Monday, January 30, 2012

Where Are They Now?: George Foreman

George Foreman retired from boxing in 1977 after he held the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and won an Olympic gold medal. Unlike other athletes, Foreman had a successful return from retirement. He became the oldest heavyweight champion ever in 1994, at age 45. His healthy lifestyle was then used to promote the "George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine." He attributed his success in boxing to his strict diet of indoor-cooked hamburgers and turkey burgers. However, that is only the side of George Foreman that everyone knows.

Much less known is his love of Pokémon. After retiring from boxing a second time in 1997, Foreman needed an outlet for his competitive nature. George asked his 8 year old nephew what he would do if he had 100 million dollars like his Uncle George, and his nephew responded, "Play Pokémon Blue." As his nephew had never steered him wrong, George set out to try this "Pokémon Blue." George was a natural. He beat the entire game in 4 hours and 16 minutes despite never using the bike. In a 2001 interview with Ring magazine, George stated that his favorite pokémon was Jigglypuff. George dabbled in the card game, but felt strange as a man among boys (It's not a picture of Jerry Sandusky. That would be too easy.). In 2011, to honor his love of the game, he released a limited edition "Pokéball George Foreman Grill."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baron and Me: The Return of B-Diddy

As the weekend approaches, so does the beginning of a new epoch in New York Knicks basketball - the Baron Davis era.  Called everything from "The Modern Day Messiah" to a "fat, injury prone knucklehead", Baron has been a polarizing figure from his days at UCLA not because of what he's done so much as what he's considered capable of.  A superb athlete with a gift for getting into the lane and 5 Dollar Boxes from Taco Bell, Boom Dizzle has drawn both the awe and ire of fans everywhere he's been - and he's been to quite a few places.

It's popular to trade Baron Davis; his reputation for enthusiastic starts and disdain for conditioning has made him the consummate trade bait, a player capable of generating unparalleled excitement around a basketball team when it's good.  But he's also capable of drawing criticism when his team plays poorly, and just as he feeds off the energy of an enthusiastic crowd, he feeds off the unsold hot dogs and fries when attendance falls and interest wanes.

However, the truth is that Baron Davis simply doesn't love basketball, and that's meant in the most complimentary way possible.  The game has been a means to numerous ends for him, ranging from sponsoring the Nike of the East to charity to his own clothing line.  This is perfectly captured by his personal website, Baron Davis' Boomiverse, on which only a single link is related to his basketball career.  In today's media saturated environment, we often expect athletes to love what they do; they play a children's game and earn a man's wage, traveling to exotic locals such as Cleveland and inspiring generations of children with their heroics to do what they love.  But perhaps Baron Davis is a different kind of hero, a hero for not embracing the mainstream.  His charitable work is admirable, and he has used his platform as an athlete to both spread awareness about important issues and do what he does love: fashion, creation, interaction with fans.  So what if he isn't around for extra wind sprints?

Baron is slated to make his Knicks debut any day now and with the team slumping his impact, positive or negative, will only be amplified.  In the coming months many fans will rise with him to epic highs, and decry some epic lows.  In all of this, I only urge fans to remember who Baron the person is, and that the same obsessive quality he lacks in basketball has allowed him to do good for others, and lead a happier, more fulfilling life.  If that's not the boom dizzle, I don't know what is.

Joe Silvestro is a regular contributor to Sports Casual, check back every Funday Friday for his witticisms concerning the Wide World of Sports.  Email him at

Happy Australia Day

Today marks the annual celebration of Australia Day, the national holiday for that country that somehow also gets to be a continent. It's the first I've heard about this holiday, but if what they tell me about Australians is true, it sounds like a pretty good time. Today, then, we honor the most famous Australians in sports. So grab a Fosters, put some shrimp on the barbie, and maybe make some Australian friends so you can learn more about the land down under than these two stereotypes.

Lleyton Hewitt

Know him?: Probably.
Sport: Tennis.
Accolades: 2001 U.S. Open Champion, 2002 Wimbledon Champion, World #1.
Pros: Being ranked #1 in the world for anything, for any length of time, is a pretty cool accomplishment.
Cons: It was tennis.

