Thursday, September 29, 2011

Battle for the Best in the Midwest; #8 Nebraska vs. #7 Wisconsin (Game Preview)

By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

For the first time since 1962 (#3 Wisconsin vs. #5 Minnesota), two top-ten teams will face-off at Camp Randall Stadium. The highly anticipated game between the #7 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0) and #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0) will be under the lights as the prime-time game on ABC with the help of ESPN College GameDay.

The battle for the Best in the Midwest contains more story lines than As The World Turns, and just might have as many followers as the popular soap opera. Nebraska fans are on a mission to scoop up as many tickets as they can to watch the favorite team in their Big Ten debut while the Badgers fans try to embrace a team who just might have a shot at a national title.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Badgers LB Chris Borland Knows the Defense is “Ready” for Big Ten Play



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Chris Borland is one of the undisputed leaders of the seventh ranked defense in the country. The sophomore Borland leads the unit with 35 tackles and five tackles for loss through their first four games.

The defensive unit has been great at keeping points off the board as they rank third in the nation while allowing only 8.5 points per contest. Borland is aware that the Badgers will be tested by the #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten season opener, but he’s pretty sure the defense is ready for the test.

“I think we’re ready, we had a rough start in week one, but since then we’ve worked hard. We have our fundamentals down and we have a good base going in Big Ten play,” said Borland after the team’s 59-10 win over South Dakota.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football Awards (Week Three)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

America’s favorite game is back and The Sports Bank has you covered with the best and worst of what was Fantasy Football Week Three.

The year of the quarterback continues as seven of the top twelve fantasy performances were from signal callers. Through three weeks, having an elite fantasy QB just isn’t necessary.

Follow the jump to receive up-to-date fantasy analysis and the best waiver wire pick-ups for week four!

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Week Three Monday Night Heroes


By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Lots of media outlets are calling NFL's Week Three "Upset Week," but can we really call so many games upsets. After only three games, I think it's really hard to start gauging what teams are elite and which ones are really bad. For instance, maybe the Bills really are better than the Patriots (have you seen the Pats' pass defense? absolutely horrendous). What about the Raiders over the Jets, is it really an upset when New York travels across the country to play in Oakland? Either way you look at it, teams are just starting to show us what their made of. In regards to fantasy, I think it really could be the same concept, so if you didn't have the week you hoped for, maybe possible Monday Night Heroes (MNHs) from the following game can give you a nudge in the right direction:

Washington Redskins (2-0) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) 7:30 PM CT (ESPN-HD)

*Scores are subject to change

1.) Free Victory (Tim Harwood) (2-0) vs. Dogfighters (Chad Breiby) (1-1)

Score: 87-71 Free Victory (FINAL)
Possible MNH's: N/A
Reaction/Prediction: Tim has done a great job at becoming the first team to officially move on to 3-0. He has QB Drew Brees (26 points) who's averaging a nice 25 fantasy points per contest. Every time the Saints play, it seems like it's going to be a shoot-out and that bodes well for Free Victory. On the other side, Chad moves to 1-2 despite a breakout performer in RB Darren McFadden (29 points) who looks like what we thought we would get in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately for Dogfighters, QB Michael Vick (8 points) is living up to his injury-prone designation as he followed up a concussion with a broken right hand (the non-throwing hand).

2.) Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (1-1) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merrill) (1-1)

Score: 92-61 Team McCarthy (31 point lead)
Possible MNH's: TE Jason Witten (Team Merrill)
Reaction/Prediction: Matt received some timely production from Colts RB Joseph Addai (14 points) in order to pull out to a sizable lead. Seth is obviously ailing from the Jamaal Charles loss, but now has a WR problem to deal with as well. While I love Witten (proj. of 15) on Monday Night, it's almost impossible that he goes for 32 points.

