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October 3, 2007

Video Game Fantasy Draft, Round 2 and the Rest

Filed under: Video Games — Tags: , — RJ @ 11:22 pm

10 Link – Bobby

“As a multi-tool player, he’s got all the versatility I need. He’s a swimmer, comfortable in ice or heat environments and he’s a veteran that just keeps getting better with time.” – Bobby

Plus, his victory poses – done whenever he extends his lifespan, defeats a boss, or finds some ratty old leather pouch – can not be topped in its grandiosity. You don’t see me humming those memorable bars whenever I “discover” my lunch at work. Not since I had to switch jobs for…some reason, anyway.

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September 28, 2007

Video Game Fantasy Draft

Filed under: Video Games — Tags: , — RJ @ 12:18 am

With the next professional sports drafts many months away, Nerds On Sports is more than happy to satiate your needs for pointless ranking and and serpentine pick orders. An intrepid band of nine Internet brothers thoughtfully and methodically, and certainly not arbitrarily, chose characters and figures from the wide-ranging world of video games in order to form a team that would…um…I’m not sure. Most of my requests to clarify this issue were ignored. It was moot in the end anyway, as we weren’t even able to complete three rounds before the thread was abandoned and certain members tried to spread memes about Full House slash instead. Anyway, here’s the Round 1 analysis:

Snake? Snake. SNAAAAKKE!1 Solid Snake – Brett

“Why Snake:
He has a mullet.
He routinely takes on Hind D helicopters with nothing but a gun. (any MGS game)
He runs around high security military base in a cardboard box. (any MG game)
He can ride a skateboard as well as Tony Hawk. (see MGS3: Subsistence)” – Brett

Can’t fault Brett for this pick, especially since I want a cardboard box like that. It would be handy for, like, stealing t-shirts from a shopping mall kiosk, or getting adolescents into R rated movies. Can’t think of what else it would be good for.
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September 25, 2007

Fantasy Football Woes

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Perich @ 9:19 am

Let’s talk for a moment about how terrible my fantasy football team is.

Not Phil RiversFirst, these are some ancient quarterbacks, and I starteth one of three: Elisha Manning (New York Football Giants), Philip Rivers (San Diego Superchargers) or Jeff Garcia (Tampa Bay Bwa-ha-ha, no please, stop laughing). Of these, Eli has consistently been the best, bringing me 12 points this week and a ridiculous 48 in week 1 (the only week I’ve won so far). Of course, the week I bench Phil Rivers, he throws for 300 yards and 3 TDs against the Packers (to lose!), so I clearly don’t know what I’m doing.

My running game: Maurice “The Champagne of Running Backs” Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jagoffs), Deuce “And a Quarter” McAllister (New Orleans Ain’ts), Ladell Betts (Washington Deadskins) and Musa Smith (Baltimore Ravens). MJD has gone from being the most potent RB on my roster to the least. Musa Smith – a guy who’ll only get the ball when Willis McGahee has both his hands bound to his sides with duct tape and can’t tuck the ball under his chin to run it for an easy 3.8 yards – puts more points on the board than MJD. I have no running game. I couldn’t even ask a running game to the prom. I couldn’t even have my mom call up a running game’s mom, spend five minutes making small talk about the condo board, and then oh so casually drop the hint that, gee, does running game have a date to the spring formal yet, because Perich doesn’t have one either, etc, all of which I overhear to my deepening mortification while I play my Nintendo DS in the living room, paralyzed between the alternatives of entangling my mom in my dating life and going without a date, even if it’s some pimply, awkward, third-string date from UCLA with chronic knee trouble.

Oh God, It HurtsIn light of my epic misfortunes, I started a WR in the RB/WR option slot and it paid off big. Not big enough to overturn my opponent (Brian Westbrook burned his body in a holy fire this week, rushing for 110 yards and 2 TDs before the Eagles’ repulsive uniform corroded his very flesh and returned him to Questionable status), but better than I expected. Derrick Mason (Baltimore Ravens) is Steve McNair’s favorite, Jerricho Cotchery (New York Jetropolitans) alternates between spectacular and sub-par weeks and Mike Furrey (Detroit) is just no good.

Only my defense and my kicker keep me competitive at this point, and anyone who knows fantasy football should laugh out loud and stop reading. For the rest of you: the Vikings D contributed 10% of last week’s points, and Adam Vinateri another 18%. So that’s more than a quarter of my team’s score riding on draft picks #15 and #16. Somebody hang me.

