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19 Sep 2012

Scramble for the Ball: Into the Darkness

by Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower

The Best of the Worst

Mike: Every half-season, we at Football Outsiders throw a friendly competition we call the Loser League.

Tom: And every half-season, your Scramble writers du jour (that's us!) pick out a few of the more memorable names to praise, honor, and/or insult. The ideal Loser League name is clever wordplay on a recent humorous NFL event or player.

Mike: I wouldn't go so far as to say "ideal," but that is a noble goal.

Tom: The non-ideal Loser League name probably includes a "yo momma" joke. And nothing else.

Mike: Another good one is singling out a particular player deserving of scorn, such as one of our past favorites, Winston Justice Security Systems. Or, really, anything involving Norv Turner.

Tom: Alas, there is only one Loser League name containing "Norv" this time around, "Norv Turner Face." I also see Winston Justice Security Systems is around for another go-round. While we're on the subject of not very good tackles, Guy Whimper has inspired a name.

Mike: I'm not sure how you can build upon the name "Guy Whimper," but let's hear it.

Tom: You'd think a name like that would be fertile ground for a great Loser League name, but I find "Guy Whimper & Co." relatively uninspiring.

Mike: Wow. Moving to a different part of our test, really dated memes and pop-culture references will only get you points with the EIC. Pet Detective? Really?

Tom: True. Referencing an old player, though, can earn you points. Kelly Stouffers Pizza may be a repeat (we should really save lists so we can double-check), but it's a good name. I like the old Browns quarterback reference in The Unforgettbale Zeier, but it's not as good a name.

Mike: Saving lists would imply a degree of professionalism that the Loser League simply does not deserve.

Tom: Perhaps.

Mike: I suppose we should also leave some space for sentimental picks. There's nothing funny about Ze Flaming Redheads, but any reference to Dr. Z is welcome. Although now I've remembered we're no longer reading Dr. Z and I made myself sad.

We All Had a Sad.

Tom: As a fan of admission of failure in the right circumstances, I honor the the name "I picked Cam Newton last year."

Mike: I do like the metaphysical questions posed by Spreadable Cheese Product? Is the team itself a question? Is there confusion as to the actual contents of the product? Is the owner indignant? Such a cryptic nickname. Perhaps that owner and the creator of " " can meet up to discuss philosophy sometime.

Tom: We do have a couple team names with rookies, like The Life of Riley Reiff, Weeden my Garden, and, my favorite of these, Driving while Blackmon.

Mike: And my favorite, which actually encapsulates the most ridiculous story of this year, 28-Year-Old Rookies.

Tom: Michael Lewis was 30 as a rookie and ended up with a decent career.

Mike: ... And?

Tom: It's not so much being a 28-year-old rookie as spending a first-round draft pick on one.

Mike: Wait a minute. We're discussing humorous names of fantasy football teams designed to lose, and you want to have a serious discussion about Weeden's draft position.

Tom: I don't find 28-year-old rookies as inherently humorous as you do.

Mike: That's because you are a strange person.

Tom: If the name had been "Spending a First-Round Draft Pick on a 28-Year-Old," I would've found it funnier. Oh, I should have mentioned Tannehill Street Blues. That's a good one, too, though not as good as Driving While Blackmon.

Mike: Sticking with the "so close" category, we have a near-classic in The MNF Third Mic Position which is a brilliant idea but somehow fails in execution. I just can't put my finger on it. And a likewise chuckle-worthy but not-ready-for-prime-time Good Thing Officiating Is Not Important. Just missing something.

Tom: As a Steelers fan, what do you think of Rainey Days and Mundys?

Mike: I think it's a solid title, hits all the right notes and does what you expect a nickname to do, but just doesn't have enough oomph to make it down the stretch. Much like the Steelers!

Tom: I want to think "Jeff Ireland Built This Roster" could be a "We Built This City" reference, but I'm not sure about that.

Mike: I have to say, I have somewhat of an unintentional winner this year in Christian Ponder in the Slough of Despond. I'm pretty sure the owner was going for "Despondance," but didn't realize he had run out of characters. I think that sums up the Loser League pretty well.

Tom: I'm really disappointed the team named "The Miami Dolphins" doesn't have Ryan Tannehill on it. While I wonder what A Gabbert of Blaines might look like, and whether it would make a better offensive line than what the Jaguars rolled out there last Sunday, I think my favorite name from this installment of Loser League is the aforementioned Driving While Blackmon.