3.) Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (1-1) vs. Banana Fosters (Kari Klitzman) (2-0)

Score: 67-65 Team Lee (2 point lead)
Possible MNH's: WR Jesse Holley (Team Lee), K Dan Bailey (Team Lee), RB Felix Jones (Banana Fosters) and WR Kevin Ogletree (Banana Fosters) or RB Tashard Choice (Banana Fosters)
Reaction/Prediction: This has to be some kind of record for possible MNH's from a single team in a single match-up. Kari is dealing with some crazy injury issues, but seems to be one of the luckiest teams in our league. She has a shot at going 3-0 without two of her top fantasy draft picks in RB Arian Foster (hamstring) and WR Miles Austin (hamstring). There's a battle of the back-ups in this one as Holley (proj. of 5) and Ogletree (proj. of 6) will both try to make their respective fantasy teams proud. I'm giving Kari the slight edge in this match-up because she has either Jones (proj. of 5) or Choice (proj. of 3), the two who I feel are the best bet to get the most touches from a busy Dallas backfield on Monday. Isaac will make it close with a dangerous kicker in Bailey (proj. of 11) though.

4.) Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (0-2) vs. Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood (Nick Grays) (0-2)

Score: 87-77 Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood (10 point lead)
Possible MNH's: QB Rex Grossman (Team Szombatfalvy)
Reaction/Prediction: The Steelers D/ST (9 points) barely came through to help Mike in the Sunday Night game. Because of that, he really needs Grossman (proj. of 8) to step up against a decent Cowboys defense. For some reason, I think he should be OK to get at least 11 points out of Grossman, the Cowboys gave more than that up to Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith who are far from good QBs. Plus, Grossman is averaging 16.5 through two games, why such a dip in his projection?

5.) Arthur's Arsenal (Robert/Johnny) (2-0) vs. The Hellmuthinators (Rory Linton) (1-1)

Score: 118-80 The Hellmuthinators (38 point lead)
Possible MNH's: RB Tim Hightower (Arthur's Arsenal) and Redskins D/ST (Arthur's Arsenal)
Reaction/Prediction: I'm going to go out on a limb and say there's no way Hightower (proj. of 15) and the Redskins D/ST (proj. of 7) combine for the necessary 38 points to help Arthur's Arsenal reach 3-0. Just because it should be noted, Rory knew all along that Matthew Stafford (23 points) and Calvin Johnson (22 points) would bounce back from a horrible first half in Minnesota.

6.) Wizard Killer (Joe Selbo) (2-0) vs. Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (1-1)

Score: 117-95 Wizard Killer (22 point lead)
Possible MNH's: WR Dez Bryant (Wizard Killer)
Reaction/Prediction: Jason received balanced production, but it was no match for Wizard Killer and the record-tying performance they received from WR Wes Welker (34 points). Bryant (proj. of 14) has the opportunity to do the victory dance and catapult Joe's team past Rory, Robert and Johnny's shared team records of 122 points in one week. At 3-0, Joe is officially the best team in the fantasy league right now.

7.) Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-2) vs. Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (0-2)

Score: 60-49
Possible MNH's: RB DeMarco Murray (Team Grande), WR Santana Moss (Team Grande) and TE Fred Davis (Team Grande)
Reaction/Prediction: Nick has to be really frustrated with his fantasy team and slightly worried that he may fail to qualify for the playoffs for the first time ever. Grande should pass Team Lowenberg with Murray (proj. of 2), Moss (proj. of 11) and Davis (proj. of 7), but you just never know. In a weird coincidence, I think both Nicks will be 0-3, but Nick L. will get $5 for his record low input this week. (Note: Anthony has a chance to win the Pity Pot and Low Record which he already holds from his 71 on Week One).

What are your thoughts on this week's match-ups? Let me know by commenting below!

Green Bay Packers Beat the Chicago Bears, But in Ugly Fashion



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

For some reason, every time the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears meet at Soldier Field, it ends up being an absolutely ugly game that makes fans from each side very frustrated.

The 183rd meeting between division rivals was no different as the Packers (3-0) drudged out a 27-17 victory over the Bears (1-2) in a game which contained 17 total penalties and four turnovers.

