Friday, October 31, 2014

Kill it with fire

This has been undoubtedly the worst season of fantasy football for me in 12 years of playing. I have two teams this year that are currently in last and second to last place. It hasn't been for a lack of trying. I've taken a look at my draft for both teams, and I have had my top 4 picks miss at least 4 weeks in one league and 6 of my top 8 are either injured or not starting anymore in the last place team. I've won a total of 4 games in two leagues this season.

All of that leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth and is the primary reason that I haven't given a shit on either of my websites this year. It's not like it really matters since the only people leaving comments are spammy assholes that want links to their websites. I've started a fantasy hockey league this year to take my mind off of the eternal disaster that is fantasy football 2014. No matter what I have done ... drafting, free agents, trades ... it has all backfired in the worst possible way this year.

But, not even the fantasy hockey league has been without flaw. It's my first attempt trying to set one up and I wanted to create a competitive atmosphere where people actually participated. What a mistake that was. Protip - If you are going to start a fantasy hockey league, do not have unlimited transactions and daily transactions. Half of the people are waiting for the midnight buzzer in the West Coast and the other half are bitching because they aren't going to stay up til 3AM for the day to switch on the East Coast.

Maybe this tells me something about being prepared. Although, I don't know with all the preparation in the world if I would have avoided taking Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham back to back in the late 1st and early 2nd round. That will teach me to ever take a Lions player in fantasy football.

The Lions are my team and I do have a little bit of hope for them; but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. They can't fool me. This 6-2 record is all shoestrings and bubble tape. I'm certainly not going to be super bowl betting on those perennial losers. You would think having a healthy Calvin along with most of the rest of the team would be cause for celebration; but this is the setup for quite possibly the greatest collapse of any year since I became a Lions fan in the late 80's.

Enough bitching and complaining. Are you looking for the best free agent pickups for this upcoming week of fantasy football? If you are, sit and spin and go to a real website that has that kind of information. May I suggest Yahoo sports or CBS sports. Just go to the sections that says Transaction Trends to see who everybody else is picking up. Not that those people are all right. They're guessing just like everyone else is. Even the "experts" are just a bunch of blowhards that are trying to write enough content to validate their existence maintaining their illusion of importance with their suck up job at these major "news" sites.

Just try listening to their predictions on a weekly basis. It's all guessing and conjecture. The projected fantasy points is a complete joke. They have no fucking clue what they are saying and are just making a paycheck. It's about as bad a Super Bob's Sports Picks trying to give me the "lock of the week" when the same handicapping assholes are giving other people the opposite selection so they are always right with some people.

You want a prediction? Here you go. One of these teams will win the Super Bowl: Arizona, Green Bay, Seattle, New England, Indianapolis or Denver. No other team has a shot. Take that to the bank. You can put a bet on all of them and lose money overall once Franken-Peyton steamrolls his way into eventual retirement.

Here's to typing while you're angry. Talk to you sometime in the future. Hope you can get the two minutes of your life back after you read this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fantasy Football 2014 - Injuries and more

So far, the fantasy football season has been dominated by injuries and suspensions, as much as the NFL has been dominated by news reports about domestic violence. A lot of big name players have gone down. What there hasn't been a lot of is big time plug and play pickups to replace those that are injured.

There have been some temporary successes. Let's take Knile Davis for example. There's no way that you had him in week 2 when Jamaal Charles went down. But, if you plugged him in week 3, you were rewarded with a 132/1 effort. If you didn't, he's all but a handcuff now as Charles will be back. But, he is an important handcuff because Charles has been injury prone. This is the exception as opposed to the rule.

The same is true for Alfred Blue. He had a decent game in place of Arian Foster but that lasted all of one week before Foster got healthy again. Maybe you thought it was finally time for Darren McFadden to step up since MJD went down in week 1 for the Raiders. 59 yards rushing against the Patriots is all you need to know.

Then, there is Donald Brown. The ultimate red herring. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead go down. Brown is the only runner. What does he accomplish? 62 yards in 31 carries. A 2.0 ypc average. See, it wasn't just the fact that he was on the Colts that kept him down. You may want to start him against the Jags, but if he fails there then the Chargers are going to cross their fingers that Matthews doesn't get hurt again.

