Inez relishes first victory

Kenny Wayne Shepherd took down Zakk Wylde last week to take over sole possession of first place in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League, but big news was happening at the other end of the standings.

Mike Inez finally got his first victory as M.I. Evil? Yes I Am upset Duff McKagan's Team McKagan D 103-95 for bragging rights among the rock bassists.

Alice in Chains are in London getting ready to tour Europe, and Inez said by phone Thursday that he hadn't had a chance to taunt his buddy McKagan yet.

"I made Duff my b---- for a week," Inez said, laughing."What a great time, though. I have yet to give him s--- about it. I think he was in Europe when we were over there [this summer] and I think he just went back now to take his kids trick-or-treating. He's a good guy, too. We love that guy. He's like honorary Alice in Chains."

Now Inez needs only one more win to match the season total of his beloved Raiders, whose performance he is constantly reminded of by league organizer and Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell and others.

"Me and Jerry did the Jim Rome [radio] show last week. Jim Rome was giving me a bunch of [flak] about being Raider Nation, you know. I told him we're one injury away from being a .500 team. He said, 'What's that?' And I said Al Davis has to stroke out," Inez said with a laugh.

Cantrell's JC Aroma of Tacoma is one of five teams at 4-4 despite being snakebit by injuries.

"The first week, I lost Donovan McNabb in the first quarter. The second week, I lost Matt Hasselbeck in the first quarter. The third week, I had to pick up [Byron] Leftwich and start him and he got benched in the first quarter. I think the fifth week, I had Greg Jennings get knocked out in the first quarter, and last week I had Chris Cooley go out," Cantrell said by phone from London. "So I've lost a lot of guys, man. I don't think anybody's more injury-riddled than me and I'm still 4-4, so gotta see if I can flip it around and try to run my way into the playoffs."

He said he persevered through similar hard luck to win a championship last season and he knows Shepherd's and Wylde's teams will be vulnerable in the fantasy postseason.

"That's the whole thing. Kenny's team, the guys he's relying on, those guys are gonna be resting those last couple of weeks, you know what I mean?" Cantrell said. "So it's gonna be really interesting.

And I think if I can get myself into the playoffs, that's why I feel like I've got a shot because I think the guys, especially Kenny, he's got Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning and those guys are not gonna be playing [much] late in the season after they clinch up their divisions and s---. So it's gonna be a lot more interesting."

Each participant in the Alice in Chains & Friends Charity Fantasy Football League will put up one valuable item for auction by the end of the season. Cantrell is donating a Rampage Tribute JC guitar signed by Alice In Chains and Inez is putting up a Warwick bass signed by Alice in Chains. They both said they will probably add more items to be auctioned off. The league champion will designate which charity receives the auction's proceeds.

Cantrell is playing for an autism charity. But it's not looking good for Inez's charity, City of Hope cancer center in Duarte, Calif., to reap any windfall from his fantasy football success. Once he gets a break from touring and returns home, however, Inez plans to make it up to the hospital in other ways.

"I'm going to go actually do some other charity work when I get back to L.A.," Inez said. "I guess they're making some great strides in cancer now, so I was going to go down and hang out with the kids and kind of lift their spirits."

He said when he was a kid growing up around Monrovia, Calif., and the Pasadena area, he used to play soccer on the City of Hope grass. Now things have come full circle, and this fantasy football league has led him to make the contacts to get involved with the biomedical research, treatment and educational institution.

"You gotta give back after a certain point, you know, it just feels right. We're so self-absorbed, ego-headed … what we do for a living is just a perfect place for egos and dumb s---- to flourish all the time," Inez said, laughing. "But especially the guys in this league are really good with paying back, and we just want to do whatever we can."

Here is a selection of some chatter from the league's message board, going back to before last week's games:

Scott Ian
Ryan Fitzpatrick … Matthew Berry's 'secret weapon'
Posted: Oct 31, 12:35 PM
I have officially soiled my pants over the fear of Matthew's newest "deep sleeper". Ryan Fitzpatrick (the legitimate backup for Trent Edwards … YIPES) is Berry's bye week replacement for Tom Brady!! Yes, they have a lot in common … same division, play in the Northeast, and both have a first and last name. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Fitzpatrick showed up for practice today and T.O. handed him a Snickers bar because he thought Fitzpatrick was a trick or treater masquerading as a football player in authentic Bills garb.

