December 22, 2014

About Chris Garosi

Chris Garosi is a Contributor to District Sports Page. Chris is a diehard Maryland Terrapins fan in all sports and a fan of things New England sports-related (except for football). Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He also writes for The Fantasy Fix. You can follow Chris on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 15. That Thursday night game set the NFL back abou t50 years. And shows again why I continue to skip those games. I was pretty sure the Rams would win, but the Cardinals seem to have nine lives.

The Niners and Saints hurt a lot of squads last week, but you’re reading so you missed those games. Each week it gets infinitely harder as the number of teams available dwindles and you have to hold your nose to get through the week.

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Friday evening:

Survivor_Week_15

We have a couple of big favorites and then a mess of teams behind them. As we get close to the end of the season, the percentages you see here likely don’t mirror your specific pool. Your choice at this point hinges more on which teams are left for the other entrants. That said, the list below is in the order I’d choose the teams if I still had them left.

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 15 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots Bill Belichick doesn’t like to lose to the same team twice in one season. The Pats always struggle in Miami, but do in Tom Brady’s 13 seasons he’s lost only 14 times at home and only once has he lost to Miami at home (in 2006). I think Belichick will turn up the heat defensively and Brady will orchestrate the offense to a victory over this division foe. I give the Patriots an 87% chance of winning.
  2. Baltimore RavensRavens at home? Check. Jaguars on the other side of the ball? Check. Healthy on both sides of the ball? Well, no not really, but I don’t think it matters for the Ravens. The Jags defense has looked better against the pass lately, but that shouldn’t matter to the Ravens who I see pounded the ball all afternoon long especially if Torrey Smith misses the game. I give the Ravens an 85% chance of winning.
  3. Seattle Seahawks The Seahawks aren’t crushing teams like they did last year, however, they seem to be pointing the ship in the correct direction late in 2014. They get a reeling 49ers’ squad that has the talent to win at Seattle, but doesn’t seem to have the drive to get things done. Their coach is halfway out the door and the players seem to be looking for a door as well. CenturyLink Field is no place for a team like that. I give the Seahawks an 80% chance of winning.
  4. New York Giants Speaking of coaches halfway out the door and a team looking for any exit, we present the mighty Dan Snyder-owned Washington entry in the NFL. Eli Manning may turn the ball over five times this game and it probably wouldn’t matter. Washington is starting an injured Colt McCoy. McCoy’s presence neutralizes some of Alfred Morris’ effectiveness and turns them one-dimensional. Eli should be able to throw the ball all over the park against a Washington secondary that is playing as poorly as some high school teams. I give the Giants a 75% chance of winning.
  5. Detroit Lions The Lions are getting healthy on offense as their defense starts to slip a bit. Calvin Johnson looks like he’s back to the Megatron of old. Even with a wilting defense, the Lions should be able to hold a Vikings team down with a rookie QB and a set of RBs that will only get to Canton with a paid admission. I give the Lions a 74% chance of winning.
  6. Indianapolis Colts The Colts head home with emerging Donte Moncrief knocking on Reggie Wayne’s door, T.Y. Hilton. The biggest concern, oddly enough, for me with the Colts is Andrew Luck’s propensity to turn the ball over. The Texans could run Arian Foster 30+ times and try to keep Luck off the field. But, if Luck keeps turning the ball over it may not matter. That said, I have confidence that the Colts should be able to take the Texans out especially with the return of Vontae Davis. I give the Colts a 72% chance of winning.
  7. Kansas City ChiefsI’m not a huge fan of the Chiefs this week. Yes, they need the win, but just because they need it doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Jamaal Charles won’t be 100%, Alex Smith has almost no other weapons. The Raiders can keep it close and have discovered that Latavius Murray might be OK at football. The Raiders are a feisty squad. I give the Chiefs a 68% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: Maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers as they have the offensive weapons to shred the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Moreover, the Falcons will probably be without Julio Jones and Harry Douglas is a wee bit of a downgrade.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Packers are off a big Monday night performance against a poor Falcons’ defense. They head on a short week to Buffalo to face a Bills team with a far better defense and some offensive weapons (that are hindered a bit by the presence of Kyle Orton).

