Peyton MAnning

The Ultimate Fall Fantasy

Football is America’s most popular sport for two reasons, gambling and fantasy sports. Each are billion dollar industries on their own and have devout followers. Gambling is an American past time and football is the sport best set up for gambling. There is a week between games to do research, the lines are easier to set, and there is an incredible amount of prop bets on which to throw money away.fooootball-gambling

Fantasy sports is America’s newest obsession. It combines the illusion of being a GM with the thrill of gambling, an equation that explains its huge impact on the culture. Football is the most exciting fantasy sport. Again, the week between games creates great anticipation and plenty of time to research whom to pick up on the waiver wire, as well as whom to sit or start that week. Plus all the games, with two exceptions, are played on Sundays, a day most people have off, which means everyone in the league is watching. This makes it easy to talk shit to one’s opponent as Antonio Brown catches his second touchdown over 50 yards leading to a 40 point fantasy week and total domination.

I’ve played fantasy football since 2006, a year in which I rode the Colts offense to fantasy glory with Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne all staring on “ManBearPig’s” road to fantasy glory. I chased that glorious first season and failed to come even close to matching it for the next five years, including the embarrassing 2009 season where I finished 9th out of 10 and I failed to have a receiver or tight end catch a touchdown. Then came the heartbreaking 2012 season where in two leagues I finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. The second place finish involved losing by 0.5 in the championship game thanks to a Miles Austin 19-yard touchdown catch with less than a minute to go. While the third place loss saw me turn around a 4-5 team to win my last five games, scoring the most points in the league each week, on the backs of Tony Romo to Dez Bryant only to lose in the semi-finals on the only week of the final seven that I did not score the most points in the league.

This is illustrates what I did to my opponents last year.

This is illustrates what I did to my opponents last year.

The devastating finish to the 2012 season served as the fire to mold the Iron Throne I built in the greatest Fantasy season of my life. Two Fantasy Football Championships in one season, easily on my Mt. Rushmore of life accomplishments. Better than winning the two championships was the way in which I did it, total domination. My teams were untouchable juggernauts that destroyed and embarrassed other teams like Brock Lesnar did to John Cena at Summerslam. Each Sunday felt like Christmas as I woke up with a smile on my face ready to conquer another pathetic fantasy opponent.

I finished the regular season with the most points in each league, a triumphant feat that was begging to end in disappointment. The playoffs were a nerve racking time as the sting from last season’s bitter defeats was still fresh. However, outside of a narrow seven point win in the semifinals of my Yahoo league, the domination from the regular season carried over to the playoffs.

The only downside to the glory of last Fall is that it will be impossible to ever top. It is hard to get motivated for another season of Fantasy Football after reaching the pantheon of the sport. The memories of last year will stay with me forever, but the determination that made me so great may never return. It is too hard to manufacture.

However, I have no choice, but to keep playing, keep chasing he impossible. As another season is upon us, it is up to me to dig deep and re-discover that fire. It may never lead to the euphoric place of the Fall of 2013, but there is a pleasure in trying. Here are a few fantasy tips to help reach that magical place.

  • Embrace Luck – As Woody Allen wrote in Match Point, “People are afraid to face how big a part is dependent on luck.” Nowhere does this phrase fit better than Fantasy Football. A person can research for months, watch the combine, scout rookie’s college tape, tinker with a formula, but in the end the biggest factor in success is luck. Luck in avoiding major injury, luck in the schedule, luck in finding this year’s breakout player, etc. The lie between wins and losses is drawn almost completely by luck, just think about that while listening to the 100th different Season Preview Podcast.
Thanks, Linds!

Thanks, Linds!

  • Know the League’s Scoring Settings – This is an overlooked aspect in preparation. Most leagues follow generic scoring guidelines, but a few have its own scoring quirks. Is it PPR, point per reception, league or a half a point per reception? Then receivers become more valuable and pass catching running backs as well.
    • What are the defensive stats? How much are sacks worth? Defense is often ignored till the later rounds, but in some leagues they are more valuable than others. Sacks might be worth two points in some leagues or defensive bonuses, like shutouts or holding a team under 300 yards of offense may be worth a lot of points. In these instances, the top few defenses become immensely important as they may be able to drop 30+ points on any given week.

