Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Waiver Wire Situation: Week 11

Fantasy owners can rejoice in the final round of byes as we enter the final stretch. The good an bad news about this point is that we still have 1/3rd of the season left. For those of you who are worse than 4-6, your odds of making the playoffs are extremely slim (assuming you use the traditional 4-team playoff bracket), but for anyone who is 4-6 or better, odds are that you have a shot at making the playoffs. Naturally this all depends on your current league standings; if the top 4 teams are all 8-2 then 4-6 likely won't cut it. Statistics suggest that the 4th place team is likely 6-4, meaning that 4-6 teams are on the outer bubble. For everyone out there freaking out about fantasy playoffs, most of you still have a chance.

Speaking specifically to week 10, we had a lot of new injuries come about. Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, and Michael Vick were all injured. The good news is that the bye week quarterback stock is pretty weak. If it weren't for the fact that Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson, and Eli Manning are the QBs on bye we would have serious issues. Even still, 8 starting quarterbacks (let's not count Gabbert, just to be distinct about our definition of "starting quarterback") will not be starting this week. There is a good chance that the owners of Roethlisberger and Vick will be slumming through the quarterbacks trying to find a replacement this week.

The running back situation is a bit different. Bradshaw, Peterson, Lynch, and even Chris Johnson are all starting running backs. That's 4 of the top 15 (and 3 of the top 10) running backs in fantasy out for the week. To top that list off, the resurgent Fred Jackson is also down for the game. Spiller owners (myself included across three leagues) are very excited. Fred Jackson owners are not. Owners of Darren McFadden have to be wondering whether this is like his injury last year where he was always just about to come back but never did.

The wide receiver and tight end positions are much less affected. Sure, players like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Percy Harvin, and ... well that's about it actually. Even those guys didn't show up in week 10 (but at least you didn't play Harvin). The loss at wide receiver was minimal.

Finding a Replacement:

The quarterbacks have really fanned out in terms of ownership. On Yahoo! there are 13 quarterbacks with 90% or greater ownership and there are an additional 5 quarterbacks with at least 70% ownership. Of that second category, Andy Dalton and Matt Schaub are probably more guaranteed points than anyone with under 70% ownership. If they are available you should start them in place of your injured or bye-week starter.

Assuming those players are taken, you're going to need to branch out and look for a different replacement. Carson Palmer (59% owned) is probably the guy with the best matchup this week. He's someone I would definitely target if I were in need of a quarterback. As an added bonus, for those of you with long term problems (Big Ben or Vick), Palmer has a very favorable schedule over the next few weeks. My next best bet would be starting Nick Foles. Sure, he definitely looked bad against the Cowboys, but he did score about 9 fantasy points in one half. The Cowboys have been allowing 12.8 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so Foles really didn't do so poorly. I think he has a lot of potential and will be a huge waiver acquisition after this week.

If you are in desperate need of a running back, Marcel Reece, Joique Bell, Daryl Richardson, and Daniel Thomas are all owned in fewer than 40% of leagues. I would start them in that order, with Reece being the best option and Thomas being the worst. Chris Ivory is a guy with plenty of potential, and I'm still waiting for my bold prediction about Travaris Cadet to come true. I could see that guy scoring a touchdown this week. (A guy can hope)

Fortunately the wide receiver position is much more volatile. There are always guys who are going to have great games if you can locate them. Darrius Heyward-Bey is still only about 50% owned, and the Raiders play New Orleans this week. Cecil Shorts has been extremely productive, and should be viable (even against Houston). Donnie Avery and TY Hilton both have the potential for a big game against New England this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiver Wire Wednesday: Post Week 8

I've been in hiding for a week. Running from a mountain of work and a hurricane that fortunately only knocked out my power for 36 hours, I'm ready to get back in the habit of writing fantasy football related articles. I'll admit that I am going to be extremely swamped over the next week with the end of the quarter and the coming presidential election (is anyone else out there as bloody excited as I am about this???), but I love writing fantasy and I love playing fantasy...even if the hurricane did take away my ability to watch some football this weekend. Without further ado, let's talk a little about waiver wire acquisitions for the second half of the season.

Cecil Shorts [12% owned] - If you are going to own a Jaguars wide receiver, it looks like Shorts is your guy. I doubt he will give you 10 points per game, but he should be a consistent contributor of at least 50 yards per game.

Titus Young [44% owned] - I missed basically an entire week of fantasy football news, and had no idea that Burleson broke his leg. If I'd known, I would have been grabbing Titus Young everywhere. He has to be the top waiver option this week.

Danny Amendola [57% owned] - I know his owned percentage is a little high, but that's probably because of guys like me who picked him up in all of their leagues before Sunday. The Rams are on BYE, but you aren't going to get him if you wait. This is one of your few opportunities to get a long term option off waivers.

