks like Week 13 goes to Mr. Fantasy.

The Tampa Bay Lighting are leading the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference with 37 points. The Montréal Canadiens trail the Lighting by just one point with 36 on the season. In the Metropolitan both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders have 36 points and are tied for the division lead. In the Western Conference the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks are tied for the lead in the Pacific division and the conference point lead with 35 points. The Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues are just one point behind with 34 points on the season and are tied for the lead on the Central division. The Islanders have the most wins in the National Hockey League at this point with 18. On the other end of the NHL standings the Columbus Blue jackets and the Edmonton Oilers have totaled 16 points on the season and are tied for the most losses in the NHL with 15. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins leads the NHL in points with 33 and assists with 24 while Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars leads the league in goals with 18. Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators is the leagues plus/minus (+/-) leader with a +21. Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets leads all goaltenders in Goals Against Average (G.A.A.) at 1.56 and Save Percentage with .947. Pekka Rinna of the Nashville Predators leads the league in wins with 16 while Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has 5 shutouts to lead all goaltenders. The NHL season is only about 30 games old, but I always enjoy looking at who’s leading what category. I just hope if you’re a fantasy hockey player you saw some players names that where on your team.

In sad NHL news, former Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau passed away at 83. Beliveau spent 18 full seasons with the Canadiens from 1953-71. In 1,125 games, he scored 507 goals, set up 712 others and finished with 1,219 points. He played in 14 NHL All-Star Games, won the Hart Trophy as League MVP twice (1956 and 1964), the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer in 1956, and the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1965. Dwarfing those accomplishments, however, is that Beliveau was a member of 10 Stanley Cup-winning teams as a player and seven more as an executive with Montreal. His name has been engraved on the Stanley Cup 17 times, more than any individual. Beliveau is second all-time in Canadiens history in points and assists, third in goals, and fourth in games played. He became the fourth player in NHL history to reach 500 goals when he scored on Feb. 11, 1971, and was the second player in League history to score 1,000 points, joining Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings in that exclusive club on March 3, 1968, in his 911th game.

While I don’t agree with this move, but it will make Mr. Fantasy happy the Cleveland Browns are sticking with Bryan Hoyer as their starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts this week. Hoyer was 18 for 30 against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13 for 192 yards and two interceptions. Hoyer has thrown six interceptions in his last three games. Johnny Manziel relived Hoyer against the Bills and led Cleveland on their only touchdown drive of the game. Cleveland is 7-5 and trying to hang around in the AFC playoff race; so maybe they think staying with the veteran Hoyer is the better choice. While Hoyer is a solid if not spectacular quarterback he’s throwing to many interceptions and Manziel might be able to provide a spark to the Browns. If the Browns drop this weeks game to the Colts will it finally be “Johnny Football” time in Cleveland?

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

I need to thank NHL.com for the stats and awards that Jean Beliveau won during his career. Without that site I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about Beliveau.

