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 Chris Dolfi, Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls, because, “Typing is a dame’s BZZZT job.”
I want to talk to you about the most important factor you need to focus on for your stretch run: opportunity. I’ve been …BZZT… fortunate enough to capitalize on many opportunities in my lifetime – I parlayed a moonlighting gig at the Sands into a duet with Frank Sinatra and some of my closest and dearest relationships, and I was able to get this article thanks to my work with Tom Bill and The Stallion back in the late 90s. I’m not just patting myself on the back here, I’m trying to make a point – you only get a few great opportunities in life, if you have a chance to win your league this year you must …BZT… strike while the iron is …BZZZZT… hot! When you find yourself backstage at a revue at the Trop, do you throw your hands up and wonder how you got lost? No! You invite some leggy bunnies back you your suite to make a BetBot sandwich. You see where I’m going here? I know a lot of you loyal readers are pushed up against trading deadlines and waiver freezes this time of year and since you’ve been following my advice all season you’re almost certainly …BZZT… in contention for a championship ring (every classy league gives out rings). So you need to target players now that are going to be in a good spot during your playoffs. Don’t just sit your roster and pray your team stays healthy and continues to play the Texans run defense.
I think most of you know about watching a player’s schedule strength, so I’ve got some suggestions there. But I’m also going to point you towards some no-so-obvious players that could be in line for significant production in the coming weeks. Remember, now that the bye weeks are over it’s time to jettison the extra kickers and defenses on your team and pick up a few more RBs and WRs. Why? Because unlike backs and …BZZZT… receivers, kickers and defenses don’t get blow a knee and leave you hanging out to dry during bowl week (and the David Akers owner vomits into the keyboard). So make like an imperial star cruiser and shed your trash before the jump to light speed. Winning your championship is like going to a cathouse – success is all about taking calculated …BZT… risks. At the cathouse, you want to limit your selection to the ladies that have straight teeth and smooth skin – if you can’t find any lovelies that meet your criteria then by all means run to the next cathouse! To win your championship, you want to stockpile waiver wire RBs and WRs in good offenses – for example, RBs behind a solid OL and WRs with a good QB. You also want to look at players on teams that are ready to mail the season in. They will usually spend most of the last 4 games getting young players some experience, and that’s where you can make your money. Nobody has Mo Hicks on their team right now but you think the Niners are going to play a gimpy Kevan Barlow down the stretch of another 3 win season? Now don’t get crazy here – just because the Packers are rotten doesn’t mean Brett Favre is about to take time off to let Aaron Rodgers get some PT. I can’t find everyone for you, but I do have some players here to …BZZT… get you started.
Good looking schedules
New England – Now is the time to dust off the Patriots receiving crew, as the defending champs get KC, BUF, and TB coming down the stretch. Hmmm. Those defenses aren’t good, except TB who might be good but look to be fading faster than Brent Musberger’s youth – but that schedule doesn’t jump out as being really easy. Oh wait, I forgot to mention that Tom Brady and co. get to play the Jets …BZZT… twice – including a Monday night game in week 16, i.e. fantasy bowl week. Cha …BZT… ching! Keep an eye on Deion Branch, Daniel Graham, Ben Watson, heck you probably have a roster spot available for Tim Dwight or Andre Davis. The Pats running game is practically in shambles (see below) and their own defense is constricting blood flow across the New England area. The KC game on Sunday is going to be a fantasy …BZZZZT… dream come true.
Houston – I hesitate to recommend anyone on this shipwreck because they’ve probably already killed you this season. Dominick Davis is going to be a strong candidate for a Balloon Knot award (see below) but he’s going to be looking at a week 15 playoff game against ARI and a week 17 game against SF. Yes, the tough week 16 game against JAX sticks out worse than Mitch Albom’s ears, but you must also consider upcoming games against tremendously bad defenses in STL and TEN as well. I recommend making a …BZZT… play for backup RB Jonathan Wells in case Davis shuts it down for the year with his nagging injuries. Ha, you say! He shut it down in week 3! David Carr and Andre Johnson may actually be worth something down the stretch as well.
San Francisco – Once again Jacksonville foils an otherwise shining example of late season schedule love, this time with a week 15 game. But let’s look at the rest of the clunkers on the docket: TEN, ARI, SEA down the stretch and a week 16 game against STL and a week 17 game against HOU. I discuss the RB situation below, but how about taking a chance on Ken Dorsey or a receiver like Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle, or Johnnie Morton. I know, not exactly top shelf talent, but sometimes you can mask the flavor if you combine it with a nice matchup.
Jacksonville – You may have …BZZT… noticed above that the Jags get a choice playoff schedule this year with the Niners in week 15 and the Texans in week 16. JAX is in the playoff hunt so they’ll be jockeying for home field advantage down the stretch, and what better way to convince the voters than by blowing out a couple of nancies? What, this isn’t college football? Well I’m still looking for guys like Fred Taylor to roll up nice fantasy stats. Taylor’s hurt again, you say? Then let’s make a move for Greg Jones and/or Alvin Pearman, either of whom could have a field day during your fantasy playoffs, with the added bonus that Taylor might be on the shelf nursing his latest boo-boo before the NFL playoffs begin. I’m not so high on the receivers here, Jacksonville’s defense is good enough to keep either game from turning into a shootout so they’ll just run the ball a ton.
