Sports 101 Blog

Sports 101 is hosted by Eric Pedigo and Mark Gram Sunday mornings 9am - 11am on Sports Radio 1450.  It's a discussion-based sports talk show that spans any and all sports.  Eric and Mark offer up their opinions, ideas, and observations on all of sports' most intriquing topics.  Whether you love it or hate it, agree or disagree, Eric and Mark love to get your take. 

So call the show at 217-529-1450 and weigh in on whatever the guys are tossing around.  

Mark Gram
Springfield, Illinois
High School: Quincy High School
Loves: Illinois sports, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, reading, and politics

Eric Pedigo
Birthplace: Chatham, Illinois
High School: Glenwood High School
Eric is a Chatham native and Glenwood graduate.  He and his wife Amanda live in Glenarm with their three children.  Eric started hosting a sports talk radio show on the internet in 2005. In 2008, he began co-hosting Fantasy Football 101 with Adam Stark, Mark Gram, and Nicorelli. Eric can be heard every Sunday morning from 9-11am on Sports Radio 1450.
Posts from August 2013

Eric's 10 Rules of Fantasy Football
       In my many years of participating in fantasy football, I've been a standard owner, a league commissioner, and a talk show host handing out advice to hundreds of thousands (give or take) of listeners and callers.  Needless to say I've learned a few tricks along the way.  So strictly out of the goodness of my very generous and selfless heart, I release my ten fantasy rules prior to each season to help maximize not only your success, but your entire fantasy experience.  So read up, follow the rules and thank me later.
  1. MAKE SURE YOUR LEAGUE IS PPR- Times have changed.  Standard scoring is outdated and lame.  PPR leagues give added value to WRs, so the owners with the best RBs don't just automatically win.  If your league is not PPR, quit your league and find one that has transitioned into the 21st century.  Also, throw your pager away and quit listening to Dave Matthews.
  2. BUY A FEW MAGAZINES, THEN IGNORE EVERYTHING INSIDE OF THEM- Seriously, I encourage you to buy a few.  We all get excited about fantasy football a couple months before the season starts.  The magazine people are wise to this fact, and put their product out there a few months in advance.  But because so much changes in those few months, the material in those magazines end up being mostly useless.  But they are fun to read in June, so go ahead.
  3. PARTICIPATE IN A LIVE DRAFT- Fantasy draft day is like a little holiday if it's done the right way.  Get together with your buddies, eat some fried food, down some beverages and swear excessively.  Or do an online draft while you're folding laundry or something, that sounds awesome too.
  4. DON'T DRINK TOO MUCH- I shouldn't need to explain this one.  Think about all the really horrible decisions you've made when you've had too much to drink.  Just because your wife let you out of the house for a few hours, you don't have to go all "Frank the Tank".  Limit yourself to a few and keep your pants on.
  5. DRAFT RUNNING BACKS EARLY- No matter the scoring system you use, RBs are the most important players on your roster.  You should really draft one in the first round no matter what pick you have.  If you get cute and take a WR or a QB, you better go RB in round two or you are stupid.
  6. START YOUR STUDS- Too many times fantasy owners have been burned because they got spooked by a tough defensive matchup, and benched a stud in favor of a backup with a decent matchup coming off a good week.  They're your starters, start them.
  7. DON'T BE A DEAD OWNER- Be active in your league.  Post funny things on the message board, but be sure to keep it entertaining and light.  Just be sure to post something, otherwise it's boring.  Also, be sure to check, respond to, and initiate trades.  This is what you signed up for so get involved.
  8. PLAY DIRTY- Find loopholes, give bad advice, prey on the weak, do whatever you have to do to win.  The payout after you win will wash the guilt away.
  9. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN- Injuries in football are more frequent and unpredictable than in any other sport.  You WILL likely lose at least one of your starters for a period of time.  Handcuff your running backs, and find multiple WRs late in your draft with high upside.  You will probably have to use them at some point.
  10. DO NOT DRAFT A KICKER OR DEFENSE BEFORE THE LAST TWO ROUNDS- Let some other moron think he's done something brilliant by drafting Seattle's D in the 8th round, while you wait until the end and still land a top ten ranked defense.  But make no mistake about it, each league has two or three of these goofs that just can't wait to take a defense or a kicker.  Let me ask you something- how often in life is it good to be premature?  Well it's not good here either.
So there you have it, my list of fantasy rules to live by.  I hope they will be of service to you as you embark on your fantasy journey this season.  And because I like you so much, I'll give you the most important advice of all: have some fun.  Don't take it too seriously, don't get into real fights, don't ruin friendships, and don't let it take over your life.  It's just fantasy.  For most of us it's something we do to have a little fun aside from our real life.  That's what makes it fantasy.  Just enjoy it for what it is.  Oh, I almost forgot- don't draft Lee Evans.  He sucks.
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Topics: Human InterestSports
Locations: Seattle
People: Dave MatthewsLee Evans

