Fantasy Report

Fantasy Report

Week 13 Fantasy Disappointments

Week 13 was the final chance for most fantasy owners to get their team in the playoffs, so getting solid production from everyone on the roster was extremely crucial. Unfortunately, some of the top players in the NFL faltered when it matter the most for fantasy football owners. These are the three players that
Week 13 was the final chance for most fantasy owners to get their team in the playoffs, so getting solid production from everyone on the roster was extremely crucial. Unfortunately, some of the top players in the NFL faltered when it matter the most for fantasy football owners. These are the three players that disappointed their fantasy owners the most in Week 13 of the 2016 NFL season.

Drew Brees

Few things have been more reliable over the years than Drew Brees playing at home in the Superdome, but all of that changed on Sunday. Brees entered his Week 13 matchup against the Detroit Lions as one of the top scoring quarterbacks in fantasy football. The Lions had also struggled to stop the pass most of the season. While this appeared to be a great matchup for Brees, he ended up having his worst game of the season. Brees managed to throw for 326 yards, but he also ended up with three interceptions and zero touchdowns. The poor performance ended his NFL-record streak of 60 straight home games with at least one touchdown. Drew Brees is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL, so he should be able to bounce back with solid performances the rest of the season.

Lamar Miller

Unlike Drew Brees, Lamar Miller has disappointed his fantasy owners on more than one occasion this season. Miller entered this season as one of the most interesting running backs in the league, but he has consistently failed to live up to his high expectations. Since Miller is averaging just under 20 carries a game, it has been hard for fantasy owners to find a better option on a weekly basis. A snowy field against the Green Bay Packers appeared to create a great matchup for Miller in Week 13, but he was unable to find running room throughout the entire game. While he got to touch the ball 15 times, Lamar Miller only accumulated 18 yards. With disappointing performances in the last two weeks, it is going to be hard for to trust Miller in the fantasy football playoffs. He just does not look capable of putting together a solid game in the inept offense of the Houston Texans.

Davante Adams

No wide receiver disappointed their fantasy owners more than Davante Adams in Week 13. Adams was coming off a game that saw him get 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but he was unable to get anything going against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Going up against the great secondary of the Texans was not a great matchup for Adams, but it was hard to put him on the bench after his amazing game in Week 12. The snowy conditions in Green Bay did not make it easier for Adams to get open on a consistent basis. While he was targeted seven times, Davante Adams only caught one pass for 17 yards. Adams has two tough games in the fantasy playoffs, so his production may continue to be erratic the rest of the season despite surpassing Randall Cobb on the depth chart.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 12 Fantasy Disappointments

The fantasy football season is filled with disappointment, but poor performances from star players are becoming more costly as we get closer to the end of the year. One bad game from a normally reliable player may be the difference between making or missing the playoffs in your fantasy league. These are the

The fantasy football season is filled with disappointment, but poor performances from star players are becoming more costly as we get closer to the end of the year. One bad game from a normally reliable player may be the difference between making or missing the playoffs in your fantasy league. These are the three players that disappointed their fantasy owners the most in Week 12 of the 2016 NFL season.

Brandin Cooks

Brandin Cooks had the perfect opportunity to succeed when he got to play a struggling Rams defense at home in New Orleans. While Drew Brees and the Saints had a great offensive game, Cooks was nowhere to be found. The top receiver on the Saints failed to get one catch in a game that saw the team score 49 points. Nearly every offensive player on the New Orleans Saints helped their fantasy owners in Week 12 expect Brandin Cooks. The star wide receiver, who is considered one of the fastest players in the NFL,  recently expressed his frustrations over his role in the offense. These comments usually forces the coaching staff to get a player more involved, so it would not be surprising to see Cooks have a few huge games before the end of the season.

Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates was given a difficult matchup when he had to go up against the Houston Texans in Week 12, but fantasy football players still expected a decent performance from the great tight end. Gates was coming off his two best games of the season, and he had scored a touchdown in three straight games before Week 12. Just like Brandin Cooks, Antonio Gates went the entire game without getting a pass thrown in his direction. Backup tight end Hunter Henry’s touchdown late in the game just added more salt in the wound for Gates’ fantasy owners. This game may cause some people to abandon Antonio Gates, but the aging tight end has a great schedule coming up. If he returns to his normal role in the offense, then Gates should find a way to score a few more touchdowns this season.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson was coming off three straight great games after finally fully healing from his ankle injury, but he produced his worst game of the season in Week 12. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had Wilson under constant pressure, so the great quarterback never had much time to find an open receiver. Since Wilson was forced to only throw short passes, he finished the game with 151 yards. Nearly all of Wilson’s fantasy points in Week 12 came from his 80 rushing yards. The Seattle Seahawks have a very favorable schedule the rest of the season, so Wilson should be a top-tier fantasy quarterback in Week 13 and beyond.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 11 Fantasy Disappointments

Week 11 of the NFL season was once again full of disappointing fantasy performances for owners all over the country. With only two weeks left until playoffs start in most fantasy leagues, dud performances are starting to really take a toll on playoff chances. Here are 3 of the most disappointing fantasy players

Week 11 of the NFL season was once again full of disappointing fantasy performances for owners all over the country. With only two weeks left until playoffs start in most fantasy leagues, dud performances are starting to really take a toll on playoff chances. Here are 3 of the most disappointing fantasy players from this past week.

Tyrod Taylor

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has actually been a fairly consistent fantasy option for people who opted to draft a quarterback in the later rounds. Before Sunday, Taylor had only failed to eclipse 15 standard fantasy points just one time. Unfortunately for his owners, Taylor was almost non-existent from a fantasy perspective against the Cincinnati Bengals. He managed just 166 yards through the air with no touchdowns and an interception. He also only managed 39 yards on the ground. Despite a gritty 16-12 win for the Bills, Taylor left his owners, myself included, out in the cold.

The Bills schedule is filled with exploitable defenses for the rest of the season, so Taylor should be able to turn it around sooner rather than later. The possible return of injured star receiver Sammy Watkins in the next couple of weeks would certainly bolster Taylor’s fantasy upside.

Ben Roethlisberger

Arguably the biggest Week 11 disappointment, Roethlisberger entered Sunday with the juiciest fantasy match-up he could have, the winless Cleveland Browns. Despite ranking near last in every major defensive category, the Browns held Roethlisberger to just 167 passing yards and no touchdowns. In Big Ben’s defense, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stole the show with over 200 total yards from scrimmage, but being held under 200 yards passing by the hapless Browns is more than a bit embarrassing.

Roethlisberger will have another juicy match-up this week against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football on Thanksgiving.  His owners will hope for the Big Ben who put up 408 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys instead of the unenthusiastic play he showcased against the worst team in the league.

Michael Crabtree

Oakland Raiders veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree exploded onto the fantasy scene this season as the Robin to Amari Cooper’s Batman. Thus far, he has amassed 601 yards receiving to go along with 6 touchdowns. Unfortunately for his owners, none of this production came to fruition this week against the Houston Texans. Crabtree only managed 5 yards on 3 receptions, far below his projections. He did manage to draw 2 pass interference penalties that moved Oakland way down the field, but flags don’t count towards fantasy points.

He will look to turn it around next week against the Carolina Panthers, a team that has been struggling to stop receivers all season.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 10 Fantasy Disappointments

Fantasy football is a game of almost constant disappointment because even the best players in the league occasionally have a bad game in a great matchup. This is what makes fantasy football such a fun, interesting and difficult game to play. These are the three biggest fantasy disappointments from Week 10 of the

Fantasy football is a game of almost constant disappointment because even the best players in the league occasionally have a bad game in a great matchup. This is what makes fantasy football such a fun, interesting and difficult game to play. These are the three biggest fantasy disappointments from Week 10 of the 2016 NFL season.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady became the most coveted quarterback in fantasy football when he returned from his four-game suspension, and he instantly proved that he was worth the hype. Brady put on an amazing performance in his first four games of the season, but he finally disappointed his fantasy owners in his Week 10 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. While he still managed to throw for 316 yards, Brady did not put up the fantasy numbers everyone has come to expect from him. The high yardage total did not account for many fantasy points because Brady ended up with zero touchdown passes. He also threw his first interception of the season. Brady is still the best quarterback in the NFL, so his fantasy owners should expect a few more great games before the end of the season.

Jordan Reed

No pass catcher disappointment his fantasy owners in Week 10 more than tight end Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins. While Reed often struggles to stay healthy, he usually puts up great numbers when he gets on the field. While the Minnesota Vikings have one of the best defenses in the league, they usually give up a lot of yards to the tight end. The Vikings defense has a strong pass rush and great cornerbacks, so the quarterback is usually forced to throw the ball to the tight end. While the Redskins were able to get the ball to one of their tight ends for a big play, it was a great touchdown pass to Reed’s backup Vernon Davis. Jordan Reed’s two catches for 41 yards was his worst game of the season, so he should be able to quickly bounce back the rest of the season.

Jonathan Stewart

Few players in the NFL are as unpredictable as Jonathan Stewart. He can easily get several touchdowns in a game, or he can fail to find running room for an entire game like he did in Week 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Since there are very few running backs in the league that get consistent carries, fantasy owners are forced to rely on Jonathan Stewart nearly every week. He may be coming off a game where he only got 39 yards, but Stewart has an extremely favorable schedule the rest of the season. Fantasy owners should be rewarded for sticking with the Panthers running back very soon.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 9 Fantasy Disappointments

Fantasy football is a fickle beast. In Week 9 of the NFL season, three names had particularly poor outings considering what was expected of them.

Christine Michael

Michael is the guy for the Seattle Seahawks, at least for the time being. With Thomas Rawls due back in

Fantasy football is a fickle beast. In Week 9 of the NFL season, three names had particularly poor outings considering what was expected of them.

Christine Michael

Michael is the guy for the Seattle Seahawks, at least for the time being. With Thomas Rawls due back in Week 11, Michael’s time as the bell-cow back could be coming to an end. That is especially true after a disastrous Week 9 performance.

Entering the game, Michael was projected as a top-10 player at running back and thus a must-start in all leagues. He finished the game against the Buffalo Bills with five total touches for one total yard! Luckily for owners, Michael found his way into the end zone to salvage what could have been a death sentence in weekly matchups.

Michael and the Seahawks have the Patriots on the schedule this week, and then Rawls is due back. The Patriots have one of the premiere rush defenses in the NFL. Michael’s usefulness as a fantasy starter may be over for good.

Charcandrick West

West was the biggest waiver pickup in the league between Weeks 8 and 9 because of the injuries around him. With Jamaal Charles hitting IR and Spencer Ware set to miss the game, West was due for a major workload in the matchup against Jacksonville. He did indeed dominate touches, but West did nothing with them. He had 16 total touches while no other Chief had more than five. He got 39 yards on the ground and 35 through the air; that was it. Ware is due back in Week 10, so West will once again be relegated to the bench.  He can safely dropped and disregarded at this point.

Dez Bryant

Though the Dallas Cowboys dominated the Cleveland Browns, Bryant did not partake in the festivities. He entered the week as arguably the number-one fantasy wide receiver because of the matchup. Instead of keeping pace with the likes of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, Bryant was a complete zero.

He caught one pass for 19 yards and never factored into the offense. This was a scary development for Bryant owners. Dallas had been playing so well without him, turning to the likes of Cole Beasley. Bryant returned to the field, had one good game and then disappeared again. Moving forward, it is hard to have confidence in him being a key in this offense that relies on running the football and the underneath passing tree.

Next up are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who boast a threatening offense but a defense that can be exploited in the passing game. Dak Prescott has little rapport with Bryant so who knows how often the latter will be targeted, let alone what he will produce.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 8 Fantasy Disappointments

Week 8 of the NFL season held lots of disappointment for fantasy owners. No player is ever a lock to have a monster day, but that guy you drafted in the 2nd round (We're looking at you, Mark Ingram) wasn't supposed to put up a negative number. Here

Week 8 of the NFL season held lots of disappointment for fantasy owners. No player is ever a lock to have a monster day, but that guy you drafted in the 2nd round (We’re looking at you, Mark Ingram) wasn’t supposed to put up a negative number. Here are 3 of the most disappointing fantasy performers from this week.

Julio Jones

Julio was the consensus pick by experts to be the top fantasy receiver heading into Week 8. With a juicy matchup against the Green Bay Packers’ depleted secondary, everyone expected another monster performance from the star wideout. His speed and explosiveness should have been unmatched against a bunch of second-string corners. Instead, Jones only had 3 catches for 29 yards, good for just 2.9 standard fantasy points.

The game turned out to be a shootout just like everyone expected, but most of the fantasy production went to number 2 Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu, who had 9 receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Even Taylor Gabriel had a better fantasy day than Julio, posting 68 yards and a touchdown on 3 receptions. Jones should certainly rebound next week against the Buccaneers, who are still fighting for playoff contention.

Mark Ingram

Ingram had a less than stellar matchup against a stout Seattle Seahawks rushing defense, but he was still considered a low end number one fantasy back heading into the contest. Ingram had seen at least 15 touches in 4 straight weeks, and he had been fairly productive.

Instead of seeing his usual volume, Saints head coach Sean Payton benched Ingram in favor of backup running back Tim Hightower, who went on to record more than 100 yards on the ground. This would have been a little easier to swallow for his fantasy owners if he hadn’t only had 5 yards on 3 carries when he got benched. In a standard league that scores a -2 for a fumble, Ingram left his owners with an abysmal -1.5 score.

DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins was a sure-fire top 10 pick in fantasy drafts to start this season. After finishing last season with 1,521 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, Hopkins was due for another monster season. Instead, he’s on pace for a measly 860 yards and 6 touchdowns this year. While this isn’t terrible, it’s a far cry from what owners expect from a first round pick.

Everyone expected Hopkins to turn things around against a terrible Detroit Lions defense that was to be without top corner Darius Slay. Instead, Hopkins only recorded 44 yards on 4 catches, good for just 4.4 standard points. After this most recent abysmal performance, Hopkins can now safely be considered a bust. With quarterback Brock Osweiler under center, things only appear to be getting worse for the star receiver.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 7 Fantasy Disappointments

Week 7 of the NFL season provided many intriguing matchups for football fans. Brock Osweiler lost the battle to his former team despite a career high 41 passing attempts. The Seahawks and Cardinals would square off in a battle for divisional position. The game would end in a 6-6 tie with neither team

Week 7 of the NFL season provided many intriguing matchups for football fans. Brock Osweiler lost the battle to his former team despite a career high 41 passing attempts. The Seahawks and Cardinals would square off in a battle for divisional position. The game would end in a 6-6 tie with neither team finding the end zone. The NFL continued their International Series, with a sloppy contest that saw the Giants edge out the Rams and had fans wondering why they woke up that early on a Sunday morning.  Jay Ajayi continued to shoulder the load for the Dolphins, rushing for over 200+ yards in consecutive weeks. These somewhat historical occurrences would mark for the major storylines in week 7 of the season.

The more important statistical rankings are the fantasy performances of individual players. Each week, millions of competitors face off against a friend that may quickly become a foe in the fantasy arena. Many players, like Ajayi, had monster fantasy performances. Below we’ll detail 3 players that really never go things going or players who disappointed many fantasy hopefuls in week 7.

Jamaal Charles

First we’ll start with a name that many fantasy players are quite familiar with: Jamaal Charles. Charles averaged 2nd to 3rd round value at the beginning of the season. Despite being featured on less than half of the team’s snaps in week 6, Charles was able to find pay dirt and muck up a hard earned 33 yards on the ground. A week 7 matchup against a lackluster New Orleans defense seemed like the perfect place for Charles to find his footing once again. The result was the exact opposite, with Charles rushing the ball one time for no gain while only seeing a couple of snaps. This was only his third time on the field this season and fantasy owners wish that he would have been held out prior to game time. His recovering knee seems to undergo setbacks each week and it remains to be seen if he will ever become the lead back once again in Kansas City.

Jordan Howard

Another back suffering from loss of touches due to an unlikely source was Jordan Howard of the Bears. Howard was just starting to find his groove in Chicago until the team traveled to Green Bay for a historic battle with the Packers. The Packers defense has been rather mediocre over the past few seasons, citing health issues as the main reason for this fall-off. Howard lead the Bears in touches the past three weeks, putting together some rather impressive numbers during that stretch. The Bears, who are very banged up on offense, seemed to switch their game plan without notifying fantasy owners on Thursday night. Ka’Deem Carey lead the team in touches and in rushing yards. Howard rushed 7 times only producing a total slightly over 20 yards. He also failed to bring in his lone target out of the backfield. Howard owners should be worried heading forward as it is unclear who will get the touches going forward.

Alshon Jeffery

Sticking in Chicago, where fantasy duds seem to attract one another, we have Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is the main target for the Bears on offense, and it’s not even close. The team lost Kevin White early in the season to an injury that would end his 2016-17 campaign. This would seem like the opportunity for Jeffery to put up large numbers and gaudy targets; the result has been anything but. Jeffery was targeted 11 times against the Packers, but only managed to successfully reel in 3 of those targets for 33 total yards. The Bears have lacked consistency at the quarterback position, which has created trouble for all offensive targets. Jeffery hasn’t even found the end zone this season and, if the team can’t find someone he can adequately communicate with, we don’t see this changing anytime soon.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 6 Fantasy Disappointments

There were many unfortunate fantasy letdowns in Week 6 but here are the top three under-achievers of the week. Some of us might look at our lineup and say, “What, only three?” Anyway, these are the players we hope will turn it around in Week 7.

Matt Forte

Matt Forte posted 2.20

There were many unfortunate fantasy letdowns in Week 6 but here are the top three under-achievers of the week. Some of us might look at our lineup and say, “What, only three?” Anyway, these are the players we hope will turn it around in Week 7.

Matt Forte

Matt Forte posted 2.20 fantasy points in the Jets debacle with the Cardinals.  The Jets’ defensive line desperately needed to perform at the highest level in order to give the Jets an opportunity to compete, which they did not.  With the game quickly out of hand, Forte rushed nine times but gained only 19 yards and also caught only one of three passes that came his way. He was even targeted one less time than Bilal Powell. How the glory has departed! Forte has rushed for less than 30 yards in the last 3 games. In Week 5, he collected 6.0 fantasy points, and in Week 4 it was 4.30, so this has been going on for a while.

It’s not that Matt has lost a step because in Week 2 he blew up for 28.90 points against Buffalo. It’s that Jets coach Todd Bowles simply needs to use him more. The Jets are 1-5, so what are they thinking? If they have a better option, Forte owners might want to bench him until the Jets make this obvious decision. Otherwise, owners can simply wait it out.

Travis Benjamin

Travis Benjamin ended up with -0.30 points against Denver. Ok, it’s Denver, but negative points, really? He caught three of five passes, but for only 17 yards and, as a punt returner, muffed a punt on the 11-yard line. Fortunately, he’s been replaced there by Dexter McCluster.

Many see Benjamin as a “boom or bust” player. But he can be more boom than bust. In Week 5, he brought in a respectable 11.70 points and, in Week 2, 23.40 points. Benjamin was a productive staple in a poor Cleveland offense, and he’s filled in admirably for the injury-stricken Chargers. Through Week 5, he scored the 15th-most fantasy points of any wide receiver. It is a safe bet to start Benjamin in Week 7 against the Falcons.

Jordy Nelson

Jordy’s 4.80 points against the Cowboys was just part of the general Packers meltdown, following Aaron Rodgers’ QB struggles. Week 6 presented Nelson with a season low in targets while gaining plenty of attention from the tough Cowboys defense. Aaron Rogers spreads the ball around and has a completion rate of 60.2%, which also makes it tougher for Jordy. What’s more, in the first quarter, the Cowboys defense forced Nelson to fumble on the Packers 36 yard line.

But all is not lost. In Week 7, the Packers play the Bears, who are struggling more than they are. The Bears defense ranks 21st in total tackles, with only 2 interceptions. The Bears offense also spends little time on the field, wearing their defense out, so the Packers will be able to pick it apart. Nelson gets the most targets on the team, so he’s a sure start for Week 7.

So here’s hoping your fantasy world is looking up. Last week frustrated, this week elated!

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Week 5 Fantasy Disappointments

The NFL and fantasy football are filled with surprises and disappointments. Something shocking is almost guaranteed to happen every week. The potential of chaos at any moment is one of the things that makes fantasy football so much fun to play. These are the three players that disappointed their fantasy football owners the

The NFL and fantasy football are filled with surprises and disappointments. Something shocking is almost guaranteed to happen every week. The potential of chaos at any moment is one of the things that makes fantasy football so much fun to play. These are the three players that disappointed their fantasy football owners the most during Week 5.

Julio Jones

Julio Jones was coming off the sixth best receiving game in NFL history, so he was always going to have a hard time living up to expectations in Week 5. He was also stuck playing against the great cornerbacks of the Denver Broncos that have been able to shut down every great receiver they have faced this season. All of the fantasy football experts had Julio Jones ranked much lower than normal heading into Week 5, but he still managed to disappoint his owners. Jones only had two receptions for a total of 29 yards against the Broncos. The future should be a lot brighter for Julio Jones, but he may struggle to meet his lofty expectations on a weekly basis as the Falcons feature a much more balanced offense than last year.

Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller entered the 2016 season as the consensus 10th overall ranked player in fantasy football. While he has never lived up to this ranking, Miller still produced solid stats in his first four games thanks to a large number of carries each week. While the Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL, fantasy owners were still expecting a solid game from Miller thanks to his impressive workload. He severely disappointed by only gaining 20 rushing yards on eight attempts against the Vikings. Despite the horrible start, the upcoming schedule is very favorable for Lamar Miller. If the Texans continue the commitment to the running game they showed in their first four games, then Miller should be one of the more valuable running backs the rest of the fantasy football season.

Eli Manning

Eli Manning had three straight unimpressive games entering his Week 5 contest against the Green Bay Packers. Fantasy owners were still expecting big things from Manning because of the great matchup. The Packers have a great rush defense, but they showed no ability to stop the pass before their game against the New York Giants, who many believed would have one of the most potent offenses in the league this season. Manning only tallied 199 passing yards and one late touchdown against the depleted secondary of the Packers. Unlike the other two players on this list, it is hard to trust Manning in the near future. The terrible play calling of Ben McAdoo will probably limit Manning’s upside the rest of the season, so he is only a desperation play at this point in the fantasy football season.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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How to draft for REALITY and NOT HYPE

There is a lot of talk and hype on players between the NFL draft and the regular season. How does a fantasy player determine the difference between REALITY and HYPE??? Before we do this we have to understand the rules of your draft, the average draft position, player rankings, and how to

There is a lot of talk and hype on players between the NFL draft and the regular season. How does a fantasy player determine the difference between REALITY and HYPE??? Before we do this we have to understand the rules of your draft, the average draft position, player rankings, and how to use all this to achieve an optimal lineup. Is this going to be perfect draft strategy? Is their such a thing as a perfect draft strategy? Will I have to change my strategy between drafting now and a day before the NFL season? How important is the your fantasy football draft? How much of fantasy football is skill or is it mostly luck? Final thing I want to talk about is emotion.

Part 1: Rules of your draft

a. Is it PPR or Standard

The difference between PPR leagues and standard leagues. PPR is short for Points per reception. Some leagues give a full 1.0 point for each reception a player makes. No matter if the player catches the ball for 90 yards or -6 yards, he still gets a point. There are half point or .5 PPR leagues where the player gets only .5 per reception. And then are the odd ball leagues that may give anything from .1 to 2.0 points per reception. A standard league is just a league where there are no points awarded for making a catch. In the beginning of Fantasy football standard league were the most common but times have changed over the last 15 years and PPR is the most prevalent. Full PPR or 1.0 point ppr leagues is most common league and it is looking like the industry is starting to lean towards half point (.5) league. This is because to many points are given to the players that the QB checks down to and also gets less than 20 yards a game. An example of this is a player will have 8 catches(8 pts) for 20 yards(2pts) and will get 10 points in a full PPR league but will only get 6 points in half point ppr league. (4pts(8 x .5))+ 2pts for the yds) The other league Im starting to see is the point per 1st down league. Where the person catching the reception only gets a point if he gets a 1st down on the play. Very interesting but I’m wondering if a team that uses a RB for short yardage situations will vulture 1st downs. We will see after this year.

b. How players do you need to start every week and position

Knowing your starting roster is important due to scarcity. For example in a 2 QB league there are only 32 starting Qbs is the NFL. If there are 12 teams in your fantasy league, than each team will need to draft 2 Qbs just to have a starter each week; which is a total of 24 Qbs. This leaves only 8 starting Qbs left in the NFL to draft on your team. Lets say you don’t draft a 3rd QB on your fantasy team. Then you will be screwed if one of your Qbs gets injured or during bye weeks. This forces you to try to draft 3 Qbs before they are are gone. So I only recommend being in a 2 QB league if there is 10 or less people in your draft. This will make it a lot easier to draft Qbs without worrying about all the Qbs being drafted. The same goes for a super flex league that has one starting QB but your flex spot can also be a QB/RB/WR/TE. Since Qbs score the most in fantasy football, not having a QB in the flex position can be detrimental to your team. Most leagues today consist in starting 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 Defense, and 1 Kicker. Most variations usually have between 1-3 starting Rb’s, 1-4 Wrs, 0-2 TE, 0-2 Flex (RB,WR,TE), 1 Defense, 0-1 Kicker. Leagues are starting to get away from kickers as it has been shown that the points you get from a kicker in a given game to be more dependent on luck than skill. There are also some leagues where the flex position only include RB and WR(NO TE). As for the NFL most teams use 2 Rb’s, instead of a foundation RB. But there are still some teams that use a feature back or just 1 RB for most of the game. Just 10 years ago, most teams in the NFL just used a feature back and not a 2 RB system. Therefor 10 years ago about 20 NFL teams had foundation backs. This made the position scarce in fantasy football, since everybody wanted to draft 2 foundation Rbs on their team. Today Todd Gurley may be the only true foundation RB that plays almost every down. Trying to figure out what the role on a 2 Rb system can be challenging. Most teams use a power/one cut runner on running plays and goalline plays. But use the shifter back who is more elusive for outside runs and passing plays. A shifter passing down back is a better option for a team that is behind, where a power/one cut Rb is a better option when the NFL team has a lead or wants to control the clock. When it comes to WR most NFL teams start 3 WR or will have 3 Wrs on the field for at least half of the game. Therefor this is the least scarce position. So why has it been so popular and successful drafting Wr early in fantasy football? This is due to people wanting the Wrs on their fantasy team that can score lots of points each week. Last year the QB position is the only position that scored on average more points than the top Wrs. The first reason is that you want players that get lots of targets. Getting lots of targets gives your player a chance to have a big game. Also since most leagues require 3 WR to start each week and you can use your flex spot as a WR, this will give you the most fantasy points every week. As for TE, you only need 1 TE to start each week and most likely not going to use them in the flex position unless desperate or a great matchup. Most TEs do not get many passes in a game and are the most TD dependent roster spot. Some teams hardly ever throw to the TE or even use a TE to go out for a pass. The TEs main purpose in the NFL is first to be able to block. Of course there are exceptions like Rob Gronkowski. Since most TEs do not get you many fantasy points and there are 32 starting TEs in the league and you only have to start 1 each week than this position can be waited on in most drafts unless you are in a league that gives a bonus to TEs of 1.5 per reception instead of 1 point per reception in which the WR and RB will get. In this case a good pass catching TE can make or break your season. As for a good defense can average 10 points a week. This may not sound like much but the top defense last year average 13 points a game and the bottom defense gave your 7 points a week. In a given week having a good defense could have been the difference between a win and a loss. And for the whole season the best defense 195 points and worst defense gave you 105 points.

c. How many bench spots do you have

Most high stake leagues have deeper benches. This allows your draft to be more flexible, as you can draft more of a position in which you are weak at. Where a small bench means most of the players that you draft to your bench may not be on your team after a couple of weeks if they are not producing. This is due to bye weeks and/or where the players that were not drafted in your league are producing more than the players you drafted. I don’t know how many times I drafted a player that either had a bad first couple weeks, has not been targeted, or had a nagging injury that hindered him from playing at his full potential. Then I would give up on the guy for the brand new toy on the waiver wire. Then the guy I dropped has a great rest of season on somebody’s else fantasy team. With a deep bench I can keep this guy on my bench longer. In most high stake leagues you get 10 bench spots. This usually consists of a 2nd defense and a 2nd kicker unless either one of them is matchup proof. This is why some people like to draft a kicker or def or early so they don’t need to use a bench spot. Another away to avoid having to draft a backup def/kicker is to draft one that has a late bye week. If you draft one with a early bye week you will be forced to pick one up on the waiver wire or draft a 2nd one. You will need a back up TE for bye weeks and also cause TE’s seem to get injured more often than other positions. Also if your backup TE ends up being a sleeper and has really good season like Jordan Reed last year, then you can put him in your flex spot or as your starter. A back up QB can be important, not only if your starting QB gets injured but also if your starting QB favorite WR gets injured. This happened last year with Aaron Rodgers losing Jordy Nelson. Another reason is the offense is not throwing the ball much (This does not happen much anymore in toda’ys NFL but the Tenn Titans look like they will be running heavy run first offense). It is easier to stream Qbs based on matchup today since most teams are very pass happy teams. Playing a bad QB against a team like the patriots who run up the score, could end of giving the bad QB a great fantasy day just because they are forced to throw the ball all game to catch up. Where the best QB in the league against a great matchup could give the QB a bad day because they take a lead early and decide to run the ball the rest of the game to run time off the clock. Just remember that the teams in the NFL main goal is to win the game and not to give your fantasy team the most points possible. When it comes to Rbs it used to be that there was foundation back on every team. If the backup RB came into the game, he did not produce the same numbers that the starter produced. So in most cases you were drafting Rb’s from multiple teams as your back ups. Today there is very few foundation backs and since most NFL teams use a committee of 2 Rbs or even 3 Rb’s, it makes it harder to decide which back to draft. A good example of this was the Philadelphia Eagles last year. They had RB Demarco Murray who had played in Dallas as an every down back but signed with Philly as a free agent. Philly also picked up free agent Ryan Mathews from San Diego Chargers who was also drafted in the NFL as foundation back. And they picked up utility back in Darren Sproles who is one of the best receiving and special teams players in the league. Demarco Murray led the season in 2014 in rushing yards and rushing attempts. Last year Demarco Murray was drafted in fantasy football in the 2nd rd, while Ryan Mathews was going after rd 8, and Darren Sproles was going after the 11th rd. Demarco Murray did not fit the scheme that Philly had in place and the offensive line was missing blocks. Ryan Mathews and Sproles were both faster in the back field, so even if an O lineman missed a block they were both elusive enough to elude the first tackler in most cases. But Philly had paid Demarco Murray a lot more money than both Sproles and Mathews combined. So DeMarco Murray continued to get most of the carriers even though he was left with negative yards on most of his carriers. This went on half way through the season before DeMarco Murray carriers were reduced but by then it was to late in the season. In the right circumstance all 3 Rb’s could have thrived but it would have been a guess on which of 3 backs was going to have the best game. This is headache for fantasy football owners in this day and age of modern football. I will explain the importance of why, how, and who to draft later in this article. As for bench spots last year you could have drafted all 3 Rb’s on your fantasy team but would have been frustrated by all 3. Mathews and Sproles would have sat on your bench for half the season before they were fantasy relevant. But by then you probably would have dropped them for a RB who was getting a higher percentage of the carriers for their respected team. In a league where you only have 5 bench spots you need to avoid committees like this. The issue with committees for Rbs is the reason that at one time in fantasy football the WR was not as important. When there was no PPR leagues, a lot of the fantasy points was scored by Tds. Since Tds can be fluky, most teams only had one WR that received enough receiving ever week to be a considered a starter every week. Now that PPR has become the normal players like Wes Welker who when he played for the Patriots would have 7 to 13 balls thrown his way every week. Just catching 7 catches for 40 yards, would give you more points than a guy who caught 2 passes for 10 yards and a TD. It is very rare that you find a consistant WR after week 6 on the waiver wire. Unlike Rbs that only require an injuries from the starters to get 20 carriers a game. So having a deep bench with good/consistent Wrs on it, can be a huge advantage for flex spots, bye weeks, and injuries. This is why so many people are going WR early in their drafts to get guys they can trust. After you get your 3 consistent starting Wrs, than any other consistant Wrs that you get later in the draft can be stored on your bench. This is a big advantage over the rest of the league who will be looking who Wrs on the waiver wire every week. Having a big bench with players that other people in your draft cant pick up off the waiver wire is why drafting well is so important.

d. Is it a snake, auction, 3 rd reversal

A snake draft starts at the 1st rd with the first person making a pick, then each person takes a player until the last person makes a pick, so that every person gets one draft pick. In the 2nd rd the order is just reversed in who picks a player. The rest of the draft just keeps going back and forth in the order of people making picks. This is why it is called a snake draft because if you draw a line on the picks it looks like a snake. In 3rd rd reversal draft, the draft is very similar in that the 1st player picks a player until the last person picks. Also in the 2nd rd the the last person picks first and the draft goes till the person who picked 1st in the 1st rd makes a pic. But in the 3rd rd the draft does not snake back and forth like a regular snake draft. Instead the player that picked last in the 1st rd and who picked 1st in the 2nd rd gets to pick 1st in the 3rd rd. Then the rest of the draft just snakes back and forth like a normal draft. So why does a site like the NFFC do 3rd rd reversal. You would think that this is unfair to the person who got the 1st person in the draft. But the first couple people in the draft have a huge advantage in the draft in normal snake draft. They get a player in the 1st rd that everybody wants. Then in the 2nd rd they still get an elite player. And then also get a early 3rd rd pick which is most likely a player that could have gone in the 2nd rd or still elite. In 3rd rd reversal the person picking at the end of the 1st rd is stuck with what was left over in the 1st rd and yes they get the best of a 2nd rd player and the best of a 3rd rd player. But if you look people who won in the NFFC last year it came from people who drafted in every spot in the draft. Where in a normal snake draft most of the winners last year came from the first 6 people picking in the draft. In an auction draft, it is similar to a snake draft in the order of people taking turns but instead of making a pick they nominate a player to be auctioned. Everybody in the draft has a chance to bid on every player as long as they have enough money to bid on that player. In most auctions everybody starts with same starting bid money. $200 is the norm for the high stake leagues but your home leagues can use any amount that want to set. The number does not matter since it is all relative, for example in a draft where a player is drafted for $30 in $200 league should go for $60 in a $400 draft. But since everybody has different views and values on players, you will see a person go for $30 in one $200 draft and that same player only go for $24 in another $200 draft. This can be caused by multiple people having a different value on that player and causing war on that player to bid him up. Or a player could go up in value just based on supply and demand. If there are only 7 Wrs you have valued as #1 talent and 6 are off the board, then the 7th will most likely go higher since there usually 12 people in a draft. Forcing the 5 people who don’t have a #1 Wr to bid on the last #1 Wr. Often times the 1st #1 Wr goes little cheaper than 2nd or 3rd Wr off the board since there is no league value to go by. Auction drafts are best for people who think they are better at player evaluation than every one else. My preference in both a snake draft is a top 6 pick. In a 3rd reversal draft I want the spot in the draft where I know there is going to be a drop off in talent. For instance, if I see based on ADP that the all the tier 1 and tier 2 Rbs/WRs are gone by pick 42 than I want the draft spot that gets me the 42, 41, or 40th pick in the draft. This will guarantee I get 4 players that are all tier I/II. If I draft at pick 43 than there is a chance I don’t get 4 top tier players.

e. How many people are in the draft

Most drafts consist of 6 to 16 people in a draft. That does not mean that there aren’t other amounts, its just not common. In the high stakes leagues the number of people in a draft go from 10 to 14. Obviously the more people in a draft the less likely you are to win, but the more money you can win, since the pot will be a higher percentage compared to the amount of money you had to put in. In your home league you play against just the other people in the your league. In the high stake leagues you need to be usually in the top 3 of your league just to get in the overall playoffs. Then you will have to play against all the top 3 people from all the leagues in the tournament. Just to give an example, in the Oline Championship in the NFFC there was over 2000 people drafting. Since only 25% make the playoffs, you are looking at 500 people in the playoffs. In the Primetime league in the NFFC, there was 400 people, so you only had to go against 100 people in the playoffs but the buy in for the primetime is $1600 and the buy-in for online is only $350. Since most drafts use the 1 Qb, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1Flex, 1Def, and 1K. In a 6 person draft most likely only a total of 12 Qbs will be drafted.(Your starter and backup) But a good QB will be available on the waiver, so there will be no need to draft a back up. This makes it a lot easier to draft a QB late since you should still get a top 10 QB as your starter. This is why people have been using a 2 QB draft for smaller leagues. This makes the QB position more important. If your in a 14 team league with the normal format, you will not be as happy with your team after the draft, as you would be in a 10 team league. The goal in a 14 team league is just understand that you will have a position that is weak.

f. Seasonal scoring system

(a.position points)

Some leagues like to give 6 points for a TD to a QB and other leagues only give 4 points to the QB for a TD. A player like Cam Newton can be more valuable in a league that only gives 4 pts for a TD since rushing Tds are usually still 6 points. Since Cam runs the ball so much, he is likely to get the person who drafted him 6 points running for TD. The person who drafted a QB who threw a TD pass will only gets 4 points. Some leagues like to give 1.5 points per catch to Tes where most leagues treat Tes like wrs and rbs.

(b.Best Ball, total points, rotisserie, head to head)

Best Ball format is where all you do is draft a team. There is no trading, no lineup decisions, and no waiver wire pick ups. It does not matter how many Qbs you draft, the Qb that scores the most point on a given week will be in your lineup for that week. Same goes for all positions. If your favorite part of playing fantasy football is doing the draft, then this is perfect for you. Most Best ball formats use a total points at the end of the season for scoring system to determine the winner. In the NFFC it is called DC or draft championship. Payouts will be paid to top 3 people after week 16 and if you have more points than everybody else in all the Draft championships you will get a $20,000 bonus. The top 10 in all DC’s will also get a bonus.

Total Points format is where only the teams with most points make into the playoffs. Some leagues will then either go head to head in the playoffs or most points just in the playoffs will win.

Rotisserie league format is not common in Fantasy football but it is where there are categories. If you are in 10 person league, the team person with the most points for each category will earn 10 points. 2nd best will get 9 points and all the way to last place getting only 1 point. Who ever gets the most points at of all the categories will win the league. In Baseball it is more popular since there are more categories to calculate. (steal, homeruns, etc…)

Head to Head format is the most common format in the fantasy football. Each week you will play against a random opponent set by league at the beginning of the season. Which every team scores the most points that week gets a win. If you lose you get a loss and a tie is scored as tie. When the playoffs start in your league the teams with most wins go into the playoffs.

Combination format is a league that has some rules of of multiple formats. For instance in the NFFC the first 2 weeks of the season the top 6 of 12 teams who score the most points will get a win. So there is no matchup the first 2 weeks. Then the rest of the regular fantasy football season you play against everybody once. Some leagues give playoffs spots to the team with most wins and the rest of the playoff spots go to the teams with the most points.

g. Playoff system

The playoffs in the fantasy football is not the same as the playoffs in the NFL. Im going to go over the 2 most popular. The first is the way is where the regular season is the 1st 14 weeks of the NFL season. Then the top 4 teams have there playoffs in week 15 and 16. The more popular trend and the way that the high stake leagues play is to play to week 13. Then week 14, 15, and 16 is the playoffs. In the high stake leagues you start with the average points you had during the regular season then they add the points that you earn during week 14,15, and 16. Most fantasy football leagues do not include week 17 of the NFL season due to the NFL teams that are either locked into the playoffs or teams that are rebuilding and are not starting their stars.

Part 2: ADP (Average Draft Position)

a. What is ADP

ADP stands for Average Draft position. Average draft position is very important to get a rough idea where players are going in the draft. Last year in the FTSA “experts draft” (I say experts because most of these guys talk and write about fantasy football but most do not play in the high stake leagues, where the best players in the world play) In this draft last year Darren McFadden was drafted in the 2nd rd and even though the person that drafted him was right that McFadden would have a great season. There was no reason to draft McFadden where his ADP was in the 10th rd. If you were to play in 100 high stake drafts Mcfadden would not have been drafted before rd 8. So if this person was smart who drafted McFadden in the 2nd rd, he should have drafted someone else there in the 2nd rd and waited till the 7th rd to draft McFadden. In home leagues, I see this all the time. Players get drafted way to early and it ends up hurting your overall team. Right now there is a player whose ADP is in the 17th rd who I believe is going to top 30 WR. But the earliest I will draft this guy is rd 13. But I have gotten him as late as rd 19 because I had no need at WR but I can not pass on the value of him in rd 19. When you look at the our player rankings Im sure you can figure who this player is. Now ADP for the season will change since people start to draft in April. A lot can happen between April and the first week of the NFL season in early September. So it is better to look at ADP from the last 30 days. Also make sure you use an ADP that is from the same league scoring and roster rules to get the most accurate ADP. This year based on ADP I can wait on drafting a QB till rd 8 unless a top 5 QB falls to me after the 5th rd.

b. Why does it change

Lets talk about some of things that change and cause/effect of these changes. First of all, ADP changes due many things. A player who is injured and will not be ready for week 1 of the NFL season will have a big drop in ADP. This is because you need start someone else in week 1 at that position. Another thing that will drop a players rankings is talk about how good another player on the same team at the same position is doing really well in practice. If you look at a player like Devonte Freeman last year he dropped to the 10th rd in ADP since the hype was so high Tevin Coleman. Both were injured in the preseason but talks were that Coleman won the starting job in the preseason. But at the end of the season Freeman ended up as one highest fantasy football scorers for the season even though he did not play week one. Players also drop due to age. Larry Fitzgerald is considered one of the best NFL Wrs in the league and he is a lock into the Hall of Fame. But last year the hype was up on the other 2 Wrs on the team. Fitzgerald was considered to old/past his prime. But again if look at the end of the season he still ended up as #1 WR, which great value for people who drafted him in the 7th rd. Another thing that can drop ADP is a teams Offensive Identity. Marcus Mariota had great season last year as a rookie and if he was on a team that focused on throwing the ball he be would drafted higher this year. But the offensive identity of the team is run first. So Marcus could end up being a sleeper if the Titans defense is really bad and the team is forced to throw the ball due to being behind alot.

