Inside Look: The Chicago Bears Draft Needs

What do the bears need to do to make it back to the SuperBowl? This question has been floating around message boards for some time. Many rumors have circulated and most if not all of them are pretty outrageous. Among them that Chicago will trade for Larry Fitzgerald or that they will trade up in the draft. Jerry Angelo is known for not overpaying for talent and he is more likely to trade down and look for value than to trade up. Here are the main things they need to do to be a contender this year or next.

1. Fix the offensive line

Chicago’s biggest problem last year was their aging line and a lack of consistency along it. They gave up countless sacks and failed to open any holes for the running game. Looking back at the SuperBowl against the colts I still flinch when I see the Garza whiff block and Rex getting leveled from his blindside while fumbling. No one should get through unblocked on your QB’s blindside that is just sad. I believe they will draft two or three linemen. Most likely they will take an offensive tackle in the first. A guard is likely in the later rounds as well.

2. Add Playmakers to the Offense.

Many believe that Devin Hester can develop into a good young receiver while this is very possible the bears are still going to most likely draft someone who is less of a project. This is not saying Hester does not have talent. He has a ton of it but it makes more sense to have him learn from the slot than have him start without any real experience playing the position.

The signings of Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd give them two veteran receivers with the ability to move the chains. Lloyd is a bit of a risk but for one year at dirt cheap he adds much needed depth. They still need a running back to compete with Benson and they may very likely draft a quarterback to groom for the future. They will most likely still take a wideout in the middle to late rounds.

3. Find and draft a franchise quarterback to groom.

Rex Grossman is about one bad game from third string. Kyle Orton does not have the arm to play everyday in the NFL. This leaves the Bears with no legit starter and no other option but to look for the future in the draft. They have been targeting Joe Flacco extensively. Word has it the Bears staff is very impressed with him. If he is there in the second he will most likely be their pick. Another possibility they have explored is Josh Johnson in the third. Grossman will start this year but unless he shocks us all and plays extremely well he’ll be gone in 09 or on the bench.

4. Add Depth at Strong safety and Defensive Tackle

The Bears have some real depth issues here they were decimated by injuries last year and the lack of talent behind the starters really showed at times. After Tommie Harris there are no guarantees and Dusty Dvoraceck cannot seem to stay healthy. They will most likely draft a DT in the later rounds to add depth and insurance in case another rash of injuries hit. SS is not as important but depending on whether they have any late compensatory picks they might look for a sleeper.

Who will win the AL East?

Tampa Bay is the choice, but it’s a slim margin. They have all the pieces to win this division. 1. They had a 90 win season last year, only to miss the playoffs (the tigers won the central with 88 wins).

And most of those 90 games were without the great Evan Longoria! If he stays healthy, they win the division last year. They have been to the world series, and have a magician in Madden as a manager.

This team is use to winning, talented enough to win, and expects to win… why other teams in the AL East ‘hope’ to win. Pitching and using top big barrel bats are obviously the key for the Rays, David Price the reigning Cy Young winner is amazing leading the Majors in ERA last year.

With Jeremy Hecllickson, and Matt Moore they have a young and the best top 3 in all of baseball. Lets not forget the secrete weapon of Fernando Rodney the elite closer who went 48 of 50 last year. for do this he visited a lot of time to learning the techniques in there.

This teams pitching will make game shorter, they only have to win 2 or 3 innings to win most games. Hitting is the concern, but again it was good enough last year for 90 wins without Longoria.

They have upgraded their hitting at short stop and first base with Yunel Escobar and James Loney, they are not amazing hitters but good enough. Not to mention the major upgrade of Kelly Johnson at second. This team will have more than enough offense to give their pitching wins. And lets not forget, they added maybe the best prospect in all of baseball in Wil Myers.

With Longoria, Jennings and now Myers you have a POTENT 3 bats that can hit for average and power. While the staff keeps throwing up zeros… It will be close, it’s the AL east, but the Rays experience and talent take the division this year.

How To Win At Fantasy Football

We play to win. For all fantasy football players, this is the sole purpose of our existence: We play to win. Unfortunately, winning in this complicated game is not as simple as the experts would make it seem. It is an ongoing struggle, starting from round one of your draft, and continuing every single week until the very last point is scored.

The most crucial step in your journey towards winning your fantasy football league is having a strong draft. This can only be accomplished through thorough research; whether that consists of eyeballing your own statistics or reviewing the opinions of the experts, is up to the player. Having a strong draft is about more than knowing whether you’re drafting Michael Vick or Adrian Peterson with the first pick. Have a list of potential “sleepers” handy; these are the guys that could lead to a championship.

Once you have a team assembled, it is important to regularly troll your league’s free agent pool. There will be gems to be found once the season is underway. As stars succumb to injuries, backups will become key starters in your lineup. Check the waiver wire every day, and be sure your team is the first grab to these unsung heroes.

Trading takes practice. Negotiating is a skill you must develop through repetition. Overvaluing your players can be helpful in convincing another player that what you have is what they need. Additionally, studying the needs of other teams in your league as compared to your own resources is key. Don’t offer someone Steven Jackson for Matt Schaub if he has a backfield committee consisting of Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner; he has no reason to accept this trade. But if you happen to notice that his trio of wide receivers is headed up by someone like Sidney Rice, maybe an offer of Steve Smith or Mike Wallace for Schaub is something he would consider.

