Which clubs are the most supported football clubs in the world? Maybe football clubs with most trophies in the world? Not necessarily. However, you may have probably guessed that the world’s most supported clubs should be European. A good bet, but let’s take a closer look at them.
This week 12 yrs ago--Lehman Bros collapsed......(Best Interest) Explaining the Big Short and the 2008 Crisis
edit: thanks for the awards. I'd be a dick to take credit. Go check out the one-man-band who actually wrote it---I've been reading for a couple months, good stuffhttps://bestinterest.blog/explain-the-big-short/ (Best Interest) This post will explain the Big Short and the 2008 subprime mortgage collapse in simple terms. This post is a little longer than usual–maybe give yourself 20 minutes to sift through it. But I promise you’ll leave feeling like you can tranche (that’s a verb, right?!) the whole financial system! Key Players First, I want to introduce the players in the financial crisis, as they might not make sense at first blush. One of the worst parts about the financial industry is how they use deliberately obtuse language to explain relatively simple ideas. Their financial acronyms are hard to keep track of. In order to explain the Big Short, these players–and their roles–are key. Individuals, a.k.a. regular people who take out mortgages to buy houses; for example, you and me! Mortgage lenders, like a local bank or a mortgage lending specialty shop, who give out mortgages to individuals. Either way, they’re probably local people that the individual home-buyer would meet in person. Bigbanks, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who buy lots of mortgages from lenders. After this transaction, the homeowner would owe money to the big bank instead of the lender. Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)—deep breath!—who take mortgages from big banks and bundle them all together into a bond (see below). And just like before, this step means that the home-buyer now owes money to the CDO. Why is this done?! I’ll explain, I promise. Ratings agencies, whose job is to determine the risk of a CDO—is it filled with safe mortgages, or risky mortgages? Investors, who buy part of a CDO and get repaid as the individual homeowners start paying back their mortgage. Feel lost already? I’m going to be a good jungle guide and get you through this. Stick with me. Quick definition: Bonds A bond can be thought of as a loan. When you buy a bond, you are loaning your money. The issuer of the bond is borrowing your money. In exchange for borrowing your money, the issuer promises to pay you back, plus interest, in a certain amount of time. Sometimes, the borrower cannot pay the investor back, and the bond defaults, or fails. Defaults are not good for the investor. The CDO—which is a bond—could hold thousands of mortgages in it. It’s a mortgage-backed bond, and therefore a type of mortgage-backed security. If you bought 1% of a CDO, you were loaning money equivalent to 1% of all the mortgage principal, with the hope of collecting 1% of the principal plus interest as the mortgages got repaid. There’s one more key player, but I’ll wait to introduce it. First… The Whys, Explained Why does an individual take out a mortgage? Because they want a home. Can you blame them?! A healthy housing market involves people buying and selling houses. How about the lender; why do they lend? It used to be so they would slowly make interest money as the mortgage got repaid. But nowadays, the lender takes a fee (from the homeowner) for creating (or originating) the mortgage, and then immediately sells to mortgage to… A big bank. Why do they buy mortgages from lenders? Starting in the 1970s, Wall St. started buying up groups of loans, tying them all together into one bond—the CDO—and selling slices of that collection to investors. When people buy and sell those slices, the big banks get a cut of the action—a commission. Why would an investor want a slice of a mortgage CDO? Because, like any other investment, the big banks promised that the investor would make their money back plus interest once the homeowners began repaying their mortgages. You can almost trace the flow of money and risk from player to player. At the end of the day, the investor needs to get repaid, and that money comes from homeowners. CDOs are empty buckets Homeowners and mortgage lenders are easy to understand. But a big question mark swirls around Wall Street’s CDOs. I like to think of the CDO as a football field full of empty buckets—one bucket per mortgage. As an investor, you don’t purchase one single bucket, or one mortgage. Instead, you purchase a thin horizontal slice across all the buckets—say, a half-inch slice right around the 1-gallon mark. As the mortgages are repaid, it starts raining. The repayments—or rain—from Mortgage A doesn’t go solely into Bucket A, but rather is distributed across all the buckets, and all the buckets slowly get re-filled. As long as your horizontal slice of the bucket is eventually surpassed, you get your money back plus interest. You don’t need every mortgage to be repaid. You just need enough mortgages to get to your slice. It makes sense, then, that the tippy top of the bucket—which gets filled up last—is the highest risk. If too many of the mortgages in the CDO fail and aren’t repaid, then the tippy top of the bucket will never get filled up, and those investors won’t get their money back. These horizontal slices are called tranches, which might sound familiar if you’ve read the book or watched the movie. So far, there’s nothing too wrong about this practice. It’s simply moving the risk from the mortgage lender to other investors. Sure, the middle-men (banks, lenders, CDOs) are all taking a cut out of all the buy and sell transactions. But that’s no different than buying lettuce at grocery store prices vs. buying straight from the farmer. Middle-men take a cut. It happens. But now, our final player enters the stage… Credit Default Swaps: The Lynchpin of the Big Short Screw you, Wall Street nomenclature! A credit default swap sounds complicated, but it’s just insurance. Very simple, but they have a key role to explain the Big Short. Investors thought, “Well, since I’m buying this risky tranche of a CDO, I might want to hedge my bets a bit and buy insurance in case it fails.” That’s what a credit default swap did. It’s insurance against something failing. But, there is a vital difference between a credit default swap and normal insurance. I can’t buy an insurance policy on your house, on your car, or on your life. Only you can buy those policies. But, I could buy insurance on a CDO mortgage bond, even if I didn’t own that bond! Not only that, but I could buy billions of dollars of insurance on a CDO that only contained millions of dollars of mortgages. It’s like taking out a $1 million auto policy on a Honda Civic. No insurance company would allow you to do this, but it was happening all over Wall Street before 2008. This scenario essentially is “the big short” (see below)—making huge insurance bets that CDOs will fail—and many of the big banks were on the wrong side of this bet! Credit default swaps involved the largest amounts of money in the subprime mortgage crisis. This is where the big Wall Street bets were taking place. Quick definition: Short A short is a bet that something will fail, get worse, or go down. When most people invest, they buy long (“I want this stock price to go up!”). A short is the opposite of that. Certain individuals—like main characters Steve Eisman (aka Mark Baum in the movie, played by Steve Carrell) and Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale) in the 2015 Oscar-nominated film The Big Short—realized that tons of mortgages were being made to people who would never be able to pay them back. If enough mortgages failed, then tranches of CDOs start to fail—no mortgage repayment means no rain, and no rain means the buckets stay empty. If CDOs fail, then the credit default swap insurance gets paid out. So what to do? Buy credit default swaps! That’s the quick and dirty way to explain the Big Short. Why buy Dog Shit? Wait a second. Why did people originally invest in these CDO bonds if they were full of “dog shit mortgages” (direct quote from the book) in the first place? Since The Big Short protagonists knew what was happening, shouldn’t the investors also have realized that the buckets would never get refilled? For one, the prospectus—a fancy word for “owner’s manual”—of a CDO was very difficult to parse through. It was hard to understand exactly which mortgages were in the CDO. This is a skeevy big bank/CDO practice. And even if you knew which mortgages were in a CDO, it was nearly impossible to realize that many of those mortgages were made fraudulently. The mortgage lenders were knowingly creating bad mortgages*.* They were giving loans to people with no hopes of repaying them. Why? Because the lenders knew they could immediately sell that mortgage—that risk—to a big bank, which would then securitize the mortgage into a CDO, and then sell that CDO to investors. Any risk that the lender took by creating a bad mortgage was quickly transferred to the investor. So…because you can’t decipher the prospectus to tell which mortgages are in a CDO, it was easier to rely on the CDO’s rating than to evaluate each of the underlying mortgages. It’s the same reason why you don’t have to understand how engines work when you buy a car; you just look at Car & Driver or Consumer Reports for their opinions, their ratings. The Ratings Agencies Investors often relied on ratings to determine which bonds to buy. The two most well-known ratings agencies from 2008 were Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (heard of the S&P 500?). The ratings agency’s job was to look at a CDO that a big bank created, understand the underlying assets (in this case, the mortgages), and give the CDO a rating to determine how safe it was. A good rating is “AAA”—so nice, it got ‘A’ thrice. So, were the ratings agencies doing their jobs? No! There are a few explanations for this:
Even they—the experts in charge of grading the bonds—didn’t understand what was going on inside a CDO. The owner’s manual descriptions (prospectuses) were too complicated. In fact, ratings agencies often relied on big banks to teach seminars about how to rate CDOs, which is like a teacher learning how to grade tests from Timmy, who still pees his pants. Timmy just wants an A.
Ratings agencies are profit-driven companies. When they give a rating, they charge a fee. But if the agency hands out too many bad grades, then their customers—the big banks—will take their requests elsewhere in hopes of higher grades. The ratings agencies weren’t objective, but instead were biased by their need for profits.
Remember those fraudulent mortgages that the lenders were making? Unless you did some boots-on-the-ground research, it was tough to uncover this fact. It’s hard to blame the ratings agencies for not catching this.
Who’s to blame? Everyone? Let’s play devil’s advocate…
Individuals: some people point the finger at homeowners, saying, “You should know better than to buy a $1 million house on a teacher’s salary.” I find this hard to swallow. These people, surrounded by the American home-ownership dream, were sold the idea that they would be fine. The mortgage lender had no incentive to sell a good mortgage, they only had an incentive to sell a mortgage. So, it’s hard for me to put too much blame on the homeowners.
Mortgage lenders: someone knew. I’m not saying that all the mortgage lenders were fully aware of the implications of their actions, but some people knew that fraudulent loans were being made, and chose to ignore that fact. For example, check out whistleblower Eileen Foster.
Big banks: Yes sir! There’s certainly blame here. Rather than get into all of the various money-grubbing, I want to call out one specific anecdote. Back in 2010, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein testified in front of Congress. Here it is:
To explain further, there are two things going on here. First, Goldman Sachs bankers were selling CDOs to investors. They wanted to make a commission on the sale. At the same time, other bankers ALSO AT GOLDMAN SACHS were buying credit default swaps, a.k.a. betting against the same CDOs that the first Goldman Sachs bankers were selling. This is like selling someone a racehorse with cancer, and then immediately going to the track to bet against that horse. Blankfein’s defense in this video is, “But the horse seller and the bettor weren’t the same people!” And the Congressmen responds, “But they worked for the same stable, and collected the same paychecks!” So do the big banks deserve blame? You tell me. Inspecting Goldman Sachs One reason Goldman Sachs survived 2008 is that they began buying credit default swaps (insurance) just in time before the housing market crashed. They were still on the bad side of some bets, but mostly on the good side. They were net profitable. Unfortunately for them, the banks that owed Goldman money were going bankrupt from their own debt, and then Goldman never would have been able to collect on their insurance. Goldman would’ve had to payout on their “bad” bets, while not collecting on their “good” bets. In their own words, they were “toast.” This is significant. Even banks in “good” positions would’ve gone bankrupt, because the people who owed the most money weren’t able to repay all their debts. Imagine a chain; Bank A owes money to Bank B, and B owes money to Bank C. If Bank A fails, then B can’t collect their debt, and B can’t pay C. Bank C made “good” bets, but aren’t able to collect on them, and then they go out of business. These failures would’ve rippled throughout the world. This explains why the US government felt it necessary to bail-out the banks. That federal money allowed banks in “good” positions to collect their profits and “stop the ripple” from tearing apart the world economy. While CDOs and credit default swap explain the Big Short starting, this ripple of failure is the mechanism that affected the entire world. Betting more than you have But if someone made a bad bet—sold bad insurance—why didn’t they have money to cover that bet? It all depends on risk. If you sell a $100 million insurance policy, and you think there’s a 1% chance of paying out that policy, what’s your exposure? It’s the potential loss multiplied by the probability = 1% times $100 million, or $1 million. These banks sold billions of dollars of insurance under the assumption that there was a 5%, or 3%, or 1% chance of the housing market failing. So they had 20x, or 30x, or 100x less money on hand then they needed to cover these bets. Turns out, there was a 100% chance that the market would fail…oops! Blame, expounded Ratings agencies—they should be unbiased. But they sold themselves off for profit. They invited the wolves—big banks—into their homes to teach them how to grade CDOs. Maybe they should read a blog to explain the Big Short to them. Of course they deserve blame. Here’s another anecdote of terrible judgment from the ratings agencies: Think back to my analogy of the buckets and the rain. Sometimes, a ratings agency would look at a CDO and say, “You’re never going to fill up these buckets all the way. Those final tranches—the ones that won’t get filled—they’re really risky. So we’re going to give them a bad grade.” There were “Dog Shit” tranches, and Dog Shit gets a bad grade. But then the CDO managers would go back to their offices and cut off the top of the buckets. And they’d do this for all their CDOs—cutting off all the bucket-top rings from all the different CDO buckets. And then they’d super-glue the bucket-top rings together to create a field full of Frankenstein buckets, officially called a CDO squared. Because the Frankenstein buckets were originally part of other CDOs, the Frankenstein buckets could only start filling up once the original buckets (which now had the tops cut off) were filled. In other words, the CDO managers decided to concentrate all their Dog Shit in one place, and super glue it together. A reasonable person would look at the Frankenstein Dog Shit field of buckets and say, “That’s turrible, Kenny.” BUT THE RATINGS AGENCIES GAVE CDO-SQUAREDs HIGH GRADES!!! Oh I’m sorry, was I yelling?! “It’s diversified,” they would claim, as if Poodle shit mixed with Labrador shit is better than pure Poodle shit. Again, you tell me. Do the ratings agencies deserve blame?! Does the government deserve blame? Yes and no. For example, part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 mandated that the government mortgage finance firms (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) purchase a certain number of sub-prime mortgages. On its surface, this seems like a good thing: it’s giving money to potential home-buyers who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a mortgage. It’s providing the American Dream. But as we’ve already covered today, it does nobody any good to provide a bad mortgage to someone who can’t repay it. That’s what caused this whole calamity. Freddie and Fannie and HUD were pumping money into the machine, helping to enable it. Good intentions, but they weren’t paying attention to the unintended outcomes. And what about the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the watchdogs of Wall Street. Do they have a role to explain the Big Short? Shouldn’t they have been aware of the Big Banks, the CDOs, the ratings agencies? Yes, they deserve blame too. They’re supposed to do things like ensure that Big Banks have enough money on hand to cover their risky bets. This is called proper “risk management,” and it was severely lacking. The SEC also had the power to dig into the CDOs and ferret out the fraudulent mortgages that were creating them. Why didn’t they do that? Perhaps the issue is that the SEC was/is simply too close to Wall Street, similar to the ratings agencies getting advice from the big banks. Watchdogs shouldn’t get treats from those they’re watching. Or maybe it’s that the CDOs and credit default swaps were too hard for the SEC to understand. Either way, the SEC doesn’t have a good excuse. If you’re in bed with the people you’re regulating, then you’re doing a bad job. If you’re rubber stamping things you don’t understand, then you’re doing a bad job. Explain the Big Short, shortly You’re about 2500 words into my “short summary.” But the important things to remember:
Financial acronyms suck.
