Brawl of the Week: Idols of Azeroth (again)

This week’s Brawl is one we have had a few times: Idols of Azeroth. You pick a class and it’s filled with the card of the same name. For 1 mana, cast the spell that let’s you “Discover” either a spell or a minion. From there, RNG takes over. At least you can go offense or defense.

So, I picked the Priest, mainly because I had a quest to win a game with a priest. Simple as that. As far as strategy goes, I try to get a couple minions before I go digging for spells.

The battle was fairly one-sided early. I couldn’t really do much to my opponent. I did “dig out” some healy spells, so that was nice. Eventually. I had a couple big hitters, and my opponent “opted” out.

This is a timely brawl for people with limited playing time, and libraries. It evens the playing field vs players who might have opened 100+ packs, and/or crafted several legendaries. So get in there, have some fun and win that free pack. I will see you next week!

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My Bears ‘Wish List’ for the 2018 NFL Draft

It’s that time of year. I have the first part of my mock draft done. Working on 17-32. I have a list of players I would like the Bears to draft. The last 3 years, I have wanted the Bears to trade down, and they have literally done the opposite. This year, I want them to stay at #8 and draft one of the following players. We’ll see how they do.

The Bears currently hold the #8 overall pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.

In no particular order:

Marcus Davenport, Edge: UTSA- Davenport progressed well at the Senior Bowl, and capped it off with a strong game. He’s a little bigger/stronger than Leonard Floyd with similar speed.

Tremaine Edmunds, LB: Virgina Tech- Edwards is a highly rated linebacker who will only be 20 when the NFL season starts. He is a little raw, but has all the measureables, and looks to be an impact player.

Denzel Ward, CB: Ohio State- Ward might not even be there at 8, but if 3-4 QBs go in the top 6, he has a good shot at falling to #8. Denzel plays with great awareness, is very agile, and seems to have very good instincts. He’s also super fast, and plays much bigger than he is.

Quenton Nelson, G: Notre Dame– Like Ward, Nelson should be off the board long before the Bears pick. Similarly though, if enough QBs go in the top 5-6, there is a small chance. This guy could be a game-changer on the offensive line for many, many years.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, S: Alabama- Fitzpatrick is a playmaker that would pair well with Eddie Jackson in the defensive backfield. Crazy/unfair to compare him, but I see a little Ed Reed in his game. Very savvy, very athletic. Brings it all when he hits.

If they trade down (even one spot) and get another pick, I would be open to:

Calvin Ridley, WR: Alabama- I think Ridley is at worst, a “poor man’s” Marvin Harrison, and at best, Marvin Harrison with a little more speed. The Bears need to draft a WR, especially having let Cam Meredith go to the Saints. Even before, they probably needed to draft at least one WR somewhere. If they make a trade to someone moving up for a falling QB, or other player, this could put them in the 10-14 range.

Harold Landry, Edge: Boston College- Landry is a lot like Leonard Floyd. He is probably as raw too. Elite speed, amazing first step, knows how to use his hands/body. Can “dip and rip”. I would not be surprised if he goes at the lower end of the top 10. I could not fault the Bears for taking him at 8. That said, if you can trade down 1-2 slots and still get him…

Mike McGlinchey, OT: Notre Dame- The Bears have McGlinchey’s coach in Harry Heistand. He could be one of the better tackles coming out this year. Perhaps too high to take in the top 10, could definitely go in the 11-15 area.

 

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Brawl of the Week: A Chance Encounter

This Week’s Tavern Brawl is one I was sure we had before. Perhaps it’s like every RNG brawl we have ever had. No twist. A Chance Encounter: simply pick your class and get a random deck full of random cards. Oddly, mostly legendary cards.

So I went with the hunter. At least you have that 2 damage smack to the face in any given round. Right?

You can pick any class.

It seemed like a good way to go. In the end, it didn’t help. I was overwhelmed with much tougher minions. I had to try something else…

Switched to the mage, because let’s face it, Hunter is for fun, but Mage is for winning! OK, so I had to play two games as a mage, but still. The hits kept on coming!

Yep, this one worked out for me a little bit. I wish we would have got a brawl that featured some of the new cards. I remember we got one like that for The Grand Tournament. Maybe even another expansion. Anyways, enjoy it. Get that free pack. See you next week!

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Fantasy Impact: 2018 NFL Mock Draft (1-16)

Well, here we are again. The return of the mock. As I have been doing for the last 3-4 years now, I will do my mock based on a) A Fantasy Football perspective, and b) where I want players to go that would fit the best. Grab a snack, and/or your favorite beverage, and let’s see how this shakes out!

1. Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB: Penn State- The running back crop is probably the best it’s been in a decade or more. That being said, Barkley seems to be a few notches above any other back. Cleveland seems to need talent at almost every position, but they really need playmakers. Since they paid a lot of money to Carlos Hyde, this may not happen. It will be a loss to the Browns, and Browns fans.

2. Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE: NC State- The Giants could very well use a QB, but they always seem to be savvy at drafting the right defensive end at the right time. No way they pass on a talent like Chubb. They can trade back up to get a QB or take one in round 2.

3. Jets (via Colts) Josh Rosen, QB: UCLA- After signing Josh McCown, and Teddy Bridgewater to 1-year deals, it was clear the Jets still needed a QB. Which QB will it be? I like Josh Rosen over Sam Darnold or Josh Allen. I don’t know why. Rosen might be the more pure passer. I have a sneaking feeling they traded up to get Allen though. The interesting thing here is, Barkley will likely slide down

4. Browns: Quenton Nelson, G: Notre Dame- Whoa! I know what you are thinking. They need a QB! They also need to block for their new running back, and eventual QB. Nelson will be a stud, Barkley will run for lots of yards behind him. You will love this pick Cleveland. Yes you will! As I said, I can see the Browns dealing this pick, maybe getting a #1 next year.

5. Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma- After losing out on Kirk Cousins, the Broncos should probably have the pick of the litter. Many have Darnold, or Allen as the top thrower in the draft. I think Darnold is most likely to disappoint, and Allen is so turnover prone. Mayfield has really grown on me over the last 6-8 weeks. All he does is win, and compete at a high level. I would be cool with them taking Allen. Both QBs will sit behind Keenum for a year or two.

6. Colts: (from Jets) Denzel Ward, CB: Ohio State- They really need to grab a stud offensive lineman in the off chance Andrew Luck actually comes back and can throw in 2018. Their defense was horrible last year, and they can’t cover anyone. If for some odd reason Chubb was there, I’m sure they would sprint to turn in the card. This all changes with their trade back from 3 with the Jets. I’m still giving them Ward, however, I can see Barkley could make his way to #6, and that would be the steal of the draft.

7. Buccaneers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB: Virginia Tech- The Bucs get one of the best LBs in the draft. Minkah Fitzpatrick could also be an option.

8. Bears: Marcus Davenport, DE: UTSA- After watching the Senior Bowl again, and then going back and watching his combine, I am a lot more excited about this pick/player. He kind of fits the type of player the Bears have drafted the last 3 years: all height/weight/speed guys who need a little seasoning at the next level. I no longer want them to trade down, but if they do, they could scoop up Harold Landry as a 3-4 outside LB.

9. 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR: Alabama- This is the opposite of a fantasy for me. I hate the 49ers, and I don’t want to see them get good again. They could use some help at WR, and I think Ridley is going to be a solid pro. He may not have elite speed, but neither did Marvin Harrison. I can see the 49ers drafting up to 7 to get the 2nd best edge rusher (Davenport).

10. Raiders: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S: Alabama: Gruden might want to go with a lineman, but they could use a playmaker in the defensive backfield. Davenport might be a target here as well.

11. Miami: Roquan Smith, LB: Georgia- I’ll be honest, I don’t have a very good feel for this pick. I don’t like their QB, or many of their WRs. I’d say they probably need help on both offensive and defensive lines. Maybe they trade down and get a guy like Harold Landry or Leighton Vander Esch.

12. Bills: (from Bengals) Josh Allen, QB: Wyoming- Many predicted the Bills to move up, but I think either he or Darnold will fall here. If the board goes like I think, they will be Ok. If more than 2 QBs go in the top 5, Buffalo may feel pressed to trade up to #6. However, not many teams need a QB in that range. Miami could snag a QB of the future. We shall see.

13. Redskins: Connor Williams, OL: Texas- The Redskins need to address their O-line. They also need some WRs and maybe a RB. If they don’t fix the line, none of it matters.

14. Packers: Will Hernadez, G: UTEP- The Packers are another team I dislike strongly, and they haven’t drafted too well as of late. Which is why Ted Thompson is no longer in Green Bay. They could go a few ways; offense or defense, but they need to do a better job keeping #12 healthy. They could use a corner back, and might value one here more than a guard.

15. Cardinals: Sam Darnold, QB: USC- I know this is nuts. Before the combine, I was thinking 4 QBs would go in the top 10. Now I am thinking not so much. Arizona may have to trade up to say 10, but if not, there could be a couple of the top 5 QBs here. Darnold makes sense for a couple of reasons: They need a QB, they have had 2 previous USC QBs in Matt Lienart, and most recently Carson Palmer. Darnold is billed as a more mobile Palmer, with a weaker arm. This is why I predict he will fall out of the top 10.

16. Ravens: Derwin James, S: Florida State- Many had him going top 10. The Ravens usually draft pretty well on defense. I could see them take one of the talented corners as well.

That’s it for picks 1-16, stay tuned for 17-32!

The fall of Sam Darnold: I could be dead wrong on this. a) I don’t think he is that good of a QB, and b) there are a lot of QBs coming out this year. How far will he go? If he gets down to the low 20s, the Saints and Steelers could be looking for a QB of the future.

