Fantasy Football: Bold Predictions

Welcome Back

 

Ah, this is a day that I look forward to more than Christmas day; with the football season right around the corner, we await to see a full year full of unpredictable playmakers emerge and salvage fantasy teams, and destroy others. Welcome back everyone. To get things started, I just wanted to make a quick list of some bold predictions leading into the fantasy season. When I mean bold, I really mean BOLD. Is it really bold to say that Devante Adams is going to tear it up? Is it bold to say that Antonio Brown will have 100+ receptions this year? Nope, what I am going to say is going to sound a bit far fetched, but who knows: anything can happen.

Injuries

Before I start, it is important that all of you guys know of all the big injuries that happened this off season. The biggest ones are probably season ending injuries to Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson; Arian Foster also had a severe groin injury which lead him to get surgery just a few weeks ago. Some reported that he would be out all year but now, he is projected to be back within the next 3-5 weeks; how you ask? I have no idea. It must his vegan powers.

Jason Pierre-Paul also decided to blow off his index finger with fireworks this off season and his time table to return is still unknown (not that anyone is planning to draft the Giants’ defense) and there are a few rookies that also sustained some injuries. Breshad Perriman injured his knee on the first day of training camp which kept him sidelined all preseason and Kevin White need surgery on his shin which may keep him from seeing the field all year.

Also, Geno Smith got punched by this truck known as IK Enemkpali so he is expected to be out for around 4-6 weeks, but who cares. Now lets get on to some real bold predictions.

1. Brandin Cooks will be a top 5 Receiver


“What? Tommy, of course Brandin Cooks is going to be good!” I know, I know. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Cooks is primed for a huge year but I don’t think he is only going to be good; he is going to be great. In a division with Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Funchess, I believe that Cooks will be right at the top with Julio.

With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills wearing different jerseys this season, Cooks is going to generate lots of targets. To put it into perspective, Cooks only played for 10 games last year and was targeted 70 times and he caught 53 of them for 550 yards and 3 touchdowns. Although these numbers don’t jump out at the page, his 4.3 speed and athleticism will surely change your mind.

The Saints are obviously going to become a more run-oriented team but if Brees is still under center and Sean Payton is calling the plays, an aerial attack will still be the bread and butter for The Saints. Drew Brees averages 628 pass attempts and 4,900 yards per season since he arrived in New Orleans in 2006. Even if there is a drop off, I cannot imagine it dropping by a significant margin.

With Colston past his prime and Graham out of the picture, it is Cooks time to shine and I will predict that he will have 100+ catches and 1,300+ yards with 8-11 touchdowns; oh it also doesn’t hurt that he trained with Randy Moss this off season and he stated that Cooks was one of the most talented receiver he has ever practiced with. Cooks is going to tear the league up and you shouldn’t be surprised; I expect him to be like Antonio Brown Jr

2. Justin Forsett will be a top 5 Back

It baffles me to see how late Forsett goes in many leagues. He finished in the top 5 last year in rushing yards and finished with 8 touchdown with his first year in Baltimore. He isn’t a one trick pony either, he also had 44 catches for almost 300 yards.

In case you guys haven’t gotten the memo, Marc Trestman was recently hired as the Ravens’ Offensive Coordinator; lets have a flash back to last season: Marc Trestman becomes the head coach of the Chicago Bears and sees a struggling offense with a strong armed QB and a versatile running back in Matt Forte. Does that sound familiar? Guess what happened next? Forte broke the receptions record for a running back with 102 catches. 102. One hundred and two.

Forsett ended the year as the 8th overall running back in fantasy so it is hard to believe how late he is still available in many drafts. Not only do I see him surpassing the amount of points he achieved last year, I expect him to propel up to the top 5.

3. Kyle Rudolph will be the best Tight End in the NFL

Here is where things get crazy. Kyle Rudolph will not only be a good tight end, but he will out perform Gronk, Graham, Olsen, Kelce, everyone. Now I know what you guys must be thinking: “Who the hell is Kyle Rudolph?” “Okay, this who list is trash. Tommy has no idea what he is talking about,” “Wait is that the guy who gets hurt every year?” Well…you’re not wrong with any of these accusations.

Here are some facts: Rudolph has been inactive for nearly half of the games in the past 2 seasons with the Vikings, he has never surpassed 500 yards in a season, and he is obviously constantly injured. Now why may I be so high on good ol’ Rudolph now?

Kyle stands at a staggering 6’6″ and 265 pounds. Teddy Bridgewater is coming off of a great rookie year and he has looked sharp all preseason so he is looking to avoid the sophomore slump. The Vikings are in a great situation for someone like Rudolph to shine. Adrian Peterson is back in Minnesota and he is going to make is presense known. With the running game back, play actions will work efficiently and the 6’6″ Rudolph is a huge red-zone target. Bridgewater is still a developing quarterback and young QBs love to have a safety blanket to check down too and that’s where Rudolph comes in.

If Rudolph can stay healthy all 2015, I can see him with 12+ touchdowns and leading all tight ends in fantasy points. Like I said, I’m here to be bold.

 

Angry Rant Conclusion

Now as I wrap up this post, I just wanted to get something off my chest. I was so high on the Carolina Panthers this season. With Cam having Kelvin and rookie Devin Funchess, I was excited to see the Panthers compete for the NFC South titles. Now with Benjamin out for the season, I am so salty because I drafted Newton for one of my leagues before Benjamin got hurt.

Now tell me what you think? Do you think I am out of my mind? Do you agree with what I said? Let me know.

