Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fantasy Football Rookie (Week 13)

Monday Morning - 

This was a much better week, and it's not even over yet! I'm back in 1st place, I still have two more players to go tonight, and everyone within 100 points is done for the week, so I get to pad that lead a bit heading into Week 13. Still, I'm not totally without disappointment, since my highest scoring quarterback and highest scoring running back were both sitting on my bench.

Tuesday Morning - 

Well, I didn't get much padding last night... only 4.8 points from my wide receiver and a respectable if not impressive 7 points from my defensive guy. But at a total of 170.22 I had the most points in the league last week... which is actually pretty sad. Guess it wasn't a great week for anyone.

This is a weird week; I have players in all three of Thursday's games, including at least one player in every position except for tight end. So I have to make the majority my decisions early this week, and then wait three days before finding out if I made the right ones.

Wednesday Evening - 

QB - Cam Newton, Eli Manning
RB - Eddie Lacy, Reggie Bush
WR - Calvin Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Riley Cooper
TE - Julius Thomas
K - David Akers
D/ST - 49ers
D - NaVorro Bowman, Nick Roach

Blargh... I hate Thursday games.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Just Don't Get It

For those of us living in the U.S., Thanksgiving is this week. A time to get together with family... which may or may not be a good thing. Last week, I was part of a Twitter conversation that left me completely flabbergasted:

I swear. Thanksgiving is the worst holiday. We both have family in town. Which means we have to fight every fricking year about where we're going and when and it's AWFUL.

My parents and my MIL live two blocks from each other, so we get that any time we visit for the weekend. For holidays we just alternate and too bad for whoever doesn't like it.

Well, both sides of the family would stop talking to us completely if we did that.

Umm... what?

I didn't continue the conversation, because I honestly didn't know how to respond to that, at least not without completely ripping on this person's family. But my knee-jerk response is simply, "Their loss."

I get that it's disappointing not to get to see people on holidays because they're spending the time with the "other family," but really?!

Where did this idea come from that family is such a sacred bond that you can be so disrespectful and it doesn't matter because the other person will always forgive you? This whole "nothing is more important than family" thing is actually kind of crap. There are lots of things that are more important than simply BEING a family. For one, how about ACTING like a family? Like you actually care about each other... that includes dialing down the guilt and manipulation.

Personally, I like the way we do it. Thanksgiving with one side, Christmas with the other. And every year we switch. On Pat's side, all family get-togethers almost always involve the same people, but with my side, it gets even more complicated because we might be with my mom's side or my dad's side. Which means that, the people we don't see one year, we won't necessarily see them the next year. And when you factor in the fact that others might also be dividing their holiday time... there's really never a guarantee.

(The "no guarantee" thing is true to an extent with Pat's family too, but it's pretty uncommon to go two years without seeing someone... whereas that's the norm for a lot of my side.)

So, trust me, I can see the benefits of trying to fit everyone in... but personally I think it's too much of a headache. Especially if those who are insisting on it won't compromise. So, family is important... but the other side of the family doesn't deserve the same quality time?

If seeing your family is really that important, make time to see them throughout the year. And if you do see them throughout the year, then why make such a fuss over one day? I know there's something to be said for tradition, but when people come together and create a new family, you can't expect everything to always stay the same.

If our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins can't respect the decisions we make for our new family, then that's their problem. And if they'd take it so personally to the point where they'd actually stop talking to us because of it... then why would I want make more time and effort to see them? Just because they're family?

Family is NOT a get-out-of-shitty-behavior free card.

And I know I shouldn't be judging this other person's situation, because I don't know all the people and all the factors involved, and it has nothing to do with me. But I feel like I see so much of this kind of thing. And I just don't get it.

Maybe it's because I've never been involved in family drama. Maybe someday I'll end up in a situation where an outsider would say, "It's not worth it, why do you put up with that?" and I'll respond, "Well, they're family."

But I hope not. I hope I go through my whole life never "getting it." The price of understanding is too high.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fantasy Football Rookie (Week 12)

Thursday Afternoon - 

Last week was a little more reasonable, despite the fact that Eli Manning had his best game in weeks the minute I bench him (of course). A couple other disappointments, but at least I was in the top half of scores in my league, and I'm sitting solidly in 3rd place.

Starters for the coming week:

QB - Cam Newton, Eli Manning
RB - Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy
WR - Calvin Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Rueben Randle
TE - Coby Fleener
K - David Akers
D/ST - Ravens
D - NaVorro Bowman, Nick Roach

I'm following the collective NFL suggestions, which for the most part match up with Yahoo!'s (is that the correct way to punctuate that?) projected points.

The only time I went out on my own was for Coby Fleener. Once again, he kicks off before Julius Thomas this week, and Thomas didn't practice yesterday and was limited today. I'd probably be hesitant to start him even if he does play, plus Fleener has a great matchup this week. I'll keep an eye on Thomas's status, but probably won't be changing anything.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fantasy Football Rookie (Week 11)

Monday Night - 

I had a pretty bad week. I won't officially know how bad until tomorrow, but I'm already bumped down to 3rd place and I don't have anyone playing tonight... though 4th place is pretty far back so I don't think I have to worry about anyone else passing me up this week.

