The 2015 Fantasy Championship Week Was Cruel

vance

(Vance McDonald contributed to week 16’s weirdness, Courtesy Getty Images)

Grinding through a long fantasy football season is only worth it in the end. Sure, the fun of setting your lineup and navigating trades in a fun pastime, but true fantasy fulfillment is only reached through winning a championship.

Although many people (including myself) set themselves up to bring home a first-place trophy, the fluke that was week 16 hindered far too many fantasy owners from reaching fantasy nirvana.

After reaching the playoffs with the number one seed and winning my first game in the playoffs to reach the championship, I was feeling pretty confident.

That probably was the case for many of you reading this.

The problem is, however, that many had to suffer through one of the most poignant weeks of fantasy football, in one of the most cursed seasons that has come to be in a very long time.

Many owners battled their way through injuries of Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, and Keenan Allen. Others sifted through the waivers to replace busts like Eddie Lacy, Jeremy Hill, and Dez Bryant.

After all our hard work, our fantasy lives screeched to a halt after setting up our team for fantasy glory.

My mood is bitter, as is this article. I’m basically going to use this article to vent to fantasy owners who are diving deep into the feels after a regretful second place finish.

In a PPR dynasty league, my lineup had battled through injuries of Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, and Arian Foster. Even with those chinks in my armour, I still had a killer roster for my championship.

I was lucky enough to start Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams, Devonta Freeman, Antonio Brown, Eric Decker, Rob Gronkowski, and Stephen Gostkowski. I also decided to leave Julio Jones on the bench (a crucial mistake).

Who would’ve thought that a team of Kirk Cousins, Tim Hightower, Jerick McKinnon, Allen Hurns, Doug Baldwin, Vance McDonald, and Shayne Graham would come out on top to the team above?

You could’ve had the top scorers at each position in 2015, and still lost to the team above this week.

Week 16 was bonkers, and quite frankly, I’m mad about it.

To see how crazy the championship week really was, let me give you a Start ‘Em/ Sit ‘Em guide that would’ve sent me to the nut house had I released this prior to Thursday Night Football.

Quarterbacks To Start:

Kirk Cousins will throw for 365 yards and four touchdowns on the road this week. Cousins has thrown for over 300 yards on the road just once this entire season, and hasn’t thrown for more than one touchdown in any games in which he hasn’t played on his home field. That in mind, still expect to see Cousins score 32.2 points while losing a point for kneeling the ball with six seconds left in the first half.

Although Brandon Weeden has lost his last 11 starts and is 5-19 in his career as a starting quarterback, expect him to get back on track this week. He’ll throw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a rushing touchdown en route to a win over the Titans.

Also consider Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler to carry you to a championship.

Quarterbacks To Sit:

Ben Roethlisberger may have a fantastic matchup against one of the worst secondaries in football this week, but leave him on your bench against the Ravens. For some reason, Big Ben will only throw for 215 yards and two interceptions and the Steelers will lose to Baltimore.

(Benching Big Ben probably never crossed any fantasy owners’ minds this week, Courtesy USA Today Sports)

As an elite fantasy quarterback, Tom Brady will look to bolster his numbers and playoff positioning against the New York Jets. Shy away from the future HOFer this week, though. He’s only going to score 11.14 points and will throw just one touchdown.

Leave Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers on your bench even though your championship life hangs in the ballots this week.

Running Backs To Start:

Even though Adrian Peterson will see his normal workload, start Jerick McKinnon this week. It is certainly gusty, but I have a feeling he’ll put up around 89 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Giants.

Although Frank Gore has failed to reach double-digit scoring in eight of the last ten games, start Frank Gore. Even though he’ll probably be wheelchaired into the stadium, I can see Gore scoring two touchdowns and adding 95 total yards this week.

Oh, and I heard you’re worried about which Buffalo Bill running back to start. Pfff, don’t worry about it! Start them both of course.

Running Backs To Sit:

Chris Ivory has been pretty consistent this season, but starting him this week will be a huge mistake. He’s probably going to rush for around 38 yards and will have four receiving yards. I don’t see him scoring either.

A hot commodity on this week’s waiver wire, Cameron Artis-Payne is better off unowned this week. Even though he’ll see plenty of work with Jonathan Stewart out, Artis-Payne will uneffective this week. I don’t expect anything more than 56 total yards this week.

Forget about starting Matt Forte and Doug Martin this week, even though they could go off for huge numbers in any week (except week 16, of course!)

