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Thursday, September 8, 2016

2016 NFL Predictions

AFC East
1. New England Patriots 10-6
2. Miami Dolphins 8-8
3. Buffalo Bills 6-10
4. New York Jets 4-12

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
2. Cincinnati Bengals 8-8
3. Baltimore Ravens 6-10
4. Cleveland Browns 5-11

AFC South
1. Houston Texans 11-5
2. Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6
3. Indianapolis Colts 10-6
4. Tennessee Titans 6-10

AFC West
1. Oakland Raiders 12-4
2. Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
3. San Diego Chargers 7-9
4. Denver Broncos 6-10

NFC East
1. Dallas Cowboys 10-6
2. Washington Redskins 9-7
3. New York Giants 6-10
4. Philadelphia Eagles 5-11

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers 10-6
2. Minnesota Vikings 8-8
3. Detroit Lions 7-9
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

NFC South
1. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
2. Carolina Panthers 8-8
3. New Orleans Saints 7-9
4. Tampa Bay Bucs 7-9

NFC West
1. Arizona Cardinals 13-3
2. Seattle Seahawks 11-5
3. San Francisco 49ers 6-10
4. Los Angeles Rams 5-11

PLAYOFFS

Wildcard Round
AFC: Patriots over Jaguars, Texans over Colts
NFC: Seahawks over Falcons, Redskins over Cowboys

Divisional Round
AFC: Steelers over Texans, Raiders over Patriots
NFC: Seahawks over Packers, Cardinals over Redskins

Championship Round
AFC: Raiders over Steelers
NFC: Cardinals over Seahawks

Super Bowl
Arizona Cardinals over Oakland Raiders

NFL MVP: Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Offensive POY: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive POY: Kahlil Mack, Oakland Raiders
Offensive ROY: Sterling Shephard, NY Giants
Defensive ROY: Su’a Cravens, Washington Redskins

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Historical Look at KU and One-and-Done Players

The ball is tipped. And here we are.

The calendar has flipped from the consequence-free National holiday of Leap Day over to March 1st, marking the unofficially official start to the College Basketball season.

To celebrate, I wanted to do a historical study consisting of the few debatable topics surrounding Bill Self's tenure at the University of Kansas: NCAA Tournament success and one-and-done players.

The premise of this statistical look is simple: Was there a one-and-done player on the roster vs. how did KU fare in the NCAA Tournament? For shits and giggles, as well as a bit of a control group, I threw in another factor pundits often point to when it comes to success in The Big Dance -- senior leadership.

Lets start with Bill Self's first year at KU, the 2003-04 season, which will be referred to as 2004 in this article, for clarity's sake. I've also simplified the following chart to read "Senior" for what I'd consider sufficient senior leadership, and "Freshman" for the presence of a one-and-done player on the roster. If neither are present, I simply put "None." The final number in the chart is how many games KU won in the NCAA Tournament that season.

  • 2004 - None - 3
  • 2005 - Senior - 0
  • 2006 - None - 0
  • 2007 - None - 3
  • 2008 - Senior - 6
  • 2009 - None - 2
  • 2010 - Senior - Freshman - 1
  • 2011 - Senior - Freshman - 3
  • 2012 - Senior - 5
  • 2013 - Senior - Freshman - 2
  • 2014 - Freshman - 1
  • 2015 - Freshman - 1

Another look:
  • NCAA Tournament wins under Bill Self: 27 = 2.25 average wins
  • NCAAT wins with a One-and-done player: 1, 3, 2, 1, 1 = 1.6 average wins
  • NCAAT wins without a One-and-done: 3, 0, 0, 3, 6, 2, 5 = 2.71 average wins
  • NCAAT wins with Senior leadership: 0, 6, 1, 3, 5, 2 = 2.83 average wins
  • NCAAT wins without Senior leadership: 3, 0, 3, 2, 1, 1 = 1.67 average wins

Notes:
  • I declared no senior leadership for a few teams that people might disagree with: 2004 (Jeff Graves), 2006 (Jeff Hawkins + Christian Moody) and 2014 (Tarik Black). I didn't consider any of these players among the top on the team. Also it helped balance out the study.
  • I gave Ben McLemore the one-and-done label for 2013, even though he was technically a second year player, having redshirted the season before.

Statistical Analysis:

Self's most accomplished teams have come equipped with senior leadership and no one-and-done players, reaching the National Championship Game twice out of four such instances, while losing in the Elite 8 and first round in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Over the last six years, the only time KU's season didn't end in (what I would consider) disappointment was 2012, the one year without a one-and-done. Furthermore, every Bill Self team with a one-and-done player at KU has bowed out to a lower seeded team in the NCAA Tournament.

