Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last Fantasy Football Post of 2014

I'm not doing rankings this week because I mean, come on.  Who is still playing fantasy football in Week 17?  Hopefully not you.  If so, feel free to send a question my way and I'll answer it for you.  This week, I'm just going to do a quick recap of my Week 16 picks versus the ESPN experts, and I'll give a little preview of next week's article.  Yes, I'll be blogging next week.  I'm off work until January 5th.  What else am I going to do?  Clean my house?  Ha!

Anyway, it was another good year for me in fantasy, but I didn't win a championship.  I finished in the top-3 in total fantasy points and was actually in 1st place before the fantasy playoffs started.  In fact, I had a very similar season last year in my money league.  At least this year I didn't score the most points in Week 16 (like last year) because then this part of the article would sound even saltier.  But like last year, a different seed in the fantasy playoffs would have won the whole thing for me.  Strange enough, last year I needed one more regular season win and this year needed one more regular season loss.  If things had fallen a little differently in one week or another, I'd have my name on the trophy.  But it wasn't meant to be this year either.  And I know this all sounds bitter, but I also realize that's just how fantasy works out.

So I finished 3rd (again), and my finishes from 2003-2014 are now as follows:
1st, 4th, 3rd, 7th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 4th, 7th, 3rd, 3rd...          I guess I'll take it.

As for next season, I've set myself up with some decent keeper options too.  I still have Jordy Nelson for another year, and in addition to him will have the following options (can only keep one):
Cam Newton, Latavius Murray, Bishop Sankey, and Jordan Matthews.

But enough about my team.  Let's look back to last week and see what I got right and what I got wrong...

It was ANOTHER rough one for fantasy QBs.  Andrew Luck actually had negative points before getting pulled in the second half in a blowout loss to the Cowboys.  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady each only threw for one TD pass.  And Peyton Manning threw for 2 TDs but also had 4 picks and nearly finished outside of the top-20!  That being said, I was high on Tony Romo for the second week in a row (ESPN #10, ME #6), and he finished as the 3rd-best fantasy QB for the second week in a row.  Nailed that one.

I know. I was shocked you played well too.
Of course I was also down on was Philip Rivers (ESPN #15, ME not ranked), who had a terrible first half and looked like he'd be outside of the top-20 fantasy QBs...and then the 4th quarter happened.  He turned things around and led a huge comeback win and finished as a top-5 fantasy QB.  I'm sure glad my opponent played Big Ben instead of him last week!

Back to nailing it though.

I got it right with Matt Asiata (ESPN #26, ME #20), as he ran all over the Dolphins in a high scoring game.  He was a top-3 RB and came close to having another three touchdown performance.  As for Giovani Bernard (ESPN #22, ME #30), I was wrong there.  He actually was very productive with his touches and even found the endzone against Denver on Monday night.  He finished as a top-15 RB.

I was also wrong about Golden Tate (ESPN #22, ME #15), but Anquan Boldin (ESPN #33, ME not ranked) also put up mediocre numbers.  Both guys finished outside of the top-40 wide receivers in Week 16.  I was also fortunate that Owen Daniels (ESPN #17, ME #11) had a quiet day, along with all of the other Ravens except for Torrey Smith.

As for the defenses, I was high on the Jags (ESPN #17, ME #10) and Titans (ESPN #18, ME #12) versus the ESPN experts because I was predicting a low-scoring Thursday night game with two brutal offenses.  The Jags won the game 21-13 and were actually a top-12 fantasy defense.  The Titans were not.  But you know who else wasn't a top-12 defense?...the Arizona Cardinals (ESPN #6, ME not ranked).  I said they wouldn't come close to winning this game and that Seattle would score 20+ points while not turning the ball over.  Well that's exactly what happened.  Arizona gave up 35 points, had just one sack, and they were the WORST fantasy defense you could have started in Week 16!!!  How's that to an end to my 2014 picks versus the ESPN guys, huh?!?

So that's it for 2014.  Like I said, I'm going to do another article next week, but it'll likely be later in the week (and thus in 2015).  I'll be recapping my preseason picks to see what I got right and what I got wrong there.  For instance, I was high on guys like Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph.  Luckily I didn't end up with either in my leagues because they were huge busts this season.  But I also suggested not to reach for WRs like Percy Harvin or Reggie Wayne.  So you win some and you lose some.  I'll also be recapping my REAL football predictions, which are looking pretty good (aside from the Titans...yikes).  