Despite the ugly nature of the game, it didn't stop tight-end Jermichael Finley from having a beast of a game with seven catches, 85 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wisconsin 59 South Dakota 10: Rapid Reaction

By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Head Coach Bret Bielema has improved to 24-0 in regular season non-conference games as the #6/#7 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0) dismantled the South Dakota Coyotes (2-2) by the score of 59-10

Wide Receiver Nick Toon had a monster game with seven receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns in front of 78,880 fans at Camp Randall Stadium.

QB Russell Wilson was just as great as he became only the fourth signal caller in UW history to pass for over 300 yards in consecutive games.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Brewers Win NL Central and Become Must Watch TV for October


Brewers fans rejoice as your team is headed to the playoffs for only the third time in franchise history. Unlike 2008, this is no wild card berth, but rather a division title, their first since moving to the National League in 1997.

It’s been 29 years since the Brewers have won a division title, a feet they accomplished once before in 1982 when they took home the AL East crown.

“For us to win the division I think is a little more meaningful than winning the wild card. It really means a lot. It’s special,” said Ryan Braun who had the three-run home-run on Friday to propel the Brewers past the Marlins 4-1.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Friday, September 23, 2011

ESPN College GameDay Likely Visiting Madison for Wisconsin/Nebraska Game



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

According to Benjamin Worgull of Badgernation.com, there’s a “99 percent chance,” of ESPN College GameDay visiting Madison for ABC’s primetime match-up between the #6 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) and #9 Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-0).

The game will mark the Cornhuskers’ first-ever Big Ten game and it will most likely be the only match-up in the country between top-ten teams next week.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

South Dakota’s Coach Wants Russell Wilson’s Autograph (Video)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

To say the Head Coach of the South Dakota Coyotes (pronounced KI-Oats), Ed Meierkort knows the #6/#7 Wisconsin Badgers is an understatement. Meierkort coached at UW-Stout for 11 seasons and recently appeared in a youtube video explaining what his team can expect in their trip to Madison.

Follow the jump to hear some truly hilarious quotes from Meierkort in preparation for their battle with the Badgers.

Continue reading the article and watch the video by clicking here!

South Dakota, Not Your Typical FCS Foe for #6/#7 Wisconsin (Game Preview)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

For the sixth straight season the #6/#7 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) will face off with a college football team from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Last season’s FCS foe, Austin Peay, proved to be a walk-in-the-park as the Badgers thrashed the Governors in a 70-3 victory.

This time around, the Badgers welcome in the South Dakota Coyotes (2-1) for one last tune-up before the HUGE conference opener against Nebraska. Albeit a shared FCS designation, this South Dakota team is no Austin Peay and should prove a slightly tougher test for this year’s team.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wisconsin Badgers Wideout Nick Toon is a Rising Prospect



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Over the past decade, the Wisconsin Badgers have emerged as an underrated hot-bed for NFL talent in the Midwest. The Badgers ability to develop professional talent peaked in 2011 when two of their alumni were drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, the Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt (11th overall) and the Chicago Bears OL Gabe Carimi (29th overall).

Next in line for the Badgers in the NFL is senior wide-out Nick Toon. Just three games into the 2011 season, it appears imminent that Toon has the skills and big-play ability to become a main-stay on whatever NFL team calls his name in April of 2012.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football Awards (Week Two)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

America’s favorite game is back and The Sports Bank has you covered with the best and worst of what was Fantasy Football Week Two.

The quarterbacks continued to flash their brilliance, but it was the week of the receiver as three of the five top spots in fantasy went to those with the soft hands. After two weeks, we’re left asking ourselves if the running back position is the most important in fantasy anymore?

Follow the jump to receive up-to-date fantasy analysis and the best waiver wire pick-ups for week three!

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (9-19-11)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

If you’re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization, don’t worry, because The Sports Bank’s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what’s going on in the future.

And if you are one of those nerds, feel free to join in on some good old analysis of America’s pastime in the Brew City.

This week we discuss the National League MVP award, playoff scenarios and all the usual Brewers stuff!

