April 19, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Week 15 Survivor pool picks (or suicide pool picks if you prefer) are here. Week 14 saw some wild finishes that saved more than a few people. Are there any safe Survivor picks in Week 15 in the NFL?

Week 14 recap

The Baltimore Ravens improbable comeback paired with the Patriots similar comeback saved lots of entrants last week. The Pittsburgh Steelers are really the only team to take any sizable portion of remaining pool entrants out as the Steel Curtain was quite forgiving.

Bye week: None. We are done for the year with byes.

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Carolina Panthers

29.90%

1

Philadelphia Eagles

31.60%

2

Philadelphia Eagles

17.40%

2

Carolina Panthers

28.55%

3

Denver Broncos

9.70%

3

Kansas City Chiefs

8.02%

4

Kansas City Chiefs

9.40%

4

Indianapolis Colts

7.14%

5

Atlanta Falcons

8.40%

5

Denver Broncos

5.41%

6

Indianapolis Colts

4.80%

6

San Francisco 49ers

4.20%

7

New Orleans Saints

4.60%

7

New Orleans Saints

3.67%

8

San Francisco 49ers

3.80%

8

Atlanta Falcons

3.28%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.80%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.31%

10

Detroit Lions

2.50%

10

Detroit Lions

1.58%

 

Again, a reminder that you should be doing the math on your own pool as this late in the game the rankings above are less representative of what is happening in your pool than earlier in the season. Let’s see what we have for Week 15.

  1. Denver Broncos – If you have the Broncos (and if you do I’m impressed) take them now. There continues to be no reason to save teams at this point. The Broncos offense is clicking on all cylinders and even without Wes Welker; they should be fine as Jacob Tamme will slide into the slot role for the Broncos. The Chargers offense has become more balanced through the season, but the Chargers pass defense won’t be able to keep the Broncos off the board to allow the Chargers offense to pile up enough points to win. This should be a track meet won by Denver. I give the Broncos an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers swarming defense faces Geno Smith in Carolina. I’m not sure there is much more to say. The Panthers’ offense is a little banged up now so they may struggle to score, but Smith will likely gift wrap a few turnovers to help the Panthers’ cause. I give the Panthers an 83% chance of winning.
  3. Detroit Lions – The Ravens are bad on the road (1-5 record this year). The Lions are pretty good at home. The Lions were embarrassed in the snow last week, but back indoors they should be able to run around the Ravens. The Lions run defense is stout (last week was an anomaly in the sown) so the Ravens will need to rely on Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and whoever else is catching passes this week.  I give the Lions a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Dallas Cowboys – This is only valid if Matt Flynn starts at QB for the Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is back, take this game off the board. The Cowboys head back home after a crushing defeat by the Chicago Bears. However, it is December and the Cowboys have struggled in December for many years and their run defense can be gashed. Eddie Lacy won’t likely be at 100%, but the Cowboys should be able to bounce back with Flynn at QB. I give the Cowboys a 74% chance of winning.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – The Texans cannot wait for the season to end. They fired Gary Kubiak this week, but I don’t imagine that will fire up the troops enough. The Colts have started to give some younger WRs playing time and the results have been solid. The Colts are back at home and Andrew Luck is a bit more comfortable at home so the Colts should be able to push the Texans closer to the number one pick in 2014 when they may get the chance to draft David Carr’s brother. I give the Colts a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Atlanta Falcons – Two teams with identical 3-10 records, but seemingly one is much worse than the other. Washington has become drama central as they have benched Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season. Mike Shanahan continues to leak news to Adam Schefter regularly so that his side of the debacle can be told. The Falcons have two of their three wins at home this year and are starting to get healthier on offense. Their defense is still a sieve, but Washington’s pig-headed coaching staff likely can’t take advantage of that weakness. I give the Falcons a 69% chance of winning.
  7. New Orleans Saints – The Saints head on the road to take on the St. Louis Rams. In the Saints last road game, they were blown out of the Pacific Northwest by the Seahawks. They regrouped last week to manhandle the Panthers at home. I assume that the dome will feel like home to Drew Brees and company. The Rams have gotten good play from both sides of the ball and are beginning to incorporate more playmakers (like Stedman Bailey) into the offense so they are dangerous. They don’t have enough tools to keep up with Brees & Co. I give the Saints a 68% chance of winning.
  8. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks may be the best team in the NFL. They do head east into the cold, but they face an underachieving Giants team that shows very few vital signs.  I give the Seahawks a 64% chance of winning.

Just a reminder, there is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last couple of weeks in the season and most pools will come to a close in Week 17 or early in the playoffs.

Other teams I like early this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Oakland. Yes, I told you to avoid them last week as well and I was completely wrong about how incompetent Washington was and is. This week, they go on the road for a division matchup against a Raiders team that hasn’t been as bad as all would have thought they would be. I’d probably also stay away from the San Francisco 49ers heading east to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tennessee Titans at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are now without Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary and the Titans could take advantage of that with Justin Hunter on the outside and Delanie Walker abusing the Cardinals soft middle.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 14 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Week 14 Survivor pool picks (or suicide pool picks if you prefer) are here. Week 13 saw a couple of the riskier picks head out of the pool. Sadly, (for me), one of those riskier picks took me out of my 2000- entry pool that had only 15 entrants left going into week 13. Oh well, there is always next year. Where should you put your money for Week 14 Survivor pool picks?

Week 13 recap

The Cleveland Browns were my nemesis last week as they took me down. I violated another cardinal rule when I went with a team led by Brandon Weeden. Never again! We also saw the Bills go down and take a few players with them.  There was no other meaningful carnage last week.

Bye week: None. We are done for the year with byes.

Survivor Pool – Week 14 selections

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

Office Football Pool

 

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

 

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Baltimore Ravens

33.20%

 

1

Baltimore Ravens

29.58%

2

New England Patriots

26.50%

 

2

Denver Broncos

28.40%

3

Denver Broncos

16.30%

 

3

New England Patriots

17.72%

4

Arizona Cardinals

7.80%

 

4

Kansas City Chiefs

10.04%

5

Kansas City Chiefs

4.80%

 

5

Arizona Cardinals

4.97%

6

Cincinnati Bengals

3.30%

 

6

Green Bay Packers

1.76%

7

Pittsburgh Steelers

2.90%

 

7

Cincinnati Bengals

1.52%

8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

0.80%

 

8

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.32%

9

New York Jets

0.80%

 

9

Philadelphia Eagles

0.80%

10

San Diego Chargers

0.80%

 

10

San Diego Chargers

0.52%

 

At this point, you should be doing the math on your own pool as this late in the game the rankings above are less representative of what is happening in your pool than earlier in the season. Let’s see what we have for Week 14.

