NFL Week 12 Spar

Joe to Greg

Well a lot has happened in the NFL since we last did one of these. Here are the current playoff standings through Week 11.

I think the NFC is going to go down to the wire. I think the Eagles control their own destiny in the NFC, with 4 of their last 5 games coming against divisional opponents (2 against Dallas). Between Arizona, Seattle, and San Fran, I think one of these teams misses out.

On the AFC side, I think New England and Denver will control the top two spots for the rest of the season, but there is going to be some serious movement with the lower seeds. I think Baltimore has a great chance to get the top spot in the AFC North, but need Cincinnati to falter down the stretch since the Ravens have lost to the Bengals twice this season.

What are you thoughts on these two playoff pictures? How much do you see them changing between now and the end of the season?

Greg to Joe

The NFC West is only going to have one playoff team and it’s the Cardinals. The Seahawks have lost their offensive line and do not have anything that resembles a passing game. The Percy Harvin trade may have helped settle down the locker room, but it did not help them on the field. I have no idea why they are 6.5 point favorites this week. It is shocking to me. I also don’t think the 49ers are any good. I think their offense is very erratic. Colin Kaepernick is the most unstable quarterback in the NFL. You never know if he is going to be a dud or stud. However, I do think these teams will be fun to watch on Thanksgiving. I think it will be fun game.

I think the Ravens will be division champions IF they win on Monday night. They are underdogs, but you never know what you are going to get from the Saints. It is going to be a fun game to watch. I think Kenny Stills is going to have a big game against the Ravens, but I think think Baltimore can win this one. The reason I think the Ravens are safe is they only have one division game left, which is the Browns. They also have the Jags, Texans and Chargers. The Chargers game should be a win because they have so many injuries and it is a cross-country 1:00 pm game for them. So if they beat the Saints and win 2 out of the 3 other games I mentioned, they will make the playoffs with a win at home against the Browns in Week 17. I feel pretty good about the Ravens.

As for any changes in the playoff picture, I see Green Bay winning the NFC North, Dallas winning the NFC East, and the Saints winning the NFC South. I think the Falcons and Panthers are REALLY bad. The Saints are bad too, but I can see them picking it up soon. They have to get a sense of urgency eventually. In terms of the AFC, I see Baltimore as the 4-seed. I think the Colts will end up in the 3 seed. I have no idea who the last wild card will be in the AFC. It could be anyone. My guess right now would be Steelers, but I don’t know for sure.

Any predictions for you? I’m sure you have the Pats going far…

Joe to Greg

As far as my predictions go, I agree with all of your NFC picks (Green Bay, Dallas, New Orleans). On the AFC side, I can’t deny how much I love what New England is doing right now. They are playing extremely well, but I am trying to keep my expectations to a minimum. For now I think they are an elite playoff team, but I’ll wait to see the final standings before I start thinking about a Super Bowl appearance. Remember, Gronk didn’t get injured until Week 14 last season so there is still a lot that can happen between now and the start of the playoffs. For your Ravens, I think you’re 100% correct when you say that Monday night is a defining moment for them. Especially with the way their schedule pans out the rest of the season. I think even if they lose on Monday night, they are still in the hunt for the playoffs so overall they are in a great position heading into the final weeks of the regular season. I think the Kansas City Chiefs are an interesting team to watch out for. Since they are in the same division as the Broncos they may fall to the 5th seed, but they are a tough first round match up for anyone.

What are your thoughts for the MVP race so far? I think Aaron Rodgers is an overwhelming favorite right now. This stat sort of puts his performance thus far in perspective:

Nick Foles 2013: 13 games played, 2,891 yards, 27 TD, 2 INT, 119.2 Rating

Aaron Rodgers 2014: 10 games played, 2,748 yards, 28 TD, 3 INT, 120.1 Rating

In no way am I trying to hate on Nick Foles. I think he had a terrific season last year, but Aaron Rodgers has been on another level since his R-E-L-A-X statement.