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

2011 Week Two Monday Night Heroes


By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

So much for NFL offenses slowing down! The year of the quarterback continued as we saw guys like Tom Brady (28 fantasy points), Cam Newton (26), Matthew Stafford (25) and Jason Campbell (25) light up opposing defenses. Benefiting immensely from these QBs are their WRs as they grabbed the top three spots in fantasy through Sunday. If you have Miles Austin (32), Vincent Jackson (29) or Jeremy Maclin (29), you're most likely ballin. If not, maybe you have some possible Monday Night Heroes (MNHs) in the following game:

St. Louis Rams (0-1) vs. New York Giants (0-1) 7:30 PM (ESPN-HD)

*Scores are subject to change


1.) Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood (Nick Grays) (0-1) vs. Dogfighters (Chad Breiby) (0-1)

Score: 99-98 Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood (1 point lead)
Possible MNHs: RB Cadillac Williams (Dogfighters) and K Josh Brown (Dogfighters)
Reaction/Prediction: Another solid week from myself, but Chad's WR Vincent Jackson (29 points) and RB Darren McFadden (24 points) were sensational. Williams (proj. of 11) and Brown (proj. of 10) are automatic MNH's. As I move to the dangerous 0-2, I have to stay positive and focus on my next match-up with Team Szombatfalvy.

2.) Banana Fosters (Kari Klitzman) (1-0) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merrill) (1-0)

Score: 90-64 Banana Fosters (26 point lead)
Possible MNHs: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Team Merrill) and WR Hakeem Nicks (Team Merrill)
Reaction/Prediction: Deja Vu for Kari as she went into last week's Monday Night games with a 26 point lead. I'm not so sure she has the same luck this time around because Bradshaw (proj. of 16) and Nicks (proj. of 6) are two of the Giants best offensive weapons. The one thing Kari has going for her is that Nicks is going into the game with a bruised knee and is iffy whether he will be a factor or not. Seth had a bad day with Jamaal Charles going down with his torn ACL, so I think the fantasy gods keep him interested by giving him a win this week.

3.) The Hellmuthinators (Rory Linton) (1-0) vs. Free Victory (Tim Harwood) (1-0)

Score: 99-97 The Hellmuthinators (2 point lead)
Possible MNHs: WR Mario Manningham (Free Victory)
Reaction/Prediction: How about the play of Tim Harwood this year? He's two points away from moving to 2-0 and taking down arguably the best team in the fantasy league. If Nicks is hurt, as I talked about above, Manningham (proj. of 13) will be Eli Manning's main man tonight. I know it sounds crazy, but yes, this will be the third straight match-up this week featuring Monday Night Heroes.

4.) Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (0-1) vs. Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (1-0)

Score: 79-65 Team Szmanda (14 point lead)
Possible MNHs: RB Brandon Jacobs (Team Szmanda) and WR Mike Sims-Walker (Team McCarthy)
Reaction/Prediction: Unlike the previous three match-ups, this is where it gets interesting with opposing MNH forces happening at once. Jason holds the 14 point lead, but has Jacobs (proj. of 5) and must hold-off Matt's Sims-Walker (proj. of 9). I like projections in this one and think Jason really has no problem at coming out with the win. Moreover, I'm not so sure Sims-Walker has learned how to play with Sam Bradford and will help Matt win the Week Two Pity Pot.

5.) Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (0-1) vs. Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (0-1)

Score: 96-75 Team Lee (21 point lead)
Possible MNHs: WR Brandon Gibson (Team Grande)
Reaction/Prediction: Due to WR Brandon Lloyd's inactive status, Anthony was able to initiate a prayer with Gibson (proj. of 8) who goes up against a bad Giants secondary tonight. I've seen weirder things happen, but Isaac shouldn't worry much because his balanced attack of five double-digit fantasy players has him in a winnable position.

