Which awards are locked in? Which are still up for debate? a glance through the odds and campaigns in each category
It feels like it's been 5 years since we've seen actual NBA basketball, which may make awards debates and campaigns more difficult. Wait, who was playing well again...? Dennis Schroder? Seriously? Huh. Okay then. As we soldier back into the bubble, there's a risk that awards voters will forget about that early part of the season (aka the vast majority) and fall victim to recency bias. Given that, we wanted to glance through the major races and determine which -- if any -- awards may still be in debate. For this exercise, I'm using the current odds as listed by an online betting site (bovada). Note: the percentages do NOT add up to 100% because online betting sites like your money. MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo: - 3500 (97%) LeBron James: +600 (14%) is the race over? This betting site heavily favors Giannis Antetokounmpo, although some other metrics have it closer than that. Basketball-reference's MVP tracker lists Giannis at 50.7% and LeBron at 17.3%. I'm more inclined to believe the latter and that LeBron James would be closer to 15-20% odds. No doubt, Giannis is a worthy MVP. He's been a dominant force (again) for the top statistical team in the league (again.) He's racking up 30-14-6 in only 30.9 minutes per game. In most circumstances, he'd win this award in a walk. That said, you can never discount "narrative," and LeBron James has a few of those going for him. The Lakers have vaulted up to the # 1 seed in the West, outperforming preseason expectations. James has played exceptionally well, and even led the league in assists. Partly because of that, James' camp has successfully gotten the media to buy into the storyline that he made a sudden transition to point guard (ya know, because he had always deferred to his point guards like Mo Williams and Mario Chalmers in the past...) More than that, James may benefit from this strange corona-bubble. He's been a leading advocate for continuing on, and as always, players tend to follow his lead. I can see more than a few media members giving James an MVP vote for "saving the season." All in all, I expect this vote to be closer than it should be (and I expect poor James Harden to finish well behind where he should as well.) So James will get some votes, but can he actually win the award? I wouldn't rule it out. The Lakers are currently 3 games behind the Bucks for the # 1 overall seed. It's hard to imagine Milwaukee losing enough to slip, but it's not Wallace Shawn inconceivable either. If the Lakers somehow manage to catch them, then I actually think LeBron will win MVP. Of course, it's more likely the Bucks will hang onto the # 1 seed, and Giannis will hang onto MVP. But again, I don't think it's a stone cold lock -- yet. Rookie of the Year Ja Morant: - 3500 (97%) Zion Williamson: +850 (11%) is the race over? It should be. Zion Williamson is freakin' amazing, but he's played 19 games so far. That's 40 less than Ja Morant, who has played stellar ball for a rookie from a small school, and somehow led the Memphis Grizzlies to the 8th seed. Still, we can't rule out the risk of recency bias and a wild overreaction from the media. Williamson has a chance to lead the Pelicans up to the 9th spot, at which point they'd play Morant's Grizzlies. If Williamson can lead New Orleans to two victories over Memphis in a row -- and thus leapfrog them in the standings -- then it's very feasible the media would throw their vote his way. The media (and the league as a whole) tends to like this Zion fella, if you haven't noticed. Sixth Man Dennis Schroder: - 220 (69%) Montrezl Harrell: +190 (34%) Lou Williams: +450 (18%) Derrick Rose: +3000 (3%) is the race over? Simply put: no. It's still a three-man race in my book. The Clippers' Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell finished 1-2 last season, and are right back in the thick of things this year. Among the two, it's harder to justify Williams' winning for the third season in a row. He hasn't played as well as last year, and hasn't been as big of a focal point for the Clippers' game plan. With Sweet Lou taking a slight step back, it's opened the door for Dennis Schroder. He's having a career season in terms of efficiency. In fact, it's hard to understate his jump this year. In his six previous seasons, his career high true shooting percentage was only 53.3%. This season? He's vaulted up to 57.3%. The question is: have enough voters noticed? OKC has been a feel-good story this year, but Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tend to get the most credit for that. Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if voters get lazy and just fall back on the highest scorer among the three. And even by those standards, the race is wide open. Schroder is at 19.0 PPG, Williams is at 18.7 PPG, and Harrell is at 18.6 PPG. A strong (or bad) week or two in the bubble may tilt this race in any direction. Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo: -500 (83%) Anthony Davis: +200 (33%) Rudy Gobert: +2800 (3%) is the race over? Even among savvy and analytically-inclined media members, "defense" is still something of a mystery to quantify. We see a lot of herd mentality emerge for DPOY voting, with candidates needing to stake their claim early on and campaign all season long. In terms of storylines and narratives, it felt like Anthony Davis had the early momentum. He's a wrecking ball (1.5 steals, 2.4 blocks) who helped improve the Lakers' defense from # 12 to # 3 this season. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo has steadily built his case for a double MVP + DPOY, and currently ranks as the betting favorite on this site. Personally, I believe it's a closer race than these numbers suggest. At the same time, I'm not sure what their play in the bubble is going to do about it. More likely, it'll be an influential media piece (like Zach Lowe pushing for Marc Gasol) that may get voters ushering on one side or another. Most Improved Bam Adebayo: -150 (60%) Brandon Ingram: +250 (29%) Luka Doncic: +500 (17%) Jayson Tatum: +900 (10%) Devonte Graham: +1000 (9%) is the race over? Again, this race feels "too close to call" to me. John King and David Chalian may be tallying up the counties all night long. Earlier this season, I looked back at previous Most Improved winners and tried to find some common threads. On average, the winner improved from 11.7 PPG to 19.6 PPG (roughly +8 points.) Historically speaking, Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum fit close to those templates. Ingram has swelled from 18.3 PPG to 24.3 PPG in his first season in New Orleans (+6). Tatum has made an even bigger leap, going from 15.7 PPG to 23.6 PPG (essentially our exact +8). Of the two, I may lean more to Ingram myself. Tatum's taking more shots and more threes, but he was already considered a proven star prior to this. Ingram had been more of a question mark before, but has now established himself as a potential max player. The key for him has been an improved FT%. In his first three seasons, he shot 62%, 68%, and 68% from the line. This year, he's up to 86%. That's major progress, and represents a massive difference in his efficiency "floor." Still, you wonder if Ingram's momentum peaked too early. Ever since Zion Williamson came back, it feels like Ingram has been an afterthought in the media. Conversely, Bam Adebayo's reputation within the media is still surging. He's been a major reason for the Miami Heat's success this year, nearly doubling from 8.9 PPG to 16.2 PPG (+7.3 overall.) He's also doubled his assists (from 2.2 to 5.1). If you wanted to nitpick Adebayo's candidacy, you may suggest he was pretty darn good already. A lot of the statistical upswing comes from an increase in minutes, from 23.3 to 34.4 this year. Overall, I'd say Abebayo is the favorite, but I wouldn't lock it in yet. A player like Brandon Ingram could get hot and have a few 40 point games, at which point the momentum may swing back in his favor.
