2018 NFL Playoff Picks – Super Bowl Edition

February 3rd, 2002, 17-years ago to the day, the mighty Rams fell, and Pats dynasty was born! Quite literally it was a dynasty that never was versus what we now know as the greatest dynasty in the history of the NFL.

I have railed the Pats more than anyone, I will admit I hate them, but in the words of Wes Mantooth, “I pure, straight hate them, but, dammit, do I respect them.” Of course, when I play the game, “Three sports wishes,” one of them is always simply call the “tuck rule” a fumble. It is fun to wonder if Tom Brady becomes the “cannot win the big one” guy. Again, Boston fans in 2001 weren’t exactly the most stable of fan bases. The Pats were 0-2 in Super Bowls, the Red Sox were sitting on 85 years of failure, the beloved Celtics drought had reached 15 years and the Bruins were the black sheep of the Boston sports family. Imagine if the Pats lose that game to the Raiders, does fan base with an inferiority complex allow the amazing Belichick to hang around? Is there pressure from the fans to keep Drew Bledsoe?

Ah, it’s fun to dream! The derivative of that sports wish – the Rams win Super Bowl 36!

Enough with the fantasies, on to the game. For me, it is simple, dress the Pats team in any other costume and the Rams are a clear favorite, as they were the better team the entire year, save for two game blips on the radar – a sub-freezing loss in Chicago and a mind-freeze against the Eagles. But it’s the Pats, this mythological figure known as the “God of victory.” I admit I bought into the Pats hype for about 48 hours, here is a sampling of the non-sense:

“You give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare and he will shut down any offense” – Right, it’s not like the Eagles hung 41 on him last year.

“Tom Brady is the GOAT” – Literally, “GOAT” as in “Greatest Athlete of All-Time!” Put down the crack pipe! Thomas Brady is on the verge of losing his 4th Super Bowl, not sure he belongs in the same category as even Joe Montana. Joe Montana? Stick with me here, let’s imagine that the 80s version of the NFL, decided that they needed their star QBs, like Montana, to hang around until they were grandfathers, so they changed every rule to help not only offenses but also help keep the quarterbacks healthy. No more vicious Leonard Marshall hits, but rather a poised Montana standing in the pocket picking defenses apart with zero fear. Let’s also imagine that when the 49ers were planning to jettison Montana for a younger, more athletic, equally effective version in Steve Young, Montana stormed into Eddie D’s office and demanded Young be traded. How would that have turned out? Very possible that Montana wins two, maybe three more Super Bowls, but for sure he would have got at least one. You get the parallel’s with Brady, the NFL and Jimmy G.

“The Rams do not deserve to be in the Super Bowl” – That may be the case. But I would argue the Rams played the Saints to a virtual draw prior that horrific call, in the “toughest place to play in the NFL” and against a “QB/Coach combo that had never lost a home playoff game.” Moreover, the Rams rallied back from a 13-0 deficit ion that game – not the Pats would have righted the ship v. the Chiefs if Andy Reid decided to coach the first half.

“The NFL wants the Pats to win the Super Bowl” – I love a good conspiracy theory, but this one is seriously flawed. As I stated back at the beginning of the playoffs, the NFL is morphing into a scripted league, using officials to dictate desired outcomes. Of course, that is outlandish, but imagine this exchange from Raj to Al Riveron, the head of officiating:

RG – “Al, revenues are looking good for 2018, you can pass along to your employees that bonus money should be solid. Of course, that is based on ratings in the playoffs, which, as you know, has some fluidity. Our numbers tell us that the highest possible rating would be achieved with a Rams/Pats Super Bowl.”

Done.

Now onto the part about the Pats winning the Super Bowl. I mentioned before that the NFL is in a transition phase this year, from Brees to Mahomes, Roethlisberger to Josh Allen, Manning to Darnold, Stafford to Mayfield and, wait for it . . ., Brady to Goff. The NFL is not sending Brady out as a winner for two reasons – 1. Transitions of this nature are abrupt, old guy loses, then disappears for good. There is no riding off into the sunset, but rather dragged behind a horse as the credits roll.; and 2. As captain obvious would state, “the Rams have been the benefactor of the calls this post-season!” Why is that? Well, let’s look back at the Eagles regular season game for answers – the LA Coliseum was reported to be 60/40 Eagles fans. The NFL needs to develop a fan base in LA or “Stan’s world” is going to be empty on most Sunday’s in the fall. And in LA you don’t build a fan base by losing in the Super Bowl – titles are all that count. In fact, I think you can safely book it that the Rams not only win this year, but next year as well. Back-to-back titles should get enough people willing to cough up Junior’s college savings for end zone seats in the new Rams palace.

There you go a strong case for the Rams, based on math – better team and based on a very believable “WWE-esque” scenario.

One final thought – Brady’s comfortability in the pocket is paramount to the Pats success, he simply does not want to get hit. He has heard the stories of Earl Campbell, who takes three hours to get out of body due to his NFL wrecked body. Tom Brady doesn’t want any part of that and when he gets contact, he isn’t the same player, in fact, it’s not even close – see the Steelers game for proof. I think it goes even deeper for Tommy though, I think the threat of getting hit by an opposing defensive line makes him skittish, see Giants 2011 Super Bowl game as proof. As good as Brady is that is his kryptonite. His dreams have been haunted by Aaron Donald for two weeks. Furthermore, as most everyone knows I have long been an advocate of taking 15-yard personal foul shot on Brady early. It amazes me that teams don’t do this, the 15 yards would be a drop in the ocean compared to the effect on Brady. The Rams have just the player who will have no problem delivering a cheap shot – Ndamukong Suh.

Given that, I will boldly predict the following – 1. One flagrant personal foul on Brady by Suh; and 2. Some rule change this off-season to eject a player if, in the referee’s mind, the foul was “flagrant.” #MorePowertotheNFLRefs = #MoreScriptingtheNFL

Monday morning headlines:

Boston Globe: “Fans chant ‘One More Year’ as Brady ties Jim Kelly with record fourth Super Bowl loss!”

LA Times: “Government shutdown looms as Trump continues his personal agenda.”

“Rams win Super Bowl!”

Rams 31 Patriots 27

2018 NFL Playoff Picks – Wildcard Weekend Edition

Here we go NFL playoff time – and for the second consecutive year, Colin’s lifelong favorite team, the Los Angeles Rams, are in the post-season. The Rams goal and Colin’s goal are the same – run the table in the 2018 NFL post-season. Now if I am setting odds on who can run the table, I make Colin a slight favorite to go 11-0 over the Rams going 3-0. Oh man, you are thinking, Colin has lost his mind. Going 3-0 at true coin flip odds is a 12.5% chance of the Rams winning out and rough .05% chance of Colin going 11-0. And we know the Rams will be favored in at least one (divisional), and probably two (Super Bowl) of their games, giving them a bigger advantage. What you don’t know is that I received a visit from an old, crotchety 90 year Colin last week and he bestowed upon me “The Sports Almanac 2000-2030.” With that in hand, I am looking to begin a “Biff Tannen” run through the playoffs.

Let’s start it off with my ranking of the playoff teams, with current Super Bowl odds. For fun I dug around and found a historical team each 2018 NFL playoff most closely resembled. Full disclosure – I am holding a Saints (20-1) and a Texans (25-1) Super Bowl future.

1.New Orleans Saints (+225)

Historical Team: 2009 New Orleans Saints. This all about the lack of respect they are receiving heading into the playoffs – and not the eerie voodoo magic that the 2018 Saints and 2009 Saints both finished 13-3 and lost to the same exact teams (Bucs, Panthers and Cowboys). I remember that 2009 season, nobody gave them a chance to win the Super Bowl, despite being the #1 seed in the NFC. Everyone was in love the Cardinals and the Vikings that year. Sure, after dispatching the Cardinals and retiring Kurt Warner, they needed more voodoo magic to beat the Vikings and then needed “Hank Baskett” to happen to win the Super Bowl, but they got it done. They will be an incredibly tough out again and remember in current the “WWE” version of the NFL, everything is scripted – Brees v. Brady with Brees getting his second sounds like a winner.

