Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghouls? Goblins? Nope, it's Start/Sit, baby!

Happy Halloween, my fantasy fiends. I've got two little monsters ready to trick-or-treat tonight and the eldest is surely gunning for a bucket FULL of candy. I'm less high on the whole daylight savings thing since my boys are early risers as is. But at least it comes with a day full of football, right? Read on for guest writer Steve's take on start/sits this week as well as the consensus start/sit players. Enjoy!

First and foremost: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween is easily my favorite holiday; I have loved it since I was a kid. Here’s hoping your Week 9 starts out with a great day/night, however you may be celebrating.

Time for some shameless self-promotion. Last week I wrote that the 3 big waiver wire RBs were nothing more than straw men to make you feel better about your underperforming team. Since I am HUGE on accountability (any fantasy site/writer that doesn’t show you whether they were wrong or not on a big claim should not be weighted the same as one that is transparent), let’s see how right I was. Hint: I won’t be buying you any drinks. I will still be buying them for myself, however.

Bryce Brown – 7 rushes for 15 rush yards, 3 targets, 0 receptions, 0 TDs, 1.5 points
Denard Robinson – 18 rushes for 108 yards, 2 targets, 1 reception for 10 yards, 0Tds, 10.8 points (12.8 PPR)
Tre Mason – 7 rushes for 32 yards, 1 target, 1 reception for 1 yard, 0 TDs, 3.3 points (4.3 PPR)

Like Meat Loaf said… 2 outta 3 ain’t bad. Robinson clearly got the volume, and made it work at 6 YPC, so I have to say he’s probably worth starting the next 2 weeks against the Bengals and Cowboys before his Week 11 bye. The other two… you’re bolder than me if you’re rolling with them in your lineups. Or more desperate.

BYES: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans. Whew. There’s going to be a lot of Frankenrosters out there this week (Halloween puns; we’re doin ‘em!). On to the linkage!

Roto Arcade’s Flames and Lames

Bruno Boys Start & Sit (again with the pages...this one goes to WR Start)

FF Toolbox Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em

Consensus guys:

QB Start: Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Russel Wilson

QB Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Joe Flacco

RB Start: Bobby Rainey, Marshawn Lynch, Ahmad Bradshaw

RB Sit: Tre Mason, Brendan Oliver, Darren McFadden, Chris Ivory, Jerrick McKinnon

WR Start: Deandre Hopkins, Terrence Williams, Brandon LaFell

WR Sit: Percy Harvin, Julian Edelman Allen Robinson

TE Start: Travis Kelce, Larry Donnell

TE Sit: Charles Clay, Heath Miller

If you need advice on Kickers or D/ST, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to Bob’s posts. After last week’s showing, you might want to listen to what he has to say.

Happy Trick-or-Treating, Happy Daylight Savings Time, happy November, and Happy Week 9.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 9 rankings and start/sit links

I've got another guest post from Jen today where she takes a look at some of the rankings and start/sit links you'll need for Week 9. She also reviews some key injuries plus sleepers for the week, too. Enjoy!

Hey all! As always happy to be back for another round on here. I hope you have all been enjoying the other articles from this week as much as I have.

With week 8 in the books, we have officially hit the halfway mark to the fantasy super bowl! You are either flying high, riding the middle of the pack, clawing your way out of a hole, or are in complete desperation mode. Either way, keep going, don’t give up, work the waivers, and trade trade trade!

Another week of football, another week of injuries. Take a look.

The Big 3:
Brian Quick (WR, STL) - season-ending torn rotator cuff
Jordan Cameron (TE, CLE) - concussion. AGAIN. This is obviously a huge fantasy blow, but in real life we should wonder how many more head shots he can really take. The bright side is he is so handsome, if he decides to put his health first, he can challenge Eric Decker for modeling spots.
Tony Romo (QB, DAL) - *full disclosure: I am a die hard Cowboys fan* 34 years old, 2 back surgeries in less than 2 years. Yikes. Arguably one of the most criticized QBs in the league, it’s hard to question his toughness here. Throughout his career he has lived off cortisone injections, and will probably do everything he can to play, but if he doesn’t practice Friday I’d look for another QB to plug in. And pay attention to whatever Dr. Jerry says during the week - we all know he is in charge.