St. Louis – Not only does the Rams schedule look sweet down the stretch against HOU, MIN, and SF, but the one defense they play that isn’t terrible, Philadelphia, just lost one of their starting CBs for the year. Oh, did I mention that the fast track Rams play their week 14 (@MIN), 15 (PHI), and 16 (SF) games in domes, including a couple of matches on the home turf for your fantasy playoffs. The problem here is that key …BZZT… guys like Steven Jackson and Torry Holt are certainly on rosters at this point. But I bet you guys are in leagues where Kevin Curtis or Isaac Bruce have been dropped, or perhaps you’d like to take a flyer on Marshall Faulk in case Jackson goes down – it wouldn’t be a terrible risk and it could pay off big time. And if the Holt owner is skittish now that Marc Bulger could be out for the season you may be able to make a steal in trade. Even Jamie Martin can throw on the Niners in the home dome.
Backup RBs in a good spot (and one QB as a Thanksgiving bonus)
I’m throwing these to you because chances are there are zero RBs on your waiver wire right now, and taking some roster spot …BZZT… risks on a few choice backups is just the kind of move you need to be taking now.
QB – Mike McMahon – PHI – I’m not going to focus too much on QBs because everybody has a solid QB by now. Right? And of course I’m starting my backup suggestions with a guy who was just named …BZZT… starting QB, boo-hoo. I just want to point out that even though the Eagles are packing Donovan McNabb away until 2006 that doesn’t mean Green Bay, St. Louis, and Arizona are suddenly going to fall off the schedule (or find pass defenses). You may have heard something about Andy Reid not calling a lot of running plays, I don’t know, there hasn’t been a whole lot of coverage on it. But unless the Eagles suddenly rip off like 3 wins in a row I seriously doubt they’ll be wearing down their new franchise RB Brian Westbrook any more than normal, which means a whole lot of the 3M (that’s Mike-Mack-Mahon). He should strut into the next press conference and insist that he be called MR. MAC-MAHON, then thump Reid over the head with a steel chair.
RB – Heath Evans – NE – This guy may still be available for you. If he is, I suggest you take him. Corey Dillon is really hurt (well, you would need to be a mind reader since Bill Belichick uses the NFL injury report to confuse more than inform (why does the NFL let him get away with that?)), and Patrick Pass is a nice player, but isn’t up to getting the tough yards. Evans has already proven his worth. He…BZZT… also has a nice schedule with Chiefs, Jets, Bills and Buccaneers (ouch!, OK maybe not them) coming up in the next four weeks.
Despite the head coach hocus-pocus you’ll find on the injury report, I think Evans is an attractive starter for the next three weeks. He is a player you will simply have to research more than others. Stay on top of the backfield situation in New England, and start him…BZZT… when you feel secure that Dillon really is out, Evans could be a nice flex player for you going forward.
RB – Ciatrick Fason – MIN – Moe Williams went on the IR recently, and Fason is now the Vikings goal-line back. That reason alone is enough to gamble on the kid. I wouldn’t start him unless there is another injury in the Vikings backfield, or if you are really in desperate straits. Fason is a good long term pick, though, if you’re in a keeper league. The…BZZT… Vikings need to really look at their RBs next year, and Fason will be in the mix, he could sneak in as a starter, or at the very least take over Moe Williams role going forward. I think Fason is a solid, long term ‘Buy’, unlike my Krispy Kreme stock.
RB – Tony Fisher – HOU – Sam Gado’s a good back – if he holds onto the ball. Gado’s fumbling problems got him benched versus the Vikings early in the second half of last week’s Monday Night game. If you’re reading this column, you know football, and if you know football, you…BZZT… know that nothing gets a player pulled faster than slippery fingers. A quarterback’s interception problem can be (and usually is) explained away by all sorts of things, most of which are complete fabrications – but a fumble? There’s only one person to blame, and coaches will pull that RB quicker than you can say, “Five dollar Yo! And five for the dealer!! Come on Yo!!”
It remains to be seen who starts for the Packers this week, my money’s on Fisher, though. The coach is fighting…BZT… for his job and doesn’t need some recently unknown media darling getting him fired (it’s probably too late to save yourself, Mike). If you have a spot get Fisher if he was dropped and see how the next couple of games work out. By the time playoffs begin, you should know if Fisher or Gado is the man in…BZZZT… Green Bay.
RB – Maurice Hicks – SF – I’d like to take a moment here to plug my upcoming awards show, the only fantasy awards show on the internet that distributes hardware as a result of feedback from you, the reader. Keep an eye out in this space and in the shark tank for the 2005 nominations. Last year’s Merrill Hoge Balloon Knot of the Year Award went to Kevan Barlow, the most disappointing fantasy player in 2004.