 

Written by: Tommy Yu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The State of the Philadelphia Phillies

With the All Star Break over and the 2nd half of the MLB season is underway, the Phillies are currently…..37-63. The worst record in baseball and on the fast track to the #1 pick in the 2016 draft. They are just flat-out terrible to watch and there’s nothing to look forward to as long as General Manager Reuben Amaro Jr. is still at the helm despite this 8-1 start after the break. Amaro took over the team after the 2008 World Series win over the Rays and since then they went from Perennial title contenders to abomination with 60+ games left. This is the by far the worst Philadelphia sports team I ever laid eyes on, which says a lot considering right across the street at Wells Fargo we’ve seen “The disgrace of Basketball” AKA the Philadelphia 76ers commit their tank job over the past two seasons.

Amaro

( Since 2011, the Phillies have declined steadily in wins per season. In July 2014 in a Poll close to 94% out of 10,000+ fans gave a vote of no confidence to Amaro)

However the major difference is that Sam Hinkie came into a team that was stuck in NBA purgatory, so he decided to blow it up and start over and gather young talent and assets to groom and grow together for the next several years. The Phillies however have no sense of direction holding on to the old 2008 World Series until they are broken down and shells of their former selves. They’ve been putting off rebuilding for the past 3-4 years in hope so a spark will come from the old vets to make one last run, but it ends up in a massive train wreck. The fans are tired and want to move on and it’s not disrespect or hatred(well from me), it’s just we’re at a point that the longer you hold on giving the benefit of the doubt to Utley Ruiz Hamels Howard and Pap, the longer it will take to field a respectable team again. How many more times with Utley get a pass because he hustles? Or Howard swinging to that 0-2 breaking pitch in the dirt? Or Ruiz hitting into a rally killing double play? As former WWE Superstar Owen Hart would say: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! AND IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!”

Ryan-Howard

(Since tearing his Achilles back in 2011, Ryan Howard’s power numbers have decline steady and has batted over .260 once)

Silver Lining

However, the plus is seeing the Phillies win 8 of their last 9 ball games mainly due to their younger players. In Aaron Nola’s first two starts, he’s pitching to the highly touted expectations, Franco is proving to be the new heavy of the Phillies offense going forward and Hernandez, Galvis and Herrera(who made the two clinching plays to keep Hamelss no-hitter in tact) are providing speed and solid contact on the base paths.

maikel-franco

(Franco this season is batting .285 with 11 HRs and 38 RBIs. Providing the team with power and solid fielding at the hot corner)

With Crawford, Quinn and Biddle still in the minors and the possible #1 overall pick next year along with the young players we have now, the talent isn’t the question but more so on management and how will they develop. This winter I firmly believe that the Phillies need to officially cut ties with the rest of 2008 core(Hamels, Ruiz, Utley and Howard). Whether it be trade or coming to terms with a respectable release(which is unlikely). Utley isn’t an everyday player anymore and neither is Howard(but with no good 1B in the farm he isn’t blocking anyone) and Hamels will provide you a good return. The only one that makes sense staying is Ruiz because of the limited options at catcher(unless you love Rupp enough to start him everyday). Coming to grips and getting of the stigma of the old regime is the first step of starting over. If we’re going to be bad and struggle I rather it be with young players than the older vets in hopes of bring back the 2008 magic. It all starts with this winter with Amaro’s dismissal after this season. It’s been long overdue.

I ask for three questions on the state of the Phillies to answer for my blog post and since two of them tied were basically the same question, I will answer them together.

Cole-Hamels1

(Cole Hamels, 31, is 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA this season. Pitched a 13 SO no hitter in his last start against the Cubs on 7/25/15.)

Does Hamels have a place with the Phillies going forward?

Cole Hamels probably made his last start in a Phillies Uniform on Saturday in grand fashion. With 129 pitches, he became the 13 pitcher in Phillies history to pitch a no hitter. Hamels is 31 and still under contract under 2020 with a club option in 2019. Hamels is the only player the Phillies have that can warrant a good return for the team to officially start the rebuilding process. The Dodgers, Cubs Yankees(all in the playoff race) and Rangers  have inquire about the left hander. The Cubs have a plethora of young players to choose from. The Dodgers reportedly are tired of Yasiel Puig’s attitude and offered him and another prospect for Hamels. It’s unknown in what the Yankees are going to give up. Also with Johnny Cueto traded to the Royals, Hamels’ inquiry will look to increased in the upcoming week with the trade deadline Friday.

Yasiel-Puig

(Yasiel Puig is the main piece for the Dodgers to acquire LHP Cole Hamels. Puig is batting .253 with 6 HRs and 22 RBIs this season.)

Answer: No. The only way he stays if the deals offered weren’t good enough to letting go their ace. He’s their biggest trade chip and the only one on the roster that can get a massive return for. With Nola, Morgan, Biddle and #1 pick possibly being a pitcher the Phillies aren’t pressed to keep Hamels. Then again a rotation of Hamels/Nola/Morgan/Biddle is something to nothing to sneeze at. However, the longer they keep Hamels the more his value and market will dry up.

032715_nola-phillies-600

(The 7th overall pick, Aaron Nola, is living up to the expectations put on him so far. With an 3.29 ERA and 12 SO in his two starts)

How long will it take for Andy MacPhail to make the Phillies a contender again?

Andy MacPhail was announced to be the new team president beginning after the 2015 season. MacPhail’s last stop before coming here was in Baltimore, in which he made the Baltimore Orioles a consistent playoff contender from 2007 to 2011. He also had a stint with the Twins in which he comprised a team to win the 1987 and 1991 World Series. MacPhail’s track record does sparks interest and confidence going forward for this task in making this team a contender again. several players on the main roster that showed they can be apart of the future plans, several in the farm, this past draft and one more with that first overall pick if the Phillies can scoop up the #1 pick. The main issue now is getting away from the older players and having these young players learn by trial by fire.