Greg to Joe

Yeah, every Patriots fan that I talk to at Bucknell is so afraid of Gronk getting hurt. They are just praying for him to get up after every hit. I bet he stays healthy and gives the Broncos hell in the AFC Championship. I think Kansas City will be tough out in the playoffs, even though they lost yesterday (which I made money off of). They have a great running game, and if they get out to a lead, they cannot be caught because of the steller ground game. They also have Travis Kelce, who they need to use more.

In terms of MVP, I think it has to be Luck. He has been dominating this league with a pretty bad supporting cast. The defense has Vontae Davis, and the offense has T.Y. Hilton and the tight ends.  He has been carrying this team. He leads the league in in passing attempts and yards. He is also tied for 2nd in passing touchdowns. He also is able to move around the pocket. I would say that he or Rodgers should win the MVP, but in all honesty, I could see an argument for Gronk as well.

So you have any bold free agent predictions, Lester going back to Boston doesn’t count as bold.

Joe to Greg

You got me, Lester to Boston was on my mind. Although, the thought of Big Papi and The Big Panda sounds extremely nice too. I think if Sandoval was smart, he would stay in San Francisco with Buster Posey and company. They’ve built a great core of players and I hate seeing a group break up after the run they’ve had. On the other hand, a bold prediction of mine is Hanley Ramirez going to the Seattle Mariners. He may end up being to costly for the Mariners, but he would be a nice right-handed batter inbetween lefties Robinson Cano (batting in the 3-spot) and Kyle Seager (batting in the 5th spot).

Any bold predictions for the Orioles?

Greg to Joe

I think that Ramirez pick is a good one. He makes too much sense in Seattle. I think the Mariners will then be able to trade their two shortstops for some relievers. It would be a great move for the Mariners. I do like your line up positioning for them though.

I don’t think they are going to do anything crazy to shock people. I think they will resign Markakis for 4 years/40 million and Cruz for 3 years/45 million. I also think that they will trade Ubaldo to some team that is desperate for pitching. Hopefully they’ll be able to get some semblance of value for him. I would say the one crazy thing that I would love for them to do is trade Chris Davis. I think they should deal him for some more pitching prospects, a good utility player and I wouldn’t mind a good defense outfielder as well. I just think that they can only keep one of Wieters and Davis, and I would go with Wieters. We’ll see what they actually do, but that is my opinion.

Some other bold prediction…

Sandoval to the Padres

Cole Hamels to the Padres (Home Sweet Home)

Yoan Mancada to the Yankees

Yasmany Tomas to the Marlins (as they go on one of their mini-spending sprees)

Greg Danchik & Joe Meola

NBA Offseason Grades

Kevin Love and LeBron James

Kevin Love and LeBron James

Now that Kevin Love finally completed his move to Cleveland, I can focus on writing basketball now. Apologies for the lack of articles this summer, but it’s time to take a step back and look at which teams seriously improved their titles chances for next year, which teams are stuck in neutral, and which teams just don’t have a chance. Each team is given a Grade, summary of player Additions and Departures, and a short Insight into the future season. The insight portion is limited to a few talking points because a more thorough preview of teams will be coming out once the season is closer.  Without further ado, your 2014 NBA Offseason grades. The Eastern Conference will be done in Part 1; with Part 2 coming soon featuring the Western Conference.

Atlantic Division

Toronto Raptors

-Grade: B+

-Additions: F Bruno Caboclo (Draft), F James Johnson (2-Yr Deal), G Lou Williams (from Atlanta), C Lucas Nogiera (Atlanta)

-Departures: G John Salmons (traded to Atlanta), F Steve Novak (traded to Utah), G Nando de Colo (joined Russian league), C Joey Dorsey (signed with Houston)

-Insight: There is a lot of hype around the Toronto area. Especially after this amazingly, awesome video came out with Masai Ujiri getting fans ready for their first round playoff series against Brooklyn last spring. They have a great young core comprised of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, and Terrence Ross. Look out for this team sliding into the East’s top four seeds this upcoming season.

