BT scheme loses final court appeal against PPF levy exemption

first_imgIn a statement, the scheme said: “We welcome the clarity the judgement provides and have proceeded to date on the basis that the levy would remain payable.”A spokesman for BT said it accepted, but was disappointed, by the court’s decision.The ruling is the latest in a number of court cases for BTPS, which has been seeking to clarify in front of domestic courts the extent of the Crown Guarantee – a guarantee that would require the UK government to support the formerly state-owned company’s pension fund were it to become insolvent.A UK Court of Appeal ruling from July found that the UK government would not be required to meet the costs of a buyout were the sponsor to collapse.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to European Court of Justice verdict The BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) has seen its exemption from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levy confirmed as unlawful state aid.The UK’s second-largest pension fund had been appealing a 2013 ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that found it was incompatible with the single European market to be exempt from the lifeboat scheme’s levy, and therefore amounted to state support.It followed an investigation by the European competition authorities in 2007 that led to then-competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to order an end to the PPF levy exemption.In its judgement, the court said the appeal was “unfounded” and would be dismissed, ordering BT and the BTPS to cover all associated costs.last_img read more

50 Years Ago

first_imgIt certainly does not seem that it has been 50 years since Indianapolis Washington won a state basketball championship.  The Continentals were led by George McGinnes, Steve Downing, and Jim Arnold.  Their coach was Jerry Oliver.  They defeated Gary Tolleston 79-76.Why is this team so special?  According to an article in the Indianapolis Star, this team is considered to be the best team to ever hit the floor in Indiana basketball.  My recollection of this team was their tremendous physical appearance.  In person you thought you were watching a college team take the floor–not 17 or 18 year old high school kids.  These guys were men!Most of these guys still live in the Indianapolis area and stay very close.  Can you imagine going to your favorite family restaurant and listening to these guys reminisce?  Both McGinnes and Downing wound up playing professional basketball and each made a mark on the game.  McGinnis was an early version of Lebron James.last_img read more

Suarez conquering critics – Rodgers

first_img The Uruguayan joined the Reds in January 2011 and in December of that year was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. Last season he was handed another ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, meaning he did not play until September this campaign, but that has not stopped him netting 19 goals as Liverpool battle for a Champions League place. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez is beginning to win over his critics with his form on the pitch after a controversial start to life in English football. And Rodgers, who has given his public backing to Suarez on numerous occasions, believes that form on the field is beginning to win over those who are not on the red side of Merseyside. “He’s absolutely in the right place,” Rodgers told several national newspapers. “Supporters around the country are marvelling at his talent and he is gaining the understanding of the culture here. “Throughout South America and parts of Europe it is part of the game to maybe get the referee to make a decision for you. He has recognised and realised that this is a country where honesty is very much at the forefront of the game. “He’s well on the way to being the PFA Player of the Year. Whether he gets the award or not, there certainly hasn’t been a better player consistently this season and he’ll be looking to continue along that vein. “It would be a great testament to not only him but (to us) as a people as well. (When) people get knocked down, we like to see that sometimes in this country, but we’re also a nation that will pick people up again, and that’s something you can see in the football world with Suarez.” Rodgers was also full of praise for the way the striker, who recently penned a new long-term contract, handled himself in the wake on the Ivanovic biting incident. “There was a lot of self-reflection and he probably thought he couldn’t have gone any lower,” Rodgers admitted. “I know he was in a real bad place at the time and sometimes in life it takes you to get to that point and you have to assess it and you go one of two ways. “In that period there were a lot of difficult moments for him but as he became closer to staying and realising he was going to be playing fairly quickly, he’s been exemplary in his behaviour. “On the pitch everyone can see the maturity and his level of performance speaks for itself.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Black Cats get the point