Before I start, full disclosure: I am a public school teacher in Edmonton. I also want to state that this is my own opinion and not representative of that of my employer or anyone else – just me. By now, I have no doubt most of you, especially if you are involved in education (either as a teacher, EA, administrator, a parent with children) in some capacity, you know about the Government of Alberta’s re-entry plans for September. The decision has been made that, as of right now, we will be going to Scenario 1, which is in-school learning to as near-normal as possible. You may have heard teachers have some issues with the plan moving forward. Depending on what side of the political spectrum you follow closely, you will see some vastly different takes on the matter. One of the big things I’ve been seeing said about teachers is that we just want an excuse not to be back in the classroom. Something about us being entitled and, my favourite one, lazy. Ask a teacher in Alberta their opinion about teaching after March 16. I bet you will find most of them do not speak fondly of it. I myself did not enjoy it one bit. I teach physics (go figure, eh?) and that is a very hands-on science and one that needs a lot of oversight from the teacher; kids have a hard time with physics and kids are shy about asking questions, so my role is to read body language and go to them to get them to tell me what they know and don’t know and help them in what way I can. Doing that in an online environment is very difficult, if not nearly impossible. I would wager a large sum that most teachers would absolutely love to be back in the classroom in September. Hell, I missed my classroom a lot and I certainly missed my interactions with co-workers and friends, as well as interacting with my students. I also teach a lot of grade 12 students, so it was hard to watch their graduation year go up in flames (though we did compensate as best we could). However, what we would like, come September, is to be able to do the job safely. There is a lot of talk about funding and finances. The Minister of Education and her lackeys (issues managers, press secretary) have been very adamant, as well as the Premier, that education funding in Alberta has increased under the UCP. As much as they will claim this, it is also bullshit. The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) had to file a FOIP request to get the documents to prove that funding had been cut; the government did not want to be transparent about this. As well, the government has also changed how schools are funded starting this fall. I won’t bore you with the details, but if you are part of a growing board, you’re at a disadvantage, since part of the funding takes a look at enrollment from previous years. The government has frozen the education budget for the next four years. As part of the re-entry plan, the ATA has asked for additional funds to cover the costs of PPE and other measures to help mitigate, as best as possible, risks to staff and students. The ATA got told there would be no additional money and that the boards would have to use their current funding to cover the costs (they were also told they could dip in to their reserve funding – but guess what, most boards had to dip in to that last year and deplete it to cover the cuts that came after budgets were already set). What’s happening is the government is washing their hands clean of this; boards across Alberta have already had their budgets cut and now they will likely need to reallocate funds. To do this, a board is going to have to make cuts in another area, which most likely means staffing; if you have fewer teachers, you will have to add more students per class, which is the last thing we should be doing during a pandemic. The government’s move is essentially setting the boards up to fail and if it happens, the government is going to lay the full blame on them saying, “We gave them the money and they were irresponsible.” People will fail to acknowledge the cuts and then the hounds are going to come after us. Teachers want to be back in the classroom, but we also want it to be as safe as reasonably possible, which means ensuring we have the protection to do our jobs. We take safety seriously and we want everyone, including our students, to be able to go home safe. In my school, many students have their grandparents living with them (it’s a cultural thing) and we would hate to see them potentially carry the virus with them and expose their relatives to that risk. Myself, I have a partner who is immunocompromised. I love her to death and the last thing I want is to potentially bring something home that could make her very sick or, even worse, kill her. The guilt that would bring upon me would absolutely crush me and if I’m 100% transparent, it would probably cause me to spiral to the point where I would either end up seriously contemplating death or actually following through on it. (The joys of depression lingering in the background, but that’s a discussion for another time.) My classroom is probably no larger than 450 square feet. In September, I am going to have to welcome anywhere from 30 to 40 students in that classroom. It will be impossible to keep students socially distant. There is also no requirement for them to wear masks and since they are, at the moment, not being provided to students, many will not wear one. Why? At least at my school, many students come from homes with little means, so masks probably will not make the cut of things to buy. It’s heartbreaking, but also a tragic reality. Politicians in the legislature are still socially distancing. If I read somewhere correctly, the legislature chamber is around 4000 square feet. So, if they only have a handful of MLAs in there at a given time spaced apart, why is it okay to cram 30+ students in a small classroom with no way to distance them and no requirement they wear a mask? That is just asking for trouble. On top of all this, our collective bargaining agreement expires August 31, which means we have to enter in negotiations with the government, which is going to be ugly. Just looking at how they are treating the doctors right now, I’m sure we’re going to have to eat a real soggy shit sandwich. This is where teaching in Alberta can be real demoralizing at times. In North America, education and especially the people who are part of the system, are not overly valued. In Canada and the United States, many people shit on teachers and we (and/or our union/association) get blamed if kids are doing poorly or the system is failing (while ignoring many factors). If something bad happens, we have to take the fall. If something good happens, a lot of time, we don’t seem to get the credit. Pay is always a sour point in Alberta, because Alberta teachers are paid very well, but other provinces are starting to catch up and even beginning to surpass us. We always get told we have to share in the pain for Alberta, but the thing is, when the going is really good, we don’t get to share in the huge glories either. In the last eight years, teachers have taken 0% increase in pay, except for a 2% raise in 2015. Inflation pretty much wipes that out. Even when oil was well over $100/barrel, we weren’t seeing some of the glory times others in the private sector were and we accept that. Most of us tend to prefer job security since a job with an income is better than no job at all. So when people tell us to share in the pain, we usually will counter with saying we have done our part… especially when you consider more responsibilities that are being downloaded to teachers. Many of us are aware what others in the O&G sector have faced with pay cuts or even layoffs. Most of us know someone in the sector. We are not actively cheering on for those things to happen; yes, you will have the odd person in education who is probably happy to see the O&G sector suffer, but I would say they are rare. However, and I say this with the utmost amount of respect to those who do work in O&G, even during the recession, teachers were still needed and we still had to work. Reducing our pays seems counter to our reality and conditions – we were still working full-time and with increasing complexity to the job (as stated earlier, more being downloaded onto us). Supports are being taken away, so over the years, on top of teaching our subjects, we now have to deal with challenges beyond that of a “normal” (for lack of a better word) classroom (extreme behavioral issues, academic challenges, e.g. learning disability) whereas before, those students were given specialized supports tailored to their needs. Instead of funding counsellors, we now have to play that role, even though we are not trained for that. Instead of having reasonable class sizes, many of us in the larger boards have had classes well into the 30s (last year, I had a class of 43). It’s the same discussion currently being had about the police and how the get overloaded with many tasks outside the scope of traditional policing (i.e. acting like a police officer and a social worker simultaneously) and as we’ve seen, it’s not effective. Our job has never stopped, even during the rough times in this province. Furthermore, the whole idea of, “I suffered so you should too” is not going to get us anywhere. I wish people in Alberta understood there’s a lot more to teaching than the hours the students are seated in the classroom. I wish people could see the work that is done behind the scenes. I wish people could see the abuse some teachers and EAs have to take from students and, at times, their families. I wish people saw us as valuable members of society and worthy of not only our salary, but respect too. Do we make a good living? Yes. We are also a highly educated work force and most teachers have two degrees (and many of them three, myself included). Many people in Alberta want their children back in school in the name of the economy and the social aspect. Fair enough. To me, that sounds like teachers are very essential to the process. Yet, at the same time, many of these people would treat us no better than something they dug out of their ears and will be the first ones to vehemently demand our pay gets cut and call us lazy. If you want schools to be open and think it’s good for society, then maybe, just maybe, show some respect to those who do so: the teachers, the educational assistants, the custodians, the administrators, and everyone else who keeps the wheels running. I love my job. I have wanted to teach since I was 10. I have no doubt with my education and marks, I could have done something else that society deems as more “successful” or lucrative, but I consider it an honour and privilege to work with our youth and help mold the next generation of scientists. There is no greater job than to help a student achieve their best and personal success and help them work towards their future goals. That feeling is amazing and it is what drives me to do my work. However, I am also human. Seeing a government gaslight and attack us constantly, along with a good contingent of people in this province, makes it really hard at times. Teachers are human, too. We have done so much over the years to prop up the system (e.g. purchasing many supplies out of our own pocket – last year, I spent almost $600 of my own money) so that kids can have the best possible educational experience, but no matter what we do, we always seem to be the enemy. We are not your enemy. I really wish many right-leaning governments would stop treating education as a business. It was never intended to be a business and making it a for-profit model is awful. Education is an investment. People will whine for eternity about having to fund the public system, but most of our students attend the public (regular or separate) system and these people go on to be members of our society who contribute to our well-being and daily lives. We invest in them now so that we can benefit from the rewards down the line. If some of you have a real hatred for teachers because you had a poor experience with one when you were in school, I’m sorry you had to deal with that. We are not all perfect. After writing all this, I am still not sure what my overall intent was. I guess I wanted to give a teacher’s perspective on everything that is going on. This year has been real taxing for everyone. Stay safe, everyone. P.S. If you are a parent and are concerned with how schools will be re-opening in September, please, I beg you, contact your MLA. The government is not going to listen to teachers, because they just perceive us as whiny and having some ulterior motive. As a parent, you will have significantly more sway. P.P.S. Sorry this was really long. I just needed to vent.