The available RBs are only marginally better (Jesse Chatman from Miami; Justin Griffith out of Oakland; etc). My best hope at this point is for someone to lose all of their QBs in a freak bus accident and be so desperate that they’ll offer up Joseph “Ad-do or” Addai in exchange for Jeff Garcia. I’m not counting on it.

August 28, 2007

The Game in Game Theory

Two children have a slice of ice cream cake to share between them. The longer they debate over what a “fair share” would constitute for each of them, the more the cake melts. It is, in fact, entirely possible that the cake will have melted by the time they reach a consensus.

Keep that image in mind while I talk about the most exciting part of preseason football: contract holdouts!

Rookie QB Brady Quinn made headlines by holding out for weeks after signing. Larry Johnson (KC Chefs) held out until last week before signing a 5-year, $43.2M extension. Asante Samuel (NE Patsies) just announced his return yesterday, though he’s still ducking efforts to wear the “franchise” tag. And Michael Strahan (NY Football Giants) is, as of this writing (Tuesday, August 28th, 9:00ish AM), still undecided. The man might very well hang up his cleats (sources say).

So what goes on during a contract holdout? What are the costs and benefits of avoiding training camp? Is the risk worth the reward? To find out, we turn to one of the classics of game theory, Thinking Strategically, by Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff.

Reputation

For decades, the nation of Israel had a policy of never negotiating with terrorists. The government declared this to discourage hostage-taking: if capturing a civilian, or a politician, will never pay off, why bother? Israel did this to build a reputation of not being someone to screw with. The downside to having this sort of reputation, of course, is that it turns potential hostages into instant victims. There’s always a cost to talking tough.

No GM wants to cave if one of his players pouts and refuses to show up for training camp. To do so would immediately send a signal that this sort of behavior works and would open the floodgates next summer. It’s in every owner’s interest to stay firm.

Asante Samuel knows his game theoryAt the same time, however, the players aren’t chess pawns. There’s a world of difference between an Asante Samuel and a Randall Gay (2 tackles in 3 games last year). Coach Belichick may play it off like Samuel’s return is no big deal, but the defense he spent the entire offseason crafting in his Fortress of Solitude probably hinged more on a guy who caught 10 picks last season than a guy who sat for 12 games.

Samuel knew he was valuable to the Patriots. The question was: how valuable? That’s the kind of question that a holdout is meant to uncover – by watching the management’s change in behavior as the clock ticks and the options narrow.
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August 20, 2007

[Business Day One] Fantasy Etiquette

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , , — Serpico @ 11:56 am

Baseball’s not over yet. Not by a long shot. Most teams still have around 40 games left, and the divisional and wild card races aren’t buttoned up. Plenty of baseball left, to be sure. Oh, and Beckham fever is going strong. ESPN reported that 66,237 showed up for Saturday’s Red Bulls/Galaxy game. And the Little League World Series is as compelling as ever, with plucky kids from all over the country playing their hearts out for a shot at glory. Truly, a wonderful time to be a sports fan.

And all of this great stuff will be waiting for you when you get back. You see, you all are going to be busy for the next couple of weeks. It’s fantasy football draft season!

With fantasy football being as prolific as it is nowadays, I work under the assumption that everyone I know (including you the readers) is going to be drafting sometime between now and the start of the season. I also assume you’re already researching your late-round fliers and trying to figure out which non-LT, non-Steven Jackson running back is worth reaching for in the first round. As such, I’m not going to kick down your door and give you a sure-fire draft strategy that will win you a championship. You already have one, in theory. (Unless you plan on drafting wide receivers early. If that’s the case, I’m sorry. No one can help you.) No, what I’m here for today is to help you marry your fantasy football draft into the rest of your life. To let you know that it’s ok to be doing this, and to not do other things in order to do this. To put my hand on your shoulder and say “Hey, buddy. You can avoid a child’s soccer game to do a live draft at your old frat brother’s condo.” I’m like a modern day Miss Manners. If Miss Manners was a bald Italian that comes up with inspirational nicknames for all of his players.

So below is a list of commandments and suggestions that will help you navigate the tumultuous non-draft parts of your life during this most sacred draft time:

Your girlfriend will not understand why this is so important, so don’t explain the specifics. (more…)

August 1, 2007

KG Men’s Superstore

Filed under: Basketball — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 4:42 pm

I’ve got a real hard time with basketball.