first_img The Black Cats were in front within the opening few seconds when Connor Wickham pounced on an error by Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Stoke deservedly equalised in the 27th minute as Charlie Adam continued his recent goalscoring heroics by cracking home an unstoppable shot, moments after Jermain Defoe had spurned a fine chance for the visitors. Press Association There were decent opportunities for either side to win the match after the break, but it finished with honours even, with Costel Pantilimon diving to keep out another Adam strike at the end. While the result takes Sunderland to 30 points with five games remaining, they have fallen from 16th, a point clear of the drop zone, to 18th, a point adrift of safety, with both Hull and Leicester leapfrogging them after winning their fixtures on Saturday. Stoke, meanwhile, remain ninth. The build-up to the game had certainly been far from ideal for the Wearside outfit, with midfielder Adam Johnson on Thursday being charged with three offences of sexual activity with a child under 16 and one of grooming. But – with Johnson absent from their matchday 18 – the contest began as well for Sunderland as they could have imagined as they grabbed the lead inside a minute. Begovic fumbled horribly as he tried to collect a Will Buckley cross and Wickham took full advantage, prodding in from close range. Stoke responded strongly, with Adam sending a swerving shot into Pantilimon before having penalty appeals turned down when he went down under the attentions of Buckley. Pantilimon then got down low to palm away a Jonathan Walters shot and saw a Stephen Ireland volley deflect wide. Sunderland had mustered little since their goal, but in the 25th minute they might have extended their lead as a long ball that was not dealt with by Philipp Wollscheid put Defoe through on goal. A turbulent few days for Sunderland ended with them claiming a point towards their Barclays Premier League survival bid but also dropping into the relegation zone as they drew 1-1 with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. The striker could only fire into the side-netting, though, and moments later his profligacy was punished as Adam drew things level with his third goal in four games. Neat play between Walters and Marko Arnautovic saw the latter turn nicely and tee up Adam, who rifled the ball into the top corner. Stoke continued to pressurise, with Ryan Shawcross heading over, Arnautovic bending a shot into the arms of Pantilimon and Adam trying for another spectacular effort that went too high. The Potters were putting together some nice passing moves, particularly getting joy down the left flank, and their opponents looked relieved to hear the whistle for half-time. Sunderland – with John O’Shea playing on despite taking a boot in the face from Wollscheid just prior to the interval, but Danny Graham on for Buckley – did their best to create some momentum at the start of the second period, Jordi Gomez shooting to Begovic and the goalkeeper then turning a Defoe attempt behind. The sleeping Wollscheid was subsequently robbed of possession and Wickham burst through, but a great Shawcross block denied him. And soon after, another decent chance went begging for the visitors as Billy Jones found space in the area but his shot deflected wide. The visitors then survived a scare when Pantilimon did superbly to to divert over a Mame Biram Diouf strike after the frontman chested down Adam’s free-kick. Peter Crouch came on for Stoke and saw a Sunderland shirt get in the way of his goalbound effort, before Arnautovic struck wide. Crouch’s team-mate Peter Odemwingie, recovered from his long-term knee injury, was introduced with 10 minutes to go for his first appearance since August. And with only three minutes of normal time remaining, Pantilimon preserved a point for his side by diving to tip away Adam’s drive. last_img read more

Danns makes return to Golden Jaguars

first_imgUK-BASED Neil Danns is about to make a return to the Golden Jaguars, as Guyana’s Senior National Football team prepare for their October 7 International Friendly against Grenada at the Kirani James Stadium in St George’s.It will be déjà vu for Danns, 34, who made his international debut for the Golden Jaguars against Grenada. He assisted in both of Pernell Shultz’s two goals, which resulted in Guyana walking away with a 2-0 win.However, the game was rewarded to Grenada and Guyana also fined by FIFA, after the sport’s world-governing body deemed former English Premier League (EPL) defender Matthew Briggs’ participation ‘illegal’.Danns, who plays in the midfield, is coming off a sensational run in English football’s League One with Blackpool, and featured four times for Guyana, scoring three goals.Meanwhile, 19-year-old full-back Terence Vancooten who plays for Stevenage Football Club in the English football’s League Two, is expected to make his international debut for Guyana after being called by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).Defender Warren Creavalle, who features in the USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS) with the Philadelphia Union, will also be joining the team for another outing with the Golden Jaguars. So too is Englishman Samuel Cox, who usually wears the captain’s armband.Finland-based Walter Moore, according to sources, is also expected to return as the GFF technical team looks to put together the strongest possible team to face Grenada.With regard to the local players, the GFF still remains tight-lipped on its selection, with a source close to the team confirming that striker Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson will be included in the squad.The team will depart on Thursday for Trinidad and Tobago, where they will play a warm-up match before heading to the Spice Isle. … Terence Vancooten to make international debutlast_img read more

