- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Every movement has its moment and, in fantasy football, the moment has come, my fellow Americans, for "Kill The Kicker." So let’s start Splitsville here this week. I don’t think I need to detail the impact that Justin Tucker had on many leagues in our Week 15 playoffs, as it’s already bad-beat legend. And Tucker wasn’t even the highest scoring kicker last week (Dan Bailey). Let’s take the arguments against killing the kicker on one by one. “Kickers are a part of real football and we should be as much like real football as we can be.” Huh? This is fantasy football. Kickers are never a part of any football fantasy. No cheerleader has ever even fantasized about marrying a kicker, for cryin’ out loud. We have the power to make our fake game anyway we want. We can play with two quarterbacks, three running backs and, clearly, no kicker. “We need kickers because we should play with as many players as possible. More is always better than less.” I’m not saying to get rid of kickers and not replace them with anything. Add another flex, a second QB, coach scoring (based on team wins and total points scored). The sharks who say this don’t really want more players played, they want usually meaningless kickers sucking up roster spots so the waiver wire is easier for them to mine. So they really want us to play less “real” players, not more. It’s a con. “There is skill in picking kickers. So learn how to play the game better.” Yes, Tucker’s six field goals were totally projectable. The problem here is that none of us pick kickers because we think the kicker is so good. They’re all good (well, except Garrett Hartley, but he’ll be good again soon, I guarantee it). We try to pick the team that has an offense that’s good but not too good with a good defense and that plays close games. But even after all that, these Tucker days are totally random. “We’ve always had kickers. It’s tradition.” We must evolve. Kickers are making 86.1% of all field goals now. They are making 65.1% of 50-plus yarders. So even penalizing misses doesn’t work. Distance bonuses only make things worse. Back when fantasy football was first popularized in 1990, teams made 74.4% of field goals and 36% of 50-plus yarders. Another reasonable fantasy football complaint: “Head-to-head play is too random.” The most important thing to have in our game is the best defense, which we obviously have no control over. I talked about that this week, and other fantasy football happenings, on the Wall Street Journal “Sports Retort” podcast. An alternative that doesn’t destroy head-to-head play is to play two games every week, a head-to-head game and a game against the league average point total. So if you have a great week but play a team that had a better week, you go 1-1 (not a disaster). And if you get lucky by playing a worse team
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
I think any commentary right now would be crass without first giving the NFL a virtual standing ovation for outdoing itself every week with games that are simply astounding while setting new standards for pulse-racing excitement. Nothing else comes close. Layering in our fake games just dials everything up to 11. And with epic games we get epic fantasy football scoring, too. Like many who were still alive, I was "Charles'd" out of the playoffs, as in Jamaal Charles. But I tip my cap to Andy Reid and the Chiefs for realizing that piling up meaningless touches with him was doomed. The “less is more” approach, especially getting him in space on Sunday in the passing game, is clearly the way to go with this undersized but dynamic weapon. He’s gone from the high 20s to the low 20s in touches of late and Sunday he had just 16 for 215 total yards and four receiving touchdowns (five total), the first time in history a running back has done that. We are biased toward offense. And irrespective of fantasy football, I know that it’s best to build an offense because it generally controls outcomes. But of course there are exceptions at the extreme ends of the defensive scale. What we are witnessing now in Dallas is really disgraceful. Letting a team’s fourth quarterback of the season (Matt Flynn) come in and light you up in the second half? Providing no resistance to Eddie Lacy (who is very solid now and, barring injury, for the foreseeable future)? Ridiculous. Why the roof always seems to fall in late in the season on Tony Romo is a mystery but it’s never the quarterback’s fault when the other team scores 37 points and gains over 450 yards. Isn’t Dez Bryant just the best though? That