Fantasy Football 101 2013 WR Rankings
  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Dez Bryant
  3. AJ Green
  4. Brandon Marshall
  5. Demaryius Thomas
  6. Julio Jones
  7. Roddy White
  8. Larry Fitzgerald
  9. Randall Cobb
  10. Andre Johnson
  11. Victor Cruz
  12. Reggie Wayne
  13. Dwayne Bowe
  14. Vincent Jackson
  15. Marques Colston
  16. Danny Amendola
  17. Pierre Garcon
  18. Wes Welker
  19. Antonio Brown
  20. Eric Decker
  21. Steve Smith
  22. Torrey Smith
  23. Hakeem Nicks
  24. Mike Wallace
  25. Greg Jennings
Wide receiver is typically the deepest position in fantasy football.  This year is no different, you can get solid value deep in your draft.  Just be sure you get at at least two of them from this list, and one of those two needs to be in the top 15.
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Fantasy Football 101 2013 RB Rankings
All Fantasy Football 101 rankings reflect a point per reception (PPR) scoring system because that's what everyone should be playing.
  1. Matt Forte.  Just kidding, it's Adrian Peterson
  2. Doug Martin
  3. Arian Foster
  4. Ray Rice
  5. CJ Spiller
  6. Jamaal Charles
  7. LeSean McCoy
  8. Marshawn Lynch
  9. Trent Richardson
  10. Matt Forte.  Seriously
  11. Alfred Morris
  12. Darren Sproles
  13. Frank Gore
  14. Reggie Bush
  15. Chris Johnson
  16. Maurice Jones-Drew
  17. Stevan Ridley
  18. Steven Jackson
  19. DeMarco Murray
  20. David Wilson
  21. Darren McFadden
  22. Lamar Miller
  23. Ahmad Bradshaw
  24. Le'Veon Bell
  25. Montee Ball
We highly recommend drafting RBs early.  There is a larger dropoff in fantasy value after the top guys than at any other position.  You should at least use your first round pick on one.  That will probably mean you don't get Aaron Rodgers or Calvin Johnson, but you'll be better off this way.  
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Fantasy Football 101 2013 QB Rankings
  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Peyton Manning
  4. Cam Newton
  5. Matt Ryan
  6. Tom Brady
  7. Andrew Luck
  8. Matthew Stafford
  9. Tony Romo
  10. Russell Wilson
  11. Colin Kaepernick
  12. Robert Griffin III
  13. Andy Dalton
  14. Eli Manning
  15. Ben Roethlisberger
  16. Carson Palmer
  17. Jay Cutler
  18. Sam Bradford
  19. Josh Freeman
  20. Mike Vick
  21. Philip Rivers
  22. Ryan Tannehill
  23. Alex Smith
  24. Joe Flacco
  25. Brandon Weeden
Nearly every year in nearly every format 6 or 7 of the top 10 high scorers in fantasy football are QBs.  But though they score the most, don't think that you need to draft one too early.  You can get great value at QB later in the draft. 
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Topics: Sports

The "N" Words

      After the video surfaced of Riley Cooper using the "N" word at a Kenny Chesney show this past week, mass confusion has set in.  Some cannot figure out how a guy who has been involved in football, and who's teammates on the Eagles are primarily black, could be this insensitive.  But the majority of confusion comes from people struggling to understand why this is such a big deal. It's this confusion that I find most confusing.  But since so many people cannot seem to understand why Cooper has come under so much scrutiny after his outburst, I've decided to help them see the difference in the "N" words.
      The misconception is that the "N" word is only one word, and its meaning is the same no matter how it's used.  The truth is that it is in fact two different words.  I keep hearing "...but look how much it's used in rap music, how is it any different?"  It blows my mind that people honestly cannot see the difference.  It's all in the usage and the intention.  In rap music, artists use the word the same way you would use "man" or "dude".  It's not meant in a derogatory way, and it's pronounced a little different.  The way Cooper used the word was inarguably the racist version.  It's so simple.  And whether you choose to admit it or not, you see the difference too.  Had video emerged of Cooper using the other version of the word while singing along at a Jay-Z concert, the backlash would have been virtually nonexistent, especially in the locker room among his teammates.  
      But there is still some grey area surrounding the rap version of the word when used by white people.  Go ahead and cry out the crutch phrase that's been recycled and thrown around too many times to count: "DOUBLE-STANDARD!!"  Yes, there is a double-standard, and it's perfectly justifiable.  Any usage of the word by white people, be it the racist version or not, is largely frowned upon and mostly not allowed.  But you can't ignore the significance of history as it pertains to the word.  White people don't have the same rights to the word as black people.  White people weren't slaves for hundreds of years.  White people have never been denied access to restaurants or hotels because of their skin color.  White people have never had to use separate restrooms or water fountains.  White people haven't been denied education or job opportunities solely because they're white.  And there has never been Black Power groups that have hid behind masks and gone around lynching white people.  Understand that white versions of these groups still exist in our society.  The lynchings aren't near as prevalent, but the hatred of the message is still there.  So if black people want sole possession of the word, they can have it.  Why is this so hard to grasp?  What are you even arguing for?  Do you really want to use the word THAT badly?  Or do you just not like being told you can't do something?  Some battles just aren't worth picking.
      Here's the bottom line: Riley Cooper is a public figure representing a multi-billion dollar corporation.  And in this age of constant surveillance, he practiced extremely poor judgment and he is now living with the consequences.  He should've known better.

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