1/24/15

Sad news last night for Chicago Cubs fans as “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks passed away at the age of 83. Banks’ catch phrase “Let’s play two” suggesting a doubleheader was always better than just a single game in one day; showed his love for the game of baseball. Banks started his career in the Negro League playing with the Kansas City Monarchs before being signed by the Cubs as a free agent in 1953. Banks got into 10 games for the Cubs in that 1953 season and after that spent the next 18 seasons in a Cubs uniform. Banks won the National League MVP award in back to back season, 1958 and 1959. He also finished in the Top 10 of M.V.P. voting in three other seasons. Banks was also an 11 time All-Star and won the Gold Glove at shortstop for the 1960 season. Banks is a member of the 500 home run club; with 512 home runs for his career. He led the N.L. in home runs with 47 in 1958 and then again with 41 in 1960. Banks had a career batting average of .274 with an on base percentage of .330 and a .500 slugging percentage. Banks totaled 2583 hits in his career with 407 doubles, 90 triples and added 50 stolen bases all with the Cubs. Banks ended his 19 year Cubs career on September 26th 1971 going 1 for 3 against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 5-1 Cubs loss. In 1977 Banks received 83.8% of the votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America and was enshrined in the baseball Hall of Fame. In 1982, Banks had his No. 14 jersey retired, the first Cubs player to receive such an honor. In 2008, the Cubs unveiled a statue outside Wrigley Field that honored him. Then in November 2013, Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Stan Musial in gaining this honor. With his out going personality and the obvious love for baseball that Banks had he became an ambassador for the Cubs fans and the game of baseball itself after his playing career ended. While it may be January in Chicagoland, but “Let’s play two”.

While I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl featuring the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots I’m already tired of the side stories coming into the game. It’s to the point here I don’t care if New England deflated the football in their game against the Indianapolis Colts. Would a fully inflated football have changed the outcome of the game; I seriously doubt it. Even if the Patriots are guilty of this do you think Tom Brady or Bill Belichick where the guys taking the air out of the football. On the Seattle side is there any chance the mainstream media will leave Marshawn Lynch alone this week. Everyone knows that Lynch isn’t a big fan of talking to the media which will put a huge target on his back for every moron who’ll want to be the one that thinks they can get a quote from Lynch. Believe it or not there are players that don’t want to be media superstars; I know that’s hard to believe, but Lynch seems to be one of these guys. While I fully agree with Lynch being fined for his crotch grab end zone celebration I don’t think he should be forced to speak to the media. I’m not a big fan if what the NFL calls media week and the game can’t get here soon enough for me.

I really hope you’ve been listening to the Sports Time Radio podcast. Just last night (Friday) alone we had three interviews. Now these aren’t the type of interviews you’ll hear on your radio where the person is on for five minutes and they answer two or three questions. We keep guys up to 30 minutes; so they can answer all of the questions that need to be answered. Starting off the Friday night show we had Ian St. Clair from PredominatlyOrange.com to talk Denver Broncos football. After that it was Nick Hjeltness from GoldenGateSports.com joining us to discuss the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. We ended the podcast by having Mike Marteny from FantasyCPR.com to talk about early fantasy baseball rankings along with who to look out for this upcoming season. Next week is shaping up as another big interview week for Sports Time Radio as will have guest on every show and even three more interviews on Friday the 30th show. Starting off with the January 26th show (Monday) we’ll have Eric Huysman from ClimbingTalsHill.com to talk about what the Houston Astros will look like in the 2015 baseball season.

Jeff Gordon’s 23rd season in NASCAR will be his last full-time season. Gordon is 3rd all time with 92 wins, has made 689 consecutive starts and is a four-time champion, but at 43 he’ll step away from his full-time ride #24 with Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon won’t use the word retire as he plans to stay involved with NASCAR and may even get behind the wheel at selected races; just not full-time. Hendrick Motorsports hasn’t made any announcements on who might take over Gordon’s ride for the 2016 NASCAR season, but it appears that Chase Elliot will be their choice.

You could say Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors had a night with 52 points in 126-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings, but to be more specific he had a quarter. In the 3rd quarter alone Thompson went 13 for 13 from the floor including a NBA record nine 3-point shots in the quarter. The 37 points Thompson ut up in the quarter was an NBA record as well. Thompson surpassed the 33-point mark set by George Gervin in 1978 and matched by Carmelo Anthony in 2008 for the most points in a quarter. Michael Redd and Joe Johnson shared the previous mark for most 3-point shots made in a quarter with eight. Thompson scored 19 consecutive points during one stretch, which ended with him making a left-handed pass to Draymond Green for a lay up. Thompson helped make sure the Warriors equaled the franchise’s highest win total before the All-Star game. The defending champion 1975-76 Warriors went 35-13 before the break and finished with a team-best record of 59-23.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime and remember you can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at BlogTalkRadio.com

So how was your week?

1/21/15

Are the Atlanta hawks the best team in the Eastern conference of the NBA? With a 34-8 record and on a 13 game winning streak you could make that argument. Under 2nd year head coach Mike Budenholzer the Hawks are playing more of an uptempo style and have been compared to the team that Budenholzer worked for 16 or 17 seasons the San Antonio Spurs. Yesterday on the Sports Time Radio podcast Brad Rowland from ATLallday.com talked about the fact that the hawks are just one win away from tying the team’s all-time record for wins in a row. They’ll get their chance to tie that record tonight (Wednesday) as they host the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are in last place in the Central division of the Eastern conference at 15-28 coming into tonight’s game. This could be considered a classic trap game for the Hawks as they have a big match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and if they’re looking ahead to that game the Pacers may surprise them. If the Hawks can get their 14th win tonight and they find a way to get past the Thunder for #15 they’ll have a couple of winnable games Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and then a week from today against the Brooklyn Nets. Could the Atlanta winning streak be at 17 when they go up against the 2nd best team record wise in the Western conference the Portland Trailblazers. Now if you don’t consider Atlanta to be the best team in the Eastern conference; you’d have to say they’re the biggest surprise right now. Stat wise you wouldn’t know how well this team is doing. They don’t have a player who averages 20 points a game. Jeff Teague is averaging the most points per game with 17.2. Paul Milsap isn’t far behind at 16.9 points per game. Milsap is the teams rebounding leader with 7.9 per game. Al Horford is 2nd in rebounding at 6,6 per game. Teague is easily the team leader in assists handing out 7.3 per game. You can’t talk about the success the Hawks are having without mentioning the role that Kyle Korver has played. Korver is shooting 53.6% from behind the three point line and adding 13.2 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game. The Hawks have avoided a major injury to a star player this season and still may have some issues inside against bigger teams, but their isn’t a team in the NBA on a better roll right now.