Wide Receivers To Start:

You mean to tell me you’ve never heard of Dontrelle Inman? Nonsense! This Charger wideout will chalk up 82 yards and one score on Thursday night. 14.20 points is a solid night, especially for someone who won’t be started by anyone in championship week.

It’s not 2013, but don’t tell Pierre Garcon. He’ll play like he did two years ago, and have 80 yards and a touchdown. I know it sounds risky, but he’s bound to have his second double-digit game of the season sometime, right?

Josh Norman isn’t even that good. Start Julio Jones with confidence, and leave Eric Decker on the bench if you’re experiencing that conundrum.

Wide Receivers To Sit:

Are you dull? Why would you start Antonio Brown in the biggest week of your season? He’s obviously going to have just 61 yards on seven catches. Leave the Pro Bowler out of your lineup this week.

After scoring exactly 65 points in the past three weeks, don’t even think about starting Ted Ginn Jr. this week. He’ll only have one catch for nine yards, and I have a feeling he’ll aggravate his calf before the first half ends and be out for the rest of the game.

Playing star wide receivers is so last week. Leave Demaryius Thomas, Sammy Watkins, and Larry Fitzgerald out of your lineup as well.

Tight Ends To Start:

Vance McDonald

I know you haven’t had a good feeling about playing anyone from San Francisco, but I have a good feeling McDonald will put up a quality day. He should score one touchdown and have 61 receiving yards on the day.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been injured all year, but Sunday’s game against Chicago will be one for the craftbook for this tight end. 60 yards? Yep. One touchdown? Boo yah.

I can’t pronounce his name, and neither can you. But all you need is your thumb to insert Michael Hoomanawanui into your championship lineup.

Tight Ends To Sit:

Gary Barnidge has been a breakout player in fantasy football this season, but he’s not even that good. I mean, what guy that just turned 30 is named Gary anyway? Sit the Barnyard Dog, as he’ll only score 4.70 points this week.

Julius Thomas has resurrected his season in recent weeks, but he’ll have to wreck fantasy owners’ worlds this week with a 12 receiving yard performance. How do I know? Well, I promise.

So there you have it, folks. The theme for week 16’s championship is to bench your stars, and pick random players out of a hat.

I’m stuck with a second-place finish this season, and if anyone has any similar outcomes, I feel for you.
Let’s sulk together.

My NFL Awards: As the end of Week 16

Courtesy of, blogs.buffalobills.com

                      Courtesy of, blogs.buffalobills.com

NFL MVP: Cam Newton (QB) Carolina Panthers– He is the QB of the only one-loss team in the NFL. If you want more here are some stats: He has 3,544 passing yards this year and has 33 passing touchdowns, which is fourth in the league. But Cam does lead the NFL in total touchdowns with 41. He has the most rushing yards by a QB with 626 yards and has the most rushing touchdowns by a QB with 8, which is the third most in the whole league. As a rusher, he has picked up 52 first downs on the ground, which is 4th in the whole league and 1st by QBs. Also he leads QBs with 126 rushing attempts. As a passer, he has thrown for 183 first downs. He also leads the league in swag.

Courtesy of, www.endzonescore.com

                      Courtesy of, www.endzonescore.com

Offensive Player of the Year: (Based on if they don’t pick a QB) Julio Jones (WR) Atlanta Falcons– He is maybe the most electrifying offensive weapon in the game. Maybe the most unguardable player in the league, sorry Gronk you get hurt too much and sorry OBJ, he is just so much taller and bigger than you. Jones is first in the league in receiving yards, 1,722 yards, first in receiving yards per game, 114.8 yards per game, first in the league in receptions with 127, and first in the league in catches that result in first downs with 84. He has 22 catches over 20 yards or more which is tied for second in the league. Third in the league in yards after catch, and first by WRs. He has eight receiving touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was over one of the league’s best linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Think if Julio had consistent QB play from week to week.

Courtesy of, ftw.usatoday.com

                            Courtesy of, ftw.usatoday.com

Defense Player of the Year: Charles Woodson (FS) Oakland Raiders– For Woodson its not even a lifetime achievement award to an extent. He is balling at 38 on defense, not kicking or passing, but on defense. He is tied for 6th in league in interceptions with five and is has the most fumble recoveries at 3. Only one other player in the league is top six in both of these categories. As an individual, has the second most takeaways with 8. And he gave Oakland fans something to cheer about and that’s REALLY hard.