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys are undefeated on the road this year and certainly will be hurting from the beating they took at home on Thanksgiving. I don’t see Tony Romo having the same type of game he did.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 14 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 14. No need to talk about the Thursday game – I’m staying away. It’s too tough to call with Tony Romo’s health being a big question mark.

Hopefully you took the Rams last week and slept well as there was some chaos down the list. Let’s see where you can go in Week 14 and avoid catastrophe. It’s a tough week with so many road favorites on the board.

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 14 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Thursday afternoon:

Survivor_Week_14

We have one big favorite and then three others chasing. Do we fade the big favorite? Do we even have a choice at this late in the season?

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 14 in order of preference:

  1. Detroit Lions – I’m staying with the “chalk” this week and picking the Lions as my top choice. They face a Bucs team that came close to beating a Bengals team that isn’t nearly as good as they think they are. The Lions have a stout run defense that will turn the Bucs even more one-dimensional. And last week it seemed the Calvin Johnson finally woke up from his season-long slumber. I give the Lions an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Green Bay Packers – Monday night in Lambeau Field against a dome team in December? Yep, that checks all the boxes. Aaron Rodgers has been lights out all year long and I don’t see it stopping here. The Falcons continue to trot Steven Jackson out there in the hopes he runs through the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain is frozen this time of year in Green Bay. I give the Packers an 83% chance of winning.
  3. Denver Broncos – This is probably going to be a tougher matchup for the Broncos than it looks. The Bills have a stout defense that can pressure the QB and Peyton Manning doesn’t exactly like a dirty pocket. That said, the Broncos firepower on offense should be able to overcome the hodgepodge of Bills’ offensive weapons. I give the Broncos a 77% chance of winning.

Another interlude – if you have these three, go with one of these three. Now, on to the less than savory options.

  1. San Francisco 49ers – This is a road game. Sort of. These neighbors face off in Oakland this week. The Raiders will be a bit more dangerous on offense with the return of Latavius Murray, but their defense isn’t very good and even an uneven Colin Kaepernick should be able to take advantage of those issues. I give the 49ers a 71% chance of winning.
  2. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are no longer a slam dunk at home that they’ve been in years’ past. However, the Panthers provide little more than a speed bump of an impediment. The Saints won’t ignore Jimmy Graham this week and look to be fully healthy in the backfield. I think we’ll see Drew Brees throw it all over the park against the awful Panthers’ secondary. I give the Saints a 70% chance of winning.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – I like the Vikes for two reasons – their defense is sneaky good and Geno Smith is obviously awful. When the Vikings defense has faced a poor offensive team they’ve excelled and there aren’t too many poorer offenses than the Jets. I give the Vikings a 69% chance of winning.
  4. Houston Texans – There is a chance that the Texans defense outscores the Jaguars offense in this game. Yes, it’s a bit risky taking a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led team on the road, but the Jags don’t really put up much of a fight on the road or at home. I give the Texans a 67% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: I could be talked into the Miami Dolphins at home against a Ravens’ squad that is now missing Haloti Ngata. I also like the Indianapolis Colts a bit more than most this week, but the injuries in their defensive backfield make me concerned.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the Chicago Bears. Tony Romo’s health is an issue and the Bears have to have some fight left in them. On a short week with an injured QB, I want nothing to do with the road team.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Kansas City Chiefs on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals look awful with Drew Stanton at QB and the Chiefs defense can ramp up the pressure to go after him. Moreover, the Cardinals may be without Andre Ellington further harming their offensive prowess.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 13 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 13. As promised I skipped the Thursday games again though this week you could have probably been on Detroit with little issue. If you still need to make some decisions, my thoughts for the week are below. As I noted, last week there is just too much volatility in the Thursday night games this late in the season.

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 13 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Saturday night:

Survivor_Week_13

Middle America is well represented here. Should we stay in the heartland or go elsewhere for our choice this week?