Tier 1 1 Joe Burrow, QB, 6'2/221, CIN (1.01) Depending on roster need and team makeup, I would be fine taking one of the other tier 1 players above Burrow but Burrow is absolutely worth the #1 overall pick in any year. While he lacks elite arm talent, Burrow has incredible accuracy, poise, and mobility to manipulate the pocket. As a prospect, I prefer him to Kyler Murray from last year by a decent amount. CIN isn't the greatest situation from an organizational standpoint but they've assembled a decent amount of talent around him in AJG, Boyd, Higgins, Ross, and Mixon. 2 Clyde Edwards Helaire, RB, 5'7/207, KC (1.32) Small, bowling-ball shaped runner with incredible contact balance, lateral agility, and pass catching ability. Has decent burst but lacks prototypical long speed and size. Pre-draft, CEH was my RB5 but he moves up here with the landing spot and draft capital. Even as my RB5, I was still a big fan of CEH and in KC he doesn't need to have bellcow type size in order to produce at a high level. His game vs Alabama my be the best game from any RB prospect this year. 3 Jonathan Taylor, RB, 5'10/226, IND (2.09) My RB2 pre-draft, Taylor is right there with CEH in the top tier. Taylor is a huge RB that excels in a power rushing attack where he can use his combo of size and burst to explode into the second level. That's exactly what he gets in IND, the perfect landing spot for his skillset. Potential issues with pass catching usage may limit his ceiling a little but the floor is incredibly high. Tier 2 4 D'Andre Swift, RB, 5'8/212, DET (2.03) My pre-draft RB1 and the #2 RB drafted, Swift is a huge value right now in all the rookie drafts I've done. Even when on the field with Chubb and Michel as a freshman, Swift stood out as the best RB of the three. Ridiculous lateral agility to make defenders miss, great burst, fantastic receiver, and solid contact balance. The DET landing spot doesn't worry me as much as it seems to worry others. It's clearly below KC and IND (otherwise he'd be in tier 1) but he's tied to a very good, reasonably young QB and I like the offense as a whole with Golladay, Hockenson, MJ, and a solid OL. Kerryon does worry me, however, and there is some risk that Swift never take over as a bellcow. 5 Cam Akers, RB, 5'10/217, LAR (2.20) My Predraft RB3 in the same tier as Swift and Taylor, Akers has all the tools you look for in a stud RB - size, violence, burst, contact balance, lateral agility, and pass catching. Moreover, he landed in a great landing spot in LA and received very good draft capital. This time last year people were describing the Rams as the best system for RBs in the NFL. Huge upside here for Akers' usage as a bellcow and he has the best opportunity of any of the RBs this year except for CEH. https://gph.is/g/apb5eq6 https://gph.is/g/aKAbBy3 https://gph.is/g/4bB5Yen 6 JK Dobbins, RB, 5'9/209, BAL (2.23) I really liked Dobbins coming out but had him a tier below Swift, Taylor, and Akers. Very solid runner in all areas but lacks an elite, defining trait. I really like the landing spot in BAL long term but there is concern about this year with Ingram plus I don't see the potential for much receiving usage with LJax. Really like the player and I'd be ecstatic to have him but I don't see him as the consensus RB3 as recent trends suggest. 7 Tua Tagliovola, QB, 6/217, MIA (1.05) If you really need a QB I'm fine moving Tua to the top of this tier. Like Burrow, Tua lacks ideal arm talent but wins with his mobility and accuracy. While Tua has a longer track record than Burrow, he never put up a season like Burrow did last year. The injuries scare me and there are some question marks about how well Tua can go through his progressions - at Alabama there were a lot of first read throws. The situation in Miami is ok, I like the OL picks that MIA made but this is still a rebuilding team with a ton of holes. Tier 3 8 Jerry Jeudy, WR, 6'1/193, DEN (1.15) The best separator in the class, Jeudy reminds me of Stefon Diggs. Very pro ready WR with advanced releases off the line and route running. Phenomenal YAC ability with the ball in his hands. Knows how to manipulate his speed to set up defenders. Not a very physical WR and you won't see him making many contested catches. Situation isn't great with Sutton next to him but Lamb is in a similar touch squeeze so I'll take my preferred talent. 9 CeeDee Lamb, WR, 6'1/198, DAL (1.17) The best playmaker in the class. Much better ball skills than Jeudy but lacks the quick twitch and ability to separate. Plus he faced easier competition and didn't have to deal with a lot of press coverage. While he's competing with a locked in WR1 in DAL, Lamb landed in an explosive offense with a young QB. Think he can be very productive as Dak's #2 target. 10 Jalen Reagor, WR, 5'11/206, PHI (1.21) Loved Reagor pre-draft and he received premium draft capital in my favorite landing spot. Reagor immediately stands out when watching him. Extremely twitched up and explosive, Reagor separates as well as defenders struggle keeping up. Provides a deep threat but has also flashed the ability to make tough contested catches and good sideline footwork. PHI was my favorite WR landing spot in the class as I'm a big fan of that offense and Wentz and they have a huge hole at WR. https://gph.is/g/4w8d3Lx https://gph.is/g/4L5bpev https://gph.is/g/ZPm5zPX 11 Justin Herbert, QB, 6'6/235, LAC (1.06) I don't like Herbert as a player but this is the value play in superflex. Herbert has great arm talent and mobility but he had lots of easy reads at Oregon and consistently disappointed. Struggles out of rhythm and a little robotic as a player. Still, the Chargers situation is great and the top 10 draft capital should guarantee him a starting role for a while. Great value in drafts if you can get him at the end of the 1st. Tier 4 12 Brandon Aiyuk, 5'11/205, WR, SF (1.25) One of my favorite players pre-draft. Can win all over the field in a variety of ways - explosion out of breaks, YAC ability, deep speed, or physicality. Has the rare ability to come out of his breaks without losing any explosion. Love the draft capital and the landing spot is ok. I trust Shanahan and that should be a productive offense for a long time. Issues arise given the run first nature of the offense and competition with another great young WR in Deebo. Watch the Oregon game if you want to get excited. https://gph.is/g/Zd75D5D https://gph.is/g/4zqY3DK https://gph.is/g/4AjblvO https://gph.is/g/Z2mbxg7 13 Justin Jefferson, WR, 6'1/202 MIN (1.22) The safest WR after Jeudy and Lamb, Jefferson should be able to step into the slot immediately and produce. If you want to lower your risk then pick Jefferson. He's very quick out of his breaks, creates consistent separation from the slot, very good YAC ability, and flashes contested catch ability. I don't see him playing outside and he's not as dynamic as other WRs in this class. Very good landing spot in MIN with Diggs' departure. Watch the Oklahoma game if you want to get excited. 14 Henry Ruggs, WR, 5'11/188, LVR (1.12) The first WR drafted, Ruggs could be a great value where I have him ranked. Still, I love the WRs above him and I wasn't a big Ruggs fan coming out. Incredible speed and flashes some toughness and decent route running as well. Think he struggles with physicality and didn't separate as much as he should because he's a long strider rather than a compact, twitched up player. I think Gruden is going to feed him a ton of targets and thus could be very productive early on. 15 Laviska Shenault, WR, 6'1/227, JAX (2.10) Absolutely love Shenault. Comp is Sammy Watkins. Great combo of size, physicality, explosivenes and YAC. Needs refinement but it'll be hard to keep his playmaking off the field. Biggest concern is injuries. His 2018 games vs Nebraska and game vs USC this year are great. https://gph.is/g/apbqw33 https://gph.is/g/Z7ge57R https://gph.is/g/46vO5Dd https://gph.is/g/ZrdDloG 16 Tee Higgins, WR, 6'4/216, CIN (2.01) Big WR with huge frame to extend himself for difficult balls. Timed speed was disappointing but had the ability to threaten deep at Clemson. Fantastic hands and advanced footwork. Risky as he struggles with physicality (he'll see a LOT more of that in the NFL) and not a great separator. Love the situation with Burrow and the draft capital. 17 Michael Pittman, WR, 6'4/223, IND (2.02) Decent speed and explosion for his size, some YAC ability, fantastic jump ball catcher, huge frame which he uses to shield defenders. Landing spot in IND is good for the next few years with Rivers but some worries once Rivers leaves. Has a clearly defined role as the X WR and complements Hilton and Campbell very well. 18 Jordan Love, QB, 6'3/224, GB (1.26) Probably the best value in SF leagues of all the rookies. I'm a big Jordan Love fan (especially at his price). Has jaw dropping arm talent and extremely mobile. Unlike Herbert, Love was asked to make extremely difficult plays and delivered. His issues aren't with accuracy but moreso decision making. He'll lock onto his first read at times and make incredibly stupid throws. I'm ok with the landing spot as I trust GB as an organization, however, he'll probably sit for a few years. Huge upside here. https://gph.is/g/aKAgJje https://gph.is/g/Z5YbQ36 https://gph.is/g/4L5bqK0 https://gph.is/g/aQO5gDA 19 AJ Dillon, RB, 6/247, GB (2.30) Like Love, he's another amazing value in drafts this year given the depth and quality of the class. In any other year, a 2nd round RB with his size, athleticism, and production would be a top 5 pick but you can get him in the mid/late 2nd consistently. I didn't love the player coming out, but I recognized that he has the ability to be a big time producer if put in the right type of offense and that's exactly what happened in GB. I think his production this year has been undersold and with Aaron Jones' contract expiring next year, he'll likely take over as the RB1 in 2021. Tier 5 20 Antonio Gibson, RB, 6/228, WSH (3.02) Big upside low floor pick. Gibson is one of the most exciting players to watch in this class with his big play ability, size, and explosion. At Memphis he played mostly slot WR but he was a pretty shitty WR and his upside lies at RB. He has a lot of work to do as he doesn't know what he's doing yet as a RB but the traits are really exciting - contact balance + burst. Could be David Johnson if things hit right. Don't love the landing spot as I'm still very high on Guice plus there is still a question mark regarding how Washington plans to use him. If he's used as a Wgadget guy then I don't have much interest in him. https://gph.is/g/ZOk5mNj https://gph.is/g/EGgbr8M https://gph.is/g/aeA5wDX https://gph.is/g/aXJ53nR https://gph.is/g/aKAb9z9 21 Denzel Mims, WR, 6'3/206, NYJ (2.27) I was never as high as others