Less catastrophic injuries:
Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN) - some sort of hip injury, but the prognosis for this week seems good, which is why I consider this to be less catastrophic. But keep an eye on him, he did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
Doug Martin (RB, TB) - injured his ankle, but do you honestly even care? Serious injury or not, look for Bobby Rainey this week, but Charles Sims long term. He was also spotted at practice sporting a walking boot.

I gave you a few handcuffs last week that I liked as sleepers, and I hit on them. Donte Moncrief balled in Wayne’s absence and found the endzone; Davante Adams went 7-75; Travaris Cadet did okay as a fill-in with 8 points in PPR; and when I mentioned Martavis Bryant, I liked him a lot, but he surprised me with his 5-83 and 2 touchdown performance.

A few sleepers I like this week include:
Travaris Cadet (RB, NO): Yes, again, but only in PPR, and likely until Pierre Thomas returns.
Charles Sims (RB, TB): I know Bobby Rainey is the obvious and likely gets the start this week, but I love this guy over the next few weeks if he becomes the man, and so does the guy who drafted him - Lovie Smith.
Theo Riddick (RB, DET): He is on a bye, so now is the time to grab him.  I fear Reggie Bush will never return to 100% this season, and Riddick filled in nicely in Reggie’s pass-catching roll last week, posting an 8-74-1TD line receiving.
Crockett Gillmore (TE, BAL): While he only had 2 targets, he caught both of them, and figures to be a big part of the game plan this week if Owen Daniels is out again (he did return to practice Wednesday, but he had his knee scoped - hard to believe he plays). Kubiak loves using his tight ends, and faces a Steelers defense that ranks 21st overall against the position.
John Carlson (TE, ARI): Another TE for you, he only makes this list because he is facing the friendliest TE defense, my beloved Cowboys.
Lorenzo Taliaferro (RB, BAL): If you’re a Justin Forsett owner, you hate ZoFo for vulturing 2 touchdowns from you last week. Bernard Pierce was a healthy scratch and ZoFo got the goal line looks. TDs = points! Forsett also did not practice Wednesday with an ankle injury...something to keep an eye on.
Dwayne Bowe (WR, KC): it’s hard to call Bowe a sleeper, but even with Alex Smith’s banged up shoulder, I expect him to exploit the vulnerable Jets secondary.

Here are some rankings links for you to consult:
Matthew Berry's Week 9 Top 200: The Talented Mr. Roto gives you his top 200 overall.
Fantasy Pro's Week 9 Rankings: “The Consensus of 48 Experts”, they provide the options of standard, half point PPR, and full PPR.
SBNation's Week 9 Rankings: The link defaults to QB rankings, but the real treat can be found when you scroll to the bottom, where there are plenty of links for your Week 9 needs.

Some Start/Sits:
CBS' Jamey Eisenberg's Start/Sit Week 9: not just start sit, but in depth analysis that includes players you would start/sit someone for.
Michael Fabiano's Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: consistently one of the best, and you can’t beat his layout.
Wally Spurlin's Start/Bench Week 9: as always, Wally does you the favor of also adding studs, aka the guys you do NOT bench.
Pressbox Online's Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, Picks, and Busts: a ton of information here, including a look back on last week's hits and misses. There’s even a graph of the lines for you fellow gamblers out there.'s 15 Transactions for Week 9: Not your typical start/sit, but JJ Zachariason gives you a little bit of everything here, who to buy, sell, drop, and add.

Always make sure to check out Junkyard Jake if you care about targets as much as I do.