6.) Wizard Killer (Joe Selbo) (1-0) vs. Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (0-1)

Score: 74-70 Team Szombatfalvy (4 point lead)
Possible MNHs: QB Eli Manning (Wizard Killer)
Reaction/Prediction: If I was Mike, I would be very worried going into tonight. Manning (proj. of 10) didn't have the best week against Washington, but still posted 14 points. With Tim's Free Victory, Joe looks to be the second "auto-draft," team to move to 2-0. Maybe we all should have ESPN help us pick our teams. Mike should be rooting for Team McCarthy's Mike Sims-Walker to score more than five points, so that he can walk away with the $5 pity pot award.

7.) Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-1) vs. Arthur's Arsenal (Robert/John) (1-0)

Score: 122-98 Arthur's Arsenal (FINAL)
Possible MNHs: N/A
Reaction/Prediction: Lastly, we have our only match-up of the week not affected by the Monday Night game. Team Lowenberg is also the only team in the fantasy league to make the playoffs in each of the last four years, but has now moved to 0-2 and desperately needs a win next week (plays the expected 0-2 Team Grande). Kudos to Arthur's Arsenal for having a MONSTER week, it's a nice thing to see after their fantasy struggles in the last couple of years. RB Fred Jackson (25 points) looks poised for a breakout year with the Bills.

What are your thoughts on this week's match-ups? Let me know by commenting below!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wisconsin 49, Northern Illinois 7: Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The Soldier Field Showdown II quickly turned into the Soldier Field Beatdown as the #7/#8 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) flashed their offensive dominance in a 49-7 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies (1-2).

It's time to start calling QB Russell Wilson "Mr. Efficient" because the guy was almost perfect while completing 23 of his 32 passes for 347 yards, three touchdowns and just one late interception. Wilson also became the ninth quarterback in franchise history to eclipse the 300 yard mark and has transformed his self into a real Heisman candidate.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

2011 Fantasy Trade #3: Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood Finds That Lower Tier Running Back















By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

This is technically the third trade of the year, but the first trade involving actual fantasy players as the first two trades involved the swapping of draft picks. As publicized, I was looking for a running back to fill in for the ailing RB Steven Jackson and Banana Fosters (Kari Klitzman) had a few chilling on her bench for the right price.

Banana Fosters Received:
WR Malcolm Floyd
Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood Received:
RB Danny Woodhead

Banana Fosters Perspective: Like I said, Kari was in possession of three extra backs (a real gem in our a deep league) and desperately needed depth at the wide-receiver position. She's not quite sure if Dwayne Bowe is going to live up to his draft position (1 point in week one) and would like some insurance behind him. Floyd adds just that as he's the third option in the Chargers passing attack led by fantasy-stud Philip Rivers. He recently received the most targets in their week one match-up with the Vikings. This really was a perfect situation for Kari and a perfect example of why it never hurts to have too many running backs.

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood Perspective: Dealing with Steven Jackson's ridiculous situation (injured his quad after a 47-yard TD on his first carry), I was forced to turn to the waiver wire and found out that there are absolutely no running backs available. Moreover, I found out that I really was wrong about RB Ryan Grant because teammate James Starks does look like the better option. That leaves me with almost nothing at RB while Jackson is out (should be back in Week 3), so I made it an initiative that I would go out and get a lower tier RB. I made an offer for the New England Patriot, Danny Woodhead, because the team appears to have a very potent offense which could benefit my fantasy team.

Advantage: Banana Fosters for the simple fact that she is upgrading her bench while I'm desperately filling in my starting line-up with a lower tier RB.

Who do you think got the better end of the deal? Let me know by commenting below!

#7/#8 Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois (Soldier Field Showdown II): Game Preview



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

This weekend, the #7/#8 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) will play their first game of the season away from Camp Randall Stadium in the Soldier Field Showdown II versus the Northern Illinois Huskies (1-1). The first Soldier Field Showdown involved the Iowa Hawkeyes matching up with NIU in 2007 (won by Iowa 16-3).

Saturday’s match-up with the Huskies has a lot of interesting drama as first-year Huskies Coach, Dave Doeren, is the former UW Defensive Coordinator. Moreover, four of the five last match-ups between these two teams has been decided by eight points or less.