The team in the Eastern conference that might give the Hawks the most problems could be the Washington Wizards. While the Chicago Bulls are struggling right now and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still trying to find their way the Wizards have the 2nd best record in the Eastern conference at 29-13. The Wizards have what the Hawks struggle against; bigger player who can move. The Wizards have Marcin Gortat, Nene as starters with Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin coming off the bench. While I think everyone is expecting the Cavaliers or the Bulls to represent the Eastern conference in the NBA finals, but don’t be surprise if you see the Wizards vs. the Hawks for the right to play for the NBA title.

7 years and $210 million is what it took the Washington Nationals to land Max Scherzer. Scherzer turns 31 in July; so that means the back-end of this contract will be terrible for Washington. There was a lot of money deferred; so does that make Schrezer the new Bobby Bonilla? While the contract says 7 (seven) years he’ll be paid over a period of fourteen years. Schrezer was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA last season for the Detroit Tigers. The knock on Schrezer is the fact that he’s had one complete game in 198 career starts, but that complete game was last season. Schrezer is also one year removed from a Cy Young award-winning season. Schrezer joins the nationals starting rotation along with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. They also have Tanner Roark, but you’d think if the Nationals don’t make another deal Roark may be ticketed for the bullpen. There is talk of the Nationals looking for a bullpen arm, but would they deal Zimmerman to get him or would Roark be the starter that gets dealt. Either way with the Schrezer signing the Nationals have on paper what appears to be the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball but will it win them a World Series.

I was a little surprised to see the Milwaukee Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo. He had been the ace of their pitching staff and even though his stats where in decline I didn’t think they would trade him. In return for Gallardo Milwaukee received a group of young players. Infielder Luis Sardinas and right-handed pitchers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan. There was some talk that the Brewers would be interested in Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals, but it doesn’t appear that will happen; so it looks like Jimmy Nelson is the guy tab to move into the Milwaukee starting rotation. We’ll have Phil Watson from DairylandExpress.com on the podcast today (Wednesday) and you know this topic will come up.

The Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs made a deal as the Astros have traded outfielder Dexter Fowler to Chicago for infielder Luis Valbuena and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily. The Cubs had reportedly been seeking an outfielder, and Fowler will take over in center and join an outfield mix that also includes Jorge Soler, Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia and Arismendy Alcantara. Alcantara is just 23 and struggled in his first big league season in 2014, so perhaps the Cubs will have him start the season in the minors, or maybe they’ll also have him play infield, perhaps using him at third base until Kris Bryant arrives. Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella could also be in the short-term mix at third. If you’ve ever heard the podcast you know I’m all in on Kris Bryant and thought he should’ve been with the major league team at the end of last season. Sadly the Cubs are looking for control of Bryant for as long as they can; so I won’t be surprised at all if the Cubs keep Bryant in the minors until July just for that one extra year of control. Where Bryant starts the season at will tell you exactly where the Cubs think they are. If he’s in Chicago with the big club the Cubs think they have a shot at a playoff berth. If Bryant starts the season at Triple A Iowa the Cubs feel they won’t be a playoff team and hold Bryant back.

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1/17/14

With the way the off-season started if you where a fan of the Oakland A’s where you concerned what your team would look like? I’m not even a fan of the A’s, but I couldn’t figure out what Billy Beane was trying to do with the team. There’s still about six weeks before spring training starts and who knows if the A’s are done making moves, but the team looks a lot different from last season. I think most if not all A’s fan realized that Jon Lester wouldn’t be back with the team in 2015. There was a lot of talk that if the A’s couldn’t sign Jeff Samardzija they would trade him, but I think most expert thought it would happen around the trade deadline not at the owners meetings. Even though the Samardzija deal happened a little earlier than people thought it would him and Lester being gone was kind of expected. Then Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss are traded in separate deals. Two of the three catchers from last season; Derek Norris and John Jaso where dealt. They didn’t make an attempt to resign shortstop Jed Lowrie and utility man Nick Punto was let go. Luke Gregerson was also allowed to leave as a free agent. Even though they brought Billy Butler in to be the Designated Hitter and Ike Davis to play 1st base I wasn’t all that sold on the A’s competing in the American League West, but slowly the team has come together. With the two latest deals getting Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Tampa Bay Rays and then turning around and sending Escobar to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Clippard I wouldn’t be surprised to see the A;s contending again. Mr. Fantasy and I discussed the A’s line up last night (Friday) on the Sports Time Radio podcast. I believe he’s actually more sold on them than I am. I think they needed one more power hitting threat in the batting order, but he thinks they’ll get by. Stephen Vogt will get to catch full-time, Brett Lawrie takes over at 3rd base, Zobrist will play 2nd base with Davis at 1st and as long as you’re sold on Marcus Semien as your everyday shortstop the infield is set. The outfield looks like Josh Reddick in right field, Coco Crisp in centerfield and Sam Fuld in left field with Craig Gentry as the 4th outfielder and then Butler in the DH role. The rotation has Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz and Jesse Hahn possibly set to open the season. Don’t forget they also have A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker; both of whom are recovering from Tommy John surgery, but will be back some time during the 2015 season. Clippard should drop right into the set up role in front of closer Sean Doolittle. Ryan Cook will also fit into a set up role in the bullpen. If the A’s are done do you think they can contend with this team? or do they need to make another move or two?

Staying in the Bay area the San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Norichika Aoki to a one year deal worth $4.7 million dollars. The deal includes a club option for 2016, and can max out at $12.5 million over two seasons based on the option and performance bonuses. It appears that Aoki will take over in left field for the Giants and may hit towards the top of the batting order. With the Aoki signing and Casey McGehee being brought in to play 3rd base are the Giants done this off-season? There where some rumors this week that the Giants might have some interest in starting pitcher Dillon Gee of the New York Mets. The Giants did talk to Jon Lester and there might have been some interest in James Shields, but they brought opted to bring Jake Peavey back. With Matt Cain coming off of ankle surgery and some other rotation questions are the Giants looking for another starting pitcher? On the podcast last night (Friday) Mr. Fantasy and I talked everything Giants with Mark O’Neill from www.aroundthefoghorn.com you can hear what Mark thinks the Giants might do with the rest of the off-season at Sports Time Radio.

