Fantasy Football Advice Week 9

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Here’s a look at fantasy tiers for week 9. If you have at least 3 players in any of the tier 1 categories, consider yourself a happy fantasy winner for week 9. If you find your stars in the bottom of the tiers you better think about searching through that waiver wire for a better option.

Start of the Week-Greg Jennings vs. Cowboys-With Jermichael Finley out for the season Aaron Rodgers has been leaning on Jennings for support. I say he has a monster game against a forest fire of a defense in the Dallas Cowboys.

Tier 1 Starts Qaurterbacks: Good for 250 Yards 3 TD

  1. Peyton Manning vs. Eagles
  2. Aaron Rodgers vs. Cowboys
  3. Philip Rivers vs. Texans
  4. Eli Manning vs. Seahawks
  5. Tom Brady vs. Browns
  6. Drew Brees vs. Panthers

Tier 2 Quarterbacks Good for 200 Yards 2 TD

  1. Michael Vick vs. Colts
  2. Matthew Stafford vs. Jets
  3. Jon Kitna vs. Packers
  4. Josh Freeman vs. Falcons
  5. Jay Cutler vs. Bills
  6. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals
  7. Mark Sanchez vs. Lions
  8. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Bears
  9. Joe Flacco vs. Dolphins
  10. Matt Ryan vs. Buccaneers
  11. Matt Schaub vs. Chargers
  12. Jason Campbell vs. Chiefs

Tier 3 Quarterbacks Good for 175 Yards 1 TD

  1. Carson Palmer vs. Steelers
  2. Chad Henne vs. Ravens
  3. Colt Mccoy vs. Patriots
  4. Matt Cassell vs. Raiders

Tier 4 Quarterbacks Good for 150 Yards/ Possible TD

  1. Derek Andersen vs. Vikings
  2. Brett Favre vs. Cardinals
  3. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Giants
  4. Matt Moore vs. Saints

 

Tier 1 Runningbacks- Good for 100 Yards and 1-2 TD

  1. 1.       Adrian Peterson vs. Cardinals
  2. 2.      Arian Foster vs. Chargers
  3. 3.      Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Seahawks
  4. 4.      LeSean Mccoy vs. Colts
  5. 5.      Matt Forte vs. Bills
  6. 6.      Michael Turner vs. Buccaneers
  7. 7.       LaDanian Tomlinson vs. Lions

Tier 2 Running backs Good for 85 Yards 1 TD

  1. 8.      Ray Rice vs. Dolphins
  2. 9.      Rashard Mendenhall vs. Bengals
  3. 10.   Jamall Charles vs. Raiders
  4. 11.    Darren McFadden vs. Cheifs
  5. 12.   Thomas Jones vs. Raiders
  6. 13.   Peyton Hillis vs. Patriots
  7. 14.   Benjarvus Green Ellis vs. Browns
  8. 15.   LaGarrette Blount vs. Falcons
  9. 16.   Ryan Matthews vs. Texans

Tier 3 Running backs Good for 60 Yards 1 TD

  1. Shonn Greene vs. Lions
  2. Brandon Jacobs vs. Seahawks
  3. Fred Jackson vs. Bears
  4. Christopher Ivory vs. Panthers
  5. Beanie Wells vs. Vikings
  6. Mike Tolbert vs. Texans
  7. Michael Bush vs. Chiefs
  8. Brandon Jackson vs. Cowboys
  9. Jahvid Best vs. Jets
  10. Ronnie Brown vs. Ravens

Tier 4 Running Backs Good for 50 Yards 0 TD

  1. Cedric Benson vs. Steelers
  2. Danny Woodhead vs. Browns
  3. Felix Jones vs. Packers
  4. Ricky Williams vs. Ravens
  5. Justin Forsett vs. Giants
  6. DeAngelo Willliams vs. Saints
  7. Jonathon Stewart vs. Saints

Tier 1 Wide Receivers Good for 100-125 Receiving Yards 1- 2 TD

  1. Greg Jennings vs. Cowboys
  2. Hakeem Nicks vs. Seahawks
  3. Miles Austin vs. Packers
  4. Reggie Wayne vs. Eagles
  5. Roddy White vs. Buccaneers

