Have you ever decided to treat yourself and get a disgusting and gluttonous fast food concoction? And, how you manage to discover, against all odds that these culinary creations are really good, despite the source? Well, a quarter of the way into the NHL season and the Calgary Flames are actually are pretty good team, despite being the Calgary Flames.
The past five seasons have not been nice to the Flames; they've haven't made the playoffs in any of them. That being said, being a winning team in the Western Conference is no easy task given the fact that the Stanley Cup winner has emerged from that conference four out of the last five seasons. In addition to their playoff troubles, the Flames were also forced to trade away the best player in their history (and future Hall of Famer) in Jerome Iginla so that he could have the opportunity to actually win a Cup. So, it's clear that the Flames have had a rough go of it recently.
So, how is it that they're third in the Western Conference?
Well, some would say that they're this year's Colorado Avalanche. That is to say that they're just a young team, defying the odds, and playing perfect hockey at an unsustainable rate. However, I beg to differ.Instead of the high-flying, offense-first game the Avalanche played last year and continue to play this year, the Flames choose to lead with fast-paced defense. And, as we all know, defense wins championships. I mean, am I right or am I right?
Regardless of whether or not that sports truism is actually true, I actually think the Flames success is sustainable. They're a solid goal scoring team, scoring about 3.05 goals per game with contributions from everywhere on their roster including 17 goals out of their 59 coming from their defensemen. In fact, their leading point scorer is actually captain defenseman Mark Giordano with a staggering 21 points, good for sixth in the league and a full 15 spots ahead of the next defenseman.
If you're wondering if their defenseman can actually defend and not just score, well, they can. They're 14th in the league with a 2.6 goals against average while only giving up 29.3 shots per game, which is 15th in the league. While these stats are solidly average, their starting goaltender Jonas Hiller is solidly above average with a .922 save percentage and a 2.3 goals against average, which are both in the top 35% of the league.
Through these statistics and the defensive-mindedness of their team, I think the Calgary Flames are a surprise worth paying attention to.
U.S. golfers Charley Hoffman and John Hahn have had good starts to the season. Hoffman won his first tournament in over four years Sunday at the OHL Classic in Mayakoba, Mexico, while Hahn, who participated on the European Tour, shot a 58 in the final round of the Q-school.
Even Donald Trump made news in the golf world by announcing he wants to change the Turnberry’s championship Alisa Course 9th hole from a par-4 to a par-3. Turnberry has hosted the British Open Championship four times and this change is not setting well with golf traditionalists. However, if they are concerned about this change, be prepared for more to come.
Needless to say, no one cares what the golfers and Trump are up to. All that matters to most fans currently are the issues between Dan Jenkins and Tiger Woods
Dan Jenkins, former Sports Illustrated reporter and author, wrote a parody for his monthly article in Golf Digest.
Jenkins wrote this article based on a fake interview he created with Tiger Woods and nothing was off limits. From poking fun at Woods’ lack of winning, to being a bad tipper, firing coaches, and being narcissistic about his performance being the only great moments in golf. One might argue Jenkins covered just about everything with Tiger.
Jenkins' work though got under the skin of Woods. Woods published a piece for The Players’ Tribune, a website owned by Yankees great Derek Jeter, by decrying the fake interview and sending a separate letter to the Golf Digest asking for an apology.
"[Jenkins] has no idea how I think or feel about any of the things he claims to know about, which is why he had to make things up," Woods wrote. "All athletes know that we will be under scrutiny from the media. But this concocted article was below the belt.”
Whether Woods admits it or not, the relationship between he and Jenkins has been tainted since he entered pro golf. Jenkins has covered more than 60 straight Masters and over 200 of golf’s biggest tournaments and entered the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. Yet with all of that, he has never done a sit down interview with Woods since his arrival in 1996.
But as Woods continues to fall in the world of golf, he found a way to be in the spotlight again, this time not for the right reason.
A great friend (and fantasy addict) approach me with the following question for today’s article-- why do we play fantasy football? We both follow all the important NFL writers, text back and forth hundreds of times a week, and watch upwards of 10-12 games every weekend. But for what? Why are we obsessed with this game? Why did Fortune.com say businesses lose approximately $13.4 billion annually because of employees devoting work time to setting their lineups? Today I want to try to make an attempt at explaining our obsession. By no means is this the be-all and end-all of an explanation for why we love it. But here’s my opinion:
· Trash Talk
o Nothing is better than getting a league email from a guy you just played, complaining about how unfair fantasy football is and how he obviously should’ve won, rather than losing by 2 points. The second you see this; the trash talk rebuttal begins stewing in your brain. You will do everything in your power to never let him live this down. You want him to go to sleep at night agonizing over those 2 points. The majority of fantasy leagues are played with people you know. Be it friends, relatives, or co-workers, trash talk takes the league to another level. It adds fuel to the fire; emotion to the game.
o Piggybacking on trash talk is the rivalry aspect of this wonderful game. If you have been in any league for more than one year, chances are you have that one guy (or girl) you absolutely want to crush. You could lose every other game all year long, as long as you demoralize that hated enemy. Your effort level for the week leading up to the massive matchup is unmatched. For example, in my favorite league, I play with some guys that are about 10 years older than me who all went to a college I didn’t go to. (Another story for another time). Anyways, after I sent out a lengthy trash talk email last year, he responded with an email of his own and from there the rivalry began.