2.Baltimore Ravens (+1600)

Historical Team: 2001 New England Patriots. Remember the 2001 Rams or the “greatest show on turf;” remember the 2001 Raiders, a team that set a bunch of offensive records. Probably not much, right? Because the Pats rode a terrific defense, great running game and moderately efficient passing game to a Super Bowl title. Sounds like the 2018 Ravens to me. Their toughest game will be this week with the Chargers. Get by that and we might see Lamar Jackson hoisting the MVP trophy after throwing for a Brady-esque 132 yards. After the week 16 game against the Chargers, I texted a friend, “Shh, I think this Ravens team is going to win the Super Bowl.” The “shh” part was hoping no one else would draw that same conclusion and the odds would remain in the +4000 range.

3.Chicago Bears (+1000)

Historical Team: 2003 Carolina Panthers. The 2003 Panthers team blew out an over-matched NFC East wild-card team (check), exposed a fraudulent Rams team in the Ed Dome (check) and completely shut down the Eagles in the NFC title game. Look there is no question the Bears can get to the NFC title game, but there it gets dicey, not sure they can beat the Saints in New Orleans. But I will say they have personnel to pull it off and they are a very dangerous team.

4.Kansas City Chiefs (+475)

Historical Team: 2001 St. Louis Rams. As good as this Chiefs offense is, don’t you feel like this team is going to fall a little short? Just like that 2001 Rams team. And just like that 2001 Rams, the Chiefs have a coach who doesn’t give two craps about anything but offense and that includes clock management, defense, special teams, game management, etc. That is going to get you beat in the playoffs, despite having superior talent. Furthermore, Mahomes has looked human at the end of close games, save for the answered prayer pass to Tyreek Hill against the Ravens, I go into playoffs with zero confidence he can lead a 4th quarter game winning drive. As it normally does, the NFL down to matchups, if the Chiefs get the Colts/Pats/Rams, they could win the Super Bowl. But if they end up with the Ravens in the divisional round, it’s one and done for them.

5.New England Patriots (+600)

Historical Team: 1992 Buffalo Bills. Besides the obvious “just fking go away already” parallels, that 1992 Bills team caught every break on their way to another royal ass beating in the Super Bowl. At what point does the NFL intervene and re-align the divisions so the Pats have some competition? I mean the AFC East is like the old BIG 8 after Oklahoma got hit with probation, Nebraska and the seven dwarfs. And what do we have? An inferior team that very well could have two home games to get to the Super Bowl. To be honest, when I was evaluating the playoff teams for a hedging opportunity, I threw the Pats out as a team to consider. Just like I did the 1992 Bills. I think this Pats team is done. Mark it down – your read it here first – Pats will not win the AFC East next year!

6.Los Angeles Rams (+600)

Historical Team: 2001 Chicago Bears. I am sure you don’t remember that 2001 Bears, in fact nobody does because despite posting a 13-3 regular season record, no one took them seriously. Sure enough the 2001 Bears were one and done with a 14 point loss in the divisional round. Again, the Rams are my team and while I admit I am a pessimistic fan, this team has some serious problems, most notably at QB. After watching Jared Goff mis-fire for the last month, I have returned to my pre-season feeling that the Rams “missed a spot” when putting together the talent laden, high priced roster and that spot was at quarterback. Prove me wrong – JaGoff! I also threw the Rams out of hedging, as I strongly believe they are one and done.

7.Los Angeles Chargers (+600)

Historical Team: 2014 Cincinnati Bengals. The 2014 Bengals were 8-3-1 heading into December, holding a 1.5 game lead over the Steelers, they preceded to lose twice to the Steelers, thus fumbling away the division and putting them into a horrible wild-card weekend matchup with the Colts. Buh-bye. I strongly considered adding a Chargers future, but the matchup with the Ravens is so grossly bad that I cannot see them getting out of wildcard weekend.

8.Dallas Cowboys (+3000)

Historical Team: 2015 Minnesota Vikings. I personally think the Cowboys can win this weekend, unlike the 2015 Vikings, but the parallels between the teams are striking. Play great defense and play a bunch of close games. When those close games break their way, they get win a division, but no one really takes them seriously as evidence by the 30-1 odds. Dak simply cannot do enough to make a deep playoff run.

9.Seattle Seahawks (+3000)

Historical Team: 2012 Indianapolis Colts. Much like the 2012 Colts, the Seahawks got off to a rough start (4-5) and had a division rival run away with the division early, relegating the Hawks to playing for a wild-card. They will be a tough out, but like the 2012 Colts team, no way they win three road games and then beat the AFC team in the Super Bowl – too many flaws, including the fatal flaw of being a terrible road team.

10.Indianapolis Colts (+2800)

Historical Team: 1994 Green Bay Packers. There is a lot to like about this Colts going forward – Luck is back, very good coach and a young fast, super aggressive defense

11.Philadelphia Eagles (+3500)

Historical Team: 2000 St. Louis Rams. Let’s be honest this Eagles got lucky to be in the playoffs, just like that 2000 Rams team. And just like that Rams team, the mediots are pumping the Eagles like a true threat to run the table. Well, let’s remember what to that 2000 Rams team. They got owned for three quarters by the upstart Saints team lead by second year quarterback Aaron Brooks and an above average defense. If not for a future HOFer playing quarterback, there is no doubt they would have lost that game by three touchdowns. But Kurt Warner lead the Rams back to within three and the sad-sack Rams defense forced a punt late in the 4th quarter. Here we go, the Rams are heading to New York to play a horribly, over-rated Giants team. Of course, it was at that point that “Az Hakim” happened, who fumbled the punt and the game away. Ironically, the Eagles were the benefactors of another Rams fumbled punt in their week 15 matchup. As a Rams fan, I would to see the Eagles in the NFC championship, that tells you how much I think of them.

12.Houston Texans (+2800)

Historical Team: 2008 Miami Dolphins. I could have picked either of those fraudulent Dolphins division champs (2000, 2008). There was no bigger fan of Dolphins those years than the Ravens, likewise the is no bigger fan of the Texans this year than the Colts. And if the Texans were able to beat the Colts, the Pats will be not only giddy, but relieved to get essentially another bye week in the divisional round. Zero chance.

Geaux Saints!

Some wildcard weekend notes:

  • This year marks the third straight year that all four home teams (higher seeds) are favored. The home teams are 6-2 SU and 4-4 ATS.
  • Since 2013, home teams are just 10-10 SU and 8-10-2 ATS.
  • Since 2002, home teams giving less than 3 points are just 2-6 SU and a dreadful 0-7-1 ATS. Cowboys, Texans and Ravens fall into that category this weekend.
  • Since 2002, home teams are 36-28 SU and 29-32-3 ATS

I compiled a list of playoffs rules that I use as a guide for making my “holy grail” run to 11-0, you can read them here.

The back of Colin’s player card:

Note: Lines are courtesy of 5dimes.eu

Colts @ Texans (-1.5, 48.5)

This seems like the easiest game of the week – Indianapolis all day. My main concerns are 1. Luck throwing a ridiculous interception that turns momentum to the Texans; and 2. The fact the world seems to be on the Texans, and the only thing worse than being on the side of the public is being on the side of the public underdog.

I cannot do much about #2 above, the heart wants what the heart wants. As for #1, I witnessed a horrible Luck turnover, which was returned for 6 and put the Titans right back in the game. They still throttled the Titans.

Colts 31 Texans 27

Seahawks @ Cowboys (-2.5, 43.5)

Here we have mirror image teams. What is the difference? For starters, the Cowboys are at home. Their defensive front seven should eat all day against a very mediocre Seattle offensive line and they will be able to move the ball on the ground themselves. Biggest concern is Russell Wilson doing, well, Russell Wilson things. Yeah, that could be the difference, and I am giving up the coaching matchup as well, but I will gamble the Cowboys linebackers are fast enough to keep Russ contained.