Tier 2 Wide Receivers Good for 75- 100 Receiving Yards 1 TD

  1. Terrell Owens vs. Steelers
  2. Brandon Marshall vs. Ravens
  3. Anquan Boldin vs. Dolphins
  4. Mike Wallace vs. Bengals
  5. Mike Williams vs. Falcons
  6. Steve Johnson vs. Bears
  7. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Vikings
  8. Patrick Crayton vs. Texans
  9. Pierre Garcon vs. Eagles
  10. Calvin Johnson vs. Jets
  11. Marques Colston vs. Panthers
  12. Andre Johnson vs. Chargers
  13. Jeremy Maclin vs. Colts
  14. Dwayne Bowe vs. Raiders
  15. Steve Smith vs. Saints
  16. Steve Smith vs. Seahawks
  17. Johnny Knox vs. Bills
  18. Braylon Edwards vs. Lions
  19. Hines Ward vs. Bengals

Tier 3 Wide Receivers Good for 50-75 Receiving Yards 0-1 TD

  1. 25.   Lee Evans vs. Bears
  2. 26.   Davone Bess vs. Ravens
  3. 27.    Percy Harvin vs. Cardinals
  4. 28.   Chad Ochocinco vs. Steelers
  5. 29.   Dez Bryant vs. Packers
  6. 30.   James Jones vs. Cowboys
  7. 31.    Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Chiefs
  8. 32.   Mike Williams vs. Giants
  9. 33.   Nate Burleson vs. Jets
  10. 34.   Malcolm Floyd vs. Texans
  11. 35.   Roscoe Parrish vs. Bears
  12. 36.   DeSean Jackson vs. Colts
  13. 37.    Derrick Mason vs. Dolphins
  14. 38.   Lance Moore vs. Saints
  15. 39.   Bernard Berrian vs. Cardinals
  16. 40.   Steve Breaston vs. Vikings
  17. 41.    Santonio Holmes vs. Lions
  18. 42.   Mario Manningham vs. Seahawks
  19. 43.   Ben Tate vs. Browns
  20. 44.   Dez Bryant vs. Packers

Tier 1 Tight Ends Good for 75 Yards 1-2 TD

  1. Antonio Gates vs. Texans
  2. Jason Witten vs. Packers
  3. Tony Gonzalez vs. Buccaneers

Tier 2 Tight Ends Good for 50 Yards 1 TD

  1. Aaron Hernandez vs. Browns
  2. Jacob Tamme vs. Eagles
  3. Benjamin Watson vs. Patriots
  4. Kellen Winslow vs. Falcons
  5. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Cardinals
  6. Todd Head vs. Dolphins
  7. Dustin Keller vs. Lions
  8. Owen Daniels vs. Chargers
  9. Zach Miller vs. Chiefs

Tier 3 Tight Ends Good for 35 Yards 0 TD

  1. Jermaine Grisham vs. Steelers
  2. Brandon Pettigrew vs. Jets
  3. Kevin Boss vs. Seahawks
  4. Heath Miller vs. Bengals
  5. Brent Celek vs. Colts
  6. Tony Moeaki vs. Raiders
  7. Greg Olsen vs. Bills
  8. John Carlson vs. Giants

 

 

 

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Interview with Professional Boxer Marcus Willis

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Contributed by Mike Mills-CityofSports Blogger

If you’ve opened the sports page of the Ft. Myers News Press anytime over the last 10 years, chances are you’ve seen Marcus Willis’s face. He grew up in a boxing ring inside of the gym at the STARS complex, and his accomplishments throughout his stellar amateur career and budding professional career have been read and admire by many. Dunbar High School is where I first met Marcus when we entered the school as 9th graders, and a friendship was built and has lasted still to this day.

On Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel in Tampa, Marcus (won 5 (KO 2) + lost 1 (KO 0) + drawn 2) will be fighting his 9th professional bout in the “Ballroom Brawl” against Gerald Johnson (won 7 (KO 5) + lost 2 (KO 1) + drawn 1). I got a chance to catch up with “Magic” Marcus during a break in training, and here’s what went down:

 CoS: What was your amateur record and achievements?

MW: 107-18, 26x state champ, 8x S.E. Regional champ, 2004 under 19 national silver medalist, 2006 golden glove bronze medalist, ranked nationally in top 10 from 2004-2008

CoS: That’s beyond impressive. You’re fighting in the Ballroom Brawl on the 12th. How do I get tickets?

MW: You can search “ballroom brawl” on ticketmaster.com, call 813-503-8109 or just buy them at the door.

CoS: What weight are you fighting at?

MW: a catch weight at 152.