People expected the world from Bobby Rainey after Doug Martin went down again; those that played him were lucky to get the 6 points that he got against Atlanta and now have to hold onto him in case Martin gets injured again. There isn't going to be a return to last year's form for Rainey. Tampa Bay has the same problem as Jacksonville, their offenses are terrible and you shouldn't be starting anyone on either team except for Doug Martin.

Now, we have the suspensions to talk about. You paid attention to the news and saw Ray Rice get released. In return, you got a glorified scat back in Justin Forsett, an injured fumbling starter in Bernard Pierce, and a rookie who played a good game (Lorenzo Taliaferro) now confusing the situation. Basically, an absolute mess until things get sorted out in the next couple of weeks. Forsett is not the starter, but know you have to keep both Pierce and Taliaferro and you have no idea who to start.

The AP situation is even worse. That top 3 pick got you 8 whole points in week 1 before he got suspended for whipping his kid. His replacements are the plodding Matt Asiata and the rookie Jerick McKinnon. Neither one can be started for the foreseeable future. The Vikings will probably end up bringing in BenJarvis Green-Ellis or another free agent if Peterson is out for more than another month.

There are a couple of bright spots. The first has been the Cleveland RBs that have replaced Ben Tate. Terrance West has been good through the first three games. Most people had already drafted him in their fantasy draft, so he wasn't a free agent. Isaiah Crowell wasn't drafted and still might be the starter once everything is said and done. However, things get very confusing after the bye week once Tate gets back into the rotation. The other semi-bright spot is Khiry Robinson. He comes in for the injured Mark Ingram, who has surprised us all by playing well, but still has limited upside on a pass-first team and only two more weeks to prove himself before Ingram comes back.

Injured RBs

All of that spiel above was just to point out that there may have been a lot of opportunities for RB help on your squad, but not a whole lot of keepers. Running backs are going to continue to be a very important part of fantasy football and all of these injuries serve to point out how important it is to stay up on each team's situation.

It is odd that very few of the backups have done little in the way of solid fantasy production. In comparison to previous years, the backups could usually step right in. Since most teams have started to pass more often, the running game has suffered, especially once a team starts to lose the game. There are limited spots on your fantasy bench, so you can only keep a couple of these handcuffs shelved while you are waiting for the starter to go down once again. Out of the mess that I listed above, you should only be keeping Knile Davis, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West and maybe Isaiah Crowell. The rest of those listed aren't viable fantasy options or will soon be back to the bench once the injured starter returns.

Speaking of which, I have seen a lot of the starting RBs get dumped by other owners. This includes DeAngelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno and Ryan Mathews. If you see successful starters dumped because of injuries, you should pick them up and hold onto them. This includes Adrian Peterson as well. Peterson's situation may seem bad, but he will probably play again this season with some team if he apologizes and goes through the media hoops to get reinstated. His situation is not nearly as toxic as Ray Rice, who is certainly done for the year.

Wide Receiver Free Agents

One burning question that I have is where are the wide receiver free agents. If you didn't draft well at this position, you haven't been helped out at all by the free agents available. There is usually at least one Keenan Allen that appears within the first couple of weeks (btw how bad has Keenan Allen been doing this year - yuck!)

With Wes Welker out, people were clamoring over Cody Latimer and Andre Caldwell; both did absolutely nothing besides being players on Denver's offense. Allen Hurns was a big week 1 pickup, but he has two strikes; playing on Jacksonville and being a rookie on a team with several wide receivers.

Speaking of suspensions, Josh Gordon will be back from his in Week 11 baring any other misconduct. But, he's already gone if you didn't jump on board once the NFL started talking about changing the drug suspension policy.

Here is the list of the current WR free agents that are worth anything:

James Jones (Oakland) - He's there number 1 wide receive for what it's worth. Be prepared for very few touchdowns and terrible games because of the bad offense he is a part of. Good for PPR leagues but not much else.

