August 23, 2017

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 3 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

What a disaster. I’ve been in survivor pools for more than a decade and I can’t recall a week like we saw last week when so many of the “favorites” went down. We were right to fade New Orleans, but it looks like we should have faded just about every other team. Most of my choices lost and in my largest pool 90% of all entrants are gone after the first two weeks. There was almost nowhere to hide. So, if you are still reading congrats on making it through the carnage or entering a second chance pool!

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, where do we go from here?

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections

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

2015_Survivor_Week_3
Two teams make up more than 80% of the picks this week. So, do we take one of those or fade again?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (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 3 in order of preference:

  1. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks come home in an 0-2 hole to start the season. Their high priced free agent TE acquisition is unhappy with his role. Their holdout safety Kam Chancellor has given up his holdout and may play this week. They face a Bears team that will likely be without Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffrey. I give the Seahawks an 88% chance of winning.
  2. New England Patriots – Many of you who survived put your faith in Bill Belichick and were rewarded. It was such an odd game in Vegas as it ended up with the Bills favored at one point. I don’t think we’re going to see that happen this week. It’s certainly a spot for a letdown and the Jags looked better in Week 2. But, the Pats have too many weapons for the Jags to stop. I gave the Patriots an 85% chance of winning.

I’ll pause here and say, don’t keep reading. Take one of these two and head on to Week 4.

  1. Green Bay Packers – Monday night in Green Bay is never a pleasant experience. And for a team like the Chiefs that lacks offensive weapons, it will be tough to keep up with Aaron Rodgers. I give the Packers a 71% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – This is based on my guess that Drew Brees won’t play or will be severely limited. The Panthers defense should be able to control the Saints offense on the road. And I can see Greg Olsen having a big game for the Panthers building off his 14 targets a week ago. The Saints defense continues to be less than 100% especially at the safety position. I give the Panthers a 65% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Houston Texas at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure, the Texans defense is led by J.J. Watt and should be able to put the fear into Jameis Winston. But, the Texans may be without DeAndre Hopkins (or perhaps at less than 100%). If there is no Hopkins, who scares you on the Texans’ offense? Anyone? Bueller?

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Philadelphia Eagles against the New York Jets. Yes, the Eagles looked back. Yes, they may be without DeMarco Murray at 100%. But, this is the classic let down game for a Jets team that may be without most of their WRs.

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. His work can been seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 2 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Well, Week 1 was in the books and if you followed my advice you are easily into Week 2. The Cowboys gave us a heart attack, but all six of the teams I liked won in Week 1. Also, my “underdog” selection the Bills won outright. The only miss was my suggestion to avoid the Panthers.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

If Week 1 is the hardest, Week 2 may be the second toughest week as now we have data to analyze. But, how much data do we really have? Don’t overreact to what occurred in Week 1. It’s just one week so treat it as such.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 2 selections

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

 

2015_Week_2_NFL_Survivor_Picks

We have a HUGE favorite this week with nearly 50% of pools on the New Orleans Saints. Should we fade them this week? And if so, what direction do we go? This week will be our introduction into pool equity. I won’t get into the gory math behind it, but the basics are:

  1. A week where there is one team where a majority of your pool (or pools in general) is on them. This week that team is the New Orleans Saints and their near 50% ownership
  2. There is another team (or teams) who are at lower ownership percentages, but you (or whomever you trust) believes the chances of these lower-owned teams is similar to the higher-owned option in point number one. This week we have both the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens who fit that mold
  3. By choosing a team from point number two (the Ravens or Colts this week), you take on additional risk that is worthwhile based on the potential equity you would gain in your pool if the massive favorite in point number 1 loses.

So, in this week’s example, if the Saints lose nearly half of your pool is out and your equity increases and along with it your chances to win the pool if you choose the Colts or Ravens (and they win of course).

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (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 2 in order of preference:

