The Weekender (Dec. 8-10)

Here are the News, Notes, Arguments, Humor & Heartache from the Weekend that was December 8-10, 2012:

Down is Up: Let’s look at the records coming into this weekend of some of the teams (and QB’s) that won in the NFL this weekend:

  • Jets (5-7) – Mark SanchezNFL
  • Panthers (3-9) – Cam Newton
  • Redskins (6-6) – Kirk Cousins
  • Eagles (3-9) – Nick Foles
  • Chargers (4-8) – Philip Rivers
  • Vikings (6-6) – Christian Ponder
  • Browns (4-8) – Brandon Weeden
  • Cowboys (6-6) – Tony Romo
  • Rams (5-6-1) – Sam Bradford

And the records coming in of some of the losing teams from this weekend:

  • Falcons (11-1) – Matt Ryan
  • Bengals (7-5) – Andy Dalton
  • Bears (8-4) – Jay Cutler
  • Steelers (7-5) – Ben Roethlisberger
  • Ravens (9-3) – Joe Flacco
  • Texans (11-1) – Matt Schaub

Yep… Just like we all would have predicted. The NFL is just too predictable…

The Trade

(Background: On Sunday night the Royals traded some well thought of minor league players – in the case of Will Myers, VERY well thought of – for pitchers James Shields & Wade Davis from the Tampa Bay Rays. And there was a lot of loud reaction to the move).

Let me preface this with the following: If you want to find people who think the Royals got fleeced in this trade, there is no shortage of intelligent and well thought of men who you can read, or you can simply ask the Guru (also intelligent and well thought of, but you can’t google him… that is why he’s being set apart…) for his opinion on it. In fact, based on the voices from news organizations it’s probably the prevailing thought and there’s a good possibility that they could be right. But I wanted to put the other side of this out there, because I tend to fall somewhere in the neighborhood of what Jeff Passan (formerly of the KC Star, now of Yahoo Sports) tweeted: @JeffPassan  – Royals had a choice: waste another year of the core’s prime w/ no pitching or go for it now. They went. In this market, rewards take risks.

There really is no way to know, at this moment, how this trade will turn out. Will the Rays end up with key franchise players like the Rangers did when they traded Mark Teixeira to Atlanta, or like Atlanta did when they got John Smoltz from the Tigers? Will the Royals win a division title for the first time in decades? No one knows. What is known is that in 2011 the Royals had a very good offense and the pitching was bad enough to keep them in 4th place in their division. In 2012, the offense was not as good but the defense and relief pitching was good enough to help elevate them to 3rd place in a mediocre division. There wasn’t any top end starting pitching coming through the ranks any time soon and since owner David Glass thinks his #1 goal is to never land in the red (and he apparently includes his own son’s – Team President Dan Glass – fat salary as part of that number) on his balance sheet, even for a year or two (#MillionaireProblems), there wasn’t going to any way to get in the conversation on any Zack Greinke types. If the Royals were going to make a run they were going to have to raid the farm system that Dayton Moore has done a fantastic job of building. So they did.

It may work out and it may not, but what it does do is send a couple of messages that I’m very happy to see. The first message is one for the fans. The message is that we plan on competing this year for a division title. We may get it, we may not. But you can count on us competing for it. This is only the 2nd time in the dozen years that I’ve lived here that the fans are really getting that sense going into a season. And we’re realistic. We realize that Detroit went to the World Series and has multiple MVP’s who have also won a Triple Crown and a Cy Young. We know it will be a tall order to unseat them, when they are adding another big bat like Victor Martinez’s to the middle of the lineup when he returns from injury. But we can compete, and we have a chance, and most importantly we have a hope more tangible than “we’ll be a pennant contender someday down the road”. It also sends a message to the players. It sends the message that we have expectations of each and every one of them this season. It tells them that the time is now for them to give everything they have and raise their game.  From everything I’ve been reading from them, they are ecstatic to be hearing that message finally from management.

Listen… I’m not naïve. I know I’m looking for a silver lining because I’m a fan. That’s what fans do. When everyone wants to tear you down, you look for all of the reasons why it “could” work and you hold onto them, and then you get your heart broken if it doesn’t happen. All you ask is that you have some hope throughout the process. That’s what this gives. And from what I can tell, the more people keep pouring down the criticism of this move, the more it’s going to put fight into the guys, and I’m ok with that too. So regardless of how this ends up turning out I just want to say ‘Thanks’ to Dayton Moore for caring, for building us to where we are, and for giving us hope.

 Fantasy Realities: Trade Value

Last week I categorized myself as a Fantasy Moron for a trade that I made. This week I’ve dug in deeper to analyze that trade, and I may have changed my tune a little bit. Let’s see how well you all do at evaluating talent. You tell me if you would have made this trade (here are the stats since the trade):

  • Brett H. received Calvin Johnson who has recorded the following stats since the trade: 48 receptions, 779 yards, 16.2 yard per catch average, 4 Touchdowns
  • Jamie C. received Roddy White who has recorded the following: 37 receptions, 549 yards, 14.8 yard per catch average, 1 Touchdown