Andy-MacPhail-Philadelphia-Phillies

(Andy MacPhail has been GM/President with the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. All were playoff contenders under his regime. Twins won the 87 and 91 World Series under his regime.)

Answer: It will take 3-4 years before the Phillies become a contender again and everything has to fall align in order for it to happen. Nola has to become a stud, Biddle and Morgan become solid rotation pitchers as well, Franco continues his pace and just continue to draft and develop well as well finding the right Manager to grow with this team. It’s ideal to build your team through the draft, but it’s also completely unrealistic. The Phillies have money to spend, however spending it wisely will be the key. It all starts with trading Cole Hamels. How the Phillies handle him will set the tone for how the MacPhail era will start. If you do the Dodgers deal, you’re looking at a 3/4 slugging combo of Franco and Puig years to come. Or if they ultimately keep him a rotation of Hamels/Nola/Biddle/Morgan and either a FA or another young arm is something you can get behind too. Ever stop MacPhail has been in he’s made them a contender in a couple of years there’s no reason to not believe he couldn’t do the same with the Phillies in 3-4 years.

Closing Remarks

Watching this team now as suppose to the start of the year, you can see the massive change. More young players are being played everyday, learning from their mistakes and are slowly sketching out an identity for themselves. Galvis’ bat has finally caught up with his good fielding. Hernandez’s play has signaled the end of Chase Utley’s reign as an everyday 2B. Even Reuben Amaro endorsed the notion.

Utley

(Chase Utley is batting .179 with a .257 OBP. Both career lows)

I can’t say enough about Franco, and I have to give props to Asche. Asche had to learn to learn to play LF in a limited time and looks to have a handle on it. You can’t help but root for a guy that’s doing everything asked to stay on the team(even though he might end up as a bench player). Revere is still batting .300 at the leadoff spot, & Herrera is playing well splitting time with Revere at CF(making the two big catches to preserve Hamels’ no hitter). Even Dom Brown is hitting the ball so far in the 2nd half. When you play your younger players, you get to see them develop and work on their faults. If they only done this 2-3 years ago, the Phillies wouldn’t be so behind the 8 ball.

The only keepers on the main roster are Nola, Morgan, Giles, Franco, Herrera, Galvis, Hernandez, both catchers Ruiz and Rupp, and with Howard’s big contract he’s here for another year as well. Utley as well due to that 15 million a year price tag. MacPhail has his work cut out for him and a lot of sub .500 baseball is still on plate for a couple more years, but with his resume, it’ll be Sunny in Philadelphia in the future.

What is Fantasy Football?

Ah, fantasy football. I cannot even begin to explain the countless tasks I neglect throughout the week while I tinker with my lineup, follow up with injuries and seeing my matchups. To some, this is unfamiliar territory, but to others, this may be something you look forward to every year. Regardless, I wanted to fill everyone in on what this beautiful game is all about.

 

1. “Fantasy?”

Now when people think of “Fantasy Football” everyone gets affixiated with the term “Fantasy.” Many think that everything is made up and it’s just a game for boys; now I am here to tell you, stop. This is not a world full of fairies and dragons. Friendships are lost, tears are shed, monetary glory is on the line, and ultimately at the end, bragging right is thrusted upon by the champion. Fantasy Football season is something I look forward to more than anything else in the year: My birthday? Nah I feel special everyday. Christmas? Stress of buying everyone presents. Halloween? I’m not 12 anymore. Thanksgiving? Eating as much as you want while watching football…okay maybe Thanksgiving is pretty sweet. But nonetheless, Fantasy Football is not just a game: it is a lifestyle, a commitment, a reason to live.

 

 

2. So What Is It?

 

Fantasy Football is a fairly simple game. You go through a draft with everyone in your respective league and select players. You will become severely attached to all of your players and begin to develop a special bond for them because they are your baybays. In standard leagues, there will be 16 rounds where you will draft 16 players: You will need atleast 1 starting QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex, 1 Defense and 8 bench players which you can use to rotate into your line up.

Now what do you do from here? Contrary to popular belief, Fantasy Football is more than just degrading your opponent to the point where they question their own existance. Every week, you will go head to head against an opponent in your league and you have to select who you want to start and you get rewarded based off of how they perform in their games. At the end of the week, the team with the most points wins.

3. How Does It Work?

Depending on the league that you are in, there are many different ways that this point system work. There are several types of fantasy leagues such as a PPR (Points Per Reception) League, Auction League, ect. I don’t have much experience in those weird leagues because only people who stink at the standard leagues join them so they can feel better about themselves. But all jokes aside, I will give you a grand overview of the most standard league from my personal favorite Fantasy Football site, ESPN.

Passing
Every 25 Passing Yards: 1 point
Touchdown Pass: 4 points
2 Point Passing Conversion: 2 points
Interceptions Thrown: -2
Lets say you have Jay Cutler as your starting quarterback because you’re apparently blind to the fact that he is awful and the reason I cry myself to sleep as a Chicago fan. Lets say he throws for 233 yards and two touchdowns and a pick. With the point system in ESPN Fantasy League, he would get a total of 15 points. (233 yards: 9 points; 2 TD: 8 points; 1 interception: -2 points)

Rushing
Every 10 Rushing Yards: 1 point
Rushing Touchdown: 6 point
2 Point Rushing Conversion: 2 points
Fumble: -2 points

Lets say you have DeMarco Murray from the Philadelphia Eagles (AKA: The best football team in existance) and he gets 85 yards rushing and a touchdown. That would be equivalent to 14 points. (85 yards: 8 points; Touchdown: 6).
 