11/29/14

It’s the week off Thanksgiving and not only do you get a ton of food and family, but the NFL as well. The NFL gave us three games to watch, but sadly none of them ended up being close games. The first game had the Detroit Lions beating the Chicago Bears 34-17. If you only saw the 1st quarter of this game you wouldn’t believe that the Bears didn’t win the game. It was 14-3 after that 1st quarter and it looked like the Bears had the Lions defense figured out and would cruise to a victory. As you can tell by the final score the game didn’t go that way as the Lions defense stepped up and held the Bears down while their offense got going. After the Lions took the lead the game was never in doubt and they cruised to a 17 point victory. On the fantasy side of the game Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Joique Bell where the top two scorers in our yahoo fantasy league titled Next Year is Here 13. Johnson had 11 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns and that was good for 35.10 points in our league. Bell gained 91 yards on 23 carries scoring 2 touchdowns and also caught 2 passes for 16 yards which totaled 29.95 points. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford cracked the Top 10 for the day coming in as the 7th highest scoring player for the day with 390 passing yards and those 2 touchdown passes to Johnson, but he was sacked twice and did fumble once. Stafford ended the game with 18.05 points. On the fantasy side for the Bears tight end Martellus Bennett led all tight ends in scoring for the day with 17.15 points. Bennett had 8 catches for 109 yards against the Lions. While Bennett did lead all tight ends Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery led the team in fantasy points with 25.85 points. Jeffery caught 2 touchdowns passes and ended the game with 9 catches for 71 yards. The second game had the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Dallas Cowboys 33-14. Watching the game it seemed like the up tempo Eagles offense just ran the Cowboys defense out of gas. Tony Romo also seemed to struggled and this will bring up the questions of what kind of shape is his back in. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was the highest scoring fantasy player in this game finishing 3rd on the day with 26.80 points. While Murray didn’t get 100 yards rushing he did put up 73 yards rushing on 20 carries scoring a touchdown while also catching 6 passes for 40 yards. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had his second good week in a row for his fantasy owners. McCoy finished 4th for the day right behind Murray with 26.15 points. McCoy had 25 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown, but he did fumble. If you’ve held on to McCoy through the rough games he’s had this is the second game in a row that it’s paid off for you. Murray was the only Cowboys player to make the Top 10 in fantasy scoring from this game, but McCoy has two teammates join him in the Top 10. Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin joined McCoy in the Top 10. Sanchez scored 20.39 points throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown; he also ran the football 7 times for 28 yards and picking up a rushing touchdown for his fantasy owners. Sanchez was sacked one time, but that didn’t prevent him from finishing as the 6th highest scorer for the day. Maclin caught 8 passes for 108 yards and 17.05 points which put him in 9th for the day among fantasy scorers. So we had an NFC North match up to start. Then we went to the NFC East for the second game. So the night ends with an NFC West match up as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers 19-3. The odd stat from this game is the fact that Seattle won last week by the exact same score, but as far as fantasy owners go this game isn’t going to help you in Week 13. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch did finish on the Top 10 for the day in the 10th spot. Lynch had 104 rushing yards on 20 carries and a touchdown; he also caught 1 pass for 7 yards. This was good enough for 16.85 points and that 10th spot. Fantasy scoring wise the first 49ers player comes in at 17th for the day and it’s Carlos Hyde. If you’re not in a deep fantasy football league yards and added ague Hyde probably wasn’t in your line up, but he scored 10.44 points. Hyde got 5 carries for 19 yards, caught 3 passes for 38 yards and added 62 return yards for the day. Another fantasy surprise from this game would’ve been Seahawks back up running back Robert Turbin. Turbin picked up 14 fantasy points in the game with 4 rushes for 8 yards and 2 receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. If you took a chance on Turbin yesterday it might pay off for you this week with him finding his way into the end zone.

There where some big signings and a surprise kind of trade in Major League baseball this week. The surprise trade came through last night as the Oakland A’s traded 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and three minor leaguers. Pitchers Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, and shortstop Franklin Barreto. Just looking at this trade Mr. Fantasy questioned on last nights (Friday) podcast how this made the A’s better. This trade will depend on what the A’s can get out of Nolin, Graveman and Barreto. Nolin was 97th among prospects by Baseball Prospectus in 2013. Last season the left-handed throwing Nolin made 20 minor league start on three different level for the Blue Jays. He was 4-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 97 innings adding 88 strikeouts while walking 39. Graveman a right-handed pitcher threw at four different level for the Blue Jays last season. He made 27 starts covering 167 1/3rd innings going 14-6 with a 1.83 ERA striking out 115 batters while walking 39. Barreto is an 18-year-old shortstop who spent 2014 in Class A for the Blue Jays. He hit .311 in 73 games with 6 home runs and 61 runs batted In adding 29 stolen bases. He made 26 errors with a fielding percentage of .913 last season. The A’s saved some money swapping Donaldson for Lawrie and at the major league level it looks like the Blue Jays got the better end of the deal. The A’s need one of these prospects to turn into something to take this deal; so only time will tell. Most if not all baseball fans know that Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez will be with the Boston Red Sox in 2015, but the surprise signing for me this week was the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to terms with Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas on a six-year deal. While I’m not surprised by Tomas getting signed or the money he got, but by the fact the it was the Diamondbacks that landed him. Arizona’s name never really came up in talks about Tomas. The Philadelphia Phillies where the early front-runners and then the San Diego Padres where the rumor landing spot, but it was Arizona who came in late and got Tomas signed. It’s been reported that Tomas has major league power and may hit 30 home runs a season, but it is also reported that he’ll strikeout a lot in the big leagues. Fans will have to wait and see if Tomas is the next high quality Cuban player or if he’s the first bust from Cuba. In what has to be the under rated trade of the week the Miami Marlins picked up Aaron Crow from the Kansas City Royals for P Brian Flynn and P Reid Redman. Crow could turn into a top-level set up middle reliever for the Marlins as they try to build their team around GianCarlo Stanton and his new contract. I also don’t want to leave out the Seattle Mariners agreed to terms with third baseman Kyle Seager on a seven-year extension.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your Thanksgiving?