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games, without pay, for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during their game in Boston on Thursday night. I’m wondering if you had the same question I did; what is slew footing? Here is the NHL definition of slew footing. A dangerous play where a player comes from behind an opposing skater and trips the player unexpectedly by dragging the skate so the victim falls to the ice and quite often hits his head or lands hard due to the sneaky nature of the crime. I’ve seen it done before on the ice, but didn’t know what it was called. It is however considered one of the dirtiest cheap shots a hockey player can do, particularly due to the unexpected sneaky nature of the infraction. Match penalties can be assessed by the referee when a player deliberately takes these kinds of penalties. However, sometimes players can commit the foul by accident when skating up behind a player and attempting to body check them. Even the best players in the game get accused of slew footing; Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for example in 2009 and 2010 in separate incidents. Although it is considered a severe penalty, there is often debate when slew footing penalties are examined for further suspension. Besides numerous small suspensions, a severe injury or long suspension is rarely seen.

Tomorrow we find out who’s going to the Super Bowl. I had the Seattle Seahawks facing the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of the season; so I guess you know who I’m picking to win tomorrow’s games. I’ve been trying to get Mr. Fantasy and Dan the Man to join me on the Colts bandwagon, but it looks like I don’t have any takers. I have Dan the Man’s picks and he likes New England while Mr. Fantasy hasn’t officially made his picks I believe he’ll go with the Patriots to win as well. I’m still waiting for Schaumburg Stu’s picks for Sunday; so maybe he’ll be the one to join me on that Colts bandwagon.

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

So how was your week?

1/14/15

The Cleveland Cavaliers are one  game under .500 at 19-20 and they’ve been without LeBron James for a few weeks. Even with James returning and scoring 33 points it wasn’t enough to stop the Cavaliers losing streak; which is now at six games. Cleveland lost to the Phoenix Suns 107-100. Cleveland is also 1-9 in their last ten games. There’s still a little over half of the season for the Cavaliers to get the ship righted and make a playoff run. Now if you’re a Cavaliers fan are you worried about this being LeBron’s only season in his Cleveland return. I actually though LeBron’s opt out was after next season, but it’s being reported that it’s after this current season. I always thought it was just a money play James. The new NBA television contract will kick in and it’s expected that the salary cap will jump and then James could cash in big. Then there was the Christmas game against the Miami Heat and the conversation that took place between James and Dwayne Wade after that game. James big everything he could so people couldn’t see what he was saying, but it was picked up by a microphone on the floor. This is what James was quoted as saying to Wade. “Like I said, if we aren’t better this year, we’re gonna re-unite again and do some bigger and better things, alright” James excuse was that it was about doing something off court and says it had nothing to do with leaving Cleveland. I guess we’ll find out in about half of a season what will happen with LeBron. Can Cleveland and the Cavaliers fans take another round of free agency for James?

The Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics are swapping veteran point guards in a trade that sends Jameer Nelson to Denver and Nate Robinson to Boston. After spending 10 seasons with one club, the Orlando Magic, Nelson will be on his third team of 2014-15, after joining the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent and playing 23 games for Dallas, then being dealt to the Celtics as part of the return package for Rajon Rondo, and now the Nuggets. In all, Nelson is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 assists in 24.3 minutes that includes starting for the Mavericks and primarily coming off the bench in Boston. Robinson, who would be in his second stint with the Celtics after previously playing there for parts of two seasons, is contributing 5.8 points and 2.3 assists in 14.1 minutes in Denver. The Celtics are expected to negotiate a buyout, with Robinson, saving money while allowing Robinson to become a free agent who would draw interest from playoff teams. The Clippers, who have been linked to another Boston guard, Austin Rivers, would apparently likewise look at Robinson in hopes of upgrading the bench that has been a major problem area the first half of the season.

We don’t spend a lot of time talking about college sports on the Sports Time Radio podcast, but there was a National Championship game Monday night. College sports has kind of lost it’s luster to me and I’m not sure I’ll ever be that interested in it again. It always drives me crazy when I hear an interview with a guy and even though he’s spent a few years in college it seems like the player has no grasp of the English language. It’s to the point now that I feel like these guys aren’t going to any classes and are getting money on the side to play college sports. Now I’m sure this doesn’t happen everywhere, but I think everyone understands that it happens at certain schools. With all my misgivings aside Ohio State won the first college football playoff beating Oregon 42-20. Ohio State was the fourth team to make the college football play system and if this was the old BCS system college football used to use these two teams wouldn’t have played for the championship. Did the system work perfectly; no, but it was better than the BCS system. TCU and Baylor probably had claims to that fourth spot that Ohio State got, but by winning the championship that has to put some of that talk to rest now. They’re reporting all time high ratings for the title game Monday night. If I had to guess I’d say this will end up as an eight team playoff down the road, but for the first timeout of the box this was a good start.

The Arizona Diamondbacks added their second Cuban born player this off-season by signing 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Yoan Lopez. The deal technically isn’t done pending a physical and while terms of the contract haven’t been released yet it does contain a record-setting $8.27 million dollar bonus according to reports. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Sa Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds were among the teams to express interest in signing the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Lopez. One source said the hurler turned down a $9 million offer from another club because he believed Arizona was the best fit. Lopez was said to be impressed with general manager Dave Stewart and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, and he believes the quickest path to the Major Leagues runs through Arizona. Lopez is expected to be invited to big league Spring Training camp. The scouting report on Lopez says he throws a cut fastball, a changeup, a curveball and a slider, but he is best known for a fastball that travels in the 93-95 mph range. He played three seasons in Cuba for Isla de la Juventud in Serie Nacional, the island’s top league. Lopez sported a 3.12 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks in 49 innings in his final season before defecting. Earlier this off-season the Diamondbacks signed Cuban born outfielder/3rd baseman Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million deal.

It’s down to four in the National Football League playoffs. The first game Sunday is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. and it’s the Green Bay Packers vs. the Seattle Seahawks. The second game is schedule to start at 5:40 p.m. and has the Indianapolis Colts vs. the New England Patriots. We’ll make our picks later in the week; so you’ll have to tune in to Sports Time Radio to see who we’re going with. Last week I went 4-0 on the weekend while Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and Dan the Man where all 3-1. Through the first two weeks of the playoffs Mr. Fantasy and I are 6-2 while Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man are 5-3. Oh; by the way both times I listed are Central Standard Time.

