Week 14 Fantasy Surprises

BernardLast week two of my surprises in Blake Bortles and Kenyan Drake hit in a big way, while Sterling Shepard offered some nice production. It comes at a good time as for many, this signifies the first week of the fantasy football playoffs. While some may have a bye (which I never really understood) coming for some this week, it’s important for those who are playing to stick with what got you there and eliminate any chances of potentially overthinking.

If a backup has a great matchup or you’re dealing with injuries, go ahead and make a change. Just know that in the event this is your last fantasy game of the season, it’s much easier to go with players you’ve trusted as a move that backfires could be stuck in your head until next season.

QB: Jimmy Garoppolo vs Texans: Along with becoming your mom or significant other’s favorite young quarterback, Garoppolo on the field showed plenty of reasons for 49ers fans to be optimistic. While injuries have thinned out what would be his supporting cast, Garoppolo clearly showed the ability to move the ball in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Now he gets a Texan defense which has also been hit by its share of injuries and is thin in the secondary. While they might not light up the scoreboard, Garoppolo’s projected volume makes him an intriguing daily fantasy option. Expect around 240 yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Giovani Bernard vs Bears: It has been an interesting career for Bernard to this point. As a rookie, he was a fantasy darling as the Bengals’ lead back and as a pass catcher. The next few seasons he started sharing carries with Jeremy Hill before ultimately suffering a torn ACL. Entering 2017, Bernard was behind Hill and newly drafted Joe Mixon on the depth chart.

Now, Hill is done for the year, and Mixon is out this week with a concussion he suffered on Monday night. Bernard will have plenty of opportunities against an inconsistent Bears defense in a game that projects to have a favorable game-flow. Bernard can be locked in as a 2nd running back or flex option in all leagues, and makes for a nice play in daily fantasy as well. Expect around 110 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Marquise Goodwin vs Texans: If you want a guy who can swing a fantasy playoff game, look no further than Goodwin who was Garoppolo’s top target last week. Goodwin hauled in all eight of his targets for 99 yards, but he wasn’t able to show off his Olympic caliber speed. While fantasy owners in PPR league’s would gladly take a repeat of last week, the chance of Garoppolo and Goodwin connecting on a deep score is what’s worth betting on. Expect around 80 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Stephen Anderson vs 49ers: Despite little to no national attention surrounding it, games like this 49ers/Texans one are what could really swing fantasy leagues. This time of year lesser known players taking on bigger roles can swing a title, and Anderson would apply. A former college receiver, Anderson was targeted 12 times last week and with the other Texan tight ends banged up, should see plenty of playing time. The 12 targets is unlikely, but in a favorable matchup with top tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski out, he’s worth a look. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Travis Coons vs Redskins: The Chargers are now on their third kicker of the season, but Coons provides something I look for in fantasy kickers. That would be opportunity, on top of what should be a game that won’t have attempts potentially altered by the environment. The Redskins defense has been inconsistent of late, so with a hot Chargers offense, Coons is a kicker that’s available in many leagues that could give you a boost. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.

DEF: Jets vs Broncos: Considering on Sunday they just allowed 31 points and nearly 500 total yards of offense, playing the Jets defense might not be for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is watching the Broncos quarterback play in 2017. If you’re willing to gamble, you could do worse than going against a team with a struggling offensive line and a quarterback in Trevor Siemian who has thrown seven interceptions in his last four appearances. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

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Week 14 Predictions

Russell-wilson_20161122012029044_6653015_ver1.0_640_360Week 13 was a strong one for my predictions all-around and included picking the exact score for the Giants/Raiders game. With only a handful of teams eliminated from postseason contention, we have another week full of very intriguing matchups featuring teams who would be in the playoffs at this time or still have aspirations. With a full slate of games, it should give us as fans plenty to watch.

