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While Arian Foster, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Ray Rice have largely lived up to their preseason billings, they also cost you top-10 picks. Let's take a look at the players who have generated the biggest profits relative to their draft slots – Midseason Value All-Stars:
|Player||Pos||ADP OV||ADP* Pos||FPPG**||Pos Rank|
|Robert Griffin III||QB||90||13||24.5||6|
* ADP numbers courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com.
** Standard scoring, Non-PPR
Looking at the chart, not a whole lot jumps out. If you drafted Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne or Owen Daniels, it's obvious he helped your team, but it's far from a free-pass to the playoffs the way some of the biggest profit generators have been in years past. Put differently, while these players will disproportionately be on your league's top teams, you could easily find a first place team with almost none of them.
Some of that's because it wasn't always obvious when to start players like Randall Cobb, Brandon Myers or Heath Miller for their best games, but it's also due in part to the lack of separation between players at the top – I detailed last week. One huge week by Josh Freeman (21.6 FPPG), Reggie Bush (11.8), Danny Amendola (10.5), Andre Roberts (9.5) or Brian Hartline (9.0) could put them on this list in place of someone with a quiet Week 10.
In a half-year like this, maybe it's been less about drafting that key sleeper or hitting a home run on the waiver wire as it has about having decent depth and making good lineup decisions each week. If we were to say fantasy football is usually about 70/30 draft/in-season management, maybe this year it's been closer to 60/40.
Worst red-zone sequence in NFL history?
The Eagles have had problems in the red zone all season long, and those struggles were never more apparent than during Monday night's game against the Saints. One red-zone possesson in particular struck me as possibly the most disastrous one I had ever witnessed. Here's the sequence with the Eagles down 15 and 5:24 left in the game:
1st-10, NO16 5:24 M. Vick incomplete pass to the left
2nd-10, NO16 5:17 L. McCoy rushed to the left for no gain
3rd-10, NO16 4:36 New Orleans committed 5 yard penalty
3rd-5, NO11 4:36 M. Vick passed to B. Celek down the middle for 6 yard gain
1st-5, NO5 4:02 Philadelphia committed 5 yard penalty
1st-10, NO10 3:53 M. Vick incomplete pass to the left
2nd-10, NO10 3:49 Philadelphia committed 5 yard penalty
2nd-15, NO15 3:49 M. Vick sacked by C. Jordan
3rd-22, NO22 3:03 M. Vick passed to B. Celek to the right for 14 yard gain. B. Celek fumbled. I. Abdul-Quddus recovered fumble
Somehow, the Eagles ran six plays starting at the 16, used up nearly two and a half minutes, never threw the ball into the end zone, committed two penalties, gave up a sack and turned the ball over. Even the incomplete passes were pointless as they were short of the end zone and would only have cost more time had they been caught.
It could be because the Eagles lack receivers with red-zone ability (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant aren't big or athletic enough to win jump balls in traffic, and Brent Celek is just an average pass-catching tight end), and thus there's no downside in opposing teams blitzing Michael Vick there. In other words, it's not like Jackson or Maclin are going to run by anyone on a short field. Whatever it is, it was difficult to watch while having the Eagles +3.5 and Vick going as my "stud" pick in the FFL Guru contest.
Favorites Rolled, Books Got Crushed
I had a bad day against the spread last week, but it was nothing compared to the Vegas Sportsbooks who had one of their worst ever, when popular favorites like the Broncos, Packers, Lions, Ravens, Texans, Bears and Seahawks ">all covered (h/t Mark Stopa). They got especially killed by big parlays, (h/t R.J. Bell). If anything, that will get me to fade favorites even more this week as Vegas should adjust by boosting the lines as the Week 9 winners (and favorite bettors) will surely come back for more.
Things To Take Away from Week 9
• The best thing that could happen to Jason Garrett would be for his kicker and punter to resign mid-game. There's no doubt Dan Bailey and Brian Moorman already feel bad for enabling that kind of cowardice.