You can find <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportstime-radio”>Sports Time Radio</a><a> on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter </a><a href=”http://www.twitter.com/burketime”>@Burketime</a><a&gt;.</a>

1/10/15

On Wednesday I mentioned the Cleveland Cavaliers looking for a big man and talking with the Denver Nuggets about Timofey Mozgov. Well the two teams finally came to an agreement on a deal. Cleveland sent 2 protected 2015 1st round draft picks to Denver for Mozgov. That sounds like it was a lot to give up for a player who’s averaged 8.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game, but the Cavaliers needed some size and at 7 feet 1 inch tall and listed at 250 pounds Mozgov has that. With Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and of course LeBron James the Cavaliers weren’t looking for scoring, but someone to try to replace the void created by Anderson Varejao’s season ending Achilles injury.

Is it full rebuild mode for the Boston Celtics? After sending who many considered their best player Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks the Celtics announced one deal and have been rumored to be making another deal. Brandan Wright who Boston got in the Rondo deal was sent to the Phoenix Suns for a conditional first round draft pick and created a $5 million trade exception in the process. The other deal being reported, but I haven’t heard if it’s official yet has the Memphis Grizziles trading veteran Tayshaun Prince’s expiring $7.7 million contract and future first round draft pick to Boston for forward Jeff Green. After Rondo was dealt many experts looked at Green as the Celtics best player and now it looks like he’s on his way out of Boston. The Celtics lost 107-103 last night (Friday) in overtime to the Indiana Pacers. Green was pulled from the Celtics starting line up because of the trade rumors and Wright was already on his way to join his new team. Avery Bradley led Boston in scoring with 23 points while Brandon Bass added 17 points. If you’re a Celtics fan who are you looking to step up and lead this team; is Marcus Smart that guy?

Jimmy Butler bet on himself in the off-season and it looks like the Chicago Bulls guard made the right choice. The Bulls tried to sign Butler to a contract extension in the off-season, but Butler turned them down choosing to enter free agency after this season. Butler is off to a career year averaging 21.4 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game. Butler has always been a good defender, but with his offensive skills coming around this season the Bulls are ready to offer him a “Max deal” this off-season. That would mean a max salary just under $16 million next season and the Bulls would be able to pay him more than $91 million over five years, compared to $67 million over four years by any other team. You’d have to say that Butler made the right choice.

The NHL is at or in some teams cases just a little past the halfway point of the season. Who had the Tampa Bay Lighting or the Nashville Predators leading their divisions with 58 points, The Anaheim Ducks also lead their division with 58 points, but going into the season they looked like contenders. Tampa Bay is led by Tyler Johnson (Center) with 46 points. Steven Stamkos (Center) leads the Lighting in goals with 22 while Johnson’s 28 assists lead in that category. In goal Ben Bishop is 21-6 in 31 starts with two overtime losses and one shutout. In Nashville Filip Forsberg (Center) is leading the Predators in points with 38; he also leads the team in goals with 14. Mike Ribero (Center) leads the team in assists with 27. Pekka Rinne has made 35 starts in-goal going 27-6 with two overtime losses and a 2.00 goals against average and Rinne also has three shutouts this season. Rinne has started in-goal 35 of the Predators 40 games this season. Neither team is running away with their division by any means. Tampa Bay has a four point lead over the Montréal Canadiens in the Atlantic division of the Eastern conference while Nashville’s lead is even smaller. The Predators have a two point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central division of the Western conference. Will we see a Tampa Bay vs. Nashville Stanley Cup finals; probably not. The NHL playoff road is always has it’s share of upsets; so will these teams be the ones being upset or doing the upsetting.

It’s the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs with two of the game being played (Saturday) today. In the first game it’s the Baltimore Ravens vs. the New England Patriots. The second game has the Carolina Panthers vs. the Seattle Seahawks. We went into quite a bit of detail on these games during last nights podcast, and you can get our thoughts on these games. For the record Mr. Fantasy, Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and I picked the same winners in these games, We all have New England winning the first game and Seattle winning the second game. You can also listen to from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. as we preview Sunday’s playoff games and review what happen in Saturday’s games.

It’s being reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly close to officially signing Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang to a four year deal. Terms of any deal haven’t been reported yet, but it’s being said that Kang was looking for $5 million a season. While Kang played shortstop for Nexen Heroes in the Korean Baseball Organization it is unclear what position he’d play for the Pirates. He could back up Josh Harrison at third base, Jordy Mercer at shortstop and Neil Walker at second, and he could be a part of the mix at first base. The 27-year-old Kang hit 40 homers and drove in 117 runs in 117 games while batting .356 with a 1.198 OPS last season while playing shortstop.

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

So how was your week?

1/7/15

I’ll start off by saying I’m not a fan of the Detroit Lions. I am also not a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. The outcome of their playoff game was good for me as a Seattle Seahawks fan. To be fair I did pick Detroit to win the game in the Sports Time Radio playoff picks. Dallas winning sends them to Green Bay while Seattle will play the Carolina Panthers instead of the Lions. With all of that out-of-the-way if you are a fan of the Lions you got robbed of any chance to win that playoff game against the Cowboys. The referees throw a flag for pass interference and then it’s picked up with no explanation that I heard. If it wasn’t pass interference it was what they used to call face guarding. Either way it was a terrible call by an officiating crew that was given this game on merit. Not only did the officials blow that call they missed a clear as day holding call on 4th down. I know people will say they could call holding on every play, but when it’s as blatant as this holding was it needs to be called. The Cowboys gained 21 yards on this 4th down on the drive that led to the eventual game winning touchdown. If they would’ve called the holding penalty it would’ve been 4th down with 16 yards to go and the Cowboys would’ve opted for a punt. No there’s no guarantee that Detroit would’ve scored had they gotten the football, but it might have changed the way the game ended. Maybe it goes to overtime and we have a different finish. Detroit was in the process of getting the momentum back when the first missed called happened and that drive could’ve also changed the outcome of the game. While I understand that this was just terrible officiating and hopefully the referees who worked this game are done for the rest of the playoffs, but since everyone is always looking for a good conspiracy; how about this one. I’m sure the NFL was happy with the AFC match ups. They have Peyton Manning with his new team the Denver Broncos against his old team the Indianapolis Colts. The other AFC game has the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens A couple of really good solid match ups, but the NFC side was lacking something. With the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs as an under .500 team the NFL would like a match up to take the interest away from an under .500 team. How about a game between two marquee teams; the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys and the Packers haven’t met in the playoffs since about 1900 with Schaumburg Stu in attendance. I’m just kidding about that; it was the 1967 NFL Championship game which is referred to as the Ice Bowl. I don’t know if Schaumburg Stu was in attendance for that game or not. I’m pretty sure the NFL got the marketable match up they wanted with this game and all it took was a few referees looking the other way and picking up a flag to make it happen for the fans.