Why it is so important

All of this is so important because the best players in the world will draft a player a rd before their ADP if they think they are better than their ADP indicates. And vica versa will take a player if they fall to them. In 2013 I drafted Marshawn Lynch, who had an injury that was suppose to keep him out a couple weeks. This happened right before the season started. A month before that injury he was being drafted in the late 2nd rd. I was able to get him as the 9th pick in the 4th rd. He ended playing every game and was a Beast just like his nickname. Also the people who are the best at high stake leagues rank their players based on tiers. Lets say you are in the 3rd rd of your draft and it is your turn to make a pick. Before you just pick the best player available, you need to understand which tiers are disappearing. If there is 8 picks before your next turn in the 4th rd and there are only 4 players left in a tier. Then you are better off drafting a player from that tier now, since most likely those players from that tier will be gone when you pick again. If instead there are 10 players left in a tier and you have 8 picks before your next pick, than you can just wait a rd. Knowing you will get one of those guys in the next rd. Again in 2013 I had Tony Gonzalez as the last guy in my TE tier but everybody behind me already had a TE. It was the 8th rd and I decided that since everybody behind had a TE that I can wait get him in the next rd. Well that was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. In the next rd the the guy right before me drafted him. He drafted him because the TE he had was Jason Witten who had an ankle injury and wanted someone to start the first 2 weeks for him. In 2013 I did end up 3rd overall in the Primetime Championship but if I would have drafted Tony Gonzalez in the 8th rd I would have gotten 1st place and won $150,000. That happened to be one of Tony’s best years ever. Don’t assume you know what the rest of the people in the draft are going to do. Last year I saw a bunch of Tes that I liked after rd 10. So the 1st 10 rds I knew I could focus on the other positions. Players like Jordan Reed and Ben Watson were golden for me. This year Qbs are the same way. Now this does not mean if a player like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees is still available in the 6th rd you dont draft him. All it means is that you dont have to reach for these players. This year I also know in the 2nd rd Im drafting a WR. The reason is because in every draft I have done this year all the rbs I have in tier 1 are all going in the 1st rd and in tier 2 of rbs are still available all the way to the 5th rd.

Where in ADP are your #1 players

I highly recommend printing out an updated ADP based on scoring. Look at all the players in the ADP and high light all the ones who you consider players that are every week starters, no matter the matchup. (this includes kickers and defenses) I ideal situation would be to have a fantasy team where you had every position filled with players you did not have to decide on who to start every week. Of course this is not going to happen due injuries and other unforeseen circumstances. This is why the best players in the world know you cant win your draft in the 1st 6 rds. Just looking at the 2015 fantasy drafts, most people who were at the top of the leader boards at the end of the season had players like Jordan Reed and Devonte Freeman. Both of these players were drafted after the 9th rd. Knowing this means if you are in multiple drafts than to go after some different guys in the later rds to diversify your teams and give you a better chance to win it all. Some of people who are considered the best in the world will enter as many leagues as they can possibly afford to achieve this goal. This does not mean that you have to enter multiple leagues to win it all. When I entered the primetime league in 2013, I only entered in one draft. There was over 400 entries total and I almost won it all.

Part 3: Player Rankings

a. Fantasy player rankings (based on every week starter)

Explaining tiering players based on how likely they are to start each and every week. The 1st tier at every position is based on if the player can get at least 30 points in a given game. This player must be likely to do this 4 times in the season. But also never score less than 10 fantasy points in any game. So these player can not get injuried in the season to qualify. In 2013 primetime draft I had 3 of my players who had given me at least 10 fantasy points every week the whole season, and then gave out on me in week 15, with 3 zeros. The difference between 1st and 3rd place was 22 points. These tier 1 players also must average above 20 points a week. You dont want players that give you zero points one week and 40 points another week. This type of player will give you 2 shitty weeks and you will sit him on the week he has a huge game. The way I got my name was based on this. You do not want to think every week and second guess your decisions. The more NO THINKING the better off you are. Our brains get in way of our instincts. Instinct is based on past experience. In case you are wondering my 9 year son and I are on team Instinct on PokemonGO for this reason.

b. NFL player rankings

A players like Wr D Thomas for the Denver Broncos and breakout WR Allen Robinson for Jacksonville Jaguars are considered some the top Wrs in the NFL. Just because these players are great in the NFL does not make them great in fantasy football. Both of these players will most likely end up at the end of the season with great numbers but can you trust either one of them ever single week to get you at least 10 points. As of right now I dont trust them to get me 10 points each week and its not because I think they will have bad seasons. Thomas has an unproven QB in Denver and struggled last year in Gary Kubiack offense. Just based on history Kubiak offense only produces one stud WR. That could very well be Emmanuel Sanders. Im not saying Sanders is a better player. Im just saying he may fit Kubiaks offense better. As for Allen Robinson, there is no doubt that Jacksonville was smart to pounce on him in the 2nd rd of the NFL draft when other teams and scouts thought it was to early to draft him. First issue with Robinson is ability snatch the ball in odd situations. You would think this is a good thing but it puts Robinson is a position to be injuried easier. Also there are other players the QB Blake Bortles can target. (Allen Hurns, M Lee, R Greene, Rbs, and J Thomas) J Thomas was paid big money to come to Jacksonville and in the off season him and Bortles practiced a lot to be on the same page this year. This team decided that TJ Yeldon was not the answer at RB and picked up Chris Ivory off of waivers. Ivory will steal some Tds from the wideouts. I believe the team also wants to run the ball to help the defense. Allen Robinson is being drafted in the late 1st rd and early 2nd rd. After understanding what the team wants to do shows that A Robinson should have a decrease in receptions/TDs this year. Taking the best player on a team does not mean he is going to be a great player on your fantasy team. Lets say to take Robinson and week one he has 5 rec for 70 yds and TD. That would give him 18 points for that week. That will give you a good chance to win that week. But what about week 2. Defenses know Robinson is the top guy and did well week 1. So in week 2 Robinson gets 7 targets for only 3 rec, 36 yds, and no Tds. Since Ivory vultered 2 tds when the team got in the red zone. That only gives Robinson 6.6 points for week 2. How likely are you to win with the 1st or 2nd player you picked in the draft only giving you 7 points. Lets get into who I consider the fastest 3 WRs in pads in the NFL. Torrey Smith, Mike Wallace, and DeSean Jackson. All 3 of the these guys go blow by defensive backs. Torrey is considered the best Wideout on the team. But if you looked at his catch rate it is around 50%, which horrible in the NFL. And he is really good at getting defensive pass interference called against the opposing Corner. This helps NFL team in moving the chains but does nothing to help your fantasy team. Mike Wallace has a QB in Joe Flacco is possible the best long ball thrower in the NFL but is playing in a new offense and already failed his conditioning test. And the wideout position is by the far the best it has ever been in the history of the Baltimore Ravens. Wallace is also on the tail end of his career. As for DeSean Jackson who is most likely the fastest in pads in the NFL and also the biggest head case. He not only let go of the ball before entering the endzone in celebration but he did it again in another game. Taking about not learning from your mistakes. He is also playing for a team that has a QB that has only had one good season. The Redskins drafted one of the top 3 WR in this draft in the 1st rd. They still have P Garcon and have TE Jordan Reed who is considered one of the best Tes in the league if not the best if he can stay healthy. Based on ADP both Jackson and Smith are being drafted as #3 Wrs. Wallace is the only one being drafted as a flex option. The problem with where they are being drafted is that these guys are have the ability to each have 4 weeks of 30 points or more. The problem is that most likely you will not start them those weeks because all of these guys will have weeks that give you zero points and may get you 2 straight weeks of zeros before a big week.

Part 4: Optimal Lineup

a. NFL is not about having the best player on the team

In golf it is you vs golf coarse and whoever beats the golf coarse the best wins the tournament. In the NFL it is 53 man roster. It takes a full team to win the Super Bowl. A good offense can win with a great defense and good special teams. A great offense can win with a good def and good special teams. But you cant have a bad defense, bad defense, and good special teams. If you take a chain and pull on it till it breaks, the piece that breaks is your weakest link. Same goes for the NFL and Fantasy Football. Antonio Brown is considered the best in NFL and in fantasy but the Steelers did not make it to the Super Bowl last year and there were a lot of teams in fantasy football that did not have him on their team but won their league. Nor does that mean having the best player on your team will guarantee that you don’t win it all. If you looked at my 2013 Primetime team would not see the best player at any position on that team. My team was consistent and pretty boring to todays fantasy standards. They did have some big games but not great games. That being said you can win drafting the best Rb, WR, TE, and QB. But what are the odds that all the players you draft ending up as the #1 player in that position. There are guys in the high stake leagues who draft in over 100 leagues to get a little bit of everybody. But one, that takes lots of money and two it takes a program to make sure you get a little bit of everybody. One of my favorite cartoons of all time was Duck Tales. I actually wrote my way into college on the Duck Tales and Scrooge McDuck. The lesson I learned from Scrooge was to work smart not hard. Yes, diversifying does give you a better chance in getting the right combination but the reward will be lower since you are putting more money and time into it. You best chance of winning is try to get a top 5 player at every position instead of a couple #1 players to carry your team through the whole season.

I play in about 40 high stake leagues every year. I aced the National Football Post Intro into Scouting. USMC Vet.

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DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 16 Plays

Welcome back everyone for another week of NFP's DFS Corner. Week 16 is upon us, so it's time to cash in before the year is over. Hopefully you read some of my plays last week and were able to create some winning cash game lineups. Here are this week's plays.

Quarterback Plays

Carson Palmer ($7,000) vs.

Welcome back everyone for another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. Week 16 is upon us, so it’s time to cash in before the year is over. Hopefully you read some of my plays last week and were able to create some winning cash game lineups. Here are this week’s plays.

Quarterback Plays

Carson Palmer ($7,000) vs. Green Bay Packers: Coming off a down game by Palmer standards, Palmer and the Cardinals passing game should be more involved this week versus a more competitive Packers team. Palmer has been extremely consistent this year and represents a high floor as he showed last week securing 2x value.

Ben Roethlisberger ($6,800) @Baltimore Ravens: Coming off a 27.90 point performance last week, Big Ben gets the atrocious Baltimore Ravens’ pass defense this week. The Ravens are giving up over 20 points per game to opposing quarterbacks and 2 passing touchdowns.

Blake Bortles ($6,500) @ New Orleans Saints: Bortles gets another great spot this week facing a New Orleans Saints’ defense that is giving up the most points against opposing quarterbacks (24.39 ppg). The Saints’ defense is giving up on average 289 passing yards and over 2.79 touchdowns per game. Bortles has been a beast all year and has been extremely consistent over the past 4 weeks (25.28, 27.70, 35.78, and 26.46 points).

Running Back Plays

DeAngelo Wlliams ($6,500) @ Baltimore Ravens: Williams has been one of the most consistent running backs since taking over after LeVeon Bell’s injury. With few running backs left to trust, Williams represents a great contrarian play for tournaments as well, as most people will be all over the passing game weapons.

David Johnson ($5,800) vs. Green Bay Packers: Since taking over lead back duties, Johnson has been on an absolute tear. He was the top player last week running for 189 yards, 3 touchdowns and securing 47.90 points. In a high scoring game, expect another heavy dose.

Danny Woodhead ($4,400) @ Oakland Raiders: Woodhead should see an uptick in volume now that starting running back Melvin Gordon is out for the year with a knee injury. Don Brown will take over Gordon’s share but Woodhead should still see and uptick in volume and will be a chalk play this week. He is coming off of a 36 point performance versus the Dolphins who are giving up 24.38 points per game to opposing running backs.

Tim Hightower ($4,500) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: He has been getting over 16 carries a game since taking over for Ingram. Brees is banged up with planters fasciitis, I expect the Saints to lean on Hightower and the running game a little more this week and try to slow down this Jags’ D.

Karlos Williams ($4,500) vs. Dallas Cowboys: With LeSean McCoy out the rest of the year, Karlos Williams should get first crack to take over lead back duties. Williams is coming back from injury but has been effective in games throughout the season.

Wide Receiver Plays

Antonio Brown ($9,300) @ Baltimore Ravens: Brown displayed last week why he is the best receiver in the NFL, torching the elite Denver secondary for 49.9 points. He is the best cash game receiver due to his high floor and involvement in the offense. He is in the top offense this week facing a Ravens’ defense that is giving up the 3rd most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers.

Jarvis Landry ($6,400) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Target hog and facing Greg Toler and a helpless Colts’ secondary. Miller has a banged up quad and is questionable to play, which should the Dolphins should lean on the passing game more. Which in turn means more looks for Landry.

Golden Tate ($5,800) @ San Francisco 49ers: Tate has been one of the most consistent options over the past 5 weeks averaging over 19.7 points per game. This trend should continue this week versus a horrendous 49ers secondary.

Martavis Bryant ($5,600) @ Baltimore Ravens: See Antonio Brown

Desean Jackson ($5,000) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Coming off of a 30 point game, DJax gets to face his former team for the first time this season after he missed the teams first meeting earlier in the year. Philly is giving up the most points to opposing receivers and their two starting corners in Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe might be out.

Michael Floyd ($4,900) vs. Green Bay Packers: High scoring game which should be more competitive than last weeks game. Sam Shields is most likely going to be out which should make it easier for Brown and Floyd on the outside.

Tournament Options

Stevie Johnson ($4,500) @ Oakland Raiders

Tight End Plays

Zach Ertz ($3,100) vs. Washington Redskins: Had 15 catches last year versus the Skins and has been more involved over the last few weeks, consistently reaching 3x value. Fire him up again this week.

Defenses

Kansas City Chiefs ($4,200) vs. Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,100) @ Baltimore Ravens

Best of luck this week and Merry Christmas!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: Week 15 DraftKings Plays

Welcome back everyone for yet another week of NFP's DFS Corner. Hopefully everyone was able to cash in on last week's plays and win some extra dough before the holiday season. This week's slate presents a lot of great value at the running back position with a lot of recent injuries. The wide receiver position

Welcome back everyone for yet another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. Hopefully everyone was able to cash in on last week’s plays and win some extra dough before the holiday season. This week’s slate presents a lot of great value at the running back position with a lot of recent injuries. The wide receiver position is a little more uncertain with OBJ drawing potential DPOY candidate Josh Norman and Antonio Brown facing two elite corners in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. But, nonetheless, I am here to present some great plays again this weekend, so let’s get into it.

For those of you who haven’t signed up for DraftKings yet and would like to, sign up here

Please find this weeks weather report for all the games here

Here are Vegas’s week 15 Spreads and Game Totals

Home Away Spread Total Game Date Game Time
St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Bucaneers STL -1 41 Thurs. Dec 17 8:25pm
Dallas Cowboys New York Jets NYJ -3 42 Sat. Dec 19 8:25pm
Minnesota Vikings Chicago Bears MIN -5.5 43 Sun. Dec 20 1:oopm
Jacksonville Jaguars Atlanta Falcons JAC -3 49 Sun. Dec 20 1:00pm
Indianapolis Colts Houston Texans  TBA   TBA
New York Giants Carolina Panthers CAR -5 48 Sun. Dec 20 1:00pm
New England Patriots Tennessee Titans NE -14 47 Sun. Dec 20 1:00pm
Washington Redskins Buffalo Bills BUF -1 44 Sun. Dec 20 1:00pm
Baltimore Ravens Kansas City Chiefs KC -7.5 41.5 Sun. Dec 20 1:00pm
Seattle Seahawks Cleveland Browns SEA -14.5 43 Sun. Dec 20 4:05pm
Oakland Raiders Green Bay Packers GB -3 46.5 Sun. Dec 20 4:05pm
Pittsburgh Steelers Denver Broncos PIT -6 44.5 Sun. Dec 20 4:25pm
San Diego Chargers Miami Dolphins SD -1.5 45 Sun. Dec 20 4:25pm
San Francisco 49ers Cincinnati Bengals CIN -4.5 40.5 Sun. Dec 20 4:25pm
Philadelphia Eagles Arizona Cardinals ARI -3.5 50.5 Sun. Dec 20 8:30pm
New Orleans Saints Detroit Lions NO -3 51 Mon. Dec 21 8:30pm

Quarterback Plays

High Priced Tier Options

Cam Newton ($7,800) @ New York Giants: I don’t need to spend much time here, Newton is an MVP candidate who has been playing at an extremely high level all year. The Panthers just destroyed the Falcons last week and Newton was good for 3 touchdowns and 23 points. He faces a Giants’ defense that is allowing the 5th most points to opposing QBs (21.10 pts), for an average of 315 passing yards and 1.77 passing touchdowns per game.

Carson Palmer ($7,000) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Palmer is coming off extra rest after playing on Thursday Night last week. Palmer has been one of the most consistent QB options throughout the year and has a very favorable matchup at Philly this week. The Eagles are giving up the 2nd most points to opposing QBs (22.39 pts), for an average of 272 passing yards and 2.23 passing touchdowns per game.

Russell Wilson ($7,000) vs. Cleveland Browns: Wilson has been the best fantasy player the past 4 weeks, throwing for 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. They just lost starting running back Thomas Rawls for the year and are planning on starting Bryce Brown who they just picked up again this week. I think it is safe to say, the offense will yet again run through Wilson. He gets another favorable matchup this week versus a Browns’ defense that has given up 10th most points to opposing QBs (20.09 pts), for an average of 262 passing yards, and 2 touchdowns per game.

Bargain Options

Matthew Stafford ($6,100) @ New Orleans: Saints give up the most points to opposing QBs (25.15 pts) for an average of 292 passing yards and 2.77 passing touchdowns per game. This offense has had a resurgence since Martha Ford (my vote for Executive of the Year) has taken the reigns of her precious Lions. The Lions have no running game so this should be very pass heavy.

Tyrod “TyGod” Taylor ($5,600) @ Washington Redskins: Been playing very consistent football over the last few weeks and has the ability to put up points with his arms and legs. He has reached 3-4x value in his last 3 games and should easily reach it once again against a banged up Skins’ secondary.

Running Back Plays

High Priced Options:

Adrian Peterson ($7,100) vs. Chicago Bears: Positive game script as they are 5 point favorite in this game. Had over 100 yards when he faced them earlier in the year and this offense runs through him. Should have over 100 yards and at least a touchdown and could also be a great tournament play after a subpar week last week.

Bargain Options

David Johnson ($5,700) @ Philadelphia Eagles: David Johnson is the bell cow for one of the most explosive offenses in the league and that trend should continue this week against the Eagles. The Eagles defense is giving up the 12th most points to opposing running backs (24.74 pts), for an average of 109 rushing yards, 5.23 receptions and 45.15 receiving yards per game.

Denard Robinson ($4,600) vs. Atlanta Falcons: Robinson took over for TJ Yeldon last week and performed admirably. Yeldon should be held out with a Knee sprain this week making Robinson the defacto running back as Toby Gerhart was placed on IR a few weeks ago. He faces an Atlanta defense that has completely fallen apart the 2nd of the season as they are giving up the 2nd most points to opposing running backs (30 pts), for an average of 96.62 rushing yards, 1.15 rushing touchdowns, 6.92 receptions and 54.77 receiving yards per game.

Tim Hightower ($3,900) vs. Detroit Lions: So much for CJ Spiller splitting carriers with Hightower, as Hightower had 28 carries for 85 rushing yards and a touchdown last week versus Tampa Bay. Hightower will be highly owned given his price and the tremendous value he offers. Facing a Lions’ defense that is giving up 23.55 points per game to opposing running backs, Hightower should be locked into cash game lineups.

Brandon Bolden ($3,200) vs. Tennessee Titans: With the news that Legarrette Blount is out for the year, Brandon Bolden should be the recipient of his carries. He rushed 16 times last week for 51 yards when Blount left the game. Nothing is even known though with Bill Belichick, but given his low price it shouldn’t matter. Bolden’s volume should provide a high floor and allow him to reach value.

Tournament Options

Lamar Miller ($6,300) @ San Diego Chargers: Miller started off the game great last week before the ineptitude of the Dolphins’ coaching staff took over and he barely touched the ball in the second half. He gets the Chargers’ defense that is allowing over 27 points per game to opposing running backs for an average of 111.46 rushing yards per game.

Eddie Lacy ($5,200) @ Oakland Raiders: McCarthy has taken over playcalling duties, and it looks like he wants to get Lacy going. Two 20 point games in the past 3 weeks and facing a defense that is giving up roughly over 25 points a game to opposing running backs.

LeSean McCoy ($6,300) @ Washington Redskins: Everyone was on Shady last week in the “Revenge Game”, and he was a slight disappointment. I think recency bias will take effect, and I expect him to have low ownership this week.

Charcandrick West ($4,800) @ Baltimore Ravens: If Spencer Ware is out this weekend, we are getting West at a significant discount who will dominate the workload in an appealing matchup versus the Ravens. West will receive the lion’s share of the carries and if he performs like he did in the 3 game stretch earlier in the season, we are in great shape as he averaged roughly around 24 points a game.

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One of my Week 14 lineups

Wide Receiver Plays

Julio Jones ($8,500) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: This is lowest we have seen Julio’s price in quite some time but that is reality when you haven’t scored a touchdown since week 8. The Falcons are a mess right now but that’s more due to Matt Ryan’s poor play. The volume is still there to present a high floor as he is still receiving over 13 targets per game and this is a very appealing matchup so the upside is there.

DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500) @ Indianapolis Colts: Hopkins has cooled off over the past few weeks after facing some stiff competition. This week he gets to face a below average Colts’ defense and should expect much shadowing from Vontae Davis, who isn’t playing at the same elite level as he has in the past. Yates looks slated to start and I expect him to lean on Hopkins for much of the game. Hopkins has a lot of upside at a reduced rate but he does come with some risk.

Bargain Options

Jeremy Maclin ($5,500) @ Baltimore Ravens: Maclin is averaging over 10 targets a game the past 3 weeks and has safely reached 2x value in all 3 games while exceeding 5x value twice. This week, he faces a Ravens’ defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing WRs with over 42.99 points per game.

Doug Baldwin ($5,800) vs. Cleveland Browns: Hottest receiver in football over the past 4 weeks playing with the hottest quarterback in football facing a below average defense, pretty simple. His price is on the rise which is a slight concern given he doesn’t receive double digit targets, but it’s hard to find a reason to fade him.

Golden Tate ($5,500) @ New Orleans Saints: As we explained before the Saints’ defense is atrocious and Tate has been extremely consistent and productive the last few weeks. He has over 32 catches and 3 touchdowns over the past 4 weeks and has a favorable matchup vs XYZ.

Michael Floyd ($4,400) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Any of the Cardinals WRs have value in this game but Floyd is the one I will be targeting as he has been extremely consistent and more involved over the past few weeks. He’s received over 8 targets a game over the past 5 games and should be matched up against Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe for much of the night.

Tournament Options

Randall Cobb ($6,300) @ Oakland Raiders: Cobb has to be happy that McCarthy has retaken over the play call duties as he saw his name called a lot more often last week hauling in 8 catches off of 12 targets and 3 carries.

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed ($5,900) vs. Buffalo Bills: The Bills have been pretty solid versus tight ends this year but Reed isn’t a tradition tight end. He is coming off a 30 point performance against the Bears who were also suppose to keep him in check. Reed’s unique role in this offense provide a high floor with a lot of upside without having to pay up into Gronk and Olsen territory.

Zach Miller ($3,600) @ Minnesota Vikings: Miller is the starting tight end for the remainder of the year and should continue to receive a high share of targets. Miller scored over 19 points last week hauling in 6 catches, 85 yards and 1 touchdown. At a near minimum he should easily reach 2x value and has a great shot to reach 3-4x value.

Tournament Options

Antonio Gates ($4,600) vs. Miami Dolphins: Who does Philip Rivers have left to throw to? Gates is averaging 7 targets a game over the past 3 weeks and 6 receptions over the past 2. He is coming at a minimum price and should be in line to easily exceed 3x value. People might be scared away with Ladarius Green returning which should result in low ownership.

Defenses to Target

Seattle Seahawks ($4,200) vs. Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs ($3,700) @ Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans ($2,500) @ Indianapolis Colts

Best of luck everyone, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter @mikefreas1706. Let’s make some cash before the holiday!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 14 Plays

Welcome back to another week of NFP's DFS Corner. Best of luck to all those participating in their season long fantasy playoffs this weekend. I hope everyone cashed in last week using my recommendations, other than TY Hilton and Alshon Jeffrey, who failed to live up to value in great matchups. Last week was an extremely

Welcome back to another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. Best of luck to all those participating in their season long fantasy playoffs this weekend. I hope everyone cashed in last week using my recommendations, other than TY Hilton and Alshon Jeffrey, who failed to live up to value in great matchups. Last week was an extremely high scoring week where 190 plus points couldn’t even guarantee you a victory in cash games. I think we should see less high scores among the chalk plays and things get back to normal this week.

For those of you who haven’t signed up for DraftKings yet and would like to, sign up here

Please find this weeks weather report for all the games here

Here are Vegas’s week 14 Spreads and Game Totals

Home Away Spread Total Game Date Game Time
Arizona Cardinals Minnesota Vikings ARZ -7.5 45.5 Thurs. Dec 10th 8:25pm
Philadelphia Eagles Buffalo Bills BUF -1 47 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Cleveland Browns San Francisco 49ers CLE -1 41 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
St. Louis Rams Detroit Lions STL -1 41 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Tampa Bay Bucaneers New Orleans Saints TB -3.5 50.5 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
New York Jets Tennessee Titans NYJ -7 43 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh Steelers CIN -3 49 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Houston Texans New England Patriots NE -3 45 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Jacksonville Jaguars Indianapolis Colts Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Kansas City Chiefs San Diego Chargers KC -10 45.5 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Chicago Bears Washington Redskins CHI -3 44 Sun. Dec 13th 1:00pm
Carolina Panthers Atlanta Falcons CAR -7.5 46.5 Sun. Dec 13th 1:oopm
Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders DEN -7.5 43.5 Sun. Dec 13th 4:05pm
Green Bay Packers Dallas Cowboys GB -7 43.5 Sun. Dec 13th 4:25pm
Baltimore Ravens Seattle Seahawks Sun. Dec 13th 8:30pm
Miami Dolphins New York Giants NYG -1 47 Mon. Dec 14th 8:30pm

Quarterback Plays

Russell Wilson ($6,300) @ Baltimore Ravens: Wilson and the Seahawks have been on an absolute tear as of late. Wilson outperformed expectations last week versus a very solid Vikings’ defense. Wilson finished the day with 274 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, which was good for 34.06 fantasy points. Over the last 3 games, he has DK scores of 34.06, 38.20, and 25.40. The Ravens are giving up the 10th most points to opposing QB’s (19.77 pts/per game), so Wilson presents a high floor. He will likely be one of the chalk plays of the week, and the only thing to be cautious of is the weather, as there is an 82% chance of rain as of now.

Blake Bortles ($6,000) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Bortles is coming off of a 5 touchdown, 322 passing yard explosion versus the Titans last week. His past 2 DK performances have scores of 35.78 and 26.46. This week, he gets to face a Colts’ defense that was just picked apart by Pittsburgh the other night. Furthermore, the Colts are giving up the 8th most points to opposing QBs (20.46 pts/per game). I expect another big game from Bortles this week in what could be another close and high scoring game.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,400) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Tyrod Taylor is coming off back to back 3 touchdown, 0 interception games where he achieved scores of 29.24 and 27.24. This week, he gets to face an Eagles’ defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing QBs (22.67 pts/per game). Most people will be on Shady for the “revenge” game, so Taylor makes a nice pivot from that and presents a high enough floor and high upside to be used in all formats.

My best performing lineup from last week

My best performing lineup from last week

Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,400) vs. Tennessee Titans: We recommended Fitzy last week and we’re going back at it him again this week. Fitzmagic has upped his play over the past few weeks yet has seen only a marginal increase in salary. He has been extremely consistent on DraftKings, earning no less than 3x value over that past 5 weeks with scores of  28.80, 29.18 , 17.84, 16.72 and 18.88. This week, he gets to face a Titans’ defense that just gave up 5 touchdown passes to Bortles and the Jags. Fitzy is a great selection in all formats.

Jameis Winston ($5,500) vs. New Orleans Saints: Jameis is the lucky winner this week facing off against the pitiful New Orleans Saints’ defense that is allowing the most points to opposing QBs (26.11 pts/per game). Jameis is getting pumped up by all outlets, he has a great matchup, and has shown the potential to put up a huge game like he did versus Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Jameis should be able to easily hit 3x value in this one, but I think I will be pivoting away as I could also see the threat of him not throwing more than 30-35 passes and them relying on Doug Martin and the ground game. I don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction, but for me, personally, I think there are safer QBs with higher upside in his price range.

Running Back Plays

LeSean McCoy ($6,100) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Ahh the revenge game versus his former team. You can bet Rex will make him a Captain for this game. McCoy will be very motivated to play against his former team and coach that shipped him away. But even taking revenge out of the equation, McCoy has been consistently getting roughly 20 plus carries the past few weeks and has gone over 100 combined yards the past 6 games. Philly has been solid versus the run for most of the season but has been allowing some of the most points to position the past 3 weeks, and I expect Rex Ryan to get McCoy highly involved.  He will be highly owned this week because of it and wouldn’t be a bad player to fade in tournaments because of it.

DeAngelo Williams ($6,000) @ Cincinnati Bengals: The 2nd highest total this week at 49.5 points, Vegas is predicting a lot of scoring this weekend. While I assume most will be all over the passing game, Williams provides a nice pivot for tournaments but still brings a very solid floor to cash games due to his involvement in the passing game. He has scored 23.50 and 24.70 points respectfully the past two weeks and although the matchup isn’t ideal, the 6.5 targets he has been averaging should allow him to hit floor.

David Johnson ($4,300) vs. Minnesota Vikings: David Johnson represents the best value play on the Thursday night slate, he will likely be highly owned again but that isn’t a problem in cash games. Bruce Arians has already come out and said he would like to get David Johnson roughly 25 touches this week, which bodes well with the game script given that Arizona is 7.5 point favorites.

Lamar Miller ($5,700) vs. New York Giants: The first week without Bill Lazor calling plays, the Dolphins stuck to their word and established the ground game with Miller receiving 20 carries for 113 rushing yards. This week, Miller gets a Giants defense that is giving up the 6th most points to opposing running backs (26.30 pts/per game). The Giants are allowing roughly over 97 rushing yards per game and 6 catches per game to opposing running backs, so Miller is in a great spot to exploit this matchup. The only concern here is what will be Miami’s game plan this week?

Thomas Rawls ($5,800) @ Baltimore Ravens: While Russell Wilson is one of the chalk plays for QB’s given Baltimore’s inability to stop the pass and the tear that Wilson has been on the past few weeks, Rawls presents great values in both formats. He is receiving the lion’s share of touches (70 carries past 3 weeks) and will be expected to carry another heavy workload this week in a game that the Seahawks should easily win. The gamescript and potential weather with rain are all positives for Rawls.

Shaun Draughn ($4,800) @ Cleveland Browns: While this wont be the sexy pick, it may be one of the smartest. Don’t be fooled to shy away from Draughn as he has an excellent matchup as the Browns are giving up the 7th most points to opposing running backs (25.93 pts/per game). The Browns are giving up roughly 126 yards per game and Draughn is garnering all of the carries out of the 49ers backfield. Furthermore, he presents a high floor given his involvement in the passing game as he has over 22 catches in the past 4 games.

Darren Sproles ($3,500) and Ryan Matthews ($3,400) vs. Buffalo Bills: Chip Kelly finally demoted Demarco Murray last week and gave Sproles more touches. While I don’t think he’ll lead the team in touches this week with Ryan Mathews returning, I do believe Sproles will still be very active throughout this game as he is simply too dynamic not to be on the field. At his minimum salary, he makes an excellent punt play with huge upside. Mathews is also a great tournament play this week as if he does play, there is a very good chance he receives the bulk of the carries. He has looked like the most explosive back for the Eagles this year.

Wide Receiver Plays

Antonio Brown ($8,900) @ Cincinnati Bengals: Antonio Brown is potentially the best PPR player when Big Ben is under center. He is a PPR machine and presents a high floor on a weekly basis. This week, he faces a very solid Bengals’ defense that may be without Adam Jones and Leon Hall. Regardless, Brown is a great play again this week in Vegas’s 2nd highest total.

Odell Beckham Jr. ($9,100) @ Miami Dolphins: OBJ has been one of the most consistent players over the past month and he should continue that this week versus an average Dolphins’ defense. Brent Grimes is a good CB, but he is not someone who can stick with OBJ over the course of the game. OBJ is the focal point of this Giants’ offense and that should continue again this week.

Brandon Marshall ($7,600) vs. Tennessee Titans: Marshall might be one of my favorite plays of the week. He has been extremely consistent this season either scoring a touchdown or collecting 100 yards receiving in every game this year. He is coming off of two huge games where he scored 34.10 and 37.10 points. This week, he faces off against a Titans’ secondary that just allowed 5 passing touchdowns and 3 to Allen “Baby Dez” Robinson who has a very similar frame and skillset to Marshall.

AJ Green ($7,900) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Projected high scoring game, very active in offense, great matchup, coming off a 26.80 and 24.10 point games over the past 2 weeks, what else do you need to know? While I like Green’s value more when Eifert isn’t in the lineup, Green is another great play this week as the Steelers give up the 3rd most points to opposing wide receivers (42.28 pts/per game). Green has played very well historically against the Steelers throughout his career.

Eric Decker ($6,400) vs. Tennessee Titans: All  of the reasons I mentioned above for B Marsh apply to Decker who finally saw a little bump in his salary. Decker has been one of the most consistent fantasy players all year, he’s a TD machine, and he is averaging 21 points per game. He provides a high floor with upside.

Jarvis Landry ($6,300) vs. New York Giants: Landry had a huge dud last week, but it was due to more to the fact that Miami didn’t run that many plays, and when they did, most of them were runs. I expect them to get back to a more balanced approach this week versus a porous Giants defense. While Parker and Stills will be covered by DRC and Prince Amukamara, Landry will have the benefit of facing struggling Nickel Corner Trevin Wade. The Giants are giving up  the 6th most points to opposing WR’s (40.14 pts/per game).  Landry is 6th in receptions this year, so I expect him to bounce back and provide another high floor in what could turn into a shootout.

Sammy Watkins ($6,100) @ Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles give up the most points to opposing WRs (44.08 pts/per game), Byron Maxwell has been abused this year and rookie Eric Rowe is still untested. Watkins should be in store for a big game and makes a great stack with Taylor and a nice pivot from McCoy. He presents great upside, so he is a great tournament play, but his inconsistent targets could make him a riskier cash game play.

Martavis Bryant ($5,700) @ Cincinnati Bengals: Everything I mentioned about Antonio Brown applies to Bryant. He should be facing Dre Kirkpatrick, who has struggled this year and Bryant has PFF 7th best WR/CB matchup for the week. He is a great stack with Big Ben and can be played in both formats.

Allen Hurns ($5,500) vs Indianapolis Colts: Hurns sat out this past week but is cleared to play this week after clearing concussion protocol. Hurns should face off against one of PFF worst rated corner backs in Greg Toler. According to PFF WR/CB matchup tool, Hurns has the 3rd best matchup on the weekend. Furthermore, when these two teams met earlier in the year, Hurns exploded for 31.60 points catching 11 passes, 116 yards and 1 touchdown. He makes an excellent stack with Bortles and a good pivot away from Allen Robinson this week. Oh, and the Colts give up the 4th most points to opposing wide receivers (41.45 pts/per game).

Danny Amendola ($5,200) @ Houston Texans: The Texans have fared very well against opposing teams #1 WR’s, but I don’t think this applies to Amendola this week. This one is simple. The Patriots are without a lot of main options and Amendola is a target machine that is still being offered at a great price. In the two games he has started this year, he has scores of 20.64 and 23.70.

Doug Baldwin ($4,800) @ Baltimore Ravens: Baldwin leads the NFL in yards and touchdowns over the past 4 weeks and is still only $4,800 facing a Ravens defense that gives up the 5th most points to opposing WRs (40.20 pts/per game).

Tight End Options

Delanie Walker ($5,600) @ New York Jets: Matchup is not great, but Walker is one of the most consistent tight ends on a weekly basis and a favorite target of Marcus Mariota. He has gone over 90 yards in the past 3 games while averaging 10 targets a game over that stretch. Consistency at the tight end position is hard to come by, so if you are paying up for Tight End, Walker is your guy.

Scott Chandler ($3,800) @ Houston Texans:  Despite seeing a $1,300 increase in salary, Chandler remains a great value play as long as Gronk is out. He should see roughly 6-8 targets and be looked at in the red zone yet again. He has scored in 3 of the past 4 weeks and Brady will rely on him again in this one.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($2,700) vs New Orleans Saints:  The ultimate upside play for tight end this week, ASJ returned to action last week for the first time since Week 2. Despite only playing 19 snaps, ASJ still received 7 targets. Winston looks for him often and the Saints give up the most points to opposing tight ends (20.01 pts/per game).

Defenses to Target

Seattle Seahawks ($3,500) @ Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs ($3,200) vs. San Diego

Best of luck again this weekend, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter @mikefreas1706

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

Read More 2452 Words

DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 13 Plays

Welcome back everyone for another week of NFP's DFS Corner. I hope you were able to cash in last week with some of my recommendations and took my play of the week in Adrian Peterson who went off to the sound of 35 points on DraftKings.

For those of you who haven’t signed up for DraftKings yet

Welcome back everyone for another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. I hope you were able to cash in last week with some of my recommendations and took my play of the week in Adrian Peterson who went off to the sound of 35 points on DraftKings.

For those of you who haven’t signed up for DraftKings yet and would like to, sign up here

Please find this weeks weather report for all the games here

Here are Vegas’s week 13 Spreads and Game Totals

Home Team Away Team Spread Total O/U Game Date Game Time
 Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers  GB -3 47 Thurs. Dec 3rd  8:25pm
 New York Giants  New York Jets  NYJ -2  45  Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 St. Louis Rams Arizona Cardinals  ARI -5.5  43   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Atlanta Falcons  TB -1.5  46   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Minnesota Vikings Seattle Seahawks  MIN -1  42   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Buffalo Bills Houston Texans  BUF -3  41.5   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Miami Dolphins Baltimore Ravens  MIA -4  43.5   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Cleveland Browns Cincinnati Bengals  CIN -9.5  43.5  Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
 Tennessee Titans Jacksonville Jaguars  TEN -2.5  43   Sun. Dec 6th  1:00pm
Chicago Bears San Francisco 49ers CHI -7 43  Sun. Dec 6th 1:00pm
San Diego Chargers Denver Broncos DEN -4 43.5  Sun. Dec 6th 4:05pm
Oakland Raiders Kansas City Chiefs KC -3 44  Sun. Dec 6th 4:05pm
New Orleans Saints Carolina Panthers CAR -7 49.5  Sun. Dec 6th 4:25pm
New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles NE -9.5 49  Sun. Dec 6th 4:25pm
Pittsburgh Steelers Indianapolis Colts PIT -7 48.5  Sun. Dec 6th 8:30pm
Washington Redskins Dallas Cowboys WAS -4.5 42.5 Mon. Dec 7th 8:30pm

Quarterback Plays

Cash Game Staples

Cam Newton ($7,400) @ New Orleans Saints: Cam will most likely be the highest owned QB this week and for good reason. The Saints are allowing the most points to opposing QBs with an average of 25 points per game. They have given up 30 passing touchdowns on the year while giving up of over 298 passing yards per game. Cam will be a staple cash game QB of mine this week.

Ben Roethlisberger ($6,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Not sure why Big Ben isn’t priced higher this week, as he has exceed 25 points in each of his last 3 contests including a great game vs a strong Seattle defense on  the road last week. This selection obviously depends on if Big Ben completes the NFL Concussion protocol, as he already been cleared to practice Wednesday.  If he does play, he gets a home matchup versus a very average Colts defense that has already given up 20 passing touchdowns on the year and over 282 passing yards per game. Vontae Davis hasn’t been playing to his standards and might be limited with a hamstring injury this week and opposite corner Greg Toler has a bottom 10 cornerback grade according to PFF. Also, let’s not forget the game vs. the Colts last year when Big Ben threw for 522 yards and 6 touchdowns…

Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) @ New York Giants: Fitzpatrick delivered big last week with a 4 TD performance vs. Miami. He should be in store for another big week as he faces off against the New York Giants. The Giants’ defense is allowing the 5th most points to opposing QBs with over 20 points a game. The Giants, on average, are giving up over 315 passing yards per game (3 bonus points if you pass for over 3oo yards) and have allowed 20 passing touchdowns or 1.81 per game.

Other Cash Game/ Multiplier Options

Marcus Mariota ($5,500) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are giving up the 4th most points to opposing QBs with an average of 20.99 points per game. They have given up 21 touchdowns through the air and are letting opposing QBs throw for over 281 yards per game. Marcus Mariota has achieved 2x value over 78% of the time and has exceed 3x value over 67% of the time.