Both my starting quarterbacks were terrible. My receivers were actually pretty good, as was my tight end (I did end up going with Julius Thomas, trusting the "probable" status as of the early kickoff). But neither of my running backs met their projections, my kicker had a really slow game, and my defense - team and individual players - did fairly well but just not enough to make up for the low numbers in other areas. My final score was 141.06, my lowest all year. With a few starter switches, I could have had 158, which still would have been my lowest all year. And if I hadn't taken my other kicker off my roster, I could have had 165... which STILL would have been my lowest score all year.

So, yeah, this clearly wasn't going to be a good week for me.

And on top of that, the Bears lost an extremely winnable game because Cutler got injured AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF and the coaches didn't put in his backup until the final drive of the game.

Nope, not a good week...

Thursday Morning - 

Remember how last week I was nervous about the three-hour difference between my backup and starting tight ends? And how I was like, well, at least it's only three hours, it could be worse? Yeah... this week it's worse -- Thursday night vs Sunday night. But Julius Thomas doesn't look nearly as iffy this week as he did last week, so hopefully it won't be an issue.

I'm pretty frustrated with my quarterbacks right now. The NFL fantasy guys are still putting Eli above Joe Flacco, but at this point I think I have more faith in Flacco. I don't know what happened to Cam last week, but I'm going to go ahead and start Cam Newton and Joe Flacco.

I'm solid at the running back position, like I mentioned last week. My guys are projected at #5, 6, 7, & 9 on the NFL rankings. With that in mind, there's always a chance that one of my benched players is going to have a breakout game, but I'm going with Reggie Bush and Knowshon Moreno this week.

In the wide receiver position, I picked up Riley Cooper in free agency this week. He's been hot the last couple weeks, and while it might not continue, he seems worth a shot considering neither Steve Smith nor Denarius Moore have had double-digit games in weeks. Calvin Johnson and Pierre Garcon are my other two starters, as usual.

Tight end, Julius Thomas, unless he doesn't play... in which case hopefully I know about it early enough to pick up someone to replace him.

Kicker, David Akers.

For my defensive players, NaVorro Bowman and Nick Roach.

As for my team defense/special teams, neither San Francisco nor Baltimore looks all that promising... I may change my mind before Sunday, but right now I'm leaning 49ers if only to avoid the conflict of interests that comes with the Ravens playing the Bears this week. (On the other hand, getting fantasy points out of the Ravens could be a silver lining if we end up losing the real game.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fantasy Football Rookie (Week 10)

Tuesday Morning - 

Bears win! Plus, after a rather mediocre Sunday, both my running backs had great games Monday night, and I'm still at #1 in the league (with Pat creeping up close behind me).

Unfortunately, Kyle Rudolph got hurt this week and is going to be out for several weeks, and Julius Thomas is still questionable coming back from an ankle injury. So, I need a new backup tight end.

Wednesday Morning - 

Roster changes for this week: I dropped Kyle Rudolph and picked up Coby Fleener. This one I actually used my waiver option for, figuring I definitely didn't want to be without a decent backup for Julius Thomas. I also swapped my kickers so I have David Akers again after his bye week. Forbath has had some good weeks, but Akers just seems to be a little more consistent.

Thursday Morning - 

The NFL analysts (on average, of course) and the Yahoo! projected numbers for this week are in agreement as to who I should start and who I should bench, so I'm going with their suggestions; I have no real reason not to. Some of the calls are close, and I might end up getting more points from the guys on the bench, but I don't have anything to base that on one way or the other. Also, it's weird sitting guys in one position who are better than my starters in another, which makes me wish this league had a flex position.

My main issue is that I have four running backs ranked in the top 10 this week (and most weeks) by the NFL guys. Looking at the points so far this season, my "worst" running back is 13th overall, and that's because he missed a couple games and had a slower start, being a rookie. My wide receivers, on the other hand... after Calvin Johnson, my next best guy is ranked #12 this week, and is #15 by total points for the season. ALL of my running backs are (comparatively) better than my 2nd best receiver... let alone my 3rd and 4th. I guess maybe that's an imbalance I might want to correct...

But anyway, here are my starters this week:

QB - Cam Newton, Eli Manning
RB - Reggie Bush, Eddie Lacy
WR - Calvin Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Steve Smith
TE - Julius Thomas*
K - David Akers
D/ST - 49ers
D - NaVorro Bowman, Nick Roach

*Julius Thomas is currently listed as questionable. If it doesn't look like he's going to play, I have Coby Fleener to put in. But, Fleener plays at noon on Sunday and Thomas not until later... if he's going to be a true game-time decision, I'm going to have to go with Fleener just to be safe... which is probably going to suck for me if Thomas ends up playing. But, a few hours difference in kickoff is a lot more promising than, say, Fleener playing Thursday night and Thomas playing Monday night.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Lackluster Rant

I know I've been doing pretty crappy lately on posting anything that's not about fantasy football (and even those posts are becoming more and more lackluster as the weeks go on, aren't they?), and there's a reason for that...

Writer's block!