Ian Thorpe

Know him?: It's possible.
Sport: Competitive buoyancy.
Accolades: A plethora of Olympic medals, including 5 golds.
Pros: The "Thorpedo" is an awesome nickname.
Cons: Only five?

Tim Cahill

Know him?: Do you call soccer "soccer" or "football?"
Sport: Soccer
Accolades: 55 English Premier League goals, all-time leading World Cup scorer for Australia
Pros: A cracking strike!
Cons: What the fuck Evan, we're down 2 points!

Steve Irwin

Know him?: I should hope so.
Sport: Hunting crocodiles.
Accolades: Multitudes of crocodiles hunted.
Pros: Turned what should have been a pointless and mundane activity into sensational television.
Cons: May he rest in peace.

Ben Graham

Know him?: How deep does your fantasy draft go?
Sport: (American) Football.
Accolades: Tied NFL record for most punts inside 20.
Pros: 3+ seasons with the Arizona Cardinals means lots of punting opportunities.
Cons: Australian Rules Football makes no sense. None. (The AC-DC doesn't help.)

Hugh Jackman

Know him?: *Sigh.* Yes.
Sport: Some type of surrogate robot boxing.
Accolades: This film somehow made it to theaters.
Pros: I guess, the whole Wolverine thing...?
Cons: According to Wikipedia, at the end, the bad guy wins ON POINTS. That's not how robot boxing should work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning a Paper Clip into a House

(In case you've never heard this story...)

Hasheem Thabeet is the worst player in the NBA. Let's see if we can turn Thabeet into a superstar and Houston into a winner. Ignore rules about not being able to trade a player you just traded for (if that rule even exists). Every trade works in the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.

1) Thabeet to Toronto for Linas Kleiza - Former all star Jamal Magloire (can you guess which year?) is Toronto's backup center. They have to take a chance on Thabeet.

2) Kleiza to Denver for Chris Anderson - Kleiza returns to Denver where he had great success, while Denver dumps one of their 4 centers.

3) Chris Anderson to the Pistons for Jason Maxiell - Detroit is last in the NBA in blocks. Enter Birdman.

4) Jason Maxiell's expiring contract to the Suns for Channing Frye - It's time for the Suns to rebuild. Channing has 4 years left on his contract. Sell high.

5) Channing Frye to Atlanta for Marvin Williams - Atlanta is 2nd in the East, but Horford is out for a while. They need a center now if they want to keep one of the top seeds. Crunchtime five of Josh Smith, Horford, Frye, Johnson, and Teague could be dangerous. Williams also makes 2 million more per year.

6) Marvin Williams to the Clippers for Mo Williams - Clippers have too many guards and not enough depth. Marvin gives them flexibility, depth at both forward positions, and a nice fit next to Chris Paul.

7) Mo Williams to the Dallas Mavericks for Jason Kidd - Jason Kidd is shooting 26% and averaging 4 points a game. He's finally too old. If the Mavericks want another shot at a title, they need to change something up and upgrading the backcourt may be the best move.

8) Jason Kidd's expiring contract ($10 million) to the Hornets for Emeka Okafor - The Hornets can now go into the off-season with almost $40 million coming off the books.

9) Emeka Okafor to Cleveland for Antwain Jamison -Cleveland has a nice young group of talent with Tristan Thomas and Kyrie Irving. Emeka would be a nice veteran presence on a team that doesn't really have a Center.

10) Antwain Jamison's expiring contract ($15 million) to the Spurs for Tony Parker - Eventually, the Spurs are going to have to decide to rebuild. With Manu Ginobili hurt, this should be it.

11) Tony Parker to the Suns for Steve Nash - Steve Nash is finally freed. Phoenix gets the 29 year old French point guard to take the offense over for the next four years of his contract.

12) Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers for Andrew Bynum - Kobe may not have many years left. It's now or never. I don't care about Andrew Bynum's potential. Right now, he is not as good as Steve Nash. In the last five minutes of a playoff game, I'd rather have Nash, Bryant, Gasol than Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum.

13) Andrew Bynum to Orlando for Dwight Howard - Orlando finally gives in and accepts that Howard is not going to resign. Orlando builds around Bynum over the next 10 years.

