There isn’t always a whole lot of justice in the fantasy playoffs. Any team can get hot for a three-week stretch, and one bad week — or even one poor individual performance — can knock out the best team in the league. Nothing is ever going to change the crapshoot nature of the fantasy postseason.
As random as the playoffs always seem to be, fantasy owners will probably remember Week 16 of the 2014 season for a long time, particularly with respect to the quarterback position. Consider the following:
Even if you don’t collect baseball cards, you probably know the basics: Player photo on the front, stats on the back, and maybe some cool collector’s cards or autographs or chips off a game-used bat mixed in to the set. But since 2006, the Topps company has been shaking up what to expect from baseball cards with its Allen & Ginter World’s Champions series.
When you open a Ginter pack, you’ll find standard-sized cards of current players like Mike Trout and Madison Bumgarner, as well as smaller, thinner cards of those players and cards of baseball greats like Roberto Clemente and Lou Gehrig. But you’ll also pull cards about airplanes, cats, and festivals. Or a card with a Miss America winner or one featuring a famous sports surgeon. You might even get a card that you can redeem for a “baseball card” made of plastic with a preserved spider inside.
“Part of what’s fun about this is, What would make us excited to get on a card?” says Matthew Perrone, Senior Brand Manager at Topps Baseball. “No idea is off the table.”
This is our first fantasy column of the week looking ahead to the fantasy championships, and our final Fact or Fiction of the year. The goal of this column all season has been to imbue fantasy analysis with a little real-life football context. Hopefully, the words and pictures contained in this column for the last four months have helped you look at fantasy football from a different, more thoughtful perspective.
At the same time, this column is about taking what has happened and using that to directly improve our chances of winning at fantasy football. Well, there’s only one week left this season, and there aren’t a whole lot of tweaks to cover. We’ll get down into the details in the start ‘em or sit ‘em column later this week. For now, it’s time to unveil the final fact of the 2014 season.
If you’re going through World Cup withdrawal, don’t worry. There’s a World Cup on the schedule in 2015. And this time, it’s the women taking the pitch for international bragging rights.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be played in Canada from June 6-July 5. But over the past couple weeks things have started ramping up in anticipation of the competition.
First, on December 6, FIFA held the Women’s World Cup draw and — surprise! — the American women find themselves in their own Group of Death. The top-ranked US squad is in Group D, along with Australia, Sweden, and Nigeria.
Throughout the sports world, many players have not only accomplished incredible acts of athleticism, but also unbelievable acts of sportsmanship. Whether it was a soccer player helping the opposite team’s defender up from a fall or carrying an injured player around the bases so a home run will count, showing good sportsmanship proves that a game is not just about winning or losing, it’s about having a good time and treating your opponents with respect. Even though acts of sportsmanship can seem uncommon these days, there were still some incredible examples in 2014. I’ve picked five that inspired me.
After the San Jose Sharks showed off their Stadium Series sweaters earlier this week, it was only a matter of time before their opponents, the Los Angeles Kings, did the same. And on Tuesday the defending Stanley Cup champs gave the world its first look at the team’s outdoor-game jersey.
It follows the same basic template as the Sharks’ unis: big, blocky colors; elongated numbering; the “carbon fiber finish” on the crest. Overall, LA’s kit is just as amplified as San Jose’s.
Sports, as we know them, are changing. Stadiums are equipped with sensors to track advanced stats. Big league clubs use sophisticated technology to gauge player performance. And those players wear equipment such as bands and monitors to keep themselves at peak performance.
"You take advantage of all the stuff that's out there," says Miguel Cabrera, the 2012 American League Triple Crown winner, who wears and endorses the Samsung Gear Fit. "We live in a new world, so we've got to use all the stuff to help raise our game to the top."
This digital revolution is impacting more than just pros. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, cutting-edge gear — from smart equipment to fitness trackers to external sensors — is reshaping how kids practice, play, and develop as athletes.