Courtesy of, www.kansascity.com

   Courtesy of, www.kansascity.com

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marcus Peters (CB) Kansas City Chiefs– As a rookie drafted from Washington, Peters has 8 interceptions which is tied for the most in the league. And he has one forced fumble. He is already corner you don’t want to throw to and he is only a rookie. In a different year, he could definitely be the DPOY but since Woodson is retiring this year and is still balling in his 18th season I give my imaginary vote to Mr. Woodson.

Courtesy of, www.univision.com

    Courtesy of, www.univision.com

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Todd Gurley (RB) St. Louis Rams– Because of an ACL tear he suffered at Georgia Gurley had to rehab during preseason and part of the regular and because of it he has played in only 13 games. Todd Gurley has 1,108 rushing yards, which is 3rd in the league. His average of 4.8 yards per carry is second in the league with rusher of over 200 or more carries only behind Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also is second in rushes over 20 yards or more with 12, one behind Doug Martin. He has 10 rushing touchdowns, which is the second most in the league, first among rookies. He is also fourth in rushing yards per game, first among rookies (85.2). Pittsburgh Steeler, Le’Veon Bell, is second in this category and only completed 5 games as he was injured in a game earlier this year against the Bengals.

Courtesy of, www.muthead.com

                         Courtesy of, www.muthead.com

Come Back Player of the Year: Eric Berry (SS) Kansas City Chiefs– Yes, Carson Palmer had a tore ACL, and is completely balling out, could definitely get a few MVP votes and in a different year could won the award. Chris Johnson even got shot. But did Carson Palmer or Chris Johnson beat cancer and then after that comeback and play football? Answer: NO! This is the definition of a comeback not only a comeback in football but a comeback in life.

Courtesy of, onpointpress.net

                           Courtesy of, onpointpress.net

Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera Carolina Panthers– He is 14-1. PERIOD. And no one thought the Panthers would be this dominant year.

Stats Courtesy of: ESPN and NFL.com

David vs. Goliath, are player salaries worth it?

RickFox

(courtesy of esportsedition.com)

This off-season has seen much change within the Esports community.  In the last couple months, there has been a lot of hype surrounding League of Legends specifically.  Rick Fox’s purchase of Gravity Gaming’s LCS slot, along with Marc Cuban’s participation in an ARAM with Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich at IEM San Jose have generated a lot of interest in this game.  As the off-season continues, the more spots are bought out by potential leaders in a growing competitive scene.  A thing that has come with this massive investment in the League of Legends scene has been the argument over whether teams should make the salaries of their players public to the world.  To the average sports fan this may seem like a good idea since this is how all pro sports teams run their organizations but this could actually ruin the pro scene in League of Legends.

In a market that is seeing more and more large investors enter the scene, making salaries known to the public could potentially be the end of the small organizations we see come up through the Challenger Series every year at the end of every season.  In a world where LCS spots are just sold to the highest bidder, we will no longer see teams like NME esports or Team Coast (now NRG) rise through the ranks to try to prove to the world that they belong with the pros.  We will begin to see an impure community where passion and love for the game isn’t the tool that drives organizations to do their best every season, but instead players working to cash that paycheck for millions of dollars.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it would be great to see a world where Esports pros are able to earn millions of dollars from playing a game they love, but we as a community have to work to get there.  League of Legends, despite being a few years old now, is still in its infancy stage as a sport.  Pouring this much money into a market in it’s infancy stage can cause a bubble to pop before it reaches its maturity, ending in a massive breakdown of the entire system.  In other words, League of Legends and possibly Esports as a whole would see a shut down in operations due to the small return to the investors.  CLG’s CEO, Devin “Mylixia” Nash, weighed in on the situation by releasing a TwitLonger on Sunday afternoon also rebuking the need to release player salaries to the public.  At one point in his post Mylixia notes that the potential bubble burst in the future would be very real because “people see the return isn’t there and run to get money out of the failing system.”  Due to this, he says “we experience an e-sports EMP and player salaries are back to $1000/month.”  Is this a world we want to live in?  This entry by Venture Capitalists will do nothing but destroy a game we all love to watch and experience.  In the future there may be room for investors with millions of dollars to invest, but at the moment all it does is slit the throat of a community that is just taking its first steps.

cropped_EmberHeader

(courtesy of thescoreesports.com)

