FanDuel and Draft Kings … Still Fun, but Buyer Beware!

By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you’ve seen all the commercials for FanDuel and Draft Kings. How could you not, they are only played about 23 hours and 59 minutes a day!

Yesterday came word that an employee of Draft Kings won more than $300,000 on FanDuel. Nothing wrong with that. However, that employee used inside information not available to the public to pick his team.

Everything wrong with that.

Now, both sites have made it a rule that no employee is allowed to partake in the fun of daily fantasy sports. That makes perfect sense. It’s a bit surprising that this is the first we have heard of this going on. While gambling is “illegal” in almost every state, somehow the NFL partners with these sites that allow … wait for it … gambling.

Daily fantasy during the NFL season is fun. I play using FanDuel and it allows for much more creativity than your regular fantasy team. Every week, you pick a lineup using a $60,000 salary cap. You guess who will have the best games that week. The key is finding cheap players who will have career games that week. There are tons of $1, $2 and $5 leagues with 100 other people that can win you a few hundred dollars. There are also bigger promotion leagues in the same price range with over 200,000 entries that you can win over $100,000 thousand.

This is why these sites are so popular right now: Any given week you can win a lot of money. But don’t bet on winning in the large promotional leagues; that is (or was) a privilege reserved for the employees of FanDuel and Draft Kings.

All that said, one great way to win some sweet Smack Apparel merchandise is to enter and win the weekly football picks contest. It is LIVE NOW, and the weekly winner gets three (3) Smack Apparel shirts, while the runner-up gets one.

Go register at CONTEST.SMACKAPPAREL.COM and make your picks. DO IT. We promise no Smack Apparel employee will snake the victory away from you.

If Only Cubs-Pirates Was More than One Game …

Smack Apparel
If the curse is going to end this year, it’s gotta start Wednesday.

By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor

The National League wildcard game takes place tomorrow night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It features a division rivalry as the Chicago Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. It also features two teams that finished with the second- and third-highest win totals in all of MLB, and both would have won any other division that didn’t include the St. Louis Cardinals.

This will be the Pirates’ third straight year in the wildcard game, losing last year to the eventual World Series Champions San Francisco Giants. In 2013, they beat the Reds but lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS in five games. They are looking to finally get over the hump this year and take down their division rival Cardinals.

The Cubs, on the other hand, are one of the feel-good stories of the year. They weren’t supposed to make the postseason this quickly, but don’t tell them that. Joe Maddon took this very young and inexperienced ball club and turned them into a legitimate World Series contender in his first year. Needless to say, Chicago fans love them some Maddon.

Chicago hasn’t been in the postseason since 2008. That year, they ended up getting swept in three games by the Dodgers, a season after getting swept by the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. Cubs fans are very confident in this team advancing to take on the Cardinals. That’s because Jake Arrieta and his MLB-history-best  0.45 ERA since the All-Star Break takes the mound. That’s right … A  0.45 ERA — insane!

This game has the makings of a classic October baseball clash. Two teams that both should be in the division series, but have to play this one-game playoff to advance (it would be nice if they at least could play a best-of-three series). A 3-2, or 2-1 game seems about right.

Cubs fans will be traveling in droves to the ‘burgh to cheer on their beloved Cubbies. Most people know the history of the Cubs, and how fans think the team is cursed.

One college professor shows his sympathy for his student:

Cubs Student

That’s our kind of professor!

We’re going to go out on a limb and take the Buccos in one.


How to Win an Argument with a Chicago Blackhawks Fan

This is a recurring Smack Zone feature designed to help opposing fans win an argument with the team in question (and to help fans of that team prepare their rebuttals). We have done the Yankees, Patriots and Packers so far. Today’s subject: the Chicago Blackhawks (we still love you, ‘Hawks fans. Really, we do).

Chicago Blackhawks.
Red Wings fans get it.

They drop the puck for real in the NHL this week, and that means the Chicago Blackhawks once again are poised to begin a defense of a Stanley Cup championship — their third in five years.

This is getting old.

The Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews Era is getting old.

Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis is getting WAY old.

Seeing the United Center on TV in June is getting old.

All this talk about the glory of the Original Six is getting old.

It’s all tired.