· Interest in Every Game
o Fantasy adds entertainment to your entertainment. There are plenty of fine folks who watch many NFL games without the added pleasure of fantasy football, but they must not know what they’re missing. It seems like most weeks, every single game has fantasy implications. You love Andre Johnson this week but you also have the Bengals D so you’re put in a conundrum. You have so many ties in every game, it makes each and every play seem of massive importance. Before you know it, you’ve watched 8 games that don’t include any teams you root for. And you better believe the NFL knows (and absolutely loves) this. The NFL is one of the most powerful organizations in America and it has fantasy football to thank.
· Get to be a GM
o Most of us will never work in an NFL front office. Even fewer will ever reach the peak of NFL player management, becoming a General Manager. The 32 GM spots aren’t exactly easy to attain. But with fantasy football, suddenly the unattainable is at your fingertips. You get to be the GM of your own team. Your power limited only by fellow GMs who refuse to trade with you. This idea of completely controlling every aspect of a team is the overarching theme of fantasy football. Each and every one of us gets to run our organizations in any manner we please. Want to own 3 kickers? Go for it. Want to own only Oakland Raiders players? Go for it (but be sure to start praying). Fantasy gives us the unique ability to put together a team and watch it perform on a weekly basis. As GM, we get to prep months for the draft, pick your dream squad, and trade them all away the next week.
With the fantasy season is quickly coming to a close, enjoy it while it lasts and remember it’s ultimately about having fun (and winning along the way). But I ask you: Why do you love fantasy football? Email me at FantasyDecisions@gmail.com and tell me why you love it. And if you have any lineup dilemmas or need waiver wire wisdom, send it my way.
Onto the rankings!
Week 12 Rankings
1. Andrew Luck
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Drew Brees
4. Peyton Manning
5. Jay Cutler
6. Tom Brady
7. Colin Kaepernick
8. Tony Romo
9. Philip Rivers
10. Ryan Tannehill
11. Russell Wilson
12. Josh McCown
13. Matthew Stafford
14. Matt Ryan
15. Ryan Mallett
16. Kyle Orton
17. Mark Sanchez
18. Zach Mettenberger
19. Joe Flacco
20. Andy Dalton
1. DeMarco Murray
2. Jamaal Charles
3. Matt Forte
4. Arian Foster (if active; if not, Alfred Blue would settle in around number 8 on my RB list)
5. LeSean McCoy
6. Eddie Lacy
7. Marshawn Lynch
8. Justin Forsett
9. Denard Robinson
10. Isaiah Crowell
11. Jeremy Hill (if Gio is inactive; if not, both Hill and Bernard would be in the low teens for me)
Twitter can connect people from around the world with just 140 characters. And in the past couple of years, it has also become a quick and easy tool for athletics to communicate.
On Monday night, University of Tennessee commit Cecil Cherry went on a Twitter frenzy when the three-star linebacker tweeted out “Hook ‘Em” to his over 2,800 followers a week after taking an official visit to Austin for the West Virginia game. He immediately received backlash – some too inappropriate to print – from disgruntled Vols fans. And over the course of the next three days, Cherry continued to tweet and retweet all sorts of Texas-positive pictures and notions, causing the recruiting world to speculate on his previous commitment to Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.
If Texas could flip Cherry, it would be another big get for head coach Charlie Strong and the 2015 class. His Hudl film shows that he has good speed for his size, coming in at 6-feet and 230-pounds, which he has been able to display on a few interceptions this season and last. His biggest strength is his hard hitting, however. Cherry has a great ability to square up a ball carrier and hit him with textbook form, plus a little extra ‘oomph’ for good measure. The Florida product could be a great replacement for stud current linebacker Jordan Hicks, though his size could be an issue at the next level. He shows good ability to stay with his assignments in coverage, and keep everything in front of him.
While he played fullback as well in high school, with some solid numbers, he hasn’t been recruited on the offensive side of the ball. His quick feet allow him to change directions quickly and make tackles in the open field, which will help him get over his size disadvantage.
Overall, Cherry is a solid linebacker with a lot of upside and little down-side. The biggest issue most see with him stems from his Twitter use, as we’ve all seen what happens when these recruits let the attention go to their head early on and use social media to air out all their dirty laundry.
Though Cherry has said many times that he’ll final decision will come February 4th, on National Signing Day, at this point I’d be shocked if he wasn’t set on coming to the Forty Acres next fall. Strong’s defensive reputation and ability to recruit Florida, coupled with Cherry’s admittance that Texas is his “dream school,” makes his commitment almost certain, if not announced.