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This Life

This Life

4-9-18

This life will lead you

This life will bleed you

This life will let you

This life forgets you

You have time to turn it around

You have time to stand your ground

You can hold your head in shame

You can give others the blame

This life will make you

This life will break you

This life will show you

This life will snow you

You have time to be what you want

You have time to be nothing at all

You can learn from your mistakes

You can take it to your grave

This life

This life

This life…

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Brawl of the Week: Blessing of the Raven

This week’s Tavern Brawl is a totally new one to mark the coming Year of the Raven. At first blush, it looks very cool. Blessing of the Raven: Pick a class, and get a deck with the “Ravens Blessing”.

It’s a deck with totally random cards. When you play a minion, it gets a “blessing” of one of five things: Stealth, Charge, Lifesteal, Poisonous, or Windfury. This is one of the times where I wished you got to make your own deck. The RNG is extreme with this brawl. So extreme I had to come up with my own acronym: TFR (too f*cking random). Yeah.

So I started with the priest, mainly because I needed 1 more win for a quest. It looked good early, but I was easily over run. The frustrating part is when you get a bunch of spells that do you no real good in a brawl like this. I tapped out, and suggest you do the same when you see the writing on the wall. Like most RNG-heavy brawls, they get one sided quick.

You can see here my minions got Stealth, and Poisonous, respectively. It didn’t help. My opponent had lots of little minions he could flood the board with, and keep control.

Then I went with the hunter. Again, I seemed to have an early edge. The Raven blessed my opponent a little more than me.

Full disclosure: It took another hunter, and a paladin run to get to my first victory with this brawl. In total, it was 5-6 tries. This brawl would have been better if we were able to make a partial, or full deck on our own. The randomness is tremendous.

So get in there and get that free pack. Hope RNG is on your side. See you next week!

 

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2017 End of Season Rankings: Running Backs

No better time to make your rankings for next year, than right at the end of the season. This gives you an opportunity to asses, and then make edits as free agency and the Draft happen. Running backs are back in a big way in the NFL. We had resurgences and rookies who were dominant. Let’s go!

1. Todd Gurley, Rams- Gurley finally blossomed into the top back we all thought he would be. With a solid passing game, Gurley thrived, and piled up numbers when it mattered. In weeks 14-16 he amassed over 500 total yards, and 8 total TDs. I expect those numbers to expand in 2018.

2. Le’veon Bell, Steelers- He takes a back seat to Gurley, but is still a highly productive back. The only thing that could push him further down is if Big Ben decides to retire. I don’t see that happening, but there were rumblings last offseason.

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys- As long as they have that monster line, and Elliott plays 14-16 games, he’s going to be a top back. I expect him to bounce back from all the drama. His legs should be really fresh, since he missed 6 games via suspension. We will see how focused and dedicated he is.

4. Alvin Kamara, Saints- He is in a Running Back By Committee (RBBC), and still put up some crazy points. Draft him with confidence, and don’t take him out of your lineup.

5. Melvin Gordon, Chargers- Gordon took a couple years, but he is a solid/safe pick as a runner.

6. Kareem Hunt, Chiefs- Hunt disappeared for a good chunk of his rookie season, this is why I have him as low as he is. He could challenge Gurley for the #1 spot if he works hard in the offseason.

7. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars- This guy just tipped the iceberg of what he can be in the NFL. Like Hunt, he will have to work a little on his durability. I see him adding to his nice numbers, and maybe being more of the offense in 2018.

8. Mark Ingram, Saints- It’s rare that 2 backs in a RBBC can be highly productive for Fantasy Football, but that is exactly what he and Kamara have done. It took them a few games to figure it out, but then the Saints were lights out rushing the football.

9. Jordan Howard, Bears- This is a top 5 Fantasy back folks. He had a bit of a down year as his total yards dropped, yards per carry, and yards per game. His TDs went up from 6 to 9. One of my biggest peeves was OC Dowell Loggains didn’t utilize him or Tarik Cohen to the best of their ability. This will hopefully be remedied with a coaching change. Someone will likely get a steal at the end of round one, or even the top half of round 2.

10. Carlos Hyde, 49ers- Carlos Hyde has had an up and down career since being drafted to eventually replace Frank Gore. When I watched Hyde in college, I saw the same traits, with maybe more speed. Kaepernick’s skills declined, and the 49ers struggled until they traded for Jimmy Garoppolo. Hyde has had 2 decent seasons now, and if they keep him, will have a chance to really break out.

11. Devonta Freeman, Falcons- I was one of those who thought Freeman was poised to have a huge year. Maybe it was the change in offense, but Freeman did not even put up numbers he was used to. He’s a RB2 right now, who is in a RBBC, which means you should be looking at the top 10 WRs before taking him.

12. Derrick Henry, Titans- Henry could likely be a top 5 fantasy back, however, the coaching changes, and addition of Deon Lewis cloud that picture. The Titans have a new offensive coordinator in Matt LeFleur, so we don’t really know how things will go. If we look at New Orleans, they happily played 3 running backs, and had great production. Henry will be the power runner, and Lewis will snag a lot of the passes.

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