Money flowed from the investors down to the mortgage lenders, and the risk flowed from the mortgage lenders up to the investors. In between, the big banks and CDOs acted as middle men and intermediaries.
When someone feels like their actions have no risk, or no consequences, they’ll behave poorly (big banks, mortgage lenders)When someone is given what seems like an amazing deal, they’ll take it (individual home owners).
CDOs are like empty buckets. Mortgage payments are like rain, filling the buckets. Investors buy tranches, or slices, across all the buckets. If mortgages fail, then the buckets might not fill up, and the investors won’t get their money back.
CDOs are intentionally complex. So complex, that not even the people grading them understood what was going on (ratings agencies).
Buying insurance on something your do not own is a behavior with potential for abuse (big banks)
Buying insurance on something for more than it’s worth is a behavior with potential for abuse (big banks). This is where most of the money in the financial crisis switched hands.
And with that, I’d like to announce the opening of the Best Interest CDO. Rather than invest in mortgages, I’ll be investing in race horses. Don’t ask my why, but the current top stallion is named ‘Dog Shit.’ He’ll take Wall Street by storm. If you don’t mind my cussing but you do like this content, consider subscribing to the email list to get these articles (and nothing more) sent to your inbox every week. I hope this post helped if you were looking for someone to explain the Big Short. Thanks for reading the Best Interest. Source: https://bestinterest.blog/explain-the-big-short/
An English football team just won the Championship at 5000-1 odds. No one took a bet more than $25 at those odds which probably proves there will never be time travel in the future.
EDIT: to pacify English football fans, i will clarify that the football team won the Premier League, which is the top competition in England. Confusingly, in England they call the second tier competition 'The Championship'.
Tips, tricks & anything else that has helped you become a more profitable bettor?
Whether you’re one year into the game or over a decade in, what are some of the tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way that have helped you become a more profitable bettor? Seen a couple posts on here lately from people looking for tips on gambling, bank roll management, etc. Figured I’d add in some things I’ve learned that have helped me this season. 1). Figure out your unit size and stick to it religiously, win or lose. I would say this is the first and most important step you should take before placing a bet. A good rule of thumb is to make your unit size around 5% of your bankroll. So if your bankroll is $1,000, then your one unit should be $50. And when making bets, try to be consistent with the unit size you’re betting. Personally, I never go over 2U on one single bet. Far too often I’ve seen someone bet $100/bet and go on a four-bet win streak, then on that fifth bet they decide to risk it all and lose. Now, instead of being 4-1 (+$300ish), you’re now 4-1 (-$100). 2). Start tracking your bets. We’ve all had that moment trying to navigate to the “graded bets” section of our Sportsbook to look back at past bets, only to find an unorganized rambling of words. Instead, try keeping track of your bets in an organized manner. There are several apps out there that help with tracking bets (i.e. Action Network, BetQL, etc.) but an Excel spreadsheet works just as good. This is how I set up mine. This helps for several reasons. For one, it helps me ensure I’m keeping my units bet consistent. But it also helps me keep track of how much I’ve won (or lost). For instance, when I first started out, seeing that I was minus-$1000 helped bring me to the moment where I had to tell myself that either I need to stop gambling or I need to seriously reconsider my approach. 3). Don’t be a full-on parlay whore or a teaser slut. It’s easy to get sucked into the lure of the parlays and teasers. As a former whore/slut to these sucker bets, I know. Sure, winning $2,000 off of a $100 parlay sounds a lot better than winning $90 off a $100 straight bet. However, the probability of hitting one compared to the other is a heck of lot lower as well. But if playing parlays and teasers is an itch you just need to scratch, consider playing them in smaller units. I personally play one parlay a week, but I keep it at 0.25u and I limit it to three teams max and when I play teasers, I only do two-teamers (-110 or -120 depending on your book). 4). Never make emotional or angry bets. Ever. In simpler terms: Don’t chase losses. In betting, you’ll have winning nights and you’ll have losing nights. But the main difference between profitable bettors and losing bettors? One knows how to take a losing night on the chin and live to fight another day while the other foolishly adds on to the losses. Sure, you might get lucky and hit a desperation bet to recoup some of the losses. But at that point, you’re making bets purely off of emotion—or under the influence of alcohol—instead of off research. More often than not, you’re not going to like the result that comes with that style of betting. 5). Don’t pay for picks. You’re already giving the house juice, why add more by paying someone else daily or monthly for their picks? Instead, look into purchasing resources that are not only far more cheaper but also can help you make better-informed picks (i.e. Pro Football Focus, Action Network, Sportsline, etc.) Once you start to educate yourself on line movements, knowing which side the smart money is coming in and which sides are getting steamed, you’ll start to make educated bets on your own. 6). Learn from your mistakes and successes. At the end of the week, I always like to take a look back at what worked and what didn’t. If a bet lost, I try and look back and see what I read wrong. For instance, I was on the Saints spread in their MNF game against the Raiders. All the experts, all the smart money was on the Raiders. Even the line movement on the day of was going the Raiders way (from -5.5 down to -4). In hindsight, with the smart money and my gut being on opposite sides, this should have been a “no play” for me. As a result, moving forward I usually highlight 3 or 4 games I like around Tuesday and keep track of the lines posted on my books, the bet% and money% and anything else. Then when game day approaches, if everything aligns, I place the bet. If not, I hold. As they say, sometimes the best bet you make is the one you don’t place. That’s really all that jumps out to me. Anyone else have other things they’ve learned along the way?
We know that this footage is probably old as the football itself 😅, but goals like this, especially when scored by Maradona, are timeless. Watch how did Maradona beat Milan’s offside trap 🏃. Wish Bet On Chart was already there those times, the chart would go crazy 👍!
Well for better or worse all weeks can't be like week 1. We had no major upsets so most people in your survivor leagues likely won this week, on the plus side, that also includes you. I don't care about stupid math stuff, just give me the team I should pick? Cleveland Browns. Never thought I would say those words. The Colts and Chargers are also very good picks this week. The P(Win Out) value is what we're trying to maximize here and the difference between CLE (#1) and LAC (#3) is 0.03%. You're really good going with any one of the top 3 this week. Indy has a much better chance of winning this week than the others, but picking them now puts you in a really tough spot week 6 where there will be almost no good options remaining. Top 4 options:
P(Win this week)
Season so far 2-0 TB had a comfortable win last week. This game is a lot more fun when you don't have to sweat it out each week. Rest of Season Outlook Teams in italics are changes from last week. This is simply to give some insight into why team X or Y aren't being picked this week. It's usually because they are better off being used later in the season, or it's because I've already used them.
As requested, I've added each teams opponent. It looks like a fairly even mix of picking on the Bengals, Jaguars, and Washington Football Team. Teams are still shaking out so we have a fair amount of new additions/movement in many of the weeks. Cleveland, Arizona, and Las Vegas are all new teams in the chart this week, while the Eagles, Washington, and Houston dropped out. Weeks 10 & 11 still looking like the biggest hurdles of the season right now. Nerdy Math Stuff P(Win Out) = 2.2% (+1.1%) -- Up to a 1 in 50 chance we make it the rest of the way. E(Wins) = 13.62 (+0.54) Methodology I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for. With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so. The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league. Download Per a user request I added opponents to all of the future team picks. Mediafire I've tried to take into account every rule-set possible, but if you have a funky league rule that the workbook doesn't seem to work for let me know and I'll see if I can add the feature.
Applying options-trading strategies to sports betting: using cash out rules to capitalize on volatility
I have a background and experience in trading options and for the past few months have been applying similar strategies to sports betting with a fair amount of success. I’m curious if anyone has any experience with a strategy similar to what I will describe below, or if any studies have been done on long term results? As a preface, I will start with a quick overview of how we build options trades and what we look for when seeking value, then I’ll bridge that over to how I’ve applied it to sports betting. Intelligent options trades (not wallstreetbet yolo FDs) are built around probabilities and volatility. In general, when volatility is high we like to be net sellers of options, because buyers pay a premium for higher implied volatility (IV). Implied volatility deals with the price movement of the underlying asset - if it moves a lot day to day and experiences big swings, the IV will be very high. Typically when trading options we capitalize on implied volatility by rarely, if ever, holding to expiry. 99% of intelligent options trades are closed before expiry once a set profit target is reached. This can be applied to sports betting by making use of bookies that allow live cash outs of your stake. Applying options strategies we can make the following connections: *1. We want to be betting on sports (and within those sports, specific teams and matchups) that have a high volatility (I.e. high scoring with lots of lead changes and lots of runs back and forth) - the obvious one here is basketball, but tennis, college football, certain baseball matchups, and certain hockey matchups also apply well *2. We do not want to hold to expiry. In other words, we want to set a target ROI and utilize cash out rules (which can be set up similar to limit orders in traditional trading) to lock in our profits Using the above two, I have had success with the following general model: *1. In the most volatile sports like basketball and tennis, make bets in the +120 to -120 range and set cash out rules to lock in profits at 20% ROI *2. In less volatile sports or matchups with a heavy favorite, take the heavy favorites in the range of -200 to -500 and set cash out rules to lock in profits, again at 20% ROI This has worked well because the likelihood that at some point during the match the side you have bet on will be “winning” for the purposes of your bet is much likelier than the likelihood that they will win your bet outright by the end of the game. For example, utilizing the above strategy I took profits on the nuggets vs. lakers in first half, even though they were blown out in the second half. Obviously no strategy is perfect, and this is why just like in options trading and as well in sports betting we need to be managing our bankroll and not making any one bet or trade that utilizes too much of our bankroll. The first downside of course is that the team you bet on may never get the lead at any point in the match, at which point your cash out rule will never be fulfilled. The final risk is that you cash out early a bet which would have ultimately won. In my experience this is offset by the advantage you gain in cashing out bets and taking profits on bets that ultimately would have lost.