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football Awards (Week One)


America’s favorite game is back and The Sports Bank has you covered with the best and worst of what was Fantasy Football Week One.

The mothership (a.k.a. ESPN) wasn’t kidding when they said it was the “year of the quarterback.” Those who drafted QB’s early in their fantasy draft shouldn’t be critiqued as we saw four of the top five fantasy performances come from signal callers.

Follow the jump to receive up-to-date fantasy analysis and the best waiver wire pick-ups for week two!

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (9-13-11)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

If you’re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization, don’t worry, because The Sports Bank’s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what’s going on in the future.

And if you are one of those nerds, feel free to join in on some good old analysis of America’s pastime in the Brew City.

This week we discuss the Brewers unfortunate slide and upcoming series with the Rockies and Reds!

Continue reading the article by clicking here!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011 Week One Monday Night Heroes


By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack and it's time for another installment of your favorite fantasy feature, the Monday Night Heroes. It was a great opening Sunday and this Monday, we have not one, but two games for some possible jockeying to determine if your team starts 1-0 or 0-1. The following games contain the possible MNH's:

New England Patriots (0-0) @ Miami Dolphins (0-0) 6:00 PM (ESPN-HD)
Oakland Raiders (0-0) @ Denver Broncos (0-0) 9:15 PM (ESPN-HD)

*Scores are subject to change


The Hellmuthinators (Rory Linton) (0-0) vs. Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood (Nick Grays) (0-0)

Score: 116-79 The Hellmuthinators (37 point lead)
Possible MNHs: K Dan Carpenter (The Hellmuthinators)
Reaction/Prediction: This game is over, so you know what that means. Dan Carpenter (proj. of 5) can do his victory dance on an emphatic performance from Rory's The Hellmuthinators. I guess it really did mean something when I decided Rory had the "Best Draft." Lions dynamic duo of Matthew Stafford (22 points) and Calvin Johnson (20 points) were enough to do in my team as I was dealt a brutal blow after Steven Jackson (11 points) left the game after a 47 yard touchdown on his first carry. I can only imagine what could have been if he stayed in the game.

Team Merrill (Seth Merrill) (0-0) vs. Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (0-0)

Score: 83-57 Team Merrill (26 point lead)
Possible MNHs: WR Davone Bess (Team Merrill), K Stephen Gostkowski (Team Merrill), WR Brandon Marshall (Team Szmanda) or RB Michael Bush (Team Szmanda) and D/ST Raiders (Team Szmanda)
Reaction/Prediction: Jason currently sits in an odd situation as he is still in contention for a win or the weekly pity pot, but cannot have both. Seth's Davone Bess (proj. of 5) and Stephen Gostkowski (proj. of 9) should be enough to hold off Brandon Marshall (proj. of 11) and the Raiders D/ST (proj. of 6). However, I also think Marshall and the Raiders D/ST will do just enough to prevent Jason from winning the pity pot, in essence making it a disappointing night for Team Szmanda.

Banana Fosters (Kari Klitzman) (0-0) vs. Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (0-0)


Score: 84-58 Banana Fosters (26 point lead)
Possible MNHs: WR Brandon Lloyd (Team Grande) and D/ST Patriots (Team Grande)
Reaction/Prediction: Here's one of the more interesting match-ups of the night as Kari received solid production from Cowboys' Felix Jones (10 points) and Miles Austin (15 points) to pull ahead to a 26 point lead. Brandon Lloyd (proj. of 15) and the Patriots D/ST (proj. of 7) are projected to make it close, but let me tell you why they will not. The Broncos have a new coach who loves to run the ball, opposed to former head coach Josh McDaniels who made Lloyd a star in 2010, and for that reason, I think it's the running game who flourishes tonight. The Pats defense did put up 33 and 19 against the Dolphins last season and I can't really see that happening again, thus I like Banana Fosters to hold on by a sliver of luck.

Side-Note: Grande has an outside shot at the pity pot.

