The Cover 4 Fantasy Football: Time to win your league

070831015358_Fantasy Football

Here at The Cover 4 we pride ourselves on the fact our primary goal isn’t to provide readers with a daily update on the underwear Tim Tebow has decided to roll with that particular day.  Nor do we spend time focusing on the recession of LeBron’s hairline.  We don’t care that Brett Favre texted a picture of his man region to an attractive lady reporter, in fact I think I speak for everyone here at The Cover 4 when I say I hope it worked out for him (it didn’t).  It is my honor to apply this philosophy to fantasy sports.  I’m from Boston, I promise to work “wicked hahd.”

With the start of the 2013 NFL season, fantasy owners everywhere are discussing projections and draft strategies religiously.  At this point drafts are taking place and it’s the perfect time.  The third weekend of preseason games is prime for draft day.  Imagine if you drafted before the first game of the preseason and wound up with Danario Alexander, an exciting sleeper option at WR a few weeks ago, only to learn he suffered an ACL tear and his season is over.

We promise not to list 200 players and call it a day.  Instead we’d like to offer a more in-depth approach to preparing for your draft.  You can expect round-by-round pointers and analysis as well as a very important undervalued and overvalued player portion ensuring you fully understand what you’re paying for and whether it’s worth it.  Each player you add to your team costs a draft pick, so spend wisely fellas. (To all female fantasy football owners, we love you, but you are a precious few.  Call me.)

                I want to quickly touch on scoring settings.  Please don’t get cute and go with two QB leagues or have passing TDs earn you six points each.  The traditional PPR (point per reception) scoring settings are in place for a reason.  They offer the most realistic experience possible.  Fantasy owners have full reign over their respective teams.  You are Jerry Jones or Bill Belichick to your team.  When you win, you get the credit. When you lose, you are to blame.  At least have it be as real as possible.  Fantasy football has become a way of life, a hobby to some, an investment to others.  Six points per passing TD makes Drew Brees a fire-breathing dragon who needs be the first overall pick in every draft, whereas four points levels the playing field considering QBs touch the ball on every offensive play. These “cute” leagues as I have become accustomed to calling them are the Miller Lite or Natural Ice of fantasy football.  They’re light, cheap, and no matter what anyone says, they are not enjoyable.  The traditional PPR is your craft beer. It’s full bodied, packs a punch, just a beautiful thing.  It only takes one to have you hooked.  Your taste is altered, your perception is changed.  Everything not is not that simply falls short. Take my word for it and give in to the temptation.  You’ll probably lose your marriage over it.  It’s perfect.

                In the weeks leading up to your draft you are a man on a mission.  This season you’re winning the money, the bragging rights, the shiva, whatever the prize may be, this is the year you are taking it.  During the season each week brings the latest story, a tragic injury placing you a RB short of two full-time starters or a welcomed injury where all of a sudden a RB who hasn’t left your bench all year is now the guy getting all the carries on his team.  Players come out of nowhere and it’s a race to the waiver wire to bid on an undrafted free agent.  Maybe your backup QB is facing the worst passing defense in the league and you’re pondering starting him over your mainstay who’s been great for you all year.  So many possible circumstances, so many possible outcomes, you don’t want to be kicking yourself after the draft or after you started a WR who didn’t end up playing.

Cover 4 will have you feeling confident going into your draft and sure of your weekly lineup adjustments.  That’s why we’re here.  That’s why a lot of services are here.  So far no one has separated themselves from the pack.  It’s all the same.  There isn’t a website that has truly broken down the draft process and showed you recommended strategies bringing you maximum values with all your picks.  We refuse to rank players and not explain why.  We refuse to tell you a player is a sleeper and have him cost you a fourth-round pick.  You will not be wasting your third pick on a “sleeper.”  You want to score more points than the other guy, and you want to do it every week.  We’re the PPR league, we’re the craft beer.  Cover 4 is going to level the playing field.  We’re going to change your perception.  The 2013 NFL season is here gentlemen, another year of epic fantasy football action. Let’s go.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Christian Stinchfield
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

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ESPN – Blinded By The Light


Why do we constantly talk about Tim Tebow?  Are LeBron James and Jay Cutler really such bad people?  Are the NFL personal foul calls that terrible?  These are just some of the questions that have been asked redundantly, skewed, or answered by ESPN and other sports networks in such a way that creates the image now perceived by the public.