CoS: Do you do anything special leading up to the fight to prepare yourself?

MW: Not really, just pray a little more.

CoS: What gym do you train at?

MW: the Ft. Myers Police Athletic League and Fight Zone.

CoS: How many hours a day do you spend in the gym leading up to a fight versus just staying in shape?

MW: Well, I’m always in the gym. I’m somewhat of a gym rat, I can’t stay away for too long. Sometimes I find myself in the gym like all day anywhere from 3 to 7 hours in preparation for a fight. When I’m just staying in shape I’ll train on average an hour and a half to 2 hours.

CoS: Do you watch film of your opponent?

MW: Because of my career is at its starting ages its really not much video out there of opponents. If I find something, I’ll watch maybe once or twice to check for habits. I let my dad/trainer do the opponent studying.

CoS: What do you feel the benefits of having your dad as a trainer?

MW: He’s known me and my habits and how to get in my head all my life, and. I’m not going to find another trainer that’s going to care about my well being more than my dad. It’s a chemistry that we’ve built. It’s not always smooth, but what is? We’ve always got the job done.

CoS: Do you go in to a fight with a game plan or adapt to what your opponent is doing or how you’re feeling on fight night?

MW: my game plan is always to establish my jab and control the fight. I don’t really read much into having a game plan. Once you’re in the ring and the adrenaline is flowing, some things change, but if it’s something that we have trained and worked on constantly in the gym it will come naturally.

CoS: What do you feel is your best asset as a boxer?

MW: My determination, hard work and dedication. I have a lot of God given abilities, but if I didn’t work hard those wouldn’t produce the way God meant for it.

CoS: Who are some of the people you have sparred with that a lot of people would recognize?

MW:  Winky Wright, Andre Berto, Kasim Ouma, and Nate Campbell are the biggest names that I’ve sparred, all world champions.

CoS: Wow! That’s quite the line up. What did those people tell you about your future in boxing?

MW: They feel if I continue to put the hard work that I have been putting in I have a bright future ahead of me. Actually, Nate Campbell is my manager.

CoS: What is your prediction for the fight on the 12th?

MW: A knockout is how I want it to end, regardless a great fight.
CoS: What can we expect from you in the future?

MW: Hopefully some championship fights down the line. Definitely some entertaining crowd pleasing fights. Beyond the sky is the limit…nah there is no limit.

Randy Moss-Pre Titans Prediction

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-Contributed by Mike Millis, CityofSports blogger

Where next for Randy Moss?

The Minnesota Vikings have officially waved WR Randy Moss, after speculation of that yesterday. Vikings head coach Brad Childress informed the entire team in a meeting (supposedly before he talked to the team president and GM about the situation) in which he said “we want good people and good football players, and he just doesn’t fit.” Ouch. Saying that trading for Moss was a mistake might have been enough, but to call him not only a bad football player, but a bad person as well crossed the line, even if it is true. This is not the first time Childress has had problems with players, most notably his relationship with Brett Favre. Look for Randy Moss to not be the only person leaving Minnesota this year. Childress may not get his during the season, although defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier could step in as an interim coach much like Mike Singletary did for the 49ers last season. With that said, Moss will find another team to call home this season. Here are the 5 I think he could end up with.

  1. New England Patriots – He slobbed up Bill Belichick and the entire Patriots organization after losing to them Sunday. This seems odd considering he just complained his way out of town 4 weeks ago. He already knows the offense and has rapport with Tom Brady. If I were the Pats, I would want no part of this guy again, but if he can buy in to the system just for the rest of the season, it gives New England a proven downfield threat.
  2. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers need a shake up, and quick. Philip Rivers is on pace to throw for well over 5,000 yards this season, and has been doing so with a WR corps with the likes of Malcolm Floyd and Patrick Crayton. Vincent Jackson just came back, but it is still to be seen if he is in game shape. Moss offers an instant presence downfield and could be just what Antonio Gates needs to exploit the middle of the field (as if he needed help). Adding Moss could be just what the slow starting Chargers need to make their annual second half playoff push.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – Sitting atop their division halfway through the season isn’t where the Chiefs expected to be, and while I don’t think you can afford to shake up a locker room that’s had unexpected success with a personality like Moss who demands respect, having Matt Cassell (former New England QB) and Scott Pioli (Former New England GM) in house could help smooth things over.
  4. New Orleans Saints – This is Drew Brees’s team, much like the Pats are Tom Brady’s team. That scenario played out well Moss’s first few years in New England, and because Marques Colston has been under producing until late, adding a veteran who will know his place in the locker room could give the lackluster Saints what they need to regain their Super Bowl Champion form.
  5. Arizona Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald is the star of the team. He grew up as a ball boy for the Vikings, which included a young Randy Moss. Reuniting these two could be dangerous for opponents because it would move Steve Breaston to the slot where he would have a mismatch on nearly every snap. This may be what the Cardinals need to take control of the super weak NFC West.