This massive explosion wouldn’t happen because there is no return to gain from Esports, but because the massive return just isn’t there yet.  The industry is just gaining steam.  No team has really begun to figure out how to monetize this sport and maybe this is where the Venture Capitalists come in.  Afterall, they are good at making money right?  We have seen one team give in to the urge to release their player’s salaries and that is the new North American team, Ember.  A team that seems to offer a different methodology in how they are run all together.  Their key belief?  Believing that better humans become better athletes.  Not to say that all athletes are bad people, but this is a new idea that no Esports athlete has began to explore.  Most gamers sell their souls to the organizations they pledge to; playing endless hours of their game each day.  They wake up thinking about the game and go to bed thinking about the game, there is no end.  As you can imagine this
can create massive depression within these young players and can take a massive toll on their performance.  What Ember suggests for their players is a lifestyle that is outside of this.  They want their players to experience deep relationships and love.  They believe this will help their team perform on a constant basis.  There is basis to this claim.  Look at traditional sports stars like Stephen Curry.  Curry is arguably one of the best basketball players of our generation and has started a family.  He also makes his faith in Christianity well-known, which by many it is believed religion helps one lead a happier life.  Maybe Ember is on to something?  Ember has a lot to prove this season because of these new ideas they hold and their release of their player’s salaries.

Overall, I believe it is a good idea to release player salaries, but not yet.  The Esports world has more to prove before this is something to worry about.  The community is gaining ground as Twitter just announced last week that Esports athletes now have verified Twitter accounts but there is still more ahead.  All members of this amazing group of supporters can do is hope that these new investors help the game rather than destroy something we have created.

 

Changing of the College Landscape

Courtesy of, reddit.com

                                         Courtesy of, reddit.com

Que up End of the Road by Boyz II Men. In the year 2015 we heard some of the most influential college football figures are calling it quits. The legendary College Football figures Steve Spurrier and Frank Beamer called it quits.

Steve Spurrier a legend in the state of Florida. He was a Heisman winning QB for the Florida Gators. Then later in his life he came back to coach for his Alma Mater. He coached Florida to a national championship and during his tenure he won the SEC six times and won the SEC Coach of the Year five times.  He also had great success in other states then Florida. He was also the Head Ball Coach at Duke University. During his tenure there he revived Duke football and made them somewhat relevant in the ACC. He won a share of the ACC Championship in 1989 and won the ACC Coach of the Year in ’88 and ’89.

The Ole Ball Coach’s last stop was in Columbia, South Carolina. Where he revived another football culture at South Carolina. He is the most winningest coach in USC history. He had eleven straight wins in three consecutive seasons at USC. But only won the SEC East once in his tenure there. Probably could have won that SEC championship game but…he ran into Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers. Spurrier is famous with those witty one liners, his visor, and his innovative offense, will surely be missed by college football.

Courtesy of, photos.syracuse.com

                                Courtesy of, photos.syracuse.com

Frank Beamer one word: Beamerball! His style of football was intense and hard nose. Beamer was a specialist at the defense and special teams at Virginia Tech, which is his Alma Mater. Famously coached Mike Vick and infamously coached Marcus Vick.

But on Beamer and Mike Vick’s 1999 team they came up one game shy of a national championship. Before retiring in 2015, he was the active winningest coach in FBS. At Virginia Tech, he won the Big East three times and the ACC four times. He was the Big East Coach of the Year three times and the ACC Coach of the Year twice. Since 1993 his Virginia Tech Hokies, have been in postseason play every year. The college football landscape will not be the same without Virginia Tech being coached by Frank Beamer.

Next year’s college football season will be first to not have a football team coached by Beamer or Spurrier since 1972.

Breaking Records At The Age of 39 – Charles Woodson’s Retirement

Courtesy of, porschehdwallpaper2016.tk

               Courtesy of, porschehdwallpaper2016.tk

It is not every Sunday that we witness true greatness on the football field. Especially when those attributes that define such greatness is expanded over a period of 18 years. I can easily recall the days of watching Charles Woodson play for the University of Michigan in 1997 with my father. Witnessing what was to become just the beginning of what no one expected to be achieved with the limitless boundaries that were soon to be established. After winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior, Charles Woodson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 1998. From that moment, I became an Oakland Raiders fan as I was going to witness the unimaginable.