Matt Hasselback ($5,300) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: I don’t think I ever thought I would be writing this at any point this year but here we are. Hasselback is a very cheap option at $5.3k and he is facing a Steelers’ defense that is giving up the 6th most points to opposing QBs with over 20 points a game. The Steelers have given up 22 touchdowns through the air for an average of 2 passing touchdowns per game to go along with over 299 passing yards allowed per game.

Tournament Gambles

Carson Palmer ($6,700) @ St. Louis: Palmer was a bit of a disappointment last week and faces what most see as a very tough defense in St. Louis. Both of these factors will lead to low ownership for Palmer which is great for tournaments. Palmer has been one of the most consistent QBs all year reaching 2x value 100% of the time and achieving 3x value

Other Tournament Gambles: Ryan Tannehill ($5,300) vs. Baltimore Ravens, Jay Cutler ($5,100) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Running Back Plays

Cash Game Staples

The only high priced running back I will consider taking this week is Adrian Peterson ($6,700) vs. Seattle Seahawks. AP is on a 4 game touchdown steak and is coming fresh off a 35 point game. While the matchup isn’t as appealing, Seattle’s defense is more vulnerable on the road than at home. AP went down $700 from last week so at his current salary, he does provide value. I will certainly take him in a few cash games, and he does represent a nice tournament option as most people will be scared away by Seattle’s defense and the value at the running back position this week.

Doug Martin ($5,900) vs. Atlanta Falcons: I continue to see analysts and fans steer clear of running backs playing the Atlanta Falcons due to their perception as a good running defense since they are only letting up over 81 rushing yards per game. While that is true, the rushing yards don’t tell the whole story. Atlanta is actually giving up the most points to opposing running backs with an average of 30 points per game. They are tied with Detroit for giving up the most rushing touchdowns per game with 12, so teams are averaging over 1 rushing touchdown a week on them. Furthermore, they have given up the most receptions to opposing running backs with over 83 receptions on the year or 7.5 catches per game to go along with over 60 receiving yards.

DeAngelo Williams ($5,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts: DeAneglo got back on track last week with a very nice game against Seattle. This week he gets to face a Colts defense who has been average against the run allowing 96 rushing yards per game and just under 5 receptions per game to opposing RBs. There are 11 running backs priced ahead of him which makes him excellent value this week. The Colts are going to have their hands full trying to stop Pittsburgh’s aerial attack which should open up some running lanes for Williams.

Javorius Allen ($5,400) @ Miami Dolphins: Buck Allen had a great debut on Monday night versus a putrid Cleveland Browns defense. This week he gets to face a Miami Dolphins’ defense that is giving up the 5th most points a game to opposing running backs. The Dolphins are giving up 119 rushing yards per game and opposing running backs are averaging just under 4.5 catches per game. They have given up 9 rushing touchdowns on the year, and I fully expect the Ravens to ride Allen again this game.

David Johnson ($3,400) @ St. Louis Rams: David Johnson is another great value play this week, with Chris Johnson being placed on short term IR and Ellington’s status in question. The Rams are surprisingly giving up the 11th most points to opposing running backs and are not the same team when Ogletree and Quinn aren’t in the lineup. Opposing running backs are averaging 91 rushing yards, 5.91 catches and 57 receiving yards per game. Don’t overthink this one, David Johnson is the top back in a high powered offense at a minimum price. Don’t overthink this one.

Other Cash/Multiplier Game Options

CJ Anderson ($3,500) @ San Diego Chargers: CJ Anderson owners can finally rejoice after last weeks game. Anderson has been a colossal disappointment this year but he as well as the entire Denver ground game has begun to turn things around with Brock under center. This week Anderson gets to face off against a Chargers’ defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing running backs with them averaging just under 30 points per game. The Chargers have given up 10 rushing touchdowns on the year to go along with 110 rushing yards per game. To make matters worse opposing running backs are also averaging 5.5 catches per game with over 57 receiving yards per game. If Anderson and Hillman split time, Anderson has been receiving more touches and presents a dirt cheap price at $3.5k.

Tournament Gambles

Matt Forte ($6,900) vs. San Francisco 49ers, Shaun Draughn ($4,000) @ Chicago Bears, LeSean McCoy ($5,700) vs. Houston

Wide Receiver Plays

Cash Game Staples

It’s hard not to mention the 4 studs at the top on a weekly basis as all for the most part are matchup proof but this week all 4 have very appealing matchups. I have a higher number of Wide Receivers this week due to a full slate of games and a lot of appealing matchups and value plays.

Julio Jones ($9,000) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Julio Jones has 29 catches, 442 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in his last 3 games against the Bucs. Furthermore, he has the 3rd best matchup advantage according to PFF as he should see coverage from Jude Adjei-Barimah.

Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,900) vs. New York Jets: OBJ came up big for us last week and delivered yet again. This week he gets a good matchup versus a Jet’s defense that is giving up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing receivers. To make matters worse, it does not look like Darrelle Revis is going to play as he is still sidelined with a concussion. If Revis is a no go, I think I like OBJ as my top high priced WR option.

Deandre Hopkins ($8,800) vs. Buffalo Bills: Hopkins for the first time all year was a DFS disappointment in a great matchup. This week he gets to face a Buffalo defense that just let Jeremy Maclin have a day. The Bills are allowing the 7th most points to opposing WR’s with just under 40 points per game. While Stephon Gilmore is a very good emerging young corner, Hopkins has proved throughout most of this year he is matchup proof.

Antonio Brown ($8,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Had a somewhat quite game last week hauling in 6 receptions for 51 yards. But that was expected as he faced off versus Richard Sherman for much of the evening. The important thing is he still received 12 targets and has the full confidence of Ben regardless of his individual matchup. If Ben plays this week, Brown should see some of Davis and Toler which gives Brown the advantage. He’s a target machine with a very high weekly floor with an appealing matchup.

Alshon Jeffrey ($6,900) vs. San Francisco 49ers: For the first time all year, Jeffrey was not mentioned on the Bear’s injury report. He had a solid game last week vs. Green Bay, hauling in 6 of his 11 targets for 90 receiving yards. The 49ers are giving up the 6th most points to opposing wide receivers and Jeffrey is the main target in this Bears offense that looks like they might be without Martellus Bennett again. He will be going up against 5’10 Tramine Brock and should be force fed the ball from Cutler.

TY Hilton ($5,700) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: TY Hilton and Hasselback finally got on the same page last week as Hilton hauled both touchdowns. This week he gets to face struggling corner, Antwon Blake, and has PFF 2nd best matchup advantage. Even more appealing is the fact that the Steelers are giving up the 2nd most points to opposing wide receivers with an average of 44 fantasy points per game. The Steelers have given up 14 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and this trend should continue as Vegas is predicting this to be a high scoring game.

Martavis Bryant ($5,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Bryant still isnt getting the love on DFS given his price. In 6 games this year Bryant has over 500 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns. He is a threat any time he touches the ball as made apparent with his td run vs. Seattle last week. Bryant has PFF 5th best matchup advantage as he is facing a struggling Greg Toler. According to PFF only 10 cornerbacks have earned a worse grade than Toler who is allowing over 61.9% of his targets to be caught.

Kamar Aiken ($4,800) @ Miami Dolphins: Aiken is coming off a big Monday Night game and has another favorable matchup on the schedule versus Miami. Aiken has PFF’s 4th best matchup as he should face Jamar Taylor for much of the afternoon who has the 6th worse grade according to PFF. In addition, Miami is giving up the 4th most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers. He’s the #1 in this offense at a meager price with a nice matchup coming off a good game.

Danny Amendola ($4,700) vs. Philadelphia Eagles: If Amendola should return and play this week, he should be a cash game staple. With Gronk expected to be out, Amendola should pick up right where he left off before he got hurt. The Eagles defense is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing receivers and have completely fallen apart the last 2 weeks. Billy Davis refuses to give safety help and leaves his corners on an island in man coverage. Furthermore, the Eagles have struggled against opposing slot wide receivers as EJ Biggers has been getting tormented in recent weeks.

Other Cash Game/ Multiplier Options:

Brandon Marshall ($7,100) and Eric Decker ($6,300) @ New York Giants, Jarvis Landry ($6,700) vs. Baltimore Ravens, and Donte Moncrief ($4,600) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Tournament Gambles

AJ Green ($7,600) vs. Cleveland Browns: Green could be the tournament play of the week if Eifert were to sit out with his neck injury. He has PFF’s top rated matchup advantage as he should see coverage from Joe Haden who has struggled with injuries this year.

Other Tournament Gambles: Devante Parker ($3,300) vs. Baltimore Ravens, Ted Ginn Jr. ($3,600) @ New Orleans

Tight End Plays

Cash Game Staples

Greg Olsen ($6,400) @ New Orleans Saints: This one is easy, Olsen is Cam Newton’s top target and the Saints give up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends with over 19 points per game. They have given up 10 touchdowns to tight ends on the year, 2nd most in the NFL.

Travis Kelce ($4,700) vs. Oakland Raiders: Travis Kelce is this week’s lucky TE to face the Oakland Raiders defense. The only defense worse than the Saints and Giants versus the TE is the Oakland Raiders.  The Raiders are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and a league high 11 touchdowns versus them.

Scott Chandler ($2,500) vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Chandler will be a staple in all my cash lineups whether in the TE spot or in the flex as salary relief. Although Philly has been solid versus the Tight End all year, Gronk is expected to be out and Brady is in need of targets. Chandler will easily exceed 3x value if not 4x value this week, you’ll be at a severe disadvantage if you do not play him this week.

Other Cash Game Options: Delanie Walker ($5,700) vs. Jacksonville

Tournament Gambles

Luke Wilson ($2,400) @ Minnesota Vikings: Jimmy Graham is out for the year with a torn Patellar Tendon, which means Luke Wilson is now the starting tight end for the Seahawks. This has nothing to do with matchup but all to do with price and value. It will take Wilson a meager 4 catches and 30 receiving yards to hit 3x value. I only suggest him as tournament option as most people will jump at Chandler at this price range for tight end which will make Wilson low owned and in a great spot for tournaments.

Defenses to Target

Arizona Cardinals ($3,900) @ St. Louis Rams

Cincinnati Bengals ($3,400) @ Cleveland Browns

Washington Redskins ($2,300) vs. Dallas Cowboys

Best of luck this weekend!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

Read More 2567 Words

DFS Corner: Week 12 DraftKings Plays

Welcome back to NFP's Week 12 DFS Corner. I hope everyone has a relaxing, safe, and enjoyable Thanksgiving. I, for one, am hoping the play of my Eagles doesn't ruin my appetite for the remainder of the day. Last week, I got back on track as most of my suggestions reached or exceeded their value.

Welcome back to NFP’s Week 12 DFS Corner. I hope everyone has a relaxing, safe, and enjoyable Thanksgiving. I, for one, am hoping the play of my Eagles doesn’t ruin my appetite for the remainder of the day. Last week, I got back on track as most of my suggestions reached or exceeded their value. But I wasn’t without some misses as the injury bug hurt my picks of Devonta Freeman, Charcandrick West and Zach Ertz.

We are now officially done with bye weeks, so we have all 32 teams at our disposal this weekend. The format below is a little different this week given the Thursday slate on Thanksgiving. Please leave some feedback on the new format, as I am trying to provide you with the best intel.

For those of you who haven’t signed up for DraftKings yet and would like to, sign up here

National Football Post is also hosting a League this weekend. If you would like to participate in NFP’s DFS Corner  50/50 League, you can enter a team here.

Please find this weeks weather report for all the games here

Here are Vegas’s week 12 Spreads and Game Totals

Home Away Spread Total Game Date Time
Detroit Lions Philadelphia Eagles PHL -1 46 Thurs. Nov. 26th 12:30pm
Dallas Cowboys Carolina Panthers CAR -1 46 Thurs. Nov. 26th 4:30pm
Green Bay Packers Chicago Bears GB -9 47 Thurs. Nov 26th 8:30pm
Houston Texans New Orleans Saints HOU -3 47.5 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
Cincinnati Bengals St. Louis Rams CIN -9 42 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
Atlanta Falcons Minnesota Vikings ATL -2 46 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
Washington Redskins New York Giants NYG -2.5 46.5 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
Indianapolis Colts Tampa Bay Buccaneers IND -3 46.5 Sun. Nov 29th 1:oopm
Kansas City Chiefs Buffalo Bills KC -5 41 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
Tennessee Titans Oakland Raiders OAK -2 44 Sun. Nov 29th 1:oopm
Jacksonville Jaguars San Diego Chargers JAC -4 46.5 Sun. Nov 29th 1:oopm
New York Jets Miami Dolphins NYJ -3.5 42.5 Sun. Nov 29th 1:00pm
San Francisco 49ers Arizona Cardinals ARZ -10 45 Sun. Nov 29th 4:05pm
Seattle Seahawks Pittsburgh Steelers SEA -4.5 44.5 Sun. Nov 29th 4:25pm
Denver Broncos New England Patriots NE -3 44.5 Sun. Nov 29th 8:30pm
Cleveland Browns Baltimore Ravens CLE -2.5 41 Mon. Nov 30th 8:30pm

 

Thursday: Turkey Edition Plays

Quarterbacks:

Cash Game Play: Aaron Rodgers ($7,400) vs. Chicago Bears: Despite the Packers offense not running as smoothly as we are used to, Aaron Rodgers has still been a very productive quarterback.  Rodgers’s last 3 games have consisted of point totals of 19.08, 25.12, and 36.96 points. Rodgers represents the safest option on a short 3 game slate. While the Bears, statistically, have been strong versus the pass this year, I expect Rodgers to be firing on all cylinders on prime time versus a defense that is allowing over 23 points a game and which Vegas predicts to have a total of 47, the highest of any Thanksgiving game.

Tournament Plays: Matt Stafford ($5,800) vs. Philadelphia Eagles and Mark Sanchez ($5,200)

Running backs

Matt Forte ($6,800) @ Green Bay Packers: Forte is set to make his return this week after sitting out the past month with an MCL sprain. Although Forte will probably give up some carries to Langford, I am still expecting a heavy workload given the uncertainty with injuries to Jeffrey, Royal and Bennett. Furthermore, Forte is never priced below $7k and his work in the receiving game alone should provide a high floor.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson ($7,200) vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin is the top WR play for the Thursday slate. He gets to face off against an Eagles defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing receivers. Nolan Carroll and Byron Maxwell are no match for Calvin Johnson and the Eagles will have no answers.

Tight End

Brent Celek ($3,200) @ Detroit Lions: Celek is a great value tight end for the Thursday slate. Zach Ertz looks to be out with a concussion, and Celek will be the beneficiary of that. Mark Sanchez looks for his tight ends often as evident last week when he caught 7 passes for 79 yards off of 10 targets.

Sunday Slate

Quarterback Options

Carson Palmer ($7,100) @ San Francisco 49ers: Palmer is coming off an impressive 317 passing yards and 4 touchdown performance versus the Cincinnati Bengals. He has been a great cash game option as he has exceeded 3x value in his last 4 games with scores of 29.58, 26.32, 33.56, and 19.2. The 49ers are giving up the 5th most points to opposing fantasy QBs and are allowing over 291 passing yards per game. The only thing to be conscious of would be if the Cardinals get up big early and rely on the run more given the 49ers inability to also to defend the run. But the Cardinals don’t really utilize their running backs to grind out games, so I see Palmer being an extremely safe option.

Brian Hoyer ($5,000) vs. New Orleans Saints: Hoyer has been a staple cash game play of mine when the right matchup presents itself given the Texans’ high volume of passes and his cheap price. This week, the Texans get to face the worst defense in football in the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are coming out of a bye and Rob Ryan is no longer the defensive coordinator, but the lack of quality playmakers remains. The Saints give up the most points to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 25 points per game. The Saints’ defense has already allowed 28 touchdowns on the year , 17 touchdowns over the past 4 weeks, and are letting up an average of 308 passing yards per game. Hoyer represents extreme value this week.

Tournament Plays: Eli Manning ($6,500) @ Washington, Kirk Cousins ($5,400) vs. New York Giants

Runnings Backs:

Adrian Peterson ($7,300) @ Atlanta Falcons: AP is the only high priced running back I will consider paying up for in lineups this week. AP was a disappointment last week, but I am looking for him to get back on track this week against a below average Atlanta run defense. The Falcons are giving up the third most points to opposing running backs this year.

TJ Yeldon ($4,800) vs. San Diego Chargers: Yeldon is the lucky running back to go off against the worst rushing defense in the NFL in the San Diego Chargers. Not only are the Chargers giving up the most points to opposing running backs, but they are giving up 111 rushing yards per game and over 5 receptions per game. The game script also favors Yeldon as the Jaguars are 4.5 point favorites in a game Vegas predicts to be pretty high scoring with a total of 46.5 points. The Chargers can’t stop anyone. They allowed Spencer Ware to run close for 100 yards and gave up 3 rushing touchdowns last week.

Thomas Rawls ($4,500) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rawls was a tournament savior for me last week as he got the start with Marshawn Lynch being a late inactive. Rawls offers great value again this week, despite the Steelers’ strong efforts against the run this year. Seattle is a run first team and Rawls is no slacker as he is leading the NFL with 6 YPC. He ran rampant last week with over 255 total yards, giving him his third 100 yard game of the season. He should see the lion’s share of volume again this week and could even find himself active on the receiving end once again. Start him with confidence. He presents great value this week in a game where the Seahawks are favorited by 4.5 points.

Javorius Allen ($4,600) vs. Cleveland Browns: With Justin Forsett and Joe Flacco both out for the year, I am expecting people to potentially fade the Ravens’ offense until they see how they perform. But given Allen’s low price and the fact that he is facing a Browns’ defense that is giving up an NFL worst 138 rushing yards per game, I am intrigued. I am assuming the Ravens will rely on Allen for most of their offensive production, and he should be active in both the rushing and passing game.

Chris Johnson ($4,600) vs. San Francisco 49ers: CJ2K has been quiet after his hot start, but his matchup and price makes him a great value play this week. The 49ers are giving up over 111 rushing yards per game and over 5.5 receptions to opposing running backs. They are giving up the 2nd most points to opposing running backs as well. CJ2K had 2 touchdowns and over 111 yards versus the 49ers earlier this year, and the game script favors the rushing attack as the Cardinals are 10 point favorites.

Wide Receiver Plays:

Julio Jones ($9,400) vs. Minnesota Vikings: Julio Jones has the top matchup according to PFF as he gets to face off against promising, yet struggling, Xavier Rhodes. PFF has Julio having the biggest matchup advantage amongst WRs and CBs.  With Devonta Freeman’s status up in the air, the Falcons will need to rely on their passing game a little more this week. Julio Jones is a target machine already and will be a staple play of mine this week.

DeAndre Hopkins ($9,100) vs. New Orleans Saints: Hopkins further proved last week that he is a matchup proof option as he got the best of Darrelle Revis for much of the afternoon. This week, he gets to face Delvin Breaux who is a promising cornerback but no matchup for Hopkins and all the volume and targets he brings. He is the top play at WR this week, and given the value at running back and quarterback, I plan on pairing him with Julio.

Larry Fitzgerald ($7,400) @ San Francisco 49ers : Fitz might be the most consistent option on a week to week basis, providing a high floor given his moderately high price. This week, he gets to face off against the 49ers who are giving up the 5th most points to opposing receivers. Fitz also has the most appealing mtachup of all Cardinals’ receivers as he should face off against Jimmie Ward for most of the afternoon. PFF has Fitz’s matchup vs Ward as the 4th biggest advantage amongst WR and CBs.

Stevie Johnson ($4,500) @ Jacksonville Jaguars : This one is simple, Johnson is still low priced and the top target for a pass happy Chargers’ offense. He hauled in 7 of his 8 targets last week exceeding 12 points for the second consecutive week. I am expecting the Chargers’ offense to get back on track, and if that’s the case, then Johnson will be a big reason why.

Other Wide Receivers I am Targeting in Cash/Tournaments:

Antonio Brown ($8,700) @ Seattle Seahawks, Odell Beckhem Jr. ($8,700) @ Washington Redskins, Eric Decker ($5,800) vs. Miami Dolphins, Stefon Diggs ($4,800) @ Atlanta Falcons, Jamison Crowder ($3,600) vs. New York Giants

Tight End Plays:

Cash Games

Jordan Reed ($5,100) vs. New York Giants: Vegas is predicting this to be a high scoring game with a total of 46.5 points. Jordan Reed continues to be one of Cousins’s favorite targets and the Giants struggle versus the tight end as they are giving up the most points versus opposing tight ends. Get back on Reed before his price jumps up again.

Delanie Walker ($5,400) vs. Oakland Raiders: It’s always a sound strategy to try and target tight ends facing the Raiders and this week is even better with a very involved tight end in Walker playing them. The Raiders are giving up over 15 points a game to opposing tight ends, which is the 2nd most in the league.

Gary “People’s Champ” Barnidge ($4,800) vs. Baltimore Ravens: Barnidge received a huge boost with the announcement of McCown taking over the QB duties again in Cleveland. Barnidge’s best games this year came when McCown was under center as he peppered him with targets on a regular basis. I expect much of the same here despite the Ravens keeping tight ends in check this season.

Tournament Options

Heath Miller ($3,100) @ Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks’ defense one primary weakness is covering the tight end. Miller’s value is always better with Big Ben under center and he could go unnoticed this week as the Seahawks have their hands full stopping Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

Defenses to Target

Cincinnati Bengals ($3,000) vs. St. Louis Rams

Cleveland Browns ($2,000) vs. Baltimore Ravens

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

Read More 1920 Words

DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 10 Plays

Welcome back for another week of NFP's DFS Corner. Condolences to readers who live in the state of NY and can no longer submit entries into DraftKings and FanDuel due to the Attorney General's ruling that daily fantasy is gambling. It was a very interesting decision considering FanDuel is headquartered in New York and New York

Welcome back for another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. Condolences to readers who live in the state of NY and can no longer submit entries into DraftKings and FanDuel due to the Attorney General’s ruling that daily fantasy is gambling. It was a very interesting decision considering FanDuel is headquartered in New York and New York contains both sites’ biggest client base. It will be interesting to follow over the course of the next few months, as I am sure there will be injunctions and court rulings on the way.

Putting that aside, let’s get back to business for Week 10. I hope a lot of you fared better than I did last week, as this past weekend was the first time I didn’t make a profit and actually took a little hit, but it’s all part of the game. You should look at DraftKings as a stock or portfolio that will have some ups and downs. Last week, a lot of average players and players with suspect matchups out performed expectations. I did not see Blaine Gabbert beating the Atlanta Falcons. But I guess that’s where the saying “any given Sunday” comes from. I also learned another hard lesson this past weekend, and one I should add to my DFS Commandments moving forward. I shall never enter “Multi-Entry” tournaments, as they lower your odds of winning in cash games. A greater score is needed due to the fact that it exposes you to a greater threat of sharks that use algorithms with hundreds of entries.

Here are the teams on bye this weekend and Vegas O/U’s for Week 10.

Week 10 Byes: Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers

Week 10 NFL Weather Forecast

Home Away Spread Total Date Time
New York Jets Buffalo Bills NYJ -2.5 43 Thurs. Nov 12th 8:25pm
Green Bay Packers Detroit Lions GB -11.5 48 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dallas Cowboys TB -1.5 43 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Tennessee Titans Carolina Panthers CAR -4.5 43.5 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
St. Louis Rams Chicago Bears STL -7 42.5 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Washington Redskins New Orleans Saints NO -1 50.5 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Philadelphia Eagles Miami Dolphins PHI -6 47 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Pittsburgh Steelers Cleveland Browns PIT -4.5 41 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Baltimore Ravens Jacksonville Jaguars BAL -5.5 48 Sun. Nov 15th 1pm
Oakland Raiders Minnesota Vikings OAK -3 44 Sun. Nov 15th 4:05pm
New York Giants New England Patriots NE -7 54.5 Sun. Nov 15th 4:25pm
Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs DEN -6.5 42 Sun. Nov 15th 4:25pm
Seattle Seahawks Arizona Cardinals SEA -3 45 Sun. Nov 15th 8:30pm
Cincinnati Bengals Houston Texans CIN -10.5 47.5 Mon. Nov 16th 8:30pm

Quarterback Plays

High Priced Options

Tom Brady ($8.6k) @ New York Giants: Brady was a disappointment last week (by Tom Brady standards) as he only managed to get 18.9 points, just missing the 300 yard passing bonus by 1 yard. I think the loss of Dion Lewis will hurt this offense, but it’s not something to be overly concerned about. Brady gets to tee off against a New York Giants defense that is allowing the 4th most points to opposing QBs and the 2nd most passing yards. The Giants’ defense just allowed Drew Brees to throw for 7 touchdowns and 505 passing yards 2 weeks ago. The one key stat to look at is the Giants lack of pass rush, as they have only generated 9 sacks all year, which is the worst in the NFL. If you give Brady time to pick you apart, he will. I expect Brady to post huge numbers against a very pedestrian defense.

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One of my lineups last week

Aaron Rodgers ($7.5k) vs. Detroit Lions: Aaron Rodgers under $8k? What is going on in the world? It’s time for us to take a page out of Aaron’s book and all “RELAX”. Yes, the Packers offense has not looked like themselves over the past few weeks, but they also have had some really tough matchups with the Broncos and Panthers. This week, they get to face off against an NFC North weakling in the Detroit Lions who are giving up the 5th most points to opposing QBs. The last time the Lions won in Green Bay was in 1991. They have lost 24 straight games in Green Bay, and this is a very weak Lions team. I am expecting a huge bounce back game from ARod and will be pairing him with Cobb in a lot of my entries. He represents a great cash game and GPP play as he will likely be less owned than Brady. Don’t be fooled by recency bias, Rodgers is a sure thing and a bet to reach 3x value in a game where they are projected to win by 11.5 points.

Mid Priced Options

I won’t be playing any mid priced Quarterbacks this week due to the value and matchups the lower priced QBs offer. If I were to select any mid priced QB this week it would be Andy Dalton, as he gets to face a very weak Texans defense. Dalton has been very consistent on the season and represents a great tournament play QB this week due to his likely low ownership percentage.

Low Priced Options

Blake Bortles ($5.6k) @ Baltimore Ravens: Bortles will be a staple in many of my lineups this weekend as he is a safer streaming option at quarterback than Kirk Cousins. Bortles is coming off of a 381 passing yard, 2 TD, and 2 Int game against a very good Jets’ defense last week. Bortles is facing a Baltimore Ravens’ defense that is giving up an average of 22 points per game, which is the second most points to opposing QBs. Furthermore, the Ravens’ pass defense ranks 32nd in the NFL, which should bode well for Bortles given his weekly volume. Bortles has had 4 straights games with multiple touchdowns, which alone allows him to achieve his value at his current price point.

Kirk Cousins ($5.2k) vs. New Orleans Saints: This selection is not for the faint of heart as Kirk Cousins is not the most consistent QB in DraftKings, but he does offer great value this week in terms of upside (has finished top 5 QB twice this season) and in terms of flexibility with salary. He gets to face the New Orleans Saints’ defense that is giving up the most points to opposing QBs with over 23 a game. This pathetic Saints’ defense gave up 6 touchdowns and 329 yards to Eli Manning 2 weeks ago and just allowed Marcus Mariota, with his depleted receiving corps, to throw for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. Vegas has this game slated as the 2nd highest Total at 50.5, so I am not expecting much defense but a whole lot of offense. Cousins should easily reach value off pure volume alone.

Running Back Plays

Top Priced Options

Todd Gurley ($7.3k) vs. Chicago Bears: Gurley put up 89 rushing yards and 1 TD with 3 catches last week versus Minnesota. Gurley has taken the NFL by storm since he has taken over the lead back duties in St. Louis. This week, he gets to face a Bears’ defense that is giving up 121 rushing yards per game, which is ranked 24th in the NFL. While the Bears have been giving up yards on the ground, they have only given up 2 rushing touchdowns all season. The Rams’ offense runs through Gurley and I expect him to continue to be a force and find his way into the end zone.

Demarco Murray ($6.2k) vs. Miami Dolphins: Murray has finally made his way back on the scene as he has received over 20 touches the last 4 games. Murray finished last week 83 rushing yards, 1 TD, 6 catches and 78 receiving yards versus his former team. The Dolphins rush defense has been atrocious as they are currently ranked 31st in the NFL allowing over 141 yards per game. The Bills just ran all over Miami to the tune of 266 rushing yards and 3 TDs. Murray represents a safe cash game option due to his volume and his role in the pass game, which presents a high floor.

DeAngelo Williams ($6.5k) vs. Cleveland Browns: DeAngelo picked up right where he left last week torching the Oakland Raiders for 170 rushing yards, 2 TDs and 2 receptions for 55 yards. He now gets to face the Cleveland Browns’ defense that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs and giving up the most rushing yards per game with an average of 147 yards. With Landry Jones filling in for Big Ben at QB, look for the offense to run through Williams. He should be a lock in all formats if he does in fact play. Monitor his foot injury as the week goes on.

Mid Priced Options

Darren McFadden ($4.9k) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Is a must play in all GPP and Cash game formats this week. Since taking over the lead role in the Cowboys’ backfield, RUN DMC has received over 85 carries and 397 total yards over his last 3 games. Those worried about Christine Michael cutting into his snaps should be at ease as Michael didn’t receive 1 carry in last week’s Sunday night showdown versus the Eagles. Although the Eagles’ defense held DMC to only 1 catch, he was able to still 122 total yards against a very good Eagles’ run defense. Look for the Cowboys to continue to feature DMC as a focal point of this offense against PFF’s 4th worst run defense in the Bucs.

Jeremy Langford ($4.8k) vs. St. Louis Rams: What a first start for the rookie. Langford finished his night with 72 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, and 3 catches for 72 yards. This is a tough matchup for Langford as the Rams are only allowing 104 rushing yards per game, which is 13th best in the NFL. But they did just let the Vikings run for 160 yards on them, and Langford’s value comes more from his price and role in this offense. He should receive the majority of the backfield touches yet again and be active in the passing game. His volume alone should allow him to reach value.

Low Priced Options

Theo Riddick ($3.3k) @ Green Bay Packers : Riddick is a great punt play this week if you are trying to save some money. The pass catching specialist for the Lions has a carved out role in this offense. Vegas predicts the Lions to lose by over 11.5 points, which is the perfect game script for Riddick. If the Lions get behind, look for Riddick’s snaps to increase as the Lions try and play catch up. The garbage time scat back should easily reach 3x value and is an excellent punt play.

Wide Receiver Plays

High Priced Options

DeAndre Hopkins ($8.7k) @ Cincinnati Bengals: A Monday night game coming off a bye is not the best matchup, but it doesn’t matter due to Hopkins’s volume and role in this offense. Vegas is predicting the Bengals to win by over 10.5. If that is the case, then the game script plays well for Hopkins. The Texans will be down and playing catch up, which should lead to plenty of targets and garbage time points for Hopkins.

Demaryius Thomas ($7.4k) vs. Kansas City Chiefs: DT killed me last week. He was one of the main reasons some of my lineups came up short. Yet, against my better judgement, I am sticking with him as he gets to face the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense that is allowing the most points to opposing fantasy WRs. DT is a #1 WR that amasses over 10 targets a game, and we are getting him at a severely reduced price here and it’s on us to take advantage of it. Forget last week, roll with DT, and reap the benefits.

Mid Priced Options

Alshon Jeffrey ($7.1k) @ St. Louis Rams: If Monday night’s game taught us anything, it’s that Jeffrey is essentially matchup proof given the volume he receives from Cutler. Janoris Jenkins is developing into a very solid NFL cornerback, but Jeffrey has a huge height advantage here and the volume needed to win in DFS.

Randall Cobb ($6.7k) vs. Detroit Lions: He will be a staple play of mine this week, and I will certainly stack him and Rodgers in multipliers and tournaments. Cobb bounced back last week like I had hoped and has another favorable matchup this week vs the Lions who are giving up the 11th most points to opposing WRs. Cobb will most likely draw coverage from Lions’ Nickel corners Diggs and Wilson, which should present another extremely favorable matchup for Cobb.

Allen Robinson ($6.7k) @ Baltimore Ravens: Allen Robinson, or as I refer to him “Baby Dez”, broke onto the scene this year and been one of the most consistent WRs since. I look for him to continue this trend as he gets to go up against a Ravens’ defense that is allowing the 2nd most points to opposing wide receivers. Robinson fared very well last week in a matchup on Revis Island where he was able pull in 6 catches for over 121 yards. Facing off versus the Ravens’ struggling corners in Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright, I expect Robinson to reach his 3x value mark as well as Allen Hurns.

Low Priced Options

Stefon Diggs ($5.1k) @ Oakland Raiders: Diggs had his worst game as a pro last week as Janoris Jenkins limited him to 3 catches for 42 yards. But we are expecting a bounce back game from Diggs, as he has an extremely favorable matchup vs the Raiders. The Raiders are allowing the second most receiving yards to opposing WRs, and Diggs will most likely see coverage from either Hayden or Amerson. This tandem just allowed Antonio Brown to grab 17 balls to the tune on 284 yards. Many players and analysts have compared Diggs’s style of play to Brown’s, and considering Diggs has been nothing short of a stud prior to last week’s game, this is a very appealing matchup. Let people be afraid of Diggs after last week, and lock him in your lineups this weekend if Bridgewater does in fact play.

Brandon LaFell ($4.1k) @ New York Giants: LaFell burst back onto the scene last week in a big way. He will now be called upon even more with the loss of pass catching specialist Dion Lewis. As I mentioned above, the Giants’ defense doesn’t get any pressure. I expect Brady to pick them apart this week, and look for LaFell to post another solid game.

Tight End Plays

Rob Gronkowski ($8k) @ New York Giants: Gronk was a HUGE disappointment last week in a very enticing matchup vs the Redskins. Gronk was a staple in a lot of my lineups and barely made it over 1X his value. Despite the damage he did to me last week, I am going all on in on Gronk again as he gets to face off against a New York Giants defense that is allowing the most points to opposing tight ends. I think Brady, Gronk and the Patriots bounce back this week in a game which Vegas has pegged as their highest total with 54.5. I expect Gronk to be Brady’s security blanket with the loss of Dion Lewis and for the Pats to exploit the Giants’ weakness, which may have only gotten weaker with the loss of Jon Beason.

Jordan Reed ($4.6k) vs. New Orleans Saints: If I am not paying up for Gronk or stacking him with Brady, I am downgrading down and rolling with Jordan Reed in a juicy matchup vs the New Orleans Saints. As mentioned above, the Saints & Redskins game is being pinned as the 2nd highest total by Vegas with an O/U of 50.5. Reed has been the most consistent option for this Redskins aerial attack as he is 2nd in receptions with 38 on the season and leads the team with 4 touchdowns. There probably won’t be much defense in this game as the Saints have allowed an absurd 10 touchdowns the last 2 games.

Gary “Peoples Champ” Barnidge ($4.8k) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: This selection is solely based on if Josh McCown plays for the Browns. Barnidge and McCown have had a great connection all year and he has been McCown’s security blanket. If McCown plays, suit up Barnidge as the Steelers have already given up 7 touchdowns to opposing tight ends on the year.

Defensive Plays

Denver Broncos ($3.4k) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Green Bay Packers ($3.2k) vs. Detroit Lions

Oakland Raiders ($2.1k) vs. Minnesota Vikings

I hope this article helps all of you as begin to make your cash game and GPP lineups for this upcoming weekend. This article should provide you with a solid foundation as you do your research for your lineups. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions for this article in the future. I am here to try and provide you with my favored plays for the upcoming weekend. If you are interested in playing H2H games, my username is BigMikefromPhilly on Draftkings. I am also in the process of setting up a league each weekend for NFP’s DFS Corner, so if interested, please let me know and I will post the link. Good luck!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 9 Plays

Welcome back for another week of NFP's DFS Corner. I hope everyone made it through the past weekend okay, given the inordinate amount of injuries that were suffered this past Sunday. I was able to overcome the injuries to a few of my players selected in my lineups and still ended up in the green for the weekend.

Welcome back for another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. I hope everyone made it through the past weekend okay, given the inordinate amount of injuries that were suffered this past Sunday. I was able to overcome the injuries to a few of my players selected in my lineups and still ended up in the green for the weekend. This week will present a challenge with 6 teams on a bye and the asbsence of players like LeVeon Bell, Steve Smith, Keenan Allen, and Matt Forte. Let’s get into the week 9 slate that features 6 teams on byes.

NFL Week 6 Byes: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Seattle Seahawks

Weather Forecast for the NFL Games this weekend

NFL Schedule and Vegas Lines and O/U’s

Home Away Spread Total
New England Patriots Washington Redskins NE -14 52
San Diego Chargers Chicago Bears SD -4 49.5
Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders PIT -4.5 48
Tampa Bay Buccaneers New York Giants NYG -2.5 48
Indianapolis Colts Denver Broncos DEN -4 48
New Orleans Saints Tennessee Titans NO -8 47.5
Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns CIN -10 46
Carolina Panthers Green Bay Packers GB -1.5 46
San Francisco 49ers Atlanta Falcons ATL -4.5 45
Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins BUF -3 44
Dallas Cowboys Philadelphia Eagles PHI -2.5 44
Minnesota Vikings St. Louis Rams MIN -2.5 40
New York Jets Jacksonville Jaguars NYG -2.5 40

Quarterback Plays

High Priced Options

Tom Brady ($8,500) vs. Washington Redskins: Brady is the only high priced QB I will consider playing in cash games this week. He has been the number 1 fantasy Quarterback this season as he has amassed 2,410 passing yards to go along with 20 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing touchdowns. He is coming off a 4 touchdown game against Miami and has had extra time to prepare for a Redskins defense that just let Jameis Winston throw for over 289 yards and 2 touchdowns against them. Brady provides a consistent floor with a lot of upside and is exactly what you look for in a cash game QB.

Mid Tier Priced Options

Philip Rivers ($6,900) vs. Chicago Bears: Rivers has been one of the most consistent fantasy QBs the past few weeks largely due to game script and passing volume. Rivers met expectations last week against the Ravens throwing for over 300 passing yards to go along with 3 touchdowns. He has a good matchup this week versus the Bears who have given up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing QBs despite their pass defense being ranked 4th in the NFL allowing 214 passing yards per game. The loss of Rivers number 1 wide receiver Keenan Allen will cause some concern, but their lack of a rushing game will continue to keep Rivers volume high and Vegas has this game projected with the second highest total at 49.5, which bodes well for a potential shoot out.

Low Priced Options

Tyrod Taylor ($5,300) vs. Miami Dolphins: Tyrod makes his debut back after missing the past few weeks due to injury. Tyrod was one of my favorite plays earlier in the season given his floor/upside potential. In the games he has played, his scores have been 15.9, 29, 24.3, 15.5 and 23.4 , all which have provided 3x value or more. The Patriots just had their way with Miami last week, and Buffalo took care of Miami in week 3 beating them 41-14, albeit that was when Philbin was the coach and Coyle was the defensive coordinator. I expect Tyrod to provide 3x value yet again this week while also providing you flexibility to spend money elsewhere.

Jay Cutler ($5,200) @ San Diego Chargers: Will be another great play this week that provides a lot of flexibility given his meager price. Vegas has this slated as the 2nd highest total at 49.5 and I expect it to be a shoot out as both defenses have struggled as of late. The Chargers gave up over 300 passing yards and 1 TD to Joe Flacco and the Ravens anemic offense last week and 3 touchdowns to Derek Carr the week before. The loss of Forte will place more of an onus on Cutler to pick up the slack while easing in rookie Jeremy Langford.  Cutler has had scores of 18.2, 18.6, 23.3 and 19.5 over his last 4 games which are all safely over 3x value.

Running Back Plays

High Priced Options

Devonta Freeman ($8,000) @ San Francisco 49ers: Devonta Freemna is one of the last men standing of the high priced running backs with the losses of LeVeon Bell and Matt Forte. Freeman has a very enticing matchup this week, facing a 49ers defense that has given up the 2nd most points to opposing running backs. To make matters worse, the 49ers give up an average of 123 rushing yards per game and have already given up 9 rushing touchdowns. They have been absolutely torched on the ground the past 2 weeks by the Seahawks and Rams. Atlanta is a 4.5 point favorite and this should bode nicely for Freeman as Gabbert is making his first start of the season for the 49ers and this game could get of hand quickly.

Todd Gurley ($6,900) @ Minnesota Vikings: How can you not start Gurley after this past stretch of games he has had? He has amassed over 420 rushing yards to go along with 3 touchdowns his past 3 games. While the Vikings have been very stout against the run this year only having allowed 104 rushing yards per game, it is very hard not to start a workhorse back like Gurley given he is the focal point of this offense.

Mid Tier Priced Options

DeAngelo Williams ($5,500) vs. Oakland Raiders: Williams will now assume the starting running back position for the Steelers with LeVeon Bell out the remainder of the year. Williams was the number 1 running back the first two weeks of the season when Bell sat out due to suspension. Williams gets a tough match this week versus a Raiders defense that is #2 in the NFL allowing only 82.9 rushing yards per game. Despite the tough matchup, I have trouble staying away from Williams given he will be the feature back and be active in the passing game which will help him reach his value. He received over 20 touches in both games he started earlier this year, so I would expect the same range of touches going into this one.

Low Priced Options

Darren McFadden ($4,600) vs. Philadelphia Eagles will be another good start this week as much it pains me to say (I am an Eagles fan). Despite this being a touch matchup its hard not to roll with McFadden given that he is the number one running back in Dallas and has been very active in the passing game, which is very favorable given DraftKings scoring system of 1pt per catch. The Eagles defense has been very stout against the run all year except against the Panthers, who ran for over 200 yards. While I am not expecting a big day on the ground for McFadden, I could easily see another 6 catch game, which puts him already more than half way to value.