It’s Time To Recognize Bruce Bochy

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Contributed by Guy Hase-CityofSports Blogger

Going into this World Series lots of attention has deservedly been given to Rangers manager, Ron Washington. And why not? His emphasis on defense and fundementals have helped propel this club from perennial sluggers to a well-rounded powerhouse; however, sitting in the other dugout is another manager who’s due should be coming soon.

I type this article with the World Series standing 2-0 in favor of the Giants. A team that plays in the obscurity of the West Coast and if you aren’t a true baseball follower then you probably only know of 2 players on the team (one of which is actually on the postseason roster). So it’s pretty easy to overlook this group of cast-offs and young eccentric pitchers in favor of the feel good story of on and off the field triumph that is the Texas Rangers. But with just 2 more victories it may be time to place Bochy in the same discussion of Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa, Ozzie Guillen, and Ron Gardenhire.

His career record stands at 26 games below .500 but it’s to overlook the situation which Bochy has managed for most of his career. Spending 12 years in San Diego (a franchise that seldom spends big on players), Bochy was the foreman for 2 rebuilding projects. After reaching the World Series in 1998, the Padres began their own personal firesale. Letting pieces like Steve Finley, Wally Joyner, and Kevin Brown leave in place of unproven guys named Mark Kotsay and Phil Nevin. GM Kevin Towers had so much respect for Bochy’s baseball mind that he committed to the man in spite of 5 straight losing seasons during the rebuilding process.

After leading the Padres to an NL West title in 2006, new Padres CEO Sandy Alderson opted to encourage Bochy to seeking new jobs because he favored a younger manager. During that offseason my Chicago Cubs were seeking a new manager to replace Dusty “in we used to trusty” Baker. Much like Twilight, that winter Cub fans were divided into 2 teams: Team Joe (Girardi) and Team Lou (Piniella) with your author being on Team Joe. When word got out that GM Jim Hendry was interested in hiring Bruce bleepin Bochy, I like most other Cub fans cried foul because we wanted to hire a sexy name in order to make us forget about the previous 95-loss season and the White Sox World Series run (I just threw up in my mouth) back in 2005.

Man were we wrong. Bochy does not have a reputation for being a wizard but he is a solid and knowledgable baseball guy. Look at his resume, his teams always play solid defense and he always has one of the better bullpens in the National League. Who do you think gave Trevor Hoffman a shot to close? Once given the Giants job, Bochy, a career backup catcher, has done a masterful job honing the skills of young fireballers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain as well as teaching finesse lefty Johnathon Sanchez to paint the strike zone. As these 3 pitchers have improved so has the Giants’ record. His work with young pitchers throughout his career can not be understated.

He has also taken a no-nonsense approach holding all players accountable. Check out the postseason roster. Notice a name not on there? He just so happens to be their highest-paid player, Barry Zito. The 170 million dollar arm has been demoted in favor of men who make less than 5% percent his entire salary. How do you not play your heart out for a man like that?

Tomorrow night, the world may finally become acquainted to the best kept baseball secret on the West Coast. A humble man who would never want the attention on him. But with 2 more victories, Bruce Bochy may have no other choice but to bask in it.

Starting 5 under 25 in the NBA

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-Contributed by Mike Millis-CityofSports Blogger

 The new season brings in a new class of rookies, and with that a new batch of players under 25 who are looking to display their skills and either keep their stock high, or show teams why they messed up by not drafting them. Picking these positions was especially hard because there really are so many good young players at each position. Let’s go ahead and pick a team.

 PG Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls. No one his age commands as much respect at any position as D Rose. A career 48% from the field is one reason the kid has averaged nearly 20 points per game since coming in to the league as the number one overall pick out of Memphis. Four rebounds per game along with six assists are examples of intangibles not displayed by your average point guard, especially one who just turned 22 years old.

