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Yesterday at 03:35 pm
The Wideout Weekly will be my weekly-ish look at the DSFL wide receivers, as I try to objectively rank them throughout the season and leading up to the S7 NSFL draft.

I will not only review game performances, I will keep a running tally of total TPE (and WR-related attributes) and post count so that players can be compared outside of the sim as well (you're welcome GMs).

The S6 DSFL wide receiver class (in order of draft position) are:TPE, Attributes and Post Tracker

Note: rather than track total TPE and post count, I will be tracking their changes over time. This is in part because I am a recreate, and thus have a highly inflated post count, and also because it will help paint a picture of a user's activity over time.

Date: 19/02 AEST | Week: Preseason 1 & 2

Preseason Week 1

Preaseason Week 2

Overall Totals

Analysis and Rankings
Don't put too much stock into wins and losses during the preseason, as GMs are typically employing strategies you wouldn't see in the regular season.

The San Antonio duo of Footballer Catcherman and Jeff Taven appear to be a great combination for the Marshals, as they are #1 and #2 for catches respectively and #1 and #3 for receiving yards.

Miller got off to a slow start but bounced back with a respectable game in the second week. Notably, his YPC is consistently high, meaning he makes the most of the opportunities he gets.

Similarly, DeMarco hasn't seen a whole lot of action, but with the leading YPC on 5 catches, he appears to be a target that can make things happen for his offense.

Mark Grau and DeAndre Green are yet to see the playing field.

I'd like to reiterate that preseason is a time for trying out things you wouldn't otherwise see in the sim, so the stats you see above won't play as big a role in the rankings as they will in later weeks.

So, without further ado, here are my DSFL Wide Receiver Rankings through preseason weeks 1 & 2:

1. Howard Miller ( Perhaps a bit biased, but with a 114 TPE lead on the nearest competitor and an middle-of-the-pack performance in the preaseason, I feel it's warranted.

2. Mark Grau ( A player who hasn't played a single snap being ranked #2?! As I said, stats aren't too important right now. What is important is that in just three days, keanex has racked up 21 additional TPE for Grau on top of the starting creation TPE, leapfrogging his opponents into second place overall for TPE by a comfortable margin of 14. Also, being under the tutelage of PDXBaller is a huge plus.

3. Footballer Catcherman ( Equal second in TPE and a dominant showing in the preseason. I'll certainly be keeping my eye on cpetrella throughout the year. A little low on activity, but if he springs to life in the regular season, he could be a top receiving prospect for S7 in the NSFL.

4. Jeff Taven ( If it weren't for the fact that TetrisTech was active on Discord, I likely would have had him lower. Being around in the leadup to the draft and still not having his player up over the initial 50 TPE is concerning, but his strong preseason performance and activity elsewhere in the league is enough to get him into 4th place.

5. Dustin DeMarco ( Although he was kept relatively quiet during the preaseason, when Ramrod18 got the ball in his hands he made things happen. With that said, 55 hands?! Damn man, you gotta give your guy a chance! I think if his catching abilities increase before the regular season starts, DeMarco will be a force to be reckoned with.

6. DeAndre Green (Free Agent): Last but not least is Green, who is awaiting being claimed. With little else to go off, I like Green's starting build, and feel that he's set himself up with a strong base from which to improve. I'm excited to see what GridironGang can do this season.

~650 words + images | ready for grading
Feb 14 2018, 06:12 AM
Who is Howard Miller? While the name will no longer be one that is unfamiliar to football fans with the DSFL draft in the books, Miller is still a relatively unknown quantity. We sat down with the first overall pick to talk about who he is, was, and wants to be, on the field and away from it.

I guess we should start with how you started. What can you tell us about your family?

Well, my dad was an elementary school teacher and my mum was a sports scientist. I know what most people picture when they think of athletes at my level is a dad taking his son to football from as young as possible, and pushing him all the way until he's standing where I am today. In truth, I didn't play football until I was much older than most, and it was my mum who got me into it.

Mum and dad are both from Australia, and while I was technically born there, we moved almost immediately to the States after my birth. The biggest opportunities in sports, outside of something like soccer in Europe or South America, were here. Dad was happy to come because as a teacher, his skills were essentially 100% transferable. Neither of them made the move with the intention of me being forced into sports or having to go down that path if I didn't want to. They had both agreed to let me try as many things as possible and choose for myself what I wanted to do. So they came over to Chicago to see how things went, and they've never looked back.