Brooklyn Nets

-Grade: C

-Additions: Coach Lionel Hollins (ex-Memphis Grizzlies coach), G Jarrett Jack (from Cleveland), G Sergey Karasev (from Cleveland), NO DRAFT PICKS

-Departures: Coach Jason Kidd (to Milwaukee), G Marcus Thornton (to Boston), F Paul Pierce (to Washington), G Shaun Livingston (to Golden State)

-Insight: I think we all knew after Jason Kidd “dropped a cup of water on the court” to buy an extra timeout, that things weren’t right in Brooklyn. Kidd is out and Hollins is in. Not a bad replacement at all considering the work Hollins did to put Memphis back on the map. The core team is still there; Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Kevin Garnett, but what hurts this team every year is injuries. If they stay healthy, they can pose a serious threat to top-tier Eastern Conference teams. Even if they limp into the playoffs at say a 6 or 7 seed, if you’re Chicago or Cleveland (The clear top 2 teams in the East), do you want to play a team full of experienced veterans in the first round? No thank you.

New York Knicks

-Grade: B+

-Additions: Coach Derek Fisher, G Jose Caulderon (from Dallas), C Samuel Dalembert (from Dallas), G Shane Larkin (from Dallas), F Cleanthony Early (Draft), G Thanasis Antetohounmpo (Draft), C Jason Smith (1-Yr Deal).

-Departures: No one.

-Insight: Phil Jackson has been busy in his first offseason in New York. Carmelo Anthony was inked to a new five-year, $124 million deal and suddenly the Knicks are back in business…or not. As of right now, Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Dalembert, Smith, Travis Outlaw, Metta World Peace, and Cole Adrich all have contracts expiring after the upcoming season. New York only has $39 million in salary coming into the 2015/16 season, which means the Knicks are priming themselves for a run at the big free agents a year from now with all that cap flexibility. Fun fact: Amare Stoudemire’s contract ($23,410,988) is worth more than Iman Shumpert, Jose Caulderon, J.R. Smith, and Samuel Delembert’s contracts combined ($19,700,000)…he’s making more than Carmelo Anthony ($22,458,401) this season for god’s sake! As Jalen Rose puts it, “Keep gettin’ them checks, Amare”.

Boston Celtics

-Grade: B+

-Additions: G Marcus Smart (Draft), G James Young (Draft), F Evan Turner (2-Yr Deal), G Marcus Thornton (from Brooklyn), and C Tyler Zeller (from Cleveland)

-Departures: F Kris Humphries (sign/trade with Washington), G Jerryd Bayless (to Milwaukee)

-Insight: Not mentioned here is also the new 4-year, $32 million deal given to Avery Bradley. One thing is for sure, the Celtics have a lot of guards. Between Rajon Rondo, Smart, Young, and Bradley, Brad Stevens is going to have an extremely athletic group of players to find minutes for.

Philadelphia Sixers

-Grade: B

-Additions: G Alexey Shved (from the Love trade), F Luc Mbah a Moute (from the Love trade), C Hasheem Thabeet (from Oklahoma City), C Joel Embiid (Draft), F KJ McDaniels (Draft), F Jerami Grant (Draft), Vasilije Micic (Draft)

-Departures: F Thaddeus Young (to Minnesota)

-Insight: Like the Celtics, this is another team that is young and promising. Nerlens Noel will finally get his debut and drafting Embiid showed Philly’s patience with bigs and injuries. Unfortunately also like the Celtics, they shouldn’t have their aspirations set too high, it’s going to be another long season in Philly.

