Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fantasy football: Eagles are fantasy gold

Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy (25)

Entering the NFL season the Philadelphia Eagles had the potential to be fantasy football gold with new coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo philosophy and style of play.
And coach Kelly did not disappoint anyone who grabbed Eagles players in their fantasy football drafts.
I know I’m extremely psyched since I have Philadelphia back LeSean McCoy and receiver DeSean Jackson in three of my six leagues.
McCoy ended up with 184 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. Jackson had seven receptions for 104 yards and touchdown. Tight end Brent Celek also produced with two receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Michael Vick wasn’t a dominating force out there but he produced some decent stats too, most notably in the touchdown department. He threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 54 yards and had a rushing touchdown.
Now, if only these guys can stay healthy for 16 games......

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fantasy Football: Eagles back McCoy stock rising

As the opening day for the NFL's regular season approaches and the prreseason winds down, many fantasy football leagues are anticipating last-minute drafts.
I have had two drafts already with four drafts coming up over the next six days ( three online and one live draft on Labor Day that involves current and former members of the New Haven Register sports staff).

As the preseason winds down the stock of NFL players always rises and drops as the NFL playing environment comes into focus. What has drawn my interest recently is the rising stock of Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy and I am planning on drafting him if the other elite backs (and Calvin Johnson) are gone in my upcoming drafts.

In July and early August McCoy was being drafted late first round to middle second round. Now, in many drafts he is among the top five backs taken. At MockDraftCentral.com, McCoy's average draft position has dropped to 11th overall but he has been taken as low as No. 5 to as high as No. 17.

There are durability concerns since he was plagued by injury last season (concussion late in season) and he tweaked his knee early this preseason. According to the Eagles' website the knee injury was minor. Last season he struggled with 840 yards rushing and two touchdowns. There are also concerns backup Bryce Brown will get his share of touches, although he had some fumbling issues last season.

A big plus for McCoy this year is new coach Chip Kelly who believes in an up-tempo offense with plenty of option scenarios. The big plus with McCoy is he can help you in both standard and point-per-reception leagues with his ability to catch the ball.
I see McCoy getting back to form and rushing for around 1,400 yards and 10 TDs and 50-60 receptions for 350-400 receiving yards.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fantasy Football: Register ramps up coverage this season; get the edge for your draft

The New Haven Register and its nationwide newspaper group 21st-Century Media/Digital First Media is ramping up its fantasy football coverage this season.
One feature for fantasy football team owners to key on for some in-depth advice is the weekly Fantasy Football Lunchtime Chat held on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. The chat is conducted through our Michigan newspaper group with fantasy football experts Drew Ellis of the Oaland Press and Don Gardner of the Macomb Daily with yours truly serving as the third host.
The first chat was held on Wednesday (Aug. 21) and you can access the complete transcript at the following link: http://bit.ly/1arbpjk

Various subjects were discussed to help fantasy football owners get the edge in their upcoming league drafts from sleepers and injuries to what round is the most advantageous in drafts this season.

Throughout this week the New Haven Register has been publishing my top 10 fantasy football rankings with a different position published each day. My overall top 50 ranking (all positions combined) will be published on Sunday.

Here are the links to the top 10 rankings published through Thursday:

Top 10 quarterbacks: http://bit.ly/16H47GP

Top 10 running backs: http://bit.ly/13KFCTd

Top 10 receivers: http://bit.ly/13OLTgM

Top 10 tight ends: To come

Top 10 kickers: To come

Top 10 defenses: To come

Dan Nowak is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and has been covering fantasy sports for over 20 years. He won the FSWA Insiders Fantasy Football League national championship in 2010.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fantasy Football: Nowak's first draft of the season was challenging

I participated in my first of six fantasy football drafts on Monday night, the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Insiders Fantasy Football League, and as it always is with my fellow fantasy sports experts at the FSWA, it was a challenge. Among the fantasy football experts in my league are Jamey Eisenberg of www.cbssports.com and Mike Barner of www.Rotowire.com.

The FSWA Insiders Fantasy Football League is comprised of 60 members of the association who are split up into five 12-member leagues. It is a point-per-reception league. No one has won the national championship in this tough league more than once and I plan to be the first. I won the championship in 2010.

The playoffs for this expert league are a little more complex than your normal playoff system, as it should be with its high level of competition, using both rotisserie style (total accumulated points) and head-to-head style.
After11 weeks of head-to-head play, the top two teams from each of the five divisions with the best record and the top two scoring teams (two per division) advance ro the playoffs. In the playoffs, each team starts with their average score from the regular season. In weeks 12-14 there is a rotiisserie format with your total points added to your score. After week 14 the top four teams with the most accumulated points advance to a two-week (weeks 15-16), single-elimination four-team head-to-head tournament to determine the champion.
Whew...sounds more complicated than it really is folks.