You say your father was a teacher -- is he retired?
He's still involved at the same elementary school he was all those long years ago when he and my mum first came here. He's stepped out of the classroom now, though, and helps faciliate the classroom teachers and does more outreach work than anything. It's how I got involved with my charities.

You mentioned you got started in football late. Just how late was that, and what prompted it?

I didn't start playing football seriously until my sophomore year in high school. I had played just about every sport that Chicago had to offer by that point, and while I was always one of the better performers, I never stuck it out. By the time my sophomore year rolls around, I've got hundreds, probably thousands of acquantances, but no friends. Nobody ever came around to my place. I never had sleepovers or went to other kids' houses. By that point, I don't think my mum and dad had even seen me interact with a kid my age outside of sports teams. I was always hanging around with coaches and older guys around the clubs I played at. I just never felt comfortable around people my age, you know?

So my first day of sophomore year rolls around and I still remember it vividly to this day. Mum barges into the kitchen and says, "You're playing football". And I said to her, "Mum, I've played football before." And she just looks me in the eyes -- and I know whatever she says next I have no choice but to nod and accept my fate -- and she says, "You're playing football. For the whole year."

In her line of work she was constantly interacting with all kinds of athletes, but whenever we look back at that moment and speak about why she did what she did, she always told me that it was because football teams were like a family. And she said at that point in my life I needed a family that wasn't my actual family. I needed football. Not for football, but to find my family. And I did. I've been in love with the game and everything that comes with it ever since.

Have you had any other passions over the years?

Oh, yeah. Plenty. I went through a lot of the typical phases guys go through, especially through high school. The only thing that's ever stuck with me is music. I was always fascinated by it and loved hearing it, playing it, and trying (and failing) to make it.

Once I became a bit more popular around high school and went to some parties and got to do that whole side of the high school experience, I actually started to find out how much I loved putting on a song and having everyone go crazy over it. I never drank at parties because of football, so I'd just stand in the corner on my iPod and choose songs to get people going. Mum and dad were always supportive of anything I did, so by junior year I had my own legit DJ equipment.

For the rest of high school, rather than just go to parties for no point, I started DJing at them instead. I made money out of it that helped me contribute to my own college education -- something that made me appreciate the experience and opportunity a lot more -- and it kept me out of trouble.

I saw so many talented guys make mistakes while they were drunk or even just trying to impress people. If some of those guys hadn't had too much to drink or were just more confident in themselves as individuals, there's no way I would have been drafted first overall. I've seen the next Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Brian Urlacher, the next generational guys just lose it all over stupid mistakes. I still think about those guys all the time, but it helped me to keep my head on straight and do the right thing for my future.

Anyway, I got a bit sidetracked there. Eventually I got over the sort of music that was necessary to get a houseparty going, and got bored of just choosing songs. I got more interested in how it was made, and what was going on behind the scenes so to speak. It's the same as football: my desire to know everything about a topic, inside and out, is what drives me to become one of the best at it. So, naturally, I ended up picking up a bunch of instruments.

I've been playing piano since my senior year, and studied music and teaching at college. My mum's proud because I play sports and am in her field because I work with elite athletes; my dad's proud because I took school seriously and can be in his field once I retire.

Would you want to teach at your father's school?

Oh, man, absolutely. That's the dream! Once I hang up the cleats I want to be sitting in front of a room full of kids who know me as Mr Miller Jr, and I want to help them discover the same passion for music that I got to discover. I just want them to have the chance to discover it a lot earlier than I did!

Talking about life after football, do you not have plans to stay around the league once you retire?

I don't think so, no. I can't see it happening as it stands right now, anyway. I want to give everything I have as an athlete, and do my part for the game and for the teams I play for. After that, I don't think there'll be any juice left in the tank. At least, I don't intend for there to be. I want to give it absolutely everything I've got -- I want to be the greatest. I don't think that if I came to the end of my career and felt I could stick around a couple more decades still trying to win championships that I would have achieved what I wanted to as a player. In my mind, I'll either be the greatest ever, or I won't be. Either way, I'll leave my legacy as a player, and nothing else.