  1. New England Patriots – The Patriots head home where they are a much better squad than on the road. They face a Browns team that could have Alex Tanney or Caleb Hainie at QB. If a trick shot contest breaks out, I give the Browns a huge advantage. However, the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Tom Brady is greater than whatever the Browns put out there at QB. No need to save the Pats for later in the year. It might never come. I give the Patriots an 85% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – Much like the Patriots, the Broncos are at home against a poor team. The Titans do have some offensive weapons, but not enough to keep up with Peyton Manning. I give the Broncos an 84% chance of winning.
  3.  Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are a far different team at home than on the road.  They are 5-1 this year and were 6-2 in their Super Bowl season of a year ago. They face off against a Vikings team that looks to be moving forward with Matt Cassel at QB this week. Joe Flacco should have a big week and could get Dennis Pitta back as his security blanket. There is some concern about the weather in Baltimore so keep an eye on it as the weekend nears. I give the Ravens a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are undefeated at home this season (including wins over the Patriots and the Packers with Aaron Rodgers). The Colts are dealing with so many injuries that they’ve activated this guy (who has a great story, but probably isn’t ready to be on an active NFL roster).  Andrew Luck has been below average without Reggie Wayne and the Colts have benched Trent Richardson. It’s not clear how the Colts will be able to penetrate a pretty tough Bengals defense. I give the Bengals a 71% chance of winning.
  5. Arizona Cardinals – The only concern I have with the Cardinals this week is that Carson Palmer has shown up on the injury report with an elbow issue. If Palmer isn’t at the helm, then the Cardinals drop off this list. The Rams had back to back offensive explosions in weeks 10 and 12 then came back down to earth against the Bears last week. The Rams still have Kellen Clemens at QB and the Cardinals defense is legitimate. I give the Cardinals a 69% chance of winning.
  6. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers practiced on Thursday. There is still some hope that he will be cleared to play by Sunday. If he is, I’d move the Packers up to number three on this list against a Falcons team that can’t wait for the end of the season.  The Falcons defense shouldn’t be able to contain the Packers even if Matt Flynn ends up QB’ing the team. I give the Packers a 68% chance of winning.

Just a reminder, there is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last few weeks in the season and most pools will be done in the next couple of weeks.

Other teams I like early this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Washington. Washington is pretty terrible, but at this point they have nothing to lose and I don’t like backing average teams on the road against teams with nothing to lose. The Chiefs should win, but Robert Griffin III gives Washington a chance to win on any given Sunday.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Jacksonville Jaguars at home against the struggling Houston Texans. The Jags continue to fight each week in contrast to the Texans who can’t seem to get off the field quickly enough each week.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 13 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Week 13 Survivor pool picks (or suicide pool picks if you prefer) are here. Week 12 saw more carnage than normal this late in the season. In my two largest pools, we are down to less than 1% of the total entrants who started back in Week 1.  And in one pool, we now move to two picks per week which offers an even greater challenge. Where should you put your money for Week 13 Survivor poll picks?

Week 12 recap

The Texans took a lot more entries out for the second week in a row. However, the biggest loser was the Detroit Lions who took out almost half of all remaining entrants in most pools. Finally, the reeling Kansas City Chiefs went back and forth with the Chargers and finally succumbed taking another chunk of players with them.

Bye week: None. We are done for the year with byes.

Survivor Pool – Week 13 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Carolina Panthers

27.00%

1

New England Patriots

36.69%

2

New England Patriots

22.90%

2

Carolina Panthers

30.82%

3

Dallas Cowboys

20.80%

3

Dallas Cowboys

16.51%

4

San Francisco 49ers

7.70%

4

Cleveland Browns

3.73%

5

Cleveland Browns

7.20%

5

San Francisco 49ers

3.26%

6

Detroit Lions

6.90%

6

Detroit Lions

2.45%

7

Buffalo Bills

2.80%

7

Buffalo Bills

1.73%

8

Philadelphia Eagles

1.10%

8

Chicago Bears

0.97%

9

Indianapolis Colts

0.70%

9

Indianapolis Colts

0.63%

10

San Diego Chargers

0.40%

10

New York Giants

0.58%

 

I’ll try to go a bit deeper this week as it is getting to crunch time and a lot of the favorites aren’t available. I’m pretty unsure of the slate as a whole at this point which may cause me to ignore any of the Thursday games. We have three pretty even choices so there isn’t an equity pick out there (unless your pool’s population differs greatly). Where should we go for Week 13?