Anyway, good luck to anyone who is still playing in Week 17.  And if you are, maybe join a different league in 2015 (or at least talk to your commish about changing the rules!).


Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 16 Rankings

We'll have none of that this week, Jordy!
Well, my championship run came to an end last week as my opponent dropped 150 on me.  I knew I was in trouble when I was down something like 62-8 around halftime of the early games.  I mean, ALL of his players were scoring touchdowns (even Baltimore D!).  I think he ended up with 11 total touchdowns on his squad...very impressive.  Meanwhile, I didn't even crack 100 as Peyton Manning continued to put up poor fantasy numbers.  But that's how it goes.  I'll try to get the 3rd place money this week as I face a guy who barely scored 60 fantasy points in Week 15.  I'm sure that won't be the case again, so I'm hoping to actually get some production out of guys like Jordy Nelson and Megatron.

But enough about my team.  I know you only care about your own, so let's do the rankings!

1.Drew Brees 
2.Aaron Rodgers 
3.Andrew Luck 
4.Matt Ryan 
5.Tom Brady  
6.Tony Romo 
7.Peyton Manning 
8.Matthew Stafford  
9.Ben Roethlisberger 
10.Mark Sanchez
11.Russell Wilson
12.Ryan Tannehill 
13.Joe Flacco  
14.Alex Smith 

A quick note about my rankings this week before I go any further.  You may notice that my lists have shrunk a bit.  Well, it's Week 16 and lots of people probably aren't even looking at rankings anymore.  But for the people who are, I can't imagine you're deciding between Kyle Orton or Teddy Bridgewater as your QB during Championship Week.  So I'm tightening up all of these lists.  Deal with it!

Anyway, if we look back to Week 15, it was a rough one for fantasy QBs.  I already mentioned Peyton Manning, but Aaron Rodgers sure picked a bad time to have literally the worst game of his NFL career.  At least Drew Brees owners were happy as he was the top fantasy QB in Week 15.  As for my QB picks, I nailed them once again.  I was high on Tony Romo (ESPN #13, ME #8), who finished 3rd behind Brees and Eli (who torched my Redskins).  The guy I was down on was Matthew Stafford (ESPN #7, ME #12), and he nearly finished outside of the top-20.  

I'm high on: Tony Romo (ESPN #10, ME #6)  
I'd like to give you someone different this week, but I'm really high on Romo again, so I'll stick with him.  The ESPN experts moved him up slightly from 13th to 10th this week, but it's not high enough.  If you throw out the Thanksgiving game against Philly, only Drew Brees is putting up more fantasy points than Romo since his return from that back injury in Week 10.  If you consider the fact that DeMarco Murray is dealing with a hand injury, I think it's very possible Romo goes to the air a little more in this contest.  Yes, I realize it's December and this is Tony Romo we're talking about here.  But so far, he's bucking the trend.

I'm down on: Philip Rivers (ESPN #15, ME not ranked) 
I know, I know.  I was down him 3 weeks ago, and he lit up the Ravens in Baltimore.  But this is different because the 49ers are a top-10 defense against fantasy QBs this season, and Baltimore has been terrible in that department ever since the injury to corner Jimmy Smith (a bad call on my part for sure).  But Rivers hasn't been a top-20 fantasy QB over his last 6 games, and aside from that game against Baltimore, he has 4 TDs and 7 INTs in those other 5 games.  And on top of all of that, it looks like he'll be without Keenan Allen on Saturday night in San Francisco.  There are so many QBs I'd put in my roster this week over Philip Rivers, including the following if I were to expand my list back to 20: Eli Manning, Kyle Orton, Teddy Bridgewater, and probably even Josh McCown and Derek Anderson.  Get the point?  I don't like Rivers this week.
1.Le'Veon Bell
2.Jamaal Charles  
3.C.J. Anderson   
4.Eddie Lacy
5.Arian Foster
6.DeMarco Murray
7.Joique Bell  
8.Justin Forsett
9.Matt Forte 
10.Mark Ingram 
11.Marshawn Lynch  
12.Tre Mason
13.LeSean McCoy
14.Jeremy Hill 
15.Fred Jackson    
16.Lamar Miller
17.Steven Jackson 
18.Alfred Morris  
19.Latavius Murray 
20.Matt Asiata
21.Dan Herron 
22.Jonathan Stewart
23.Andre Williams
24.Toby Gerhart 
25.Isaiah Crowell 
26.Doug Martin 
27.Chris Ivory   
28.LeGarrette Blount
29.Alfonso Smith
30.Giovani Bernard 
31.Kerwynn Williams  
32.Pierre Thomas
33.Shane Vereen 
34.Bishop Sankey 
35.Branden Oliver
36.Chris Johnson
37.Trent Richardson
38.James Starks 
39.Terrance West
40.Shonn Greene

