Scott Pianowski

  • Week 15 Booms and Busts: Aaron Rodgers hits a pothole in Buffalo

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    Heading into Week 15, Aaron Rodgers was the MVP frontrunner of the NFL, the king of the league.

    Sunday at Buffalo, he's just another bum knocking you out of the fantasy playoffs.

    Rodgers picked an unfortunate time for the worst start of his pro career: the fantasy semifinals. Catch the nightmare line at Buffalo, accumulated in a 21-13 upset loss: 17-for-42 passing, 185 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions. He finished the day with 7.10 fantasy points, the same as Blake Bortles.

    The 34.3 rating is Rodgers's worst showing over 107 NFL appearances. It's his first game without a touchdown since his broken collarbone game versus Chicago last November. His last full game without a scoring pass came in December 2012, a win over Detroit.

    To be fair, the Packers no-show was a team effort. The Green Bay receivers dropped a number of passes, including what should have been a 94-yard touchdown to a wide-open Jordy Nelson. And one of Rodgers's picks came on an accurate pass that was deflected.

    In Other Week 15 Busts (Early Games):

    In Week 15 Booms (Early Games):

  • Throwing Darts: Dialing up Johnny Football at home

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    Your Week 15 dart throws: Cleveland -1, Pittsburgh -3, Minnesota +7.5, Dallas +3.5, Tennessee +2.5.

    When a new quarterback steps into the starting frame and he's a runner, I always favor the offense in the first appearance. Defenses don't have much tape to dissect; it's the ambush effect. Cleveland should have won last week; Sunday, it finishes the job. 

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2M Week 15 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid]

    I generally like taking points in any NFC East matchup, as none of the teams are intimidated on the road. And Dallas became an insta-play when the number pushed over the standard three. 

    The Jets and Titans are a pair of rubbish teams, but I don't see why the Jets should lay points on the road to anyone. 

    Minnesota plays hard for Mike Zimmer, especially on defense. This team has been sneaky-competitive for a couple of months now. Just hoping Teddy Bridgewater plays like Teddy Covers; keep it close, let the defense steer the result, don't try to be a hero. 

    - Last Week: 2-3 (stupid Atlanta comebacks)

    - Season: 33-36-1

  • Week 15 Injury Wrap: Waiting for Julio Jones, DeSean Jackson

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago

    Congrats on making it this far in the fantasy season, amigos. All things considered, the injury report doesn't look that daunting. Let's start with the wide receivers and tight ends. 

    • Julio Jones (hip) missed the full practice week and the Falcons are calling him a game-time decision. At least we catch a break with the schedule timing – Atlanta has a 1 p.m. ET start against Pittsburgh. Roddy White and Harry Douglas would get a bump up, theoretically, if Jones can't go.

    I have Jones on one roster (a deeper league, at that) and I'm not going to play him. He'll be outside the Top 40 on my final wideout rankings. Even if he plays, I'm concerned about him being limited or deployed as a decoy. 

    • DeSean Jackson (shin) had a partial week of practice and his status will probably come down to Sunday. The Redskins have an early start at the Giants. The backups on this roster do not deserve fantasy consideration in standard leagues. 

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2M Week 15 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid]

    Running Back

    Other Positions

  • Dog-Day Afternoon: The nuance of Playoff Strategy

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    I do think fantasy football strategy can shift slightly in the playoffs, though the changes aren't seismic. You're still looking to assemble a logical roster and take a smart stab at points, but when we get to this point in the season, there's only one team you care about beating.

    Oh, I get it – in the regular season, you also consider your opponent on some level, sure, and most leagues are defined with wins and losses. But given that most leagues use overall points scored as one of the eventual tiebreakers, I'm thinking more league-wide with my weekly approach before the playoffs. I'm trying to put up a score, with the intended benefit of taking down an opponent along the way. And I'm looking to build a roster and navigate my depth for both the short and long term.

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2M Week 15 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid]

    If I'm a heavy underdog , here are some angles I will consider:

    To be fair, I'd be less interested in this Baldwin move for Week 15, with the Niners on tap. We're not throwing away our basic concepts for setting a roster. 

  • Sunday Scene, Week 14: Drew Brees & Co. lose their way at home

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Shut down the arcade, take away the quarters. The pinball wizard has gone on tilt. The Superdome no longer cures the Saints, no questions asked.

    It was a hell of a run while it lasted.

    The oddsmakers expected a blowout from the Saints and Panthers on Sunday, and that's what happened – only it was Carolina, the 10-point underdog, doing the butt kicking. The Panthers dominated from start to finish en route to a 41-10 romp. Both teams are alive in the NFC South, despite their rotten records – Carolina's at 4-8-1, the Saints 5-8.

    A New Orleans home game used to be a fantasy panacea, but no longer. Sean Payton's club has now lost four straight games in the Big Easy.

    Every New Orleans fantasy angle went bust in this one. Drew Brees chucked 49 passes but did little with it: 235 yards, one pick, one piddly touchdown. Jimmy Graham was targeted 11 times, to little consequence (three catches, 25 yards, a handful of drops). Kenny Stills was invisible (3-23-0 on four targets). Marques Colston had five catches for 72 yards, along with one nasty drop. Mark Ingram ran for 43 yards, fumbled once, didn't find the end zone.

