August 23, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 11 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

Week 10 saw the San Francisco 49ers fall. Maybe. Or maybe not. Depending on how your pool handled it (or if they had any rules for it all), you may or may not be alive with a 49ers choice last week. My opinion is that it should be a loss and the entries are out. But, I’m not the commissioner of your pool (or mine).

Enough about rules and winners and losers. On to Week 11. Something has to give soon. This is the last week of byes so you’ll have a full slate of teams next week. Choose wisely so you can see Week 12.

I’ve also got a quick preview of Thursday’s game below.

Bye week: Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants

Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Team

Picks

Team

Picks

1

Dallas Cowboys

34.30%

1

Dallas Cowboys

42.91%

2

Denver Broncos

19.90%

2

Houston Texans

14.62%

3

Houston Texans

15.20%

3

Denver Broncos

14.58%

4

Atlanta Falcons

12.10%

4

New Orleans Saints

8.07%

5

New England Patriots

6.60%

5

Atlanta Falcons

8.01%

6

New Orleans Saints

6.10%

6

New England Patriots

3.86%

7

St. Louis Rams

1.60%

7

Cincinnati Bengals

3.60%

8

Cincinnati Bengals

1.30%

8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1.24%

9

Washington Redskins

1.00%

9

St. Louis Rams

0.94%

10

Buffalo Bills

0.50%

10

Washington Redskins

0.57%

Do you trust the Cowboys and Tony Romo? I’m a Cowboys fan and I’m not sure I do. Where should we go? I’ll give you a long list as I imagine many entrants don’t have a couple of the top options. I’m having trouble coming up with a solid list.

My early picks for this week are below (my final column will be up Sunday):

  1. Houston Texans – If you have the Texans, take them. I can’t imagine they’ll be a bigger favorite this year. They have the defense to stop the Jaguars offense which seems to be trending toward a one-dimensional passing attack led by Blaine Gabbert. Let that last sentence sink in. I give the Texans an 87% chance of winning.
  2. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are at home. They haven’t been great at home this year. The Browns are coming off a bye and Trent Richardson seems to be close to 100% healthy.  I’ve put them this high because of the injury that Joe Haden suffered in practice this week. The Browns defense is a much different defense without Haden. Check back for my final column to see Haden’s status. I give the Cowboys an 81% chance to win (without Haden in the lineup).
  3. New England Patriots – Every time I write the Patriots name I cringe. I don’t know why. It’s almost Pavlovian at his point. Again, there isn’t any reason to believe the Patriots should lose at home to the Colts. The Colts have looked better, but they still have a rookie QB. I could see me moving the Pats down a bit as the week goes on. I give the Patriots a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons come off their first loss (at the hands of the surging Saints) and face an Arizona team off their bye week, but still with John Skelton at QB. The Cardinals head east to Atlanta and though Atlanta barely defeated the Raiders in a similar trip, I think the loss to the Saints will offer some focus for the Falcons. I give the Falcons a 75% chance of winning.
  5. Denver Broncos – This was my initial choice for the week (as I don’t have most of the big boys left), but I’ve dropped them a bit due to Haden’s injury for the Browns. This is a division game and the Chargers are almost past the point of desperation. However, the Broncos offer a balanced offensive attacked backed up by a stout defense. I can’t see Phillip Rivers solving that defense on a regular basis. I give the Broncos a 74% chance of winning.
  6. New Orleans Saints – This will be the week to see if the Saints are really back or not. They go on the road to face a Raiders team that was annihilated in Baltimore last week. The Raiders have no running game and have to throw on nearly every down. The Saints have a poor defense, but their offense looks to be back to pre-Joe Vitt status. I give the Saints a 73% of winning.
  7. Washington Redskins - The Redskins are off a bye. The Eagles have a rookie QB to work into the offense.  The Eagles can win this game if they give LeSean McCoy 25+ carries. Andy Reid hasn’t struck me as someone who really wants to do that…ever. This is the week to do it to protect Nick Foles. One of these teams has to win, right? I give the advantage to Robert Griffin III and the Washington football team. I give them a 65% chance of winning. Other teams I like early in the week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers on the road. The Packers continue to win, but continue to lose players to injury (Clay Matthews is out this week). At some point, I believe those injuries will come back to haunt them. The Lions offense looks to be clicking and their defense isn’t awful. I’d hold off this week on the Packers. There should be other options out there.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Ravens. Yes, Byron Leftwich will be under center. Yes, Joe Flacco has performed relatively well against the Steelers. But, I think the Steelers will attempt to control the ball on the ground (they have enough RBs to do so) and the Ravens aren’t great against the run.

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

Thursday night game preview – Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Miami

Ryan Tannehill did not look good last week in the thrashing by the Titans. I think he’s hurt by a lack of a consistent running game.  The Bills were friendly early in the season, but have put the clamps down on QBs. I’d leave Tannehill on the bench in most leagues.

The Dolphins plan has to be to focus on the run and as a result I like Reggie Bush as a QB2 and Daniel Thomas as flex option in most leagues. The Bills struggle mightily against the run and haven’t seemed to figure things out yet.

The Bills DBs are not great. The Dolphins WRs are not great. I can see Brian Hartline being a potential flex play in deep leagues, but that is about it from the WR corps of the Dolphins.

The Bills have given up three TDs in the last two weeks to TEs. Do they have another one in them? Possibly, but I’d stay away from Anthony Fasano. He’s too risky.

Buffalo

Ryan Fitzpatrick should be solid as a high end QB2 this week and good bye week fill in should you need him. It will be interesting to see how the Bills fully incorporate their running  game into the plan.

C.J. Spiller is matchup proof in my estimation. Start him as an RB1 with confidence.

I like both Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones in this matchup. The Dolphins haven’t been able to stop many WRs. Jones has really come into his own in the last couple of weeks and I’d start both in standard leagues.

Scott Chandler has a chance to make an impact as well as the Dolphins struggled two out of the last three weeks against TEs (and the Titans seem to dislike Jared Cook very much which could have led to him having only one catch this past week). I like Chandler for 5 catches and 60 yards with a potential TD.

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

 

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