Central Division:

Indiana Pacers

­-Grade: C-

-Additions: G C.J. Miles (from Cleveland), G Rodney Stuckey (from Detroit), F Damjan Rudez (from Spanish International League)

-Departures: G Lance Stephenson (to Charlotte), F Evan Turner (to Boston), G Paul George (to Injury)

-Insight: This team took a hit when it failed to resign Lance Stephenson. This team took an even bigger hit with the loss of Paul George. It’s hard to put my finger on this team because they just don’t have the guards to compete night in and night out. Although I do think that having David West and Roy Hibbert will provide some stability during the season. Regardless, this team can’t get through this season fast enough.

Chicago Bulls:

-Grade: A-

-Additions: F Pau Gasol (from LA Lakers), F Nikola Mirotic (from Spanish International League), F Doug McBuckets (Draft), C Cameron Bairstow (Draft), G Aaron Brooks (from Denver)

-Departures: F Carlos Boozer (amnestied to LA Lakers)

-Insight: If you were to ask me right now who my pick is to come out of the East, it’s the Bulls. If Derrick Rose stays healthy, you’re looking at an extremely dangerous team and quite frankly, they are Cleveland’s biggest problem. How will the Cavs matchup against the Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah AND newly acquired Pau Gasol? Then you throw in Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich, Doug McBuckets, Taj Gibson, and Mike Dunleavy, on top of having one of the best coaches in the league (Tom Thibodeau), and suddenly Cleveland has something to worry about. I can’t wait to see these two teams play each other. Mark your calendar for October 31st at 7:00 PM on ESPN.

Cleveland Cavaliers

-Grade: A+

-Additions: F LeBron James (from Miami), F Kevin Love (from Minnesota), F Mike Miller (from Memphis), F James Jones (from Miami), C Brendan Haywood (from Charlotte), F Derrick Powell (from Charlotte), G John Lucas III (from Utah)

-Departures: G Andrew Wiggins (Drafted and traded in Love trade), F Sergey Karasev (to Brooklyn), C Tyler Zeller (to Boston), G Jarrett Jack (to Brooklyn), G Carrick Felix (to Utah), F Alonso Gee (to Charlotte), C Spencer Hawes (to LA Clippers)

-Insight: Make sure you re-read the first two additions for Cleveland. You get the idea. More on this team to come in later pieces.

Detroit Pistons

-Grade: C+

-Additions: Coach Stan Van Gundy, G Jodie Meeks (from LA Lakers), G DJ Augustin (from Chicago), F Caron Butler (from Oklahoma City), C Aaron Gray (from Sacramento), G Spencer Dinwiddie (Draft)

-Departures: G Rodney Stuckey (to Indiana), G Chauncey Billups (not re-signed)

-Insight: This team was one of the biggest disappointments this past season, but the signing of head coach Stan Van Gundy will give them some structure and direction moving forward. Andre Drummond is coming off a 13.5 PPG and 13.2 RPG season, but what hurt this team was the play of Josh Smith (14.1 PER – his lowest of his career) and Brandon Jennings (15.6 PER – worst since his rookie season).

Milwaukee Bucks

-Grade: B

-Additions: Coach Jason Kidd (from Brooklyn), F Jabari Parker (Draft), F Damien Inglis (Draft), F Johnny O’Bryant (Draft), G Jerryd Bayless (from Boston), G Kendall Marshall (from LA Lakers)

-Departures: None

-Insight: Parker is the key to this team, which is a lot to ask of a first-year rookie. During the summer league he showed flashes of pure brilliance though. Check out this video. My favorite part is at the 39 second mark.

Southeast Division

Miami Heat

-Grade: A-

-Additions: F Luol Deng (from Cleveland), F Josh McRoberts (from Charlotte), F Danny Granger (from LA Clippers, G Shbazz Napier (Draft)

-Departures: F LeBron James (to Cleveland), F James Jones (to Cleveland), F Shane Battier (retired)

-Insight: Look. Anytime you lose the league’s best player, you’re going to lose a couple more games than the previous season. I do like how Miami responded to his departure. Wade is aging and will become the Manu Ginobili of this team, but the addition of Luol Deng will help the newly maxed out Chris Bosh whether the storm in Miami. Miami may not be in the top 1 or 2 in the East, but I do like this team to make a run in the playoffs. Again, more in depth previews to come.

