Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dr. Money Shot talks hoops!!

Alright, it's official, Larry Bird and the Pacers can officially take a sigh of relief. Public Enemy #1 in Indiana, Ron Artest, has packed his bags to Sacramento. In comes the 3-point specialist from Serbia & Montenegro, Peja Stojakovic. My original thought was that the Pacers stole Peja from the Kings, but after further analysis, this might be just what the Kings needed. When Artest is on the court, he plays like an all-star, he has won defensive player of the year in the 2003-04 season and can get you 20 pts. every night. Everyone knows his off the court problems, but if he somehow gets focused this could really improve the Kings defense and fault them into playoff contention (currenty 2.5 games out of the 8th seed).
As if I had to say it, get this dude on your fantasy team if he is available.

Now on the flip side, I think the Pacers got about as much as they could for the troubled Artest. Peja can flat out shoot and I was looking forward to the inside out game between Jermaine O'neal and Peja Stojakovic. Unfortunately, O'neal is on shelf for about 8 weeks and this will only make the transition to Indiana much more difficult for Peja. Without O'neal he will be the focal point the offense, much like in Sacremento where his field goal percentage is the lowest since his rookie year (let's take a minute to give props to Webber). Another thing that worries me is that Peja can opt out of his contract this year and become a free agent. On the bright side, the East is horrible and if the Pacers can weather the storm for the next couple of weeks, they will hang on for a playoff spot and possibly play spoiler in the 1st round.

In case you went to bed early, another big trade went down:
Boston shook things up and acquired Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, Dwayne Jones and a conditional future first-round draft pick from Minnesota for Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and two second-round draft picks. I don't see this doing much for either team. Szczerbiak will fit in with Boston becasue he doesn't play defense either and Ricky will be running in Minnesota. My prediction: Both teams will struggle to make the playoffs.

Now for my Fantasy focus on who is hot and whose not, we will examine the not so obvious players to watch:

ON FIRE (so hot they may be burning up the waiver wire)
1. Hedo Turkoglu (Orlando), averaging 25pts, 6.7reb, 2.3ast in his last 4 games. Taking advantage of no Grant Hill and some weak teams, but I would suggest riding it out until Hill comes back.
2. Jerry Stackhouse (Dallas), averaging 22pts, 2.7reb, 3.0 ast in his last 3 games. He was hurt for 26 games this season, but looks healthy now and is really coming on.
3. Jalen Rose (Toronto), averaging 20pts, 3reb, 3ast in the last 9 games. This guy may be playing himself right out of town. Toronto has been shopping him and now his value is on the rise.
Luke Ridnour (Seattle), averaging 21pts, 3reb, 8.3ast, 1.3st in the last month. This guy is just flat out shooting better, he is knocking down shots at 50% this month as opposed to below 40% in previous months.

HEATING UP (may want to take a chance or at least use as a fill in)
1. Brevin Knight (Charlotte), averaging 12.3pts, 3.5reb, 8.5ast, 2st in the last month. This guy is injury prone, but is putting up solid numbers in the meantime.
Eddie Griffin (Minnesota), averaging 10pts, 8.8reb, 2.5blk in the last month. These are terrific numbers for guy who is eligible at the center spot. The acquisition of Blount should not hurt his minutes, because he can play center and both forward spots.
Kenyon Martin (Denver), averaging 18.5pts, 8.0reb, 1.5st, 2.3blk in the last month. He is back to playing like an all-star, filling up the stat sheets; hopefully you didn't sleep on him if he was available.
Raja Bell (Phoenix), averaging 19.7pts, 2.7reb, 1.7ast in the last month. He averages 38 minutes due to his defensive ablility, but recently he has been filling it up from long range, shooting nearly 48% this month.

COLD AS ICE (don't drop'em, but consider benchin'em)
1. Wally Szczerbiak (Minnesota), averaging 16.5pts, 4.5reb, 2.8ast in the last month. Doesn't seem like too bad of numbers, but if you consider he is shooting 37% compared to 50% for the season, I would say this might have something to do with him being traded.
Vince Carter (New Jersey), averaging 13.3pts, 6.0 reb, 4.5ast in the last week. Needless to say the Nets are struggling and Vince is a major reason why. He is shooting 31% from the field as opposed to 44% for the year. With this guy's athletic ablility, he should be taking it to the rack regularly, instead of settling for fall away shots and 3 pointers. I should point out that up until a few weeks ago, he was playing like a beast. He'll be back!
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Sacramento), averaging 8.8pts, 2.8reb, 1.2ast in the last week. Reef is struggling since coming back from his broken jaw. Granted, his minutes are down from 33 to 20 per game since having his mouth wired shut, but he looks lost when he's in the game. Can you really blame him though, I would be spacing out, thinking of hamburgers too if all I could eat were liquids.
There you have it, see you next time!