Eddie Royal (San Diego) - What are the chances that he gets two TDs again this season? He might only get two more the entire season and he isn't a deep threat.

Devin Hester (Atlanta) - He's never been a prominent receiver and Roddy White will be back. Hoping for return TDs are you?

Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati) - He's actually worth a roster spot at least. We'll see if he keeps his position once Marvin Jones comes back (BTW - keep an eye on Marvin Jones)

Jordan Matthews (Philadelphia) - Going to need more than one game against the Redskins to recommend this slot wide receiver that beat a linebacker twice for touchdowns.

Jeremy Kerley (Jets) - May be an emergency option as long as Eric Decker isn't healthy.

Josh Brown (Cardinals) - Number three wide receiver isn't going to be getting the numbers unless one of the top two go down.

Brian Quick (St Louis) - St Louis' number 1 wide receiver for what it's worth. They don't play Dallas every week.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston) - The Texans are not a passing team. They only play the NFC East two more times.

Malcom Floyd (San Diego) - This year's Lance Moore. If you're okay with 2 deep receptions per game tops, then he's a good option.

Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland) - His production will likely go down once Jordan Cameron is healthy.

Steve Johnson (San Francisco) - 3rd WR on a team that has been struggling on offense. Keep an eye in case Boldin gets demoted.

Random Jacksonville WRs - Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Cecil Shorts. Let's see if Blake Bortles is any better than Henne before we sign off on any of them.

If you need help this desperately at wide receive, chances are you are going to need to start proposing trades in your league. I just don't see any breakout stars in the future. Almost none of the guys listed here are anything except for plug and play options during the bye weeks.

Other Things

Quarterbacks - Kirk Cousins should be owned. That offense will be productive with him at the helm. After Thursday night, however, you are looking at three tough match ups against Seattle, Arizona and Tennessee. If you are in a deeper league, you should pick up Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater to be your second QB.

Tight Ends - Dennis Pitta going down again means that you should pick up Owen Daniels. Just don't expect the world from him. Travis Kelce is going to be a viable option on a Chiefs team that refuses to throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field. Niles Paul should already be owned but he looks like he could take the job from the oft-injured Jordan Reed. Larry Donnell (Giants) should also be owned as a TE2.

Team Defense/Special Teams - You can go ahead and start taking any team that is playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers each week. St Louis' defense is overrated; so is San Francisco and Kansas City. Pick up Denver, Carolina or Seattle if anyone is absent minded enough to drop them.

Kickers - Dime a dozen. Go with the hot foot (Cody Parkey) and teams that are having trouble in the red zone. I'm looking at you Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

NFL Betting - If you live in Canada, take a look at the best NFL Betting Canada site available here. Bodog is number one for sports betting in general, but especially for NFL and the upcoming NHL seasons.

In the upcoming weeks, I may be posting weekly advice again. I haven't had a lot of time on Sundays and by Monday it becomes old news. All you have to do to keep up with Fantasy Football these days is go to the Transaction Trends that are available online at the major websites like Yahoo, ESPN or CBS Sports to see what all of the FFL junkies are doing. The best times to visit is halftime of the 1:00PM ET games and after said games.

Also, check the bottom bar when you are watching games on Fox or CBS. They have done a great job recently with listing important fantasy injuries in near real time. This doesn't matter as much if you are restricted to picking up players until Tuesday or Wednesday, but it is imperative if you are in a fantasy league that allows free agents to be picked up any time.

You should also check out the League Pass that is available with certain cable/satellite providers (or go stream the other games online at sites like wiziwig if you don't want to pay that much money).

The most important part of the season for fantasy is just about over. We now know what a lot of the teams in the NFL are about this year. The trends are being created and a large portion of the non-injury/non-suspension related production questions have been answered. The bye weeks are coming up and you may need several fillers for a couple of weeks. Keep an eye on the injuries and other news and be on top of the new developments.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football and NFL Betting

To those of you who were hoping that I had done the yearly fantasy football draft rankings, I'm sorry, but I was too busy this August to do them with much time to spare. I will be updating my website in the near future. But, again, this will be too late for most people who have already drafted.