Cowboys 24 Seahawks 16

Chargers @ Ravens (-3, 41.5)

I really like this Chargers team and I feel like if these two teams were on opposite sides of the bracket, they very well could meet in the Super Bowl. But unfortunately for the Chargers the draw this terrible matchup against the Ravens. The Ravens will have success running the ball and will harass Phillip all day. While I think this game will be close, I can easily see it getting out of -hand in favor of the Ravens.

Ravens 23 Chargers 13

Eagles @ Bears (-6.5, 41.5)

Props to HBO for re-running the entire series of the Sopranos over the next week. I plan to record all episodes and plow through them over the next month (get ready for a barrage of Pauly Walnuts comments). I remember the last episode of the Sopranos like it was yesterday – fade to black it was gone, forever – the next day I was moderately depressed about not having the show in my life. It’s been long enough where many of the episodes will seem brand new, so it’s like I get to watch the most amazing show ever as though I have never seen it before. That is awesome!

You know what else has been missing, albeit for only a year, and will great to have back – pessimistic Eagles fans, bitching and moaning about their team. It’s like hitting a daily double next week – Sopranos and miserable Eagles fans all back in the same week.

Bears 27 Eagles 10

Good luck to all!

2018 Week 14 NFL Predictions – Fantasy Football Playoffs Quarterfinals Edition

Greetings, Fantasy Footballers! Colin Wynner here to add some levity to the most stressful time of the year. And no, it’s not the stress form the holidays, it’s from the fantasy playoffs! Yes, that is a fact, right now those involved in fantasy playoffs are not worried about what gift to get their significant other but rather are spending inordinate amounts of time pondering the following questions: can Patrick Mahomes keep up his amazing season?; will Saquon Barkley hit the rookie wall?; and what is the weather forecast for Green Bay and how will that affect Julio Jones and Devante Adams this week?

After hanging up my draft charts for good at the end of the 2017 season, I have been asked at least a dozen times if I missed fantasy football. My response has been a resounding “NO” or maybe a “Hell, NO!” Of course, I have no idea how I will pay my mortgage in January without the influx of fantasy winnings, but still I have not missed the fantasy football or regretted retirement.

Given that, when the commish asked me to put together a fantasy playoff prediction column, I jumped at the chance. See for me, I am feeling as much stress as your typical Coloradoan after visiting the local dispensary; this would be fun. Yet, I had to ask myself how much I really knew about the 2018 fantasy season. Sure I am still watching and engaged in football, but I doubted if I knew detailed stats about any player, other than what is publicized in the media (for example, Mahomes TD passes). For my prep, I challenged myself to the top 20 at each “key” position – QB, RB, WR and TE – and compare that to actual results. Here are my predictions for QB/RB lists:

QB and RB are by far these two easiest positions to “guess” players in the top. Look there are only 32 starting quarterbacks to start with and, as stated above, I still have a vested interest in the NFL. Meaning I know who I have backed on the road and been burnt (looking at you Darnold), who manages games, who has been injured and who is lighting it up. Pretty much the same story for running backs, teams with a primary RB are well known to me and likely in the top 20 due to activity.

Not surprising the numbers look good! I only missed six players and had five bad calls (all in RB, S. Barkley, J. White, M. Ingram, L. Miller and L. McCoy), the worst of which was the omission of S. Barkley. I guess I completely forgot about him, just like the Heisman voters did in 2017. #StillBitter

The biggest surprise to me was just how much L. McCoy has sucked this year. Imagine having McCoy and L. Bell as your first two picks! Did you imagine that? Ok, now clean up the puke!

Here are my WR/TE lists:

Oh boy! Name recognition can only get you so far. Some good calls, like A. Thielen, but these positions featured far more bad to bad AF calls – K. Stills, Fitz, A. Miller, L. Wilson, C. Clay and D. Walker. I think I got confused on B-List comedy actors when I slotted Luke Wilson into the 19th position. I completely forgot that Delanie Walker was out for the season, which shocking considering I lost a few clams when Mike Vrabel decided to give the ball, on a dive play no less, to the now TE for the Titans, Luke Stocker. The game turned on that play and the subsequent refusal to tackle Lamar Miller on a 98-yard TD run. Lamar Miller out ran the entire Titans defense – let that sink in! Oh, and that explains my Lamar Miller top 10 pick above as well.

And what is a NJOKU? If you asked me who Mark Andrews was last week, I would have told you that famous surgeon, who performs the ACL reconstruction for athletes.

Overall, however, I think that exercise made my point rather well, I really have no clue who is performing well fantasy-wise this season as my lists were mainly composed of name recognition, media hype and recency bias.

Ok, with that aside onto the predictions. Here is the criteria I am using to make these fantasy predictions:

  • Matchup – the single biggest factor in fantasy football is the matchup.
  • Team situation – is the team fighting for something? If not, coaches are more likely to pack it in and hand off to a third team RB, than to risk an injury to a multi-year contracted star.
  • Player – both situation and performance to-date. Look we have all seen it – sometimes these guys lay an egg regardless of the matchup. I think back to Adrian Peterson’s rookie season in 2007, raise your hand if AP killed your 2007 fantasy season in week 14 (me):
    • Week 13: 15-116-2; 1-10-0 25.1 FP
    • Week 14: 14-3-0; 0-0-0 .3 FP
    • Week 15: 20-78-2; 1-17-0 22.0 FP
  • My gut – served me well over the course of 25+ FF seasons, sometimes you just feel a guy is due for a stinker or ready to go off.

Before I get to my official predictions, a few disclaimers:

  1. This is for entertainment purposes, so enjoy, don’t take it personal. Fantasy football is like an Apple Pie from Costco, it’s exceptional, so good that most people grab a slice, what is left, if you’re lucky, is a small piece. That small piece is your skill when it comes to fantasy success; the large portion of the pie is random luck that decides most fantasy seasons.
  2. I am using the “dance with the one who brought ya” approach to lineups. By the way, that is great advice to follow, the last thing you want to do is bench your season-long starting quarterback for journeyman like Ryan Mallet in a playoff game. Don’t over-think it, except for . . .
  3. Weather. Bad weather should give an owner serious concern. It’s hard to predict weather tomorrow, let alone three weeks from now, but we all know the bad weather spots. And bad weather affects teams with disappointing teams more than teams fighting for something. Makes sense, right? How eager would you be to get hit in sub-freezing temps with 20 MPH winds just to go from three wins to four?

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business and start with the futures market, the odds to hoist the “Colin Wynner” trophy (isn’t that what leagues do – name the trophy after a retired legend?):

