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      Smack Zone — Erez Ladetzky

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      Where the Hell is the Red River, Anyway?

      [caption id="attachment_1298" align="aligncenter" width="474"]Texas-Oklahoma Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops pretty much eats the Longhorns for dinner. Smack Apparel illustration: Steve Hill.[/caption] By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor Three words that get two states’ collective blood boiling: Red River Rivalry. This weekend marks the 110th edition of this matchup between Oklahoma and Texas. In its glory years, this game used to decide who won the Big 12. Now, it is just another game between two schools that hate each other. Texas is to blame for that, considering how bad they have become this year. And don’t get us started with the name of the game, “Red River Rivalry.” I mean, Red River? Really? How many people in this country know where the Red River is? Or even care about it? At least make it a cool name. Florida and Georgia play in “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Now that’s a game worth going to! It’s not even the only Red River in the world. C’mon man! This rivalry has seen both teams go on long winning streaks. Texas went on a six-game winning streak in the ‘30s and an eight game streak in the ‘40s. Oklahoma won six in a row in the ‘50s and five in a row in the ‘70s. Texas has the all-time edge with a 60-44-5 record against Oklahoma. Superstar players used to play in this game. Not anymore. These teams now don’t have the caliber of players they used to. Oklahoma had Adrian Peterson, Mark Clayton, Keith Jackson, Gerald McCoy, Lee Roy Selmon and Roy Williams. Texas had players such as Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell, Vince Young, Stanley Richard and Bryant Westbrook. Now, outside of Texas and Oklahoma – or the Red River valley, whatever and wherever that is -- this is simply another game on the schedule. There will be no championship implications. These teams definitely hate each other still, but it just doesn’t have the juice it used to. Hopefully, one day, it gets back to being one of the top games of the year. But that day is not Saturday.

      Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Sleepers

      [caption id="attachment_1109" align="aligncenter" width="474"]Picks Contest Enter the weekly Smack Apparel picks contest to win t-shirts! Share it with your friends and prove your superiority as a pigskin prognosticator![/caption] By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor So your fantasy team is off to a rough start. Or one of your star players is hurt and you need a replacement. Maybe you have succumbed to all of the daily fantasy commercials and have joined FanDuel or Draft Kings (I started FanDuel last season). Here is a list of 5 players either potentially on your waiver wire or who have good value every week in daily/weekly fantasy:

      1. Karlos Williams, RB Buffalo Bills -- word out of Buffalo is Shady McCoy could very well miss this week’s game against the Giants. McCoy’s hamstring will probably linger on most of the year. Williams is coming off a 110 yard performance against Miami, including a highlight reel TD. Look for Williams and McCoy to split carries the rest of the way.
      1. Devonta Freeman, RB Atlanta Falcons -- coming into the season, many people thought Atlanta would use their 3rd round draft pick Tevin Coleman more than Freeman. Last week Coleman injured his hip, and Freeman took advantage of the opportunity, scoring the most fantasy points this week with a 3 TD game against the Cowboys. Freeman is a very solid RB2/value pick in daily fantasy sports (DFS).
      1. Tyrod Taylor, QB Buffalo Bills -- Taylor is available in a lot of leagues and definitely worth the pickup in case your starter has a tough matchup or is injured. Taylor has a great supporting cast around him with Mccoy, Williams, Watkins, Harvin and Clay. Not to mention he can run for yards and TD if necessary.
      1. Darren Sproles, RB Philadelphia Eagles -- Sproles is Mr. Do it all for the Eagles. He runs, catches and returns punts/kicks. He is an excellent value play in DFS and allows you to take two high-priced WR or a high priced RB and WR. He might not play a lot of snaps, but the snaps he does play turn into fantasy gold.
      1. Marvin Jones, WR Cincinnati Bengals -- teams have to start doubling A.J. Green. No team wants him to be the reason they get beat. Enter Marvin Jones. He had 94 yards and a TD against Baltimore this past weekend, and I expect him to be consistent the rest of the year. Dalton is playing his best football yet, and Jones should be the beneficiary of Green having a monster start to the season.
      After you scroll through the waiver wire for these guys, enter the Smack Apparel Weekly Picks Contest to try and win free t-shirts! Here is a look at the NFL games you'll be picking: Jets at Dolphins: Miami is so bad this year, they are playing this “home” game in London so the fans won’t have to suffer. Vikings at Broncos: Manning was supposed to be too old and not strong enough to throw 20 yards this year. The 3-0 Broncos just don’t care. Packers at 49ers: Rodgers has 10 TD and 0 INT to start the season. Kaepernick is coming off a 4 INT game. Can the NFL enforce a mercy rule? Cowboys at Saints: Brees could be cleared for this game, but if not it will be a Sunday night showdown between back QBs Brandon Weeden and Luke McCown. Get your popcorn ready! Rams at Cardinals: Arizona is looking like the class of the NFC West, and someone forgot to tell St. Louis that after you beat Seattle week 1, you have 15 more games left. Chiefs at Bengals: the mighty Daltons are off to a scorching start. But then again, it’s not January yet. Panthers at Buccaneers: the first of many Newton vs. Winston matchups. Let’s see if the Bucs can win their first home game since 2013 and if they are "Carolina ready." Lions at Seahawks: this Monday night game might be over before it even starts. Eric Ebron still thinks the 0-3 Lions are a great team. Maybe he will change his mind after this game.    

