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Friday, April 19, 2013

Hoopshysteria: Playoff Preview & Award Predictions

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Playoff Preview & Award Predictions
By Wild on Sports Analyst Talyon Perry

As the Regular season has come to a close many teams should feel great about their season. This includes the Charlotte Bobcats who are no longer the worst team in basketball, passing that title to the Orlando Magic. Also, both the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics were able to make the playoffs with their star point guards injured. Now for the season award and playoff predictions.

Most Valuable Player
1. Lebron James:
26.8 8.0 7.3 1.7 .565%
this is an obvious pick because no one is close to his level.
2. Kevin Durant:
28.1 7.9 4.6 1.4 .510%
although he lost the scoring title, he still was the second best player in the league and much more consistent that Carmelo.
3. Carmelo:
28.7 6.9 2.6 0.8 .449%
it can be argued that this spot should go to Chris Paul, but the late season production of Anthony pushed him past Paul.

Rookie of the Year
1. Damian Lillard:
19.0 6.5 0.9 .368% .844%
He came into this league with a bang against the Lakers (23pts 11 assists) and finished that way against the same Lakers team (38pts). Lillard had the most responsibility of any rookie and still produced more than any other.
2. Anthony Davis:
13.5 8.2 1.8 .516% .751%
Davis met all the expectations he was given (unlike teammate Austin Rivers) averaging 13.5 points and 8.2rebounds.
3. Andre Drummond:
7.9 7.6 1.6 .608% .371%
Drummond was drafted almost entirely based on potential, but no one expected he would produce this quickly. His downside is that he might be the worst free throw shooter in a decade.

6th Man of the Year
1. J.R. Smith:
18.1 2.7 5.3 1.3 .356%
Smith won this award over the last month of the season, showing off his ability to score and clutch gene. Smith may have came off the bench, but he played starters minutes.
2. Jamal Crawford:
16.5 2.5 1.7 1.0 .376%
Crawford could be considered the best shooter on the Clippers and one of the best off-the-bench scorers in the NBA.
3. Amir Johnson:
10.0 7.5 1.4 .554% .727%
Usually the 6th man award goes to the best scorer, but Johnson can do everything else. Among other bench players he ranks in the top 10 in rebounding, blocks, steals, and wins shared. If he was on a better team he would be the award winner.

Defensive Player of the Year
1. Marc Gasol:
14.1 7.8 1.7 .494% .848%
The Gasols are usually known for their size and passing ability, but Marc has shown that they can be the most dominate low post defender in the League.
2. Andre Iguodala:
13.0 5.4 5.3 1.7 .317%
Iguodala has always been a great defender, especially on the perimeter. His ability to defend has taken lots of pressure off his teammates and created numberless turnovers.
3. Joakim Noah:
11.9 11.1 2.1 .481% .751%
Noah is the heart of the Bull's defensively minded team and could have won the award had he not gotten hurt at the end of the season.

Coach of the Year
1. George Karl: Karl is something special. He has taken a Nugget team with no superstar players (you can argue for Iguodala) to the playoffs, where they will be a potential dark horse.
2. Gregg Popovich: Popovich has again taken an aging Spurs team and turned then into a team that can contend for the Championship.
3. Erik Spoelstra: Yes Spoelstra coaches the best team in basketball and yes they almost beat the NBA record for consecutive wins, but who couldn't win games with the players he is coaching?

I'm not going to pick a Most Improved because there really is no consistency in its awarding. Now for the bobcat's least favorite part of the year, the playoffs.