Still, the renaissance of the franchise since Rocky Wirtz took over for his late father at the top of the organization in 2007 has been nothing short of inspirational. Things were awful before that, but it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable team to root for now than the Blackhawks.

You know what, though? The Chicago Blackhawks might finally be on the verge of a fall. Or at least a stumble. Too many core players have moved on from last year’s champion, and there are too many questions surrounding Kane.

Speaking of which, let’s start there with our tips for how to win an argument with a Chicago Blackhawks fan — the bandwagoners or those who falsely claim not to be bandwagoners (there are no other kinds of Blackhawks fans, after all).

Patrick Kane is (allegedly) a criminal.

This is a big deal and no doubt about it. Kane’s sexual assault case is not going away any time soon, and it is bound to be a distraction. Oh, and? It could land his ass in prison.

Be a bit tough to raise the Cup from behind bars, eh?

And what does it say about Chicago fans that Kane, still under investigation for sexual assault, received one of the loudest ovations at Soldier Field when the team brought the Cup to a recent Bears game?

Kane’s lawyer represents Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

OK, listen. Everyone has the right to the best legal representation money can buy. But the optics on this are brutal and just … stupid.

Kane is accused of sexual assault. Attorney Paul Cambria is known as the Porn Lawyer for his decades-long association with Flynt. In fact, during a recent interview, Cambria left a mug with the Hustler logo on a shelf behind him.

That’s beyond tasteless. It’s either ridiculously arrogant or absurdly imbecilic. Maybe both.

All Chicago Blackhawks fans are bandwagon fans.

Oh, sure, there are the die-hards who claim to have been part of the fan base before the glory days began in 2008-09.

They are lying.

The only fans of the Blackhawks are those who jumped on the bandwagon within the past seven or eight years.

Want to know how to tell?

Ask them to tell you about their favorite memory of Denis Savard.

The universal answer: Who?

One of their biggest celebrity fans is this guy: 

Chicago Blackhawks
Charles Barkley possesses the worst swing in the history of golf and is a Blackhawks fan. Coincidence? Yes. But it’s a funny-ass golf swing so here you go.

OK, Blackhawks fans. We get it. If you’re even half as loyal as you say you are, it should be no problem AT ALL to fire back at all of the aforementioned points.

We never said it would be easy to win an argument with a Chicago Blackhawks fan. After all, not many teams have won SIX Stanley Cups. Speaking of which, here’s one for the ‘Hawks:

Chicago Blackhawks
OK, the Blackhawks don’t really suck. Unless you’re a Red Wings fan. Then, all bets are off.

Case closed. But not that Patrick Kane sexual assault case. That’s still wide-freaking-open.

Miami Fan: Dolphins Finally Got It Right by Firing Philbin

New Smack Zone contributor and Dolphins fan Mike Julianelle WAS going to write about how much it sucks to get up and watch a crappy team play a crappy game in crappy London. Then Joe Philbin got fired, and all was right with Mike’s world. Sort of. Here’s what he wrote instead:

By Mike Julianelle, Smack Zone Contributor

It’s a sad day when you start rooting for your team to lose just so they’ll fire their coach. As a Dolphins fan, that’s what I was doing Sunday morning. And at the end of last season. And the end of the 2013 season. And when Cam Cameron was the coach. And when Dave Wannstedt was the coach …

But hey, at least Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Jets (there’s no other kind of loss to the Jets) was good for something: The Dolphins finally fired Joe Philbin! And only 10-to-22 months too late!

Let’s ignore the fact that 2015 was a wasted season as soon he wasn’t fired in January, regardless of the flashy Suh signing and subsequent preseason buzz. And let’s ignore the fact that even if interim head coach Dan Campbell lights a fire under the team and fires off a few wins, the odds that they can overcome two division losses and a 3-0 (probably 4-0) Patriots head start and somehow win the division are basically, laughably ZERO, and the odds that they can secure a wildcard berth are slim-to-none. Not at 1-3, with a patchwork offensive line, a decimated secondary, no linebackers, an inability/unwillingness to run the ball, and a quarterback who can’t throw a deep ball or an end zone fade to save his life and an owner who doesn’t have much of a backbone or any knowledge of football and somehow I’m not even referring to part-owner Gloria Estefan.

