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New York Jets franchise quarterback Sam Darnold was supposed to have a breakout season this year under offensive guru Adam Gase. That idea is now on hold for a few weeks. The Jets announced Darnold will miss Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns because of mononucleosis and he’s likely to miss more games this month as he recovers.

Mono is a tricky thing for athletes because it severely dehydrates the body and significantly lowers energy levels. Darnold will get the best possible treatment, so it’s possible he’ll be able to return faster than us common folk would.  Trever Siemian, formerly of the Broncos, will step as quarterback in the interim.

Hiding under the bad Darnold news was Le’Veon Bell going for an MRI on his shoulder and the health uncertainty of pro-bowl middle linebacker CJ Mosley. If both cannot play Monday night, in addition to Darnold, the Jets will be in for a rough evening against a desperate Browns team that was blown out in their opener. But wait, it gets worse. The Jets next five games are at New England, at Philly, home verses Dallas, then home verses New England. The Jets could easily be 0-7 in the blink of an eye and Adam Gase could be fighting with reporters come mid-October. Might be time to cancel the football season in New York as the Giants don’t look to be in much better shape. At least the New York Yankees are going to make the playoffs this year.

There is no denying the best basketball talent in the world is American born. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kahwi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and the list goes on. The problem for Team USA in this year’s FIBA World Cup was that none of the aforementioned suited up in red, white and blue. Despite an all-star coaching staff, Team USA rolled out a C-level team in China. Coming into the tournament with a 58-game unbeaten streak, Team USA breezed through group play with a 5-0 record. They were led by the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Harrison Barnes, Jayson Tatum, among other second and third tier NBA “stars.” Is that a roster good enough to win an international competition? Maybe.  But if the big dogs were on the court, it never would have been in doubt. USA encountered France in the quarter finals and were beaten 89-78. On paper, the talent levels match up, but the chemistry these other big basketball countries (France, Spain, Serbia, Australia, Canada) have with their teams is much better than that of the US team. In the game against France, it showed. The loss would have been more shocking if team USA had their big ballers, but they didn’t.  Losing to Serbia a day later in the consolation bracket was also not very shocking given that players, at that point, were ready to go home. Can we fault this version of Team USA for not bringing home a title? Not really. Hopefully, it inspired the best of the best to put on the jersey and represent the best basketball nation in the world on the international stage next time.
For the second straight year in Flushing Meadows, Serena Williams found herself in a U.S. Open Final against a rising young teenage star. Last year, Serena fell to 17 year old Naomi Osaka of Japan in straight sets, only to do the same Saturday afternoon to Canadian Bianca Andreescu who is just 19 years old. Ever since giving birth to her daughter in September of 2017, Serena has been unable to win a grand slam. She lost in the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in consecutive attempts. It’s as frustrating as it gets because this Open was her best chance to win one and tie with Margaret Court (24) for the most women’s grand slam titles. Serena sits at 23 and she’s 36 years old. Time is not on her side. Andreescu, on the other hand, makes history, becoming the first Canadian man or woman to win the U.S. Open, a year after Osaka was the first Japanese born to accomplish the feat. Andreescu’s power was like nothing Serena had seen all tournament. She managed to close out Serena in straight sets even as Williams came back from being 5-1 down to tie it at 5-5 in the second set. Andreescu is now 11-0 against top 10 players in her career. For Williams, maybe the best female tennis player of all time, losing to two teenagers in consecutive U.S. Open finals is something of a shock. Her experience should have propelled her, but it was her age that actually worked against her. Though the power side of her game remains strong, Williams’ is getting slower and older while the game is getting fitter and younger. Her window is nearly shut on breaking Court’s record. Her next chance is the 2020 Australian Open – she’ll be one year older.
Lot’s of tennis drama has unfolded at the US Open. This year it’s Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal’s defense of Novak Djokovic, who was booed by the crowd in his final match. Though Nadal and Djokovic have been tennis rivals, it was Nadal who came to Djokovic’s defense saying he’s “a super athlete” who doesn’t deserve to be booed.  Djokovic’s career is ending because of a shoulder injury he sustained while playing Stan Wawrinka at the US Open. Nadal used the tremendous respect he has earned from US Open fans over the years to express his gentlemanly respect for a rival. Novak Djokovic does not have the best of relationships with crowds. In the past he has sworn at a crowd and threatened to go after a spectator during a practice session. Although, Djokovic later claimed he was only going to hunt him down to buy him a drink. Djokovic is only the latest feisty tennis star. Russian tennis star, Daniil Medvedev is another current player with a dicey reputation and then there is beloved, but temperamental John McEnroe.  All of this brings to mind a single question, is tennis actually a bad boy sport?  Probably not.  Of all the players who have risen to tennis fame, only few have behavior as part of their story.