We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, but what else would you look forward to in retirement? Anything that you'd like to do now that you don't have enough time for?

I'm a big golfer. A terrible golfer, but I play a lot [laughs]. I love to read, but after spending all day breaking down film and going over playbooks, it's a huge mental hurdle to get over and try and pick up a book for enjoyment. I'm a big Lord of the Rings guy. The ball is like my precious, but at the same time I'm Frodo and the endzone is Mt Doom, you know? [Laughs].

I write, too. But it's the same with reading -- my head hurts more than my muscles at the end of practice. I just don't have it in me to pursue those hobbies while I'm playing football at this level. So, yeah, when I retire it'd be nice to get to do more of that sort of thing.

And finally, there has of course been a lot of attention given to the fact that your manager is Ben Longshaw, a former NSFL player himself. What insights has he been able to give you?

Oh, he's been great. I couldn't imagine getting to this point without him. You know, the biggest thing he's done for me, though, hasn't been football related. At least not in a strategy or fitness sense. It's been all about the mental side of things, and the community and league itself.

After I got drafted, he shook my hand, congratulated me and said, "For God's sake, Howard, don't forget to have fun out there, man. I did."

I know he's extermely disappointed about his career. He told me that he was so focused on being better than the people around him that he alienated himself from them, to the point that he hated anything to do with the NSFL because it was him against the world there. He's pointed out how some of the most successful guys in the league now are ones who were charismatic, social, likeable guys who were dedicated but also took the time to get into the community of the league. He made a point to show me that some of the biggest rivals ended up on the same teams in the end anyway.

His advice that stuck with me the most was before I got to meet the other draft prospects and prepare for the Senior Bowl. He said, "We're competing, we're not going to war." I don't know what it was about that, but it stuck with me. Since then, I've made an effort to get to know the other rookies and to reach out to guys from other teams as well as forming bonds with guys around my own locker room.

Any time Ben sees me with a bunch of guys from around the league it's like his face is at war. I can see the smile, but there's also the hurt in his eyes. It gets to me a bit, actually.

So every time I step out onto the field, I'm not only thinking about wanting to be the best, and wanting to make my mum and dad proud, I'm thinking about how much I want to do it for Ben, too. I'm gonna be his Samwise, and help get him to the places he couldn't get on his own.

1897 words - reading for grading
Feb 13 2018, 06:15 AM
While my absence from the draft was legitimately due to a prior commitment to a Chicago community outreach program, I’ll admit there was part of me that was glad to be out of the spotlight. No matter how confident you are in your own ability, no matter the sort of performances you put together throughout your college career, and no matter how many times you’ve been reassured that you will be drafted, there is still a part of you deep, deep down that says, “What if I don’t?” I don’t think I could have handled the weight of that thought on my shoulders if I was actually at the draft day ceremony.

When my manager, Ben, pulled me aside during the charity event to tell me that the draft coverage had started, my heart sunk. This was the moment I’d worked toward my whole life – my first taste of professional football.

That’s if I actually got drafted.

Ben had worked his magic and made sure that I was between activities when the coverage started. He sat me down in front of a Microsoft Surface Pro with the draft streaming and got his phone on standby for a call from one of the GMs. The catch was that we only had enough time to watch the first round. If I slipped, I wouldn’t even hear my name called out.

There was the usual back-and-forth between presenters while we waited for the first pick, and my name was tossed around a few times. It put me at ease a little. People knew about me, at least.

Then, out of the blue, AzhekAhriman called Ben's phone. One of the GMs of the Kansas City Coyotes – the team with the first overall pick -- wanted to speak to me.

I answered with a timid and unsure “hello”, before getting the best news of my life.

Ahriman: “Congrats man! #1OA and the cornerstone of the KCC S6 offense”.

I’d made it. I was officially in the DSFL – not only in it, but the first overall pick! My dream of reaching the NSFL is now only one more step away.

As soon as I got the news, I grabbed one of the six jerseys I'd brought with me -- the glorious Kansas City purple and gold -- and signed my name. The jersey would be up for auction that night.

I'm proud to announce that at auction, the jersey fetched an impressive $250,000! The funds will be given directly to charities and community groups that do fantastic work with the youth of Chicago. I couldn't have been happier with the result of the event.