And finally, a few more twitter follows:

Fantasy Advisors: ask them anything, they will answer!
Evan Silva: senior editor for Rotoworld, check his feed for the crucial stats you never thought of.
Chad Parsons: staff writer for Football Guys, dynasty expert, check out his podcast!
Liz Loza: check her bio for her many accomplishments, she is a self-made fantasy expert!
Fanta_c_Freak: I’m a new follower of theirs, they throw out stats, injuries, and there is a ton of content on their site.
As always, you can hit me up anytime! I’m happy to answer any questions, just don’t kill me if I give you poor advice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Placekicker Platitudes

Happy Wednesday to you all and here's a little something you don't find many fantasy footballers talking about: kickers. Guest writer Bob is back today with some advice on securing the best kicker for your lineup in Week 9.

Advice on placekickers, you say? C’mon, everybody knows you can’t really predict how a PK will score from week to week, don’t you? I’ve heard that a lot in fantasy football circles, but I disagree.  There are a few indicators that can help you pick the right PK week to week. As such, you can do some streaming with PKs just as you might with DEFs. So I’m crunching the data, and here are some indicators that I believe can be used to predict success. 

IT’S GOSTKOWSKI: First of all, Stephen Gostkowski is pretty good. He is averaging 14 points a game, and the only week he had less than 11 points was week 4 when KC pasted the Patriots. So NE was playing from behind and went on 4th down a couple of times to reduce Gost’s points. Which brings us to the second observation.

NOT AGAINST HIGH OFFENSE: Don’t start PKs that are playing against high scoring offenses. The average points per game of all the PKs this year so far is 9.36. The points per game against DEN is 6.57. The points per game against the high flying Chargers even less, 5.37. The problem with a PK scoring against a high scoring offense is that the opposing team is likely to be playing from behind. And when you’re 14 points behind, you’re going to give up the 3 points for 4th down plays that may help you get the touchdown. Particularly when you’re in the red zone.

Some people believe you don’t start a PK against a top defense. But the data this year doesn’t prove that to be consistently true. However, it does show that a PK that is playing against a team that has a high scoring offense AND a good defense is trouble.

How about starting PKs on high scoring offenses? That’s a double edged sword. On the one hand you have an offense that is going to get you near the end zone consistently. But you have the problem of high scoring offenses scoring TDs in the red zone and not leaning on the PK for field goals. Let’s look at the four highest scoring offenses. McManus is averaging 7.28 per game, and Nick Novak is averaging 9.8, just barely over the league average. Bailey is averaging 12.7, over the average. And Vinatieri is right at the average, at 9.3. So this isn’t really the best indicator, but it is probably the one used most often by players that pick and hold a PK.

YES AGAINST BAD OFFENSE: How about starting PKs against a bad offensive team? Here we have some correlation. 
Notice that the average is mostly at or above the league average of 9.36.

YES FOR REALLY GOOD KICKERS: Finally, you’ve got to take into account just how good a PK is. If a PK can consistently hit the long ones, a team is more likely to go with the 3 points than punt. So long kickers play into the formula as well. And PKs that miss FGs that should be made, are bad bets under most circumstances. Be careful analyzing FG % made. This can be misleading, because some of those misses may be long yardage attempts, given to PKs that have a good range. Phil Dawson and Blair Walsh have missed 3 FGs this year, but that’s because they are both known for their big foot, and have been given attempts that other kickers would never have received. Justin Tucker, on the other hand, has missed some he should have made and Mike Nugent has missed 6 FGs. Watch out for those two.

So here’s the best formula I can come up with for selecting PKs each week:
“Gostkowski” and/or “No against High Offense (especially if High Defense too)” and/or “Yes against Bad Offense” and/or  “Yes for other good kickers”

So given those considerations let’s look at the Week 9 top scoring PKs and see if there are any opportunities outside of the top 12, or bye week fillers.

First, notice the five highest owned are all high offensive teams. That just shows that a lot of players simply pick and hold PKs on high scoring offenses, even though there is no clear correlation week to week. And Novak is not a good start and Tucker is on shaky ground this week.

So given the analysis above, here are my recommendations for bye week fill-ins and better option matchups. If you don’t have any of the top 12 PKs shown as a start, start the following PKs, listed in order of highest potential.

