The Highs and Lows of the NFL

Being a kicker in the NFL is not an easy job, just ask Zane Gonzalez or Daniel Carlson. Both kickers are looking for a new home since being released after less than impressive performances in Week 2. Gonzalez missed 4 kicks during the Browns 21-18 loss, including 2 extra point attempts and a potential game-tying field goal late in the game. Carlson had an equally tough game, missing three attempts including two in overtime in the Vikings 29-29 tie against the Packers. Let this serve as a friendly reminder that kicking a football is not as easy as it looks.  Read more

Where do the Red Sox stack up against recent 100 win teams?

Last night the Boston Red Sox won their 100th game of the season. This is Boston’s fourth 100 win season in franchise history. The next best team in the MLB this year is the Astros with 92 wins (who also will likely eclipse 100 wins). Boston is tearing up the league and they still have 16 games to play. We are witnessing one of the best regular seasons of all time. That’s why I’ve decided to take a look at where the Sox place in among the last ten teams to win 100 games in the regular season.

10. 2008 Los Angeles Angels (100-62)

This team benefited immensely from playing the bulk of their schedule against a weak AL West division where the 79-83 Texas Rangers were the next best team. Of the last ten 100 game winning squads, the 2008 Angels had the worst run differential of +68 and only made it to the AL Divisional series in the 2008 playoffs. Read more

The Cleveland Browns had their best Week 1 in over a decade

The NFL season is officially in full swing, and that means that I’m back to giving you the weekly recap of some of the major headlines from the week that was. So don’t worry if you miss anything, I got you covered. Without wasting any more time, let’s get into it.

As crazy as it sounds, the Browns game was actually very entertaining to watch last week. After an 0-16 season, I wasn’t expecting to say that in Week 1, especially with Baker Mayfield still as the backup in Cleveland. Now look, I realize it ended in a tie, and yes the Browns had more than their fair share of chances to win this game, but despite everything, this is their best start to a season since 2004.

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Top 5 Most Overpaid Players Heading into the 2018 NFL Season

The 2018 NFL season is officially underway, but the last few weeks have seen a number of players making some trips to the bank after training camp. First, Odell Beckham Jr. hit the jackpot, securing a 5-year, $95 million dollar extension making him the highest paid receiver in league history. Not to be outdone, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers also agreed to a record-setting 4 year, $134 million dollar deal with over $100 million guaranteed. While some might argue that Beckham Jr. shouldn’t be the highest paid receiver, most people can agree that Rodgers deserves his payday. But with every good contract, there are some bad ones as well. With these huge contracts fresh in our minds, it’s time to take a look at the contracts that leave NFL fans scratching their heads.

5. Case Keenum (2 years, $36 million)

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BLS Fantasy Football League 2018

Preseason football starts this week, and that means that it’s time to get your notebooks out and do your research on who you want to lead your fantasy football team to another disappointing season. Let’s be real, any pick you make will always be the wrong pick. That’s just the beauty (or evil) of fantasy football, and no matter how much you hate it you just can’t quit.

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Ballantyne Bets

Hello folks, welcome to August, aka the climax of summer before reality sets back in. As a University student, the past number of months can be characterized as a combination of working (as a janitor, cha-ching) and mooching off my parent’s resources resulting in a semi-noticeable growth in my net worth – which really isn’t saying much. That being said, this month can be seen as the so-called “peak” before I return to school and my personal independence is a requirement once again. Being myself and the degenerate that I am, this is the sort of thing that I feel needs to be taken advantage of. Read more

Ujiri swings for the fences in Kawhi for Derozan swap

 

It’s been quite some time when the Toronto Raptors were the talk of an NBA offseason. This has been an absolute whirlwind so I’m just going to try and unpack my thoughts on here and see how I feel about the trade.

Why trade for 1 year of Kawhi Leonard?

