by Dennis Rizzo

Hall of Fame Honors for The Hawk: Where Do I Sign?

Andre Dawson was recently voted into the MLB Hall of Fame.  Good for him.  A really good ballplayer who appeared -andre-dawsonnot to be on steroids (note: Mark McGwire garnered a whopping total of 23.7% of eligible votes…..see more on Big Mac below). When I think about Dawson, what comes to mind was his free agency year in 1987.  The Expos did not want to pay up and apparently, due to the owner’s collusion, no other team was interested.  He meets with the Cubs and tells them to hand him (Dawson) a blank contract!  He signs it and tells the Cubs to fill in the amount later. I seriously doubt Scott Boras would let that happen today.   Dawson went on to bash 49 HR’s and take the MVP that year.

This Just In- Belly Full of  Steroids?

Mark McGwire admits to steroid use “on and off for 10 years.”  Don’t know about you, but when his neck got to be the size of Buddha’s stomach, I didn’t need a Congressional panel to figure out that he was juicing.

David Segui’s Family Hands Him a Hall of Fame Vote

Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen and David Segui each secured one vote this year.  Appier was a solid starter and Pat Hentgen won the 1996 Cy Young Award but why the hell is Segui’s name there?!  He must have a sportswriter relative somewhere in this great country.

Red Sox Road to Nowhere

Mike Cameron and John Lackey signed with the Red Slobs.   Lackey should get hurt as a fly ball pitcher in that park and Cameron is very capable of striking out with abandon in all parks.

Straight Out of Left Field

Many people consider drugs a large sports issue and it should be.  But the main issue about drugs is that the pain is arenasself-inflicted.   Guns on the other hand, generally hurt, mutilate and kill others.  Gilbert Arenas and his friendly teammate, Javaris Crittenten brought their firearms to the workplace recently to settle a sports debt.  Nice guys, huh?  Let’s hope they get several decades in a state penitentiary.  Twenty years ago, they’d be part of a team called the Baltimore Bullets (whose name changed due to the negative connotation it put on the city).   They’re joined on the list by several noted gun-toting folks:  Scotty Pippen, Plaxico Burress, Ben Johnson, the former Net Jayson Williams, Willie Mays Aikens, Cesar Cedeno, Ruben “Hurricane” Carter and many other Emmy Award winners who committed crimes without the use of a gun.

by Professor Wagstaff

Wagstaff Still Alive (Barely)

The first week of the McGee Survivor League went almost Horsefeathers4precisely as the Professor expected as both girls, Team Minnesota and S.F. Col’s Guys finished atop the point standings by wide margins. The only prediction that went awry was that I actually survived the first week; much to my surprise. I did, however, manage to finish in the bottom three as my own “Wide Receivers before Running Backs” draft strategy blew up in my face. Could someone in Houston please inform Andre Johnson that the season has actually started? We said good bye to Team Lunz, as our nephew and cousin, Jim, failed to get out of the starting blocks. One down, twelve to go.

No Defense for the Defense

It was an interesting Week 1 as far as DST’s were concerned. No sooner than four teams considered to have solid defenses lost one of their top players for a large chunk, if not all, of the season. Troy Palumalo (Steelers) and Jerod Mayo (Patriots) could each be out for as long as six weeks with knee injuries while Brian Urlacher (Bears/wrist) and Joe Blow (Jaguars/knee) have been lost for the season. Keep them in mind as you set your lineup this weekend.

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Fantasy Football Stars

Based on how well the Bucs ran the ball against the Cowboys last weekend, RB Brandon Jacobs should have a big night in Dallas; especially with Eli Manning still adjusting to life without Plaxico Burress… Atlanta’s RB Michael Turner should start to justify that #2 pick you spent to get him with a big game against a weak Panthers’ D Line… Speaking of weak lines, the Rams may own the worst in the league on each side of the ball. That’s why we love Skins’ RB Clinton Portis to run all over them and the Redskins’ DST to completely dominate.