First Annual Superbowl Saturday Pub Crawl (sponsored by The Fanatsy Sports Doctors)...

Unless you are one of those lucky Steelers or Seahawks fans out there getting ready for the big game on February 5th, you could probably care less who wins and are just anxious to get on with the offseason to see what your favorite team does to better itself for next year. But fret not fellow sports junkies and coach potatoes...The FS Doctors are here to help.

We've decided to write a script for what ails your needs....a Pub Crawl on Saturday February 4th in the friendly confines of The Charm City! A day to talk junk about who you think will win the big game and who should have been there, what your team is going to do next year and the usual macho guy stuff that we all know and love....all while consuming plenty of beers and shots to help ease the pain of watching some other dude's favorite team play in the biggest sporting event in the world.

Steeler or Seahawk fan? Don't feel left out, you're welcome to join the fun as well and start the celebration a day early. Heck, if you're single, you might even meet a nice young lady friend to join you in your moment of happiness and be there to tuck you in as you lay down to rest before the big day.

So wait no longer pimps and pimpettes...mark your calendars for Saturday February 4th and get ready to rock n roll. The details of the First Annual Superbowl Saturday Crawl are as follows:

Start your engines at 3:00 pm at none other than JD's Smokehouse in Canton, where finger foods and plenty of beers will be flowing to get the Motha F'in party going. The tour continues through Canton with a quick pit stop in Fells Point before heading to the big finale in The Federal Hill (the one time home of Dr. X). These are just some of the bars on the tour but there will most likely be a few more.....

Claddaugh Pub
Portside Tavern

Max's on Broadway
The Greene Turtle

The Hill
Sky Lounge
Thirsty Dog
Crazy Lil's

Each of these locations should offer a wide variety of deals (including $3 car bombs and $5 Red Bull Drinks at Lil's), music (good dancing at Magerks) and atmosphere to keep even the saddest of fans (Texans, 49ers and Browns) entertained. Crawl T-shirts will also be avaiable for the superbowl low price of $17.50 each...e-mail Dr. X for more info. So slide on those helmets and pull the chin straps tight, it's going to be a wild ride for sure. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dr. X takes over the Philadelphia Eagles....

Here we go with the first shot at being a fantasy GM for a day.....

I look at the 2005 Eagle's squad and I think to myself how did this happen…how did we go from the Superbowl to the basement in just one season? The answer is obviously two-fold in the fact that we lost key defensive players in Burgess and Simon, and we had way too many injuries on offense to overcome the TO issue. That being said, here is how I would approach the off-season:

First of all, let's be realistic, the chances of getting anything for TO in a trade are slim to none. Let's cut our ties with him to free up the cap space to use towards someone else and rid ourselves of the cancer that doomed our locker room in '05.

Next, I’ll rank our needs position by position and figure out the best way to address them. I see those most important needs as follows:

1. A better pass rush. Without Burgess and Simon, our D-line got zippy pressure on opposing team's QBs, which made our secondary look bad but the real problem was upfront.

2. A replacement for TO on offense. Let's face it, our offense works much better and scares other teams more when we have that threat of a vertical passing game which will not work with the trio of Pinkston, Brown and Lewis in 2006. Reggie Brown is going to be a great player, but why not add a reliable, proven commodity who can contribute as McNabb’s #1 target in the passing game and help mentor Brown into becoming the possible future #1 WR in a couple of years.

3. Offensive line depth. With all the injuries our O-line suffered in 2005 and Jon Runyan up for free agency this offseason, this is a priority for our offense to be successful. We can't throw or run the ball effectively with a hodge podge of players forming the protection for McNabb.

4. A better #2 backup QB. No matter what anyone says, neither McMahon nor Detmer are the answer here as both are skilled in some areas but extremely weak in others. If it was possible to somehow combine the skills of one with the skills of the other, we just might have a solid backup but that obviously isn’t an option.

