We hear cliches all the time in professional sports.

Defense wins championships.

Big men win championships.

Well, Eastern Conference teams have taken these to heart this year and spent all summer stacking their rosters with frontcourt help.

The Boston Celtics were praised at the beginning of the year for all of the frontcourt depth they acquired in the offseason. They added Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Luke Harangody. Pairing them with returnees Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis, along with Kendrick Perkins coming off his knee injury in the finals, was supposed to give them the best and deepest frontcourt in the league.

Two other teams have stepped up to challenge the throne—the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls.

Everyone knows about the Magic frontcourt features Dwight Howard lurking in the paint, but they have underrated players and depth around him. Brandon Bass has been playing well all year and has been more than a solid start option next to Howard. Ryan Anderson has also played well in spurts at power forward, allowing them to space the floor, unlike most teams’ frontcourts.

However, the darkhorse in this race may be the frontcourt that has played together the least so far this year, the Chicago Bulls.

Joakim Noah was playing at as high of a level as any center in the league, averaging 14 ppg and 11.7 rpg before injuring his wrist in December, but has since returned and solidified the Bulls Center position. As Noah went down, Carlos Boozer arrived. Boozer, the Bulls biggest free agent signing this summer, has stepped in Noah’s shoes and averaged 20.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg with Noah out and has kept up consistent play since hereturned.

With Noah and Boozer playing at an All-Star level together, the Bulls have one of the most intimidating frontcourts in the NBA set to roll into the playoffs with a top seed because of their command of the Eastern Conference Central Division.

Their depth is what really sets them apart from the rest of the crowd though.

With all of the injury problems the Bulls have seen, youngster Taj Gibson, who started much of the season last year, has become one of their most valuable assets. Veteran Kurt Thomas has also filled a role on the team by providing solid defense and rebounding all season. Even expected project Omer Asik has been playing a solid 10-15 minutes a game and looking like a seasoned NBA veteran.

This group provides them with more depth than both the Celtics and Magic, and without question possesses the most talented frontcourt top-to-bottom in the Eastern Conference.

This season we will see if big men can truly win championships. (Continue…)

With NBA rotations changing day by day due to injuries and other concerns, fantasy basketball owners need to find players they can count on. The best thing to look for is players playing for teams still competing to the final playoff spots. The other group you can count on is the young players playing for bad teams. Owners, coaches and GMs want to see what they have in them so they will keep running them out there. These four young players should help teams wrap up their championships.

JaVale McGee – C – Washington Wizards
With nothing left to play for McGee has been wreaking havoc on the NBA. He has at least 3 blocks in 4 of his last 5 games and scored 11 points to go with 17 rebounds yesterday. As long as John Wall is in the lineup and Andray Blache is not, McGee should continue to be a double-double machine.

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With the NHL playoffs lurking, some teams are giving their stars rest. If you own players like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, you might need some short term help. The players that can do that for you are sitting on the fantasy hockey waiver wire, here are four sure bets to help you withstand the loss of a star.

Joey MacDonald – G – Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday and is likely to miss some time. MacDonald finished up the game for him and looked good. Should Howard have to sit out a week or two, MacDonald could be a huge pickup for fantasy hockey ownerswho need goaltending help. The Red Wings defense should put MacDonald in position to have a few solid games while Howard is out. Check for updates, but add MacDonald if you need help in the net.

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Our 2011 Mock Draft 2.0 continues with picks 16-32.

16. Jacksonville – Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue

Jacksonville is another team that needs to establish a pass rush. Kerrigan should help them do that as a high energy end.

17. New England – Cam Jordan – DL – California

Jordan may move up as we get closer to the draft, but for now his versatility on the DL makes him a perfect fit for the Patriots.

18. San Diego – Rahim Moore – S – UCLA

Eric Weddle may leave in the offseason so Moore would give them insurance in the defensive secondary.

19. New York Giants – Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin

Even with the great running game they had last season the Giants O-line struggled. Carimi is a solid run blocker and maybe the best pass blocker in the draft. If the Giants can develop a solid line, their offense will be scary this coming season and their running backs may yet again be worthy in fantasy football.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Brandon Harris – CB – Miami

One of the best athletes in the draft, Harris gives the Bucs insurance for the aging Ronde Barber and the troubled Aqib Talib. (Continue…)

Not the Weekend Yet

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

Not the Weekend Yet

Listening to: Coffee Shop Soundtrack by All Time Low (Song)

I have a lot of days that I waste looking forward to what I perceive as better days. As my life has gone on I have tried hard not to do that as much. No matter what your plans or tasks are for a day, each day has the same value. Whether it is for work, fun or just relaxing each day is special and new. Every time I wake up I know that I have a new day to start with. Whether that be good or bad is up to me. Nothing can force you to have a bad day except your own desire to hold it back from its potential.

