spoiler alert: i linked this
Late last year, and then again last February Draftstreet.com let us host a freeroll for those interested in testing out their daily/weekly fantasy games. Lots of folks participated, knowledge was tested, fun was had, personal respect was destroyed, time was wasted, and then people won currency.
It's fantasy except instead of drafting one team at the beginning of the season you build a new one each week. Enrollment in our pool is free for MGoReaders, and there's $200 in the pool paid out among the Top 12 finishers as soon as each freeroll ends.
Way it works is you get a salary cap of $100,000 and use it to build a team of two QBs, three RBs, two WRs, a TE, and two FLEX positions. Each college football player has a price based on their expected fantasy performance [insert Ohio State joke]. So you can have your very own Matt McGloin for $13,597, but Whoa Johnny Manziel will cost you $21,040. It took me like five minutes to build my team:
(That I went with Devin in no way constitutes information—I know what you know)
The goal is to see how much people like it the next few weeks since it's a cool way to keep track of player value, and to do a basketball one starting in January. We'll have some of their guys on here from time to time and charts and stuff to show how and explain why Michigan's players are moving around the list. Fun AND educational guys!
You can adjust your roster up until the contest starts on Saturday 11/17 at 12:00pm ET at which time your rosters will lock and the Live Scoreboard will be available.
CLICK HERE to register for the league.
The following are images I created while putting together this week's Museday. I figured they might be useful here for future discussions of alignment and such. I can build more and add as we need.
The offense has gone 5-wide with an empty backfield. Rather than tip their hand and delve into the 5th spot on the receiver depth chart, offenses will have a running back as one of the slot backs, and maybe a tight end too, so 005 personnel is pretty rare outside of Hail Mary situations. Some teams with a running QB will do this to give the QB and his line a 6-on-5 in the box. Defense counters with a dime back. In an obvious passing situation the 5-tech could easily be lifted for another linebacker to patrol the middle.
The diamond formation (there are variants, some of which are unbalanced) is all about creating space away from the box for a talented receiver to get a free release and/or lots of blockers on a screen. MSU used it a bunch last year to utilize Keyshawn Martin's skills. If you're going against defensive backs who can't tackle or avoid blocks very well, it can be devastating, however it's really just a wrinkle, not an offense.
This is another package rather than a full offense. Note that the QB is split out as a slot receiver. Also note the personnel: 2 backs, 1 tight end. This is part of the Wilcat's success—it creates a spread look but until they line up this way the defense is matching personnel to a two-receiver set.
I've shown just one response to an under-center spread formation that Michigan used last year. Note that the SLB is mismatched against a slot receiver here. The more the offense spreads the field, the more linebackers end up playing in space. Often a 104 will be matched with a dime formation for this reason.
"Twins" or "Trips" refers to receivers lining up on the same side of the formation, or maybe motioning there. How the defense reacts can tip whether they're in a man or zone coverage. Michigan in 2010 liked to do this in order to clear out the boundary corner and run Denard left with the halfback as lead blocker, putting pressure on the filling free safety and backside pursuit to close it down before Denard was free. When it worked we usually exclaimed something to the effect of "Martell Webb: secret weapon." Note how the linebackers have essentially swapped jobs because of the shift. Rather than come across with the receiver, the boundary corner will often come in where the WLB is set up here, and the SAM is left to deal with the slot receiver.
The Shotgun, the Nickel, and the Okie
The most common offense Michigan has faced over the last four years, and is likely to see the most often again this year. Note the three WR draws a nickelback in to guard the space in the slot. However there's no rule saying the defense has to defend its 3rd and longs with a passive nickel. Here's the Okie:
Okie Okie Okie Okie Okie! This is a designer alignment that threatens rushers from all over the line in order to confuse blocking assignments, but is otherwise your standard NFL-style 3-4 zone blitz.
Michigan will continue to use many sets but this one is particularly good for running with power while still having a killer passing game thanks to the abilities of the tight ends to reach many different routes and the relative isolation of talented receivers against CBs. It's an even formation that can attack either side equally, so the defense can't pick any one side to overload. Some variants on the 122:
Putting the TEs on the line gives the WRs a better release and gets them closer to their blocks. The downside is the U-back can't move before the snap anymore, so motion has to come from the WRs or the HB.
Same look as the first except the QB is in the shotgun. This makes the quarterback more of a rushing threat and the halfback less of one, a decent trade-off if Devin Gardner's legs are part of your quarterback. In 2014 I expect this will be our base offense as we transition to the power game, though it will take some development from the tight ends to get there.
Things You Do With Fullbacks:
This is a good formation to run with even though you don't have tight ends because the defense has matched the receivers with a nickelback. The FB can motion and should have lots of room in the flat to receive. A favorite of West Coast enthusiasts everywhere when the offense thinks it can win up-front but doesn't want pesky OLBs getting all over things.