Receiving
Every 10 Receiving Yards: 1 point
Touchdown Reception: 6 points
2 Point Receiving Touchdown: 2 points
Fumble: -2 points

Lets say you have Megatron (Calvin Johnson) and he ends up with 113 yards recieving and 2 touchdowns. That is 23 points. (113 yards: 11 points; 2 touchdowns: 12 points)

 

Defense/Special Teams


You will start with 10 points

Shutout: 5 points

1-6 Points Given Up: 4 points

7-13 Points Given Up: 3 points

14-17 Points Given Up: 1 points

18-27 Points Given Up: 0 point

28-34 Points Given Up: -1 point

35-45 Points Given Up: -3 points

46+ Points Given Up: -5 points

Anything returned for a TD (Kickoff, Punt, Fumble, Interception, ect): 6 points

Each Interception: 2 points

Each Fumble Recovered: 2 points

Blocked Punt/PAT/FG: 2 points

Each Safety: 2 points

Each Sack: 1 point

Wow that was a doozy. Now the defensive/special teams point system is not as complex as it looks. You may be overwhelmed by the amount of things that are on here but if you break it down, it is quite simple. Don’t worrry and just relax.

 



4. Relax!

I’m sure a lot of you are completely overwhelmed by all of the point system stuff that I just threw at you but I have a secret that may make everything better. You don’t really need to memorize any of that stuff because it will automatically be updated as the game progresses from the website you play Fantasy Football on. So ideally, all you have to do Sunday morning is make sure you set your roster, then just sit back and watch the game. It’s almost as if they know how lazy we really are, I mean why do actual work when you can just do almost nothing at all?
Now as you begin to play fantasy football and get more into it, the point system will become very easy to grasp and it will be a nice thing to know. For instance: lets say everyone on your opponent’s team has played already and he is currently beating you 107-98, but you still have Dez Bryant who plays Monday night. You will need 10 points from him so you can win; now you will keep a closer look on Dez’s performance during the game and hope that he can produce that sum.
 
5. Fantasy Lingo

Just like many other games, Fantasy Football come’s with its own jargon and lingo. I will try to cover all of the basic ones that may confuse some newcomers.

Flex: This is a position slot on your starting roster that is arguably the most important and versatile. Within this flex position, you can add an additional RB, WR, or TE; you can add any of these 3 positions within that one slot.

PPR: Like I mentioned above, this stands for “Points Per Reception” and it is a type of fantasy league. Unlike standard leagues, a PPR league rewards points based off of the amount of receptions a player gets. For example: if Jordy Nelson gets 6 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, he will get 6 points added on top of the amount of points he would typically get for 88 yards and a touchdown for a PPR League. The reason I did not convert the stats to points like I normally do, I opted against it because a PPR leagues may have a different point system than a standard league.

Snake Draft: This is one of the ways a league could be drafted. Everyone will draft in a serpentine order. For those who don’t know what that means, the player who has the first pick will draft first in the first round and go all the way up to the person with the last pick of the draft. Once he selects his player, he will select first in the second round because he went last and this cycle continues until the end of the draft. For example, lets say there are 10 people in your league. The draft order for round 1 will be 1-10, Round 2 will be 10-1, and this will continue to alternate until the end.

Auction Draft: This is the alternative way of drafting. Every owner has a set amount of money and each player has a certain starting bid. Everyone will have a chance to draft the player that they want, but it will come with a steep price depending on how much everyone else wants that player. Be careful because it is easy to overspend on some players and slowly run out of money before having a complete roster so you must be aware of how much money you are spending.

Injury Terms: Okay so this may be the most annoying/important thing to pay attention to when you are playing fantasy. Next to many player’s names, you may see one of these terms which will cause you internal headaches.

  1. Probable (P): If you see this in front of one of your player’s names, you are fine. This just means that they are coming off of a small injury and that they will “probably” play. They just want to be a diva and get some attention before a game.
  2. Questionable (Q): This is the biggest spit in the face ever. No one really knows what “questionable” means. It is just up in limbo and there is a 50% chance whether a player marked questionable will play. What are the doctors doing? Why can’t you just tell us? My word of advice would be to just keep an eye out on any reports Saturday night/Sunday morning on your player to get a clearer idea if they are playing. Urg, the worst is when the coach says that the player will be a “game time decision”
  3. Doubtful (D): There is little to no chance that they will play. Unless they find some magic water that soccer players drink when the get “hurt” on the field, they will most likely sit out.
  4. Out (O): They are not scheduled to play so move them straight to the bench.
  5. Suspended (S): This means that your player did something catastrophically stupid to cause him to miss a few games.

6. Why Should I Play?

There are several reasons to play Fantasy Football:

  1. Many leagues are a money league so if you win, not only do you get bragging rights, you will also win some money
  2. It will get you more involved with football. You will begin to pay more attention to players you normally would not care about because they are now a part of your fantasy team.
  3. It will build more comradery with friends and some healthy competition is always fun.
  4. Wait. It is not my job to make you play fantasy football, so why don’t you answer me something. Why shouldn’t you play?

Conclusion

Well I hope you now know what Fantasy Football is all about. This was just a simplified version of some things that Fantasy Football has to offer. Don’t feel to overwhelmed with everything because everything will come in time. Now go hurry and make some rankings of players, check their bye weeks, strategize, and most importantly, have fun!

