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.
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
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.
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
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:
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
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
Whitney Young H.S.
Center/ Power Forward
2. Tyus Jones (6-1, 171) ESPN 100 # 4
Apple Valley, Minnesota
Apple Valley High School
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.
Committed to Kansas
1. Cliff Alexander (6-8, 225) ESPN 100 #3
Curie High School
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
Mater Dei High School
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.
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.
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