Dojo Sparring – Week 5

Greg to Joe

The Broncos and Cowboys play a historic game, Tom Brady‘s passing touchdown streak comes to a halt in the pouring rain, and we have baseball games every day. It was a pretty awesome weekend in my opinion. I also want to point out that the Braves were ousted in the 1st round of the playoffs, just saying that I predicted it would be worse, but there would be no way they got past the Dodgers or whoever they faced in the NLDS.

Anyway, I hope your fantasy teams ended up doing well last week. I went undefeated on the week even though Grant had Tony Romo in the Yahoo league. The funny thing is, he would have won this week had he not backed out of our trade. Unfortunate for him.
So I’ve got a couple questions… Are the Dolphins AND Jets serious contenders for the AFC East crown against the Patriots? Are you afraid of Yankee-esque collapse from the Red Sox after the Jose Lobaton walk-off? Should the Tigers find a way to make Miguel Cabrera the DH, resign Johnny Peralta and make him the 3rd basemen and trade Victor Martinez for a reliever? I only have this question after he had an error in Game 3 yesterday.

Joe to Greg

I’ve had a brief hiatus from writing my “Game of the Week” Column. So as a note to myself and others, expect one this week regarding the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. I loved this weekend in sports but I’m excited to answer your questions so lets jump right into it:

Are the Dolphins AND Jets serious contenders? I don’t believe both are serious because right now I’m leaning towards the Dolphins (Wins: @Cleveland, @Indy, Falcons). Just to compare, the Jets (Buccaneers, Bills, @Falcons). I think the win @Indy stands out and looks better after Indy handed Seattle its first lost this past week. Although watching last Geno Smith last night was somewhat impressive. I had a feeling that when he got the ball back with under two minutes that he was going to get into field goal range at least and look what happened. I think the AFC and NFC East essentially flip flopped this year. Usually we’re accustomed to at least two teams in the AFC East below .500 (Buffalo, Miami, NY Jets) with the Pats in the lead. As opposed to the NFC East waiting until the last week of the regular season to decide who wins. Maybe flip flopped isn’t the right word but they’re definitely against the norm this season.
I am not afraid of any collapse for the Red Sox. Mainly because I was expecting them to lose from something late in the game. I was a fan of Buchholz holding his own and not “being the reason” the Sox lose the game. I was surprised but not alarmed at Koji Uehara giving up the walk off blast. Don’t forget that the two outs that he gotten came on at most 5 pitches total (can’t remember exactly but he had two outs with 3 pitches before the last at-bat). He is after all human but Jake Peavy has a huge game to pitch tonight, lets say on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being totally scared of a collapse…you’ve successfully made me talk myself into a 6 or 7. Before this question I was at a happy 3.
The Tiger’s dilemma is interesting. I think to protect Cabrera you put him at DH. Depending on how long the Tigers remain in the playoffs and how big of a factor Jhonny Peralta plays in that I think determines if they resign him. Eventually Victor Martinez will find himself out of the Tigers’ lineup so I think they don’t have any harm against finding another pitcher for the bullpen.
I have some rephrased questions for you as well…
-Do the Ravens, Bengals, or Browns win the AFC North (all teams currently at 3-2)? Does the AFC North send more than one team to the playoffs? (My quick thoughts, you have Denver, New England, Indy, (AFC North Winner)…factor in KC is 5-0. You have one more spot…but its only week 5 so who the heck knows)
-Which series has surprised you the most so far, if any, in the playoffs? If none, which team impressed you the most so far?
-I feel obligated to ask, when do you see the Broncos losing their first game?

Greg to Joe

Love the Red Sox answer. The reason I think it is possible is Koji Uhehara had a historic season for a reliever, and gave up a home run to Jose Loboton… JOSE LOBOTON! Obviously, it was just one at bat, but could it get into his head? Maybe. The Patriots thing is interesting to me. I think they have a shot to stumble if when Gronk comes back, the offense isn’t on the same page for a couple games. We’ll see.