  1. Indianapolis Colts – As you can see from my first two choices, I’m suggesting you go the “pool equity” route. The Colts were manhandled by the Bills and Rex Ryan’s defense last week. And the matchup doesn’t get much better with a tough Jets defense rolling into Indy. But, the key for me is that the Colts are back home and Andrew Luck should be much more comfortable with the home cooking. Yes, T.Y. Hilton may be out, but so will Antonio Cromartie. I give the Colts a 73% chance of winning.
  2. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens stifled the Broncos last week, but lost Terrell Suggs for the season. The Raiders got railroaded by the Bengals and QB Derek Carr injured his thumb. Even without Suggs, the Ravens’ defense should be good enough to stymie a Raiders offense still trying to form its identity. I give the Ravens a 71% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – If you just want to see Week 3, the Saints are the safest play on the board and should escort you to next Week 3. Sure, the Bucs have a number of offensive weapons (especially if Mike Evans is back) and the Saints defense (especially in the secondary is banged up). But, the Bucs still have error-prone Jameis Winston leading the charge and the Saints generally play better at home (last year notwithstanding). I give the Saints a 76% chance of winning.
  4. Kansas City Chiefs – I usually take the Thursday game off, but I really like the Chiefs this week as they face a wounded Broncos squad (C.J. Anderson’s toe, Peyton Manning’s ego) at home. Kansas City is a difficult place to play and Peyton has looked quite pedestrian since late last year. It’s a short week for the Broncos and I like the Chiefs to take advantage. I give the Chiefs a 70% chance of winning.
  5. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins won last week, but didn’t look great in Washington. However, I think people are underestimating how good Washington’s defense is. Their front seven is actually quite good and gave Miami fits at times. The weak link for the Jags is the offense right now as Blake Bortles’ preseason progress seems to be a mirage. I think the Dolphins defense can control the Jags well enough to give the offense enough room to win. I give the Dolphins a 68% chance of winning.
  6. Louis Rams – The Rams travelled to D.C. last year and shut out Washington 24-0. I see another defensive struggle and that the Rams have a bit of an advantage there. De’Sean Jackson is out for a while so Kirk Cousins won’t have anyone who can really stretch the defense. I’d certainly bet the under if I were in to such things. I give the Rams a 63% chance of winning.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – I’m playing two angles here this week. First, the Chargers coming east for an early game. Second, Phillip Rivers record against the Bengals (in only two games, but still…).

Other teams I like this week: I’d think about the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 49ers coming east for a 1pm start. Will the Niners be able to control the Steelers offense? Will they be able to score enough to outpace the Steelers offense?

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, the Cowboys are now without Dez Bryant. But, the Eagles secondary is atrocious. I mean awful. They give up big weeks to WRs seemingly every week. And Tony Romo should be able to shred that defensive backfield even if Devin Street is the starting WR for Dez. I’m not sure the Cowboys defense can keep the Eagles off the field enough to make it matter, but I’m going to stay away from this division battle.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Chicago Bears against the Cardinals. The Cards have to travel east (which is always tough) and will be without Andre Ellington. Yes, Chris Johnson will replace him, but I’m not sure he can carry the load. It’s a tough week to pick underdogs, but I think the Bears have the best shot of pulling the upset.

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. His work can been seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for 2014. Did you miss me? 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 identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

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 late Wednesday evening:

Week_1_2015_NFL_Survivor

Remember, it was just two years ago when the Steelers come out took a lot of teams down with them in Week 1. 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 intelligent decisions.

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (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. Green Bay Packers – The Bears defense is horrible. Will be horrible. All year long. The Pack is without Jordy Nelson, but they have more than enough weapons to outscore a Bears team led by turnover machine Jay Cutler. I give the Packers an 83% chance to win.
  2. New England Patriots – If both teams were at full strength, the Pats would still be the favorites. The Steelers are missing Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Mike Pouncey. The Pats should be fired up for their home opener and should be able to run roughshod over a Steelers defense that looks to be quite poor. I give the Pats an 80% chance to win.

And I suggest you stop here. One of these two should be who you choose this week so you can live to see Week 2.

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos went undefeated at home last year and look to continue the trend to open 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens look to I give the Broncos a 71% chance to win this week.
  2. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins get to visit the tire fire that is your Washington Professional Football Franchise. I just don’t see how Washington can sustain drives and score enough points against a Dolphins defense that should be stout than it has been since the Killer Bs era. I give the Dolphins a 67% chance of winning.
  3. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys should be able to handle the Giants, but the Cowboys have a lot of questions on offense (who runs the ball?) and defense (who’s suspended and/or injured)? That said, I still think Dallas take the home opener though I’m not as high on them as most. I give the Cowboys a 61% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: San Diego Chargers – the Lions traveling west and playing outdoors without starting linebacker DeAndre Levy gives some hope to a Chargers team that should try to run the ball early and see if Levy’s absences opens up lanes for them.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Carolina Panthers on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I know it seems weird to pick against the Jags, but hear me out. The Jags look like they may have improved a bit with Blake Bortles a year older, Allen Robinson back from injury and T.J. Yeldon in the backfield. And who on the Panthers scares you? Have you seen their WR corps? It’s games like this with lower totals that I fade as if one funny bounce leads to a score for the Jags, the Panthers may not have the firepower to make up the difference.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Buffalo Bills against the Colts. The Bills defense should be nasty this year and with Rex Ryan at the helm they will always have some tricks. I know you took Andrew Luck in the first round of your fantasy draft. But that’s not what we are concerned with here. The Bills offense could give the Colts fits as well with Tyrod Taylor running all over the place.