  • Desperados (+175) – That is a big plus that A. Luck got his stinker out of the way in week 13, also, he has three dome games for playoffs; A. Jones and E. Sanders have terrific match-ups the entire playoff season. B. Cooks and S. Diggs have a tough match-ups in week 14, but each has very favorable matchups in weeks 15/16. {Editor’s Note: Horrible news on Sanders, but next man up, Devin Funchess! Odds went from +150 to +175; The Boys to +225 from +250}
  • The Boys (+225) – Top seed but losing Conner is a big loss, and if that turns into a multi-game absence it will be tough to overcome. That said, this team goes as goes A. Kamara and M. Thomas. The matchups are favorable for both, starting with a revenge spot in Tampa this weekend. After that, a tougher matchup awaits in Carolina, but lookout in the Super Bowl if they survive the next weeks as the Saints boys might light up the fantasy scoreboard for 60+ points.
  • The GSW Rule (+575) – Pulling J. Samuels out of the dumpster may prove to be the key move of the playoff season. How the Steelers use him remains to be seen especially considering the comments by Tomlin about “using a committee approach.” Look Tomlin is an amazing leader, which in the NFL gets you 2-3 wins you shouldn’t get, but in terms of game day coaching and game management he makes Marvin Lewis look like Belichick. I am not buying for a second that there will be a committee, Samuels will get most of the touches. How effective he is remains to be seen? GSW did draw the toughest match-up in the first round, meaning their playoff run might be short lived.
  • Sidewinders (+650) – T. Gurley, who almost single-handedly won fantasy owners the title last year, will be the key. Will the Rams limit his activity? Although the Rams are fighting for home field advantage, I am not sure coach McVay cares, he didn’t last year. That could be a concern beyond this weekend, that they limit Gurley’s touches to preserve him for the playoffs. I am not a huge fan of the match-up this week in Chicago, but the thing about Gurley is the receptions, he might get shut down on the ground, but catch 8-100-1. If the Snakes prevail in week 14 they are very dangerous moving forward.
  • Ragin Asian (+1200) – The “fighting Saquon’s” are the ultimate “meh” team in this playoff season. Not much to get excited about in the lineup but any given week this roster could rise up with a 170 and end someone’s season. Though, I doubt they can do that three straight weeks
  • Weekend Warriors (+1500) – The cliché’s for this team are endless – “just give us a chance” and “everyone counted us out but they don’t know the heart of the 19 guys in this locker room” and “survive and advance.” The formula for success is simple – P. Mahomes, K. Allen and D. Hopkins need to put up 75+ points each week, that should get them to 145 or so and make them an extremely tough out.
  • Runnin Rebels (+1800) – After a devastating 2017 Super Bowl loss, RR’s motto was “unfinished business.” They have a chance but the week 14 matchups for his stars are not good – Zeke v,. Eagles and Ertz v. Cowboys. Gronk is a mess but maybe he will step up for the playoffs. Maybe RR can get the league to pass an emergency rule change awarding 10 fantasy points for every brace a player wears during the game – if that happened, Gronk (elbow, knee, ankle and neck) would post a 50+ on his own.
  • Freshman 15 (+3000) – Le’Veon Bell, Le’Veon “effing” Bell! Unless Newton and Kelce have a 2017 Gurley-esque playoff run this season will end without a title and likely without a playoff win. There are enough wildcards at WR to make things interesting and maybe Lamar Miller will break off another 98-yard TD run, but that seems very unlikely to happen three straight weeks.

Colin’s Picks: 1 unit on The GSW Rule and .5 unit on Weekend Warriors

Before I get to the week 14 fantasy matchups here are my NFL picks for the week, which is what I largely used for fantasy projections.

SuperContest Plays (five best plays of the week):

Colts at Texans (-4.5) – this Texans team is living a lie, while the Colts have played much better than expected this season, yeah they laid an egg in J-Ville last week but this is the NFL it happens. I expect max effort from the Colts and again this Texans is highly over-valued right now. Should be an “over” game, so all fantasy players should perform close to expectations. Pick: Colts +4.5

Falcons at Packers (-5.5) – Stick with me here – Aaron Rodgers seems like a dreadful person; I mean his family is estranged, former teammates struggle to find anything good to say about him and his longtime coach, McCarthy, did not have the affection for him that one would think he would. If add that up the sum comes out that he is a self-absorbed prick. Well, I guess all QB (and most WR’s) fall into that category, so let’s say A-Rod is a self-absorbed prick on steroids. Anyway, I think Mr. State Farm has been playing QB to get McCarthy fired, because he didn’t like “Big Mike.” Now that Mikey is gone, expect the best game of the season from the puppet master – “See, it was always McCarthy’s fault!” Oh and it’s going to be 27 degrees on Sunday, that is too cold for a team that wished the season ended last week. Pick: Packers -5.5

Saints (-8) at Bucs– I will take some grief for this pick as this might be the biggest “square” play of the week. And yeah, it is true I hate laying points in the NFL (home tams catching more than a TD are a modest 100-92 since 2002), but I love revenge spots especially when it involves a guy walking around with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, Brees, and a coach, Payton, who loves running up the score to hide his own insecurities. Remember that modest 100-92 mentioned above, change it to a revenge spot (previous meeting was a win) and home teams are a “foreclosure on the horizon” 19-25. Make it 19-26! Pick: Saints -8

Eagles at Cowboys (-3.5) – I hate this Eagles team, I mean really hate them but, in terms of the Cowboys hype, let’s not pull Vince and Jules move here, and as Winston Wolf put it, “start sucking each other’s *(%^#” quite yet on this Cowboys team. There a ton of reasons to fade this Cowboys team – the offense essentially is either hand to Zeke or throw an out to Amari and hope the tackling is the equivalent of a 4th grade pick-up game; the Boys are emotionally spent after four monster wins in a row, Eagles, Falcons, Skins and Saints; did you know the Cowboys are now everyone’s sleeper pick for the Super Bowl?; and finally, it’s still Jason Garrett roaming the sideline for the Cowboys. The defense is legit but I expect a little let down from them, which might be a good thing for Eagles receivers and Carson Wentz. Pick: Eagles +3.5

Rams (-3) at Bears – The best gift I can receive this holiday season would be the Bears at home in the playoffs favored by a 3.5 or more. Oh man, hello early retirement! That said, this is a tough spot for the Rams – who locked up the division last week and are ripe for a letdown. Weather should not be too bad but I expect the Bears to treat this like their Super Bowl, you know because they know what everyone knows – they have ZERO shot at the Super Bowl this year. Quick tip for Bears fans – make sure you get either the NFC North Champs or the NFC Wildcard Winner t-shirt, don’t hold out for something better. Pick: Bears +3

Still like but these games did not quite make the cut:

Ravens at Chiefs (-6.5) – This is the SPOY! Sucker Play Of the Year! As everyone knows with commercialization of fantasy football, information is available to highest degree we have ever witnessed in history. What that means is the books are forced get creative to churn profits, sure they loot on the 10-team $20 parlays that never win, but that doesn’t get the Sportsbook director his giant bonus. So, what do you make of a -6.5 line, that has crossed over a key number of 7? Doesn’t that create an illusion that “sharp” money is moving the line to -6.5. That illusion is then turned into public betting action because everyone wants to be considered a “sharp.” It’s the ultimate mind game. Chiefs roll – the idea that this Ravens defense is good enough to keep it close is a fallacy. Pick: Chiefs -6.5

Jags at Titans (-4.0) – Think about the Jags season, opened 3-1, essentially anointed as the AFC champs, seven games later they are 3-8 and done. Life comes at you fast when Blake Bortles is your quarterback. And they fit the mold of “out of contention” teams in the last quarter of the season – play tough at home against a division opponent. The other games – road and non-division are mailed in. Oh, and I did mention I hate the Titans and their moron coach. I guess the NFL thinks anyone who touched the cape of Belichick can coach. Still this is a great spot for the Titans. – Titans -4.0

Patriots (-7.5) at Dolphins – See the Bears, this is the Super Bowl for a team with ZERO shot, that team being the Patriots, just making sure you were paying attention. The Dolphins seem to be stuck in perpetual mediocrity, like the movie Groundhog Day, they are just good enough to not get a high draft but not good enough to win something. Beware of K. Drake this week, had one of his biggest games last year against the Pats. – Dolphins +7.5

The “WTF are they doing giving points to anyone?” games:

Jets at Bills (-3.5) & Giants (-3.5) at Redskins – Have to take the points in both games here. I really don’t care if Gary Sanchez (the Yankees strikeout machine catcher) is playing quarterback for the Skins, Eli Manning giving points on the road is free money. Jets +3.5; Redskins +3.5

Lions (-2.5) at Cardinals – Yep, two things I love doing backing Matty Stafford as a road favorite and getting stomped in the balls. Cardinals +2.5

Games I wouldn’t bet with your money (hey wait, I still have a fair amount of “your” money!):

Panthers (-2) at Browns – This Browns team is frisky, well at least they were until last week when they laid an egg in Houston. I guess that is what you get with a rookie QB, inconsistent play. I bet Mayfield is longing for the quarterback friendly Sooner offense and the soft AF Big 12 defenses! Quick tip from Colin – if you want to make some money in 2019 – find out the starting quarterback for the Sooners next season and pound his Heisman futures. That is a virtual lock as Heisman voters are a collection of “Shallow Hal’s,” caring more about physical appearance than substance. As long as the BIG12 plays defense like they have for the last 10 years, the quarterback of the best team in the BIG12 put up numbers that will make Heisman voters drool, even if those numbers have a terrible personality, are selfish and have a steaming case of herpes. Good luck with that. #StillBitterTour2018 Wait, what game was I picking prior to the rant – oh yeah, the Panthers have big problems. Browns +2

Broncos (-5.5) at 49ers – Yuck, Case Keenum on the road giving 5.5. Did you know – Nick Mullens threw for 414 against the Seahawks last week. Yes, he did. 49ers +5.5, to keep it close.