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 13 in order of preference:

  1. St. Louis Rams – I actually like the Rams the best of all the teams this week. I know it seems odd to choose them over the number two team on the list. However, the Rams defense has been terrifying the last few weeks (and they get Chris Long back on the defensive line), their offense is stable if unspectacular and the Raiders will be without their best offensive player in Latavius Murray. I give the Rams an 85% chance of winning.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Oddly, I’d like the Colts the best if Washington still had Robert Griffin III at QB. Yes, I believe that Colt McCoy gives them a much better chance to win. The Jim Haslett “coached” defense has shown up from time to time for Washington and could cause issues for the Colts’ front seven. That said, I think Andrew Luck will have enough time do damage. I give the Colts a 79% chance of winning.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Saints haven’t been able to win at home (where they always win) and now they head to Pittsburgh and face a defense that is getting healthy at just the right time. Moreover, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense has been untouchable at home with Big Ben’s 18:1 TD to interception ratio at home leading the way. I give the Steelers a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Baltimore Ravens – Yes, the San Diego Chargers are a solid team. However, they seem to struggle more than most teams do when coming to the east coast from the west. The Ravens run defense should be able to turn the Chargers into a one-dimensional throwing show and they should be able to pressure Phillip Rivers into enough mistakes to lead to a Baltimore victory. I give the Ravens a 72% chance of winning.
  5. Houston Texans – The Texans are going back to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB and I do not like that one bit. However, the hope here is that the Texans ride the now-healthy Arian Foster and let Fitzpatrick throw no more than 20 passes against the Titans. The Titans have looked a bit better lately with Zach Mettenberger maturing well. I give the Texans a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Miami DolphinsThe Dolphins go on the road on Monday night to face a Jets team that now has Geno Smith leading the parade. Rex Ryan is a lame duck coach and even with the Dolphins playing waiver wire defensive backs, they won’t be able to take advantage of this huge mismatch. The Jets will be without Muhammad Wilkerson and I think the Dolphins could roll. I give the Dolphins a 71% chance of winning.
  7. New York Giants With Rashad Jennings finally healthy, I like the balance on offense that the Giants bring to the table. They face perhaps the poorest team in the league in the Jaguars. I don’t necessarily like taking a team on the road, but the Jags are pretty awful and the Giants should be able to hold rookie Blake Bortles down. I give the Giants a 69% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Cincinnati Bengals on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Call it a hunch, but I just don’t trust this Bengals team. The Bucs have enough on offense to stay with the Bengals and a solid enough defense to keep Andy Dalton in check.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New England Patriots on the road against the Green Bay Packers. These are two teams that are evenly matched and Bill Belichick can find the tiniest hole in an opponent and exploit it.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 12. I’m later again this week than planned, but hopefully that allowed you to miss out on the Kansas City debacle last night. This is our last week of byes, so you’ll have a full complement of teams next week. But, we have to get through this week first.

It was quite the bloodbath last week so congrats for still being alive in your pool.

Bye Week: Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers

Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as late Friday afternoon:

Survivor_Week_12

I think I may skip the Thursday night game for the rest of the year. There is just too much volatility as we get later in the year with injuries piling up and fatigue setting in for many of the players. The top choice this week the top choice is facing a team coming off a bye. Should we roll with them or look elsewhere.

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 12 in order of preference:

  1. San Francisco 49ers – Washington is terrible and is imploding. They seem to hate each other, their owner continues to meddle and their head coach flip flops on every issue every day. The 49ers are not great and the volatility of Colin Kaepernick always concerns me. However, the Jim Haslett-coached Washington defense is horrendous and the Niners should be able to take advantage of the D both on the ground and in the air. I give the 49ers an 86% chance of winning.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles got a scare when Mark Sanchez missed some time with an injury during last week’s game. He seems to be healthy and their offensive line continues to get healthier. The Eagles are home to a Titans team with a rookie QB, rookie RB and questions mark all over most of their WR corps. The Titans defense is middling and the Eagles should be able to gash them deep with Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews. I give the Eagles an 84% chance of winning.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts are the safest play this week as the head home to face a poor Jags team that is coming off a bye. The Jags get Marcedes Lewis back in the lineup, but I don’t think they have the offense to keep up with Andrew Luck and the passing game. Luck will feel the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw and my only concern is that the Colts offense is now one-dimensional as Trent Richardson cannot play RB and my guess is the Colts will give him every chance to succeed. I give the Colts an 81% chance of winning.

And now, an interlude. Take one of these three teams if you have them. Don’t look any further. Look away. Open a new tab in your browser, select one of these three teams and submit. Then, go out and shovel snow (or walk on the beach or do whatever it is you do with your free time).