• It would be nice if Doug Martin (four catches, 21 yards) were more involved in the passing game.
• The Colts had four receivers with 75 or more yards.
• Even though he managed 6.5 yards per carry, C.J. Spiller had just six carries. He also caught all five of his targets for 63 yards.
• Arian Foster had a decent game with 24 carries for 111 yards and a score, but against the Bills that's almost like getting shut down.
• If everyone knew what we know now, where should the Bears defense have been drafted before the season? Late-first round?
• Chris Johnson getting 141 yards and a touchdown in a blowout isn't that surprising as teams don't care about the run as much when they're way ahead.
• If you were drafting for the rest of the year, how many receivers would you take ahead of Brandon Marshall? Less than one?
• Guessing on the impact of injuries is always tough. Jordy Nelson was cleared without qualification and failed to catch a pass on one target. Calvin Johnson was rumored to be limited to third down work – if he played at all – and caught seven of eight targets for 129 yards. At least it reminds us not to take unsourced rumors too seriously.
• I don't understand what changed when the Panthers were supposedly going to Jonathan Stewart as their lead back. Stewart had 10 carries while DeAngelo Williams had six – this in a game they were leading most of the way. And maybe the Panthers defense is actually good now.
• Christian Ponder had another abysmal day with just 63 yards on 22 attempts. You'd think when Adrian Peterson went for 17-182, that would make things easier on Ponder, too.
• It chaps my hide to no end that ATL kicked that last-second field goal to cover the spread. They had 4th and 2 inside the Dallas 15, and they were up three. There were 17 seconds left. If they go for the first down and make it, it's over. If they fail, then Dallas gets the ball with no timeouts and 17 seconds. How is Dallas going to get down field, stop the clock and get the FG team on? Moreover, a TD still beats you whether it's 3 or 6. And you have to kick the ball off rather than have them pinned inside the 15. The right call was to go for it, but the obvious call was to cover the spread. It was the opposite of what Jim Harbaugh did against Seattle in declining the safety.
• Eli Manning had an abysmal game against the Steelers, some of which had to do with Pittsburgh's defense – which is legitimately good against the pass – but Manning's now had three subpar games in a row. The offense as a whole seems stale – defenses seem to be covering Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks better, and the Giants haven't come up with creative adjustments.
Things to Look for in Week 10
• The Texans go to Chicago in a battle of elite defenses.
• The Chargers go to Tampa to face a Bucs team that's specialized in shootouts.
• The undefeated Falcons head to New Orleans in a game where the O/U is 53.5.
Beating the Book
Line: Giants -4 at Bengals
I'm a Giants fan, so it pains me to do this, but I don't see them having an easy time on the road against anyone right now, and four points is too much. The Bengals fell apart down the stretch last week, but I expect them to show up and keep this one close. Back Cincy.
Prediction: Bengals 24 – 20
Last week we lost with the Bengals to put us at 3-6 on the season in this forum and 59-70-3 overall. Last year we went 10-7 in this forum and 124-125 overall. Over the last five years we've gone 50-34 in this space. You can read the full Week 10 column here
Surviving Week 10
Last week, I wound up splitting my two entries on the Seahawks and Texans, but because no one lost it really didn't matter. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team||Opponent||%Taken||Vegas ML**||Vegas Odds|
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
The Steelers are such a massively popular pick, you'll want to fade them if you have the 49ers, Patriots or Ravens left. Pittsburgh would be my fourth choice, followed closely by the Dolphins and Seahawks.
Doing the math quickly, if the Steelers were to lose, 44 percent of your pool would remain. That means your equity would go from 10 units to 22.73. Because the Steelers have a 12.5 percent chance of losing, anyone with less than a 28.34 percent (2.273 * 12.5) chance of losing offers better odds. The Dolphins and Seahawks narrowly miss the cut, and if you disagree with the numbers even slightly, you can take either of them ahead of the Steelers, too.
Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind when the full article comes out Wednesday night.
Follow Chris on Twitter at @Chris_Liss