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. His work can been seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Statistically Speaking: You Can’t Do That – Home Run Tracker Edition

The dearly departed (for the Pittsburgh Pirates, not the afterlife) Stuart Wallace has left a hole here at DSP. And I’m here to attempt to fill it. During the regular season I will address a situation or issue from a statistical point of view. The focus will still be the Nationals, but I plan to head out beyond the Nats from time to time. I may also veer into the fantasy sports world a bit more than Stuart did, but that’s where my knowledge is stronger. And some weeks I may just bring other important research to bear and comment on its potential effects.

Just a reminder that Stuart and I are not the same person. I’m not a neuroscientist. I’ve been to Nevada for about a total of one hour though I’ve probably spent more time in Las Vegas with Charlie Sheen than Stuart has anywhere in the world. I haven’t ever moonlighted though I have seen several episodes of Moonlighting. The one thing we do have in common is we are both former pitchers though my highlight is hitting the same left hander batter four times in the same game.

Summary

[Read more…]

Fantasy Football: Wild Card Weekend NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Wild Card Weekend. I don’t usually publish columns after the regular season finishes, but I’ve seen a lot of pools that I’m in that still have a number of participants competing into the playoffs.

So, if you are still around, good luck (though you don’t need it from me)!

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Wild Card Weekend selections

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

Survivor_Week_WildCardWeekend

There aren’t any data from Yahoo! as they are closed at the end of Week 17.

There are two ways I’ve seen pools handle going into the playoffs:

  1. You get all teams back again – and you can pick them just once for the playoffs.
  2. You continue on with the teams you have available from the regular season and if you don’t have any teams left then you are out of luck.

The most common solution to extending into the playoffs is #1 and I’m going to assume that you have all teams available to you this week.

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

Here are my choices for Wild Card Weekend in order of preference:

  1. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys may be the hottest team in the NFL right now (outside of the Carolina Panthers oddly enough). They are the biggest favorite on the board as a result. The Cowboys have a balanced offense led by DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Their offensive line has given Murray holes all year long and Romo time to throw the ball. The Lions’ defensive front has the tools to keep Murray in check so more of the responsibility to move the offense may be on Romo than normal. However, the Lions offense is not nearly as consistent on the road as at home. Matthew Staffford has completed 54.1% of his passes, averaging just over 250 yards with a 9/6 TD/INT ratio on the road this year. I give the Cowboys a 73% chance of winning.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers – The absence of Le’Veon Bell hurts the Steelers, but he hasn’t flourished in either of the two matchups with the Ravens so the loss may be felt much greater on paper than on the field of play. The Steelers will likely have to throw the ball early and often and the Ravens defensive backfield should be more than accommodating. I look for Big Ben to lean on Antonio Brown and Heath Miller all day long.  The Ravens are a dangerous playoff team generally, but I’m not sure they have the horses to stay with the Steelers. The teams know each other well, but I still see the Steelers pulling this one out at home. It will be close, but I give the Steelers a 65% of winning.
  3. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have found a forumula for winning – running the ball and relying on their defense. They are 4-0 with Jonathan Stewart getting the bulk of the work in the backfield. Cam Newton looks to be healthy and provides another threat out of the backfield against a Cardinals defense that looks good statistically but has struggled recently with the run. They’ve given up 90 or more yards to an RB in four of their last five games (only the Rams’ Tre Mason missing out on the feast). Moreover, they’ve given up 60 or more yards rushing to QBs in three of the last six games (twice to Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick). Finally, the Cards defense really struggles against the TE. So, I think the Panthers should be able to score enough on offense to overcome a Cardinals’ team with Ryan Lindley at the helm. I give the Panthers a 63% chance of winning.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – I do not like the Colts this week. Yes, they are fantastic at home, but they are banged up (T.Y. Hilton should play, but may be less than 100%, Dwayne Allen also will return from an injury as will Reggie Wayne). They cannot (or choose not) to run the ball. Their defense is susceptible to the run, but with Vontae Davis at CB the Colts can defend at least opposing WR. They face a Bengals team that hasn’t succeeded in the postseason with Andy Dalton at QB. However, much like the Panthers, they seem to have found a formula for winning – hand the ball off to Jeremy Hill and defend well. The Bengals will be in a tough spot if A.J. Green doesn’t play, but even without Green I wouldn’t put them ahead of the Panthers this week. I give the Colts a 55% chance of winning.