touchdown catch has to be seen to be believed. And that the refs got the call right on the field is amazing, too, given the grab seemed to defy multiple laws of physics. Beyond Romo, the real mystery with the Cowboys is why they just don’t play pitch and catch with Dez more given that even being well covered by multiple defenders isn’t an impediment to scoring. I also love Bryant’s obvious passion for the game. When you care so much and are so good you can only be great. I don’t think I’d ever trust DeMarco Murray because he’s tall and relatively slender and runs tall, too. When he’s healthy, he’s often phenomenal but I just can’t allow myself to get caught up in that because he’s an injury waiting to happen. Standard yards scoring for QBs is very annoying when a quarterback just piles up attempts in total garbage time like Drew Brees did. Add in a rushing TD and it was quite a productive day for a nothing day in reality. Man, Marques Colston is a beast now suddenly. Every year there are castoffs or nobodies who make a lot of noise down the stretch. But again,
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
Rob Gronkowski’s injury is the big news in Week 14 and has his owners who survived scrambling for a waiver-wire replacement and owners of Tom Brady pondering whether he can be trusted for the remainder of the fantasy football playoff season. Meanwhile, Josh Gordon just keeps delighting his owners and is now as dangerous as any player in our game. No defensive back can handle him and the really good ones are dumb enough to try so you should especially look forward to days like Sunday against Aqib Talib. With all the volume in the Browns passing game, you should never have gotten off of the Jordan Cameron bandwagon, either. When a team is throwing over 40 passes a game and the TE is always running patterns on third down, you must start him unless you have Vernon Davis or a pre-injury Gronkowski. Ryan Mathews’ 29 carries were the story in the Chargers victory over the Giants. But the volume will be down again next week in Denver. More important is the status of the one of the best rookie technicians I’ve ever seen at the wide receiver position, Keenan Allen. The feeling from beat reporter and former Yahoo! scribe Michael Gehlken, now a Chargers beat reporter, is that Allen will be fine. An example: On the long TD, Allen gave Philip Rivers plenty of room to find him instead of drifting too close to the sideline/12th defender. If you are still alive after drafting Victor Cruz, pat yourself on the back but please bench him because he’s worthless now against everyone and gets Seattle next week. If you’re playing Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, the loss by Seattle in San Francisco ensures that Seattle will be playing for keeps in Week 16. Luke Willson (and those two Ls are not a misprint) has definite sleeper potential in 2014 as a TE/WR hybrid. Wilson talked him up as a gym rat in the summer. He’s a decent plug-in for Gronkowski owners next week, too. Seattle needs to see right now if he can be a mismatch player in the passing game given Percy Harvin’s shaky status. Carson Palmer can still play. He was 12-for-12 on throws to Larry Fitzgerald. Only five of 32 passes hit the ground all day. And he did it without many big plays. Michael Floyd was left in the cold but that’s the life of a No. 2 receiver. Definitely play Floyd next week at Tennessee. The Titans showed that they are not a big-time passing defense. How can you be with the rules in place now? People were worried about Peyton Manning in the cold but I’ve been telling everyone not just this year but for years that it’s wind that’s the killer, and for all QBs. Manning, like Brees, throws a wobbly ball, which increases accuracy but may generally not react as well in the denser, colder air and also the wind. The former is marginal, as Manning showed on Sunday. But the latter
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports15 days ago