Dog Fighters (Chad Breiby) (0-0) vs. Wizard Killer (Joe Selbo) (0-0)


Score: 88-45 Wizard Killer (43 point lead)
Possible MNHs: RB Darren McFadden (Dog Fighters), RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Dog Figthers), WR Eddie Royal (Dog Fighters) and WR Wes Welker (Wizard Killer)
Reaction/Prediction: Wow, two Monday night games can make things so confusing. Chad has great players going tonight: Darren McFadden (proj. of 19), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (proj. of 13) and Eddie Royal (proj. of 10) while Joe deploys Wes Welker (proj. of 11). This could be a back-and-forth affair, but I'm going to give the slight edge to Joe just because I expect Wes Welker to receive a lot of targets. On the flip side, I could really see McFadden having a huge game, but I'll side with my initial impressions on this fantasy match-up.

Free Victory (Tim Harwood) (0-0) vs. Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-0)

Score: 77-72 Team Lowenberg (5 point lead)
Possible MNHs: WR Deion Branch (Free Victory), TE Rob Gronkowki (Free Victory) and WR Chad Ochocinco (Team Lowenberg)
Reaction/Prediction: Here's arguably the most intriguing Monday Night Heroes situation. Tim started out as the hottest team this week and looks to continue the trend with Deion Branch (proj. of 10) and Rob Gronkowski (proj. of 2). Meanwhile, Nick sends out sleeper pick Chad Ochocinco (proj. of 6) in an attempt to sneak out of week one with a win. I love Ochocinco's moxy and I feel he's a perfect Monday Night Hero, mark up Team Lowenberg for the win.

Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-0) vs. Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (0-0)

Score: 74-68 Team Szombatfalvy (6 point lead)
Possible MNHs: QB Tom Brady (Team McCarthy) or QB Jason Campbell (Team McCarthy), RB Knowshon Moreno (Team McCarthy) and RB Reggie Bush (Team Szombatfalvy)
Reaction/Prediction: Unless Reggie Bush (proj. of 14) goes Tedd Ginn (12 points) plus Darren Sproles (13 points) times two, I don't think there's anyway Team McCarthy goes down with the favorable Tom Brady (proj. of 18) and Knowshon Moreno (proj. of 16) set to be focal points for their respective teams. Let the champ be champ as Matt improves to 1-0 on the season.

Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (0-0) vs. Arthur's Arsenal (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-0)

Score: 93-73 Arthur's Arsenal (20 point lead)
Possible MNHs: K Sebastian Janikowski (Team Lee)
Reaction/Prediction: Barring a miracle, Arthur's Arsenal will enter week two with a perfect 1-0 record. Sebastian Janikowski (proj. of 10) may have been the best kicker last season in fantasy, but there's a slim chance he boots 20 or more fantasy points this week. If the Broncos can keep the Raiders from kicking field goals, Isaac could come out with the $5 pity pot.

Pretty good stuff huh? Let me know what you think by commenting below!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 0: Rapid Reaction



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The #8/#9 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) received an unbelievable effort from the defense in a 35-0 shut-out of the Oregon State Beavers (0-2) in week two of the college football season.

With the win, UW recorded it's first shut-out since the 2009 season when they blanked Purdue 37-0.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Game Preview: Oregon State at #8/#9 Wisconsin



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Saturday’s match-up between the Big Ten‘s #8/#9 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) and the Pac 12′s Oregon State Beavers (0-1) contains a team riding high and one riding very low.

The Badgers offense looked electric in a 51-17 win over the UNLV Rebels while the Beavers fell victim to one of those FCS Schools. To make matters worse, the 29-28 loss to Sacramento State occurred in Corvallis, in front of all the Beavers fans.

Even though Oregon State starts a handful of true freshman and are dealing with some banged up players, the Badgers can’t look past a Beavers team who wants nothing more than some redemption.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Packers Offense Shines in 42-34 Win over the Saints



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The Green Bay Packers opened the 2011 season with a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints in a game that has fantasy owners jumping with joy.