These strategies and more will help you to dominate your league. Whether you win or lose, continuing to practice is crucial; before long, a well-designed strategy will translate to wins.

The Questions Around Victorino Over Castillo

The Red Sox announced that prized outfield free-agent acquisition Rusney Castillo will be sent down to the minors, after signing a 7-year contract this offseason.

Thinking along the same lines as the Kris Bryant situation, I was intrigued to see what the Red Sox were willing to do with their crowded and talented outfield also. They seem stacked with talent out on the grass, but the lack of minor league options left the future look murky.

Personally, no offense to Victorino, but I would have loved to see him packaged with a low-end prospect to get our hands on some younger relief or starting pitching.

Teams like the Mets seem eager to ditch some pitching and the Red Sox could use the extra hands. Dillon Gee was a name thrown around early and seems to make sense to add to a particularly unspectacular starting rotation.

For the record, I am still fully against dishing our “high end” prospects on a guy like Cole Hamels; however, the concept of adding one more proven arm to the mix sounds like a winning idea.

Victorino is still a massive question mark anyway. He is batting below .200 Although the best baseball bats are always for him and is still recovering from a back surgery in the offseason, which only makes me more skeptical that he can make an impact for more than ½ a season. I don’t know what he may have said to ownership to get him so much faith, but as a fan, I’m starting to lose it.

At his best, Victorino is a post-season contributor. He is dangerous on the base paths and can pepper the wall when he wants, but then why did we spend so much money to have to best outfield at the AAA level? Castillo joins defensive juggernaut JBJ and our other decent prospect Bryce Brentz to… well, I’m not sure exactly.

If the Red Sox’ goal is to win every AAA game, then they have definitely shown that they have the pockets to do so.

What was spring training but a reason to showcase some talent?

Allen Craig is a starter on a lot of teams, despite having a horrible end of last season, so why didn’t we move him?

His salary is slightly higher than most teams would take on, but if the outfield is so crowded, then why bother keeping him?

Nava is out of minor league options and carries a left-handed bat to bring to the bench that the Red Sox could greatly use, so he is valuable to the team.

Mookie locked down center field, and there’s no surprise that Hanley won left field, so why in the world are we taking a shot on a rehab starter?

Castillo is supposed to be the future of our outfield, no matter where he ends up playing, but he’s not a 19-year old prospect like Kris Bryant. Castillo is 27, and showed up in a big way this spring, putting up José Abreu numbers. At a similar age as Abreu, how long is that window open? If Victorino is out of minor league options, then he is just the odd man out in a system that is a little too stacked on the grass.

In short, out with Victorino, in with Castillo. If there was ever a time to cash in on a hot bat, its when the lineup includes Hanley, Pablo, Ortiz, Napoli, Pedrioa, and Betts.

Fantasy Football Guide

How To Manage Your Fantasy Football Team

In order to be successful in fantasy football, you have to understand that in-season management is the number one priority. The draft is important, but overrated when it comes down to who is going to win your league. When it’s time for the draft, keep in mind that it’s creating value for your team, not getting the best available player at a specific position. For instance, if you already own Drew Brees and Ryan Fitzgerald is available, you take Ryan Fitzgerald. You don’t take Cedric Benson because you need a RB. You can always trade Fitzgerald for a much better RB than Benson.

As far as in-season management goes, you need to be an absolute maniac with the free agent list. You must track every player. When you see a skilled player get an opportunity, you must put in for him before your opponents. Look at Jamaal Charles in 2010 as an example. Even when you don’t need a player, you should pay attention to the free agent list. This way you can steal players that your competitors need. For instance, if someone in your league is desperate for a QB and Curtis Painter just became available, you should grab him even if you don’t need him. This is called playing defense in fantasy football.

Fantasy Football: Tips, Tactics, And Advice

Fantasy football has quickly become one of the favorite pastimes of many people. It is something that people hold parties around and gather each year to participate in. Some people have even made new friendships with people that they would have never known if it weren’t for fantasy football. Given all of these good things that the game does, you probably are interested in playing. However, most of us are not just interested in playing, we also want to know the ways in which we can win. After all, what is the point of doing something like this if you aren’t going to do it well.

Fantasy football is a game that requires you to have the most knowledge. That is knowledge that you are able to collect about players, teams, injuries, and more. The more information you gather, the better the edge you will have against the others. At the same time that you are doing all of this, you also might be interested in looking at some of the blogs and other information that is dedicated to fantasy football. With access to this kind of information, you are sure to gain the knowledge that you need to make the right moves in your fantasy football league.

How To Put Together A Winning Fantasy Football Team

The starting lineup for your Fantasy Football Team is down right the most important. No matter if you’re drafting a Quarterback or Running Back first you need to position yourself down the stretch to be able to draft some other great players down the stretch. Your starting lineup is as equally important and the players you have for your bench. You will never know when they come in handy.

Whether it’s from someone on your team getting hurt and you need another player to fill its spot. Or if the case is that the team of the player you have isn’t playing that week do to a bye game, you need to have another player to fill his spot. You can then take a player that’s already a backup for you or go out and grab a player right from free agency.

The problem with free agency is that after the initial draft, most of the players remaining would there because of being dropped because of injuries or simply because there not starters for any team and therefor no a very good football player. I prefer to pick either a Quarterback or a Running Back first, depending on which league I’m in. These are what I believe to be the two top dynamic positions in playing Fantasy Football.