So AFC North is going to have two playoff teams, and the AFC West will too. The division champ will be the team with the best intradivision record. The Ravens are already 1-0, Bengals 1-1, and Browns 1-1. I think the Browns aren’t serious contenders for the playoffs, but they could finish .500. I think it comes down to this… If the Ravens and Bengals split, can the Ravens beat the Browns in Cleveland? I think the answer to that is yes. Therefore, I am think the Bengals and Ravens have the same record, but the Ravens go 5-1 in the division and the Bengals go 4-2 costing them a home playoff game.
The most interesting series so far has been the Pirates-Cardinals series. The Pirates had a chance to finish the series off in Pittsburgh, but couldn’t score 2 runs off the three 22 year olds that the Cardinals pitched (Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Trevor Rosenthal). Game 5 comes down to Gerrit Cole‘s composure. If he can stay calm, he has the pure stuff to lead the Pirates to victory. If he gets rattled, series is all but over as the Pirates just don’t have the fire power to comeback against Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. Back to the 22 year olds… the Cardinals are going to be scary good for a LONG time… LONG time .They are so talented and have a DEEP farm system. I would say they could win 2-3 out of the next 5 World Series.
Broncos are going undefeated until the Super Bowl. 2007 Patriots style.
How did your fantasy teams do this past week? Domination or eek out some close victories? You got any changes in baseball predictions after these first couple of series have almost come to completion.

Joe to Greg

Well luckily I didn’t have to stay scared for long. The Red Sox showed their toughness last night after facingĀ 9 different pitchers. My fantasy team in ESPN won again, making me 5-0 and feeling good. Speaking of which I just offered you a trade but in Yahoo, my miserable 2-3 season continues. I lost again after pulling the team back to .500 so I guess we’ll see where that takes me. I like the way that the Cardinals are playing and I’m expecting them to pull of the Game 5 win against the Pirates. The Tigers and A’s series is intense after the questionable home run call on a potential run-saving catch by the A’s Josh Reddick. Going into Game 5 I’m happy mainly because they are playing while the Red Sox rest and their starting rotation remains unblemished. With Verlander starting Game 5, who knows what other pitchers could pitch in that game a la Tampa Bay last night.

Any big headlines to look for with the upcoming Week 6 games?
Lets just say I’m happy a Gronk return seems likely…

Greg to Joe

I doubt we get a trade done in that ESPN league. I’m not going to make a trade where I give up the two best players in a 4 player deal. I’ll look into a counter offer, but I doubt anything comes of it. Just ain’t happening. Red Sox were able to get that series win and will host whoever wins tomorrow night’s pitching duel of Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander. In my playoff predictions piece, I have Verlander getting roughed up in Game 5, and I think that is what happens. Look for the Athletics to go into Boston, and try to steal home field advantage in Game 1 of the ALCS.

The biggest headline for Week 6 has to be Gronk coming back. I don’t know about his effectiveness, especially against the Saints, but we will see. I also think that game is the most interesting. I think the Saints will take the Patriots to town and dominate, but Vegas has the Patriots as the favorites. Not so sure why, but I want to watch every minute of that game. Also, I think the Packers game is a huge test for the Ravens. If the defense can slow down that offense, it will finally prove that they are back. Daryl Smith is 10x better than Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe last year. It is incredible, and it is so fun to watch. I know you have written the Game of the Week, but besides that game. What games do you have your eyes on?

Joe to Greg

I know Frank Gore isn’t better than Matt Forte but he’s definitely a better option than James Jones in my opinion. I’d take San Fran’s number #1 RB over one of three different WRs the Packers have, but that’s just my opinion. Jones is great but I feel like he’s more prone to a slow or unproductive day. Both are great players to have anyways, since they both have totaled somewhere between 60-65 fantasy points each in ESPN PPR leagues. Regardless I just like proposing trades and seeing where they go, you’re probably the fourth person I proposed something to this week. I think it’s interesting to see how people think of trades compared to my own thoughts.

I’ll take Jon Lester at home over any potential A’s or Tigers starter not named Max Scherzer. So hopefully they get the series started on the right foot. I agree that the Saints can take the Patriots to town. I picked the Patriots to win, of course, but the Saints are marching into New England with a very versatile offense so it’ll be entertaining to watch. Expect some texts during that game. Also I agree that it’s weird the Pats are the favorites, I just can’t wrap my head around it. Maybe because they’re at home? Maybe people overhype Tom Brady at home? The other game I have my eyes on is the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. I’m interested in how the Cowboys respond after a near perfect game last week against the Broncos. A couple of different ESPN commentators discussed how after that late interception from Romo, more people were feeling bad for him instead of mocking and jeering him. I think the perception of him is changing a bit and this game has a big impact on the future of this season. On the flip side you have the Redskins and RGIII. Coming in with a 1-3 record, they need to get back into the division contention and if the Cowboys do win, they pull back to .500 at 3-3 and potentially gain sole possession of first place.
Greg Danchik & Joe Meola

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