Eastern Conference Playoffs

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks
This is an easy matchup to call. No one in the East is at Miami's record, especially the Bucks. (Although Brandon Jennings claims they will take the heat down in 6)
Prediction: Miami wins in 5

#2 New York Knicks vs #7 Boston Celtics
Any other year the Celtics would have earned home-court advantage, but without Rondo they have no consistency on offense. Combine that with the Knicks hot streak and you have an easy winner.
Prediction: Knicks in 5

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks didnt trade away Josh Smith and are glad they didn't, but he won't be enough to stop the defensive juggernauts of Indiana. Hibbert and George will be able to shut down Atlanta.
Prediction: Pacers in 4 (sweep)

#4 Brooklyn Nets vs #5 Chicago Bulls
These two teams can be considered polar opposites. The star power for the Bulls comes on the low post, while the Nets excel with their guards. The deciding factor is injuries to Rose and potential for Noah to get hurt again.
Prediction: Nets in 6

Western Conference Playoffs

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Houston Rockets
James Harden and the Rockets made the playoffs, but now they have to face a team Harden is very familiar with. Harden is a star after his trade from the Thunder, but there is no easy way to beat the Thunder.
Prediction: Thunder in 5

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 LA Lakers
Many dismissed the Lakers after Kobe got injured, but they made the playoffs and got the 7th seed! The Spurs and Lakers both have some injury question marks but that won't stop these teams from competing with each other. If the Lakers can still ride the momentum of the season then I say they can beat the Spurs.
Prediction: Lakers in 7

#3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Golden State Warriors
Curry in now the best 3 point shooter NBA season history, but the Nuggets are one of the Leagues best at defending. This is a tough matchup but the edge goes to the better fast break team.
Prediction: Nuggets in 4 (Sweep)

#4 LA Clippers vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies
Earlier in the season the Clippers were considered the best team in the west, but have cooled down over the last half of the year. Memphis features a potential defensive player of the year in Marc Gasol. Unfortunately, Gasol is no match for the relentless dunks from Griffin and Jordan, ask his brother Pau.
Prediction: Clippers in 5

MLB Weekly Walk-off

Wild on Sports
Weekly Walk-off
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel

Through the first three weeks of the season surprises and certainties have filled the league. The Rockies are the second best team in the NL and the Red Sox are the second best team in the AL. The Angels are only a half game from being last in the AL West which will likely change. The AL Central looks like it will be a dog fight all year as first and last place are separated by less than five games. All the teams in that division look to have enough talent to win the division title as well. Projected stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t have a homerun or an RBI through 33 at-bats this season putting the Marlins at a lowly 3-13 record through 16 games. Derek Jeter announced that he wouldn’t return until after the all-star break, but so far the Yankees are holding their own at 8-6. Also, the Braves got off to one of the best starts through 13 games going 12-1.

Studs of the Week
1. Justin Upton OF Atl- Out to prove his couple weeks into the season weren’t a fluke; Upton blasted three homeruns in a four game span this past week. He leads the MLB with a total of nine homeruns and it should be a safe bet that he will knock a total of 25-30 homers when the season is said and done. Keep an eye on Upton to be a major fantasy powerhouse with his base running skills as well.

2. Clay Buchholz SP Bos- The Red Sox are off to one of the more surprising starts in the MLB this season after many analysts projected them to finish in the bottom half of the division. Buchholz is due much of the credit for Boston’s sizzling start as he’s won each of his first three starts while posting a 0.41 ERA. He’s pitched at least seven innings in each of his starts and this past week blew past the Rays pitching eight innings and striking out 11, while only allowing two hits. If this trend continues Buchholz should be in the Cy Young conversation at the end of the season, but expect his numbers to level out. 15 wins though isn’t out of the question.

3. Carlos Gonzaelz OF Col- Much like the Red Sox, the Rockies have started surprisingly well too going 11-4 there first 15 games. In his past 20 at-bats Gonzalez has racked up 12 hits, including a home run and three steals. Considering Gonzalez was a top ten fantasy outfielder to begin with, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. He is still a legit 25-25 guy assuming he stays healthy for the remainder of the year. The Rockies have an offense that can contend with most in the league so expect them not to slow down especially if their motivated to win an NL West title.

