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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Catch me if you can

My main fantasy football draft was a bit early this year, and I started the rankings a bit late, so therefore I have already drafted my team. I had the fourth pick in a 10 team draft, and I chose to pick fourth (I had the option of any of the 10 spots due to a contest victory). I expect this to be my starting lineup for week one:
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Mark Ingram
RB: Matt Forte
WR: Julio Jones
WR: Keenan Allen
Flex: Jordan Matthews
Flex: Tavon Austin
TE: Clive Walford
K: Cairo Santos
DEF: Vikings
BN: Chris Ivory, Jonathan Stewart, Mohamed Sanu, Stefon Diggs, Marvin Jones Jr. and Tevin Coleman.

What do you think? Any thoughts would be great. It is a 6-point for touchdown passes league, along with .5 points per reception, and there are points for return yards.

Anyways, I will be ranking WR this week, so pay attention to how I did a year ago:

Picked No. 1 for 2015, Antonio Brown. Actually finished: 1. Not a tough pick to make, and he is expected to do the same again this year.
Picked No. 2 for 2015, Odell Beckham Jr.. Actually finished: 5. Strong pick, and you can't knock a guy for getting nearly 1,500 yards and 13 TDs. He produced as expected.
Picked No. 3 for 2015, Julio Jones. Actually finished: 2. He had a stellar year. If he is healthy, he is dominant, and he sure was a year ago, another good pick.
Picked No. 4 for 2015, Dez Bryant. Actually finished: 83. Ouch. His injury not only hurt my rankings here, but I drafted him in the first round last season, and that bit me in the butt big time.
Picked No. 5 for 2015, AJ Green. Actually finished: 8. Strong pick. Had a great year, probably would have been top five if he had Dalton at the end of the year.
Picked No. 6 for 2015, Mike Evans. Actually finished: 28. May have been a year early. Should be better with Famous Jameis as a sophomore.
Picked No. 7 for 2015, TY Hilton. Actually finished: 25. Did not expect Andrew Luck to play so poorly, and then get injured on top of that. It hurt Hilton.
Picked No. 8 for 2015, DeAndre Hopkins. Actually finished: 4. Solid pick here. He did even better than my expectations, despite a tumultuous quarterback situation all season.
Picked No. 9 for 2015, Demaryius Thomas. Actually finished: 12. Not terrible considering Peyton's woes.
Picked No. 10 for 2015, Calvin Johnson. Actually finished: 11. Another good pick. Too bad he's retired after a strong season, or he could have moved into the top 10.

Wow. Surprisingly strong there, but with all the injuries that befall players in the NFL, I'd be surprised if I could be that accurate again, but that won't stop me from trying: 

1. Antonio Brown: After a second straight season of dominating numbers, totaling his highest in a season to date, it's hard to doubt his spot at the top.
2. Julio Jones: Although after the jaw-dropping numbers from Jones, there is an argument to be had for him at the top. Jones has been healthy two years running, and is an athletic freak.
3. Odell Beckham Jr.: Speaking of talent and athleticism, OBJ has that in spades. He can be a bit of a headcase, but he'll put up the numbers if he's on the field.
4. DeAndre Hopkins: Again holding him back is who he has throwing to him. However, that wasn't a problem last year, so he should stay in the top five.
5. AJ Green: He is as solid as ever, and his role is certainly not in jeopardy in Cinci.
6. Dez Bryant: Assuming he can recover from the concussion he suffered yesterday in practice, and stay healthy thereafter, Dez is a surefire performer.
7. Allen Robinson: Broke out last season, and he and Blake Bortles have a good connection down in Jacksonville.
8. Keenan Allen: He has been a target monster in the past. In fact, before his freak injury a year ago (lacerated spline/kidney or something) he averaged more than 11 targets a game, which would have been fourth in the league.
9. Mike Evans: I picked him to be strong a year ago, and he dipped a bit, but I still think he has the talent to be a top 10 receiver.
10. Brandon Marshall: He is starting to get up to that age (32) where receivers tend to decline, but I could totally see him have another season with 80+ catches 1,300+ yards and 10 tds.

Anyway, look forward to ranking Tight Ends next week. Enjoy a few photos from the Aug. 13 Region 8C Amateur baseball championship game between Nisswa and Sobieski and one Swanville volleyball practice photo.

Kyle Boser, a Sobieski draftee from Randall, started the game, Saturday, Aug. 13

Skis catcher Riley Hirsch picks up a bunt near the foul line in the 6-3 loss to Nisswa.

Thomas Miller came in to pitch in relief of Boser.

Skis' No. 3 hitter Joey Hanowski fouls off a pitch.

Hirsch fires to first for an out.

Skis shortstop Colin Eckman knocks down a ball that had a big hop.

Austin Weisz, Sobieski left fielder, rips a big hit.

