Brownie Points: A team that's more fiasco than fantasy - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Brownie Points: A team that's more fiasco than fantasy

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at jbrown5548@aol.com

Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:00 pm | Updated: 9:37 am, Mon Sep 19, 2011.

It's only Week 2 of the NFL season, and you think you have the worst fantasy team in the history of man. And you'd be wrong. So incredibly wrong.

The Tribune Football League (TFL) is more than two decades old. And for the first time ever my team, the twice champion Koffin Korners, had the No. 1 pick.

I should have quit after the coin flip.

Adrian Peterson was my first pick - he's still upright, but the first week wasn't promising.

Then I went for Peyton Manning, who at that time had played 200 straight games in the NFL and was questionable for the first week of the season. Two weeks and one cervical neck fusion later, I'm rooting for Colt McCoy against that defensive juggernaut, the Cincinnati Bengals, and Indy is angling for Andrew Luck.

Since I had Manning, I figured I'd grab Reggie Wayne in the third round. His quarterback is now Kerry Collins. I'd pray for a separated shoulder, but the Colts never give up a sack. Lovely.

Round 4? Know-show Moreno of Denver. The Week 1 returns were 22 yards and a hamstring injury that could make him questionable all year. And Bronco fans booed Kyle Orton?

Wait, it gets better. After a collection of truly mediocre pass catchers, I decided to get a jump on the rush and draft the first kicker.

My choice? Nate Kaeding of the high-powered Super Chargers. And on the opening play of the season against Minnesota - Percy Harvin takes Kaeding's kick back for a touchdown and Kaeding tears his ACL after making contact with ... absolutely no one.

It could have been worse, I guess: Kaeding could have fallen near the Vikings sideline and right on Peterson's knee.

So here we are. Tom Brady outscored my entire team by 30 points in Week 1. My new quarterback is Cam Newton. My new kicker's name escapes me. Moreno might as well be Manning.

Wayne might be the only guy more upset than me. And after years of believing that Rod Graves visited a nearsighted palm reader the night before free agency and drafts, I'm figuring out that this GM thing can really give you a headache.

 

The usual suspects

Here's a stunner: ESPN reported this week that Suns owner Robert Saver - er, Sarver - and Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert were taking the hard-line stance when it came to a hard salary cap and made sure one of the last chances to start the NBA season was an air ball.

Gilbert lost LeBron James to a super team in Miami, and then promised the Cavs would win a title before the Heat. His only chance to make that boast come true comes with a hard cap and a WNBA pay scale.

As for Sarver, he has deftly disemboweled a championship team and sold off most of its draft picks since taking over. The Suns have two choices in rebuilding - open up the checkbook or force everyone else to close theirs. Guess which one appeals to Planet Orange?

Of course, it's equally shocking that it's Jerry Buss of the Lakers and James Dolan of the Knicks who want to reserve the right to spend $150 million and build a fantasy team with revenue streams their opponents can only dream about. Heck, if the Knicks sign two or three max players, they might even contend one year.

I will agree with those who feel the NBA's competitive gap is out of control and the financial model needs to be fixed. As soon as it is, ticket prices need to be slashed.

But to get every last nickel and dime from the players at the expense of deep-sixing an entire season is short-sighted and suicidal. And you can bet Sarver and Gilbert will be the last two owners talked in off the ledge.

 

Quick Hitters

• Neither side is talking, but if reports are to be believed, the Coyotes have a problem on their hands with center Kyle Turris. Turris is a bright young talent. He seemed to find his stride as the season wore on and blossomed in the postseason. But to go from $800,000 to between $3 million-$4 million a year (Turris' demands, according to ESPN.com's Scott Burnside) is unrealistic and, if true, might be a power play on his part to get out of town.

On a team in desperate need of offense, especially down the middle, Turris has been frustrated with his inability to crack coach Dave Tippett's lineup for two years. And after watching Ilya Bryzgalov get his way and his money in Philadelphia this summer, Turris could be trying to skate down the same path.

Cardinals 24, Redskins 21: This one has all the earmarks of a problem game for Arizona. The Redskins looked good last week in beating the Giants. It's a personal game for ex-Cardinal Tim Hightower, and Washington will give him a chance to make an impact with a ground-based attack.

Plus, the Cardinals are on the road, back East, where they still have something to prove. They beat the Panthers in the 2008 playoffs, but Carolina has won, what, one game since then? And Charlotte isn't Washington or Philly or New York. It shares a time zone, but that's about it.

But I like what the Cardinal offense has to offer and Cam Newton gave the defense a nice 422-yard wake-up call without the sting of a defeat. And while Rex Grossman was Good Rex against the Giants, Bad Rex is never far behind. That and a Jay Feely field goal could be just enough.

Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at jbrown5548@aol.com

 

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