Fantasy Football Update

Mike: At this early point in the season, I'm near the top of one league and near the bottom of the other. I actually have the highest point total in the former, although I lost a very close game in the first week, so I am behind the league's sole 2-0 team. This is somewhat astounding, because I despise my auto-drafted team. But hey, lemonade and all that. I'll take a 158-108 victory any day.

Tom: I had a big start-sit decision this week, going between Jonathan Stewart and Ben Tate with Ryan Mathews still out. I went with Stewart, who had a fine day though not as big as Tate's. Meanwhile my opponent got 26.5 points from Trent Richardson and 17 from kicker Stephen Gostkowski. My opponents have now gotten 33 points from their kickers in two weeks.

Mike: In the other league I lost to this week's high scorer. Amazingly, it was the back-benchers that decided it. While he had Eli Manning (34 points), Dwayne Bowe (24) and Marshawn Lynch (20), I had Robert Griffin (32), Vincent Jackson (20) and Roddy White (18). Unfortunately, I also had the Jets' DST, Steven Jackson and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The last one because I am apparently insane.

Tom: I went into Sunday night needing a huge game from Matthew Stafford, My Autodrafted Second-Round Quarterback. He did not have one, and I got blown out.

Mike: What is it with kickers this year? Usually points are pretty uniform, but a handful are just blowing everyone else out of the water, thus far.

Tom: My opponent this coming week has Justin Tucker. If the Ravens kick eight field goals, consider yourselves forewarned. Oh, and I also did not join another fantasy league, so I'll just have the team I hate to kick around.

Mike: That's a shame, I suppose. It's always nice to have a backup plan for when your league invariably goes to pot.

Tom: Unless I find another league, my streak of making the championship game every year I play fantasy football appears to be over at three.

Mike: To be fair, that's a really good streak.

Tom: I was in multiple leagues every year, typically three, So it's not that impressive. I did like it, though. Pity.

A More Festooned Commercial Interlude

Mike: You know, Tom, it's interesting to see marketing in product markets where the products are, for all intents and purposes, completely identical.

Tom: Well, normally where the product is identical, it's a commodity, and companies make price claims. We've featured a couple car insurance commercials on here, and those commercials were part brand-awareness, part talking about how much money they could save you.

Mike: Good point. While platforms for services are normally sold for a premium, however, due to their ubiquity and rather strong competition (plus a significant presence by the open-source community), the principal web browsers are all free. Meanwhile, the internet has largely standardized; gone are the days where pages simply would not load if viewed in the incorrect browser. In fact, while slow to be adopted, HTML5 looks to standardize everything even more. So the browsers can't really compete on price or features. What is an enterprising ultra-rich mega-corporation to do?

Tom: Stop making browsers and starting making products that might actually make them money?

Mike: No, spend millions on an ad campaign with a bunch of flash and sizzle and hope everyone is so impressed that the trend of your rapidly eroding market share reverses.

Tom: I don't know about you, but every time I've switched browsers, it's been because I found my current browser inadequate in some way and started looking around for alternatives.

Mike: Being a ridiculous nerd, I do frequently try out different browsers, just to see what I'm missing out on. There are some very technical reasons to go with one or the other, but in the end those only arise if you are committing some sort of computer abuse. The only one I really dislike is Safari, because it has some strange key mappings. In the end it always comes down to something trivial like that. Unfortunately for Microsoft's marketers, we haven't quite gotten to the point where they can programmatically figure out which features in particular annoy each individual television viewer.

Tom: And install them on the competition?

Mike: ...and inform that consumer of their presence on competitors' platforms.

Tom: Yet I didn't notice a reference to "normal key mapping" in that commercial.

Mike: ...I just said they couldn't do that yet.

Tom: Ah, true. I presume the creator of the commercial is, like my father, a fan of Cut the Rope, since they included it in the commercial.

Mike: I actually think that is a response to Chrome ads heavily featuring Angry Birds. When Chrome made its first steps toward being an online software platform rather than just a web browser, that was the focal point of their marketing.

Tom: I see.

Mike: Anyway, there's really nothing left to advertise that is special to Internet Explorer so you have absurd tricks like taking a 2D image and cutting it into 3D layers with a fly-through, all in an attempt to make a relatively pedestrian web page (that renders the same in almost all browsers) seem lively and exciting.