14) Dwight Howard to the Heat for Lebron James - I think Lebron is the best player in the world, but this trade makes Miami better. Chalmers, Wade, Battier, Bosh, and Dwight would be a nightmare offensively, defensively, and on the boards. The only reason they would never do this? This.

And there you have it. The Houston Rockets turn Hasheem Thabeet into Lebron James, and go on to win the NBA Championship.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Little Ricky

Because he may be the greatest passer in the world already

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oh No, Tebow

Last night, the New England Patriots brought Denver's miraculous season to a crashing halt. With the loss comes this reckless prediction: Tim Tebow will never start another postseason game in his career. The stalwart New England defense and the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs have shown the rest of the league how to stop the Teb-meister: put any 11 guys on the field, contain the edges, and loosely cover underneath routs.

Before we say goodbye to Tim Tebow forever, I'd like to play one of my favorite games that I just invented. I call it: "Teach Me How To Tebow." Below are the statistics for Tiny Tim and the starting quarterback for the opposing team in each of Tebow's 13 starts. Can you pick which stat line belongs to Tim Tebow?

Week 7: Denver at Miami (Moore)
A) 22 for 33, 197 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
B) 13 for 27, 161 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

Week 8: Denver vs. Detroit (Stafford)
A) 21 for 30, 267 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
B) 18 for 39, 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Week 9: Denver at Oakland (Palmer)
A) 10 for 21, 124 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
B) 19 for 35, 332 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT

Week 10: Denver at Kansas City (Cassel)
A) 13 for 28, 93 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
B) 2 for 8, 69 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Week 11: Denver vs. New York Jets (Sanchez)
A) 9 for 20, 104 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
B) 24 for 40, 252 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Week 12: Denver at San Diego (Rivers)
A) 9 for 18, 143 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
B) 19 for 36, 188 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Week 13: Denver at Minnesota (Ponder)
A) 10 for 15, 202 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
B) 29 for 47, 381 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Week 14: Denver vs. Chicago (Hanie)
A) 12 for 19, 115 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
B) 21 for 40, 236 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Week 15: Denver vs. New England (Brady)
A) 11 for 22, 194 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
B) 23 for 34, 320 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

Week 16: Denver at Buffalo (Fitzpatrick)
A) 13 for 29, 185 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
B) 15 for 27, 196 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Week 17: Denver vs. Kansas City (Orton)
A) 15 for 29, 180 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
B) 6 for 22, 60 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Wild Card: Denver vs. Pittsburgh (Roethlisberger)
A) 22 for 40, 289 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
B) 10 for 21, 316 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

Divisional: Denver at New England (Brady)
A) 9 for 26, 136 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
B) 26 for 34, 363 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT

Answers: B, B, A, B, A, A, A, B (really), A, A, B, B (twist), A (order is restored)

What does your score mean?

A Perfect 13: Married to Gisele Bündchen
10-12 correct: State Farm commercial co-star
7-9 correct: President of the the Kyle Orton Fan Club
Less than 7 correct: Starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Closing The Book On Another College Football Season

From the start of spring football right until the clock hit double-zero in the BCS championship game, this season has been full of headlines. Some were good; most were not. Here's what I'll remember from this year's installment of college football.

6. Kickers need to relearn how to kick - It's been a while since so many chipshots of extreme magnitude have sailed wide of the uprights.

5. As good as Andrew Luck might be in the NFL, his last season at Stanford was something of a disappointment - Luck put up some very impressive numbers this season, throwing for 3,517 yards, 37 TDs, and 10 INTs. But Luck's final college season is better characterized as one where he 1) lost the big games and 2) sported an exceptionally repugnant beard.

4. College football has missed USC, will miss Ohio St, and welcomes back Michigan - I hate the Trojans just as much as the next guy, but there's no use loathing USC if their seasons are wholly irrelevant. The Pac12 was deprived of what could have been a great championship game in lieu of a much less exciting Oregon vs. UCLA contest. Along those lines, keeping Ohio St. out of the post season will hurt the viability of the Big Ten. On the other side of things, it's good to see the Wolverines back in the headlines for winning.