Week 12 was a bounce back week for all of us making our picks. Mr. Fantasy won the week at 13-2. I finished one game behind him at 12-3. Schaumburg Stu took the 3rd spot with a record of 11-4 while Dan the Man finished one game behind him at 10-5. For the season I’m still holding onto the lead at 114-60-1. Mr. Fantasy has taken over 2nd place with a record of 112-62-1. Schaumburg Stu fell to 3rd just a game behind Mr. Fantasy with a record of 111-63-1. Dan the Man is at the bottom of the standings through 12 weeks with a record of 109-65-1. With 3 games tomorrow we’ll see if someone can het off to a fast start for Week 13.

Let’s take a look at our head to head fantasy challenge between Mr. Fantasy and Greg. At quarterback Mr. Fantasy went with Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears while Greg selected Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Cutler scored 5.10 points and finished 22nd among quarterbacks for the week. Brady scored 16.98 points and finished 9th among quarterbacks for the week. I’m still trying to figure out if Brady was an allowable choice. It was decided that they would no longer be able to pick player who were among the Top 5 scorers for the season. I believe Brady was on that list, but I need to double-check. At running back Mr. Fantasy went with Denard Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaquars while Greg’s choice was C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos. Robinson scored 11.70 points and tied for 28th among running backs for the week. Anderson had a very good week scoring 35.25 points and finishing 2nd out of all the running backs for Week 12. On a side note Justin Forsett was the leading scorer for running backs with 38 points. At the wide receiver position Mr. Fantasy picked T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts while Greg went with Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers. Hilton was 6th among wide receivers with 23.20 points while Cobb scored 8.86 points and finished 49th among wide receivers for the week. At tight end both Mr. Fantasy and Greg decided that Colby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts was the choice this week. Fleener finished 30th among tight ends scoring 4.30 points in Week 12. For kickers this week Mr. Fantasy went with Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons while Greg decided that Phil Dawson of the San Francisco 49ers would be the best kicker for the week. Bryant scored 9 points and tied for 8th place for the week. Dawson scored 6 points and tied for 12th place for the week. Believe it or not Mr. Fantasy tried to use Josh Gordon the returning wide receiver of the Cleveland Browns as his sleeper pick, but I shot that pick down. Instead Mr. Fantasy went with Ben Tate now of the Minnesota Vikings while Greg’s picked was Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray. Tate didn’t get a carry and I’m not even sure if he saw the field on Sunday; so he scored 0 points. Murray on the other hand put up 25.93 points for the week on only 4 carries and finished 6th among running backs for the week. Even with the possible Brady error it looks like this week went Greg’s way. Let’s see if Mr. Fantasy can bounce back in Week 13.