Tom: In a way this reminds me of Domino's ad campaign.

Mike: Plush it up with some vaguely in-context quotes fawning over the fractional second speed advantage or small percentage less RAM used by your product, and you have a formula for making something completely unexceptional feel exceptional.

Tom: "We know we were terrible, and you stopped using our product, but now we're really trying to improve. Please give us another shot."

Mike: Honestly, this is a gorgeous bit of marketing. It is also kind of the dark side of marketing, if something like Old Spice is the light side. I can see the similarity to Domino's, but they got a lot of credibility for their new product through that campaign, whereas Microsoft here is just advertising the new hotness.

Tom: The dark side? I'm not quite following you.

Mike: The dark side in that it uses a lot of clever tricks that aren't quite misleading but still move you to a factually tenuous conclusion.

Tom: Again, I don't know about you, but pizza (and the larger class, food) purchasing decisions happen regularly and are subject to regular reexamination. I don't change my browser nearly so frequently.

Mike: The web didn't get "more beautiful." You're still looking at the same web pages. You're looking at them in the same way. They play a lot of visual tricks to make the mundane seem exciting, and then run quotes like "IE9 is one massive performance jump" without explaining over what it is jumping. The commercial is completely devoid of substance, purposefully, because there's simply nothing there. At least, nothing compelling us to use their product over others'. Which moves us back to your earlier point ... if they don't have anything to say and they're giving their product away, why are they spending so much time, money and energy on this? I'm sure they have some good reason, but as it is, this is just another in a very long line of bad Microsoft commercials.

Tom: Spreadable Cheese Products?

Mike: I'd hate to see the EULA on a can of MS brand spreadable cheese product.

Loser League Update

Quarterback: Poor Jay Cutler. Your offensive line does a miserable job of protecting you, you yell at one of your offensive linemen during a game, and you're a miserable person. 3 points is not a particularly miserable Loser League score, but it was this week's low.

Running back: Ryan Williams and Chris Johnson are currently engaged in a bit of a suck-off, as both have had miserable weeks. Williams' fumble gives him the edge at the bottom of the running back VOA table and in Loser League this week at 0, but Johnson is close behind him. Joining CJ with 2 points were Shonn Greene and Danny Woodhead.

Wide Receiver: It was a wonderful week for low wide receiver scores. Two players you might have started in actual fantasy football, Anquan Boldin and James Jones each had 0 points, but there were five players with 1 point, seven with 2, and eight more with just 3.

Kicker: The Jaguars and Cowboys each scored one touchdown, and both Josh Scobee and Dan Bailey each ended up with 1 point for one made extra point.

Awards!

KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: How much wood can you chop on one play? Redskins receiver Josh Morgan tried to find out in Sunday’s game against the Rams. He started off by catching a pass short of the sticks on third down, a good move, then started screwing up. First he eschewed getting the first down to try to run out of bounds, even though there were 80 seconds left in the game. Second, while he tried to get out of bounds, he failed at that. Third, after some post-play argument, he decided it was a good idea to throw the ball at Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. As a result, instead of running a play from first-and-10 at the Rams 28 or so with over a minute to play, the Redskins faced fourth-and-16 at the Rams 44, forced to either convert or force a tie with a 62-yard field goal.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter of Monday night’s interminable-seeming contest, the Denver Broncos drew a five-yard dead ball penalty for having too many men on the field. John Fox challenged. Challenging a five-yard penalty may be a worthwhile move, in the right circumstances. However, (a) it was Denver's last challenge of the game unless they were right, in a game where the officials struggled at times; (b) the penalty merely turned first-and-10 into first-and-5, rather than extending or ending a drive, so it was a very low-leverage situation, and (c) the Broncos did in fact have 12 players lined up on the field, suggesting Fox's challenge was inspired by his coaching staff's inability to count as much as Fox's vituperation over the call. The challenge ended up costing Fox and the Broncos little over the rest of the game, but it was precisely this sort of frivolous low-reward, high-risk challenge that got this award named after Mike Martz in the first place.

Scramble Mailbag

Jason: My weekly debate...

Vick @ Arizona, coming off two emotional wins and going across country to face an extremely underrated ARI team who shut down Tom Brady and Russell Wilson so far...

Eli Manning @ Carolina...only real concern is it's on a Thursday, but he threw for 510 yards last week so he's red hot. Carolina has actually been ok against the pass because they are getting gashed like hell by the run, but Bradshaw could be inactive for this game...