  1. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers are finally getting respect as a top five team in the NFL. They have a superior defense and enough parts on offense to be dangerous. They face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has turned their fortunes around with Mike Glennon helming the squad. Their victory over the Lions last week was due more to the buffoonery that the Lions seem to bring out every year. The Panthers are not buffoons and match up well with the Bucs on defense. And with Darrelle Revis nursing an injury (even if slight) could give the Panthers too much of an advantage. I give the Panthers a 77% chance of winning.
  2. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys picked up a big win against conference rivals New York Giants last week as Tony Romo led a fourth quarter drive for the game winning field goal. Romo loves November. In his career, he is 25-6 with a QB rating of 105.7 and a 63 to 18 TD to interception ratio. He’s 6-2 on Thursdays in his career. If the NFL season was played wholly in November, Tony Romo would be the greatest QB of all time. The Raiders are a below average team with a backup QB in Matt McGloin who will get figured out at some point. The Cowboys’ defense is still hurting so the Raiders’ will be best to rely on Rashad Jennings and the newly “healthy” Darren McFadden. The Cowboys will have too much firepower on offense for the Raiders to overcome. I give the Cowboys a 76% chance of winning.
  3. San Francisco 49ers – The Rams looked unbeatable last week against the Bears (and the prior week against the Colts). The main reason last week was a porous Bears’ run defense. This week, they face off against a 49ers defense that will not allow the shenanigans the Bears and Colts allowed.  The Niners hold opponents to 16.7 points per game and runners to 3.9 yards per carry (good for 10th in the league). The Rams won’t be able to rely on Zac Stacy (or Benny Cunningham if Stacy can’t go) and will need to get some plays from Tavon Austin and Kellen Clemens (gulp!). I give the 49ers a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Seattle Seahawks – Yes, the New Orleans Saints are a great team (at home). Yes, the Seattle Seahawks are a great team (at home). The Seahawks are at home this week. The Saints are not. The Saints struggled to pull out the victory over a poor Atlanta Falcons team on the road last week. The Seahawks have some issues in their defensive backfield, but overall they should be able to take care of the Saints relatively easily in the Pacific Northwest. I give the Seahawks a 71% chance of winning the game.
  5. Detroit Lions – The Lions may have more physical talent than almost any team in the NFL currently. However, they are ruined by mental mistake after mental mistake.  The Packers head into the Thanksgiving matchup with Matt Flynn at QB. Flynn looked solid in his comeback against the Vikings last week. However, the Lions are a more balanced team than the Vikes and have a greater breadth of offensive weapons.  The key to the game will be the Lions’ ability to control the Packers running game. The Lions faced the Pack at Lambeau in Week 5 without Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. Matthew Staffored targeted his TEs 11 times in his 40 attempts and Kris Durham led the team in targets with eight. The Pack was at full strength. Also, Josh Sitton seems to not have good feelings for the Lions’ defense ratcheting up the tension another notch. I give the Lions a 69% chance to win.
  6. New England Patriots – If you don’t want to touch the Thursday games, I might move the Pats up above the Lions if I was pushed. However, the Patriots have been questionable on the road for most of this season. Yes, the Texans have lost back to back games which they were favored to win (big!), but the Pats are coming off an emotional win against the Broncos. I give the Pats a 67% chance of winning.
  7. Cleveland Browns – The battle of Brandon Weeden versus Chad Henne. Ugh. The Jags have been hot of late and the Browns are coming off of a drubbing at the hand of the Pittsburgh Steelers. That said, the Browns still have a solid defense that has the players to shut down an offense like the Jags. I give the Browns a 65% chance of winning.
  8. Denver Broncos – The Broncos are smarting after folding against the New England Patriots on national TV last week. The Chiefs are likely to be without Tamba Hali and Justin Houston – two of their best pass rushers. Their defense has struggled over the last few weeks even with those two in the lineups. Peyton Manning should be able to carve up a weakened Chiefs D even if Knowshon Moreno misses the game. I give the Broncos a 64% chance of winning.
  9. Buffalo Bills – The Falcons hung close with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night last week.  However, they haven’t looked good for a while. They travel to Tornonto to take on a Bills team that is getting back all of its offensive weapons this week and I like E.J Manuel’s chances to succeed against a poor Falcons’ defense. I give the Bills a 62% chance of winning.

Ok, that’s nine teams for you. If you have any of the first four teams left, take them this week. Again, there is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last few weeks in the season and most pools will be done in the next couple of weeks.

Other teams I like early this week: None, though I might be encouraged to consider the Bengals on the road against a Chargers team with Ryan Matthews and Antonio Gates at less than 100%.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Indianapolis Colts. I’m not sure what to make of them at this point. Since the bye week, they have been blown out twice and eked out two three point victories. They face a Titans team that has been up and down as well. The Colts should be able to handle the Titans, but with all the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, I’d stay away.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New England Patriots at home against the Denver Broncos. The line is larger than I’d expect as I see this as a pure coin flip and the Pats should have a slight advantage at home.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 12 Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor – Week 12

The Week 12 Survivor pool picks are here. Unfortunately, week 11 saw the Texans go down and take more entrants with them. As I noted last week, if you are down to two or three players it may be time to talk to the others about chopping or sharing or guaranteeing something for all players left in the pool. For those in larger pools, it’s time to look at the picks for your Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool.

Week 11 recap

The Texans took out another sizable (on a percentage basis) portion of the remaining squads. The only other top 10 squads to lose were the Detroit Lions and New York Jets. The Jags got back to their losing ways and allowed the Cardinals to take them out at home. There were some blowouts, including the Bills and Bucs, where we didn’t expect them.

Bye week: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections

Here is what we have for a top 12 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of midday Wednesday:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Detroit Lions

52.40%

1

Detroit Lions

55.26%

2

New Orleans Saints

16.80%

2

New Orleans Saints

22.04%

3

Houston Texans

15.10%

3

Houston Texans

7.98%

4

Kansas City Chiefs

4.90%

4

Kansas City Chiefs

5.87%

5

Carolina Panthers

3.20%

5

Carolina Panthers

2.98%

6

Baltimore Ravens

3.00%

6

San Francisco 49ers

1.96%

7

San Francisco 49ers

1.60%

7

Baltimore Ravens

1.10%

8

Green Bay Packers

0.60%

8

Green Bay Packers

0.68%

9

Pittsburgh Steelers

0.40%

9

Pittsburgh Steelers

0.58%

10

Oakland Raiders

0.40%

10

Chicago Bears

0.35%

 

The Detroit Lions lead the way, but if you have any of the other squads, does it make sense to take them? Are the Lions the best bet to advance your entry to Week 13? Let’s take a look. Here are my choices for Week 12 in order of preference:

  1. New Orleans Saints – If I get the chance to use a top team this late in the season, I’m going to take it. The Saints look like a solid equity play with so many teams on the Lions. The Saints offense is firing on all cylinders even with the nagging injuries to Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Marques Colston appeared from his slumber over the last couple of weeks and looks poised for a great late season run. The Falcons have a solid offense, but don’t seem to have anyone capable of playing defense.  The nice thing about taking the Saints is that it’s Thursday night game so some people may avoid the game for that reason or forget to set their entry prior to Sunday’s games. I give the Saints a 78% chance of winning.
  2. Houston Texans – Yes, I know, they broke many people’s hearts last week. However, they are playing the historically awful Jacksonville Jaguars at home. They have enough offensive weapons to bury the Jags as long as Case Keenum can keep his head. The Jags are, well, you know the Jags. They are terrible. They are old. They have no prospects. I give the Texans a 75% chance of winning.
  3. Detroit Lions – At this point, this is purely an equity call to drop the Lions to third. The Lions are at home against a “hot” Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. However, it is unlikely that the Bucs really are that good.   The Bucs do have Darrelle Revis who will do his best to shut down Calvin Johnson so there is a risk that the Lions will need to rely on others to overcome the Bucs. The Bucs offense has some play makers in Vincent Jackson and Bobby Rainey. Mike Glennon has been a bit more than a caretaker and that’s more than the Bucs could have hoped for this season. That said the Lions are at home and should be able to waltz away from the Bucs. I give the Lions a 78% chance of winning.
  4. San Francisco 49ers – The Niners are a one trick pony on offense, but they are integrating Aldon Smith back into the defensive lineup so they are close to full strength. And it’s unlikely they need much on offense as the Washington defnse and special teams are so horrific that they opportunities should be myriad for the 49ers to score often. Yes, the Washington offense is good, but they can’t overcome all of the gifts given out by the defense and special teams. I give the 49ers a 69% chance of winning.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs looked pretty good in their loss to Denver last week. They get a Chargers team at home that could not take care of a decimated Miami Dolphins team last week. The Chiefs defense is legitimate and should be able to have their way with the Chargers. The Chiefs offense doesn’t bring much to the table, but Dwayne Bowe looked revitalized last week and could be a difference maker down the stretch for the Chiefs. I give the Chiefs a 68% chance of winning.