The last few days have been basically a constant stream of messages asking me when I would post my survivor pick. Well the answer is now. In case you're new to these posts, I'm going to lead with the basic explanation, and have my picks at the bottom. For all weeks going forward, I'll have picks first, than the nerdy stuff. What is this? SurvivoEliminator is a type of fantasy football game where you pick a single team to win each week. Each team is only allowed to be picked once per season. Once a team you pick loses, you've been eliminated until next season. The game ends at the end of the regular season, or when there is only one person left. My weekly posts dive into who you should pick each week based on a purely mathematical perspective. Methodology I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for. With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so. The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league. Download Last year I got a lot of "well what if I have to pick multiple teams in week X?" or "What if my league, you have to pick only losers?" or "What about team A, B, or C this week?" I tried to make the file as all encompassing as possible, so if your survivor league has some weird quark or wrinkle in it download the file and give it a shot. If the file still doesn't answer your question, let me know and I might add the feature in. You can download the file here from Mediafire Week 1 suggestions The top picks this week are the Bills and Patriots.
P(Win this week)
Full Season Outlook The beauty of this model is that it looks at the entire season as a whole. Assuming you pick the Bills this week, this is what the rest of the season's picks would look like based on what we know right now.
This early in the season there is a lot unknown about the quality of different teams, as things start to work their way out expect some of those P(Win) numbers to increase. Disclaimer In case you aren't familiar with the notation, there is indeed a 0.8% chance of going the whole season undefeated. There are too many games and too many quality teams to reliably run deep every season. Last season I only made it to week 5 undefeated when a 2-2 Colts beat the 4-0 Chiefs at Arrowhead while being 10.5 point underdogs. These things happen, so don't blame me when I get a pick wrong. Out of 17 weeks I only expect to get 13 games right. In the end, it's your team/league so pick who you like no matter what my algorithm says.
So is it actually feasible to make consistent money betting or is that only reserved for the top 1% of bettors?
I've been reading a lot about betting on football recently, and this is the one question that I've been seeing different answers to. If you're a shrewd bettor, understand math/probability, analyze the games, control your emotions, and put in the hard work, can you make consistent money? Even just a 3% to 5% average return on investment? Or is that strictly reserved for the stat wizzes that can make ridiculous models akin to the ones used by the bookmakers and the bettors with 10+ years of experience who know absolutely everything about football betting?
Short Summaries of previous Subvertadown Analyses -- an Archive, with links
"Damnit I was told there'd be no math!!" Many of you know that I've posted a number of stats-heavy posts, which can be difficult to digest. But they are meant to improve your overall understanding of the game of fantasy football. So I wanted to make a single post meant to function as an archive. Below you'll find links to the analysis posts. I have also highlighted some "nuggets", in bullet point form, so you don't necessarily need to go back and read the whole posts. Description of "what I do" in this year's Intro post:[Link]
Posts about Overall FF Statistics
(1) Predictability and Randomness, for each Position[Link]: (overview of how to understand the basic stats behind the game)
Even though QBs are often considered more predictable, their variances and prediction errors are largest. Contrary to what some people think, Kickers actually contribute the lowest variance of all fantasy positions. Related:
The post explains why each position's skill/luck ratio is well-represented by the accuracy correlation coefficient. (Values range from 0.2 - 0.4)
By combining multiple players, rosters reduce the relative amount of randomness. The overall point predictability becomes slightly higher than the level of randomness. (22 points vs. 19 points).
So you could say Fantasy Football is balanced: "just a bit more skill than luck".
(Not shown) The roster correlation coefficient effectively becomes ca. 0.75.
(2) Updated Valuesof the Skill/Luck ratios, for eachfantasyposition, covering 3 years: [Link]
Most fantasy positions are about as predictable as game scores (i.e. Vegas betting lines, correlation coefficient 0.36).
The order of predictability is: QB (0.38) > RB1 > DST > TE1 > WR1 (0.23).
With my projection model, kicker predictability (ca. 0.3) is better than WR1.
Most other sources have poorer kicker projections, so usually Kicker < WR1.
(3) Defensive scoring can be adjusted to be more predictable.[Link]
The predictability of each individual D/ST factor is presented:
Yards > score > sacks > interceptions > FRs > TDs
If you wanted to make D/ST scores more predictable, for your league's scoring, then: emphasize yards-allowed and de-emphasize most other factors.
(Not presented, to be investigated...): I think a sensible scheme would be to reward points for each drive, according to the yard-line of the final down. My gut says this should be very predictable, and it would have the appealing effect that scoring would increase upwards from 0 during the game. (Something to work on and test; would love to hear someone willing to help find the data!)
(4) Streaming QBs is a viable strategy-- if your league is not too deep.[Link]
Analysis was for 2018-- when there were not as many significant QB injuries as seen in '17 and '19.
This shows that streaming QBs is viable even when all top QBs remain healthy.
The analysis shows how expectations depend on #QBs already claimed.
Streaming is shown to be more successful when the QB model is more accurate. (Surprise surprise /s...) (Not shown: in 2019 my model seemed to improve accuracy over other sources, which ought to make streaming more reliable.)
QBs add at least as much point randomness as D/STs-- both overall and on an individual level.
QBs have a steeper drop-off in fantasy output relative to D/STs, which would make streaming less viable. Luckily, QB output depends on the opponent, strongly enough to enable streaming based on match-up.
(5) Streaming Kickers can be more effective than trying to own the top kicker: [Link]
The analysis presents how expectations depend on #kickers already claimed in your league.
Streaming based on match-up is viable, especially if your league-mates simply chase the high-scoring kickers.
When we conclude "who was a top kicker", it is mostly made in hindsight. (Yes I was also surprised.)
Chasing the top-scoring kicker surprisingly does not give the best results.
It appears that my own kicker model should enable you to stream with a "top kicker" experience, even if your league-mates already own top kickers.
Commentary on how to approach rankings
(1) "Fantasy Points Allowed" are not very useful for making lineup decisions.[Link]
When using Points-allowed, the accuracy correlations are poor and can lead to bad decisions
Best case is correlation 0.1 (for QB); otherwise 0.05 for RB and WR, and approaching 0.0 for TE.
The exception is of course D/ST (not an offensive role).
My own projection models permit more reliable fantasy scores predictions, in contrast to using points-allowed. (QB / RB / WR / TE / K /DST)
My models already account for opponent points-allowed, to exactly the extent they matter.
My models have significantly higher predictive value (correlations up to 0.35-.4).
(2) Why Rankers don't always rank teams the way you expect.[Link]
A breakdown of which D/ST factors are predictable (interceptions, TDs, etc.) and therefore become useful factors in statistical models (vs. factors which are random/ not dependable).
A very rough equation you can use for D/ST projection [Could use an update]: = 25.3 - 0.23*(opponent score) + 0.12* (-spread) + 0.02*(defensive yards-allowed) + 0.03*(offensive yards) + 0.8* (sacks allowed) + 0.3*(interceptions allowed) + 0.4 * (defensive interceptions).
The chances are low that most suggestions for model improvement could actually pan out, for a model that is already top-accuracy. Models only work well consistently if all the variables have passed rigorous tests for predictability.
(3) There are good ways and bad ways of assessing weekly accuracy: [Link]
The method that FantasyPros uses is not very reliable for trusting as an "accuracy" measurement. So you can take their overall rankings with a grain of salt: the #20 could be better than the #1.
No statistician would try to optimize a regression by minimizing the "error gap" that they define.
I use correlations in my accuracy reports, because they are more robust and better indicative of future reliability-- they carry some meaning beyond only the current week.
(4) Hereare some intuitive(fun...?)ways to interpret the"accuracy correlation coefficient"in fantasy football[Link]
Accuracy can be represented by the "controllable range of points" (often around 8-12 points)
... or as the "expected rank" outcome of the weekly #1 ranked player (often around the #8 spot)
... or as the "probability that the lowest ranked player outscores the top-ranked player" (often around 5% - 15%).
(5) Why and when to stash D/STs around playoffs[Link]
Less useful stuff...: Just some old, oddball statistical observations etc.
(1) Pulling out meaningful trends, from the seasonal randomness:[Link]
There is less than 20% chance that a single week’s score implies a trustworthy trend. In other words, 80% of the time, high/low fantasy scores simply reflect the usual high level of variance.
From one season to the next, D/ST fantasy outputs have a correlation coefficient around 0.2 on average.
Unfortunately, it usually makes sense to continue incorporating last season’s data for essentially the whole season. (Update needed: exception e.g. RB points more accurate using only the last 5-6 weeks.)
In-season data doesn’t converge on a reliable average for about 13-19 weeks, and therefore you cannot reliably identify a top D/ST from just a few games.
(2) A more meaningful calculation of "consistency", for fantasy production: [Link]
There is a highly reliably linear relationship between 3 different calculations from players' seasonal fantasy points:
Seasonal "win rate"-- each score relative to the whole collection of scores
Sharpe ratio (a useful measure of risk/reward)
Truncated average-- a procedure where you apply score cut-offs before averaging.
These all comprise a better way to compare "which players had the best fantasy production" for a given year.
(3) Correlations I found interesting(this is outdated and could use an update): [Link]
A stronger WR2 more often makes the WR1 stronger.
A TE1 and a WR1 on the same team won't usually both score a lot during the same game, unless they're on a super-strong offense.
If a team scores a lot, the kicker's probably gonna score a lot too. But if a team scores a lot, and the team has a bad QB, that's the bestest.
Descriptions of my models
2020 intro. DST 2019 intro. Kicker 2019 intro You are welcome to plant the seed in my head for any similar types of analysis you'd like to see. Bigger tasks I may not get to it right away, but at least I can collect ideas for the off-season. Some of you have previously asked if you can support this stuff as well as my projection posts. So I set it up and now you can tip a $3+ field goal at my newly createdPatreonsite (suggested by you). It's totally voluntary, but know that donations go directly to lifting my spirits.
Any INTP knows the odds are against them all the time and that is enough to deter them. But I've always been a gambler. In middle school I got a multigame mini pool table, table tennis, and Roulette wheel and card table. My friends would come over and gamble money or things. My friend's mom disapproved and made him give me some stuff back (haha). I just didn't know I had to rake games to be "the house." In middle school the black kids taught white kids craps and we'd shoot for dollars. I still love a good dice game. We'd have them on payday after close a couple jobs ago. The shit talking is so much better than poker games. In HS I gambled poker and chess a lot. My favorite poker game was played where everyone had 2.25g of shrooms in them. No poker faces and it didn't last that long. Not great at poker. I've gambled on Chess pretty successfully. Not great at Spades. But I'm an INTP and Casinos aren't my thing. Rather gamble at pool at a dive bar. That said I'm doing a lot of sports betting right now. I once read that a professional sports gambler only wins 55% of the time but they have advanced knowledge in props, parlays, hedging etc. I just figured at college and to a lesser extent pro football, I could pick the winner above 55% maybe even against against--the-spread. My favorite former gf was good at betting on the ponies because she was into horses and leased one, so she had similar inside knowledge as someone who's watched football for 25yrs I put $150 deposit and got $165 because they passed some BTC savings onto me. First week I bet the full $165. I remember the bets too. $45 on Duke (Lost but beat the spread) Same with the $45 I put on S. Alabama. $45 on Coastal Carolina who won outright against Kansas $45. Because the house rakes the games I'd only win about $40 off each so that's $270. But I put a $30 parlay on all three winning and won $180. Turned $165 into $360 (not exact--change and some numbers were rounded). I qualified for a bonus $165 for betting everything. That's a cool $425. I thought "Holy Shit I can just go pro" beginners luck. It was also right after I lost my job and I'm moving for a new one mid October. Back to my home city and old neighborhood. Pretty psyched really except moving is a hassle. Two weeks ago lost $70. I thought that comes with the territory of a pro sports better. I broke even last week. This week I chose a new strategy and bet on 7 games instead of 3. Truth was I don't know a certain percentage. I know games I "know" but I only lost $60. It just feels worse because I went 1-6 instead of two weeks ago when I went 1-2. Plus I lose some change on the low probability parlays. The problem is that I just dipped into my other $165 to bet on pro football. Put in a couple bets and a parlay. The winnings get transferred into my main account. I'm still up either $80 in my account (I can't cash in the "free money") My floor is $200 because I wanna make at least $50 off this fun lil exercise but I see how addictive it is for the first time. I even sought out a Bitcoin chess gambling site mainly used by Africans but I don't play because either I'm not better at Chess than Nigerian Royalty or they use chess bots or both. It also was pretty obviously used for money laundering which is what the gambling sites are also used for. Now I'm betting on Sunday football. Not just Saturday. I guess my cashout ceiling is a grand but I don't see that happening haha. Point is that wk2 college football this year was like my first joint, the first time I mixed valium-codeine-and a belt of scotch at 14. The first time I painted something halfway decent under a bridge at 16. The first time I fucked a girl at 17. The first time I had an audience in stitches at 22 (standup). All very pleasurable and only relatively routinely done. Except maybe sex and drugs but they have other major downsides. Hell when I learned to read at 8 I was attached to books my whole life but nobody thinks that's bad. Haha. Do other people gamble? I'm extraverted enough that if someone has dice on the street I'll shoot or if they have a chess game at a coffee shop. I'll bet $20. Best in person bet was with a frenemy in my group who was the epitome of iamverysmart and everyone in my group thought he was a genius. I took $20 off him in front of everyone and he refused to try to win it back. Bad look for him. I hope I can keep it just for fun. Any other INTP gamblers on here? Edit: Forgot to mention I won $400+ in a $20 pool for the 2011 March Madness B-Ball tourney. I watched none of the regular season (like usual) but knew UConn was good but nobody picked them as they were a #3 seed. I didn't win most rounds either. Dumb luck. It's funny that I forgot because it was less recent than that grudge match against that guy I played chess against.