If you don’t have one of those three teams available, read on:

  1. Green Bay Packers – Yes, the Pack is on the road, but their defense is clicking on all cylinders and their offense almost always does so. They should have enough to confuse Teddy Bridgewater (who will be down to Jerick McKinnon and the recently claimed Ben Tate) in the backfield. Expect a big game from Aaron Rodgers and the offense. I give the Packers a 74% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – I’m a bit reticent to take the Broncos here as they are banged up on offense (though it looks like Emanuel Sanders will play Sunday). However, the Dolphins look like they will be without TE Charles Clay so both teams are a bit banged up on offense. I’ll take the Broncos with some home field advantage over the Fins this week. I give the Broncos a 70% chance of winning.
  3. New England Patriots – Jonas Gray will not rush for 200 yards this week. In fact, I’d be surprised if he scores as many fantasy points for the remainder of the season as he did last week. That said, the Pats have the variety of weapons to attack almost any defense. The Lions have a great defense, but oddly their offense has been quite pedestrian. I can see the Pats taking to the air to attack the Lions. I give the Patriots a 67% chance of winning.
  4. Chicago Bears – Yuck. And double yuck yet again. The Bears have every single offensive weapon a team could ever want. A dual-threat RB, two tall, athletic WRs and a freak of a TE. However, they can’t ever seem to get all of them moving in the same direction. They face a terrible Bucs team that blasted an even worse Washington squad last week. The Bears should be able to overcome a one-dimensional Bucs’ offense. I give the Bears a 64% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Buffalo Bills at home (on the road) against the New York Jets. It has been quite a week in Buffalo and I want no part of a team that has had its normal routine interrupted as extensively as Buffalo has.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Cleveland Browns against the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, Falcons are at home, but it’s Josh Gordon week for Cleveland. I could see the Browns airing it out early and then salting the game away on the ground. A risky pick, but this last in the season you need to take risks.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 11 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 11. Hopefully you stayed away from Pittsburgh as I cautioned you to do last week. Other than that, not a lot of other fallout from Week 10 should have been felt in your pool.

I’m a bit later than I’d hoped with my column this week so we’ll try to get back on schedule for next week as long as work and real life stay at bay. Let’s jump into the pool this week and see what we have to choose from.

Bye Week: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Jets.

Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of mid-Saturday afternoon:

Survivor_Week_11

A team with a 3-6 record is the top choice? Yuck. This looks like it’s going to be a tough week. Congrats to those of you who chose Miami and can sit back and relax.

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 11 in order of preference:

  1. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are getting healthier on offense with Ryan Mathews finally back in the fold. Mathews’ return should help to balance the offense and help all of the skill players. They face a Raiders team that can’t defend well enough and continues to trot Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones in the backfield. I give the Chargers an 83% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – Not much to say here. Denver is great and St. Louis is less than great. The Rams’ defensive line is getting better and the elevation of Shaun Hill back to the starting QB role give the Rams a better shot. However, the Broncos have too many weapons for the Rams to compete. I give the Broncos a 79% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Saints at home? Check. So, we’ll take the Mark Ingram/Drew Brees show over the Jeremy Hill/Andy Dalton show. Saints are better at home by a significant margin than when they are on the road. The Bengals are exactly the same type of team – and they are on the road. The Bengals won’t be nearly as bad as they showed against the Browns last week. I give the Saints a 69% chance of winning.
  4. WashingtonYuck. Double yuck. I can’t believe I have them this high, but Washington is a more dynamic offense with Robert Griffin III under center. He makes Alfred Morris more dangerous and can extend plays with his legs to help make up for an average offensive line. The Bucs have a dangerous passing offense, but lack the balance of a solid run game. I give Washington a 67% chance of winning.

I really don’t like much after these four (and I don’t like Washington very much). However, we’ll look at a few more options.