  • Throwing Darts: Can Tampa Bay's defense slow down Detroit?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    The Week 14 darts line up this way: Tampa Bay +10, Denver -10, Arizona -1, Cleveland +3.5, Green Bay -12.5. All lines drawn from Yahoo Pro Football Pickem.

    Tampa Bay's embarrassment in Atlanta, the 56-14 beatdown on National TV, feels like it was 10 years ago. The Bucs defense has been solid for six straight weeks. You worry about Josh McCown throwing away the cover, but I expect Gerald McCoy and friends to be in Matthew Stafford's grill from start to finish. This game should be competitive; happy to grab the healthy spot. 

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2.25M Week 14 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 20,675 teams paid]

    Denver's offense is a handful again now that C.J. Anderson has blossomed into a star. How could the coaching staff be so unaware of this kid? But Denver's defense is why I feel confident spotting the big number; Kyle Orton is not a quarterback who plays well when his scheme becomes one-dimensional, and they've lost the Sammy Watkins connection over the last month. I also love the Broncos defense for fantasy purposes, if it's available to you.

    Last Week: 3-2

    Season: 31-33-1

  • Injury Wrap: Waiting on the Giants backfield

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 11 days ago

    Get the copays and clipboards ready, it's time for our Week 14 check-in.

    -- Andre Ellington (hip) has been ruled out, which leaves Stepfan Taylor as the new starting back in Arizona. Marion Grice is also expected to get some action against the Chiefs. The KC rushing defense is handing out 4.9 yards a carry.

    -- The Giants have a super rushing matchup against Tennessee, but who gets to take advantage? Rashad Jennings (ankle) did some work Friday after two missed sessions. He's questionable, no sure thing to go. Andre Williams is next in line and makes for a recommended option if Jennings is ruled out Sunday.

    -- Justin Forsett (knee) had limited sessions Thursday and Friday, but should be able to go Sunday at Miami. Nonetheless, he's listed as questionable, so make sure you check in with him before kickoff.

    -- DeAngelo Williams (hand) won't play at New Orleans, if you want to talk yourself into Jonathan Stewart.

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2.25M Week 14 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 20,675 teams paid]

    -- Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) remain out, not that you need any push towards C.J. Anderson.

  • Hoyer Paranoia: Browns keep Johnny Manziel on bench

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 14 days ago

    Nada Surf never wrote a song about Brian Hoyer. But maybe Mike Pettine will get there.

    The Browns made it official on Wednesday: Hoyer will remain the Week 14 starter. This comes despite two weeks of putrid Hoyer play (oddly coinciding with Josh Gordon's return). And it comes despite a snappy relief appearance from Johnny Manziel last week at Buffalo.

    [Join FanDuel.com's $2.25M Week 14 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 20,675 teams paid]

    Hoyer posted an 86.1 rating through his first 10 starts, with 11 touchdown passes, five picks, an 86.1 rating. Here's the horror show the last two games: 41-of-70, 514 yards, no scores, five picks. That adds up to a 51.7 rating.

  • Week 13 Booms and Busts: Tre Mason ambushes the Raiders

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 16 days ago

    Week 12 was about validation for the Oakland Raiders. Week 13 was about postage.

    Talk about a team mailing it in.

    The St. Louis Rams have endured a hellish schedule for much of 2014, but they finally found a chippie on the schedule this week and they didn't miss it. The Rams laid waste to the Raiders for three hours on Sunday, a 52-0 pummeling that felt more lopsided than the final score. St. Louis opened the game with five straight touchdown drives, needing just 22 scrimmage plays en route to a quick 315 yards and 35 points. Game over. Thanks for coming, Oakland. 

    Mason's been struggling with the schedule as much as anyone. Although he logged a whopping 78 carries over the four previous games, the result was an ordinary 288 yards (3.7 YPC). That can happen when you're up against teams like Denver, Arizona and San Francisco. Mason also had just one touchdown entering Week 13.

    In Other Week 13 Booms (early games):

    Also Booming (Early Games): Le'Veon Bell, Coby Fleener (despite one awful drop), Donte Moncrief, Kendall Wright, Antonio Gates, Justin Forsett, Kenny Stills, and a bunch of defenses (looking at you, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Jacksonville)

  • Throwing Darts: Can Jacksonville's defense steal a game?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 17 days ago

    Meet the Week 13 Darts: Cleveland +2.5, Minnesota -2.5, Pittsburgh -4, Jacksonville +2.5, Atlanta 2.5. All lines drawn from Yahoo Pro Football Pick'Em.

    -- The Jaguars defense has played well for two months, masked somewhat by the offense giving the ball away so often. Did you see all the duress Andrew Luck was under last week? Eli Manning is going to make some mistakes.

    [Join FanDuel.com's $1.75M Week 13 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid]

    -- Mike Zimmer's done some nifty things with his defense as well, and when's the last time Cam Newton looked healthy to you? So long as Teddy Bridgewater doesn't give the game away, Minnesota should win.

    -- The Steelers are known for two splits: better performances at home, and better performances against better teams. Okay, that second point may or may not apply to the Saints, but I expect the Steelers to be on full alert after the bye.

    Last Week: 4-1 Season: 28-31-1