Jeremy Langford ($4,000) @ San Diego Chargers will make his starting NFL debut this week while Matt Forte is out for the next two weeks dealing with a sprained knee. The Michigan State product gets a very favorable matchup in his first start as the Chargers give up the most points to opposing running backs. The Chargers are currently giving up 124.6 yards per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. This game has the second highest total, so there is going to be plenty of opportunity for Langford to show off his acceleration that made him such an intriguing prospect in college. Given his minimal price range and expected volume, Langford is almost a must start.

Wide Receiver Plays

High Priced Options

Julio Jones ($9,300) @ San Francisco 49ers is another must play this week as he gets set to face a 49ers defense that is giving up the 3rd most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers. Jones has been playing at a high level again the past 2 weeks amassing over 30 targets in that span. They have no one on defense that can stop Julio Jones. The only negative is the fact that they could focus on a heavy ground game with Freeman or the game gets too out of hand too early.

Odell Beckham Jr. ($8.800) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I was all over Julio and Antonio last week and didn’t get to reap any benefits from OBJ’s monstrous game last week. OBJ had a field day on the Saints catching over 8 balls for 130 yards and 3 TDs. OBJ gets another very favorable matchup this week as the Bucs  give up the 9th most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers. The Bucs’ defense has already given up 17 touchdowns through the air this season, and they have no one who can shadow OBJ. The Saints tried that last week with Breaux and that blew up in their face.

Mid Priced Options

Randall Cobb ($6,800) @ Carolina Panthers might be more of a tournament play than a cash game play given his performance over the past few weeks. Most people will be scared away from him given his play of late and the thought of Josh Norman shadowing him. But Norman most likely wont shadow any one specifically and wont go into the slot to guard Cobb. According to ProFootballFocus, Norman has only played in the slot on 2% of all of his snaps this year. While the Panthers defense is good and the Packers has been questionable as of late. It’s hard to pass up on Rodgers #1 WR who is priced below $7k. I’m going with the thought process that the Packers right the ship and get things going again.

Jarvis Landry ($6,300) @Buffalo Bills is another contrarian pick this week. Landry has seen his targets almost cut in half since Campbell has taken over the Dolphins but his touchdown production has also gone up. This week he gets to face a Bills defense that is giving up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Low Priced Options

Michael Crabtree ($4,900) @ Pittsburgh Steelers should be another great play this week given his price and volume in the Raiders offense. Crabtree is coming off of a game vs NYJ where he received over 12 targets and hauled in 7 catches to go along with 107 receiving yards and 1 TD. Carr is playing at a very high level right now and gets to face a Steelers defense that is currently ranked 26th in the NFL in passing yards/game. While Cooper is the better WR, Crabtree actually has received 12 more targets than Cooper and leads the team with 7 red zone targets.

Stevie Johnson ($3,200) vs. Chicago Bears is the default number 1 for the pass happy San Diego Chargers now that highly targeted Keenan Allen is out for the remainder of the rest of the year with a lacerated kidney. The loss of Allen and Ladarius Green only means more targets to go around against a defense that has allowed the 3rd most passing touchdowns this year with 16. Stevie Johnson was the number 1 in Buffalo a few years ago so the experience is there. At his minimum price, Johnson is a must start in a high scoring game much like his counterpart Malcom Floyd. I lean towards Johnson because not only is his price cheaper, but he should receive more of the short to medium passes that Allen was seeing before, as Floyd will still be the main deep threat for this team moving forward.

Tight End Plays

Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) vs. Washington Redskins: Gronk is coming off of a 6 catch, 113 yard, and 1 TD game versus Miami last week. Gronk is expensive but is the safest and most consistent play at Tight end. He offers a reasonable floor given his price with a lot of upside, and the Skins truly haven’t faced a great tight end this year, so Gronk very much has the potential for a big game.

Heath Miller ($2,700) vs. Oakland Raiders: Boy is Miller glad Big Ben is back in the Steelers’ lineup. After being nothing more than an afterthought the past few weeks, Miller exploded back on the scene last week to the tune of 10 catches and 105 yards. With LeVeon Bell out for the remainder of the year, I believe Ben will turn to Miller more often to be his safety valve when things get hectic. Miller’s volume should increase moving forward.

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

Read More 1968 Words

DFS Corner: Draft Kings Week 8 Plays

Welcome back to yet another week of NFP's DFS Corner. I hope everyone utilized my advice and plays from last week's section as I was spot on a lot of plays. I was able to double up my investment this past weekend by having my lineups range from 180-210 points.

Let's get into this week by

Welcome back to yet another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. I hope everyone utilized my advice and plays from last week’s section as I was spot on a lot of plays. I was able to double up my investment this past weekend by having my lineups range from 180-210 points.

Let’s get into this week by looking at the teams on Byes and Vegas’s Top O/U’s for the week

NFL Week 8 Byes: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins

Vegas Top 5 Total (O/U) for Week 8

53: New England Patriots (-8) vs. Miami Dolphins

50.5: Baltimore Ravens (-3) vs. San Diego Chargers

49.5: New Orleans Saints (+3) vs. New York Giants

48.5: Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

48: Atlanta Falcons (-7) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback Plays:

High Priced Options

Matt Ryan ($7,100) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the only high priced QB I target this week besides Tom Brady in Thursday Night Leagues. Despite Ryan’s recent struggles, his price has not changed much on DraftKings. Regardless, I am going with my gut due to a very favorable matchup at home vs. the Bucs. The Bucs just allowed turnover prone Kirk Cousins throw for 305 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions last week and allowed over 4 touchdowns from Blake Bortles the week before. They have given up the second most touchdowns through the air this year with 15, so I am all in on Matt Ryan and Julio Jones righting the ship this week.

Mid Priced Options

Philip Rivers ($6,600) @ Baltimore Ravens will be staple QB play again for me this week as he leads the league in passing TD’s and passing yards so far this year. They are facing a Baltimore Defense that has given up the most points to opposing fantasy QB’s and have been getting torched through the air. While I am always nervous investing too much into a player going across the country for an early 1pm game, Rivers has not been impacted by that throughout his career. The Chargers O Line is a mess, and they have no running game, so I fully expect to see another 40+ pass attempts from Rivers this week.

Cam Newton ($6,800) @ Indianapolis Colts should bounce back this week after a 3 interception game vs. Philly last week. Newton is the entire offense and gets to face the Colts Defense ranked 29th in the NFL. They have given up the 12th most points to opposing fantasy QBs and over 285 passing yards a game. Furthermore, Newton is the main red zone threat as evidenced by his 4 rushing touchdowns over the past 5 games. He should be active on the ground and air and safely reach his value.

Low Priced Options

Matt Stafford ($5,800) @Kansas City Chiefs (London Game) will be a lower priced option to strongly consider this week. After an abysmal start to the year, Stafford has begun to right the ship with over 6 passing touchdowns and 1 interception over the past 2 weeks. I know the Lions just fired their Offensive Coordinator, Joe Lombardi, but I see that as more of a positive as this will allow Stafford to get vertical more. Stafford should easily reach value facing a Chiefs Defense that is currently ranked 23rd against the pass while allowing over roughly 260 passing yards per game. They also have let up over 15 touchdown passes through the air, and I can easily see Stafford throwing for 2 plus touchdowns this week, putting him safely over value.

Alex Smith ($5,000) vs. Detroit Lions will be another low priced streaming option at QB this week. While not for the faint of heart, Smith should have top receiving option Jeremy Maclin back in the lineup after being held out with a concussion last week. Smith gets to face a Lions’ pass defense that is ranked 24th, allowing over 260 yards through the air per game and has given up 12 passing touchdowns on the season. All Smith needs is 200 yards passing and 1 td to reach value, and I will bank on that versus that Detroit secondary all day.

Other Quarterbacks to target: Andy Dalton ($6,000) @ Pittsburgh, Brian Hoyer ($5,300) vs. Tennessee 

Running back Plays

High Priced Options

Devonta Freeman ($8,000) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been the most dominant player in fantasy over the past few weeks and is facing a Bucs’ defense that has given up the third most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. They are allowing over 108 running yards per game but have steadily improved over the past few weeks due to reemergence of Gerald McCoy. They held the Redskins and Jaguars to a combined 105 rushing yards the past two weeks. Regardless, it’s hard to shy away from the most dominant player in fantasy, but I will say I won’t be playing Freeman in nearly as many lineups as weeks before. I feel like Atlanta should get it done through the air, which Freeman will still benefit from, and he is in a great situation to score TD’s. I just think there are cheaper options that represent better value this week.

Mid Priced Options

Todd Gurley ($6,300) vs. San Francisco 49ers will most likely be in all my lineups again this week. Its crazy that DraftKings still hasnt put him over the $7k mark, but I will gladly continue to take advantage of his price. Gurley has been on an absolute tear receiving well over 70 touches the past 3 weeks. He gets to face a 49ers’ defense that has given up the 5th most points to opposing RB’s and 7 rushing touchdowns over 7 games. Furthermore, the Rams are big favorite which sets up Gurley with a perfect game script for more production.

Justin Forsett ($6,000) vs. San Diego Chargers will be another staple RB play of mine this week. Since Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on IR, Forsett has been on the field for 80% of the snaps. That is good news as he gets to face a Chargers defense that has given up the most points to opposing backs this year. Furthermore, the Chargers’ defense has given up the second most rushing yards per game this season with over 131 yards given up on the ground to go with 7 rushing touchdowns in 7 games. The matchup and price are there for Forsett to cash in this week.

Doug Martin ($5,500) @ Atlanta Falcons is another “Go” this week as he gets ready to face an Atlanta defense that has allowed the 3rd most points to opposing backs and 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. Martin has been rolling the past 3 weeks, and the Bucs know they must control the clock with the ground game if they want to slow this Atlanta defense down. While I am cautious of this game getting out of hand forcing the Bucs to throw and play catch-up, Martin should still safely reach his value with his meager $5.5k price tag.

Low Priced Options

Charcandrick West ($4,700) vs. Detroit Lions will be a player I roll the dice with this week after breaking out last week to the tune of 110 yards and 1 TD. Knile Davis had only one carry last week, and West took all of the goal line carriers. The Lions have given up 11th most points to opposing backs, but their run defense is 24th in the NFL allowing over 123 yards per game on the ground. They have also given up a league high ten rushing touchdowns. $4.7k for a guy getting 20 plus touches versus a very bad rushing defense is something I will take all day.

Danny Woodhead ($4,500) @ Baltimore Ravens will be in my lineups again this week. The Chargers inept running game has allowed Woodhead to be on the field more this season. He registered 11 catches and 2 receiving touchdowns last week, and I expect him to be highly involved in what should be a high scoring game. While I don’t think he will repeat last week, he is a very safe play to reach 3x value.

Darren McFadden ($3,800) vs. Seattle Seahawks will be a player I flex in some of my cash games this week. While the matchup itself isn’t as appealing as I’d like, anytime you can get a starting running back that catches passes for under $4k it is a steal. Coming off a 152 rushing yard game and just being named the starter, Ill roll with him at his current price point.

Other Running backs to target: Le’Veon Bell ($8,300) vs. Cincinnati, Gio Bernard ($4,800) @ Pittsburgh, Charles Simms ($3,600) @ Atlanta, Chris Johnson ($4,600) @ Cleveland 

Wide Receiver Plays

High Priced Options

Julio Jones ($9,200) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be my highest owned WR this week as I expect a break out game for Jones, who has been quiet the past few weeks. The Bucs allow the 9th most points to opposing WRs, and Jones will most likely be guarded by Johnathan Banks, who is average at best. As I said earlier, the Bucs have begun to right the ship with regards to their run D, so I fully expect Atlanta to get after in the air.

Keenan Allen ($7,700) @ Baltimore Ravens will be another WR I try to get into as many lineups as possible this week. Not only do I expect this to be a high scoring game, but Allen is the main target in the NFL’s pass-happiest offense. Facing off against a defense that has given up the second most points to opposing WRs this year, Allen should have a field day facing off against Jimmy Smith.

Mid Priced Options

Alshon Jeffrey ($6,400) vs. Minnesota Vikings will be a staple in a lot of my lineups this week. Jeffrey should be well rested and ready to go after a bye and should be in for another high volume game after receiving over 11 targets in his first game back. He gets to face Xavier Rhodes this week, who has struggled shadowing opposing WR #1’s this year and should easily have his way as Calvin Johnson did last week. Jeffrey is great value at his current price.

Martavis Bryant ($5,3oo) vs. Cincinnati Bengals will be a very intriguing play if Big Ben does in fact start. If he doesn’t, disregard this selection. But with Big Ben in the lineup, this Pittsburgh offense can begin operating at full force again, and Bryant should be the beneficiary as Brown receives extra attention. In a division game with two high powered offenses, Bryant is an attractive play at $5.3k.

Low Priced Options

Nate Washington ($3,600) vs. Tennessee Titans was a savior for a lot of teams last week as he racked up the points in garbage time. If Cecil Shorts remains out (which it’s looking like), Washington should be in store for 8 plus targets this week as the Houston Texans have been averaging the most plays per game so far this season. The loss of Foster will only make the Texans more reliant on passing the ball down the field, and the volume should be there. Not to mention, it is also a revenge game, as he gets to face his former team.

Stefon Diggs ($4,800) vs. Chicago Bears will continue to be in my lineups until his price is properly adjusted. Clearly the Vikings #1 WR, the former Terp gets to face a Bears defense that has given up the 7th most points to opposing WRs. Over the past 3 games, Diggs has seen 28 targets and registered 19 catches to go along with 324 yards receiving.

Other Wide Receivers to target: Mike Evans ($6,800) @ Atlanta, Jeremy Maclin ($6,200) vs. Detroit, Eric Decker ($5,300) @ Oakland

My results from one of last week's entries

My results from one of last week’s entries

Tight End Plays

High Priced Options

Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) vs. Miami Dolphins is an easy decision this week. Miami gives up the second most points to opposing Tight Ends and Gronk is no ordinary Tight End. With Dion Lewis’s status up in the air and Edelman struggling with drops due to that hand issue, expect Gronk to be heavily involved tonight.

Medium Priced Options

Tyler Eifert ($5,300) @ Pittsburgh Steelers will be one of my staple tight end plays this week as he gets to face a Steelers defense that gives up the 4th most points to opposing tight ends. He’s tied for second on the team with 9 red zone targets and has converted 6 of them. In a game that is expected to be high scoring, Eifert is a good bet to find the endzone.

Low Priced Options

Ladarius Green ($3,000) @ Baltimore Ravens will be another TE and Flex player I use this week. With Gates likely to sit out, Green should be highly involved and offers a tremendous ceiling given his price range. Green had 9 targets last week in which he caught four passes and a touchdown. His price range and upside is just too much to pass up in this pass heavy offense.

Defenses to Target

St. Louis Rams ($3,200) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals ($4,000) vs. Cleveland Browns

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: NFL Week 7 Plays

Welcome back for another week of NFP's DFS Corner. I hope everyone had a good weekend on Draft Kings and reaped the benefits of using my Week 6 plays which helped me double up this past weekend.

Before I get into this week's plays, take a look at the teams on a bye this week,

Welcome back for another week of NFP’s DFS Corner. I hope everyone had a good weekend on Draft Kings and reaped the benefits of using my Week 6 plays which helped me double up this past weekend.

Before I get into this week’s plays, take a look at the teams on a bye this week, players dealing with injuries, and Vegas’s top 5 totals for the week.

NFL Week 7 Byes: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers

NFL Week 7 Notable Injuries: Marcus Mariotta-MCL Sprain (Out), Ben Roethlisberger- MCL Sprain (Out), Tyrod Taylor -MCL Sprain (Out), Michael Vick-Hamstring Strain, Justin Forsett-Ankle, Sammy Watkins-Ankle (Out), Jeremy Maclin- Concussion (Questionable), Allen Robinson- Leg Contusion (Probable), Keenan Allen- Hip Strain (Questionable but should play), Jordan Reed- Concussion (Questionable, but should play)

5 Highest O/U game totals according to Vegas

Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) vs. New Orleans Saints with Total of 52.5

New England Patriots (-9) vs. New York Jets with Total of 48.5

Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens with Total of 48.5

Tennessee Titans (+4) vs, Atlanta Falcons with Total of 48

San Diego Chargers (-4) vs. Oakland Raiders with Total of 47

Quarterback Plays

High Priced Options:

Andrew Luck ($7,600) vs. New Orleans Saints will be the only high priced QB I will consider this week. Luck made his first start back from injury last week and played well, putting up over 31 points. This week, he gets to face a Saints’ Defense that is ranked 31st against fantasy QBs this year.  To make matters worse, they have already allowed 11 passing touchdowns through the air to go along with two interceptions, both of which came off Sam Bradford. Vegas has this game pegged as the highest total this week, with the Colts projected to put over 28 points, so Luck should be a safe bet to easily hit 2x his value.

Middle Priced Options:

Carson Palmer ($6,700) vs. Baltimore Ravens will probably be one of my most used QBs in cash game lineups. Not only does Vegas project the Cardinals projected to put up 28 points, but they get to face the Baltimore Ravens defense that currently is 32nd, which is the worst in the NFL vs. opposing fantasy QBs. I suggested Kaep last week vs. the Ravens, and he didn’t disappoint throwing for 340 yards with 2 TD’s on a mere 16 completions. Palmer had a down game last week, but Pittsburgh was able to generate consistent pressure, which is something a depleted Ravens defense can not do. Furthermore, Palmer has averaged over 3oo passing yards the last 3 games, and the match up bodes well again this week so start Palmer with confidence.

Phillip Rivers ($6,500) vs. Oakland Raiders will be the other QB I choose most often in cash games this week. I am still trying to figure out why Rivers isn’t priced better than 9th for QBs, as he has been the #1 QB the past three weeks throwing for over 1,200 yards and 7 TDs. Rivers currently leads the league in passing yards and just threw for 503 yards and 2 TDs (31.1 pts) last week in another shootout. The Chargers offense runs through Rivers as suspect O-Line play has hurt their attempt to establish a ground game. Although the Raiders are 15th vs opposing fantasy QB’s, their defense is still 23rd against the pass. In a game that I predict will be back and forth, don’t question Rivers as a solid cash game QB.

Low Priced Options:

Brian Hoyer ($5,300) @ Miami Dolphins will be another QB I play this week if I am trying to save some money at the QB position. While I don’t think Hoyer will light the world on fire, his mere price of $5.3k provides a lot of value and he once again should hit 3x value. Over the last 3 weeks Hoyer has scored 24.2 (@ Jax), 23.9 (vs. Ind) and 17.3 (@Atl) and all he needs to reavh 3x his value is 15.9 points which shouldnt be too hard when your force feeding Deandre Hopkins the entire game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) @ New England Patriots will be the other low priced QB I target in Cash Games this week. Fitzpatrick is coming of a 26.2 pt game vs Washington last week and found success through by the air and his legs. With this game being the second highest total of the week, I expect Fitzpatrick to be very active. Bill Belichick usually does a great job of stopping a team’s strength, which in this case, is the Jets running game led by Chris Ivory. The Patriots are currently ranked 27th against opposing fantasy QB’s, which isn’t all that surprising considering most teams are playing catch up with the Pats. At 5.2k, Fitzpatrick is a good bet to at least reach his season average of 18.08 points, which is over 3x his value.

Running Back Plays

High Priced Options:

Devonta Freeman ($7,900) @ Tennessee Titans  has essentially made himself a must start over the past few weeks given his performance. I made the mistake of fading him a few weeks ago and quickly realized I should continue riding this bowling ball until proven otherwise. Over the past 3 weeks, he has been the #1 fantasy running back rushing for over 321 yards and 5 TDs. The Titans are also allowing over 129 rushing yards on average this year, which bodes well for Freeman. His heavy usage in both the running and passing game coupled with a game script that favors a RB on a team that is a favorite to win and you have a safe top-priced cash game RB.

Arian Foster ($7,500) @ Miami Dolphins will be the RB in this price range if I chose to fade or diversify some of my lineups from Freeman. While Foster hasn’t quite gotten into full form yet in regards to the running game, he has remained highly active and his volume warrants a high floor ( 17 catches, 161 receiving yards and 1 receiving TD in 3 games this year). The Dolphins have allowed 141 yards rushing per game this year, which ranks 31st in the NFL, but did show improvement last week now that they have fired Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle. Regardless, Foster should be highly involved on a team that is leading the NFL with 75.7 plays per game.

Middle Priced Options:

Todd Gurley ($5,000) vs. Cleveland Browns will be in EVERY SINGLE ONE of my lineups this week. There is no need for diversification when he have as talented a running back as Gurley priced at a meager $5k going up against the 31st run defense in the Cleveland Browns, who also allow the 27th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Gurley has rushed for a combined 305 yards his past two games vs defenses that were both respectively 14th and 16th against the run. Gurley is a near lock to hit 3x value with a ceiling for much more. The only word of caution is that he will be highly owned.

Low Priced Options:

Frank Gore ($4,900) vs. New Orleans Saints will be a low priced RB that I will either take as my RB2 or a flex in cash games this week. Not only does this game have the highest O/U, but the Saints are ranked 28th vs opposing fantasy RBs. I believe this offense will only continue to find its grove as the season goes on, and Gore presents a high floor not scoring below 11 points the past 4 weeks.

Lamar Miller ($4,600) vs. Houston Texans is another great value play this week, and I hope you took my advice and played him last week in a few tournaments. Dan Campbell vowed to make this a tougher team and emphasize the run more moving forward, and he did just that last week as Miller received the most carries he has all year with 19. He turned those 19 carries into a 22.8 point fantasy day thanks to rushing for 113 yards and 1 TD. Houston’s defense is currently ranked 20th vs opposing running backs and has been underwhelming all year.

Wide Receiver Plays

Top Priced Options:

Deandre Hopkins ($8,600) @ Miami Dolphins will be my most owned WR in all of my lineups. Kind of like Freeman, how can you not play Hopkins with the production and volume he has received all year. Just to refresh your memory, here is Hopkins fantasy stat line for the year: 32.8, 10.3, 27.1, 27.7, 30.9, and 39.8 points last week. Although his price finally went up, I have no intentions of fading him until proven otherwise. Even though I do respect Brett Grimes as CB, Hopkins is on pace for 237 targets this year. That volume alone warrants the pick.

Brandon Marshall ($7,800) @ New England Patriots should be in for another very active game facing a Pats’ defense that is currently ranked 26th against opposing fantasy WRs. In a game with a high projected O/U, Marshall should be the beneficiary of the Pats making Fitzpatrick beat them through the air. Marshall’s consistent stat line for the year is exactly what you want in cash games as he has scored 18.2, 26.1, 28.9, 22.8, and 26.1 points this year.

Larry Fitzgerald ($7,400) vs. Baltimore Ravens is another very intriguing option again this week as he faces off against the Baltimore Ravens who are currently ranked 31st against opposing WRs. As I mentioned above with Marshall, Fitz is also the epitome of a player you like to target in cash games due to his consistency and the high floor he brings to the table. Fitz’s fantasy points on the season are as follows 14.7, 40.2, 37.4, 15.9, 16.8, and 17.3 points.

Middle Priced Options:

Jarvis Landry ($6,200) vs. Houston Texans will be a sneaky play this week. Landry has been very consistent in PPR this year, and people have seemed to forgot about him due to their game in London, their bye week, and an average performance last week, where he bailed owners out with a 22-yard running touchdown. Landry is still averaging over 10 targets a game and gets to face a very beat up Houston secondary who will be without their starting SS Lonnie Ballentine for the remainder of the year. Houston’s second corner, Kareem Jackson, is also most likely going to sit out as well. The only thing that has hurt Landry’s upside this year is his lack of receiving TD’s but the redzone targets are there, and I like his chances versus a defense that has already allowed 12 passing TD’s this year.

John Brown ($5,500) vs. Baltimore Ravens is another great play this week for most of the reasons listed above in Fitz’s and Palmer’s write ups.  This may come as a surprise, but Brown has quietly led the Cardinals receivers over the past 3 weeks with over 21 catches, 334 yards and 1 TD. For comparison, here is Fitz’s stat line; 20/250/1 TD. Furthermore, Brown had his big breakout game last week to the sound of 31.6 points thanks to a 10 catch 196 yard day. Brown has hit at least 3x value the past 3 weeks (15.8, 17.3,31.6) and should easily do it again facing an atrocious Ravens secondary.

Donte Moncrief ($5,200) vs. New Orleans Saints will be in my lineups for a second straight week. Moncrief will most likely face up against Brandon Browner, who, on the year, has been statistically one of the worst cover corners according to PFF. Furthermore, the Saints do not generate any pass rush which will only allow Andrew Luck to have his way with a very poor Rob Ryan defense. When Luck has played this year, Moncrief has averaged over 10 targets a game to go along with 1 TD in each game. Moncrief should easily reach 3x value this week.

Low Priced Options:

Martavis Bryant ($4,700) @ Kansas City Chiefs will be another staple play this week. It didn’t take Bryant too long to make a splash in his first game of the year, amassing over 35 fantasy points. At his low price tag, his upside is almost too much to pass up facing a Chiefs defense that ranks dead last (32nd) against opposing  fantasy WR’s. Landry Jones is probably an upgrade over Vick at QB and should have little trouble getting the ball in Bryant’s hands.

Stefon Diggs ($4,200) @ Detroit Lions has come into his own the past 2 weeks. I was a huge fan of Diggs going into the draft this past year, as he was the most heralded recruit possibly ever to attend the University of Maryland. The Terp product got his chance 2 weeks ago due to Charles Johnson being banged up and has seized his opportunity. This week, he gets to face off against the Lions’ 29th ranked passing defense, which is also ranked 23rd against opposing fantasy WRs. Diggs has been called the next “Antonio Brown” from teammates and competition. While he is not quite there yet, his $4.2k price is rather intriguing as he has quickly become Bridgewater’s favorite option the past 2 weeks, catching 13 of his 19 targets for over 216 yards receiving.

Tight End Plays

High Priced Options:

I will refrain from taking Gronk at his current price of $8,100

Middle Priced Options:

Antonio Gates ($5,000) vs. Oakland Raiders will be my staple TE play this week in all cash games. Since his return from suspension two weeks ago, Gates has accumulated over 18 catches and 2 TDs. He has re-established himself as one of Rivers favorite targets and is facing  a porous Raiders secondary, which has been letting up the most points to TE’s thus far.  Look for Gates to continue his hot start this Sunday.

Low Priced Options:

Delanie Walker ($3,900) vs. Atlanta Falcons could be another safe option again this week. While Mettenberger starting might scare some people off, he actually formed a decent connection with him last year. Walker is the top option in the passing game this week in a game that will most likely be played from behind and catching up. You saw what the Saints and Ben Watson just did to New Orleans last week, and while I don’t expect the same fate for Walker, I do think he is a lock to hit 2x value and has a very reasonable chance to hit 3x value as he did last week with over 17 points.

Defensive Plays

St. Louis Rams ($2,400) vs. Cleveland Browns

Washington Redskins ($2,500) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,600) @ Kansas City Chiefs

Here will be one of my cash game lineups this weekend

QB: Rivers

RBS: Freeman and Gurley

WRS: Hopkins, John Brown, Diggs

TE: Gates

Flex: Frank Gore

DEF: St. Louis Rams

Best of luck this weekend!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: Draft Kings Week 6 Plays

Welcome back for another week of National Football Post's DFS Corner. Last week, we saw the high scoring return to the NFL and the fantasy community. I chose a bad week to fade Devonta Freeman as he continues to surpass my expectations and has been one of the most dominant fantasy players so far this

Welcome back for another week of National Football Post’s DFS Corner. Last week, we saw the high scoring return to the NFL and the fantasy community. I chose a bad week to fade Devonta Freeman as he continues to surpass my expectations and has been one of the most dominant fantasy players so far this year.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are the teams on a bye this week and some notable player injuries to look out for.

Week 6 Byes: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notable Injuries:

Odell Beckham – Hamstring, Justin Forsett- Ankle Sprain, Blake Bortles- AC Joint, Andrew Luck- Shoulder Bruise, Marshawn Lynch- Hamstring Strain, Julio Jones (Hamstring Strain),  and Alshon Jeffrey (Hamstring Strain)

Quarterback Plays

Top Priced Options

Tom Brady ($8,100) @ Indianapolis Colts will be a staple in a lot of my cash game lineups. This is a game I am sure the Patriots have had circled on their calendars since the Deflate Gate fiasco broke last year. Vegas is predicting this game to have the highest O/U with 55 points with the Pats a -7.5 favorite with a projected score total of 31. The Colts are currently 21st against QB’s this season and just let Hoyer/Mallet  throw for 362 passing yards and 2 TDs last week. I expect Brady to be a very safe play this week.

Mid Priced Options

Carson Palmer ($6,600) @ Pittsburgh Steelers will be another cash game QB of mine this week. The O/U is set for 44 with the Cards projected to put up roughly 24 points and the Steelers defense is currently ranked 19th against QBs and is allowing 257 passing yards per game.  Palmer got some early rest last week due to a huge lead, but still threw for 161 yards and 3 TDs.  He is a safe cash game play this week as I expect the Cardinals to keep rolling.

Sam Bradford ($6,000) vs. New York Giants will also be another cash game QB I look to target this week. After starting the year off slowly, Bradford has bounced back the past two weeks with over 600 passing yards and 5 TDs. Not to mention he gave away 2 more scoring opportunities with 2 redzone interceptions last week. He seems to be getting a better grip on Chip Kelly’s offense and has a very favorable matchup against a banged up secondary. This is the Monday Night game, and it is the 2nd highest O/U with a total of 50 with the Eagles projected to put up roughly 28 as they are -3.5 favorites. The Giants defense currently ranks 25th against QBs this year and are allowing a league high 304 passing yards per game.

Low Priced Options

Andy Dalton ($5,700) @ Buffalo Bills will be another QB I target this week as Dalton has been one of the biggest surprises so far this fantasy season. On the year, Dalton has thrown for 1,518 yards to go along with 11 TDs and 2 interceptions yet he is the 14th ranked QB according to price this week. He has the benefit of facing a Bills defense that is currently ranked 24th against the pass and allowing over 274 passing yards per game. The Bills have allowed 10 passing TDs this year, which is the 4th most in the NFL and are ranked 27th against fantasy QBs this year. The Bills’ defense is very good against the run (7th against fantasy RBs), so I expect Hue Jackson to dial up the passing in this one.

Colin Kaepernick ($5,000) vs. Baltimore Ravens is another QB I will stream this week but only in GPP’s and tournaments. I can’t believe I am even writing that, but I am willing to gamble on Kaep after he played extremely well on the road against the Giants last week putting up 2 TDs and 262 yards through the air. But, as well as he played, the real reason I am targeting him is because of how poorly the Ravens’ defense has played this year. The Ravens just allowed Josh McCown to set a franchise record for most passing yards in a game with 457 yards and 2 TDs. The Ravens are now allowing opposing QBs to throw for 287 passing yards per game (ranked 25th) and are ranked 31st against fantasy QBs. This will also be the Ravens 3rd west coast game this year, and I am confident Kaep can get it done through the air and the ground to easily exceed his $5k value.

Running Back Plays

High Priced Options

Matt Forte ($7,100) @ Detroit Lions will be one of the higher priced backs I look at this week as he is priced as the 5th highest RB, which is $1,400 dollars less than LeVeon Bell. Forte is always a solid cash game RB due to the fact that he carries a high floor as he is averaging 5 catches a game and over 20 carries. Factor that with the fact the Lions are currently ranked 27th against the run allowing 126 yards per game and are tied for allowing the most rushing TDs with 8. If Jeffrey and Royal do play, that will only put less attention on Forte. Play him with confidence.

Arian Foster ($7,000) @ Jacksonville Jaguars is another RB I will be targeting this week as he gets set to play the Jags defense who is currently ranked 29th against fantasy RBs this season and just let Doug Martin run all over them. I expect Foster to look better this week as he continues to gets his legs back. He received 19 carries last week to go along with 9 catches so he offers the opportunity for a high floor. I expect this to be a high scoring game as both defenses have struggled this year and Foster is one of the Texans best play makers.

Medium Priced Options

Dion Lewis ($5,800) @ Indianapolis Colts will be in almost of all of my lineups this weekend regardless of ownership. The Pats have absolutely shredded the Colts on the ground their last 3 games having allowed an average of 219 rushing yards to go along with 13 rushing touchdowns. Despite sharing the backfield with Blount, Lewis is heavily involved in this heavy passing offense. He offers a huge floor as he has put up no less than 15 points or roughly 3x his current price.

Gio Bernard ($4,600) @ Buffalo Bills will be another player I look to target this week despite the fact that the Bills are currently ranked 7th vs opposing fantasy RBs. My rationale is that I expect the Bengals to get it done through the air which will allow Gio to garner more snaps yet again and be actively involved in the passing game. He has been the more the effective back over the past few weeks averaging 5 .5 yards per carry while running for 80 yards and catching 5 passes last week against a very good Seahawks defense.

Low Priced Options

Theo Riddick ($3,300) vs. Chicago Bears will either be a punt play for me to save money at this position or a GPP play this week. Abdullah is fumbling away his opportunity to be the lead back, Bell has been dealing with injuries, and Zenner is just part of that committee. The only one with a defined role on this team has been Riddick, who is quietly leading all NFL RBs with 30 receptions. If he catches 6 passes, which is his average thus far, he will already be at 2x value. With the uncertainty in the backfield, he should also get some carries.

Other RB Plays I like: Charcandrick West ($4,000), Duke Johnson ( $4,500) , Eddie Lacy ($6,300) GPP, CJ Anderson ($4,500) GPP

Wide Receiver Plays

High Priced Options

Deanadre Hopkins ($7,700) @ Jacksonville Jaguars will be my highest owned WR this week. So much for the theories of his QB (or QB’s) slowing him down. Hopkins is averaging an insane 15 targets a game to go along with 115 receiving yards, both of which are league highs. Foster’s resurgence in this offense should only help Hopkins cause as defense will have to account for Foster. As I mentioned early, I expect this to a back and forth high scoring game which will only benefit this target monster.

Julian Edelman ($7,600) @ Indianapolis Colts will be another Patriot I have going this week ( I swear I am not a Patriots fan). He will have the benefit of not having to face Vontae Davis as Davis does not move into the slot. So I expect Edelman to be highly involved yet again as he has already accumulated 47 targets in 4 games this year and is Tom Brady’s go-to man. Oh and the Colts are currently ranked 30th against fantasy WRs this year. In a game that is projected to be high scoring, Edelman provides a high floor and ceiling this week.

Medium Priced Options

Jeremy Maclin ($6,000) vs. Minnesota Vikings will be one of my staple plays this week simply based on sheer volume. Maclin has been a target machine over the past few weeks, and I expect that number to rise now that Charles is out for the year. His volume alone should make him a very solid cash game play this week.

Allen Robinson ($5,900) and Allen Hurns ($5,000) vs. Houston Texans will both be receivers I look to mix and match amongst lineups if Bortles does play on Sunday. The Texans defense just let Matt Hasselback throw for 2 TDs and over 200 yards while battling a virus that had him in the hospital last week. Like I said above, I expect this to be high scoring game, and the game script sets up nicely for both of the WRs who are quickly becoming the Kings of “Garbage Time”. At their very modest price, they should both easily reach value.

Low Priced Options

Eric Decker ($4,900) vs. Washington Redskins is a very sneaky, low priced wide receiver this week. I expect the Jets to pass a little more than usual this week given Washington’s good play against the run. Their secondary is still banged up, and despite playing well last week vs. Atlanta, I still think New York finds a way to exploit them at home.

Anquan Boldin ($4,300) vs. Baltimore Ravens will be another low price option to target this week. Boldin is coming off of a 12 target, 8 reception, 107 yard, and 1 TD game. As I mentioned earlier, the Ravens’ defense is in complete disarray, and this is also Boldin’s former team, so there is the revenge factor.

Other WR Plays I Like: Larry Fitzgerald ($7,000), Brandon Marshall ($7,100), Jarvis Landry ($6,200) and Jamison Crowder ($3,600) 

Tight End Plays

High Priced Options

Rob Gronkowski ($7,600) @ Indianapolis Colts is your man if you want to pay his ransom. Despite being quiet the past few weeks since his Week 1 explosion, Gronk is always a threat to find the End Zone. In a high scoring game with an O/U of 55, I think a Gronk spike or two is very much a possibility.

Medium Priced Options

Tyler Eifert ($4,900) @ Buffalo Bills will be the mid-tier TE I play this week if I decide to fade Gronk. Leading his team with 5 TD receptions, Eifert has been one of Dalton’s favorite targets in the red zone. He has 24 receptions on the year to go along with 36 targets and has become a security blanket for Andy Dalton. As I said earlier, I expect the Bengals to put up points through the air so Eifert is a great play going up against a Bills defense that currently ranks 22nd vs TEs in fantasy.

Low Priced Options

Zach Ertz ($2,900) vs. New York Giants will be TE I target in both a mixture of cash games and GPPs. Ertz hasn’t broken out this year as most have predicted, but that might have to do with Sam Bradford’s slow start and the fact that Ertz missed most of training camp and all of the preseason recovering from abdominal surgery. In a game that will be high scoring, I look for Ertz to build off his 7 targets last week and find the end zone. Oh, I also forgot to mention the Giants are currently ranked 29th against the TE. Dial him up!

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

Read More 1916 Words

DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 5 Plays

Welcome back for another week of DFS Corner. We are now a quarter of the way through the NFL Regular Season and we have the the return of players such as Antonio Gates and Martavis Bryant to fantasy relevance. I hope you all fared well in a very bizzare fantasy scoring week last weekend. It

Welcome back for another week of DFS Corner. We are now a quarter of the way through the NFL Regular Season and we have the the return of players such as Antonio Gates and Martavis Bryant to fantasy relevance. I hope you all fared well in a very bizzare fantasy scoring week last weekend. It was the first time I hadn’t made a profit all season, and thankfully, I broke even.

Here are the Week 5 Byes: Dolphins, Jets, Panthers and Vikings

Below you will see some of the players I will be targeting at specific positions due to match ups, Vegas predictions, and the value they provide due to their price. These players listed below are players I am identifying as possible targets for my cash game lineups. To reiterate, cash games are best suited for consistent players with high floors. In Cash Games you want to purchase players that will at least hit 2X their value. For example, Rodgers needs to hit at least 16 points to hit value for his $7,900 price tag.

Quarterback Plays:

High Priced Option

Tom Brady ($7,800) @ Dallas Cowboys: Brady and the Pats return this week off a BYE and are tied for the highest Vegas O/U this week with a total of 49.5 and Vegas is predicting the Pats to put over 29 points with a -9 spread. Brady has played possessed all year as him and the Pats look to make a statement to the NFL after the “DeflateGate” circus this off season. I’ll bet Brady can exploit the Cowboys 19th ranked defense which is letting up over 250 passing yards per game.

Mid Priced Options

Carson Palmer ($6,600) @ Detroit Lions: I love targeting players coming off sub-par weeks and that is exactly what I plan to do with Palmer this week. This Cardinals offense has been firing off on cylinders this year and were due for a let down game. I fully expect them to rebound against a very suspect Detroit defense that is allowing over 18 points a game to QBs and just let Russel Wilson throw for over 287 yards and a touchdown with limited options in the passing game.

Phillip Rivers ($6,200) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rivers came out firing last week with over 3 passing TDs and 350 yards (Top Fantasy QB in week 4) through the air against the Cleveland Browns . Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards with over 1,249  so far this season. He gets one of his favorite weapons in Antonio Gates back this week and to make matters even better, it is a prime time home Monday Night game.

Low Priced Options

Alex Smith ($5,500) vs Chicago Bears is a very solid option if you want to save money at the QB spot this week. Coming off a 386 yard but zero touchdown performance, Smith should be able to find the end zone this week at home versus the Bears 29th ranked pass defense that has allowed over 10 passing touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.

Jay Cutler ($5,300) @ Kansas City Chiefs is also another option for someone willing to gamble on Cutler. As much as I hate to say it, I will be playing Cutler in a few lineups because $5,300 is almost backup QB money in DFS and it will only take a touchdown for him to be well on his way to value. I like Cutler’s odds because Jeffrey might play this week and the Chiefs passing defense has been abysmal this year. They are allowing the most points to opposing fantasy QBs with over 22 a game, third most passing yards with 1,244 and the most passing touchdowns at 11. It’s a great match up that provides you flexibility to spend elsewhere.

 

Running Back Plays

High Priced Options

LeVeon Bell ($8,500) @ San Diego Chargers will be one of my top plays this week just due to him being the focal point of this Steelers offense. Leveon Bell has been nothing but a stud his first two games back and I dont expect that to stop any time soon. This week he get’s to face off against the Chargers defense which is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing running backs with over 25 a game. They are letting up over 121 yards per game and 7 catches to opposing running backs. Another big day is in store for the Steel City workhorse.

Jamaal Charles ($7,800) vs Chicago Bears will probably be my one of my staple plays this upcoming weekend. The Chiefs finally return home after a very tough first four games. I look for them to establish Charles early and for him to be effective in the passing game. The Bears are giving up a 100 yards a game and Charles is a workhorse back that gets catches.

Medium Priced Options

Devonta Freeman ($6,300) vs. Washington Redskins is still priced very reasonably after two huge games. I can’t knock anyone for taking him again this week as he been actively involved and the best DFS player the past two weeks. While I recommend the play given his price/upside, I am leaning more to fading him this week. I believe the game script sets up better for a high passing attack against the Redskins secondary than it does a rushing attack. But, yet, all he needs is one touchdown, and he is half way to value.