If you have the Saints, take them. There is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last few weeks in the season and most pools will be done in the next couple of weeks.

Other teams I like early this week: Baltimore Ravens (65% chance of winning) – they are a much different team at home versus on the road. And we had a Ray Rice sighting last week so that can only be positive.  Carolina Panthers (65%) – they are a top five team in the NFL and head on the road to a listless Miami Dolphins team.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers. They should be a much better team when Aaron Rodgers returns and they do head on the road to face a poor team, but one that still has Adrian Peterson.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New England Patriots at home against the Denver Broncos. The line is larger than I’d expect as I see this as a pure coin flip and the Pats should have a slight advantage at home.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 11 Survivor Pool Picks

NFL Survivor Picks for Week 11

It happened last week as the Tennessee Titans tossed a raft of people out of the Survivor pool in Week 10. In my two largest pools, we are down to around 3% of all entrants remaining. The Week 11 Survivor Picks will have a lot fewer people interested. Depending on the size of your pool, if you are down to two or three players it may be time to talk to the others about chopping or sharing or guaranteeing something for all players left in the pool.  For those in larger pools, it’s time to look at the picks for Week 11 Survivor Pools.

Week 10 recap

The Titans took out about 70% of all remaining players last week. And the Colts took out almost another 10%. It was ugly. Looking back the clear play was the Saints as they demolished the Cowboys. The Titan’ loss highlights the main reason for fading teams that are chosen by a majority of pool players. The payoff should this huge “favorite” lose is enormous. Enough crying over lost chances, let’s look at Week 11.

Bye week: Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Ram.

Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections

Here is what we have for a top 11 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early on Thursday:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Arizona Cardinals

25.20%

1

Arizona Cardinals

28.94%

2

Cincinnati Bengals

25.00%

2

Cincinnati Bengals

27.28%

3

Seattle Seahawks

14.10%

3

Seattle Seahawks

18.62%

4

Houston Texans

11.80%

4

Houston Texans

5.07%

5

New York Giants

8.50%

5

New York Giants

4.34%

6

Philadelphia Eagles

3.60%

6

Detroit Lions

4.05%

7

Denver Broncos

2.80%

7

Philadelphia Eagles

3.09%

8

Indianapolis Colts

1.60%

8

Indianapolis Colts

1.43%

9

Detroit Lions

1.50%

9

New Orleans Saints

1.41%

10

New Orleans Saints

1.20%

10

New York Jets

1.02%

 

The Arizona Cardinals? Wow. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. There are a couple of key injury situations (Peyton Manning and Terrelle Pryor) that are not yet decided. I’ll be back on Sunday with an update this week once we know more on those two. Are the Cardinals the best bet to win in Week 11? Let’s take a look. Here are my choices for Week 10 in order of preference:

  1. Seattle Seahawks – If you have the Seahawks left, there is no reason not to use them this week. They are at home where they are a superior team. They should get Percy Harvin back in the lineup to give Russell Wilson another weapon on offense. They face a Vikings team that has looked solid over the last two weeks, but can struggle on defense and doesn’t have a true receiving threat on offense. No use in saving for a rainy day. That rainy day is today. I give the Seahawks an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – This assumes that Peyton Manning plays and is at least 75% of himself.  The Chiefs are all smoke and mirrors. They haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this season. Only the Cowboys and Eagles are at .500 of all of the teams defeated by the Chiefs.  The Chiefs don’t have the offensive horses to keep up with Manning and the Broncos. I give the Broncos and 81% chance of winning.
  3. Houston Texans – Yes, the Texans are a bad team. But they seem less so with Case Keenum at the helm. That is a strange sentence to write. This assumes that Terrelle Pryor doesn’t play or is less than his normal self in the game. Arian Foster is done for the year and Ben Tate has broken ribs, but Keenum has been able to sling the ball around to a variety of receivers. The Raiders don’t look like a pro team with Pryor at less than 100%. I give the Texans a 75% chance to win.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – Oof. This is probably the direction I’m going this week as I don’t have any of the three teams above available to me. The key to taking the Cardinals is the belief that their opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, is truly a terrible team of epic proportions.  The Jags beat the Titans last week, but I believe that is the exception that proves the rule that the Jags just aren’t very good. The Cardinals do have a good defense with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu able to likely corral the Jags receivers. I give the Cardinals a 71% chance of winning.
  5. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals defense is a shell of itself with Leon Hall and Geno Atkins done for the season. The Bengals run defense has been awful since Atkins’ departure. Luckily for the Bengals, the Browns don’t have the RBs to take advantage of that weakness. The danger for the Bengals is if Jason Campbell gets time to throw the ball. The Browns can explode with Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, but I think the Bengals take the home field advantage and win by three. I give the Bengals a 69% chance of winning.
  6. New York Giants – The Giants save my bacon last week in one pool so for that I’m thankful. The Giants get a reeling Packers’ squad that will have Scott Tolzien at QB this week. Now, the Packers have solid running game for the first time in years and still have Jordy Nelson at WR. That said, I believe the Giants can control Tolzien well enough and Andre Brown gives the Giants a running attack they can lean on. I give the Giants a 66% chance of winning.

This is an ugly week all around. If the Cardinals lose this week, I assume a lot of pools will just about be done. I don’t like taking a team on the road especially one that isn’t very good in the Cardinals. And I also don’t like to use a team facing a team coming off the bye which is what the Bengals are faced with this week. It’s not great, but the Cardinals look to be the way to go.

Other teams I like early this week: Philadelphia Eagles (65%) – They can’t lose every game at home, can they?