Winning at fantasy means making predictions and acting on them prior to other players. To do that, you don't always have the privileges of hindsight and deduction. You will need foresight and inference. I hope to offer a some good if not somewhat inferential arguments for why some early moves on this weekly (if I have time) post. Fantasy thinking is often over-obsessed with statistical correlations at the expense of firm causal understanding of what is happening on the field. The forest is often lost for the trees. A combination of understanding the game of football, recognizing interconnected changes that will influence teams, and eye testing the games themselves is the best antidote to the groupthink, herd-mentality of fantasy football expertism which, time and again, proves spotty at best in anticipating changes. Last week I posted this as "Eye-tested Takes" but I realized that's not what I was aiming for. A variety of posters and services watch the whole game and give you maximally thorough takes on every snap. I won't offer much of an opinion on players/teams I don't watch. I'll always watch enough. However, a lot of what I'll make as the case for picking up (or dropping) a player will be based on obvious things that are happening that rankings-myosis may miss. There's always an elephant in the room that no one want's to acknowledge. This post gives fantasy advice that accounts for the elephants on the field.
Things I'm right about (so far):
1. Rivers Noodle Arm = Colts Lean into Jonathon Taylor:
With the quality of that offensive line, Mack going down, and Rivers looking like shit, Jonathon Taylor may end-up being a top-5 back this year. TY Hilton and Parris Campbell are going to disappoint you.
A bunch of commenters disagreed, insisting Hines was the guy to get and Taylor as a top-5 was nuts. This is an instance of the eye-test making people too smart. Yes, Taylor netted 22 yards on 9 carries week 1. Who cares, he was great in college (larger sample size) and more importantly, Rivers looks SOOO spent that Taylor is the only obvious bell-cow RB for what is probably the best O-line in the league. You want that. Rivers threw it 25 times in week two (down from 44). Taylor had 26 carries, 2 receptions, 110 yards, and 1 touchdown. It was obvious what had to happen in Indy but fantasy groupthink herded everyone toward Hines. If you had the audacity to ignore me on this (/s), the good news is there's still time. His trade value has skyrocketed on most charts but he's not quite valued as a top back yet. If you get the feel someone is under-valuing him, don't wait longer because his first 2 TD game is going to make him inaccessible in a trade. The Colts defense is also looking good enough to maintain a lead throughout a game, opening-up more run play calls. (Rivers sucking is going to do that all the time anyway). And if you still don't believe me, watch his highlights from this week and you'll see why he could be such a focal point. He does a lot of things that coaches like to lean-into: great ball security, adds 2-3 yards to the end of runs, explosive speed when he has big holes. 2.Browns Offense is fine:
Don't panic about the Browns offense. Baker Mayfield looked like trash but the running offense actually looked pretty good at times...Stefanski is the guy you need to believe in... The biggest takeway from the game isn't the Browns offense is bad, its that the Ravens defense is great.
Both Browns running back scored multiple TD's and registered more than 150 yards each week 2. Baker continued to suck and it didn't matter. Stefanski's offense is good and his coaching career is a testament to his talent. All-Ivy-League Football Player. First coaching job was in the NFL. They wouldn't let him leave for 14 years because they knew he was a talent. So don't run from Chubb or Hunt yet. And if you have them both, start them both and don't feel bad (unless you have a clearly better option like Zeke too...then probably favor starting Kareem Hunt the larger your ppr value, but its a tough call). The Browns are a perfect storm that make both startable: (a) Both Chubb and Hunt have top-5 rb talent and it comes across when you watch them on the field. With good combinations of strength and speed, each one is TD risk on every snap. (b) Sefanski divides snaps very well. Both are getting touches-a-plenty. They just signed they're "back-up" RB to a new contract (I mean, how often does that happen in the modern NFL?). KS also divides snaps by drive, unless a drive gets very long, so even if Chubb is doing well, he's going to give Kareem Hunt a whole drive. (c) starting both is fading Baker which is smart. The Browns are going to increasingly realize that their offense is more effective with Baker doing less. They may even move to Case Keenum (their back-up, legit didn't know that last week) and that's fine for Chubb/Hunt. I wouldn't run from OBJ or Jarvis Landry yet either, though Baker's ineptitude has got to make you worry. Think about what Minnesota offenses did over the years with Diggs, Theilen, etc. Both OBJ and Landry are going to be solid bets for big-play TD's (like OBJ's last Thursday) here and there but likely not breaking the top-10. Still, the talent ceiling is high with both so a buy-low scenario where you get them in a trade could pay-off if you bet on Stefanski more than Mayfield. 3. Deandre Hopkins is the WR1
Deandre Hopkins will be the #1 fantasy receiver this year... And most importantly, the offensive situation in Arizona is the perfect storm for his fantasy situation. Kyler Murray is good, but he's not working his way through progressions yet.
Hopkins nabbed a TD but only had 9 targets this week. I'll admit that I only watched Kyler Murray's highlights so forgive me if its there and I didn't see it, buuuuut...He's not completing passes to 2nd and 3rd reads. Its one read then run. That's great for Hopkins' stats because the further into the season they get, the MORE Hopkins is going to be involved on plays designed to chuck it to him, no matter what. Hopkins is one of those guys that's always open, and Kyler is a smart player who knows that AND knows he's not good enough yet to start looking for someone else if Hopkins is "covered". That may hurt the Cardinals at some point. But Hopkins is getting fed this season. And obviously, a rash of injuries at WR has made this look to be a better prediction. Hopkins is already a stud in that offense and he's still learning it. His stock is only going up from here. Its true the WR's new offenses typically do poorly. A couple of reasons why that's not true of Hopkins: (a) he's physically the most gifted receiver in the league. Randy Moss kicked ass his first year with the Patriots. Some players are talented enough that it doesn't take time, as long as they're smart as hell like Randy Moss or (b) Hopkins is an intelligent dude. He negotiated his own contract and didn't fuck it up. He wants to be G.M. Big brained guy, he'll pick up quickly. You can see that on the field, he's constantly looking back at Kyler to make sure he did the right thing on each play. (c) HOF'er in the WR room: Fitz will get him up to speed fast. Quick note about Kyler Murray: He's tearing it up. One encouraging thing that you might not see how little he's allowing himself to be tackled. As a fantasy owner, that's encouraging because it suggests he can sustain a high running floor and not get injured. And there's an added assurance that he's putting those slides for zero yards (for example) on tape because the coaches see that too and are more willing to call more of those plays down the stretch. Still, I wouldn't compare him to Lamar Jackson last season yet. Lamar Jackson was throwing TD's to his 4th and 5th read in week 1 against the Dolphins last season. Murray may hit a scheme ceiling where defenses, especially good ones, start to take away his 1 and 2 and contain his run game (though it is strong and he has good vision).
Things I was totally wrong about: zero things!
HA! Next section!
Things I'm not right about yet but pretty soon I will be:
1. Joe Burrow AJ Green is going to be good.
If you watch the game, you see Joe Burrow fitting the ball into tight windows in clutch situations. In fact, he wasn't finding a lot of open receivers, he was throwing the ball well/correctly into great coverage and making lemonade. Also, AJ Green is looking fully healthy and like his old self.
Well, AJ Green was targeted 13 times and caught...3 of those passes for 29 yards. So clearly, the chemistry between them was oversold by me last week. Still, 13 targets is encouraging and so is the Bengals inability to run the ball. No matter how much they try, they're wretched run-blocking always leaves them down late in games and in 3rd-and-forever situations. They just let a rookie throw it 61 times. Another consideration is that Denzel Ward was covering Green all night:
A.J. Green has had an up-and-down career vs. the Browns. Thursday’s game was on the down side, and it had mostly to do with Denzel Ward. Green had three catches for 29 yards. Overall, Ward broke up three passes against the Bengals. And according to Next Gen Stats, Ward was making life difficult for Joe Burrow all night, forcing eight tight window passes in 11 targets as the nearest defender.
Green is still pretty low on trade value charts but stands to have a huge upside as Burrow's primary target. 2. Rodgers is back.
...are there really any physical traits that are important to his game that would fade significantly at 36 year's old? I didn't see any missing zip off of his throws. I did see fucking darts getting tossed all over the field into tiny windows.
Aaron Jones is the #1 fantasy RB right now so obviously saying Rodgers is fully back is pre-mature. However, he is impressing with some very, very pretty darts. Also, the elephant on the field for the Packers is that Aaron Rodgers is a player driven by ego. Not a knock on him, he's just a guy who needs mojo to play at his finest. Maybe it required the stimulation of an insulting draft pick to prod him back into his HOF form. I'm not saying Rodgers can be a top 3 QB this year with Jackson and Murray running so well, but 4 or 5 doesn't seem out of reach. Rodgers is pff top-graded QB right now btw.
1.The Ravens are the best defense in the NFL. The loss of Earl Thomas is doesn't matter as much as what has been gained with Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort. Queen is incredibly fast and explosive underneath, getting into the backfield and making big plays. And L.J. Fort (top rated pff lb right now) combine to give them rangey-coverage, tackling, and pass break-up ability over the middle they didn't have before which has further weaponized they're depth at CB (Humphrey, Peters, Smith). Peters specifically is a ball hawk that's found a great home in Baltimore; he couldn't scheme well anywhere else but Harbaugh has found a way to give him the freedom to ball hawk. Over the long haul, Harbaugh has maintained a great defense, regardless of departures/changes, for years and years. When he has this much talent, his defenses are typically dominant. Be warry of starting iffy players against them at any position. They're worth trading for, I think the turnovedef TD potential makes them worth it. 2. J.K. Dobbins will break-out out as the preferred option in the Ravens backfield. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards have both proven to be reliable RB's for the Raven offense. But Ingram is 30 with over 200 carries in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Edwards has been reliable, a home-grown UDFA. But at 238lbs and without elite speed, he's leaving many big runs on the table. Dobbins didn't attend the combine. But ran a 4.44 40...in high school:
Dobbins posted a 4.44s 40-yard dash, 4.09s short shuttle and a 43.1-inch vertical jump as a high school senior at the event. There are also many reports that Dobbins squatted over 700 pounds.