Tom: It's shocking, but through two weeks Carolina's pass defense, lousy last year and with no major personnel changes, is better.

Mike: Vick is kind of a nightmare for owners right now. Of course, this is nothing new.

Tom: By our metrics, though, Arizona's pass defense has been almost precisely as good (VOA of -0.8% as opposed to -0.1%). Opponent adjustments will change that somewhat, but maybe not that much. The big difference is Arizona's had a much more impressive run defense compared to Carolina. Neither the Giants nor Eagles are really that much of a run-oriented team, though. The Giants might like to be, but they aren't.

Mike: Honestly, though, it's still early in the season. One or both might be a mirage. I'm more inclined to believe in Arizona over Carolina, however. Especially with such an inconsistent quarterback. Go with Manning.

Tom: I'm more a fan of reliable production than hitting the home run, so I'm philosophically more inclined to agree, but yeah, I concur, go with Manning.

Bill: Standard scoring, non-PPR: Miles Austin vs. TB or Marques Colston vs. KC?

Mike: Can you play both of them? Because those are both pretty bad pass defenses. Honestly, it's a good problem to have. I'd probably lean toward Austin, just because I'm wary of New Orleans at the moment.

Tom: I haven't watched the Chiefs-Bills game yet, so I don't know if Kansas City's pass defense is still that good. As a frustrated Colston owner, I'd point out the Saints' general lack of productivity among the wide receivers and start Austin, who's put up 25 points this year. Maybe that's pique on my part, but that's what I'd do. As Mike said, though, both players should put up good point totals.

Lock of the Week

Tom: Your weekly reminder: All lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing, though not necessarily as of post time or game time, and all picks have been made without reference to the FO Premium Picks.

Mike: Well, last week didn't quite pan out for me. I picked Giants -9, and of course they win by a touchdown. That makes me 0-1 for the season.

Tom: I probably could have done worse than taking the Jaguars +7.5 at home. I could have picked the Titans, for instance, and missed by like 22 points instead of just 10. In other words, it was an inauspicious start to the return of Lock of the Week to Scramble. Mike, what's your flavor this week?

Mike: Looking over this week's odds, we have a lot of really close match-ups on tap ... nine games at 4 or under, plus one at 4.5. Thankfully, this isn't a suicide pool! I think I have the best feeling for Buffalo -3 over the Browns. Buffalo is a somewhat confusing team, but I'll stick with an old stand-by: when in doubt, always pick against Cleveland.

Tom: Always a fine option. What stands out to me is the line in Dallas. The Cowboys are probably a little bit better than the Buccaneers, but I'm far from convinced they're significantly better. Week 1 was a nice win, but it came against a depleted Giants secondary. I'm taking Tampa Bay +7. It may blow up in my face like the Jaguars did last week, but it wouldn't shock me if the Bucs win and that's good enough for me.

Be sure to send your questions, hopes and dreams to scramble-at-footballoutsiders.com or drop in our forum thread. Tom has been informed that the beatings will continue until it is posted in a timely manner.

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 19 Sep 2012

67 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2012, 10:56am by the K

Comments

1
by felden :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 4:12pm

FF question! Standard league flex spot debate. I've got DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Shonn Greene. I'm thinking Williams, but can't quite decide!

14
by Tom Gower :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:02pm

Interesting setup. The Dolphins have been reasonably efficient against the run game this year and I don't think Greene's very good or on a good offensive team, so he's out. Reading reports out of Carolina, my guess is Stewart won't dress for the game unless he's ready to play, in which case he should have a decent fantasy game. If you can, set your lineup based on the inactives, which should be available around 7 PM ET Thursday. If you can't, stay safe and play DeAngelo.

2
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 4:18pm

The "Slough of Despond" is a place in John Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_.

9
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 6:27pm

Great. Finally have a chance to put my English degree to use and someone has beaten me to it.

18
by FourteenDays :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:39pm

And the protagonist is named Christian, so that's actually a pretty clever reference.

37
by Teucrian (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:21am

As the team owner I will verify that this reference was my intention. But it will all be for naught if Ponder and Tannehill keep playing inexplicably well.

3
by Jim C. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 4:41pm

If you don't get a reference to who did and didn't build what, then you're watching way too much football this fall.