I am going to put my top players from each position below. This is based on a formula which I came up with last year to combine and average the rankings among many of the top experts.

I will also be updating both the website and this blog on a weekly basis to give you the top free agent prospects available each Sunday. Pre-draft rankings like the ones that I have been doing since 2007 are a dime a dozen. That's why I recently went to the formula of averaging the "experts" opinions, which can vary wildly.

However, there are much fewer people who are listing the critical injuries and breakout performances that will keep you on top of the waiver wire in your league. Hopefully, I can help you get the jump on a few of the breakout waiver claims such as I did last year with Keenan Allen, Zac Stacey or Jordan Cameron.

So, without further ado, here are the (little too late) top picks for each positions:

Quarterbacks

  1. Aaron Rodgers, GB - Week 9 Bye
  2. Peyton Manning, DEN - Week 4 Bye
  3. Drew Brees, NO - Week 6 Bye
  4. Andrew Luck, IND - Week 10 Bye
  5. Matthew Stafford, DET - Week 9 Bye
  6. Nick Foles, PHI - Week 7 Bye
  7. Matt Ryan, ATL - Week 9 Bye
  8. Cam Newton, CAR - Week 12 Bye
  9. Tom Brady, NE - Week 10 Bye
  10. Robert Griffin III, WAS - Week 10 Bye
  11. Colin Kaepernick, SF - Week 8 Bye
  12. Jay Cutler, CHI - Week 9 Bye
  13. Tony Romo, DAL - Week 11 Bye
  14. Philip Rivers, SD - Week 10 Bye
  15. Russell Wilson, SEA - Week 4 Bye

Running Backs

  1. Jamaal Charles, KC - Week 6 Bye
  2. LeSean McCoy, PHI - Week 7 Bye
  3. Adrian Peterson, MIN - Week 10 Bye
  4. Eddie Lacy, GB - Week 9 Bye
  5. Marshawn Lynch, SEA - Week 4 Bye
  6. Matt Forte, CHI - Week 9 Bye
  7. Montee Ball, DEN - Week 4 Bye
  8. DeMarco Murray, DAL - Week 11 Bye
  9. Doug Martin, TB - Week 7 Bye
  10. Alfred Morris, WAS - Week 10 Bye
  11. Le'Veon Bell, PIT - Week 12 Bye
  12. Arian Foster, HOU - Week 10 Bye
  13. Giovani Bernard, CIN - Week 4 Bye
  14. Zac Stacy, STL - Week 4 Bye
  15. C.J. Spiller, BUF - Week 9 Bye
  16. Ryan Mathews, SD - Week 10 Bye
  17. Frank Gore, SF - Week 7 Bye
  18. Ben Tate, CLE - Week 4 Bye
  19. Ray Rice, BAL - Week 11 Bye
  20. Andre Ellington, ARI - Week 4 Bye
  21. Reggie Bush, DET - Week 9 Bye
  22. Rashad Jennings, NYG - Week 8 Bye
  23. Trent Richardson, IND - Week 10 Bye
  24. Toby Gerhart, JAC - Week 11 Bye
  25. Chris Johnson, NYJ - Week 11 Bye
  26. Lamar Miller, MIA - Week 5 Bye
  27. Bishop Sankey, TEN - Week 9 Bye
  28. Stevan Ridley, NE - Week 10 Bye
  29. Steven Jackson, ATL - Week 9 Bye
  30. Joique Bell, DET - Week 9 Bye
  31. Shane Vereen, NE - Week 10 Bye