He has power running balance and break-out speed that NONE of the other backs in Baltimore have. 4th rounder Justice Hill was their attempt of to develop that speed last year but didn't break out. A couple of elephants make this one a good bet: (a) Lamar's durability -- right now, he's taking a bunch of carries because he's the only one in their backfield that has the speed to break huge runs. If Dobbins can fill that role, Lamar Jackson can afford to take fewer chances and John Harbaugh can opt to only drop him back to pass 7 times in the second half when they're winning, like what happened in week 2. (b) that defense -- Baltimore's defense is going to be great enough this year to take over games, making steady doses of run plays inevitable as they'll spend a lot of games up by 2 scores. Yes, they were up like that a lot last year but their only homerun hitter in the backfield was Lamar (see above, Justice Hill wasn't getting it done). Here's an example: this is a shot from Gus Edwards' 22 yard scamper last week: https://preview.redd.it/mhhhpzmkrxo51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=3cdf46ac4bcce3e503729f909c0e787f85459eb9 The Ravens offensive line is good at opening holes like this. While it didn't prove important in this game (BAL was up 30-16 at the time), each run like this where a more explosive player could scored is an opportunity cost for the people calling plays. And its not just points left behind, its points scored while Lamar is watching like a fan. Its points that could allow more aggressive defensive play calling. If you're a coach for Baltimore, you don't necessarily want Lamar to have a gaudy stat-line every week if you're winning. If he can throw 16 passes in a game and then sit-out the 4th quarter, that's ideal from the franchise's perspective (though not so much for Fantasy managers). Each Ingram/Edwards run that coulda been a touchdown means there's more time on the field for Lamar, larger portion of the game where they're not playing a dominant lead, and higher chance that they'll lose because points were left on the field. They need someone else hitting home runs in the running game. Am I fading Lamar because of all of this? Not yet. Eye test = that guy is a singular talent. His throwing motion is smooth like Vick's, just a gifted, effortless release. He's also great at mostly avoiding contact (though all contact is bad contact if you're his coaches). Great decision maker too. Makes multiple reads on plays. Can't say enough about how great of player he is. Still, Baltimore is well put-together enough that they may be able to functionally win without him. So don't be surprised if, especially approaching the playoffs, Baltimore starts calling plays that don't involve as much Lamar. What's scary is that they may be a complete football team without him and he's the reigning MVP. Finally, Dobbins had two carries last week. One was for a 44 yard gain where the blocking was good but not nearly as good as the image above. Even if the transition to him isn't fast, he could force the issue like Chubb did his rookie year, gaining 100 yards on 3 carries in a game. No matter what, the Ravens will run by committee but there will come a point where the player to start out of the trio is Dobbins without a doubt. 3. Minshew is the truth and his team situation makes him a great fantasy player. Minshew isn't the most talented QB in the league. But above all things, he is competitive and scrappy. The Jags are good but not great so he's going need a lot of that scrappy-iness (lol, just say that sentence out loud, you'll hear it). James Robinson is very good and they're going to lean on him a lot. But when the time for much needed yards and points, it seems like the Jags tag Gardner Minshew II's Id in at offensive coordinator. Minshew isn't likely going to be top-5 qb but he might make the top 10 and is likely easier to get than other top targets. Part of the reason DJ Chark isn't getting the production folks hoped is because Minshew is effectively spreading the ball around. Good for the jags, bad for fantasy owners. I wouldn't panic. One of his targets I picked-up to stash is Laviska Shenault Jr. He's getting a legit number of carries each week and averaging over 10 yards per reception. He's an interesting pick-up because he doubles as handcuffs for Robinson. Seems like his carry count could go up to 10ish no problem if the Jags lost Robinson. So pay attention to what position he's listed in your league, scoring rules about how carries count in ppr, etc. But he passes the eye test, very shifty and fast on the field. 4. Teams that are quickly turning into dumpster fires that you should across-the-board fade: Jets Gase is the worst. Never underestimate the ability of a shitty boss to ruin a workspace and make everyone fucking hate themselves, even though they're well compensated to play a game for a living. Listen, I know there's always gems on bad teams. But I have high blood pressure. So tuning into games with players I need to play well and watching the offense go 3-and-out 5 times in a row...I'm literally too old for that shit now so I try to stray-away from dumpster fire teams. Vikings Kubiak has got some big Stefanski shoes to fill and he's doing a bad job so far. I wouldn't panic about Dalvin Cook yet but another bad couple of weeks and I'd start shopping him. See the Browns thing above: Stefanski may have made the Vikings offense look better than it actually was for a decade. Combine that with the defense whose secondary would be better if they were scare crows and you're looking at a team that can't plan to run the ball for more than a quarter or 2. Teams to be worried about: Broncos Whew, the injuries. They're basically just starting with new team. We'll see how things go. Detroit Matt Patricia may have lost this team. And coaches like him don't recover team faith/confidence well in a loss-spiral. Texans BoB is going to crash that plane into a mountain while we all watch. Poor Watson, just watching Deandre Hopkins ball-out. One thing you can still bet on for awhile out of the Texans offense; Bill O'Brien is ego- and career-invested in David Johnson doing great things. He'll role with him when he shouldn't to prove to everyone that he was right to trade Nuk. Its dumb. But he's dumb.
Fortune Favors The Bold (FFTB) Predictions
WARNING: What you're about to read is not necessarily good fantasy advice, but things for me to say "told you so" about a week from now. I take no responsibility for any money you lose (and all responsibility for the money you win). Still, Alexander the Great said, Fortune Favors the Bold.
JK Dobbins scores more fantasy points than CEH this week. (This prediction is backed-up by the time-honored tradition of spitting in one's hand and shaking on it so this shit is serious. Its also painful because I'm a Chiefs fan.)
Laviska Shenault scores a running and a receiving touchdown tonight.
Jonathon Taylor is the RB1 this week and its not close.
Danny Dimes throws 3 TD's this week against the 49ers.
I'm probably wrong about most of this shit but FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD! Thanks for reading! If I continue to be kind mostly right and people find it a good read, I'll keep posting these each week. Good luck! EDIT: Thanks for the awards and upvotes strangers! I'll bring the column back next week. Appreciate the comments too, thanks for the banter, shit-talk, and criticism. I'll be spittin in palms again soon. EDIT AGAIN: Thanks again for the feedback. This is fun and I'm going to enjoy doing it again next week. Some of the comments have suggested that the post doesn't really go out on many limbs. I'll do that more in the future. I've also added an extra section with a few "FFTB predictions" for this week.
Will the Philadelphia Eagles win OVER/UNDER 9.5 games? By University Stats Prof!
The Eagles have been a good model of consistency. Over the past 20 years, they have had just four losing seasons. It wasn’t always pretty, but Philly managed to secure the NFC East title with a 9-7 record last year. They closed out the regular season with a four-game winning streak to edge the Cowboys atop the division. Unfortunately, Carson Wentz exited the wildcard playoff game early and the team couldn’t overcome his absence in a 17-9 home loss to the Seahawks.
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs) Carson Wentz needs to be applauded for his 2019 performance. He had to deal with numerous injuries to his receiving corps and yet, he led the team to a playoff spot and he finished with a career-high in passing yards with 4,039. He threw 27 TD passes versus 7 interceptions, while playing all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season in 2016. In the season finale, his top targets were Boston Scott, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins, Deontay Burnett and Greg Ward. Outside of Goedert, none is an established starter in the NFL. The Eagles still secured the NFC East title with a 34-17 road win in New York. Philadelphia selected Jalen Hurts late in the second round of this year’s draft. He transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma for his senior year since Tua Tagovailoa was projected to be the starter. Hurst was actually replacing Kyler Murray who had just been taken as the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft by the Cards. Hurts did not disappoint in his lone season with the Sooners. He completed 237-of-340 passes (69.7%) with 3,851 passing yards, along with 32 TD passes and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 1,298 yards with 20 TDs on the ground! His weaknesses are an average accuracy, inconsistent decision-making and a tendency to take off as a runner too often (sometimes when a receiver was open). He is likely to be used as a gadget player by Doug Pederson this year. Nate Sudfeld will compete for the backup job. He missed the entire 2019 season due to a wrist injury he suffered during preseason. He was a sixth-round pick out of Indiana in the 2016 draft. He has attempted just 25 passes in the NFL in four years, so it’s hard to tell what to expect from him. 2.2 Running Backs (RBs) Miles Sanders’ rookie season was a resounding success. He led all rookies with 1,327 yards from scrimmage. He carried a heavier workload as the season went on. During the first eight games, he averaged 8.3 carries per game, as opposed to 14.1 over the last nine contests (including the playoff loss to the Seahawks). Jordan Howard’s injury at midseason contributed to the increased usage of Sanders in the backfield. With Howard gone to Miami, the sky’s the limit for second-round pick out of Penn State. Darren Sproles retired and Jay Ajayi was waived. That leaves the door wide open for third-year man Boston Scott. He flashed big time last year and unquestionably passed my eye test. The 5’6’’ back is very explosive. Scott made a name for himself in Week #17 as he had to step in for Sanders who sprained an ankle in the first quarter against the Giants. Scott went on to rack up 138 total yards and three touchdowns. 2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs) This unit was decimated by injuries last year. DeSean Jackson pretty much played just one game, while Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor missed six and five games, respectively. Despite playing under his age-32 campaign, Jackson showed he still has field-stretching abilities in his lone meeting last year. He was spectacular with 8 catches for 154 yards and a couple of scores. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season very often in his career though. Jeffery is another aging receiver coming off a significant injury. He underwent Lisfranc surgery, which requires a long rehab period. He’s questionable for the start of training camp. Since two outstanding seasons in 2013 and 2014 with the Bears, Jeffery has missed four games per year on average, while showing signs of slowing down on the field as well. His 11.4 yards-per-catch average last year was a career low. To be honest, I feel like Jeffery’s time in the league is coming to an end soon. Lisfranc injuries can be tricky for wide receivers, and full recovery is even more difficult for guys above 30 years of age. Nelson Agholor was a younger WR who could have provided adequate depth, but he signed with the Raiders. The former first-rounder has not lived up to expectations, but he was still a decent pass catcher, albeit his drops were a big issue last year. Maybe a change of scenery will help rejuvenate his career. Philly drafted Jalen Reagor with the #21 pick overall last April. He’s a smallish deep threat who is at his best on straight routes. He was good with contested catches, but will it still be the case in the NFL given his size? That’s a big question mark. Reagor opened a lot of eyes by scoring eight touchdowns as a freshman with TCU after being a high recruit out of high school. He followed up with a great 72-1061-9 receiving line as a sophomore. Reagor’s numbers dropped quite a bit as a junior (43-611-5), but you can attribute that to having a freshman QB at the helm. He’s an electrifying player who can take it to the house every time he touches the ball. The competition for the number three role is also likely to involve Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. These two guys have had completely different paths before making it to the NFL. Ward went undrafted before joining the AAF. He eventually was added to the Eagles’ practice squad, and later on promoted to the 53-man roster until a depleted receiving corps forced him onto the field. Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside had more of a “conventional” journey by being drafted in the second-round of the 2019 draft. Such resumes would suggest Arcega-Whiteside would be the superior wideout, but that’s not what we saw on the field. He only caught 10-of-22 targets for a disappointing 45% catch rate. He was rarely targeted down the stretch, despite the numerous injuries at the position. On the other hand, Ward filled in admirably late in the season. Over the final four meetings, including the playoff game, he caught 20-of-25 targets (an 80% catch rate). He clearly deserves a shot as a top reserve for the upcoming season. 2.4 Tight Ends (TEs) The Eagles have a nice duo at the tight end position with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Ertz is a true warrior. He hasn’t missed more than two games in each of his first seven season in the league. Last year, he played with two rib fractures one week after lacerating his kidney. Talk about a tough guy. His numbers are also staggering. His lowest figures in terms of receptions and receiving yards over the past five years are 74 and 816. That’s truly remarkable! Please note that he’ll be turning 30 years old during the season. Just like Ertz, Goedert is also a former second-rounder. However, he is four years younger. He caught 58 passes for 607 yards and 5 TDs, all career-highs. He was targeted 4 times per game on average before the team’s bye week versus an average of 7.9 for the remainder of the year. Granted, injuries to other targets probably boosted his numbers, but he still developed nice chemistry with Wentz. 2.5 Offensive Line (OL) The Eagles have a heck of an offensive line. You cannot blame Jason Kelce for anything over the past five years. He hasn’t missed any start, while consistently being one of the top centers in the league. As a matter of fact, he was rated as the #1 center in the NFL according to PFF grades last year. He’s now 32 years old. Left tackle Jason Peters has been just as good as Kelce. He was nominated to nine Pro Bowls in his career and he finished as the number 6 tackle in the league with his 83.4 PFF mark. Unfortunately, the team decided to let the 38-year old hit the free agency market. EDIT: he was re-signed three days ago (this article was written several weeks ago). He is projected to play guard instead of tackle. Peters will be replaced with 2019 first-round pick, Andre Dillard. Is he ready to take on the full-time job? It remains to be seen, but it will be difficult to fill Peters’ shoes. As for Lane Johnson, the right tackle finished as the 3rd-best tackle in the league based on the PFF grading system. He’s been very good throughout his seven-year career; the former #4 overall pick has not disappointed at all! Brandon Brooks also had a huge 2019 season! He ended the year as the top guard in the NFL with a jaw-dropping 92.9 PFF mark. Much like Lane Johnson, Brooks is another player above 30 years old who’s been reliable his entire career. Left guard Isaac Seumalo started all 16 games for the first time of his career. He’s the one that received the lowest grades on this OL, but finishing 17th out of 81 guards is nothing to be ashamed of! The former third-round pick from the 2016 draft is not as talented as his colleagues, but you could do worse than having him as one of your starters. The team lost good depth with the departure of Halapoulivaati Vaitai to Detroit. The 2019 season was clearly his best year; it would have been nice to retain him but he signed a huge contract with the Lions. 