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 17 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 17. Perhaps the toughest of all weeks (outside of Week 1) faces us this week. All of the games are on Sunday (no Thursday, Saturday or Monday games).

For many of you, this is the final week no matter what happens. For others, the pool may run into the playoffs. Either way, good luck!

You can check out what each team in the playoffs (or fighting for a spot) needs this week here.

Thanks for reading all year and I’ll be back next season with all of your Survivor needs.

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 17 selections

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

Survivor_Week_17

We are down to the dregs if we have the Texans leading the way even against the Jags. At this point in the season, it’s about (a) who you have left and (b) who your opponents have left. I will list all teams I’d like this week so you may need to scroll down to find teams who area available to you.

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 17 in order of preference:

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos are tuning up for the playoffs, but still need to win to get a first round bye and I think they’ll be playing for it. The Raiders are waiting for the end of the season. It can’t come soon enough for them. I give the Broncos a 90% chance of winning.
  2. Baltimore Ravens – Yes, the Ravens looked terrible last week and they come into this week with a banged up backfield. However, they get the Christmas gift of Connor Shaw at QB for the Browns. I think the Ravens will actually be able to throw on the Browns as Joe Haden will not be 100% even if he does play. I give the Ravens an 85% chance of winning.
  3. Seattle Seahawks – Man, this is the team we expected to see isn’t it? They have their efficient offense clicking lead by Marshawn Lynch. And their defense has gone from mediocre to menacing. The Rams have an equally effective defense, but don’t have the offensive weapons to make a dent in the ‘hawks chances. I give the Seahawks an 84% chance of winning.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts have nothing to play for. The Titans play like they have nothing to play for. I’ll take a more talented Colts’ squad that Coach Chuck Pagano said “need to build some steam” after getting blasted by Dallas last week. And Andrew Luck took some time off last week during the loss. I give the Colts an 80% chance of winning.
  5. Houston Texans – Arian Foster should be enough for the Texans to take down the Jags. The Jags have looked spry lately (as they did at the end of last season), but they don’t frighten me. I give the Texans a 79% chance of winning.
  6. New England PatriotsI’m a little dubious of what Bill Belichick will do this week with the Pats. However, even with a second rate staff, I think the Pats shouldn’t have an issue with a withering Bills’ squad. I give the Patriots 79% chance of winning.
  7. Miami Dolphins Geno Smith is starting at QB for the Jets. I’m not sure there is much more I have to say. The Dolphins should be able to score enough to keep the Jets in the loss column this week. I give the Dolphins a 75% chance of winning.
  8. Minnesota Vikings The Vikes defense has been pretty good this year when it faces poorer teams (like the Bears). The Bears have been forced to go back to Jay Cutler at QB. The Vikes have ridden Matt Asiata lately and I assume they will continue to do so while throwing frequently to Charles Johnson and Greg Jennings against a depleted Bears’ secondary. I give the Vikings a 73% chance of winning.
  9. Dallas Cowboys Much like the Pats, I’m not sure what Dallas will do. They can improve their stock in the playoffs, but need some help from some friends. And they do have the revenge factor against Washington in their favor. Robert Griffin III is nursing a sprained shoulder, but will play. I give Dallas a 72% chance of winning.
  10. Green Bay Packers The Packers are a bit dinged up on offense, but they face the Lions one of the most overrated teams in the league. The Lions have a ton to play for, but will likely come up short on the road at Lambeau. I give the Packers a 70% chance of winning.

I will skip the rest of the normal column where I pick underdogs, teams to avoid and other teams I like and just list the remainder of the teams that I think will win this week.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (home against Cincinnati)– 65% chance of winning
  2. New Orleans Saints (at Tampa Bay) – 63% chance of winning
  3. New York Giants (at home against Philadelphia) – 55% chance of winning
  4. Atlanta Falcons (at home against Carolina – 55% chance of winning
  5. San Diego Chargers (on the road against Kansas City) – 51% chance of winning
  6. Arizona Cardinals (on the road against San Francisco) – 51% chance of winning

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 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

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

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

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

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

Survivor_Week_15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football: Week 14 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

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

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

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 14 selections

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

Survivor_Week_14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football: Week 13 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

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

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Week 13 selections

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

Survivor_Week_13

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

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

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

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

Other teams I like this week: None

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football: Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

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

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

Bye Week: Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers

Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections

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

Survivor_Week_12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other teams I like this week: None

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

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

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

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

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