3. Honey Badger is a stupid nickname - Please stop using it. I'm talking to you, Brent Musburger.

2. The Penn St. scandal was the most upsetting news to ever hit college football - For the school, the victims, and anyone else involved, this situation has been nothing less than devastating. The magnitude was enormous; the consequences are grave. Sadly, it's far from over; when the trial begins, the media circus is sure to resume.

1. 2012 will be even more scandal-ridden than 2011 was - No so much in magnitude, but certainly in number. The NCAA practices an exclusively reactionary policy: allow rules to be broken, then punish whoever is still around after the fact. This isn't going to change anytime soon. What we learned this year is that college football has many more situations that demand a reaction, which *hopefully* will eventually mean prevention altogether.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Alabama vs. LSU Remix: Keys to the Game

1) LSU's other receivers - LSU's offense has been simple this year: physically overmatch the opposition in the run game and take advantage of one-on-one opportunities with Ruben Randle. Unfortunately for LSU, Alabama is the only team LSU has faced that can physically match up with their offensive line and Ruben Randle, arguably the best receiver in the SEC, will be matched up with Dre Kirkpatrick, a potential top 15 pick in this year's NFL Draft. Alabama forced LSU to play left handed in the first game, and LSU had no counter. If LSU can't run their normal offense, look for them to start running more misdirection/zone-read/option type plays to take advantage of the Alabama aggressive style, and if that doesn't look for them to attack the other one-on-one receiver matchups, specifically with Russell Shepperd and Odell Becham. If those two guys are beating their man early on, expect LSU to look for them on 1st down throws throughout the game.

2) Short yardage conversions - I expect this game to come down to a few 4th and 1 or 3rd and short situations. It would seem that Alabama has a big advantage because of Trent Richardson, but Jordan Jefferson's ability to run the speed option on these downs could be even more valuable. I give Alabama the slight edge, because they can also use their tight ends off play-action more often, but this is an area that Alabama has to dominate. Mostly because of the special teams disparity. Speaking of special teams...

3) Alabama can't get dominated in special teams - Whether or not you believe LSU's defenese is better than Alabama, LSU has without a the greatest defense/special teams combination this year, and possibly of all time. LSU is going to win this battle. People will focus on Alabama's field goal kicking, but that isn't even the biggest concern. LSU has the greatest punt and kickoff coverage team of all time, an NFL punter, a dynamic punt returner, and a coach who's willing to throw a few tricks into the gameplan. Alabama doesn't have to return any kicks for touchdowns, but they absolutely have to take care of the ball on punts and kickoffs and they can't allow Mathieu to break a long return.

4) Trent Richardson - Trent Richardson is the best all-around player in this game. If Alabama is going to win, he's going to have to have similar production to his last game. Look for him to run behind LG Barrett Jones throughout this game. If he can consistently get 3 or 4 yards a carry, that'll be enough to keep AJ Mcarron in good situations. Also, look for Trent to get a lot of work in the passing game. Maze and Hanks will probably struggle, but if Bama can find a way to get Trent matched up on a linebacker on a wheel route or if they call a well-timed screen, he may be able to break a long play for a Touchdown. Finally, watch Trent when it comes to pass protection. LSU likes to run Buddy Ryan's famous "Bear" defense, in which LSU's three defensive linemen are lined up over the center and two guards. LSU has been blitzing one, and sometimes both, of their middle linebackers right up the middle, forcing a running back to pick up of one of their over-powering linebackers. LSU killed Arkansas with that blitz. If Trent can pick it up, AJ can hopefully buy enough time for someone to get open.

Since the Alabama game, LSU has continued to improve offensively. Jordan Jefferson was essentially playing in a Jarrett Lee gameplan last game. In today's game, LSU will be featuring Jordan Jefferson's running ability more often. I actually wouldn't be surprised if LSU blew out Alabama and completed one of the greatest resume's in college football history (wins against Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Cotton Bowl winners, as well as Georgia and Bama twice). However, I just can't see Nick Saban losing twice to the same team. I can't see Trent Richardson not having a big game after losing the Heisman. I can't see Les Miles going an entire season without out one costly mental error. And I can't see Nick Saban not using this long layoff to significantly improve his team.

