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Pi Network

Draft King Analysis
October 9, 2015
Lou Pickney,

Reader feedback is always welcomed here on Draft King. Sound off with your thoughts on Twitter (@LouPickney) or via email at

It had been my intention to use at least some of this space to issue a retort to the New York Times' irresponsible anti-Daily Fantasy Sports opinion piece from earlier this week. The leaps of logic and flimsy arguments within only helped to emphasize the agenda behind the paper's overtly-tilted coverage of DFS this week, undermining their own credibility in the process.

But then I read comments from UCLA head coach Jim Mora, who criticized injured UCLA LB Myles Jack for leaving for the NFL. I bristled at what I saw, and then a realization abruptly occurred to me. Knowing that Mora had his own agenda in play, I summarily dismissed what he was saying, even if there was some kernel of non-selfish thought and legit concern for Jack's long-term chances from him.

It made me think about my own obvious reasons for wanting DFS to thrive and succeed, and I decided to nix the very strongly-worded response that I wrote. So I'm going to lay out on that one. Sometimes you have to pick your battles carefully.

Update 10/10/2015: This article explains the DFS non-scandal clearly and objectively. Highly recommended.

The dismissal of Auburn WR D'haquille "Duke" Williams earlier this week ended a tumultuous tenure at the school for Williams, who looked exceptionally talented at times last season as a Juco transfer breakout star in 2014. But Williams seemed to be at odds with the coaching staff at times, and he was barely utilized this season before being shown the door.

It was very interesting to read what ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay wrote on Twitter shortly after news broke on Monday of the dismissal.

That was remarkably negative by McShay's usual standards, which immediately drew my attention. He wouldn't throw something like that out there without good reason, or at least that was my supposition.

My hypothesis proved to be correct, as news broke two days ago that Williams allegedly punched four people during an altercation at a nightclub following last Saturday's win over San Jose State. One of them was reported to be Auburn teammate Xavier Dampeer.

No criminal charges have stemmed from the incident, at least as of this writing, but clearly Williams' status as an NFL wide receiver prospect has been damaged. But, as always, talent will gain you additional opportunities in life. We'll see how it all shakes out for Williams.

Frustration is mounting in Oxford, MS over the ongoing holding pattern for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Much like I advised Todd Gurley last year, at this point I would suggest that Tunsil should tell the NCAA to stick it and start getting ready for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Gurley, you might recall, had to sit out four games as punishment from the NCAA for having the temerity to be compensated for signing his name on photos of himself and other memorabilia. Then, in his first game back, he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.

Life isn't fair.

But for Tunsil, not to mention Ole Miss fans, the slow-roll of justice from the NCAA has to be particularly maddening. It's one thing to have antiquated, horribly unfair rules cloaked in propaganda, like nonsensical phrases such as student-athlete, as the NCAA does. It's another to propagate a system of presumed apparent guilt where a team is strong-armed into holding players out, lest they later prove to be retroactively ruled ineligible.

One noteworthy development from the newest Mel Kiper big board is the debut of Memphis QB Paxton Lynch. The Tigers are unbeaten and have a home matchup looming next weekend with Ole Miss, and seeing how Lynch does against Robert Nkemdiche and company will be very interesting.

At 6'6" 230 pounds, Lynch has NFL quality size. And with a 70%+ completion rate to go with 10 TDs and zero interceptions this season, he is drawing plenty of attention. Should Lynch, a redshirt junior, opt to leave for the NFL following the season, it will be intriguing to see where he ends up in the QB evaluation pecking order.


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