Tag Archive | Chicago

Take It To The Bank: NFL Week Five

By Brett Malamud

It’s another edition of your weekly guide to fantasy football with some intriguing pickups and some must-starts. Here’s week five’s installment of Take It To The Bank:

Jumpin’ for Julio

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones finally came down to earth this week, bringing in just four catches for 38 yards. That was pretty surprising to owners, as the Falcons put up 48 points in a rout of the Houston Texans. Jones practiced on a limited basis this week, complaining of tightness in his hamstring. He is active Sunday and will play the Washington Redskins. Not too many worries here, and you should keep him in your lineup.

Return of the Gurley Birds

Maybe it’s my fascination with St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley, but he put on a show last week. Gurley ran for 146 yards in just his second career NFL game. He is who we thought he was, and now he’ll look towards that first big touchdown. While he plays the Green Bay Packers this week, he should still produce numbers. Keep him locked in your lineup and get ready for Gurley to take over.

Todd Gurley is ready to roll now that he's settled in. (Via SR)

Todd Gurley is ready to roll now that he’s settled in. (Via SR)

Brees Easy

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees played ok for most of last week’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, with the walk off 80-yard touchdown to C.J. Spiller being his big play of the day. This week, Brees heads into Philadelphia to face the Eagles, and I think that it could be another good week for the veteran QB. He’s a must start for me.

Alex the Great

Many are looking into possibly using their bye weeks to pick up a possible replacement for their players sitting out. One of these players to look in to is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is at home Sunday against the Chicago Bears and that is an interesting matchup. Smith has the second most dropbacks in the entire league right now, and with a weak Bears defense, Smith is an intriguing play.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Advertisements

Lester to Decide Soon

By Alex Horowitz

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester has narrowed down his potential destinations to either the San Francisco Giants or Chicago Cubs. A decision is expected to be made no later than Tuesday.

 

Lester would instantly join the top of the rotation for either team, but he’d especially be a significant upgrade in the Windy City. The Cubs currently lack a true ace, so Lester would need to carry Chicago’s young pitching staff.

 

In San Francisco, Lester would most likely slide into the #2 spot in the rotation, behind reigning World Series MVP and 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Madison Bumgarner. It wouldn’t be a far move for him, either, as he played across the bay in Oakland for the second half of last season.

 

Jon Lester is expected to decide his final destination within the next 48 hours

Jon Lester is expected to decide his final destination within the next 48 hours

Between Boston and Oakland in 2014, Lester compiled a 16-11 record with a very formidable 2.46 earned run average. He was the starting pitcher in Oakland’s eventual loss to Kansas City in the AL Wild Card game, and received a no decision despite allowing 6 earned runs in 7.1 innings.

 

Lester’s contract will be one of the more expensive ones of this free agent class. According to several reports, a contract seems to be in the range of $140 million for 6 years, although those in Lester’s camp are quietly pushing for a deal in the $150 million / 7 year range (via MLB Trade Rumors).


Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

 

Central Division 2014-15 Preview

By Brett Malamud

Wednesday is finally here! All day long, Dabuzzza will be bringing you the NHL coverage as we approach tonight’s games. If you missed the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. Now we move to the Western Conference.  The Central division hopes to be a good battle all the way to the end. The Avalanche won the division last season, but it seems that almost everyone in the division has improved. Let’s take a look at this season’s Central Division:

Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks opted to sign Daniel Carcillo instead of keeping Nick Leddy, and sent Leddy off to the New York Islanders. In return, they got Ville Pokka, Anders Nilsson and T.J. Brennan. The 20 year old defenseman Pokka was sent down to the AHL along with Brennan. You’d have to feel for T.J. Brennan though. Brennan has bounced around the NHL a bit, contributing mostly in the AHL. He signed a contract with the Islanders over the summer, and was finally ready to make that jump to become a full time NHL player. Instead, he was part of a salary based trade to Chicago and the Blackhawks sent Brennan back down to the AHL. That has to be a bad feeling. Nilsson will play in the KHL this year and is a non-factor. On the active roster, the Blackhawks look to get over the fact that they were a game seven overtime goal away from heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in five seasons. They added Brad Richards to their offensive weapons, and he’s expected to start the season as their third line center. 25-year-old Patrick Kane sees himself on the second line with 21-year-old Brandon Saad and 23-year-old Andrew Shaw. Not bad for youth. The top line consists of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. The attack will be hoping to continue the success of last season, when they ranked second in the league in goals per game. Duncan Keith leads the defensive unit. He’ll be paired with Brent Seabrook. The two are a huge threat from the blue line in the offensive zone, combining for 13 goals and 89 assists last season. Corey Crawford will be in net for the Hawks. Crawford struggled early last season but got it together, and hopes to maintain more consistency this season.