Vikings at Seahawks (-3) – Did you see some guy named Mullet threw for 414 last week v. the Seahawks? Yes, I did. Have you seen this Vikings defense struggle on the road? Yes, I have. High scoring affair here, but Vikings +3 walk off with an outright win.

The NFL double digit dog system (Home Teams >= 10 points since 2002 = 41-35; Road teams >= 10 points since 2002 = 191-218).

Bengals at Chargers (-14) & Steelers (-11) at Raiders – Raiders +11 will keep it close; Bengals (Chargers -14) will not.

Ok, on to what you came here for – the “experts” picks on the fantasy games for week 14, a.k.a. Playoff Round #1:

Week 14 Matchups:

The Boys (-7.8) vs. Weekend Warriors

WW has a punchers chance here but the pressure is all on Mahomes, Allen and Hopkins to go off, the rest of the cast will have a difficult time keeping up with the depth of The Boys. The Chiefs have a supposed tough matchup against the Ravens, though I have seen Cam Newton shred the Ravens defense in the past five weeks. And while the Ravens have played better on defense since that game, their opponents have been the Bengals, Raiders and Falcons. Not exactly murderers row of offenses. I know you are thinking, “wait, the Falcons offense is pretty good.” My response to you would be to read the Atlanta newspaper, rumor has it that Matty Ice’s wife suspected him of cheating on her and wanted him out of out their house but she couldn’t stop him from getting in, so she called the police, who politely gave her the answer, “Ma’am, put an end zone in front of the door.” This number is light at 7.8 but I am taking the points here . . .
Pick: Weekend Warriors +7.8

Deperados (-15.1) vs. Freshman 15

My only concern for Desperados is the WR’s four road matchups, in four outdoor venues, with three of the four in potential bad weather. I really don’t like Cooks this week for a variety of reasons but mainly Jared Goff looks like he spent the bye week pumping iron and the ball felt so much lighter that he overthrew Cooks multiple times. Well, either that he didn’t adjust for the altitude in Detroit.

I hate laying points, absolutely hate it but sometimes you must do it. . .
Pick: Desperados -15.1

Ragin Asian (-3.2) vs. Runnin Rebels

This is the one game this week where I will not be surprised to see a 30+ point margin. Problem is I don’t have a clue which side will win. Maybe I will “please” (opposite of a teaser, where you give 6 points, RA -9.2 and Runnin Rebels -2.8 at 6-1 for two teams) both sides of this and leave an open spot to give me a 3-1 shot down the road. Hmm, if only I could bet on these games.

This is a “gun to my head” pick, and I love those, so gun to my head, I will take the Asian minus the points, simply more explosiveness on that side of the fantasy ledger.

Pick: Ragin Asian -3.2

Sidewinders (-3.1) vs. The GSW Rule

This should be the best game of the weekend, culminating on Monday with a battle of QB v. WR on the same team – Cousins v. Thielen. You can pencil Thielen in for 9 catches, 100 yards, a TD and a couple comments for Peter Carroll. Cousins will need to find TDs to two other receivers to pull out the win. He will, give me the points and a half unit on the underdog money line . . .

Pick: The GSW Rule +3.1 and The GSW Rule +145 money line (.5 unit)

Good luck to all this week – enjoy!

2011 NFL Week 11 Fantasy Football – Diamonds and Not So Rough

It’s time for Week 11 edition of my Diamonds and Not So Rough column. Looking back at Week 10 it was not a good week for my Diamonds, but a winning week for my Not So Rough players. Only one of my Diamonds hit the 15 point mark which was only good for 20%, while four of My Not So Rough players scored under 20 points which was good for 80%.

Week 10 Diamonds (20% wins):

  • WR Earl Bennett came up just short with 11.1 points against the Lions.
  • RB Pierre Thomas had a totally disappointing game scoring only 4.8 points and handing me another loss.
  • TE Owen Daniels disappeared again and managed only three catches and 6/1 points.
  • WR Jordy Nelson scored twice and his 20.8 points gave me my only winning Diamonds call of the week.
  • RB Willis McGahee was injured on his fourth carry of the game and piled up only 1.7 points ending my week at 1-4 for my Diamonds.

Week 10 Not So Rough (80% wins):

  • WR Marques Colston gave me a scare as a touchdown would have pushed him over 20 points. His 15.3 points made me a winner with this pick.
  • QB Tom Brady destroyed the weak Jets defense and scored 31.36 points handing me my only Not So Rough player loss for the week.
  • RB Fred Jackson was shutdown as I expected and his 12.5 score made me a winner.
  • WR Mike Wallace struggled against the Bengals and his 11.5 points gave me my third winner of the week.
  • WR Dewayne Bowe was shutdown even more than I expected by CB Champ Bailey and Bowe’s 2.7 points made me the easiest of winners.

As a reminder, the scoring system I will use to grade my performance is this:

  • All touchdowns 6 points
  • .04 point per yard passing
  • .1 per yard for rushing/receiving,
  • points per receptions > .25 RB/.50 WR/1.00 all others;
  • -1 per interception
  • -3 for interception return for TDs (also known as pick sixes).

Also to remind the readers for the Diamonds I’m looking for a 60% success ratio and I’m looking for the same 60% for the Not So Rough players. A Diamond must score at least 15 points in the scoring system listed above while a Not So Rough player must score under 20 to be considered a success.

So without further adieu here are my Week 11 picks for Diamonds:

Aaron Hernandez TE New England Patriots

This is the week both Patriots tight ends break loose against the Chiefs defense on Monday night. Hernandez is looking at eight catches 80 yards and a touchdown or 22 points.

Matt Hasselbeck QB Tennessee Titans

The Falcons defense will focus on stopping Titans RB Chris Johnson and Hasselbeck will take advantage of that situation throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns or 22 points.

Cam Newton QB Carolina Panthers

RookieNewtonstruggled last week against the Titans defense, but this week it’s the Lions secondary. The Panthers will be playing from behind all day andNewtonwill hit 300 total yards and two touchdowns easily smashing the 15 point mark.

Vernon Davis TE San   Francisco 49ers

Yes, the Cardinals struggle to cover the tight end and yes they really struggle to cover All Pro Tight Ends.Daviswill be Alex Smith’s favorite target this week so look for seven catches, 90 yards and one, maybe two touchdowns. 22 points seems to be the theme this week.

Reggie Bush RB Miami Dolphins

Never thought I would utter the words Reggie Bush on this blog space, but after a few good games I have to give him his due. Add in the fact it’s the Bills defense and Reggie scores another touchdown and adds over 100 total yards to break the 15 point barrier.

Now for the Not So Roughs:

Phillip Rivers QB San Diego Chargers

Yes, the Chargers are way out of synch. A matchup on the road with the Bears defense and with several of his offensive linemen missing will do nothing to fix Rivers’ ailments. 200 yards, two touchdowns and three more picks. 17 points is short of the needed 20.

Vincent Jackson WR San Diego Chargers

See Rivers right above for the explanation of why VJ is on this list. VJ will catch five balls for about 80 yards and a score. That equates to only 16.5 points which is under 20.

