October 30, 2014

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

Fantasy Football: Week 5 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 5. Well, last week saw another big favorite fall as the Steelers took another 20% or so of every pool. If your pool has more than 25 – 30 percent of the original entries left, I’d be surprised. Both of my large pools are down to right around 25% remaining after four weeks – an unbelievable number.

Let’s see if we can avoid the proverbial landmine this week.

Bye Week: Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders

Survivor Pool – Week 5 selections

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

Survivor_Week_5

There is a bit more of a spread this week with a few teams sticking out in Week 5.

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 5 in order of preference:

  1. New Orleans Saints – Yes, the Saints were ambushed on the road at Dallas last week. And on Sunday night no less for everyone to see. However, they are back at home where they are nearly the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Drew Brees and company are a much better team at home and the Bucs aren’t really too be feared in any facet of the game. I give the Saints an 81% chance of winning.
  2. San Diego Chargers – I like the Chargers a bit more than most this week. They have a balanced offense with Phillip Rivers leading the charge. Their defense is serviceable and the Jets’ Geno Smith makes defenses that much better. The Jets don’t have any passing game to speak of so the Bolts should be able to hold the Jets down. They are a great equity pick this week as so many entries were on them last week. I give the Chargers a 75% chance of winning.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles – Yes, the Eagles haven’t been able to run the ball effectively this year. But, the Eagles get right tackle Lane Johnson back and I think he’ll be a big boost to the running game. The Rams aren’t a particularly talented team and being outside of the dome puts the brakes (to a degree) on the Rams’ speed. I give the Eagles a 71% chance of winning.
  4. Seattle Seahawks – On the road in Washington, The Seahawks shouldn’t have an issue winning against the hapless Washington club. However, there really isn’t a reason to use Seattle on the road where they are a much poorer team than at home. I give the Seahawks a 79% chance of winning.
  5. Dallas Cowboys – If this Cowboys’ offense is for real and they continue to run the ball and pass when necessary, it won’t matter how bad their defense becomes. The offense is truly firing on all cylinders and they face a Texans team with a solid defense, but Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB and a gimpy Arian Foster in the backfield. I give the Cowboys a 70% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Denver Broncos if you still have them available, though I don’t think you need to burn them here. The Detroit Lions are a reasonable choice, but I always have a tough time trusting them as their defense concerns me every time out.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers at home to face the Vikings on Thursday. Yes, Green Bay’s offense seems to be back. Yes, the Vikes have a 50/50 shot of starting Christian Ponder. But, I’d like to see Green Bay do it two weeks in a row and the Vikings have a defense that can make it tough on offenses. I generally like to stay away from the Thursday games anyway as the volatility in those matchups is just too difficult to predict.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Cleveland Browns on the road against the Titans. The Titans may have Jake Locker back at QB and I’m not sure that’s a great move. The Browns come off a bye and should be healthier with Ben Tate back in the fold and Jordan Cameron rested up. If the Titans ride Bishop Sankey, they may have a better shot, but we’ll see if they give him the chance.

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

Fantasy Football: Week 4 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 4. Last week was just as we’d hoped – quiet. In one of my larger pools we only lost nine entrants from the 400 or so left in the pool.

We’ve got a couple of big favorites again this week, but should we stick with those again or look further down the list. We also enter the first week of byes and we lose some heavy hitters leaving the field a bit thinner than we’d like. Let’s check out our week 4 options.

Bye Week: Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams

Survivor Pool – Week 4 selections

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

Survivor_Week_4

The majority of entries are on three teams. Let’s analyze our options for Week 4.

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 4 in order of preference:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers looked rejuvenated on offense against the Panthers last week. And the Buccaneers, well, didn’t. The Bucs will be working in new QB Mike Glennon against a Steelers defense that lost a few important parts. The Bucs should also get Doug Martin back, but it’s not enough to eclipse the Steelers offensive superiority. With more than 50% of pools on San Diego, Pittsburgh is the equity play. I give the Steelers a 75% chance of winning.
  2. San Diego Chargers – The Jaguars are also working a new QB into the game plan with Blake Bortles era beginning in earnest this week. That does add a variable to the mix, but the Jags have no running game to speak of and the Chargers do (even with the loss of Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews over the last couple of weeks). I don’t see the Jags’ rookie heading across the country to beat the Bolts. I give the Chargers an 85% chance of winning.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts aren’t a great team, but they are probably in the top ten in the NFL right now. They have an offense that can run the ball a bit and have passing game weapons of all shapes and sizes. The Titans are a bit of a mess with a four-headed running back by committee, an injured (and perhaps out) QB in Jake Locker and a defense that is stretched thin. I give the Colts a 73% chance of winning.

And we’ll leave it there for this week. Again, with six teams on bye and not a lot else on the slate to recommend, I’m going to play it safe for Week 4.