If you where listening to the Sports Time Radio podcast yesterday you heard that we’re going to try to make Tuesday’s, Fantasy Tuesday. We’re going to see if we cam focus on hockey and basketball during their seasons. I thought we got through basketball alright, but we struggled with hockey. I think it was mostly on me as I tried to force too much information into what we where talking about and I don’t think it came across on air. Our hockey fantasy league is a category league. We use goals, assists, plus/minus (+/-), penalty minutes, power play points, short-handed points, game winning goals, faceoffs won, hits and blocked shots. For the goaltenders their categories are wins, losses, goals against average, save percentage and shutouts. Winning a category is the equivalent of winning a game. For the last week Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers was ranked as the top offensive player. One of the stats that pushed Giroux to the top spot was he won 74 faceoffs for the week. Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche was ranked 2nd on offense. MacKinnon had 6 assists and was +5 for the week. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars was ranked as the 3rd best offensive player for the week. Benn had a well-rounded week scoring 2 goals adding 3 assists he was a +2 had a power play point and just for the heck of it had 9 hits. The top goaltender of the week was Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. Price had 2 wins a 0.50 goals against average a .985 save percentage and 1 shutout. Price barely beat out Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders. Halak had 2 wins a 0.48 goals against average a .980 save percentage and 1 shutout. Calvin Pickard of the Colorado Avalanche picked up 2 wins during the week as he didn’t allow a goal on 42 shots in relief this week. Hopefully next Tuesday I’ll do a better job of breaking down the hockey stats for the listeners.

The Boston Red Sox made a big splash in free agency this week as they signed both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez and have been reported to have offered Jon Lester a deal and are also interested in acquiring Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies. Sandoval will earn a guaranteed $95 million over five years, with a club option for a sixth season. Sandoval will receive a $3 million dollar bonus, then earn $17 million annually over 2015-17 before taking home an $18 million salary in both 2018 and 2019. The club option is for $17 million and comes with a $5 million dollar buyout. Ramirez will reportedly earn $88 million over those four years, and his contract contains a $22 million vesting option for a fifth year. The contract calls for a $3 million dollar signing bonus, a $19 million salary in 2015 and a $22 million salary from 2016-18. Lester has met with the Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves and is scheduled to meet with the St. Louis Cardinals next week. It’s also being reported that the Chicago Cubs have offered Lester a 6 year deal worth a reported $135 million dollars. Other reports have said that Lester would like to make a decision by the end of next week. The Chicago White Sox added 1st baseman Adam LaRoche signing him to a 2 year deal worth $25 million dollars. While the Seattle Mariners locked up their 3rd baseman Kyle Seager for 7 years with a $100 million dollar deal. It should be fun to see what moves teams make and where these free agents end up playing next season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

11/22/14

Last week we took a look at some fantasy player who have been disappointing so far this football season. So after 11 weeks let’s take a look at players who have been surprises or have out performed were they were ranked to start the season. I’m using the pre-seasons rankings from our Yahoo! fantasy football league entitled Next Year is Here 13. At quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers was ranked at 100 to start the season. Going into Week 12 Rivers is ranked in the 19th position among all NFL players. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was ranked at 94th to start the season and right now Roethlisberger is the 6th rated player in the NFL. As hard as it is to believe Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts was rated as the 59th player coming into the season. Right now Luck is the #1 overall player in our league. Looking at running backs Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Raves was ranked as the 190th player coming into the season. If you took a chance on Forsett it’s paid off for you as he is right now the 32nd ranked player. Chris Ivory was ranked at 134th coming into the season, but has moved into 61st place right now. Denard Robinson wasn’t even the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars to start the season. Since Robinson was just going to be the 3rd down change of pace back he was ranked at 212nd to start the season. If you drafted him or found him on your waiver wire Robinson has helped your team as going into Week 12 he’s ranked as the 93rd best player. Looking at the wide receivers. Jeremy Maclin was coming off of an injury and you had to wonder if he’d be the guy in the Philadelphia Eagles offense. With some questions coming into the 2014 season Macklin was rated at 68th overall. Macklin has stayed healthy and is rated in the 18th spot right now. Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals wouldn’t be considered the top wide receiver on his team; that would be A.J. Green, but Sanu is still a quality fantasy player. Sanu started the season ranked at 178th, but has moved himself into the 53rd overall spot. A lot of fantasy players stayed away from Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. thinking he might not have much left. Smith started the season ranked at 149th and even though he has cooled off a little bit the last couple weeks he’s still ranked at 62nd though Week 11. There are few elite tight ends in fantasy football and if you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that the league I’m using for rankings is also the league where we have to start 2 tight ends a week. While Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots is the highest ranked tight end at 20th you could’ve found some guys to help out your fantasy team. Larry Donnell of the New York Giants started the season being ranked in the 203rd position. Going into Week 12, Donnell has moved into the 75th spot for the season. Coby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts started the season 2 spots behind Donnell in the 205th spot and Fleener is also in a 2 tight end system with Dwayne Allen. Fleener is now ranked 84th and with Allen out injured and possible missing some games Fleener’s ranking could continue to go up. It can be tough to invest in any Oakland Raiders when it comes to fantasy football but tight end Mychal Rivera has been solid. Rivera started the season with a ranking of 246th but he’s been coming on in the last few weeks and is now ranked at 144th. I don’t know if you can be surprised by a kicker n fantasy football but there are some guys who have moved up in the rankings from where they started. Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots started the season ranked 196th, but has moved up to 79th in the rankings. Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts started the season ranked 202nd and is now ranked 91st. Shaun Suisham of the Pittsburgh Steelers started the season ranked 235th and is now ranked at 145th. When it comes to Defense?Special Teams there are a few that have moved up the rankings from where they started out. The Philadelphia Eagles started the season ranked at 191st overall, but have moved up to 54th overall with the season they’ve had. The Miami Dolphins where in the 194th position overall to start the season and right now the Dolphins are 81st overall. The Arizona Cardinals were ranked in the 200th spot to start off the season. Going into Week 12 Arizona is ranked at 109th. Hopefully you where able to draft these guys or trade for them or even find them on your waiver wire, but they’re some of the biggest movers up from where they started the season. We’ll see where they all end up by the end of the season.