Not only was I wrong about Tre Mason last week (ESPN #26, ME #16), but my opponent sat him and his stinker of a game.  Of course it wouldn't have mattered because I got destroyed, but it just added a little insult to injury.  This week I like Mason as a borderline RB1 in his tasty matchup against the G-Men.  As for Chris Ivory (ESPN #16, ME #25), it looked like I was right until his game-winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter.  He only had 26 total yards otherwise, and he finished as the #20 RB in Week 15.  Whatever.  I'm going to chalk that one up in the win column.

I really could use DeMarco Murray this week, so I'm hoping he plays with that broken hand.  I'm ranking him like he's playing and will be close to 100% effective.  I mean, he may not be targeted in the passing game much if he has a cast on his left hand, but he doesn't need the catches in order to be a top-5 fantasy running back.  I have Joseph Randle as a backup plan, but I don't want to resort to him...

I'm high on: Matt Asiata (ESPN #26, ME #20)
Who knows? Maybe he'll have another 3-TD game...

He's been limited in practice this week with a foot injury, but assuming he's active against the Dolphins, I like Asiata a lot this week.  Ben Tate has been getting a little more involved in the offense lately, but with McKinnon no longer a threat to his touches, Asiata is essentially the bellcow in that backfield.  You can't say that for many guys outside of the top-20, and any touchdowns should be of the rushing variety this week in Miami.

I'm down on: Giovani Bernard (ESPN #22, ME #30) 
I'm a little lower than the ESPN experts on Jeremy Hill too, and a lot of that has to do with Denver's tough run defense.  But Gio hasn't seen double-digit fantasy numbers since before his injury (Week 8), and his best game was last week in which he got some garbage time points as they were blowing out Cleveland.  I don't see them doing that to Peyton Manning and company, and I think Hill should get most of the work in Week 16.  I just can't see ranking Bernard as a RB2 at this point.
1.Calvin Johnson 
2.Dez Bryant     
3.Odell Beckham, Jr. 
4.Antonio Brown 
5.Demaryius Thomas  
6.Jordy Nelson
7.Jeremy Maclin 
8.A.J. Green   
9.TY Hilton
10.Randall Cobb  
11.Mike Evans
12.Emmanuel Sanders 
13.Julian Edelman         
14.Alshon Jeffery  
15.Golden Tate  
16.Kelvin Benjamin
17.Harry Douglas
18.DeAndre Hopkins  
19.Roddy White 
20.Sammy Watkins 
21.DeSean Jackson
22.Brandon LaFell  
23.Kenny Stills
24.Josh Gordon  
25.Jordan Matthews      
26.Mike Wallace
27.Marques Colston
28.Steve Smith, Sr. 
29.Charles Johnson
30.Jarvis Landry  
31.Vincent Jackson  
32.Nate Washington
33.Malcom Floyd
34.Martavis Bryant 
35.Torrey Smith
36.Pierre Garcon 
37.Andre Johnson  
38.Donte Moncrief  
39.Eric Decker 
40.Stedman Bailey

I was dead wrong with my WR picks last week.  Marqise Lee (ESPN #42, ME #29) got plenty of targets, but he didn't do much with them.  And of course Mike Wallace (ESPN #28, ME #38) had his best game of the year against a Patriot secondary that had been shutting down some of the best receivers in the league in recent weeks.  But you know what?  I'm fine with those picks.  The pick that really (could have) mattered was the one that I made for my own fantasy lineup.  I actually inserted Harry Douglas in for Kenny Stills (or Jordan Mathews).  That turned out to be my best call of the week, albeit in a matchup I still lost by 50 fantasy points (as I've now mentioned at least 3 times...sorry, I'll stop).  This week I'm ranking the Falcon WRs like Julio will be out again, so Harry Douglas is way up there.  Of course if Julio is able to play, I think he's a top-10 WR and Douglas would fall well into the 30s.