 

Written by Tommy Yu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KT’S 2015 NBA MOCK DRAFT

I’ve been waiting for months to do a mock draft, however it would only make sense to wait until we know which teams have which picks. With the draft lottery behind us now we know the Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, L.A. and Minnesota will be picking in the top 5. This will be the 2nd year in a row where Orlando and Philadelphia will be in the top 5 and the second year in a row Minnesota will have the #1 pick of the draft on their roster(Andrew Wiggins via trade last season). My Mock draft is based on a combination of whom I believe is the BPA and also fit for the team selecting them. I’m only doing Lottery teams for now. Let’s get started.

#1 Pick Minnesota Timberwolves: Jahlil Okafor

Either Towns or Okafor are going #1. Okafor’s offensive game and footwork is too refined to pass up on. He gives the Wolves an immediate low post threat. Okafor Wiggins and Lavine for the next 10 years? Look out NBA, these Wolves run in packs.

NBA Ceiling: Al Jefferson

#2 Pick L.A. Lakers: Karl Towns

Towns is the perfect foil for the returning Julius Randle and with the Lakers history of success with Big men and the 2015-16 season being Kobe’s last season, Towns can very well end up as the face of the Lakers franchise in a few years. His offensive game is 2 years away, but with already shooting 80% from the FT line and great defensive ability, Towns can make his stamp right away.

NBA Ceiling: N/A

#3 Pick Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell

Russell is the most NBA ready guard in the draft. What he lacks in athletic ability and not quick enough to get his own shot against bigger defenders, he makes up for his crafty ball handling, great passing, court vision and very solid shooter. And with him hanging with Noel a few weeks ago and liking several photos on Instragram with him being photoshopped with a #0 Sixers jersey, I think he’s in on the idea of playing with Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

NBA Ceiling: Brandon Roy

#4 Pick New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay 

The last think the Knicks expected to do this season, was tank. The last thing they expected with the 2nd worst record and 2nd best odds to end up with the #1 pick, to end up picking 4th in the NBA Draft this season. However they’ll be getting a very good point guard in the mystery man in Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay has a big frame and very good athletic ability for the PG position. However the biggest question marks are his shooting and how will he work in a half court setting, or in New York’s case the triangle with Carmelo Anthony. Knicks fans rejoice you’re getting a great young point guard, that’s if you don’t trade the pick.

NBA Ceiling: Tyreke Evans

#5 Orlando Magic: Kristaps Porzingis

The Magic have their backcourt of the future set with Payton and Oladipo. The need to start thinking front  court help because outside of Vucevic and with Tobias Harris a RFA, they have zero keepers in the front court. Porzingis is a 7 footer PF with an unique skill set. He can shoot the jumper, great in the pick and pop game, can put the ball on the floor and high level athleticism. However, his 220 and lanky frame is a red flag. He’s also a poor finishing at the rim for his size but that’s all correctable with good coaching and the weight room.

NBA Ceiling: Andre Bargnani

#6 Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauly-Stein

The Kings were 28th in points allowed this season. I know this is a reach, but with the Kings wanting to move Demarcus Cousins to PF, making Stein the #6 isn’t that far-fetched. Stein gives them an impact defensive anchor the Kings needs. They have the offensive pieces in set with Gay, Cousins and with Collison running the point. Stein is the perfect fit for the Kings and George Karl however his limited offensive game and his poor free throw shooting…let’s say that there’s going to be a hack-a-stein in the near future.

NBA Ceiling: Deandre Jordan

#7 Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja

With the Nuggets still under major construction since 2013 after firing George Karl, there’s a seriously lack of direction of what the Nuggets are trying to do. With Lawson as the only proven asset( and biggest trade chip come draft night) they need to start thinking of a new face of the Franchise and that could be Croatia phenom Mario Hezonja. Mario has the refine offensive skill set to become a premier scorer. He has the athletic ability to attack and finish at the rim and has a deadly shooting range and has the size to play SG or SF. With that being said, there’s always a major risk in taking a international player, especially with someone who hasn’t really had consistent playing time to have a proper evaluation on. Lawson could be gone on draft night, Faried is just a high energy guy and Gallenari hasn’t been the same since the injury, and Chandler is inconsistent. The Nuggets should draft Mario and start over from ground zero.

NBA Ceiling: Tracy McGrady

#8 Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson 

I love Arizona Basketball and watching Stanley Johnson was fun for me this season. Johnson one of the premier two way guards in the draft. His size for his age is awe inspiring, has a 6’11 wingspan and has the range to guard up to 3 maybe in 4 position in the NBA. He’s great in transition and can knock down an open 3 with his good shooting mechanics. His offensive game, heck his entire game is a two year project, but Johnson can develop into a defensive stopper to shut down guys like Lebron, KD, Hardens of the NBA. And Johnson has the size to play either SG or SF.

NBA Ceiling: Ron Artest

#9 Charlotte Hornets: Justice Winslow 

Long story short; Hornets have one of the better defenses in the NBA. They have one of the worst offenses in the NBA. Winslow’s offensive game still isn’t all the way polish but the Hornets get a guy that wants the ball and wants to score. A competitor. He’s has the potential to be a great two player as well to add on to the Hornet’s already stout defense.

NBA Ceiling: Wilson Chandler/Jimmy Butler

#10 Miami Heat: Devin Booker 

With the Heat going through 30 different lineup changes last season, and no young assets other than Hassan Whiteside, the Heat need to start thinking more long term. With Wade getting older they need to find a replacement and Devin Booker is a guy. He’s a 6’6 sharpshooter. Can make any jumper and get open without the ball. His ball handling, frame and lack of attacking the basket is his major concerns, but the Heat are getting a great heir to the D Wade throne.