Other teams I like this week: San Francisco 49ers as the Eagles offensive line is a disaster right now though the Niners aren’t nearly as good as many thought they’d be heading into the season.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Miami Dolphins heading to London to take on the Oakland Raiders. Yes, London. I dislike these European games as it throws everyone’s schedule off. Add in the Ryan Tannehill no-confidence vote and anger seemingly everywhere on the Dolphins roster and I pass.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panthers against the Ravens. The Ravens get Bernard Pierce back and may force him back into the starting role where he has not produced yet this year. The Panthers were embarrassed on national TV and have a short trip up I-95 to take on a Ravens team that doesn’t seem to be quite as good as they get credit for being.

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.

Feel free to ask questions of me on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 3 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 3. I’m a day later than scheduled, but as you’ll see this is a pretty straightforward week. At least we hope so – both of my largest polls have been cut in half over the first two weeks as there have been big favorites taken down each week. San Francisco disappointed last week as many players switched to them late with the news that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey were very questionable to play.

The pick looked solid until Jay Cutler began throwing TDs everywhere. I also lost out on Tampa Bay and some of my deeper picks as well. Also, my suggestion to avoid Washington looked pretty silly.

I’m back to redeem myself in Week 3!

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections

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

2014_Week_3_Survivor

It is a two-horse race this week, but should we be looking elsewhere for value? Is there any other team out there that gives us a leg up in our 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 3 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – Perhaps the reports of the Patriots’ demise were a wee bit premature. The Patriots host the Oakland Raiders and rookie QB Derek Carr. Bill Belichick’s defense is a house of horrors for rookie QBs especially on the road. The Raiders shouldn’t offer much resistance. I give the Pats a 92% chance of winning.
  2. New Orleans Saints – Like the Patriots, many are writing about the Saints’ demise as they head home for the first time this season sitting at 0-2. There haven’t been any issues with the offense so far, but the Rob Ryan defense has been generous to a fault. However, much like the Seahawks, the Saints are a different (read: much better) team at home than on the road. They get a Vikings squad that is without Adrian Peterson and a QB in Matt Cassel who doesn’t seem to want to throw the ball downfield. I see a shootout and the Saints coming out on top. I give New Orleans an 84% chance of winning.

And that’s it. Really. I wouldn’t consider anybody else in most standard pools no matter how big they are. However, if you want to hunt for other plays, here are a couple of other options.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – See, there is a big drop off from the top two favorites. The Eagles get Washington at home. They have a new shiny toy in Kirk Cousins under center. He looked good last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars though there is a good chance I might look passable throwing the ball against the Jags. Nah, probably not. Cousins is probably a serviceable QB and Washington has enough weapons on offense to look good at times. However, the Jags made Jim Haslett’s defense look like Buddy Ryan’s old 46 in Chicago. It’s not and the Eagles should be able to outscore Cousins. I give the Eagles a 71% chance to win.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals look like a complete team right now. Tons of different weapons on offense and a swarming defense. They face a Titans team that still has Jake Locker at the helm. Locker has looked great and awful in the first two weeks. I think the Bengals defense can rattle him enough to put the Bengals to 3-0. I’m assuming A.J. Green plays on Sunday. If he doesn’t, I’d take the Bengals off the board. I give the Bengals a 69% chance to win.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – I don’t like taking dome teams on the road, but if you want to you can risk it with the Colts. The Jags looked horrendous last week and will likely continue to look awful so long as Chad Henne is at QB and they have the revolving door offensive line in front of him. The Colts have distributed the ball on offense (much to the dismay of fantasy players everywhere) so they should be able to take care of the Jags even on the road. I give the Colts a 66% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from everyone else. A lot of tight lines this week and a lot of seemingly toss up games. This is not the week to get cute and take a chance. Survive and advance is the mantra this week.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Buffalo Bills against the Chargers. The Chargers travel cross country without Ryan Mathews in the backfield. Donald Brown should be a decent fill-in, but it’s one less weapon on offense and the Bills’ defense has looked nasty early on this year.

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.

Feel free to ask me questions on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: Week 2 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

NFL Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 2. I said Week 1 is the toughest week and we saw nearly a quarter of entries drop out with Chicago the main culprit. Hopefully you didn’t have too many of your eggs in the Bears’ basket.

Now, on to Week 2 where we can overreact [Read more...]

Fantasy Football: Week 1 Last Minute Adds

Every week this season on Sunday morning, we’ll take a look at Fantasy Football last minute adds that can help you cover an injury, bye week player, or just give your team the boost it might need to win that week. We’ll profile one player at each position that is available in the bulk of leagues on CBSSports.com and Yahoo.com to give you an option when filling out your lineup.


QB: Shaun Hill, STL. Hill is owned in just 10% of CBSSports.com leagues, but it probably won’t be long before he gets snatched up in your league. He’s stepping in for the injured Sam Bradford and he’s been a solid performer in his career as a backup and spot starter for the 49ers and Lions, completing almost 62 percent of his passes. The University of Maryland product is one to keep an eye on.