5. Lastly, we need a big, bruising running back to pound the ball up the gut when necessary and to give Westbrook and Moats that change of pace 'Thunder' to their lightning.

Here is how I would approach these needs:

1. I would go after the best available defensive lineman pass rusher with our #1 pick in the draft. This may be a DE or maybe even a playmaking LB that can come off the edge to bring more pressure on the QB and be able to drop back into coverage to defend a TE going out for a pass. The end from Penn State, Tamba Hali, or the DT from Oregon, Haloti Ngata, would be solid options and would give us great depth with Kearse, Patterson and Cole heading into 2006, but don’t be foolish if a top guy isn’t there at #14 - use the pick to choose someone who can make an immediate impact because we want to win this year with this group of players who went to the Superbowl a short year ago. I would also consider adding a player like Julian Peterson through free agency, who could come in and give the defense a boost right away. Not sure how he would fit in, but he is a playmaker and would give us good depth at the LB position as well. Another free agent possibility, and maybe even the Eagles best possible way to improve their defense, would be to go after John Abraham if the Jets decide to let him go (which is a definite possibility given how much he would cost them to keep). Abraham would most likely cost more than Peterson, but it would give us one of the best DE rotations in the NFL with him bookending a line with Jevon Kearse. Other FA names being tossed around: Lavar Arrington, LB Skins….how funny would that be; Darren Howard, DE Saints…...not sold unless he comes on the cheap and Will Witherspoon, LB Carolina…who would probably be the least costly, but also the least known although if he’s the right fit I’m in.

2. I think our best option to replace TO would be to add a proven wide receiver through free agency. With TO gone and available cap space, we could bring in a guy like an Eric Moulds (assuming he becomes available, which is the rumor) and he would add that big play threat immediately. This would obviously leave either Pinkston or Lewis out of the top 3, but that can be settled in the pre-season. Other names that have come up are Reggie Wayne or Charles Rogers. Obviously Wayne would be the best name of the bunch, but he would also likely command the highest bid of the 3 and I think the Colts will do whatever they can to retain his services. Another rumor that has been making it’s way around the community would be to bring in Antwaan Randle El from the Steelers. Not sure how he would fit into the WR rotation because I don’t believe he is close to being a #1 type guy, but he is a proven playmaker and would also be a huge boost to special teams as a punt returner. Regardless of which guy is available, I think going after a proven replacement for TO is mandatory to keep this offense in high gear for next year.

3. If Runyan isn't re-signed we could always tag him with the franchise if we wanted to keep him around for one more run at the title (assuming we have the cap space after other free agent signings, etc.), and then use the draft to improve our depth at the position with younger, less expensive players. If Tra Thomas doesn't return to full form in 2006, we still have Hicks and Herremans who have the ability to fill the starting left tackle spot. If Runyan leaves, Herreman could also be used to help fill the gap whether it is the right tackle or a shuffling of positions amongst the remaining players from 2005. The center position may be up for grabs as well after Jamaal Jackson stepped in and played fairly well after an injury sidelined Hank Fraley for the year. Expect an open battle during camp and possibly one or the other moving to a different position along the line if Runyan was to move on.

4. The draft would obviously be one way to get a young raw talent in at QB, but if cap space permits, we should take a long look at any available veteran backups who have a strong arm and some experience running the west coast offense. While I love Detmer's attitude and knowledge of the game, he hasn't been able to prove that he can carry the team if McNabb is injured and the same goes for McMahon. Drafting a QB here is not going to help in 2006, and that is the goal of this franchise right now so take a long look at any available veterans with better numbers than what we have now.

5. If we can get our hands on a powerful running back in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft, it would be a great addition to our offense by giving it the option to pound the ball hard down near the goal line and to get those tough 3rd and short conversions that seemed to elude us in 2005. If not, maybe we stick with what we currently have in Perry or Buckhalter (if healthy) and use them in these situations and let Westbrook and Moats carry the majority of the load between the twenties. We’ve seen Buckhalter be a productive runner between the tackles in the past, but it’s been 2 full years now and his time may be up. We could also take a look at any free agent backs that may spring up….one name that comes to mind is Green Bay’s Najeh Davenport, who would definitely fill the big running back role at 240+ pounds and would be a decent backup to boot.