The natural answer is “of course” you would have done the trade! That is, at least, if you are assuming you are getting Calvin Johnson. The interesting thing is that I couldn’t be happier about the way this trade worked out! See there are times that you make trades for a time in the season other than the immediate future. When we made this trade I had specifically targeted the playoff weeks (though we all know Calvin was in a slump and I did the trade partially out of frustration…but also with an eye on the future).  There were 4 straight weeks where trading Calvin Johnson for Roddy White seemed like the dumbest trade a person could make, but when evaluating a trade you can’t just look at numbers. You have to look at the impacts on what is important. So let’s take a look and see how this trade worked out for everyone:

  • Week 13 – With Trade: Both teams win; Without Trade: Jamie wins, Brett loses
  • Week 12 – With Trade: Both teams win; Without Trade: Jamie wins, Brett loses
  • Week 11 – With Trade: Both teams win; Without Trade: Both teams win
  • Week 10 – With Trade: Jamie wins, Brett loses by 1; Without Trade: Jamie wins, Brett loses by a lot
  • Week 9 – With Trade: Both teams win (Brett by 3); Without Trade: Both teams win (Brett by 2)

So it would appear that Brett CLEARLY got the better end of this trade…in the regular season.  Let’s look at this week now. Courtesy of an AMAZING performance by the Seahawks’ Defense for Chris (Jamie’s opponent), the difference in Jamie’s playoff game was determined by the Calvin/Roddy trade. If Jamie doesn’t trade Calvin for Roddy, Jamie loses to Chris by .3 points. So that seems to be a win for the trade. But you can’t just look at it that way. If we undo it we need to take the wins away from Brett and readjust the matchups for the playoffs. It turns out that Chris wouldn’t have played Jamie and she would have won her matchup (she was not happy to find out this news). That would have put Jamie and Brett head to head in the 1st round of the playoffs…and with Roddy, Cam Newton, & Adrian Peterson on his side, Brett would have eviscerated Jamie and left him behind. So in either scenario this trade saved Jamie’s season! Sometimes a trade’s worth can’t be measured by pure stats…you have to look deeper, at…well…other stats!

And that analysis sums up completely the insanity of fantasy football and how it’s timing, timing, timing. Now the fun isn’t over as there are still 1 or 2 more weeks where this will be played out. We now know that there was no scenario where Brett doesn’t win his first playoff game, so he hasn’t actually received any real value from the trade just yet, in terms of the final results. It will be interesting to see how this goes and if, by some miracle, Brett & Jamie face off in the championship game it will be a fun subplot to see how Roddy v. Calvin impacts things. Oh, and I am changing my title from Fantasy Moron to Fantasy Genius!! (What a difference a week makes!)

(Now don’t get me started on missing the playoffs in another league by .3 due to a stat correction overnight)

Quotes, Tweets, & Headlines:

(Robert Griffin III on his knee injury) ”I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed. “ (pause 2 seconds) “Like a man, of course,”

(On Cincinnati hiring Tommy Tuberville away from TTU) @McMurphyESPN – Two Texas Tech alums just texted me and wrote: “Thank you Cincinnati!!!!”

@TornCartledge – Someone [please] push them off it… RT @DRUDGE_REPORT : OBAMA, BOEHNER MEET ON CLIFF…

The following are related to the Royals’ trade:

@TheRealJGuts  (Jeremy Guthrie) – 6 am & just saw the news! BIG GAME James pitching for the Royals…NEEEEXT!!! I’m jacked, running sprints in 30 degree weather to celebrate!

@dduffkc23 (Danny Duffy) – Takes an act of congress for me to not fire back when ppl talk bad about to [sic] Royals in kc… We’ll prove them wrong. #dontbelievemejustwatch

Don’t expect Dayton Moore to be hanging out with ESPN’s Keith Law anytime soon. Law wrote the following in his article reacting to the Royals’ trade: “The deal reeks of a GM feeling pressure to improve short-term performance to keep his job, which is a terrible situation for any executive both personally and for the way it can inhibit his ability to make rational decisions”.  Dayton is a very calm person who rarely gets up in arms about anything and is very unlikely to comment on stories, but this one clearly got him fired up.  When asked about it by USAToday Moore replied, “To me, that’s insulting. That’s very insulting. Very, very insulting. I don’t get too bent up about criticism, and I want to take the high road here, but that’s insulting my integrity… If something happened, I couldn’t get another job in baseball? Is that what people think?”  He went on to speak of more of the factors regarding the trade, but suffice it to say he is not going to be taking any of Law’s calls anytime soon. Perhaps the “inhibit his ability to make RATIONAL decisions” statement could have been a bit over the line?!

Favorite Faux-Headlines from The Sports Pickle:

  • Arizona’s Whisenhunt “I’m jealous of Jets’ QB situation”
  • Other Vikes just stand there and watch Peterson do stuff again
  • Saints Interim Coach worse than their Interim Interim Coach
  • Flacco, “I’m one of the Top 3 QB’s who play in Maryland”
  • Browns win 3rd in a Row / Wait, what? / Yep, it checks out. Huh.
  • Pete Carroll tears bicep from excessive fist-pumping in 58-0 win
  • VIDEO: Larry Fitzgerald’s 10 best attempts to catch overthrows
  • Tennessee sets sights on hiring Denver Broncos’ Head Coach Peyton Manning
  • 22 Things Said by Desperate Fans of Teams Stuck with a Crappy Quarterback
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Categories: Baseball, Fantasy Sports, Football

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