Wide Receivers

  1. Calvin Johnson, DET - Week 9 Bye
  2. Demaryius Thomas, DEN - Week 4 Bye
  3. Dez Bryant, DAL - Week 11 Bye
  4. A.J. Green, CIN - Week 4 Bye
  5. Julio Jones, ATL - Week 9 Bye
  6. Jordy Nelson, GB - Week 9 Bye
  7. Brandon Marshall, CHI - Week 9 Bye
  8. Antonio Brown, PIT - Week 12 Bye
  9. Alshon Jeffery, CHI - Week 9 Bye
  10. Keenan Allen, SD - Week 10 Bye
  11. Vincent Jackson, TB - Week 7 Bye
  12. Pierre Garcon, WAS - Week 10 Bye
  13. Randall Cobb, GB - Week 9 Bye
  14. Victor Cruz, NYG - Week 8 Bye
  15. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI - Week 4 Bye
  16. Andre Johnson, HOU - Week 10 Bye
  17. Michael Floyd, ARI - Week 4 Bye
  18. Torrey Smith, BAL - Week 11 Bye
  19. Roddy White, ATL - Week 9 Bye
  20. Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN - Week 10 Bye
  21. T.Y. Hilton, IND - Week 10 Bye
  22. DeSean Jackson, WAS - Week 10 Bye
  23. Mike Wallace, MIA - Week 5 Bye
  24. Marques Colston, NO - Week 6 Bye
  25. Julian Edelman, NE - Week 10 Bye
  26. Michael Crabtree, SF - Week 8 Bye
  27. Jeremy Maclin, PHI - Week 7 Bye
  28. Percy Harvin, SEA - Week 4 Bye
  29. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN - Week 4 Bye
  30. Reggie Wayne, IND - Week 10 Bye
  31. Eric Decker, NYJ - Week 11 Bye
  32. Kelvin Benjamin, CAR - Week 12 Bye
  33. Sammy Watkins, BUF - Week 9 Bye
  34. Golden Tate, DET - Week 9 Bye
  35. Wes Welker, DEN - Week 4 Bye

Tight Ends

  1. Jimmy Graham, NO - Week 6 Bye
  2. Julius Thomas, DEN - Week 4 Bye
  3. Rob Gronkowski, NE - Week 10 Bye
  4. Vernon Davis, SF - Week 8 Bye
  5. Jordan Cameron, CLE - Week 4 Bye
  6. Jason Witten, DAL - Week 11 Bye
  7. Greg Olsen, CAR - Week 12 Bye
  8. Jordan Reed, WAS - Week 10 Bye
  9. Dennis Pitta, BAL - Week 11 Bye
  10. Kyle Rudolph, MIN - Week 10 Bye

Defenses and Kickers

I've seen people take defenses way too early this year. It's true, Seattle's defense is stout, especially at home. However, they have never been particularly dominant on the road. But, there is no way you should pick them before the 9 round of your draft. The 49ers defense is getting drafted way too high as well. My current projections have them as the 10th best team. Kansas City was dominant last year, but they have also slipped a bit in my opinion.

There are very few times where you should pick an every week defense. Seattle is one of them. St Louis, Carolina and Denver appear to qualify as well, but we simply won't know until around week 4 of the season. Other than that, you should play the match ups where a defense is taking on a terrible offense at home.

Also, if you pick a kicker before the 15th round of your draft, you are a moron. There simply isn't enough of a difference between many of the top kickers to warrant such a decision. Unless you have drafted a kicker on a prolific offense, you should also play the match ups.

Betting on the NFL

Bad games can mean great value when betting on the NFL

After determining that the underdog is the FIRST place to check for value against the NFL betting odds we must move on to other leading indicators where a handicapper can find nuggets of value to gain back some of the initial house edge surrendered by gamblers.

Since we know the pro football gambling and its odds are consumer driven and based on mass public perception, we can use the masses for our own purposes and align ourselves with the sportsbooks and oddsmakers, developing a "Sportsbook Outlook" rather than the all-too-typical outlook of a mass member of the gambling public. To look at it another way nearly all pro football gamblers are losers, which is why there are so many sportsbooks that offer action. So why would any sane and intelligent person want to align themselves with the same mentality as the mass losers? When you think about it, nobody would.

So just as we want to first consider the underdogs listed on the pro football gambling boards we also want to consider the mentality of the masses, and jump aboard in OPPOSITION! And this is where the value search criteria come into play.

For example, when a team loses its starting quarterback the masses immediately fall into panic mode and jump all over the other team, regardless of the other merits involved. The backup quarterback may very well be competent, if not better than some other starters in the league, but the masses don't think of that, or the several other factors that go into a competent handicapping job. They just fall out over the quarterback being hurt, and the money flows towards the opposition.