Alabama jumps out to a big lead, LSU replaces Jefferson with Lee, Lee leads the Tigers all the way back, but Trent Richardson and Alabama pull it out in the end.

Alabama 21 LSU 17

And LSU will still be ranked #1 a few days from now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hipster Linebacker

Oh, you made the playoffs with a winning record? That's so mainstream.

Dear Diary, Monster Trucks Are Awesome

A marvel of modern technology.

Dear diary,

Monster trucks are awesome. I went to Thunder Nationals Monster Jam on Friday and it was the best sporting event ever. It had everything I've always wanted and more.

Doing the pregame activities properly was essential. We went to Goodwill to find clothes to fit in at the rally. We were both able to put together quality outfits to blend in for under $10. The less you spend on an outfit, the better. The pregame activities were capped off with a tailgate. I don't want to watch monster trucks on an empty stomach.

The event was very affordable; thus, everyone who wanted to go was able to go. Kids seats were still just $5! Tickets on the street in the lower level were $10. This wasn't the Super Bowl crowd. I would guess that only 25% of the crowd was there on business or got corporate tickets. Accordingly, it was rowdy.

Monster trucks are the most unpredictable sporting event. I didn't even know what events would be included. Last year, they had go kart races and the sphere of death. This year, they blew a guy up in a box and shot a lady out of a cannon! With no prior knowledge of any of the trucks, I had no idea who would win. Grave Digger was the overwhelming crowd favorite, even more popular than Spiderman. I was surprised that there were more Dave Matthews Band fans than action hero movie fans at this type of event. However, popularity doesn't mean wins outside of pro wrestling. Grave Digger didn't even win his heat.

Lastly, the event organizers know how to give the audience what they want. The action is exciting. The cars are loud. Forget people competing; it's about machines competing now. Beyond the quality of the product, the fans got what they want. After the actual monster truck competition, there was a freestyle competition. Give each truck a minute to do whatever it wants, which means run over cars and do donuts. I can't think of anything else I would rather watch, except maybe someone being shot out of a cannon. Oh wait, they already did that.

I can't wait for Thunder Nationals next year!

Very affectionately,
Big Russ

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 NFL Playoff Predictions

In honor of a traditional born out of Jimmy the Greek and continued, miraculously, through the era of Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson, Sports Casual will have its expert prognosticators predict the NFL playoffs.

While conventional statistics tells us that the odds of predicting the entire playoffs are 1/2048, the story is much deeper. There are methods of prediction that turn 50/50 guess work into an exact science.

Going into the 2012 NFL playoffs, the story lines are a plenty. We have a few teams that are just thrilled to be there (Lions, Bengals, Texans, 49ers, Broncos). We have a whopping 5 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks (Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Saints, Giants). And the connection between the remaining two teams (Ravens and Falcons)? Obvious! Ray Lewis was indicted for murder in Atlanta, but then completely got away with it. No biggie.

Without further ado, our staff’s picks…

NOTE: We are concerned that Josh Rosenberg believes the Bills made the playoffs. Though that ship sailed at the end of October, a Bengals or Bills Super Bowl championship has already been proven to be impossible.

Realistically, Joe needed his own grid.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Are You There God? It’s Me, Mike D’Antoni

Are you there God?

It’s me, Mike D’Antoni.  What the hell?  The BobcatsReally?  First you took Iman’s ankle and I get it, he’s a young kid not used to NBA action thanks to the lockout.  Then you took Amar’’’e’s ankle, but I didn’t say anything because as long as you leave his knees alone I can’t complain.  Now we get back to full strength, and we lose to the 2nd coming of Fat Shawn Kemp?

I just don’t understand, I thought I was your favorite son (ok, second favorite); I’m the man with the golden mustache, the guy who invented a fast paced, no defense system and poof – there’s Steve Nash in my lap, the greatest Canadian since Dudley Do Right.  I decided to change it up and take my talents to New York and bam – Amar’e Stoudamire the four-eyed power forward follows me there.  It was as if I could do no wrong.  Eddy Curry and Jerome James grew to biblical proportions, Shawne Williams stayed out of jail long enough to hit a couple of threes, everything was going my way.  I’ve done everything you’ve asked for God; I sacrificed Grant Hill’s knees in Phoenix, I took in a lost lamb when nobody else would care for him.  