Are you buying the Toronto Raptors? The Raptors are off to a 10-2 start to this NBA season after making the playoffs last season. DeMar DeRozan is averaging 20 points a game to lead the Raptors in scoring while Kyle Lowry is handing out 5.8 assists per game and adding 18.4 points per game. Jonas Valanciunas is the Raptors leading rebounder averaging 8.1 boards a game and is adding 11.4 points per game. Guard Lou Williams is also scoring 11.5 points per game for Toronto. The Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 124-83 on Friday night in the first game of back to back games for them, Tonight; Saturday they have a match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6); in Cleveland. Obviously 12 games into a season is too early to tell where a team will end up, but there are times where a hot start can carry a team through a season even an 82 game season like the NBA. With the NBA’s Eastern conference like it is would it be a big surprise if Toronto re[resents the Eastern conference in the NBA finals.

Is tonight the night for the Philadelphia 76ers to get their first win of the NBA season? The 76ers are 0-12 after losing 122-96 to the Phoenix Suns last night (Friday) at home. Tonight the 76ers go to New York to play the 3-10 and struggling Knicks. On Thursday’s podcast you might have heard Jerry Hoover mention how upset he’d be if the Knicks lose this game. Dan the Man also has a rooting interest in the Knicks but this could be the 76ers shot to get that 1st win. If the 76ers don’t get that win tonight then when. After tonight’s game against the Knicks the 76ers have the Portland Trails Blazers (9-3) on November 24th. The Brooklyn Nets (5-7) on November 26th. The Dallas Mavericks (10-3) on November 26th. The San Antonio Spurs (8-4) on December 1st and the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-8) on December 3rd. Even on the road the 76ers have a chance tonight against the Knicks and if you’re a 76ers fan you have to ask yourself; if not tonight then when?

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?

11/19/14

Week 11’s picks had Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I all going 8-6 for the week. For the season I’m in the lead with an overall record of 102-57-1. Schaumburg Stu is 2 games back at 100-59-1 while Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy are tied while an overall record of 99-60-1. Who knows what Week 12 will have in store for us.