  Honorable Mention: Tyreke Evans, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings,

 SGO.J. Mayo – Memphis Grizzlies. O.J. makes the list based on playmaking ability more than anything. A career 44% field goal shooter puts him at an average of 18 points per game. Adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a swing man doesn’t hurt either. He has yet to live up to his hype, which will be hard to do, considering he had a LeBron James type of buzz as far back as middle school.

  Honorable Mention: Eric Gordon, James Harden,

 SFKevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder. No explanation needed, really. Durant is the defending scoring champion, effective rebounder, averaging 6 per game throughout his short career. He’s my pick to win MVP, and is becoming the LeBron James (before The Decision) to of Oklahoma City.

 Honorable Mention: Rudy Gay, Thaddeus Young

 PFJosh Smith – Atlanta Hawks. J Smooth is more offensive minded than anything, and it seems like he could probably shove the ball down anyone’s throat he wants to when he’s driving the lane. He is the main reason the Hawks have been in the playoffs the past few years and if he can become more of a defensive presence, especially on the boards, the Hawks have a legitimate shot of doing something besides losing in the first round of the playoffs..

     Honorable Mention: Blake Griffin, Kevin Love.

 CDwight Howard – Orlando Magic. No brainer. Superman is the best center in the league period, not just under 25 years old. In his 6th year in the league, he’s averaging 17.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks per game. Howard is the face of his franchise, and one of the most recognizable faces in the league.

 Honorable Mention: Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez, Al Horford

The Mets, Latin America, and Politics

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Sandy Alderson, who was a consultant for Major League Baseball, will officially be introduced as the Mets 12th general manager on Friday. This comes after the demise of Omar Minaya’s career with the Mets; a slow, torturing demise that have left Mets fans wondering if they could ever make a trip to the playoffs again. 

Minaya became the general manager of the Mets in 2005, succeding Steve Philips. The beginning of his 2nd tenure with Mets featured some decent seasons. Under his reign the Mets won the National League East by 12 games with 97 wins. In the subsequent seasons, questionable trades were made and a focus on latin american players surrounded the Mets franchise. A number of latin americans were traded for by Minaya, including; Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana, Orlando Hernandez, Pedro Martinez, Roberto Hernandez, Carlos Delgado, Julio Franco, Endy Chavez, Moises Alou, Duaner Sanchez, Jorge Julio, and Jose Valentin. It seems as if Minaya got his point across that he wanted to make a latin american presence felt in New York. Minaya’s reputation was good around the league. But most of the players he signed didn’t pan out and the Mets have not made the playoffs since 2006. With the Mets having a payroll in the top 5 of the MLB, fans questioned whether or not Minaya had the skills to put a winning team together. Finally, on October 4th, 2010, Minaya was fired by the Mets organization.

In steps Sandy Aldersen. He is 62 and has many years of baseball experience under his belt. He was the General Manager for the A’s from 1983-1997. Whenever a general manager is with a team for that long he is obviously pulling the right cards. Recently, he has been part of Bud Seligs brigade as a consultant to Major League Baseball, a pretty prestigious position.

When questioned about Aldersen and his new position with the Mets, Selig said,”I think it’s in the best interest of baseball.”

Hmmmmm. Call me salmon because it smells a little fishy from where I’m sitting. When a market like New York isn’t winning and going to the post season, things have to change. It is important for any sport to have the major market teams thrive with wins. This equals more butts in the seats, trips to the concession stands, and season tickets being brought. Looks like Bud Selig pulled a few cards of his own to get his right hand man into a team that takes a backseat to the other franchise in New York, the Yankees.

Maybe if the Mets focused on making the right baseball moves from within, they would find themselves winning games like they should with the talent and money that they have.

After being lit up, the Heat play it cool.

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Contributed by Mike Millis-CityofSports Blogger

All eyes of the sports world were on the Miami Heat last night as the new “Big 3” took the floor for the first time as a team. The result was supposed to be a blow out, as every game is supposed to be with the combo of D Wade, King James, and Chris Bosh. This was before the Celtics shot 46% from the field, while holding the Heat to only 36.5%. LeBron James committed 8 turnovers, while Dwyane Wade gave the ball up 6 times. That’s one less than the entire Celtics starting line up. All this, an the Heat still only lost by 8, to a Celtics team playing at home, who just went to the finals last year.

 I heard two quotes after the game from Heat players that let me know their mindset it right where it should be.