Phil Dawson SF, Mike Nugent CIN, Cairo Santos KC, and Billy Cundiff CLE.

Hauschka is a great start but already owned in 74% leagues.

Good luck to all in Week 9, and don’t forget about the kicker!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Waiver Wire Advice: Week 9

Hi all. I'm sitting here getting easily distracted by the leaves that are falling like snow at our house in Knoxville. Between the unreal quantity of leaves we'll soon have in our yard, the many, many HTTR posts in my Facebook feed from last night's game (remember, I grew up in northern VA!), and the Halloween prep going on in our house, fall has finally arrived despite the fact that our thermometer reads 74 right now. If this is fall in the south, I'll take it. Winter's cold will be here soon enough. Anyway, this week will bring us many more guest posts and today marks another one from guest writer Michael. Read on for his helpful waiver wire tips to aid your squad in Week 9.

I have a six year old daughter that, as many kids are wont to do, will slyly make sure we make a pass through the toy section at the store when we’re out shopping. When I tell her that we can “just look,” that goes in one ear and out the other. No sooner are those words out of my mouth than she’s grabbed a $90 Barbie castle off the shelf and asked if we can buy it. I will quickly dash her hopes by reiterating my earlier “just looking” proclamation. Having that wonderful quality of persistence that many children have, she will continue to pull items of decreasing value off the shelf in hopes that I will change my mind and buy her something. By the time I’ve rebuffed her pleas multiple times, she’s literally just pulling the first thing she sees off the shelf and asking me to buy it, because at this point she wants to come away from the store with something, anything. Being well past the point of asking for anything that she might actually need or use, she’d be satisfied with a box of staples by the time it was all said and done.

I wouldn’t dare compare fantasy owners to petulant children, but the lesson here is don’t treat your waiver wire this way. Many fantasy owners simply can’t resist the allure of the waiver wire, and they feel they must get something every week, without too much thought of why they’re doing it.

I have nothing against being aggressive on the waiver wire, but owners should be selectively aggressive and make each move for a reason. With 8 weeks in the books, we are coming down the home stretch of the regular season in most fantasy leagues, and owners should be constructing their rosters with an eye on the future. Examine which weeks you will need to replace players on bye weeks and which players you’ll likely be plugging in.

When you’re looking at making a waiver wire move, ask yourself if it really helps your roster. Are you likely to ever feel good about starting this player? Is the player any more valuable than the one you’re dropping him for? Is this a player that I want to keep out of the hands of an opponent? If the answer to all these questions is no, then what’s the point?

Don’t forget, as obvious as this might sound, your goal is to win your league. Think ahead and construct your roster with only winning your championship in mind. Eschew depth for upside, and feel comfortable dropping players with low ceilings that offer nothing more than emergency depth.

Two quick tidbits, and we’re on to the links:

Josh Gordon is only owned in 16% of ESPN leagues. He won’t be eligible to return until week 12, but if at all possible, I’d suggest making room for him and picking him up now. It will be hard to expect the video-game numbers he put up last season after all this time off, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he does. Even if you’re stacked at WR, I know I wouldn’t want to see him in my opponent’s lineup in the playoffs.

This rookie crop of WR’s might be the best ever. Martavis Bryant and Donte Moncrief will both be popular names on the waiver wire this week after breakout performances, but don’t forget about Davante Adams. The Green Bay rookie is only 2.4% owned in ESPN leagues. He hasn’t had that one big game yet that makes everyone take notice, but he has a consistent role (7 catches on 9 targets last week) in a pass-heavy offense with one of the best QBs in the league. He has value now, but if Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb were to miss any time, his value would go through the roof.

And now on to the links…..

Brad Evans of Yahoo thinks Bobby Rainey will soon be back to being fantasy relevant.

Doug Coutts of Fantasy Sharks recommends grabbing another Buccaneer, rookie Charles Sims.