Justin Forsett ($5,800) vs. Cleveland Browns is a very intriguing option. Forsett finally broke out last week to the tune of 150 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been very solid against the run this year. Forsett will now play one of the worst run defenses in the league with the Browns who have allowed a league high 556 rushing yards on the year. With Joe Flacco’s top option Steve Smith sidelined the next few weeks and no other legitimate options around. I fully expect to see the dump off catches start piling up for Forsett like we all expected when they hired Marc Trestman as their OC.

Low Priced Options

Dion Lewis ($4,800) @ Dallas Cowboys is another running back I will be targeting this week. Dallas defense has been run all over the last two weeks making Devonta Freeman look like a Hall of Famer with his 3 touchdown performance two weeks ago. This defense didn’t fare much better on Saturday night when they allowed the Saints RBs to rush for over 200 yards and two touchdowns.  Despite getting McClain and Hardy back this week, the heart of this defense lives and dies with Sean Lee, who is expected to sit out with a concussion. I expect Lewis to be actively involved and to easily exceed his price tag despite the threat of Blount vulturing TDs.

Todd Gurley ($4,300) @ Green Bay Packers is a very intriguing option this week given his price point. Jeff Fisher finally took the training wheels off Gurley last week and he didn’t disappoint by running for 146 yards on 19 carries and 2 catches. The Packers run defense ranks 31st in the NFL and despite the thought of the Rams having to throw to play catch up, I think Gurley easily exceeds his price tag. If the Rams want to win this game, they must control the clock by running through Gurley and limiting Rodgers’ time on the field.

 

Wide Receiver Plays

High Priced Options

Julio Jones ($9,200) vs. Washington Redskins will be in all of my lineups once again. Although he disappointed for the first time all year last week, I fully expect him to bounce back in a very big way. The game script should be much better this week as the Falcons abandoned the pass after getting a quick 28 point lead. Washington is solid against the run and I fully expect former Redskins OC,  Kyle Shannahan to know who and how to attack this defense that just allowed Bradford to throw vertical on them last week. Washington’s secondary is very banged up, and I fully expect Julio to be the top WR this week.

Medium Priced Options

Larry Fitzgerald ($6,800) @ Detroit Lions I expect Fitz and the Cardinals to rebound from last week’s let down. Fitz will see most of his coverage from nickel corner Josh Wilson. Fitz is the top option on a high scoring offense, I am still not sure why he hasn’t cracked the $7k threshold yet.

Julian Edelman ($7,000) @ Dallas Cowboys is always a solid cash game option. Edelman is a very consistent DFS Cash game player who brings a high floor which is always something you look for when selecting players in cash game. Tom Brady has been targeting him often (42 targets in 3 games) which is very enticing given DraftKings 1pt per reception scoring. This matchup sets up nicely for the Edelman and the Pats off a bye.

Jeremy Maclin ($6,000) vs. Chicago Bears will be a great stacking option for those going with Alex Smith at QB. Maclin is coming off two huge games were he received over 24 targets and 19 receptions combined. Furthermore, he has over 140 plus yards receiving in both games.  Playing a leaky Bears secondary, I expect Maclin to once again dominate targets and safely reach his value.

Low Priced Options

Donte Moncrief ($5,400) @ Houston Texans will be a player I look to target in Thursday night leagues depending on the status of Andrew Luck. If Luck is starting dial up Moncrief who has 3 touchdowns already on the season and should easily exceed his $5,400 price tag.

Leonard Hankerson ($4,000) vs. Washington Redskins is a very intriguing wide out this week. As a mentioned above, I fully expect Shannahan to dial up a large number of pass plays and Hankerson is clearly the #2 in Atlanta right now. I think the former Redskin easily triples his value this week.

Kamar Aiken ( $3,800) vs. Cleveland Browns will be another popular punt play this week. With Steve Smith sidelined for the foreseeable future, someone needs to catch balls for Joe Flacco. Volume is the name of the game so Aiken should easily exceed his $3,800 price tag.

Willie Snead ($3,000) @ Philadelphia Eagles will probably be the most popular punt play this week after becoming more involved in the Saints offense last week. It wont take much for Snead to hit his value, and with Maxwell’s status questionable Sunday that means Nolan Carroll is the top corner with rookie Eric Rowe. Snead should easily get 4-5 balls and hit value.

 

Tight End Plays:

High Priced Options

Rob Gronkowski ($7,500) @ Dallas Cowboys is a no brainer if you want to have a high floor/high ceiling tight end. He is always a threat in the redzone and is always a very solid option for cash games. No further explanation needed.

Medium Priced Options

Jason Witten ($4,500) vs. New England Patriots will be a tight end I use a lot this week if I decide to not pay up for Gronk. The loss of Dunbar should lead to more targets for Witten as Weeden’s go to dump off man.

Charles Clay ($4,100) @ Tennessee Titans will be in a lot of my lineups again this week. He has become a favorite target for Tyrod Taylor and he continues to trend in the right direction with each passing week. He caught 9 passes  for over 110 yards on 13 targets last week and with the status of Watkins up in the air, he should continue to be active. He is also facing a Titans defense that has given up double digits to every tight end they have faced this year.

Low Priced Options

Owen Daniels ($2,700) @ Oakland Raiders will be a very popular pick for the TE position this week. Not only does he support a meager $2,700 price tag but is coming off two consescutive games with a TD. To make matters even more intriguing, Daniels is facing an Oakland Raiders defense that has let up the most fantasy points in the NFL to tight ends.

Defensive Plays

New York Giants ($2,900) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Baltimore Ravens ($2,900) vs. Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs ($2,800) vs. Chicago Bears

 

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: DraftKings Week 4 Plays

We are now in Week 4 of the NFL season and are starting to have a better understanding of how teams and players will perform or be utilized in their respective game plans.

Before we begin to break down the best plays for each respective positions, lets identify the teams that are on a Bye

We are now in Week 4 of the NFL season and are starting to have a better understanding of how teams and players will perform or be utilized in their respective game plans.

Before we begin to break down the best plays for each respective positions, lets identify the teams that are on a Bye Week.

Week 4 Byes: Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots

Below you will see some of the players I will be targeting at specific positions due to match ups, Vegas predictions, and the value they provide due to their price. These players listed below are players I am identifying as possible targets for my cash game lineups. To reiterate, cash games are best suited for consistent players with high floors. In Cash Games you want to purchase players that will at least hit 2X their value. For example, Rodgers needs to hit at least 16 points to hit value for his $7,900 price tag.

Quarterback Plays:

The quarterback position offers plenty of intriguing options this week that vary in price.

Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) @ San Francisco 49ers will be the top play out of the higher priced quarterbacks. Hard to argue, when he is coming off a 335 yard and 5 TD performance. The 49ers are giving up over 300 passing yards per game and are returning home after getting shredded back to back weeks by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals. He is a near lock for at least 2-3 touchdowns and offers a high floor with huge upside.

Cam Newton ($7,000) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a great option if you are trying to save some money at the QB position this week. Newton gets another division foe that has struggled collectively as a defense. Newton was one of the top QB plays last week and I expect more of the same this week. The Panthers don’t possess many offensive weapons so a lot of that burden will fall on Newton. He should be active running against the 30th ranked run defense.

Andy Dalton ($5,900) vs. Kansas City Chiefs presents a lot of upside with his price this week. Dalton is coming off a 394 yard 3 TD performance and is playing a defense that just got picked apart for 5 TDs vs. Aaron Rodgers last week. I expect the Bengals to continue the trend with a more a pass heavy approach this week against a defense that is allowing over 287 yards per game.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,800) vs. New York Giants offers plenty of value at his current price range. The Bills are projected to score over 25 points and Taylor has been one of the best value plays over the first 3 weeks of the season scoring 15, 29 and 24.  The Giants are one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL allowing over 335 passing yards per game.

Derek Carr ($5,300) @ Chicago Bears offers tremendous value this week and will be one QB I use often while creating lineups. He was able to throw for 314 passing yards and 2 TD’s (23.5 points on DK)  last week vs. a very good Cleveland secondary on the road. The Bears are looking like prime contenders for the 1st pick in 2016 draft and just traded away John Bostic and Jared Allen.

Running Backs Plays:

This week I will avoid paying up for the higher priced running backs. The only one I would consider is Jamaal Charles ($7,600) @ Cincinnati Bengals simply because he is very active in the passing game thanks to “Check Down King” Alex Smith.  Furthermore the Bengals have allowed over 9 catches per game to running backs.

 Frank Gore ($4,700) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars is another intriguing match-up. Despite struggling the first two weeks, Gore showed up big with 22 points in week 3. At home in a game projected to be won by a high margin, I fully expect Gore to find the End Zone at least once.

Karlos Williams ($3,400) vs. New York Giants will be probably one of the highest owned players this week if LeSean McCoy does in fact sit out. This will be one to monitor, but even if McCoy does suit up, Williams should be able to reach value given his price.

Devonta Freeman ($5,200) vs. Houston Texans should be another great play this week simply due to sheer volume, targets and his current price. While I don’t think he will come close to repeating his 4 TD performance from last week, I think he should easily reach his value.

Other RB’s I will look to target: Lance Dunbar ($3,600) vs. New Orleans Saints, Danny Woodhead ($4,600) vs. Cleveland Browns, Giovani Bernard ($5,000) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Wide Receiver Plays:

Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. Houston Texans is a very high price to play but no one has played better or been more consistent this year than Julio. Pay up, he’s worth it.

Randall Cobb ($7,300) @ San Francisco 49ers is probably one of the best values at the WR position this week given his insulting $7,300 price tag. He is the #1 option in a high powered offense led by the best QB in the NFL and is also facing a defense that has been getting lit up through the air and struggling to defend slot WR’s.

Larry Fitzgerald ($6,500) @ St. Louis Rams has been on absolute tear this year scoring 14, 40 and 37 points respectively the first 3 weeks of the season. The Rams have been struggling as a passing defense and I am not missing out on Fitz’s price while it is still under $7k.

Armani Cooper ($6,300) @ Chicago Bears is another great option at a great price. Cooper looks well beyond his years scoring 26 and 24 points the last two weeks after a slow week 1. As mentioned above the Bears defense is a mess, feel confident going with the rookie who has over 31 targets so far this year.

Donte Moncrief ($5,000) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars is a steal at his $5k price range this week. He has quickly become the defacto #2 WR in Indianapolis and is playing a weak Jacksonville secondary and should easily reach value.

Other WR’s I will Target: James Jones ($5,500) @ San Francisco 49ers, Ted Ginn ($3,400) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Evans ($6,400) vs. Carolina Panthers.

 

Tight End Plays:

No Gronk this week means I will be going for a low priced option this week.

Jordan Reed ($4,500) vs. Philadelphia Eagles should be able to hit value this week. Starting ILB’s Kiko Alonso is out for the next month and Mychael Kendricks is questionable for this game. Reed lines up wide and in the slot a good portion of the time and seems to be a check down favorite for the struggling Kirk Cousins.

Charles Clay ($3,300) vs. New York Giants is a great low priced option that should certainly hit value. He went off 19 points last week and hasn’t scored less than 8 points all season. Add that to the fact that Sammy Watkins is out this week and has a match up vs. a defense that has struggled vs. the Tight End this year.

Defensive Plays:

Seattle Seahawks ($3,700) vs. Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos ($3,3oo) vs. Minnesotta Vikings

Carolina Panthers ($3,300) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Green Bay Packers ($2,700) @ San Francisco 49ers

 

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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DFS Corner: What is the difference between DraftKings and FanDuel?

Chances are if you watch TV, you have seen a hundred plus ads for FanDuel and DraftKings over the past few weeks. Daily fantasy has taken the nation by storm, and it's evident by the amount they have spent on advertising over the beginning of the NFL season. According to Ispot.tv, both DraftKings and

Chances are if you watch TV, you have seen a hundred plus ads for FanDuel and DraftKings over the past few weeks. Daily fantasy has taken the nation by storm, and it’s evident by the amount they have spent on advertising over the beginning of the NFL season. According to Ispot.tv, both DraftKings and FanDuel have spent a collective 27 million on TV advertisements.

So if the advertisements have finally persuaded you to give one of them a shot, please read below for a basic understanding of the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel.

What is the difference between DraftKings and Fanduel? 

The first thing you’ll notice are the differences in roster construction, salary cap, and scoring systems. Each site requires you to chose 9 players from at least 2 different NFL teams and representing at least 2 different NFL Games. FanDuel does not allow you to take more than 4 players on a specific team, and rosters lock immediately at the start of whatever contest you choose. DraftKings has no limit on how many people you can take on a specific team, and you are able to edit your roster up until 5 minutes before game time. For example, if you have 8 players playing in the 1:00 games and your one player playing in the 4:00 game is a late scratch, you can edit that one player on DraftKings, since his game hasn’t started yet, despite the rest of your entry starting. That feature is only offered on DraftKings as FanDuel locks immediately at the beginning of the contest for the entire entry.

Roster Differences:

DraftKings: QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE, Flex (RB, WR,TE), Defense

Fanduel: QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE, K, Defense

Scoring Differences

You can find DraftKings scoring here and Fanduel Scoring here.

The main differences between the sites are

  • 1 point per reception on DraftKings compared to 0.5 point per reception on Fanduel
  • 3 point bonus for 300+ passing yards on DraftKings and no bonus on Fanduel
  • 3 point bonus for 100+ receiving yards on DraftKings compared to no bonus on FanDuel
  • 3 point bonus for 100+ rushing yards on DraftKings compared to no bonus on FanDuel
  • -1 point for a fumble lost on DraftKings compared t0 -2 points on Fanduel

Salary Cap Differences

On DraftKings you have a $50,000 salary to draft 9 players, while on FanDuel you have a $60,000 salary. Salary is configured on Sunday Nights and is based on that players projected points for that upcoming week.

What else should you be aware of?

  • Do your research!! This cannot be stated enough. There are a lot of sharks out there who have algorithms, enter multiple contests, and even do this full time.
    • Check for weather, high winds/bad conditions can impact certain players
    • Use Vegas to your advantage. Check O/U and spreads for each game to figure out what games Vegas expects to be high scoring games
    • Check good/poor Passing, Rushing/Receiving Matchups
    • Check for injuries; if a starter is going to be out, you can get their backup at a huge discount, and it will be easier for them to hit their value
    • Each site offers values according to their prices. Find those values and exploit them.
  • Know what entry you are entering in. Are you doing a cash game (50/50, H2H), Multiplier (Double Up, Triple Up, Quintuple Up) or Tournament?
    • The entry you choose should have a direct impact on how you construct your roster
    • For example, in cash games, you want a consistent player that has a high floor. In tournaments, you want players with the highest ceilings and low ownership to differentiate your entry.

I have been playing fantasy for the past 14 years and have been playing daily fantasy for the past 2 years. I am an active user on both FanDuel and DraftKings. I have read a lot about strategies and do a lot of research based on matchups, Vegas Odds, and statistics. Each week I learn more, and I will share with you the strategy I deploy. I will begin to provide you with some of my lineups and value plays for each upcoming week.

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided you with a brief understanding about the differences between two DFS Giants.  Please check back later in the week for my lineups and Value plays for Week 3.

Michael Freas

Graduate of both NFP’s Intro to Scouting 101 course and Sport Management Worldwide’s Football GM & Scouting course. Relevant experience includes shadowing former NFL Players & Coaches/Scouts, Bob Pellegrini and Dick Bielski as well as current New England Patriots Front Office Executive, Michael Lombardi during his tenure with NFP.

Fantasy Football and Daily Fantasy Football enthusiast.

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Las Vegas market report: Wildcard weekend

Recent history hasn’t demonstrated a significant bias during the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs as it pertains to general classifications. Since 2009, home teams are an average 11-8-1 against the spread during the wildcard round, while favorites are just 9-10-1 ATS. During that same time span, overs have gone a modest 9-11.

Recent history hasn’t demonstrated a significant bias during the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs as it pertains to general classifications. Since 2009, home teams are an average 11-8-1 against the spread during the wildcard round, while favorites are just 9-10-1 ATS. During that same time span, overs have gone a modest 9-11.

So we’ll have to dig a little bit deeper this week in the hopes of unearthing some little nugget of information that may provide an edge in one or perhaps all four matchups scheduled to take place beginning Saturday afternoon.

2014 SNAPSHOT

Home teams: 123-127-6 (.492)
Favorites: 120-130-6 (.480)
Home favorites: 81-88-4 (.479)
Home dogs: 42-39-2 (.518)
Overs: 120-135 (.470)

CLICK HERE to check out the current lines.

Arizona Cardinals (11-5, 4-4 road) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1, 4-4 home)

When: Saturday, 4:35pm ET
Weather: High of 50 degrees, 70% chance of rain, winds 5-10 mph
Open: Carolina -4.5/39
Current: Carolina -6.5/38

Arizona in 2014: 11-5 ATS, 10-5-1 to the UNDER
Carolina in 2014: 8-8 ATS, 8-8 to the OVER

Cam NewtonNewton and the Panthers are big favorites against an 11-win Arizona team on Saturday.

Analysis: Two teams heading in completely opposite directions as the Carolina Panthers have surrendered an average of just 10.75 points per game during their current four-game winning streak while the Arizona Cardinals have dropped four of their last six and haven’t scored more than 18 points in a matchup since November 9. One look at Cardinals third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley will have public bettors sprinting to the windows to bet Carolina, but note that the Panthers’ four-game win streak is a bit of a mirage, as those victories came against New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Atlanta, who combined to post a 22-42 record this season. The Cardinals can still play some defense and with the weather in Charlotte on Saturday expected to be messy, this should be an extremely tight affair. In addition, be advised that Carolina has scored more than 24 points in a game just four times this season and none of those performances came against a club with a top-20 defense.

Notable trends: Arizona is 9-3 ATS over its last 12 road games while Carolina is 1-5 ATS over its last six games played in the month of January.

The play: Arizona (we want +7 but will take +6.5) and UNDER 38

Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 4-4 road) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, 6-2 home)

When: Saturday, 8:15pm ET
Weather: High of 41 degrees, 100% chance of rain, winds 10-15 mph
Open: Pittsburgh -3/47
Current: Pittsburgh -3/46

Baltimore in 2014: 7-8-1 ATS, 9-7 to the UNDER
Pittsburgh in 2014: 9-7 ATS, 9-7 to the OVER

Joe FlaccoICONCan Joe Flacco conjure up some more postseason road magic?

Analysis: 33.6% of Pittsburgh’s 2014 offensive production may be on the sidelines for Saturday’s showdown with division-rival Baltimore, as Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell suffered a hyperextended knee in last Sunday night’s 27-17 win over Cincinnati. Not only would this be a big blow to the Steelers’ rushing attack (1,361 yards, second in NFL), but Bell also caught 83 passes this year and is a monster in pass protection, unlike 5-8, 173-pound backup Dri Archer, who could have some serious trouble against a Baltimore defense that ranked second in the NFL in sacks this season (49). Ravens signal-caller Joe Flacco has had an up-and-down 2014 campaign, especially when playing on the road, but the seven-year veteran is 6-4 career in the playoffs away from M&T Bank Stadium and knows what it takes to run the table in the postseason. Be advised that the weather forecast calls for rain and moderate winds in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Notable trends: Baltimore is 4-0 ATS over its last four road playoff games while Pittsburgh is 9-3 ATS over its last 12 playoff games.

The play: Baltimore (we want +3.5, will play at +3) and UNDER 46

Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1, 5-3 road) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 6-2 home)

When: Sunday, 1:05pm ET
Weather: Indoors
Open: Indianapolis -4/49
Current: Indianapolis -3.5/49

Cincinnati in 2014: 8-7-1 ATS, 10-6 to the UNDER
Indianapolis in 2014: 10-5-1 ATS, 9-7 to the OVER

Marvin LewisMarvin Lewis has never won a playoff game. Is this the year?

Analysis: The early money showed up in support of Cincinnati due to a variety of factors, one of which has to do with an Indianapolis team that has been walking on eggshells as of late. One look at the Colts’ schedule shows an 11-win team that padded its stats with soft matchups against Jacksonville (twice), Tennessee (twice), Washington, Cleveland and the New York Giants, but came up short in marquee showdowns with Denver, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Dallas. In addition, the Indianapolis defense ranked just 19th in scoring this season (23.1 pts/gm) and 18th against the run (113.4 yds/gm), which is a big concern when playing a Cincinnati team that ranked sixth in the league in rushing (134.2 yds/gm) with a whopping 567 yards coming via the ground game over the last three weeks alone. But how do you get behind a Bengals team that is coached by Marvin Lewis (0-5 lifetime in playoffs) and quarterbacked by Andy Dalton (0-3 lifetime in playoffs)? Not only that, but take note that Cincinnati is just 2-5 ATS over its last seven trips to Indianapolis.

Notable trends: Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS over its last six games following a loss while Indianapolis is 1-4 ATS over its last five playoff games.

The play: Cincinnati (+3.5). I’m calling this game “The Banana in the Tailpipe Special.”

Detroit Lions (11-5, 4-4 road) at Dallas Cowboys (12-4, 4-4 home)

When: Sunday, 4:40pm ET
Weather: Indoors
Open: Dallas -7/48
Current: Dallas -6.5/48

Detroit in 2014: 7-9 ATS, 11-5 to the UNDER
Dallas in 2014: 10-6 ATS, 9-6-1 to the OVER

DeMarco MurrayMurray and the Cowboys have been on fire ever since that Thanksgiving loss.

Analysis: Ever since they were drilled 33-10 at home by the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys have been cooking with gas. Big D has ripped off four straight wins (4-0 ATS as well) by an average of 21.5 points per game with only three turnovers committed and 12 turnovers forced. All of this is due in large part to the league’s best offensive line which has paved the way for a rushing attack that ranks second in the NFL (147.1 yds/gm). On the flip side you have the Detroit Lions who, despite entering this showdown with 11 wins under their belt, went just 4-4 on the road this season and are now 8-20-1 ATS over their last 29 road contests. In addition, the Lions are 1-6 ATS over their last seven matchups against teams with a winning record. Detroit has a nasty defense, but the big problem is whether or not highly-paid “franchise” quarterback Matthew Stafford will finally rise to the occasion on the big stage, something the Georgia product has failed to do in each of his six NFL campaigns. Stafford has completed only 54.1 percent of his passes on the road this season, with nine touchdowns, six interceptions and a QB rating of 74.9.

Notable trends: Detroit is 2-5 ATS over its last seven games overall while Dallas is 4-0 ATS over its last four games overall.

The play: Dallas (-6.5) along with a Dallas (-.5) and Baltimore (+9) teaser.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Sources: Dolphins offered Rex Ryan defensive coordinator position

Update (12/31 at 6:45pm PST): I completely dropped the ball on this story and would like to apologize to all parties involved for the incorrect information regarding the Miami Dolphins' interest in former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. There is no excuse for this type of error. Miami did not offer Ryan

Update (12/31 at 6:45pm PST): I completely dropped the ball on this story and would like to apologize to all parties involved for the incorrect information regarding the Miami Dolphins’ interest in former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. There is no excuse for this type of error. Miami did not offer Ryan the opportunity to become the team’s new defensive coordinator. Again, my deepest apologies to all involved.

Dismissed Monday after six seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan won’t have trouble finding work if he chooses to return to the National Football League in 2015.

Sources familiar with the situation have informed the National Football Post that the Miami Dolphins offered Ryan a multi-year contract this week worth approximately $8 million to become the team’s next defensive coordinator.

Rex RyanRyan went 46-50 during the regular season in six years with the Jets.

However, while Ryan built his reputation as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 2005-2008, the prevailing line of thinking is that the 52-year-old would prefer to accept a head coaching position rather than take a role as an assistant. That assertion is furthered by the recent reports indicating Ryan is scheduled to meet with both the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers about their current vacancies.

As for Miami, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was noncommittal on Monday regarding the future of current defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, who has been with the team since 2012. Coyle’s defense got off to a hot start in 2014, holding the opposition to just 18.8 points per game with 25 sacks and 18 turnovers through the first eight contests of the season. But with a playoff berth on the line, the Dolphins wilted down the stretch and were torched for an average of 35.2 points per game over the team’s final four outings.

The Dolphins’ attempt to lure Ryan to Miami clearly indicates that the organization is looking to shake things up on the defensive side of the ball. Whether or not the team succeeds in landing an upgrade remains to be seen, but head coach Joe Philbin has gone just 23-25 with the club since taking over in 2012 and no doubt enters the 2015 campaign on the hot seat.

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Bowl game betting primer: Part II

Bowl season has a habit of producing some utterly insane results. So the hope is that you can either sidestep these yearly landmines by avoiding the game altogether or somehow find yourself on the correct side of an absurd outcome.

Look no further than the Christmas Eve spectacular between Western Kentucky and Central

Bowl season has a habit of producing some utterly insane results. So the hope is that you can either sidestep these yearly landmines by avoiding the game altogether or somehow find yourself on the correct side of an absurd outcome.

Look no further than the Christmas Eve spectacular between Western Kentucky and Central Michigan for proof, as the Hilltoppers (that’s obviously the team we were backing) blew a 49-14 fourth quarter lead, but hung on to win (and not cover) 49-48.

Twitter exploded following the 75-yard miracle that doomed our evenings, but all you can really do in those situations is shake it off as quickly as possible and hope that the gambling gods balance out your karma somewhere down the road.

Actually, to hell with all of that. I’m still pissed about that finish.

Last week: 2-4

Season: 40-50 (.444)

CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL

#9 Mississippi Rebels (9-3, 2-2 road) vs. #6 TCU Horned Frogs (11-1, 4-1 road)

When: Wednesday, December 31 at 12:30pm ET
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Open: TCU -3
Current: TCU -3.5

Mississippi in 2014: 7-4-1 ATS, 9-2 to the UNDER
TCU in 2014: 10-2 ATS, 8-4 to the OVER

Bo WallaceBo Wallace and the Rebels are primed for the upset.

Analysis: TCU entered the final meaningful week of the college football regular season slotted third in the inaugural college football playoff rankings, but inexplicably fell to sixth following a 55-3 thrashing of Iowa State. Being as how college football is all about everybody getting rich except for those who actually put their bodies as risk, it was no surprise to see a big draw like Ohio State fly up the board to claim the fourth and final playoff spot, leaving an 11-1 TCU squad dejected at having to play in what the team could be viewing as a meaningless December 31 bowl game. So whether or not the Horned Frogs are motivated to show up in this one is a huge concern. We stand on the side that feels TCU doesn’t care much for this showdown after having a shot at the title ripped from its hands, so give us the Rebels, the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense (13.8 pts/gm) and 3.5 points and we’ll gladly settle in front of the couch to watch the Peach Bowl.

Notable trends: Mississippi is 4-0-1 ATS over its last five bowl games while TCU is 0-5 ATS over its last five bowl games.

Pick: Mississippi (+3.5)

ROSE BOWL

#2 Oregon Ducks (12-1, 5-0 road) vs. #3 Florida State Seminoles (13-0, 4-0 road)

When: Thursday, January 1 at 5:00pm ET
Location: Pasadena, California
Open: Oregon -8
Current: Oregon -9

Oregon in 2014: 9-4 ATS, 6-6-1 to the OVER
Florida State in 2014: 3-10 ATS, 8-5 to the UNDER

Jameis WinstonWinston and the Seminoles are feeling little love within the betting markets.

Analysis: Correct me if I have this wrong: The defending champion Florida State Seminoles, winners of 29 straight games, head to the Rose Bowl as a staggering 9-point underdog for a matchup with Oregon, per Sportsbook Review.com? I get the fact that the Ducks won and covered the number in each of their final eight games of the year while the Seminoles covered the spread in just three of 13 contests this season, but that is far too many points to lay against the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. FSU has been in the big spot before, while 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota has never come close to this grand of a stage. The Seminoles may have played down to their competition this season, but with a month to prepare and far more on the line come January 1, they’ll get up in a big way for this semifinal encounter.

Notable trends: Oregon is 5-2 ATS over its last seven bowl games while Florida State is 8-1-1 ATS over its last ten bowl games.

Pick: Florida State (+9)

ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1, 3-1 road) at #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1, 4-0 road)

When: Thursday, January 1 at 8:30pm ET
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Open: Alabama -9.5
Current: Alabama -9.5

Alabama in 2014: 5-8 ATS, 6-6 to the OVER
Ohio State in 2014: 8-5 ATS, 11-2 to the OVER

Analysis: The Crimson Tide are a juggernaut and there is no disputing that sentiment, as it’s tough to find flaws in a program that has gone 72-8 (.900) with three national championship victories since 2009. Still, this is a big number to lay on a squad that has gone just 5-11-1 ATS over its last 17 games that will be facing a well-rested and ultra-prepared Urban Meyer football club. Ohio State’s 21st-ranked scoring defense (21.2 pts/gm) will be the key to success in the Sugar Bowl, as Bama has recorded 42 or more points in each of its last three contests. And don’t think for one second that Meyer hasn’t been selling the Buckeyes on the fact that many feel they shouldn’t be playing in this game (TCU, anyone?). We’ll hold our nose here in the hopes that a +10 surfaces sometime before kickoff.

Notable trends: Alabama is 0-7-1 ATS over its last eight non-conference games while Ohio State is 6-2 ATS over its last eight non-conference games.

Pick: Ohio State (we’re waiting for +10, but will play +9.5)

TAXSLAYER BOWL

Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 3-2 road) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (6-6, 2-3 road)

When: Friday, January 2 at 3:20pm ET
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Open: Tennessee -2.5
Current: Tennessee -3.5

Iowa in 2014: 6-6 ATS, 6-5-1 to the OVER
Tennessee in 2014: 6-6 ATS, 6-4-1 to the UNDER

Kirk FerentzICONFerentz is 5-1 ATS over his last six bowl games.

Analysis: Say what you will about Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes, but the reality of the situation is that the man is good with a month to prepare his team for postseason play. Ferentz is 5-1 ATS over his last six bowl games and word around the campfire is that the Hawkeyes have been putting together some exceptional practices in the build-up to the school’s showdown with Tennessee. We believe that this will be a classic situation in which the public shows heavy support for the SEC school over the Big Ten program, so we’ve got no problem backing the contrarian angle here on January 2.

Notable trends: Iowa is 6-2 ATS over its last eight neutral site games while Tennessee is 3-8 ATS over its last 11 non-conference games.

Pick: Iowa (+3.5)

BIRMINGHAM BOWL

East Carolina Pirates (8-4, 3-3 road) vs. Florida Gators (6-5, 2-2 road)

When: Saturday, January 3 at 12:00pm ET
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Open: Florida -7.5
Current: Florida -7

East Carolina in 2014: 5-7 ATS, 6-6 to the OVER
Florida in 2014: 6-5 ATS, 8-3 to the OVER

Analysis: East Carolina hasn’t played in a January bowl game since 2010 and missed the college football postseason entirely last year, so the assumption is that this team should be pretty jacked up at the chance to knock off a reeling SEC school that just dumped its head coach after another disappointing campaign. After opening as more than a touchdown favorite, Florida has since been knocked down to as low as -6.5 at some shops, which is a significant move since it crossed through the key number of 7. The thought process here is that we’ve got a motivated team (ECU) against a squad that probably cares very little to be playing in this game, so we might as well take the touchdown and brace for the upset.

Notable trends: East Carolina is 5-0 ATS over its last five non-conference games while Florida is 4-1 ATS over its last five bowl games.

Pick: East Carolina (+7)

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Updated Super Bowl odds: Welcome to the postseason

While the advantage in the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy sides with the four teams that earned a first-round bye (Seattle, Green Bay, New England, Denver) and even more so with the two clubs who claimed home field advantage (Seattle, New England), preseason Dallas backers have to be salivating at the hedging opportunity

While the advantage in the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy sides with the four teams that earned a first-round bye (Seattle, Green Bay, New England, Denver) and even more so with the two clubs who claimed home field advantage (Seattle, New England), preseason Dallas backers have to be salivating at the hedging opportunity that has presented itself entering the month of January.

DeMarco MurrayDeMarco Murray and the Cowboys have surged from 75/1 to 10/1 to win this season’s Super Bowl.

Listed at 75/1 to win the Super Bowl back in August, which was more favorable than the odds for just six other teams (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Tennessee), the Cowboys rode the legs of running back DeMarco Murray and right arm of quarterback Tony Romo to an NFC East crown and spot on the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s odds board at 10/1. And of the four teams listed above the Cowboys, none will be playing during this upcoming weekend’s slate of playoff action.

The defending champion Seahawks remain atop the board at 9/4, while the freefalling Cardinals bring up the rear at 75/1. Poor Bruce Arians. The Arizona head coach was cooking with gas until the injury bug decimated the team’s quarterback position.

Here’s the full rundown:

Note: The odds in parenthesis indicate where each team was listed back on August 25.

Seattle Seahawks: 9/4 (9/2)
New England Patriots: 5/2 (8/1)
Green Bay Packers: 5/1 (10/1)
Denver Broncos: 6/1 (5/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 10/1 (75/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 20/1 (20/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 20/1 (20/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 30/1 (25/1)
Carolina Panthers: 40/1 (60/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 40/1 (20/1)
Detroit Lions: 40/1 (40/1)
Arizona Cardinals: 75/1 (40/1)

SUPER BOWL XLIX GAME LINE

NFC (-1.5/49) vs. AFC

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NFP power rankings

Happy holidays, everybody! This marks the final installment of the NFP power rankings for the 2014 season. However, we’ll be back next week to break down the wildcard playoff matchups via the “Las Vegas market report.”

The numbers in brackets indicate each team’s Power Ranking, which is based on a scale of 60-100.

Happy holidays, everybody! This marks the final installment of the NFP power rankings for the 2014 season. However, we’ll be back next week to break down the wildcard playoff matchups via the “Las Vegas market report.”

The numbers in brackets indicate each team’s Power Ranking, which is based on a scale of 60-100. These numbers can be used as a baseline to determine the point spread between any two teams on the list. Keep in mind that these numbers do not account for home field advantage, situational analysis (extra rest, back-to-back road games, divisional rivalries, etc), injuries, weather or public perception. They are merely to be used as a baseline for your initial analysis.

NFP power rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks [93.0]
Record:
11-4 (Won 35-6 at Arizona)
Previous ranking: 93.0 (1)

2. New England Patriots [92.0]
Record:
12-2 (Won 17-16 at NY Jets)
Previous ranking: 92.0 (2)

3. Green Bay Packers [91.5]
Record:
11-4 (Won 20-3 at Tampa Bay)
Previous ranking: 91.5 (3)

4. Dallas Cowboys [91.0]
Record:
11-4 (Won 42-7 vs. Indianapolis)
Previous ranking: 89.5 (5)

5. Denver Broncos [89.5]
Record:
11-4 (Lost 37-28 at Cincinnati)
Previous ranking: 91.0 (4)

T6. Pittsburgh Steelers [89.0]
Record:
10-5 (Won 20-12 vs. Kansas City)
Previous ranking: 87.5 (T11)

T6. Cincinnati Bengals [89.0]
Record:
10-4-1 (Won 37-28 vs. Denver)
Previous ranking: 88.5 (T7)

8. Detroit Lions [88.5]
Record:
11-4 (Won 20-14 at Chicago)
Previous ranking: 88.5 (T7)

9. Indianapolis Colts [88.0]
Record:
10-5 (Lost 42-7 at Dallas)
Previous ranking: 89.0 (6)

10. Kansas City Chiefs [87.5]
Record:
8-7 (Lost 20-12 at Pittsburgh)
Previous ranking: 87.0 (13)

T11. San Diego Chargers [87.0]
Record:
9-6 (Won 38-35 at San Francisco)
Previous ranking: 86.5 (14)

T11. Baltimore Ravens [87.0]
Record:
9-6 (Lost 25-13 at Houston)
Previous ranking: 87.5 (T11)

T11. Arizona Cardinals [87.0]
Record:
11-4 (Lost 35-6 vs. Seattle)
Previous ranking: 88.0 (T9)

14. Philadelphia Eagles [86.0]
Record:
9-6 (Lost 27-24 at Washington)
Previous ranking: 88.0 (T9)

15. Houston Texans [85.5]
Record:
8-7 (Won 25-13 vs. Baltimore)
Previous ranking: 84.0 (19)

16. Miami Dolphins [85.0]
Record:
8-7 (Won 37-35 vs. Minnesota)
Previous ranking: 85.0 (T16)

17. Buffalo Bills [84.5]
Record:
8-7 (Lost 26-24 at Oakland)
Previous ranking: 85.5 (15)

18. San Francisco 49ers [84.0]
Record:
7-8 (Lost 38-35 vs. San Diego)
Previous ranking: 84.5 (18)

19. New York Giants [83.5]
Record:
6-9 (Won 37-27 at St. Louis)
Previous ranking: 82.5 (23)

20. Minnesota Vikings [83.0]
Record:
6-9 (Lost 37-35 at Miami)
Previous ranking: 83.5 (20)

T21. Atlanta Falcons [82.0]
Record:
6-9 (Won 30-14 at New Orleans)
Previous ranking: 82.0 (T24)

T21. Carolina Panthers [82.0]
Record:
6-8-1 (Won 17-13 vs. Cleveland)
Previous ranking: 82.0 (T24)

T21. New Orleans Saints [82.0]
Record:
6-9 (Lost 30-14 vs. Atlanta)
Previous ranking: 85.0 (T16)

T24. St. Louis Rams [81.5]
Record:
6-9 (Lost 37-27 vs. NY Giants)
Previous ranking: 83.0 (T21)

T24. Washington Redskins [81.5]
Record:
4-11 (Won 27-24 vs. Philadelphia)
Previous ranking: 81.0 (26)

26. Chicago Bears [81.0]
Record:
5-10 (Lost 20-14 vs. Detroit)
Previous ranking: 81.5 (25)

27. Cleveland Browns [80.0]
Record:
7-8 (Lost 17-13 at Carolina)
Previous ranking: 83.0 (T21)

28. Oakland Raiders [79.5]
Record:
3-12 (Won 26-24 vs. Buffalo)
Previous ranking: 79.0 (T29)

T29. New York Jets [79.0]
Record:
3-12 (Lost 17-16 vs. New England)
Previous ranking: 79.0 (T29)

T29. Jacksonville Jaguars [79.0]
Record:
3-12 (Won 21-13 vs. Tennessee)
Previous ranking: 79.0 (T29)

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [78.5]
Record:
2-13 (Lost 20-3 vs. Green Bay)
Previous ranking: 79.5 (28)

32. Tennessee Titans [78.0]
Record:
2-13 (Lost 21-13 at Jacksonville)
Previous ranking: 78.5 (32)

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Bowl game betting primer: Part I

Happy Holidays and a special thanks to all of you who stuck with the NFP college football betting primer through an up and (mostly) down campaign. We closed out the regular season with a clean sweep and now the hope is that we can maintain this success through the remainder of the 2014 bowl

Happy Holidays and a special thanks to all of you who stuck with the NFP college football betting primer through an up and (mostly) down campaign. We closed out the regular season with a clean sweep and now the hope is that we can maintain this success through the remainder of the 2014 bowl season.

The following rundown isolates six games from this week’s upcoming slate of postseason action. We’ll be back next Tuesday morning with another edition of the bowl game betting primer to cover the marquee matchups and New Year’s Day run of games for those of you who may be interested in watching that sort of thing.

Be safe and have a wonderful holiday season.

Final week of regular season: 5-0

Season: 38-46 (.452)

BOCA RATON BOWL

Marshall Thundering Herd (12-1, 6-0 road) at Northern Illinois Huskies (11-2, 6-1 road)

When: Tuesday, December 23 at 6:00pm ET
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Open: Marshall -10
Current: Marshall -10

Marshall in 2014: 8-5 ATS, 7-6 to the OVER
Northern Illinois in 2014: 7-6 ATS, 9-4 to the UNDER

Analysis: Northern Illinois will have a hell of a time trying to slow down a lightning quick Marshall offense that averaged 45.1 points per game this season (fifth in NCAA) while defeating the opposition by the staggering average of 26.3 points per contest. The Thundering Herd represent the best offense that the Huskies have faced in 2014, which is led by experienced signal-caller Rakeem Cato, who is 2-0 both straight-up and against the spread in bowl games (563 passing yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT). Take note that Marshall is 8-3 ATS over its last 11 games against teams with a winning record while Northern Illinois is 1-4 ATS over its last five matchups with Conference USA opposition. This is a big number to lay per the odds board at Sportsbook Review.com, but given the MAC’s poor bowl record in recent years, we’re comfortable Marshall will prevail by more than 10.

Notable trends: Marshall is 5-1 ATS over its last six non-conference games while Northern Illinois is 2-5 ATS over its last seven bowl games.

Pick: Marshall (-10)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL

Navy Midshipmen (7-5, 3-1 road) at San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 1-5 road)

When: Tuesday, December 23 at 9:30pm ET
Location: San Diego, California
Open: San Diego State -3
Current: San Diego State -3

Navy in 2014: 5-7 ATS, 7-4 to the UNDER
San Diego State in 2014: 6-5-1 ATS, 11-1 to the UNDER

Analysis: A rematch of the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl in which San Diego State emerged victorious 35-14, the Aztecs have a big advantage in this matchup due to the fact that it will be played at Qualcomm Stadium where SDSU went 6-0 this season winning by an average of 19.8 points per game. Another San Diego State edge comes in the form of having three weeks to prepare for Navy’s triple-option attack, a system the Aztecs’ 3-3-5 defense faced when playing Air Force and New Mexico this year and had much success, holding both schools to season-low offensive yardage totals. This is a big step up in class for a Navy squad that is 2-5 ATS over its last seven games played in the month of December.

Notable trends: Navy is 2-5 ATS over its last seven neutral site games while San Diego State is 11-5-1 ATS over its last 17 games following a win.