Duds of the Week
1. Matt Kemp OF LAD- Kemp is still having problems turning it on this season, still looking for his first home run and steal. He’s even been removed from the starting line-up in favor of utility man Skip Schumaker which hasn’t helped the Dodgers offense. The Dodgers are in a bit of a slump right now, but improvements will be made.

2. Buster Posey C SF- This is one name I never thought I would be writing in the “Duds” section. Posey has one of the smoothest swings in the game and his hitting fundamentals are one of the best in the game. As of late though Posey has seen his average drop from .276 to .213 and still has yet to homerun. Giants fans should see a quick turnaround of the reigning NL MVP though as their next nine games are against the Padres and Diamondbacks.

3. Chris Sale SP CWS- Although Sale only allowed two runs in his last start he allowed eight the start before that and has gone 0-2 in those games, both on the road. He looks a little unstable and might do a little less than what people expect of him this season. He’s still a good source of strike outs, but the White Sox might be looking for a little more from their number one guy. His next start will likely be against the Indians at home next week so we’ll see what side of Sale comes out for White Sox fans.

Sleepers for Next Week
1. Chris Johnson 1B/3B Atl- While starting first baseman Fredie Freeman has been on the DL; Johnson has been getting the starts at first base. He has taken advantage of the opportunity as of late accumulating six multi-hit games in his last nine starts. Freeman is close to beginning a rehab assignment so after that it will be hard for Johnson to keep seeing the amount of at-bats he’s getting now. So take advantage of the opportunity while you can.

2. Brandon Crawford SS SF- He was the starting shortstop for the Giants all last season and easily kept the position in the spring. His stats were slim last year but he already has one less home run than all of last year. He’s amassed an 11 game hitting streak and looks to be a powerful threat in the middle of the Giants batting order. He’s worth the risk to pick up.

3. Justin Ruggiano OF Fla- While the Marlins offense has been dismal this season they’ve seen a bright spot in Ruggiano who was supposed to split starts with teammate Chris Coghlan has played better as of late so he will start a majority of the games as long as he plays well enough. If he plays to his max potential Ruggiano can be a legitimate 15-15 threat. Not bad for a guy who is probably a free agent in most fantasy leagues.

 Match-ups of theWeek
A’s vs. Red Sox- The teams with the best records in the AL will play in Fenway to see which team is the early season best.

Atlanta vs. Colorado- The Braves are undefeated on the road and the Rockies are undefeated at home. Something has to give as the Rockies look to continue to surprise critics.

Rangers vs. Angels- Pujols, Hamilton, Trout and company have to do something about this 4-10 record they’ve produced. What a way to turn it around than a home series win versus the Rangers.

Atlanta vs. Detroit- This is the best interleague matchup next week. This could be a future World Series matchup, and the Braves hitters want to prove they can hang with one of the best rotations in the league.

An Ice Life: The Playoff Push

Wild on Sports
An Ice Life: The Playoff Push
By Wild on Sports Analyst Brian Peirce

I was recently asked, what do you think is going to happen with the playoff races? A fair question, with the short season and everything being as tight as hell, curious fans want to know if their team will make it into the post season. I could go in depth with every team that has a chance, as some bloggers have, and then put in my two cents but I find that absurd. I have read them say the remaining schedule and then make judgment calls, which come down to gut feelings about the past of teams.

It would be hypocritical of me to do that, because I said at the beginning of the year that it would come down to last game of the season. It was like that in the recent years with the 3-point nights and 82 game seasons. With the shorter season, it was going to be worse, and it will come down to tiebreakers, especially in the west. With about one week to go, it is apparent that the Rangers, Jets, and Sabers are in a race for the last spot and you can throw in the Flyers and Devils if they were to win out and get some help. Though statistically, the Rangers have an 81.6% of making the playoffs while only a 38.3% for Winnipeg. All the others have less than a 1.2% chance of making it in the east making it less likely to have fireworks.