The majority of the public does not recognize ESPN is owned by Disney, which is a business with the ultimate goal of making money. The purpose of this article is not to detract from ESPN’s success or prominence, but to enlighten viewers to their ulterior motives and recommend alternative outlets.

As most of us know, any television network’s success is driven by advertisements that are dependent on ratings.  ESPN is crafty in its way of creating ratings and the main technique it utilizes is creating controversy amongst all sports.  To enhance viewership, they present ruffles within the most highly watched sport at the most scrutinized position — the quarterback.  What other person to plug relentlessly than Tim Tebow?

Tim Tebow is a pop culture and  sports marketing god that carries a fan base similar to that of a boy band.  Try asking a diehard Backstreet Boys fan what they think of Nsync.  Tebow carries a following in person and on Twitter, similar to a cult. Daily, notorious ESPN troll Skip Bayless sets the controversial tone by shoving Tebow in your face, driving the pop culture icon to the front pages, causing unfair media questions and scrutiny upon his incumbent.  Theoretically, Tebow is Super Mario after eating the mushroom; however, those mushrooms are not permanent, and no one wants Tebow when his mushroom wears off.

Educated people within the NFL circle recognize the above, but still continue to publicly loathe the discussion.  How many times do you hear one of your friends say, “I can’t stand Skip Bayless!”?

Ever wonder why we think of LeBron and Jay Cutler the way we do?  Where is the origin of their disapproval?  First, LeBron held the most pompous press conference announcing his decision with one of the greatest lines in sports of the twenty-first century: “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”  The event and phrase itself deserved at least a few months of scrutiny.  On top of the initial pressure of being the most highly touted player coming into the league in history, LeBron held his press conference creating ESPN’s dream scenario (insert conspiracy theory here).  Not only did ESPN cover this buzz relentlessly, but upon the start of training camp they ran a completely separate website for the Miami Heat titled the “Heat Index”.  Let me repeat, ESPN who covers the entire sporting WORLD, issued a webpage covering a SINGLE team in the NBA (  People wanted their insight on any down moment for LeBron, and ESPN presented every flaw, while creating buzz around the entire country.

Next, Smokin’ Jay Cutler has been considered one of the most controversial QBs in the NFL, and honestly, this can probably be traced back to two legitimate reasons for his troubling reputation.  The first and biggest reason was his decision to sit out of 2011 NFC playoff game with a knee injury. Some athletes, including Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett and Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew, took to Twitter to announce their disapproval, stating that they’d play with the knee injury. The next issue was Culter’s cross-field rant with Phillip Rivers back in 2007. It could be interpreted that Cutler was being incredibly immature in this incident because Rivers’ Chargers were rolling.  Honestly, being an avid sports fan, there is absolutely nothing that Cutler has done to deserve such harsh media scrutiny outside of having a semi-accurate canon of an arm with a back pedal as a drop back.  Is his posture not that of a leader?  Please, and Belichick’s is?  He happens to grab water after a mistake and walks by his boss.  Please enlighten me of a single person that does not get frustrated in his or her working environment.  Does he look mad after getting sacked 7 times in a game?  I ask you to face Jared Allen with the Bears’ left tackle twice a year.  Furthermore, the chatter of him being a below-average quarterback can entirely be put to rest after a week and a half of Jason Campbell.  ESPN has taken his minor altercations and created controversy with a guy who, until this season, has had zero weapons at receiver and still has no offensive line.  Want a controversy?  See Tom Jackson convey his Denver Broncos grudge on national television here:

Each of these aforementioned athletes has done absolutely nothing off the playing surface to trigger the criticism they receive.  Each of these people has conducted themselves in a manner that represents their organization with class, even donating to charities.  Kobe and Big Ben are the star children again, but what about during their little frisky incidents?  It is particularly interesting that those incidents have not surfaced again because that would detract from game views or result in ticket losses. These athletes are unfairly judged in their workplace in order to drive ratings benefitting the business plan of ESPN.