In fact, throughout his time at KU, Self has only lost to a higher seeded team three times - Georgia Tech in 2004, Michigan St. in 2009 and Kentucky in the 2012 National Championship Game. This serves as both a testament to KU's shortcomings in the NCAA Tournament, as well as how good KU has been in the regular season, earning top seeds year after year (KU's seedings under Self: 4, 3, 4, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2).

Arguments:

I think it's obvious to say every coach would love to have senior leadership up and down their squad, but that's not really a task that is easily controllable, so case closed on that one.

But what about the recruitment of potential one-and-dones? You may look at this data and already be convinced it's for the worse. Or you may dismiss this data due to sample size and happenstance.

However, at what point do these results become an undeniable trend? Or will it never reach that point, given that a championship team with a one-and-done and no senior leadership would more than likely balance the scales?

For transparency's sake, I've never been in favor of having one-and-done type players, a personaly philosophy dating back to before the beginning of this case study. I had an irrefutable argument up until Carmelo Anthony (or maybe, Gerry McNamara, to be more accurate), a pretty strong case before Anthony Davis, and finally, something resembling a case until Jahlil Okafor last year.

My stance has since lessened slightly, but I still argue those are generational type players, and for whatever reason, they haven't panned out at KU, even including a #1 draft pick like Andrew Wiggins.

But why would that be?

My arguments, outside of the first 1,500 words of this article: 1. It's easier to sustain greatness and build team chemistry with three and four year players. And 2. I don't trust the motives of one-and-done players, who I believe are generally more focused on their draft stock than winning games in March (don't hate the player for this, hate the game).

The initial counter-argument is clear and simple: You never turn down talent. You want the best basketball players you can find and you figure out the rest later. Additionally, the players reaching the NBA are reaping dividends for the program throughout their careers.

Conclusion:

The goal of this article wasn't to sway you one way or the other, but rather to supply the data and the arguments for both sides of what I consider a great debate that is getting more and more interesting over the years.

I wouldn't consider this highly scientific study to be anything conclusive. We're still talking about a small sample size, given the single elimination nature of the NCAA Tournament.

Obviously, the much better barometer of Self's career at KU would be the 11 straight conference titles, one of the more impressive achievements in the history of sports. However, nobody debates the greatness of Self or KU as a regular season titan. The questions begin to surface when it comes to late March.

So the only question that remains now is how the 2016 Kansas Jayhawks, armed with senior leadership and a potential one-and-done player, will affect this debate?

His Dirkness

Friday, December 11, 2015

FanDuel NFL Week 14: Fuck, Marry, Kill

I hope last night a sweet taste in the mouth of all the "bad football" truthers out there.

One of my biggest bugaboos of this NFL season is the onslaught of media members who constantly race to their Twitter accounts to comment on all of the "bad football" being played.

I'm not entirely sure when this supposed golden age of "good football" took place. Or what even constitutes bad football: Parity in the league? Poor coaching? Poor QB play?

It annoys me because while these people groan and complain, I'm over here begging for the NFL season to slow down so I can soak in my 17 favorite days of the calendar year (16 Chiefs games + Festivus).

Or maybe, if last night couldn't sway them, Will Smith can: Hey. You. TELL THE TRUTH.

Regardless, last night's game was spectacular. I enjoyed every minute of it. And I came away pretty impressed with the Vikings for sticking with my Super Bowl favorites every step of the way.

Why do I like the Cardinals as SB favorites? For beginners, all of the attention is on the 12-0 Panthers right now. The Bird Gang is flying under the radar a bit, but will still earn the all important bye.

Carson Palmer appears to be on a mission, coming off of his surgery. Bruce Arians is the best coach in the NFL who hasn't put his hands on a female ref in the past week. They have playmakers scattered all over the defense. They have a young RB with fresh legs for the home stretch. And they're aggressive on both sides of the ball. Now lets FanDuel.
On to the Week 14 FMK's (find an older post for FMK explanations)...

***If you've never tried FanDuel and you're interested, this is a great time to try. I've got great deals from now until the end of the season, get at me on Twitter or Facebook OR simply follow this link and click the yellow tab in the top right corner, and put in promo code DIRK***

Enter The Milhouse League for Week 14 on FanDuel

Quarterback

Fuck - Alex Smith ($6800) - My guy. My quarterback. How bout rushing yards his last 5 weeks: 23-35-33-33-78 with two TD's sprinkled in there. San Diego offered little resistance in the last meeting, with Alex going 20-25 for 253. He just didn't get any scores. That'll change this week.

Marry - Drew Brees ($7900) - A situation worth monitoring with Cooks and Snead banged up - BUT - Breesus hung up 38 on the Panthers last week and then had his price drop. Mark Ingram is out and the Bucs have a stout run defense, so the Saints will definitely be marching through the air. Lots of QB's to choose from this week though. Spread the wealth.