The West is more interesting and has the big story line of what will happen to Detroit’s active record playoff streak. As a Detroit fan, I was mad as hell the lockout did not wipe out the whole season because I knew this team could easily miss the playoffs. They could be consistent enough through 82 games to make it, but might not be for this short schedule. There have been at least half a dozen blown games and moments in the season where they could have already had this locked up. Most analysts still think they will make the playoffs, but I am not one of them and maybe it is just the pessimism. They might have made it if they had DeKeyser the entire year as well, but they did not and they blew easy points. Now they are a team that seems overconfident and not confident at the same time who has a huge final week that is very busy and ends playing in Dallas who is their most likely competitor for the eighth spot. Detroit still can make it with 100% chance if they win every game, so they control their own fate still, but currently have 40.3% chance.

It is not all about Detroit and the streak. Columbus is currently the eighth seed and has a 40.4% chance of making the playoffs and a 100% chance of blowing everyone’s mind if they make it when Detroit does not. Detroit holds the tiebreaker as of right now, but you have to think the Bobrovsky could power them to the postseason. He should also be the Vezina trophy winner and MVP if they make it, but he never will because there is too much love for Sid even though no single player will meant more to any team then “Bobby.” Then there is Phoenix, who needs this to try to keep people interested, has a 2.9% chance of making the playoffs and could make it by winning out. They will need 55 points to make it. Dallas has a 22.7% chance to make it and really can afford to give up two points and still make it for sure as long as those two points aren’t to Detroit in the last game to give them 57 points.

So you can see that anyone who gets hot over the last five games is the most likely to make it, and so it really is a crap shoot. You can see teams at the bottom blow out desperate teams and every night can bring total havoc to what people expect out of the final standings. I imagine that everyone who said Detroit was surly in, are currently rethinking it after a horrible loss to Calgary. If Columbus loses tonight it will make a huge impact, and you can say that about almost every single game left.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NBA Coaching Carousel

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NBA Coaching Carousel

It seems in just about every sport these days the day following the final game of the regular season ought to be known as "Pink Slip Day." We just saw some 10+ coaches cut free in the NFL a couple months ago, now it is the NBA's turn. Coaches from three teams have been let go in the past few hours with a couple more expected to be soon to follow. 

Amongst those shown the door today were Piston's Lawrence Frank, Byron Scott of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Doug Collins from the Philadelphia 76ers. For Collins, the firing is being called a resignation but make no mistake about it, all three teams are looking for a different organizational direction.

Who else might be shown the door in the coming days or weeks? Rumors have been swirling around Mike Dunlap in Charlotte and Keith Smart in Sacramento. If the Kings were to be relocated a new coach would be an all but certainty. Rick Adelman in Minnesota, Dwane Casey in Toronto, Lionel Hollins in Memphis, Larry Drew in Atlanta and Vinny Del Negro from the Clippers are others who could potentially be looking jobs elsewhere next season with Jim Boylan from Milwaukee and Lindsey Hunter from Phoenix holding onto temporary interim titles.

The candidate pool to potentially replace those coaches is a deep as ever with Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Nate McMillan and Mike Brown all available, to name a few. And off course the possibility always exists that one of those coaches on the hot seat could be recycled by another team.

Who will be the next coach shown the door? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

NBA Playoffs Set

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NBA Playoffs Set

Wednesday night marked the end of the 2013 NBA regular season. The playoff match-ups are now set. Be sure to check back later in the week as Hoopshysteria will take you through the match-ups and what to expect. Until then, lets take a look at who each team will face.

Eastern Conference
#1 Heat (66-16) vs. #8 Bucks (38-44), 
#2 Knicks (54-28) vs. #7 Celtics (41-40), 
#3 Pacers (49-32) vs. #6 Hawks (44-38)
#4 Nets (49-33) vs. #5 Bulls (45-37)

Western Conference
#1 Thunder (60-22) vs. No. 8 Rockets (45-37)
#2 Spurs (58-24) vs. #7 Lakers (45-37)
#3 Nuggets (57-25) vs. #6 Warriors (47-35) 
#4 Clippers (56-26) vs. #5 Grizzlies (56-26).

