September 3, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 14 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

I had a poor week of recommendations last week and we saw a few more entrants crash out. However, we are still not yet down to the nitty gritty in the larger pools I’m in. It’s been an interesting season so far. We haven’t had a second “big loss” like we had with New England in week three. Is there a landmine this week? Let’s take a look.

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

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 14 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Seattle Seahawks

55.00%

1

Seattle Seahawks

56.38%

2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12.00%

2

Indianapolis Colts

12.15%

3

San Francisco 49ers

11.90%

3

San Francisco 49ers

11.20%

4

Denver Broncos

6.60%

4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7.42%

5

Indianapolis Colts

6.00%

5

Denver Broncos

5.18%

6

Cleveland Browns

4.30%

6

Cleveland Browns

2.36%

7

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.80%

7

Atlanta Falcons

1.97%

8

Green Bay Packers

0.60%

8

Pittsburgh Steelers

0.89%

9

Atlanta Falcons

0.60%

9

Green Bay Packers

0.87%

10

New York Giants

0.20%

10

New York Giants

0.26%

The Seahawks are the clear option for many entrants. It looks like there could be a ton of value elsewhere in these waters. Where to go to stay afloat?

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

  1. Green Bay Packers – If you have the Packers left, what are you waiting for? Use them this week. I give them an 82% chance of winning this week against a Detroit team that will be starting Mike Thomas at WR.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs hold the value this week. They don’t have the best chance to win in my estimation, but they aren’t far off. They have a solid run defense and the Eagles can’t pass so they should be able to make the Eagles relatively one-dimensional. The Eagles look to be playing out the string after another crushing defeat – this at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. I give the Bucs a 76% chance of winning.
  3. Seattle Seahawks – If you just want to ‘survive and advance’ then the Seattle Seahawks are the play (unless you have the Packers which few do). The Seahawks are a team to be reckoned with at home. They should be able to hold the Cardinals off even with the return of John Skelton at QB for the Cardinals and the suspension of Brandon Browner. I might be tempted to use the Seahawks here as Browner will be out for four games and it looks like Richard Sherman (the other stud DB) may not play after this week. I give the Seahawks a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers – This assumes Ben Roethlisberger plays for the Steelers. With Big Ben in the lineup, the Steelers become a dynamic offense again. Mike Wallace will likely have value again. It looks like the Steelers have settled on Jonathan Dwyer as the lead RB. The only issue I can see is that Norv Turner led teams rule December especially when it seems like they are out of it. I give the Steelers a 73% chance of winning.
  5. Denver Broncos – If this game were on Sunday, I’d move the Broncos up a bit. However, the short week gives me some pause. The Broncos should be able to run against the Raiders suspect defense. The Raiders won’t be able to throw against the Denver pass defense and Carson Palmer should be benched in all leagues. I give the Broncos a 72% chance of winning.
  6. San Francisco 49ers – We saw the dangers of trusting a rookie QB in Survivor. I expect a big bounce back game from the entire team and give the 49ers a 72% chance of winning.
  7. Indianapolis Colts – I think there will be some hangover from the Colts comeback win over the Lions last week. The Colts are growing as a team and Andrew Luck is a much better QB at home. The Titans do not have a lot to offer in the way of speed bumps for Luck. The Titans should be able to throw, but I see the Colts outscoring the Titans in a shootout. I give the Colts a 67% chance of winning.

Other teams I like early in the week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Cleveland Browns at home against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Browns are nearly a touchdown favorite against the Chiefs. The Browns shouldn’t be a touchdown favorite against anyone. I see this game as much closer to a pick ‘em than 6.5 points. The Chiefs had an emotional win last week, so they may be down a bit, but I wouldn’t want to take the Browns against them.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New Orleans Saints against the Giants. The Giants aren’t a great team at home, the Saints aren’t a great team on the road. However, I can see the Saints throwing the ball around the park a bit on the Giants.

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 preview – Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Denver

Peyton Manning is a must start against a Raiders team that can’t sustain any pass rush at all. Manning should have all day to throw the ball.

Knowshon Moreno is a solid RB2 against Oakland. He’s not a star, but he should put yards on the ground with some catches out of the backfield.

I can recommend both Demaryius Thomas  (WR1) and Eric Decker (WR2/Flex) as solid options. And with Brandon Stokley out, Jacob Tamme may get more opportunities. We could even see Andre Caldwell.

Start the Broncos defense with confidence as a top 10 option this week.

Oakland

I can’t really recommend much on the Oakland team this week.

Carson Palmer is a deeper league play against a good Denver pass defense and pass rush.  There should be better options on your waiver wire.

The Raiders backfield is a mess with Marcel Reece now nursing some injuries. Darren McFadden may return at some point this season, but it looks like it won’t be this week.

I can’t see who among the WRs might be good. It’s too tough to call who might get the targets this week.

I’ll give a tepid endorsement to Brandon Myers as a TE1. Palmer will have to throw to someone and often.

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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