      This is a running back that knows how to catch.

      This is a running back that knows how to catch.

  • Rate Pass Catching Running Backs Higher – This is an obvious rule in PPR leagues, but it should be standard regardless. The NFL is becoming a passing league, which is eliminating the workhorse back that carries the ball over 20 times a game. Only Adrian Peterson truly fits this mold. Instead coach’s prefer to throw the ball to their backs to get them easy touches out in space. A good route running, pass catching back will be on the field more often and be more likely to get over 20 touches a game, then a power back that just runs the ball.
  • Quality over Quantity – Targets is a fantasy football buzzword. Each week during the season waiver wire articles will try to convince readers to pick up a receiver, tight end, or running back based on the number of targets, passes thrown to them, from the previous week. Most of these players will be top skill players on shitty offenses where they are the only skillful option. It is great that Andre Johnson will be thrown at 14 times a game, but when those throws are coming from Ryan Fitzpatrick, only seven of them will be catchable and only two of them will be over 10 yards. It is much better to own the third option on a top offense with a great quarterback like the Broncos, Saints, or Patriots. Six or seven targets from Peyton Manning or Drew Brees is better than 14 from Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer.
  • Stockpile A Position in Auction Drafts – An auction draft is where a person nominates a player for auction than every team bids on him till the highest bid wins. This means that every player is available to every team. A secret to use in these drafts is to load your bench with one position. It doesn’t matter which one, preferably whichever is cheapest, but I prefer to focus on wide receiver because I feel most confident in my evaluation of them. The reason to do this is to have trade bait. Every year injuries occur and someone will be desperate to fill a thin position. When this happens you need to have the assets to make a trade for a top player at a different position. The reason this is important is the next rule…
  • Always Make a Trade – A common mistake is fallen in love with a roster. It is easy to do since everyone wants to be the draft day wizard that came away with the perfect team. The problem is that rarely happens and a trade is necessary to strengthen the team. Last year I made one big trade in each league that helped me secure the championship. One was trading high on Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, as well as pass catching RB Pierre Thomas for Demarco Murray, Vernon Davis, and Zac Stacy.
    • The reason I did this was one to protect myself against a bad week from the Bronocs, as it turned out this never happened, but also because I was already loaded at receiver and tight end with Antonio Gates, Alshon Jeffery, Dez Bryant, and Antonio Brown, but only had Lesean McCoy at running back. This trade strengthen my weakness, running back, while not taking away from my strength thanks to my depth at the position. Plus it was a nice bonus that Vernon Davis ended up with more points than Julius Thomas. 
    • In my other league, Russell Wilson was my quarterback and while not being terrible, his numbers were not consistent and he was not used much in the offense. I felt the need to get a top quarterback to round out my team and sacrificed a third round pick this year and Wilson for Drew Brees and a seventh rounder. Although I gave up a lot of potential in the future, the move turned out working as Bress helped me squeak by the semifinals when Wilson would not have, which lead to me taking home the trophy.
  • Talk A Lot of Shit – Shit talking is the most important aspect of Fantasy Football. If you’re not doing it, then you’re missing out in a big way.

Follow these rules, or don’t, either way have a fun Fantasy Football season.



Super Bowl Prop Betting

Let’s gamble. It may not be appropriate to promote gambling, but appropriate can go to hell. We should all gamble more, responsibly of course. Last night I played poker with a few buddies. We each threw in $20 and could cash out at any time. Side note: throwing in cash is a rare occurrence for millennials. We’ve got so used to having everything on plastic cards that the only bills we have on us or $20s from the ATM. It is very difficult to cash out with only $20 bills on the table. I do want to bring the large money roll back. 

I highly recommend starting a regular Poker game.

I highly recommend starting a regular Poker game.