Roddy White WR Atlanta Falcons

He’ll most likely be playing this game without receiving mate Julio Jones which means more double teams against Roddy. Couple that fact with theTennesseedefense and it’s obvious Roddy is not a good play this week as he scores well under 20 points. Four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown is only 12 points.

DeSean Jackson WR Philadelphia Eagles

Sure he’ll be out to prove something this week after last week’s missed meeting and sitting out the Week 10 game. Problem is twofold, he’ll most likely be without QB Mike Vick and he faces a good Giants defense. Looks for a stat line right about the same as Roddy White above. Oh yes, mix in the fact that WR Jeremy Maclin will probably be out too and this is an easy pick.

DeWayne Bowe WR Kansas City Chiefs

Yes he’s a repeat offender on this list. No, he’s not facing the Broncos defense and Champ Bailey this week and yes the Patriots defense has been burned over and over again this year. Problem for Bowe this week is at quarterback where he will have Tyler Palko throwing to him Monday night.    He’ll improve from last week, but not come anywhere the 20 point mark this week.

2011 NFL Week Ten Fantasy Football – Diamonds and Not So Rough

It’s time for Week 10 edition of my Diamonds and Not So Rough column. Looking back at Week 9 it was not a good week for my Diamonds, but a winning week for my Not So Rough players. Two of my Diamonds hit the 15 point mark which was only good for 40%, while four of My Not So Rough players scored under 20 points which was good for 80%.

Week 9 Diamonds (40% wins):

  • Eli Manning rallied late against the Patriots and wound up with 22.10 points.
  • Shonn Greene struggled most of his game and wound up with only 7.6 points.
  • Brent Celek came close Monday night, but his 13.00 points made me a loser.
  • I expected Beanie Wells to run wild against the Rams but 3.8 points left me as a
    big loser on this pick.
  • Jake Ballard was able to get me to 40% winners with his late touchdown grab against
    the Patriots that had him scoring a total of 16.7 points.

Week 9 Not So Rough (80% wins):

  • I was fairly close on Anquan Boldin’s stats and his 12.30 points gave me an easy
    win.
  • Plaxico Burress returned to earth with only 10.4 points giving me another easy win.
  • Vincent Jackson went crazy on Week 9 and his 35.6 points gave me my only Not So Rough
    loss of the week.
  • Steve Johnson struggled with the Jets as I expected and his 8.8 points made me an
    easy winner.
  • Michael Bush came very, very close to handing me another loss, but in any mathematical
    system 19.4 points is still less than our 20 point target.

As a reminder, the scoring system I will use to grade my performance is this:

  • All touchdowns 6 points
  • .04 point per yard passing
  • .1 per yard for rushing/receiving,
  • points per receptions > .25 RB/.50 WR/1.00 all others;
  • -1 per interception
  • -3 for interception return for TDs (also known as pick sixes).

Also to remind the readers for the Diamonds I’m looking for a 60% success ratio and I’m looking for the same 60% for the Not So Rough players. A Diamond must score at least 15 points in the scoring system listed above while a Not So Rough player must score under 20 to be considered a success. This week there are no bye weeks for the first time since Week 4.

So without further adieu here are my Week 10 picks for Diamonds:

Earl Bennett WR Chicago Bears

Normally I don’t like to jump on the “flavor of the week” but Bennett has two major things going for him this week: chemistry with his quarterback and a matchup with the Lions secondary. Look for Bennett to post 6 catches, 85 yards and a touchdown which adds up to 17.5 points.

Pierre Thomas RB New Orleans Saints

Yes Mark Ingram is expected back this week, but at the same time Thomas’ other vulture, Christopher Ivory may sit out. Atlanta is tough to run on, but Thomas can be involved in the passing game too. 110 total yards, a touchdown and 6 catches equals 20 points for Thomas and a win for me.

Owen Daniels TE Houston Texans

Most of us thought with WR Andre Johnson out Daniels would explode but he has not. A matchup with a Buccaneers that can’t cover tight ends will change that this week. 8 catches 100 yards and a touchdown gives Daniels 24 points.

Jordy Nelson WR Green Bay Packers

It’s certainly hard to take a Packers wide receiver with all the weapons at QB Aaron Rodgers’ disposal, but a matchup Monday night against a weak Vikings secondary is just what the doctor ordered.
4 catches, two touchdowns (one long, one short) and 105 yards give Nelson 24.5 points.

Willis McGahee RB Denver Broncos

Very strong game for McGahee on his return last week and there is no reason for me to think a matchup against the Chiefs defense will stop him from rolling this week. Willis will pile on another 100 yards this week and with another end zone visit he winds up with 16 points.

Now for the Not So Roughs:

Marques Colston WR New Orleans Saints

Another QB, Drew Brees, with a lot of weapons. Lance Moore may sit which could add to Colston’s stats but regardless I think he gets held down this week in Atlanta. Six catches for 80 yards as his 11 points fall well below my 20 point winning target.

Tom Brady QB New England Patriots

Hard to put a player of Brady’s stature on this list, but I think his struggles continue this week against the Revis led Jets. He will still manage 225 yards, and two touchdowns, but he’ll toss a pair of interceptions. 19 points is a good game, but not quite the 20 he needs to beat me.

Fred Jackson RB Buffalo Bills

Another name that’s hard to put on this list, but his matchup with the Cowboys will certainly be a challenging one. 140 total yards with 4 catches is only 15 points and not enough to top the magic 20 point barrier.

Mike Wallace WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Another tough name to add to this list, but the Bengals secondary plays solid cover defense. Despite his well known speed, Wallace will struggle to put up numbers this week. He’ll score a touchdown, but six catches for 75 yards is only 16.5 points.

DeWayne Bowe WR Kansas City Chiefs

He’s getting old, but he can still cover as Bowe will find out this week when he’s matched up against CB Champ Bailey of the Broncos. Four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown is only 14 points and another win for me.

2011 NFL Week Nine Fantasy Football – Diamonds and Not So Rough

Week 9 of the Diamonds and Not So Rough column is here. I finally had a winning week
on both sides of the equation in Week 8. It was nice to see some high scoring
scores from my Diamonds for a change.

Week 8 Recap:

Week 8 Diamonds (60% wins):

  • Antonio Brown of the Steelers had one touchdown and nine catches for 67 yards or a
    total of 17.20 points to eclipse the 15 point mark.
  • Fred Davis waited until the final meaningless Redskins drive to get busy but he broke
    the 15 point mark with eight catches, 94 yards or 17.40 points.
  • Tim Tebow looked horrible again and barely eclipsed the 15 point mark, but a winner
    is a winner and Tebow’s 15.18 points made me a winner.
  • Ryan Mathews of the Chargers came close with 12.70 points and a third quarter
    groin injury cost him most of the fourth quarter and overtime. He was
    under 15 points so a loss for me.
  • Jeremy Maclin had an early touchdown, but at the end of the day his three catches
    for 54 yards only equaled 12.90 points handing me another loss.

Week8 Not So Rough (80% wins):

  • Ryan Torain pitched in with another pathetic effort with 14 yards rushing and one
    catch for six yards. At the end of the day his 2.25 points made me the
    easiest of winner.
  • Bernard Scott filled in for the suspended Cedrick Benson and put up numbers close
    to Benson’s average. 76 yards rushing and three catches or a total of 8.35
    points.
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was my only loss even though I came extremely close on
    predicting his weekly stats. 262 passing yards, one interception and two
    passing touchdowns resulted in 21.88 points or a loss for me.
  • TE Jimmy Graham and the hapless Week 8 Saints made me the easiest of winners.
    Graham only had four catches for 39 yards and zero touchdowns. In our
    rules that only equals 7.90 points.
  • TE Vernon Davis also made me an easy winner as he only had three catches for 27
    yards or 5.70 points.

