Hook

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Hook is a former athlete who co-owns and writes for Total Sports Blog. For updates on his articles and insights, be sure to follow Hook on twitter @HookTSB.

It’s a well known fact amongst fantasy football enthusiasts that the marquee free-agent/waiver wire pickups are made in Weeks 1 and 2.  If a lesser known player blows up for 2 straight weeks, he’s rightfully snapped up by the time waivers clear Wednesday morning.  If you’re in a cut-throat, no-holds-barred free agency league, said player is already owned by the manager with the most expensive smart phone on the fastest network (can you hear me now?).

Injuries happen (RIP Jamaal Charles’ anterior cruciate ligament) and keeping a high waiver priority is key as the season goes on.  While just about all of the top undrafted players are taken already, by the end of Week 3 you can forget about picking up this years’ Brandon Lloyd or Peyton Hillis.  They gone.  The only players you’re picking up post Week 3 are TE/K/DST bye week replacements, injury fill-ins and these cubic zirconias in the rough. Read the rest of this entry »

Season 4 of AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad has been nothing short of must-see TV, and Episode 10 ‘Salud’ is quite possibly the series’ best one to date.  Deception. Gun fights.  Drama. Action.  Suspense.  You name it, this episode had it.

In ‘Salud’, Walt is healing from the ass-whipping he took at the end of last week’s episode via Jesse.  He’s beat up and embarrassed, and to make matters worse he misses Walt Jr’s birthday.  Guess what Walt Jr’s big birthday present is?  If your answer was a used lavender PT Cruiser, you nailed it.  Walt Jr hates this thing so much he steps on taking it for a spin in favor of pancakes. Read the rest of this entry »

If there’s something to take away from the first 2 weeks of the NFL season it’s that defenses have a lot of catching up to do.  Offenses across the league (with the exception of Kansas City, Seattle and Jacksonville) have been having a free-for-all.  Bet the over in every single game next week and stack ‘dem chips.

Before we move on to this week’s recap, lets take a quick look at how my advice panned out last week.  3-0 in pick ’em.  Must Adds Newton, Fitzpatrick, Henderson and Tate had awesome weeks, and after another TD, Keep an Eye on Scott Chandler TE BUF is being upgraded to an add.

In the past, my weekly studs and duds merely had to meet certain criteria.  Studs were any position player scoring multiple TDs or going over 100 yards and QB’s with 300+ yards and multiple TDs.  Duds were players projected in the top 75 who failed to deliver solid performances.  If I kept those same standards there’d be over 30 studs this week. So due to defenses taking Week 2 off, from here on out I’ll be limiting the studs and duds to top ten lists. Read the rest of this entry »

Last year I gave you the low-down on all the gridiron action in Hook’s NFL Weekly Wrap-Ups.  This season, I will focus solely on fantasy football.  If you want box scores or the play by play, watch the games like a real man or head over to ESPN or CBSSports for the game recaps.

Each Monday night I’ll be posting articles featuring the fantasy studs and duds, which players to add/drop/keep an eye on, and my survival football pick for the following week.  Why should you trust my advice?  If the facts that I’ve been playing fantasy football for 15 years and I watch every single game aren’t enough for you, just check out some of the excerpts from last years articles:

Hook’s NFL Week 1 Wrap-Up

-Must adds Mike Thomas WR JAC and Michael Vick QB PHI, keep an eye on Brandon Lloyd WR DEN and Marcedes Lewis TE JAX.  If you added these 4 guys there’s a good chance you won your league last year.

Hook’s NFL Week 3 Wrap-Up

-Must Adds Brandon Lloyd WR DEN, Peyton Hillis RB CLE, must drop Garrett Hartley K NO, keep an eye on BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB NE.  Hillis was the breakout star of the 2010 season, I saved you further heartache with Hartley, and BJGE became a solid RB 2 or 3 for the rest of the season.

I could go on about how I told readers to drop Mike-Sims Walker in Week 4 or gobble up LeGarrette Blount midseason, but you get the gist of it.  I’m not saying I’m going to be spot on every time, but my track record speaks for itself.