As August rolls into September, preseason football rolls into the regular season. Throughout the month of August, the hype train of fantasy football is at an all time high, with proclaimed experts giving their opinions on who is this year’s best or worst and who’s a sleeper pick. At the end of the day, fantasy football is chaotic and something we ultimately have no control over. Who would have known for example, that last year Pat Mahomes, who was drafted on average between the 5th and 8th rounds, would have one of the greatest fantasy seasons of all time.  In light of Mahomes historic season, we took a look at the best, offensive fantasy seasons since 2000 by players at their respective positions.

Using the standard format of scoring and standard roster size, here’s the breakdown.

Quarterback – Peyton Manning 2013 Season

Could we have put Mahomes season here from last year, absolutely. Tom Brady in 2007 was also an obvious choice for top QB spot, but it is hard to argue with Peyton Manning’s record setting season in 2013. Peyton threw 55 Passing touchdowns and over 5,400 yards, with just 10 interceptions. He even added a rushing TD that year in very un-Peyton like fashion. It was good for over 420 fantasy points.

Running Back 1 – LaDainian Tomlinson 2006 Season

The best fantasy season hands down for any player pound-for-pound at any position.  LT set both NFL and fantasy football records with over 1,800 rushing yards, over 500 receiving yards, 50+ receptions, an NFL record 28 rushing TD’s and 3 receiving TD’s. The greatest, all time, single season for a running back and it was good for 480 fantasy points.

Running Back 2 – Marshall Faulk 2000 Season

The greatest show on turf, Marshall Faulk, was a dual threat running back who was ahead of his time. His receiving stats were better than over half the league’s wide receivers in 2000! Totaling nearly 1,400 yards rushing, over 800 yards receiving, a whopping 81 receptions and 26 total touchdowns (18 rushing 8 receiving), Faulk’s season racked up 460 fantasy points for owners.

Wide Receiver 1 – Randy Moss 2007 Season

Randy Moss set the NFL record for most TD’s in a single season in 2007 with the help from Quarterback Tom Brady. The number was 23 and it’s a record that will likely stand for a long, long time. He also racked up 1,500 yards in the air with 98 receptions. He accomplished this while often sitting out the end of blowout wins as the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season. What’s even crazier is he was a mid-round pick for that season, having come off question mark season with the Raiders.

Wide Receiver 2 – Antonio Brown 2015 Season

He may be a head case, but there is no denying Antonio Brown is one of the great wideouts the game has ever seen. 2015 was his best season – he racked up a lofty 136 receptions for over 1,800 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. This was good for 386 fantasy points, earning him a spot on the all time squad.

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski 2011 Season

Gronk smash! Arguably the greatest tight end of all time and certainly one of the most fun football personalities, Gronk’s 2011 season was the only year in which he started all 16 games. A healthy Gronk is unstoppable and uncontainable and he showcased it through that entire campaign. He wasn’t a top pick, like he became after 2011, so you got great value if you drafted Gronk in 2011. He put up 90 catches, over 1,300 yards and led the entire league in receiving touchdowns with 17. If you had Gronk in 2011, you likely Gronk-smashed your league.

FLEX – Priest Holmes (RB) 2003 Season

A shame his career was cut short due to injuries because Priest Holmes was, before dealing with neck problems, en route to breaking NFL all time records. In 2003 he bested his 2002 season which was thought to be an all time season. He set the record for rushing touchdowns in 2003 (27) only to see it broken by LT in 2006. He also added 74 catches for 690 yards while tallying over 1,400 yards on the ground. The Priest was a beast!

Kicker – David Akers 2011 Season

Kickers are getting booted out of fantasy leagues left and right, but for us, it is still a big part of fantasy football. Who doesn’t love it when a kicker makes or breaks your week (kidding, sort of). At any rate, Eagles Kicker David Akers had the best fantasy season for any kicker in 2011 when he set an NFL record for attempts (52) and makes (44). He also drilled in 7 from over 50 yards which are of course worth more. To all the fantasy owners, good luck in the 2019 season!