      Football Survivor Pools: Proceed at Your Own Risk

      By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor Football season is in full swing. With it, naturally, comes a lot of gambling. Most of the time, that’s good news for Las Vegas. Except, as happened in the opening week, all of the heavy favorites cover the spread. Whoops: Worst ever loss for Vegas on an opening weekend. On the other hand, when the house loses, the people win. Easy, right? Break out the bankroll and go get rich! Not so fast, my friends. Remember the old gambler’s saying: Live by the spread, die by the survival pool. (What? It’s a saying. All right, I made it up. But it's a saying now. Shut up.) One way to have an entertaining football season is to, as I mentioned in that old saying I totally just made up, join a survivor pool. Here’s how it works: Each week you pick a team to win. If that team wins, you survive to the pick again the following week. If they lose, you are eliminated, and you must walk the Fan Duel Walk of Shame. This whole survivor pool thing sounds a lot easier than it actually is. I have been participating in one for the past six years. The rules of my survivor pool of choice say that every week there are restricted teams that you are not allowed to select. For the first three weeks, the two most favored teams that week are banned. In weeks four-six, the top three most favored teams are restricted. And so on.  There were more 14,000 entries this season, and after week two, that number dwindled to just more than 3,000. You read that right: After two weeks, ELEVEN THOUSAND entries had gone up in smoke. Picking any team to win sounds easy enough, until we get to game time. Then? Anything can happen. Just ask the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens. These three teams were the heavy picks this week, and all of them lost. BOOM. One so-so week for Nick Foles, one fluke game for the Jaguars, and one frankly strange day for the Oakland Raiders, and your survivor pool is shot. And it could have been worse: In our pool, the Saints were heavily favored against the Bucs and were therefore restricted. Imagine if they had been available to select – NO ONE WOULD HAVE SURVIVED. Here’s the point: No matter how much of a lock you think you have, you just never know. That is why the game is played on the field and not on paper. I’ll leave you all with this fun fact, especially for all you stat nerds out there. Sunday was the first time that Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tampa and Oakland all won on the same day since November of 2007! Let that sink in, and proceed with caution in what’s left of your survivor pools. Smack Shield Speaking of winning stuff ... The Smack Apparel weekly PICKS CONTEST IS LIVE!!!!!! Go to the PICKS CONTEST website at this link: Smack Apparel Contest.  Log in or register on the site, then make your picks. Share it on Twitter and Facebook, and dare your friends to try to beat you. First place winner each week receives three Smack Apparel t-shirts. Runner-up receives one Smack Apparel t-shirt. Check back each week for your chance to win! Good luck!  

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