Washington Wizards

-Grade: B

-Additions: F Paul Pierce (from Brooklyn), F Kris Humphries (from Boston), F DeJuan Blair (from Dallas)

-Departures: F Trevor Ariza (to Houston), F Trevor Booker (to Utah)

-Insight: The biggest move this team made was the new deal they gave to Marcin Gortat. He’s locked up for five years to the tune of $60 million. The downside to this is that they failed to resign Trevor Ariza; a vital component of their core players. Having a veteran presence in Paul Pierce will definitely help the locker room and the guard play of John Wall and Bradley Beal will have this team contending in the Eastern Conference.

Charlotte Hornets

-Grade: A-

-Additions: G Lance Stephenson (from Indiana), G Brian Roberts (from New Orleans), F Marvin Williams (From Utah), C Noah Vonleh (Draft), G PJ Hairston (Draft)

-Departures: F Josh McRoberts (to Miami), G Ben Gordon (to Orlando), F Anthony Tolliver (to Phoenix), G Luke Ridnour (to Orlando), C Brendan Haywood (to Cleveland), F Derrick Powell (to Cleveland)

-Insight: Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks for close to $47 million this offseason. That is how much Charlotte spent on Stephenson, Roberts, and Williams combined (a little under $46 million). The arrival of Lance Stephenson will automatically make him one of the go-to players on offense. With the guard play of Stephenson and Kemba Walker leading this team, combined with Al Jefferson’s down-low presence, this team can make a splash in the Eastern Conference. This is an extremely young team with Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh, Walker, Stephenson, PJ Hairston, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all either 24 years-old or younger.

Atlanta Hawks

-Grade: F

-Additions: F Adreian Payne (Draft), C Walter Tavares (Draft), Lamar Patterson (Draft), F Thabo Sefolosha (from Oklahoma City), G Kent Bazemore (from LA Lakers)

-Departures: G Lou Williams (to Toronto), G/F John Salmons (traded from Toronto, immediately waived)

-Insight: If you haven’t heard about the recent front office issues regarding the Hawks, it’s probably a good thing you haven’t. It’s the reason why they are the only team to get an “F” grade. Soon to be ex-owner, Bruce Levenson, sent an e-mail to other members of the staff regarding the diversity of the Hawks attendance and fans. Stating, “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites…” For more on the story, go here. Let’s just say I don’t see many new free agents looking to punch a ticket to Atlanta anytime soon. Racial discrimination simply doesn’t have a place in today’s society. Period.

Orlando Magic

-Grade: B+

-Additions: F Aaron Gordon (Draft), G Elfrid Payton (Draft), F Roy Devyn Marble (Draft), G Evan Fournier (from Denver), F Channing Frye (from Phoenix), G Ben Gordon (from Charlotte), G Luke Ridnour (from Charlotte), G Willie Green (from LA Clippers)

-Departures: G Jameer Nelson (to Dallas), G Arron Afflalo (to Denver), G Doron Lamb (waived)

-Insight: Orlando has struggled to find its image in the Post-Dwight Howard era; going 43-121 over the past two seasons. What’s promising with this team is the young talent they now have and the cap flexibility. They’re highest paid player (Channing Frye) is getting paid $8.5 million this upcoming season. I love their young core or Victor Oladipo (All-Rookie First team and Rookie of the Year runner-up), Tobias Harris (if his ankles don’t keep nagging him), Nikola Vucevic (absolute stud on the boards), and newcomer Aaron Gordon.

That’s it for the Eastern Conference. Check back for the Western Conference next week and as always, continue to enjoy.

-Twitter: @brosephmeola


Three Running Back Sleepers to Target

There are just a few weeks left before the start of the 2014 NFL season, and that means plenty of people are looking for fantasy football sleepers to possibly pick up. The running back position is especially important, and some players are making a case for themselves in the preseason. Here is a look at 3 fantasy football sleepers to target.