It was a fun couple hours of competition mixed with a couple beers, cigars, sharing stories, and of course some offensive jokes. NSFW. I ended up losing $10, but it was well worth the time spent. Especially when I consider the times I bought a round of shots for $60 and only ended up with a massive hangover the next day. Everyone over spends somewhere, cut out that spending and using the extra money on gambling. It is a fun competition that engrosses you in a game or sport for a couple hours. Sure, losing money sucks, but the gamble itself is worth the price of admission as long as a hard budget is set. Plus there is always the chance that you can win money and it is a lot higher than the chances of getting laid after buying a round of shots.

Now that I’ve convinced you of the merits of gambling, the Super Bowl of gambling is happening on Sunday, the Super Bowl. Everyone does squares at their Super Bowl party and avid sports gamblers will have a lot of action riding on the game. However, the real gambling fun is had with Prop Bets. What’s a prop bet? This isn’t Wikipedia, look it up. Instead of providing a definition, I’ll provide something much more valuable, the best prop bets on Sunday and where to put your money.

National Anthem Over/Under 2:25:

The most fun you’ll have while listening to our nation’s anthem. Vegas oddsmakers demonstrate their skills every year by being within seconds of the over/under every year. The most epic victory in this bet came when Christina Aguilera forgot a line of the song and came in a couple seconds under.

Belt it out Renee and hold those high notes. Daddy's got a lot of skin riding on the over.

Belt it out Renee and hold those high notes. Daddy’s got a lot of skin riding on the over.

This year’s singer is Renee Fleming. I’m going to be honest, before today you could’ve told me Renee Fleming was the name of the barber with the tattoo sleeves who cuts my hair at Floyd’s Barbershop and I wouldn’t blink an eye. A quick Google search reveals that Fleming is an American soprano opera singer. No idea how she found out where the bodies are buried, but it clearly got her this gig and I’m eternally grateful. An opera singer? Vegas couldn’t set this over/under high enough, take that over baby. Alicia Keys record of 2:35 is in grave danger. Flemming might hold the final note for 30 seconds alone. The big voice combined with the big stage, and the opportunity to make an impression on America makes this an easy bet this year.

Coin Toss – Heads or Tails

Tails never fail.

Who Will be Shown First After Kickoff – Erin Andrews (-140) Pam Oliver (Even)

I like the underdog in this fight. Andrews may be the Golden Girl of sports, but I think Fox goes with the veteran on this one. Plus Oliver is on the Seahawks sideline, which is much more likely to have some crazy incident happen to it that requires a trip down to the sideline. If nothing else there is the inevitable Percy Harvin injury update. Speaking of…

Percy Harvin Will Leave the Game With an Injury (3/1)

Take this to the bank.

Peyton Manning Omaha’s Over/Under (27.5)

No matter who wins on Sunday the real winner will be the city of Omaha.

No matter who wins on Sunday the real winner will be the city of Omaha.

He hit 31 in the AFC Championship against the Patriots, and the popularity has only grown. I think Peyton might want to downplay the Omahamania and also throw off an aggressive Seahawks defense with a whole new snap count. I’m going with the under.

Will Michael Crabtree Mention Richard Sherman In A Tweet During The Game? Yes (+150) No (-200)

Vegas thinks much more highly of Crabtree than I do. The joy of twitter is that it gives us access to celebrities and athletes in honest and vulnerable moments. Typically alcohol is involved.

Crabtree knows he shouldn’t mention Sherman and put this thing to bed, but I’m banking on him not being able to help himself. Take yes.

How Many Times Will Archie Manning Be Shown on TV Over/Under (2.5)

I learned my lesson from the last two Manning Super Bowls, Archie Manning does not want TV time. I’m not sure if he pays off the networks or is a sorcerer whose only power is to avoid TV cameras, but we’ll only see Archie once, max.

"Your cameras are no match for my mystical wizard powers."

“Your cameras are no match for my mystical wizard powers.”