As a reminder, the scoring system I will use to grade my performance is this:

  • Alltouchdowns 6 points
  • .04 point per yard passing
  • .1 per yard for rushing/receiving,
  • points per receptions > .25 RB/.50 WR/1.00 all others;
  • -1 per interception
  • -3 for interception return for TDs (also known as pick sixes).

Also to remind the readers for the Diamonds I’m looking for a 60% success ratio and
I’m looking for the same 60% for the Not So Rough players. A Diamond must score
at least 15 points in the scoring system listed above while a Not So Rough
player must score under 20 to be considered a success.

Now it’s time to look at the Week 9 Diamonds:

Shonn Greene RB New York Jets – Greene gets a Week 9 matchup with the Bills run
defense. Although they are a little tougher at home, they still struggle to
stop the run. Greene always appears to be on the verge of a breakout week and I
think is the week. 135 total yards and a touchdown equals 20 points when you
add in a few catches.

Brent Celek TE Philadelphia Eagles – Celek has become a favorite target of QB
Mike Vick and although he’s a little banged up I look for Celek to have another
nice game against the Bears this week. The Bears struggles covering the tight
end will show up this week and Celek will grab 6 catches for 75 yards and a
touchdown which will equal 19.75 points.

Beanie Wells RB Arizona Cardinals – Beanie is another player that is out on
the field not at 100%. Thanks to a matchup with the Rams defense it won’t
matter. Beanie will shred the Rams defense for 120 total yards and two
touchdowns for a total of 24 points.

Jake Ballard TE New York Giants – Ballard draws
the weak New England secondary this week and it will do nothing but help him.
Heath Miller of the Steelers was on target for 40 catches in one game last week
as the Patriots allowed him four catches in the first two minutes of the game.
Ballard goes for 6 catches, 66 yards and one touchdown for a total of 18.6
points.

Eli Manning QB New York Giants – Again all about the matchups and Eli
draws the weak Patriots secondary. 300 yards passing and two touchdowns are not
out of the question. Mix in the requisite two interceptions and Eli still
scores 22 points.

Now for the Not So Roughs:

Anquan Boldin WR Baltimore Ravens – Everyone is jumping on the Boldin bandwagon
after last week’s game, but sadly for him he only gets to play the Cardinals
secondary once this year and that was last week. Although the Steelers defense
is not what it used to be it’s still much better than the Cardinals. A more
pedestrian 6 for 80 or 11 points for Boldin this week.

Plaxico Burress WR New York Jets – Another bandwagon player who put up three touchdowns
in Week 7 before his BYE. This week the Jets really focus on the run and Plax
returns to fantasy bench land. Five catches for 45 yards with a short touchdown
as he ends the week with 13 points.

Michael Bush RB Oakland Raiders – Okay a lot of owners have added him to either fill
in for Darren McFadden or to take advantage of owners who failed to handcuff
McFadden properly (me included). Well after a 99 yard day with a touchdown
owners like me won’t feel so bad. Tawain Jones steals the show this week and
Bush only has 15.9 points.

Stevie Johnson WR Buffalo Bills – Hello Stevie, it’s your turn to visit Revis Island.
The quick Johnson will give it his best, but three catches for 40 yards and
5.50 will not be enough to make his owners happy.

Vincent Jackson WR San Diego Chargers – Yes he makes
the list again this week. Him and quarterback Phillip Rivers seem out of synch
and a matchup with Charles Woodson of the Packers is probably not the fix the
doctor ordered. I can see him grabbing a touchdown this week, but five catches
and 70 yards may be the extent of his production. 15.5 points falls under the
magic 20 mark.

 

2011 NFL Week Eight Fantasy Football – Diamonds and Not So Rough

It’s time for Week 8 edition of my Diamonds and Not So Rough column. Looking back at Week 7 it was not a good week for my Diamonds, but a great week for my Not So Rough players. None of my Diamonds hit the 15 point mark, while all five of My Not So Rough players scored under 20 points.

Week 7 Diamonds (00% wins) (2 for 15 since I started):

  • Greg Little checked in with 5 catches but for only 31 yards or 5.6 points.
  • Antonio Brown came close with 13.70 points with 7 catches for 102 yards.
  • Curtis Painter was so horrible I won’t even mention his score. Losing 62-7 does that to you.
  • Brandon Marshall did better against Revis than this week as he only had 9.10 points.
  • Kellen Winslow had 1 TD, but only 25 yards on 4 catches or 12.50 points.

Week 7 Not So Rough (100% wins) (15 for 15 since I started).

  • Jason Witten did score 14.50 points but that’s not 20 so a win for me.
  • Shonn Greene recorded only 11.95 points well under the needed 20.
  • Matt Ryan’s numbers were almost exactly what I predicted and his 18.92 points were not enough to topple the magic 20 points.
  • Chris Johnson made this predicting stuff look easy as his 6 points were well under the needed 20.
  • I warned of a Revis Island trip and it worked out even better than I thought. 1 catch for 15 yards or 2 points. Winner, winner chicken dinner.

As a reminder, the scoring system I will use to grade my performance is this:

  • All touchdowns 6 points
  • .04 point per yard passing
  • .1 per yard for rushing/receiving,
  • points per receptions > .25 RB/.50 WR/1.00 all others;
  • -1 per interception
  • -3 for interception return for TDs (also known as pick sixes).

 

Also to remind the readers for the Diamonds I’m looking for a 60% success ratio and I’m looking for the same 60% for the Not So Rough players. A Diamond must score at least 15 points in the scoring system listed above while a Not So Rough player must score under 20 to be considered a success.

So without further adieu here are my Week 8 picks for Diamonds:

Antonio Brown WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week we saw what this kid is capable of as the changing of the old guard (Hines Ward) to the new guard (Brown) began. Toss in a questionable status for Ward and a matchup with the porous Patriots secondary and that is point scoring music to my ears. He should match last week’s production with a TD mixed in for 19.70 points.

Fred Davis TE Washington Redskins

Three major facts work inDavis’ favor this week, his matchup with a weak Bills secondary, the fact his main nemesis Chris Cooley is now and IR and third WR Santana Moss is out with a broken hand. That leaves Davis and WR Jabar Gaffney as QB John Beck’s primary targets.Davisshould score and add 8 catches for 90 yards or 23 points for the week.

Tim Tebow QB Denver Broncos

With some our favorite fantasy QBs on bye this week, Tebow makes a good start against a Lions defense that is struggling and playing on the road. Sure Tebow will be sacked 5 or 6 times and he’ll make 15 bad throws and sure he’s not a pure NFL QB yet. As fantasy owners all we care about is stats and at the end of the day he’ll pass for 200, rush for 50 more and have 2 total TDs, Minus 2 interceptions for him still equals 23 points for him this week.

Jeremy Maclin WR Philadelphia Eagles

The Dallas defense plays better at home than on the road and this week they travel toPhiladelphiafor the Sunday night contest. I believe the Cowboys defense will focus on DeSean Jackson leaving Maclin to be QB Mike Vick’s favorite target this week. 6 catches, 102 yards and a TD equals 19.2 points this week.

Ryan Mathews RB San Diego Chargers

The Monday night spotlight will shine on last season’s most disappointing rookie and one of this year’s major surprises RB Ryan Mathews. He has a road matchup with the Chiefs defense that ranks 25th against the run. Mathews will do his damage on the ground and on passes. 150 total yards and a TD nets him 22 points as I’ll include 4 catches.

Now for the Not So Roughs:

Ryan Torain RB Washington Redskins

All week you will hear that Torain is a strong play given the year ending injuring to RB Tim Hightower, but don’t buy into the hype. First off it’s a Mike Shanahan running back and secondly it’s not a great match up with a Bills defense that plays better at home. Torain should crack the 80 yard mark with a TD, but that only equals 14 points.

Bernard Scott RB Cincinnati Bengals

With Cedrick Benson suspended for the week, Scott is everyone’s hot waiver pickup. Seattle’s run defense has been a lot better than expected (11th overall) and this week will be no different. Scott will be held to 60 total yards and a TD. 12 points keeps him below my 20 point target.

