East Coast Offense
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
Paralysis on the Eve of the Season
Where do I begin - by looking through the 600 emails I got last week to figure out which of my seven leagues have their free agent pickups due tomorrow? Or maybe I should start sending out those five or six entry-fee checks for the survivor pools I agreed to be in. If only I can find the emails with the amount and the right address to send them to. And the two picking pools - what's the URL for those again? Got to remember to email in a separate "best bet." Now all this would be easier if my six baseball leagues weren't still going on. Can't we just nix September with the expanded rosters and veterans being shut down the way we don't count Week 17?
Seriously, though - there's nothing quite like an NFL Sunday when you've got a stake in all the games against the spread, huge fantasy implications in every game against the enemy owners in your league and life and death hanging in the balance of a field-goal attempt for your big-money survivor pool. A fumble in the 49ers-Cardinals game is like a category-five hurricane destroying my Yahoo Friends and Family crops. A defensive touchdown in the Raiders-Lions game is like a much-needed rain falling on my Beating the Book farm. The Chiefs getting that garbage touchdown late is like the Fed cutting interest rates, sending my RotoWire Steak League stocks through the roof. Civilizations are rising and falling with every play, whole universes are coming in and out of existence from Big Bang through Heat Death and back again. All this from the comfort of my living room sofa.
Around the League
Here are a couple things that struck me this week:
Sure peopling the earth with your descendants is a perfectly natural biological urge, but in this day and age, you have to pay child support. Let's leave aside the moral question because you can be a really bad guy, but a good player. I just want to consider the judgment issue - someone who makes poor decisions is more likely to hang out with the wrong people, be at the wrong place at the wrong time or stick a fork in an electric socket. It's added risk, and it's enough for me to want to avoid Henry unless it's the second round.
Beating the Book
We were 9-6-1 against the spread in this forum last year - never did a Week 17 column for Yahoo. On the year, we were 139-108-9 for RotoWire.com. From 1999-2006, we were 1057-898 - not including ties - (54.1 percent).
Patriots -6.5 at Jets
This seems like an awful lot for the Pats to lay on the road against a well-coached Jets squad that made the playoffs last year. The Jets won't have any trouble getting up for their biggest rival, and you have to imagine that the public will be all over New England, given all the offseason acquisitions. Moreover, the loss of Richard Seymour to the PUP list softens the New England run defense significantly. The only worry we have is that this is so obvious that something might be up. Sometimes a line that looks too good to be true is, and the Book is purposely steering you to the losing side. But in Week 1, we're not going to overthink it. Back the Jets who keep it close.
Patriots 21 - 20
For the rest of this week's slate, check out Beating the Book
Surviving Week 1
Well, this is a tough job - my first regular season NFL column of the year, and I might seriously get everyone killed. No double-digit favorites to choose from, but a lot of mediocre five, six and seven point ones instead.
That said, we're going with the Chargers for now. The Bears are a tough opponent, especially with a healthy Tommie Harris stopping the run and providing a pass rush up the middle. But San Diego is so solid from top to bottom - with a better running game, a better pass rush, a far better quarterback and the home field advantage. The Bears ability to throw the ball down the field worries us - San Diego's secondary is the weakness of the team, but Rex Grossman is liable to make a mistake or two as well.
The full article comes out on Thursday morning. (If we change our mind, it will be reflected in Thursday's article).
Article first appeared 9/5/07