RB: Dri Archer, PIT: Archer, the rookie out of Kent, is No. 3 on the depth chart at tailback for the Steelers, but he could see plenty of time as the third down back and receiving option out of the backfield, as well as in the return game, if you play in a league that monitors that. He’s small, speedy and shifty and most likely, available in your league as he’s owned in just 7% of leagues right now.

WR: Andrew Hawkins, CLE: Hawkins was given the starting nod by Browns head coach Mike Pettine, so you should grab him if you need a receiver. Of course, the Browns QB situation is in a state of flux, so Hawkins certainly shouldn’t be valued as anything more than a WR3 or flex guy, but he seemed to have a good rapport with Brian Hoyer so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

TE: Travis Kelce, KC. Kelce got a lot of work with KC’s first team offense and his big play ability is one reason the Chiefs didn’t go chasing receivers in the offseason. He’s owned in just 35% of Yahoo leagues thus far, so he’s probably available to you just by cutting the backup TE that got autodrafted for you at the end of your draft.

K: Brandon McManus, DEN. Kickers are a dime-a-dozen, and the No. 10 rated kicker isn’t worth much more than the 30th. That said, you need someone and why not go with someone who plays on a high-powered offense. With Matt Prater suspended, McManus should get plenty of chances on extra points and field goals. Just watch out for later in the season with Denver’s bad weather.

Fantasy Football: Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for 2014. Or perhaps you call it an Eliminator Pool. I’ve been gone from the site for a while, but hopefully not forgotten. Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also take at a sleeper pick and talk about teams to avoid.

Week 1 is probably the hardest week to predict as we have no (real) on field data to use to figure out where we should go. Without further introduction, let’s get to the data and picks.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 1 selections

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

Office Football Pool

 

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

 

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Philadelphia Eagles

41.40%

 

1

Philadelphia Eagles

49.60%

2

Chicago Bears

19.70%

 

2

Chicago Bears

19.61%

3

Pittsburgh Steelers

10.80%

 

3

Pittsburgh Steelers

8.06%

4

New York Jets

6.60%

 

4

Kansas City Chiefs

4.98%

5

Kansas City Chiefs

4.40%

 

5

New York Jets

3.50%

6

Denver Broncos

4.20%

 

6

Detroit Lions

2.64%

7

Detroit Lions

2.90%

 

7

New England Patriots

2.63%

8

New England Patriots

2.40%

 

8

Denver Broncos

1.56%

9

Seattle Seahawks

1.60%

 

9

San Francisco 49ers

1.33%

10

San Francisco 49ers

1.30%

 

10

Seattle Seahawks

1.07%

 

Last year, we had the Steelers come out and lay an egg against the Titans in Week 1 and take a lot of teams down with them. They weren’t the biggest favorite on the board, but they did close at -270 (implying the Steelers had a nearly 73% chance to win. So, you never know.

I generally like to be cautious in Week 1 as there is just not enough information to make informed decisions.

And I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 1 in order of preference:

    1. Philadelphia Eagles – They are the biggest favorite on the board and face a Jags team that has likely improved, but not by enough to keep pace with the Eagles high-flying offense. I give the Eagles an 82% chance of winning
    2. Denver Broncos – This is where I would go if I wanted to be “contrarian” in my pool. The top two picks account for between 60 and 70 percent of the current pool picks. If one (or both) of those top picks fall, your pool equity would increase significantly. Moreover, the Broncos are actually the second most likely team to win based on the money line (currently -380). The Colts certainly have the offense to keep up with the Broncos and the distraction of Wes Welker’s suspension could have an effect. But, the Colts’ offensive line still looks terrible and the Broncos have defensive play makers to take advantage of that weakness. I give the Broncos a 75% chance of winning
    3. Chicago Bears – The Bears (and the Steelers who are next) face teams that have awful QB situations and offenses that look like they won’t be able to score enough points to keep up. I think the Bears just have too much on offense to drop an opener at home to the Bills. I give the Bears a 72% chance to win
    4. Pittsburgh Steelers – I have two issues with the Steelers here as this is a divisional game and the Browns’ defense is one of my sleepers this year. That said, the Browns are going to struggle on offense initially and the Steelers should be able to pick up the win at home against the Browns. The Browns haven’t won in Pittsburgh in their last 10 trips. I give the Steelers a 72% chance to win
    5. New York Jets – Talking about sleepers, Jets’ QB Geno Smith is on that list for me this year. He just needs to be more consistent under center. I like Derek Carr fine, but it’s a tough opening game on the road, across the country, against a maniacal Jets’ defense. I give the Jets a 70% chance to win.

Other teams I like this week: Kansas City Chiefs

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New England Patriots on the road against the Miami Dolphins. Yes, the Pats will have Gronk (even if limited) back in the fold, but the Pats travelled to Miami last week and fell to the Dolphins. The Pats shouldn’t be on your radar this early.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Dallas Cowboys against the 49ers. This is not the same 49ers defense without Aldon Smith and NaVarro Bowman. The Cowboys clearly have offensive talent enough to win a shootout. Yes, they have no defense, but do the Niners have enough weapons to take advantage on the road?

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 to 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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