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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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Ryan Mathews Boosts His Fantasy Football Stock for 2011

It’s amazing how perspective has changed from real football to fantasy football, but I suppose the point is the same. After letting LaDainian Tomlinson go and trading up to get a running back in the first round of the draft, the Chargers planned to turn their rushing attack over to fresh legs in 2010. San Diego targeted Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews as their man but the plan did not pan out.

Mathews hurt his ankle in week two and returned two weeks later as a complementary back. He shared carries with Mike Tolbert for about six weeks, hurt his ankle again, and missed three more games. Mathews split carries with Tolbert the last three weeks but became the feature back after Tolbert was knocked out for the season with a neck injury.

Mathews saw a season high 26 carries Sunday against Denver, rolling for 120 yards and three touchdowns. He caught three passes for 19 yards and seemed to making big play after big play for the Chargers. This was the first time all year Mathews got a full dose of carries and he pounded the pill at will.

Mike Tolbert will likely be back to share the load, but after an off-season to rest, Mathews should be a monster next year. Best part of all, after starting off the year with a fumbling problem (one in each of his first two games, three all year), Mathews didn’t fumble over the final month of the year. He has the makings of a great second running back to draft next season in fantasy football, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chargers start running the ball more in the future. For another take, check out Adam Rank’s post at NFL.com.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Arian Foster Closes Out Best Season by Undrafted Rookie Running Back

The first time we wrote about Arian Foster at LBS, he was blitzing the Colts in week one for a franchise record 231 yards. Not much has changed for the second-year player from Tennessee — Foster closed out the season with 180 rushing yards in a win over the Jags. The spectacular performances bookended a special season for the running back.

The 180 rushing yards helped Foster regain the league rushing lead from Jamaal Charles who surpassed Arian earlier in the day. Additionally, the monster game against the Jags gave Foster 1,616 rushing yards on the season, the most by an undrafted player since Priest Holmes ran for 1,615 in 2002 (read more of Foster’s story here). As if the 1,616 total wasn’t already impressive enough, Foster added 66 catches for 604 yards and two touchdowns.

Not only did Arian win the rushing title in the NFL, but he also ended the season as the top scoring running back in fantasy football, and depending on the league, the top scoring player overall. I was huge on Arian entering into the season, going so far as to make him a franchise player in a keeper league. The man did not disappoint, proving he was a perfect fit for Gary Kubiak’s offense based on the zone blocking scheme.

It seems likely that Houston will keep Kubiak’s offense around, but they also need a defense makeover in order to win more games. Could anyone have figured at this point that the answer to Houston’s problems would be none other than Wade Phillips?

Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images

Colt McCoy Takes Steps Back to End Season, Losing Franchise QB Status?

Colt McCoy’s NFL career started off on a disappointing note — he wasn’t drafted until late in the third round by the Cleveland Browns, and that was after the Browns said they would take him higher. Colt struggled in the preseason and went into the year as the team’s third stringer. After sitting on the bench the first five weeks of the year, starter Jake Delhomme and backup Seneca Wallace hurt their ankles, leaving McCoy as the only healthy Cleveland quarterback for week six.

Colt had the tough task of facing the Steelers in his NFL debut, but he didn’t play poorly. He had 281 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions against the best defense in the league at the time. McCoy appeared to be a revelation after that; he didn’t turn over the ball his next three starts, leading the Browns to upset wins over the Saints and Patriots, and a near win over the Jets.

McCoy hurt his ankle and missed two weeks, but he returned to start the final three games of the year for the Browns — all losses. He was intercepted three times in back-to-back starts, albeit against the strong defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It took two months, but McCoy finally began to endure typical rookie struggles. Now the question is whether McCoy is still the franchise quarterback he appeared to be, or just another average quarterback.

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Derrick Rose is an MVP Candidate, Just Ask Him

According to ESPNChicago.com, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose believes he should be in the discussion for NBA MVP this season. Rose’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but they’re very good. He ‘s averaging 23.9 points, 8.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. His numbers are certainly solid enough to put him in the conversation during a season in which no one has established themselves as a clear-cut front-runner.

Two-time reigning MVP LeBron James’ numbers are down slightly from the last two seasons, though still impressive. He’s currently averaging 24.4 points, 7.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game, but it would be hard to argue that James means as much to the Heat as Rose does to the Bulls, which for many is the number one criteria for the award. The same goes for James’ teammate, Dwyane Wade. His numbers are MVP caliber, but Wade is surrounded with top talent which makes it tougher for him to stick out.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring with 28.3 points per game. His 6.3 rebounds per game are solid, but he’s averaging just 3.1 assists. Durant is a definite candidate mainly because of his scoring, but like Rose he has the advantage of being the driving force behind a team’s success.

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NFL Picks Week 17 – Del’s Selections

This is it, folks.  The end of a long and successful season for Doc and Del is in sight.  Currently sitting at eight games over .500, it would take a miserable week 17 for Del to finish below .500 for the season on picks against the spread.  That means if you took the picks to the bank all season long, you would have come out making some money — especially if you focused on the Top 3.  Week 17 is always a tough week for picks since we don’t know who will play and who will rest, but we’ve done our best to sort through the nonsense and pick some good ones for those of you hoping to end on a solid note.

Selecting three locks was obviously a little tougher this week, but Del thinks the playoff picture can help you in certain situations.  Todd Haley said he plans to play his starters this weekend against the Raiders, but he wouldn’t say how much.  The Chiefs are locked into the No. 3 seed and can gain absolutely nothing from beating the Raiders on Sunday.  It’s tough not to love the opponent of a team who has nothing to play for, so I love the Raiders getting 3.5 this weekend.