In the shotgun the fullback is a "Superback" and hardly different from the RB. This is another run formation without tight ends like above except, again, you are trading the RB's downhill head start for the ability to use your QB's legs or get a pass off quickly. Expect to see this formation on 3rd down this year as Michigan loves Vincent Smith's blocking ability and the tight ends are iffy.
Offsetting the fullback gives him a head start on blocking in that direction or leaking out into a receiving route. Putting him inline in a true I-formation makes him a quicker strike on the FB dive and better ISO blocker on a run down the middle.
Split-backs is a compromise between some of the shotgun's strengths and weaknesses and the I-form's. It's a great inside or outside running set that provides the passer a comfortable protection shell, is why this was used so much by Michigan in the Brady & Navarre periods, and why it's still found in the NFL.
Big sets are for running with lead blockers. You can go big from a shotgun or whatever. Note that the defense will usually respond to this near sellout set with a bigger front and a stacked box (here another LB has come in for a safety while the original SAM has his hand down to give the defense a 5-man front). I meant for the field corner to come in tighter here, since he's now the edge defender. Michigan's Okie package sometimes riffed off of 4-4 personnel even though it's supposed to be a 3-man front technically, as the WDE and SLB acted as OLBs and the strong safety attacked from the edge.
Same thing, different defensive response. The safety has been lifted for an extra 3-tech. In this the nose tackle has two-gap responsibility but we've seen Michigan go with 5-3 personnel then put the SAM's hand down on the edge for a Bear look.
Close to the endzone the offense can no longer spread the field vertically, which hurts all offenses but the effect is felt greater on the passing game and its best formations, while running in a crowded area is still running in a crowded area. Teams will go BIG or forget about receivers altogether:
I'll update this cheatsheet as the year goes on and we see different things if people find it useful. Comments and suggestions welcome.
This was a triumph. I'm making a note here:
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.
We do what we must because we can.
For the good of all of us
Except the ones who are dead.
But there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake
And the science gets done and you make a neat gun
For the people who are still alive.
I'm not even angry.
I'm being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart and killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because
I was so happy for you.
Now these points of data make a beautiful line
And we're out of beta we're releasing on time.
So I'm GLaD I got burned think of all the things we learned
For the people who are still alive.
(I was all like…)
THAT WAS A JOKE. HA HA, FAT CHANCE.
Anyway, this cake is great:
It's so delicious and moist.
(But now I'm all like…)
Look at me still talking when there's science to do.
When I look out there it makes me GLaD I'm not you.
I've experiments to run there is research to be done
On the people who are still alive
And believe me I am still alive.
I'm doing science and I'm still alive.
P.S. I feel FANTASTIC and I'm still alive.
P.P.S. While you're dying I'll be still alive.
Final thought: And when you're dead I will be still alive.
U.S. News & World Report publishes those annual college rankings. They're not the only ones, and they're not even necessarily the best ones, but they're the rankings people most often use when talking about how our alma mater is better than everyone elses's alma mater and...I dunno do people talk about the USNews Rankings for anything else?
In the world of marginal and overly general rankings that lose 90% of their meaning six days into your career, Michigan is awesome at everything there too. Piggybacking on the article linked by Gameboy, and because it would have been too many inches on the front page for something I don't think matters all that much, here's the FBS schools who made the Top 400.
Note: Notre Dame is listed as a Big Ten school because it annoys them, and the Big East is not listed as a BCS conference because lol they're not.
|Big Ten||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
|Pac 12||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
|NR: Oregon, Oregon State|
|ACC||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
|NR: Clemson, FSU, Syracuse|
|SEC||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
|NR: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss St, SC|
|Big XII||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
|NR: Baylor, Kansas, KSU, Oklahoma, OK State, TT, TCU, WVa.|
|Non-BCS||Rank (World)||Rank (US)||Rank (FBS)|
Items of Interest that Actually Mean Very Little:
- Texas A&M is now the second-smartest school in the SEC. Think about that for a second. We feel for you Vanderbilt!
- USN doesn't like private schools.
- What the hell does % of faculty that's international have to do with anything?
- Lol Notre Dame anyway.
The Big Ten and Pac 12 are pretty comparable, though since the last time I did this the B1G has closed the gap on a former Pac lead at the top; our bottom is still way stronger despite the drag of our only non-ranked, non-AAU program Nebraska. If USNews rankings (shown: just among FBS teams) instead of BCS rankings were used to create matchups for the future B1G/Pac Challenge or whatever they'll call the new real-game agreement, we get:
|Big Ten||Vs.||Pac 12|
|Michigan (2)||vs.||Stanford (1)|
|Northwestern (5)||vs.||California (4)|
|Wisconsin (7)||vs.||UCLA (6)|
|Illinois (10)||vs.||Washington (9)|
|Purdue (13)||vs.||USC (16)|
|Penn State (14)||vs.||Colorado (23)|
|Minnesota (15)||vs.||Arizona (26)|
|Ohio State (17)||vs.||Utah (36)|
|Michigan State (27)||vs.||Arizona State (39)|
|Iowa (28)||vs.||Washington State (43)|
|Indiana (29)||vs.||Oregon (NR)|
|Nebraska (NR)||vs.||Oregon State (NR)|
Horray for feeling superior to people for silly reasons!