  1. Cleveland BrownsThe Browns looked great against the Bengals and are coming off a 10 day break. The backfield rotation while infuriating to fantasy players looks to be working so far for Cleveland. Their defensive line continues to take injury hits, but Tashaun Gipson looks like he’ll be healthy and play this week against rookie Ryan Mallett making his first start (and without Arian Foster). I think the Browns’ defense terrorizes Mallet and the Browns roll. I give the Browns a 65% chance of winning.
  2. Green Bay Packers The Packers D looks like a different animal with Clay Matthews at middle linebacker. The Eagles offense looked great in the first week of Mark Sanchez’ reign. However, the Packers are a different squad and could give Sanchez some issues. I’m not a huge fan of taking the Pack against a dynamic offense that can keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company. They are a reasonable choice this week. I give the Packers a 65% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the San Francisco 49ers on the road against the New York Giants. The Niners are a solid team, but heading east to face a Giants team that gets Rashad Jennings back this week make San Francisco a much less attractive choice. Jennings will make everyone on offense better with his presence and I imagine Tom Coughlin will ride Jennings as he did early in the year.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Minnesota Vikings against the Chicago Bears. Yes, the Bears are at home, but they certainly seem to be a team in complete disarray. And the Vikings look like they may just air it out this week which plays into their receivers’ strength.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 10 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 10. I’m out – I didn’t follow my own advice last week and tried to get cute. I took the 49ers and watched in horror as Colin Kaepernick fumbled my chance away. It was a good run, but didn’t get close enough to the prize for it to matter.

We have bye weeks galore again this week, so let’s look at the Week 10 slate. This is our last big bye week of the season so here’s to hoping everyone survives.

Bye Week: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Washington

Survivor Pool – Week 10 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday afternoon:

Survivor_Week_10

Uh oh, the fade option is back again with one relatively large favorite out there in nearly 40% of all pools.

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 10 in order of preference:

  1. Denver Broncos – I assume most of you don’t have Denver available. However, if you do, this is an opportune time to use them as your pool is likely down to the last 10 to 20 percent of entrants. The Broncos head on the road to face a poor Raiders team that isn’t quite as bad as their record shows. However, the Broncos have too many offensive weapons for the Raiders D to control and the Raiders offense won’t be able to keep up while they trot Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew out there. I give the Broncos a 77% chance to win.
  2. Seattle Seahawks – Again, you probably don’t have the Seahawks available, but if you do, let’s use them here at home against a Giants team off a short week traveling across the country and still without a discernible running game. Moreover, the Giants lost Prince Amukamara for the season so their secondary is down another man. I give the Seahawks a 76% chance of winning.
  3. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are a superior team at home and get the Titans (who are coming off a bye) at home. Baltimore’s offense has been steady if unspectacular while the Titans’ offense has been one-dimensional and erratic. The Ravens took a hit on defense with the loss of Jimmy Smith a couple of weeks ago, but the Titans don’t have the consistency on offense to take full advantage of the missing Smith. I give the Ravens an 81% chance of winning.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals aren’t nearly as good as their record shows and the Rams’ defense is finally showing what we expected from them to start the year – a devastating pass rush. The Cardinals are off an important, but less than impressive victory over the Cowboys while the Rams escaped with a big win over the 49ers. The Cardinals should be able to outscore a Rams’ offense that has a mess in the backfield and is down Brian Quick. I give the Cardinals a 73% chance of winning.
  5. Dallas Cowboys – This ranking assumes that Tony Romo plays. If Romo doesn’t play, I’d avoid Dallas this week. The Cowboys go to London (for some reason) to face the Jags. The Cowboys played the Cardinals tough even with Brandon Weeden under center. With Romo under center, the Cowboys many offensive weapons can actualize on their skills. I give the Cowboys a 73% chance of winning.
  6. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are much like the Ravens in that they are a superior team at home. They get a Browns team with a revolving door at RB and a QB who is constantly looking over his shoulder at Johnny Manziel. The Bengals should have a fully healthy A.J. Green in the lineup this week and should be able to handle Cleveland’s offense. I give the Bengals a 72% chance of winning.
  7. New Orleans Saints Ok, one last one as the Saints fall into the same bucket as the Bengals for me. They are a much better team at home than on the road. The Niners are off a devastating loss and seem confused on offense. I can see the Saints scoring early and running away with the game. I give the Saints a 69% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: Green Bay Packers – the Pack is at home which should give them all the advantage they need over a Bears team that can’t seem to determine how to use their offensive weapons correctly. And with a defense that isn’t even average, the Bears won’t be able to keep up with Green Bay.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben can’t throw six TDs again this week, right? The Jets looked like a professional offense with Michael Vick at QB and this is a tough road game for the Steelers. Just no need to risk them here.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off a bye against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons blasted the Bucs the last time the teams met. And the Falcons have been in a flat spin ever since. The Bucs are going back to Josh McCown at QB so there is some concern over that effect on the offense, but they have weapons all over the place with Bobby Rainey and the recently activated Charles Sims in the backfield now.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 9 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 9. Well, it happened. Washington beat Dallas last week and probably took half of your remaining pool with it. Hopefully you played the equity game and went with one of my top three choices from last week.