Watching Charles Woodson continue to grow into a remarkable athlete is a whirlwind of mixed emotions for me as it demonstrates the power of time. Time does not only stand still, but as that time passes, extraordinary things can be achieved. As Woodson began his career in Oakland where he stayed for eight years before headed to Green Bay in 2006 only to return to Oakland where he truly belonged in 2013, but not before being a part of a Super Bowl win at the end of the 2010 season.

As the 2015 season quickly comes to an end, it’s impressive to realize that Charles Woodson is the only NFL Player who has achieved more than 50 career picks and 20 career sacks. Just this season alone, he has achieved 5 interceptions which currently ties him for 6th in the league which only adds to his already achieved 60 interceptions. In addition to this, he has produced the following remarkable accomplishments during the 2015 season: 52 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, and 3 fumble recoveries. Charles Woodson proves that age is only a number and is far from being considered incapable of continuing to achieve such goals. So why not stay for another season?

It is honestly a bittersweet moment. Woodson’s retirement truly ends an era of greatness. Personally, I feel that it ends my inner childhood as 18 years have, what I feel have quickly come and gone. These years can never be replaced, but they will also not be forgotten. As I watched a college athlete with aspirations and dreams of bigger things than playing at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan come true; it provides hope that the impossible can become the probable and that the heart of a dreamer with the mindset of determination can create endless opportunities and possibilities. My only personal regret is that I never got the chance to witness him on the field in action and in person. Nevertheless, watching those Michigan football games next to my father are absolutely priceless and I cannot form the exact words of true appreciation and admiration towards Charles Woodson. I can only hope that my son will be inspired by such an athlete during his childhood so that he can truly understand the impact that Charles Woodson had on me. In my eyes, he has already earned his spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Information Courtesy of ESPN

Week 16 Predictions ATS

 

Who should you take in the MNF game between Denver and Cincinnati?

(Who should you pick in the MNF game between Denver and Cincinnati, Courtesy Zimbio.com)

Oakland Raiders (-6) over San Diego Chargers – I feel like every week there are a couple games where no one cares about unless you’re in the fantasy football championship. This game is one of them. The Raiders at least have their pride to play for. The Chargers lost theirs a while ago. Why is this prime time?

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over Washington Redskins – If Philadelphia loses then their season is over. Too many people are on the Skins and I think the Eagles can somehow find a way to win. Where’s DeMarco Murray?!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) over Chicago Bears – Tampa Bay is 7-3 ATS against a team with a losing record, and 9-2 ATS following a game that they didn’t cover the point spread. I think Jameis is still going to play like something is on the line. Bucs win 23-16.

Carolina Panthers (-7) over Atlanta Falcons – Panthers clinch a bye with a win, so they still have something to play for. Cam Newton is the league’s MVP and there is no chance I’ll be betting against him.

Next three games are BRUTAL / UNWATCHABLE

Dallas Cowboys (+6.5) over Buffalo Bills

Jaguars (N/A) over New Orleans Saints

Detroit Lions (-8.5) over San Francisco 49ers

Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5) over Cleveland Browns – The Chiefs are riding an eight game winning streak and see no signs of stopping. Kansas City needs to be thankful for whoever gave them their second half schedule because it was the easiest in the NFL. The Chiefs also have a chance to win the division with back to back Broncos losses to end the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) over Baltimore Ravens – Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown seems to be the best combo in the NFL right now. The Steelers have scored at least 30 points in its last six games. Steelers 31-16.

Indianapolis Colts (+1.5) over Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are the worst team against the spread this year. THE WORST. Miami doesn’t have a home field advantage. Take the points here.

New York Jets (+3.5) over New England Patriots – The Jets always play the Pats well. In fact, in the last five games, the final score ended in a one-possession game. The Jets need this to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Patriots are still banged up.

Houston Texans (N/A) over Tennessee Titans – It looks like Marcus Mariota will be out for the rest of the season for the Titans. With a Texans win and a Colts loss, the Texans can clinch the division. I’m excited to bet against them in the first round of the playoffs.

Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) over Green Bay Packers – The Packers are on a three game winning streak, and needed a miracle for one of them. Also, all three teams were below 500. I like the Cardinals to score a lot of points against a shaky Green Bay defense.

St. Louis Rams (+13.5) over Seattle Seahawks – Way too many points here. The Rams love playing the Seahawks and most importantly they believe they can beat this team. Hawks 23-17. You can blame Bill Simmons for talking me out of taking Seattle.