Pick: San Diego State (-3)

POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL

Central Michigan Chippewas (7-5, 4-2 road) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 2-4 road)

When: Wednesday, December 24 at 12:00pm ET
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Open: Western Kentucky -2.5
Current: Western Kentucky -3.5

Central Michigan in 2014: 5-7 ATS, 7-5 to the UNDER
Western Kentucky in 2014: 6-6 ATS, 8-3-1 to the OVER

Brandon DoughtyWKU quarterback Brandon Doughty led the nation with 44 touchdown passes this season.

Analysis: Led by quarterback and Conference USA Player of the Year Brandon Doughty (NCAA-best 44 TD passes in 2014), Western Kentucky shook off the cobwebs from learning a new system that resulted in a 3-5 start and rallied to close out the year on a perfect 4-0 run (3-1 ATS), winning by an average of 18.7 points per game. And those four wins didn’t come against inferior competition, either, as the Hilltoppers landed the only blemish on Marshall’s otherwise perfect 12-1 record with a 67-66 win back on November 28. This is just as much a PLAY ON Western Kentucky as it is a PLAY AGAINST Central Michigan, as MAC teams cannot be trusted during bowl season (0-5 in bowl games in 2013).

Notable trends: Central Michigan is 5-15-1 ATS over its last 21 non-conference games while Western Kentucky is 14-3 ATS over its last 17 games played on grass.

Pick: Western Kentucky (-3.5)

ZAXBY’S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6, 1-4 road) at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-5, 4-4 road)

When: Friday, December 26 at 1:00pm ET
Location: Dallas, Texas
Open: Louisiana Tech -5
Current: Louisiana Tech -6

Illinois in 2014: 5-7 ATS, 6-6 to the OVER
Louisiana Tech in 2014: 10-3 ATS, 8-4-1 to the OVER

Analysis: Some may be worried about the five Bulldogs who were suspended at the beginning of the month due to academic issues, but Louisiana Tech rallied without those players against 12-1 Marshall on December 6 and nearly upset the Thundering Herd before falling 26-23. Winners of six of their last eight, Skip Holtz has the Bulldogs playing with jam thanks to a 2014 turnover differential of +18 (note that Illinois is -2 in turnover differential this season). The Fighting Illini may have finished the year at 6-6, but the team got really lucky in its wins over Minnesota, Penn State and Northwestern. In addition, note that Louisiana Tech is 5-1 ATS over its last six games overall. With think the Big Ten will be dealt a swift and decisive blow in this one.

Notable trends: Illinois is 9-19 ATS over its last 28 games played on turf while Louisiana Tech is 4-0 ATS over its last four games played on turf.

Pick: Louisiana Tech (-6)

BITCOIN SAINT PETERSBURG BOWL

North Carolina State Wolfpack (7-5, 3-2 road) at Central Florida Knights (9-3, 3-2 road)

When: Friday, December 26 at 8:00pm ET
Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida
Open: Central Florida -1
Current: Central Florida -1.5

North Carolina State in 2014: 7-5 ATS, 6-5-1 to the UNDER
Central Florida in 2014: 8-4 ATS, 6-6 to the OVER

Analysis: Central Florida boasts one of the better defenses you’ll see this bowl season after concluding a 12-game campaign that resulted in permitting an average of just 17.9 points per contest (eighth in NCAA) with 27 turnovers (2.25 per game) and 33 sacks (2.75 per game). The Knights also went 4-0 ATS to finish the season and are now 6-1 ATS over their last seven games played on a Friday. North Carolina State definitely took a step in the right direction this season, but note that the team’s seven wins came against opponents who combined to finish the year with a 37-46 record (.445). The Wolfpack have turned the corner and should prove to be worthy adversaries in this one, but we believe Central Florida will prevail based on the strength of its defense.

Notable trends: North Carolina State is 2-7 ATS over its last nine games on turf while Central Florida is 8-2 ATS over its last ten non-conference games.

Pick: Central Florida (-1.5)

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY BOWL

Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3, 3-2 road) at #24 USC Trojans (8-4, 3-3 road)

When: Saturday, December 27 at 8:00pm ET
Location: San Diego, California
Open: USC -5.5
Current: USC -7

Nebraska in 2014: 7-4-1 ATS, 7-5 to the OVER
USC in 2014: 7-5 ATS, 7-5 to the UNDER

>

Bo PeliniUS PRESSWIREBo Pelini’s time at Nebraska has come to an end.

Analysis: The Cornhuskers dropped two of their final three games to close out the regular season, are 1-4 ATS over their last five neutral site matchups and just said goodbye to head coach Bo Pelini, who had some choice words for the Nebraska brass on his way out the door. In addition, as you’ll see below, the Huskers have had a hell of a time when tasked with beating opposition from the PAC-12, while USC has performed quite admirably in recent encounters with Big Ten schools. Take note that the Trojans are 5-1 ATS over their last six bowl games and enter this showdown much more organized and well-prepared than the team that will be staring them down from the other sideline.

Notable trends: Nebraska is 0-4 ATS over its last four games against the PAC-12 while USC is 9-2 ATS over its last 11 games against the Big Ten.

Pick: USC (-7)

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Updated Super Bowl odds: The rise of the champs

The top of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook odds board has seen plenty of turnover over the last few weeks in regards to the shop’s Super Bowl prices, as the Green Bay Packers relinquished the title of “favorite” last week to the New England Patriots before the defending champion Seahawks stepped in

The top of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook odds board has seen plenty of turnover over the last few weeks in regards to the shop’s Super Bowl prices, as the Green Bay Packers relinquished the title of “favorite” last week to the New England Patriots before the defending champion Seahawks stepped in on Monday to claim their rightful spot on the throne.

Russell WilsonWilson and the Seahawks are back on top of the Westgate odds board.

Winners of eight of their last nine outings and led by a defense that is surrendering an average of just 6.6 points per game over its last five starts, the Seahawks now reside at a price of 5/2 to win February’s Super Bowl following a thorough 35-6 dismantling of former NFC West leader Arizona.

The New England Patriots, who sat atop the board last Monday at a price of 5/2, slipped to 11/4 to make room for the Seattle surge. And after claiming the NFC East in dominating fashion, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys jumped from 12/1 to 10/1 while division rival Philadelphia fell off the board entirely.

The entire rundown is listed below.

Note: The odds in parenthesis indicate where each team was listed back on August 25.

Seattle Seahawks: 5/2 (9/2)
New England Patriots: 11/4 (8/1)
Green Bay Packers: 9/2 (10/1)
Denver Broncos: 5/1 (5/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 10/1 (75/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 20/1 (20/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 20/1 (20/1)
Detroit Lions: 25/1 (40/1)
San Diego Chargers: 30/1 (30/1)
Arizona Cardinals: 40/1 (40/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 40/1 (20/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 60/1 (60/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 60/1 (25/1)
Carolina Panthers: 80/1 (60/1)
Houston Texans: 300/1 (25/1)
Kansas City Chiefs: 1000/1 (50/1)

OFF THE BOARD

San Francisco 49ers (10/1)
New Orleans Saints (7/1)
Philadelphia Eagles (25/1)
Chicago Bears (20/1)
New York Giants (40/1)
Washington Redskins (50/1)
St. Louis Rams (75/1)
Miami Dolphins (50/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (100/1)
Tennessee Titans (100/1)
New York Jets (60/1)
Buffalo Bills (60/1)
Minnesota Vikings (100/1)
Cleveland Browns (100/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (200/1)
Oakland Raiders (100/1)

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Start ’em, Sit ’em, Smash ’em

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.

WEEK 16 SURVIVOR PICKS

–At this point in the season, I really have no clue which teams you guys have left to use in survivor. So rather than throw out what will likely amount to repeat selections, hit me up on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh and we can talk it through from there. Best of luck!

FADE OF THE WEEK

Record: 7-7-1

Last week: Cincinnati Bengals (+1) over Cleveland Browns (win)

This week: Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) at Miami Dolphins

Analysis: Like clockwork, the Miami Dolphins are once again tanking at the end of the season, as Joe Philbin’s team has dropped three of its last four contests and is averaging a paltry 14.0 points per game over its last three outings. On the flip side, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings have come on strong during the second half of the season and have now covered the number in four straight matchups. Take note that while Minnesota is 10-1 ATS over its last 11 games played in the month of December, Miami is 0-5 ATS over its last five games played in the month of December.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Last week: 3-1-1

Season: 36-38-1 (.486)

Two weeks left for the Big Puma and I to get our squad above .500 so we can save some face entering the 2015 season. Here’s the rundown for Week 16:

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (+6.5) at Miami Dolphins
DETROIT LIONS (-6.5) at Chicago Bears
NEW YORK GIANTS (+4.5) at St. Louis Rams
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+8) vs. Seattle Seahawks
CINCINNATI BENGALS (+3) vs. Denver Broncos

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

START ‘EM UP

Kyle Orton, QB, Buffalo Bills (at Oakland): Orton hasn’t exactly set the league on fire since taking over for former first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel in Buffalo, but he has helped guide the Bills to an 8-6 record and an outside shot at a postseason appearance. Those of you who are jammed up at the quarterback position in Week 16 should give this guy a good, long look, as the Raiders just surrendered 297 passing yards and two touchdowns to game manager Alex Smith last Sunday. Knowing the Bills, this will be a tight game entering the fourth quarter, which means Orton should rack up plenty of passing attempts against a defense that is permitting an average of 27.2 points per game this season (30th in NFL).

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints (vs. Atlanta): Ingram has found the end zone just one time over his last six outings, but owners should expect that streak to come to a close Sunday against a dreadful Falcons defense that is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than any other team in the league (24.2 pts/gm). Not only is Atlanta the lone NFL defense giving up over 400 yards of offense to opponents this season (409.9 yds/gm), but this unit has also permitted six rushing touchdowns over its last three starts.

Kyle OrtonOrton has a tasty matchup on deck against the Oakland Raiders.

Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens (at Houston): Smith has found the end zone in two of his last four starts and should provide a solid stat line for owners Sunday in Houston against a Texans defense that currently ranks 26th in the NFL against the pass (257.1 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 26.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (third-most in NFL). In addition, be advised that the Houston secondary has permitted at least two touchdown passes in nine of its last 12 outings.

Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. NY Giants): The rookie from Auburn is purely a situational start based on his matchup, as the St. Louis offense can’t be trusted to move the football with any sort of regularity on a consistent basis. That being said, Week 16 offers up a tasty matchup for Mason against a Giants defense that currently ranks 30th in the NFL against the run (135.1 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 20.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (eighth-most in NFL). As a bonus, St. Louis has had ten days to get ready for this matchup.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington): Last Sunday’s home loss to the Cowboys has the Eagles on the outside looking in at the 2014 playoffs, which means this team needs to rally in a big way Sunday against a highly dysfunctional Washington Redskins team. With just two games remaining in the season, the Redskins are surrendering an average of 26.4 points per game on defense (28th in NFL) and 25.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (fifth-most in NFL). In addition, note that Maclin caught eight passes for 154 yards and a touchdown when these two squads got together back on September 21.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (at Pittsburgh): The two-year veteran has come on strong the last two weeks, catching 12 passes on 15 targets for 169 yards and a touchdown. Kelce has tremendous upside, but working within the limited confines of the Kansas City offense, it’s unclear if we’ll ever see the Cincinnati product hit his true ceiling. Either way, Week 16 presents a favorable matchup against a Pittsburgh defense that is surrendering an average of 8.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (eighth-most in NFL). Note that the Chiefs have made an effort to get this guy more involved in the offense over the last two weeks and it’s starting to pay dividends.

San Diego Chargers, D/ST (at San Francisco): Banged up and struggling, the San Diego defense enters a highly favorable matchup Sunday in Santa Clara against a 49ers offense that has scored 17 or fewer points in seven of its last eight games with 13 turnovers and 36 sacks. And with Jim Harbaugh on his way out the door and the team officially eliminated from playoff contention, motivation is an element that could be lacking come Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at San Francisco): Wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Ryan Mathews are out, the offensive line has been playing suspect football at best and Rivers has thrown just seven touchdown passes over his last seven starts. That makes for a bad combination of factors against a 49ers defense that is permitting an average of just 17.1 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (third-fewest in NFL).

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (vs. Baltimore): Foster is battling a hip injury and faces a Baltimore defense on Sunday that may stack eight defenders in the box in an effort to dare fourth-string quarterback Case Keenum to beat them through the air. And as if that wasn’t daunting enough, take note that the Ravens currently rank third in the NFL against the run (84.3 yds/gm) while surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (12.5 pts/gm).

Philip RiversRivers has thrown just seven touchdown passes over his last seven starts.

Michael Floyd & Larry Fitzgerald, WRs, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Seattle): This is a bad situation all the way around for the Arizona offense, as the Cardinals are now down to third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley thanks to injuries sustained by both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. In addition, this is without question the worst matchup on the board for Lindley, as the Seattle defense currently ranks first in the NFL against the pass (184.3 yds/gm) while giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the business (14.0 pts/gm). Owners need to activate Plan B in a hurry.

Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (vs. Detroit): Arguably the most underrated running back in the league, Forte has found the end zone just once over his last three starts and will be playing on an offense this Sunday led not by starting quarterback Jay Cutler, but by the highly unpredictable Jimmy Clausen. So not only is the signal-caller switch a huge blow to Forte’s overall value, but note that Detroit currently ranks first in the NFL against the run (63.8 yds/gm) while permitting an average of just 14.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fifth-fewest in NFL).

Michael Crabtree & Anquan Boldin, WRs, San Francisco 49ers (vs. San Diego): 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is in the midst of one of the worst regressions we’ve seen from a signal-caller in quite some time. The Nevada product is playing behind a terrible offensive line, has no confidence in himself and lacks the touch necessary to make some of the more complicated throws in the National Football League. As a result, the San Francisco offense has scored 17 or fewer points in seven of its last eight games and boasts a passing attack that ranks 28th in the NFL (198.7 yds/gm). No sense in starting either one of these receivers on championship weekend.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (vs. Cleveland): One of the few bright spots on the Carolina offense this season, Olsen has racked up 20 receptions on 24 targets for 182 yards and a touchdown over his last two starts. However, that stat line came against two of the worst defenses in the league in New Orleans and Tampa Bay and Week 16 offers up a much more challenging situation against a Cleveland Browns team that is permitting an average of just 5.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (fifth-fewest in NFL). Olsen isn’t the worst option on the board for Week 16, but his upside is severely limited.

Cincinnati Bengals, D/ST (vs. Denver): We like the Bengals to upset Denver Monday night in Cincinnati, but not enough to justify starting this defensive unit against Peyton Manning and breakout running back C.J. Anderson. Owners in need of a better option should look to Minnesota and Miami.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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NFP power rankings

It’s been a few weeks since our last installment of the NFP’s power numbers, so take note that the “previous ranking” section underneath each team refers to where that specific club was ranked back on October 30 and not last week. My apologies for the length of time in between updates.

It’s been a few weeks since our last installment of the NFP’s power numbers, so take note that the “previous ranking” section underneath each team refers to where that specific club was ranked back on October 30 and not last week. My apologies for the length of time in between updates.

Before anybody’s blood pressure shoots through the ceiling at the thought of having the 11-3 Arizona Cardinals in the ninth position, remember, these are not the NFL’s standings. With Carson Palmer done of the season and Drew Stanton battling a knee injury, Bruce Arians has turned the keys to the car over to a quarterback in Ryan Lindley who boasts a career passer rating of just 46.8. That type of downgrade/uncertainty definitely has an impact on where we view the Cardinals as a team today, which is the entire point of these rankings.

The numbers in brackets indicate each team’s Power Ranking, which is based on a scale of 60-100. These numbers can be used as a baseline to determine the point spread between any two teams on the list. Keep in mind that these numbers do not account for home field advantage, situational analysis (extra rest, back-to-back road games, divisional rivalries, etc), injuries, weather or public perception. They are merely to be used as a baseline for your initial analysis.

NFP power rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks [93.0]
Record:
10-4 (Won 17-7 vs. San Francisco)
Previous ranking: 88.0 (8)

2. New England Patriots [92.0]
Record:
11-3 (Won 41-13 vs. Miami)
Previous ranking: 90.0 (3)

3. Green Bay Packers [91.5]
Record:
10-4 (Lost 21-13 at Buffalo)
Previous ranking: 87.5 (T9)

4. Denver Broncos [91.0]
Record:
11-3 (Won 22-10 at San Diego)
Previous ranking: 92.0 (1)

5. Dallas Cowboys [89.5]
Record:
10-4 (Won 38-27 at Philadelphia)
Previous ranking: 89.5 (T4)

6. Indianapolis Colts [89.0]
Record:
10-4 (Won 17-10 vs. Houston)
Previous ranking: 88.5 (7)

T7. Detroit Lions [88.5]
Record:
10-4 (Won 16-14 vs. Minnesota)
Previous ranking: 86.5 (T12)

T7. Cincinnati Bengals [88.5]
Record:
9-4-1 (Won 30-0 at Cleveland)
Previous ranking: 87.0 (11)

T9. Philadelphia Eagles [88.0]
Record:
9-5 (Lost 38-27 vs. Dallas)
Previous ranking: 89.5 (T4)

T9. Arizona Cardinals [88.0]
Record:
11-3 (Won 12-6 at St. Louis)
Previous ranking: 90.5 (2)

T11. Baltimore Ravens [87.5]
Record:
9-5 (Won 20-12 vs. Jacksonville)
Previous ranking: 86.5 (T12)

T11. Pittsburgh Steelers [87.5]
Record:
9-5 (Won 27-20 at Atlanta)
Previous ranking: 85.0 (T16)

13. Kansas City Chiefs [87.0]
Record:
8-6 (Won 31-13 vs. Oakland)
Previous ranking: 86.0 (14)

14. San Diego Chargers [86.5]
Record:
8-6 (Lost 22-10 vs. Denver)
Previous ranking: 89.0 (6)

15. Buffalo Bills [85.5]
Record:
8-6 (Won 21-13 vs. Green Bay)
Previous ranking: 84.0 (T18)

T16. New Orleans Saints [85.0]
Record:
6-8 (Won 31-15 at Chicago)
Previous ranking: 85.0 (T16)

T16. Miami Dolphins [85.0]
Record:
7-7 (Lost 41-13 at New England)
Previous ranking: 85.5 (15)

18. San Francisco 49ers [84.5]
Record:
7-7 (Lost 17-7 at Seattle)
Previous ranking: 87.5 (T9)

19. Houston Texans [84.0]
Record:
7-7 (Lost 17-10 at Indianapolis)
Previous ranking: 84.0 (T18)

20. Minnesota Vikings [83.5]
Record:
6-8 (Lost 16-14 at Detroit)
Previous ranking: 81.5 (25)

T21. Cleveland Browns [83.0]
Record:
7-7 (Lost 30-0 vs. Cincinnati)
Previous ranking: 83.0 (T22)

T21. St. Louis Rams [83.0]
Record:
6-8 (Lost 12-6 vs. Arizona)
Previous ranking: 80.5 (27)

23. New York Giants [82.5]
Record:
5-9 (Won 24-13 vs. Washington)
Previous ranking: 83.5 (T20)

T24. Carolina Panthers [82.0]
Record:
5-8-1 (Won 19-17 vs. Tampa Bay)
Previous ranking: 83.5 (T20)

T24. Atlanta Falcons [82.0]
Record:
5-9 (Lost 27-20 vs. Pittsburgh)
Previous ranking: 81.0 (26)

25. Chicago Bears [81.5]
Record:
5-9 (Lost 31-15 vs. New Orleans)
Previous ranking: 83.0 (T22)

26. Washington Redskins [81.0]
Record:
3-11 (Lost 24-13 at NY Giants)
Previous ranking: 82.5 (24)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [79.5]
Record:
2-12 (Lost 19-17 at Carolina)
Previous ranking: 78.5 (T30)

T29. Oakland Raiders [79.0]
Record:
2-12 (Lost 31-13 at Kansas City)
Previous ranking: 78.0 (32)

T29. New York Jets [79.0]
Record:
3-11 (Won 16-11 at Tennessee)
Previous ranking: 79.0 (29)

T29. Jacksonville Jaguars [79.0]
Record:
2-12 (Lost 20-12 at Baltimore)
Previous ranking: 78.5 (T30)

32. Tennessee Titans [78.5]
Record:
2-12 (Lost 16-11 vs. NY Jets)
Previous ranking: 80.0 (28)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Las Vegas market report

The month of December means, among other things, the start of bowl season, which any decent analyst will tell you requires a thorough examination of which teams possess the key ingredient known as motivation. Every year we’re presented with a handful of matchups that pit teams overly excited for postseason play against schools that

The month of December means, among other things, the start of bowl season, which any decent analyst will tell you requires a thorough examination of which teams possess the key ingredient known as motivation. Every year we’re presented with a handful of matchups that pit teams overly excited for postseason play against schools that couldn’t care less about the hand they’ve been dealt.

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the same can be said about professional football, as there are numerous teams who have packed it in for 2014 and are already looking ahead to vacations in the Caribbean. Did you watch the Saints-Bears game on Monday night? Because that serves as a perfect example of a team with motivation fighting for a playoff spot (New Orleans) taking on a club that has already thrown in the towel on the season.

2014 SNAPSHOT

Home teams: 108-110-6 (.495)
Favorites: 107-111-6 (.490)
Home favorites: 73-76-4 (.489)
Home dogs: 35-34-2 (.507)
Overs: 107-116 (.479)

Detroit Lions (10-4, 3-3 road) at Chicago Bears (5-9, 2-5 home)

When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Detroit -4.5
Current: Detroit -6.5

Detroit in 2014: 7-7 ATS
Chicago in 2014: 5-9 ATS

Jay CutlerCutler and the Bears are already looking ahead to a postseason spent on the beach.

Analysis: This line skyrocketed from Detroit -4.5 on Sunday evening to Detroit -6.5 late Monday night thanks to another lifeless effort from manbaby Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. Losers of six of their last eight outings with only three point spread covers over their last 11 games, the Bears have officially packed it in for the 2014 campaign thanks to a locker room rift started by offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer that will contribute to the pending dismissal of head coach Marc Trestman. Meanwhile, the Lions seized control of the NFC North last Sunday with a win over Minnesota coupled with a Green Bay loss at Buffalo, so the motivation is there to keep the pedal to the metal. Detroit is cooking with gas right now (7-2 SU over last nine games) and is set up beautifully in Week 16 for a showdown with a Chicago team that is just 7-18-1 ATS over its last 26 home contests. This is a classic case of a highly motivated football team squaring off against a club that is already in the process of booking its postseason vacations.

Notable trends: Detroit is 8-3 ATS over its last 11 games against NFC North opposition while Chicago is 3-13 ATS over its last 16 games against NFC North opposition.

Baltimore Ravens (9-5, 4-3 road) at Houston Texans (7-7, 3-3 home)

When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Baltimore -3.5
Current: Baltimore -5.5

Baltimore in 2014: 7-6-1 ATS
Houston in 2014: 8-5-1 ATS

Analysis: Houston’s top three quarterback options (Ryan Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage) are unavailable for Week 16 due to injury, which leaves the Texans with either Case Keenum or Thad Lewis to take the wheel against a Baltimore defense that is surrendering an average of just 19.1 points per game this season (sixth-best in NFL). In addition, Houston’s loss at Indianapolis last Sunday gave the Colts the AFC South crown, so one has to question how much motivation the Texans will have for a showdown with a Ravens team that is currently postseason bound, but looking to improve its position via a divisional championship. One interesting angle for this matchup involves former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who currently runs the Baltimore offense, but is very familiar with Houston’s personnel. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens stack eight in the box on defense in an effort to shut down Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster while simultaneously daring either Keenum or Lewis to beat them through the air.

Notable trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS over the last five matchups between these two teams.

Indianapolis Colts (10-4, 4-2 road) at Dallas Cowboys (10-4, 3-4 home)

When: Sunday, 4:25pm ET
Open: Dallas -1
Current: Dallas -3

Indianapolis in 2014: 9-4-1 ATS
Dallas in 2014: 8-6 ATS

Andrew LuckLuck will operate with a banged-up receiving unit on Sunday.

Analysis: Wide receivers Reggie Wayne (triceps) and T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) are banged up and the Indianapolis defense is surrendering an average of 29.2 points per game on the road in 2014. Those are big concerns when you consider the fact that the Cowboys have successfully rebounded from their Thanksgiving Day loss to Philadelphia with back-to-back wins that came by scoring an average of 39.5 points per game. Dallas is clicking at the moment but doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses because the Eagles are still nipping at their heels. However, the Colts just wrapped up the AFC South title with last Sunday’s win over Houston, so one has to question whether or not the team will get up for a Week 16 matchup with a non-conference opponent. Either way, note that Indy is 8-3-1 ATS over its last 12 games overall while Dallas is 1-4 ATS over its last five home contests.

Notable trends: Indianapolis is 0-3-1 ATS over its last four games against teams with a winning record while Dallas is 1-4 ATS over its last five games after scoring more than 30 points in the previous contest.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-5, 3-3 road) at Washington Redskins (3-11, 2-4 home)

When: Saturday, 4:30pm ET
Open: Philadelphia -8.5
Current: Philadelphia -7.5

Philadelphia in 2014: 8-6 ATS
Washington in 2014: 4-10 ATS

Analysis: Chip Kelly is a perfect 3-0 (2-1 ATS) against the Redskins with an offense that has averaged 31.3 points per game against the team from our nation’s capital. But curiously enough, this line is moving against a Philadelphia club that is currently on the outside of the playoff picture thanks to last Sunday’s home loss to Dallas. We know the Eagles have plenty of motivation to get up and play big in Week 16, but what about this dysfunctional Redskins team that has dropped six straight by an average of 14.0 points per game, is rumored to be looking for yet another head coach and is 1-8 ATS over its last nine games following a loss? Be advised that the Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Washington.

Notable trends: The road team is 11-4-1 ATS over the last 16 meetings between these two teams.

Green Bay Packers (10-4, 3-4 road) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12, 0-6 home)

When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Green Bay -10
Current: Green Bay -10.5

Green Bay in 2014: 7-6-1 ATS
Tampa Bay in 2014: 6-8 ATS

Analysis: The first-glance analysis of this matchup would be to note that Tampa Bay is 0-6 at home this season and losing by an average of 9.3 points per game, while the Packers just let the NFC North lead slip through their fingertips thanks to an upset loss at Buffalo last Sunday. So one would think that Aaron Rodgers and company would stomp all over the Buccaneers defense with renewed vigor after laying an egg in Week 15, right? Well, it’s worth noting that Green Bay has had some trouble with this franchise in the past (3-9 ATS in last 12 vs. Tampa) and of Tampa Bay’s last nine losses, six have come by eight or fewer points. However, most of that last sentence loses its luster when you note that the Packers are 12-5 ATS over their last 17 road games while the Buccaneers are 15-35-1 over their last 51 home contests.

Notable trends: Green Bay is 3-9 ATS over its last 12 meetings with Tampa Bay.

Seattle Seahawks (10-4, 4-3 road) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3, 7-0 home)

When: Sunday, 8:30pm ET
Open: Seattle -7.5
Current: Seattle -8

Seattle in 2014: 7-6-1 ATS
Arizona in 2014: 10-4 ATS

"RussellWilson and the Seahawks are averaging just 19.8 points per game over their last five outings.

Analysis: Wait a minute, you’re telling me an 11-win team with the revenge angle is catching eight points at home in a game lined with a total of just 36 points? Well, that’s what happens when both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton are lost to injury, forcing Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to opt for a backup in Ryan Lindley who has started a grand total of just four games during his two-year career. Things are so bad at the QB position in Arizona right now that some knuckleheads are tying to make the case for 43-year-old Kurt Warner to come out of retirement. The thought process behind this line move is that a team with the league’s top-ranked defense that has won seven of its last eight matchups should have no problems handling a third-string quarterback. Just remember that Seattle is only averaging 19.8 points per game over its last five outings, which could make covering an 8-point line a tall order if Lindley finds a way to avoid turning the ball over.

Notable trends: Seattle is 2-6 ATS over its last eight trips to Arizona.

THE REST OF THE RUNDOWN

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams: From STL -5.5 to STL -5
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: From JAC -3 to JAC -3
San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers: From SF -2.5 to SF -2.5
Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins: From MIA -6.5 to MIA -6.5
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints: From NO -6.5 to NO -6.5
New England Patriots at New York Jets: From NE -10 to NE -10
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: From PIT -3 to PIT -3
Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers: NO LINE (Newton injury)
Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders: From BUF -5.5 to BUF -5.5
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals: From DEN -3.5 to DEN -3.5

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Into the fire

In what very well may go down as the worst professional quarterback performance of the 2014 season, assuming we’re no longer operating under the impression that Geno Smith is a professional quarterback, the Johnny Manziel rocket ship detonated on the launch pad Sunday against Cincinnati without lifting even so much as an inch off

In what very well may go down as the worst professional quarterback performance of the 2014 season, assuming we’re no longer operating under the impression that Geno Smith is a professional quarterback, the Johnny Manziel rocket ship detonated on the launch pad Sunday against Cincinnati without lifting even so much as an inch off the Earth’s surface. It was a horrific display of indecisiveness and ineffectiveness that resulted in just 10 of 18 completed passes for only 80 yards with two interceptions and zero points scored while marking Cleveland’s fourth loss in five games and signaling the end of the city’s hopes for a postseason berth.

It was also the 22-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner’s first career start.

This last part is of particular importance because of the reaction Manziel’s performance has solicited from both the fans and media. You’d think the 22nd overall pick in last May’s draft was an eight-year veteran and six-time Pro Bowler who just pulled a Chris Webber in the Super Bowl with the amount of backlash, criticism and “I told you so” nonsense that made its way into the air we breathe at such a breakneck speed.

Take this tweet from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, which was sent out into the vast abyss of the internet barely one hour into Manziel’s first career start:

“It’s officially awful right now for @JManziel2. Merrill Hoge is looking like a profit right now”

This is the type of overreaction that we can all do without, but is simultaneously necessary to both attract eyeballs and ignite debate, something Smith’s television show First Take excels at doing. Manziel is a hot topic, so simply employing some elementary level of patience while giving the rookie signal-caller a chance to grow over the course of a few weeks or, gasp, even months won’t move the meters. The Texas A&M product performed poorly on Sunday, so the natural conclusion of this day and age is that he must be a bust. There’s no other way to slice the pie.

Johnny ManzielManziel’s debut was terrible, but it was still only one game.

Let’s start with the fact that Cleveland made the right move by turning the keys to the car over to Manziel, as there are still some making the case that veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer and his 76.3 passer rating (31st in the NFL, one spot behind Oakland rookie Derek Carr) should be under center for the Browns. Why? The Cleveland Browns weren’t winning this season because of Hoyer, they were winning despite him. Prior to the passing of the torch to Manziel, Hoyer’s previous five starts had resulted in just one touchdown pass and eight interceptions. The bottom line is that the guy wasn’t getting it done and won’t be back in Cleveland next season, so whether the franchise was in the playoff race or not, the correct move was to get Manziel in the starting lineup so that he could get his feet wet and commence building a rapport with wide receiver Josh Gordon so the team could hit the ground running in 2015.

Let’s next acknowledge the fact that there was no way Cleveland was winning that football game on Sunday, regardless of who was under center. The AFC North-leading Bengals, a playoff team in four of the past five seasons, had this game circled on the calendar ever since they were embarrassed on their home turf in front of a national audience by the Browns back in early November. Cincinnati entered this contest having won three of its last four outings with a defense that was permitting just 20.6 points per game in 2014 (tenth in NFL). If there was ever a game where revenge played an integral role in the outcome, this was it.

But even though the franchise made the right call in opting for Manziel over Hoyer and despite the fact that this was a showdown the Browns were unlikely to win, the first-year signal-caller is still taking a Mayweather-like beating in the media for playing like a rookie quarterback who was making his first career start. Is it perhaps just the slightest bit possible that once again a drastic overreaction is taking place in regards to a situation that was both predictable and common amongst those thrust into a similar set of circumstances?

The heat Manziel took following Sunday’s loss was nowhere near the level of scrutiny paid to fellow rookie quarterbacks Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, all of whom have produced just as dreadful stat lines during their respective inaugural campaigns. But the difference between those three quarterbacks and Manziel is that neither Carr nor Bortles nor Bridgewater gave the media any ammunition with which to use against them when the going got tough. Remember, Manziel is the guy with the big ego, bad attitude and arrogant swagger. He’s an easy target and it’s largely his own fault. If anything, the former Heisman Trophy winner’s approach to his post-collegiate career should serve as a lesson in how not to act when you’ve yet to win anything at the professional level.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this is still a 22-year-old kid who was making his first career start against one of the best teams in the league. It was a poor performance with a disastrous result, but that doesn’t mean Manziel is a bust, just like a stellar outing and a win over Cincinnati wouldn’t have made Johnny Football the next Tom Brady.

Sometimes one game is simply that and nothing more.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Updated Super Bowl odds: Patriots back on top

It feels like a lifetime ago when the fans and national media alike had left Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for dead following a horrific 41-14 Monday night loss at Kansas City in which the future Hall of Fame quarterback threw for just 159 yards with two interceptions.

Fast

It feels like a lifetime ago when the fans and national media alike had left Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for dead following a horrific 41-14 Monday night loss at Kansas City in which the future Hall of Fame quarterback threw for just 159 yards with two interceptions.

Fast forward 11 weeks and the situation couldn’t have been further from the truth, as the Patriots have ripped off nine wins over their last ten games, have already put a bow on the AFC East and find themselves in a race with Denver and Indianapolis for the top overall seed in the AFC playoffs.

It just goes to show that maybe before we hit that little “tweet” button, we should re-think what’s being sent out into the abyss of the internet.

However, as the Patriots have surged, others have fallen. The San Francisco 49ers, a participant in each of the last three NFC Championship games, are no longer on the board at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook after being eliminated from postseason contention with Sunday’s 17-7 loss at Seattle. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers slipped from the Super Bowl favorite of 5/2 to 9/2 after being upset 21-13 at Buffalo this past weekend.

As for our early December value play (Baltimore), the Ravens have jumped from 40/1 to 30/1 now that John Harbaugh’s crew is in control of its own destiny.

Note: The odds in parenthesis indicate where each team was listed back on August 25.

New England Patriots: 5/2 (8/1)
Seattle Seahawks: 3/1 (9/2)
Green Bay Packers: 9/2 (10/1)
Denver Broncos: 5/1 (5/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 12/1 (75/1)
Arizona Cardinals: 16/1 (40/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 16/1 (20/1)
Detroit Lions: 20/1 (40/1)
Philadelphia Eagles: 25/1 (25/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 30/1 (25/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 30/1 (20/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 30/1 (20/1)
New Orleans Saints: 50/1 (7/1)
Carolina Panthers: 60/1 (60/1)
Kansas City Chiefs: 80/1 (50/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 100/1 (60/1)
San Diego Chargers: 100/1 (30/1)
Buffalo Bills: 200/1 (60/1)
Houston Texans: 500/1 (25/1)
Miami Dolphins: 500/1 (50/1)
Cleveland Browns: 1000/1 (100/1)

OFF THE BOARD

San Francisco 49ers (10/1)
Chicago Bears (20/1)
New York Giants (40/1)
Washington Redskins (50/1)
St. Louis Rams (75/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (100/1)
Tennessee Titans (100/1)
New York Jets (60/1)
Minnesota Vikings (100/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (200/1)
Oakland Raiders (100/1)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Start ’em, Sit ’em, Smash ’em

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.

WEEK 15 SURVIVOR PICKS

–At this point in the season, I really have no clue which teams you guys have left to use in survivor. So rather than throw out what will likely amount to repeat selections, hit me up on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh and we can talk it through from there. Best of luck!

FADE OF THE WEEK

Record: 6-7-1

Last week: Houston Texans (-4.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars (won)

This week: Cincinnati Bengals (+1) at Cleveland Browns

Analysis: Johnny Football gets the start, the Bengals get their revenge. Cincinnati was humiliated on their home turf by this Browns team on a Thursday night last month in a game in which Andy Dalton and company mustered just three points and 165 total yards of offense. After that wakeup call, the Bengals promptly ripped off three straight road victories to help re-claim the lead in the AFC North. This game has been circled on the calendar for Marvin Lewis and company November 6. Expect a different result this time around.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Last week: 2-3

Season: 33-37 (.471)

At this point, the Big Puma and I are simply playing for pride, assuming there is some left to be earned by closing strong over these final few weeks. In either case, here’s our card for Week 15:

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-6.5) vs. Houston Texans
NEW YORK GIANTS (-6.5) vs. Washington Redskins
BUFFALO BILLS (+4.5) vs. Green Bay Packers
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-10) vs. San Francisco 49ers
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

START ‘EM UP

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (at Philadelphia): The Dallas signal-caller is completing a staggering 69.1 percent of his passes this season (career-high) and is coming off a three-touchdown outing against the sinking ship known as the Chicago Bears. But the real upside here is twofold: First, Romo and the Cowboys are on ten days rest heading into a revenge game against a Philadelphia team that embarrassed the Cowboys in their own building back on Thanksgiving. Second, the Eagles currently rank 26th in the NFL in pass defense (258.1 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (second-most in NFL). The Las Vegas over/under for this rematch is set at 55.5, so expect to see some fireworks on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay): Stewart carried the ball a season-high 20 times last week in New Orleans in a breakout effort that resulted in 155 rushing yards and one score. Don’t look now, but the Oregon product is averaging an otherworldly 7.5 yards per carry over his last two outings, which were road dates at Minnesota and New Orleans. Look for another tasty stat line Sunday in Charlotte against a miserable Tampa Bay defense that currently ranks 20th in the NFL against the run (115.8 yds/gm) while permitting an average of 21.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (eighth-most in NFL).

Jonathan StewartWeek 15 offers up a great spot for Jonathan Stewart.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston): Moncrief has hauled in just 27 passes so far through his rookie campaign, but we have a feeling that the Mississippi product could be headed for a big outing in Week 15. Note that while Reggie Wayne is expected to play, the veteran Pro Bowler is dealing with a torn triceps and will likely prove to be highly ineffective against the Texans secondary. That leaves T.Y. Hilton as the other Indianapolis receiver, who has shredded Houston for 31 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns in five career meetings against the club. The Texans are all too familiar with this stat line, so expect Houston to roll safety help over the top of Hilton in an effort to neutralize the three-year veteran, opening up the field for Moncrief to make it rain. Take note that in addition to everything you just read, Houston is currently surrendering an average of 27.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (second-most in NFL).

Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Jacksonville): Considered nothing more than additional depth on an NFL depth chart prior to the start of the season, Forsett has taken every advantage afforded him in 2014 to rank third in the NFL in rushing with just three games to play (1,080 yards). Through his last four outings, the California product has amassed a healthy 471 rushing yards on 79 carries (5.96 YPC) with five trips to pay dirt. We expect the good times to continue Sunday against a Jacksonville defense that currently ranks 28th in the league against the run (132.5 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 22.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (sixth-most in NFL).

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Atlanta): Bryant is coming off a stellar performance against the Cincinnati Bengals (4-109-1) and by all accounts has moved ahead of Markus Wheaton on the Pittsburgh depth chart. This means more targets and more touches, which couldn’t come at a better time as the Steelers head to Atlanta on Sunday to challenge a Falcons defense that is on short rest, currently ranks dead last in the NFL against the pass (287.8 yds/gm) and is permitting an average of 26.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (fourth-most in NFL).

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans (vs. NY Jets): It’s a gamble simply because the Tennessee Titans are so damn bad, but Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets is definitely worth considering. The Titans will make the switch at quarterback from the injured Zach Mettenberger to Jake Locker, so the hope is that the Washington product checks down to his reliable tight end when things get dicey in the pocket. After all, the Jets are currently surrendering an average of 10.3 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (fourth-most in NFL).

Cleveland Browns, D/ST (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): The obvious choices (Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit) are all owned at a high percentage and thus, not worth mentioning. But for those of you looking to stream a widely available D/ST (34% owned in Yahoo! leagues) in Week 15, take a look at the Cleveland Browns. Mike Pettine’s crew is giving up an average of just 20.8 points per game this season (11th-best in NFL) and has already forced 26 turnovers (third in NFL). In addition, this is the same unit that held the Bengals to just three points and 165 total yards of offense in Cincinnati back on November 6. You could do worse.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati): There will be some highlights and there will be some lowlights in Manziel’s first career start, which comes against a revenge-minded Cincinnati defense that is permitting an average of just 18.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (seventh-fewest in NFL). Look for the former Heisman Trophy winner to pick up some quality yards with his feet, but to struggle through the air as the Bengals bring the heat. Not the worst of options on the board, but the final result won’t justify the hype.

All San Diego running backs (vs. Denver): Ryan Mathews (ankle) is banged up, Donald Brown has never lived up to his first-round billing and Branden Oliver has apparently fallen from grace after torching opposing defenses earlier this season. That’s a bad combination to feature when walking into a divisional rivalry against a Broncos defense that currently ranks second in the NFL against the run (72.8 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of just 14.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fifth-fewest in NFL). If Mathews plays, he won’t handle the full workload. If Mathews sits, Brown and Oliver will split the reps. Nothing good comes from this scenario.

Johnny ManzielAll eyes will be on Manziel Sunday in Cleveland.

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins (at New England): The warm weather Wallace has scored just one touchdown over his last four outings and has yet to top 81 receiving yards in a game this season, so it’s difficult to like his chances Sunday in New England against Darrelle Revis and the Patriots. This is a classic case of a guy who has failed to produce going up against extremely stiff competition, meaning there’s very little upside here.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (at Buffalo): Lacy has been an absolute beast over the second half of the season, but it’s worth mentioning that both the situation and the matchup in Week 15 warrant a tapering of expectations. For starters, the Packers are working on a short week and traveling to Buffalo to play a non-conference opponent. Second, the Bills currently rank eighth in the NFL against the run (99.2 yds/gm) while giving up an average of just 14.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (sixth-fewest in NFL). This isn’t a doomsday scenario for Lacy owners by any stretch, but it’s not going to be easy rolling up a gaudy stat line in this spot.