We wiped the slate clean for the playoffs and made our picks for the Wild Card weekend. Mr. Fantasy ended the weekend with a one game lead going 3-1. Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu and I all started the playoffs off by going 2-2. Four more games for us to pick this weekend; so we’ll see how this goes for us.

Okay let’s see if I can get this three team deal correct. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded guard Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City Thunder for a protected 2015 first-round draft pick. Cleveland also traded forward Lou Amundson and center Alex Kirk and a 2019 second-round draft pick to the New York Knicks for guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. The Knicks also get forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City. The Knicks also waived center Samuel Dalembert. Did you get all that? Oklahoma City gets a player they hope can replace James Harden. Cleveland gets a former 6th man of the year with some issues and an upgrade on defense at the guard position. The Knicks get the valuable salary cap room they where looking for. You have to wonder if the Cavaliers and the Thunder are done dealing. The Cavaliers still haven’t found a way to replace the injured Anderson Varejao. Smith and Shumpert won’t fill the void created by Varejao’s season ending injury. The Thunder now have quite a bit of back court depth and you have to wonder if a Anthony Morrow, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb or even Ish Smith might be on their way out of Oklahoma soon. The Cavaliers have had their eye on Denver Nuggets big man Timofey Mozgov, but getting him is proving difficult. Kosta Koufus is another big man on the Cavaliers radar and may not command a hefty price tag, but don’t be surprised if Memphis is reluctant to move him. Those are a couple of the rumored deals out their for the Cavaliers, but with Waiters being dealt will they have the pieces to land the center they need. In a bit of what I’d considered odd NBA news it’s being reported that Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders has informed team officials that he doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. Sanders, who is averaging just 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season, has not played in the team’s last six games due to a combination of an illness and personal reasons. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out in the coming weeks. If Sanders were to retire, he wouldn’t earn the $33 million remaining on his contract after this season.

For the first time since 1955 four players will enter the baseball Hall of Fame. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smolts all made it into the Hall of Fame on their first ballot while Craig Biggio gets in this year after just missing by a couple of votes last year. For the most part I believe they got the voting right this season and you can’t always say that. I wasn’t as sold on Smoltz as a lot of people where, but the writers like him and he’s working for the MLB Network now; so he gets in with 82.9 % of the vote. With Smoltz getting in this opens the door for two pitchers that are on the ballot with similar stats as Smoltz. That would be Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina; Schilling got 39.2 % of the vote and Mussina got 24.6 % of the vote. Of course I don’t have a vote, but I don’t believe that either of these players belong in the Hall of Fame. While it is just my opinion and I did see both of these players throughout their entire playing careers. I’m guessing they both get in down the road, but they wouldn’t get my vote. A player that would get my vote, but didn’t get a lot of votes from anyone else was Gary Sheffield. Sheffield’s problem is he is part of the steroids era of Major League Baseball and those guys don’t get a lot of votes, but Sheffield only got 11.7 % of the vote in his first year on the ballot. No player has ever gotten into the Hall of Fame after getting less than 15% of the vote; so it looks like Sheffield won’t ever get a call from Cooperstown and I wish he would.

You can find <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportstime-radio”>Sports Time Radio</a><a> on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter </a><a href=”http://www.twitter.com/burketime”>@Burketime</a><a&gt;.</a>

1/3/2015

The NFL released its All-Pro team for the 2014 season; so I had Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and myself vote on who we thought where the top players in the NFL. We didn’t choose any offensive lineman because we don’t study line play like we should. I assigned a point value to each vote and a player was given an extra point for a 1st place vote. I’ll put the player’s point total in parenthesis next to their name and ties where broken by which player appeared on the most ballots. Here’s what we came up with.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (12) Green Bay Packers, Peyton Manning (5) Denver Broncos, Andrew Luck (4) Indianapolis Colts, Tony Romo (3) Dallas Cowboys, Tom Brady (1) New England Patriots, Ben Roethlisberger (1) Pittsburgh Steelers.

Running Back: Le’Veon Bell (8) Pittsburgh Steelers, LeSean McCoy (6) Philadelphia Eagles, DeMarco Murray (5) Dallas Cowboys, Matt Forte (4) Chicago Bears, Marshawn Lynch (3) Seattle Seahawks, Jamaal Charles (2) Kansas City Chiefs.

Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown (23) Pittsburgh Steelers, Demaryius Thomas (13) Denver Broncos, Jordy Nelson (11) Green Bay Packers, Dez Bryant (8) Dallas Cowboys, Calvin Johnson (7) Detroit Lions, Julio Jones (5) Atlanta Falcons, A.J. Green (5) Cincinnati Bengals, Emmanuel Sanders (4) Denver Broncos, Josh Gordon (4) Cleveland Browns, Andre Johnson (3) Houston Texans, T.Y. Hilton (2) Indianapolis Colts, Golden Tate (2) Detroit Lions, Odell Beckham Jr. (1) New York Giants.

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski (15) New England Patriots, Greg Olsen (7) Carolina Panthers, Jimmy Graham (4) New Orleans Saints, Martellus Bennett (3) Chicago Bears, Antonio Gates (1) San Diego Chargers.

Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski (15) New England Patriots, Adam Vinatieri (8) Indianapolis Colts, Cody Parkey (2) Philadelphia Eagles, Justin Tucker (2) Baltimore Ravens, Shaun Suisham (1) Pittsburgh Steelers, Steven Hauschka (1) Seattle Seahawks.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hill (10) Cincinnati Bengals, Odell Beckham Jr. (7) New York Giants, Mike Evans (5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kelvin Benjamin (4) Carolina Panthers.