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from….well, just about everyone else. This is another week to watch the late movement on Vegas lines and see if any news comes out to sway things. Same advice as last week – I wouldn’t go off the board this week.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have no running game and I think they should petition to be allowed to run 12 guys out there on defense as porous as they’ve been. The Bucs aren’t good and they lost their solid rookie RB Mike James last week, but they have a good chance to start a winning streak even with neanderthal Greg Schiano coaching them up.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 10 Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

It’s Week 10 in the Survivor Pool world. And it’s time for this week’s Survivor Pool picks. Is there a sleeper out there hiding in the weeds? I’m here to help you with your Survivor Pool for Week 10.

Week 9 recap

We saw the Packers go down on Monday night mainly due to the injury to Aaron Rodgers. With Seneca Wallace at the helm, they turn into a fairly average team. We also lost the Saints and Bengals though not a lot of players were on them. There is still one land mine out there in the coming weeks – one game that will take a majority of players out. Then, it comes down to attrition based on who has certain teams left. If you are still left (and why would you be reading this otherwise), congratulations and let’s get to Week 10.

Bye week: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New York Jets.

Survivor Pool – Week 10 selections

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

Office Football Pool

 

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

 

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Tennessee Titans

68.50%

 

1

Tennessee Titans

78.78%

2

Indianapolis Colts

11.80%

 

2

Indianapolis Colts

6.70%

3

New York Giants

11.70%

 

3

New York Giants

5.49%

4

New Orleans Saints

1.70%

 

4

Miami Dolphins

1.74%

5

San Francisco 49ers

1.60%

 

5

New Orleans Saints

1.43%

6

Denver Broncos

1.10%

 

6

Washington

1.04%

7

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.10%

 

7

San Francisco 49ers

0.94%

8

Washington

0.70%

 

8

Denver Broncos

0.84%

9

Miami Dolphins

0.40%

 

9

Seattle Seahawks

0.51%

10

Seattle Seahawks

0.40%

 

10

Green Bay Packers

0.51%

 

That’s a big favorite up top again this week. It looks like there are a couple of equity plays to be had. There will be a good number of people rooting against the Titans this week.  Where should you put your “money” this week? Let’s see (and watch me break another of my rules in the selections below):

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

  1. Indianapolis Colts – If you have the Colts left, it’s time to use them. The Colts looked lost last week in the first half against the Texans (who aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they’d be with Case Keenum at QB). The Colts get to face the Rams and Kellen Clemens. True, the Rams do have emerging RB Zac Stacy, but they won’t have enough fire power to stay with the Colts on the road. I give the Colts an 81% chance of winning.
  2. New York Giants – I don’t love this choice, but there are so many players on the Titans you have to look elsewhere for value. The Giants defense has been usable in fantasy the last couple of weeks and could be rounding into form. Moreover, the Giants come off a bye and should get RB Andre Brown back into the lineup giving Eli Manning another reason not to throw the ball all over the yard. The Raiders aren’t very good and if Terrelle Preyor isn’t 100%, I’d think about making the Giants my number one choice. I give the Giants a 77% chance of winning.
  3. Tennessee Titans – I could write the same thing about the Titans this week that I wrote about Dallas last week. They should win and win handily against the Jags (even with Jacksonville off a bye). The Titans have added Shonn Greene to the offensive mix and that seemed to help last week. The Jags are now without Justin Blackmon and we could see them go 0-16 – they are that bad. Everyone is on the Titans this week and should they lose, there will be very few entrants left in your pool so go with my first two choices if you have them. If not, play it safe because I believe the rest of the slate is littered with potential land mines. I give the Titans an 85% chance of winning.

It’s a short list this week as there are as many as seven games that I see as no better than pick ‘em games. As for the other picks above, no team has more than 2% of the pool on them and I really wouldn’t consider any of them unless I didn’t have the Titans.

The Saints are a better team at home, but the Cowboys get DeMarcus Ware back this week which will improve the ‘Boys defense significantly. The 49ers get Aldon Smith back on defense and Mario Manningham on offense, but they are still one-dimensional on offense and the Panthers are second best at stopping that dimension (running the ball) in the NFL.  The Broncos on the road in San Diego without John Fox causes me some concern, but Peyton should be able to lead them. All in all, not a great slate of games and I’ll probably go the safe route to hopefully see another week.

Other teams I like early this week: New Orleans Saints (68%), Denver Broncos (66%)

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from….well, just about everyone else. This is a week to watch the late movement on Vegas lines and see if any news comes out to sway things.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Buffalo Bills on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bills get E.J. Manuel back this week and look to have a healthy RB tandem of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Steelers are reeling and while they have a solid offense, they just don’t have the Steel Curtain anymore on D.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 9 Survivor Pool Picks

Week 9 Survivor Picks

It’s Week 9 in the Survivor Pool world. And it’s time for Week 9’s Survivor Pool picks. Is there a sleeper out there hiding in the weeds? I’m here to help you with your Survivor Pool for Week 9.

Week 8 recap

There was almost no carnage in pools last week unless you chose to take the Steelers. The Seahawks came close to dropping a couple of more teams out, but they ended up defeating the Kellen Clemens-led St. Louis Rams. Another six teams on bye including the season-long punching bag Jacksonville Jaguars. You may have to work hard to pick a team this week.

Bye week: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers.

Survivor Pool – Week 9 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Dallas Cowboys

59.90%

1

Dallas Cowboys

63.58%

2

Seattle Seahawks

15.50%

2

Seattle Seahawks

11.32%

3

Green Bay Packers

6.90%

3

New England Patriots

6.77%

4

Carolina Panthers

5.30%

4

New Orleans Saints

5.39%

5

New England Patriots

5.00%

5

Green Bay Packers

3.72%

6

New Orleans Saints

3.00%

6

Carolina Panthers

2.49%

7

Cincinnati Bengals

1.40%

7

Cincinnati Bengals

2.33%

8

Kansas City Chiefs

1.00%

8

Kansas City Chiefs

1.98%

9

Baltimore Ravens

0.40%

9

Indianapolis Colts

0.73%

10

Oakland Raiders

0.40%

10

Oakland Raiders

0.55%

 

That’s a big favorite up top. It looks like there are a couple of equity plays to be had. There could be a good number of people rooting against the Cowboys this week.  Where should you put your “money” this week? Let’s see (and watch me break another of my rules in the selections below):