The Announcers Mention Marijuana During the Game (7/2)

The Super “Bowl,” featuring the two states that have legalized the use of recreation marijuana. It has been a big conversation for fodder over the past two weeks, but would broadcasters dare to bring it up.? Anyone besides Joe Buck, and the answer is no, but Buck cares so much about his apathetic, dickish, cool guy persona in the booth that I don’t think he can help himself. I’m taking, yes.

What Color Will the Gatorade Dump Be – Orange 1/1, Water 5/2, Yellow 15/4, Red 15/2, Blue 10/1, Green 15/1

Always fun and always a crap shoot. Not sure what Orange did to be the betting favorite other than assuming the Broncos have orange to match its jerseys, but outside of Green this is really a gut pick. I’m liking Blue this year, don’t ask me why.

These are just a fraction of the prop bets available for this game. Get a list together with your friends and bet away.

As for the game itself, I lean towards the defense in these types of games. Despite all the rule changes favoring offenses, I still believe defenses win championships.

Prediction: Seattle 24 Denver 20

MVP: Earl Thomas


Super Bowl Media Day Is A Keyword-Filled Circus

The Tuesday before the Super Bowl is one of my least favorite days on the NFL calendar. Media Day is a total circus, and rarely do we ever get interviews that give us any valuable information.

For example, a reporter asked Seattle tight end Zach Miller what his favorite 90s boy band was earlier today. Miller couldn’t come up with an answer fast enough, so he said something like, “My sister used to listen to Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.” First off, we all know Miller is lying and that he probably listened to both of those bands, too. Most millennials did. It’s cool, Zach. Get over it. We all did.

You definitely had this album, Zach. We all did, right?

You definitely had this album, Zach. We all did, right?

Secondly, how is anyone supposed to provide candid answers with fifty cameras in his face? It’s like if someone asked you to get up in front of your whole office and expected you to answer questions on what your favorite Simple Plan song was when you were going through your awkward phase back between the ages of 13 and 16. Now imagine having to answer that question to the whole world? In case you were wondering, mine was “I’d Do Anything.”

If I want an in-depth interview with an athlete, I’ll read ESPN Magazine or watch SportCenter’s “Sunday Conversation.” I know the argument here is that anything ends up online these days, so why would athletes treat these interviews any differently? My answer would be that you would talk to one friend differently about a topic that you would talk to a room of friends. That’s just human nature. And these athletes aren’t even talking to friends. They’re talking to reporters who have their own agendas.

Super Bowl Media Day is nothing but an opportunity for websites, local news channels, and blogs to ask dumb questions and get more views on their respective channels or sites.

Oh wait – what was that? We at The Millennial Man are doing that? We interviewed Petyon Manning, Russell Wilson, and a bunch of other dudes? Oh shit.

As I was saying, Super Bowl Media Day is one of the finest days on the NFL calendar. We get to truly know the famous, fearless gladiators that make America’s biggest sporting event worth watching. There’s no better way to get into the minds and hearts of the players who make up the last two teams standing.

Super Bowl Media Day is for the players, not brand new awesome websites like The Millennial Man who want more traffic. After all, players like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, and Von Miller are more than just keywords.

Mention more keywords? No problem. Don’t forget that Hall of Famer John Elway basically runs the Denver Broncos, the Super Bowl is in New York, or New Jersey where The Sopranos took place (RIP James Gandolfini), where Eli Manning typically plays, Rex Ryan usually coaches, and Broadway Joe Namath used to play. Seinfeld took place in NYC, so did Godzilla, every Martin Scorcese movie I can think of, and the Academy Awards are not there, but I figured they’d be a nice keyword.

Broadway Joe missed his calling as a porn star.

Broadway Joe missed his calling as a porn star.

Still not enough keywords? This is exhausting. I haven’t used so much filler in a piece of writing since the last college essay I wrote. I don’t know how the reporters or athletes do it. I think I’ll stick to watching the game.

This post was written by Billy Kirland, co-founder of The Millennial Man.