Nik Bonaddio from Numbersfire advises we take a second look at Denard Robinson, who has performed well in back-to-back games, if he wasn’t claimed last week.

Christopher Harris of ESPN sees Jonas Gray stepping into Stevan Ridley’s role in New England.

Adam Levitan from Rotoworld lists Donte Moncrief as the top WR pickup of the week.

Find me on Twitter for any questions or feedback!

Here’s hoping your week 9 transactions are fruitful.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Streaming Defenses: Week 9

Greetings and hope you all are enjoying some Monday Night Football. Bob is back with some more streaming defense brilliance - seriously, the guy was a soothsayer last week and I hope you all reaped the benefits. Read on for ideas for Week 9.

Hello fellow streamers!  How did it go last week? Well, if you followed the FFLibrarian advice last week, you probably did pretty well.  In fact, you couldn’t have gone wrong with the four recommendations.  All four did remarkably well.  Using Fantasy Shark League scoring: Miami put up 26 points, Bill 20, Vikings 22, and Browns with a respectable 13.  I’m pretty sure Miami helped many of you win your match up this week.

Now how do I follow up that kind of sorcery?  The answer is that I probably won’t.  That was a remarkable week, and this week is very scary for defenses with 6 byes, and some big matchups.  So temper your expectations, but I think there are some jewels out there this week.

To begin, I want to further expand on the Streaming strategy.  Recommendations for Streamers intentionally leave out top defenses that are considered every week starts.  For instance, at this point, I can’t recommend the Lions or Houston, because they are just really, really good. And you would be foolish to stream instead of starting them unless there is a particularly bad match up.  Also, recommendations will not include teams that are owned in over 70% of leagues.  Obviously, they won’t be available most of the time.  So the streamers I list are teams to pick up if you don’t have an obvious starting DEF or no chance to pick them up on the waiver wire.  So, with that, here’s this week’s best available streamers….

At this point, I’m still targeting the four following teams to start against:  JAC, OAK, TB, NYJ.
This week I want to look at the top-owned teams and see how they might fair this week.  Here they are…

Note: Proj is from Yahoo, Pts Rank is from MyFantasyLeague, Owned is from Yahoo.

Seattle is going to kill OAK so don’t hesitate if you have them.  This will be your reward for holding on to them this long.  HOU you still start them but they won’t put up big numbers, same with their opponent PHI.  SF has a good match and you start them.  But DET and BUF and are BYEs, so you’ll need a replacement.  And I’d stay away from the DEN/NE matchup, the points are going to fly there in the marquee matchup of the week. MIA and BUF are only owned this high due to last week’s pickups from last week recommendations.  BUF is on a BYE and MIA has a really bad matchup.  And I don’t know what to say about IND!!!  ARI has a tough matchup too, so temper expectations. So there are five highly owned teams that need to make a change and pick up a team that will help them out this week:  DET, BUF, NE, DEN, and MIA.  That’s a tough week to be sure.

But look who CIN is playing.  And since they’re owned in only 66% of leagues, they qualify as the number one Streaming DEF this week.  Projected, 16 points.

Second best streamer this week is KC.  They are playing the Jets, who gave up 20 DEF points to BUF last week, ouch.  KC is only owned in 58% of leagues.  Don’t hesitate and pick them up.  Projected, 14 points.

Third best streamer this week, is CLE.  They make the list for the second week in a row.  They are playing the vulnerable TB this week and they’re home.  So go ahead and hit that waiver button and expect 12 points for your efforts.

Now the picks get a bit murkier.  I’m not big on the next two, but if you don’t have any better choices than the above here’s a couple of fliers…

MIN had a great week last week, but they were playing TB and as expected put up big numbers.  But this week they have WAS.  I would like to see how WAS does tonight before making a call.  But since we are committing to getting this out during the game, I’m going to go out on a limb and put MIN as the 4th best pickup.  WAS has a new QB, although he has past experience and a pretty good start last week, I think MIN can give him problems in MIN as the 7th points ranked DEF this year so far.  So MIN is a flier as the 4th best pickup.  Projected points, 10 plus upside.