Now if you are thinking like an oddsmaker, you will immediately know this, and realize that, more often than not, the pro football gambling lines will be artificially high against the team that lost their signal caller. This means that if such teams are strong overall, with good defense, special teams, coaching, and other offensive skill position players, they will overcome the injury and find a way to win anyway. Further, the opponent may not be all that strong of a team, and could even lose their edge thinking that the game won't be as difficult without the starting quarterback to deal with.

When a gambler considers the team that LOST the QB, he "gets it."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What to watch now that the Super Bowl is over

The Super Bowl was less than dramatic, to say the least. I had felt before the playoffs that the NFC was going to dominate the AFC in the Super Bowl. However, I decided to change my mind and I was influenced by the Peyton Manning hype. I should have trusted my gut as I felt that the top 4 teams were all from the NFC (Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina and New Orleans). None of the AFC teams seemed like they were ready to play, either from lack of talent on one side of the ball or by reductions from injuries.

In any event, the Super Bowl was a blowout and now the debate can commence on whether the Seahawks defense is the best of all times. I still think that the Chicago Bears in 1984 and Baltimore in 2000 were slightly better, but there is room enough to make an argument since Seattle shut down the best statistical offense of all time.

So, what do we watch now? The NBA and NHL regular seasons are over the halfway mark. However, the NHL is just about to take a multi week break. The NBA is a story of two conferences: the Western Conference has been very entertaining and the competition is fierce; the Eastern Conference has been like watching a dumpster fire. There's no other way to put it. When the 9th place team in the West would comfortably be in the 3rd seed in the East, there is a major problem with your conference.

College basketball has been much more exciting this year than a lot of the NBA games. There is a lot of parity amongst the top teams in the NCAA. However, unless you are a fan of a particular team, most people don't start watching college basketball until the beginning of March when the conference tournaments take place. The run up to March Madness and the tournament itself is always must see TV.

If you are a fan of soccer, you can always watch the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga or any of the other major European football leagues. Many of these leagues are beginning their stretch run towards the Championship which will take place in May. Once those are over, you can get ready for the World Cup which will begin in June. You can view the odds at allpro for many of these different events.

The pitchers and catchers are about to report in baseball. But, again, the preseason won't start for another month and the regular season is still a couple of months away.

There must be something in the sports world that I'm missing which will take place this February ...

Winter Olympics

Of course, that's what it is. /s

There's no way that you can miss the Olympics from all of the coverage on the news. Most of it isn't the good sort of news that everyone is covering. The majority of the news about the Olympics thus far has been about Russia and their lack of hospitality. This includes the anti-gay laws, the possible terrorists that are threatening the city of Sochi, and the overall poor conditions at many of the hotels and other facilities around the game. And lets not forget about all of the hackers that are waiting for the unprotected devices that are entering the city.

There seemingly hasn't been anything else to talk about since there are few top winter athletes to talk about. Lindsay Vonn is out and Shaun White has dropped out of one of his events. Other than that, the media hasn't done a very good job of marketing the athletes like they have done in Olympics past.

While there are a couple of snowboarding and ice skating events taking place today, the opening ceremonies are tomorrow and the games generally get underway on Saturday. With the winter games being in Russia, that means most of the events will happen live between Midnight and 2PM ET or 9PM to 11AM PT. So you have the option of waiting the majority of a full day to watch events that have already been determined on NBC or watch the games live in the middle of the night.

I'm not too keen on staying up really late or getting up very early for the majority of the events taking place. I think I'll stick to NBC to get my fill of bobsled, skiing, snowboarding, speedskating, and figure skating.

However, I am going to be excited to watch the hockey tournament in the Olympics. This is the one event that usually lives up to the hype on a consistent basis. I might not stay up to watch these games, but I will definitely be recording them. It's hard to believe that the NHL is even considering taking the players away from the Olympics.