Nick Foles is the most efficient fantasy football scorer in the league right now. That doesn’t make him the best player because volume matters, too. But it sure puts him in the conversation. Yet I keep getting a lot of questions on Twitter (@michaelsalfino) about starting Foles or Fantasy QB X (who isn’t Peyton Manning). My answer is Foles. Maybe I’d change my mind if the matchup was terrible, which it is not this week against a Detroit team that has trouble stopping passing attacks. You’ll see later in Splitsville that the Lions are downright bad against the pass. They are a backwards defense: stop the run at all costs. So I think Foles and the Eagles will have a typical day and typical for them is top shelf for us. Here’s a chart of the quarterbacks this year sorted by Yahoo! standard fantasy points per touch (pass attempts, rushing attempts and sacks): Player, Fantasy Points Per Touch Nick Foles, 0.743 Peyton Manning, 0.63 Russell Wilson, 0.588 Michael Vick, 0.556 Aaron Rodgers, 0.553 Drew Brees, 0.535 Cam Newton, 0.534 Josh McCown, 0.51 Philip Rivers, 0.506 Colin Kaepernick, 0.5 Matthew Stafford, 0.494 Jake Locker, 0.481 Ryan Fitzpatrick, 0.476 Tony Romo, 0.474 Case Keenum, 0.465 Andrew Luck, 0.459 Jay Cutler, 0.442 Ben Roethlisberger, 0.416 Terrelle Pryor, 0.415 Andy Dalton, 0.413 Alex Smith, 0.401 Robert Griffin III, 0.4 EJ Manuel, 0.392 Matt Ryan, 0.39 Mike Glennon, 0.383 Tom Brady, 0.383 Christian Ponder, 0.38 Carson Palmer, 0.379 Jason Campbell, 0.37 Ryan Tannehill, 0.37 Kellen Clemens, 0.368 Joe Flacco, 0.347 Eli Manning, 0.338 Brandon Weeden, 0.324 Matt Schaub, 0.311 Geno Smith, 0.31 Chad Henne, 0.27 So if you are choosing between, say, Tony Romo this week or, for some reason, Andrew Luck, you have to expect that their touches will exceed Foles’ by a big enough margin to allow them to score more points. Tom Brady is tricky. Obviously it’s a different paradigm with Rob Gronkowski back. Since then, Brady has 256 touches and 106.2 fantasy points, or .414 fantasy points per touch, which places him 20th in fantasy scoring efficiency. So he’s STILL going to need a lot of volume to justify starting him each week. Or maybe he only needs a really killer matchup. This week, the Browns are NOT a good matchup for Brady and the Patriots’ passing game. To help you with matchup decisions, here are how the teams rank in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks (and by extension all receivers, including running backs) and versus the run only. Here are the worst matchups for your quarterbacks and receivers this week based on how many fantasy points they’ve allowed to quarterbacks over the past five games (cumulative stats): Tm, Passing Pts/G MIA, 8.64 CIN, 9.10 CAR, 9.20 NYG, 9.45 TEN, 10.12 SF, 10.18 CHI 11.53 SEA, 11.54 NOR, 13.65 STL: 14.43 Here are your best matchups for quarterbacks and wide receivers this week based on last five games only: Tm, Passing Pts/G KAN, 24.25 NYJ, 22.67 OAK, 22.40 MIN, 21.89
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports18 days ago
Alex Smith got some bad breaks on Sunday with dropped passes, and you can say that those who speculated on him this week deserved a better fate. But the problem with being a team like the Chiefs is that you are not in the practice of passing. So when the need arises, it’s not second nature. Great quarterback play can overcome this only so far as the receivers are on the same page and accustomed to making the tougher catches that have to be made to win against an offense and quarterback of the caliber of the Broncos and Peyton Manning.
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports21 days ago
The fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner, but we need to get there first. Here are some stats designed to help you mine the waiver wire and set your lineup in ways that maximize win probability.
Let's start with the basics, the teams that pass and run the most.
Most passing attempts per game thus far in 2013: Cleveland (43.4), Detroit(42.3), Atlanta (41), Denver (40.7), Houston (40), New Orleans (39.9),New England (39.1), Pittsburgh (38), Chicago (37.5), Cincinnati (37.4).
Fewest pass attempts: San Francisco (25.1), Seattle (26), Jets (30.4),Carolina (30.6), Oakland (30.7), Philadelphia (32), Tennessee (33.1),Tampa Bay (33.3), St. Louis (33.7).
But don't panic yet. Because big plays can make up for these volume problems and we¹re going to get to them in a bit.
First, let's look at rushing attempts the same way.
Most per game: Buffalo (33), Seattle (32.5), San Francisco (31.7),Carolina (31.3), Denver (30.9), Philadelphia (30.6), Washington (30.4),Jets (30), New England (29.5), Green Bay (29.1).
Fewest: Atlanta (18.8), Dallas (19.9), Miami (21), Cleveland (21.4),Jacksonville (22.9), Pittsburgh (23.7), Arizona (24.3), Giants (24.4),Chicago (24.8), Colts (24.9).
- Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports25 days ago
“Hey, let’s throw to Dez Bryant,” the Cowboys finally resolved while his fantasy football owners sighed. Bryant had 16 targets and was robbed of a 10th catch and about 25 more yards just before the game-winning field goal with more “completing the act of catching” nonsense. Bryant will win championships this year for his owners. Again.