All San Francisco wide receivers (at Seattle): The 49ers have a banged up offensive line that has permitted 43 sacks this season (third-most in NFL), a quarterback with no confidence who is in the midst of a horrific regression (QB rating of 85.1, 23rd in NFL) and a Week 15 date in Seattle against the best and most aggressive defense in football. You’ve got two teams trending in opposite directions here and it’s only going to get worse for Niner Nation as their soon-to-be ex-head coach and struggling offense get taken behind the woodshed Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Stay away from everybody in red and gold this weekend.

Coby Fleener/Dwayne Allen, TEs, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston): They’re cutting into each other’s targets and face a Houston defense on Sunday that is surrendering an average of just 5.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (fifth-fewest in NFL). There are better options with more favorable upside out there (Larry Donnell, Delanie Walker).

Houston Texans, D/ST (at Indianapolis): The Texans currently rank fifth in fantasy scoring at the D/ST position, but this is not the week to ride with J.J. Watt and company. Andrew Luck has led the Colts to 25 or more points in each of the team’s last four outings against Houston, with a grand total of just three turnovers committed. In addition, the Colts are averaging a rock-solid 425.0 total yards and 29.5 points per game at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014, so you know the venue suits the situation.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Las Vegas market report

This is normally the spot reserved for our weekly college football betting primer, but unless you guys are looking for a breakdown of Friday night’s highly anticipated Tennessee-Chattanooga at New Hampshire matchup, the college card is a bit thin this week to warrant a full-on breakdown. So from now through the Super Bowl, we’ll

This is normally the spot reserved for our weekly college football betting primer, but unless you guys are looking for a breakdown of Friday night’s highly anticipated Tennessee-Chattanooga at New Hampshire matchup, the college card is a bit thin this week to warrant a full-on breakdown. So from now through the Super Bowl, we’ll dedicate Wednesdays to our NFL Las Vegas market report, with the college football primer returning just before the start of bowl season.

2014 SNAPSHOT

Home teams: 104-100-4 (.509)
Favorites: 100-104-4 (.490)
Home favorites: 70-70-2 (.500)
Home dogs: 34-30-2 (.531)
Overs: 104-103 (.502)

New York Jets (2-11, 0-6 road) at Tennessee Titans (2-11, 1-5 home)

When: Sunday, 4:05pm ET
Open: Tennessee -2
Current: New York -1.5

New York in 2014: 3-9-1 ATS
Tennessee in 2014: 3-9-1 ATS

Geno SmithGeno Smith and the Jets are laying points on the road?

Analysis: What does it say about the Tennessee Titans when a lousy, two-win New York Jets team that is 1-4-1 ATS in away games this season travels to Nashville as a 1.5-point road favorite? Embarrassing, to say the least, but the key to this 3.5-point line move has to do with the potentially season-ending shoulder injury sustained by Tennessee quarterback Zach Mettenberger, as well as the fact that the Titans have dropped seven straight contests, the last three of which have come by an average of 24.0 points per matchup. While the Jets are bad in virtually every phase of the game, the Titans are just 4-15-1 ATS over their last 20 games overall and an astounding 1-10-1 ATS over their last 12 home contests. The Jets may stink, but this is still a mildly competitive club that has dropped its last two outings by a combined nine points.

Notable trends: The Jets are 3-8-1 ATS over their last 12 games against teams with a losing record while the Titans are 7-18-1 over their last 26 games played in the month of December.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5, 4-3 road) at Atlanta Falcons (5-8, 3-3 home)

When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: PK
Current: Pittsburgh -2.5

Pittsburgh in 2014: 6-7 ATS
Atlanta in 2014: 6-7 ATS

Analysis: The Falcons are operating on a short week here having played on Monday night at Green Bay, but the real concern is the availability of superstar wide receiver Julio Jones (hip) who was injured late in Week 14 after torching the Green Bay secondary for a career-high 259 receiving yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions. Atlanta has virtually no running game to speak of (23rd in NFL), so the absence of Jones would deal a serious blow to Matt Ryan and a Falcons offense that is backed up by the worst defense in the National Football League (410.8 yds/gm). However, it’s imperative bettors note that this is a non-conference game for the Steelers that is taking place one week before a two-game home stand that will feature matchups with playoff contenders Kansas City and Cincinnati. It’s won’t be easy to lay points on an inconsistent Pittsburgh club that is just 2-5 ATS over its last seven games following a win.

Notable trends: The Steelers are 5-12 ATS over their last 17 games following a win of more than 14 points while the Falcons are 5-1 ATS over their last six games played in the month of December.

San Francisco 49ers (7-6, 4-3 road) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4, 5-1 home)

When: Sunday, 4:25pm ET
Open: Seattle -7.5
Current: Seattle -9.5

San Francisco in 2014: 6-7 ATS
Seattle in 2014: 7-6 ATS

Russell WilsonWilson and the Seahawks have owned the 49ers as of late.

Analysis: What was just recently considered to be the best rivalry in football has the potential to turn into a bloodbath Sunday afternoon as two teams heading in completely opposite directions square off at CenturyLink Field. With quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the midst of a horrific regression and head coach Jim Harbaugh likely headed to another team at the conclusion of the regular season, the 49ers are spiraling out of control at an alarming rate after getting blown out at home by this same Seahawks team on Thanksgiving before laying an egg against the 2-11 Raiders in Oakland last Sunday. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are peaking at just the right time, with six wins over their last seven contests, the last three of which have come by an average of 14.0 points per game. This Seattle front four should have its way with a San Francisco offensive line that is in shambles at the moment. Also note that the 49ers are 0-6 ATS over their last six meetings with the Seahawks and 1-5 ATS in their last six trips to Seattle.

Notable trends: The 49ers are 1-4 ATS over their last five games against teams with a winning record while the Seahawks are 20-7 ATS over their last 27 games against teams with a winning record.

Arizona Cardinals (10-3, 3-3 road) at St. Louis Rams (6-7, 3-3 home)

When: Thursday, 8:25pm ET
Open: St. Louis -3
Current: St. Louis -4.5

Arizona in 2014: 9-4 ATS
St. Louis in 2014: 7-6 ATS

Analysis: This is one of the most significant moves of the week as a 10-win Arizona team is traveling to St. Louis to play a six-win Rams team that is laying more than the customary three points for home field advantage. In fact, this game opened on the key number of three, but was hit early in the Rams’ favor, which should be sounding off the alarms to all who are in the vicinity. As to the reason for the move? For starters, the Cardinals have dropped two of their last three outings, barely got by Kansas City at home last Sunday and are averaging an anemic 12.6 points per game during that stretch. That’s largely due to the fact that quarterback Drew Stanton is completing only 54.5 percent of his passes on the season with just two touchdowns and three interceptions over his last three outings. Additionally, go back to the last time these two teams got together on November 9 and look at the box score. Despite a final of 31-14 in Arizona’s favor, St. Louis was trailing only 17-14 with just under eight minutes to play before a late meltdown paved the way for a Cardinals cover. As for St. Louis, note that the Rams have won four of their last six matchups, have pitched two consecutive shutouts (Oakland, at Washington) and have covered the number in four straight games.

Notable trends: The Cardinals are 0-4 ATS over their last four Thursday games while St. Louis is 1-4 ATS over their last five Thursday games.

Minnesota Vikings (6-7, 2-4 road) at Detroit Lions (9-4, 6-1 home)

When: Sunday, 1:25pm ET
Open: Detroit -7
Current: Detroit -8

Minnesota in 2014: 8-5 ATS
Detroit in 2014: 7-6 ATS

Calvin JohnsonCalvin Johnson and the Lions have smoked the competition over the last two weeks.

Analysis: Outside of Green Bay at Buffalo, this game has a really good chance of being the most heavily teased matchup of the week (Detroit from -8 to -2). The early money has come in on the Lions and pushed this line off the key number of 7 to -8, despite the fact that Minnesota has won four of its last six games while covering the number in six of its last seven contests overall. Why? For starters, take a good look at the Vikings’ record and you’ll notice that even though the team has been surging as of late, Minnesota is 0-5 this season against teams with a winning record while being outscored 130-57 (losing by an average of 14.6 pts/gm). That tells us Mike Zimmer and company can handle the league’s inferior competition (like a home overtime win over the Jets last Sunday), but struggle when stepping up in class. On the other side of the field stands the Lions, who have emerged victorious in six of their last eight outings which features back-to-back ass-kickings of the Bears (34-17) and Buccaneers (34-17). In addition, take note the Detroit is 5-1 ATS over its last six encounters with NFC North opposition.

Notable trends: The Vikings are 9-1 ATS over their last ten games played in the month of December while the Lions are 5-2 ATS over their last seven home games.

Houston Texans (7-6, 4-3 road) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4, 5-2 home)

When: Sunday, 1:00pm ET
Open: Indianapolis -7
Current: Indianapolis -6.5

Houston in 2014: 8-5 ATS
Indianapolis in 2014: 9-4 ATS

Analysis: While it’s only a half-point adjustment, this game features a line move off the key number of seven in the Texans’ favor, so it’s absolutely worth noting. These two teams got together in Houston back on October 9 with Andrew Luck and the Colts rolling up 456 yards of offense, yet barely hanging on to claim a 33-28 victory. Perhaps the thinking here is that it will be tough for Indy to knock off a feisty Texans team twice in the same season, or maybe it has to do with Houston trotting out one of the league’s best running back/defense combos, which is a style conducive to tight football games. Either way, it won’t be easy to fade a Colts squad that is 15-2 ATS over their last 17 games following an against the spread loss and 20-6 ATS over their last 26 home dates. Note that Indy will likely be a very popular six-point teaser play in Week 15 (from -6.5 to -.5).

Notable trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams, while the home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between these two teams.

THE REST OF THE RUNDOWN

Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills: From GB -6 to GB -5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: From CAR -5.5 to CAR -4.5 (Newton)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens: From BAL -12.5 to BAL -13.5
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: From KC -9.5 to KC -10
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers: From DEN -3.5 to DEN -4
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: From PK to PK
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots: From NE -7.5 to NE -7.5
Washington Redskins at New York Giants: From NYG -6.5 to NYG -6.5
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: From PHI -3.5 to PHI -3.5
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: From NO -3 to NO -3

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Be careful what you wish for

When a boat is taking on water, two options arise in regards to rectifying the situation: Assuming the resources exist, one can either patch the leak and attempt a journey to the nearest slice of dirt, or jump ship and hope for the arrival of the Coast Guard before it’s too late.

Despite

When a boat is taking on water, two options arise in regards to rectifying the situation: Assuming the resources exist, one can either patch the leak and attempt a journey to the nearest slice of dirt, or jump ship and hope for the arrival of the Coast Guard before it’s too late.

Despite a 7-6 record and a chance, albeit an infinitesimal one, of qualifying for the postseason, the San Francisco 49ers are taking on water at an alarming rate, a quandary that intensified Sunday afternoon following the team’s stunning 24-13 upset loss at Oakland. What was once a sea vessel of the most stunning magnitude has quickly transformed into a sinking slab of expensive parts no longer recognizable as the spectacular whole they used to comprise.

The problems in San Francisco range from inconsistent quarterback play to a middle-of-the-pack rushing attack, but at its very core involves a disconnect that pits CEO Jed York and General Manager Trent Baalke on one side of the divide and head coach Jim Harbaugh on the other. And due to an apparent unwillingness to secure the resources necessary to patch the leak, the 49ers appear headed for a swim in the frigid December temperatures of the nearby Pacific Ocean.

This is a grim situation for the 49ers franchise because head coaches like Jim Harbaugh are few and far between.

Jim HarbaughSince joining the 49ers in 2011, Harbaugh has won 71.6 percent of his regular season games.

In just under four seasons with the organization, the former Stanford head coach has compiled a regular season record of 43-17-1 (.716) and a postseason mark of 5-3 (.625) while guiding the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship game appearances and one trip to the Super Bowl. To put that into perspective, only the New England Patriots (47), Green Bay Packers (44) and Denver Broncos (44) have tasted victory more times in the regular season during that time span than the 49ers, with none of those clubs hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy since Harbaugh arrived in the Bay Area.

The past, however, is simply that and nothing more. What matters now is that the 49ers are preparing for life after Harbaugh because the two sides involved in this ever-growing rift have dug in their heels and opted to jump ship entirely rather than work quickly to identify the resources that may salvage a once great vessel.

This approach is no doubt alarming to the San Francisco faithful, who remember all too well what life was like in the eight years prior to the arrival of the “Captain Comeback.”

Before taking a chance on the hot-tempered, ultra competitive head coach from Stanford, the 49ers went eight seasons with neither a postseason appearance nor a winning record. From 2003-2010, this was a franchise that posted a 46-82 mark during the regular season (just three more wins than Harbaugh has produced in less than four years) under three head coaches (four, if you count Jim Tomsula’s two-game interim stint in 2010), each of whom was canned prior to reaching four full years with the organization. The 49ers were a model of both instability and inconsistency long removed from the legendary runs of the Bill Walsh and George Seifert eras.

Harbaugh, mind you, will be fine, as the soon-to-be 51-year-old will be rescued by his choice of more-than-willing vessels looking to snag one of the best and brightest in the business. In fact, Harbaugh’s resume speaks so loudly that he may not even have to hire a moving truck if the allure of the Silver & Black from across the bay turns out to be too much to pass up.

The 49ers, on the other hand, will cast aside a situation franchises like the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and several others would willingly embrace if it meant experiencing a run similar to the one San Francisco has enjoyed over the last four years.

Honestly, you don’t think the Buccaneers would trade out of their current situation for the “problems” San Francisco is dealing with at the moment, especially if it meant playing in three straight NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl?

Of course they would. Because winning trumps all and while the 49ers may not be winning at the same rate now as they have over the last three seasons, that body of work should be more than enough to overcome the issues that have distracted the team from enjoying continued success in 2014.

But right now, none of that matters in San Francisco because the 49ers aren’t looking to patch the hole, they’re looking to jump ship.

Even if that means waiting another eight years for the Coast Guard to arrive.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Updated Super Bowl odds: 49ers, Chiefs plummet

As the dust settled at O.co Coliseum Sunday afternoon shortly after the Oakland Raiders put the finishing touches on a 24-13 upset of Bay Area rival San Francisco, the harsh reality of life without a place in the postseason set in for the 49ers.

Entering Week 14 with a record of 7-5 and

As the dust settled at O.co Coliseum Sunday afternoon shortly after the Oakland Raiders put the finishing touches on a 24-13 upset of Bay Area rival San Francisco, the harsh reality of life without a place in the postseason set in for the 49ers.

Entering Week 14 with a record of 7-5 and listed at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook at a reasonable 30/1 to win this season’s Super Bowl, the 49ers plummeted to 100/1 after falling to a Raiders organization that claimed just its second victory of the season on Sunday.

Similar sentiments were felt to the south, where the Kansas City Chiefs—who entered Sunday’s clash at Arizona listed at 50/1 with a 7-5 record—lost a 17-14 heartbreaker to the Cardinals to drop to 200/1 on the Westgate board.

You’ll find the entire rundown of the Westgate’s updated Super Bowl odds below. As we mentioned last week, we like the value in playing the Baltimore Ravens at 40/1, who are currently 8-5 and finish the 2014 regular season vs. Jacksonville (Week 15), at Houston (Week 16) and vs. Cleveland (Week 17).

Note: The odds in parenthesis indicate where each team was listed back on August 25.

Green Bay Packers: 5/2 (10/1)
New England Patriots: 7/2 (8/1)
Seattle Seahawks: 7/2 (9/2)
Denver Broncos: 9/2 (5/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 16/1 (20/1)
Philadelphia Eagles: 16/1 (25/1)
Arizona Cardinals: 18/1 (40/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 18/1 (75/1)
Detroit Lions: 25/1 (40/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 40/1 (25/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 40/1 (20/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 40/1 (20/1)
New Orleans Saints: 40/1 (7/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 60/1 (60/1)
San Diego Chargers: 60/1 (30/1)
Carolina Panthers: 100/1 (60/1)
Houston Texans: 100/1 (25/1)
Miami Dolphins: 100/1 (50/1)
San Francisco 49ers: 100/1 (10/1)
Cleveland Browns: 200/1 (100/1)
Kansas City Chiefs: 200/1 (50/1)
Buffalo Bills: 300/1 (60/1)
Minnesota Vikings: 2000/1 (100/1)
St. Louis Rams: 2000/1 (75/1)

OFF THE BOARD

Chicago Bears (20/1)
New York Giants (40/1)
Washington Redskins (50/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (100/1)
Tennessee Titans (100/1)
New York Jets (60/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (200/1)
Oakland Raiders (100/1)

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Updated CFB title odds & opening lines

The inaugural four-team college football playoff is set. Whether you agree with the decision to select Ohio State over TCU and Baylor or not, the bottom line is that it’s time to start looking ahead to January 1.

Shortly after the playoff announcement was made on Sunday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released

The inaugural four-team college football playoff is set. Whether you agree with the decision to select Ohio State over TCU and Baylor or not, the bottom line is that it’s time to start looking ahead to January 1.

Shortly after the playoff announcement was made on Sunday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released their updated championship odds and opening point spreads, which you will find below.

CURRENT COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

Alabama Crimson Tide: Even
Oregon Ducks: 8/5
Ohio State Buckeyes: 7/1
Florida State Seminoles: 8/1

OPENING POINT SPREADS

Sugar Bowl: Alabama (-9.5) vs. Ohio State

Rose Bowl: Oregon (-8.5) vs. Florida State

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Start ’em, Sit ’em, Smash ’em

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.

WEEK 13 SURVIVOR PICKS

–At this point in the season, I really have no clue which teams you guys have left to use in survivor. So rather than throw out what will likely amount to repeat selections, hit me up on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh and we can talk it through from there. Best of luck!

FADE OF THE WEEK

Record: 5-7-1

Last week: Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) over Atlanta Falcons (loss)

This week: Houston Texans (-4.5 at MGM) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Analysis: Three cheers for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who won for just the second time this season and third time at home since the commencement of the Gus Bradley era with last Sunday’s 25-24 comeback victory over the reeling New York Giants. Now that we’ve got that little introduction out of the way, let’s talk about why the Houston Texans are going to cover the number in this football game. For starters, Houston has already forced an NFL-best 28 turnovers this season, while Jacksonville has given the ball away 24 times through just 12 games (24th in NFL). In addition, the Texans are 5-2 ATS over their last seven road games and 4-1 ATS over their last five outings against teams with a losing record. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is 3-10-2 ATS over its last 15 games overall and 17-36-1 ATS over its last 54 home dates.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Last week: 1-4

Season: 31-34 (.476)

Brutal two-week stretch for myself and the Big Puma that dealt a swift and decisive blow to any chance—no matter how absurd—we had of finishing in the money this season. We’ll be back with a revamped game plan in 2015, but for now the goal is to close out this campaign with as much gusto as possible.

HOUSTON TEXANS (-5.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-1) vs. Seattle Seahawks
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-12.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
DETROIT LIONS (-9.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TENNESSEE TITANS (PK) vs. New York Giants

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

START ‘EM UP

Kyle Orton, QB, Buffalo Bills (at Denver): The nine-year veteran’s numbers have taken a hit in recent weeks due largely to the fact that rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been playing with a hip injury, but we still feel strongly about Orton’s prospects in Denver on Sunday. For starters, there’s a good chance that Peyton Manning and the Broncos get out to an early lead on Buffalo, forcing Orton and the Bills to put the ball in the air at a frequent pace. In addition, the Denver defense is currently surrendering an average of 21.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (seventh-most in NFL), so it’s not as if this will be the stiffest challenge Orton has faced in 2014.

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions (vs. Tampa Bay): Come Sunday against the Buccaneers, Bell will be 10 days removed from a season-high 23-carry Thanksgiving day performance against the Chicago Bears that resulted in 91 rushing yards and two scores. Owners are advised to ride the 229-pound back for the second week in a row as Bell and the Lions challenge a Tampa defense that currently ranks 19th in the NFL against the run (116.0 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 20.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (10th-most in NFL).

Eddie LacyLacy should see 20+ carries against the Falcons on Monday night.

Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina): In the two games New Orleans has played since losing rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks (thumb) for the season, second-year pass-catcher Kenny Stills has hauled in 13 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown on a respectable 15 targets. Owners should anticipate another solid stat line from the Oklahoma product on Sunday against a Carolina defense that is leaking out 27.6 points per game (29th in NFL) while permitting an average of 25.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (eighth-most in NFL).

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (vs. Atlanta): The Alabama product has carried the ball a healthy 46 times over his last two games with trips to the end zone via the ground & pound in two of his last three starts. But what’s surprising here is that Lacy has become a big factor in the Green Bay passing attack as well, with 21 receptions and three scores over his last six contests. Look for another solid effort Monday night against an Atlanta Falcons defense that is currently permitting an average of 23.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-most in NFL). Lacy should become the beneficiary of plenty of second half rushing attempts courtesy of a sizeable Packers lead.

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions (vs. Tampa Bay): Despite his role as the No. 2 receiver in Detroit behind Pro Bowler Calvin Johnson, Tate currently ranks sixth in the NFL in both targets (116) and receptions (80). Additionally, the former Seattle Seahawk has been targeted at least ten times in seven of his last nine starts, so you know the opportunities will be there. That’s a big time plus in Week 14 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their leaking faucet of a secondary come to Ford Field having surrendered an average of 25.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (sixth-most in NFL).

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NY Jets): The Notre Dame product comes with limited upside due to the presence of inconsistent rookie signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater, but for those of you who failed to land one of the “Big Three” (Gronk, Graham, Thomas) back in August, Rudolph makes for a nice option in Week 14. For starters, the four-year veteran is averaging a respectable 5.5 fantasy points per game (standard scoring) since coming back from groin surgery. In addition, the New York Jets—who have quit on the season—are currently surrendering more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the business (11.0 pts/gm). Take note that Rudolph is currently still available in 44 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Minnesota Vikings, D/ST (vs. New York Jets): They’re currently available in 45 percent of Yahoo! leagues and play host to the Jets on Sunday. How much more analysis do you need?

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Cincinnati): Since Big Ben lit the league on fire with 12 touchdown passes spread out over two games, the two-time Super Bowl winner is averaging just 1.3 TD tosses per start with five interceptions and eight sacks. Expect more of the same Sunday against a Cincinnati defense that is currently surrendering an average of just 17.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (fifth-fewest in NFL). In addition, be advised that Roethlisberger has thrown for one or fewer touchdown passes in ten of his last 11 showdowns with the Bengals.

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins (vs. Baltimore): Miller has just one 100-yard rushing effort under his belt this season and has been limited to 15 or fewer carries in 11 of 12 outings this year. That’s not a good sign when entering a Week 14 showdown with a Baltimore Ravens defense that currently ranks fourth in the NFL against the run (86.2 yds/gm) while giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (12.7 pts/gm). For as bad as this Baltimore secondary has been in 2014 due to a variety of injuries, the Ravens’ run defense has performed admirably.

Ben RoethlisbergerCincinnati has Big Ben’s number.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (vs. New England): The second-year receiver out of Cal has been red hot over the last two weeks, catching 17 passes for 225 yards and three scores on 24 targets. But Week 14 against cornerback Darrelle Revis and the New England Patriots—who are coming off a loss at Green Bay—is a far greater challenge than what the highly suspect St. Louis and Baltimore secondaries offered. Take note that the Patriots are giving up an average of just 19.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (fourth-fewest in NFL).

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills (at Denver): Believe it or not, last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns was the first time in 2014 that Jackson carried the ball more than 12 times in a game (21 rushing attempts). Unfortunately for the eight-year veteran, those 21 carries resulted in just 70 yards with no touchdowns. Take a pass on Jackson and all of the other Buffalo running backs in Week 14 due to the fact that A) The Bills will likely be throwing all game in an effort to stay close to Peyton Manning and B) The Broncos defense is currently surrendering an average of just 14.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this year (fifth-fewest in NFL).

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Minnesota): The rookie from Texas A&M had found the end zone six times in four games prior to getting blanked (4-49-0) against the Bengals in Week 13. Unfortunately, we think Evans is in for more of the same Sunday at Minnesota against a Vikings defense that currently ranks sixth against the pass (219.1 yds/gm) while permitting an average of just 21.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (13th-fewest in NFL). Remember, Evans and the Buccaneers are a warm weather team heading outdoors for a very cold game December game.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (at New Orleans): The Panthers have quit on the season and Olsen hasn’t found the end zone since October 12 (six games). That’s a bad combination of factors when traveling to New Orleans to play a Saints defense that—despite looking absolutely hideous at times—is surrendering an average of just 5.0 fantasy points per contest to opposing tight ends this season (second-fewest in NFL).

Seattle Seahawks, D/ST (at Philadelphia): Seattle has held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in each of its last three outings with six turnovers and seven sacks. That’s an impressive run, but Week 14 offers up a different set of circumstances as the Seahawks have to travel across the country to face Chip Kelly’s well-rested Eagles team. Take note that Philadelphia has won ten straight matchups at home while scoring an average of 35.6 points per game.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Week 15 college football betting primer

Bowl season can’t come soon enough as the 2014 college football campaign is about to put a bow on the impressive ass-kicking it handed me over the last three months. This week’s card features a mix of dogs and favorites, most likely in the incorrect order.

Last week: 1-5

Season:

Bowl season can’t come soon enough as the 2014 college football campaign is about to put a bow on the impressive ass-kicking it handed me over the last three months. This week’s card features a mix of dogs and favorites, most likely in the incorrect order.

Last week: 1-5

Season: 33-46 (.417)

Central Florida Knights (8-3, 2-2 road) at East Carolina Pirates (8-3, 5-0 home)

When: Thursday, 7:30pm ET
Open: East Carolina -5.5
Current: East Carolina -7 (Westgate)

Central Florida in 2014: 7-4 ATS, 6-5 to the UNDER
East Carolina in 2014: 5-6 ATS, 6-5 to the UNDER

<p> Analysis: In Central Florida’s 15 losses suffered since 2011, ten have come by seven or fewer points, with two of the larger defeats coming at the hands of a 14th-ranked Ohio State team and 20th-ranked Missouri club. This is a strong Knights defense that is surrendering an average of just 166.2 passing yards per game this season with only 12 aerial touchdowns permitted. Keep that in mind when you consider the fact that the strength of the ECU offense is the passing game, as the Pirates are averaging 364.6 passing yards per contest in 2014 with 26 touchdowns. In addition, Central Florida is 4-1 ATS over its last five showdowns with East Carolina and 4-1 ATS over its last five games overall, while ECU has covered the number just one time over its last seven outings.

Notable trends: Central Florida is 6-0 ATS over its last six games played on a Thursday while East Carolina is 0-4 ATS over its last four games played on a Thursday.

Pick: Central Florida (+7)

Bowling Green Falcons (7-5, 3-3 road) at Northern Illinois Huskies (10-2, 4-1 home)

When: Friday, 7:00pm ET
Open: Northern Illinois -6
Current: Northern Illinois -6 (Westgate)

Bowling Green in 2014: 4-7-1 ATS, 7-5 to the UNDER
Northern Illinois in 2014: 6-6 ATS, 9-3 to the UNDER

Analysis: This is a rematch of last year’s MAC title game in which a 47-27 upset win for the Falcons crushed Northern Illinois’ dreams of a BCS bowl game (NIU was 12-0 entering the MAC Championship) while simultaneously ending the Huskies’ 25-game conference winning streak. So it’s safe to say that Northern Illinois will have revenge on its mind when these two get together Friday at Ford Field in Detroit. NIU enters the conference championship with a turnover differential of +10 while having won six straight contests by an average of 7.5 points per game. Meanwhile, Bowling Green heads to Detroit having lost two-straight to Toledo and Ball State, who are a combined 13-11 on the season.

Notable trends: Bowling Green is 2-6-1 ATS over its last nine games on turf while Northern Illinois is 7-3 ATS over its last ten games following an against the spread win.

Pick: Northern Illinois (-6)

#7 Arizona Wildcats (10-2, 4-1 road) at #2 Oregon Ducks (11-1, 6-1 home)

When: Friday, 9:00pm ET
Open: Oregon -13.5
Current: Oregon -14 (MGM)

Arizona in 2014: 5-7 ATS, 8-4 to the UNDER
Oregon in 2014: 8-4 ATS, 6-5-1 to the OVER

Marcus MariotaUS PRESSWIREMarcus Mariota is one game away from the Heisman Trophy and college football playoffs.

Analysis: Oregon’s lone defeat of the 2014 season—a loss, mind you, that many thought would derail the Ducks’ national championship hopes—came against this very same Arizona squad that became just the third team to win at Autzen Stadium since 2009 (USC and Stanford are the others). Since that setback, the Ducks have been destroying the competition, winning and covering seven straight contests by an average of 24.2 points per game. The Wildcats have had a mighty fine season under head coach Rich Rodriguez, but while they were gutting out a 42-35 win over in-state rival Arizona State last Saturday, Oregon was cruising to a 47-19 victory over Oregon State. In addition, take note the Arizona is just 1-7 ATS over its last eight games played on grass while Oregon is 14-3 ATS over its last 17 games played on grass.

Notable trends: Arizona is 3-9 ATS over its last 12 games following a win while Oregon is 20-7 ATS over its last 27 games following a win.

Pick: Oregon (-14)

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-4, 4-3 road) at Marshall Thundering Herd (11-1, 5-1 home)

When: Saturday, 12:00pm ET
Open: Marshall -12
Current: Marshall -12.5 (Wynn)

Louisiana Tech in 2014: 9-3 ATS, 8-3-1 to the OVER
Marshall in 2014: 8-4 ATS, 7-5 to the OVER

Analysis: Marshall’s dreams of a perfect season and marquee bowl game evaporated faster than summer sweat in the southern Nevada desert last Saturday following a 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky. So with their bubble having officially been popped, will the Thundering Herd even bother to show up for this one? That’s an important question to ask because we know Louisiana Tech, who is 20-7 ATS over its last 27 road games, will be coming to play seeing as how this is the school’s first-ever appearance in the Conference USA title game. We’ll take the points here.

Notable trends: Louisiana Tech is 16-5 ATS over its last 21 road games against teams with a winning home record.

Pick: Louisiana Tech (+12.5)

#4 Florida State Seminoles (12-0, 5-0 road) at #11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-2, 5-1 home)

When: Saturday, 8:00pm ET
Open: Florida State -4
Current: Florida State -4 (Westgate)

Florida State in 2014: 3-9 ATS, 8-4 to the UNDER
Georgia Tech in 2014: 8-4 ATS, 6-6 to the OVER

Analysis: Interestingly enough, Florida State’s current 28-game winning streak began on December 1, 2012 with a 21-15 victory over, you guessed it, Georgia Tech. But this Seminoles team has been living on borrowed time, with four of the school’s last five wins coming by five or fewer points. In addition, while Florida State and turnover-prone quarterback Jameis Winston are 3-10 ATS over their last ten games overall, Georgia Tech, fresh off an upset of SEC school Georgia, has covered the number in five straight contests. Also worth noting is the fact that the Yellow Jackets are 3-0-2 ATS over their last five meetings with the Seminoles.

Notable trends: Florida State is 3-9 ATS over its last 12 games following a win while Georgia Tech is 4-0 ATS over its last four conference games.

Pick: Georgia Tech (+4)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Updated Super Bowl odds: Packers claim top spot

In a Week 13 showdown many pegged as a Super Bowl preview, the Green Bay Packers’ 26-21 win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots vaulted the NFC North leaders to the top of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s odds board.

Green Bay, which was available for purchase at 10/1 at the

In a Week 13 showdown many pegged as a Super Bowl preview, the Green Bay Packers’ 26-21 win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots vaulted the NFC North leaders to the top of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s odds board.

Green Bay, which was available for purchase at 10/1 at the end of August, now resides at 5/2 and one spot above the New England Patriots (7/2). Super Bowl XLVIII participants Denver (4/1) and Seattle (5/1) follow close behind, with Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles nipping at their respective heels at 12/1.

Through 13 weeks, the biggest movers up the board include the Arizona Cardinals (40/1 to 20/1) and Dallas Cowboys (75/1 to 30/1) while the biggest fallers category features Carolina (60/1 to 1000/1) and Pittsburgh (20/1 to 80/1).

The entire rundown can be found below. As for our current list of value plays, we’d take a close look at Baltimore (40/1).

Note: The odds in parenthesis indicate where each team was listed back on August 25.

Green Bay Packers: 5/2 (10/1)
New England Patriots: 7/2 (8/1)
Denver Broncos: 4/1 (5/1)
Seattle Seahawks: 5/1 (9/2)
Philadelphia Eagles: 12/1 (25/1)
Indianapolis Colts: 18/1 (20/1)
Arizona Cardinals: 20/1 (40/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 20/1 (20/1)
New Orleans Saints: 20/1 (7/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 30/1 (75/1)
Detroit Lions: 30/1 (40/1)
San Diego Chargers: 30/1 (30/1)
San Francisco 49ers: 30/1 (10/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 40/1 (25/1)
Miami Dolphins: 40/1 (50/1)
Kansas City Chiefs: 50/1 (50/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 80/1 (20/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 100/1 (60/1)
Cleveland Browns: 100/1 (100/1)
Buffalo Bills: 200/1 (60/1)
Houston Texans: 300/1 (25/1)
Carolina Panthers: 1000/1 (60/1)
Chicago Bears: 2000/1 (20/1)
Minnesota Vikings: 2000/1 (100/1)
St. Louis Rams: 2000/1 (75/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9999/1 (100/1)

OFF THE BOARD

New York Giants (40/1)
Washington Redskins (50/1)
Tennessee Titans (100/1)
New York Jets (60/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (200/1)
Oakland Raiders (100/1)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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The fantasy waiver wire report

For those of you reading this article, I’d like to extend a hand in congratulations, as you’ve likely secured a spot in the fantasy postseason. But while qualifying for the playoffs is half the battle, now the real work begins. The fantasy postseason is a different beast as the bottom-feeders have been eliminated and

For those of you reading this article, I’d like to extend a hand in congratulations, as you’ve likely secured a spot in the fantasy postseason. But while qualifying for the playoffs is half the battle, now the real work begins. The fantasy postseason is a different beast as the bottom-feeders have been eliminated and you no longer have the luxury of facing an opponent who starts three players on a bye. Each roster decision must have merit and every waiver wire acquisition must serve a purpose, if only to block your competition from upgrading their respective rosters.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most talked-about available players entering Week 14.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Seattle, owned in 53% of Yahoo! leagues): How is it that Sanchez, who has thrown for over 300 yards in three of four starts this season, is still available in nearly half of all Yahoo! leagues? At the very least, playoff-bound owners should be scrambling to add the Philly signal-caller as a QB2 insurance policy for whichever stud is currently handling the starting duties. Take note that after Sunday’s showdown with Seattle, Sanchez and the Birds host Dallas before hitting the road to play the Redskins and Giants.

Colt McCoy, Washington Redskins (vs. St. Louis, owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues): The switch from the inconsistent and much-maligned RG3 to McCoy in Week 13 led to a massive surge in offensive production for the Redskins, as Jay Gruden’s squad racked up 425 total yards and 27 points in a 49-27 loss to the Colts. As for McCoy, the journeyman quarterback completed 66.0 percent of his passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Through three appearances this season, McCoy now boasts a QB rating of 113.5 with four touchdowns, one interception and a completion percentage of 75.3 percent.

Johnny ManzielIs Pettine ready to turn the keys over to Manziel?

Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Tennessee, owned in 59% of Yahoo! leagues): The Titans just put a bow on a defensive performance that included 358 passing yards and six touchdowns surrendered to Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who not too long ago was benched in favor of backup Ryan Mallett. If Fitzpatrick was capable of shredding this ready-for-the-offseason defense, think of what Eli could produce given the fact that the Giants are coming off a humiliating defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars? Risky? Sure. But the Titans are currently surrendering an average of 20.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (12th-most in NFL).

Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (vs. Indianapolis, owned in 13% of Yahoo! leagues): Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer was benched Sunday in Buffalo after throwing three interceptions in a crucial showdown with the Bills, giving the Cleveland signal-caller five picks with no touchdown passes over his last two outings. That was enough for rookie head coach Mike Pettine, who made the switch to Manziel in the fourth quarter and was rewarded with 63 passing yards, 13 rushing yards and a touchdown in a matchup that ended 26-10 in favor of the home team Bills. Be advised that Pettine has yet to name a starting quarterback for Sunday’s home date with Indianapolis, but also keep in mind that the Colts are permitting an average of 20.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (tenth-most in NFL). What makes Manziel so appeal is the rookie’s ability to rack up fantasy points with his feet. Total boom or bust prospect right here.

RUNNING BACKS

Boom Herron, Indianapolis Colts (at Cleveland, owned in 47% of Yahoo! leagues): It became clear after a Sunday encounter with the Redskins that former top-3 draft pick Trent Richardson has once again lost his hold on the starting job, this time to Ohio State product Herron who picked up 88 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries compared to T-Rich’s 12 yards on the same amount of rushing attempts. Herron is now averaging a rock-solid 7.65 yards per carry over his last two outings and, as a result, should be in line for a bigger share of the workload moving forward. Just be sure to note that the Browns are surrendering an average of just 18.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (15th-most in NFL).

Michael Bush, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Kansas City, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): Starting running back Andre Ellington was knocked out of Sunday’s game at Atlanta with a hip pointer, will not practice on Wednesday and could miss the Cardinals’ Week 14 showdown with the Chiefs as a result. That would open the door for either the newly-acquired Bush or rookie Marion Grice to take charge by handling the bulk of Arizona’s backfield responsibilities. At the very least, look for the 245-pound Bush to handle the goal line and short yardage work this weekend.

Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (at Oakland, owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues): San Francisco currently ranks 12th in the NFL in rushing (114.8 yds/gm) and has a very favorable matchup this Sunday with crosstown rival Oakland, who is currently surrendering more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (24.7 pts/gm). Be advised that the rookie from Ohio State has only carried the ball 75 times this season, but this is more of a recommendation for dynasty and keeper league owners, as it’s very unlikely that longtime ball-carrier Frank Gore is back with the Niners in 2015.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Detroit, owned in 46% of Yahoo! leagues): Don’t be fooled by what you saw Sunday against Cincinnati. Yes, Martin rushed for a season-high 58 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 18 carries in Week 13, but this performance was more the exception than the rule. In fact, Martin is on this list strictly so we could advise fantasy owners to stay away from him, especially when you consider the fact that Tampa is traveling to Detroit this weekend to face a Lions defense that is permitting an average of just 15.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (seventh-fewest in NFL).

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina, owned in 42% of Yahoo! leagues): In two outings since rookie receiver Brandin Cooks was lost for the season, Stills has caught fire by pulling in 13 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. Not only is the Oklahoma product worthy of a roster spot, but this guy should be in your starting lineup in Week 14 when he and the Saints host a Panthers defense that is currently surrendering an average of 25.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (eighth-most in NFL).

Kenny StillsStills has caught fire since Cooks was lost for the season.

Jarvis Landy, Miami Dolphins (vs. Baltimore, owned in 41% of Yahoo! leagues): The rookie from LSU has been targeted ten or more times in three of his last four starts with three touchdowns over his last three outings. But what’s really enticing about Landry is the fact that quarterback Ryan Tannehill is currently playing his best football since turning pro in 2012 and is opting to look Landry’s way more frequently than the high-priced Mike Wallace. In addition, Miami plays host to a banged-up Baltimore secondary on Sunday that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season than any other team in the business (29.0 pts/gm).

Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans (vs. NY Giants, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): Limited upside here, but note that starting wide receiver Justin Hunter will likely miss Sunday’s game against the Giants due to a lacerated spleen suffered in Week 13 against the Texans. That opens the door for more targets for the speedy Washington, who has found the end zone in two of his last three outings.

Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills (at Denver, owned in 7% of Yahoo! leagues): With rookie first-round selection Sammy Watkins struggling, Woods has very quietly elevated his game over the last two weeks by catching 13 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown on a healthy 18 targets. The upside here includes the fact that Watkins is currently battling a hip injury and Sunday’s matchup at Denver opens up the door for a plethora of garbage time statistics.

John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Kansas City, owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues): The rookie from Pittsburg State has turned 28 targets over his last four outings into a respectable 15 receptions for 243 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers aren’t about to set the world on fire, but Brown is a big-play deep threat who is always one catch away from making your entire fantasy week. Currently recommended as a WR3/4 for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Charles Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NY Jets, owned in 18% of Yahoo! leagues): The Grand Valley State product was on the field for 49 of Minnesota’s 50 offensive snaps in Week 13, lending more credibility to the notion that he has become the Vikings’ top receiver. Granted, Johnson caught just two passes for 41 yards on four targets against the Panthers in Week 13, but he does have a tasty matchup with a New York Jets secondary on Sunday that is currently surrendering an average of 24.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (12th-most in NFL).

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. Atlanta, owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues): An inconsistent producer due to the presence of established playmakers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the rookie from Fresno State is coming off a career performance that included six receptions for 121 yards on 11 targets. While it’s tough to roll with Adams in the starting lineup due to a lack of targets (4.5 per game), be advised that Monday night’s home date comes against a horrific Atlanta Falcons secondary that is permitting an average of 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (fifth-most in NFL).