on Mims and didn't get the round 1 hype. However, his combination of athleticism and ball skills are very exciting and worth betting on here. He's a very boom/bust type of prospect. Landed in a very good spot with a young, good QB in Darnold lacking a #1 WR. 22 Bryan Edwards, WR, 6'3/212, LVR (3.17) Absolutely loved Edwards pre-draft and had him in my top 50 overall players. He's big, physical, explosive, versatile, and has fantastic ball skills. Landing spot is ok - the Raiders have a long term need at X WR but the team drafted Ruggs first so I think Gruden is going to prioritize Ruggs. Could be a few years before Edwards pays off. https://gph.is/g/EJYbRne https://gph.is/g/a99bdlP https://gph.is/g/EGgb9Ml https://gph.is/g/aRW5N7w 23 Zack Moss, RB, 5'9/223, BUF (3.22) Very similar player as David Montgomery. Excellent contact balance, toughness, pass catching ability, plus some wiggle but lacks juice. If there is a crease it takes him too long to hit it. Still, pretty good value to get a David Montgomery level player at 2.12. Landing spot is ok and your feeling about it is dependent on how you feel about Singletary. I love Singletary so I'm not high on the landing spot but its very possible that BUF doesnt see Singletary as a lead back. 24 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, 5'10/214, TB (3.12) Didn't like Vaughn pre-draft and I was very surprised when he went this early. Vaughn is a solid all around RB that should be able to produce if given volume but I don't see any dynamic traits. Very much a replacement level RB. Still, TB has a potential opening at RB and the team spent good draft capital on him. Tier 6 25 KJ Hamler, WR, 5'9/178, DEN (2.12) Could easily have Hamler at the end of tier 5. Immediately stands out on film with his twitchiness and speed, defenders simply cannot hang with him. Don't see a huge difference between him and Hollywood Brown purely as prospects coming out. Effortless separation with his quickness and speed. Could be more valuable in real football than the NFL. Don't like the landing spot for fantasy as he's stuck behind two great, young WRs. 26 Chase Claypool, WR, 6'4/238, PIT (2.17) Freaky player with his combo of size and athleticism. Great draft capital to a team that has consistently developed WRs. Massive player with explosiveness to put CBs on their heels quick. Biggest asset right now is his YAC - should immediately be a weapon on screens and crossers. Flashes ability to box out defenders but is not natural attacking the ball and lacks overall smoothness to his game. Landing spot is odd with JuJu and Diontae already in place, however, if JuJu leaves a lot of opportunity opens up. Watch the Iowa St game to get excited. 27 Van Jefferson, WR, 6'1/200, LAR (2.25) I had a 3rd round grade on Jefferson pre-draft so I like the player. Projects as an NFL-ready slot WR with quickness and route running nuance. Got the best of LSU star freshman CB Stingley this past year. Odd landing spot as the Rams already have Kupp in the slot and I can't see either moving outside. Tier 7 28 Darrynton Evans, RB, 5'10/203, TEN (3.29) One of the most explosive players in this class, Evans is a threat to break off a big run at any time. With his lack of physicality and size, I don't see him projecting as a starting RB even if Henry leaves next year. Likely a career committee back. 29 Anthony McFarland, RB, 5'8/208, PIT (4.18) Really fun, explosive player that should get on the field immediately. Like Darrynton Evans, I struggle seeing him taking over a feature back but should have a long term role given his explosivness. 30 Cole Kmet, TE, 6'6/262, CHI (2.11) Not a very flashy or exciting player but projects as a solid starting NFL TE. The draft capital really helps and has a decent floor given his ability as a blocker. Think Kyle Rudolph type of career if he hits. 31 Adam Trautman, TE, 6'5/255, NO (3.41) Big, physical TE that dominated small school competition and can win in traffic and over the middle of the field. Isn't especially fluid out of his breaks and doesn't project as a potential top tier TE. Really like that NO traded so much for him and I trust Sean Payton. 32 Devin Asiasi, TE, 6'3/257, NE (3.27) If any TE in this class develops into a top tier fantasy TE, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Asiasi. Former high recruit that transferred to UCLA and didn't produce until his last season. He's smaller than Kmet and Trautman but he's just as good of a blocker and he's way more fluid than both. Really like the landing spot and draft capital as well. 33 Joshua Kelley, RB, 5'11/212, LAC (4.06) This could be too low as the situation is phenomenal and draft capital is decent but I'm not high on the player. He's solid and can produce if given volume in a good situation (both very possible in LAC) but doesn't have any standout trait and looks like a replacement level player to me. 34 Lamical Perine, RB, 5'11/216, NYJ (4.14) A better version of Joshua Kelley to me but in a worse situation. Very solid all round back that is a very good receiver. Lacks juice or standout qualities but solid overall. If Bell declines, leaves, or gets injured I think Perine could step in and surprise. Some worry about the Frank Gore signing. 35 Devin Duvernay, WR, 5/10/200, BAL (3.28) Slot WR with strong hands and great ability with the ball in his hands but struggles to create separation out of his breaks. Should be great on screens and special teams. 36 Gabe Davis, WR, 6'2/216, BUF (4.22) Big body WR with great physicality and decent speed/explosion for his size. Project player with some upside. 37 Joe Reed, WR, 6/224, LAC (5.05) Really love the player, Reed is a twitched up YAC guy with RB type of size and ability with the ball in his hands. 38 JaMycal Hasty, RB, 5'8/208, SF (UDFA) My favorite 3rd down/satellite back in this entire class, Hasty is lighting quick and explosive with great pass catching ability. If any team can turn a UDFA into a star it's Kyle Shannahan and there is a ton of opportunity in SF. 39 Darnell Mooney, WR, 5'10/176, CHI (5.28) Deep ball threat with good production and CHI has a clear need for that type of deep threat. 40 Mike Warren, RB, PHI, 5'9/226, PHI (UDFA) Not sure that I would actually draft him here but I wanted to get his name on the list. Really fun player to watch, he's like a 95% version of Zack Moss. Great size, awesome power, surprising wiggle and pass catching ability but lacks the requisite explosive qualities. I actually really like the landing spot in PHI as they do not have a bigger back to complement Sanders. NOTICE THAT JALEN HURTS IS NOT ON THIS LIST. He'd probably be around #35 but I have him low enough to where I probably won't every draft him so I didn't include him on the list.
We hear from a young age that Maja’s blessing lies in moderation, for the crop that grows too eagerly exhausts the soil that feeds it. I have always thought this turn of phrase to be ill-constructed both in the initial premise and the commonly appended metaphor, as any scholar will tell you that a primary effect of Maja’s blessing is decidedly immoderate growth without any of the purported downsides. What folly that the common wisdom should be so mistaken! And now here I sit, the keeper of a rare flower that would drink me to dust, wondering if the man who first penned that phrase is laughing. Excerpt from the collected letters of Goresje Di Sazhocel Selyta, Royal Archives, Ce Raedhil.
“All right, help me set her down,” Mark grunted, kneeling to lower Jackie from a fireman’s carry. Arjun set her head carefully down on the control room’s dais, one eye on Maja’s luminous form as she watched them with undisguised interest. Gusje joined Jackie on the dais a moment later as Jyte carried her in. It had been about three hours since they discovered the pair unconscious in the Aesvain sanctum’s ruined control room, bleeding from the nose and ears. The latter had stopped, but they had yet to wake up or display any sign of activity besides steady, slow breathing. From there, it didn’t take long to reach a consensus to return through the gate. The malfunctioning tablet made it impossible to continue their sweep of the script on the walls, and Jesse was sure that the strangely dead atmosphere of Tinem Aesvai wasn’t helping the two women with their recovery. The extent of the treatment they could provide on the far side of the gate was giving each one an asolan and hoping for the best. Mark was intent on seeking out other options, however. He stood and turned to Maja, who was looking out the window from her usual spot. “Maja,” Mark called out. “You’ve got an injured Caretaker. Anything you can do about that?” Maja gave him a considering look, then disappeared. She flashed back into being directly beside Gusje’s supine form. Mark flinched back, but managed to temper his response to simply glaring at Maja as she knelt beside Gusje. She extended a hand and held it above Gusje’s forehead, then over her chest. Maja frowned slightly, then tapped lightly on Gusje’s ribs with an expression of distaste. Jesse blinked and took a step back, rubbing a hand over his eyes. Mark turned, looking concerned. “What’s she doing?” he asked. “Something,” Jesse muttered, walking further away. “Not sure. Whatever it is, it’s making me lightheaded.” The group that had come back through the portal had formed a loose circle around the dais, watching Maja as she held her hand to Gusje’s chest. After several quiet seconds she pressed two fingers to Gusje’s asolan and stood. Mark looked down at Gusje, who still lay unmoving. “Is she all right?” he asked, pausing for a moment before rolling his eyes. “Right, because you’d tell me. Forget I asked, just go ahead and take a look at Jackie. I think she’s even worse off.” Maja did not respond, looking away to the windows. “Hey, Sparkles,” Mark said, snapping his fingers. “We’ve got zero time for this shit. Come on, she needs help.” She still offered no response, and Mark’s face darkened. He took a step towards her only to pull up short as Jesse laid a hand on his arm. “What are you going to do?” Jesse asked mildly. “Punch her? She’s not a human, and that’s not a body. She’s restricted in what she can do to help us.” “Bullshit,” Mark spat. “She’s found a way to get around every restriction so far, if she really wants to.” Jesse nodded, looking over at Maja. “She does, but sometimes she needs our help,” he said. He straightened up, clearing his throat. “Maja, Jackie is essential to Gusje’s duties. Helping her would directly benefit your Caretaker.” Maja turned slowly to face them, but did not move from where she stood. “Thought that would do it,” Jesse muttered, darting a glance down at Jackie. “Listen, I know you’re not able to give us much help but this is important. We’d appreciate whatever latitude you can spare.” He looked Maja in the eyes, finding no tell in her expression. “You should know that if Jackie dies because you didn’t help her, Gusje will hear about it when she recovers. I doubt she’ll forgive you. I wouldn’t be surprised if she refused to speak with you altogether.” Her eyes narrowed fractionally, and Jesse felt another wave of lightheadedness. There was a pressure like the sense of impending rainfall, and for a moment he was reminded of his view of Maja as Jes saw her, vast and terrible. Then it passed, and Maja was standing over Jackie. She bent down over her, but did not move to touch her as she had with Gusje. Instead, she held her hand a good distance away from her, delicately probing the space above where Jackie lay. Jesse staggered back to lean against the railing, where he was shortly joined by Mark. “Good speech,” Mark said. The other man frowned when he noticed Jesse’s shaky posture and dampened skin. “You okay? Is her stuff still