You may be asking yourself why Monday night?  What about MNF?  I’ll include as much MNF info as possible, but with most leagues set to Tuesday waivers you’re going to need the info before morning.  So, without further ado, here’s Hook’s NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Recap:

Studs and Duds

For our studs, we all watched Drew Brees QB NO and Aaron Rodgers QB GB throw for 3 TDs each on Thursday night as both guys spread the ball around as usual.  Steve Smith WR CAR and rookie Cam Newton QB CAR had quite a day on Sunday.  Smith went off for 8 rec 178 yards and 2 TDs while Cam broke records with 422 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and 1 rushing TD.  Newton was the first QB ever to throw for over 400 yards in their NFL debut, but the Panthers still suck and lost the game.  Mike Tolbert RB SD contributed with 9 rec, 58 rec yards, 35 rush yards and 3 TDs before being sidelined due to injury.  He’ll be a headache for Ryan Mathews RB SD owners all year as Mathews does the grunt work and Tolbert gets all the goal line carries.  Ray Rice RB BAL rushed for 107 yards, had 4 receptions for 42 yards and scored 2 TDs.  Kenny Britt WR TEN is living up to his slightly overhyped ADP with 5 receptions 136 yards and 2 TDs in Week 1 (just don’t expect this type of production every week, one of those TDs was an 80 yarder where the MLB absolutely whiffed… should have been a 65 yard 1 TD game).  LeSean McCoy RB PHI had 137 total yards and 2 TDs.  Matt Forte RB CHI had 158 total yards and 1 TD.  Cedric Benson RB CIN fresh out of jail tallied 123 yards and 1 TD.  Ryan Fitzpatrick QB BUF stunned everyone with 4 TDs on 208 yards passing with 0 INT in the upset of the day.  Megatron WR DET had 6 rec 88 yards 2 TD (he’s a force when Stafford QB DET plays).  Finally the other 100+ yard producers included Reggie Wayne WR IND, Early Doucet WR ARI, DeSean Jackson WR PHI, Devery Henderson WR NO, Ben Tate RB HOU, Jason Witten TE DAL, Hakeem Nicks WR NYG, Fred Davis (who?) TE WAS, Cadillac Williams RB STL, Michael Turner RB ATL (actually had 3 receptions, too), Ryan Mathews RB SD, Fred Jackson RB BUF, Jahvid Best RB DET, Mike Wallace WR PIT, and scoreless Adrian Peterson RB MIN.  UPATE: Tom Brady QB NE blew up on MNF with 517 passing yards 4 TD and 1 INT. He’s baaack.  Wes Welker WR NE (8 rec 160 yards 2 TD including a 99 yard score), Aaron Hernandez TE NE (7/103/1TD), Deion Branch WR NE (7/93) and Rob Gronkowski TE NE (6/86/1) were the major benefactors of Brady’s huge night.  On the other side of the field, Brandon Marshall WR MIA went for 7 rec 139 yards and Chad Henne threw for 416 yards, 2 TDs 1 INT and also had 59 rush yards and a rushing TD.  Darren McFadden RB OAK also had a stellar Monday night.

As for our duds (I don’t usually do this to injured players) Arian Foster RB HOU leads off as the consensus #1 pick in fantasy drafts sat out with a hamstring injury.  Chris Johnson RB TEN produced a lackluster 49 total yards.  Rashard Mendenhall RB PIT had 45 rushing yards and 1 FL (the Steelers looked AWFUL).  Those are 3 round 1 guys who blew it for you, but plenty of other guys also disappointed in Week 1.  Speaking of the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT turned the ball over 5 TIMES.  Matt Ryan QB ATL threw for 319 yards but had 1 INT 0 TDs.  Even worse was Sam Bradford QB STL who had 188 passing yards, -15 rushing, 1 FL and a hand injury (expected to play next week).  But enough picking on QBs. Shonn Greene RB NYJ managed only 33 total yards (Jets RBs rushed for under 50 yards combined as Sanchez went to the air in their Sunday night comeback victory).  Vincent Jackson WR SD only had 2 rec for 31 yards.  DeAngelo Williams RB CAR was neglected in Cam’s big day with 36 total yards.  Mark Ingram RB NO managed only 40 yards in his debut.  Jeremy Maclin WR PHI is still shaking off his off-season illness (I’m still not convinced it wasn’t AIDS) with just 1 rec for 20 yards.  The biggest duds of Week 1 were LeGarrette Blount RB TB who had 15 total yards and Dwayne Bowe WR KC who managed only 2 rec for 17 yards.  Gross.  UPDATE: Chad Ochocinco WR NE had a measly 1 rec for 14 yards in his New England debut.  I think that trend will continue until he learns the offense.