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE When comparing the upcoming 2020 season with last year, there are some positives and some negatives. Let’s discuss the negative stuff first. I do expect a downgrade on the offensive line. They played at an extremely high level last year with four guys finishing among the 6 players at their respective position (based on PFF rankings). That’s unlikely to happen again, especially with three linemen aged 30 years or above. Also, second-year man Andre Dillard has good potential, but it will be difficult to match Jason Peters’ 2019 performance. I do expect a drop-off here. At quarterback and tight end, the situation remains stable. At the running back position, losing Jordan Howard to free agency won’t hurt too much with the emergence of electrifying Boston Scott. Also, Miles Sanders is expected to take a leap in his sophomore season. Finally, how could you not expect better production from the WR group? They were hit by the injury bug a lot last year. Agholor’s departure is a moderate blow; getting DeSean Jackson back is a bonus! Hopefully, speedy rookie Jalen Reagor can provide a spark to an offense that sorely missed game breakers last year. The Eagles offense scored the 12th-highest number of points last year. My final conclusion, based on the arguments above, is that I expect similar production in 2020. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs) Fletcher Cox is an animal. Plain and simple. Despite posting his second-lowest sack output of his illustrious eight-year career, he still graded as the 4th-best interior defenders in the NFL based on PFF rankings. On average, he has recorded 6 sacks per year (he only got 3.5 last year) He has also been very durable; he’s missed just three games out 128. He still has good years to come at age 29. Tim Jernigan was a decent starter next to Cox, but he clearly wasn’t needed on the team anymore after the Eagles signed stud DT Javon Hargrave. The former Steeler showed steady improvement in each of his first four years in the NFL. His 83.4 PFF mark last year put him in the 8th spot out of 114 DLs. With Hargrave entering his prime years and Fletcher Cox being a perennial beast, good luck running the ball inside the tackles against the Eagles in 2020. After playing three years in Indy, Hassan Ridgeway had a below-average season in his first year with the Eagles. He’s more of a rotational player, whom you hope won’t be needed as a starter. 3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED) Brandon Graham is 32 years old, but he refuses to slow down. He led the team with 8.5 sacks last year, and he has averaged six sacks over an eight-year period! The guy also finds a way to stay on the field. Can you believe he has missed a single game in eight years! He’s been consistently good and remains a force, both against the run and rushing the passer. Derek Barnett is a former first-rounder coming off a career-high in sacks with 6.5. However, his 2019 PFF grade was the lowest of his three-year stint in the NFL and he finished as the number 83 edge defender out of 107 qualifiers. He’s an “okay” player. Vinny Curry played 38% of the snaps last year, but it does not appear like he will be back with the team. At the time of writing, he was still a free agent. He did pick up five sacks last year, but teams seem reluctant to sign him because he’ll be playing his age-32 campaign. He actually played pretty well when called upon. With Curry gone, the team must hope Josh Sweat will elevate his game. The 2018 fourth-round selection posted his first four sacks of his career last year, but his 62.5 overall PFF mark ranked him as the 76th-best edge defender out of 107 guys. 3.3 Linebackers (LBs) After playing four years in Buffalo and four years in Philly, Nigel Bradham was cut by the Eagles, mainly for cap reasons. He provided average play at the LB position; he was good in coverage, but he was a liability defending the run. The team also lost Kamu Grugier-Hill, who signed with the Dolphins. You could characterize him as a decent player, albeit far from being great. That leaves the team pretty thin at the position. Nathan Gerry is the lone 2019 starter that is still with the team. He ranked as the 34th-best linebacker out of 89 players. He does not offer much upside, though. It would be stunning to see him crack the top 25 someday. Can Duke Riley and/or T.J Edwards crack the starting lineup? Neither seem to be an up-and-coming star. Riley was acquired for peanuts prior to last year and he played 35 snaps. As for Edwards, he was an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin that did well in limited time last year. He proved to be stout against the run. 3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs) Philly’s back end has been revamped for the upcoming 2020 season. The Eagles signed one of the best slot corners in the league: Nickell Robey-Coleman. He has received consistently good grades from ProFootballFocus over the past four years. At 5’8’’ he is pretty small, but you couldn’t tell from the quality of his game. He’s a nice addition. Philly also acquired Darius “Big Play” Slay, who played the first seven years of his career with the Lions. He had a down year in 2019, but I’m not worried he can rebound in a new environment. He’s been covering opponent’s top receivers for a while in this league, and he’s done a good job at it. He has 19 career interceptions. Ronald Darby’s career has been plagued with injuries recently and he was let go during the offseason. His PFF grade took an enormous drop last year, all the way from a respectable 70.6 in 2018 down to an abysmal 44.8 last year. He signed a one-year deal with the Redskins. Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox are still on the team, but neither has proven to be an impactful contributor. Both graded as very below-average corners in 2019. 3.5 Safeties (S) Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod both played the entire 2019 season. They ranked as the 32nd- and 52nd-best out of a bunch of 87 safeties. The organization and Jenkins couldn’t agree on a deal, so the Eagles had to let him go after six very successful seasons. He picked off 11 passes during his six-year stint in Philly. He signed with the Saints, with which he spent the first five seasons of his career. Even though he wasn’t getting any younger, his present will be missed. McLeod’s 2019 PFF grade was the lowest he had obtained over the past five years, but he still did a decent job. Jalen Mills will be one piece of the puzzle in replacing Jenkins. But let’s face the reality: he has been pretty awful throughout his four-year career, except 2017 where he did better. Another option will be newly acquired Will Parks, who is coming over from Denver. However, he’s clearly not a long-term solution either. He’s pretty versatile, but he’s a below-average player. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE This unit was upgraded quite a bit during the offseason at two positions, but it also suffered a severe downgrade at a couple others. First, acquiring Javon Hargrave to team up with Fletcher Cox on the interior of the line was big! At CB, getting Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman will provide much needed help at a position that has caused headaches for years in Philly. Unfortunately, the defense lost its best safety when Malcolm Jenkins signed with the Saints. Also, even though none of them was a true difference maker, losing linebackers Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill creates a hole. Since the team acquired some big time players while losing good/average players, I envision a small improvement. In 2019, the Eagles finished in the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed per game (15th out of 32 teams). I envision Philly finishing around the #10-#13 spot this year. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small upgrade
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Eagles are expected to win 9.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Eagles won more or less than 9.5 games.
Here are the results:
OVER 9.5 WINS
UNDER 9.5 WINS
Tip: Bet UNDER 9.5 wins Return On Investment (ROI): +13.7% Rank: 19th-highest ROI out of 32 teams Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -136 Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Eagles’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: +2 vs BAL, -10 vs CIN, -2.5 vs DAL, -4 vs LAR, 0 vs NO, -5 vs NYG, -2 vs SEA, -10.5 vs WAS.
Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020. I invite you to take a look at my other 31 NFL team previews! Good information if you are involved in fantasy football and/or if you want to be up-to-date on player movement and teams' strengths and weaknesses (for betting purposes)! Cheers, Professor MJ
Potential Landing Spots for Le'Veon Bell and What That would Look Like for Fantasy
Let me preface by saying that I'm by no means a cap expert. Nothing I say here will take Lev's contract or any team's salary cap into consideration. I'm strictly sticking to extreme what-if territory as it pertains to that, so take from this what you will. Arizona Cardinals - This would be pretty close to a best case scenario as he'd be attached to a potentially explosive offense on a team that's shown a willingness to run despite having a mediocre Kenyan Drake in the backfield. This would obviously sink both Drake and Edmond's value, unless one of them goes the other way in the trade. I can only imagine that it would be a good thing for Murray having a weapon like Bell around, though Hopkin's value as the only high-level playmaker in the offense might take a tiny hit. Baltimore Ravens - I can see it happening. The Ravens offense has been nowhere near as explosive as it was last year, and maybe they feel that it has more to do with the backfield's ineffectiveness, rather than teams figuring out Lamar Jackson's shtick. He'd be joining a crowded backfield but he'd obviously be the best out of the bunch here and if he were to get acquired by them, it'd have to be with the intention of using him a lot. Ingram and Dobbins would instantly lose all value in 10-12 team leagues, becoming more like low-end handcuffs. I think the move would be good for Lamar Jackson as it would necessitate opposing defenses game planning for another playmaker. It might lead to Andrews getting a few less Redzone looks but I'd be willing to bet he'd be fine. Buffalo Bills - Best case scenario, Part 2? This would be a great landing spot for Bell. Again, he'd be attached to a great offense and should be far and away the best option in that backfield. It seems the Bills have always envisioned Singletary as more of complimentary back, and that's the role he'd be relegated to, obviously tanking his value. I don't feel like he affects anyone else's value much. Allen might cede some goal line work but he'd gain some value from having another great receiver in the mix. Chicago Bears - The Bears have to be feeling some manner of Impostor Syndrome sitting there at 4-1. Still, with a hot start like this, the playoffs may not be as out of their reach as we imagined. Maybe they feel adding a bonafide star to pair with A-Rob on the offense can keep their momentum going and push them past the hump. I don't think this happens without the Bears REALLY being out on Montgomery, which they haven't indicated they are at all, BUT if something like this happens, I think Bell's situation would improve a lot, as he'd step into a whole lot of targets and a healthy amount of running work as well. I also feel like this can only help Allen Robinson. He might get less targets, but they would be of higher value with opposing defenses having to account for Bell. Detroit Lions - Seriously doubt it happens as it seems like the Lions mostly like what they have in the AP/Swift combo and aren't doing so hot record-wise. BUT if it did happen, you'd have to imagine the Lions follow it up by cutting AP and limiting Swift to only occasional receiving work for now. Bell's stock would rise dramatically here as the Lions/Stafford LOVE throwing to the RB position. I feel like Stafford would see a small boost in value, Golladay doesn't change much, and Hockenson sees the biggest hit as his redzone looks decline. Kansas City Chiefs - They've been the type of team that is always trying to improve, even when they're good. Perhaps they've seen all they need to see from CEH, and don't believe he can be the workhorse they envisioned? Huge longshot as it is, I don't think it's impossible to see them make a move like this to secure their shot at a second-consecutive super bowl. IF Bell becomes the workhorse here, he'd easily have a shot to finish as a top 5-10 RB. CEH's value would be relegated to that of a high-end handcuff. I think even with Bell, all the other KC weapons would remain high value, with Mahomes improving the most as he's given one of the best dump-off targets in the game. Los Angeles Chargers - As it stands, they don't exactly have a no-doubt, high end traditional RB in their ranks, so I could possibly see this happening. Stepping into a workhorse role, the kind that Joshua Kelley had early on in the season, could make Lev Bell super high-value. Even so, I don't imagine the Chargers just forgetting about Ekeler once he's back. I feel like Ekeler would cap Lev's receiving work but Bell would still have enough traditional RB work to still be a strong, high-end RB2. Ekeler obviously takes a massive hit as he loses most or all of his running work, while Kelley and Jackson go back to being handcuffs. Jackson in particular might even see himself get cut. Miami Dolphins - I can see Miami, looking like a whole new team that has an outside shot at a playoff berth next season, making a big splash like this. Myles Gaskin has been okay-ish but I can't help but feeling like he's left a lot of points on the field. Give Le'Veon Bell the work Gaskin's been getting and he can possibly vault into RB1 territory. I feel like this would solidify Fitz's place as a solid every-week QB starter, though it might take away a tiny bit from DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Mike Gesicki, as, to this point, the target share has been very centralized. New Orleans Saints - Obviously it'd be an incredibly weird move with Kamara and Murray in that backfield already, but if it were to happen, I dare say, there'd be enough work that both RBs maintain decent value. Regardless, Kamara takes a hit as he loses a little more of that traditional RB role. Bell's upside would be capped sharing the backfield with Kamara but you'd have to imagine if Murray has occasional value, Lev Bell would have even more. I could see him still finishing around the mid-RB2 territory in New Orleans, though his weekly output may be very volatile. I feel like Cook and maybe Sanders would lose a whole lot of their remaining value here, but it would help Brees a lot having yet another elite dumpoff target to throw to. San Francisco 49ers - I feel like they have a lot bigger fish to fry than trying to acquire another talented RB, but it's not outside the realm of possibility seeing a trade happen where Mostert goes to New York and Le'Veon goes to SF. Maybe SF thinks an elite bellcow could be the cure to their offensive woes? If Le'Veon walks into a Mostert-less backfield on a Kyle Shanahan-coached team, we'd probably have a league winner on our hands. I'm not really sure who gains/loses much value in the SF offense, but I can see it being a weekly reality that Le'Veon and George Kittle take over as the only reliable fantasy players in San Fran. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Fournette's been injured and kinda bad, Ronald Jones has looked decent on the ground but he's left a lot to be desired as a receiver. I also get the sense that both Arians and Brady don't really like the guy. Surely, the Buccaneers know Tom Brady's clock is ticking, and maybe they'd imagine Bell being that guy that can vault the offense into the stratosphere. If something like this happened, Bell would go into strong RB1-consideration. Brady's RB1's usually get fed and he'd be the best RB he's had to play with in a very long time. Mike Evans may lose a small amount of that short-yardage WR work that he does so well but Brady would surely improve. Washington Football Team - It's hard to imagine this happens but stranger things than rebuilding teams acquiring a high-priced RB1 have happened in the past, right? This would suck for Bell and his owners as he'd trade one bad O-Line and offense for another, though at least the coaching is a little better in DC. Gibson probably loses all value, becoming something akin to what Chris Thompson was for Washington. It could only be good for McLaurin who has to hate being the only real playmaker on this team's offense week in and week out.
