PSAS Open Forum #occupyPR

Friday, October 13, 2017

Week 6 Picks

Gentlemen, your humble blogger was feeling refreshed after a week off from squinting into the PSAS crystal ball. Then I went and saw "Blade Runner 2049," which, while visually stunning and frequently thought-provoking, was also a straight-up bummer. In place of Rutger Hauer's charismatic, gleefully satanic Roy, we get Ryan Gosling's downbeat Officer K as our resident replicant in the throes of an existential crisis. [SPOILER ALERT] And unlike Roy's cathartic death in the original "Blade Runner," which was the poignant climax of his agonistic-yet-joyful struggle for life, K's death has the depressing implication that it's just as well that he sacrifices himself for a higher cause (here, reuniting Harrison Ford with his long-lost replicant daughter). After all, what does K have to come home to? A hologram wife and old jazz standards in a closet-sized apartment in the slums?

Even more depressing--Las Vegas in 2049 has been abandoned, with nary a soul nor sports book in sight. (It does fare better than San Diego, which is now Greater LA's landfill.) On the plus side, Future Vegas does feature Harrison Ford as a grizzled badass, his probably-synthetic dog, and all the whiskey you can drink. If the Sigma Derby horse racing game from the D was still around, we'd be set.

Now on to the picks (predicted winner in bold; two thunderbolts to account for Week 4 and Week 5's high scorers)....

Nauts vs. Bloodz

The phrase of the day is "irrational exuberance" around Nauts headquarters; we'll keep riding ourselves in spite of serious concerns about Stafford's health, Hunt's return to earth amidst a multipronged Chiefs attack, and the potential for Julio and Fournette to take us for a spin in the centrifuge.

Trichs vs. Girlz

Look for the Girlz to feast this week, with the Trichs WR corps decimated by A.J. Green's bye, Diggs's injury and uncertainty at the Minnesota QB position. And on top of it all, Matt Ryan faces a Dolphins squad ravaged by the cancer that is Jay Cutler.

BDT vs. Dijonnaise

The Mustards have the horses on their bench to make this one a contest, especially with Smallwood living down to his name with a Thursday-night oh-fer. But we'll take BDT and Brady on the hunch that Dijonnaise will continue to function, on the whole, like a pre-Nexus model replicant.

Hanging w Hooper vs. Pelicans

The projections favor the Pelicans, and they're flying with the two studs of this matchup in Gronk and Devonta Freeman (given Le'Veon Bell's underwhelming start to the season). Look for this year's unluckiest team through five games to make a statement.

Polk High vs. TTM

Per the Mountain's own analytics, TTM's performance should get shaky now that we've moved out of September and into the season of ubiquitous pumpkin flavor. But their first loss will have to wait at least one more week as they get a Polk High team helmed by a dead Roethlisberger walking.

psych dog vs. Ferries

This week's marquee matchup, going by the projections. We like Brees at home against Detroit and Cooks against a Jets squad due for a regression to the mean. But rookie sensation Deshaun Watson should help make it interesting as he faces off against the hapless Browns at home.

Picks record to date: 9-9

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 5: Adult Swim

No picks this week gents...we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming in Week 6.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Annual Early Fall TTM Dominance Analysis

Image result for tiger bomb
Apply directly to September games

This year like every other year in recent memory the Tigers walked away with crazy results from the pre-bye week part of the season.  Theories abound from good draft to drifting manager attention as the season progresses. The fact remains that for whatever reason the Tigers play extremely tough  in the beginning of the season and dip somewhat to extreme as the season progresses.   The upshot is it puts the Tigers in the playoff picture more times than not. The downside is that there have been losing records in a majority of years bye-games.

The People's Democratic Committee of TTM leadership issued a statement that they would require the team to stay within the top five in waiver moves as the season progressed, with a five year goal of making even more moves that the reactionary states of Trichs and psych dog.