Must Add: Cadillac Williams RB STL (Jackson RB STL quad injury could linger) Cam Newton QB CAR, Ryan Fitzpatrick QB BUF (both these guys are better than your backup, just check your starter’s bye week), Devery Henderson WR NO (Colston WR NO has a broken collar bone), Early Doucet WR ARI (this year’s Brandon Lloyd WR DEN, you heard it hear first.  Remember when Fitzgerald WR ARI and Boldin WR BAL were on the same team?  He’s Boldin’s replacement 2 years later), Ben Tate RB HOU (can’t understand how this guy is available in 55% of yahoo leagues, if Foster’s injury lingers he could be HUGE)

Must Drop: Thomas Jones RB KC (Dexter McCluster RB KC is the handcuff you need, not this guy), Danny Amendola WR STL (Dislocated elbow, possibly out for the year), Nate Kaeding K SD (out for the year)

Keep an Eye on: Scott Chandler TE BUF (TE is deep this year, but Fitzpatrick seems to like this kid.  If you’re starting Owen Daniels TE HOU or Greg Olsen TE CAR you should seriously consider other options), Randall Cobb WR GB, Doug Baldwin WR SEA, Ted Ginn Jr WR SF, Jermaine Gresham TE CIN, Deji Karim RB JAX

New this year is fantasy football Buy/Sell/Hold.  These are players that have value and are owned in most leagues.  Buys you should try to trade for, Sells you should try to trade away and hold are players that are likely to be either Buys or Sells in the near future.

BUY: Tom Brady QB NE (he looked a lot like 2007 Brady tonight, but you’d have to give up your first round pick for him…do it.), Mike Tolbert RB SD (unless injury is serious), Matt Forte RB CHI, Dez Bryant WR DAL, Darren Sproles RB NO, Jordy Nelson WR GB, Plaxico Burress WR NYJ, Stevie Johnson WR BUF, Jermichael Finley TE GB, Jimmy Graham TE NO, Wes Welker WR NE

SELL: Chad Ochocinco WR NE (going to struggle for about half the season, will be a BUY around week 6 if you want to waste a roster spot that long), Ryan Mathews RB SD (unless Tolbert injury is serious, then keep this guy), Fred Jackson RB BUF, Greg Olsen TE CAR, Peyton Hillis RB CLE (no repeat of 2010 in sight), Dallas Clark TE IND, Reggie Wayne WR IND, Marques Colston WR NO, Owen Daniels TE HOU, Shonn Greene RB NYJ

HOLD: Steve Smith WR CAR.  Some people will tell you to sell this guy on the high.  I’m not convinced this won’t be a big year for someone who was the #1 ranked WR as little as 3 years ago.

That wraps it up for Week 1.  For my Week 2 survivor pick, the absolute locks are NYJ over JAX or GB over CAR (in that order, Jets are home while the Pack is away), but if you don’t want to blow top tier teams this early in the season, go with NYG at home vs a very banged up STL.

This week’s episode of Breaking Bad starts off with a Los Pollos “delivery” much like the one where Mike had to ice a couple of would be jackers, only this time it’s two other guys sitting in the back of the truck with assault rifles.  The jackers are a little more savvy this time, locking the guys in the back of the truck in and filling it with noxious fumes after putting a bullet in the driver’s head.  Despite trying to shoot their way out, these two guys aren’t as lucky as Mike and the jackers get away with the specially marked bucket containing the blue meth.