Jonathan Dwyer [46% owned] - I'm not ready to trust Dwyer yet, but running backs are scarce and he might just be a valid option going forward. I would be surprised if his value increased from here.

Unfortunately, there isn't really anyone else I'm looking forward to picking up this week. I would consider offering trades for the players mentioned above (especially Amendola and Young). If they are going to be sitting on the bench for an opponent, they might be willing to part with them for cheap...especially since they didn't pay much for them in the first place.

Similarly, consider trading for players like Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Reggie Bush or C.J. Spiller at running back, Andre Roberts or Denarius Moore at WR, and Owen Daniels at TE.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 6 Rankings Results

At first I thought I had done a horrible job this week compared to the top experts from FantasyPros, but it turns out that I held my own through most categories. I had a terrible time of running backs, but I excelled at predicting quarterbacks and wide receivers. Here are the results...

 I was amongst the best at predicting the rankings of quarterbacks within my own top-12 rankings, did exactly average with top-12 inclusion, and then finished second in ranking all quarterbacks this week. Definitely not a bad week.

The running backs were pretty awful for me. My top-24 inclusive was the worst, and my RB-all was also the worst. Those data are slightly skewed because other experts tend to list 40+ running backs. When you are comparing your top guy to a third stringer you don't end up with great data, but even without that number it was still a bad week there.

I had the best rankings amongst all experts at correctly ranking my top-24 receivers, I had a mediocre inclusion rating (12 of my 24 top receivers were actually in the top-24), and my WR all looks weak. Again, that has a lot to do with the fact that Jodi Smith has like 65 receivers on his list. The guys at the bottom had very very few points, but I set up the rankings so I can't really complain.

This week I will be comparing myself to Jody Smith, Tags Fantasy, the Sablich brothers, Brad Evans, and Rotoworld. I have a strong suspicion that the Sablich brothers are cheating their readers and falsely inflating their ratings on FantasyPros. My reasoning is as follows. Last week I took my snapshot of player rankings on Friday and Saturday. The Sablich brothers did not have Antonio Brown listed in their rankings, but they DID have Mike Wallace and Kenny Britt listed. I have a hard time believing that on a list of 50 NFL wide receivers Brown doesn't make that list (especially since Brown was a top-25 receiver for all other experts). Similarly, Rashard Mendenhall was listed 40th (below Redman) despite being ranked 21st or better by all other experts. Now they do say that players will be moved before the weekend games, but you would naturally expect them to keep some sort of consistency rather than cheating the system. I'm going to see what happens this week. Maybe they were just genuinely convinced that Brown and Mendenhall would underachieve...I wish they would have notified me about that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

W7 Preview: Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts

Week 7 Previews

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts - 1:00pm EST Sunday

The Browns and Colts are two bad teams, but you never really know what you're going to get from them. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson seem to have good games at random, and the Colts managed to beat the Packers (although I'm still bitter about the fumble that was recalled because of a terrible penalty call) and then promptly got steamrolled by the Jets. Reggie Wayne is probably among the most consistent receivers to this point in the season, but odds are that this will be a relatively ugly game. The positive here is that neither team is especially adept at creating turnovers, so fantasy enthusiasts should have the opportunity for plenty of points.

Fantasy Outlook: Good

7th Andrew Luck - Luck has been good all season with the exception of a few games. I don't think this week will disappoint too much. Luck isn't a lock to crack 18 points, but he should approach that number if he can avoid turnovers. The Browns allow opposing QBs over 20 points per game on average, so there is definitely the possibility for Luck to have an amazing game.

18th Brandon Weeden - I want to have Weeden a lot higher than this, but he's this far down the list because no one is going to bet their fantasy season on him. There is no one above him on this list that I would bench in his place if the season were on the line. Thus, while Weeden has been playing very well lately, he just isn't consistent enough to really instill confidence in fantasy owners. The Colts allow nearly 17 PPG from opposing QBs.

Running Backs:

4th Trent Richardson - I'm giving Richardson another chance near the top against an Indianapolis defense that is allowing 26.52 points to opposing running backs every week. Those numbers are staggering, and if Richardson can get 75% of that it will be an amazing fantasy week. He has the potential if he isn't injured. This rookie has big talent and should be a top-10 pick next season barring some unforeseen occurrence.

29th Vick Ballard - I brought up the shortcomings of Ballard to a number of people last week and gave him almost no vote of confidence, but I will admit that putting him at 26th was far too high. This week he is even lower. He would be even lower if the Browns didn't give up 19.4 points per game to running backs. Donald Brown would come in somewhere around 14th if he were healthy.

Wide Receivers:

2nd Reggie Wayne - The Colts receivers are going up against a defense that allows 33.52 points per game to opposing receivers. Wayne has a good portion of the Colts receiving points, and the Browns defense does not seem like they will be capable of slowing him down. Anything less than 100 yards and a touchdown would be a disappointment from a fantasy perspective for Reggie Wayne. I expect great things from him this week.