Aaron Rodgers showed no signs of slowing down from the Super Bowl season as he completed 27 of his 35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns.

Highlighting the Packers dominating offense was rookie wideout Randall Cobb who scored a receiving touchdown and also took back a record-tying 108 yard kick-off return for a touchdown.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Green Bay Packers Ryan Grant and James Starks; Who to Trust in Fantasy?



By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The Green Bay Packers running backs coach, Jerry Fontenot, dropped a bomb earlier this week when he alluded that one of their goals was to evenly disperse the amount of carries between veteran Ryan Grant and youngster James Starks.

For fantasy fans, it's hard to stomach that the Packers will now change to what has become an epidemic in the NFL, the halfback platoon. As a long-time follower of the Packers, I'll attempt to provide some insight on which running back will be more valuable to your fantasy team.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pittsburgh's Brock DeCicco Transfers to Wisconsin


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Head Coach Bret Bielema and the #8/#9 Wisconsin Badgers have added another transfer, this time for the 2012 season. Tight-end Brock DeCicco has decided to come over from the University of Pittsburgh after playing in 13 games for the Panthers in 2010.

DeCicco was initially recruited by Wisconsin and was named a SuperPrep and Tom Lemming All-American after being rated as the country's No. 7 tight end by Scout coming out of high school. He attended high school at Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania and red-shirted his first year at Pittsburgh in 2009.

“We’re very excited to bring Brock to Madison,” Bielema said. “We recruited him heavily out of high school and are thrilled he eventually ended up joining us. He will spend this year working on the scout team, getting accustomed to how we work at Wisconsin and we look forward to him contributing on Saturdays next fall.”

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Aaron Henry and the Badgers Know Where They Stand on Defense


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The Wisconsin Badgers 51-17 thrashing of the UNLV Rebels was full of offensive highlights, particularly from QB Russell Wilson in his Camp Randall debut. While Russell received most of the talk and deservedly so, the team's defense put forth a rather average performance.

When asked to "grade" his squad's performance, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland answered "I would give us a C. We didn’t do anything terribly bad, but we can tackle better."

Senior safety and team captain Aaron Henry concurred and attributed some of the defense's struggles to an unfamiliar pistol offense run by the opposing team.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (9-5-11)


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

If you’re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee BrewersOrganization, don’t worry, because The Sports Bank’s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what’s going on in the future.

And if you are one of those nerds, feel free to join in on some good old analysis of America’s pastime in the Brew City.

This week we discuss Prince Fielder free agent rumors, a final bout with the Cardinals and a huge series with the Phillies!

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Brewers George Kottaras Randomly Hits For The Cycle


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

The Milwaukee Brewers back-up catcher George Kottaras had a career night against the Houston Astros as he became the seventh player in franchise history to hit for the cycle.

Kottaras doesn't play a lot, but received the start on Saturday night because left-handed batters fare well against the Astros' Bud Norris. Kottaras is the first player in the MLB to complete the rare cycle this season.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17: Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Thursday's opener was a hot and muggy one, but the weather had no effect on the Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) who absolutely dominated UNLV (0-1) by the score of 51-17. The Badgers have now won 14-straight season-openers and improve to 21-0 versus non-conference foes under Head Coach Bret Bielema.

Russell Wilson's debut was everything we imagined it would be and more as he finished 10-for-13 for 255 yards and two touchdowns through the air. His impressive speed was also on display with 62 yards on the ground, including an electric 46 yard touchdown in the second quarter.

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Five Wisconsin Badgers to Watch Not Named Russell Wilson


By: Nick Grays, Senior Writer at The Sports Bank

Meaningful football has finally arrived as the #10/#11 Wisconsin Badgers face off with the UNLV Rebels in college football's kick-off special. All the off-season hoopla surrounding the Badgers has centered around NC State transfer and quarterback Russell Wilson.

If it's possible to look past Russell-Mania, there are some young and exciting players to watch on this Badgers squad. Wisconsin faces quite arguably the highest expectations in school history and these five players will be a huge part in getting this Badgers team to a BCS Bowl.

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