NBA Ceiling: Klay Thompson

#11 Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner 

Pacers need a big man. David West is getting older and Roy Hibbert hasn’t been useful since the 2013 Eastern Conference, enter Myles Turner. He’s a big body at 6’11 240 and can flat out score on anywhere on the court whether it’s from 3, mid range or at the rim. Here’s a plus; He’s a 89% free throw shooter, for a big man. The issue is that Turner is a stiff. He has trouble getting up and down the court. He needs to bulk up and get better at being aggressive as well because he struggled against players that were around his size or bigger and in the NBA that’s a nightly basis. With talk about Hibbert might being regulated to 6th man, Turner could be starting on opening night. Turner, a healthy Paul George, David West and Stuckey is something Pacers fans get behind.

NBA Comparison: Chris Kaman

#12 Utah Jazz:  Sam Dekker 

Trey Burke, Gordon Heyward, Derrick Favors, and Ruby Gobert. Something is cooking in the Salt Lake city. They just need to add another scorer on the wings to help their 26th rank offense. Sam Dekker is perfect for them. He’s a solid all around ball player. He can attack the basket, looks for contact and can play spot up shooter if need be to spread the floor. He’s not good at taking shots off the dribble and needs to get better at shooting the three(33% 3 point shooter). He’s a swiss army knife he does a lot of good things well, but not one thing great.

NBA Ceiling: Chandler Parsons/Gordon Hayward.

#13 Phoenix Suns: Bobby Portis 

Phoenix please do yourself a favor and draft Bobby Portis? You haven’t had a quality big since Amare left to New York and when Gortat was traded to Washington. Portis has a great face up game, can finish with both hands and is an active rebounder especially on the offensive glass. Here’s a plus too; he can run in transition which is a trademark with Phoenix. At 6’11 245 and with the 13th pick this is a dream come true pick. He needs to work on his post game more and don’t rely on his jumper. Lack explosiveness but as a big that doesn’t matter to me. Portis and TJ Warren are great building blocks to have and Phoenix could have that.

NBA Ceiling: Greg Monroe

#14 Oklahoma City Thunder: Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre is a interesting prospect. He’s 6’7 has a 7’2 wingspan and has elite athleticism. He has the potential to be a very solid defensive stopper but his offense is 2-3 years away. His offense in the next level will more often come in transition baskets. I’m not the biggest Oubre fan, but what he brings at this and with OKC having NBA finals talent when healthy, is the ideal situation for Oubre, unless Kevin Durant leaves. Then you have some growing up to do and fast kid.

NBA Ceiling: Andre Iguodala

 

 

 

Mock Draft 5.0 with Trades

1. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State

Winston is the best QB prospect he goes first.

The Browns trade both their firsts to move up and grab Mariota.

3. Jaguars: Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Gus Bradley will get his QB and true number one WR.

4. Raiders: Leonard Williams, Defensive End, USC

Williams would be a perfect fit here and he even said he would like to be a Raider.

The Skins trade with the Falcons and Atlanta drafts the best pass rusher on the board.

6. Jets: Brandon Scherff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa

The Jets pass on White to sure up their offensive line and select the best lineman in this class.

7. Saints: Kevin White, Wide Receiver, West Virginia

The Saints trade their firsts and move up to get White.

The Falcons add pass rush with Beasley after Orakpo’s departure.

9. Giants: Andrus Peat, Offensive Tackle, Stanford

Peat will be a solid RT for the Giants and allow them to move Pugh inside.

10. Rams: La’el Collins, Offensive Tackle, LSU

Collins is one of the most physical blockers adding to their line.

11. Vikings: Trae Waynes, Cornerback, Michigan State

Waynes will fit the scheme in Minny perfectly.

Gurley will hide the imperfections of Mettenberger.

13. Bears: Danny Shelton, Defensive Tackle, Washington

The Bears move back and still get their NT for Fangio’s defense.

Parker will be a number one WR for Tannehill.

Peters is the best CB in the draft in my opinion the 49ers nab him.

16. Texans: Arik Armstead, Defensive Tackle, Oregon

Armstead has freak potential, pairing him with Watt and Clowney would cause havoc for opposing offenses.

17. Chargers: Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin

Gordon will take away the pressure from an aging Philip Rivers.

Kendricks will add to the depth the Chiefs have already and could be Johnson’s potential replacement.

19. Titans: Landon Collins, Safety, Alabama

The Titans grab the best safety on the board to go along with Gurley.

DGB would be a perfect fit for Chip’s offense I would love to see the Eagles take him here, Perriman is the more likely pick for the birds though.

The Bengals can’t pass on Dupree here, they add a pass rusher.

Jones could be the first CB off the board the Steelers upgrade their defense.

Gregory could go much higher than here but the Lions get a steal because of his off field concerns.

Ray will add to the already potent Cards defense.

Perriman and Benjamin would be a dynamic duo for Cam Newton.

Agholor will fill the void left after the departure of Torrey Smith.

27. Cowboys: Kevin Johnson, Cornerback, Wake Forest

Johnson will upgrade the lack of talent the Cowboys have at CB.

28. Broncos: Jake Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Oregon

Fisher would be a perfect fit on the Denver offensive line.

29. Colts: Cameron Erving, Offensive Tackle, Florida State

Erving could play any position on the line and would add protection for Andrew Luck.

30. Packers: Denzel Perryman, Outside Linebacker, Miami

Perryman will allow Matthews to move back to OLB.

31. Bears: Jaelen Strong, Wide Receiver, Arizona State

The Bears add Strong to pair with their other selection of Shelton.

32. Patriots: Shaq Thompson, Outside Linebacker, Washington

Thompson could be Mayo’s eventual replacement but until then he will add depth for the Pats.