The United States is stacked, but so are Canada, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Canada gets the easy road in the first round with Finland, Norway and Austria providing little in the way of any threat. The United States gets thrown into the toughest group with Russia, Slovakia, and to a lesser extent Slovenia.

All of the top six teams should make the quarterfinals, considering that 8 of the 12 teams make the quarterfinals. However, some teams that don't do well in group play will have the extra game to qualify for the quarterfinals if they aren't in the top 4.

All in all, it should be a good tournament, but I don't know if it can live up to the excitement of 2010.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 11 Pickups

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but another week, even more injuries. This time, the breakout star RB Mike James went down with a fractured ankle in Monday Night Football. He is likely out for the rest of the season. His direct backups are Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey. Of the two back, Rainey appeared to be more impressive, averaging more yards per carry and catches out of the backfield. Leonard received more carries overall however. It will be difficult to say whether either back has the nod over the other, but I would lean towards betting on Rainey.

We also saw the first good game in Mark Ingram's career. This can be tempered on the fact that it was the Cowboys banged up defense and New Orleans was gashing their defense all day. He is worth a speculative add, however, as he could be more productive that Pierre Thomas.

Andre Brown already will be gone. If you are only reading this now, you should have listened a month ago when I told you to pick him up. Shane Vereen is also coming back this week. He should be competing with Stevan Ridley for the starting RB at New England. It may be too late to pick him up as well.

Riley Cooper followed his 3 TD performance up with a 2 TD game against Green Bay. Everyone else is really high on him right now, but I'm not. To me, the 3 catches for 102 yards puts him in the range of a Kenny Stills type of player. He can break open, but he is still a boom or bust player.

Rishard Matthews is actually the more intriguing wide receiver. He played a break out game for Miami on MNF, but you still have to realize that Mike Wallace has Darrelle Revis on him the entire game. Still the 11 receptions for 120 yards and 2 TDs can't be ignored. He may put up the best numbers for the rest of the year between him, Wallace, and Brian Hartline. Miami will need to throw the ball as well since they absolutely can't run the ball.

If anyone dropped Jarrett Boykin after his dud of a performance last week, pick him up. Seneca Wallace got injured and Green Bay upgraded to his backup Scott Tolzien, who didn't have any trouble finding Boykin for 8 rec and 112 yards.

Nate Burleson is going to come back next week. There isn't a whole lot of buzz around this, but there should be as he will instantly be an upgrade at WR2 for the Detroit Lions. They desperately need someone to catch the ball when Calvin is double teamed and other teams are wising up to the Reggie Bush screen passes. The main problem is that Burleson is more of a yardage player and not much for grabbing TDs.

Jake Locker is out for the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick did admirably in his place if you need a replacement at QB. Jay Cutler re-injured himself as well and Josh McCown is probably a top 15 QB for next week.

Week 11 Defense and Kickers

Most people were unlikely to drop Steven Gostkowski; but if anyone did, he would be the first person to pick up. Nick Folk (NYJ) and Ryan Succop (KC) are both coming off of the bye weeks and both have been doing well over the past month. Either one of them would be a good play for this upcoming week. Nick Novak will also have some good match ups over the last portion of the FFL season.

As far as Defense/Special Teams is concerned, it is pretty sparse for Week 11. Most people should have already picked up Carolina or Arizona; nobody dropped KC. Green Bay and Chicago are both injured/ineffective. New England, New Orleans and Denver all have bad match ups.

If you want a speculative bet, you can try either side of the New York Jets vs Buffalo match up. If you are looking ahead to next week, take Houston, who is playing Jacksonville next week and has a decent match up against Oakland this week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 10 Pickups

Another week, more injuries. I'm writing this during Monday Night Football and I'm watching Aaron Rodgers leave the game with an injured non-throwing shoulder. (And all I needed was 6 points to win this week - expletive deleted!) Well, fortunately Nick Foles was available on the waiver wire. He will probably be starting for the foreseeable future for the Eagles after his 7 TD performance at Oakland. He has a couple of good match ups in the next few weeks (at Green Bay and home against Washington).