Stedman Bailey, St. Louis Rams (at Washington, owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues): The second-year receiver out of West Virginia followed up last week’s bust-out performance (7-89-1) with another solid effort that included five receptions for 100 yards on just six targets in Week 13 against the Raiders. While we’re still a bit hesitant to jump on this train due to the fact that this is still the St. Louis Rams we’re talking about here, be advised that Bailey’s Week 14 showdown comes against a reeling Washington club that is surrendering an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (seventh-most in NFL).

TIGHT ENDS

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (vs. St. Louis, owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues): If only this guy could stay healthy! Reed’s athleticism was on full display in his return to the gridiron Sunday against the Colts as the oft-injured second-year tight end out of Florida hauled in nine passes for 123 yards on 11 targets to stake his claim as one of new quarterback Colt McCoy’s favorite weapons. If you’re an owner who failed to nab one of the Big 3 (Graham, Gronkowski, Thomas) back in August, Reed is worth serious consideration for your TE1 spot.

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NY Jets, owned in 54% of Yahoo! leagues): The Notre Dame product has a limited ceiling due to the growing pains that will sometimes plague rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but Rudolph nabbed three receptions for 50 yards in Week 12 and then caught two passes for seven yards and a touchdown this past Sunday against the Panthers. Not exactly the type of production that will propel your team to the fantasy championship, but stable if you’ve been hit by the injury bug at the TE position.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Minnesota Vikings (vs. NY Jets, owned in 27% of Yahoo! leagues): The Vikings have notched 16 sacks through just six home games this season, but more importantly, this unit plays host to Geno Smith and a New York Jets team that currently ranks 29th in the NFL in total offense (311.5 yds/gm), 30th in scoring (15.8 pts/gm) and 20th in turnovers (20). This will likely be the most aggressively targeted D/ST on waivers this week.

Green Bay Packers (vs. Atlanta, owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues): Not the best unit in the league, but you have to love this matchup as Matt Ryan and the soft as pudding Atlanta Falcons leave the cozy confines of the Georgia Dome to travel north for an outdoor Monday night road date at Lambeau Field. The situation alone dictates this squad be inserted into your starting lineups immediately.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Updated CFB championship odds: Only 12 remain

Only six meaningful games remain on the 2014 college football schedule as it pertains to the race for the sport’s ultimate prize.

Landon CollinsLandon Collins and the Crimson Tide are your 5/4 favorite entering the SEC championship game.

After defeating Auburn 55-44 last Saturday, the only

Only six meaningful games remain on the 2014 college football schedule as it pertains to the race for the sport’s ultimate prize.

Landon CollinsLandon Collins and the Crimson Tide are your 5/4 favorite entering the SEC championship game.

After defeating Auburn 55-44 last Saturday, the only thing left standing between current favorite Alabama and college football’s inaugural four-team playoff is an SEC championship game date with the Missouri Tigers (25/1). Meanwhile, the Oregon Ducks (5/2) will square off Friday night against the Arizona Wildcats (40/1) while the TCU Horned Frogs (4/1) conclude their impressive 2014 campaign with a home date against Iowa State.

Speaking of TCU, the Horned Frogs opened the season at a lofty 200/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook before ripping off ten wins in 11 games to climb to 4/1 and what looks like a spot in the playoff.

Below you’ll find the college football playoff rankings as they were entering last weekend’s slate of action along with the full rundown of odds for the 12 teams still listed on the Westgate’s board.

CFB PLAYOFF RANKINGS ENTERING LAST SATURDAY

1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Oregon Ducks
3. Florida State Seminoles
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
5. TCU Horned Frogs
6. Ohio State Buckeyes
7. Baylor Bears
8. UCLA Bruins
9. Georgia Bulldogs
10. Michigan State Spartans
11. Arizona Wildcats
12. Kansas State Wildcats
13. Arizona State Sun Devils
14. Wisconsin Badgers
15. Auburn Tigers
16. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
17. Missouri Tigers
18. Minnesota Golden Gophers
19. Mississippi Rebels
20. Oklahoma Sooners
21. Clemson Tigers
22. Louisville Cardinals
23. Boise State Broncos
24. Marshall Thundering Herd
25. Utah Utes

FULL RUNDOWN FROM THE WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK

Alabama Crimson Tide: 5/4 (Open: 5/1)
Oregon Ducks: 5/2 (Open: 5/1)
TCU Horned Frogs: 4/1 (Open: 200/1)
Baylor Bears: 8/1 (Open: 20/1)
Florida State Seminoles: 10/1 (Open: 5/2)
Ohio State Buckeyes: 15/1 (Open: 12/1)
Missouri Tigers: 25/1 (Open: 60/1)
Wisconsin Badgers: 30/1 (Open: 25/1)
Arizona Wildcats: 40/1 (Open: 100/1)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: 40/1 (Open: 300/1)
Kansas State Wildcats: 40/1 (Open: 60/1)
Mississippi State Bulldogs: 100/1 (Open: 100/1)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Start ’em, Sit ’em, Smash ’em

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.

WEEK 13 SURVIVOR PICKS

–At this point in the season, I really have no clue which teams you guys have left to use in survivor. So rather than throw out what will likely amount to repeat selections, hit me up on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh and we can talk it through from there. Best of luck!

FADE OF THE WEEK

Record: 5-6-1

Last week: Green Bay Packers (-9) over Minnesota Vikings (loss)

This week:</strong> Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Analysis: Losers of six of their last eight, the Falcons and game management nightmare Mike Smith have dropped three straight home contests and are the proud owners of the NFL’s worst defense. Playing behind one of the league’s most porous offensive lines, quarterback Matt Ryan has already been sacked 23 times this season (12th-most in NFL) and will be under heavy duress Sunday against an Arizona defense that is in a great bounce-back spot following last week’s 19-3 loss at Seattle. Yes, Arizona is traveling to the east coast for this one, but be advised that this game will start at 4:05pm eastern, which helps to combat the time zone difference. In addition, note that Arizona is 7-2 ATS over its last nine road games while Atlanta is 2-6 ATS over its last eight contests overall.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Last week: 2-3

Season: 30-30 (.500)

Stop traffic, but the Big Puma and I have a finalized card to share with you guys this week:

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-9.5) vs. Washington Redskins
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-4.5) vs. New Orleans Saints
ARIZONA CARDINALS (-2.5) at Atlanta Falcons
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+1.5) vs. Denver Broncos
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-6.5) at New York Jets

START ‘EM UP

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins (at NY Jets): Tannehill’s in the midst of the finest season of his three-year professional career, with a 66.1 percent completion percentage and 93.4 QB rating through 11 starts. In addition, the Texas A&M product has tossed two or more touchdown passes in three of his last four starts and has completed over 70.0 percent of his attempts in each of his last four outings. Not only is Tannehill running hot at the moment, but the Miami signal-caller has the luxury of a Week 13 date with a disintegrating New York Jets squad that is currently surrendering an average of 23.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (second-most in NFL). We love Miami to roll in this spot.

Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. NY Giants): Over his last five starts, Robinson is averaging a healthy 19.0 touches per game with four trips to the end zone. But few outside the fantasy world have noticed the former Michigan quarterback’s rise to the top of the Jaguars’ depth chart at the running back position. However, savvy owners quick enough to land Robinson off waivers have been handsomely rewarded for their foresight and will once again reap a solid return on their investment Sunday when Shoelace and the Jaguars take on a New York Giants defense that currently ranks 31st in the NFL against the run (142.6 yds/gm) while permitting an average of 23.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-most in NFL).

Ryan TannehillUS PRESSWIREA date with the New York Jets gives Tannehill one of the best matchups on the board for Week 13.

Michael Floyd & John Brown, WRs, Arizona Cardinals (at Atlanta): Coming off a disappointing 19-3 loss at Seattle last Sunday, you know we’re going to get a quality effort from Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. The good news here for the Arizona offense and, specifically, wide receivers Michael Floyd and John Brown, is that the Falcons and their shoddy secondary currently rank dead last in the NFL against the pass (284.1 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 26.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (fourth-most in NFL). Those of you who play in deep daily fantasy league tournaments should also keep a close eye on quarterback Drew Stanton.

Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. Oakland): While the Auburn product has only found the end zone once this season, Mason is averaging a dependable 19.0 rushing attempts per game over his last four starts, one of which resulted in an impressive 113-yard effort against defending AFC Champion Denver. The upside here is relatively limited, but those looking for a good flex play in Week 13 should seriously consider starting Mason, as the Oakland Raiders currently rank 25th in the NFL against the run (126.7 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 22.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fourth-most in NFL).

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. New Orleans): The rookie from Clemson has found the end zone six times through five games this season and is averaging a staggering 20.1 yards per reception on the year. This kid is a home run hitter who should take at least one big play to the house Sunday against a banged up New Orleans defense that currently ranks 23rd in the league against the pass (253.3 yds/gm) while permitting an average of 25.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (eighth-most in NFL). If the Saints could lose three straight games at home, imagine how an outdoor road trip against a non-conference opponent will play out.

Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins (at NY Jets): The fourth-year tight end is currently battling both knee and hamstring injuries, but the word out of Miami is that Clay should be able to go Monday night in New York. That’s good news for fantasy owners in need of help at the tight end position, as no team in the National Football League is giving up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Jets (11.5 pts/gm).

Miami Dolphins, D/ST (at NY Jets): All you need to know here is that the Jets have quit on the season and are turning the keys to the car back over to turnover-prone quarterback Geno Smith.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at Baltimore): The San Diego signal-caller got off to a fast start this season, but be advised that Rivers is currently playing with a rib injury and has tossed just two touchdown passes over his last three starts, with four interceptions. Even though the Baltimore defense has been susceptible to the passing game this year, this is a bad spot for the Bolts, who are traveling across the country for a 1:00pm eastern start time. The upside here is minimal, so we advise fantasy owners to look for another quarterback option with a more favorable matchup.

Isaiah Crowell & Terrance West, RBs, Cleveland Browns (at Buffalo): The rookie duo went off last Sunday in Atlanta, but Week 13 offers up a much more daunting challenge than what the Falcons threw on the field in Week 12. Not only will Crowell and West cut into each other’s touches, but take note that the Buffalo Bills currently rank eighth in the NFL against the run (98.4 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of just 13.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-fewest in NFL). In addition, be advised that the Bills are giving up an average of just 17.5 points per game in home contests this year.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Cincinnati): Jackson has clearly taken a backseat to rookie wideout Mike Evans, as evidenced by the fact that the veteran pass-catcher hasn’t found the end zone since September 28. Look for that streak to continue Sunday against a Bengals defense that is currently surrendering an average of just 16.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (second-fewest in NFL).

Philip RiversRivers has thrown just two touchdown passes over his last three starts.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (at Baltimore): If we don’t like Rivers, we sure as hell don’t want to start Mathews in Week 13 at Baltimore against a Ravens defense that currently ranks sixth in the NFL against the run (88.3 yds/gm) while giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the business (12.8 pts/gm). Even though Mathews went off for 105 yards and a score last Sunday against St. Louis, the San Diego running back has failed to eclipse 70 rushing yards in three of four starts this season.

Eric Decker & Percy Harvin, WRs, New York Jets (vs. Miami): The Dolphins currently rank fourth in the NFL against the pass (211.7 yds/gm), but the real reason we’re fading both Decker and Harvin in Week 13 is the fact that not only has this Jets team quit on the season, but Geno Smith has been re-inserted into the starting lineup at the quarterback position. Yes, that’s the same Geno Smith who has thrown just seven touchdown passes in 245 attempts this season with ten interceptions and a dismal QB rating of 67.4.

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns (at Buffalo): Cameron isn’t a 100 percent lock to play this weekend (concussion), but even if he does, take note that the Buffalo Bills are permitting an average of just 5.3 fantasy points per game to the tight end position this season (fourth-fewest in NFL). The upside here is minimal.

Kansas City Chiefs, D/ST (vs. Denver): We fully expect the Chiefs to give Peyton Manning and the Broncos all they can handle Sunday at Arrowhead. That being said, this is still Peyton Manning and the Broncos we’re talking about here. There are better D/ST options with more upside available on waivers.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Week 14 college football betting primer

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Eat plenty, be safe and enjoy a terrific weekend filled with college football and leftovers.

Last week: 3-3

Season: 32-41 (.438)

Stanford Cardinal (6-5, 2-3 road) at #8 UCLA Bruins (9-2, 3-2 home)

When: Friday, 3:30pm ET
Open: UCLA -4.5
Current: UCLA

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Eat plenty, be safe and enjoy a terrific weekend filled with college football and leftovers.

Last week: 3-3

Season: 32-41 (.438)

Stanford Cardinal (6-5, 2-3 road) at #8 UCLA Bruins (9-2, 3-2 home)

When: Friday, 3:30pm ET
Open: UCLA -4.5
Current: UCLA -5.5 (Westgate)

Stanford in 2014: 5-6 ATS, 8-2 to the UNDER
UCLA in 2014: 4-7 ATS, 6-4-1 to the UNDER

Brett HundleyUCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and the Bruins are still alive in the hunt for the college football playoff.

Analysis: Stanford is bowl eligible at 6-5, which is pretty much where the positive analysis stops when talking about the Cardinal. David Shaw’s ultra-conservative crew has dropped two of its last three and three of its last five en route to the worst regular season this school has experienced since 2008. In addition, Stanford is just 1-5 ATS over its last six road games and 1-5 ATS over its last six contests against teams with a winning record. On the other side of the field stand the Bruins, who have won five straight and are still very much alive for the college football playoff. UCLA takes care of business here and then moves on to next week’s PAC-12 championship.

Notable trends: Stanford is 0-6 ATS over its last six games following a win while UCLA is 8-3 ATS over its last 11 games following an against the spread win.

Pick: UCLA (-5.5)

Michigan Wolverines (5-6, 1-3 road) at #6 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1, 5-1 home)

When: Saturday, 12:00pm ET
Open: Ohio State -20
Current: Ohio State -20 (MGM)

Michigan in 2014: 4-7 ATS, 7-4 to the UNDER
Ohio State in 2014: 7-4 ATS, 9-2 to the OVER

Brady HokeBrady Hoke’s final game at Michigan won’t go well.

Analysis: Michigan head coach Brady Hoke will be out of a job shortly after this game reaches its conclusion, due in no small part to a sloppy football team that has scored fewer than 20 points in six of its last eight contests while amassing a staggering 24 turnovers through 11 games this season. In fact, the Wolverines haven’t played a single game this year without committing at least one turnover. At No. 6 in the college football playoff rankings, Ohio State needs to not only win this game, but make a serious statement in the process against a Michigan program that is 1-5 ATS over its last six trips to the Horseshoe.

Notable trends: Michigan is 1-6 ATS over its last seven games against Ohio State.

Pick: Ohio State (-20)

#4 Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-1, 3-1 road) at #19 Mississippi Rebels (8-3, 6-1 home)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET
Open: Mississippi State -1
Current: Mississippi State -2 (MGM)

Mississippi State in 2014: 7-4 ATS, 6-5 to the UNDER
Mississippi in 2014: 6-4-1 ATS, 8-2 to the UNDER

Analysis: Mississippi was a national story for a hot minute following a 23-17 upset of Alabama, but the Rebels have gone just 3-3 since with losses to LSU (10-7), Auburn (35-31) and Arkansas (30-0). In addition, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is banged up (ankle) and won’t be anywhere near 100 percent for this season’s Egg Bowl. Despite suffering a 25-20 loss at Alabama two weeks ago, the Bulldogs are still ranked No. 4 in the college football playoff rankings, giving them all the motivation necessary to put a thumping on their in-state rivals. Note that Mississippi State is 5-1 ATS over its last six road dates and 12-4 ATS over its last 16 contests overall, while Mississippi is 0-4 ATS over its last four matchups overall.

Notable trends: Mississippi State is 9-2 ATS over its last 11 conference games while Mississippi is 4-17 ATS over its last 21 games played in the month of November.

Pick: Mississippi State (-2)

Florida Gators (6-4, 3-1 road) at #3 Florida State Seminoles (11-0, 6-0 home)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET
Open: Florida State -10.5
Current: Florida State -7.5 (Stations)

Florida in 2014: 5-5 ATS, 8-2 to the OVER
Florida State in 2014: 3-8 ATS, 7-4 to the UNDER

Jameis WinstonWinston and the Seminoles are looking for their 26th straight victory.

Analysis: Head coach Will Muschamp, whose Gators are 3-8 ATS over their last 11 non-conference games, has already been fired after posting a lackluster 28-20 record in four seasons in Gainesville. But this line is moving quickly in the Gators’ favor for two key reasons: First, Florida State is just 3-8 against the number this season and has a bad habit of playing down to its competition. Second, there’s a line of thinking that Florida gets up for this game in an attempt to send Muschamp out on a high note. I’m calling bullshit on all of that. Saturday night in Tallahassee will likely follow a script we’ve seen many times this season: FSU stumbles early, wakes up in the second half and takes care of business, kicking Muschamp to the curb with nothing but a 1-3 lifetime record against the Seminoles.

Notable trends: The favorite is 13-3 ATS over the last 16 meetings between these two schools.

Pick: Florida State (-7.5)

BYU Cougars (7-4, 3-2 road) at California Golden Bears (5-6, 2-4 home)

When: Saturday, 4:30pm ET
Open: California -3.5
Current: California -4 (Westgate)

BYU in 2014: 4-7 ATS, 7-4 to the OVER
California in 2014: 7-4 ATS, 6-5 to the OVER

Analysis: BYU is headed to the Miami Beach Bowl and has nothing left to play for this season, while this is California’s last shot to get bowl eligible. So you know that both motivation and intensity are on the side of the Golden Bears. Additionally, note that the Cougars are just 2-7 ATS over their last nine games overall and 3-7 ATS over their last ten road games, while the Bears are 5-2 ATS over their last seven outings against teams with a winning record. We love California in this spot.

Notable trends: BYU is 0-4 ATS over its last four games against PAC-12 opposition while California is 4-0 ATS over its last four games after scoring less than 20 points in the previous matchup.

Pick: California (-4)

#15 Auburn Tigers (8-3, 2-2 road) at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1, 7-0 home)

When: Saturday, 7:45pm ET
Open: Alabama -9.5
Current: Alabama -9 (Wynn)

Auburn in 2014: 4-7 ATS, 6-5 to the OVER
Alabama in 2014: 3-8 ATS, 6-4 to the UNDER

Analysis: Auburn is 1-5 ATS over its last six games overall, but we’re hammering the Crimson Tide in this one based solely on the following video:

Notable trends: The home team is 5-2 ATS over the last seven meetings between these two schools.

Pick: Alabama (-9)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Your turkey day betting primer

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Most of you are already aware of the fact that I am utterly opposed to Thursday night football, but I’ve got no reservations whatsoever about throwing together a three-game slate of divisional matchups once a year for Turkey Day. In 33 years of life on planet Earth, this is without question

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Most of you are already aware of the fact that I am utterly opposed to Thursday night football, but I’ve got no reservations whatsoever about throwing together a three-game slate of divisional matchups once a year for Turkey Day. In 33 years of life on planet Earth, this is without question the best Thanksgiving lineup I’ve ever encountered.

For those of you who have been looking for our weekly college football betting primer, that will go live at the National Football Post on Thursday afternoon. For now, here’s a rundown of what direction I’m leaning for Thanksgiving. Be advised that I don’t love any of these plays, but if you’re going to give me a day off with nothing but turkey, pinot noir and football to fill my time, you can rest assured that I’ll be firing early and often.

Have a terrific holiday and thanks for reading.

Chicago Bears (5-6, 3-3 road) at Detroit Lions (7-4, 4-1 home)

When: Thursday, 12:30pm ET
Open: Detroit -7/46.5
Current: Detroit -7/47
Betting percentages: 66% on Detroit, 66% on the OVER
Weather: Indoors

Chicago in 2014: 5-6 ATS, 6-5 to the OVER
Detroit in 2014: 5-6 ATS, 9-2 to the UNDER

Matthew StaffordStafford and the Lions will bust out of their slump Thursday against Chicago.

Analysis: The Lions return to Ford Field following a disastrous two-game road trip that saw the team get outscored by a combined margin of 48-15 by the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots, respectively. But you need to forget about all of that for a moment, as Detroit is 7-1 ATS over its last eight meetings with Chicago and 4-0 ATS over its last four home dates with the Bears. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and company should bust out of their current slump on Thursday against a Chicago club that currently ranks 28th in the NFL in pass defense (260.5 yds/gm) and is 10-21-1 ATS over its last 32 games overall. The Bears had lost five of six games before lackluster wins over bottom-feeders Minnesota (21-13) and Tampa Bay (21-13) stopped the bleeding, but that doesn’t change the fact that this squad is averaging 2.2 turnovers per game over its last five outings. Note that Chicago is 2-10 ATS over its last 12 games against NFC North opposition and 1-5-1 ATS over its last seven Thursday games.

Pick(s): Our top play here is a 6-point teaser with the Lions (-1) and the Seahawks (+7.5). We’re also siding with Detroit (-7) and the UNDER (47)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-3, 2-3 road) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3, 3-3 home)

When: Thursday, 4:30pm ET
Open: Dallas -3/54
Current: Dallas -3 (-120)/55
Betting percentages: 56% on Dallas, 82% on the OVER
Weather: Indoors

Philadelphia in 2014: 7-4 ATS, 8-3 to the OVER
Dallas in 2014: 6-5 ATS, 6-4-1 to the OVER

Tony RomoRomo should have his way with the Philadelphia secondary.

Analysis: The Philadelphia secondary is absolute garbage and will no doubt serve as the team’s Achilles heel when they lose in Dallas on Thursday. Andrew Luck threw for three touchdowns against this unit, Kirk Cousins ran up 427 passing yards and three scores as well, Carson Palmer let loose for 329 yards and two scores and Aaron Rodgers barely broke a sweat racking up 367 yards and three scores in a 53-20 blowout win. With both teams currently sitting at 8-3, this rivalry has all the makings of a season split, with each team defending its home turf. For as much success as Philadelphia has had at Lincoln Financial Field under Chip Kelly, the team is just 2-5 ATS over its last seven road games. In addition, the Eagles are 3-8 ATS over their last 11 games against the Cowboys. Tony Romo should have a field day against this defense.

Pick(s): Dallas (-3) and the OVER (55)

Seattle Seahawks (7-4, 2-3 road) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4, 3-2 home)

When: Thursday, 8:30pm ET
Open: San Francisco -2/41
Current: San Francisco -1.5/40
Betting percentages: 56% on Seattle, 54% on the OVER
Weather: 60 degrees, 0% chance of precipitation, 3 mph winds out of the WNW

Seattle in 2014: 5-6 ATS, 7-4 to the OVER
San Francisco in 2014: 6-5 ATS, 7-4 to the UNDER

Colin KaepernickUS PRESSWIREKap and the 49ers have been turning the ball over at an alarming rate.

Analysis: The Seahawks may be 1-4 ATS over their last five road games, but this club is also 5-0 ATS over its last five dates with the San Francisco 49ers. The angle here is that while both teams have been struggling to move the ball as of late, the 49ers have committed nine turnovers of their last six outings while Seattle has been turnover-free in three of its last four contests. In addition, San Francisco is just 2-5 ATS over its last seven home games and 1-4 ATS over its last five games after allowing less than 15 points in the previous matchup. Between two offenses that have really bogged down over the last month, we’ll side with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who knows how to protect the football.

Pick(s): As mentioned above, a 6-point teaser that features the Lions (-1) and Seahawks (+7.5), as well as Seattle (+1.5) and the UNDER (40)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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The fantasy waiver wire report

The home stretch for season-long fantasy football formats has arrived. Some of you are about to slide comfortably into the postseason while others—myself included—are scratching and clawing for every damn point in an effort to grab a lower seed for a chance at a glorious run to both riches and bragging rights.

In

The home stretch for season-long fantasy football formats has arrived. Some of you are about to slide comfortably into the postseason while others—myself included—are scratching and clawing for every damn point in an effort to grab a lower seed for a chance at a glorious run to both riches and bragging rights.

In addition to scouring the waiver wire for any possible talent to aid in the championship quest, owners should start analyzing the schedule for Weeks 14-17 in an effort to get a jump on the competition.

Because sometimes it all comes down to that one additional point.

QUARTERBACKS

<p> Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Jacksonville, owned in 54% of Yahoo! leagues): Inconsistent with a dash of unpredictability, Manning has an ultra tasty Week 13 matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that is permitting an average of 21.0 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (tenth-most in NFL). You can’t trust this guy on a week-to-week basis, but it’s worth noting that Manning has thrown two or more touchdown passes in three of his last five starts and is averaging a healthy 315.0 passing yards per game over his last four outings.

Mark SanchezPlaying in Chip Kelly’s offense, Sanchez has QB1 upside.

Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles (at Dallas, owned in 53% of Yahoo! leagues): While Sunday’s blowout win over Tennessee resulted in just one touchdown pass, the former New York Jet has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his three starts since taking over for the injured Nick Foles. Sanchez is currently quarterbacking the league’s fourth-ranked offense in terms of yardage and third-ranked unit it terms of scoring, so there’s plenty of upside here…especially when you consider the arsenal head coach Chip Kelly has surrounded him with.

Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans (at Houston, owned in 4% of Yahoo! leagues): The rookie from LSU has notched two touchdown tosses in three of his four starts for the Titans while averaging a respectable 271.5 passing yards per game during that same stretch. Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: Mettenberger is not going to win you a fantasy championship. But Tennessee is consistently playing from behind, which means garbage time stats are a big plus in this instance. Recommended for owners in two-QB leagues or leagues with more than 12 teams.

RUNNING BACKS

–While he’s currently owned in 68 percent of Yahoo! leagues, if new Minnesota Vikings running back Ben Tate is available in your league, he’s worth an add.

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at Buffalo, owned in 59% of Yahoo! leagues): It’s utterly astonishing that the rookie from Alabama State is still available in 41 percent of all Yahoo! leagues. Now that free agent acquisition Ben Tate has been dropped from the roster, Crowell has emerged as Cleveland’s top rushing threat with less competition to worry about. That’s a big plus for a power runner who has notched 149 rushing yards on 26 carries (5.73 YPC) with two touchdowns over his last two starts. Crowell currently trails fellow rookie running back Terrance West by 36 rushing attempts on the season, but has amassed just 24 fewer rushing yards than West with four more touchdowns. If this guy is still available in your league, make him a top priority.

LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at Green Bay, owned in 31% of Yahoo! leagues): Rookie running back Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns in Week 11 at Indianapolis, but overslept and was sent home from practice last week, which resulted in zero carries Sunday against Detroit. And while Gray was “learning his lesson,” Blount—who was dumped by the Steelers last Tuesday—carried the rock 12 times for 78 yards (6.5 YPC) and two touchdowns against one of the best run defenses in the league on Sunday. It remains to be seen how fantasy troll Bill Belichick will divide up the workload moving forward, but it’s worth noting that the Green Bay Packers are currently surrendering an average of 18.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season. Blount is worthy of an add strictly for his red zone value.

Isaiah CrowellCrowell handles the bulk Cleveland’s red zone carries.

Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Washington, owned in 23% of Yahoo! leagues): The loss of Ahmad Bradshaw left a big void on the Indianapolis offense, which was filled by handing out 13 carries to Trent Richardson and 12 carries to Herron Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But that is where the similarities end, as Herron racked up 65 rushing yards (5.4 YPC) while Richardson recorded just 42 (3.2 YPC). Yes, T-Rich found the end zone in Week 12, but Herron made a far greater impact for the offense. It will be interesting to see how this rotation shakes down moving forward.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (at St. Louis, owned in 25% of Yahoo! leagues): First, the good news: Murray has turned just eight carries over his last two outings into 155 rushing yards and two touchdowns, providing the explosive element that is severely lacking in veterans Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. But the downside here is relatively large. To begin, Murray suffered a concussion in last Thursday night’s win over Kansas City and has to pass the league’s concussion protocol before he can be cleared to play. In addition, thanks to trailing in so many games this season, the Raiders currently rank dead last in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (19.5), so there may not be enough opportunities for Murray to rack up some serious stat lines. Lastly, Oakland travels to St. Louis this weekend to face a nasty Rams front four that is permitting an average of just 15.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (eight-fewest in NFL). The upside here is extremely limited.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (at Pittsburgh, owned in 34% of Yahoo! leagues): After rookie wideout Brandin Cooks was lost for the season following thumb surgery, the big question surrounding the New Orleans pass-catching unit regarded which receiver would step up to fill the void. Marques Colston found the end zone Monday night against Baltimore (4-82-1) while Jimmy Graham was Jimmy Graham, but it was Stills who notched nine targets (second on team behind Graham), which resulted in eight receptions for 98 yards. Expect more of the same moving forward as the Saints continue to air it out for four quarters in an effort to offset the team’s hideous defensive play.

John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at Atlanta, owned in 32% of Yahoo! leagues): Larry Fitzgerald is dealing with a sprained MCL that kept him out of action in Sunday’s loss at Seattle, which means that if the ailment persists, Brown will see an uptick in targets. The rookie burner from Pittsburg State has caught just 37 passes on the season, but is averaging a healthy 14.3 yards per reception with five scores and five grabs of 25+ yards. But the best part about Brown is his Week 13 matchup against an Atlanta Falcons secondary that is currently surrendering an average of 26.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (fifth-most in NFL). This guy makes for a solid WR3 in Week 12 thanks to a tasty matchup.

Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers (at Baltimore, owned in 51% of Yahoo! leagues): The fact that Floyd has stayed healthy and appeared in all 11 games this season for the Bolts is reason enough to celebrate. However, the 33-year-old from Wyoming isn’t exactly setting the league on fire with his 36-604-4 stat line, so owners shouldn’t view Floyd as an every week starter. But that doesn’t mean the 6-5, 225-pound target isn’t worthy of a roster spot, as Floyd has notched six grabs of 25 or more yards this season and takes on a Baltimore secondary on Sunday that is currently giving up an average of 26.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (third-most in NFL). Consider Floyd a WR4/5 with starting potential for leagues that start three or more wideouts.

Malcom FloydWhile his upside is limited, Floyd has big-play potential.

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (at Houston, owned in 40% of Yahoo! leagues): While Hunter has yet to top the 100-yard receiving mark in any game this season, the second-year receiver out of Tennessee has found the end zone twice in the four games since rookie Zach Mettenberger took over as the Titans’ starting quarterback. In addition, during that same stretch, Hunter was targeted a staggering ten times twice. The upside here is relatively minimal, but Hunter makes for a nice WR4/5 who is worthy of a starting roster spot when faced with a favorable matchup.

Jarvis Landy, Miami Dolphins (at NY Jets, owned in 20% of Yahoo! leagues): Landry has found the end zone in three of his last four starts and has an excellent Monday night matchup on deck with a New York Jets secondary that is currently surrendering an average of 24.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (ninth-most in NFL). The rookie from LSU shouldn’t be considered an every-week starter, but he’s a nice value play in Week 13.

Steadman Bailey, St. Louis Rams (vs. Oakland, owned in 0% of Yahoo! leagues): The West Virginia standout is coming off the best performance of his two-year career after hauling in seven receptions on nine targets for 89 yards and his first professional touchdown Sunday at San Diego. This showing will no doubt cause fantasy owners to take notice, as will the fact that Bailey takes on a shaky Raiders secondary in Week 13. But be advised that St. Louis is highly inconsistent when moving the football and currently ranks 28th in the NFL in total offense (313.3 yds/gm). This may have been a flash-in-the-pan performance.

Charles Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): The relatively unknown 2013 product from Grand Valley State has stepped up his game as of late, hauling in nine passes on 18 targets for 139 yards and a touchdown over his last two outings. As crazy as this may sound, Johnson has actually been more valuable to the Minnesota offense over the last few weeks than 2013 first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson, who has caught more than two passes in a game just once over his last eight outings. However, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been struggling to find any semblance of consistency and, as a result, the Minnesota offense has gotten bogged down for lengthy stretches of time. There isn’t much upside here.

TIGHT ENDS

Tim Wright, New England Patriots (at Green Bay, owned in 15% of Yahoo! leagues): The ultimate boom or bust prospect. Wright has posted his fair share of dud stat lines this season (six in 11 games), but has found the end zone in five of his last seven outings and is seeing more and more snaps as the season winds toward December. If you aren’t lucky enough to own one of the Big 3 tight ends (Graham, Gronkowski, Thomas) and have been hit hard by the injury bug that has plagued the tight end position this season, take a good, long look at this guy.

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina, owned in 47% of Yahoo! leagues): Limited upside due to the inconsistent play of rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but Rudolph is coming off a decent Week 12 performance against the Chicago Bears in which the Notre Dame product caught three passes on five targets for 50 yards. Rudolph is a serious red zone threat, but the only problem is the fact that the Vikings rarely make it inside their opponent’s 20-yard line.

Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders (at St. Louis, owned in 38% of Yahoo! leagues): Rivera has scored three touchdowns over his last four games and has seen eight or more targets in three of his last five starts. In addition, the 24-year-old from Tennessee has operated as a consistent security blanket for rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Unfortunately, due to the Raiders’ never-ending struggles on the offensive side of the football, Rivera can’t be counted on as a week-to-week starter. But we advise all of you to remember this kid’s name because he’s going to be a player once Oakland gets it all sorted out.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Blake BortlesBortles and the Jaguars have been horrific on offense this season.

New York Giants (at Jacksonville, owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues): For as bad as this team has been in 2014, Week 13 offers up the tastiest of all matchups in the form of a Jacksonville Jaguars squad that currently ranks 31st in the league in total offense (304.1 yds/gm), dead last in scoring (14.6 pts/gm) and 30th in turnovers (24). For those of you who love to stream defensive units, look no further.

St. Louis Rams (vs. Oakland, owned in 42% of Yahoo! leagues): A nasty front four that has accounted for 22 sacks so far this season, St. Louis plays host to an Oakland Raiders team on Sunday that currently ranks dead last in the league in total offense (283.2 yds/gm), 31st in scoring (16.0 pts/gm) and 26th in turnovers (21). Not only is this one of the best matchups on the board for the D/ST position, but the Rams are still widely available on waivers in most league formats.

Cincinnati Bengals (at Tampa Bay, owned in 52% of Yahoo! leagues): This is Cincinnati’s third road trip in as many weeks, so exercise a bit of caution with the Bengals this Sunday. Still, the Buccaneers have been absolute garbage this season, ranking 27th in total offense (318.2 yds/gm), 26th in scoring (18.8 pts/gm) and 30th in turnovers (24).

Hit me up on Twitter: @<a href=”http://www.twitter.com/joefortenbaugh” target=”_blank”>JoeFortenbaugh

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Start ’em, Sit ’em, Smash ’em

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports

FANTASY QUESTIONS

While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.

WEEK 12 SURVIVOR PICKS

Last week: Washington (loss), Pittsburgh (win), Atlanta (win)

–At this point in the season, I really have no clue which teams you guys have left to use in survivor. So rather than throw out what will likely be repeat selections, hit me up on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh and we can talk it through from there. Best of luck!

FADE OF THE WEEK

Record: 5-5-1

Last week: Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) over Seattle Seahawks (win)

This week: Green Bay Packers (-9) over Minnesota Vikings

Analysis: This is a huge number to lay on the road, but you’ve got two teams heading in totally opposite directions in this situation. The Vikings have dropped four of their last six contests and are averaging a paltry 18.1 points per game this season while ranking 29th in the NFL in third down conversions (35.0 percent). That’s not going to cut it against a Green Bay Packers team that is more than comfortable playing outdoors in frigid conditions. The Packers have ripped off six victories over their last seven outings and are averaging a stellar 39.4 points per game during that stretch. In addition, take note that the Packers are 5-2 ATS over their last seven meetings with Minnesota.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Last week: 3-2

Season: 28-27 (.509)

The Big Puma and I are still working through this weekend’s card, but here are the selections that are currently under consideration:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-7) over Detroit Lions
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-9.5) at Minnesota Vikings
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+6.5) at Seattle Seahawks
NEW YORK JETS (+4.5) at Buffalo Bills
HOUSTON TEXANS (-1.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+5.5) at Chicago Bears
DENVER BRONCOS (-7) vs. Miami Dolphins

START ‘EM UP

Mark Sanchez, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Tennessee): We’ve now seen Sanchez play on both ends of the spectrum and in both instances the Philadelphia quarterback rolled up more than enough fantasy points to justify a spot in the starting lineup. In a 45-21 blowout of the Carolina Panthers, the former New York Jet threw for 332 yards and two scores and in a 53-20 ass-kicking at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, Sanchez again threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. It’s all about the system and the arsenal when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles, so feel comfortable riding Sanchez until he gives us a good reason to jump off the train.

Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at Indianapolis): Since taking over as the starting running back in Jacksonville in mid October, the former Michigan quarterback has racked up 419 total yards and four touchdowns through four starts. That’s an ultra impressive stat line when you consider the fact that this guy is playing on a lousy offense with a struggling rookie quarterback. Go back to the well with Robinson in Week 12 when he takes on an Indianapolis Colts defense that currently ranks 17th in the NFL against the run (112.9 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 22.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (t-sixth-most in NFL). Also of note, the Jaguars are coming off the bye week here, so they’ve had two weeks to prepare for this divisional showdown.

Josh GordonWelcome back, Josh Gordon.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (at Atlanta): Don’t overthink this one. Those of you with Gordon on the roster have likely been stashing the Cleveland wideout for more than a month, so it’s time to start reaping the benefits of such discipline and patience. Even if this were a terrible matchup we would advise you to start Gordon, but Atlanta currently ranks dead-last in the NFL against the pass (281.2 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 25.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (sixth-most in NFL), so this one is pretty much a no-brainer.

Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Jacksonville): Richardson is a bust of the highest magnitude, but with Ahmad Bradshaw on the shelf for the remainder of the season due to a broken leg, the former top-three draft pick is about to see an abundance of touches on one of the league’s highest-scoring offenses. That’s a big plus when you consider the fact that Week 12 offers up a date with a Jacksonville defense that currently ranks 25th in the league against the run (126.2 yds/gm) while permitting an average of 21.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (seventh-most in NFL). However, owners are advised to keep a real close eye on backup running back Dan Herron (2012, Ohio State) during this matchup.

Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs. Baltimore): A roll of the dice based on the way New Orleans has played this year, but with rookie Brandin Cooks out for the season (thumb surgery), Stills is about to see a big boost in the targets department. A big-time playmaker with deep speed for days, Stills could go nuclear on Monday night against a Baltimore defense that currently ranks 21st in the league against the pass (251.2 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 26.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (fifth-most in NFL).

Larry Donnell, TE, New York Giants (vs. Dallas): Donnell’s last encounter with the Cowboys resulted in seven receptions for 90 yards (season high) on seven targets, so there’s no reason to believe the second-year tight end can’t take advantage of the Dallas defense for a second time this season. Take note that the Cowboys are currently giving up an average of 11.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (third-most in NFL).

San Diego Chargers, D/ST (vs. St. Louis): We’re not willing to buy into the fact that the St. Louis offense can string together two solid performances. Through five home contests in 2014, the Chargers are giving up an average of just 12.8 points per game with 12 sacks and seven turnovers. Ride the lightning in Week 12.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (at New England): The indoor Lions are heading outside into the frigid New England air to play a non-conference game against the red-hot Patriots just four days before a Thanksgiving divisional showdown with the Chicago Bears. That’s as bad a spot as you will find in the National Football League. And as if that situation wasn’t challenging enough, Calvin Johnson is banged up and the Patriots are surrendering an average of just 21.3 points per contest during the team’s current six-game winning streak. Expect a rough go of it Sunday for Stafford and company.

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins (at San Francisco): The Redskins are coming apart at the seams in the most glorious and predictable of fashions, so it’s become extremely dangerous to back anybody on this 46-man roster. With the locker room up in arms over RG3’s recent comments and crap play, Washington heads west for a showdown with a San Francisco defense that is not only getting healthy, but has given up an average of just 13.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-fewest in NFL). Stay away.

Matthew StaffordStafford and the Lions are in a tough spot at New England in Week 12.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (at Seattle): The 31-year-old is battling a sprained MCL as he and the Cardinals travel to the most hostile environment in the NFL for a Week 12 divisional showdown with the Seahawks. Take note that Seattle is permitting fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season than any other team in the business (16.4 pts/gm). In addition, the Seahawks defense is surrendering an average of just 16.7 points per game at CenturyLink Field over the last two seasons. There isn’t a whole lot of upside here.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Arizona): We fully expect all Lynch owners to have Beast Mode in the starting lineup this Sunday. However, we’ve including Lynch on this list because we want you to taper your expectations. Arizona currently ranks third in the NFL against the run (80.5 yds/gm), has surrendered just five rushing touchdowns through ten outings and is giving up an average of just 13.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (second-fewest in NFL). This one has all the makings of a low-scoring, grind-it-out slugfest.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans (vs. Cincinnati): Johnson may have notched nine more receptions than counterpart DeAndre Hopkins so far this season, but Hopkins holds the edge in both receiving yards (764-631) and touchdowns (4-1). So with A.J. taking a back seat to the young up-and-comer, we need a really favorable matchup to get behind the Pro Bowl wideout. Sadly, Sunday against Cincinnati isn’t that matchup, as the Bengals are currently surrendering an average of just 17.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (second-fewest in NFL).

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos (vs. Miami): Just a reminder that Thomas is dealing with an ankle injury and is expected to be a game-time decision on Sunday. In addition, Miami is currently giving up an average of just 5.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (sixth-fewest in NFL).

Miami Dolphins, D/ST (at Denver): Believe it or not, the Dolphins currently rank second in fantasy scoring at the D/ST position. However, Week 12 is not the time to test that ranking out, as the Denver Broncos are coming off an embarrassing loss at St. Louis and will be out for redemption.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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