                          First 4                      Final Record

2011        -            4-0                                10-3
2012       -             3-1                                9-4
2013       -             4-0                                7-6
2014       -             4-0                               9-4
2015       -             4-0                               10-3
2016       -             3-1                                6-7
2017       -             4-0                                ?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week 4 Picks

"Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal." - Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulations"

"Well before I get too carried away with all these phenomena which you can see around you every day, you have got to remember that even in that hotel in Atlanta, in the winter, the poor still crawl into the postmodern cracks and sleep at night. So I mean it is not as though that turning the world, as it were, hyperreal has somehow done anything other than make our situation more extreme vis-a-vis those people who have fallen, as it were, out of the loop altogether." - Rick Roderick, "The Self Under Siege, Lecture 8: Fatal Strategies"

We are living in the age of peak hyperreality in the NFL. At the risk, or rather certainty, of bastardizing Jean Baudrillard's thought, there was no better image of a simulation without a referent than NFL owners linking arms with players in response to the First Heel's latest outburst of race-baiting vitriol. With this empty gesture of solidarity, Colin Kaepernick's original protest went the way of all signifiers in our complexity-besotted world, engulfed in the noise of responses and recontextualizations from a million traditional and social media platforms. The result has been a series of political gestures that, in the moment, carry with them the ecstasy of the hyperreal--the giddy sensation of an event being meaningful because everyone is looking at it--followed by the enervating, "Rashomon"-like fragmenting of political perspectives.

But as the Roderick quote above attests, at the core of this hyperreality, like bad loans leveraged to the hilt by the financial sector, are the people "who have fallen, as it were, out of the loop altogether"--in the case of Kaepernick's protest, people who have fallen to police bullets, and in the case of the NFL, people who have fallen (or will fall) to CTE. When it comes to pro footballwe'll see how long the simulation can sustain itself before it collapses into the black hole of exploitation at its core. And when it comes to the good ol' U.S. of A., well....[cue national anthem].

On to the picks....

BDT vs. Pelicans

Look for the Pelicans to swoop down and rudely disrupt BDT's dwelling in this countertitration special, with Gronk potentially offsetting Brady and weakness plaguing BDT's RB department.

Bloodz vs. TTM

The intra-draft class showdown of Winston vs. Mariota headlines this battle of Bushwick expats, but we predict that Jones and Fournette will pace the Blood Spinners as they knock TTM off the undefeated pedestal.

Girlz vs. Ferries

A combination of lingering injuries and tough matchups at the skill positions point to lean times for the Girlz this week, while the Ferries look to keep chugging on the backs of a resurgent Wilson and workhorse backs Cook and Ajayi.

Nauts vs. Hanging w Hooper

Signs of life from Cousins and OBJ last week have Nauts Corporate Headquarters leery of HwH, but we're still betting on rookie phenom Hunt to carry us through.

Polk High vs. psych dog

As psych dog's running backs gain steam, Polk High's blue chippers have been nothing if not erratic. Plus the hindsight provided by Ty Montgomery's lowball make it hard to pick against the PSAS's canine flagbearers.

Trichs vs. Dijonnaise

Despite Rodgers and Nelson relighting the romantic spark in a big way against the lowly Bears, we like the thunderbolt-wielding Todd Gurley and the Trichs to keep rolling this week.

Picks record to date: 5-7

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Week 3 Picks

"Makes you wonder how much they owe. Most of them are on the run. Don't even use their fucking social security numbers. If there was just some way to find out how much the motherfuckers owe and making them pay." - Bud, "Repo Man"

We lost an American icon last week with the death of Harry Dean Stanton, best known to many of the PSAS faithful for his role as Bud in "Repo Man," aka the Great American Novel of the '80s. A latter-day cowboy in a dime store suit and tie, Bud's tragic flaw was his true faith in the American Gospel of Bullshit--the righteous celebration of a golden loop between creditor and debtor through which the mysteries of the rugged U.S. meritocracy reveal themselves. Of course, as he died on his feet amid a hail of bullets from an L.A. police helicopter, Bud couldn't see that the fix was in. Twenty-five years after 1984 (the year of the film), the financial crisis and Great Recession put to bed the notion that merit, in any common-sense meaning of the term, is the final arbiter of Who Gets Paid when the chips are down. And in the present day, the legal and political winds blow towards an attack on the rights of Bud's spiritual heirs to even own their own shit (go check on your John Deere tractor, lest you doubt). Even if the IMDb bros who gave "Repo Man" a 6.9 out of 10 don't realize it, Stanton's performance still echoes through time, to our present day moment of simmering political rage. RIP.