Riley steps up after seeing increased minutes in vital stretch

first_imgBUFFALO — Rick Jackson said he didn’t want to pick up that third foul and the seat on the bench that would come with it.Nevertheless, just 55 seconds after foul No. 2 against Gonzaga on Sunday, Jackson committed his third foul and made the long, sad walk back to the bench.Syracuse only led Gonzaga by one point. Big but raw freshman DaShonte Riley was about to play extended time in the Orange’s most important game of the season. The game was in the balance, and Syracuse’s center was a rarely used player who averaged 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.The defining moment of the game loomed ahead.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I knew that the team needed me, and I wanted to be that presence in the middle, but DaShonte got in there and he did a good job,’ Jackson said. ‘And that’s when I finally relaxed. He’s handling the middle, and I just couldn’t wait for the second half to start up.’Syracuse could have wilted. Instead, it closed the half on a 25-11 run that helped ice the game in the Orange’s 87-65 win over Gonzaga in a second-round West Regional game at HSBC Arena in Buffalo.Gonzaga’s 7-foot center, Robert Sacre, scored just one basket in the final 8:58 of the first half, with Riley doing a serviceable job of containing him.‘This team has had such great cohesiveness all year no matter what five guys are on the floor,’ shooting guard Andy Rautins said. ‘We’re all on the same page. We’re more than confident in DaShonte stepping up and having big minutes. He’s progressing every day. We have confidence in whoever is on the floor.’When Jackson left, Syracuse quickly used a 9-0 run to balloon its lead to 31-21, before Gonzaga sliced the lead to 32-28. Rautins then scored four straight points, before finding Brandon Triche for a layup that pushed the lead back to 10.In that final 8:58, the Orange stepped up defensively, limiting Gonzaga to just 11 shots and forcing four turnovers. Gonzaga tallied just two buckets in the final 3:49 of the half.‘When (Rick) went out, me and Kris took it upon ourselves to get to the boards,’ Wes Johnson said. ‘When DaShonte came in, we knew we would be fine when he came in. We would have to crash the boards more and really make an emphasis on defense to get out to the shooter and make it tough for them.’The soft-spoken Riley was pleased with his performance in the extended time, which saw him total 15 minutes with an assist and a steal but no points or rebounds. He played for all but 29 seconds of that 8:58 stretch.‘I wanted to go out there and play hard,’ Riley said. ‘I know I was going to play some minutes in this tournament, but I never knew I would be put in a situation where the game was that close, but at the same time I just wanted to go out there and play hard and just give an effort.’Triche comes on again For Brandon Triche, it’s all about confidence.As the season wound down, the freshman point guard said his confidence was low. That stopped him from attacking the basket and playing aggressively like he normally does. He did not score double-digit points since a game against Providence on Feb. 2, and his numbers dropped like an anchor.But in his first two NCAA Tournament games, the offensive output has returned, coinciding with a rekindling of his confidence. Triche scored 13 points against Gonzaga on Sunday and is now averaging 11.5 points per contest in the Tournament. He hit two more 3s against the Bulldogs, moving his two-game total to five. He had just five 3-pointers in his last 14 games entering the Tournament.‘My confidence is high, I’m having fun and that’s the key. You just have to have fun out there,’ Triche said. ‘Toward the end of the season, I really wasn’t having fun out there and also just putting a lot of pressure on myself to do good, so I think that kind of affected my game. So now I’m just playing at ease. I’m at ease with myself, and I’m playing comfortable and I’m helping the team out.’Triche scored all 13 of his points in the final 8:15 of the first half. He hit a 3 and scored on a layup to expand SU’s lead to 29-21, before connecting on a 3 that gave Syracuse a 46-30 lead. He only took three shots in the second half, with Syracuse comfortably cruising along on its way to the Sweet 16.‘Once I see the ball go through the net, my confidence rises to another level and that’s a big thing with me, being comfortable and having confidence,’ Triche said. ‘If my confidence is high, I’m going to help the team out.’ Comments Published on March 20, 2010 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