The "Apology" for not being "Christian-Like" towards me... Not exactly a happy ending because she wished my death, pretty awkward.
I don't give anyone permission to post anywhere else... all that good stuff. For anyone who didn't read at least my first story: the summary... this was years ago. DH and I have been together for over a decade now, we are VLC with her and I'm by default NC with her because she started giving me the silent treatment so I returned the favor. We've been married for a few years and we're very happy and happier for her not being in our lives. I'm not happy that this was the outcome but she dug her own grave and it's not for me to get her out. Truthfully, I wouldn't even know how because she has some serious cuts and scars to mend with me and I won't speak for DH totally, but he's been out of the FOG and refuses to tolerate her crap just to have a relationship. So from my last little tid bit (see the bot) I explained that things with DH's (BF at the time) family was simply different. They didn't do anything together really and things were just divided for the most part. It was a lame story but it'll all be relevant as time goes on, but that's the summary. Now, his mother truly believes that they are a very close family with this inseparable bond. Over the years she has made so many comments to DH (more than I will ever know) and quite a few passive aggressive comments to me. MIL openly talks about BF being the golden child, BIL is salivating for her attention and to point out all that is wrong with BF. It's just a really unsteady boat. The more I saw her, the more she judged me but still never got to know me. I'm a downright TERRIBLE person because I had 1 tattoo at the time (now have 3 and planning on #4 this fall/winter). She would go on and on and on about how they're disgusting and only delinquents and sinners get tattoos directly to my face. Props for saying it to my face but what exactly am I suppose to say back without being disrespectful? I really didn't want to make DH's life hell by telling off his mom so it left me in a pickle. She really tried to make me feel like shit. I mean... this one didn't work but still, wtf is your goal by saying this shit? She would then proceed to cry to me that she didn't want BF to get one and I need to stop influencing him. WTF. How exactly do you respond to that you ask? Well you tell her to fuck off and shove it up her ass. But I didn't. I said something like, "You realize I don't have the same beliefs as you and I'm going to school to get a doctorate, right? A tattoo that you never see (it's on my ribs) just isn't a big deal anymore and I'm far from a delinquent." But her babbbbyyyyyy might get one and she simply couldn't handle it. Guys... DH has zero desire to get a tattoo. Like none. He doesn't exactly care what I do with tattoos to my body (although I think he would formulate an opinion if I came home with a penis tattooed on my forehead) but he, himself, said he doesn't feel the need to get anything. I doubt that will change. I would bet my paycheck on it - Oh wait... I did but I would happily pay up just to see her reaction now (that's just me being petty). I ended the conversation with something along the lines of "Well you really don't know your son if you think he would get a permanent tattoo on his body just because his GF has one" ....apparently that wasn't the right response. Found out from SIL-W(Now wife of BIL) a few weeks later that she was still crying a river to them that she was just so scared he would make such a poor decision. Like this seriously kept her up at night. Oh why else was I a bad person at this point in time? I'm a bad person because I "constantly put down" BF. Well... I'm not really sure how to navigate this one without being painfully honest here so hang with me.... I actually started to point out all the ways she was a shitty mom to him, but she took this to be me putting down BF. Well that backfired and apples didn't fall correctly, clearly. Let me explain: DH didn't know how to use a ratchet set let alone a screwdriver. Laundry was a learning experience. He didn't know how to cook really (FF: he's an amazing cook and his homemade meatballs are out of this world). He ate like 6 foods until I literally took on this persona of a psycho girlfriend who made him try EVERYTHING and his roommates got him to try different spices and wings so now he's less of a 5 year old and has a solid adult-range diet. Stuff where it was just like.... why is he a grown adult and doesn't know this? She would make comments about BF like I was his mother as well and expect me to "fix" the issue...so I only found it fair to point out every way she sucked or encouraged him to formulate these bad habits that she now has a problem with. It's not my job to fix shit. I'm not in a relationship to "fix him" (but yes, I would like to eat more than pizza, pancakes, chicken nuggets and french fries so I did push that one for my sanity, not his). So she spun it where I talked bad about him when in reality I was judging her parenting because I was starting to landslide. Not the best approach. For anyone reading who is currently dealing with this type of shit: don't be passive aggressive. It's not worth the fucking time and energy. Just call her out or move on to laugh about it. I'm also a bad person because I would defend DH - apparently that wasn't okay either. So back to that crap where she would complain to me about BF and then expect me to fix things... One summer when the Olympics were on and BF is really into them while subsequently losing weight and getting healthy. He spent weeks in his room watching them while on a stationary bike or elliptical or whatever which wasn't far from the norm past his workout obsession... as I've said, they don't do anything together. Well, MIL all of a sudden wanted a closer family (probably to remove my "influence" from him) and seriously complained to me about him being antisocial and asked if he's acts this way when he's away at college. All I can say is... I didn't appreciate her bashing him when this is the atmosphere she created. So, I stuck up for him. "Oh that's so funny because he's really social at college. Although it doesn't seem like he's doing anything different than any other summer home. You guys have never done anything as a family so I'm not sure why you think that's changed" Wrong. Answer. I'm also a bad person because she didn't like that I drank and I was forcing her perfect son to drink at college. Yes - you read that correctly. She flat out blamed me for him drinking and it never crossed her mind that he chose to drink, I didn't have some magical vagina that made him fall under a spell to get fucked up. New flash bitch: he tried alcohol in high school well before he met me, but yup I'm the influence holding his mouth open to pour fireball and vodka down it.... but I couldn't say that. So I took the hit for being "that girl" again over the years. So overall.... She kept throwing digs about me or DH and I answered them in the mildest form possible which ended up being passive aggressive, while trying to not be completely steam rolled, but it was a waste because she just treated me like shit anyway. Sometimes I threw a dig back and sometimes I brushed it off. Overall, she was just buying her time waiting for us to break up... Yup... she's still waiting. SIL told me that MIL made a ton of comments on how I'm so disrespectful and it pissed me off. So you can say whatever you want to me including openly dissing me but I'm suppose to what? Kiss your ass? Say thank you? So.... I was very aware of how she felt about me and what she says even though DH didn't directly tell me, it's not fucking rocket science here. Side note: MIL has like.... one friend. She calls BIL and he's her sounding board for everything. Frankly, I find it really unhealthy for you to be treating your child like your therapist... just like... go to a therapist. So how things work in this family is something happens (or basically nothing) she runs to BIL and spins the entire thing to her fancy, BIL tells SIL, SIL comes running to me to get our side while BIL makes backhanded comments to DH about how he needs to be better with MIL or whatever. Both MIL and BIL operate by guilt tripping and it's just fucking annoying. It worked on DH for a few years and then it was like a switch flipped and it's yet to work again. I will say, I shut this little drama train down a few years ago and it's much nicer. Once in a while I get pissed enough to engage but it's rare. Now I just let everything go to shit, let BIL think what he wants while making ridiculous assumptions and him and MIL are little butt buddies who talk shit but have no guts to actually say it or own up to their part.. fun, right?! So to the story of how she once again used her religious crap on me to really show that she's just a Holy Hypocrite. Welcome to her name everyone, I have a winner of a MIL. SIL (little sister) decided she was going to go to prom with her friends and she was really excited. I truly don't know 100% if I offered or she asked me... but I'm pretty sure I offered... to do her hair and makeup. I think I offered because I was home from college so only about 2 hours away (versus 5), she was talking to me at that time for whatever reason, I worked it out with DH where he was coming home and we would drive back to college together, and if she was going to ask someone I would think she would've asked her other SIL-W (BILs wife) since they were closer; I imagine I offered. I also did SILs hair a few other times we were together - nothing fancy just some french braid based that I can do in my sleep so it's not like this would be completely out of the blue. HH doesn't wear a lick of makeup and does nothing with her hair so that option was out, obviously. If SIL wanted to look good she had to look elsewhere. Like many of the ladies know hair and makeup is wicked expensive and I happen to be really good at both, at least for prom quality so SIL took me up on the offer. I had her send me pictures of her dress, some different hair styles that I thought might look good on he the dress and she seemed really excited. MIL texts me and wants to "confirm" if I was really willing to put myself out to do her hair and makeup because she didn't want her daughter to get her hopes up but also wanted to see if I was charging her so she could set aside the money because this type of thing is an arm and a leg and she's a single mother. I was kind of pissed about this. She really thinks so low of me that I would be texting her daughter, in writing, that I was committing to doing all of this, and at no charge (none the less) but would just bail and ruin her one and only prom? Especially over.. what... $100? Wow. Cool. I specifically told her that I would do it for free, I was just happy to be able to make her prom everything she hoped - it was never about money. I mean really? Why would I spend all that money on traveling down to slave over her hair and makeup for $100 or whatever versus sitting at home watching HIMYM? I made it clear and it was obvious I was thrilled to be able to do something, anything for SIL to be happy - It's not about you HH. Next Text: She says something along the lines of really underestimating me and my intentions prior and she would like to have a private conversation with me one on one to apologize for not being Christian like towards me when I come to do her hair and makeup. GUYS, I FINALLY DID IT. IT TOOK 4.5 YEARS BUT SHE'S REALIZING I'M NOT A TERRIBLE PERSON. I'm like... fucking thrilled. I'm sitting here thinking we will finally be on the same page. She can accept me as a person rather than a walking sinner... holy shit maybe BF won't have this unknown future. Well... you read the title so you know I was naive and should've never agreed to a one-on-one talk. So I do SILs hair and makeup... she looks... amazing. She started to tear up and said she actually looks pretty (SIL has some self confidence issues and the lack of ability to do her hair and makeup at that point in time was a big trigger IMO). My heart is ripping into two and I'm so thankful I chose to be apart of this and made a difference in her experience. (FF: her hair and makeup was the only one to make it through the night let alone into the next day so basically a "brush your shoulders off" moment for me.) HH is ecstatic that she's on cloud 9... all is right in the world. They leave to all go take pictures with friends and HH comes back. HH signals me into the living room to have our little talk. It starts off really nice. She's telling me the Bible says XYZ and she clearly hasn't been living up to those standards in regards to me so she really wants to move forward. We talked for probably a good 30 minutes getting to know each other more and she's telling me funny stories about how BF was as a child. I'm getting all the warm and fuzzies. This is what I'm good at. I'm good at being open, no bullshit, and just finding happiness - this felt so natural and raw. Well all good things come to a fucking end. She brings up BFs religious beliefs and she's afraid that he's pulling away from God and it's only happened because of me coming into his life. She keeps pressuring me. She brings it up again and again and again. Yes, he went off to college and became his own person... during that time he also met me. It's a pretty logical coincidence that freedom allowed him to formulate his own opinions and of of those opinions was he wanted to date me. Shocker, I know. HOW could this all happen - at once?! Nope. I'm to blame. Me and my magical vagina. What she doesn't know and BF has never talked with her about is - he doesn't actually believe in her religion let alone her views. He openly says (to me) there were many parts of Church growing up but at the end of the day he isn't committed like she is and he doesn't plan to be. He knows she will be disappointment and he doesn't want to after being the perfect child for so long. He just doesn't feel it in his soul. He struggles with a lot of his mother's specific views and I think it left a really bad taste in his mouth overall. I keep throwing it off saying "While I understand you feel that way this is a conversation you should have with your son, this isn't the conversation to have with me" "BF has his own views that are his to tell, I'm not going to speak for him" "It sounds like this matters a lot to you, but that's not for me to answer. You need to have this conversation with him." After about the tenth time, I caved. I said something like "Well BF has his own reservations and he makes his own decisions. He has chosen not to go to church at college, that has nothing to do with me. He would rather watch football every Sunday and he has never once asked me to go yet I've offered half a dozen times. So maybe you need to accept that BF isn't the same person as when he left for college because that's who he is choosing to be irregardless of me." She just about loses it and dives into every single other little time she has been disappointed in BF and how she knows it's my doing. One example: BF got drunk at a Halloween party and accidentally sent the snap to his sister where he was clearly drunk... wouldn't you know it, that's my fault!!!! Ha. In reality: I was at work and met up with him and his roommates when he was already gone. I had nothing to do with it. But here we are again, her blaming me for him drinking alcohol like... three times a year... okay. She finally says word for word"I pray every day that something happens to you so you can no longer be with BF" as she looked up to the sky with her hands physically praying. Just to recap: In a conversation that she asked for to apologize to me for not being "Christian-like" towards me... she wishes I would die. Holy. Hypocrite. Well... that's the last time we were alone in a room together and that was over 5 years ago. Also: I keep "flairing" No Advice Wanted because it was like... 5 years ago... but feel free to spill some tea ladies and gents.