4
by turbohappy :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 4:43pm

I actually think that commercial is really impressive work. It makes IE9 seem cool and new and amazing and I have a very positive emotional response watching it, despite the fact that IE9 is not any of those things and I hate it.

7
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 5:46pm

I have to disagree, in part because I can't stand the song.

That said, it has struck me as a bizarre ad campaign from the start (particularly because of the ubiquity of the commercial in high-profile ad slots, meaning that Microsoft has to be spending a lot of money on it). The majority of internet users either don't care which browser they use or they're surfing at work where they're stuck with whatever IT allows. The vocal minority that hates IE isn't going to be swayed by a commercial anyway.

10
by Anon (not verified) :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 6:49pm

I like the song and use Firefox, so the choice of a break-up song works for me. ("And it feels like I am just too close to love you / So I'll be on my way", "You know we're headed separate ways", "I must leave without you"). However, from Microsoft's perspective it seems a questionable choice, apart from the obvious, "let's use a cool sounding, popular song in our ad for the new IE!"

17
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:21pm

I hate it, too, and I fail to see how all browsers are the same. Chrome is fast and simple, but it lacks the functionality FF has through add-ons. IE is simply out of bounds.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

5
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 4:49pm

Ryan Williams and Chris Johnson are currently engaged in a bit of a suck-off

Errr...!

13
by Kal :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 8:16pm

+1. Also didn't realize that it was this kind of site. Talk about fantasy football...

22
by agauntpanda :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:47pm

Beat me to it. +1

6
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 5:25pm

Is have both Steven Jackson and Michael Turner as my RBs.

Is it unfair that Turner is doing my drinking for me?

8
by Sifter :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 6:14pm

I'm waiver wire hunting this week gents, perhaps you can help. I'm in 12 man PPR league (with pts for KR/PR yards - everything else standard). Looking at QBs first: Josh Freeman and Jake Locker both got dropped yesterday, while I currently have Ryan Fitzpatrick (backing up the mercurial Vick). Should I switch out Fitz for Freeman? Freeman has a nice Wk 7 matchup vs Saints when Vick is on his bye. And my RB situation is awful. Fred Jackson is injured and I'm leaning on Pierre Thomas and Jacquizz Rodgers...Daryl Richardson is my 4th RB. I'm looking for a 5th RB to try and have some more flexibility with Jackson out. This week Felix Jones, David Wilson and Rashad Jennings all got dropped for waiver pickups. Any of those worth getting? Maybe just stash KUBIAK fave Shane Vereen?

12
by bingo762 :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 8:02pm

Wilson. Highest upset of the three. Bradshaw is out. Brown will get the start but there's a reason he has yet to see meaningful playing time thus far

19
by Tom Gower :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:40pm

Of your three choices, Wilson clearly has the highest upside. Given your need for a starter-type, he's my pick.

Given the way Tennessee's defense has looked thus far, Fitzpatrick seems to have a pretty good Week 7 matchup as well. I trust the Bills want to throw the ball more than the Bucs do, so I'd stick with Fitz.

27
by Sifter :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:28am

Thanks guys :) And I have a supplementary question too! Got offered Chris Johnson for Jeremy Maclin today. You know my RBs are not deep so I'll consider it seriously just on a need basis, but is CJ worth ANYTHING right now?? Seems like a 'buy at your own risk' type of guy.

31
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 7:44am

Seeing how Maclin's hip/groin injury might be a problem all year, I think you need to consider this. But you didn't mention what the WR corps looks like.

39
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:15pm

CJ is an RB3-type with massive boom potential and some receiving and PPR value. The Titans have tried to run the ball early, then gotten away from it when it wasn't working. Even before they really got behind against NE, they'd started to abandon the run. Don't be surprised by a lot of 10-25 rushing and 4-37 receiving lines from him. He's still likely to get the goalline carries and can have the odd 23-125-2 rushing line in the right game (which will be completely unpredictable). Whether that's worth it is up to you.

11
by JasonK :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 7:40pm

A couple years ago, my LL team was named simply "The Guy Whimpers." (I missed the deadline this year.)

16
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:19pm

That's pretty good.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

15
by mathesond :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 9:13pm

I don't know that I'd go with the Bills -3. While I think they are the better team, they aren't good enough to be penciled in as an automatic win, and with the replacement refs seemingly favoring home teams (perhaps with some help from loud home fans), I could well see the Browns eking one out

32
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 7:46am

Is this demonstrably true (home team preference)? I've backed mostly road teams this week, so I hope not.