Jonathan Stewart

Cam Newton might not be 100% to start the year, and the passing game in general for the Carolina Panthers is a bit hit or miss. That means the team will be relying on a pretty strong running game, and Jonathan Stewart seems up for the task. He might not be considered a top running back in the NFL at this point in time, but he could really emerge as a solid contributor in 2014. Staying healthy is always an issue, but he could become a top 30 performer when it is all said and done.

Zac Stacy

There were some people who were concerned at the beginning of the 2014 season that Stacy would lose his starting position to rookie Tre Mason. While the newcomer is a pretty talented player, Stacy is still considered to be the featured running back. That means you’ll get plenty of touches, and he can improve on a stellar end to the 2013 season. What makes him one of the best fantasy football sleepers is that he really excels in short yardage situations, so expect plenty of touchdowns.

Stevan Ridley

In the last preseason game, Ridley reminded people why he is considered to be a bit of a wild card. He fumbled the ball in a preseason matchup for the New England Patriots, but he is hoping to stay out of the doghouse all season long. If he can return to his 2012 production, he is going to be one of the best fantasy football sleepers out there. Anything north of 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground would make him a true standout. Expect him to have quite a bit of success.

This post is courtesy of

Pre-Trade Deadline Spar

Joe to Greg (July 24th)

Well a lot has happened since we last did this so let’s address the one elephant in the room first. LeBron. As I’ve told you I’m in the middle of writing an NBA piece highlighting all the free agent signings this offseason so I’ll keep my comments short. Besides the fact that you TOTALLY CALLED THIS, I’m still surprised.

I always knew he’d go back, just to set the record straight. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be this soon. I can’t believe we’ve been watching LeBron James for 11 years now. Those four years went by faster than I thought and in those four years, James wound up with 4 Finals appearances and 2 titles. Why would he want to leave that? Well Wade was aging and Bosh was past his prime, but why not sign a 2-year deal with an opt-out again next summer? Obviously make another Finals appearance because the East is well…the East and then sit back and evaluate things. I don’t think that is guaranteed with the Cleveland roster now (although there are still moves to be made and one move sounds LOVEly). I think in the end his heart was always in Cleveland and I never doubted his return, just the timing of it. I know you’ve written a separate post about this, but any thoughts now that time has passed?

Greg to Joe (July 24th)

Personally, if you think that LeBron could lead the Heat to the NBA Finals, you have to think he could lead the Cavs. Wade is done. Unless they can work some Duncan resting magic on him, he may be done for good. I think Bosh is really underrated, but he and James together isn’t as good as Kyrie, Wiggins, and a bunch of young guys that can run. With Love, the Cavaliers have to become the favorites to win the title. I bet that deal happens and the Sixers will end up getting Dion Waiters, Kevin Martin and a first round pick because they joined as the third team. Wolves will get to unload a bunch of big contracts, Wiggins, Bennett, and a bunch of picks. It will work out nicely for them. I see Kevin Love as a Cav, but we’ll see in a month because Wiggins cannot be dealt for a month.

So on a baseball note, do you think the Red Sox will be sellers? I think that they should just pack it in and get some more prospects. I would deal Jon Lester for a young pitcher and outfielder. Then I would try to resign him after the season. I think they could also deal Koji, former Oriole great, but I am not sure who else they could deal. It is going to be interesting to see what they do. Also, do you see any big deals happening before the trade deadline? I would have said David Price, but I don’t think the Rays will deal him anymore after their mini-hot streak.

Joe to Greg (July 25th)

Quick LeBron note: I think you know this, but Thursday, Wiggins was offered a contract. With that contract, he isn’t allowed to be traded for 30 days. Which means any trade going on between Cleveland and Minnesota would have to be after August 23rd. I think, and I’ll elaborate on this more in my NBA piece, that Chicago has a better deal in place for Minnesota and you could see them swoop in before Wiggins is trade eligible. Don’t sleep on Golden State either, they could easily throw Klay Thompson in the mix, but they hate the thought of losing that Curry-Thompson duo.