Is it because you’ve found a new favorite?  Don’t think I didn’t notice that since he arrived, everything’s been different.  Is it because we’ve committed a deadly sin, like sloth?  That should’ve been offset by the cross Billy Walker has tattooed across his entire chest.  Is it because I’m Italian?  Lavazza has great flavor, and I promise that if I ever meet Benito Mussolini I’ll kill him, really I will.  

All I want is a sign; give me a sign, anything.  The next time Josh Smith takes a three, make it go in – surely that’s nothing short of divine intervention.  The next time Lebron James ruins his reputation, make him apologize – that would be nothing short of a miracle.  Part the sea of hair gel on Pat Riley’s head.  I don’t want to have to turn to the occult and Eastern religion, but I will if I have to; maybe Buddha will listen to my problems.  I don’t want a championship, I don’t want a defense.  All I want to do is beat the Bobcats, and the Raptors, and every other team located in a city with 50 basketball fans or less (Miami, looking at you).

Hugs and Half Court Shots,
Mikey from Italy

Joe Silvestro is a regular contributor to Sports Casual, check back every Funday Friday for his witticisms concerning the Wide World of Sports.  Email him at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NFL MVP Candidate: David Akers

A wise man once said "kickers are not football players, until they prove otherwise." Many have failed. Few have barely succeeded. One has put together arguably the greatest season in NFL history. Through hard work, David Akers has overcome years of adversity and become the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

In order to be the NFL MVP, one has to put up a phenomenal statistical season. Despite being on the field for only 180 plays this year (that's 11.25 plays per game), David Akers has scored 166 points this season (that's 10.4 points per game). That's almost one point every time he steps onto the football field, and a little under half of their total points for the season. His 44 field goals made this year, including 7 50+ yard field goals, was a new NFL record. To put that in perspective, his 2.75 3-pointers per game is about equal to Ray Allen, Dwayne Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal's 3-point field goals made per game last year COMBINED. Not to mention that he connected on 85% of them. Throw in the fact that he connected on all 34 of his extra point attempts, and it is clear that David Akers was the most efficient and effective scorer of this NFL season. His ability to score from close range and from distance is simply sensational.

In addition, David Akers proved to be the most versatile players in the NFL. Not only was he the best special teams player in the NFL, he also found a way to contribute on offense and defense. Offensively, David Akers had statistically one of the greatest passing years of all time. His 100% completion percentage, 158.3 passer rating, and 1.00 Touchdowns per attempt all set NFL records. His ability to read the defense was Peyton Manning-esque. Defensively, David Akers put together two of the most bone-crushing tackles* in NFL history.

The second criteria for being an NFL MVP is being critical to your team's success. After watching the game film of Alex Smith for the past 7 years, Jim Harbaugh decided that instead of letting Alex Smith try to throw TDs in the red zone, they would simply kick field goals. This strategy made San Francisco the most improved team in the NFL and David Akers turned out to be the foundation of their run to a second seed.

Thirdly, an NFL MVP must be irreplaceable. Some may say that you could find another kicker that could get similar results, but couldn't you say that about players at every position? Aren't there players in the NFL that could replace Aaron Rodgers without them skipping a beat? Couldn't you switch Calvin Johnson with any other top receiver and get similar results?

Finally, there is the "what would their record be if you took that player away" argument. Aaron Rodgers would be replaced by Matt Flynn. Drew Brees would be Chase Daniels. Tom Brady would be replaced by Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett. Tim Tebow would be replaced by Mike Alstott. But who would replace David Akers? David Akers doesn't even have a backup! Without him, the 49ers would have to use another player on the roster to kick or go for it on every 4th down. Alex Smith would have to be more aggressive, leading to countless interceptions. And the 49ers would single-handily kill millions of fantasy teams with all of their missed extra points**. Basically, the 49ers would still the be the 49ers of yesteryear.

Alas, the defense rests. David Akers has my vote for NFL MVP.

*For some reason, there is no video evidence of David Akers 2 tackles this year. We'll just assume that they were bone-crushing.
**Assuming a team loses 50 points for ever missed extra point in your fantasy league.