Finally, who to pick up as the 5th best?  I only include this because there are five teams that need replacement out of the top 12 highest owned DEFs this week.  And if I were forced to pick one, I’d get PIT.  They haven’t been very consistent, but they just got 14 points against an offensive juggernaut.  They only got 2 points against BAL in week 2, but they are home this week, and their defense has improved.  So if I had to pick, I’d take PIT, and expect around 10 points.

There you have it, three great picks and two fliers.  Don’t kill the messenger if the fliers don’t work out…

Friday, October 24, 2014

Start/Sit advice for Week 8

I am the luckiest librarian today: I have yet another stellar post from a guest writer. Two in one day?! Whaaaaat? This rounds out the group of guest writers that I'm going to use on the blog for now: Jen, Michael, Bob, and now Steve. They all have different opinions and are full of thought-provoking advice. As you can see below, Steve makes me proud with his tremendous quantity of links and the consensus start/sit for the week. So get after it, give me feedback on these great writers, and most of all, good luck in Week 8.

Full disclosure: I’m new to the fantasy advice game. I’ve been playing fantasy since 2005 (not quite as long as Michael), and am currently in 4 leagues, which is a record for me; I usually have 3, but my family wanted to start up one this season for fun… so far be it from me to opt out of that. Why I thought I could handle juggling 4 leagues AND contributing to the fantasy blog that has helped win me 3 championships (and a lot of $$) is beyond me, but I’m more excited about this opportunity than at least 2 of my leagues anyway. Thank you to Sara, hello Jen, Michael, and Bob, and greetings to anyone else reading.

You probably already know this, but the teams on bye weeks this week are the Giants and 49ers. So you will be missing out on all of their underperforming offensive players for at least one more week (Eli, Andre Williams, Larry Donnell, Reuben Randle, Gore, Crabtree, Boldin, Davis, Kaepernick; hat tip to Odell Beckham Jr.). I was high on Cruz this year, and in my main league have Gore and Crabtree, so you can imagine how my season is going. But you don’t care about me… you care about winning week 8.

Despite a slew of injuries to start and only 2 teams on byes, you may have some questions on who to play; especially if you’re outside a playoff spot looking in. You need a W and you need it now. Hopefully these will help:

Roto Arcade’s Flames & Lames

Bruno Boys Start & Sit (they’ve broken it up not only by position, but also start and sit; presumably to boost pageviews)

Fantasy Sharks Start/Bench (I believe Jen posted this link the other day)

FF Toolbox Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em (okay Jen no more poaching links… promise)

Also, I really like the Fantasy Pros Start tool here, in which you compare players to start based on different scoring. I use it a lot.

For those too lazy to click through 14 different links and look up your guys, here are some consensus guys that made multiple lists for starts and sits (Fantasy tip – don’t be lazy!). In no particular order:

Ryan Tannehill, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer

Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler

Joique Bell, Lamar Miller, Jerrick McKinnon, Shane Vereen, Andre Ellington, Ahmad Bradshaw

Alfred Morris, Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson, LeSean McCoy

Jeremy Maclin, Sammy Watkins, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Terrence Williams

Roddy White, Torrey Smith, Desean Jackson, Mohammad Sanu

Now just some thoughts on the recent waiver wire surge of running backs. Obviously the big 3 this week were Bryce Brown (Bills), Denard Robinson (Jags), and Tre Mason (Rams). I’m sure there was a feeding frenzy in every league to get one or all 3 of these guys, but unless you’re stockpiling touches or hoarding points for the playoffs, I’m not really sure I see the hype. First of all, if you need a win ASAP to stay in contention, I know the temptation is there to make a move and start someone new and fresh (as your team is probably not living up to its potential). But take a closer look and you might not find what you want to see.