The action tips off this Saturday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MLB Power Rankings - April 17

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MLB Power Rankings
April 17, 2013

Week two of the MLB Power Rankings. A lot of movement as teams start to show their true colors. The Atlanta Braves are the hottest team in baseball and coming in this week at #1 with a 12-1 record. Other surprises include the 11-4 Oakland A's, a team many thought would have a bit of a down year after overachieving last season. The Boston Red Sox, led by Clay Buchholtz (3-0, 0.41 ERA) have gotten the best starting pitching in baseball and have surprised many with their 9-4 start.

Where does your team land in this week's rankings?

1. Atlanta Braves (12-1)
2. San Francisco Giants (9-5)
3. Detroit Tigers (8-5)
4. Washington Nationals (8-6)
5. Oakland Athletics (11-4)
6. St. Louis Cardinals (8-5)
7. Texas Rangers (9-5)
8. Boston Red Sox (9-4)
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (7-7)
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-5)
11. Cincinnati Reds (6-7)
12. Baltimore Orioles (7-6)
13. Toronto Blue Jays (6-8)
14. New York Yankees (7-5)
15. Philadelphia Phillies (6-7)
16. Kansas City Royals (7-6)
17. Los Angeles Angels (4-10)
18. Tampa Bay Rays (4-9)
19. New York Mets (7-6)
20. Colorado Rockies (10-4)
21. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7)
22. Seattle Mariners (6-9)
24. Cleveland Indians (5-7)
25. Minnesota Twins (6-7)
26. Milwaukee Brewers (4-8)
27. San Diego Padres (4-10)
28. Chicago Cubs (4-9)
29. Houston Astros (4-10)
30. Miami Marlins (3-11)

NBA Power Rankings - April 17

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NBA Power Rankings
April 17, 2013

We have reached the final week of the regular season marking the final power rankings for 2013. The Miami Heat finish the season right where they started and in the position they have held all but two weeks this season -- #1. The only significant movement this week saw the New York Knicks drop down to six after having their winning streak end and letting some key players rest. The only noticeable riser this week was Portland, up two spots to #21.

Where does your team rank this week?

1. Heat (64-16, last week ranked No. 1)
2. Thunder (59-21, LW 3)
3. Spurs (58-22, LW 4)
4 Grizzlies (54-26, LW 5)
5. Nuggets (55-25, LW 6)
6. Knicks (53-27, LW 2)
7. Clippers (54-26, LW 7)
8. Pacers (49-31, LW 8)
9. Nets (47-32, LW 9)
10. Rockets (45-35, LW 11)
11. Warriors (45-35, LW 10)
12. Bulls (43-36, LW 12)
13. Hawks (44-36, LW 14)
14. Celtics (41-39, LW 13)
15. Lakers (44-37, LW 16)
16. Jazz (42-38, LW 15)
17. Mavericks (40-40, LW 17)
18. Bucks (37-43, LW 18)
19. Wizards (29-51, LW 19)
20. 76ers (32-47, LW 20)
21. Trail Blazers (33-46, LW 23)
22. Timberwolves (30-50, LW 21)
23. Raptors (31-48, LW 22)
24. Pistons (28-52, LW 26)
25. Kings (28-51, LW 24)
26. Hornets (27-53, LW 25)
27. Cavaliers (24-55, LW 27)
28. Suns (24-56, LW 29)
29. Bobcats (19-61, LW 28)
30. Magic (20-60, LW 30)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NFL Draft Preview: San Francisco 49ers

Wild on Sports
2013 NFL Draft Capsules:
San Francisco 49ers
 By Wild on Sports NFL Analyst Davis McGregor

On the Clock: San Francisco 49ers

Team Overview:
Coming off a very hot season with quite a few twists, Jim Harbaugh and company look to add the finishing touches to a Super Bowl contending team. Seeing as the 49ers possess the most pick in this upcoming draft, it shouldn’t be too hard to beef up this team.

