July 31, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 3 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Injury Preview

Week one saw the number one computer favorite New Orleans Saints go down at home to the Washington Redskins. Week two saw the number one computer favorite New England Patriots go down at home to the Arizona Cardinals. It’s enough to get out of the Survivor business altogether. However, that is not an option here. So, without further ado, the week three early look at options for your pool.

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections

Last week was a bloodbath as approximately 40% of all survivor entrants were wiped out with the New England loss at home to Arizona. This week as not shaping up as an easy one as the largest favorite on the board is the 0-2 New Orleans Saints at home.

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and ESPN as of early afternoon on Wednesday:

Office Football Pool

 

ESPN Eliminator Challenge

 

Team

Picks

   

Team

Picks

1 New Orleans Saints 36.60%  

1

Chicago Bears

24.80%

2 Chicago Bears 17.00%  

2

San Francisco 49ers

18.90%

3 San Francisco 49ers 16.90%  

3

New Orleans Saints

15.40%

4 Dallas Cowboys 10.80%  

4

Green Bay Packers

6.20%

5 Pittsburgh Steelers 5.20%  

5

Dallas Cowboys

5.80%

6 Indianapolis Colts 3.10%  

6

Pittsburgh Steelers

5.10%

7 Detroit Lions 2.70%  

7

Buffalo Bills

4.30%

8 Green Bay Packers 1.50%  

8

Detroit Lions

3.80%

9 Buffalo Bills 1.50%  

9

Philadelphia Eagles

3.00%

10 Washington Redskins 1.40%  

10

New York Giants

2.90%

The top 3 are the same, but in a much different order which represents the concerns over the Saints as a heavy favorite even though they haven’t shown much in the first two weeks. My initial thoughts on my top 3 picks for the week:

  1. Chicago Bears – The Bears have had a nice long layoff from their last game and enough time to incorporate Michael Bush as the starting RB in the lineup.  St. Louis is coming off a hard fought win at home against the Redskins and has questions in their own backfield.  I give the Bears a 71% chance of winning.
  2. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers have been the best team over the first two weeks of the season. They go on the road to a Minnesota Vikings team coming off of a tough loss to the Colts. The 49ers are clearly the better team and have the defense to handle Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin as well as confuse young Christian Ponder.  I give the 49ers a 68% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – I’ll grudgingly go with the Saints as the third choice. They have not looked good on defense over the first two weeks. They are likely still adjusting to their third string head coach and the continued “Bounty Gate” news has to be a distraction. I’ll give the Saints a 65% chance of winning. But, when the final column comes out don’t be surprised to see the Dallas Cowboys sneak into this spot.

If you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each teams “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.

This is a tough week and the bye weeks are on the horizon which means it will only get tougher.

As for the avoid list, I’d lean away the Green Bay Packers. Seattle is a tough place to play and the Packers certainly haven’t looked in sync on offense. The Packers defense will likely cause enough havoc to rattle Russell Wilson and the lead the Pack to the victory.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d look no further than last week’s surprise winner the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defense is legitimate and Michael Vick gets confused easily. The Cardinals have a great shot to cover and a decent shot to win.

Thursday night game injury update – Carolina Panthers v. New York Giants

Just a couple of quick highlights:

Carolina

Jonathan Stewart is questionable and the talk seems to be leaning toward Stewart sitting out for the game due to the short turnaround for this game.

RT Byron Bell is also questionable, but I don’t believe that will have much of an effect on the running game or Cam Newton.

The rest of Carolina’s injuries look to not affect the fantasy game.

New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw is out; Andre Brown is the starter and is a viable RB2/Flex.

Hakeem Nicks is out. This elevates Rueben Randle to the starting lineup.

Domenik Hixon is out. This elevates Ramses Barden to the third WR for the Giants.

Martellus Bennett gets a boost as well with these WR injuries. He’s a top eight TE this week.

DB Prince Amukamara is listed as probable and will give a much needed boost to the Giants secondary. Knock Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell down a tick with this addition.

LB Keith Rivers is also listed as probable which can only help the Giants defense.

David Diehl is also out for the Giants. He missed time during last week’s game as well.

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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