Tre Mason – I know Michael posted a bit about seeing ahead and acting on opportunities such as his, but I’m really hesitant. Yes, he put up 14.5 on Seattle’s defense and Stacy didn’t touch the ball once, but that backfield situation is a MESS right now, and with Jeff Fisher saying things like “it’ll be a week-to-week thing” and “Zac could get 25 carries this week”, I’m not really confident starting Mason. And when you look at his schedule down the stretch, it makes it look even more bleak: KC this week, then SF, ARI, DEN, SD, OAK, WAS, ARI, NYG. With the exception of the Raiders, that’s somewhat of a murderer’s row for running backs. I understand starting him if you’re desperate and have no other options, but temper expectations.

The same could be said for Denard Robinson. Gerhart is returning and will get some snaps, but even as the starter, this week is not the best time to deploy the flavor of the week in Jacksonville’s backfield. Miami’s run D is SOLID. Plain and simple. Since week 3, no RB has had more than 50 rushing yards against them, and only 1 TD. A lot of people (including Bob) are high on streaming them as a DST this week, which makes it counter-intuitive to be pro-Miami Defense and pro-Jaguars running back. Robinson also has a bye in week 11, which is another lost week right before playoff time. And also… he’s on the Jaguars. I’m staying away.

Easily the best back of the three I listed is Bryce Brown, who was a monster 2 seasons ago in LeSean McCoy’s absence in Philly. He has fumbling issues, yes, but is an athletic freak that definitely has huge upside. However, I think it will be more of an RBBC than people think between him and Anthony Dixon, and since Kyle Orton took over, the Bills have been pass happy (never thought I’d say that in my lifetime). He plays the Jets this week who are also pretty decent against the run, and has a bye next week… effectively making two useless weeks in a row. Three if you count playing the Chiefs after the bye. Four if you count going to Miami after that in week 11. Five if you count playing the Jets AGAIN week 12. The Bills are winning games, but it’s not really because of their running backs. Jackson was good in PPR, so maybe Brown has some upside there, but otherwise stick him in your flex spot and hope for the best.

I know you’re desperate, and unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions on who you could plug ‘n play instead of the 3 I just listed, but again, just try to temper expectations and say some prayers to the fantasy gods Saturday night. If you’re deploying any of these guys, I hope I’m wrong for your sake. If all 3 go off, I’ll buy you a drink.

Just kidding… I’ll buy myself several drinks for being so bad at predicting the future. Besides, you admitted you don’t care about me anyway.

*Okay, the last one was a joke.

Streaming Defenses: Week 8

Another guest post for you, this time from Bob, and it's specifically for those of you who are trying to do the streaming defense thing - or perhaps just need a DST for a bye week. I really meant to get this post up yesterday but our youngest is battling a fever so plans got turned upside down. Here's hoping Bob's great streaming defense advice is still timely for you!

Hello Fantasy Fans!! My name is Bob Tierney, and like Mike and Jen, I am a guest writer for our beloved Fantasy Football Librarian. I am a retired Engineer, so I love statistics, and what better arena to duel in statistics than Fantasy Football. For my article this week, I would like to discuss the strategy of Streaming Defenses.

For those of you new to the strategy, here’s how it works. Instead of drafting and locking in a defense, you look to teams that are going to have a bad year offensively and look for the teams that will play those teams and are available in the draft or the waiver wire each week. It sounds a little tedious doesn’t it. And, yes, it takes some time and effort to figure this out. So this strategy is better suited to the intermediate to advanced FF player, not your family fun league. But in leagues where one or two points can make the difference from week to week, it has its advantages. 

Why should you stream defenses?...for several reasons. 

First, you never know at the beginning of a year which defense is going to dominate in the coming year. Sure, you can look at last year’s stats and combine that with defensive player moves, player drafts, and trades. But a defense is a unit that needs to work as a unified unit. So if there are changes, it will take some time for a defense to find its synergy. Some may base projections on the defensive coordinator, either track record or changes. But again, until a unit finds its cohesion, you just never know.

Second, defenses rely, to a great extent, on who they’re playing. No one wants to start a defense against a scoring juggernaut, like Denver, especially if your scoring takes into account points against.  