Now, turning to our own collective ritual of ersatz ownership, on to the Week 3 picks (predicted winner in bold)....

Bloodz vs. Ferries

The Bloodz's twin towers aerial attack of Jones and Jeffery faces off against a Ferries team hamstrung by the moribund Seattle offense, with Wilson and Lockett underwhelming so far. The Seahawks' offensive line woes, plus the prospect of Dalvin Cook repeatedly slamming into a stacked box, should give the Bloodz an opening in this one, the claims of Yahoo's algorithmic oracles notwithstanding. 

Dijonnaise vs. TTM

Last week the Mustards confounded Your Humble Blogger's prediction of a blowout loss despite hints of robo-management (cf. the start of an injured Jordy Nelson), edging the Ferries in a low-scoring affair. But TTM looms this week, primed by a strong showing from Hyde in a surprisingly lively Thursday night Rams-Niners contest. The Mountain will hope to keep riding its RBs, with Gilleslee's goal line duties for the Patriots shaping up as a sound week-to-week investment.

Girlz vs. psych dog

Though the win probabilities after Thursday night peg this one as a tossup, a cloud of ennui and doubt hangs over the Dachshunds' starting RBs, with political dunce Shady facing a stout Denver run defense and Zeke Elliott's focus thrown into question by his impending domestic abuse hearing. A garbled transmission from the gods tells us to give the Girlz the edge, with Ryan, Cooper and Tyreek Hill poised to explode in potential shootouts.

Nauts vs. BDT 

This year's 4th Rich bowl pits last week's high-scorers against each other (and we're dusting off Zeus's thunderbolt for BDT). The lede here is an injury-riddled BDT squad, with Tom Waits's "Blue Valentine" playing on an endless loop on WinAmp in the Heideggerians' locker room. While Brady, Evans, and folk hero Beastmode make for a worthy headlining trio, a lack of depth elsewhere in the starting lineup could spell doom against a Nauts squad powered by the scorching Kareem Hunt and Antonio Brown, who may feast on the Bears.

Polk High vs. Pelicans

The Pelicans dipped to the lower arc of the Wheel of Fortune last week, losing to the Nauts despite putting up the fifth-highest score in the league. Sadly, they may have to endure the mocking laughter of the Fates for the second straight week, as they face a Polk High franchise blessed by a slate of favorable offensive matchups for Roethlisberger, Benjamin, Montgomery, and Landry while their own roster struggles with poor matchups and a banged-up Gronk.

Trichs vs. Hanging w Hooper

Even with knowledge of Thursday night's beasting by Todd Gurley (who's looking like a great buy-relatively-low investment by the Trichs so far), it's hard to call this one--these squads are currently mirror images of one another, with a star RB surrounded by question marks at the other positions. Even though Bell may very well approach Gurley's production when he takes on the Bears, you know what they say...31.90 points in the hand is worth 63.80 points in the bush....

Picks record to date: 2-4

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 2 Picks

“[The Jackpot] was androgenic…. No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, how many of them there were, how they’d changed things just by being there. …”

- William Gibson, “The Peripheral”

Oh hey! Welcome to PSAS Week 2. Is it off color, trivializing—callous, even—to draw an analogy between the scoring malaise that afflicted fantasy football in Week 1 and a slow motion sci-fi apocalypse that feels all-too-relevant to our current geopolitical situation? You bet it is! But that won’t stop us from whistling in the graveyard of our collective human dysfunction.

Low scoring was the name of the game in Week 1, with only two franchises cracking the 100 point barrier (a statistic aided by a certain high-scoring running back being left on the bench). The fantasy landscape was, as Ed McDonnaugh would say and as the table below attests, “barren.”

