November 29, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 15 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

I’m bummed. I’m out. The Bucs faltered and so I’m out of the pool. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t still care about you my dozens of readers. So, I’ll carry on with the baggage of having bombed out of all of my pools. I had a good run and there is always next year.

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

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Miami Dolphins

53.50%

1

Miami Dolphins

59.92%

2

Detroit Lions

21.00%

2

Detroit Lions

17.70%

3

Seattle Seahawks

5.00%

3

Seattle Seahawks

5.43%

4

Houston Texans

4.70%

4

New Orleans Saints

2.73%

5

New Orleans Saints

4.10%

5

Cincinnati Bengals

2.71%

6

Cincinnati Bengals

3.20%

6

Houston Texans

2.60%

7

Oakland Raiders

2.00%

7

Washington Redskins

2.15%

8

New England Patriots

1.90%

8

Oakland Raiders

1.32%

9

Washington Redskins

1.00%

9

New England Patriots

1.16%

10

San Diego Chargers

0.90%

10

San Diego Chargers

0.78%

We’ve got another clear leader in the clubhouse in Miami. That means we’ve got another week where value can be had if you go away from Miami (especially if you have one of the “surer” winners).

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

  1. Houston Texans – The Texans are coming off a humbling Monday night loss to the Patriots and need to get reset for their playoff run. Andrew Luck is great for a rookie, but he is still a rookie. Even though the Texans defense has been trending in the wrong direction over the last few weeks, they have enough offensive weapons to take care of the young Colts. I give the Texans a 79% chance of winning.
  2. Detroit Lions – The Cardinals are starting Ryan Lindley at QB. They have no offensive line. They have no running game. The Lions have an explosive offense and should be able to outscore the Cardinals. I give the Lions a 75% of winning.
  3. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins haven’t been great at home this year, especially as a favorite. They are playing a Jags team that they should be able to turn into a one-dimensional passing team. I give the Dolphins a 68% chance of winning.
  4. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders are bad. The Chiefs are terrible. They had an emotional win over the Panthers two weeks ago and then turned back into a pumpkin last week. They’ve now lost their only professional-grade WR in Dwayne Bowe so they will be rolling with Jon Baldwin and Terrance Copper with Dexter McCluster in the slot. I give the Raiders a 65% chance of winning.
  5. Seattle Seahawks – 58-0, eh? Well, it is safe to say there will be some regression this week against Buffalo. The Seahawks do struggle a bit on the road, but Russell Wilson has matured quickly as a QB and should be able to lead the Seahawks over the Bills. I give the Seahawks a 63% chance of winning.
  6. Washington Redskins – This assumes that Robert Griffin III plays, but isn’t 100%. Washington is hot and so are the Browns oddly. Griffin gives them the chance to win any game and I think Mike Shanahan has them moving in the correct direction. I give Washington a 61% chance to win.

Other teams I like early in the week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New Orleans Saints at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs couldn’t handle the Eagles last week, but I believe they are due for a bounce back this week against a Saints team that looks like it could throw all over the field on the Bucs. I think the Bucs will be ready after being embarrassed against the Eagles.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Dallas Cowboys against the Steelers at home. Yes, the Cowboys have almost no home field advantage, but the Steelers are a broken team. Injuries have ravaged them on both sides of the ball. I think the Cowboys could take the win here after coming up with a big road win last week over the Bengals.

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 – Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Cincy is a big favorite on the road. I don’t seem them covering – I think this is more of a tossup game than Vegas thinks.

Cincinnati

Andy Dalton is a borderline QB1 this week against a poor Eagles pass defense. The Eagles actually looked relatively solid against the Bucs, but I don’t believe they can do it two weeks in a row.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been hot. H-O-T hot! The Eagles have been pretty tough against RBs this season though the last couple of weeks have been less than stellar. I see BJGE as a solid RB2. Petyon 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.

A.J. Green had the worst game of his season last week. He won’t repeat. He’s a solid WR1. Andrew Hawkins is also a viable WR2/flex play in a good matchup.

Jermaine Gresham is a PPR option at TE, but I wouldn’t trust him in a standard league.

The Bengals defense is certainly an option as the Eagles have a rookie at QB and a rookie at RB. Turnovers are bound to happen with that combination.

Philadelphia

Nick Foles should stay on your bench this week. There is not enough upside for him this week except in 2 QB leagues and even there I don’t see a lot for him this week.

Bryce Brown was stymied last week as I predicted. The Bengals have been better lately, but I can see Brown bouncing back in the last week he likely will be the lone back in the offense. I can see RB2 scoring for him this week.

The Bengals can hold down the best of WRs and the Eagles don’t have the best of WRs on their roster. I think both Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant are marginal flex options and Riley Cooper should stay on the waiver wire. I’d rather hold out for a better option this week.

Brent Celek is out and replaced by Clay Harbor. Harbor showed some TE1 upside in PPR leagues last week filling in for Celek. Nick Foles seems to trust him.  I can see Harbor with 5 catches and 60 yards.

I don’t see the Eagles defense being useful this week. Keep them on the waiver wire.

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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