And you likely aren’t reading this column if you aren’t still alive in your pool. Let’s see if I we can avoid the pitfalls that are inevitable in the Week 9 slate. We have a number of teams on bye this week and the following two weeks so there will be more weeding out until the final sprint.

Bye Week: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans

Survivor Pool – Week 9 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday afternoon:

Survivor_Week_9

So, two big favorites this week, which means the opportunity to fade isn’t quite as attractive. The Yahoo! game makes fading look more attractive. That said, should you ride with the favorites or sneak lower down the list to pick up more pool equity?

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 9 in order of preference:

  1. Seattle Seahawks – No, the Seahawks aren’t the Super Bowl team they were last year, but they are back at home were they are nearly unstoppable. They have discord in the locker room, but they face a Raiders’ team that has discord from top to bottom in the organization. I give the Seahawks an 89% chance of winning.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals have one of the biggest home field advantages in the league. They finished 8-0 there last year and have only a tie to blemish a perfect record this week. The Jags are young and inconsistent and should be handled easily by a Bengals team that needs wins to stay in the playoff race. I give the Bengals an 82% chance of winning.

I will pause here to say I did look ahead at the schedule a bit. If all things hold with respect to injuries, etc. Seattle and Cincinnati will likely be heavily used this week and next week. However, the next three teams won’t likely come around again as options for the next few weeks.

So, if you want to plan ahead, then choose from between teams 3 and 4. Both make solid choices this week even if you aren’t’ looking ahead especially if you want to fade the top two favorites. The fifth option is only for the strong of stomach (or foolish of mind).

  1. San Francisco 49ers – The Niners are coming off a bye and should be fully rested to face a Rams team that lost its best offensive weapon in Brian Quick as well as tackle Jake Long. They don’t have enough horses to keep up with San Francisco even if the 49ers don’t have the imposing defense they’ve had in past seasons. I give the 49ers an 82% chance of winning.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – Meet the Jets, beat the Jets. Michael Vick is under center for this week and hasn’t shown much at all this year though he may not be as awful as Geno Smith has been. The Chiefs showed last week they can crush poor teams. It doesn’t get much poorer than the Jets. I give the Chiefs an 81% chance of winning.
  3. Cleveland Browns – Ugh. I don’t really like taking the Browns who seem to have regressed over the last few weeks. And with the Bucs coming off the bye, they should be rested and could have Charles Sims in the lineup and finally get something from their running game. They are a HUGE risk this week – one you probably don’t need to take with one of the four above likely available to you. I give the Browns a 64% chance of winning.

I’d take one of the top four teams and move on to live another week. The Browns are here because I like to give enough choices for folks to have at least one available. However, I don’t see a reason to take them unless you really want to risk the week.

Other teams I like this week: None. You might see some folks on the Minnesota Vikings against Washington. However, the Snyder-led football team looks to be back to RGIII at QB so the variability of the squad goes up and thus becomes riskier to pick against.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from just about everyone else. The rest of the slate is basically pick ‘ems all around. Survive and advance this week.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Arizona Cardinals against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are on a short week off an emotional loss and may have Brandon Weeden at QB. That’s enough for me to consider them for my underdog pick this week.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 8 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 8. If you stuck with my top three choices last week as I advised, you’ve survived another week. And you likely aren’t reading this column if you aren’t still alive in your pool. Let’s see if I can keep my mojo going this week.

Bye Week: New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers

Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Thursday morning:

Survivor_Week_8

There is one big favorite out there this week. Do we fade them or ride with the herd?