Third, you can save that 7th thru 12th round pick on a skill position player, rather than spend it on a defense that you have no idea how they will perform. This year, Seattle was consistently taken in the 8th round.  Seattle is now the 30th ranked defense. And here are some players taken in the 8th round that you could have drafted:  Maclin, Jeremy PHI WR, Wilson, Russell SEA QB, Romo, Tony DAL QB, Sproles, Darren PHI RB, Williams, Terrance DAL WR, Wallace, Mike MIA WR, Tate, Golden DET WR. You sure could have used some Maclin, Wilson, Williams, or Tate, instead of the 30th ranked defense.

Fourth, the data shows that Streaming Defenses is remarkably effective. And here’s the evidence. In the beginning of the year, many streamers recognized that there were two teams that were going to struggle offensively. The Jaguars had a tough year last year, and didn’t do much to improve. Along with problems at QB, they didn’t have a sound RB and they didn’t improve their Offensive line significantly. So the Jaguars were a target from the beginning. Another team with QB woes and RB questions was the Raiders. And it didn’t take too long to figure out that McCown was not the answer in Tampa Bay, so they emerged as another team to pick on.

Below is a statistical breakdown of some teams that have offered defenses the opportunity to excel along with the points allowed to the corresponding defenses, based on Fantasy Sharks leagues scoring.








Notice the average points for defenses against the Jaguars was over 16 points!!! That’s great! Oakland wasn’t nearly as good but still respectable at over 12. And even if you started streaming against TB after week three, you still averaged over 12 points.

Now, let’s look at the top four defenses to date, along with poor Seattle with the average points at the top.

Notice, not one of those teams averaged over 16 points. And you wouldn’t have taken the Eagles until after the 4th week. Same thing with the Lions, well maybe after the 3rd week. Only the Patriots and the Seahawks were drafted as defenses at all, and look at what the Seahawks got you…

So the data bears it out.  Streaming is a great strategy based on these four assumptions.

Now, what’s the downside?  Yeah, there is some downside.

First, you have to actively watch the trends in teams that allow high defensive points allowed.  And that can change over the course of the year.  So it takes some work.

Second, you may not get the best matched team as the defense for that week, due to the same team being a favorite every-week starter on some other team.  But if you look above, there are always a couple of teams available each week. 

Third, you may not be able to snatch a good matchup each week due to competition.  This is particularly true in competitive leagues where there may be half the league streaming already.  But you can tell this by watching the waiver wire each week, and figure out who’s changing their defenses each week.

So let me take care of the first downside, the research.  Each week I will give you the top defenses to target on the waiver wire for streaming.  Starting this week…

Top of the list this week is the Miami Dolphins.  Why?  Because, if you were paying attention, they are playing the Jaguars.  Not many teams will have the Dolphins for an every week starter.  And Miami hasn’t been too bad for the year either, averaging about 11 points a week.  They also scored 21 points against the other target, the Raiders, in week 4.  This would even be better if Miami played at home, but they played the Raiders on the road too.  But watch out for others trying to get Miami, because of what they did to Chicago last week.  Projected points, 14.

More distant seconds are the following:
Vikings against the Buccaneers.  Not nearly as good as Miami, but there are real problems in Tampa Bay.  And the Vikings are starting to congeal as a defense.  Projected points, 10.

Browns against the Raiders.  Also not as good as Miami, but after an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars last week, they will be motivated to do better offensively.  By the way, they were the pick last week against the Jags, and still put up 12 fantasy points.  Projected points, 10.

Finally, a flyer, the Bills against the New York Jets.  I don’t think they can stop the run, but they will have opportunities against either QB started.  The Bills may not be available since they have been averaging 11 points a game.  But if available, they are another good start this week. The Jets are emerging as another target for streaming defenses.  Projected points, 12.

So there you have it, set your waiver to the following teams in the priority listed here: Dolphins, Bills, Vikings, Browns

And happy streaming!!!