Ryan Fitzpatrick QB Buffalo Bills

Fitzpatrick is at home against the Washington Redskins, but the bad news is the Redskins are ranked 11th in pass defense. Fitzpatrick’s last two games have not been great and the trend will continue this week. 225 yards passing, 1 TD and 2 INTs equals 13 points this week.

Jimmy Graham TE New Orleans Saints

Graham has been the #1 TE in scoring so far and although the Rams defense is nothing to write home about, they do cover the TE well. Graham has already been facing extra coverage against him and when QB Drew Brees sees that this weekend he’ll look to spread the ball around more to his WRs and RBs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. Graham still scores but 4 catches for 65 yards and a TD only equals 16.5 points which is below our magic 20 point barrier.

Vernon Davis TE San Francisco 49ers

Here is an interesting fact, his opponent this week the Cleveland Browns are 2nd in pass defense, but they are the 9th worst against the TE. That would normally be a good matchup to exploit, but I see the 49ers running the ball well andDavis not being able to take advantage of the Browns defense. 5 catches for 75 yards or 12.5 points.

2011 NFL Week Seven Fantasy Football – Diamonds and Not So Rough

Now it’s time to move on to lucky Week 7 of the Diamonds and Not So Rough column. Once again I struggled with my Diamonds in Week 6 as only one of my
picks hit the 15 point mark, while once again all five of My Not So Rough players
scored under 20 points.

Week 5 Diamonds (20% wins):

  • James Jones had the TD catch I expected, but on his only catch of the game. He totaled just 10 points.
  • Greg Olsen five catches, 42 yards and a paltry 9.2 points.
  • Colt McCoy was my only hit at 22.20 and his stats were awfully close to what I predicted.
  • Michael Crabtree 9 catches for 77 yards and a TD away from making me a winner. 12.20 points was not quite enough.
  • Shonn Greene pitiful Monday night performance resulted in 7.95 points.

Week 5 Not So Rough (100% wins):

  • Brandon Marshall I said 5 for 60 and he wound up with 6 catches for 109 yards. Take out his fluke 46 yard catch and I’m pretty much right on the mark. Either way his 13.90 points made me a winner.
  • Reggie Wayne Predicted 5 for 75 and he was even worse and 5 for 58 for 8.30 points. An easy winner this week.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew I predicted 100 total yards and no TDs or 10 points. He checked in with 104 total yards and no TDs. Add in 2 catches and he had a pedestrian 10.90 points.
  • Arian Foster was even worse than I expected with 49 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards on 6 catches. No TDs led to a 11.60 week and a win for me.
  • DeSean Jackson 3 catches for 46 yards underwhelmed all of us as he was even under my lowly prediction of 4 catches for 80 yards and a TD.

As a reminder, the scoring system I will use to grade my performance is this:

  • All touchdowns 6 points
  • .04 point per yard passing
  • .1 per yard for rushing/receiving,
  • points per receptions > .25 RB/.50 WR/1.00 all others;
  • -1 per interception
  • -3 for interception return for TDs (also known as pick sixes).

Also to remind the readers for the Diamonds I’m looking for a 60% success ratio and I’m looking for the same 60% for the Not So Rough players. A Diamond must score at least 15 points in the scoring system listed above while a Not So Rough player must score under 20 to be considered a success.

Now it’s time to look at the Week 7 Diamonds:

Greg Little WR Cleveland – Breakout week coming against Seattle this week. Little had a good game against Oakland even with his stumbling out of bounds at the ½ inch line after making a wide open catch. No worries this week as he does scores a TD and adds 8 catches for 100 yards or 20 points.

Antonio Brown WR Pittsburgh – I know I’ve been touting this guy since last year, but you know what? He finally gets his dream matchup against the Arizona Cardinals secondary. He’ll have 2 long grabs with one going for a TD. 4 catches 130 yards and a score. 21 points is on the agenda for the week.

Curtis Painter QB Indianapolis – My reason for liking Painter this week is simple, I’m feeling a blowout in the Bayou and a lot of throws from Painter. 300 yards, 2 TDs and a couple of INTs are in store for Painter this week. 22 points from him and I’ll be a winner.

Brandon Marshall WR Miami – I’m flipping my perspective on Marshall this week for two reasons despite the fact that Matt Moore remains the QB. I know he’ll see a lot of Champ Bailey, but I still like the matchup and he’s playing against the team that traded him. Similar stat line to last week but add in a TD. 6 catches for 101 yards and a TD which is good enough for 19.1 points.

Kellen Winslow TE Tampa Bay – I’m looking for the silent Soldier to light up the Bears defense this week for 5 catches, 88 yards and 2 TDs. 25.8 points makes me a winner this week with Jr.

Now for the Not So Roughs:

Jason Witten TE Dallas – Usually I ignore points allowed by position stats but I watched the Rams totally shut down Finley of the Packers last week and the Ravens shut down Daniels of the Texans. So what you say? Well those two teams were 1 and 2 in points allowed to TEs. So this week I’ll buy into that theory and give Witten 4 catches for 60 yards and a TD. That 16 point performance makes me a winner.

Shonn Greene RB New York Jets – Another reversal on my part, this time to the underperforming side. The Chargers are good against the run and LT is lurking to beat up on his old team. Greene may smell paydirt, but even with a TD he will be lucky to break 15 points at best.

Matt Ryan QB Atlanta – The Falcons will take a lesson from the 49ers and realize the best way to beat the Lions is on the ground (see Frank Gore Week 6). They will also take a lesson from themselves and see they play better when the run first, pass second. Ryan will have his moments this week but it will add up to 250 yards, 2 TD and 3 INTs. That’s only 19 points in our scoring system.

Chris Johnson RB Tennessee – Many are expecting CJ2K to break out against the Texans defense, especially since he had the BYE week to get himself right. Not this week my faithful readers, as CJ2K becomes CJL (L being Roman for 50). 50 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving (including a long TD reception) bring CJ in 18 points (with his catches).

Vincent Jackson WR San Diego – Good Afternoon Vincent, welcome to the Tropical Island called Revis Island. Please enjoy your stay and your 3 catches for 60 yards and a TD. Those 13.5 points will be nice, but also low enough to make me a winner with you this week.

 

2011 MLB Playoffs – ALCS Prediction

ALCS – Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers

My new favortire team, the Tigers, has to be feeling bery confident about their ALDS win over the Yankees.  But let’s stop for a reality check here – the Tigers would have blown that game five to every other team in MLB – maybe even a few minor league teams as well.  But they found a way to win, so credit them.

I do think the Tigers have an advantage in starting pitching, with Verlander and Doug Fister.  Somehow Fister has turned himself into a Cliff Lee clone, since the trade from Seattle.  If he keeps this up, he will get a huge contract from Theo Epstein and the Red Sox, which he will undoubtedly underperform.

I like the Rangers bullpen more than the Tigers, with Feliz and Ogando rating higher than Velverde and Benoit.  I still believe at some point this post-season Valverde is going to implode and the Tiger will not recover.

Offensively these teams are pretty close, though I think the Rangers lineup is deeper as a whole.  The high end offensive players favor the Tigers with Cabrera and Victor Martinez rating higher than Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.  Still, I like the Rangers chances of manufacturing a run in a key spot over the Tigers.

Boring, right?  Yeah, if picking the post-season was merely about the pitching staff with the best BABIP or xFIP, the Phillies wouldn’t have been eliminated by the Cardinals.  And if it was all about OPS, the Yankees would never lose.  What I have realized is the post-season is about three things – momentum, hunger and experience.

Obviously both have teams have a tremendous amount of momentum, but my gut tells me the Tigers are a little too excited about beating the Yankees, while the Rangers have been quietly going about their business the entire year with the goal of getting back to the World Series and this time winning it.

Pick: Texas 4-2