In Kawhi Leonard, Clippers have a self-made superstar who keeps getting better

first_imgMichael Snaer got everyone at the photo shoot laughing – including Kawhi Leonard, the reserved Riverside King High boys’ basketball star with whom Snaer was sharing the 2008-09 Riverside Press-Enterprise Player of the Year honor.Snaer, an effervescent standout for Moreno Valley’s Rancho Verde High, was a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American who was headed to Florida State, where he’d lead the Seminoles to their first ACC Tournament championship.Leonard, who was neither a McDonald’s All-American nor a highly rated recruit, was bound for San Diego State, the NBA and basketball orbit.“We both did have great seasons,” Leonard said Monday before his L.A. Clippers’ final preseason practice. “And you can’t predict the future, but you can always prepare for the best and the worst, and at that time my mindset was just to getting to a college and playing well and being able to get drafted.” For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Ten years after sharing the Inland Empire’s player-of-the-year honor, 62 percent of NBA general managers surveyed said Leonard has become the best small forward in the game.Moreover, the two-time NBA Finals MVP, who this summer became the highest-profile free agent ever to sign with the Clippers, is included in the broader conversation for best overall.When Leonard steps on the Staples Center court on Tuesday night in his signature New Balance sneakers, it will be for his first official home game in Southern California as a pro. He arrives as a two-time NBA champ and one of the main attractions in a heavyweight basketball showdown unlike any L.A. has seen.The Lakers are headlined by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Clippers by Leonard and, when he returns from rehab on his shoulders, Paul George.In a tantalizing first for L.A. basketball fans, both teams are set up to contend for the crown at the same time. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters center_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Their respective quests begin in earnest against each other in Tuesday’s season opener, for which nearly 400 credentials had been issued as of midday Monday.Leonard’s focus a decade ago growing up in Moreno Valley might have been on just getting to the league, but anyone looking for clues of his forthcoming ascent would have found them in his preparation, a work ethic that hasn’t waned.Between his junior and senior seasons of high school, Leonard became a matchup nightmare, growing an inch and putting on close to 15 pounds to become dominant inside while managing to maintain his sweet shooting stroke.He led King to a second consecutive appearance in the CIF-State Division 1 regional finals after they won the CIF-SS Division I-AA title. In that championship game victory, the “Board Man”-to-be controlled 20 rebounds to single-handedly outrebound a Mater Dei frontcourt that featured two McDonald’s All-Americans.More recently, Clippers coach Doc Rivers has watched Leonard, long a top-tier defender, continue his progression professionally, improving both that shot and his facilitating aptitude.“If you saw how much he worked, you would understand why he keeps getting better,” Rivers said. “It’s great for our young guys to watch. There are no secrets – and not just in sports but in life. If you work hard enough at it, you’re probably gonna get better at it.”And Leonard works.“He’s maniacal and it’s long and it’s very serious,” Rivers said, noting that being exposed to such effort benefits young players and young coaches alike. “The seriousness that he takes with his workouts, I’ve seen a couple of (similar) players that I won’t name that I’ve had, but other than that I haven’t seen anything like that.“He’s not goofing around. He’s getting it done. No chat. It’s work time. He approaches practices that way and I think it gives a lot of guys a serious focus that a coach can’t give you – only your best player can give you. And I think he does a great job there.”And with championship experience with two organizations, Leonard said he hopes also to be able to imbue the Clippers with perspective born from those experiences.“It is just the simple fact of trying to get all 15 guys on the same page and just buying into the goal,” said Leonard, who this summer signed a three-year $103 million contract with the Clippers, with a player option for the third year.“You know, how are we going to respond after big wins, tough losses, missed shots?” Leonard added. “That is what it’s about, just keeping a steady mindset on the ultimate goal and not getting discouraged when things go bad or things get too good.”His Clippers teammates aren’t surprised by anything Leonard’s brought to camp – except for how often they hear his voice.“He’s not quiet,” Clippers guard Patrick Beverley said. “I thought he was quiet coming in, but he’s really not. … He’s a really dope dude, man.”Related Articles Said rookie guard Terance Mann: “I always thought you know from outside looking in that he’s a quiet guy … but I feel like being on the same team as him, he’s real vocal. He always gives me advice.”After spending the first eight seasons of his NBA career playing for teams in San Antonio and Toronto, Leonard gets to pursue a third title in front of his family in Southern California.They’ll be at Tuesday’s game, he said, and at every one after that.“They all understand what it is,” he said. “It’s been good. It’s like any other day, just on some of the off days I do have, I am able to see my nieces and nephews.”Still, the season is starting and they know Uncle Kawhi has to go to work.“It’s not a vacation,” he said. “It’s the same mindset in any other state or city that I play in.”And now everyone understands what that means. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Lakers’ Luke Walton experimented playing Nick Young at power forward