As for the draft, things couldn't have gone much better with that either. Though I had developed a close bond with my Luchadores teammates during my short stint with them in S5, and had harbored a desire to return to Tijuana and fight to bring them their first Ultimini, from a performance point of view, the situation in Kansas City appealed to me.

Days before the draft there was an announcement that Mark Strike would be their starting quarterback. While there was a number of talented guys in the draft who I would have been happy to catch passes from, including Sam Penner (who I clearly had a good combination with, given our Senior Bowl performance), I was excited to know that the team with the first overall pick had already locked down their starting QB. Not only that, but he was a guy with experience who was a few steps ahead of the competition in terms of talent. If I had him throwing me the ball, I was destined to be able to have a good year.

So, when the phone rang and I got the news direct that I was going to be a member of the Coyotes, I was over the moon that we howl at. I was thrilled to see that we added a strong defensive piece in Thomas Kane III, before securing a capable backup for Strike in Bubba Beau-Bocher, and giving me a receiving partner in Stone Hans.

Some people might be wondering why I was eager to go to a team that finished S5 with a 4-10 record. People might assume it's because "the only way to go is up". In truth, as well as being an ideal situation for me as a receiver, I wanted to go to KC not because it would be the easiest team to help improve on the previous season, but because they have the opportunity to improve the most. Going from the team with the worst record in the league to winning the Ultimini would be a hell of a statement, and that's exactly what I'm here to do --- make a statement.

Exactly how I plan to do that has been revealed in past media as well. My aim is to ecplise all of the DSFL receiving records in a single season. I aim to surpass J. Watcher's 95 catches with my own 100; I aim to exceed H. Mason's 1273 yards with my own 1300; and I aim to leave D. Aaron and T. Pryor's 7 touchdowns in my wake as I haul in 10.

While some might say I'm setting goals that are too high for myself, and others may say I'm downright delusional, I can say with confidence that those guys I named -- Watcher, Mason, Aaron, and Pryor -- they didn't go into the season thinking "let's just see what happens". Elite performances aren't a mistake. Elite performers aren't lucky. They're dedicated, they're driven, and they're determined to be the absolute best. I didn't make it to the DSFL by setting low standards, I wasn't taken first overall because I set easy goals, and I won't make the NSFL if i accept anything less than the best.

Keep your eyes on me this season, because this is only the beginning.

632 new words (i.e. not used in Draft Day Fever PT) - ready for grading
Feb 11 2018, 09:00 PM
Howard Miller, the DSFL prospect considered a consensus first-round pick and possible first overall selection in tomorrow's draft, has announced he will not be in attendance when his name is called out, regardless of when that occurs.

Instead, Miller will be in his native Chicago, participating in a community outreach program for disadvantaged youth. The program sees local athletes return to their neighbourhoods to offer coaching and motivational speeches. A primary goal of the event is also fundraising for the charities and community groups involved in the program.

Miller has advised that he will have 6 jerseys with him on the day, one for each team. When his name is called and his DSFL team is revealed, he will sign their respective jersey, and it will be up for auction the very same day, with all proceeds going to charity.

The jersey may very well prove to be a valuable piece of memorabilia, as Miller has stated in no uncertain terms that he has very high expectations of himself for the season ahead.

"100 catches, 1300 yards, 10 touchdowns", he said when asked about his goals for the season.

"Watcher got 95 catches, I want to beat that. Mason got 1273 yards, I want to beat that. Pryor got 7 touchdowns, and I want to beat that too".

Miller's goals may seem ambitious, but recent developments in the DSFL have likely only increased his chances of setting record numbers across the board. Ahead of tomorrow's draft, Mark Strike has been confirmed as the Kansas City Coyotes starting quarterback. With a veteran QB at the helm looking to salvage his career, the Coyotes need not worry about filling what for most is a pressing need. Having the first overall pick means that in one fell swoop they can unite the top receiving prospect with arguably the best quarterback, a move that would have many jumping on board with Miller's predictions for the season ahead.

Miller shined the Senior Bowl -- the transitional college-to-DSFL game that provides prospects one final opportunity to impress league GMs -- with 6 catches for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner near the end of regulation in the 4th quarter. It was an exciting preview of what Miller has to offer in the developmental league, as he works toward an inevitable career in the NSFL.