As far as the Sox are concerned, they should be in full sell mode. Their biggest mistake was not signing Lester at the beginning of the season so I think they should look for some prospects to get in some sort of trade. Also Jake Peavy could be on his way out, I think he is something like 1-9 right now. His record doesn’t show much, but he’s still a veteran pitcher who can support the back end of a rotation for say the Dodgers or the Cardinals or some team in the playoff race. I’m with you on the Price scenario. I thought he was on his way out, but why not ride his hot hand the rest of the season and see if you can sneak into a wildcard spot? Besides that, Lester could be the biggest name out there, but I can’t see many other big trades happening before the deadline.

What are you thoughts on the Ray Rice 2-game suspension? Was it too much or too little?

Greg to Joe (July 26th)

Yeah, thats why I said we need to wait a month about Wiggins because I knew that contract would be signed. The only competitor to the Cavs are the Warriors in my opinion. If they add Klay Thompson, they get Kevin Love. Easily. I don’t think the Bulls are a huge competitor because I doubt they will trade Douggie McBuckets and if they do, they have the same 30 day restriction the Cavs do with Wiggins. I also hope that the Bulls do not trade Nikola Mirotić because I am really excited to see him in the NBA and have him on my fantasy team.

I think the Peavy trade was great for the Red Sox. I do not know much about Edwin Escobar, but I do know the Heath Hembree will be the Red Sox future closer and could even start closing at the end of this year. He has a power arm with great stuff, but he needs to control it better. I think that getting Hembree in this trade makes Koji EXTREMELY expendable. I see him getting dealt before the trade deadline as well and hopefully, it is to a team that has outfield prospects because the Red Sox need outfielders. I know I said this before, but I do not think it can be overstated. Lester might get dealt as well, but I think he still has a chance to be on the 2015 Red Sox.

The Ray Rice suspension is a black mark on the NFL. I think that he should have been suspended much longer. As a Ravens fan, I am pretty happy because I think that he could have a good year in Gary Kubiak‘s 1-cut running system, but I just can’t believe that he will be allowed to play after two games. I think 8 should have been the punishment, and I love Rice. I think he is a great person, and this happened to be his only mistake. It just also happened to be very public in nature.

Gronk is ready for training camp, you excited about that? Also, who do you think will win MVP this year… if it wasn’t allowed to be a Quarterback?

Joe to Greg (July 28th)

I have to do some more research into Embree and Escobar, but hopefully they can fill some of the gaps in the roster in the coming years. What are you thoughts on the development of Matt Kemp/Jon Lester rumors? Can you imagine Lester in that Dodgers lineup the way Kershaw and Greinke have been pitching this seaon? Is Kemp even worth going for from the Sox persepctive?

As far as Ray Rice is concerned, again, I’m with you. I think that he should have gotten a bigger penalty. It just makes the NFL’s discipline system look all out of sorts. The only reason I can see why it was a less severe penalty is because he’s a first time offender. In the long run, this helps the Ravens out a lot, but I do think they have to be careful in those first two games because they are both divisional games.

I’m very excited for Gronk to return. He is Brady‘s favorite target by far and I’ve enjoyed watching highlights of them hooking up in mini camp this past week. I’m interested to see how Darrelle Revis does this year because if he does well, I think he would be more inclined to resign next season considering hes on that one-year deal. If I were to pick an MVP, and it wasn’t a quarterback, I would say Shady McCoy has a chance to have another great year this year. I haven’t put a lot of thought into this, or fantasy for that matter, so I may have to change that. Who do you think will be the non-quarterback MVP?

Greg to Joe (July 28th)

Kemp wouldn’t be the centerpiece of the deal. The Red Sox wouldn’t take him unless they were getting a top prospect and the Dodgers pay most of his salary. The Dodgers pitching would be sick, but I don’t think Kemp has much left in the tank for the Sox. The ankle injuries really took a toll on his defense.