The last NBA team to win the championship without having a top 10 player on their roster was the 2004 Detroit Pistons. The Pistons were not only an anomaly for that little piece of trivia, but they are one of the few modern NBA champions to build a starting unit consisting of five All-Star calibre players (Tayshaun Prince is the only one of the five to not make an All-Star team but his four all defensive second-team nods should give him a pass). You know… until this year’s Warriors…

When talking of Raptors championship aspirations these Pistons teams were kind of held up as a blueprint for how they could eventually topple the Warriors in the Finals (I think?). Well as constructed yesterday, the Raptors had two All-Stars in Lowry and Derozan, the ghost of Serge Ibaka, dinosaur center Jonas Valancunias and budding 3-and-D weapon OG Anonoby. While they supported that starting 5 with a very young and productive bench, this team clearly had a ceiling. A ceiling which was well below NBA champions and if that isn’t the end-goal then what the hell are we doing.

At his best Kawhi is a top-five player in the league that can dominate on both sides of the court. In my mind nobody in the league is as great of an option as the number 1 one shutdown defender on one side of the court while being a reliable scoring option on the other side of the court. Pairing Kawhi with Lowry and whichever young players remain when the dust settles raises the team’s ceiling immensely. The Raptors had one of the best benches in the NBA last year but if you can flip some depth for a legitimate star then you have to do it.

That being said trading for Kawhi Leonard is clearly a risk.

Kawhi has his warts

Now he could bounce for Los Angeles or New York in a year. Kawhi could be a diva from day one and refuse to listen to the Raptors brass. Some are suggesting that he might not be the same player as he was pre-injury. The doubters have a point in saying that the asking price is very hefty considering all of these red flags. But at a certain point you have to stop treading water and start to swim. Let’s just hope this trade doesn’t sink the Raptors.

 

It’s well worth the risk

At the end of the day I’m all in on this trade. Sometimes you have to give up Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to get Roberto Alomar. Without Lebron in the East it looked to be an arms race versus the up-and-coming Sixers and Celtics. But now the forever comfortable regular season Raptors of old have a legitimate claim at the NBA Finals.

While Kawhi might be a tough re-sign, keep in mind that a year ago people were already fitting Paul George for his Lakers jersey and when all was said and done George re-upped with the Thunder. Toronto is a hell of alot better of a city than Oklahoma.

Next year there’s no question that the Raptors will be better than last year. Kawhi for Demar is a huge upgrade and that’s not even a slight on DeRozan. Peak Kawhi is just that good. What is kind of lost in the trade is the fact that the Raps also picked up Danny Green who has shot a lifetime .395 from 3 and has suited up for 100 playoff games with the Spurs. With the additions of Green and Kawhi and the subtraction of Poeltl, the Raptors have an unbelievably versatile group who could see a bunch of their athletic wingers and forwards slide across three positions. This is a fun looking team who should now be the favourites in the East.

And if all else fails this move helps to kick start a rebuild that some people were calling for a year ago. If Kawhi walks then Toronto could finally just blow the entire thing up to get a shot at drafting lottery calibre players. I can’t stress enough that you can’t win without a superstar and this move more than anything else shows that the Raptors are going to make it happen whether it is now or down the road. A core of Lowry and DeRozan could clearly only take you so far.

Demar Derozan: The Quintessential Toronto Raptor

Now what shouldn’t be lost in this is that Demar Derozan has been a star both on and off the court for the city of Toronto. While at their peaks you can argue that Carter and Bosh were more effective players, Demar has worked his ass off since day one to be–in my mind–the face of this Raptors franchise.

Vince and Bosh each forced their way out of Toronto in situations that just were not handled well, but as time has worn on the nostalgia goggles have made the duo out to be champions for the city of Toronto.

When Derozan’s free agency hit in the summer of 2016, many thought he would bolt to his hometown LA Lakers. But he had built a home here in Canada and felt that the Raptors had some unfinished business (the money also didn’t hurt).

When all is said and done Derozan is Toronto’s franchise leader in games played, minutes played and points while making four all-star game appearances and two all-league teams. In my mind he is the best the franchise has had and it’ll be tough to see him go.

Bonus: THE BOYS ARE BACK

Image result for rudy gay demar derozan

Just watch. Pop is going to have this Gay-Derozan tandem popping like nobody ever knew was possible. Giddy up

 

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