Swanville junior Brooklyn Thieschafer warms up at an Aug. 17 practice at Swanville High School.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Running away with you

No review again this week, but I do have running back predictions for 2016 in fantasy football. I also have a bunch of Region 8C baseball photos. Lets start with how I did a year ago (though I'd rather we didn't):

Picked No. 1 for 2015, Adrian Peterson. Actually finished: 2. He was a strong choice, which is no surprise, becaus when able to play he always performs.
Picked No. 2 for 2015, Le'Veon Bell. Actually finished: 50. Injuries are not good for rankings. More on that to come.
Picked No. 3 for 2015, Matt Forte. Actually finished: 9. He missed three games, and was still in the top 10. Strange year. Stay tuned.
 Picked No. 4 for 2015, CJ Anderson. Actually finished: 32. Was expected to break out. Did not.
Picked No. 5 for 2015, Jamaal Charles. Actually finished: 54. Another injury. Sucks for that high of a pick.
Picked No. 6 for 2015, Marshawn Lynch. Actually finished: 64. Only played seven games with injury problems, which led to his retirement.
Picked No. 7 for 2015, Eddie Lacy. Actually finished: 31. He played heavy all year, and it hurt him.
 Picked No. 8 for 2015, Jeremy Hill. Actually finished: 17. Rise wasn't as high as I expected..
Picked No. 9 for 2015, DeMarco Murray. Actually finished: 19. Struggled in Philly. Probably why he's on the Titans now.
Picked No. 10 for 2015, Justin Forsett. Actually finished: 42. Was injured in the 10th game. Another victim of the bug last year.

Here are this year's thoughts:

1. Adrian Peterson: He is just so darn consistent. It's hard not to expect him to get 1,200+ yards and 10+ touchdowns.
2. Todd Gurley: I feel like he is a pretty safe pick in this spot as well. He had a strong year last year, and he should hopefully take another step forward this year.
3. Lamar Miller: I really think he could breakout even more (he was sixth last year) in Houston.
4. Ezekial Elliot: His upside is really high with that amazing offensive line in Dallas. If he is still available in the back half of the first round, snap him up.
5. Mark Ingram: He catches A LOT of passes. Problem with him is that he is a bit injury prone, which is always a concern with running back. But even if you get 10 really strong weeks, he could be worth it.
6. Devonta Freeman: Another big time pass catcher, and was the top back a year ago. If he can keep the starting role and get 20-25 touches a game, he should be an easy RB1.
7. David Johnson: A lot of folks have him as the top option or at least one of the top three for RBs. I'm tempering my expectations because he was in more of a change-up role a year ago, and I'm just not sure he will get or excel in a feature role.
8. Le'Veon Bell: Easily the most talented and highest producing of these backs, but a suspension is likely coming, and that drops his value a bit.
9. LeSean McCoy: Yet another pass-catching back, and I think Buffalo should be much improved this year. If he stays healthy he has top-five potential.
10. Thomas Rawls: Maybe a bit ambitious here, but he looked really strong when filling in for Lynch toward the end of last year. Assuming he does get the touches, and that Seahawks line improves some, he should have a real strong season.

And here are some photos from the second weekend of Region 8C play:

Ft. Ripley's Brett Kramer makes an athletic play at second base.

Chad Weiss of Lastrup pitches in a state play-in game against Avon, Saturday, Aug. 6.

Ethan Branum pitches in a Region 8C game in Freeport.

Lakers second baseman Paul Herman throws to first for an out.

Herman charges to try and make a barehanded play.

Lastrup third sacker Jason Sadlovsky hustles to third to earn a force out after a big stop.

Buckman's Lane Girtz throws to first in a 4-0 loss to Sobieski, Saturday, Aug. 6.

The Rebels' Logan Kalis takes a big cut.

Lastrup's Weiss tosses to first to get out Avon's Carter Holthaus.

Buckman's Mark Kahl fouls off a pitch against Sobieski.

Buckman first baseman Joe Kahl rushes to the base after a strong stop.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Are you ready?

I'm super excited (as always) that the calendar flipped to August. It means it will be colder soon (thank God), and best of all fantasy football.
So, no album to review this week, but it is nearly football season, which means my rankings for fantasy football start today! 

We kick off the rankings with Quarterback.
First things first, lets take a look at how I did in 2015 for signal callers:
 Picked No. 1 for 2015, Aaron Rodgers. Actually finished: 11. Lost Jordy before the season began, so understandable that he dipped.
Picked No. 2 for 2015, Andrew Luck. Actually finished: 27. It was a strange year in Indy.
Picked No. 3 for 2015, Ben Roethlisberger. Actually finished: 20. Missed four games, or he would have been top 5ish.
Picked No. 4 for 2015, Russell Wilson. Actually finished: 3. Pat on the back for that one.
Picked No. 5 for 2015, Drew Brees. Actually finished: 4. Another solid pick.
Picked No. 7 for 2015, Matt Ryan. Actually finished: 17. How he is this bad with Julio Jones as a wideout is beyond me.
Picked No. 7 for 2015, Eli Manning. Actually finished: 7. Spot on. Just remember that, because next is...
Picked No. 8 for 2015, Peyton Manning. Actually finished: 31. This was just stupid. Should've known the cliff was coming.
Picked No. 9 for 2015, Tony Romo. Actually finished: 39. He broke the same bone twice, so whatever.
Picked No. 10 for 2015, Matt Stafford. Actually finished: 9. Pretty well done.