The second game Del likes this week is the Chargers -3.5 at Denver.  San Diego is out of the playoff picture, but they have a quarterback who hates to lose in Philip Rivers.  The Broncos will start Tim Tebow again and while he looked great last weekend against the Texans, he’s bound to experience some growing pains.  The Chargers should be able to keep him in check and should cover the spread here if they have any pride.

For the third and final Top 3 selection, Del is taking the Giants -3.5 at Washington. The Giants looked completely gutless in back-to-back losses the past two weeks, yet they somehow remain in the playoff hunt.  If the Giants beat the Redskins and the Bears beat the Packers, New York would get in.  There are enough Super Bowl champions on the Giants roster that they should be able to appreciate the urgency of Sunday’s game.  If they can’t pull out a big win in Washington, Coughlin could be out of a job.

DEL’S NFL PICKS WEEK 17:
(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)

Baltimore Orioles Upgrade Infield with Derrek Lee Signing

After finishing a disappointing 66-96 last season, the Baltimore Orioles have made strides to upgrade their team this off-season. First they acquired Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks in a trade, and then they brought in shortstop J.J. Hardy from Minnesota in another deal. Now, The Baltimore Sun reports they have agreed on a one-year deal with first baseman Derrek Lee.

Lee is coming off a down year where he only hit .260 with 19 home runs. He got traded mid-season to the Braves and did well, but he only managed three home runs in 129 at-bats for them. Given that Lee smashed 35 home runs with a .972 OPS in 2009, this is a strong signing for Baltimore. On top of consistently playing good defense, he’s a good bounceback candidate for 2011.

Baltimore may not be anywhere near competing in the AL East, but at least they’ve improved their team. The infield consisting of Reynolds, Hardy, Roberts, and Lee is nothing special, but at least it’s respectable. Their pitching is another story, but at least they’re moving in a competitive direction, and I’d much rather have Lee on a one-year deal than Adam LaRoche on a three.

Kazushi Sakuraba Has Ear Torn Off in Loss to Marius Zaromskis

In wrestling and MMA, it’s quite common to see fighters with cauliflower ear. Their hearing devices get ripped to shreds and disfigured from all the years of pushing, pulling, and strain placed on the vital appendage. Heck, we’ve even seen someone’s potato dumpling get torn off during a fight, Evander Holyfield-style (check the pics!). The same thing happened at K-1 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve in Japan. Kazushi Sakuraba’s ear was torn off during his loss to Marius Zaromskis, resulting in the fight being stopped. Check out this gnarly pic courtesy of God Bless the Ring via Bloody Elbow:

The ear opened up about a minute into the fight, and then left hands from the southpaw Zaromskis hurt it more. The ear completely tore off when Sakuraba shot in on Zaromskis’ leg, looking for a takedown. The referee immediately put Sakuraba back into his corner and the fight was waved off. That was truly gross, and here’s another look from MMA Fighting.

Alistair Overeem Destroyed Todd Duffee in 18 Seconds (Video)

Alistair Overeem and Todd Duffee was one of the big attractions at K-1 Dynamite!! in Japan just before New Year’s Day. Fans may have been satisfied with the one-way ass-kicking, but the downside is the whole event didn’t last longer than a virgin in the sack. Overeem showed off his kickboxing skills, peppering Duffee with some serious knees. Duffee showed off the glass chin we saw in the Mike Russow fight. Enough of me, here’s the 18 seconds of infamy, aka the Alistair Overeem-Todd Duffee fight video courtesy of Bloody Elbow:

Though the fight ended so early it was a disappointment, hearing the announcer’s line that Reem has more muscles than a seafood platter made it all worthwhile. That’s quality right there.

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  • MMA

Aaron Rodgers Reportedly Dating Actress Jessica Szohr (Pictures)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve updated our ever-expanding list of Steve’s smokin’ hot sports girlfriends for you, so we decided that there’s no better time than the final day of 2010 to make an addition. 

A new report claims Aaron Rodgers is dating actress Jessica Szohr, who is known for her work on the TV show Gossip Girl. We had no problem with Rodgers dating Erin Andrews, but we more than approve of his new lady friend if the rumors are true.

Supposedly Szohr was sitting in Aaron Rodgers’ private box last weekend with Ashley Greene and Joe Jonas, and Rodgers and Szohr attended a Milwaukee Bucks game together the following night.  Dating Jessica certainly warrants the LBS stamp of approval, but hanging out with Joe Jonas?  We’ll just assume Szohr and Greene are good friends and Rodgers was thrust into the situation.  As always, here are some pictures of Rodgers new girlfriend:

JESSICA SZOHR PICTURES

Jenn Sterger’s Dad, Leo Sterger, Wants to Hurt Brett Favre

We already told you how we feel about the NFL’s decision to only slap Brett Favre with a fine and not suspend him for allegedly sexually harassing Jenn Sterger.  Whether you think she led him on or not, Roger Goodell would have suspended any other player if the situation were different.  Goodell normally isn’t tolerant of this type of behavior regardless of the circumstances, but he’s obviously making an exception to give Favre an opportunity to start his final NFL game.

It sounds like we’re not the only ones who are unhappy about it.  As a matter of fact, we’ve got nothing on Jenn’s dad, Leo Sterger.  Leo told RadarOnline.com that “as a father (he’s) furious” and had “better not meet that guy walking down a dark alley.”  I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope those two cross paths in a dark alley someday.

In all seriousness, Leo needs to relax.  What does he expect?  If you hate Favre for the reasons everyone else hates him, I can understand how this situation would fuel the fire.  But his daughter is asking for it.  Go to Google Images and type in “Jenn Sterger Florida State” and see what you come up with.  This is a young lady who decided in college that she can handle being sexually harassed.  Don’t hate the player, Leo — hate the game.

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