The FranchiseAll the rage in Boston today is over the late night Kevin Garnett trade. And I’m certainly excited for Boston to get him – devil knows the Celtics could use anything up to and including Boston College-level point shaving to get a winning season again.

But apparently, you can get one player in exchange for “five players and two draft picks” and still come out ahead on the deal.

This makes no sense to me. It doesn’t even read right. Imagine Bill Belichick trading eleven players and the second and third round draft picks in exchange for Carson Palmer. Imagine Billy Beane trading his first, second and third basemen for Tom Gorzelanny.

I know, I know, apples and oranges. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have a hard time with basketball because I don’t like the inordinate influence one player has on an entire team. It’s not about the billion-dollar superstar or the sneaker deal. It’s about teamwork! It’s about ball handling! It’s about the fundamentals! Gene Hackman doesn’t give a damn whether Jimmy plays or not!

The level of despair that Boston sports fans exuded after the Celtics drew fifth in the draft lottery reached, well, truly Bostonian proportions. At that point we were just waiting out next season – Paul Pierce listlessly dribbling down the court, waiting for the shot clock to expire before bouncing the ball off his shoe and weeping – until next season, when maybe the air-driven path of a Ping Pong ball would favor us again. Now, suddenly, with the addition of a guy from the Timberwolves (?!?) to our line-up, SI puts us at third in the East. “Instant contenders.” The hell?

I’d like to be proven wrong, mostly because I like the spirit that comes from living in a four sport city. And Kevin Garnett’s a nice enough guy – just look at him! – that I’ll have no problem rooting for him. But somebody engraved in my brain at an early age that it takes more than one man to win a championship, and I’ll always be skeptical of the exception.

July 3, 2007

The Wit of Mel Kiper, Jr; The Experience of Mel Kiper, Sr

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Perich @ 10:02 am

Apparently, the big news in the NFL is over expert fantasy drafts (source: NFL.com). These aren’t just your mom & pop’s beer-and-pretzels fantasy leagues. Oh, hell, no. These are “the most prominent online and print companies” (including, oddly enough, NFL.com), the same guys who tell each other that this is Drew Brees’ year over coffee and crullers every August.

Sadly, your NerdsOnSports football correspondent was moving this weekend, so we didn’t submit our picks in time. But I’ve had it with Michael Fabiano’s whiny voicemails, so I’ll post late and let you compare our picks against the experts.

1. Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chefs. It’s between him and Ladainian first round, and I always go with a JoePa boy if I can help it.

2. Peyton Manning, QB, Baltimore Indianapolis Colts. I know, I know – Peyton Manning’s not that great of a quarterback. But this is fantasy football, remember? You get points for completion yards, even if you consistently choke in the red zone. This is the biggest scam since the Teapot Dome and I’m getting in on the ground floor. Peyton’ll add an easy 4,000 yards to my yearly tally. Plus, I know he’s not getting arrested.
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June 29, 2007

The NBA has drafted

Filed under: Basketball — Tags: , , , , — Willis @ 6:42 am

Joakim Noah Crazy SuitSo last night was the NBA draft; and draft they did. There were no surprises early as Oden went first and Durant went second. Since I’m a Boston fan, I was wondering who the C’s would get. Now my knowledge of basketball is quite minimal, I was a fan in junior high school and some of high school (so about 15 years ago) and I have a terrible memory, but I do know the Celtics are in need of someone at every position because they currently suck. So I didn’t actually watch the draft (though I should have, just look at the hilarious picture [left] of Joakim Noah), I just followed the tickers and website reports. I get the info that the Celtics use the #5 pick to get Jeff Green from Georgetown.

So I do my due Google diligence to learn of this “Green” (look it works… Green plays for the green) character. I find this lovely chart:

Intangibles Chart

Wow, his intangibles are pretty high… Wait they’ve figured out how to measure intangibles!? Lets get Jeter tested and find out where exactly he falls on this scale. I guess with intangibles like this it’s good that we got him instead of my choice of “the Chinese guy.” Danny Ainge must know what he’s doing.

Well, since I live under a basketball rock, it was at least an hour before I checked in on things again and realized that Green was part of a “super secret” trade. Would you look at that, another good player on the Celtics. Welcome to town Ray Allen, maybe I’ll write a song about/for you.

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