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

  1. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks gave everyone who chose them last week a big scare as they struggled mightily with the lowly St. Louis Rams. It’s an important reminder that Seattle is not nearly the same team on the road as they are at home. If you recall, the Seahawks were 11-5 last season, but only 3-5 on the road. Luckily for you, the ‘hawks are back home this week against a Bucs team that would likely rather be on the golf course. The Bucs have shown some life on offense, but Seattle should have no problems back in the Pacific Northwest.  I give the Seahawks an 85% chance of winning.
  2. Green Bay Packers – I’m not sure how the Packers offense continues to hum along as they lose contributors seemingly every single week. The key for them has been the play at RB – both Eddie Lacy and James Starks have given them steady contributions they haven’t had in many years. The face the Bears at home on Monday night. The Bears have backup QB Josh McCown who was serviceable against Washington in relief. The home field gives the Pack too big of an advantage. I give the Packers an 82% chance of winning.
  3. Dallas Cowboys – Everyone is on the Cowboys this week and should they lose, there will be very few entrants left in your pool. Hence, my recommendation to take Seattle or Green Bay if you have either available. That said, the ‘Boys face a Minnesota Vikings team that can’t quite figure out who they want to start at QB. The Cowboys could get DeMarco Murray back this week and with Dez Bryant and Terrence Williams running circles around defenses, the Cowboys should be able to outscore the lowly Vikes especially with Adrian Peterson less than 100%.
    Finally, I told you I’d break a rule again this week. The rule – don’t look ahead. Well, I did and I don’t see many opportunities in the future where you’d use Dallas (perhaps Week 13 against Oakland?) I don’t like to look ahead because injuries play such a big part in the NFL that things can change week to week. That said, the Cowboys are unlikely to be a top three choice for much of the rest of the season if all things stay the same. I give the Cowboys a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers may have Jonathan Stewart back this week adding another weapon to the Panthers’ offensive arsenal. The Falcons could also get Roddy White back this week which would open up more of their passing game. However, the Falcons running game is stuck in quicksand. The Panthers defense has been great all season long and should be able to contain the one-dimensional Falcons. I give the Panthers a 71% chance of winning.
  5. Tennessee Titans – I like the Titans a lot this week. They’ve got Jake Locker at QB and he looks like he’s rounding into a solid average NFL QB. The Titans have also talked about getting Shonn Greene some more work at RB at the expense of Chris Johnson (which is probably a good idea). Yes, the Rams are at home, but they still have Kellen Clemens at QB and may be without Zac Stacy as well. I give the Titans a 69% chance of winning.

Other teams I like early this week: New England Patriots (68%)

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs both on the road against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills respectively. The Jets have alternated wins and losses all season long. They lost last week so of course they will win this week. That and the Saints aren’t the same team on the road as at home and the Jets defense will clearly be licking its wounds from the 49-9 pasting at the hands of the Bengals. The Chiefs have been doing it with smoke and mirrors the last couple of weeks. They are due to trip up and this is the week they do it.  

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Oakland Raiders at home to the Philadelphia Eagles. Oakland can be a tough place to play and the Eagles will start Nick Foles (fresh off his concussion) at QB. The Raiders aren’t great, but neither are the Eagles and Philly looked listless last week against a terrible Giants squad.

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

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Fantasy Football: Week 8 Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

I made a cardinal mistake last week and played around with my entries on Sunday morning. As a result I lost another entry by choosing the Dolphins. I should have stuck with my gut and kept the Chargers or Panthers in that spot. The Dolphins took a lot of teams out last week – my two largest pools are down to 20% and 14.5% of entrants remaining. And we now get to the tight part of the schedule as six teams head on bye this week (and next week).

Also, a reminder the San Francisco 49ers versus Jacksonville Jaguars game is in England so a bit longer travel time for San Francisco and no home-field advantage for the Jags.

Bye week: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans

Note: I didn’t get a chance to put a Thursday night game preview together. I’ll try to update this post with one later today.

Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

New Orleans Saints

37.10%

1

San Francisco 49ers

48.16%

2

San Francisco 49ers

35.50%

2

New Orleans Saints

30.84%

3

Kansas City Chiefs

8.70%

3

Kansas City Chiefs

6.04%

4

Green Bay Packers

4.40%

4

Green Bay Packers

4.01%

5

Denver Broncos

3.20%

5

Carolina Panthers

3.39%

6

Carolina Panthers

3.10%

6

Seattle Seahawks

2.10%

7

Seattle Seahawks

2.90%

7

New England

1.86%

8

New England Patriots

2.10%

8

Denver Broncos

1.52%

9

Cincinnati Bengals

1.70%

9

Cincinnati Bengals

1.05%

10

Philadelphia Eagles

0.50%

10

Philadelphia Eagles

0.33%

 

It’s a top two and then a pu pu platter of options on down the road. Where should you place your order?

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

  1. Seattle Seahawks – The Rams now have Kellen Clemens at QB. I’m not sure I need to say more. It’s possible the Seahawks D outscores the Rams offense in this one. If you still have the Seahawks around, it’s a good week to use them as few entrants are on them currently. I give the Seahawks an 85% chance of winning.  Now, I know some may be saving Seattle for next week, so there are other options of course.
  2. San Francisco 49ers – As I noted, this game is actually at Wembley in jolly ole England so the 49ers have a bit more of a travel issue than if they were traveling to Jacksonville. That said, it’s unclear if the Jags will win a game this season. They are dreadful on both sides of the ball. Their only weapons are a pair of above average WRs, but without a running game, it can be tough for them to getting rolling early. I give the 49ers an 85% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are coming off a bye and a tough loss and should be primed to put the Bills out of their misery early. The Saints have a gambling defense run by Rob Ryan and an offense full of fire power. Jimmy Graham is questionable and if he misses the game, I might slide the Saints down a bit, but I don’t think it will affect them much as they could always try to get Marques Colston started. I give the Saints an 82% chance of winning.
  4. Kansas City Chiefs – The Browns are turning to journeyman Jason Campbell for this game. Again, not much more to say here as the Browns don’t have a running game and stud Chiefs’ CB Brandon Flowers looks 100% healthy and ready to shut down Josh Gordon. I give the Chiefs a 79% chance of winning.
  5. Denver Broncos – Most folks don’t have the Broncos left, but this isn’t a bad spot to use them. Robert Griffin III is getting healthier and looked more like the Griffin of last season in last week’s wild victory against the Bears. However, Washington still gave up 41 points to the Bears so I can’t imagine how many points the Broncos could score.  I give the Broncos a 79% chance of winning.

