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The Sin City BetBot Presents: GoldenLegs

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 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 Chris Dolfi, Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls, because, “Typing is a dame’s BZZZT job.”


Since it’s late in the season I’m only going to give you one player to pick up this week and then I’m moving straight into the …BZZT… feedback loop (after a plug for my awards show).


QB – David Garrard – JAX – In honor of the holiday season James Bond-a-thon, I’ve taken to calling David Garrard “GoldenLegs”.  Opportunities like this only come along once every few years – a player who can make a significant impact becomes available late in the season.  I’m not a big believer in the Jaguars passing game – other than Jimmy Smith they don’t have a go-to receiver.  But they do have a couple of young guys who can get up and make plays, notably Matt Jones, a rookie who has come on a bit lately.  So let’s call the passing situation here frisky – not so great that that you need to jump in on the backup QB immediately except for the…BZZT…  two most important indicators for hidden fantasy performance.  Anybody who’s been reading my column for any length of time understands that I go bezerk for 1) backup QBs who can run and 2) players with an easy schedule.  Here’s why:


In most leagues a QB running TD is worth 2 passing TDs, so a player like Garrard who can run one in on occasion is extremely valuable.  When it’s 3rd and goal from the 4 and everyone’s covered, even Peyton Manning throws it away – Garrard tucks the ball down and …BZZT… goes for broke.  And this isn’t even mentioning the number of called QB runs in the red zone, which are high percentage scoring plays because nobody expects them.  Now throw in the fact that he’s a backup, so defensive squads haven’t prepared for him yet, in addition to the fact that nobody has any expectations so he’s inclined to try to make a play where a starter would play it safe.  What does he care if it blows up in his face?  When Byron Leftwich gets back Garrard is back to holding a clipboard anyway.  I love guys who have nothing to lose.


Now, just having a running QB alone isn’t enough to make you pull the trigger on Garrard, but his upcoming schedule should.  As I told you last week, Jacksonville’s schedule is a fantasy playoff gold mine: @CLE, IND, SF, @HOU, TEN.  Nobody likes to talk about schedule strength because it’s the NFL’s dirty little secret.  But consider this: the Jaguars are a borderline playoff team going up against the two worst defenses in the league with their season on the line, during the fantasy playoffs.  SF and HOU are already mailing the season in – you think the stiffs on Houston’s defense are going to …BZZT… pay attention to game tape the week before Jacksonville comes to town? 


This is a golden opportunity, my loyal readers, a player with these skills with this schedule only comes along once every 5 years or so (think Aaron Brooks down the stretch in 2000).  Get yourself some GoldenLegs now.


The 2nd Annual BetBot Fantasy Awards Show

Speaking of golden opportunities, the 2nd annual BetBot Awards Show will be taking place in the coming weeks.  For those of you new to this event, I will present a list of nominations for my MVP and LVP award for each major fantasy position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, D/ST).  The voting for the winner in each category is handled by the members of our Shark Tank community – i.e. you …BZZT… knuckleheads.  So stay tuned, I’ll present the LVP nominations in week 15 and the MVP nominations in week 16, and you’ll get to make your vote and post comments in the forums.  It all culminates in week 17 with the …BZT… gala event; live from the Venetian Hotel and Casino right here in Las Vegas!  Even better, if you write something interesting I’ll mention your comment right here in my article!  So if you haven’t registered yet, get on it, the voting won’t last forever.


Feedback Loop


Dear BetBot 6K,


Any advice for roster moves down the stretch?  I’ve got decent depth at RB and WR but I still feel like leaving the Bucs D on my bench is a waste of space (I start the Bears).  Thanks!


Steve S., Georgia


One of the things I want to share with you is this very simple rule – You do not need more than one kicker or defense this time of year. Bye weeks are over, entire defenses do not get injured, and while kickers do get injured every once in a while – Neil Rackers, I’m looking in your direction– replacements are easy to find.


If you have 2 of either of these positions, drop them and get a skill player.


Handcuff your starting RBs!!  You’ve seen this advice before, and it’s repeated here because …BZZT…BZT… it’s great advice.  Now that you’ve made some roster space by cutting your back up kickers and team defenses – solidify what is most likely your league’s most important position.  I’m not a proponent of blindly stocking your roster with junky backups like Derrick Ward, but late in the season it’s better to back up your best players than stock up huge sleepers.  At this point in the season your roster should be pretty set, now is not the time to mess around.  The one thing guaranteed to kill your season is a major injury to your starting RB.