messing with you?” “I’m fine,” Jesse said, shaking his head. “It’s not that, or not just that. There was a moment right before she went to help Jackie…” He glanced up at Maja, then lowered his gaze. “I don’t think she’s giving us that favor for free.” “Then she can fucking bill us,” Mark growled. Jesse met Mark’s eyes, his face grave. “I’m serious,” he said. “Be careful with her. It’s like you said - if you motivate her strongly enough to get around a restriction, I’m betting she can find a way to make it work. Let’s not piss her off so much she starts getting creative.” Mark nodded, catching Jesse’s tone. “Right,” he said, somewhat taken aback. “Well, I guess it’s probably a good idea to avoid the wrath of Maja if we can help it.” He turned back to look at Jackie. Maja was still moving her hands around several feet from where she lay, as if tracing the boundaries of an object only she could see. They had all become somewhat practiced at watching her eyes for tells since no other part of her face was a reliable guide. Her expression was far from neutral, now, inspecting Jackie with laser focus and an enigmatic tension that set her lips in a hard line. She began moving her hands closer. Her fingers danced in small, precise movements. Jesse frowned. “She looks like she’s having more trouble with Jackie than with Gusje,” he observed. “Almost like she’s picking at a knot, or trying to solve a puzzle.” “Making ‘repairs’, like with the tablet?” Mark suggested, making a face. “I kind of hope not, the idea of someone doing that to someone’s insides is - yeah. I’d have to think twice about it.” “It’s possible, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on,” Jesse said. “See how she’s not touching Jackie, or even getting close to her? It reminds me a lot of what happened when we were in Sjatel, during the storm. A perimeter that pushes away ruud manipulation, like what I can do with the sword.” Mark leaned back against the railing, rubbing his chin with a troubled look. “So you think they’re not just injured,” he said. “They ran into script, maybe even got scripted themselves.” “They were in Tija’s control room,” Jesse pointed out. “Tija was destroyed or deactivated, but partial scripts could still have been able to activate given the right conditions. If they ran into some fragments left over from a being like Tija - who knows what it could have done.” “You think it’s like what happened to you, with the warding stone?” Mark asked. “That maybe they’ve got a little stowaway of their own?” Jesse shook his head. “Doesn’t seem that way so far,” he shrugged. “Not like I’m an expert or anything, but I was never comatose and bleeding. In my case it ramped up slowly, I got little bits and pieces of it as Jes developed. It makes sense, if Maja was trying to get scripts out into the world then she wouldn’t want to incapacitate the people carrying them.” “But that’s not what happened here, they would have died if nobody came to find them. It doesn’t feel like there’s any plan or reason behind it,” he said. “We should consider the possibility that they just ran into something dangerous and got hurt. We know this sort of thing can happen, you saw how many dangerous items they had tucked away in the vault back in Tinem Sjocel. Sjogydhu said that many of the relics left over from before the fall could be dangerous to touch, or even to look at.” He rubbed at his eyes tiredly, looking at the two unconscious women. “We should have been more careful.” “So now what?” Mark asked. “Do we have any other options besides trusting Maja to do her thing?” Jesse looked back at Maja, who was still hovering over Jackie. “I don’t think so,” he said. “She looks like she’s legitimately making an attempt. If she fails, I’m not sure what any of us could do that would work better. She’s the only one that has a chance of understanding what happened to them in the first place, much less fixing it.” Mark grimaced. “I don’t like it,” he muttered. “But I guess that’s where we’re at for now.” Maja continued to work and most of the Aesvain dispersed, although Jyte stayed close-by in the control room rather than taking the path down to the valley. Arjun remained uncharacteristically quiet, hovering over Gusje with Tasja close by his side. She displayed little change despite Maja’s ministrations, not responding in the slightest to their gentle attempts to rouse her. At once, Maja froze. It was eerie to watch her, because when she stopped moving she was completely still - no breath, no blinking, not even her hair moved. Slowly, she began to rotate one of her hands where it hovered above Jackie. A bright spark like an electrical discharge snapped at her fingers, and she instantly blurred halfway across the room, looking fixedly back at the dais. In the same moment Gusje sat bolt upright, her chest heaving with deep, panicked breaths. The others rushed over to her while Mark kept a wary eye shifting between Jackie and Maja. Neither had moved. “Gusje, are you all right?” Arjun asked, ignoring the tense looks being leveled across the room. “Try to breathe slowly, you’re safe now. We’re back at our Sanctum.” Her eyes were wide and bloodshot, filled with fear, but she seemed to latch on to his familiar voice and her breathing slowed somewhat. She focused on the people around her, eyes moving from face to face until they found Jackie’s unconscious form on the dais. Gusje froze, then let out an anguished cry as she scrambled towards Jackie. She knelt down beside her with trembling hands and a hollow expression. Slowly, Arjun lowered himself to the floor as well. “Gusje,” he said. “Can you tell us what happened to you two?” “Tija,” Gusje said, her voice thick and raspy. “We found Tija.” Mark glanced at Jesse, who raised his eyebrow. Jyte rushed over to stand with the rest of them. “You found Tija? Alive?” he asked. Gusje shook her head. “Maybe. Not really,” she said, taking a shuddering breath to steady herself. “She was broken, damaged. Afraid. She thought I was the other Caretaker at first, the one whose body we found. She called him Samo. When she realized he was dead, she-” She blanched, and her face went slack. “She hurt me,” Gusje said. “And then again, when she found out that she had lost her memories of him.” She turned to look up at Mark and Jesse. “She said that her sister was responsible. Eryha. Called her the ‘one who had fallen.’ Said she wanted revenge, that she was going to use me to do it. Twist my body, script my bones - but not to kill Eryha. Just to find a vessel that could, before the scripting tore me apart.” Arjun winced at Gusje’s dull, flat tones. “But she didn’t,” he prompted her. “No,” she breathed. “No, I-” Gusje broke off, her voice cracking. “I begged,” she spat, her face twisting back into an anguished grimace. “I screamed and cried and pleaded with her not to kill me. I told her about the tablet, how it could hold things, things like script. I told her to take it instead of me.” Jyte staggered back, his face blank with shock and disbelief at what he was hearing. Mark gently guided him to sit on the steps away from Gusje, who took no notice of his departure. “But she didn’t know how it worked,” Gusje said hollowly. “I didn’t know how it worked. I told her I would find someone who could help her if she let me go, but she didn’t want to wait. She had already found Jackie, trying to help me.” Gusje looked down at Jackie’s face, her lip trembling. “Tija said she would ask Jackie herself. That’s the last thing I remember. I’m sorry.” She clenched her fists. “This is all my fault.” “You were attacked,” Arjun said gently. “The blame rests on the attacker.” She rounded on him, glaring with reddened eyes. “I rushed in,” she hissed. “Jackie wanted to wait and I ignored her. I should have waited. I shouldn’t have told Tija about the tablet.” Mark eyed his pack, which currently held the tablet. “Not to be insensitive, but do we have to be worried about that?” he asked. “Or about Jackie, for that matter? I’m no expert, but if Tija had a chance to script either of them…” “Based on Maja’s reaction I’d say it’s a definite that Jackie was scripted, but I can’t be sure of the effects,” Jesse said, frowning. “You carried her and you were fine, same with the tablet. She did just shock Maja, though.” He walked over to Mark’s pack and nudged it with his foot, then stepped back and put his hand on the hilt of his sword. A jagged spark leapt from the pack and struck him squarely in the right shoulder, flinging him back several feet and knocking him to the ground. The others leapt up, and Mark rushed over to where Jesse lay sprawled on the control room floor. “Jesse!” he shouted, vaulting off the dais. “You okay?” Jesse raised his hand, palm-out, then gave him a weak thumbs-up. “Ow,” he said shakily. “So, the good news is that I confirmed a theory of mine.” “You dumbass,” Mark breathed, shoulders sagging in relief. “Seriously, try to limit the electrocutions to one a week, that shit can’t be healthy.” He narrowed his eyes. “What theory?” “The tablet is scripted,” Jesse grunted, raising himself to his feet. “So is Jackie. They’re reacting to foreign ruud manipulation. That’s why Maja was keeping her distance. I only got hit when I touched my sword, which boosted my signature and made me a threat.” Mark looked back at the tablet appraisingly. “And it didn’t react at all when I touched it because I’ve got the magical aptitude of a potato. Makes sense.” He raised an eyebrow at Jesse. His shirt was in tatters at the shoulder, and his skin underneath was blistered. “Seems like you got shocked a hell of a lot harder than Maja did, though.” Jesse shrugged, looking sheepish. “Maja’s probably got her ways of dealing with that,” he said. “But also, nothing is free. The energy for the spark has to come from somewhere. With Jackie it probably used her internal energy stores courtesy of the asolan she’s holding - similar to what I do with the sword. I didn’t stop to consider that the tablet has access to a nearly-full charge crystal.” “Great,” Mark said. “I’d suggest removing the crystal, but somehow I don’t think it would take kindly to that either.” Arjun cleared his throat. “Perhaps we should take a moment before going any further,” he suggested. “Gusje is awake, and we can question Maja more directly.” --- It took some time before Gusje was in a fit state to speak with Maja, however. She was distracted, unfocused, her attention constantly wandering back to Jackie. She was reluctant to leave the dais, and Maja seemed similarly reluctant to approach closely. Jesse thought that it might have been caution from her earlier shock making her reluctant to draw close to Jackie, but when Mark carefully moved the pack with the tablet into a disused corner of the room her eyes followed it the whole way. Clearly, the tablet was going to be at least as problematic as whatever had happened to Jackie. Not their priority, however. He walked up beside Gusje, making sure she saw him approach before laying a hand on her shoulder and giving it a supportive squeeze. She gave him a wan smile in return. He found his own smile slow in coming to his lips. Something felt odd where his hand came into contact with her. There was a prickly, uncomfortable sensation that he hadn’t felt prior. Gusje caught his wavering expression. “Is something wrong?” she asked. He shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m not sure. Do you feel okay?” “Mostly,” she replied. “A little tired.” Her face tightened, and her smile faded. “You had a reason for asking.” Jesse hesitated, hearing a brittle note in her voice. “It’s nothing,” he reassured her. “Mark’s right, it’s not healthy for me to get shocked so often. We’ll all feel better after we’ve had a chance to rest.” She looked at him suspiciously, and he gave her shoulder another squeeze. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go talk to Maja.” They took a couple of steps away from the dais in deference to Maja’s newfound wariness of Jackie before Gusje called out to her, summoning her over. “Maja,” she said, her voice admirably steady. “My friends said that you helped me, and tried to help Jackie.” She managed a slight smile towards the vinesavai. “Thank you for that.” Maja inclined her head, although Jesse noticed that her eyes flickered ever-so-briefly over to where Mark was standing - no doubt failing to hide a smug look. Jesse sighed. “A Caretaker was in need,” Maja replied. Jesse felt Gusje go rigid under his hand, and when he looked down her face had lost some color. “What is it?” he asked, kneeling down beside her. “Something wrong?” She pressed her lips together and shook her head, taking a shaky breath. “The voice is the same,” she said. “I’ll be fine, it’s silly. I know it’s not her.” “Take your time,” Jesse said. “I’m fine,” Gusje replied tersely, straightening up and shrugging Jesse’s hand off of her shoulder. “Maja, what can you tell us about what happened to me?” Maja looked at the dais, then back down at Gusje. “It was a poorly-conceived attempt at biotranscription,” she replied. “Done with little care for the health of the recipient. It was small in scale, however, and simple to counteract.” Gusje bit her lip. “And Jackie?” she asked. Maja looked towards the dais once more. “Larger in scale,” she said. “The transcribed script is attempting to propagate itself. The process is having a deleterious effect on its host, and would only be simple to undo if the host’s welfare was not a priority.” “So removing it would kill her,” Mark stated flatly. “She didn’t say that,” Jesse said, turning to look at him. “Just that it wouldn’t be simple.” He returned his attention to Gusje, who looked as if she was about to break back into tears. “Ask her if she has any suggestions on how to help her.” Gusje did, and Maja took several seconds before responding. When she spoke, it was with deliberate emphasis. “The majority of the transcription appears to be on the right hand and forearm,” she said. “In particular, the right forearm is the location that is contributing most to the disruption of the host’s function. This transcription is robust, but it is unlikely that it is redundant enough to survive a disruption of its medium intact.” Now it was Jesse who felt the blood drain from his face. “Shit,” he muttered, looking back at where Jackie lay on the floor. Mark shot him a questioning look, and he shook his head. “It’s obvious when you think about it,” he said. “The script is on her bones. Maja just told us to break her arm.” “Fuck that,” Mark said. “She can’t just deal with it - however she was going to deal with it before?” Jesse pressed his lips together and looked at Arjun, who was looking rather sickly himself. “She hinted that doing it that way might kill her,” Jesse said. “Breaking her arm probably won’t, especially not if we can use the asolan to help her heal.” Mark paced restlessly for a moment, then hung his head. “You’re sure this is the way to go?” he asked. “Not even a little,” Jesse said. “But you heard Maja. That script is growing in her, like a cancer. We don’t have time to debate better options, and even if it poses a risk I think it stands a good chance of working.” There was a long silence, then Mark looked up at Jesse. “Are you going to do it?” he asked quietly. Jesse looked down at the ground. “I don’t think I should get close to her while her script is active. It might sense me and react.” Mark’s face hardened. “So you expect me to hurt her,” he said. “To save her,” Jesse insisted, his voice rising. “Fuck, do you think I’m happy about this? We asked our expert, she gave us the recommendation. Are we going to ignore her because we don’t like it?” “And maybe some other reasons,” Mark said, shooting a glare at Maja. “Enough, both of you,” Arjun said, his voice uncharacteristically sharp. It echoed through the control room as both men turned to look at him. “Mark, help me get her on the stairs to the dais. Jesse, I think you’re correct - you should stay away.” Mark walked mutely over to help Arjun move Jackie to the stairs, where Arjun positioned her forearm so the middle rested between two risers. “Hold it here,” he said grimly. Mark reached out to take her arm, then looked up at Arjun. “We really doing this, Doc?” he asked. “We can second-guess Maja forever,” Arjun said, “or we can believe her. And if we believe her, it’s this or let Jackie die.” His tone softened, and he leaned closer to Mark. “Taking drastic measures is never easy. Inaction is always easier, and that’s what makes it dangerous.” He stood up. “Hold the arm firmly,” he said. “Rotate it so the wrist is facing me. Make sure both corners are making contact between the wrist and elbow.” Mark did as Arjun asked, although his face was screwed up with frustrated anger. Tears marked the corners of his eyes. “Ready,” he said, holding his arms firm. Gusje forced herself not to look away, balling her fists until her fingernails drew blood. Arjun raised his foot up, then brought it down. There was a sharp snap that echoed through the control room. Jackie’s arm was misshapen, bent in the wrong place. Gusje tasted bile. “She’s moving,” Mark said hoarsely, propping Jackie up on the stairs. Her body twitched and jerked, her uninjured hand clenching spasmodically. “Back off!” Jesse shouted. “It could be the script, don’t touch her!” Mark took a hasty step back as Jackie went rigid and inhaled sharply. Her eyes snapped open, wide and fearful as they darted between the people surrounding her. “Jackie?” Mark asked hesitantly. Jackie opened her mouth and began to scream. --- Arjun - Page 76 Who knew percussive maintenance was so versatile! Now Jackie is as good as new. Right, Jackie? ...well, we’ll get back to her in a bit.
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
[Guide] A Deep Dive Into The Sleep Mechanism, And How To Stack The Odds In Your Favor
Preface Over a month ago, a guy by the name u/Fueboomer did a series of BV runs with his Troublemaker 1 Ramos, including a 0-damage-taken BV Hall 30 run with Blue as the striker. He was the first person to recognize the potential of sleep, and more importantly he had the guts to invest in an underused 3-star boomer sync pair to test out a yet-to-be-proven strategy. Fast forward to June 30, a higher being named Serena graced us with her presence. Her brokenness not only comes from her AOE sleep and accuracy buff, but also the fact that she's perfectly functional at 1/5. With her help, a skilled player like Fueboomer can clear the entire BV without taking any damage. The Sleep Mechanism Sleep is similar to flinch in many ways:
The affected target cannot queue attack moves for a period of time
If Hypnosis disrupts a queued attack move, the target will immediately queue a trainer buff if it has one
A target that's already asleep cannot be hypnotized.
The middle mon wakes up after its sync move
There is a degree of randomness to the status duration, unless the target has Lessen Sleep 9. We will discuss sleep duration in detail in the next section.
The AI can actually queue its move BEFORE the icon disappears, which means you can't chain sleep by simply watching the icon and waiting. Instead, you need to queue at least one other move and follow with Hypnosis before the target awakes. We'll revisit this topic later in more details.
Knowing the similarities, we must also remember the major differences:
Sleep cannot coexist with other statuses. Burned, paralyzed, poisoned, frozen targets cannot be hypnotized.
Flinched targets CAN be hypnotized but will lose the flinch status.
Hypnosis and Sleep Powder have a success rate of 75%. The rate is increased to 93.75% if you have Troublemaker 1.
Sleep Duration As mentioned above, sleep duration is somewhat random. The only visual signal we have is the sleep status icon. Therefore knowing how to read the icon is the key to success. As we know, the icon blinks when the target is preparing to wake up. Based on my observation, the blinking speed doesn't seem to be a linear function. Rather, it is divided into 3 phases, each with a different speed: Phase 1: "I don't blink! Why are you staring at me!" In this phase the icon doesn’t blink at all. This means the target isn't waking up anytime soon. It's worth mentioning that targets with Lessen Sleep 5 or above
Sometimes the target(s) completely skip this phase.
Even if hypnotized at the same time (i.e. by Serena's AOE hypnosis), different units will still have different (and random) sleep duration. (credit to u/El_Gabbar in the comment section)
Phase 2: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star This is the most important phase. The icon blinks at moderate speed. You need to keep a close eye on it. As u/u/Red1003493649 points out in this post, (and credit to u/zzladerp in the comment section), when no move is queued, the icon will blink exactly 16 times (Video recording: https://youtu.be/gJZoKWMB47w, watch Chandelure from 0:21 to 0:31). The duration of 16 blinks seems to be exactly 10 seconds. However, during a real battle, the duration is extended by certain animations that happened in-between (we will discuss this in detail in a later section.) However, if the target skipped Phase 1 completely, then the duration can become less, and the extent is completely unpredictable. Phase 3: Fast and Furious The icon blinks rapidly. It will blink exactly 5 times, for a duration of roughly a little less than 2 seconds, and then the icon disappears. For demonstration you can scroll to 2:55 of this video - https://youtu.be/jHtffgV1E6g and watch the icon on Gengar. But don't bother, because you don't need to remember anything about this phase. Why? Because the target can actually queue its move at the BEGINNING of this phase, not at the end when the icon disappears. That sounds awful. So what now? So here we are, the third phase is useless, and the second phase can sometimes be unpredictable (if Phase 1 is skipped). If you used to beat yourself up for messing up Hypnosis' timing, now is the time to treat yourself with a delicious cupcake because it wasn't your fault. Dena intentionally made it unpredictable so that we can't abuse this mechanism easily. However, this isn't the end. In fact, there are a number of things we can do to turn the tide in our favor:
Instead of staring at 3 flashing icons and betting which unit would wake up first and queue the next move, we can instead tell the AI who should move next by KO'ing one unit. The next Pokémon to enter the field will 100% be the one to queue the next move, even if another unit wakes up during the field-entering animation. And if you are familiar with AI's action order, you know where this is going - we can KO all the Pokémon on one side, one by one. Then we hypnotize the middle Pokemon again because it's usually hard to KO. And then we proceed to clear the other side. Here's a demo: (https://youtu.be/mrTVx-fA8TE). Alternatively, if say you can't KO the next-in-line Pokemon, you can still attack it and follow up with Hypnosis. Check out this 0-damage-taken Hall 25 run by Fueboomer: https://youtu.be/3lh2ftC4q-4
Take advantage of enemy units' trainer moves. Trainer moves are sort of a double-edge sword - they allow the enemy to reduce sync move countdown while sleeping, which sucks for us, but at the same time the buffs' animations are a blessing. If a unit wakes up during their own animation time, it'd have to wait for the animation to finish before it can queue a move. Poor little thing has to sit there while you move your finger over to the Hypnosis button. Ah, cruel fate!