20
by Guest789 :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:30pm

This is the 14 year old in me speaking up, but please, please, never tell us that two players are engaged in a suck-off again. Please.

-----

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

21
by nath :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:47pm

Sooo... is there any way for those of us who registered a Loser League team but forgot its name to find that information out?

24
by nath :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:51pm

Ha, never mind, I found it, although I had to go through the list manually. Good thing I have a sense of "Hey, I might have called my team something like that."

47
by omaholic :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:06pm

I do that every year, but this year it's worse since there's another team with almost the same name as mine. It was especially hard to find my team in week 1 since I went through the standings from top to bottom and I finished dead last. Talk about a Loser League!

61
by nath :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 5:01pm

Haha, ouch.

Fortunately I remembered that what I lacked in creativity, I made up for in accuracy about how to badly run a team: "Cleveland Browns Front Office."

23
by agauntpanda :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:48pm

1. This column always reminds me how much funnier the median LL player is than I am. I cracked up at "A Gabbert of Blaines."

2. Start two: Mathews vs ATL, Ridley @ BAL, Martin @ DAL.

26
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:44am

Mathews and Martin. Ridley scares me with a tough matchup and the Patriots tending to be as opponent-specific as any team in the league.

25
by HowBlueCanYouGet :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 11:06pm

Hooray! I'm internet famous!

I was really hoping to get Blackmon in the draft so I could actually use that as my FF team name, but it didn't happen. Do I win anything for the DWB team name?

28
by SFC B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:11am

Quick Fantasy Football question. Should I start Schaub against Denver or Manning against Houston? Standard Yahoo scoring.

30
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 7:22am

Manning. Far less downside and at least as much upside.

40
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:17pm

I concur, play Peyton.

42
by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:20pm

I agree as well. Start Manning.

29
by Arson55 :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 6:09am

I honestly think The Miami Dolphins is my favorite LL name.

33
by justanothersteve :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 8:13am

In an embarrassment of riches, I have Brees and RGIII on both my FFL teams. The first I picked, but my autopicked team a couple days later also got me the same two QBs. Am I crazy for considering playing RGIII this week instead of Brees on both teams.

34
by dbostedo :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 9:36am

Umm... no? RGIII thus far has been the highest scoring player in my league. And I'd still be willing to bet that Brees winds up with more points, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't play match-ups with the two of them and start RGIII some weeks.

43
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:25pm

Certainly not crazy, no, and RG3 has a pretty good matchup this week. Brees does as well, and I'd probably play him just because I'm cautious and he has a longer track record. If you want to play RG3, though, I'm fine with that.

35
by CeeBee (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:13am

With Nicks out for tonight's game, who do I start in his place?

Sidney Rice @ GB
Anquan Boldin @ NE
Mike Williams @ DAL

44
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:28pm

I trust Boldin to get catches more than the other guys, so I'd go with him.

36
by Vic Tayback (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:18am

Who do I start in my Flex spot this week? (PPR league):

Denarius Moore
Jonathan Stewart (if he plays)
Pierre Thomas

I would assume Thomas, but ESPN is projecting Moore at 16 points this week for some reason.

45
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:32pm

Yeah, I'd go with Thomas. I know Palmer likes Moore, but that projection seems high to me as well.

38
by TreeRol (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:57am

No Lustful Cockmonsters? I'm disappointed.

41
by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:19pm

So I'm in a PPR league, need to start two from this group:

Ramses Barden @ Panthers, Matt Forte vs. Rams, Danarius Moore vs. Steelers, Santonio Holmes @ Dolphins, and Mike Williams (Bucs) @ Cowboys.

Bit of a dilemma, I think Barden is a good but risky option. I have to decide to start him by tonight though. Forte is great but it looks like he won't play. And both Moore and Williams have tough matchups, while Holmes is at risk of a typical Jets ground and pound where he doesn't end up with many points.

Any help is very much appreciated.

46
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:41pm

The good news is Forte plays early on Sunday, so you can start him if his injury situation ends up being a lot better than it now seems like it is.

Holmes scares me way too much to play him.

Given your options, Moore is a good play; I just wrote a comment recommending against him, but your alternatives aren't as good. Given what they've done on the ground this year, the Raiders will probably have to throw the ball.