Players owned in Week 1 over 10 FPs (for QBs, over 20 FPs)

Zeroing in on the RBs and WRs, that left only 24 over-10-point performances spread thinly over 60 total RB-WR-Flex slots—a recipe for fantasy doldrums. It remains to be seen whether NFL trends toward backfield committees and diversified passing attacks have created a permanent Malthusian era in PSAS. Only time will tell…but in the meantime, on to this week’s picks (predicted winner in bold):

Bloodz vs. psych dog

On the Dachshunds side, Brees and Cooks have bullish outlooks as their teams go up against defenses lit up last week by Sam Bradford and Alex Smith, respectively. Meanwhile, question marks abound for the Bloodz at wide receiver, as Julio Jones faces a stout Packers D, Jeffery comes off a typically frustrating Jeffery performance, and Marshall remains mired in a Giants offense helmed by a decaying Eli Manning.

Dijoinnaise vs. Ferries

The Mustards’ prospects here are dampened by their RB situation, with McFadden, Coleman, and Jamaal Williams offering precious little upside. The upshot: Aaron Rodgers, in true Obi-Wan fashion, is their only hope of challenging the Ferries, even after Jeremy Hill’s (and the entire Cincy offense’s) no show on Thursday night. And if the Ferries dust of Jay Ajayi as their Flex option, this could turn into a blowout.

Girlz vs. Polk High

Tough skill position matchups up and down the line figure to doom Polk High in this Brooklyn vs. ATL showdown, while Monique may feast as Amari Cooper goes up against the tank-tastic Jets and the explosive Tyreek Hill looks to abuse/manhandle/smack around (no, we haven’t forgotten) the Eagles pass defense at home in Kansas City.

Hanging w Hooper vs. TTM

Last week’s high-scoring teams battle to remain undefeated, with the Mountain facing an uphill climb after a Hopkins lowball and Mr. Hooper's Bernardrick McKinney bonus in last night’s tepid Texans-Bengals affair. (Pausing here to acknowledge the greatness of the name “Bernardrick.”) Uncertainty clouds this matchup, as OBJ’s status remains questionable, Le’Veon Bell comes off a disappointing Week 1 performance, and Mike Gillislee plays another round of Belichick Game Plan Roulette. Hooper gets the edge based on higher upside.

Nauts vs. Pelicans

After losing by a nose to the Trichs following a two-front disaster at RB (benching Kareem Hunt’s 40-plus points and listening to the godz cackle as they broke David Johnson’s wrist), the Nauts hope to regain some mojo against the Pelicans, who suffered through underwhelming performances across the board last week. Although Gronk could potentially rebound and explode against a horrific Saints D, we’re betting on ourselves on the strength of marginally better matchups for our skill players overall.

Trichs vs. BDT

The Trichs are riding high following Week 1’s Stefon Diggs-fueled comeback win over the Nauts, and hope to keep the momentum going against BDT,  who were let down by Tom Brady’s aging arm and the absence of Mike Evans due to hurricane. Look for Brady and Beastmode to drive a resurgence that finds BDT dwelling in the win column, while the Trichs’ cloudy RB outlook leaves them just short of the promised land this time around.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

PSAS Week 1 2017 - League Dystopia Edition

Welcome to the 2017 season, gents. I'm hoping to post picks for each week's slate of PSAS contests here at least semi-regularly. For this week, though, I'm eschewing picks in favor of franchise profiles, and as tribute to the steadily advancing dystopia that surrounds us, these profiles will answer the burning question: which dystopian movie reboot is your franchise?

But before getting to it, a shout out to the Ferries for last year's championship victory over the Trichs and a stellar postseason run. And to BDT for winning the 2007 Patriots Award for a dominant regular season that ended in heartbreak.

Now, without further ado....

Nauts vs. Trichs

Nauts dystopian reboot: “Blade Runner” - David Johnson is a replicant (incept date: May 30, 2015) designed for four years of maximum-intensity rushing and receiving duties, after which he’ll die. Along with fellow replicants Christian McCaffrey and Kareem Hunt, he sets off to find his maker and demand more life. In a crowd-pleasing scene late in the movie, Johnson beats Roger Goodell in chess before gouging out Goodell’s eyes with his thumbs.

Trichs dystopian reboot: “RoboCop” – after top quarterback prospect Andrew Luck is murdered by his general manager and coach, his intact body parts are melded with a robot exoskeleton. RoboLuck returns to the field midseason only to realize that his new GM is a just a different breed of ass clown who wears sandals to work and hired an ex-military grifter as a “draft consultant”. Somewhere in RoboLuck’s cyberbrain, he wonders why he didn’t just become a lawyer.