first_imgThe two exchanged some more laughs because of the obvious implications. Deng insisted the lineup change was “cool,” and he was just “joking around” with Young. Yet, very few ever imagined Young ever playing at the power forward position. But with Clippers forward Blake Griffin out with an injured right knee and center DeAndre Jordan out late in the game, Walton considered Young at that position for different reasons. He matched up with another wing player in Clippers forward Wesley Johnson. Young has remained both a consistent shooter and defender. And Walton wanted to give Deng some rest after already logging 34 minutes. All of which made a difference in the Lakers’ 111-102 victory over the Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center. “I try to do it all out there,” Young said, grinning after posting a team-leading 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and two assists in 30 minutes.After Young went in for Deng with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter, it did not take long for the matchup to work. While Young operated along the baseline, he drew a double team and threw the ball out to D’Angelo Russell for an open 3-pointer. Johnson went scoreless the rest of the game. And Young prompted Walton to change his game plan by playing him the rest of the way because of strong chemisty with Russell, Lou Williams, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. “He’s our biggest guard,” Walton said of the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Young. “He does a good job fighting in the post when bigger players try to post him up.” Do not expect the Lakers (12-22) to use much of that option against the Utah Jazz (18-13) on Tuesday at Staples Center. After all, the Jazz boast plenty of size with 7-foot-1, 250-pound center Rudy Gobert and 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward Boris Diaw.“You will not see a steady diet of it,” Walton said. “But if the opportunity presents itself where we can get Nick, JC, Lou and D’Angelo together, as many as those guys on the floor and not be overmatched physically, then yeah, we’d love to do that.”Walton could not help but laugh about his coaching decision. But it also revealed insight on how he has tried to embrace small-ball lineups to adapt to the modern NBA. He credited his innovative thinking first toward former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose triangle system requires players to make reads instead of locking in at certain positions. The offense lacked a traditional point guard and called for the first person to get to the post to become the center. Walton observed that “is why Kobe [Bryant] used to run down to the post so much.”As an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors for the past two years, Walton saw other ways players thrived without playing in traditional positions. He liked how former Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes guarded bulky power forwards. The undersized albeit athletic forward Draymond Green often defended at the center spot. Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Warriors forward Andre Iguodala frequently matched up against a wide range of point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.“I want basketball players that can guard multiple positions, have talent and can score,” Walton said. “I don’t need a big man at my 4. If you have guys that can play and are talented, you can take advantage of it. The things you have to do the most and the most important way to have success. You have to be able to defend. You cant go position-less if you don’t’ have guys willing to fight.”Surprisingly, Young has fit that job description this season.“My thing was coming in and bringing energy no matter what,” Young said of playing at power forward. “Missing shots, making shots, just trying to make a difference out there.” But as a whole, the Lakers rank nearly last in all defensive categories. They also are without reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. for four weeks (left knee), who one of the team’s more consistent defenders. Hence, Walton has spent most of his practices emphasizing defense. That will stay the same until further notice. Until then, Walton discovered an unorthodox lineup combination that could work, leaving Walton, Deng and Young laughing over the experiment. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img LOS ANGELES >> The chuckling became as frequent as Nick Young’s productivity. This time, his smile had reasons other than his personality, a strong performance or eagerness to play in the game.He was also laughing about Lakers coach Luke Walton’s substitution choices late in Sunday’s game against the Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center. “You coming in for me?” Lakers forward Luol Deng asked.“I guess,” Young said, smiling.last_img read more

Projected Week 14 NFL DFS ownership percentage, advice for DraftKings, FanDuel contests