I always used to think of writer's block as just not knowing what to write about, or maybe not knowing how to start. That was usually my main problem. Lately though... I have specific things I want to write about, and I just... can't.

Which makes it a terrible subject to try to WRITE a rant about, I know. Times like these it would be helpful if I were a gif person, so I could just write a hundred words and fill the rest of my post with crazy moving images. But, since those things give me a headache, you just get a half-hearted rant because the thing I want to rant about makes it impossible for me to do the rant justice...

Or something like that.

(Prompt courtesy of Ginger's Bring Back the Words.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I gave blood last week

Switching gears a bit here. For whatever reason, I haven't been looking forward to writing any of my Bears blog posts with the exception of the first one. So, instead I'm just going to write whatever comes to mind. Ok, back to the title of the post.

Given that my mom used to be a nurse and my dad was always in and out of the hospital, I've had a bit more exposure to that sort of thing than a lot of people. For example, I've known my blood type for as long as I can remember. I thought it was weird when Charleen didn't know hers. (she does now by the way). I'm type O+. Basically what that means is that I'm the second best blood donor by type there is. About 85% (source) of the people in the US are RH positive, and my blood can be used to donate to all of them.

So basically I should probably  be donating at least a few times a year. The reason I haven't been? Well, I never donated through high school or before. There's no real reason why, I just don't think I remember too much exposure to blood drives or anything like that. In my freshman year of college however; there was a blood drive on campus. Knowing my blood type, I figured, "why not?" I've never been a big fan of needles. I'm don't have an irrational fear of them, they just kinda hurt and I'm not a large fan of pain. Anyway, I go through all of the preliminaries (height, weight, hemoglobin test, blood pressure). Everything checked out fine so on to the donation. They get the needle in my arm and while it wasn't the most pleasant feeling in the world, I figured I could deal with it for 5-10 minutes...and then they noticed that blood wasn't flowing. I had clotted the needle. The method for addressing this? Shake the needle a bit while it's still in my arm to try and knock the clot loose. It worked (and it hurt...a lot) and we went on with the donation...until I clotted the needle again. Wash, rinse, and repeat and by the 3rd time I had clotted the needle, I decided that I was done. The disappointing part is that since they didn't get a full pint, they had to throw it out. So all of that for nothing. That was 11 years ago, and hadn't tried donating since. Every time it came up, I just thought of that experience and couldn't convince myself to do it.

On Tuesday, John Deere had a blood drive at work. A coworker of mine was planning on going and had mentioned it earlier in the morning. I was still trying to play catch up since I was on vacation on Friday and Monday so I didn't even remotely think about going. Well, later that day after things had calmed down for me, he still hadn't gone and again asked if anyone wanted to come with. I spent about 5 minutes mentally talking myself into it and we headed off to the factory auditorium to donate.

ZERO PROBLEMS! Long story short, it hurt more in the 30 seconds while I was holding gauze on the wound after the fact than the entire donation did. Piece of cake. I got up, had my cookies and juice and went back to work. I got a little light headed later that evening, but other than that, I was fine. In 51 more days I can donate again, and I think it'll be something I do more regularly.

It's an unfortunate fact that donations don't go well every time and even more unfortunate that it went so badly on my first try, but I'm glad my second experience went so well. Anyway, my point in all of this is that I'm glad I gave it another try.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Fantasy Football Rookie (Week 9)

Tuesday Morning - 

Long, busy weekend, and not the greatest of fantasy weeks, but at the end of it I somehow managed to end up in first place!

This week I need a replacement for my kicker on bye and a second active defensive player, and I really don't know who to drop to make room for them. I might just drop my kicker to pick up a new one... and if he gets snatched up in the meantime, stick with the new one for the season. I'll have to see who's available though, if it would be worth the risk.

I don't really want to do that with my defensive guy who's out on bye because he's pretty consistent, and I don't necessarily want to drop Lance Briggs for the same reason... he's out for several weeks, but it'd be nice to see him back to form once he gets back, if I have room to keep him through this bit of bye week shuffling.

A few of my receivers have been rather sub-par lately... I might drop one of them (though I only have one to spare this week with Calvin Johnson being on bye.)

Frickin' bye weeks...

Wednesday Afternoon - 

Free agency is open for the week, and I picked up the players I needed to fill out my roster -- Kai Forbath as kicker (he's the guy I had as a backup early on before dropping him back in Week 3) and Nick Roach as defensive player (a former Bear who's now with Oakland... he's good, and has a decent matchup this week and a great one in Week 11 when my new defensive guy goes on his bye... assuming I don't just keep Roach as my second starter and relegate last week's acquisition to back up).

With these couple pick-ups, my starters for the week are now set. I have no backups. Anyone not starting is either on bye or out with injury. If anything bad happens to make one of my actives inactive between now and Sunday, I'll have to scramble, or just eat the point loss.

QB - Cam Newton, Joe Flacco
RB - Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy
WR - Pierre Garcon, Steve Smith, Denarius Moore
TE - Kyle Rudolph
K - Kai Forbath
D/ST - Ravens
D - Alec Ogletree, Nick Roach