Last week: 12-4, Season: 123-69

Last week against the spread: 10-6, Season: 98-94

Game of the weak: Bears vs Bengals: The Bengals at 5-7 are technically still alive in the playoff push, but it would require winning out and a lot of luck to achieve. For whatever reason, the Bears seem to be regressing and last week were simply dominated in time of possession which played a part in their inability to get a running game going. The Bengals have some key injuries on defense, but I’m not sure if the Bears have enough to keep up if Andy Dalton and company heat up early. Bears 16 Bengals (-6.5) 23

Game of the week: Seahawks vs Jaguars: This game might not have the most playoff implications, but it’s a fantastic test for a Jaguar team that has many qualities you’d like in a Super Bowl contender. On top of that, this is probably the biggest regular season game the franchise has hosted in quite some time, so the atmosphere could really be something. The main matchup I and so many others will be watching in this one is the wizardry of Russell Wilson against the Jaguar defense.

Wilson every week seems to pull off one or two plays that seem improbable. Between their ability to get to opposing quarterbacks and speed at linebacker, this defense will be his biggest test. The same goes for the Jaguars as a whole. If they’re for real (which I think they are), taking care of business at home against a team who perennially has been in the thick of their respective conference is a great way to show it. Seahawks 13 Jaguars (-2.5) 16

Cowboys 23 Giants (+3.5) 21

Packers 23 Browns (+3.5) 17

49ers 21 Texans (-2.5) 16

Vikings 23 Panthers (+2.5) 20

Colts 17 Bills (-3.5) 20

Lions 23 Buccaneers (-0.5) 27

Raiders 24 Chiefs (-4.5) 28

Redskins 16 Chargers (-6.5) 26

Jets 24 Broncos (+1.5) 20

Titans 21 Cardinals (+3.5) 17

Eagles 21 Rams (-2.5) 27

Ravens 21 Steelers (-5.5) 26

Patriots 34 Dolphins (+11.5) 20

 

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Saints vs. Falcons Predictions

2015-nfl-week-6-falcons-saints-betting-oddsTonight’s Thursday night matchup is a rivalry game with playoff implications and major shootout potential. In short, there isn’t much more we can ask for this week. After the offense failed in last Sunday’s big test, the Falcons have another tough one against a much improved Saints defense. Given the circumstances, this game has the potential for fireworks and should come to the wire.

This isn’t the Saints offense we’ve become accustomed to over the past decade or so. Drew Brees is still playing at a very high level, but the ground game is what’s really making the difference. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are having Pro Bowl caliber years and do a great job complementing the other’s skills. Despite a toe injury, Ingram is supposed to play tonight and should see 15 to 20 touches if he isn’t limited. Kamara in a deep rookie running back class has been a revelation. His ability to elude, run past or run through defenders isn’t seen everyday and we could be looking at a historic rookie year. The Falcons of late have been able to limit the run, but both of these backs (particularly Kamara) can contribute out of the backfield. With that, let it be known in 2017 no team has allowed more receptions to opposing running backs than the Falcons.

Michael Thomas is clearly Brees’ top option when he throws the ball and should see a favorable matchup tonight. Thomas lines up all over the field and is not impacted as much by Desmond Trufant (who stays on the left side) returning. Thomas should see eight to ten targets in this one and should be locked in all fantasy lineups. Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman figure to see a handful of targets, but both are “boom-or-bust” options in terms of fantasy. Willie Snead was a popular preseason fantasy pick (and was touted by yours truly), but due to an early season suspension and injury has been unable to get things going. Josh Hill at tight end has a matchup that seems favorable, but hasn’t seen enough volume to trust.

Matt Ryan hasn’t had the same individual or team success in 2017, but a win this week would go a long way. Despite not reaching the MVP level numbers in a game this season, Ryan makes for a solid fantasy starter in this one. Devonta Freeman returned last Sunday from a concussion, but despite being more efficient only saw two more touches than Tevin Coleman. Freeman did play more snaps, so there’s no telling if the lack of attempts was to be cautious or just due to game flow. The Saints of late have been generous against running backs allowing them to have success through the air and on the ground. Assuming Freeman sees 15 plus touches, he should be locked in all lineups, while Coleman makes for a very intriguing flex play.

