Posted on: February 15, 2010 7:57 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 8:05 pm
Top Ten for Week of 2/7
1. Detroit Country Day
3. Detroit Pershing
4. Saginaw Arthur Hill
5. Muskegon Heights
6. Lansing Eastern
7. Kalamazoo Central
8. Melvindale AB&T
9. Detroit King
Arthur Hill - Beat Muskegon Heights, Midland
Muskegon Heights - Lost to Arthur Hill, Beat Western Michigan Christian
King - Beat Det. Central
ABT - Beat Willow Run
Kzoo Central - Beat Sturgis, Lakeshore
Lansing Eastern - Beat Jackson, East Lansing
Petoskey - Beat Charlevoix and Gaylord
Country Day - Idle
Flint Powers - Beat Flint Northern, Carmen Ainsworth, Saginaw
Romulus - Beat Ford, Belleville
Pershing - Beat Denby, Kettering
There's definitely a mish-mashing of teams resting at the top of the rankings in Michigan boys basketball this week. While Country Day stays idle, they pick up an extra game against Detroit Southeastern next week . Ray McCallum is a legitimate Mr. Basketball contender along with Pershing's Keith Appling, as well as darkhorses such as Melvindale ABT's Michael Talley III.
Flint Powers is the team to keep a watch on. Two big victories could mean this team is pressing to enter for next week.
Check out MichiganPreps for the Top 10, and for some varied opinion, Stephen Bell's High School Basketball Bulletin is also a great read.
Posted on: February 1, 2010 12:47 am
Most Michigan prep basketball pundits have are getting their rankings out for the Top 10 this week about this time, and I have some qualms after seeing the moving and shaking that's gone on after submitting my ballot of votes.
Is Muskegon Heights the best team in the state? Well, I haven't seen any rankings where they're below Detroit Country Day, which is foolish to me. There are some good wins, but is it really enough to push them ahead of a Kurt Keener's squad, who loses to Kalamazoo Central without their star center Amir Williams? I don't think so. Let's see these teams go H2H in the Class B playoffs and see who emerges. I'd put my lunch money on No. 3 Ray McCallum and his boys.
Speaking of Kalamazoo Central, are they really Top 5 material? Look, beating Country Day without their own star Devin Oliver, a Dayton commit and our No. 8 player in the state, was impressive. I'm just not sure what else warrants such a high ranking. They've lost to Saginaw (and Arthur Hill if I'm not mistaken).
As for props, they've got to go out to Lansing Eastern, who take out crosstown rival Lansing Sexton AND Holt, who I had the No. 6 team in the state last week. LaDonte Henton (Central Michigan) anchors them in the middle, but the big story is PG "Cha Cha" Tucker, who is undoubtedly one of the top two or three freshmen in the state. He's going to be a fun one to watch for the next four years, and I have a feeling Tom Izzo and John Beilein will both take a crack at him at some point.
The game ball of the week, though, has to go out to Saginaw and more specificly Tommie McCune. They take out Romulus in OT, and he puts up a simply ridiculous double-double with 28 points and 24 rebounds. Wow.
That said, who've you got at No. 1?
Posted on: February 1, 2010 12:41 am
With only one home game remaining on the schedule, Kurt Keener's squad gave the home crowd a good show.
Still missing the services of center Amir Williams (No. 52 on Rivals 150 of 2011), No. 1 Detroit Country Day dominated rival Orchard Lake St. Mary's 73-50 Friday night to win the Voorheis Trophy, annually awarded to the winner.
The Yellowjackets got solid production out of their guards, with senior guard Ray McCallum (No. 60 Rivals 150 of 2010) leading with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and junior Lee Bailey posting 17 points.
"This is a big game for Lee," McCallum said. "He brought his game and did what he had to do, definitely knocked down a lot of big-time shots."
Bailey helped Country Day dominate right out of the gate, scoring the first nine of their 11 points of the game.
"It means a lot because since we're an independent school we really don't have a leading rival, so this is one of the teams that we play year in and year out," Bailey said. "We just try to come out and play hard and get that trophy back this year."
Leading by 25 points at roughly the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Keener pulled his stars for the remainder of the game and still got solid production from his reserves. It was a lead in large part thanks to a dominating effort by the Yellowjackets on the boards, collecting 44 total rebounds.