New York Giants (+6.5) over Minnesota Vikings – The suspension to OBJ might be the biggest suspension in Fantasy Football history. For the Giants, it means they’ll have to beat a Vikings team without their star player to keep their playoff hopes alive. I can see this being a lot closer than some people may think.

Denver Broncos (-3.5) over Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals can secure a first round bye with a win on Monday night. I just don’t think quarterback AJ McCarron will do much against a tough Broncos defense that should get some starters back that missed last week. Maybe Brock Osweiler isn’t as good as we think he is. Broncos 24-20.

Last week: 9-6-1

Overall ATS: 119-101-4

Teaser Pick of the Week Overall: 8-7

Teaser Pick of the Week (10 points): New York Jets +13.5

Pittsburgh Steelers PK

Kansas City Chiefs PK

Shanghai Winter Major

Courtesy of, read.navi-gaming.com

                            Courtesy of, read.navi-gaming.com

Announced a few weeks ago, The Dota 2 Shanghai Winter Major will begin on March 2nd and lasting till the 6th at the Mercedes Benz Arena, previously known as the Shanghai World Expo Cultural Center.  The venue seats about 18,000 people which is more than 13,500 seats than the Frankfurt Fall Major venue had supported.  The prize pool will be the same format, and size as the Frankfurt Fall Major.  Although the Chinese teams performed very poorly in Frankfurt, I having a strong feeling this may just be their Major.  The pressure for the Chinese teams to perform on their home ground is tremendous, so I am definitely excited for this coming March.

Now, on to the Open Qualifiers, FACEIT will be hosting it yet again for North America, Southeast Asia and Europe. The platform will show new potential for teams in tournaments, so that any team is only a few wins away from success. The two qualifiers will be hosted from the January 3rd and 4th, and January 5th and 6th. Below you can find the schedule for all four days:

 

Schedule:

1st Open Qualifier, Day 1 – January 3rd 2016

  • SEA – Check-in: 11:00 SGT, Start time: 13:00 SGT
  • Europe – Check-in: 11:00 CET, Start time: 13:00 CET
  • Americas – Check-in: 10:00 CDT, Start time: 13:00 CDT

1st Open Qualifier, Day 2 – January 4th 2016

  • SEA – Start time: 13:00 SGT
  • Europe – Start time: 13:00 CET
  • Americas – Start time: 13:00 CDT

 

2nd Open Qualifier, Day 1 – 5th January

  • SEA – Check-in: 11:00 SGT, Start time: 13:00 SGT
  • Europe – Check-in: 11:00 CET, Start time: 13:00 CET
  • Americas – Check-in: 10:00 CDT, Start time: 13:00 CDT

 

2nd Open Qualifier, Day 2 – 6th January

  • SEA – Start time: 13:00 SGT
  • Europe – Start time: 13:00 CET
  • Americas – Start time: 13:00 CDT

6.86b Updates Reintroduces Heroes to Captains Mode.

Courtesy of, youtube.com

                                         Courtesy of, youtube.com

With the release of 6.86 a couple of reworked heroes had been removed from Captain’s Mode due to their substantial changes, and last night Valve reworked the heroes again, and reintroducing 5 of the heroes back into the draft pool, excluding Riki.

Lone Druid, Winter Wyvern, Doom, Faceless Void and Death Prophet have all been re-added to Captain’s Mode.

Death Prophet’s scaling based on her Witchcraft passive ability came to an end in 6.86 and now she has a new active spell.  Spirit Siphon creates a spirit link between DP and her target that lasts for four seconds draining 20 + 1/1.8/2.6/3.4% Max HP per second and slowing movement speed by 6/10/14/18%.

Doom’s Level Death was replaced with a new passive ability called Infernal Blade, which is an auto attack modifier that applies a ministun for 0.3 seconds and a four second burn that deals 40 + 1.25/2.5/3.75/5% Max HP as magic damage.

Faceless Void lost one of  the most famous RNG abilities in Dota, Backtrack, which was replaced with Time Dilatation, a spell that applies a debuff to all nearby enemies (650 AoE) for 6/7/8/9 seconds. Causes time to be frozen on all enemy abilities, stopping their cooldowns from making any progress while they have this debuff. It also slows movement and attack speed by 4/6/8/10% for each locked ability.

Lone Druid lost his Synergy to Savage Roar, an active ability that causes enemies in a 325 AoE around him and his bear to run away with 20% movement speed bonus for 1.2/1.6/2/2.4 seconds towards their fountain. An entangled hero will not be able to move still.