Julio Jones only had two receptions this past Sunday, but even against Marshon Lattimore who has been fantastic as a rookie, look for Jones to bounce back. Lattimore is returning from an ankle injury, so at less than 100 percent it only makes sense to target someone with Jones’ talents frequently. Mohamed Sanu also has what could be a rewarding matchup as the Saints have struggled covering the slot where Sanu runs the majority of his routes. You can safely play Sanu as a third receiver or flex option in all league’s tonight. Austin Hooper has been utilized more in his second year, but for fantasy purposes this game is a bad draw. The Saints have been one of the stingiest defenses against tight ends, and Hooper can be touchdown dependent as is.

In what should be a high scoring game, I’m siding with the team that I feel has the better chance of controlling the tempo. That would be the Saints, who could grind out wins with the run or with Brees through the air if you sell out to stop Ingram and Kamara. My prediction is Saints 28 Falcons (-2.5) 24.

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Week 13 Fantasy Surprises

4184199_web1_copy_copy_0924JaguarsBortlesThrow1Last week was a below average one for my fantasy surprises, but with the fantasy playoffs approaching, hopefully I got the tough loss out of the way. For many, week 13 will signify the end of the regular season in their leagues. Hopefully your team will be moving on to play next week, but if you’re in a “win and in” scenario, some of these players could possibly make a huge difference for you. Others would qualify as better options for daily fantasy games.

QB: Blake Bortles vs Colts: Throw aside that the player in question in Bortles, everything about this matchup you’d want your fantasy quarterback to have this time of year. He won’t be effected by cold weather, and the Colt secondary has been decimated by injuries. Most importantly, with the Jaguar running backs failing to get anything going last week, the team used some read options with Bortles which worked extremely well. While two rushing touchdowns is unlikely, the added bonus of 30-40 rushing yards to go along with a decent passing day could makes a big difference. Expect around 270 total yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Kenyan Drake vs Broncos: On paper, the matchup for Drake isn’t great this week. The Bronco defense is still extremely talented, and the Dolphins offense has really struggled of late. At this point though, Drake is really the only healthy back the team has left and since Jay Ajayi was traded has shown flashes of the talent he offers. The Broncos have struggled against pass catching backs as well, so Drake could be very valuable in formats that reward receptions. Assuming at least 15 to 20 touches, he will be a difference maker in your lineup. Expect around 90 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Sterling Shepard vs Raiders: Shepard has missed the past few weeks with migraines, but at this point in time is expected to play Sunday. While Geno Smith replacing Eli Manning would have many people rule out Shepard, to me he makes sense as a contrarian play in daily fantasy tournaments. The Raiders have struggled against the pass all year minus the half they played Paxton Lynch, and if the Giants get down early, Shepard could see double digit targets. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Adam Shaheen vs 49ers: Shaheen followed up his eye opening week 11 with a one catch for one yard performance this Sunday, but there’s reason for optimism. In pass coverage against tight ends, the 49ers are not the Eagles and with emphasis expected on the run, it could create a big play or two down the seams for Shaheen. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is used in a lot of daily fantasy tournaments, but if you’re a risk taker he’s worth a shot in year long leagues as well. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Josh Lambo vs Colts: Fantasy kickers are all about opportunity and like his quarterback, Lambo should have them on Sunday. Whether it’s from extra points or the offense being unable to capitalize off a turnover, all those kicks can add up. For someone who is available in the majority of leagues Lambo should provide a nice value. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.

DEF: Titans vs Texans: While I don’t think the Titans will be able to stop DeAndre Hopkins, they should be able to get to the man throwing him the ball. For that reason alone, they’re a very interesting option in terms of a streaming fantasy defense. The Texans have had trouble with left tackle all year and are now down to their third at the position. Tom Savage isn’t a quarterback known for his ability to move around the pocket, so the pressure could result in sacks and turnovers. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

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Week 13 Predictions

Denver Broncos vs. against the Oakland Raiders NFL Week 4Last week was a very good one for my predictions in terms of picking winners, with my highlight being predicting the score of the Dolphins/Patriots game. However, I’ve been in a bit of a skid against the spread, so hopefully I can bounce back. This is another strong slate of games with many having playoff and divisional implications, so here’s to another great weekend of football.