Dallas Cowboys all-pro, running back Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Elliot has been holding out all pre-season as he petitions for a new contract that will make him the highest paid running back in the league. Zeke has been one of the most productive backs in the NFL since he came into the league in 2016, though he’s had the advantage of playing behind Dallas’s star-studded offensive line. The Cowboys have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons on the backs of that line, Zeke and quarterback Dak Prescott, who is also looking for a new deal. After the Cowboys second preseason game, owner Jerry Jones joked with the media, “Zeke Who,” in response to rookie running back Tony Pollard’s 42-yard performance, which was capped by a touchdown. The comment was an attempt at comedic relief relating to the tense contract negotiation that has been ongoing for the last month. Jones has no intention of letting Zeke go and views Pollard as a great backup option behind Zeke. Elliot has 2 years left on his rookie deal and is set to make a base salary this upcoming season of $3.9 million. Technically, he can be fined 40K per day for every day of training camp he has missed thus far, but that will go away when a deal is finally done. Reports were released that Zeke was not happy about Jones’s joke, although Jason Witten, who recently returned to the Cowboys after a year in the ESPN booth, denies that Zeke took any offense, saying, “I thought it was a beautiful comment. Like everybody, I hope this gets resolved and Zeke is in there sooner rather than later.”  He added, “No, [the joke] wouldn’t bother me. It didn’t bother Zeke either.  Trust me, there’s nobody who loves Ezekiel Elliott more than Jerry Jones does. I wouldn’t have taken it that way and I’m sure Zeke didn’t either.” There is no doubt signing Zeke to an extension is a priority for the Cowboys who are the wealthiest franchise in the NFL and have no shortage of cash. They also have made it a priority to extend current quarterback Dak Prescott who has progressed over his first three seasons in the NFL since winning offensive rookie-of-the-year over Zeke in 2016. When this will all get done, nobody outside of the Cowboys organization really knows, but one would think it’s inevitable given the level of importance Elliot has for the team. Fantasy owners and Cowboy fans alike have suffered some major headaches throughout August as this situation has unfolded, but we have little doubt Zeke will suit up against the Giants in Arlington, Texas when the Cowboys open their season on September 8th.

The 2019-2020 Premier League campaign got underway this past Friday in Liverpool as the Mercy-siders walloped newly promoted Norwich City at Anfield. It kickstarted a slate of opening weekend games as the PL returned with new teams, new players, new homes, and for the first time ever, VAR.

The big guns got off to a great start to the campaign with Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man United all opening up their seasons with wins. Chelsea was the lone “BIG 6” team that did not win as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford to the Red Devils. Meanwhile newly promoted teams did not fare so well asNorwich City, and Aston Villa all were defeated in their opening fixtures, and Sheffield United tied to the Cherries of Bournemouth 1-1. However it was VAR that stole the headlines of the weekend.

Making its debut in the Premier League this year, it was used a whopping 42 times, overturning five decisions. The language for the VAR in the Premier League is stated as such to only be used for goalscoring moments, and to correct “obvious” errors. In many cases it got the calls right, and also stole rhythm from the games which was already known to be the case. It was in the Man City vs West Ham game where VAR received it’s harshest criticisms, specifically on the Jesus goal where Sterling was ruled offsides, and Aguero’s penalty that was saved but brought back due to infringement.

The system still isn’t perfect, but for the most part it gets the calls correct. The scenario in the City game where Sterling was ruled offsides was a scenario that will cause problems for VAR as the margin was SO slim that many would argue even the technology couldn’t prove the call right or wrong one way or another.

This year’s Premier League campaign should be more thrilling than the last. Whilst City are still the clear favorites, it feels like more than one squad can challenge them and prevent them from winning three straight titles.