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 8 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – Boy oh boy the Bears are a tire fire right now. Arguing in the locker room, unhappy WRs and meeting a team with a ton of time off to prepare. The Patriots aren’t a juggernaut, but they should be able to hold off a Bears’ team that has really struggled lately. I give the Patriots a 77% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – If you still have them available, I’d consider using them. True, it’s a short week for Denver, but that may actually help as it looks like the Chargers will be without both of their starting corners. And Peyton Manning is pretty good at throwing the football. Yes, the Chargers have played the Broncos tough lately, but this is a game where I think Denver wins, but the Chargers cover. I give the Broncos a 76% chance of winning.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have Andy Reid as a head coach so anything can happen at any time which is why I’m always so afraid to use teams that he coaches. However, the Chiefs picked up a big win last week as did the Rams. The Rams pulled out all of the stops to take down the Seahawks, but they aren’t necessarily a very talented team. I give the Chiefs a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are 6-1 just like everyone expected. They’ve been doing it with a ton of running from DeMarco Murray, near surgical precision from Tony Romo and a defense that got better the day Rob Ryan walked out the door. They face Washington this week in Dallas. Washington is starting Colt McCoy. I’ve put Dallas down here as the equity you could recover in your pool if Dallas loses is too great to take them here. If you want the safe play, take Dallas. I give the Cowboys an 85% chance of winning.
  5. Cleveland Browns – Thanks to reader A.J. who reminded me that the Browns are at home (silly 4:25pm Eastern start got me confused. I still worry about the Browns defensive line, but it’s starting to get healthier. The Browns still lost to the Jags last week, but man the Raiders are bad. In deeper pools, the Browns are an option. I give the Browns a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill may have just figured out Bill Lazor’s offense. And if he has, the Dolphins could be due for a run. With a seemingly healthy Charles Clay back in the mix, they look to be a tough team to prepare for. The Jags aren’t good (even though they won last week). It’s not much of a road trip for the Fins. I give the Dolphins a 71% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Detroit Lions head to London to face the Falcons. The Falcons are down to their third-string center and have had issues on the offensive line all year long. Offensive line issues aren’t a good thing to have against the Lions fierce front seven. The Lions have a 65% chance of winning.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Seattle Seahawks on the road against the Panthers. The Panthers really have one weapon on offense in Cam Newton, but the Seahawks’ defense isn’t nearly as scary as many of us thought they would be. I’d like to see Seattle do something on the road before I back them.

I’d also skip the Cleveland Browns on the road in Oakland. The Browns defensive line is a mess and I could see the Raiders running all day long without having to throw a pass. The Browns also lost to the Jags last week so there is that as well.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Minnesota Vikings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikes aren’t good, but neither are the Bucs. The Vikes have a lot of weapons on offense, but don’t’ seem to be able to put it all together. The Bucs’ defense gives them the chance to put it all together.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 7 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 7. We saw another two big favorites bow out. I didn’t feel great about Seattle and I was “rewarded” for that concern. However, the Bengals lost when Mike Nugent missed a 36-yard field goal in overtime. It’s been quite a minefield this year as big favorites have fallen nearly every week.

Let’s see if I can keep my mojo going this week.

Bye Week: Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Survivor Pool – Week 7 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday night:

Survivor_Week_7

One big favorite, but each pool sees it differently. Do you take that big favorite? What value is out there that you can take and root against the big boys?

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 7 in order of preference:

  1. Baltimore Ravens – The Falcons are bad on the road. The Ravens are good at home. The Falcons have no offensive line and the Ravens still have a relatively fearsome defense. I’m floored that more players aren’t on the Ravens. They are one of the top two or three choices to win outright and are a fantastic equity play at this point in the game. I give the Ravens an 81% chance of winning.
  2. New England Patriots – The Patriots are at home against an awful Jets team that has no offense, a limited defense and a coaching staff that seems to know they are on the way out. The Pats did lose Stevan Ridley last week, but I don’t see that having a huge impact on this week’s game. I give the Pats a 79% chance of winning.
  3. Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are better team with Carson Palmer. Palmer makes the WRs better and gives more room for the RBs. They have been decimated on defense, but still have a solid team all around. The Raiders are young, but Derek Carr has looked good at times and it seems the Raiders have found two WRs in Andre Holmes and James Jones. However, they have no running game and shouldn’t be able to match the Cards. I give the Cardinals a 75% chance of winning.