-Darren Williams

Top 3 Wrestlers WWE Dropped The Ball On

I’ve been watching for 15 years and over the course of that time there were many wrestlers that came along and had me wondering “Why didn’t WWE give this guy the ball and run with it?” For my first Wrestling Blog Post I’m going to talk my top 3 wrestlers that WWE “dropped the ball on.”

 Kennedy

#3 Mr. Kennedy

MISTER KENNEDY! KENNEDY! Mr. Ken Anderson made his WWE debut in August 2005. When he came onto the scene the guy the definition of a sports entertainer. His entrance in where he was have his own microphone, and introduce himself was gold, he can trash talk and hold his own in the ring. 2006 was his best year in where he would win the United States Championship in a triple threat contest against Bobby Lashley and Finlay and for the rest of 2006 had the feud of his career with the Undertaker and even earning a signature victory at Survivor Series against Taker in a first blood match.

However Kennedy’s lack of success was a mixed of bad luck and self inflicting. Kennedy’s biggest obstacle was staying healthy. A few weeks after winning Money in the bank at Wrestlemania 23, Kennedy endured a Hematoma injury during his match with Edge in which he lost his Money in the Bank contract. Kennedy came back in the summer of 2007 and was booked to be Vince Mcmahon’s illegitimate son, however Kennedy was suspension for violating the wellness policy. After the suspension, Kennedy basically floated around the WWE mid card pool until his release in May of 2009.

Kennedy2

If Mr. Kennedy had better dependability, I firmly believe he would have been a major player in the WWE. Kennedy has a charisma that majority of Superstars would kill for and held his own when it came to feuding with the likes of Cena, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Batista and even Undertaker. His character was brash, loud, and was a perfect medium in which he can be an obnoxious in your face heel or that lovable jerk baby face. Kennedy was one of the few guys that had a character where no matter whether he was a heel or a face, he can milk that cow for all it’s worth. Although he found success in Impact Wrestling I can only imagine how big he could have gotten if WWE would have put more gas in the Kennedy engine. I guess we’ll never know.

Mr. Kennedy’s Entrance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-I97ZcHWjU

MVP

# 2 M.V.P

Montel Vontavious Porter otherwise known as MVP is another interesting case. MVP made his debut in 2006 in which he signed with Teddy Long and Smackdown to the highest paid contract in Smackdown History. After his debut match at the 2006 No Mercy against a jobber, he was thrown into the fire (literally) against Kane in which they feuding for two months and ended with MVP being set on fire and suffering from Fire degree burns. Shortly afterwards, MVP came back and started feuding with Chris Benoit for the United states championship in which began one of the longest reigns in the championship’s history for MVP(343 days). He won the belt at the 2007 Judgement Day in a two out of three falls contests.

MVP2

After winning the title MVP, then began a feud with Matt Hardy for the U.S. Title which also tied to both of them having to be tag team partners. They won the tag team titles from the Champions Deuce and Domino in September 2007 when MVP bragged about saying “he can win the tag titles with anyone as his partner.” Their reigned ended in November when they lost the titles against Miz and Morrison on Smackdown in November. After the Match MVP put Matt Hardy out of action for several months. Hardy came back and not only cost MVP a chance to win Money In The Back, but beat MVP for the U.S. title at Backlash in 2008. Afterwards, MVP fell to where most up and coming wrestlers go in where the writers have nothing to do for them: Mid Card Hell. MVP began on this losing streak in August which lasted for 5 months and storyline wise, he didn’t earn any of his bonuses and couldn’t afford to pay for his over the top entrances.

MVP’s Entrance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Zi0uUpCqo

MVP eventually broke the streak against the Big Show thanks to Triple H. Shortly after he became a baby face and defeated Shelton Benjamin on Smackdown to reclaim the U.S. Title. MVP was drafted to Raw where the title was transferred to Raw for the first time. He lost the belt to Kofi Kingston on Raw and after that MVP wallowed again in Mid Card Hell until his release in 2010.

MVP I never fully understand why they never gave him the ball to run with it. He never got injured, violated again wellness policy or gotten in trouble outside of WWE. MVP could talk, had an over the top entrance, and improved immensely in the ring (MVP gave credit to Benoit to helping him improve his in ring skill). He had his own talk show called the “VIP Lounge” and during his 343 reign as U.S. Championship, made the title important and at the time helped Matt Hardy get his relevancy back with their feud. MVP played the “highest paid performer” gimmick perfectly he was flashy, had designer suits and mocked his opponents and the fans every chance he could get. He was the perfect Heel and I dare say the best Heel WWE had during that time not named Edge. MVP could have been the top heel needed(especially now that WWE are lacking quality top heels). I never understood why they never got behind him other than the obvious reason (skin tone). Although he did his thing in Japan, and is still doing his thing as the top heel in Impact Wrestling, he could have been big time heel in the WWE.

Lashley2

#1 Bobby Lashley

Bobby Lashley is one of my favorite wrestler of all time because he wasn’t just the typical muscle head that WWE loves. Lashley served in the military, is a former Armed Forces champion, and also dipped into the world of mixed martial arts. Lashley made his debut in 2005 in which he defeated Simon Dean. Lashley was the soft spoken hard hitting powerhouse. He was undefeated for several months until he lost to JBL at No Way Out thanks to interference with Finlay. Which then started a feuded with the two for a few months. Lashley in 2006, made his Wrestlemania debut in the 2nd annual Money In The Back ladder match and was in the King of the Ring finals as he faced off against Booker T at Judgement Day, he lost both bouts. The Smackdown after Judgement Day, Lashley won the U.S. title from JBL and would then stayed champion for about two months until he dropped the belt to his rival Finlay. Around the end of 2006 Lashley began to get a big push.