For me, the decision comes down to Barden or Mike Williams. Both guys have a pretty low downside, so it's less of a risk-reward tradeoff than choosing the highest upside. In my mind, that's Barden given what the Bucs prefer to do offensively.

66
by dbt :: Sat, 09/22/2012 - 8:18am
55
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 3:39pm

Ramses - so let it be written, so let it be done.

65
by mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 11:52pm

Barden will have big game tonight. 100+ yards guaranteed.

48
by Eddo :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:27pm

So I'm in a ten-team league with a couple new-to-fantasy players, so my roster is pretty deep. I have to sit one of these four guys. Am I crazy to think of sitting McCoy?

LeSean McCoy vs. ARI
Trent Richardson vs. BUF
C.J. Spiller vs. CLE
Jamaal Charles vs. NO

49
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:38pm

I know he's expected to play, but Charles' knee, plus the presence of Hillis, scares me. Personally, I'd sit him.

50
by Eddo :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:11pm

Thanks, Tom.

51
by jfam :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:49pm

1/2 pt per reception league:

need 1 RB and 1 WR/TE/RB from this group... which two to start?
D. McFadden, Kyle Rudolph, Ike Redman, Jon Stewart (if he plays), Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, or Denarius Moore?

59
by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 4:40pm

Holmes is going to get a lot of looks against a relatively soft secondary, so put him in your flex.

For the RB, Stewart (if he plays) or if you're extremely unlucky, I have to say Redman. Pray Stewart plays.

52
by jfam :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 3:21pm

full pt per reception keeper league.

I'm currently starting
R.Bush -RB
L.McCoy -RB
Antonio Brown -WR
Roddy White -WR
M. Austin -flex,

Should I move either Ryan Mathews or Jordy Nelson to my starting lineup over these guys?

also, IDP question, tackles are key - Posluzny, James Anderson, or go pick up Sean Lee, any Steelers LB or Nick Barnett?

58
by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 4:36pm

Bush is going to play the Jets. Never play marginal RBs against the Jets. Swap Mathews in for him.

I'd stick with Posluzny. Indianapolis is kind of a house of cards, so he has considerable upside, and that's what you're looking for in IDP.

53
by duh :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 3:26pm

Two questions,

Standard Yahoo scoring

Manning vs. Hou
or Cutler vs STL

One of these:
CJ vs. Det
Trent Richardson vs. Buf
Bush vs. STL

57
by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 4:33pm

As much as I hate to recommend starting Cutler, ever, he's looking like a far better matchup than Manning. Houston's pass defense has been completely insane these first few weeks and, while St. Louis has also had a strong performance, I think it is much more likely to be a mirage than Houston's.

Bush is too risky in my opinion, and I think Johnson is basically fodder at this point. Richardson is a good (probably) starter against an average rush defense. Go with him.

62
by duh :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 5:09pm

Thanks ... that is kind of how I was leaning but it is hard to pull the trigger on Cutler over Manning ....

54
by DGL :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 3:37pm

8-team league, so pretty deep rosters. Need to pick a flex between Colston, Shonn Greene, Donald Brown, and DeAngelo Williams. Leaning Colston because of the matchup, but Brown has a good matchup and is likely to collect any rushing TDs.

56
by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 4:30pm

I think New Orleans' matchup is just too tempting. The other picks may have higher upside, but Colston lighting it up is a very safe bet.

60
by Kurt :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 4:55pm

I never ask these questions, but this week I'm stuck. I need to play 3 of DMC, Ridley, Lloyd and Morris, and I'm seriously thinking of benching McFadden. Is that crazy?

63
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 7:22pm

It's not crazy, given how dysfunctional Oakland's running game has looked the first couple weeks. I'd play him, because Ridley scares me given how Belichick tends to be matchup dependent and has played running back roulette since he had Corey Dillon. Your risk preference may be different.

64
by Jonadan :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 8:07pm

I actually looked this up this off-season: good kickers last year ran a good 3 ppg more in fantasy than the bad ones. Not that 3 pts is necessarily going to matter... but then again it might. (And by "good kickers", I mean the ones with better offenses behind them. Which should be a no-brainer, I guess. On the other hand, Gostkowski was fabulous in fantasy last week while the Pats O did pretty much jack.

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

67
by the K :: Wed, 09/26/2012 - 10:56am

I'm just a bit late on bringing this up, I guess, but I feel the writers do a disservice to Loser League teams by not mentioning my very personal favorite of the ones I saw: "joe buck yourself"