Initially built by NASA to set lines for the Las Vegas casinos in the late 50’s (who do you think funded the Apollo missions? The government? It was the mob…), The Sin City Betbot 6000 calculated lines for over 30 years. The Betbot was given various upgrades through the years, not always with the best equipment, but he was very good at setting lines, and living the good life.
The Betbot was de-commissioned in 1990 after San Francisco destroyed Denver in the Super Bowl. The 45 point spread simply fried a number of the Betbot’s wires and he retired. The Betbot was discovered by Fantasysharks.com and retooled to give fantasy advice. He lives now to help your team with deeper sleepers to start each week.
The Betbot’s column is transcribed each week by Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls, because, “Typing is a dame’s BZZZT job.”
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This being the first deeper sleeper column of the year, I’d like to talk a little bit about the early season jitters. People just get ka-razy with week 1 results and every fantasy site on the ‘net is going to preach the common wisdom of patience. As I do every year, I advise you to ignore what everyone else is doing and get to work re-tooling that lineup. Just like in the real NFL, a fantasy team that starts out with a 0-2 record is in some deep, deep doo-doo. If you find yourself staring at a poor week 1 performance, you need to start planning your replacements NOW so that by the time your worst fears come true, you have a backup plan in place. Don’t get nuts…BZZZT… and go trading away Shaun Alexander, but start to shape your bench players with an eye towards replacing studs who are off to shaky starts.
Many people ask me how long to wait until you make a roster move, and my answer is always the same – two weeks. In a 14 week fantasy season, we don’t have time to be fooling around with underperformers, regardless of their draft pedigree. Maybe a star player is dinged up (Steve Smith), or maybe a player isn’t in as good a position as you thought (Wali Lundy), or maybe you just overrated a guy (Randy Moss). Now is the time to stockpile the cheap talent off waivers that could become something special. Even if you wait a week to replace an underperforming stud, have somebody waiting on the bench now.
To clear some roster space, I recommend dumping the second kicker and defense on your team; you don’t need them except for bye weeks. Even your RB handcuffs should be re-evaluated. One of the most common mistakes fantasy players make is backing up RBs without considering the relative value of the backup. For example, just because Larry Johnson is on your team doesn’t mean you run out and waste a roster spot on Dee Brown. Brown (or Michael Bennett) isn’t going to come close to Johnson’s value if LJ goes down. The key to stashing away a backup RB isn’t to hedge against injuries to your RB, it’s to populate your roster with solid backs who will be thrust into a good spot when the starter goes down. Without LJ, you’re in bad shape anyway – instead of wasting a roster spot on Brown, why not put somebody like Jerious Norwood on the bench? He’s in a great running system and if Warrick Dunn gets hurt Norwood’s value will skyrocket. The idea is to load your backup roster spots with good players that are an injury away from a great opportunity, not bad players that happen to be backing up your stars.
Here are some names to look at:
QB Matt Leinart – ARI – Everybody knows Leinart but in re-draft leagues he’s probably more available than the class nerd on prom night. Yes, he’s a rookie and yes, he’s got a lot to learn. But, consider that the starter in front of him, Kurt Warner, is old and injury prone. Also, the wide receiving talent in Arizona is one of the elite units in all of football. Plus, from what we’ve seen, Leinart is the most NFL-ready QB to come out of college in some time, and has the youth and mobility to survive behind the aptly named offensive line that the Cardinals trot out. Actually, this reminds me of an un-aired episode of Knight Rider I filmed during the show’s 4th season. In the episode, Garthe Knight obtains the wrecked remains of KARR and builds a robot to house his evil machine brain using the indestructible shell of GOLIATH. As it turns out, I guest starred as the GOLIATH/KARR hybrid robot. Now, bear with me. The genius in Knight’s plan is in recognizing that he had a massive talent being wasted due to wrecked physical components, and then re-deploying that talent …BZT…with a newer, abler body. Once Kurt Warner breaks something, Denny Green will be forced to realize the same thing about the Arizona offense. And that’s when fantasy waivers everywhere will erupt up in a bidding war on Leinart – except your league, where you’ll have Leinart ready to go.
Also, I should mention that David Hasselhoff is a good man – a good bleeping man. After we filmed Knight Rider, David and I became good friends – we were working on several projects together in the late ‘80s before I had my nervous breakdown. As you may remember, that TV period was filled with Knight Rider rip-offs, and a classy robot with charisma like me was perfect for a secret agent movie David and I collaborated on. Alas, it was not to be. I succumbed to the stress of super bowl wagering and David, of course, made Baywatch.
RB Najeh Davenport – PIT – This is a lot shallower than I usually go with my picks, but Davenport has been a regular selection of mine for several years now so I’m giving him one more nod. If you play in a fantasy league where Davenport is still available, now is the time to grab him. The Steelers love to run the ball, and Willie Parker cannot be counted on to carry it 30 times a game. So even though Parker isn’t a traditional injury risk (although he is a smaller back) – Davenport should still get to see the field enough to post some decent fantasy statistics. He’s a big back but with unusual quickness for a man his size, similar to Jerome Bettis. Of course, Davenport doesn’t have the Bus’ durability or his charm. On the other hand, Jerome isn’t likely to take a dump in your laundry. You can’t have everything.
RB Jerious Norwood – ATL – I hinted at Norwood in the intro, but just so you know – Warrick Dunn is 31 years old, and the Atlanta system has been great for running backs for years now. Norwood has already received some playing time in week 1 against Carolina, running 10 times for 66 yards. Should Dunn hit the brick wall many backs hit at his age, Norwood should become a solid RB in the same mold. The Falcons like Norwood so much they unloaded TJ Duckett on the Redskins to make room on their roster. You should follow their lead.
WR Bobby Wade – TEN – I thought briefly about Jerricho Cotchery here. But he scored a touchdown in week one. You know about him already. Bobby had a Confidence Index score of 1.457 in week 1…
Oh, wait, you don’t know about the Sin City Betbot 6000 Receiver Confidence Index yet? Well check out all you need to know by going here http://www.sincitybetbot.com/ci/index.html .
Got it? OK, so that’s Wade’s SCB6KCI…Let’s just call it his CI score. Well, 1.457 places Wade at number 27 for WRs, which is OK. And…BZZT… we all know that Drew Bennett and David Givens are there, so why Wade?
Well, first off, not only did he produce good results for Kerry Collins (4 first downs on 7 targets), he did it late in the game, in the fourth quarter. Crunch time. Yes, the defense was more worried about Bennett, Givens and Ben Troupe. Yes this all happened during a last minute scramble for a win while the Titans were behind late in the game…But guess what? The Titans aren’t very good (sorry Titans fans) and they’ll be in this situation a lot this year. If it doesn’t cost you, pick up Wade, keep him for a rainy day. He’s shown Collins he can be counted on. If Givens or Bennett go down, he’ll be their replacement. If you’re in a tough spot and the Titans are playing a high powered offensive team with defensive holes, give Wade a chance.
So long for now, and remember “Showgirls and gin my friends, showgirls and …BZT…gin.”