East Coast Offense
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
The RotoWire Sports Bar
For the season's first four weeks, I dutifully planted my backside on the sofa for nine hours on Sunday, doing little more than flipping channels manically, checking stats on my laptop and picking up the phone to order in from this excellent Islamic Indian joint located in my 'hood. ("Lamb Vindaloo, extra, extra spicy, garlic naan, tomato and cucumber salad, vegetable soup and lime pickle." "Okay, Mr. Chris, extra, extra spicy.") But for some unfathomable reason, in Week 5, I got it in my head that it would be fun to watch the games at a sports bar with Mike, my actor friend out here in LA. Not only would I have some company and get out of the house, but I'd be able to watch all the games simultaneously like I used to do before I got the Sunday Ticket.
We had planned to meet at 9:30 to secure a good seat at "Big Wangs," (fill in your own joke about the name of the place). Of course, we didn't get there until a little after 10:00, and by that time, there wasn't a lot to choose from. We ended up sharing a table with a couple people, and it wasn't easy to see a lot of the screens from the angle we had. Both of us ordered bacon and eggs from the menu - I asked if I could get them over-easy rather than scrambled, and the waitress said she'd look into it. I was keeping an eye on the Redskins (our best bet - I know I wrote up the Broncos here last week, but more on that below), the Giants (my team) and the Steelers-Seahawks (the one screen I could see without straining my neck). The bacon arrived greasy, the eggs were scrambled, overcooked and barely lukewarm, and it came with frozen supermarket-style tater tots.
It was also hard to figure out what was going on in the games. I walked all over the bar to get a glimpse of every game (when you pick every one against the spread, have four survivor pools and eight fantasy teams, each one has about as much importance as the birth of the reincarnated Dalai Lama), but the volume is on for only one game, so one moment you're cheering like crazy for a long touchdown run on a silent screen, and then you realize the uniforms of the defenders are wrong, and it was a highlight from Week 9 of 2006. So I have no idea what's going on in the games, I can't really see any of screens I want without leaving my seat and I was ill from eating something I wouldn't feed to a reptile. Needless to say, we took off after the first half and watched the rest of the games from my house.
But it got me thinking - in LA, the games start at 10 am, so all you really need to serve is great breakfast/brunch food. Imagine if you opened a place that had great bacon and eggs, waffles, bagels with lox and cream cheese, and it had well-located giant plasmas showing all the games. Throw in hi-speed wifi, and pull-out laptop holders under the tables with power outlets and a ticker going around the place with the latest RotoWire updates - weather info, injuries, last-minute game-day scratches. And then I started thinking, why not make it a RotoWire-themed place where you get a free month subscription if you spend $20 or more, and you could enter into online pick 'em contests or Survivor Pools. It would be huge.
So I called my brother to tell him about it - he had just gotten home from watching the games at a NY sports bar - and he says: "That's a horrible business to get into. The people that go to sports bars are the absolute worst."
Kurt Warner's an obvious pickup now that Matt Leinart has been placed on injured reserve. Jason Wright is also pretty obvious in the event that Jamal Lewis' foot keeps him out. Earnest Graham is now the starter with Michael Pittman out, though Tampa is likely to add some competition for him soon. Selvin Young and Mike Bell are worth a look as well, as Travis Henry could be suspended at any point. Young is the backup, but if Henry were to go, all bets are off. And in deep leagues, Kellen Clemens is worth a shot. If Chad Pennington loses the job, Clemens could make better use of the Jets' two quality receivers, i.e., get the ball to them down the field. I actually recommended Warner last week (though I didn't know Leinart would get hurt obviously), and Clemens is a similar speculative play - get these guys BEFORE it's obvious - you won't even need to waste a waiver-wire move.
Around the League
Beating the Book
We went 9-4-1 against the spread overall last week to put our season record at 42-28-6. We lost with the Broncos here, to put our record at 1-4 in this forum.
It probably sounds like some fraudulent tout service, giving wrong picks here, then saying how well we did overall, but the record for each week is documented on RotoWire.com. Essentially, we've gone 21-6-1 the last two weeks overall and 0-2 here. And not only did we give you the wrong pick last week (Denver), but the absolute worst one. Even worse, later in the week, we talked it over and made the Redskins our best bet instead on RotoWire. So again, my apologies (though you can always check out the full column by availing yourself of the free trial below).
Dolphins +4.5 at Browns
The Dolphins are a desperate team, and even though Cleo Lemon will be taking over at quarterback this week, we see Miami showing up just as they did last week in Houston. Cleveland isn't terrible, but don't expect them to be as up for this game as they were for last week's in New England (And even so, they lost by 17). Back the Dolphins.
Article first appeared 10/9/07
Browns 20 - 17
Surviving Week 6
Last week, we took the Colts, and it was smooth sailing despite their injuries. If you had the Cowboys or even the Titans you had to sweat it out a lot more. But a win's a win, so as long as you went out and enjoyed your day at the racetrack (or whatever it is normal people do when not watching and betting on football).
This week we're going with the Ravens at home against the Rams. Normally we don't like to pick against winless teams - the desperation factor is too strong, and it's not as if Baltimore is putting away even bad teams like the Niners or Jets. But St. Louis was a soft team even when its key players were healthy, and we think Baltimore should be able to handle the banged-up version at home. We give the Ravens a 78 percent chance to win this game.
The full article comes out on Thursday morning.
Article first appeared 10/9/07