If Joe Philbin was in charge of an actual dolphin show. Image: Giphy.

Instead let’s rejoice and ignore the fact that now we have to wait another four months before they hire a new head coach and another six months before the optimism of draft season dawns and another 10 months before the 2016 season starts and another sixteen months before we get depressed again. Today, they finally did something right!

Mike Julianelle lives somewhere in New Jersey (we think; maybe it’s Staten Island) and publishes the “anti-parenting” blog, Dad and Buried. He also writes for something called Huffington Post, whatever the hell that is. He’s a long-time Dolphins fan for some reason.


God, NFL Kickers Suck Now

By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor

After Week 4 of the NFL season, one thing sticks out like a thorn: Kickers are bad. Kickers are really bad. Sure, the NFL made the extra point harder by moving it to the 15-yard line, but is that really an excuse for missing so many field goals?? The extra point has already been missed more times this year than all of last season*!

Josh Scobee, who missed two critical field goals last Thursday in the OT loss to the Ravens, was promptly cut the next day. The kicking game is so bad after Sunday that a number of teams are calling Scobee in for a try out (he is injured and will need a few weeks to heal). Teams are willing to bring in Scobee, who is injured and missed two kicks last week. That has to be a blow to the egos of all these kickers missing left and right (pun intended).

There might only be five good kickers remaining in the NFL. By good, we mean when they line up for a kick, they have an 85 percent chance of making it. It’s gotten that bad. The Saints kicker missed a potential game-winning kick at the end of the fourth quarter. Josh Lambo of the Chargers missed an easy field goal with no time remaining in a tie game. Lucky for him, Cleveland did a Cleveland thing and was offside. He made the game winning kick following that.

(That guy in Jacksonville missed a bunch, too, but it’s Jacksonville so who cares besides Gus Bradley? You know, GUS BRADLEY? He’s the Jaguars coach. Gus. Bradley. Nothing? You need to read more.)

Nobody for sure knows why kickers are struggling so much. Yes it is a lot of pressure to make a kick, but these guys are professionals. If you have a knack for kicking something, call an NFL team and see if you can try out. About half the league is looking for kickers. Don’t worry if you don’t make it or get cut, another team will be looking for you.

*Including two by now-former Bucs kicker Kyle Brindza, who was released even as we wrote this post.

Texas Football is STILL Better than These 33 Things

Texas Football
Things are bad for the University of Texas, but it could always be worse. Illustration: Steve Hill for Smack Zone.

We know what you’re thinking: What college football team sucks more than the Texas Longhorns under second-year coach Charlie Strong?


What are you, some kind of agitator? Do you relish negativity? Are you one of those people who enjoys the misery of others?

Damn, that’s cold, dude. And at the start of Red River Rivalry week, too. You ought to be ashamed.

Rather than ask such a negative, nasty, unhelpful question, why not take a positive approach? Why not think of it in terms of how much better University of Texas football is than these 33 things:

    1. A root canal.
    2. Dropping a bowling ball on your big toe.
    3. Taking a sip of coffee that you thought was still warm but turns out to be ice-freaking-cold.
    4. Taking a sip of coffee you didn’t realize was about 8,000 degrees and burning the hell of out your tongue.
    5. Unpassable kidney stones.
    6. Running out of gas on Route 90 between Del Rio, Texas, and Van Horn, Texas.
    7. NOT running out of gas on Route 90 between Del Rio and Van Horn.
    8. Idaho football. Barely.
    9. Dropping your iPhone in the toilet.
    10. Losing the remote. Again.
    11. Sitting in a recliner 15 feet away from the coffee table, which is where the remote turned out to be.
    12. Graduating with $60,000 in student loan debt and having to move back in with your parents.
    13. Standing in line for an hour at the DMV with no signal on your iPhone.
    14. When the PlayStation network is hacked again and all you want to do is play FIFA 16.
    15. Going into the Swamp on a high with national title aspirations and getting the crap kicked out of you.
    16. Getting sand in your Tag Heuer at the beach.
    17. Not being able to figure out what Instagram filter works best on your amazing sunset photo.
    18. Drafting Jordy Nelson in the first round on your fantasy football team.
    19. When Tori Spelling spills the beans about your summer romance.
    20. Any given Kardashian.
    21. At least half of the kickers in the NFL today.
    22. Stepping in dog poop – barefoot.
    23. Getting eliminated from baseball’s post-season on the last day of the season.
    24. Getting your name spelled incorrectly on the cup at Starbucks.
    25. When you have the perfect tweet about how bad Texas football is, but it’s too many characters.
    26. Finding out Darth Vader is your father.
    27. Finding out Hayden Christensen is Darth Vader.
    28. Making out with Michael Scott of the Office.
    29. Having to login EVERY TIME you open an app on a free Wi-Fi signal.
    30. Craving Chick-fil-A on a Sunday.
    31. Watching your carefully planned and choreographed Star Trek routine turn into a national laughing stock when the band loses its shape on the field and it starts to look like a giant Jawhawk performing oral sex instead of battling the Enterprise.