I think Revis is more of a mercenary. I honestly do not think he cares about winning that much. He just wants his money. He will go to whichever team will pay him the most. The team that pays the most, will probably win more because of him, but he only cares about money. I think he is a great addition to the Patriots. He should really help the pass rush out by locking down one receiver.

My non-quarterback MVP would have to be Jamaal Charles. He led his team in rushing and receiving, and he finally got paid. To which I say, good for him.

Greg Danchik (@gregdanchik)

Joe Meola (@brosephmeola)

LeBron Goes Home

LeBron James returns to Cleveland.

It happened exactly a year after I wrote about it (and yes, I am even posting this at the exact same time of day… 5:00 pm EST) and people said no way and chuckled. My reasons are/were listed in this paragraph.

Andrew Bynum signs with the Cavaliers. I am on the record of saying LeBron James will be a Cleveland Cavalier for the 2014-2015 NBA season. I have made two bets actually and I will take anymore that people want to offer up. If you look at the Cavaliers and Heat this season and take LeBron James out of the picture, the Cavaliers are much better. Starting five of Kyrie IrvingDion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett with Tristan ThompsonAnderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum splitting the 4 and 5 duties. The Heat minus LeBron looks like this… Mario ChalmersDwyane WadeMike MillerUdonis Haslem, and Chris Bosh. I realize that this is an unfair comparison because the Heat built their team around LeBron, but wouldn’t LeBron want to play with the better supporting cast? That’s what he did in 2010, and he will probably do it again. If you say he’s the best player in the world now and he doesn’t have to move because players come to him, you’re wrong. He was the best player in the world in 2010 and he moved. He is already building an extension on his house in Ohio, he wants his kids to grow up in Akron, he donated $1 million dollars to rebuild his former high school’s basketball gym, and he wants to win. LeBron will be donning a crisp #6 Cleveland Cavaliers’ jersey opening night in 2014/2015.

I told Heather I was going to brag for 40 days and 40 nights, but I’m not. I just feel awesome right now.

I really like how he announced his decision with an essay in SI. It was really well written. He didn’t guarantee a championship, and he also didn’t mention Andrew Wiggins or Anthony Bennett, which means Kevin Love is probably coming to Cleveland. We’ll see about that.

Even with the current roster, it is the right basketball move. Last summer, it looked like the right move, and it looks even better this summer. Dwyane Wade is really old. He is broken down and only played in 54 games during the regular season. He is no longer to superstar he once was. The role players that are still around include Chris AndersonMichael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Norris ColeRashard Lewis and Shabazz Napier. Those players can’t help LeBron win a title, even with Chris Bosh and they proved that in their NBA Championship loss to the Spurs.

The Cavaliers situation looks a lot brighter with some young players. Andrew Wiggins, if he is staying in Cleveland, was the Number One Overall Pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Prior to his one year in college, people were calling him the best prospect since Kevin Durant. I am not sure that is the case, but it could be. He is a extremely gifted athlete that will be a great defender right away. He just needs to improve his offensive game, and LeBron could definitely help with that. Kyrie Irving is always hurt, but he will now be elevated with LeBron, and he will not have to carry to load of the team, which he is not good enough to do and win. Hopefully that means he will be on the court more. With Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters as capable role players, this Cleveland team will be looking for a title this year. The only two challengers in the East will be Indiana and Chicago, but Cleveland’s road to the title should be easier as they will most likely have the number one seed and won’t have to face both of those teams en route to a Finals appearance.

This announcement makes for a great NBA season next year with Cleveland as serious title contenders and the Houston Rockets improving with Chris Bosh. While the West is already stacked, I think that the Rockets are now seriously in contention with the Thunder and Spurs for the Western Conference Title.

Greg Danchik

Follow Me:  @gregdanchik