It would be horrible if your star RB got hurt and your competition happened to pick up his back up; this is a good move for your team and protects you against your enemy taking advantage of the same offensive line you’ve been milking all season. Not only does this help you sleep better at night, but these should …BZZT…be relatively easy players to pick up.


Got a mediocre QB backing up your superstar QB? Drop him too. Look, this is painful, I know – but despite David Carr’s stellar performance against the Rams last week, he’s not worth having on your team if your starter is Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or even Drew Bledsoe. We all know if you have a top 7 or 8 QB on your roster, you’re riding that pony…BZT… through the playoffs, matchups be damned. If you’ve got a guy who is currently ranked somewhere between 15-25 as your backup, drop him – you won’t use him. That spot’s better used shoring up the RB/WR or even TE position.


There is one caveat to this rule. If you think your main competition…BZT… will be made SIGNIFICANTLY better by your dropped QB, hold onto your backup to keep the QB out of your enemy’s claws.


Dear BetBot,


Thanks for nothing!  You sent out deeper sleeper picks last week but my league freezes waivers after week 11 so they won’t do me any good.  What a worthless article – Isaac Bruce on waivers?  I wish.


Charles, Glenbrook, IL


p.s. Your …BZZT… is really annoying!


I will refrain from trading barbs with you Charles, firstly because I would be embarrassed to treat someone with your intellect like 311 treated Scott Stapp, and secondly because this is apparently a hot topic.


Now, I have gotten a couple e-mails recently from owners who want to pick up players, but can’t at this time because of a ‘Waiver Wire Deadline’ rule. These owners can’t pick up…BZZT… ANY players now. It seems these deadlines kick in right around week 12 or week 13. “Is this rule fair?” or “Do you agree with this rule?” are questions I have been asked often over the past two years. The answer to both these questions is NO.


Let’s review why leagues have these rules – to avoid collusion between owners. Commisioners don’t want an owner (who is likely out of the playoff race) dropping a good player so a buddy of his can…BZZT… pick up that player and have a better chance of winning cash. I have even heard of unscrupulous owners who are willing to give another owner part of his winnings if the other owner colludes. We all know this is rotten business, and it’s a …BZZZT…shame that this sort of behavior has to be legislated.


One of the nice things about the Casino business up until the 80s was that if someone cheated they got harmed physically. I’m not a big fan of violence, but it has its place. While I understand that breaking the finger of a shyster owner may be …BZZT… attractive sometimes – I certainly don’t advocate attacks on slimy owners in your league.  I want to suggest a couple of rule changes to pursue…BZZZT… in your league’s off season that allows free agent pick ups late in the year.


As you may be aware, I owe a lot to the Kennedy Administration, and agreed with quite a few of their economic policies (I agreed with all of their bedroom policies). I am all for free enterprise, but I don’t necessarily agree with a completely laissez-faire economy. As far as roster rules go, however, I believe the fewer rules and restrictions, the better.  However, as noted above, sometimes you have to make some …BZT… rules so cheating is kept to a minimum, and with that in mind, please review the following:


      Allow free agent pickups through the final week of the season.

      Set definite free agent pick up periods each week, and make a player unavailable for pickup in the week he is dropped. (this is a good policy anyway)

      Any player dropped after Week 12 (or 13) can not be picked up by another team.


Now, if you’ve got a real JoshBone on your hands, someone could conceivably pick up a lot of players, then next week dump all those players and proceed to take a bunch of players, etc. essentially using their own spunk to poison the free agent pool.  Normally you can institute a late-season waiver fee, so it becomes expensive for players to pull this garbage.  But if you play in a free league or if you feel this is a real concern, you could implement the following rule also.


      After Week 12 (or 13), owners may only drop one player from each position per week. This will limit someone maliciously dropping players to take them out of the free agent pool.


Like I said, if you have some wannabe shyster nitpicking rules to find flaws in them for sport, you’ve got…BZZT… a real Balloon Knot (how ya doin’, Merrill?) in your league. You may have to resort to this rule at that point.


      Allow commissioners the power to challenge or disallow free agent movements.


Now, that last one can lead to a lot of headaches for the commissioner, and could be a logistical challenge. If you’ve got such a jerk in your league that you feel this is necessary, just kick…BZZT… them out…Or break their fingers, whichever feels better to you.


Until next time, Showgirls and Gin, my friends, Showgirls and …BZT… Gin.

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