 LeBron said, “We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is going to take time.”

Dwyane Wade said, “It’s game one of 82. Everyone who wanted us to go 82-0, sorry, it’s not going to happen.”

 The Heat’s problem was that they didn’t look cohesive. It LOOKED like last night was the first time they had played together, or at least since the Olympics in 2008. A lot of newly coined “Heat Haters” loved to watch this, because I think they, more than anyone, expected the Heat to roll over people and any bump in the road will be a major story. Stumbling out of the gate did nothing but add fuel to the fire. It is true that while to compete for a title, they’re going to need someone besides Joel Anthony playing Center, but give them 10-15 games together before we start saying the wheels have fallen off.

Why we hate to love going to live sporting events

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Contributed by Mike Millis-CityofSports Blogger

In south Florida, going to a sporting event can seem like a bit of a task. Sure, you pay high prices elsewhere, and the beers are still $8 no matter which stadium you’re at, but down here, the heat is a whole other monster. Baking in the sun for at least three hours, while paying $8 for your bottled domestic, $6 for your frank (not even a footlong), to watch your team, in my case, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, consistently move the ball backwards, show no real signs of life even when given the ball basically on the goal line is not really my idea of a fun filled day. As we park, we get out to throw the ball around a little bit and within 10 minutes were told to stop or our football was going to be confiscated. I got a mean sunburn, a small hole in my wallet, told that you’re not allowed to throw a ball in an empty field. Add to this the battery on my cell phone was in a free fall making it impossible to check, much less adjust my fantasy roster. While I was just happy to have come across a couple of friends who had an extra ticket and offered to drive, the day wasn’t going so well.

 This is where the “I hate going to live sporting events” thoughts started creeping in. I kept saying to myself that I could be sitting at home in the air conditioning, bought a case of brew, be checking on my fantasy team, flipping between games, taking a leak without five people measuring my business with their eyes, and not have thought twice about it.

 Then, with just over 5 minutes left in the game, the Bucs get the ball back. I look over at the friend who invited me to the game (a Giants fan) and say, “This is where Josh Freeman leads them down the field for the win” sarcastically. Then, with 20 seconds left to go, Freeman hooked up with Cadillac Williams for a short TD pass and just like that, the Bucs were back on top for good. The 17 people still left in the crowd went bananas, and I thought “Man, I LOVE going to live sporting events.”

NBA Hybrid Superstar

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Contributed by Mike Millis-CityofSports blogger

After reading Nick’s post about the perfect hybrid pitcher, I decided why not do the same for basketball? This started out being easy enough, but then there are so many players who are so good at different aspects of the game, that I began thinking I could do one hybrid for each position. Seeing as I have homework, plus regular work to tend to, I’ll keep it simple this time, and just go with one super player, made from skills of current players in the NBA.

Speed: Derrick Rose. When D Rose sees open court, there is nobody in the league who can keep up. He displays the same speed with the ball that he does without it, and is not only fast, but quicker than almost anyone in the league.

Handles: Steve Nash. For years, this guy has been darting in and out of the lane, facing heavy traffic. Whether or not he passes the ball or is just testing the waters in the paint seems to be irrelevant. Nash plays with what seems to be reckless abandon, but he has complete control and knows where everyone is on the floor at all times.

Hops: LeBron James. This was a toss up between King James and Dwight Howard. We haven’t seen LeBron try to dunk on a 12 foot hoop yet, but I have no doubt that he could make it look just as easy as Superman did. ‘Bron can jump a mile in to the air.

Shot: Ray Allen. Smoothest stroke we’ve seen in The League for quite a while. Jesus Shuttlesworth can tickle the twine with defenders in his face, wide open, and anywhere on the floor.

Offensive Moves: Kevin Durant. You don’t win a scoring title your third year in the league without knowing what to do when you have the ball. Whether its having a wet shot (.476 FG% last year), or just being able to dribble drive, create on the run, or make things happen in the half court offense, Durant’s the man.

Defense: Ron Artest. Call the Tru Warrior crazy all you want, but he’s a pit bull on the defensive end of the floor. He can guard almost any position, and has an innate ability to get in the opponent’s head.

Rebounding: Dwight Howard. Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and grab 13.2 rebounds per game while in air. Defensive boards are his, offensive boards are his. If there’s glass, and a ball bouncing off of it, my money is on Dwight Howard to come down with it every time.