Intentionally allow the least threatening enemy sync pair to queue moves. For example, in Bewear's stage, Chandelure's Shadow Ball hits a lot harder than the two side mons' attacks. Therefore, you can aggressively chain sleep on Chandelure while ignoring the two side mons. Let them attack so you have time to observe Chandelure and put it to sleep when it wakes up.
Queue Serena's move at the very last second. This is more of an extension to #2 and #3. The idea is to take full advantage of enemy attack/buff's animation time.
Count your moves. Generally speaking, if an enemy just transitioned from Phase 1 to Phase 2, you can still safely queue about at least 2-3 moves. It's not absolute and it depends on how long your move's animation is. As mentioned above, you have 10 seconds + animation time to queue and execute moves. So you can do something like this: Striker attacks -> Striker attacks -> Striker attacks -> Tank queues a move -> Serena queues Hypnosis. This way, even if the target wakes up during your 3rd attack, it'll still be put to sleep before it moves. The risk is that it might also wake up during or right after your Hypnosis, which will break your sleep chain. However, do not attempt this, or at least be more conservative if the target skipped Phase 1 completely.
Use moves and passives such as King's Shield and Endurance to tell the AI that all its struggles are futile.
Extending Sleep Durations (Added on 7/12 based on conversation with u/zzladerp in the comment section) Based on u/zzladerp's findings (see comment section), if the enemy experienced Phase 1, then it's Phase 2 duration can in fact be calculated. The formula is:
10 seconds + total remaining move animation times - (remaining last move animation time * (triggerpassive? + 1)mod 2) Where, total remaining move animation times is the time taken for rest of the move animations after 10 seconds of sleep. In scenario 1 and 2, this is just the remaining last move animation times since only 1 move will finish after the 10 seconds of sleep. remaining last move animation time is the time taken for the rest of the last move animation after 10 seconds of sleep. For scenario 3, since the whole last move is going to be executed after the 10 seconds of sleep, then it’s just last move animation time triggerpassive? is 1 if a passive skill(s) such as MGR, MPR, Recuperation, etc. will activate after the last move and 0 if not.
In other words:
If only one move is queued by player (hence it is also the last move), and it doesn't trigger any passive, then it doesn't extend the sleep duration at all. Duration = 10 seconds
Same conditions as above except the move does trigger a passive, then it extends sleep duration by its remaining move animation time
If more than one move are queued by the player, the total remaining animation time of all moves before the last move will be added to sleep duration. The last move will follow the two principles above
Therefore, in theory, we can maximize Phase 2 duration by queuing 3 moves at the end of the first 10 seconds, and the 3rd move should preferably be able to trigger a passive. This way the target will only wake up after the 3rd move's attack animation finishes. To put it into perspective, say our team is Torkoal/Lucario(with VW MGR)/Delphox, from the moment Phase 2 begins we can:
Let Torkoal or Lucario attack several times, but make sure all animations finish in 9 or 9.5 seconds, and then
Torkoal queues Ember -> Delphox queues Fire Spin -> Lucario queues VW with guaranteed MGR -> (After Ember's animation finishes) Torkoal queues another Ember -> (After Fire Spin animation finishes) Delphox queues Hypnosis
This way when the target wakes up it gets hit by another Ember and then gets hypnotized again. In other words, we can squeeze in 4 additional attacks 4 attacks (Ember, Fire Spin, VW, another Ember) in addition to the ones queued in the first 10 seconds, without breaking the sleep chain. About Lessen Sleep 9 This only happens in LA, and I'll simply quote what u/Parallaxal said in this post:
As it turns out, the secret to chaining sleep vs an enemy with Lessen Sleep 9 is to be patient with re-queuing Hypnosis/Sleep Powder. You have to wait until just before the animation of the move following your sleep attack finishes. In this fight I looked for the shield animation of Entei's Light Screen to give me the signal to queue my next Hypnosis.
About lessen sleep 9 for Entei I used Heat wave -> bullet seed -> hypnosis or Heat Wave -> Hex -> Sleep Powder, and at the end of Heat Wave's animation I could use hypnosis and it works 100% of the time.
About Lessen Sleep 8 (Added on 7/15. Credit to u/Red1003493649. See more details in the comment section) In regards to targets with Lessen Sleep 8, I'll quote what Red1003493649 said in the comment section:
for lessen sleep 8 it is the worst : between 4 and 16 ! The only solution that I found is to use 3 moves and wait the end of the animation of the second move before to use hypnosis, for my Serena's team I use fire spin and heat wave for the two first move so the animation is long enough to sleep at 100%
By now, hopefully these techniques have cheered you up and restored your faith. But before we conclude there's one more thing I'd like to talk about. I call it gaining more by doing nothing: If your team has move gauge issues, you can benefit from waiting when all enemies are asleep. Do this when:
All enemies are still in Phase 1 or just transitioned to Phase 2, and
You're positive that you can OHKO a target (so you can dictate their action order), or
You know exactly when the target will wake up, check out this Sleep Chain Guide by Zinfogel https://youtu.be/MVxfimExXqo, notice at 15:55, he intentionally waits a few seconds for gauge refill before using another Blast Burn.
Some Closing Thoughts: Personally, I think it's a good thing that the sleep mechanism is complicated. Even for skillful players, it presents a challenge that's not easy to overcome. I find it very rewarding when I achieve a perfect run by using various techniques to incrementally increase my odds, and I hope this guide could help you achieve the same. Thank you for reading this big wall of text. It took me a great many hours to put this together, but I owe many of my inspirations to many Reddit posts and YouTube videos, including but not limited to:
GTA Online Casino Inside Track Horse Racing glitch SOLO works for PC (maybe XBOX AND PS4 as well?)
Go to Diamond Casino
Walk up to the cashier and exchange for chips if you don't have any
Go to Inside Track Horse Racing
Click on Place Bet (Single Event)
Check horse odds
Disable internet connection
Bet any amount on any horse and it will say unable to establish connection to rockstar servers
Enable internet connection and bet max on your horse
Repeat until you have enough money
This is reviving the reset horse odds glitch that used to exist before this was patched. Picture guide here: https://imgur.com/gallery/fuGSpfW Instructions are pretty simple. Use any method to disable/enable your internet connection whether it is pulling the plug or using a 3rd party program it is up to you. Just repeat step 5/6/7 until you get your desired odds. Make sure to reenable your internet connection before betting when your horse is favorable. Note: You need to disable your internet when you are about to refresh the race (horse list). Reenable your internet when you have the horse you want to bet on. DO NOT have your internet disconnected for too long or it will kick you from the game. It shouldn't take too long to cycle through the line ups. Just do it quick and use a macro or a script. For example if you see double evens (which is considered the worst lineup) bet any amount on any horse (provided that you have already disabled your internet). Cycle through the list until you find a good lineup and before placing a bet, reenable your internet. DISCLAIMER: I am only posting this as a guide and I bear no responsibility if you lose money betting. This glitch works as is and does not guarantee you a win in any way. You are just pushing the odds into your favor easier. Use this link for how to disable/reenable your internet connection: https://www.reddit.com/gtaglitches/comments/gt3vgm/pcimproved_apartment_glitch_improvement_bette If you don't know which horse to bet use this guide: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato EDIT: Easiest way to block connection is through Windows Defender Firewall. If you are not tech savvy enough I or someone can create a batch file to do this all at once or even an AHK file but here are the steps to do this.
Open Windows Defender Firewall by pressing start menu and typing "Windows Defender Firewall" (without quotes) and it should be the first option.
On the left side click Advanced Settings
On the left side click Outbound Rules
On the right side click New Rule...
Select your GTA5.exe in Steam folder or Epic Games folder
Select Block the Connection
Profile can be all checked
Type in the name such as GTA block
On the right side Enable/Disable the rule to connect/disconnect
NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020
We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them. Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now. https://preview.redd.it/rs90lt6ckf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ddfc8945862472b52b5ef8c69076acde904c44c
1. Arizona Cardinals
Why they can win the division: Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other. Why they could finish last again: Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league. Bottom line: I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020. https://preview.redd.it/anrr9erfkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=5655b4452baff2691a0e060e8d70918d58801a4c
2. Detroit Lions
Why they can win the division: Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough. Why they could finish last again: Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive. Bottom line: I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark. https://preview.redd.it/7ivo914ikf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=d029ddd274b78e78f5bc932d00086b8c697a466e
3. Miami Dolphins
Why they can win the division: When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game. Why they could finish last again: As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams. Bottom line: As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here. https://preview.redd.it/nme3explkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3998c6026125c1b9b48438e3fc9afaf9601b116e
4. Los Angeles Chargers
Why they can win the division: First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room. Why they could finish last again: I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy. Bottom line: In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division. https://preview.redd.it/rywropjokf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed77a7303af810b862abb2100c4f0b86841a2d38
5. Washington Redskins
Why they can win the division: These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game. Why they could finish last again: Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you. Bottom line: These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently. https://preview.redd.it/szpawv9rkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=62ca5fe882d8155d83eb3328e9bf1f1681a17384
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
Why they can win the division: I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November. Why they could finish last again: I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period. Bottom line: The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now. https://preview.redd.it/5myv276vkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=7fb25f47d0759e9b5a07876ea01787898c6cc817
7. Carolina Panthers
Why they can win the division: Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7. Why they could finish last again: Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season. Bottom line: The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center. https://preview.redd.it/y7agj2n2lf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=221af0a1f689d3b19d5e250fac0b58a35877edad
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Why they can win the division: We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates. Why they could finish last again: As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year. Bottom line: I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air. If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/16/nfl-teams-most-likely-to-go-from-worst-to-first-in-2020/ You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kCcuPobNU
Well, Orochi, I guess that's what happens when you let all that power and authority go to your head! Someonepleasehelpme,I'mthescriptwriterandI'mnotevenbeingpaidminimumwage;it'slikeasweatshop,theseconditionsI'mbeingforcedtoworkin.Pleasecallforhelpbeforeheforcesmetowriteanotheroneofhisterriblepuns.Please. I guess Orochi got ahead of himself!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and everybody in between, welcome back to...