United’s hopeless pursuit of Jadon Sancho – the real story Laurie Whitwell, David Ornstein and more(Other contributor: Raphael Honigstein) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identified Jadon Sancho as his principal target this summer in what was seen as a vital opportunity for squad enhancement following Champions League qualification. But after 10 weeks of opportunity for talks, Sancho remains a Borussia Dortmund player and the simple truth is that United never got close. The Athletic has been told that Solskjaer urged Ed Woodward to keep trying, and financial concerns meant other signings were pushed to the periphery until the final 48 hours of the window. Donny van de Beek arrived on September 2 but sources say United waited to pull the trigger on other purchases until it became clear Sancho was not arriving. So for the third window in a row, United were active on deadline day, completing the signings of Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri. In January, it was Odion Ighalo, hot on the heels of Bruno Fernandes. Last summer, the club were trying to sign Mario Mandzukic or Paulo Dybala. The cause for this year’s unedifying sense of late freneticism appears to centre on the priority given to the Sancho move and, fundamentally, a misunderstanding by United of Dortmund’s intentions. Essentially, United did not believe Dortmund would stay firm on the price-tag of €120 million or their deadline of August 10, embarking on a long-running game of poker without realising that the Bundesliga club weren’t even at the table. United effectively sat still in the hope Dortmund would blink first and place the call they were ready to do business. Intermediaries attempted to broker a deal but were waiting on United to move, which did not happen. Some sources felt Woodward was holding until the last moment to place an all-in bet, giving the impression of resistance in the ambition of driving the price down. But instead, United kept their chips and stayed true to their valuation. By never ruling themselves out of the deal though, United’s actions seriously annoyed Dortmund’s executives, who became even more entrenched in their position as the weeks went on. When Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc stood at the side of their training pitches on August 10, the first day of pre-season, and said the decision on Sancho staying was “final”, one alarmed United director made a call to check whether the statement was genuine. The response was along the lines of, “What did you expect? You knew the terms.” Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund’s chief executive, is said to have personally phoned United at the start of the summer and explained very clearly how much the deal would cost and when it needed to be done by. United privately argue that the continued conversations after that point, conducted via intermediaries Emeka Obasi and Marco Lichtsteiner, were evidence of Dortmund remaining open to a sale. But the reason for the involvement of agents is hotly disputed. United insist Dortmund wanted talks done through Obasi and Lichtsteiner, and some believe this was so Dortmund could stick to their public stance while having a backchannel to a potential resolution. United held lengthy discussions and made known what they were willing to pay, which held a firm limit given the current economic environment. Sources say Dortmund reject that idea and deny they ever appointed agents. Previous deals with Arsenal and Barcelona for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele respectively were based on face-to-face meetings with club counterparts. On this occasion, they believed that they had provided the fee to United and since Woodward failed to match it by August 10, there was no need for further direct discussion. United felt there was tacit encouragement to keep lines of communication going but the only way they could have got the deal on after that date was with a “crazy” offer along the lines of Neymar’s £200 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. Sources told The Athletic that if United had come in with an offer of €140-£150 million then Dortmund might have done business. Conscious of their reputation having set their position out so publicly, Dortmund would have been able to sell that as a turnaround made in extraordinary circumstances. United argued that the €120 million price tag did not take into account the financial hit caused by the pandemic. Executives genuinely felt it should come down, given the full total of the transfer was potentially enormous. The Athletic has been told initial calculations rose to €250 million including wages and agent fees. United made what has been described as a “calm decision” to refuse that amount and felt vindicated when the government postponed the return of fans to stadiums costing the club another £50 million in lost revenue. But it is understood that Dortmund originally planned for the €120 million as a “minimum” — and ideally wanted nearer the €147 million fee that Barcelona paid for Dembele — so it was an adjustment to even consider a bid that could reach that figure in installments. In any case, United never got near to that guaranteed sum. One offer, submitted by chief negotiator Matt Judge through the agents in the final week of September, amounted to £80 million, plus add-ons. Once passed to Watzke, it was immediately rejected as too little too late. There was a sense at the Westfalenstadion that United did not take Dortmund’s demands seriously or were acting without full intentions to actually complete the signing. All proposals were said to have been relayed to Dortmund via the agents knowing full well they would be turned down. Sancho himself is believed to have felt undervalued by the offers and even if United had placed the right bid late on, it is understood he would have questioned why it did not come earlier. Sancho was never going to agitate for a move unless United came close to Dortmund’s demands. Illness kept him out of the squad for Saturday’s 4-0 win over Freiburg but Sancho then attended a house party in London with Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell, in breach of lockdown rules, and will join up late with England as a result. He has since apologised. The forward was prepared to join United but not “desperate” to move this summer. He was relaxed either way. That was the sense drawn by England team-mates at the September camp. That being said, others close to United were under the impression he “would walk to Old Trafford”. Sancho texted Marcus Rashford about United, and the pair were said to be excited at the prospect of linking up. Sancho has many friends in Manchester from his time at Manchester City. Other United players were in touch too and so was Solskjaer, who as long ago as January wanted to ascertain Sancho’s willingness to join and to get a personal sense of his character. Having privately acknowledged the possibility of a sale, Dortmund were aware of the conversations, which are standard for most transfers. There had actually been dialogue with Sancho’s representatives dating back to when he left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017, but talks commenced in earnest this year once United had secured Champions League football on July 26. United’s exit from the Europa League was disappointing, but some close to the club felt it would at least reinforce the impetus for signings — a reminder to the Glazer family that funding was required to take the next step. “But extending the window to October 5 is probably the worst thing for Solskjaer,” said a source. “I can see United taking talks to the wire again.” There were some raised eyebrows at United over reports of Sancho’s lateness to training and fines for breaching lockdown regulations in Germany. But United viewed the indiscretions as attributable to a desire to move on from Dortmund. “We’ll make Carrington a place where he wants to come to work every day,” one member of staff told a colleague. Solskjaer had determined Sancho would be his main target, with one source saying in April: “We are ready to go, we know who we want, the people at the top are now certain.” But that conviction was not found in the pursuit, with Dortmund soon frustrated at United’s reluctance to commit to a fee or structure. There were allegations of “freestyling”, a refusal to provide a top line, and when pushed for answers, Judge suggested the issue lay with “the owners”. Agents proposing other players were told of a £50 million net spend budget. Executives feel they have a responsibility to protect the long-term strength of the club by not over-paying. The Athletic has previously reported how Joel Glazer, in daily contact with Woodward, is involved in all major signings and paid particularly close attention to the Sancho deal. There were accusations of a split in opinion between the pair over the price to be sanctioned, with Woodward advocating a higher fee, but United insist board members were united on their view that €120 million was too much in the post-COVID-19 climate. Recruitment staff were told about a significant budget being allocated to Sancho but later the internal line back from Woodward was that the deal was “too much money”. Privately United suggested the €120 million figure could be reached including some unrealistic bonuses, which may have allowed Dortmund to save face with a headline figure. Dortmund were resolute in their stance though and believed a higher price could be achieved next summer. The cause for their confidence was revealed when Zorc announced a previously unknown extension to Sancho’s contract, meaning it did not run out until 2023. United insist they knew all those details and were for a long time frustrated by what they perceived to be the slow process of dealing with Dortmund through Obasi, Sancho’s agent, and Lichtsteiner, the brother of former Arsenal player Stephan. The two intermediaries are described as “very close”. Lichtsteiner previously assisted on the departures of Aubameyang and Dembele to Arsenal and Barcelona respectively, and has vast experience of difficult transfers. He is said to be well-regarded and very discreet with information. United have in the past worked on deals through agents, and last summer placed an offer for the Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff in this manner. Sources at Newcastle suspected this was so United had deniability if unsuccessful. On other occasions, the technique has worked well. Woodward conducted the purchase of Juan Mata from Chelsea without one word to his counterparts at Stamford Bridge to block any chance of Wayne Rooney being brought into the conversation. Chelsea wanted to buy Rooney that window. Before any fee could be finalised this time, there were difficulties over wages and agent fees. It has been suggested to The Athletic that the opening contract offer to Sancho was actually slightly lower than his Dortmund salary. As is customary in Germany, Sancho’s contract was heavily incentivised and contained bonus payments for each point Dortmund achieved. Conscious of maintaining a certain wage structure, United’s initial proposal was less than Sancho’s total pay packet at Dortmund. Van de Beek joined on £110,000 a week, for instance, and his representatives were told that was in line with a refined structure given Fernandes signed for £150,000 a week. A second offer to Sancho, in early August, is said to have achieved parity with his Dortmund deal, with the potential for a fractional increase based on performance. This was not accepted. Sancho’s representatives, who carefully organised a move away from City in 2017, were clear in their view of Sancho’s worth and expected to be recompensed as such. Though not asking for money equitable to David De Gea, who signed a deal worth more than £375,000 a week within the final 12 months of becoming a free agent, the terms desired were thought to be in the region of Paul Pogba’s £250,000 a week. There were reports that wages had been sorted in the first week of August but this was not the case. United believed leaks to that end emanating from Germany were an attempt to “put pressure” on the process. Still, there was positivity about a solution. Sources say the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was keeping himself abreast of Sancho’s situation and around this stage told friends he believed the player would end up at Old Trafford. There was eventually a breakthrough on Sancho’s salary in the second week of September. Running parallel were negotiations over agent fees. Some have suggested an initial proposal for a payment to the agents put United on the back foot. After negotiations, a lower sum was agreed. But that still left the transfer fee and, as the gap remained, other options were considered. A prospective loan deal for Gareth Bale was set up but the Wales international declined to wait as a reserve for Sancho. He had the emotional pull of Tottenham Hotspur in any case. Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, previously not regarded as a genuine option, came into the reckoning in the final fortnight of the window when United explored a loan move. With Watford in the Championship, Sarr has until the domestic deadline of October 16 to join a Premier League club. Talks also commenced over Dembele. An original inquiry for the Barcelona forward was made in July but at that stage, Dembele was not interested. Sources say Liverpool also made a check back then. But while Liverpool instead signed Diogo Jota on September 19, it was United returning in the dying embers of the market to investigate whether Dembele might join on loan. It was a late move. A source close to the Barcelona dressing room said at the time: “He intended to stay at Barcelona. In pre-season, his attitude was really different and the players were super happy to see how he was training and how involved in the routine. Therefore, everything has to have changed a lot for him to have decided to go to United.” In the end, United only wanted a loan. Barcelona demanded a sale, so the situation looked unlikely to develop until a late change of stance by the La Liga club on Monday evening. Barcelona indicated they would agree to a loan but only if Dembele extended his contract at the Nou Camp, and the deal was off. Industry insiders reported numerous other inquiries and proposals put to the club by representatives, such as Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic, Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Juventus’ Douglas Costa. There was exasperation among some at Carrington that United were leaving business so late again and having to work down their list to second and third options. “Looks like a panic buy,” was the assessment by one source close to the dressing room of the Cavani signing. United did ask Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz in January but were put off by the €100 million fee and never made a follow-up call this summer, clearing the path to Chelsea. Meanwhile, the Sancho failure represents the third time Dortmund have got their way over United this year, after the signings of Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham — two episodes that have caused lingering frustration. Some agents who have worked with United on other deals believe the club should have halted talks on Sancho much earlier if €120 million was seen as too much and pursued alternatives. There are accusations the delay speaks to a fundamental issue in recruitment, which sources call a paralysis of decision-making. But given how much Solskjaer wanted Sancho, United wanted to try for their No 1 target for as long as possible. United accept they have missed out on a top player but insist they have not over-extended their finances. The signings of Diallo and Pellistri, both 18-year-old wingers, are regarded as viable options for the first-team once bedded into England through the under-21s side. Diallo’s cost of €21 million plus €20 million is not insignificant, however, inevitably inviting questions about why United refused the extra money for Sancho. Diallo has been scouted since 2016 and is considered one of the most exciting prospects in Italy. There are echoes when Anthony Martial signed for big expense and little experience and became Joel Glazer’s favourite player. Sancho will stay in the crosshairs, for the next time trading opens. It’s understood he long since shifted his focus to a future transfer rather than moving in the current window. But it is anticipated more clubs will be in the reckoning for his signature by then.
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