"It was far and away our best offensive rebounding effort of the season," Keener said. "In the last two games we were trounced on the boards, so that became a point of emphasis that we wanted to win the battle of the boards, particularly on the offensive end. Jason Ray is kind of an undersized power forward, and he did a heckuva job, but all of our guys did and I was really pleased with that."
Ray, a 6'3" senior, was able to elbow his way into the post for some buckets as well, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He played a key factor with Country Day missing two of its other tallest players, 6'4" senior Kenny Knight and 6'5" senior Carter Elliot.
It was somewhat of an off-game for McCallum in terms of long-range shooting, as he drained just 1-of-6 3-point attempts. He still made his presence felt, scoring the last six points of the first half to lead the Yellowjackets into the locker room with a 38-17 lead.
The Eaglets were paced by junior guard Allen Robinson, who led the team with 23 points, along with senior guard Evan Webster who scored 11. St. Mary's was hurt by subpar free throw shooting, only hitting 50 percent on 11-of-12 attempts.
Country Day will face an unrivaled test next Saturday, travelling to a neutral site of Saginaw to take on the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, Columbus Northland of Ohio.
"No one thinks we're going to beat this team," McCallum said. "We're going to come out and try to shock the nation and make a statement."
Keener said that Williams is expected to return from injury to face Columbus Northland and center Jared Sullinger, the No. 3 player in the country.
"We're just trying to be really conservative with it. He didn't need any surgery, but it was a slight tear of the meniscus. He's been doing all of his weightlifting and cardio, and he's dying to get back in there. I told him if we have any chance next Saturday, he's got to be there," Keener said.
Posted on: October 10, 2009 6:23 pm
People in Detroit are bitter, and I've seen some other viewpoints I'm obviously not going to point out that are overly-critical and downright bitter towards Tigers management. That's not the point of this exercise.
What I want to do is look at not particularly how this collapsed happened directly, but how this team landed here, and where it's going.
Alright, so the pre-season. We have some good things that happened. Let's look at them:
Alright, so those are five real positive moves, albeit one real obvious ones. Now, the bad (or not so good):
Thames: 258 ABs, .252/.323/.453
Sheffield: 268 ABs, .276/.372/.451
There's no reason why Sheffield couldn't have been kept around. He not only hit for a better average than Thames, but he walks more, and he struck out far less than Thames. Oh yeah, and you're already paying him, so why not?
Alright, so we all know by now that payroll doesn't always equate to success. But it should if you spend your money smart, it should. At $115 million, the Tigers payroll clocked in at fifth overall amongst MLB teams. To put that into perspective, another $15 million and you've got double the Twins payroll. Easier said than done, but something to keep in mind.
To me, the starting rotation is nearly a scratch. Tigers management figured they had a middle-rotation starter in Armando Galarraga . In my fantasy projections, I had him pegged as far more safe and valuable than Edwin Jackson, if that tells you what a role-reversal they faced. Essentially, the whole equation looks something like -3 (Bonderman, Galarraga and Willis) +2 1/2 (Jackson and Porcello, and Jarrod Washburn 's corpse).
Bonderman's extension after the 2006 season was a little excessive at $12 million, but his extension is by no means an obvious blunder in the way that Willis extension ($10 million this year) was. It didn't make sense, period. Just way too much money for a wild-card. Having $22 million in pitchers that didn't really figure into the equation doesn't help. He shouldn't have been given that many years, but even if it were little more than half of that, maybe the Tigers can take on more payroll in adding depth to their rotation. Someone like Jair Jurrjens could have provided that kind of depth, but that's a mistake that's already been well-documented.
Ultimately, it just took too long to piece this offense together. As a Royals fan first and a Tigers fan second, going to Comerica Park several weeks ago and seeing the Royals, missing some of their perceived-preseason batters injured or missing from the lineup, with a lineup of comparable batting averages to the Tigers, is alarming. The Brandon Inge who was hitting for such a high average was an anomaly, and although the resurrection of Magglio Ordonez made this a little less disturbing, the low batting average and lack of batters that take a significant amount of walks. They were in the bottom-half of the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, and finished last in the league in stolen bases.
The pitching was pretty good for the most part. Brandon Lyon really struggled for one reason or another, potentially due to switching leagues, and got thrown under the bus by fans, but he turned in one of the better seasons. Jarrod Washburn, going from one of the best pitchers parks in the league to the Tigers, was a failed experiment, and although it was a low-risk gamble giving up French, that's why he came so cheap; this just didn't pay off. Zach Miner , in his few starts, was abysmal. Most of the guys who piled up starts not named Verlander, Jackson or Porcello were just porous in general, which made a big difference.