14 is the magic number for this San Fran team. An off-season choc-full of trades has left the 9ers with that many picks. Not bad considering they made it to the Super Bowl this year.

This leaves Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke with a few options. Keep their picks and fill up the roster with a steady supply of picks in rounds 1-7. Or trade up with those 3rd and 4th round picks to try and grab a few more in the first two rounds.

Regardless of what they go with, they’ll still be in much better shape than NFC West rival Seattle, with only 7 picks.

Team Needs:
1. Defensive back
2. Quarterback
3. Kicker

Losing Dashon Goldson was a big hit to the already shallow secondary of San Francisco. Bringing in some depth to this secondary is first on the to-do list. Not only with the first pick, but most.

Another pick that needs to be addressed is at quarterback. With Alex Smith over in Kansas City that leaves Scott Tolzien as the backup. You know the guy that no one has ever heard of? If Kap goes down, San Fran will need a new signal caller than has a lot more talent than Mr. Tolzien. If the 9ers do not elect to trade up for a higher first rounder, taking a quarterback such as E.J. Manuel in the second round could be a great choice.

Likely Fits:
One great weakness for this defense that presented itself this year was the lack of a big cornerback. Thanks to Julio Jones that became quite clear in the AFC Championship game racking up 135 yards and a pair of TD’s. All this damage was done over Tarell Brown who’s sitting at about 5’9 on a good day. If San Fran can’t cover Julio at 6’3, 220lbs; what are they gonna do against Detroit’s Calvin Johnson standing at nearly 6’6?

Work needs to be done in this secondary and the best match for SF is Xavier Rhodes. Coming out of Florida State the 6’1, 210lbs corner is the big-bodied man they need to help defend the bigger receivers around the league.

While Rhodes has dominant size, he also runs 4.43 40-yard dash allowing him to keep up with the smaller, speedier guys too. With Dee Millner being the top recruit, Rhodes should drop down the board a little bit, but probably not all the way to 31. Trading that 31st pick and the 72nd overall pick too, could move them up far enough to draft Rhodes.

Miami has a need in the secondary as well, but with a wide spread of issues for the Dolphins, bringing in another 3rd round pick could do wonders for this team. With the benefits Rhodes would add to this team, this trade would easily be worth it.

Trading away Alex Smith was a debatable move but one thing they was looked over when the original trade was announced is who his replacement would be? One big part of that trade was due to the play style San Fran is shifting to. With Kaepernick’s mobility the team has become much used to playing with a quarterback who gets out of the pocket and makes plays with his feet. This is why with the 34th overall pick in the 2013 draft, the 49ers should select E.J. Manuel.

Quarterbacks with a running threat too tend to have much shorter careers due to injury. Don’t believe it just ask RGIII after his last playoff game. Having Kap go down and Tolzien taking over probably isn’t a chance Coach Jim Harbaugh is willing to take, a likely pick for the 49ers would be to pick up Manuel with their 2nd pick of the 2nd round which came over in the Alex Smith trade.

Manuel possesses many of the same qualities as Kaepernick, a quarterback that can make strong passes from inside the pocket but will burn you if allowed space outside of the pocket. Bringing him in to work under Kaepernick should also greatly influences his performance. Who knows, E.J. could be the next Kaepernick coming in after an injury and helping to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Bring up kicker problems to any fan and no one will have a worse reaction than the San Francisco fan. David Akers was a nightmare, making only 69% of his kicks; he was let go this past off-season only to be taken by the Lions. Phil Dawson was the new guy brought into The Bay to take the kicks. With a much more respectable 93.5% make of his kicks last year, San Fran should have much better results that year. Probably not much longer after that though.

Dawson’s at the ripe old age of 38 right now, which means he’s got one, two more years, tops in the league. To put away the kicking woes for good, a kicker should definitely be in the mix for this draft.