His impressive showing was also in spite of alleged tampering in the locker room, with Miller's manager Ben Longshaw -- the former San Jose Sabercats and Colorado Yeti offensive lineman -- advising the media after the Senior Bowl that he believed Miller's equipment had been stolen. There has been no official comment made on the matter by Miller or a spokesperson from the DSFL or NSFL.

In preparation for his absence from the draft day ceremony, Miller has pre-recorded an acceptance speech to be played when he is selected:

"I would like to thank the GM of this organisation for demonstrating their faith in me with this pick, and to the remaining 5 GMs for their consideration. I am honoured to be a part of the DSFL and look forward to doing everything I can to bring the Ultimini to this great city. I am excited for the season ahead, and can't wait to get to work in my new home, and to get back on the football field".

Regardless of where he is selected and by which team, Miller will be a force to be reckoned with in the DSFL. If the GM that is lucky enough to land him can also provide a competent quarterback and buy the pair enough time in the pocket to link up, it's likely this year will see one of the greatest offensive combinations in the league's short history.

626 words - ready for grading

I will actually be working during the draft tomorrow. Good luck to all other prospects and thanks in advance to the team that drafts me!
Feb 8 2018, 08:27 AM
The first ever Senior Bowl is in the books, marking an important milestone in the continued growth of the NSFL. However, before the dust has even settled from the DSFL rookie showcase, scandalous claims have surfaced of alleged tampering with a player's equipment.

Despite a crucial, perhaps game-winning performance by wide receiver Howard Miller, which saw the promising youngster haul in 6 catches for 96 yards (16ypc) and 2 touchdowns (including the game-winner), Miller could be heard cursing loudly in the tunnels when leaving the field after the game. Not only did this behaviour not make sense given his side's win and his own performance, it is also extremely out of character. Miller is described as soft-spoken and polite by college teammates and opponents alike, with many commenting on the parallels between Miller and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Although Miller was unavailable for comment after the match, reporters spoke with his manager, retired NSFL offensive lineman Ben Longshaw.


Q) Ben, thanks for speaking with us. Can you shed some light on Howard's actions after the games?

A) Yes. While my client is not prepared to make a formal accusation at this time, it is our belief that his equipment was tampered with prior to kickoff.

Q) Can you clarify what led you to this belief?

A) It was evident Howard was frustrated with his performance. However, his actions told me that there was more to the story than that. He isn't one to let a bad game get to him or to ever cause a scene, so as you can imagine, I was concerned. I spoke with Howard in private and he confirmed that prior to kickoff, the cleats and gloves he had purchased in anticipation for the game and had placed in his locker, had been removed. As this game was his last chance to showcase his abilities, I had given Howard an advance on his contract to purchase the equipment, on the basis of my strong belief in the likelihood of him being a top draft pick. Understandably, he is quite shaken.

Q) Ben, we don't understand. By all accounts, Howard's performance has only increased his draft value. And what reason would anyone have to tamper with the equipment of a DSFL prospect?

A) At this point in time, we aren't sure of the motives behind the actions. And, as was stated, Howard is not ready to make a formal accusation. What can be confirmed, though, simply through watching footage of the match and speaking with teammates whose lockers were adjacent to Howard's, is that he was not wearing the gloves or cleats he had set out for himself ahead of the game. Whether they were removed due to an innocent mistake or out of malice, we are yet to determine with certainty, but we will be investigating the matter. And while Howard's game-winning performance was impressive, he and I know it was less than he is capable of, and the game wouldn't have been nearly as close if not for this disappointing situation.


So, was it sabotage by a rival prospect, a calculated attack by an enemy Longshaw made during his NSFL career, or simply a stroke of misfortune? It seems too big of a coincidence for one of the top-rated player's equipment to mysteriously disappear moments before their final chance at improving their draft position, but this reporter isn't prepared to jump to any conclusions at this point in time. Only time will tell, and until then, all DSFL prospects will need to keep eyes in their back of their heads, and fixed on their equipment, until they're safely on the other side of draft day.

Or maybe the updates will be done at a later date

611 words | ready for grading
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