Anyway, as it happens with me sometimes, there was a glich in the drafting of my team and it happened in the coveted first round where I had the 10th pick overall. I wanted to select LeSean McCoy but inadvertantly hit the wrong button and ended up with quarterback Drew Brees. A mistake, but it is a mistake I can live with since he is the No. 1 ranked QB in my Top 10 QB ranking list (see links to my Top 10 rankings below).
My second pick was receiver Brandon Marshall and by the third pick I was desperate for a quality back and went with my 2013 sleeper Giants back David Wilson. My fourth pick was New England receiver Danny Amendola and I took a chance with my fifth pick and went with Patriots injured tight end Rob Gronkowski.
In our league, we have a flex position where you can plug in a back, receiver or tight end.
My next two picks, to cover myself if Gronkowski misses the first four games, I went with Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley and in the seventh round I went with another tight end, Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham.
The challenge with this draft is it is the only one I'm in where there are 20 rounds. After the 12th round, it gets pretty dicey trying to find quality players in any draft.

But as it turned out, I'm fairly happy with my team:

QB: Drew Brees
RB: David Wilson, Ahmad Bradshaw
WR: Brandon Marshall, Danny Amendola, Miles Austin
TE: Jermichael Finley (if Gronkowski is out)
K: Phil Dawson
Def/Special teams: San Francisco
Flex: Jermaine Gresham.

QB: Carson Palmer
RB: Danny Woodhead, LeGarrette Blount, Daniel Thoams
WR: Jacoby Jones, Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes
TE: Rob Gronkowski (starts if healthy)
K: Stephen Gostkowski
D: Giants (my last pick of the draft)

Links to Dan Nowak's Top 10 fantasy football rankings:

Quarterbacks - http://bit.ly/16H47GP

Running backs - http://bit.ly/13KFCTd

Receivers - http://bit.ly/13OLTgM

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fantasy Football: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks

As the NFL regular season draws near so does the fantasy football season and team owners are searching for anything that will give them an edge in their upcoming league drafts.
Over the next seven days, starting today online and in the New Haven Register on Sunday, my Top 10 rankings for all six positions followed by an overall top 50 ranking (all positions combined) will be published.
Each player will be analyzed with a comment posted for each one explaining why he is among my top 10.
First up will be my rankings for the top 10 quarterbacks followed by running backs, receivers, tight ends, kickers, defenses/special teams and then the overall top 50 will conclude the series Aug. 25.
There are obviously the no-brainer rankings with Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson and New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham the No. 1 picks for their positions. But you will always find a player or two or more among my top 10 rankings that you don't find in most rankings. These are the players to key on and take advantage of in your drafts.
Here is a link for the Top 10 Quarterbacks - http://bit.ly/19qj12x

By the way, I've been writing about fantasy sports about 20 years, I'm a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and in 2010 I won the FSWA insiders Fantasy Football League championship, a league comprised of 60 fantasy football experts nationwide.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NO FANTASY: Keno a good bet for Connecticut

As the gambling writer for the New Haven Register, during the past 15 years, with an economy that has produced more lows than highs, I’ve written several columns stating that some day the expansion of gambling in Connecticut was inevitable with the high volume of revenue at stake.
Maybe it would mean tweaking the current revenue deal with the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos to allow for the expansion of video slot machines in the state. Maybe it would be offering online sports betting or even a state-run Keno operation.
You’re living in a fantasy world local and state gambling officials and politicians would tell me.
I remember several scheduled 10-minute one-on-one interviews with then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal over the years that would turn into 30 and 45 minute discussions about how I thought expansion of gambling made sense and how he was against that and believed it would never happen.
Fantasy is suddenly becoming reality.
Last winter the state gave approval for Sportech Inc., which operates Connecticut Off-Track betting, to operate an online horseracing operation, which is expected to launch soon. Sure, it’s not a full blown online sports wagering operation with betting on football, baseball, basketball, and soccer games, similar to what Sportech operates in Europe. But online horse wagering is certainly an online sports betting operation.
And oh yeah, online horse wagering is legal.
Late Monday night, the state Legislature approved a two-year state budget that includes a state-run Keno operation. Massachusetts is a good example of why a Keno operation is more than just a quick-fix revenue item for our state.
I’ve lived in Connecticut for nearly 30 years but I was born and raised in Adams, Mass. Most of my family still lives in Massachusetts including my sister and her family who have lived on Cape Cod for nearly 30 years.
One of the fringe benefits of visiting family in Massachusetts is being able to bet a buck or two on Keno games at restaurants or bars.
One reason I always suggested a state-run Keno operation would be good for Connecticut is its popularity I experienced in Massachusetts. The revenue numbers are also impressive.
Keno was made legal in Massachusetts in 1993, a year after Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard opened.
Keno involves selecting 1-12 numbers a game for a $1 minimum bet with a computer randomly selecting 20 winning numbers from a field of 80 numbers. The results are displayed at monitors throughout the hosting venue.
The more numbers you play the more chances you have to win and bigger amounts can be won (although your odds increase dramatically with the more numbers you play). In Massachusetts, if you play 12 numbers and all 12 numbers appear within the 20 that are drawn, you win a million dollars. But you can play any amount of numbers, even 1 or two numbers (play one number for a $1 and you can win $2.50 if it is drawn).
But here are the numbers that count.
In fiscal year 2012, according to the state’s official web site wwwmass.gov, the Massachusetts Lottery produced $4.74 billion in revenue. The biggest contributor was instant games, which accounted for 68.6 percent ($3.251 billion) of that total revenue.
The second highest contributor of the total revenue, a little less than 20 percent, was Keno with $790.4 million of revenue.
Keno revenue might not get near $790 million Connecticut. But I think $450 million or $500 million is certainly possible.
The interesting thing is with online horse wagering and Keno soon to be available in Connecticut, can a state-run video slot machine operation be far behind? With casinos approved for Massachusetts and being discussed in Maine and New Hampshire, would the state consider allowing a third casino in Connecticut, likely privately owned and not on the site of sovereign land?
More fantasy? Maybe, maybe not.
FYI: Here is the link to the official Massachusetts press release breaking down the lottery revenue for fiscal year 2012 - http://1.usa.gov/PvZm81