Anyway, Barlow has done little in 2005 to draw his owner’s ire. He was drafted low, and has performed to his low draft position this…BZZT… year. Frank Gore is Barlow’s backup, and has performed admirably considering his few rushing attempts. He has a bit over 5 yards per carry. Barlow and Gore both got hurt Sunday. Hicks came in and had a decent day, he had 83 yards on 11 attempts and fell into the end zone also. Barlow may play this week, so don’t start Hicks until you know for sure. If your deadline…BZT…BZT… is Thursday, hold off on Hicks for sure.
Look, will Hicks be a world-beater? Most likely not; but look at the calendar, there’s some slim pickens when it comes to deeper sleepers.
RB – Jonathan Wells – HOU – See my commentary above about the Texans schedule. It’s a distinct possibility that all players and personnel named Dom will be pink slipped before January. For those of you keeping score, that’s one RB, one head coach, and one poor guy in accounting named …BZZT… Dominic Rizzi.
You talk a lot about your mob connections. Did you ever go to jail?
Maple Grove, MN
First off, love the name. I am not sure if you remember the old Energizer commercials with Jacko, but he gave America its first true vision of what Australia is really like. Now, I’ve never been to Australia, but Fantasysharks.com site owner Tony Holm apparently loves the place. Jacko loved being loud, middle-aged, slightly pumped up and selling Energizer batteries – he also loved yelling things like, “It’ll surproise ya! The Energiza! Oy!!”. He really, really loved yelling “Oy!” and having his face close to the camera. I never met Jacko, but I’m sure he’s a good guy and loves his Fosters, I wouldn’t mind sharing an oil can or two with him. He sure as bleep beats the hell out of that Energizer Bunny anyway.
Onto your question. You should really be careful with what you ask and how you ask it. I would add a lot of the following words to your two sentence letter:
Now to answer your question, yes – I have been to jail…as a prisoner. I have also been to jail to visit many of my friends who are allegedly reputed to be linked to the Family business, Cosa Nostra, Ma Fia, whatever. Of course, all of these…BZZZT… people were innocent, but the wheels of justice sometimes run over the innocent.
As to my time as a prisoner, it was very recent actually, and I still believe what I did was right. As you may or may not know, I had a very rough Summer financially, that fact that I was in jail for 20 days did not help me get out of my financial hole.
Last May I was visiting with…BZZZT… one of my first ever lovers. A leggy showgirl named Mitzi. She danced at the Sands when I was making book there. She was a knock-out, that’s for bleeping sure. I remain good friends with her to this day, she taught a very young Betbot the ways of the world, and I’ll always remember her for that. She’s 78 years old now, that’s one thing about being a robot, you stay forever young while your friends all get old. It’s that way with being a vampire or Joan River’s face too (like metal, plastic never ages).
So, I was going to the local drugstore with Mitzi and she was waiting in line at the pharmacist counter. You ever spend more than 5 minutes at a pharmacy? Probably not; you most likely get your drugs delivered at home, or call…BZT… *CLICK* ahead and pick them up, without spending any time there. Old people, they don’t feel so comfortable with that. They’d rather go to the pharmacy, hand in the slip with the prescription, and wait there for the pharmacist to fill their prescription. Mitzi handed in her slip to the Head Pharmacist, and waited in line with a few other people.
I saw a couple old friends from my book…BZT… making days and started talking about the good old days. Well, next thing I know it’s 15 minutes later, and we’re still waiting. All of us. The Head Pharmacist, some 30 year old punk with bad glasses and a worse haircut, is chatting up some young lady who is way too good for him. Hey, I don’t mind a guy trying to get to know a lady for a potential Session of Sweet, but …BZZZT…not when you’re keeping a bunch of geriatrics waiting, come on!!
So, I go over to the guy and start giving him a hard time about his lack of attention to his job, and he goes nuts, calling me all sorts of names and telling the geriatrics, they’re going to have to wait an extra hour since I complained. I looked around, about to make a joke, and saw that the people waiting believed him – he must have…BZZT… done this before. Do you believe this? The guy was like Col. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now!! He had his own little Empire of Fear and lorded over these poor people because he could. Well, I’m not a…BZZZZT… violent robot normally, but I admit, I beat that guy pretty hard right then and there.
Look, I respect pharmacists, and I am sure that the guy who ran this pharmacy is not a good representative for all pharmacists, but I beat the living tar out of him.
I was arrested shortly there after, it turns out I literally blew a circuit, and could hardly restrain myself. The only reason that guy is alive is…BZZT… because Mitzi begged me to stop, so she could beat him herself with her walker.
I should have been in jail much longer, but me and the judge go back a long way. The ADA saw the writing on the wall and we…BZZT… pleaded out to 20 days in jail and a year’s probation. So, yeah, I’ve been in jail – but I would do it again – if I had that same short circuit again. Remember, be thankful for what you have, especially if you’re healthy…
Until next time, Showgirls and Gin, my friends, Showgirls and …BZT… Gin.
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