first_imgWe’re into the fourth quarter of the NFL regular season, and wow does it fly by quickly. We now have 13 weeks of data to help inform our Week 14 NFL DFS decisions, and while those stats are helpful, the public tends to overvalue basic numbers and not pick up on recent trends. This creates solid buy-low opportunities over the next few weeks as sharp daily fantasy football players fade guys likely to regress and target guys who have been getting opportunities but just haven’t produced yet. By looking at DraftKings and FanDuel ownership projections on RotoGrinders, we can stay ahead of the masses.In addition, we can use that predicted behavior to take advantage with our sports betting picks. For those residing in New Jersey and curious to learn more about online gambling in general, head over to You’ll also be able to find a wealth of NJ sports betting information to help you get up to speed. Now, let’s get back to business and dive into the upcoming NFL DFS slate from a projected ownership standpoint.WEEK 14 DFS LINEUPS:DK Cash | DK GPP | FD Cash | FD GPP | Y! Cash | Y! GPPWeek 14 Projected NFL DFS Ownership: QuarterbackLOW: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins @ Jets (4.3% pOWN on FanDuel, 6.3% on DraftKings). Rostering Fitzpatrick is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. He doesn’t seem to be as afraid of turning the ball over as most QBs and his style of play can occasionally lead to some ugly stat lines, but it also gives him an ample ceiling at his price tag. He’ll face off with the Jets for the second time this year with virtually no running game behind him. The Jets are also much more susceptible through the air, boasting one of the league’s best run defenses, so with more of a pass-catching back (Patrick Laird) in the fold, I’d expect Fitzpatrick to air it out more than usual. DeVante Parker has been a revelation this season, and Mike Gesicki, Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson aren’t bad supporting actors. I’ll be overweight on FitzMagic in GPPs.HIGH: Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Panthers (10.5% pOWN on FanDuel, 6.0% on DraftKings). Matty Ice is still getting too much love – most notably on FanDuel where he’s expected to be the second-most popular QB – and I don’t think that’s warranted. The Falcons offensive line has been an ongoing issue, and unfortunately for them, they face off with a Panthers defense that leads the NFL in sacks. Ryan is also dealing with injuries to two of his best playmakers with Julio Jones (shoulder) and Austin Hooper (knee) banged up, although both do appear to be in line to play Sunday. The Falcons best method of attack here is on the ground, where the Panthers have been far more generous and are coming off a week where they were embarrassed by the Redskins rushing attack.Other notable QBs at low ownership with a chance to boom: Sam Darnold (vs. Dolphins)Other notable QBs that I think are being overvalued: Ryan Tannehill (@ Raiders)MORE WEEK 14 DFS: Stacks | Values | Lineup BuilderWeek 14 Projected NFL DFS Ownership: Running BackLOW: Dalvin Cook, Vikings vs. Lions (7.1% pOWN on FanDuel, 4.3% on DraftKings). As I’m sure most of you know, Cook left Monday night’s game with a chest injury and didn’t return, allowing Alexander Mattison to see added work late in the game. Cook will reportedly play on Sunday, and it doesn’t sound like they are going to keep him on any sort of restriction, so I think this is a good spot to be bullish where others will be apprehensive. The Vikings are considerable favorites against a Lions team that will be led by David Blough — not to mention the Lions are already a very beatable defense on the ground — so there is ample touchdown upside for the Minnesota running game. Is it possible Mattison sees a little extra work than we’re accustomed to? Sure, but even that may not eat much (if at all) into Cook’s workload.Other notable RBs at low ownership with a chance to boom: Aaron Jones (vs. Redskins), Patrick Laird (@ Jets), Phillip Lindsay (@ Texans)Other notable RBs that I think are being overvalued: Devonta Freeman (vs. Panthers), Kenyan Drake (vs. Steelers)WEEK 14 NON-PPR RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerWeek 14 Projected NFL DFS Ownership: Wide ReceiverLOW: Keenan Allen, Chargers @ Jaguars (4.1% pOWN on FanDuel, 3.4% on DraftKings). The Allen love has fallen off a cliff, and I don’t fully understand why. Yes, Philip Rivers is ancient and looks less and less capable of leading an offense every week, but Allen doesn’t have too much competition for targets and is still Rivers’ most trusted security blanket. He’s seen at least double-digit targets in four of the past six games, and with the Chargers targets condensed to Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler, it’s not hard to figure out where Rivers is looking. Jacksonville’s defense isn’t a total pushover, but they are not strong in the secondary and figure to have trouble tracking Allen on Sunday.HIGH: A.J. Brown, Titans @ Raiders (11.0% pOWN on FanDuel, 8.15% on DraftKings). He’s looking like he’ll be one of the most popular value plays at WR this week with Adam Humphries out, but I’m not really sure that impacts him all that much. Since Ryan Tannehill took over, the slot man is seeing just a little over three targets per game and the offense continues to be dominated by Derrick Henry. As long as the Titans are competitive, that will continue to be the case. Brown has seen more than five targets just once in his past five games, and at this ownership, I see no real reason to target him on Sunday. If he breaks a big play and burns me, so be it.Other notable WRs at a low ownership with a chance to boom: Jamison Crowder (vs. Dolphins), Mike Williams (@ Jaguars), Terry McLaurin (@ Packers)Other notable WRs that I think are being overvalued: Diontae Johnson (@ Cardinals), Will Fuller (vs. Broncos)WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 14 Projected NFL DFS Ownership: Tight endHIGH: Mike Gesicki, Dolphins @ Jets (7.4% pOWN on FanDuel, 10.3% on DraftKings). DeVante Parker is the most obvious stacking partner with Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Gesicki deserves a lot of love, as well. He’s seen no fewer than six targets in any of his past five games and has become a bigger part of the red-zone offense, giving him a legitimate ceiling for tournaments at a boring TE position. Gesicki is one of the lone value options at this position who carries a worthwhile ceiling. I’d have to get up to a guy like Darren Waller to find another suitable GPP target at this position. LOW: Noah Fant, Broncos @ Texans (9.0% pOWN on FanDuel, 3.7% on DraftKings). Fant is expected to be much more popular on FanDuel thanks to his bottom of the barrel price tag, but even with the savings I don’t see a need to go here in Week 14. The rookie TE was actually out-targeted by Jeff Heuerman five to three last week and is now catching passes from Drew Lock, which certainly does not scream upside. Fant is an easy fade on DraftKings at his price tag there, but he’s just as easy to ignore on other outlets with his expected production.Other notable TEs at a low ownership with a chance to boom: Ryan Griffin (vs. Dolphins), Vance McDonald (@ Cardinals)Other notable TEs that I think are being overvalued: Ian Thomas (@ Falcons)last_img read more

