July 23, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 8 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

Week seven saw a huge scare from the New England Patriots. The Pats won (and likely didn’t deserve to) so most pool members are still swimming. I was wrong about leaning away from the Packers as they certainly do look all the way back. We’ve got another big favorite this week. And who you choose might depend on whether your pool has been going since Week one or it is a ‘restart’ pool. I’m on a train heading to Philadelphia so this one will be short.

There won’t be a full preview of the Thursday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to time constraints. The short version, is that I like most of the Vikings offensive players to perform at or a bit above their season averages. I’m a little dubious of Kyle Rudolph’s big zero last week, but I think he’ll be OK. Christian Ponder’s knee injury does concern me a bit and I’d shy away from him unless you are desperate this week.

The Vikings D also makes a solid play as I think Josh Freeman is a different QB on the road.  I might think about sitting Doug Martin if I have other options (most likely do not) as the Vikings run defense is very good. We should see solid numbers from the Bucs WRs as well.

Bye week: Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals

Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and ESPN as of Thursday morning:

Office Football Pool

 

ESPN Eliminator Challenge

 

Team

Picks

 

 

Team

Picks

1

Green Bay Packers

60.10%

 

1

San Diego Chargers

28.60%

2

Chicago Bears

13.60%

 

2

Green Bay Packers

19.60%

3

Minnesota Vikings

10.30%

 

3

Minnesota Vikings

8.50%

4

New England Patriots

4.90%

 

4

New England Patriots

8.10%

5

San Francisco 49ers

2.10%

 

5

Chicago Bears

7.80%

6

San Diego Chargers

2.00%

 

6

Pittsburgh Steelers

4.70%

7

Denver Broncos

1.90%

 

7

San Francisco 49ers

4.50%

8

Tennessee Titans

1.40%

 

8

Detroit Lions

3.80%

9

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.10%

 

9

New York Jets

3.40%

10

New York Jets

1.00%

 

10

Tennessee Titans

2.10%

 

The Green Bay Packers are this week’s only double digit favorite and they are going to be hard to pass up for most players. Are there other options with more risk, but a better payoff? The ESPN numbers seemed skewed and I may stop using them after this week. I believe players enter multiple weeks and then when they lose they never go back to change anything.

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

  1. Green Bay Packers – This week, I’ll err on the side of caution after recommending the Minnesota Vikings last week as my top pick. The Packers should have no issues with a Jacksonville Jaguar team lead by a one-armed QB (or perhaps even worse Chad Henne) and Rashad Jennings. I give the Packers an 88% chance of winning this matchup.
  2. Chicago Bears – The Bears defense is impenetrable. They do have a short week, but I don’t think Cam Newton will be able to overcome that defense. Newton seems to have regressed (and taken the Panthers offense with it). The Panthers also lost their top cover corner to IR this week in Chris Gamble. I give the Bears a 79% chance of winning.
  3. Denver Broncos – The Saints are a bad team. They are one dimensional and may be without Jimmy Graham again. If Graham starts, I’ll likely move the Broncos down, but the Broncos defense is solid enough to stop Drew Brees a couple of times. And Peyton Manning and Willis McGahee should have no problems with the Saints defense. I give the Broncos a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles – If you want to be bold, take the Eagles. No one is on them in any pool. But they are coming off a bye (as is their opponent Atlanta). Andy Reid has never (13-0!) lost after a bye week. The Falcons looked shaky before the bye and I have to believe the Eagles have a bit more at stake than the undefeated Falcons. I give the Eagles a 67% chance of winning the game.

Other teams I like early in the week: San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings (though I’m concernedwith Christian Ponder’s injury and would probably hold off since it is the Thursday game)

As for the avoid list, I’d lean away from the New England Patriots on the road against the Rams. The Patriots are not the Patriots of last decade. They have a porous pass defense which should allow Sam Bradford to throw to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. I think the Rams have a decent shot at winning this game and I wouldn’t want to touch the Patriots again.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d take the Miami Dolphins. Coming off a bye, I think their defense can handle the Jets offense.

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.

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.

 

Comments

  1. Yes, the Patriots are on the road. But so are the Rams

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