Wednesday, February 11, 2007 Afternoon

After school, the basketball team headed to the locker room for our last full practice before the Batavia game. We were all changing into our practice uniforms, trying to decide what we were going to do about Constance’s party. We were pretty conflicted, most of us enjoyed having a good time and drinking, but myself and a couple of the other guys who had been on varsity for a few years now, had lost to Batavia all 7 times we had played them in the last couple years, including a couple playoff losses. Our leading scorer, Chiefy, tended to be more concerned with drinking than most people were. He was stoked about the idea of having a party that night. (Continue…)

 

The 2011 NFL Draft is going to be very interesting from top to bottom. From not knowing whether or not the players will be in attendance to the No. 1 pick. There is no consensus No. 1 pick or player this year and that is making everything about the draft change every day. Teams are going to be drafting on need more than ever and it should make for some interesting draft day choices and trades. Here is how it looks:

1. Carolina – Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn

While many people expect the Panthers to take a top QB, I just don’t see it happening. They signed Matt Moore in 2007 and drafted Jimmy Clausen last year. Apparently some people high in the organization still believe in Clausen (I don’t), but that will deter them from drafting another quarterback high in the draft. Nick Fairley makes perfect sense. With his size, speed and versatility Fairley will fill the gaping hole Carolina has had at DT since Kris Jenkins fell apart.

2. Denver Broncos – Von Miller – OLB – Texas A&M

The Broncos are changing to a 4-3 defense this year. What we see every year with teams that change defensive schemes is they go after players in the draft that fit their schemes. John Fox is said to be looking for a pass rusher to put opposite Elvis Dumervil to ignite a defense that had the least sacks in the league last year (23).

3. Buffalo Bills – Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri

I fully believe that the Bills trust Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he has a very low ceiling, likely very close to what we saw last year. Drafting Gabbert to sit behind Fitz for a year or two would be the perfect solution to this problem, also even with all the buzz around Cam Newton, Gabbert is the much safer pick as a quarterback of the future.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – Julio Jones – WR – Alabama

The Bengals seem to prefer Jones because of his work ethic and practice effort. This is new direction for the Bengals, but I like it. He is not as talented as A.J. Green, but he is a better blocker and would fit well into their likely decidedly run-heavy offensive scheme.

5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU

I fully expect the Cardinals to pull off a trade for the Eagle’s Kevin Kobb, so why not take the best player available. Widely considered the most talented player in the draft, the only knock on Peterson is his position. Corners simply do not get taken early. However, by filling their need at Quarterback through a trade or free agency I feel like they can finally get the shut down corner they were hoping for when they drafted Antrel Rolle a few years back. (Continue…)

Breakout players are what every fantasy owner hopes to find in each sport. They usually lead to championships because you are getting more value out of the players you select. Think about football season. People who drafted Adrian Peterson got exactly what they wanted and expected from him, but that didn’t guarantee them a championship. Now think about the owners that got Arian Foster and Darren McFadden in the middle rounds, those are the players that led teams to the top of their leagues. These are the MLB players that should be able available as fantasy baseball sleepers in 2011 fantasy baseball.

Rajai Davis – OF – Toronto Blue Jays

Davis might be the best option for fantasy baseball owners looking for cheap steals late in drafts. While Davis has been around for a while, this may be his real breakout season. He stole 50 bases in 61 chances last year for the Oakland A’s, but has never really put up solid numbers in any category outside of that. Davis should be what the Jays were hoping Fred Lewis would be last year. A leadoff man that can create runs for them when they aren’t hitting. In front of the Jays big bats he should be able to total a lot of runs and should post better batting average numbers because he will see better pitches.

Max Scherzer – SP – Detroit Tigers

Scherzer began his breakout last season much like Andrus, but unless you owned him you would likely never know. He had a horrible start that skewed his stats for the season. After 8 starts he was 1-4 with a 7.29 ERA. He was sent to AAA where he changed up his mechanics. Upon returning he went on a season ending tear. Scherzer finished his last 23 starts with a 2.46 ERA. Expect him around 15 wins and to have 200+ strikeouts, and likely the hype that he should have received last season.

Brett Gardner – OF – New York Yankees

The Yankees have shuffled their lineup over the last few games with Brett Gardner taking over the leadoff spot and Derek Jeter moving down a spot. This is a great idea by the Yankees because Jeter has always been more of a natural second hitter. While the big name in this move is Jeter, the bigger fantasy impact will be on Gardner. While he may struggle at first hitting at the top of the lineup, it will benefit him either way. He will gain somewhere between 50 and 100 at-bats. That should put him around 600-700 plate appearances if he is playing close to everyday. Based off Gardner’s stats from last season in which he stole 47 bases and scored 97 runs from the bottom of the lineup, there is no reason that he couldn’t get 120+ runs and 60+ steals with that many extra chances. Keep watch leading up to your draft on Joe Girardi’s final decision because it could vault Gardner’s value into the top 30 outfielders. (Continue…