In what I guess we’ll call the Fantasy Football Challenge pitting Mr. Fantasy vs. Greg, played out this way. At quarterback Mr. Fantasy went with Tom Brady of the New England Patriots while Greg picked Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. Brady scored 13.44 points and finished 13th among quarterbacks while Griffin scored 8.74 points and finished 21st among quarterbacks for Week 11. At running back they both agreed that Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints was the right choice. Ingram finished 9th among running backs with 20.70 points. At wide receiver Mr. Fantasy went with DeSean Jackson of the Washington Redskins while Greg’s choice was Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers. Jackson finished 48th among wide receivers for Week 11 with 6.95 points while Cobb finished with 20.65 points which was good for 10th place among wide receivers. At tight end Mr. Fantasy picked Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers while Greg went with Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos. Gates scored 5.45 points and finished 21st among tight ends while Thomas got hurt in Sunday’s game and scored 1.80 points which put him in 42nd place among tight ends. At kicker Mr. Fantasy picked Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots while Greg’s choice was Nick Novak of the San Diego Chargers. Gostkowski scored 6 points and finished tied for 11th place while Novak scored 10 points and finished tied for 6th place. Sleeper picks for Week 11. Mr. Fantasy went with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Taylor Gabriel while Greg’s choice was Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson. While Richardson might not be a sleeper in name value in production value he would be a sleeper if he had a good week. Gabriel coed 13.37 points and finished 23rd for Week 11. Richardson scored 4.60 points and finished 47th among running backs for Week 11. If you heard the show Sunday morning you have to hear Mr. Fantasy complain about picking the same players over and over. He suggested that they not be allowed to pick the Top 5 scores at each position. I ran the idea by Greg and he was good with it; so starting with Week 12 they will not be allowed to select any of the Top 5 scoring players at each position for the season. As always I use the scoring system from your Yahoo league titled Next Year is Here 13.

If you’ve listened to Sports Time Radio you know that we all live in the Chicago area. If you listen to sports talk radio in Chicago when they’re not firing Marc Trestman or trying to get Jay Cutler traded or released they’ll talk about who the Chicago Cubs will sign from the free agent market this off-season. The team itself had come out and said that Jon Lester was the first free agent that they where interested in, but they’d also like to sign Russell Martin. Now Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu are the resident Cubs fans on the show while Mr. Fantasy roots for the Chicago White Sox. Now we’ve heard this song and dance from the Cubs organization for the past couple of seasons. How they just missed out on this free agent or that free agent and it has started already this off-season. Russell Martin signed a 5 year $82 million dollar deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs of course having to explain losing Martin to Toronto, went with it was too much money. I actually agree it was too much money for Martin, but he was the only top catcher on the free agent market and that’s what someone was going to have to pay to bring him in. There’s strike one on the Cubs. This morning the Cubs have been quoted as saying that they believe that Lester will sign with the Boston Red Sox. So the Cubs put two names up for their fans to look for and now it looks more and more that neither one of these players will be in a Cubs uniform come opening day. While Martin was far and away the best catcher on the free agent market there are still some top of the rotation starting pitchers still out there. Will the Cubs go after a James Shields or a Max Scherzer now that they’re saying Lester is headed to Boston. I doubt they will, but they’ll need to find some new names to put up for their fans to wish for.

If you’re playing fantasy hockey this season like Dan the Man and I are, I hope you had all of your Nashville Predators in your line up last night. The Predators went out and scored 9 goals last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Taylor Back scored 2 goals while Derek Roy, Eric Nystrom, Mike Ribeiro, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Roman Josi and Colin Wilson each added a goal. Shea Weber tallied 3 assists while Ryan Ellis, and Paul Gaustad each had 2 assists in the game. Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer gave up 6 of the Predators goals while Jonathan Bernier gave up the other 3 goals and was tagged with the loss. The Montréal Canadiens led the NHL right now with 29 points and an 20-14-5 record. The Tampa Bay Lightning are just 1 point behind at 28 points and an 20-13-5 record. After that it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks tied at 27 points.

Kevin Harvick won his 1st Sprint Cup championship and a championship for Stewart-Haas Racing by winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead Miami Florida on Sunday. Harvick went from 12th to first over the final 15 laps gave Harvick the championship over Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano. It was Harvick’s first Sprint Cup title in his 14th season of competition.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.