Bets and Bravery!
Welcome one, welcome all, we're glad to have you! If you're new to Bets and Bravery, B&B is a weekly thread on this subreddit where users bet with fake currency, the Beli from in-universe, on what they think will happen in each week's chapter in a series of bets made by yours truly. I keep track of everyone's money in a giant Google Sheet, which is available in the links above. So, if you're new, enjoy your time! But, if you're a regular on this thread, we're glad to see you back at OnePiece's unofficial official pasttime! I hope you've all had a good week so far with whatever's been happening in your lives. If you haven't had such a good week so far, I'm wishing the best for you and hope I can brighten your day even a little bit with this post. Before we get started, let's refresh your memory of last chapter to get you back on betting track!
Last Time on One Piece
So, let's talk about that chapter. Immediately after landing at the rear entrance of Onigashima, Law and the Scabbards are confronted by Kanjuro who's extremely confident in enemy fodder's ability to fight against anime protagonists. Back in the castle's attic, Luffy and big tiddy tall tomboy oni girl queen Yamato discuss their plan to fight Kaido's forces while Oda just casually reuses the exploding handcuffs plotline from Whole Cake you can really start to see now that Oda's losing his edge. It's a shame At the stage where Momo's crucified, Kaido begins his speech on the "New Onigashima" initiative by metaphorically whipping out his dick and saying that his is bigger than the World Government's. Big Mom arrives with Zeus back under her control and throws Nami and Carrot onto the stage before joining Kaido by whipping out her dick too in proclaiming their intention to get the Ancient Weapons then One Piece. Before Orochi can object to the additional plan to turn Wano into more of a labor and factory region, Kaido proves that, secretly all along, he was a Kozuki retainer when he beheads Orochi. Yamato and Luffy join the party right after to congratulate Kaido on restoring peace to Wano while Kiku cries or something and Momo's just chillin' and taking a nap. With that out of the way, let's get right into the real meat of the thread...
Chapter 986 Betting
The Bets of the Week
Keeping Kaido and Orochi's rear entrance protected haha butt stuff is Kurozumi Kanjuro and his small battalion of Beasts Pirates and Ink Soldiers. Intending to keep Law and the Scabbards from advancing further into Onigashima, Kanjuro taunts his former allies about their failures, including letting Momo get captured, all with a shit-eating grin. Engaged by Kikunojo of the Fallen Snow, the Kozuki traitor clashes blades while the others engage in their own combat. I don't know what to think about this. You'd think that Kanjuro would know just how strong these samurai are after spending so long fighting alongside them. I mean, Inuarashi and Nekomamushi were able to hold off Jack in Zou, Ashura seemed to gain the upper hand on Jack during their brief confrontation near the beginning of the arc, Izo was one of Whitebeard's commanders, Kiku's hot, Raizo's got ninja techniques, and Kawamatsu's supposedly not lost any of his skill, not to mention that they have Law and his top commanders there too. Is Kanjuro trolling? Does he legitimately believe he'll stop them here? I don't know, and this situation's even more strange considering Kiku's crying at the end of the chapter while holding a bloodied sword. But that's just One Piece, everyone! Dear audience, what will be the outcome of the clash at Onigashima's rear entrance?
A. The Scabbards defeat and/or drive off Kanjuro's forces and advance! Odds 1:2
B. Kanjuro is killed in battle and the Scabbards advance! Odds 1:6
C. The Scabbards are defeated and/or prevented from entering Onigashima's rear! Odds 1:4
Poor Momo's taken a few too many beatings this arc. He's still just vibin' on the execution platform while Kaido and Big Mom are talking about how they're gonna terraform his home into a factory wasteland and then start a world war. On top of Momo about to be killed, more problems have sprouted up at the scene. Nami and Carrot were caught and defeated by Big Mom, resulting in Zeus being returned to the old hag. Robin and Jinbe are on the scene alongside plenty of Kozuki allies, but two Yonkou and three All-Stars are all present at the scene. While not all hope is lost, what with Luffy and Yamato arriving on the scene and Zoro, Sanji, Kid, and Killer probably not far from the action either, the Tobi Roppo being called in certainly doesn't make things any easier. Things aren't looking good in the slightest, and this lineup might be the most powerful grouping of people we've seen in one place since Marineford. A battle's certainly on the horizon, but what exactly will happen? We've already asked about whether or not Momo will be rescued, so we'll avoid that line of questioning here and instead ask a tangentially related question. Dear audience, what will happen at the execution stage?
A. The Strawhats + Yamato will escape the scene! Odds 1:3
B. At least one of the Strawhats and/or Yamato will be captured while the rest escape! Odds 1:2
C. The Strawhats will be defeated completely! Odds 1:7
Imagine thinking that allying with a pirate would end happily. Actually though, with the apparent death of Orochi, plenty of plot lines just go out the window. How will the Scabbards avenge Oden? How will the Kozuki regain their rightful place on the throne? How will Denjiro and Hiyori pay back Orochi for all the pain he's caused them? What role will Kanjuro play now that his only ally is dead? How will my headcanon that Orochi is actually really strong and was just acting daft come true? As many people have pointed out, the Yamata no Orochi that Orochi is both named for and wields the Devil Fruit of has a whopping 8 heads. Unlike the similar western beast, the hydra, which regrows 2 heads every time one is cut off unless the stumps are burned before they can regrow, the Yamata no Orochi just has those 8 and that's it. Of course, people have speculated that Orochi won't actually go down until all 8 heads are cut down, if the Orochi cut down wasn't already a fake or an ink body double produced by Kanjuro. Plenty of excuses have been made, but I feel as though it's an important question we need to address because of its massive importance to the future of this arc. What are Yamato's three sizes? Dear audience, is Orochi truly dead?
A. Orochi was actually killed by Kaido! Odds 1:5
B. Orochi still lives via one method or another! Odds 1:2
This bet is where you can bet how many pages Chapter 986 will feature! Note: Shounen Jump covers, fan art pages, or translator note pages from early scans or the official release are not counted here. Double page spreads are counted as two separate pages. Color pages and color spreads are counted. Cover story serials and fan-requested cover pages are counted.
A. 16 or less pages! Odds 1:15
B. 17 pages! Odds 1:1.3
C. 18 or more pages! Odds 1:6
Our final bet this week is about the main focus of this week's chapter! The chapter may cover multiple storylines, in which case, the correct answer will be whichever storyline the chapter gave the most attention to in terms of pages or panels, should it get that close!
A. The situation at the stage! Odds 1:2
B. The Scabbards at the rear of Onigashima! Odds 1:3
C. Other storylines, such as Kin'emon and Denjiro's groups, Marco's investigation, the other Strawhats, or something else outside of Wano! Odds 1:5
With what looks to be an all-out brawl in the next chapter, it's time for another one of the classic WMG topics! Dear audience, I want you to guess how many named attacks total will be used throughout Chapter 986!
Criteria for WMG: A named attack or technique is used in Chapter 986.
Note: For this WMG, we're counting the total count of named attacks used, not the number of individual techniques used. So, if Luffy were to use "Gomu Gomu no Pistol" three times throughout the chapter, we would count all three uses toward the total. Attacks like punches or kicks without any name will not be counted.
Guess 100% correctly on this, and you'll receive a whopping 1,500,000 Beli! If nobody guesses correctly, the closest answer receives 750,000 Beli! If multiple people guess correctly or are evenly close to the correct answer, the bounty is evenly split among them to the nearest 1,000 Beli!
End of Chapter 986 Betting
And with that, we've come to the end of another exciting week of Betting and Bravery! I hope you enjoyed what we had this week, as I enjoyed making B&B for you! Now, please listen to the following tutorial on how to play:
Tonight, OnePiece becomes "Bets and Bravery!" The subreddit will be no more!! Instead, there will only be B&B!!! 1M on 395A! 500K on 396B! 5M on 397B! 1M on 398B! 10M on 399A! 7 attacks for the WMG!
Notes and Reminders
Are you new to Bets and Bravery? If so, welcome, we're always glad to see newcomers! As a first login bonus, you'll get to start with 1,000,000 Beli to bet with however you want!
Are all your bets ending up missing the mark? Have your bets and Beli ended up frozen and left you penniless? Worry not, just for showing up each week you get 10,000 Beli for free which you can jump right back into the betting with!
Please bet in multiples of 1,000 Beli!
Please bet on only one outcome (A, B, C, etc.) per bet (170, 171, 172, etc.)!
Place all bets before spoilers drop for the chapter, cheating is a big no-no!
Have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for future bets? Send me a message and I'll get right back to you!
Thanks for Participating!
Thanks to everyone out there who dropped by to read this thread, whether all the way through, just skimming, or just dropping by to see what this thread was. I'm truly grateful you all come by and support my work here as much as you do, so thank you. I hope I can keep living up to your expectations as host! I wish you all good luck on this week's bets, and I will see you all back later this week after the chapter drops and the results thread is out for you all to see how you did! Until next time! -MADKITTIEZ
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TSI 001: How to Understand Sports Betting Odds/Lines
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