What was your thoughts on the opening weekend and VAR’s impact? Share your opinions with us in the comment section below. orts

It’s release time for one of, if not THE most popular sports title for gaming consoles, Madden NFL 2020. EA Sports has loaded the new version with a ton of new features, upgrades, and graphic improvements – all needed after rolling out the same title with only roster updates from 2014 -2018. The 2020 version appears to be much richer, new generation of the perennial. The biggest addition is the Superstar X Factor/Zone Abilities, which can most easily be compared to player attributes in FIFA soccer console such as long range passer, or flair, or poacher. In Madden NFL 2020 a player can be defined as a Superstar or Superstar X Factor. If a player is a Superstar X Factor, abilities can be unlocked throughout the game giving him a significant advantage. Superstar X Factor traits vary based on the player and his rating. For example, if a quarterback has a Pro Reads X Factor and it’s unlocked, the first open receiver will be highlighted. This feature adds depth and can change throughout the course of the game. Speaking of player ratings, this year’s rating system feature is much more significant than in past versions. For example, if your starting offensive lineman goes down with an injury and he had a 78 overall rating, which for this Madden is pretty good, and his replacement has a rating in the 50’s, it will have an effect. The talent gap will change giving a bigger advantage to the star players, making it more difficult when you have injury replacements. We think this more realistically represents how the NFL actually functions. In addition to those notable changes, the graphics seem to be far improved; little player movements and unique characteristics are more closely defined, and there is a new hot count feature that enables a quarterback to switch a run play to a quick pass on the fly. Franchise mode is expected to be mostly the same, but there is a new mode called “Face of the Franchise”. In it, you are your own player going through all the trials and tribulations of becoming an NFL player, from the combine, to draft interviews, to the league. This is very similar to the My Player in MLB 2K or in FIFA. Ultimately, the Madden title brings back great memories year after year. The ability to compete against friends for bragging rights or take a franchise and turn it upside down into a perennial dynasty, Madden always arrives in time for people to waste away their August indoors, getting mentally prepared for the NFL season. Big question: Will Pat Mahomes suffer from the Madden jinx?

Yasiel Puig has never been one to disappoint when it comes to entertainment value. Often spotted doing something silly from kissing his bat to epic bat flips and strange gestures on the field, the Cuban outfielder is one of baseball¹s most charismatic players. Let’s not forget the scary sight of Puig wearing a sleeveless baseball jersey just a few weeks ago. The long time LA Dodger was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason, and yesterday, was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a three team deal with the San Diego Padres that brought Trevor Bauer to the Reds.

Just minutes after the trade was announced on Twitter, Puig got involved in a major on field brawl between the Pirates and Reds. There is no love lost between those two teams.  They were involved in a scrum back in April, one in which Puig was ejected and suspended. Another suspension is likely even as he drives the short distance across Ohio to Cleveland to join the Indians.

While Puig and Bauer were the headliners of this complex deal, there were many prospects and major league role players that are also on the move. Namely the Reds number one prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell, will go to the Padres, while the Indians receive a lefty pitcher from the Reds as well as three prospects from the Padres. Can you follow that? Puig is leaving Cincy in the way only Yasiel Puig could, brawling for his teammates. If he is a scrappy for the Indians as he has been for the Reds, we may be witnessing an emerging Ohio legend

Yankees vs. Red Sox is one of, if not the best rivalry in sports. In front of large crowds at London Stadium new home of West Ham United, both squads put on an offensive clinic over the weekend. 50 runs, 65 hits, and over 10 combined hours of baseball is what the Yankees and Red Sox gifted London in their first taste of MLB action across the pond. By the way, this was a two game series, not three!

The Yankees took both games of the series, winning the first 17-13, and the second 12-8. Runs, runs, and more runs. In game 1 both pitchers were knocked out in the first inning as both teams put up 6 runs a piece. The Yanks would put up 6 runs again in the 4th, and 3 in the 5th, before surviving another 6 run inning from the Red Sox in the 7th, who actually brought the tying run to the plate despite trailing by as much as 11 runs. Game 2 was a little more like your average baseball game until the Yankees put up a 9 spot in the 7th inning, coming back from 4-2 down to take a 11-4 lead.

Despite the fact that both teams have elite offenses, the stadium played very hitter friendly, contrary to the opinion of many prior thinking it would favor the pitchers. The dimensions were about 330 feet to the corners, and only 385 to dead center, with a 16 foot wall. There was more foul territory than any other stadium in the majors, and the playing surface was turf and played extremely fast.

Overall this first series was a big success for baseball and for London. The crowds were treated to two action packed games and were responsive throughout, 70% of the ticket sales were sold in Great Britain, and thee players seemed to enjoy the atmosphere being apart of the first ever MLB games played in Europe as well. The London series returns next year with another classic rivalry as the St. Louis Cardinals will face off against the Chicago Cubs.

The Yankees moved 11 games ahead of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East with the series sweep, and extended their MLB record consecutive home run streak to 31 games. Let us know what you though about the London Series