Smarts: Chauncey Billups. Mr. Big Shot knows when to turn it on and start taking shots and knows when he needs to get his teammates involved. He brings a savvy to the court that is nearly unbeatable.

Clutch Performance: Kobe Bryant. Even with all the help he’s had the years he’s won his rings, he is the one to take the last shot, and seems to come up on the right side every time. There’s a reason he’s won 5 rings, and it’s because he just has what it takes to get it done.

The Perfect Hybrid Pitcher

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Imagine the perfect pitcher in your mind. What type of pitches would he throw? How fast? How intimidating? How smart?

If I was able to pick and choose pitches and intangibles from starting pitchers in the MLB, this is the perfect pitcher I would imagine. The pitcher is only allowed to have 4 pitches, which is generally the average for a pitcher in the MLB. Let’s not let your imagination get carried away here.

The perfect pitcher would have:

  • Mariano Rivera’s Cutter-Yankees– Everybody knows this pitch is coming, but they can’t do anything about trying to hit it. He throws it at about 93 mph with dart like control. The pitch breaks more bats than Carlos Zambrano does in anger management. He can paint the outside corner or handcuff a lefty. Or he can start the pitch on a righty and have it cut onto the inside corner. He is one of the few pitchers who receive interviews from other pitchers in the league that are trying to attain a pitch as successful as his cutter. The deceptiveness of the pitch, which looks like a slider at first glance then swiftly cuts through the strike zone, is a nightmare for opposing hitters.

-Honorable Mention Cutters- Cliff Lee-Rangers, Andy Pettitte-Yankees, Jon Lester-Red Sox, Evan Meek-Pirates, Dan Haren-Angels, Jon Danks-White Sox.

  • Aroldis Chapman’s Fastball-Reds Chapman broke the record this year for the fastest pitch ever thrown by a pitcher at 105 mph. He is almost touching the sky with a height of 6’4, which makes for one nasty angle for a pitch to soar towards the plate. Imagine the type of action he can get on a pitch, from that height, at a speed averaging around 100 mph every pitch. His long left arm creates an enormous whip on the ball that makes the ball blurry, making it hard for opposing hitters to see the ball effectively. His control is good, with a k/bb ratio of 19/5 in 13.1 innings. He averaged more than 1 strikeout every inning in his rookie year with the Reds. Give me that pitch any day of the week.

-Honorable Mention-Felix Hernandex-Mariners, Tim Lincecum-Giants, Stephen Strasburgh-Nationals, Ubaldo Jimenez-Rockies

  • Johan Santana’s Changeup-Mets-The changeup is one of the most effective pitches, especially if it set up correctly by the pitcher. It is most effective when thrown in a count a hitter is expecting a fastball because the arm motions for both pitches resemble each other. The only difference lies in the ball grip. With the changeup grip the baseball is tucked deep into the palm with either four fingers or three fingers accompanied by a small circle formed between the thumb and index finger. The pitch comes out of the hand slower, even though the arm whips through like a fastball, disguising a nasty-nose diving pitch that resembles the Japanese kamikaze. Johan Santana’s changeup is the most brutal one in the MLB. He has perfected the arm motion and can throw it with pin-point accuracy.  

Honarable Mention-Tim Lincecum-Giants-Pedro Martinez-Retired

  • Zack Greinke’s Curveball-Royals- This pitch could probably be classified as a slurve. The slurve is a slow curveball, usually clocked between 65-mph and 75 mph. It is filthy and drops like a ball that has fell off a table. It’s much different than a power curve. Greinke relies on his deceptiveness in which he keeps the same arm angle throughout all of his pitches. If my perfect pitcher was to throw Chapman’s 100mph fastball followed by a Greinke slurve, the hitter’s knees would buckle.

Honorable Mention-Roy Halladay-Phillies, AJ Burnett-Yankees, Tim Lincecum-Giants, Ubaldo Jimenez-Rockies, Stephen Strasburgh-Nationals

Intangibles-

Roy Halladay’s brains-Phillies-He is like a professor out on that mound. Knows how and when to use his pitches. Sets up guys to fail at the plate more than anyone I’ve ever see.

Brian Wilson’s IntimidationGiants– One of the best closers in the game. His veins are filled with ice. He laughs at the concept of fear.

Mariano Rivera’s calmness-Yankees– The bases can be loaded with no outs and you won’t see a drip of sweat fall from his head. Looks like he is doing a sermon from out there on the mound.