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Beside The Points For Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Teams to watch in Pyeongchang

Tomorrow the Olympic Games kicks off in Pyeongchang, South Korea. For the U.S., we’re going to see a number of winter Olympic staples — Lindsey Vonn is back at it again — but there are a few newcomers to watch. Nathan Chen of Salt Lake City won the last two U.S. titles in figure skating and is poised to be a serious competitor this year. And the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team is hot off a pay raise fight and is the favorite to win gold. [The Atlantic]

Five weeks in, a barrier gets smashed

Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, a South Korean Overwatch off-tank, will be the first woman to sign with a professional Overwatch team as the Shanghai Dragons try to shake up their line up. The Dragons are in dire need of a pace reset, as they’re currently at the bottom of the esports league and are winless five weeks into the inaugural season. [ESPN]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

OWL first round playoffs this Saturday

The first round of the Overwatch League comes to an end this Saturday, with the 7-1 New York and London teams definitely in the playoff and several other teams — including the Houston Outlaws, Los Angeles Valiant, Seoul Dynasty — in the hunt today and tomorrow for that last spot. Houston has a major tiebreaker advantage over Seoul and Los Angeles, but is a game back and still has to face two imposing rivals. Once the favorites, Seoul has been in a tailspin recently and was blanked by Los Angeles Wednesday. [ESPN, ESPN]

Drafted a win

The Philadelphia Eagles have the sixth highest weighted draft value on their roster of all Super Bowl champions since 1993. They had the most impact players who were drafted high than any team since the Ravens in 2000, with six of the nine starters on the offensive and defensive lines taken in the first two rounds. [FiveThirtyEight]

NHL not represented in Olympics

Given the league’s decision to not allow players to participate in the Olympic Games, who on earth is actually playing hockey in Pyeongchang? Old timers, it turns out, with plenty of former NHL players suiting up to represent their countries. Canada leads when it comes to aggregate NHL experience, with its team having played a cumulative 5,444 games in the league. [FiveThirtyEight]

Niners nail down Jimmy

Jimmy Garoppolo signed a five year $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers, $90 million of which is guaranteed in the first three years, and instantly making a player who has seven NFL starts one of the league’s best paid players. [ESPN]


Big Number

3 trades

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off three explosive trades in the final hours ahead of the NBA trade deadline, first trading Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Lakers, then trading Dwayne Wade to Miami, then trading Iman Shumpert to Sacramento and Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to Utah in a three team deal. [ESPN]


Leaks from Slack:

 

neil:

This kind of lays the blame for slow free agency at the feet of tanking:

The Rising Storm That Froze Baseball’s Hot Stove Market

I wonder, though, how much more teams really are tanking now than in the past. We could compare Fangraphs’ preseason forecasted wins this year to forecasts from the past and see where the distribution is different


Predictions


Oh, and don’t forget
Jason Kelce is a madman

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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