Winter Wyvern got her ultimate totally reworked and now the Cursed target is immune from all damage from his enemies but the ultimate duration is now increased and the heroes attacking their own teammate are having extra attack speed.

Conflict of Interests: Who Should You Root For in the Fantasy Playoffs?

antonio_brown_catch_getty

(Antonio Brown has been fantasy gold this season, but he may lead to some football fans’ conundrums, Courtesy Getty Images)

You did it. You’re here. You’re in the thick of an intense race to your league’s fantasy football championship.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

But what doesn’t feel so good is your conflict of interest. You have players on your fantasy team facing players on your favorite NFL team.

It’s a problematic conundrum that affects many fantasy owners each year.

So what do you do? How do you handle starting Cam Newton against your Falcons in week 16? What about starting Emmanuel Sanders against your beloved Bengals?

I’m here to help. Listen to my thoughts on what is the correct way to root in the final weeks of the NFL regular season.

Let’s get this straight right off the bat. No one likes that guy who roots for their fantasy running back to gash their favorite team’s front seven in order to win their fantasy game.

But it’s oh so hard to root against Antonio Brown when he’s on your fantasy team, yet you’re a Jets fan needing a Steelers loss in order to have a chance of making the playoffs.

During the regular season, there’s been many times where I’ve had a player on my fantasy team face my favorite team. How did I deal with it? It’s simple. I didn’t necessarily rejoice when my player scored a touchdown or broke a 20-yard gain, but there was a little silver lining to my team getting scored against.

Let me be honest, though. I didn’t need huge games out of players facing my favorite team because I usually had a good enough week from my other players to win. I’m not trying to be cocky, I’m just saying.

The difference between week four against a lowly opponent and week 16 and the championship is pretty large. Obviously, there’s a whole lot more riding on week 16 than in week four.

So I admit, it’s a much different animal this time of year.

My favorite team is in the heat of the playoff battle. I also own three starters on my fantasy team that are bitter rivals to my favorite team. All three players of mine will start in my week 16 championship game, but should I root for them to score five touchdowns combined and account for a plethora of fantasy points?

Since my players are not directly facing my favorite team, and my favorite team has clinched a playoff spot, I will be rooting for my fantasy players.

That scenario is simple, but what about when your player is facing your favorite team in the championship?

I will not have to deal with that situation this weekend, but for those who do, think with me.

If your player is playing your favorite team, and your team has clinched a playoff spot or is eliminated, I don’t see anything wrong with rooting for your player while rooting for your favorite team.

But the sticky situation comes when your team is in the thick of the playoff picture and hasn’t clinched. Your team also is facing your fantasy team’s quarterback. Now what?

Don’t be a hypocrite. I repeat, do not be a hypocrite.

When it comes down to it, what would you rather see happen? Would you like to see your favorite team hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February, or have bragging rights over a few friends for a while?

If you’re a true fan, you’d want to see a Super Bowl championship attached to your favorite team’s name.

Is one player going to decided the fate of your fantasy championship chances? Probably not.

If you’re lucky enough to have a great team to root for, take advantage of it. Enjoy being a fan of a team that’s not the Browns or Lions. It’s a lot easier to improve your fantasy team than it is for your NFL team to improve.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a “true” fan root against their favorite team, all so their kicker will score enough to keep their championship hopes alive.

Fantasy football is a blast. But don’t let it override your fandom for your own franchise. Fantasy football is fantasy. The playoff push and playoff weekends matter way more and carry far more weight.

Put a fantasy football championship on one side of a scale, and put a Super Bowl championship on the other. If your want for a fantasy championship outweighs your desire for a Super Bowl title, you’re not a real fan of your NFL team. It’s that simple.

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. I take my fantasy football very serious, but not as serious as my love for my favorite team.
Good luck to your fantasy team this weekend, but more luck to your NFL team (as long as they aren’t facing mine).

Does Anyone Want To Win The NFC East?

eli

(Eli Manning’s Giants are somehow still in the thick of the playoff race, along will all other NFC East teams, Courtesy Panicbutton.com)

It’s December 15th and the leader of the NFC East has six wins. The division is incredibly close, however the race for the final crown is about as appealing as watching Peyton Manning run a 40-yard dash.

Due to tiebreakers, the 6-7 Washington Redskins are currently first in the division. Philadelphia and New York are also at 6-7, while Dallas follows close behind at 4-9.