Kill - Johnny Football ($6400) - Don't necessarily hate him as a play but here's a fun prop bet from Bovada: Johnny's status for Week 1 of 2016:
  • Starting QB - Browns: +250
  • Backup QB - Browns: +250
  • Backup QB - other team: +300
  • Starting QB - other team: +500
  • “None of the above” +200
Those odds for none of the above me surprise me a bit. I don't think he falls out of the league just quite yet. It does feel like he's done in Cleveland though. I think they ship him off and draft another QB in the first round. And I think he catches on somewhere. So I'm going with "Backup QB - other team" at +300.

Facebook pokes - Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor

Running Back

Fuck - Shaun Draughn ($6500) - Not the homerun I was hoping for last week, but he was still a decent fuck. The rushing output isn't all the way there, but he has 22 catches in his 4 starts. And he gets the Browns, who already have their sights set on that #1 pick. Also, his last name autocorrects to Dragon on my computer. That's gotta be worth something.

Marry - LeSean McCoy ($7900) - Revenge game, baby. Honestly, I think he’s an idiot, which is 84% influenced by my love for Chip Kelly. He got shipped off for legitimate reasons. He went to an undesirable location. He was frustrated. And he took the easy way out by using his race as a crutch to air those frustrations, while tarnishing a man’s name in the process. All one man's opinion, but I say that's some bullshit.

Kill - Devonta Freeman ($8700) - He has 59 rushing yards combined in his last two complete games. He hasn't scored a rushing TD since October 15th. And the Panthers have been shutting RB's down lately.

Facebook pokes - Matt Forte, Thomas Rawls, Deangelo Williams, Lamar Miller, TJ Yeldon, Ronnie Hillman or CJ Anderson (if one is out), Ryan Mathews

Wide Receiver

Fuck - Allen Hurns ($6600) - Was producing right alongside my guy, A-Rob, until injuries kept him in and out of the lineup over the last month. He's supposedly 100% now. The Colts' only good CB, Vontae Davis, should chase A-Rob, alongside everybody on FanDuel who wants to cash in on his 3 TD performance last week. Hurns might be my favorite play in a week with no home runs.

Marry - AJ Green ($8500) - His last four games against the Steelers: 11-118-1, 8-82, 11-224-1, 9-93. It could be a shootout on Sunday. And Pittsburgh is solid against the run, terrible against the pass. Good team to attack.

Kill - DeAndre Hopkins ($8700) - I've held to it all season long: The Belichick Effect. He singles out the opponent's top weapon and gameplans to stop him. That's clearly Hop for the Texans.

Facebook pokes - Odell Beckham Jr, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Alshon Jeffrey, Jarvis Landry, TY Hilton, Devante Parker, Brandon Coleman (watch Cooks/Snead)

Tight End

Gronk - Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($5500) - A bit of a risk but TE is tough this week. ASJ only played 21 snaps last week but saw 6 targets. This week he gets the gold mine of the Saints defense. High risk, potentially high reward.

Marry - Greg Olsen ($6600) - Plug and play. Every week. His salary never rises and he's been way more consistent than Gronk this year.

Kill - Delanie Walker ($6100) - He's been eating lately. And he was great on Highly Questionable this week. But the Jets have the 2nd best defense against TE's. 

Facebook pokes - Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce, Will Tye

Kicker

Fuck - Cairo Santos ($4700) - Team MVP at $4700 alert.

Marry - Graham Gano ($4900) - Double digit points on FanDuel in 5 of his last 6 weeks.

Kill - Matt Bryant ($5000) - A super contrarian play because he isn't playing on Sunday.

Defense

Fuck - Lions ($4700) - The Chiefs cost only $100 more, but that's an obvious play. Detroit gets St. Louis, who has scored 36 points in their last 4 games combined.

Marry - Seahawks ($5300) - This is really odd. Matt Schaub is questionable for Sunday and Jimmy Clausen is his backup. He's started one game this season, with the Bears, against Seadderall, in the infamous 11 drive - 11 punt game. And in both games, all of his skill position players were out. Odd season for Jolly Ol' Saint Jim.

Kill - Patriots ($4900) - Defense hasn't been the same since Donta Hightower got hurt. Sorry folks, up against it this week, and no good ideas for Goodell Got It Right. We all lose.

Facebook pokes - 49ers, Packers, Chiefs, Jets

My #1 FanDuel Lineup

QB - Drew Brees
RB - Shaun Draughn
RB - Lamar Miller
WR - Odell Beckham Jr
WR - AJ Green
WR - Brandon Coleman
TE - Greg Olsen
K - Cairo Santos
DEF - Seahawks

***If you've never tried FanDuel and you're interested, this is a great time to try. I've got great deals from now until the end of the season, get at me on Twitter or Facebook OR simply follow this link and click the yellow tab in the top right corner, and put in promo code DIRK***

Enter The Milhouse League for Week 14 on FanDuel

Just one thing, Dude - do you have to use so many cuss words?

His Dirkness
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