Offensive Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers (10) Green Bay Packers, Russell Wilson (6) Seattle Seahawks, DeMarco Murray (5) Dallas Cowboys, Peyton Manning (2) Denver Broncos, Andrew Luck (2) Indianapolis Colts, Antonio Brown (2) Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Brady (1) New England Patriots.

Defensive Line: J.J. Watt (20) Houston Texans, Mario Williams (9) Buffalo Bills, Jason Pierre-Paul (7) New York Giants, Robert Quinn (3) St. Louis Rams, DeMarcus Ware (2) Denver Broncos, Everson Griffen (1) Minnesota Vikings, Ndamukong Suh (1) Detroit Lions, Corey Liuget (1) San Diego Chargers.

Linebackers: Luke Kuechly (15) Carolina Panthers, Justin Houston (9) Kansas City Chiefs, DeAndre Levy (9) Detroit Lions, Patrick Willis (3) San Francisco 49ers, Lavonte David (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Connor Barwin (2) Philadelphia Eagles, Elvis Dumervil (1) Baltimore Ravens, Von Miller (1) Denver Broncos, Curtis Lofton (1) New Orleans Saints, NaVorro Bowman (1) San Francisco 49ers.

Defensive Backs: Glover Quin (12) Detroit Lions, Morgan Burnett (10) Green Bay Packers, Tashaun Gipson (6) Cleveland Browns, Brent Grimes (5) Miami Dolphins, Eric Weddle (4) San Diego Chargers, Johnathan Cyprien (3) Jacksonville Jaquars, Parrish Cox (3) San Francisco 49ers, Michael Griffin (1) Tennessee Titans.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Khalil Mack (10) Oakland Raiders, Aaron Donald (8) St. Louis Rams, C.J. Mosley (6) Baltimore Ravens, Kyle Fuller (2) Chicago Bears, Preston Brown (2) Buffalo Bills.

Defensive Most Valuable Player: J.J. Watt (20) Houston Texans, Justin Houston (6) Kansas City Chiefs, Luke Kuechly (4) Carolina Panthers, Richard Sherman (1) Seattle Seahawks, Jason Pierre-Paul (1) New York Giants.

Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians (9) Arizona Cardinals, Jason Garrett (5) Dallas Cowboys, Bill Belichick (5) New England Patriots, Jim Caldwell (4) Detroit Lions, John Fox (2) Denver Broncos, Doug Marrone (2) formerly of the Buffalo Bills, Andy Reid (1) Kansas City Chiefs.

That’s what we came up with for the 2014 NFL season. Do you agree or disagree, did we miss someone?

Here are our picks for today’s (Saturday) wild card match ups. We’re split on the first game as Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu like the Arizona Cardinals to win while Mr. Fantasy and I are going with the Carolina Panthers to win. In the second game Dan the Man is the only one of us that likes the Baltimore Ravens to win as Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I are all going with the Pittsburgh Steelers to win. Mr, Fantasy won the regular season pick contest, but will he be able to do the same through the playoffs.

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

So how was your week?

12/31/14

The NFL regular season has come to and end and sadly so has the Greg vs. Mr. Fantasy challenge. I’m hoping both guys will be willing to do this again next season. I have some ideas that will make it a little tougher for them and much more interesting to fantasy players. Anyway let’s take a look and see how Week 17 worked out for them. At quarterback Greg thought Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers would be the highest scoring while Mr. Fantasy liked Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. Newton scored 20.38 points and finished 5th among quarterbacks. Ryan scored -0.95 points which was 35th or dead last among all the quarterbacks that played in Week 17. If you played Geno Smith of the New York Jets this week or at all during the season it finally paid off for you. Smith scored 26.96 points and led all quarterbacks in Week 17. For running backs Greg liked Matt Asiata of the Minnesota Vikings while Mr. Fantasy went with C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos. Asiata scored 17.67 points which was good for 16th among running backs. Anderson on the other hand scored the most points out of all the running back in Week 17 with 33.45 points. At wide receiver Greg picked Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants while Mr. Fantasy went with Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. Beckham Jr. finished 2nd in wide receiver scoring for Week 17 with 33.75 points. J. Jones scored 8.80 points which was good for 40th for the week. The only wide receiver to finish ahead of Beckham Jr. was the New York Jets Eric Decker with 35.85 points. At tight end Greg went with Heath Miller of the Pittsburgh Steelers while Mr. Fantasy went with Mychal Rivera of the Oakland Raiders. Miller scored 6.35 points which was good for 22nd among tight ends in Week 17. Rivera scored 4.10 points which ranked 37th among tight ends in Week 17. Coby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts was the leading scorer in Week 17 for tight ends with 21.35 points. At kicker Greg went with Steven Hauschka of the Seattle Seahawks while Mr. Fantasy went with another Atlanta Falcon; kicker Matt Bryant. Hauschka scored 10 points which was good for a 7th place tie for the week. Bryant scored 3 points which was put him tied for 15th place among kickers. Hopefully you had Connor Barth of the Denver Broncos who led all kickers in scoring with 18 points in Week 17. Greg sleeper pick of the week was New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon while Mr. Fantasy’s sleeper for Week 17 was Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller. Now you wouldn’t call Spiller a classic sleeper pick, but he’s been injured most of the season and I don’t think anyone was expecting him to put up big numbers; so that slides him into the sleeper pick category. Toon caught one pass for 24 yards and a point total of 3.15 which put him 87th among wide receivers for the week. Spiller carried the football five times for 17 yards and caught one pass for two yards and a point total of 3.90. That point total was good for 69th place among all running backs in Week 17. That wraps up Greg vs. Mr. Fantasy for this season.

As you know Mr. Fantasy, Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu and I have been trying to predict the winners of the NFL games every week with limited success. Mr. Fantasy had a three game lead going into Week 17; did he hang on? Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy tied this week with a record of 12-4. I was 3rd at 10-6 while Dan the Man was 9-7 for the week. So the season totals look like this: Mr. Fantasy finished 1st with a record of 170-84-1, Schaumburg Stu was 2nd with a record of 167-87-1, I ended the season in 3rd place with a record of 164-90-1 and Dan the Man was at the bottom with a record of 159-95-1. We’ll wipe the slate clean and make playoff picks; so we’ll see how that works out.