Yeah, I talked a big game last week to Duff … I could have never imagined the Steelers scoring two TDs in the last 2-3 minutes nor Bradshaw's and Celek's conspiracy pact … But if Ryan Fitzpatrick can score anything within earshot of Tony Romo, I will shave my head … err … uh … OK, OK … I will just change my team name to Meek Machine … Berry, your two-game win streak is about as safe as a Chiefs fan with an air horn sitting in the end zone of the Black Hole (Oakland).

Jerry Cantrell
5 Weeks to go
Posted: Nov 3, 7:13 PM
Well, well, well! Mike Inez, welcome to the league. My buddy gets a win. I love it. Kenny Wayne rolls on, Zakk and Vinnie get a little more human. I get myself healthy via Aronoff's squad, now it gets interesting. It's been a great season so far, gents. I thank you all for your time and hope you are having as much fun with this as I have. We have a glut of 4-4 teams between Matt, Duff, Mr. Berry, Scott and myself. Mike and Kenny are going to be playing the dangerous role of spoiler, but the rest of us still have a shot to make the final four. Crank it up, fellas.

Matt Willig
Posted: Nov 2, 2:17 PM
Ladies, let's give it up to Mike Inez for … getting his first W.
Way to go Evil man!!!

Mike Inez
Re: Congrats!!!!
Posted: Nov 2, 5:40 PM
At least I ain't eatin' a goose egg now!

Mike Inez
Re: Congrats!!!!
Posted: Nov 4, 6:38 PM
And I ain't in last either!

Weekly updates on the Alice in Chains & Friends Charity Fantasy Football League, trash talk and interviews with the owners will be published on ESPN.com's The Life section throughout the season. Members of the league also will drop by SportsNation for occasional chats.

Here are the standings after Week 8, with a look ahead to this weekend's matchups (mouse over the photos for bios of the participants):

Alice in Chains & Friends Charity Fantasy Football League Standings

  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd
    Place of birth: Shreveport, La. Age: 32 Fantasy football experience: Rookie Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts

    Personal: Shepherd cut his musical teeth opening for The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, The Eagles and Van Halen.

  • Jerry Cantrell

    Place of birth: Tacoma, Wash. Age: 43 Fantasy football experience: 5 years Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks/Pittsburgh Steelers

    Personal: Lead guitarist Cantrell's legacy with Alice In Chains includes 14 million albums sold, 19 Top 40 singles and six Grammy nominations.

  • Scott Ian

    Place of birth: New York Age: 45 Fantasy football experience: Rookie Favorite team: New York Giants

    Personal: When Ian isn't playing guitar for Anthrax, he's schooling amateurs at the poker table.

  • Vinnie Paul

    Place of birth: Abilene, Texas Age: 45 Fantasy football experience: 10 years Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys

    Personal: Paul, who formed Pantera with his late brother Dimebag Darrell, plays drums the way Ray Lewis hits people. In other words, hard.

  • Zakk Wylde
    Place of birth: Bayonne, N.J. Age: 42 Favorite team: New York Giants

    Personal: Wylde landed the job of lead guitarist and co-songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne at the age of 19 and later founded Black Label Society.

  • Kenny Aronoff

    Place of birth: Albany, N.Y. Age: 56 Fantasy football experience: 3 years Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts

    Personal: Aronoff has played drums for a who's who of rock legends, including Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more.

  • Matt Willig
    Place of birth: Whittier, Calif. Age: 40 Fantasy football experience: 0 years Favorite team: No favorite, but "I do like to watch the Carolina Panthers every Sunday, especially to watch my boy, [left tackle] Jordan Gross, play."

    Personal: One of two non-musicians in the league, Willig spent 12 years in the NFL with six different teams.

  • Duff McKagan
    Place of birth: Seattle Age: 45 Fantasy football experience: Rookie Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks

    Personal: Before playing bass for Velvet Revolver, McKagan spent 13 years with Guns 'N' Roses, so he's ready for anything.

  • Mike Inez
    Place of birth: San Fernando, Calif. Age: 43 Fantasy football experience: 6 years Favorite team: Oakland Raiders

    Personal: Before playing bass guitar for Alice In Chains, Inez was rocking arenas with Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Matthew Berry
    Place of birth: Denver Age: "Late 30s" Fantasy football experience: 17 years Favorite team: Washington Redskins

    Personal: Berry, who wouldn't disclose any musical talents, is ESPN.com's Talented Mr. Roto and a five-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.