Other teams I like early this week: Carolina Panthers (75% chance of winning), Green Bay Packers (78%).

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Cincinnati Bengals at home against the New York Jets. Yes, the Bengals are at home, but the Jets bring a stifling defense to bear against a Bengals team that can be stifled. There are better options this week. Also, I’d stay away from the Eagles. The Giants and Eagles are significantly different in terms of talent and Michael Vick may not be 100% at QB.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Dallas Cowboys on the road at the Lions. The Cowboys are likely better than their record indicates and have shown they can grind out wins (over the Eagles) or hang with the best offense in the league (loss to the Broncos).

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

OPINION: Terps should play in Cole Field House…now

The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team left Cole Field House following the end of the 2001-2002 basketball season. They headed across campus to the new, shiny Comcast Center. The Terps are moving Maryland Madness to Cole and now, Mark Turgeon says he’d like to get back to playing a regular season game at Cole every year. And there is no time like the present to make that move.

Why would the AD entertain an idea like moving back to Cole? Because the Terps continue to bleed attendance at the now decade-old Comcast Center. The Athletic Department needs to do anything it can to get more fans out to the games. Holding a game at Cole is a step in staunching the bleeding and Mark Turgeon realizes that.

Cole is too small

But, how would this work? Cole contains 3,300 fewer seats than Comcast. Who would get shut out? How would Maryland handle the fallout? Well, the attendance situation in College Park is more dire than you likely realize and it’s unlikely that anyone would get shut out.

First, let’s establish some numbers. Comcast’s current capacity is 17,950 and Cole’s capacity is 14,596.

Of the total capacity at Comcast (17,950), 4,000 student tickets are available. If student tickets are not claimed, they are offered for sale to Terrapin Club members first and then the general public. There are also some tickets held back for a variety of reasons (for administrative reasons/people, sponsors, etc.). I estimate those to be about 1,000 seats per game.

Comcast holds 17,950 and if we remove 5,000 for student and others tickets, that leaves us with 12,950 tickets for sale to season ticket holders. Prior to the start of the 2009 season, there were 1,681 unsold season tickets with one week left until the season started according to the Washington Times.

Then, let’s assume there are 2,000 unsold season tickets. This is an increase of about 19% in unsold season tickets from the 2009 season. I arrived at that estimate by taking a look at two items. Terrapin Club memberships have dropped by about 20% from 2008 to 2012 and we’ve seen overall attendance drop 26% since the 2009-2010 so let’s assume that the season ticket base eroded a little more slowly. (See chart at the end of the article for historical Maryland men’s basketball attendance.)

That leaves us with 12,950 minus 2000 which equals 10,950 season tickets bought by season ticket holders.

Now, hold the game over winter break and assume you get half of those 5,000 student/other to attend and you are at 10,950 plus 2,500 or 13,450. Cole’s capacity? 14,596.

Just using last year as an example, here are the reported attendance figures for games from December 21 2012 through January 22 2013:

Dec 21 – Stony Brook – 10,721
Dec 29 – Delaware State – 12,389
Jan 1 2013 – IUPUI – 8,971
Jan 5 – Virginia Tech – 17,950
Jan 9 – Florida State – 14,157
Jan 16 – North Carolina State – 17,950
Jan 22 – Boston College – 13,941

The athletic department has the actual attendance figures. Moreover, with the integration of StubHub and LetsMoveDown, the AD can now see what the value of the tickets are in the secondary market and easily determine if there is pent up demand. My guess? There isn’t a lot of pent up demand for late December or January games at Comcast.

Attendance is down – way down

Remember, we’ve seen ACC games available for sale to the general public in recent seasons. And last season, every single ACC game was available to all Terrapin Club members to buy additional seats (even the UNC and Duke games). The Maryland ticket office created ticket packages where you could get a UNC or Duke ticket as long as you bought a “lesser” ACC game and non-conference game as well.

There isn’t demand for the product. Playing a game at Cole could increase demand (even if for just one game).

For some history on attendance, see below and at the end of the column (all data from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Attendance site):

In the 2009-2010 season the Terps averaged 16,792 fans (down 256 per game from the prior season).

The 2010-2011 season (Gary Williams’ final season) the average dropped even further to 14,910 per game (just over the Cole Field House capacity of 14,596).

The 2011-2012 season saw another drop down to 13,182 per game.

And the 2012-2013 season was more of the same as the per game attendance dropped to 12,489 per game.

In the chart below, you can see the percentage capacity for all Maryland home games both at Cole and Comcast.

attendance_chart

Maryland basketball season tickets are not a hot commodity and haven’t been for five years. I’m a Maryland men’s basketball season ticket holder and I certainly don’t give as much as someone had to just a few years ago to maintain season tickets.

“In 2008, a season ticket holder had to have given roughly $10,000 since he or she joined the Terrapin Club to maintain his or her season ticket. In 2012, there was no minimum threshold to purchase or maintain a season ticket. Despite impassioned newsletters to get young alumni to join, there was never a noticeable uptick even before the economic recession. After approaching 10,000 members in 2008, the Terrapin Club is now hovering around 8,000.” – Nov 27 2012 from Sports Illustrated.

Students no longer camp out. They register online for tickets and if more registrations are recorded than tickets available, a weighted lottery is held based on loyalty points and tickets are awarded. The students don’t have to “work” nearly as hard for the tickets as past students did so they may not value those seats as much as others might have.

Attendance is down 26% over the last four seasons. They need to do something. This year could be a disaster as the home schedule lacks Duke and UNC.

You could do so many things with a game at Cole to ensure that people don’t get shut out. You could:

- Reward the most loyal students from the football season and give them priority in the lottery for the Cole game.

- Encourage folks on the lower end of the giving spectrum, to give more than they do now by guaranteeing a Cole ticket if they give X more dollars.

Throwback Game

Finally, how should the game work? Well, here is one humble suggestion from a two-time alumnus of College Park.

Make it the yearly Throwback Game – a celebration of Maryland and Cole Field House history.

First match up? Maryland takes on the University of Texas – El Paso (née Texas Western) in celebration of Texas Western’s groundbreaking 1966 title game victory at Cole. Each team plays in throw back uniforms from that season. Would you love to see these uniforms on the floor at Cole one more time?

Texas Western jersey - 1966

Future matchups could be Maryland versus Manhattan College with each team wearing throwback uniforms from DeMatha Catholic High and Power Memorial. I’m not sure who would play Lew Alcindor, but I bet Under Armour wouldn’t mind putting together a Power Memorial throwback.

