Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 NFL Week 14 Picks

It wasn't pretty, but my Atlanta pick on Thursday broke my losing streak in prime time games. Let's hope that means my little hot streak (40-20 the last four weeks) will continue. When guessing what the lines would be to see how my feel for the week is, I actually nailed eight of them right on the money, so that either means I'll have a great week or am way overconfident in the favorites. Let's find out!

Last week: 10-6
Season total: 105-87

Vikings -2.5 at Panthers

Minnesota's steady offense should have a much easier time moving the ball against a Carolina squad that has begun to spring leaks in the secondary than Cam Newton will face on the other side. Especially with Devin Funchess banged up and Greg Olsen still working his way back, points will probably be at a premium at home.

Bengals -6.5 versus Bears

Missing Joe Mixon and a bunch of pieces on defense isn't encouraging, but Cincy has been playing well overall in recent weeks. And Chicago's defense has been banged up in its own right, so I'll side with the more experienced offense.

Packers -3.5 at Browns

I can see why some may consider this a trap game for Green Bay with the imminent return of Aaron Rodgers in time for tougher opponents coming up, but with the spread this low, I just can't side with Mr. 1-27, Hue Jackson. Him somehow winning the power struggle over head of football operations Sashi Brown is probably worse than Sam Hinkie's ousting with the 76ers. Even if the roster was lacking in certain areas, Brown has put together enough nice pieces to win more than one game out of 28, and new hire John Dorsey, who was hired suspiciously fast, is set to reap the rewards of the extra draft picks and cap space the franchise has going forward.

49ers +2.5 at Texans

It's overly simplistic to compare Jimmy Garoppolo and Trent Taylor to Tom Brady and either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, but the GOAT's understudy certainly looked good in his first start with his new club and had quite the connection with his small slot receiver to get the W. Those two and Marquise Goodwin should also be able to take advantage of this Houston defense this week unless JD Clowney can prove to be a one man wrecking crew.

Reviewing the Okafor trade Philly finally made

Brooklyn gets:
Jahlil Okafor$4,995,120
Nik Stauskas$3,807,147
2019 Knicks 2nd round pick

Philadelphia gets:
Trevor Booker$9,125,000

That's it. That's the deal. After the surprising #FreeJah movement, this is all that was involved on Thursday in the long-anticipated move for 2015's 3rd overall pick, which goes to show you what the value was around the league for a defensive liability who isn't all that efficient on offense. Of course, since he had his fourth year option declined (a sensible move by Philly considering the $6,313,832 price tag), any team acquiring him is limited in their ability to re-sign him if things work out. It's probably not worth giving up much in a trade if you could be free to sign him this summer after all. Still, the fact that the 76ers had to throw in a decent draft pick, along with Stauskas to match salaries, to move him for a veteran big man off the bench is underwhelming. Booker is a good pro to have, won't affect their future cap situation, and will give them an actual positive contribution, unlike what they're trading away. But the fact that I still think of this play as his career highlight might tell you all you need to know.
Even if I've always been down on Okafor as a player, one can't help but like this move for Brooklyn given that the polarizing big man is still just about to turn 22. Once again, Sean Marks makes a move for a couple lottery tickets (Stauskas was the #8 pick himself in 2014 and only turned 24 in October) at a low cost to add upside to his young roster. Rookie Jarrett Allen has shown encouraging signs in his limited minutes, but he is their only young big man depending on what you classify Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as. Now Okafor joins the player selected one pick after him, D'Angelo Russell, as worthwhile gambles around their intriguing group of wings. Even if these additions don't stick around beyond this year, adding future draft capital helps, especially since the Nets previously didn't have a 2nd in 2019. Heck, there's a chance that pick could be the most valuable part of this trade depending on how the Knicks' rebuild looks by the end of next season. Having to waive the solid Sean Kilpatrick to create the roster spot and losing Booker's locker room presence are not insignificant repercussions, but overall you can't fault the process behind this move.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 NFL Week 13 Picks

Well, it was a nice run. After starting 11-3 in Week 12, Thursday night's dud means I've now lost the last three, all in prime time. Guess that just means I'm due to go another run. Since I’m out of town this weekend, I’ll keep things short.

Last week: 11-5
Season total: 95-81

49ers +3.5 at Bears

Vikings +2.5 at Falcons

Titans -7.5 versus Texans

Packers +1.5 versus Buccaneers

Broncos +0.5 at Dolphins

Patriots -8.5 at Bills

Ravens -2.5 versus Lions

Jaguars -9.5 versus Colts

Saints -3.5 versus Panthers

Chiefs -3.5 at Jets

Chargers -13.5 versus Browns

Raiders -6.5 versus Giants

Rams -6.5 at Cardinals

Eagles -5.5 at Seahawks

Steelers -5.5 at Bengals

Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 NFL Week 12 Picks

Week 11 wasn't quite as good as I had hoped, but I was quite thankful for Thursday's results. It's back to a full slate now that every team has had a bye, so now is the time to separate from the pack at the top of my picks pool.

