November 24, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 12 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

Bye weeks are over and I’m coming off a week where all seven of my choices won. There are three games on Thanksgiving. I generally stay away from these games as the short week is tough on all the players (especially with the holiday).

It’s Week 12. The pickings are getting slim. Where can you go to be safe this week?

I’ve also got a quick preview of the three games on Thursday below.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Team

Picks

Team

Picks

1

Denver Broncos

43.20%

1

Denver Broncos

53.39%

2

Cincinnati Bengals

36.70%

2

Cincinnati Bengals

26.99%

3

Indianapolis Colts

6.40%

3

Indianapolis Colts

6.53%

4

New England Patriots

4.20%

4

New England Patriots

4.52%

5

Chicago Bears

1.90%

5

Seattle Seahawks

1.27%

6

Seattle Seahawks

1.30%

6

Tennessee Titans

1.24%

7

Dallas Cowboys

1.10%

7

Chicago Bears

0.93%

8

Tennessee Titans

1.10%

8

Baltimore Ravens

0.84%

9

Arizona Cardinals

1.00%

9

Houston Texans

0.68%

10

Houston Texans

0.40%

10

Pittsburgh Steelers

0.66%

It’s the Broncos and the Bengals and then….who? If you don’t have Denver or Cincinnati available, where should you go? There are a lot of tight matchups this week. It’s probably time to be safe (or as safe as you can be).

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

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are at home against an Oakland team that has been housed the last two weeks. The Bengals are relatively healthy on both sides of the ball. Andy Dalton has a stud WR in A.J. Green and a serviceable backfield. The Raiders have Carson Palmer’s arm and that’s about it. The Bengals can beat Palmer’s arm. I give the Bengals a 75% chance of winning.
  2. Denver Broncos – The big difference for me between the Bengals and Broncos is that the Broncos are on the road. The Broncos will also be assimilating Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno into the backfield with the season-ending injury to Willis McGahee. The Chiefs are a mess on all levels. Brady Quinn is back at QB. They are awful. I give the Broncos a 70% chance of winning.
  3. New England Patriots – I assume no one has New England left and even if you did, I’d rather use Denver or the Bengals. The Pats are without Rob Gronkowski so their offense will look a bit different. Aaron Hernandez is supposed to be back, but could be limited. The Jets showed they still have an above average defense and at home they have a chance against the Pats in a short week. I give the Patriots 68% chance of winning.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Where can we go when we don’t have the top three options? I’m going to latch my wagon to the Colts and Andrew Luck. Even in Donnie Avery is out, Luck has shown he can win at home against most comers. The Bills struggle on the road and get Fred Jackson back which muddles the RB picture. I give the Colts a 65% chance to win
  5. Arizona Cardinals – Wow, it’s gets thin early at the bottom of the barrel here. The Cardinals had a guy play QB last week who I had never heard of. There is a good chance he’s going to start this week. They get Beanie Wells back on offense. They also get Calais Campbell back on defense. The Rams are winless on the road this season and can’t seem to get things going when they are outside of the dome. I give the Cardinals a 61% chance to win.

Other teams I like early in the week: Cleveland Browns

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Houston Texans on the road and the Seattle Seahawks on the road for different reasons.  The Texans struggled mightily against the Jaguars last week in quite a surprise. I’m sure they will be prepared to play this week, but the Lions looked solid last week against the Packers. On the short week, I’d rather not gamble on the Texans against the potent Lions offense.

The Seahawks are just a bad team on the road. I think Miami can defend well enough to keep the Seahawks off the score board. The big question is can the Dolphins score at all. There should be better choices for you than Seattle.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Falcons. No, I do not believe Matt Ryan throws another five interceptions this week. But, the Bucs have an offense that is firing on all cylinders (and may have a turbo boost hanging out somewhere). The Falcons are coming dangerously close to being a one-dimensional offense and Julio Jones is still fighting a nagging ankle injury.

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.

Thanksgiving Day Previews

We’re going to do this week’s previews in the style of one of my favorite turkeys – Larry King. And no, Baltimore doesn’t play so I can’t say that Baltimore is a dirty, ugly city.

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions

Houston

Matt Schaub was fantastic last week. He reminded me of Y.A. Tittle in his heyday. I see Schaub being a low end QB1 with 250 yards and 2 TDs in the game….Arian Foster is the greatest fantasy running back ever….he should be starting for you….Andre Johnson is back..start as WR1 with confidence…Does anyone remember Vicks VapoRub?….The Texans defense can be started with confidence as they should be able to turn Detroit over…Cardigans are my favorite sweaters…

Detroit

Detroit is a dirty shrinking city…Matthew Stafford had problems with his mechanics…maybe he should see Manny, Moe and Jack…Stafford is a mid-range QB2 for me. Calvin Johnson is called Megatron by his friends….if my friends called me this I wouldn’t be friends with them anymore. Megatron is a lock for 100+ yards and a TD….Ryan Broyles is nice flex sleeper as Titus Young will not play this week. The Lions running back setup has me as confused as an Eskimo in Aruba…avoid if you can…

Washington at Dallas Cowboys

Washington

Robert Griffin III will take advantage of the Cowboys’ struggling defense and should run roughshod over teams like Sandy Koufax…There should be a line at the grocery store for those who write checks. Who writes checks anymore?…Alfred Morris is called ALF….I loved that furry alien…give me 100 yards and a TD from ALF. The Washington WRs are nothing special and should be avoided in most leagues. Santana Moss looks like a flex play now. …Logan Paulsen is playable in PPR leagues as he is the clear number one…whatever happened to the country of Zaire?

Dallas

Smoking light cigarettes is proven to be healthier…Tony Romo is a must start. He is 6-1 all time on Thursday games with 18 TDs and only 5 INTs. Start him as a QB1. The RB situation is dicey at best and Lance Dunbar looks to be the healthiest. I’d avoid all RBs unless I’m desperate. With Romo forced to throw the ball Dez Bryant is a low-end WR1…. Charlemagne was my favorite king….Jason Witten should have a field day with the slow-footed Washington LBs covering him. Expect a big day out of him…

New England Patriots at New York Jets

New England

Tom Brady is not as good as Sammy Baugh…he never punts….but he’s good enough to start this week….I like Danny Woodhead as a sneaky PPR play against his old team…Julian Edelman will out produce Wes Welker this week…Do you like NECCO wafers?….

New York

Sandy Koufax and I used to play stickball together…and the Jets didn’t exist…who has ever seen a Jet in New York, ever? Anyone?….Mark Sanchez isn’t good and even against a porous Patriots defense can’t be counted on for more than low-end QB2 production….the Jets are looking to split the backfield carries between Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell…Powell picked up two TDs last week and I’d rather have Powell starting than Greene….what kind of a name is Bilal?…Jeremy Kerley could put up some numbers against the awful Patriots secondary…Who is Larry King anyway? He’s not a real person…is he?

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.

 

About Chris Garosi

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

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