22nd Josh Gordon - I wrestled with the placement of Josh Gordon. He definitely isn't a 1-week-wonder at this point, but how can you trust starting him in an impotant fantasy week? His boat is the same as Weeden's, but with the Colts giving up 26.7 points per game to receivers you can feel confident betting with him as a bye week filler.

24th Donnie Avery - I really liked Austin Collie coming into the season, so this is a great game for Avery to step into that role. He has enough football talent, but he needs to prove that he can be the number two guy for Luck. This is a great opportunity.

32nd Greg Little - Little has been on the outs due to his ball dropping ability. This is a good game for him to prove he still wants to be a receiver on this team. The Colts will start focusing on Gordon after the last two weeks.

33rd T.Y. Hilton - Hilton is also fighting for the WR2 spot with the Colts. Really, this defense is bad enough to support 3 decent fantasy receivers, and Hilton should see enough targets to be valuable in deep leagues this week.

W7 Fantasy Preview: Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans

Week 7 Previews

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans - 1:00pm EST Sunday


On Monday night I made what I considered to be a relatively serious move to get Arian Foster on my team. I offered Marshawn Lynch and Hakeem Nicks to the individual who currently owns Arian Foster. He is starting Andre Roberts this week and started Andre Roberts and Briant Hartline when he lost his first game to me two weeks ago. Given his situation I figured it was a fair trade attempt...and the thought of starting Ray Rice and Arian Foster in a game against eachother just seems too incredible a fantasy story to pass up. For one glorious moment the two best running backs in the league (everyone who drafted LeSean McCoy ahead of these two now knows why I spoke out against him before the season) will be going up against each other. Everything else is an afterthought for me in terms of fantasy. On a completely unrelated note, the song I'm Only Sleeping by the Beatles is stuck in my head. If you like the Beatles and don't know it, it's a lovely song...if it isn't a bit depressing.

Fantasy Outlook: Good (and historic)


6th Joe Flacco - Did you see what Aaron Rodgers did to this defense last week? I don't expect Flacco to throw for 6 touchdowns, by any means, but it is ridiculous to think that the Packers didn't expose something here. The play action and screen game should beat what the Packers did, and then the Ravens receivers should be able to take care of this secondary. I feel like Torrey Smith has been drawing the top corner lately, and I think Flacco will be able to take advantage with his strong arm. I'm excited about starting Flacco this week. Houston has been very good against quarterbacks, but they haven't exactly played the top level...except for Rodgers.

20th Matt Schaub - This could be low for Schaub, but I worry about what I saw last week. The injuries to the Ravens defense should give this team a little more operating room, but I just can't get past the fact that Schaub has only had one really good game this season. Every other game he has been good for about 200 yards and 1 touchdown. That's all the Texans need from him to win most weeks.

Running Backs:

1st Arian Foster - Foster is the best running back in fantasy football going up against a defense that is injured and has been unusually lax against the run game. It's great when we actually get rankings correct at the top, and this is another great matchup for Foster and this Texans run game.

2nd Ray Rice - Ray Rice isn't always the second best running back, but the Texans haven't been very good against the run lately. Sure, they held back the Packers' second string runner, but they gave up more than one of the best defenses in the NFL should. The real success of the Houston run defense has been in keeping runners out of the end zone. They are the only team in the NFL who has not allowed a rushing touchdown, but there is nothing to suggest Ray Rice can't fix that...and he could always just catch a 70+ yard touchdown pass.

35th Ben Tate - You never know when Tate is going to have a big game. He's been pretty quiet most of this season, with one exceptional game. Try not to play him if you can avoid it.

Wide Receivers:

13th Torrey Smith - Smith has been very variable this season, but I think this is going to be a good game for him. The Texans' cornerbacks have been vulnerable lately, and Torrey Smith is the kind of guy who can take advantage of those discrepancies. The Texans allow an average number of points to receivers, so nothing is stopping Smith from breaking out.

15th Andre Johnson - I worry that even this is too high for Andre Johnson. I worry that even this is too low for Andre Johnson. I can't tell if age or lack of offensive diversity, or great defense, or amazing running game is getting to him. Something has happened, and most of those issues can be fixed...but age and injuries cannot. I think Johnson is probably a decent WR2/3, but he hasn't been reliable. 

29th Anquan Boldin - Boldin is trying to have his best year since moving east, and it is likely because of the support from Torrey Smith. The lack of a true deep threat has allowed defenses to crush Boldin over the middle, but things are opening up this season and he is prospering. You have to like where things are going for Boldin.

Tight Ends:

Owen Daniels - We hold TEs to lower standards, but Daniels has been decent so far this season. The Ravens allow under 7 points per game to tight ends.

Dennis Pitta - Pitta fell off the map after a few good early games, but this is a chance for him to redeem himself. The Texans are allowing over 8.5 PPG to tight ends.