Super Bowl Media Day

It’s the biggest day of the year for the internet, Super Bowl Media day. The Millennial Man scored some VIP Press Passes and has been conducting interviews all morning in NYC. These are all exclusive and deeply informative, a must read.

Peyton Manning

My Celebrity doppleganger.

My Celebrity doppleganger.

Millennial Man: A pleasure to meet you Mr. Manning. Thanks for sitting down and talking with me.

Peyton Manning: No, thank you for interviewing me. Before we start, I have to say you’re one good looking man.

MM: Wow, thanks Peyton, of course you know all about looking this good.

PM: It is like I’m looking into a mirror and being interviewed by myself, only with a smaller penis.

MM: I’ll take it. You’ve had a record breaking year. What allowed you to have such great success?

PM: As soon as I heard about marijuana being legalized in Colorado I knew that the time was now to get in the pizza game. I contacted my financial adviser and told him to buy as man franchise stores as possible. He told me that Papa Johns was the only one selling, so we should wait for something better to come along, but I told him that I’m the one who calls the audibles around here, buy. See I knew that even though it is total crap pizza, used as a ploy to get rid of an excess of peppers, it didn’t matter cause these potheads would eat anything. Honestly we could sell them old tires covered in ketchup and cheese spray, they would still eat it.

MM: I was referring to your on the field success, but I’m happy to hear the pizza business is going well.

For all of his on the field success, Peyton is most proud of his success hawking Papa Johns on stoners.

For all of his on the field success, Peyton is most proud of his success hawking Papa Johns on stoners.

PM: I stopped caring about my football success after the injury.

MM: Really? How come? Did you realize what really mattered in life, like family and friends?

PM: Hell no, my family is Eli Manning, he never matters.

MM: Classic Eli slam.

PM: No, I had to stop caring due to doctor’s orders.

MM: Doctor’s orders?

PM: Yes, no one knows this, but I didn’t sit out a year due to a neck injury.

MM: You didn’t?

PM: No, I sat out because too much blood was rushing to my massive Touchdown Boner. They were afraid I could die on the field if I kept playing at that level, getting erections all the time. It was getting difficult to play that’s why I have so many early playoff exits, all those regular season touchdowns made it hard to walk straight, let alone play football.

You try playing football with a massive erection.

You try playing football with a massive erection.

MM: Shocking.

PM: I know. I took the year off to get my mind straight and stop caring about throwing touchdowns. Although I have to admit I’m getting excited for this Sunday’s big game.

MM: Legacy definer, you win your second ring and the debate over greatest QB is over.

PM: Actually, I know I shouldn’t admit this, but you’re a great reporter and the truth has to come out eventually. I’ve never legitimately won a Super Bowl.

MM: What?

PM: Yes, it’s true, the entire 2006 Colts were pumped full of HGH and horse testosterone. Especially Dwight Freeney and Reggie Wayne, who had his supplier from the U hook up the entire team.

MM: This is unbelievable.

PM: Even worse, before Super Bowl 41 we stole the Bears entire playbook and gameplan. We knew everything they were going to run. As great as I am that defense was better, I’d never seen anything like it on tape. We had no other choice, but to cheat. The 2006 Colts don’t deserve that Super Bowl trophy, it is a sham.

MM: Wait, are you saying that the Chicago Bears are the rightful champions?

Add Super Bowl Champion to go along with Super Cool Dude on your Curriculum Vitae, Rex.

Add Super Bowl Champion to go along with Super Cool Dude on your Curriculum Vitae, Rex.

PM: Absolutely, best defense I’ve ever seen and that Grossman guy, very underappreciated.

MM: This is amazing. Thank you so much for admitting the truth Peyton. It means a lot to us Chicagoans.  We can finally make like Marty McFly and move on from 1985.

PM: I couldn’t lie to a man as good looking as you.

MM: You’re right, you can’t. Good luck on Sunday, I hope you can win your first Super Bowl.

PM: Thanks, but I won’t need it, after playing the 2006 Bears, this one will be a cakewalk.