TTM dystopian reboot: “12 Monkeys” – DeAndre Hopkins lives in a post-pandemic future. In hopes of eventually rewriting history to save billions of lives lost in the pandemic, Hopkins’ employers send him back in time to investigate the origins of the virus. His only clue is the name of the terrorist organization responsible: the “12 Osweilers.”

BDT dystopian reboot: “Escape from New York” – in a future NFL, Marshawn Lynch refuses to speak at a press conference and faces a thousand year sentence in a walled off New York City, which now serves as a federal prison for the entire U.S. But the authorities offer to commute his sentence if he agrees to infiltrate New York on a mission to rescue a kidnapped Peyton Manning. After locating Manning, Lynch threatens to let him die unless the NFL tacks a lifetime supply of Skittles onto his deal.

Hanging w Mr H vs. Ferries

Hanging w Mr H dystopian reboot: “The Fifth Element” – Odell Beckham, Jr. reprises Chris Tucker’s role of a motormouthed, high camp TV variety show host in the 23rd century. Improbably, OBJ gets roped into a quest to save an elemental, scantily clad, born-sexy-yesterday life force who is somehow necessary to save the universe from both a cosmic ball of misanthropy and Gary Oldman’s hardon for descruction.

Ferries dystopian reboot: “Soylent Green” – Russell Wilson unveils a new 4,800 calorie, nine meals per day diet, which quickly goes viral. But when a Seattle detective investigates the murder of Pete Carroll at Seahawks training camp, he discovers a horrible secret: the “Eight oz. protein (equivalent of two chicken breasts)” that Wilson eats actually consists of players cut from the Seahawks’ practice squad. 

psych dog vs. Dijonnaise

psych dog dystopian reboot: (going off script with a song here) “Diamond Dogs” – in a future U.S., year unspecified, Ezekiel Elliott is pulled out of an oxygen tent and into a nightmarish reality full of ten-inch stumps, silicon humps, and other weirdnesses—including LeSean McCoy, who lives on top of the Chase Manhattan building, throwing parties for “women who are 21 years old or older, have a photo ID and sign a confidentiality agreement.”

Dijonnaise dystopian reboot: “The Matrix” – Aaron Rodgers learns that “football” is a virtual reality/false consciousness fed to NFL players by nefarious robot overlords and awakens to his true identity as The One. In practice, this means that he transcends time and space and averages six Hail Marys and 40 fantasy points per game. As in the original “Matrix,” the “mind makes it real,” so all those concussion side effects are still there after he swallows the red pill.

Bloodz vs. Polk High

Bloodz dystopian reboot: “Waterworld” – in the world of the future, unchecked climate change has left 99.9999999% of the planet underwater. Leonard Fournette (whose hometown was one of the first major cities to submerge) is a mysterious loner who drinks his own filtered piss and must deliver a sacred football to one of the last remaining havens of dry land. Jameis Winston removes the PR concealer from his scumbag side to play the Dennis Hopper role.

Polk High dystopian reboot: “Snowpiercer” – After the climate change holocaust, the remains of humanity circle the globe in a high-speed train stratified by class. Ben Roethlisberger is the lower class insurrectionary from the squalid rear section of the train who leads a revolt against the elites in the front; in a chilling reveal [SPOILER ALERT], we learn that he ate other people to survive during his rookie season on the train.

Girlz vs. Pelicans

Girlz dystopian reboot: “The Terminator” – Matt Ryan is a rebel fighter in a dystopia where an artificial intelligence known as PatriotNet and its robot army rule the NFL. Ryan travels back in time in an attempt to prevent the Super Bowl loss that resulted in the final victory of PatriotNet over humanity, only to get stuck in a time loop where he bangs Tom Brady’s mom and thus fathers humanity’s betrayer.

Pelicans dystopian reboot: “The Running Man” – Cam Newton plays the Yaphet Kotto role and Gronk stars in the Schwarzenegger role. Gronk reveals heretofore unseen depths as he begins to awaken and rebel against the Powers That Be in a society that watches people kill each other for sport. In the movie’s climactic scene he puts Joe Buck on a rocket sled that shoots into an electronic Fox billboard and explodes.