Last week: 8-6
Season total (counting the Thanksgiving games): 87-76

Titans -3.5 at Colts

Rishard Matthews' likely absence hurts, but facing the #26 pass defense in DVOA is a great bounce back spot for Marcus Mariota after a 10 day layoff. In fact, Tennessee's remaining schedule unfolds pretty nicely for them to secure their playoff spot in the open AFC field.

Falcons -8.5 versus Buccaneers

I was already going to say this is the week Julio Jones breaks loose in a big way for his fantasy owners, and that was even before I read that he has 68 catches for 1,110 yards and 8 touchdowns in 10 career games against Tampa. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been surprisingly effective thanks to poor competition, but I doubt he'll be able to keep pace in this game.

Browns +8.5 at Bengals

Sometimes it seems like Cleveland just wants to give away the cover with the way DeShone Kizer has turned the ball over late in games. I feel like a broken record, but Cincy's putrid offensive line going up against this solid defensive front should keep this one close, though. Give me the points.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 NFL Week 11 Picks

Fresh off my best week of the season that won me the top prize in my picks pool, things are off to a good start again after Pittsburgh took care of business on Thursday. Let the good times roll!
Last week: 11-3
Season total: 76-70

Browns +7.5 versus Jaguars

Cleveland continues to give teams some trouble before falling apart late, but they're getting close and closer to that elusive first W. They probably won't get it here with rookie DeShone Kizer having to face this elite defense with the possibility of two backup tackles starting, but I think they can hang around at home, especially with Corey Coleman coming back healthy.

Saints -7.5 versus Redskins

I was tempted to take Washington because this New Orleans run is bound to end at some point, but with this game in the Superdome, the Saints wins will be marching in a bit longer most likely. The New Orleans defense is up to #5 in Football Outsiders DVOA to go along with the #2 offense thanks in part to remarkable balance since the Adrian Peterson trade.

Chiefs -10.5 at Giants

In case you forgot about Andy Reid's record coming off a bye, it's 16-2 straight up and 13-5 against the spread. New York just lost to the previously winless 49ers to fall to 1-8. Let's not overthink this one.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

2017 NFL Week 10 Picks

Just when I thought I was out, Jeremy Lane pulled me back in with that blocked extra point after Arizona's garbage time score on Thursday. I've been thinking about only posting my top picks of the week like last year, but I'm feeling better about this week after my Seahawks -5.5 pick was preserved.

Last week: 7-6
Season total: 65-67 

Saints -2.5 at Bills

This line seems fishy considering how both teams have performed recently, but the thing is that it already takes into account how much better Buffalo plays at home. With E.J. Gaines continuing to miss time, I don't think their defense holds up, though.

Steelers -10.5 at Colts

Speaking of home/road differences, I hate laying this many points with Pittsburgh on the road, but I have a hard time seeing Indy staying with them all the way through. After all, I saw how they almost blew the game against Tom Savage last week.

Lions -11.5 versus Browns

I was tempted to take the points here considering how Cleveland has hung in their games before last week's bye, but I think this is a get right spot for Detroit at home. Matthew Stafford is primed to win someone the Millionaire Maker in DraftKings here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Phoenix finally ships off Eric Bledsoe

Here it is, the first NBA trade now that the season has started! This is what it looks like based on the report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe and's salary numbers:

Phoenix gets:
Greg Monroe$17,884,176
Milwaukee's 1st round pick (protected 1-10, 17-30 in '18; 1-3, 17-30 in '19; 1-7 in '20; then unprotected)
Milwaukee's 2nd round pick (protected 31-47 in '18 and then expires)

Milwaukee gets:
Eric Bledsoe$14,500,000$15,000,000

Those are some unique protections on the picks, but they make sense for a Suns team that doesn't necessarily want too many selections in this draft class alone. In addition to their own, they are likely to have Miami's 1st that's only top-7 protected, so it may be more useful to add the Bucks' 2019 1st when there are lighter protections. This upcoming draft has a lot of star power with DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III, and Mohamed Bamba likely at the top, but it's not as deep as this past class in the middle where the pick could fall. There's a decent chance that the Bledsoe addition will help Milwaukee finish among the best 13 records in the league to ensure that this year's 2nd will convey, as well, so this should end up being a solid trade package considering their lack of leverage in negotiations. Staying patient after sending the malcontent point guard home two weeks ago allowed them to increase their draft capital and pick up a solid veteran big man on a large, expiring contract. Monroe is still only 27 if things go well enough to keep him around during their continued rebuild, but it is more likely that they try to flip him again for more assets, potentially adding to the overall return for Bledsoe, or buy him out for some cost savings. This also freed up more cap space next year, so they can get to around $27 million in room depending on how they handle their non-guaranteed contracts and where the draft picks land.
Milwaukee now has some interesting back court combination options.