Tonight on this SportsCenter’s made-up headline, “LeBron and Heat slumping, Cutler moping, and is Tebow the short-term answer for the Jets– right now!”  A completely false headline, but extremely believable.  You are now hooked and SportsCenter just opened.

Lastly, there has been a tremendous amount of conversation regarding the new NFL rule changes and the amount of “defenseless receiver” and “roughing the passer” calls that have recently been made.  Every day, ESPN, FOX, NBC, and CBS present this topic of whether this is impeding into the game play, and all the analysts that were former players uniformly agree that it does.  Analysts acknowledge the fact the league is looking out for players’ safety, but they all consistently leave out one critical point. The NFL is currently facing BILLIONS of dollars in concussion negligence lawsuits from a multitude of former players.  If they were to budge on any kind of stance regarding these issues, they would lose a tremendous amount of legal leverage which would be detrimental to the league and ultimately us, the fans.

Hypothetical situation: you are the owner of a small business that is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit. During that time, you determine it would be smart to reevaluate the procedures for your employees and enforce them more strictly.   Now, the judge can be more lenient and realize you are a competent owner.  Smart, right?  I know.

Has that picture ever been painted to the public regarding the new NFL safety rules?  No.  Why?  It would come close to burying the story leaving Skip Bayless and ESPN’s NFL Live with nothing to stir up on a Wednesday other than more Tebow and Cutler talk.

It should be noted that sports entertainment and talk radio thrive on controversy, rankings and conflict.  Any show on ESPN or NBC would not be in business without analyzing or creating some sort of controversy.  I, along with all of the sports community, will continue to watch our favorite shows that help formulate our own opinions on issues.  To resolve this issue, I suggest that you diversify your media outlets.

If you only watch Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, your views are obviously leaning in one direction.  If your only sporting intake is Skip Bayless and Steven A. Smith, then you have been exposed to a finite size of information.   To enhance this on the sporting side, much like in finance, diversify your portfolio of sports knowledge each morning by taking in a portion of Colin Cowherd’s show and Dan Patrick’s show.  If you are a West Coast late riser and indulge in some lunchtime viewing, you can flip between ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption and CBS’ Jim Rome.  It can be quite enlightening to hear two completely different perspectives when one of those despises the “Mothership”.

We all remember the high school essays of compare and contrast, which forced us to comprehend all sides of an issue, but we tend to lose this perspective as we get older.  These foundational values of debating or becoming a knowledgeable person can be lost amid the opinions forced upon us, but there is always an alternative side to any story.  Although the most powerful outlet presents a certain perspective, it does not necessarily mean it should be your opinion, it is the correct opinion, or is the underlying issue of the topic (i.e. NFL concussions).

In short, I encourage all of you to continue to watch ESPN as much as I do, but please maintain perspective of the big picture while watching it.  If you get mad at Skip Bayless, take a breath, and realize that’s exactly what ESPN wants you to do, move on, and look for an alternative opinion.  If you do not like Jay Cutler, just gather yourself and recognize that your hatred is either driven by ESPN or merely a personal problem.  For future viewing, I recommend you to become more educated on the topic by opening yourself up to different sports information dispensaries rather than simply watching ESPN and immediately posting to Facebook or Twitter in outrage because you are only contributing to the irrational, uneducated audience in which ESPN is aiming.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

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