Last week: 13-3, Season: 111-65

Last week against the spread: 6-10, Season: 88-88

Game of the weak: Broncos vs Dolphins: Well that escalated quickly. After the Broncos and Dolphins started their seasons 3-1 and 4-2 respectively, they currently sit at 3-8 and 4-7. The good news is somebody will see their losing streak come to an end on Sunday afternoon. So where did it go wrong for these teams? While both have had inconsistent quarterback play throughout the year, both teams have had offensive line struggles and defenses that haven’t met high expectations. These are games which can be built on for next year and heck, in this current AFC neither is completely out of it with a few wins either. Broncos 20 Dolphins (+1.5) 23

Game of the week: Panthers vs Saints: It feels like with how stacked the NFC is, the same few teams have been in this spot repeatedly. The Saints now make their second straight appearance here as the winner of this contest takes the lead of the  NFC South. One of the key match-ups in this one will be the Saints’ dynamic backfield of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara against a Panther defense that is stout against the run. Casual fans are well aware of the elite play of Luke Kuechly at linebacker, but on the interior Kawann Short has been a dominant run defender for the past two or three seasons.

Last week, the Jets did have some opportunities to exploit the Panther secondary, so it wouldn’t be surprising if this game came down to a battle of Drew Brees and Cam Newton. As fans of the sport, we could be in for a treat with this one. Panthers 24 Saints (-4.5) 28

Lions 17 Ravens (-2.5) 20

Colts 16 Jaguars (-9.5) 24

Texans 20 Titans (-6.5) 24

Buccaneers 21 Packers (+1.5) 20

Vikings 26 Falcons (-3.5) 21

49ers 20 Bears (-3.5) 24

Patriots 31 Bills (+9.5) 17

Chiefs 21 Jets (+3.5) 24

Browns 16 Chargers (-13.5) 30

Giants 17 Raiders (-9.5) 24

Rams 27 Cardinals (+7.5) 17

Eagles 26 Seahawks (+6.5) 21

Steelers 24 Bengals (+5.5) 21

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Redskins vs. Cowboys Predictions

Jamison+Crowder+Washington+Redskins+v+Dallas+oQ0sZ4NX4cClWith both teams entering this game 5-6, the loser of tonight’s NFC East battle will essentially be eliminated from playoff contention in a loaded conference. Both of these teams have been hit hard by injuries, and having played on Thanksgiving it’s the rare Thursday night game where teams have a week to prepare.

While an offensive line full of injuries is room for concern, there is reason to believe Kirk Cousins could be in for a full stat line tonight. Weather won’t play a role for Cousins with the game being in a dome, and opponents have had success passing on the Cowboys of late. Once again, Jamison Crowder should continue being Cousins’ top option. In his past four, Crowder on average has seen ten plus targets and receivers in the slot have performed well against the Cowboys of late.

Josh Doctson seems to continue gaining Cousins’ trust, but he has been an inconsistent fantasy option. The matchup of two rookie corners on the outside seems promising, so if you think Doctson will get eight or so targets (with a few of them in the redzone), then he’s worth a start in deep leagues. In a favorable matchup last week, Vernon Davis didn’t record a catch but the squeaky wheel should get the grease tonight. The Cowboys of late have struggled against pass catching tight ends, so play Davis with confidence that he’ll bounce back tonight.

Since Sean Lee has been out with a hamstring injury, opponents have run for 4.6 yards a carry against the Cowboys. That bodes well for Samaje Perine who due to injuries in the backfield has seen over 50 total touches in the last two weeks. Off volume alone, he is safe to play in both daily and season long fantasy formats.

Halfway through the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, things haven’t come easy for Dak Prescott as he has accounted for just one touchdown while throwing five interceptions. While he played two pretty stout defenses the past two weeks, the numbers are all people will look at it in the hot take society of today. Fortunately for Prescott, this matchup should be a little more favorable. One way I’ll be looking to see if to see Prescott is involved is through run/pass options. The Cowboys executed one on Thanksgiving which resulted in a long touchdown, but was called back due to holding. With Prescott’s mobility, it seems like a nice way to build confidence and make the secondary think twice one every snap.