With all the deals the San Diego Padres made this off-season everyone was wondering what they where going to do with all of those outfielders. Yesterday they dealt outfielder Seth Smith to the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer. Smith signed an extension with the Padres last season and I believe they told him he wouldn’t be dealt, but with a new general manager being hired I’m guessing that deal was off. The left-handed hitting Smith is expected to be part of a platoon set up with Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano was acquired two  weeks ago from the Chicago Cubs. Smith hit .266 with 12 home runs for San Diego last season. Maurer appeared in 38 games for the Mariners last season; starting seven games. His ERA was 4.65 last season over 69 2/3rd innings. There may be more deals coming from the Padres as they still have a couple of extra outfielders they could move if they choose to do so.

The NHL has their Winter Classic game tomorrow in Washington as the host Capitals take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Even if you’re not a fan of the NHL you should take a look at this game. It’s fun to watch these guys play outside like they used to do when they where kids. You’ll also get to see some stars of the NHL. Alex Ovechkin or “The Great 8″ has been with the Capitals since the 2005-06 season and has always been considered one of the top players in the NHL. Ovechkin has 17 goals and 13 assists this season. Washington is 18-11-7 good for 43 points and 3rd place in the Metropolitan division. The Blackhawks 25-10-2 good for 52 points and 1st place in the Central division. On the ice you’ll get to see Blackhawks leading scorer Patrick Kane, 18 goals and 22 assists and captain Jonathan Toews 13 goals and 18 assists and don’t forget defenseman and two time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith. Even if you can’t make it through the entire game take a look at it and see some professional hockey players outside on the ice like you could do if you wanted to.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (18-13) lost to the Atlanta Hawks (23-8) 109-101 last night. I’m not sure the loss is as big of news as the fact that LeBron James missed the game with knee soreness. I haven’t seen any reports on this injury; so I don’t know if it will keep James out more than just the one game. James has been one of the high-profile NBA players who’ve complained about the schedule. After the complaints James made about the All-Star scheduling last season the NBA changed it to where the players have almost a full week off. It was also James birthday; so maybe it was just a planned day off, but if you’re a Cavaliers fan; are you worried? Not only did James sit out last nights game, but the talk has started of him leaving Cleveland; again when he can opt out of his contract after next season. It’s a little earlier for that kind of talk to start and I’d like to know more about his health than where he might play a couple of seasons from now.

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

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

12/27/14

The NFL is headed into the final week of their regular season and while most of the playoff spots have been locked up there are still a few things to be decided. While both the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs one of them will win the NFC North and the other will be a wild card. They match up this week at Lambeau Field to see who ends up where. No team in the NFC South is over or at .500, but someone will win the division and the Carolina Panthers will go to Atlanta to play the Falcons and see who wins that division and who goes to the playoffs. Seeding may change if the NFC depending on the outcome of the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals games. Five of the six playoffs spots in the AFC are set; so that leaves one playoff spot left for four teams to try to squeeze into. The Kansas City Chiefs host the San Diego Chargers and if San Diego wins they’re in. A;ex Smith is out for the Chiefs with an injured spleen; so Chase Daniels will be the starting quarterback. The Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans both need to win their games and then get some help to claim that last playoff spot. The Sunday night game is the Cincinnati Bengals against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The winner takes the AFC North and the loser goes into the playoffs as a wild card team. Every team will tell you that they’re in the playoffs and anything can happen, but home field advantage can be a factor in the NFL. By winning their division either Atlanta or Carolina will get to host a playoff game even though they’ll finish under.500 on the season. New England has clinched the #1 seed in the AFC and won’t have to go on the road. With a win on Sunday Seattle will be the #1 seed in the NFC. Would you want your favorite team to have to play the Seahawks in Seattle?

The National Hockey League has been on a three day Christmas break, but they return to the ice today with 13 games on the schedule. Three of the four division leaders will be in action today. The Metropolitan leading Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals. The Central division leading Chicago Blackhawks are on the road taking on the Colorado Avalanche. The Anaheim Ducks are leading the Pacific division and they are also on the road against the Arizona Coyotes. The Atlantic leading Montréal Canadiens are the only division leader not playing today. There is no national coverage of any of the 13 games today; so you’ll either have to just watch your home team or buy the NHL Center Ice package. As for me I’ll stick to my local coverage and watch the Blackhawks vs. the Avalanche tonight.

So the NBA season is just about 30 games old and there are people out there trying to crown a team as the best. Every team has 50 plus games to play and would one team be able to pull far enough away at this point in the season to be pointed out as the best. I’m guessing they got spoiled with the Miami heat for the past four seasons and don’t know how to handle looking at more than just a single team. How do you decide who’s the best right now? Is it by record, than let’s give it to the 23-5 Golden State Warriors even though they’ve lost their last two games. Is the hottest team the best team? The Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls have the longest current winning streaks at five games a piece. How about a team that seem to have surprising records like the Portland Trailblazers at 24-7 and leading the Northwest division right now. Would you even consider putting the very surprising Atlanta Hawks in this conversation since their record is 21-8 and they are leading the Southeast division. Where do teams like the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs fit into these rankings. It’s just to early to tell; teams will go on streaks both good and bad, but I get it the mainstream media needs ways to get you to listen to them. Maybe we can revisit this about the midway point of the season and see which teams might have separated themselves from the field.

Not a lot of baseball moves over Christmas time, but the Minnesota Twins did sign Phil Hughes to a contract extension through 2019. It was announced yesterday that Hiroki Kuroda is returning to the place where he made his name: the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. Will this out the New York Yankees front and center in the Max Scherzer or James Shields bidding. On the other side of New York the Mets name still comes up any time someone mentions Troy Tulowitzki. As it stands right now the Mets shortstop would be either Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada. It looks like they could use an upgrade at shortstop, but is Tulowitzki worth giving up a young pitcher and a prospect or two. The main names that come up on what would be the Mets side of a deal are Zack Wheeler or their top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. While Tulowitzki is a star he also comes with a long injury history and a big contract. Tulowitzki is scheduled to make $20 million dollars a season for the next five seasons. In 2020 his salary goes down to $14 million dollars for that year and there’s an option for 2021 at $15 million dollars. How much of this contract are the Colorado Rockies going to be willing to pay. Tulowitzki is 30 years old coming into this season and played in 91 games last season because of injuries. Is Tulowitzki the right move for the Mets or could they get by with an Asdrubal Cabrera, Everth Cabrera or maybe even a Stephen Drew at shortstop while their young pitchers are developing. Just because I like him as a player I want to throw in that catcher A.J. Pierzynski got a one year deal from the Atlanta Braves.