Best name available this year is Dustin Hopkins, E.J. Manuel’s former teammate. With more picks than they will probably know what to do with, SF’s front office would do well to snag Hopkins. Especially considering his combine results.

If you want to know how many reps Hopkins had at the combine, just ask Damontre Moore. The top 3 DE in the draft was beat out by Hopkins by a single rep. Hard to believe considering Moore’s got 60lbs on the guy. But Hopkins smaller size came in handy in another aspect of the combine. This time embarrassing “dual-threat” quarterback Collin Klein and Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor. But it doesn’t end here, USC’s Robert Woods got a taste of it too by tying Hopkins in the vertical jump.

While it’s great for Hopkins that he can do all these things, that isnt what he is being drafted to do. He is being drafted to kick and it’s a damn good thing he can do that too. Hopkins put in 83.3% of his attempts including one at 56 yards. The kids got a nice leg that can ease the minds of San Fran fans when the FG team runs out on the field. Plus the D-line takes a few too many injuries, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra guy “stronger” than Damontre Moore.

NHL Power Rankings - April 16th

Wild on Sports
NHL Power Rankings
April 16, 2013

We have reached the final two weeks of the 2013 NHL regular season. Teams are making their final push and jockeying for playoff positioning. The Chicago Blackhawks maintain their top spot in this week's power rankings. They are winners of six in a row and appear to be flying high heading into the playoffs. The Washington Capitals are the hottest team in hockey and winners of seven in a row. They jump up five spots to 12 in this week. One the other side, Nashville and Edmonton continue their tail spins down the standings and are playing their way out of the playoffs after losing seven and five consecutive games. It will be fun to watch over the next few days and teams look to hit their stride at the right time for a Cup run.

Where does your team rank this week?

1 Chicago Blackhawks 33-5-4
2 Pittsburgh Penguins 32-10-0
3 Anaheim Ducks 27-10-5
4 Montreal Canadiens 26-11-5
5 Boston Bruins 26-11-4
6 Vancouver Canucks 24-12-6
7 LA Kings 24-14-4
8 San Jose Sharks 22-13-7
9 Toronto Maple Leafs 24-13-5 

10 Minnesota Wild 23-16-3
11 Ottawa Senators 21-14-6
12 Washington Capitals 23-17-2
13 St. Louis Blues 23-16-2 

14 Columbus Blue Jackets 20-16-7 
15 Detroit Red Wings 20-15-7
16 New York Islanders 21-16-5
17 New York Rangers 21-16-4
18 Winnipeg Jets 21-19-2 

19 Dallas Stars 21-18-3
20 Buffalo Sabres 18-19-6
21 New Jersey Devils 15-17-10 

22 Phoenix Coyotes 18-17-7 
23 Philadelphia Flyers 18-21-3
24 Edmonton Oilers 16-18-7 -2
25 Nashville Predators 15-21-8
26 Tampa Bay Lightning 17-22-3
27 Carolina Hurricanes 17-22-2
28 Colorado Avalanche 14-22-7
29 Calgary Flames 16-22-4
30 Florida Panthers 13-22-6

A+ Chiacgo

Wild on Sports
A+ Chicago
Per usual when a horrific tragedy strikes our country's people unite from city to city to show their support for the victims and a wonderfully overwhelming display of patriotism. The Chicago Tribune ran the above as the cover page to the sports section today.

Across the sports world players have their own ways of showing their support. We feel it is important that these be recognized as a symbol of our unity both from a sports standpoint but more importantly as a country.

 Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere made headlines Monday night for the message on his glove and then the catch he made with it.

Phoenix Coyotes defensemen and Milton, MA native Keith Yandle delivered his message on his skate during Monday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

In that same game everyone in the arena showed their patriotism with one of the most chilling National Anthems in recent history...

4/15/13 - Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks, United Center

Its moments and gestures like these that fill you with pride and remind us all that that sports are about more than winnings and losing. Sports are a major part of this culture and will continue to be well beyond the lives of anyone reading this today. For one day at least teams and players all across the United States are playing on the same team. These are just a handful of the reminders of that. 