Or maybe Maryland versus the Richmond Spiders to celebrate the first win by a number 15 seed over a two seed in NCAA tournament history? Maybe Curtis Blair would referee the game?

The possibilities are endless and this game would be a great way to energize the alumni, students, administration and corporate sponsors.

It would great if Maryland had the problem of the men’s team selling out games. It does not have that issue currently. And it will take more than one good season to climb back up the hill.


Maryland Men’s Basketball Attendance (1987 through 2013)

Year_by_Year_Attendance

Source: NCAA Men’s Basketball Attendance – http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Stats/M+Basketball/Attendance/

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

Survivor

I hope that you stayed away from the Texans as I recommended last week. I didn’t expect the Rams to blow them out, but I believed there were concerns that made that choice too risky. An important note for this week – we have only two teams on bye, but next two weeks we see six teams off in each week so the pool gets shallower after this week.

Bye week: New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders

Survivor Pool – Week 7 selections

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

Office Football Pool

 

Yahoo! Survival Football

 

Team

Picks

 

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Green Bay Packers

44.10%

 

1

Green Bay Packers

41.98%

2

San Diego Chargers

17.60%

 

2

San Diego Chargers

29.40%

3

Miami Dolphins

17.10%

 

3

Miami Dolphins

6.94%

4

Atlanta Falcons

8.00%

 

4

Atlanta Falcons

6.53%

5

Kansas City Chiefs

5.60%

 

5

Kansas City Chiefs

6.05%

6

Seattle Seahawks

1.60%

 

6

New England Patriots

2.03%

7

Carolina Panthers

1.60%

 

7

Chicago Bears

1.72%

8

New York Giants

1.30%

 

8

Seattle Seahawks

1.52%

9

New England Patriots

0.90%

 

9

San Francisco 49ers

1.11%

10

San Francisco 49ers

0.80%

 

10

New York Giants

1.05%

Do the Packers deserve to be preferred by that many players? At first glance it doesn’t seem like it, but let’s look further.

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

  1. San Diego Chargers – The Jaguars are a historically bad team. The Chargers are at least an average team. Their offense is full of weapons from Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen to Antonio Gates. The Jags will likely be withouth Cecil Shorts and their one offensive stud, Maurice Jones Drew looks to be starting the downside of his career arc. I give the Chargers a 77% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers clicked on all cylinders last week as did the Rams. Neither faced a great deal of resistance on their way to victory. The big difference is at QB as the Panthers have the dynamic Cam Newton at the helm and gives the Panthers that extraordinary ability to create opportunities where none are evident. I give the Panthers a 72% chance of winning.
  3. Green Bay Packers – The Packers are a great team and they are big favorites over the Brandon Weeden-led Cleveland Browns. The issue I have with making them the number one choice have to do with injuries on both sides of the ball for the Packers. The Packers will be playing Jermichael Finley at WR a good deal and bring in Jarrett Boykin as the second WR if James Jones can’t play. The Packers LB corps is decimated as well and should give Jordan Cameron room to roam. That said, there is too much talent at the QB position for the Pack for the Browns to overcome. I give the Packers a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are coming off a bye and could be facing a Buffalo Bills team led by Matt Flynn at QB. If Flynn starts at QB, I may move the Dolphins up to number two. As it is, Jeff Tuel is considered the starting QB here and won’t have a chance of beating the Dolphins. I give the Dolphins a 74% chance of winning.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are probably not quite this good, but they still have an outstanding defense that should have no problem stopping a Texans team that will likely be led by T.J. Yates or Case Keenum. The Chiefs do struggle a bit with the run so the Texans would be well served to load up on Arian Foster and Ben Tate to take the pressure of the QBs. I give the Chiefs a 72% chance of winning.

Other teams I like early this week: Denver Broncos

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Atlanta Falcons at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are bad, but it’s not clear what the Falcons will bring on offense and their defense has been decimated by injuries. I’d like to see the Falcons’ new lineup before I jump on their bandwagon. I’d also stay away from the Thursday night game especially with Marshawn Lynch potentially not at 100%. There are too many injuries on both sides to get a good read on either the Seahawks or the Cardinals.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Cincinnati Bengals on the road at the Lions. The Bengals defense matches up well with the Lions offense and I don’t think we’ll see Calvin Johnson at 100% yet.

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

Thursday night game preview – Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

A matchup of bitter NFC West rivals…oh, who am I kidding? It’s Thursday night and the NFL has to have two teams on TV. It has chosen these two. Will the Seahawks struggles on the road continue in Arizona or will the ‘hawks prevail over the Cards as the numbers say? Is there any value to be had for fantasy purposes?

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson doesn’t yet have Percy Harvin back, but still should have a solid game against an average defense. I’d expect about 225 yards passing and 2 TDs.

Marshawn Lynch has been nursing a bit of an injury and may be less than 100%. I’d expect low-end RB2 production from Lynch, though he could have more value in PPR leagues as the Cards give up over seven passes per game to RBs. Look for the Seahawks to feature Robert Turbin a bit more.

Arizona has been quite good at limiting WR production so I’d stay away from the Seattle WRs except as flex plays. None stand out at the moment and they will likely be well controlled by the Cards DBs.

Zach Miller returns this week and makes a sneaky play against the worst defense against TEs in the league. I like him as a sleeper TE1 this week – a solid fill-in for Jimmy Graham owners in deep leagues.

The Seahawks defense is a must start this week. Carson Palmer offers a menu of choices in the turnover department.

Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer hasn’t been good and the Seahawks defense has eaten QBs alive. Palmer is a non-starter in almost all leagues.

Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall have been splitting carries in the backfield and I see that continuing. They face a brick wall in the Seahawks defense. Both are no better than flex plays (though I like Ellington a bit better especially in PPR leagues).

I give up on predicting what Larry Fitzgerald is going to do. He’s probable, but not 100% which isn’t too different than last week where we went off for more than 100 yards a TD. Start him at your own risk. I’d expect low end WR2 with a high ceiling and equally low floor. No one else (Michael Floyd nor Andre Roberts) is worth mentioning in the WR crew for the Cards.

Rob Housler faces the best team against TEs. Sit him as always.

The Cardinals defense makes for an OK play in deeper leagues. I don’t see the Seahawks blowing the Cardinals out and that should count for something in deeper leagues.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

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