The receivers have had trouble creating separation of late and that starts with Dez Bryant. While Prescott isn’t throwing up a bunch of 50/50 balls (where Bryant typically thrives), only two games with 70 or more yards is concerning. The Cowboys should look to utilize him in the slot tonight to eliminate the thought of lining up opposite Josh Norman or Bashaud Breeland. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley both figure to see targets, but both have too inconsistent this year to count on from a fantasy perspective. Having allowed almost 800 yards to tight ends this year, Jason Witten should have a solid matchup here. At a week position, he makes sense to start but Witten could always be in for another 5 catch for 45 yard performance which somehow after occurring solidifies his future Hall of Fame candidacy.

The Cowboy running backs have produced since the Elliott suspension, but the inability to put points on the board has prevented them from being fully utilized. Considering the Redskins have struggled against the run, this should be a nice matchup but for fantasy owners a running back committee is always very difficult. Last week, Rod Smith had one more touch than Alfred Morris and was on the field for a higher rate of snaps. This could be due to Smith offering more value as a receiver. Morris should see at least 12 to 15 touches in this one assuming it is close, so if you really need a back he would be my guess for this game.

Divisional games are always more difficult to predict, but with plenty to play for I’m assuming this one stays pretty close. In the end, I’ll go with the quarterback  who I have more faith in based on recent performance which is Cousins. My prediction is Redskins 26 Cowboys (+2.5) 21.

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Week 12 Fantasy Surprises

joe-flacco-4c56771b2f3635cdLast week was a very rough one for my fantasy surprises as aside from Marcedes Lewis and Brandon McManus, very little positive impact was made. It didn’t help that Sterling Shepard was ruled out the night before the game, but hopefully things improve this week. By this time of year, every fantasy player probably has at least one player on their squad who they’re thankful for. With the fantasy playoffs approaching, hopefully there are plenty of reasons to be thankful this time of year from a football perspective.

QB: Joe Flacco vs Texans: Is Joe Flacco elite? Well aside from the “he won a Super Bowl” crowd, the answer you’d probably hear these days is a no. However, against a Texan defense that has been decimated with injuries there’s a chance for Flacco to put up an impressive performance. If you’re not one to spend up at the quarterback position in daily fantasy, Flacco is an option for you. Expect around 240 yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Alfred Morris vs Chargers: While the Chargers secondary got all the credit last week, it’s worth noting their run defense was gashed when LeSean McCoy was given the opportunity. Morris isn’t Ezekiel Elliott, but he has done a solid imitation so far behind a banged up offensive line. Assuming he continues to see 15 to 20 total touches, Morris could give fans who start him a nice Thanksgiving treat. Expect around 80 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Dede Westbrook vs Cardinals: This play is one I mainly like for those involved in daily fantasy tournaments. Westbrook ran just 21 routes in his NFL debut, but most promising is he was targeted by Blake Bortles on six of them. Being targeted on nearly a third of your pass routes like that would put him at an elite volume level. With Marqise Lee figuring to be shadowed by Patrick Peterson in coverage, Westbrook’s big play speed could lead to chunk plays which would make him a great value at his current prices. Expect around 60 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Tyler Kroft vs Browns: Picking a tight end against the Browns was one of my few hits last week, so only fitting I try my luck again. Kroft has had games where volume is there, and the Browns have struggled in coverage against the position. If you have someone like Jordan Reed who has been held back by injury, that formula makes Kroft a nice option to look for on waivers. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Blair Walsh vs 49ers:  I would understand why some could be scared off by Walsh, but this game has shootout potential so opportunities could be there. The lack of a ground game also helps Walsh in this case, as in some events instead of punching in a short touchdown, the Seahawks could be stuck settling for a field goal instead. Expect around three extra points and two field goals.

DEF: Falcons vs Buccaneers: Some of the plays at defense this week are pretty obvious, so I’m going with the Falcon defense even though this game has some shootout potential. Not only has this group been much better at home, but they’re facing a Buccaneers team that has had issues with the offensive line, and Ryan Fitzpatrick can obviously be prone to turnovers. If you need a defense off of the waiver wire, you could do much worse. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

 

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