I’ll take a break here. I don’t really like much else on the slate this week. So I suggest you take one of the three teams noted above. However, I know many of you want to see some of the lesser options so we carry on.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – I’m loathe to take the Seahawks on the road as they are much closer to a pedestrian team on the road. They were exposed last week by the Cowboys, but the Rams don’t have the offensive talent that the ‘boys have to exploit those weaknesses. I give the Seahawks a 70% chance of winning.
  2. Cleveland Browns – The Browns have figured out they can run the ball against anyone and they will likely keep that trend going this week against a terrible Jags’ team. I pause in fully recommending them as they do have to go on the road and the Jags can’t lose all the time. Can they? I give the Browns a 65% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Dallas Cowboys may be for real. They face the Giants off of a tough win and are a candidate for a letdown this week. They should beat the Giants, but this isn’t the week to risk it with them. If you want to go crazy, take the Buffalo Bills – the Vikings don’t seem to have a clue on offense right now and the Bills’ defense is legit.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Chicago Bears at home against the Dolphins. The Bears don’t have their historically dominant defense and the Dolphins look like they might be figuring out Bill Lazor’s new scheme.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tennessee Titans against Washington. Washington is terrible, there was talk of Colt McCoy playing QB this week and they no longer seem to be able to run the ball. Kirk Cousins is effective in spurts, but seems to always offer a soul-crushing turnover in the fourth quarter.

If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 6 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

NFL Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 6. Well, last week saw one favorite fall as the Lions took out 10% to 15% of pools. However, if you were reading here you knew to stay away. In fact I was almost perfect last week with my only stumble being the decision to avoid the Packers on Thursday night as the cruised past the Vikings.

Let’s see if I can keep my mojo going this week.

Bye Week: Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints

Survivor Pool – Week 6 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday night:

Survivor_Week_6

Huh…a pretty spread out set of choices. That means there probably isn’t an equity play on the board as there isn’t one huge favorite out there that could take down a big chunk of the pool.

As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Here are my choices for Week 6 in order of preference:

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos are good. The Jets are bad. There isn’t a lot more to say. Yes, the Broncos are on the road, but the Jets looked putrid last week and the Broncos may actually improve their offense with the injury to Montee Ball. I don’t believe the Jets’ defense can stymie the Broncos offense. And the Jets’ offense is awful and can’t score nearly enough points to keep up with Peyton Manning and company. I give the Broncos an 81% chance of winning.
  2. San Diego Chargers – Yes, the Chargers are on the road, but heck, they are in the same state still. The Chargers look to have found another diamond in the rough in Branden Oliver and the rest of the Chargers offense has been firing on all cylinders. The Raiders offer very little resistance on defense and their offense is quite a mess. Interim coach Tony Sparano says he’s going to run the ball more, but I’m not sure that’s the best answer when your first two RBs are Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. I give the Chargers an 80% chance of winning.
  3. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals were manhandled by a Patriots team that needed to go out and prove they weren’t cratering. Mission accomplished. However, the Bengals assignment this week is much easier as they face a Panthers’ squad that has turned one dimensional with seemingly every Panthers’ RB turning into a drummer from Spinal Tap. A.J. Green’s injury gives me pause, but the Bengals should have enough weapons to outscore a Panthers’ team that won’t be able to overcome the Bengals defense. I give the Bengals a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – Washington is a terrible football team. They have a QB who looks the part of a deer in headlights (or maybe one of those fainting goats). They have no defense and they have a special teams unit that just might not be that special. Don’t be fooled by the 10 point loss to the Seahawks. Percy Harvin had three TDs called back on penalties and the ‘hawks could have done whatever they wanted. I have this Cards this high because I believe Carson Palmer returns this week and makes this offense look a whole lot better (get off the ledge Michael Floyd owners). I give the Cardinals a 78% chance of winning.
  5. Tennessee Titans – Ooof…yep, the Titans make the list mostly due to their horrid opponents the Jags. The Titans looked great in the first half last week sprinting out to a 28 point lead only to see it completely evaporate against the Browns. I’m not sure yet who the Titans will start at QB, but it may not matter as the Jags make too many mistakes on both sides of the ball for it to matter. I give the Titans a 70% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Seattle Seahawks should win, but something just doesn’t feel right here. The Cowboys have enough offensive weapons to keep the Seahawks off the field. However, I’m still pretty confident they’ll take down the Cowboys who are 4-1 on the year, but haven’t faced much in the way of competition.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the San Francisco 49ers on the road against the St. Louis Rams on Monday night. Sure, the 49ers seem to be a better team, but the Rams’ offense isn’t a joke, it’s their defense that has really struggled to get any pass rush whatsoever that’s hurt them this year. This could be the biggest game on the Rams’ schedule this year and everyone will be up for it.

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

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