No matter who wins the NFC East, one thing is certain: The winner will be the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs, and will be backing into the playoffs on three wheels -check that- one wheel.

The division is filled with quarterbacks who either can’t stay healthy, or mishandle footballs more than the New England Patriot ball boys.

In the end, we will all wish we could add another wild card team and take out the NFC East winner.

If you can’t tell by my tone, the NFC East is abysmal.

All that in mind, I’ve decided to torment myself into research and predictions to find who will win the division by year’s end.

When it comes to which team has the easiest schedule remaining, Washington clearly has the advantage. The Redskins face teams with a combined record of just 16-23. The Eagles have the next toughest schedule, as they’ll face teams with a record of 23-16 in their final three games. Dallas’ record is just three games worse than Philly’s, at 20-19, while the Giants own a very difficult road at 27-12.

Washington’s schedule features zero teams with a winning record, paving way for a presumably easy schedule the rest of the way.

After beating New England and Buffalo in consecutive weeks, the Eagles’ schedule gets no easier in the next week. They’ll endure Arizona before finishing with two divisional opponents. They also will enjoy two home games in their final three games.

Unfortunately for New York, they have the misfortune of facing the undefeated Carolina Panthers in week 15. The Giants must also travel to Minnesota, who will be in a heated NFC North race for the remainder of the season. New York closes with the Redskins.

Dallas’ schedule may be as unwelcoming as any, as they’ll square off with the Jets and Buffalo before closing against Washington.

The Redskins should lose to the Bills, as Tyrod Taylor has gotten hot at just the right time. He’s accounted for eight total touchdowns and just two turnovers in the past two games.

Washington must travel to Philly and to Dallas in their final two games.

The Redskins-Eagles game is as close as it can get, but I think Chip Kelly will prepare his team and possibly save his job with a win over the Redskins.

Dallas and Washington meet in the season finale, and this one will be fun. Although I give Washington the edge at quarterback, Dallas has an obvious advantage at running back and offensive line. I can’t trust Dallas’ passing game, but I can trust that Darren McFadden will rush the ball well. That said, I still have the Redskins picking up the win due to a monster game from Kirk Cousins.

Philly will travel to face Arizona in week 15, which could be an ugly matchup. Arizona is in the top five in scoring, yards per game, third down percentage, and turnover margin this season. Expect the Cardinals to suffocate the Eagles.

The Eagles welcome Washington to town in week 16. Philadelphia has picked off 15 passes this season, which is fifth in the NFL. Washington has thrown 11, which could set up for a turnover-cursed game for the Skins. I’ll take the Eagles over Washington in week 16.

In week 17, Philly travels to the Meadowlands to take on the Giants. The showdown will feature two teams playing for a playoff bid, so this game shouldn’t disappoint. The Giants actually take care of the ball better than most teams in the NFL, and that will be the defacto stat which will determine the winner. New York will finally keep a fourth quarter lead to win.

After a huge national television win, expect the Giants to come crashing down to earth in the following week. They’ll take on the undefeated Carolina Panthers, and lose. In a close game, I expect New York to squander yet another fourth quarter lead.

New York draws Minnesota in week 16, which will be a huge undertaking for the G-Men. Teddy Bridgewater has shown he’s good enough to manage an offense, and he’ll do the same in this game. Minnesota will win to the tune of 28-20.

The Cowboys have now lost Tony Romo (again) due to a reaggravated collarbone. Romo is out for the year, which is quite similar to their playoff hopes. The Cowboys will lose to the Jets due to three interceptions by whoever plays quarterback for America’s team that week.

In the week thereafter, expect Dallas to upset Buffalo to make the NFC East more fun.

Dallas and Washington meet in the season finale, and this one will be fun. Although I give Washington the edge at quarterback, Dallas has an obvious advantage at running back and offensive line. I can’t trust Dallas’ passing game, but I can trust that Darren McFadden will rush the ball well. That said, I still have the Redskins picking up the win due to a monster game from Kirk Cousins.

With all those predictions in mind, the final standings should peg Washington at the top of the division, due to division tiebreakers. Looking at tiebreaking procedures is as fun as watching Dabo Swinney dancing in the Clemson locker room (it’s not appalling).

So there you have it. There’s no need to watch any football until the playoffs, the NFC East is solved.
Although the division race is ugly, expect the Washington Redskins to maintain their lead in the NFC East, and make it to the playoffs before being promptly swept under the rug by halftime of their first playoff game.