Fielding is always hard to measure, but the team looked like it was above average in defense. In terms of errors, Detroit was in the upper-half of the American League. Where they really excelled was on the mound, and behind the plate. The Tigers ranked right at the top in pick-offs, and were second best in SB allowed and runners caught stealing. Credit Gerald Laird there.
You have to blame management, though, in giving Jim Leyland this lineup to work with. You can't turn a handful of offensive pumpkins into sparkling carriages. It's too easy when pitchers have Brandon Inge, Gerald Laird and Adam Everett as a 1-2-3 at the end of the lineup, and a .250 average from your lead-off hitter.
So now here we are, no playoffs to show for it. Where does this leave 2010?
Just this month, the Tigers already made one of their biggest gambles for next year by bringing back Magglio Ordonez. The option costs them $15 million more than a buyout would. So instead of necessarily a $18 million contract, you have to say, is Ordonez worth $15 million next year? The White Sox essentially got OF Alex Rios as a present from Toronto. His stance looked like a reason for his decline at the plate, and his defense was sub-par, but in general Rios provides a good mix of power and speed, and in the past has been an excellent defender. He's overpriced, but actually a much better value than someone like Ordonez over the next five years.
The lineup looks like it's going to be fairly similar again next year. The Tigers are going to promote prospects into the middle infield, and that's going to go a long way in determining how the bottom half of the lineup looks. SS Cale Iorg has the name, but as of now, he's not looking like the top prospect that he's made out to be, so shortstop might not be a position that gets upgraded. Unless an unexpected prospect progresses in Spring Training, the lack of overwhelming power probably won't compensate for a lack of disruption on the base paths. It's probably going to be an average, or slightly above-average offense next year.
The pitching situation should be a little improved. Hopefully a year without any disruption from the World Baseball Classic will solve whatever problems Armando Galarraga has in getting ready for the regular season. Re-tooling Jeremy Bonderman 's repertoire is still a work in progress, and there's still some hope that a full-season healthy from Bonderman will be better than any other back-of-the-rotation starter.
My personal hope is that the Tigers don't throw Fernando Rodney a fiscally-astronomical long-term deal. A modest two-year deal would probably be good to prove that Rodney can sustain good production. Bringing back Brandon Lyon as insurance in the setup role isn't a bad idea, either. Ryan Perry may progress with another year under his belt, and there's no reason not to hope he can't be a good solution for long-term closer.
After a rough ending, it's tough to swallow, but for Tigers fans 2010 may not be significantly better than this year. Some trades worked out great and some haven't, but the fact is that organizational help in the minors isn't exactly at an all-time high. Another reason not to poor moor money into the bullpen is that the organization is drafting fairly well in terms of relief arms, which is the strength of the farm system.
Like this year, I'm still predicting that the White Sox are the favorites for 2010, particularly with the addition of Jake Peavy . Where the Indians fit is yet to be seen, but the Royals are going to continue to improve, and the Twins lose nothing and will likely improve next year. More breakouts are probably necessary for the team to make the playoffs. It's going to depend on how much money is spent this off-season, too.
How much money is spent off this off-season and the next going into 2011 will depend on the Tigers playoff outlook over the next few years.The Tigers are fortunate to have a good nucleus at the front of their rotation, and should have ample arms in the bullpen. With a number of dead-weight salaries coming off of the books this year, and then again in 2010, the Tigers can spend wisely and add some major pieces if they maintain this payroll to push to be a 100-win team in the Central. If they don't spend for the upcoming season, I'm tempering my enthusiasm to a second-place finish, and perhaps taking the division in 2011.
Posted on: September 21, 2009 9:08 pm
You want to know the most overrated content on fantasy websites?
Projections. For the most part, utterly useless.
We're talking about a computer system spitting out numbers here, and even if they're calculated, they're flawed for a reason that most casual fantasy players don't even realize. What's the difference between your typical No. 1 and No. 3 wide receivers? Well, sure, Steve Smith probably catches 20 or 30 more ypg than Donald Driver, but he's going to score a lot too if Jake Delhomme comes out of his coma. But what probabilities does RoboProjector use when forecasting scoring? I doubt it's analyzing matchups with opposing cornerbacks and changing philosophies, things that make the difference between the guy that the computer projects to score and the player it doesn't.