Friday, May 17, 2013

PREAKNESS STAKES POLL: Vote for who will win the Preakness

The 138th Preakness Stakes is Saturday and eight horses will be trying to beat Kentucky Derby winner Orb and prevent him from having a shot at the Triple Crown. VOTE below for who you think is going to win the Preakness. FInal results will be available when voting ends at noon on Saturday and we'll release the results soon after.
ALSO, be sure to check out my Preakness column and video for my take on how to bet the Preakness at this link - http://bit.ly/10CC96h .

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Friday, May 10, 2013

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE WRESTLING: Exhibition to be held at Niagara Falls

Fantasy sports of a different nature as things could be getting a little steamier than usual in late May at Niagara Falls.
According to a report by the Associated Press, female wrestlers from the United States, Canada and the Ukraine will meet at Niagara Falls for an exhibition meet later this month.
In an attempt to promote the sport on an international scale, Wrestling Canada announced today (Friday) that the three countries will face off in matches on May 31 in what has been called “The Battle At The Falls.” The meet will take place on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
The AP report goes on to say the female wrestling tri-meet actually mirrors an upcoming exhibition between the U.S., Russian and Iranian men’s teams set to be held on May 15 in New York City.
The demonstration is designed to wrap up a monthlong push to promote the sport internationally by FILA, wrestling’s governing body, in the wake of the IOC’s recommendation that the sport be cut from the Olympics.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013


The ECAC men's hockey best-of-3 series continues with a pair of local Game 2's tonight. VOTE below who you will think will win tonight. Results will be announced here and via Twitter at 6 p.m. tonight. No. 1 Quinnipiac hosts Cornell tonight at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden, CT. Cornell def. Quinnipiac 3-2 in Game 1 on Friday. No. 13 Yale hosts St. Lawrence tonight at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, CT. Yale def. St. Lawrence 6-1 on Friday in Game 1. Who will win Game 2 tonight between Quinnipiac and Cornell? Vote until 6 p.m. tonight Who will win between Yale and St. Lawrence tonight? Vote until 6 p.m. tonight

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winners Connecticut OTB offers $20,000 contest

When Sportech Inc. took over the Connecticut Off-Track Betting operation two years ago, officials at the time made it clear it was going to be extremely customer friendly and make the OTB experience an exciting one for its fans.
Sportech, which has re-branded its Connecticut operation that is now called Winners Connecticut OTB, continues to make good on that promise. It has announced it will offer the $20,000 Winners Palm Beach Kennel Club Challenge, a greyhound handicapping tournament series that will begin Saturday. Winners Connecticut OTB has partnered with the Palm Beach Kennel Club, one of the premier live greyhound racing venues in Florida, to provide the $20,000 event that will consist of two individual greyhound handicapping events overall - a $10,000 event Saturday and another $10,000 event on Dec. 14.
Cash prizes will be paid out to the top 10 contestants who have accumulated the most earnings. First place prize is $5,000 followed by $1,500, $1,200, $800, $500 and $200 each for 6th through 10th place.
Patrons can participate at any of the 15 OTB sites in the state, including Sports Haven, Milford OTB, East Haven OTB and the Shoreline Star in Bridgeport, or through the Winners Connecticut OTB telephone wagering system.
The entry fee to play is only $20 with the fee used to make your handicapping contest wagers that are limited to win, place, show or quiniella bets. Fans who register by Friday for the first event will get a free $10 betting voucher. If you enter by phone an additional $10 will be added to your phone account.

The event is open to customers aged 21 and over. Greyhound racing fans living outside Connecticut can participate in the contest by calling 800-468-2260. Winners Connecticut OTB also offers telephone wagering services to customers in Arkansas, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
For more information and to register online, go to www.MyWinners.com.

In addition to giving its OTB customers a handicapping contest, over $3 million was invested in upgrading every OTB venue in the state in 2012 and renovations continue today. A month ago Sportech also announced that starting in April Winners Connecticut OTB will offer online horse wagering.

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