In summary, I see us using our first round pick in the draft to add a big time DE or LB to shore up our pass rush, and making Julian Peterson our #1 Free Agent target to strengthen the overall effectiveness of our defense because defense wins championships. I also see a veteran WR brought in through free agency to take the place of TO and give McNabb that go to guy he can excel with. The O-line and RB depth can be resolved with our current group of players and through the draft for years beyond 2006. The backup QB situation should be addressed through free agency if solid options are available, if not stick with Koy and McMahon and try to draft a young QB in the middle rounds with upside. We obviously can’t go out and sign 4 or 5 big name free agents, but I do see us adding one or two like we did prior to our Superbowl season when we went out and got Kearse and TO…..funny how these two positions seem to be the biggest missing pieces once again, but I know what the fans want and that is a title so let’s do it. Best case scenario would be to bring in the following free agents: Abraham, Witherspoon and either Moulds or Randle El and then to draft a DE or LB and resign Runyan....we should have the cap space to pull off signing at least 3 of those guys and then use the later round picks in the draft to build depth at thin positions at a less expensive cost.

Given our draft position, cap space and current player pool (especially those returning from 2005 injuries), I see this franchise making a serious run at another Superbowl in 2006 if the moves suggested above can be made successfully. The window may be closing but these moves can open it back up.

Sports Doctors to play GM for a day......

Being that our favorite teams are all long out of the playoff picture (some never made it in), we have decided to list out the top 5 needs (in order) of our squads and how the men in charge should go about filling them this offseason. These articles will be posted within the next few days and will take into account all things that must be considered including salary cap situations and things of that nature. For those staff members who share the same favorite team, they will write articles on what to do with the two worst teams in the league (the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers).

Here is what analysis to look for over the next few days..... The Philadelphia Eagles (Dr. X), Washington Redskins (Dr. Pickem), Houston Texans (Dr. Longshotz; a Redskins fan but he might as well be a Texans fan), New York Giants (The Gambling Economist) and The San Francisco 49ers (Da Street Pharmacist; also a Redskins fan, but has a secret crush on Brandon Lloyd & Alex Smith).

Should be interesting to see what we would do if given the keys to these franchise's futures. Feel free to comment on each 'Fantasy GM's' analysis and post an article about your own favorite team to have it dissected by us.

A New Force in College Football & Basketball

With the recent surge of West Virginia University''s basketball team, WVU has quickly moved up the ranks in the two major college sports. They have long had a great tradition in football and now with last years elite eight performance and this years top 12 ranking in basketball, WVU has joined the ranks of Texas & Florida, as schools that can offer great teams in both sports.

WVU won't get the hype or the credit it deserves because they play as a team and not as a group of blue chip recruits.
Alot of the sports media won't give WVU any credit, but when they match up against what are considered superior teams, WVU comes out on top. Just ask Georgia, Villanova ,Oklahoma & UCLA. As I was watching the Sugar Bowl, the announcers didn't know anything about the WVU football team, sounded as if they didn't watch any tape on WVU at all.

So you won't read it in the papers or hear it on TV, but look at the rankings or watch Championship weekend and you will see the Mountaineers all over it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not so interesting....

The AFC & NFC Championship games did not prove to be too exciting afterall. First, I watched the Steelers jump out to a 24-3 lead on the road before falling asleep during most of the second other words - a real snoozer. I then woke up and ordered a bunch of chinese food in preparation for the NFC game which I thought had to be closer than the first matchup, only to watch the Hawks flat out stomp the Panthers in the first half and find myself playing NHL 2006 on the PS2 within 10 minutes of the second half. So much for Denver and Carolina, who would have been better off calling it quits at halftime to come join me playing video games. Oh well, let's just hope for another good Superbowl (which it looks to be on paper), because if it turns into a blowout early, many non-Steeler/Seahawk fans will be watching the Sunday night movie and playing video games with me.

As for the matchup itself, I don't see a clear favorite after both teams crushed their opponents yesterday, but I do think Pittsburgh has an edge after enduring a tougher road to the big game. That being said, I'd like to see the Hawks pull it out since they have never won before and don't want to hear all of my friends who are Steelers fans yapping it up, but either way I wouldn't be that upset because neither team has really rubbed me the wrong way as an Eagles fan and could really care less.