 

Colorado Avalanche
Are the Colorado Avalanche really back? The Avs came out of nowhere and stormed to the front of the Central Division standings, after seeing themselves in the basement of the league. A year after winning the division, they’ll have a target on their backs. They suffered a first round loss in seven games to the Minnesota Wild, allowing 22 goals over the seven game span. That can’t happen if Colorado wants to compete farther into the playoffs this season, or to be honest, any season. Adding Nathan MacKinnon in the draft helped, and he finished his rookie campaign with 24 goals and 39 assists, claiming the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. Adding to the youth of the Avalanche is Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, who netted 23 and 26 goals, respectively. These three young guns will continue to grow. Joining Duchene and Landeskog will be veteran forward and future hall of famer Jarome Iginla, who was signed as a free agent over the summer. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season and will try to help the defense out. Speaking of defense, that seems to be the issue over in the Mile High City. They’ve got Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, but after that, they don’t really have much. Keep your eyes on that defense, because there could be a midseason trade to bolster the back line.

 

Dallas Stars
The Stars jumped into the playoffs last year with a wildcard spot, but saw their season fall at the hand of the top seeded Anaheim Ducks. This season, they saw their offense, which ranked 10th in goals per game, improve with a few major moves. Dallas traded four players for Jason Spezza on July 1. Later in the day, they signed Ales Hemsky to a three-year contract. Both moves immediately impact the offense. Hemsky and Spezza are expected to  be line mates on the second line. Second year forward Valeri Nichushkin will hope to make an impact this season, and jump up from the fourth line wing. Alex Goligoski leads the defense, one that can be described as average. Kari Lehtonen will stay in goal and comes off of a good season in which he had 33 wins. In terms of stats, the Stars find themselves in the middle of the pack in every major category. That’s were they’re expected to end up this season- in the middle of the pack.

 

Minnesota Wild
The worst kept secret in hockey this season is finally out. Thomas Vanek has signed with Minnesota. Vanek comes off of a season in which he was bounced in trades from Buffalo to New York to Montreal. Many expected Vanek on the first line with Zach Parise, but instead finds himself on the second line with Mikko Koivu. Parise, meanwhile, comes off of a 29 goals, 27 assists season. Ryan Suter continues his mega deal and will be paid 11 million dollars this season and will carry a cap hit of 7.54 million dollars annually through 2024-25. Niklas Backstrom will be the starting goaltender and will stand behind the fifth ranked defense in terms of shots against, and seventh ranked in goals against.
It took a three year, $19.5 million contract to land Thomas Vanek in Minnesota (Via Star Tribune)

It took a three year, $19.5 million contract to land Thomas Vanek in Minnesota (Via Star Tribune)

 

Nashville Predators
Former Preds Barry Trotz heads out to Washington D.C. to coach the Caps. Nashville opted for Peter Laviolette. Laviolette brings in the up-tempo attacking style. They’ll have depth at the center position, bringing in Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribero and Derek Roy. They also brought in James Neal in a trade for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Neal should bolster the power play stats, coming from the experience of the Penguins’ power play unit. The defense should be great as they’re led by Shea Weber and Seth Jones. The Predators hope that goaltender Pekka Rinne can stay healthy, after missing most of last season.

 

St. Louis Blues
The Blues watched as their 2-0 series lead evaporated in the first round of the playoffs, and the Blackhawks won four straight games to end St. Louis’ season. The Blues added Paul Stastny, a player that should help change the offense. There are many names that should help the offense: David Backes, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, and T.J Oshie just to name a few.Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk anchor the blue line once again, and Brian Elliott will man the net.

 

Winnipeg Jets
Devin Setoguchi and Olli Jokinen left to greener pastures and it might hurt the Jets a bit. Last season the Jets ranked Mark Scheifele will be up on the first line with Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane. Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba lead a defense that ranked 22nd in the league in goals against. Ondrej Pavelec must improve in goal if the Jets plan on coming close to the playoff race.

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Carmelo Opts Out of Contract to ‘Explore his Options’

By Brett Malamud

Reports surfaced last night that Carmelo Anthony has informed the New York Knicks that he will opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. This morning it became a reality. Melo’s agent Leon Rose announced this morning that Anthony will become an unrestricted free agent this July. “Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and he loves the fans,” Rose said. “At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.” The Knicks have recently communicated to Anthony their desire for him to opt in to his final year of his contract. Since his introductory press conference, Knicks President Phil Jackson has privately and publicly expressed interest in keeping Carmelo Anthony, and newly hired coach Derek Fisher has said the same of their top player.

Could Carmelo Anthony be joining forces with Derrick Rose? (Via ChiCitySportsFan)

Could Carmelo Anthony be joining forces with Derrick Rose? (Via ChiCitySportsFan)

But Anthony didn’t listen and come July 1st, he could be on his way out of the Big Apple and on his way to the Windy City. That’s right, the Chicago Bulls. The idea of playing with Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose is a dreamland for Carmelo. Melo recently said, “The most important thing right now is winning.” Sound familiar? Sounds to me like the man who left his hometown to take his talents to South Beach. It was reported yesterday that Carmelo was already researching places to live in and around the Chicago area. If I’m the Knicks, I’m worried but not panicked. Who’s going to lead the team next year if Melo bolts? You’re telling me that Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler, and Tim Hardaway Jr. going to lead the Knicks to the playoffs? No way! As of this morning there are rumblings that Jackson may flip Shumpert for a late first round pick in Thursday’s draft. But there’s no room for panicking. In fact, with Carmelo gone, the Knicks will have a lot of cap room come 2015 and you can bet they’ll be knocking on Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo’s doors. Then of course there’s the Knicks fan’s ultimate fantasy of Kevin Durant dropping the only team he’s ever played for to go to the bright lights of Broadway in 2016. The recent Knicks hire of his good friend Derek Fisher has added some spark to that rumor, but who knows if Fisher will even still be coaching the Knicks in 2016.