Bobbylashley

Lashley made the move to ECW in November of 2006 when he attacked Hardcore Holly and took his place as the final member in the extreme elimination chamber match at the December to Dismember Pay Per View. Lashley would go on to win the title from the Big Show on December 2006. Lashley was then selected by Donald Trump as his representative in the “Battle of the Billionares” battle at Wrestlemania 23 against Vince Mcmahon’s pick Umaga. Lashley would defeat Umaga and win the match for Trump and after the match would help Trump shave Vince Mcmahon bald at Wrestlemania. As punishment Vince booked himself, his son Shane and the Intercontential Champion at the time Umaga in a 3 on 1 Handicap match for Lashley’s ECW title. Vince pinned Lashley and became the ECW Champion. Lashley would eventually win the title back from Vince at the One Night Stand PPV in street. Shortly after Lashley was drafted to Raw having to surrender the ECW title and would be thrown in the mix of the WWE title picture. Lashley lost a 5 pack challenge match for the WWE title in his first month on Raw but got a one on one match with the WWE champion John Cena at the Great American Bash PPV in 2007. A great match however Lashley couldn’t overcome the dominate champion Cena. On July 30th, Lashley lost a match to Mr. Kennedy, in which he was injured and had to take time off for surgery. That was the last time Lashley was on WWE TV.

Lashley

Lashley could have been the biggest star that WWE let go. He was 6’2 6’3 270 pounds who was not only a powerhouse but also has a great wrestling background. Lashley was never able to carry himself on the mic like a Kennedy or a MVP but the way he was feature he didn’t need to talk. He was the silent juggernaut. He was feature in a program with the guy who runs the company in Vince Mcmahon, which says a lot if Vince is involving himself in a phyiscal program with you. He could of….no should of been the first African-American WWE Champion in the company’s history(No The Rock doesn’t count). He could have been an alternate face of the company with Cena, like Warrior ad Savage to Hogan, and Rock was to Austin. Not to mention Lashley has a history with the Military and considering the work WWE does with the troops having a guy and featuring a guy like a Lashley would have been great for business. Lashley is in TNA now( notice a pattern?) and is a former 2 time TNA World Champion. When he was champion he was building up as a special attraction as the “destroyer” the “unstoppable champion”. When he defender the title even when he was a heel he won his matches clean which is rare for a heel to do. Lashley could have been that homegrown special attraction for WWE for years to come. Lashley was a different breath of fresh air from what I’ve watch in wrestling and could have been a big star for the company, however all I can do is wonder “what if?”

KT’S TOP FIVE SECOND BASEMEN

howie-kendrick

#5 Howie Kendrick: Kendrick doesn’t get a lot of media attention, but the guy has been consistent since he’s been in the league in the 2006. Last year was no different with Kendrick hitting for average at .293, 7 HRs and 75 RBIs. His bat is consistent finishing 4th in WAR, however is fielding is still a lot to be desired as he was tied for the 3rd most errors for 2B last season, but in the same token Kendrick finished in the top 10 in defensive WAR. Now that’s playing for the other LA team Kendrick looks to add his bat to help the Dodgers’ championship aspirations come to reality.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox

#4 Dustin Pedroia: The former MVP still has a strong say of remain in the top 5 2nd basemen discussion. Last season Pedroia’s offensive numbers too a dip batting at a .278 and hitting 7 HRs and 53 RBIs after a All Star season in 2013 with a .301, 9 HRs and 84 RBI season. However, Pedroia still possesses the best glove in baseball racking up  his 4th golden glove last season. Pedroia might not be posting the MVP numbers like he used to, but what he means and brings to the Red Sox is to never be question and worthy to remain in the top 5 spot.

Ian

#3 Ian Kinsler: After 8 seasons with the Rangers, Ian Kinsler’s first year as a Detroit Tiger was impressive. Racking up 17 HRs and 92 RBIs hitting at a .275 average and earning his 4th all star appearance. Also finished 1st in defensive WAR and 3rd in fielding % for 2B. Kinsler has made the climb into the top 3 and looks to repeat if not improve his phenomenal 2014 campaign and help the Tigers to get over the hump this year.

Altuve

#2 Jose Altive: The Houston Astros have a gem in the 24 year old Jose Altive. He’s progressed every single year since he’s been in the league and this past season was his best season. Aive became an All Star for the 2nd time, and winning the AL batting title and Silver Slugger award for 2nd basemen. Altive also shown speed on the base path as well has he led the MLB with 56 steals. Altive is the perfect guy to led off your team due to also leading the league in singles. Altive’s impressive year has help propelled him to the 2nd best basemen in baseball.

Robinson Cano

#1 Robinson Cano: This is probably the biggest “no brainier” in my Top 5 countdowns. Cano is the best 2nd baseman in baseball and it’s not even close. Cano last season made the decision to leave the Yankees to become the face of the franchise for the Seattle Mariners. Last season Cano found himself in another All Star Game and finished 5th in the AL MVP race for almost getting the Mariners back in the postseason. Cano’s number took a huge dive with him only hitting 14 home runs and 82 RBIs at a .314 Average, as oppose to 27 and 107 the year before hitting for the same average. Cano had little to no support in the lineup as he did in years past when he was teammates with the likes of Jeter, Teixeira, Granderson, Swisher and several other formidable hitters with the Yankees. Which was proof  this past season with Seattle having one of the worst offenses in the AL nearly ranking in the bottom in every hitting category. Despite that Cano is still the best at the position. There isn’t a better second baseman that comes to mind that is better. If Cano gets help, He can be the anchor to lead the Mariners to the postseason for the first time since 2001.