Meanwhile, Skyler is replaying the loving phone message Walt left in last week’s episode over and over.  It’s clear that she now realizes that this wasn’t a random “I love you and the kids” call- it was something much more than that.  The same message that was like Spanish Fly in Episode 5 has become far less of an aphrodisiac for Skyler and more of a warning sign.  Walt’s lying in bed, obviously hung over from last night’s dinner party with Hank and Marie when Skyler begins to pepper him with questions about the family’s safety.  She fears that what happened to Gale can and may happen to Walt or whoever is unlucky enough to answer the door.  Walt calmly tries to explain the situation, but Skyler keeps badgering him and badgering him.

Enter Walt’s best monologue of Season 4.  The man goes old-school Heisenberg on his wife in one of the best rants in Breaking Bad history:

“Who are you talking to right now?  Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly-up, disappears. It ceases to exist without me! No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!”

Read the rest of this entry »

10. Dennis Rodman

Leading off our list is recent Hall of Fame inductee “The Worm”.  No doubt Rodman is one scary dude.  Ridiculous amount of tats before everyone in the league got inked up? Check.  Multiple body piercings? Check.  Dresses up like a woman on a regular basis?  You get the idea.  He may be a different kind of scary, but be rest assured the guy didn’t average 13.1 rebounds on his athleticism alone.

9. Bill Romanowski (NFL)

Romanowski ingested steroids by the fist full and had a healthy serving of HGH for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Notice how I didn’t say allegedly?  One of the dirtiest players in the history of the NFL admitted said PED use during the BALCO scandal.  Between breaking Kerry Collins jaw and shattering the orbital socket OF HIS OWN TEAMMATE, this is one guy you do not want to mess with. Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks back I wrote an article about what life would be like without the NFL and how other sports would emerge and take away some of the pain.  The truth is the NFL is too profitable, the players and the owners all make too much money and we were never really in any danger of losing the entire 2011 season.  The lone casualty of this whole lockout situation was the August 7th “Hall of Fame Weekend” game at soldier field featuring the Bears vs the Rams.   Without the possibility of a Kristin Cavallari sighting in Chitown I don’t think anyone gave a shit.  It’s August 11th and Football is back, baby!

I’ve immersed myself in football in the past week or so.  I’ve completed over 10 fantasy mock drafts.  I watched as much as possible of the 4 pre-season games this evening, from Michael Vick looking like an early MVP candidate to Tim Tebow making major strides towards that starting QB spot.  Then it hit me.  The “lockout” prior to the 2011 NFL season may have been the best marketing ploy in the history of professional sports.

Think about it.  We all love football.  Even your girlfriend watches the Super Bowl every year, cheering mindlessly for the “team with the nicest outfit”.  How could the NFL possibly make America’s most popular sport even more popular?  By threatening to take it away.

Try and tell me you weren’t worried what would happen to your fantasy league this year if there was no football.  Once that 10 year CBA was signed, how many emails and league invites have filled your inbox?

How many preseason football games have you watched in your lifetime?  How many did you watch today, and why is Sportscenter dominated by the highlights?

This whole lockout thing was viral marketing in it’s finest, purest form… and we fell for it hook, line and sinker.

 

Yet I couldn’t be more happy.

 

Due to a move this past week I was unable to cover S4E2 “Thirty-Eight Snub”.  In this recap I will discuss both S4E2 and S4E3 “Open House”

 

After Season 4 shot out of the gates with the episode “Boxcutter”, fans were treated with a suspenseful 2nd episode in “Thirty-Eight Snub”.  The title is immediately explained as Walt is trying to decide which gun he wants to buy from an illegal arms dealer.  While he claims that his new piece is only for protection, we all know that he is looking to bust a cap in Gus the first chance he gets.  After seeing Gus murder a man right before his eyes, Walt feels his days are numbered (and it’s not the cancer that is going to get him).