      Kansas State band
      Image: Kansas State University.
    32. Ebola.
    33. Toby Flenderson.


Texas football is bad, yes. But it is still better than all of these things. So, take heart, Longhorn fans. It could always be worse.

The Gators are BACK! (Aren’t they? They’re back now, right?)

A 38-10 romp in the Swamp against Ole Miss means the Gators are back, baby. At least until Saturday. Lose at Mizzou and it'll be like Muschamp 2.0. Just. Like. That. Illustration: Steve Hill for Smack Zone.
A 38-10 romp in the Swamp against Ole Miss means the Gators are back, baby. At least until Saturday. Lose at Mizzou and it’ll be like Muschamp 2.0. Just. Like. That. Illustration: Steve Hill for Smack Zone.

The Gators are back.

Aren’t they?

It sure looks like it.

A 38-10 shocker against Ole Miss at the Swamp on Saturday rocked the college football world. Coach Jim McIlwain, seemingly, can do no wrong.

After a comeback victory against Tennessee vaulted the Gators back into the AP top 25, the follow-up romp against the No. 3-ranked vanquishers of the Crimson Tide jetted UF nearly into the top 10. They are close enough, at No. 11, to once again sniff a conference and national championship.

Oh, and it’s a nice bonus for those who bleed orange and blue that the Gators tip-toed past undefeated Florida State in the rankings.

They seem to have found a coach, a quarterback (redshirt freshman Will Grier) and an identity. Sure, they are ranked only 58th in total offense (a troubling 90th in rushing) and 37th in total defense, but they are ranked at the top of the SEC East at 3-0 in the conference and roll into this week’s road game against Missouri ready to consolidate their early gains.

So, yes. At 5-0, the Gators appear to be back.

Where do they go from here?

First, they must avoid a road upset against Mizzou and true freshman quarterback Drew Lock. There are no guarantees, of course, and this could all come crashing down with a loss in Columbia.

But …

Get past that one, and things get real interesting.

It starts with a huge matchup on Oct. 17 at LSU, which is currently the only remaining UF opponent that is ranked higher than the Gators. While a victory in Baton Rouge would be enormous, a loss would not necessarily end Florida’s title aspirations.

That’s because the schedule falls favorably for Florida. After seeing them stuff Ole Miss Saturday, it’s completely realistic to envision Florida rolling against Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic. Then there’s Florida State, which comes into Gainesville on Nov. 28 having won two in a row and four of five against UF.

Even if they lose to LSU, the Gators could win out in the regular season and set themselves up for an SEC championship game matchup against the winner of the SEC West – Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU or Ole Miss.

At that point, a victory would leave the Gators at 12-1 (assuming a loss at LSU and a victory against the Seminoles, remember), and it would almost certainly be enough to gain entry into the national championship playoff.

Yes, it’s early. Yes, the Gators haven’t displayed the consistent and convincing dominance of the national championship teams under Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer – yet.

But in Gainesville, they are ready to party again.

(By the way, we’re not affiliated with Scooter Magruder in any way, but he rocks it on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and just about anywhere else you can post videos about sports and stuff. Follow him — especially if you love the Gators and anything and everything Southeastern Conference. Scooter’s entire Snap cast of his night in the Swamp’s nosebleed seats is well worth watching, but here’s a quick glimpse.)




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