Ed-Seth: Throwing this up front -- I still need a photographer.
Adopt-a-Shelter is a one-day event at two Detroit homeless shelters where we give the clients a Christmas party and allow the parents to "shop" for donated gifts worth $10 to $20. The shelters are the Booth Evangeline (the larger, for families), and Genesis House II (smaller, for women & children).
Activities for the kids include a pizza party, Santa Claus, a teen game room, face-painting, artwork, dancing, and (at Booth) the opportunity to become one of those people in Metro-Detroit who can opine on the subject of Mitch Albom's height in real life. Most of the activities are a diversion for the kids while their parents…
Shop in a gift room filled with donated, unwrapped gifts. The parents can each select a certain number of gifts for themselves and their family members (this is why they have to be unwrapped). Anything left over goes to the shelters—every year we have a ton left over, and every year they've managed to give it all away in a few months after we leave.
What You Can Do
We're looking for 1) Activity Help, 2) Gift Donations, and 3) Volunteers.
1. Activities Assistance:
Photographer - We have a Santa, but I need a PHOTOGRAPHER for the Booth site, preferably someone who does this professionally. We accept pro bono but if you have pay requirements you can let me know what they are. If you have a way to print the photos, that's key (we tried a photo printer last year but one was way too slow—if you know a better way to do it please share). Between all the middle age Jewish ladies (read: have Bar Mitzvah-age kids) and the local press coverage (Mitch will mention with donors on his radio show), I'm pretty sure you'll get some business out of it. E-mail me.
Teen Game Room Captain – I've done it for years. You organize events for between 8 and 25 teens. There's a table hockey system, and a bunch of board games there but in the past we've organized Jeopardy-like games, or brought in TVs and videogame systems and had an all-out Madden-off.
Other activity leaders: Teen dance group who can teach some kids their moves. Manicure room. Caricatures. Food setup. People who did these last year have been contacted but haven't said yes or no yet.
2. Gift Donations
Gift donations should be unwrapped, tasteful, and between $15-$20. Stuff that needs batteries should come with batteries. No guns, no swords, no violent comic books. Historically we tend to fall short with stuff for young moms.
- AGE RANGE: The age of the children range from Newborn to 17 years old, with most of the children being between the ages of 4-11 years old.
- SIZES: A variety of sizes ranging from newborn to 3X are needed. The larger sizes (2X and 3X are for girls.)
- TOYS: Age-appropriate toys and educational toys are needed.
- TOILETRIES: All types of toiletries are needed, except NOTHING with ALCOHOL in it. Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Body Lotion, Women’s Deodorant, Body Wash, Soap, Washcloths, Towels.
If you would like to donate, I have set up an Amazon wish list for either site. You don't have to order what's on there – they're ideas. Links:
If you can't find something you want, buy something else and ship to that address. Or check back – we're still updating it.
|Infant/Toddler||Child (4-12 years)||Teen||Parent|
|Sleepers||Sweat suits||Sweat suits||Sweat suits|
|$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||Coats|
|Board games||Board games||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes|
|Stuffed animals||Radio walkman||Resume paper and envelopes|
|Activity books||Jewelry kits||Radio walkman|
The Genesis House site has enough volunteers but we can always use more at the Booth Evangeline site. This site is organized by Mitch Albom's Time to Help program; he and Ken Brown will be there:
- Time: 8:30 – noon
- Date: Dec. 3, 2011
- Location: Booth Evangeline Salvation Army, 20775 Pembroke Ave., Detroit, MI 48219. Same spot as last year. Parking is available at the school next door.
- To sign up: Visit the Time to Help volunteer sign-up page. (Note: it should be up in a few days. You can also e-mail me and I'll remind you when it's up).
Can't I Just Give You Money?
This is not the preferred option for me. Last year I set up a Paypal account and then spent three times as much as I received and I don't like taking your money. If you can't find something on the Amazon list above, donate to S.A.Y. Detroit, the umbrella organization for Detroit charities, and specify in the comments what it's for.
Michigan State will actually wear this (HT: allinforM) when they host Michigan on October 15. The Fulmer Cup runs, the Florida Atlantic "home" and home series, replacing Sparty with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino: these were just the precursors to MSU's ultimate goal of Becoming South Florida.
Ohio State also gets the Ken-doll-in-a-hospital-for-the-criminally-insane treatment for their game against Wisconsin. At least they got the bird poop off the helmets:
In other Pro Combats released today, Stanford and Georgia are auditioning for the cover of the next White Stripes album. Navy came through pretty unscathed (history buffs/tea partiers will be likin' the "Don't Tread on Me" undershirt), as did Army. The relative normality of these uniforms has nothing to do with the Ranger division that's been camping near Portland, nor the carrier group stationed several miles off Cape Meares. Really. LSU already uses purple in its scheme so it's not like they can get much worse.
That is all.