Only 2 episodes into the season and it seems as if Breaking Bad is going in a new direction as far as character development goes.  In Seasons 1-3 it was almost all about Walt, a lot about Jessie and a little bit of the ancillary characters Skyler, Walter Jr, Hank and Marie.  While the title of the episode may lead you to think it’s all about Walt, “Thirty-Eight Snub” spends significant time developing Hank and Marie’s characters.  The frustration on Hank’s face as he recovers from the multiple gun shot wounds makes you really feel for the guy.  His obsession with the minerals (don’t call them rocks) is strange and his patience for his caring wife is non-existent.  While Marie is bending over backwards to accommodate Hank, he fails to see how much she is doing for him and returns the favors with salty remarks.  Marie’s gonna blow up real soon, you can count on it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Bad Season 4

If you aren’t aware, AMC has been crushing it lately. Just about every drama series on the channel for the last few years has been must-see TV. I’m sure you’ve heard of the critically acclaimed Mad Men or last year’s smash hit The Walking Dead, but the best show on AMC (maybe even on TV) is the lesser known Breaking Bad which is entering it’s 4th season.

Breaking Bad is the story of a High School chemistry teacher, Walter White, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and decides to pick up manufacturing methamphetamine to pay for his cancer treatment and provide a nest egg for his family. The series chronicles this man’s new “career” and the trials and tribulations that go along with it. The show is addicting, so if you haven’t seen it, get the DVD’s, catch up and start watching.

Season 4 begins with the episode Boxcutter, as season 3 left off with a huge cliffhanger. Walt’s former lab assistant Gail is depicted opening up the boxes containing the expensive lab equipment that meth king-pin Gus has provided for their mega-lab. In the finale of Season 3, Walt’s partner Jessie killed Gail in order to save Walt’s life. You see, a couple of Gus’s goons were killed by Walt in the finale and now that Gail knows Walt’s cooking process, he has no need for Heisenberg (Walt’s alias) and wants him dead. By killing Gail, Jessie ensures that Gus’s other men don’t kill Walt because he’ll need him to make the product. If you aren’t following me here, I apologize. Like I said, get the DVD’s, catch up and get with it.

After killing Gail, Jessie is picked up by one of Gus’s top men and brought to the lab where Walt is being held. The goons are forced to call Gus and inform him that his trusted cook has been murdered. The episode is rather drawn out (but never dull) as Walt’s estranged wife Skyler worries about his whereabouts. Gus’s goons are convinced by Walt that they shouldn’t kill him until they hear back from Gus. The same guy that picked up Jessie tries to prove that he too knows Walt’s cooking method, and that they don’t need him. The suspense builds throughout the episode until the moment Gus arrives at the lab.

This is where the episode gets absolutely bad-ass. Gus walks into the lab like a boss without saying a word to anyone. If you haven’t seen the show, the guy looks like a grown-up Steve Urkel/Carlton Banks hybrid. Very proper, always business-like and direct. Gus walks down the metal stairs and over to Walt and Jessie with a stone-cold look in his eye. He pauses for a minute, then walks directly to the the lab coats. While Walt pleads his case in order to save Jessie and his life, Gus takes off his shirt, changes into full-body lab gear then walks back toward his men.

Gus checks a few drawers and finds a bright green boxcutter, perhaps the very same boxcutter Gail used to open the boxes in the beginning of the episode. Without uttering a word, he takes the boxcutter and slices one of his goon’s throats (the same one that picked up Jessie). The man bleeds out and dies in front of Walt and Jessie, and Gus washes himself off, changes and leaves. As he’s about to walk out the door he simply says “Well, get back to work”. Walt and Jessie are spared and a legion of Breaking Bad viewers are primed for a very interesting episode 2.

Solid start to the 4th season of an awesome show if I do say so myself.

I hope you’re a fan of baseball highlights because that’s about all you’re going to see on ESPN Sportscenter until September.  With the NFL and NBA lockouts in full effect and the serious threat of no 2011/2012 seasons for both leagues looming, Total Sports Blog takes a look at life with no professional football and basketball.

Sure the lockouts can end at any moment and their seasons can be saved, but what if it doesn’t happen?  What if between August 2011(start of the NFL Pre-season) and June 2012 (end of NBA playoffs) us sports fans are deprived of rim-rattling dunks from Blake Griffin and bone crunching hits by James Harrison?  What if the only time we get to see the Manning brothers compete is in an Oreo Cookie commercial?  Fortunately there are 8 other professional leagues and 2 amateur sports worth watching set to reap the benefits.

Read the rest of this entry »