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

So how was your week?

Going into Week 17 Mr. Fantasy has taken a 3 (three) game lead in our Sports Time Radio National Football League (NFL) pick contest. In Week 16 Mr. Fantasy, Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu all went 10-6 while I was at the bottom again at 8-8. For the season Mr. Fantasy is 158-80-1. Schaumburg Stu has moved into 2nd place with an overall record of 155-83-1. I’m hanging onto 3rd place with a record of 154-84-1. While Dan the Man is stuck in the cellar with an overall record of 150-88-1. We’ve got one (1) week left to catch Mr. Fantasy. Can we do it?

Let’s take a look at the Greg vs. Mr. Fantasy challenge for Week 16. Greg liked Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the highest scoring quarterback of the week while Mr. Fantasy liked Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. Roethlisberger scored 10.50 points in Week 16 and ranked 18th among all quarterbacks for the week. Ryan finished the week in 15th place among quarterbacks with 13.64 points. Russell Wilson led all quarterbacks for the week with 34.58 points. Greg liked Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills to be the highest scoring running back of the week while Mr. Fantasy went with Joique Bell of the Detroit Lions. Jackson finished with 18.55 points for the week which was good for 19th place among running backs for the week. Bell scored 19.45 points which out him in 16th place among running backs for the week. C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos was the highest scoring running back for the week with 30.30 points. Greg liked Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions to be the highest scoring wide receiver of the week while Mr. Fantasy went with Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants. Johnson ended up 23rd among wide receivers with 15.05 points. Beckham Jr. was the highest scoring wide receiver in Week 16 with 33.30 points. At tight end Greg liked Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs to be the highest scoring tight end of the week while Mr. Fantasy thought Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos would lead all tight ends in scoring. Kelce 6.10 points in Week 16 which was good for 22nd place among tight ends for the week. Thomas finished one spot behind Kelce in 23rd place for the week with 6.05 points. At kicker Greg went with Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers to lead in scoring for Week 16 while Mr. Fantasy liked Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons. Crosby scored 9 points for the week which was good for an 8th place tie. Bryant put up 16 points for the week which was good enough for a 2nd place tie in Week 16. Sleeper picks for the week where Lance Dunbar of the Dallas Cowboys for Greg and Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum. Dunbar scored 3.40 points which was good for 67th place among running backs for the week. Keenum put up 4.60 points which was good for 29th among all quarterbacks for the week. There’s one (1) week of picks left; so who will they go with in Week 17. Remember they’re not allowed to select the Top 5 scorers at any position. That means at quarterback they can’t pick Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. At running back DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster are off the board. At wide receiver there’s no picking Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant and Emmanuel Sanders this week. The Top 5 tight ends they can’t pick are Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Antonio Gates and Martellus Bennett. They’re not even allowed to touch any of the Top 5 kicker who are Stephen Gostkowski, Cody Parkey, Matt Bryant, Dan Carpenter and Adam Vinatieri.

Has the National Basketball Association (NBA) taken over your Christmas Day? Do you have to try to sneak away from your family like Dan the Man does to check the scores of the game or watch a few minutes of on court action? Hopefully you have a game plan in action for tomorrow as the NBA has 5 (five) games on the schedule for your viewing pleasure. Game one (1) has an 11:00 a.m. start time; that’s Central Standard Time (C.S.T.) and features the Washington Wizards at the New York Knicks. Game two (2) a 1:30 p.m. C.S.T. start time has the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the San Antonio Spurs. Game three (3) a 4:00 p.m. C.S.T. start time has the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Miami Heat. Game four (4) a 7:00 p.m. C.S.T. start time has the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Chicago Bulls. The 5th and final NBA game of the of the day is scheduled to tip off at 9:30 p.m. C.S.T. with the Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. The first game will be shown on ESPN. The next two (2) games move over to ABC. The final two (2) games will be telecast on TNT and NBA-TV. How do you rank these games 1 (one) through 5 (five)? You’ll be able to watch three (3) of the Top 5 scorers in action tomorrow. LeBron James 2nd in scoring averaging 25.2 Points Per Game (P.P.G.), Kobe Bryant is 3rd with 24.6 P.P.G. and Carmelo Anthony is 5th with 23.7 P.P.G.. Only one (1) of the Top 5 rebounders will be in action tomorrow. Pau Gasol is averaging 11.4 rebounds per game and that’s good for 5th in the NBA. Watch for John Wall, Chris Paul and Stephen Curry to pass the ball tomorrow as they are three (3) of the Top 5 leaders in assists. Wall averages 10.4 assists per game (A.P.G.) which is good for 2nd in the NBA. Paul is 4th handing out 9.7 A.P.G. and Curry is 5th with 7.7 A.P.G. Look for Wall, Curry and Paul to get a couple of steals tomorrow as well since all 3 (three) are in the Top 5 of the category as well. Wall and Curry are tied for 2nd in the NBA in steals averaging 2.1 per game and Paul is right behind them tied for 3rd with 2.0 steals per game.

The National Hockey League is taking a 3 (three) day Christmas break and will be back in action December 27th with 13 (thirteen) games on the ice. While they’re on holiday break let’s look at some of the league leaders. Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers is leading the league in total points with 46, He has a four (four) point lead over Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars who has 42 points on the season. Seguin is leading the NHL in goals with 25. That puts him just 2 (two) goals ahead of Rick Nash of the New York rangers who’s scored 23 goals this season. Vorachek is leading the league in assists with 32, but his Philadelphia Flyers teammate Claude Giroux is just a couple of assists behind at 30 on the season. Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators is leading the NHL in plus/minus with a +24. Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lighting is right behind him at +23. In goal Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators is leading the NHL in wins with 22. Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carey Price of the Montréal Canadiens and Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks are all tied for 2nd in wins with 19. Fleury leads all goaltenders in shutouts with 6 (six) followed by Henrik Lundqvist who has 5 (five). Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets is leading all goaltenders in two (2) categories. Goals Against Average (G.A.A.) with a 1.67 and Save Percentage with .944. Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues is 2nd in G.A.A, with 1.82 while Calvin Pickard of the Colorado Avalanche is 2nd in save percentage with .939. Is your favorite player on this list? If not don’t worry there’s still a long way to go in this NHL season.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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