Use your own analysis, use ours, or use the rankings from reliable websites. What matters is catches, targets and matchups. Those are what truly forecast scoring, and ultimately, who falls in where as far as the best players from week to week.
Category: Fantasy Football
Posted on: September 16, 2009 5:02 pm
I want to emphasize that if Dennis Miller, George Carlin and Greg Giraldo had a sarcasm stew, it couldn't match the level of the "Excited?!?" in the headline.
Predictably, Dana White knows that this season of the Ultimate Fighter needed a lead-in event, but already had enough publicity going that he didn't have to put too many of his big chips into this one for it to draw. Just a quick explanation, for anyone who needed such.
I do think, however, that we're going to see very few decisions. In fact, I picked NONE. Lots of guys who like to finish, by ground or by hands, and a lot of guys that are, well, just not so talented as their opponent. Few will have look as overmatched since Jake Delhomme last sunday.
Onto the picks:
Main Event: Nate Diaz v. Melvin Guillard
Winner: Nate Diaz Submission (Choke)
Gray Maynard v. Roger Huerta
Winner: Roger Huerta Technical Knock Out
Nate Quarry v. Tim Credeur
Winner: Nate Quarry Technical Knock Out
Steve Cantwell v. Brian Stann
Winner: Steve Cantwell Technical Knock Out
Chris Wilson v. Mike Pyle
Winner: Mike Pyle Submission (Choke)
Jeremy Stephens v. Justin Buchholz
Winner: Jeremy Stephens Technical Knock Out
Ryan Jensen v. Steve Steinbeiss
Winner: Ryan Jensen Technical Knock Out
Brock Larson v. Mike Pierce
Winner: Brock Larson Submission (Choke)
Carlos Condit v. Jake Ellenberger
Winner: Carlos Condit Submission (Choke)
CB Dollaway v. Jay Silva
Winner: Jay Silva Technical Knock Out
Silva and Huerta are Vegas underdogs. I think C.B. Dollaway is still a talent, and might end up being a decent contender in another year or two, but Silva has legitimate knockout power, and I say he surprised Dollaway. This may be Huerta's last go in the UFC before his quest for red carpet stardom, but I don't see Maynard going the distance before he ends it. So far in 2009, my record stands at 8 0-39 (67%), so this event could be boom or bust in trying to improve my target of 70%. I like Cantwell vs. Stann III to provide excitement, and I still believe Carlos Condit is a great fighter to watch, but I doubt we see him on TV tonight. Enjoy your slice of excitement tonight, pun intended.
Posted on: September 11, 2009 9:26 pm
With getting out my 2009 overall fantasy football rankings on here and amongst other places, I'm a little late admittedly on these. I'm omitting players from last night's Steelers-Titans defensive battle. It was a tough blow overall for Steelers fans and owners of their defense losing Troy Polamalu for 3-6 weeks. The guy was everywhere on the field last night, covering Bo Scaife or making plays in the secondary. Willie Parker looked downright awful as well, and I might have been overrating him in moving him up in my rankings at the last minute upon word that he would get the majority of carries. Maybe it's just the hamstring still recovering, we'll see next week.
Posted on: September 10, 2009 5:41 am
I anticipated on getting these out position-by-position, but with other drafts and preparing other content, this is all of it. Included below are the quarterback rankings and notes from the previous post.
As noted before, a + indicates that a player is both preferred and anticipated to be a good value for his current draft position, and coversely so with a - sign.
What about defense? The top options are pretty obvious this year with the Giants and Steelers. If you're not grabbing the best ones, I like the Jets, and I seem to be ending up with them a lot at the end of drafts. I play in several leagues where defense is weighted heavier, but in most leagues, don't reach, and by that I mean take two in the last few rounds. Chances are grabbing two with upside you're going to end up with a team that takes a step up, and you won't regret it when the guy with the Steelers defense is lacking depth later on.
Overall, I'm preaching two elite wide receivers this year, with solid depth to be found at running back, and even tight end. My magic number is now 22, as in 22 overall elite players that I want to grab before anyone else this year. That includes the killer B's at QB, the top nine backs, and the wide receivers down to Brandon Marshall. I don't advocate taking either Brady or Brees, though, until after around No. 18 overall; I think you're handicapping yourself at other positions otherwise.
With the busy schedules we have, not everyone has the time to pour over a full set of their own rankings with ample research. If you're still drafting, making trades, or preparing, hopefully this helps anyone make things easier.