If you need a plug and play quarterback and Foles isn't available, you can try either Jake Locker, who plays Jacksonville at home next week, or you can try Eli Manning, who is playing at home against an Oakland defense that got torched for 7 TDs.

Case Keenum may be another option, as he has proven that he will throw it deep; if Houston's RB situation doesn't improve, he'll need to keep doing this. Jay Cutler may also be back next week. You may want to pick him up if he is available. Big Ben also had himself a day against the New England defense; I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a sign of a bad defense.

Running Back Pickups

Speaking of injuries, the brittle back known as Darren McFadden pulled his hamstring in the same spot as Week 4. A re-aggravation of a hamstring injury is almost always a multi-week injury. This means that Rashad Jennings should be picked up if he was dropped in your fantasy league.

If anyone gave up on Chris Ivory, you need to pick him up off of waivers. The Jets RB is always going to be a risk, however, when the Jets fall behind in games.

At first, I was skeptical of getting Jonathan Stewart because of the jumble in the Carolina backfield. However, he should start to get more carries than DeAngelo Williams. Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert will snipe a large percentage of the rushing TDs, however.

There are also some quality backup RBs that might be available. Shonn Green will start to get more carries in games that CJ starts to struggle and he should get the majority of goal line carries. James Starks will also start to get more carries, especially if Aaron Rodgers is out for a couple of weeks.

If you haven't picked them up yet and they are still available, you have to pick up Andre Brown (NYG) or Shane Vereen (NE). I've mentioned this several times, but they are both going to be viable fantasy running backs.

Wide Receiver Pickups

Aaron Dobson is going to be the hot wide receiver pickup of the week, even though New England is on a bye next week. Right now, he is lining up on most offensive plays and will be the number 3 option behind Gronk and Danny Amendola. Kenbrell Thompkins was a healthy scratch this past week.

Doug Baldwin is going to be the 2nd best WR pickup this week. Percy Harvin isn't 100% and Sidney Rice is on the IR. Baldwin has gotten more production than Golden Tate this past weekend.

If you are desperate, you can pick up Riley Cooper or Jerricho Cotchery. I wouldn't recommend starting either, however, as both 3 TD performances are unlikely to be duplicated.

If you are that desperate, you may want to pick up Mario Manningham. The 49ers have activated him off of the PUP list and he should be installed as a starter very soon. Of course, the 49ers will have to throw the ball in order for him to catch the ball. This would be an upgrade for him and Anquan Boldin. Michael Crabtree will also be coming back in a few weeks. This will muddle up things a bit, but the 49ers may finally be able to release Colin Kaepernick again.

Also, Mike Brown (Jacksonville) is still available in most leagues. The Jags are going to be behind a lot and he should get a lot of looks opposite Cecil Shorts.

If you are in need of a Tight End, you should pick up Tim Wright (Tampa Bay). He is going to be a red zone threat and an outlet for a rookie QB.

Week 10 Defenses and Kickers

If you are looking for a defense this weekend, Tennessee has the dream match up at home against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has given up fantasy points more consistently than any other team this season.

Arizona is the number two option as they are coming off of the bye week. They face Houston at home; the Texans are technically the most friendly offense towards fantasy defenses with all of the pick 6's that they have thrown. This may change with Case Keenum, but Arizona is still a good defense regardless.

Failing those two teams, you may want to (gasp) try the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. Miami has some well documented problems on their offensive line and have been fantasy friendly even before this bullying incident happened.

If anyone dropped Denver's defense because of the bye week, this would be a good time to try to snatch them up as well.

As for Place Kickers, check to see if anyone dropped Matt Prater for Denver's bye week. Keeping two kickers is rare unless the kicker is on a prolific offense like Denver. David Akers may also be available because of the bye week, but Chicago's stadium is notoriously difficult to kick at. Robbie Gould is also an option as Detroit gives up the most field goals so far this season.

Many of the best match ups feature kickers that are probably off the board right now: Adam Vinatieri, Mason Crosby, Garrett Hartley, Dan Bailey. You may want to try either of the kickers in the Cincy vs Baltimore game (Mike Nugent or Justin Tucker).