Iowa Lottery expected to hit budget goals, but not records

first_imgCLIVE — Iowa Lottery spokesperson, Mary Neubauer says they won’t set another record for sales in the fiscal year that just ended June 30th.Neubauer says they won’t match the $390.1 million record once all the numbers are totaled — but they will meet some key marks. “In 2020 with COVID-19 and everything else that has been going on — we will not meet the record levels we hit in 2019. But we are on track to meet the budget goals that we have stated for state lawmakers, for state budget analysts and for ourselves,” according to Neubauer.The sales for the last fiscal year increased by more than 5% — driven by a couple of jackpots for Mega Millions and Powerball that each went above half-a-billion dollars at the same time. Neubauer says a slow year in lotto sales got even slower once the pandemic hit.“Lotto game sales were already down for the year before all of that started, simply because the jackpots in Mega Millions and Powerball had been won more often at a lower level,” Neubauer explains. “So we just hadn’t seen the jackpots climbing into the stratosphere like we had in the last couple of years.”Powerball sales through may were down 17 million dollars compared to the previous year and Mega Millions sales were down 16 million. The Iowa Lottery’s first-ever product continued to do well as other ticket sales lagged during the pandemic shutdowns.“Scratch games continued to do really well. And I think that goes hand-in-hand with what we are seeing around the country in terms of the entertainment options that people have been using in general,” Neubauer says. “You’ve heard that puzzle sales are through the roof. Board games are becoming hard to find because people are looking for those hard copy entertainment options in addition to the electronics that they’ve been using — and scratch tickets were part of the mix for folks.”The Iowa Lottery is now doing curbside claims for prizes. (Lottery photo)Scratch ticket says were up by $4.4 million through May. The Iowa Lottery turned over nearly $93 million in profits to the state in that record sales year. Neubauer says they are still on target to hit their projected $72 million in proceeds for this past fiscal year.“That’s really saying something in a year like this that we’ve been able to stay on track and meet those budget goals. We know that revenue to state causes is really more important now than ever — and we are really proud of the fact that we have been able to achieve our budget goals for this year,” Neubauer says.The Iowa Lottery had to adapt several of the ways it does business during the pandemic. That included no in-person prize claims.She says they are doing the in-person claims again on a curbside basis where they have the winner fill out the information and then go inside and process it before bringing a check out to the winner. With the uncertainty remaining on what will happen with the COVID-19 outbreak, the Iowa Lottery has approved a budget that projects an increase in revenue of around nine million dollars in this new fiscal year.last_img read more