Fantasy Football Stiffs

Could things be worse for QB Jay Cutler? His Chicago debut was marred by four INT in a loss to Green Bay, and now he faces the Super Bowl champs in the home opener. If the Steelers shut down the run, (when don’t they?), Cutler could be good for another couple of picks… If Jake Delhomme doesn’t have a solid first half against Atlanta, the Panthers’ QB may find himself on the bench. Based on their performance vs. Miami, the Falcons don’t figure to allow DeAngelo Williams a lot of freedom, putting even more pressure on Delhomme to come up big… If you hadn’t figured they’d be here based on our Stars report, we give you the Rams’ DST… A solid Vikings’ defense and the Lions propensity for falling behind make RB Kevin Smith a huge risk this week.

Fantasy Football Sleepers

Last year, the Cardinals allowed more TD passes than they threw and were a disaster on the road. That’s why the Professor moved QB David Garrard into his starting lineup this week… With the Jets shooting their mouths off this week, you have to figure they’ll focus a lot of their attention on New England’s Randy Moss; which should allow WR Wes Welker to have a big game… The Vikings should have no trouble throwing the ball against the Lions, who allowed 6 TD passes vs. Drew Brees in New Orleans last week. Look for TE Visanthe Shiancoe to reel in a TD from Brett Favre among his 8 REC… All of a sudden, the Ravens seem to have taken the shackles off of QB Joe Flacco, who threw for 300 YDS last Sunday. He’ll have another big game vs. San Diego…

Fantasy Football Slippers-

Bears’ RB Matt Forte will struggle vs. the Steelers; especially if Jay Cutler turns in another stinker… Have to be worried about Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers. He may be without LaDainian Tomlinson and two of his offensive linemen with the vaunted Ravens’ defense coming to town… I know you used a pretty high pick on Rams’ RB Stephen Jackson but it may be time to move him. The Rams look terrible, especially the O Line, and Jackson will struggle all year… Did you pick up Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez this week? Good. Now, wait at least another week to put him in your lineup as Pats’ coach Bill Bellichick will make life difficult for the rookie on Sunday.

Here we are, just a month away from the opening of NFL camps and one of the many things with which owners need to concern themselves as they head into this year’s fantasy football draft is whether or not they have a tight enough grasp on how the legal system will affect some on their draft lists.

Under normal circumstances, a player returning to the league after a year off, (usually due to injury), that has the exceptional athletic ability of a Michael Vick, could be counted on a sleeper list; a late round possibility with the potential to return big dividends.  In Vick’s case, however, it may be months before we find out if he’ll play at all.  After serving nineteen months in federal prison for his part in organizing an extensive interstate dog fighting ring, Vick is under house arrest until July.  Having been suspended indefinitely by Roger Goodell, Vick must then convince the NFL commissioner that he is worthy of reinstatement; no small task.  Then, and only then, can Vick and his agent embark on the difficult course of finding a team willing to withstand the public relations mess that will certainly accompany a Vick signing.

At the wide receiver position, the status of one potential star remains up in the air while another seems to have lost all value heading into this year’s fantasy football draft.  Plaxico Burress walked into a New York nightclub last year and, literally, shot the Giants’ Super Bowl chances right in the leg.  His own.  He was arrested that night for the pistol he was carrying in the waistband of his pants and has since found himself on the radar of none other than New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who wants to make an example of Burress as part of his tough stance against guns.  Waived by the Giants and awaiting a September court date that will likely lead to a 2010 trial, Burress is in search of a team.

The case of Cleveland receiver Donte’ Stallworth, as played out in the Miami court system, is one that defies all logic.  After pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter charges for running down a Miami pedestrian and arranging a plea bargain, Stallworth will serve just thirty days in jail.  There are additional penalties that are a part of the deal.  He must serve two years of house arrest, an eight year probation term and submit to drug and alcohol testing.  He also reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the victim’s family and will perform 1,000 hours of community service as well as having  his driver’s license permanently suspended.  None of hese sanctions, however, would have prohibited him from continuing his NFL career.

That is, until Goodell stepped in.  Noting that, while the criminal justice system had detremined legal consequences, it was the duty of the commissioner to determine league discipline.  To that end, Goodell suspended Stallworth immediately and indefinitely.  Keep in mind, however, that while most expect the ban to be for at least a year, all parties involved will meet soon to determine the actual length of the penalty.

So, head right out and buy those Fantasy Football Draft previews.  You might want to pick up a copy of The Law Review while you’re at it.

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