A+ Chicago and A+ to the countless others who have shown their respect and pride in their country in various ways.

Our Hearts Go Out to Boston

Wild on Sports
Our Hearts Go Out to Boston
By Josh Tarr on behalf of the entire Wild on Sports Orginazation

 Puckmania takes a back seat today.

Hockey means so much to the people who play it and/or watch it. Some people are only drawn in to the game because of fights and giant open ice hits. Others are enticed by the thrill of a breakaway and elite puck handling which together, creates highlight reel goals. But for me, what makes Hockey and other sports so special is the ability each team has to bring its community closer. Through community service, through fundraisers, through playoff runs and losing streaks, through record breaking statistics and through slumps and injuries. Sports help broaden a sense of pride for the community it represents, which is a very beautiful thing. But what a sports fan has to remember is that a sport is just a game.

The Bruins, who are slumping late in their regular season were to play the Ottawa Senators Monday night at the TD Garden before the terror attacks at the Boston Marathon shut down the city and postponed their game. While there were some who were just upset that the game was not played, a vast majority of Bostonians were held in disbelief that a violent act to this magnitude could happen so close to home.

As a young adult who spent the first 18 years of my life a half hour east of Boylston Street, the news of the Marathon bombings were surreal and very mentally disturbing. I have spectated the race many times as a child and walked in Copley Square multiple times. Like many others, my heart bleeds for the victims, families, Boston and the surrounding communities.

If you are reading this, I want you to know that YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO HELP.

Rather than retweeting a tweet/sharing a facebook post to “donate a dollar”, ACTUALLY donate to credible charities like the Red Cross, Blue Cross Blue Sheilds MA, etc.

Rather than talking about much the images of the aftermath disturb you, sign up for a habitat for humanity organization and help clean up the mess that you despise so much. I imagine that it is a life changing experience and hope to have the chance to one day be a part of a project.

Rather than talk about how terrible the world is becoming, help make it a better place. Become friends with your neighbors, do good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds, make peace with those you have trouble with and tell those who are close that you love them. The world will not become a better place on its own.

Thankfully, Boston is a community where its citizens and sports teams are very close to one another. The Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots have donated millions of dollars to local communities and charities throughout the years and have shown their support for deaths and tragedies such as the Newtown shootings and the Marathon Bombings. Bostonians love their sports teams and the sports teams love Bostonians. Unfortunately, it’s only the best and the worst of times that brings a community together as tightly as Boston is today. But when Boston and it’s surrounding cities support each other as much as they do right now, well, it makes me pretty damn proud to be a Bostonian.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Matty McRants: Don't Blame Kobe

Wild on Sports
Matty McRants Weekly Take:
Why Kobe's ACL Tear Is Not His Fault

A weekly forum for our own "Angry Irishman" to blow off some steam and go on one of his classic sports rants. Sometimes funny, sometimes crazy, sometimes all over the place but always opinionated.
Lets take a look at what is grinding his gears this week...

The basketball world came to a standstill after seeing Kobe Bryant go down against the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. Bryant was doing everything he could to get the Lakers past the Jazz and in to the 8 seed in the Western Conference, including playing over 40 minutes in his past eight games. Kobe had to play on another level to try to get the Lakers to the playoffs. As the best player on your team, you want to do everything you can to make it to the playoffs. There was only one person on the court who could have stopped Kobe's injury from happning: his head coach.

Mike D'Antoni is to blame. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak came to the defense of his head coach on Saturday, but I think it's safe to assume that he had to do that. Kobe himself said all the minutes he was playing were necessary. But it was not necessary for his coach to not do anything about it. Though Bryant is the Lakers best player, I'm sure that D'Antoni could find some time to spell him, he does have Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard on the roster after all.

So whose fault is it? The superstar who was willing his team to win? Or the coach who didn't think that a 17 year veteran playing 40+ minutes a game wasn't a problem?

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