I'm high on: Golden Tate (ESPN #22, ME #15)  
Several weeks back, I traded Tate to my Week 16 opponent for Cam Newton straight up.  I'm in a keeper league, so I viewed Cam as a much better keeper option.  Anyway, we've all seen what Chicago's defense can (or can't) do this season.  I think Stafford is likely to throw 2 or 3 TDs in this game, and I don't think they all go to Megatron.  I sure hope they do, but I think Tate will snag one himself.  I could easily see him with 80+ yards and a score in this one.

I'm down on: Anquan Boldin (ESPN #33, ME not ranked) 
I kept my WR list to just 40 this week, but Boldin didn't make the cut.  He has really struggled in his last 3 games, and some of that is due to facing Seattle twice in that span.  But if you look at his last 5 contests, the only bright spot was against my horrible Redskins.  I wouldn't want to trust Boldin as a WR3 in my fantasy championship, and I'd rather take a flier on a guy like Martavis Bryant or even Nate Washington instead.
1.Rob Gronkowski  
2.Jimmy Graham 
3.Greg Olsen 
4.Julius Thomas 
5.Martellus Bennett 
6.Antonio Gates
7.Travis Kelce
8.Delanie Walker 
9.Dwayne Allen
10.Jason Witten 
11.Owen Daniels
12.Coby Fleener

Take it easy, Owen.
I left both Larry Donnell and Jordan Reed off the tight end list this week, and on Tuesday this seemed to be a dangerous move because my opponent had both of them.  But now he has picked up Owen Daniels off waivers and will likely start him against me.  So I might as well discuss Daniels here, since I have him much higher than the experts (ESPN #17, ME #11)  .  He had a big game against Jacksonville in Week 15, and now he goes back to Houston in what is a revenge game for the veteran.  Of course he'll need Flacco to throw his way to have value, but I think he has a decent shot this week.  And if my opponent does use Daniels against me, that's fair.  He owned Delanie Walker most of the season, and I'll be starting the Titan against him tonight!

I was high on the Colts versus the ESPN experts for the second time this year (ESPN #19, ME #14).  In both cases they were playing the Texans, and in both cases I was right.  They finished in the top-10, and I like the Ravens to take advantage of Thad Lewis or Case Keenum behind center in Houston this week.  As for my other pick, the 49ers (ESPN #13, ME not ranked) finished outside of the top-15.  I'm not excited about them this week either, as they host a Charger squad who is still fighting for a playoff spot.

I'm high on: Jags (ESPN #17, ME #10) and Titans (ESPN #18, ME #12)
Jacksonville has nearly been a top-10 fantasy defense in their last 4 games, and now they get a primetime matchup against an offense starring Charlie Whitehurst and Shonn Greene.  As for the Titans, well they haven't exactly been a top-10 defense very often at all this year.  But who cares?  This is the Jaguars they're facing this week!  The Jags are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses this year, and it's not even that close.  I don't see how the Titans aren't higher than 15th in ANY of the ESPN expert lists this week, especially considering these Thursday night games are often low-scoring affairs (and these two offenses are brutal).

I'm down on: Cardinals (ESPN #6, ME not ranked)
Speaking of top-10 defenses, Arizona certainly qualifies.  But with only 12 defenses on my list this week, they're just barely on the outside looking in.  In Week 12, they actually had a season-high 7 sacks against the Seahawks.  Of course they still lost that game 19-3, and I don't see them coming close to winning this game either.  I think Seattle will score 20+ points, not turn the ball over, and the Cardinals will NOT be a top-10 fantasy defense this week.

That's it for Week 16.  Good luck everyone (except you, Tommy).