As a Syracuse basketball fan, Carmelo has been my favorite NBA player and I’ll be sad to see him go. However, the move will allow Phil Jackson to start fresh with a team that’ll struggle this upcoming season (of course not having any draft picks won’t help), and a boatload of cap room in the next few seasons. So as a Knicks fan, if Chicago is what Melo really wants, all I can say is good riddance.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

This Weekend in College Basketball

Recapping the most important news from this past weekend

By Jared Bursky 

Future Stars Make Their Decision

Last Tuesday, we were able to get a glimpse of how dynamic freshmen can make an immediate impact in college basketball. We also saw extraordinary talents in Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle who represent the future of the NBA. Five ranked teams were in action Friday, including number one to be Michigan State, but that was hardly on the minds of many college basketball fans. Friday featured seismic announcements from four of the top high school basketball recruits in the country.

Committed to Duke

1. Jahlil Okafor (6-10, 265) ESPN 100 # 1

Chicago, Illinois

Whitney Young H.S.

Center/ Power Forward

2. Tyus Jones (6-1, 171) ESPN 100 # 4

Apple Valley, Minnesota

Apple Valley High School

Point Guard

Analysis

Duke will be loaded next year with Okafor and Jones coming in as a package deal. They are the perfect compliments. A pass first, true point guard and a dominant low post big man along with returners mean big things for Duke next year.

Jahlil Okafor and Tyrus Jones both chose Duke on Friday (Via ESPN, IconSMI)

Jahlil Okafor and Tyrus Jones both chose Duke on Friday (Via ESPN, IconSMI)

Committed to Kansas

1. Cliff Alexander (6-8, 225) ESPN 100 #3

Chicago, Illinois

Curie High School

Power Forward

Analysis

Illinois or Kansas? His choice was Kansas, but not before he mistakenly picked up the Illinois hat at first at his announcement. You know this one is hurting in Champagne, Illinois but for now, Kansas will plan on doing great things with Alexander.

Committed to Arizona

1. Stanley Johnson (6-6, 220) ESPN 100 #9

Fullerton, California

Mater Dei High School

Small Forward

Analysis

Arizona got Aaron Gordon in last year’s recruiting class, now they have another stud to follow. Johnson is a great scorer and has the tools to make an immediate impact in an Arizona program that seems to be back near the top.

Friday Action

MSU Survives Columbia

Michigan State, coming off a huge win in Chicago against #1 Kentucky, struggled with a tricky Columbia squad for thirty-five minutes. The Spartans were able to pull away in the final minutes and finished with a 64-53 win. The fact that this game was this close is shocking.

Saturday Action

Wisconsin Rallies against Green Bay

The Badgers overcame a seven point second half deficit to defeat Green Bay on Saturday. Green Bay junior Keifer Sykes scored a career high 32 points but it wasn’t enough against Wisconsin, who was lead by Frank Kaminsky’s 17 points.

Battle of Defense: #10 Ohio State shuts down #17 Marquette

52-35? Sounds like Peyton Manning just lead the Broncos to a win. However, Ohio State limited Marquette to 35 points due primarily to the great performance of Aaron Craft (10pts 7 reb 10ast 2stl). Marquette shot just 19% from the field in the defensive struggle.

Sunday Action (Upset City Edition)

Indiana State over #21 Notre Dame

The Sycamores had five players score in double figures as their balanced attack outlasted Notre Dame 83-70 in South Bend. Notre Dame received solid production from their starters but the bench could not contribute much as the Irish were sent to their first loss.

Belmont shocks #12 North Carolina

Another upset on the road. Belmont went into Chapel Hill and defeated the Tar Heels 83-80 on the shoulders off J.J. Mann (28 points). UNC got a terrific effort from James Michael McAdoo who had 27 points and 13 rebounds. This was one of three home losses on the day for teams in the ACC.

#7 Michigan Falls in Ames

Not that this was not an upset; Michigan is a very good team, but Iowa State does have something brewing in Ames. #7 Michigan’s Mitch McGary made his season debut Sunday but in a losing effort, as the Cyclones defeated them 77-70. Melvin Ejim led Iowa State with 22 points.

______________________________________________________________

Jared Bursky is a freshman Physical Education major at SUNY Cortland. He was a Captain and starter for his high school basketball team and is pursuing coaching basketball at either the high school or college level. He roots for the Isles, Yanks, Jets, and Knicks but his favorite sport to watch is college basketball. You can follow him on twitter at @jbhoops10