I feel like I did a reasonably good job. The ones I got wrong were pretty much just injuries, so not bad.

Without further ado, here is my picks for 2016:
1. Drew Brees: He had a really solid year last year, proving he could do well without Jimmy Graham. Brees can use anyone and still throw for 5,000 yards and 30 TDs. I think he's the safest bet at QB.
2. Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben has had some injury issues, but when healthy he racks up the stats. With Antonio Brown and several young receiving options, he very well could have a monster year.
3. Aaron Rodgers: With Jordy back on the outside, it should boost Rodgers' numbers along with Randall Cobbs.
4. Russell Wilson: His running ability makes him a strong fantasy option. He doesn't have much for weapons, but his legs are enough to keep him in the top five again.
5. Matt Stafford: After the retirement of Megatron, I'm sure most people are dropping Stafford down the rankings, but even without him the past couple of years, Stafford has been as strong as ever. Marvin Jones might break out this year as well.
6. Andrew Luck: He should bounce back nicely after an offseason of rest.
7. Cam Newton: I think he'll regress quite a bit after earning the top spot a year ago, but being the team's goal line option means at least 6-8 rushing TDs and that is great. Plus he'll have Benjamin back.
8. Derek Carr: Oakland is still going to be terrible, so I figure Carr to be this year's Blake Bortles. Amari Cooper doesn't hurt either.
9. Blake Bortles: Speaking of Bortles, he has two really talented receiving options, and really a couple other wideouts that could start on other teams. I think his support is something that keeps him in the top 10.
10. Philip Rivers: You could plug in the name of any number of QBs here: Dalton, Romo, Flacco. I pick Rivers because he should have a full season of Keenan Allen, and that could prove to be fortuitous.

Next week will be running backs. Here are some baseball photos from recent games I've covered. Thanks and enjoy:
Little Falls' Justin Jenks fouls off a pitch at the Division I Legion State Tournament in Loretto, July 29.

Adam Hallberg of Little Falls Legion fires to first base for the out against Fairmont.

Dan Marod takes a big hack at pitch.

Brett Czajkowski fouls off a pitch.

AJ Jenks fires to first base.

Brett Kapsner races to foul territory to track down a pop fly at the Division II Legion State Tournament in Le Sueur, Saturday, July 30.

Lane Girtz chops a ball down the third base line in a pool play game against Glenwood.

Teddy Dehler checks the runner after knocking down a grounder.

Matt Tautges of Pierz Legion dives back, but got picked off.

Pierz' Preston Rocheleau snags the fly ball.

Kapsner swings and misses.

Sobieski pitcher Tyler Jendro pitches against St. Stephen on Sunday, July 31 at Pierz Legion park.

The Skis' Joey Hanowski lays down a sacrifice bunt in the first weekend of Region 8C competition.

Hanowski beat out the bunt for a single.

Sobieski hero Jake Kapphahn prepares to field a ground ball. He hit the game-winning dinger to keep the Skis alive.

This youngster helped drag the mound.

Brad Meyer pitches for Lastrup against Ft. Ripley, Sunday, July 31.

Brett Kramer celebrates with the third base coach after he hit a long ball.

Rebels pitcher Logan Kalis delivers some heat.

Lastrup's Rick Schlieman fouls off a pitch.

Lastrup third baseman Jason Sadlovsky cannot hold on to the ball after tagging Kramer at third base.

Ft. Ripley's Rhett Williamson lets loose his cannon at shortstop.

Meyer comes up short on a dive attempt from his shortstop position.

Pierz Bulldog draftee Brian Kiel pitches for Lastrup.

Jamie Litke made a relief appearance for the Lakers.

Dan Saehr pitched a couple of effective innings as well for Lastrup.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


No matter what you think of Pitbull, you have to admit, when one of his songs comes on and it makes you want to dance. That is most certainly the case with the recently released single, "Greenlight," featuring Florida and Lunchmoney Lewis.

Anyhow, I have several photos from some baseball action and an author at the library.

Justin Jenks (left) and Thomas Miller (right) congratulate Hunter Swanson after he scored a run in a District Legion Tournament game, July 21.

Dan Marod hustles toward first after the catcher dropped a third strike pitch.

Marod sizes up the pitcher during an at-bat.

Swanson gets around Monticello catcher Aaron Hanson to score.

Marod takes a healthy cut at a pitch.

Justin Jenks fires a heater to the plate.

Justin Cichon of the Upsala Blue Jays smashes a ground ball in a game against Sobieski, July 24.

Jays catcher Ben Burggraff fights off an outside pitch.

Upsala pitcher Brock Cichon slides to field a bunt.

Cichon hurls a pitch toward the plate in Sobieski.

Riley Hirsch chops a ball down the third base line.

Colin Eckman bats as Hirsch waits in the on deck circle.

Patrick Mader, author of "Minnesota Gold," speaks at the Carnegie Library, July 22, about former Olympian Duane Bobick of Bowlus, who was featured in the book.

Mader speaks about Amanda Smock of Melrose, a 2012 London Olympian in the triple jump.