How about those Saints, huh? And it's amazing to see how much damage on the ground can be done by the tandem of Ingram and Kamara. Who needs an AP? This week we're joined by drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino, and we'll be discussing the best and worst plays for Week 11, analyzing some fantasy matchups, and taking lineup/pickup questions from Twitter and live in the chat room.
Listen to the Fantasy Finish Line Ep12: Saints Keep Marching On
Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to get notifications whenever we release a new episode. We also broadcast the shows live at http://www.mixlr.com/drinkfive on Tuesday nights at 8pm CT. Feel free to browse over and join in the discussion in the chat room!
At drinkfive, we like to think that trends of at least three games or more are something that should be a reliable indicator of future performance. That’s all fine and good, but how about we actually predict if the trends will continue or not and put our money (or beer in this case) where our mouth is.
Here are the predictions we made on last week’s show (note, we were joined by Shawn Foss):
Cam Newton: Wk 8 vs Sea – 6.24 pts, Wk 9 vs NO – 13.34 pts, Wk 10 @ PHI – 15.84 pts
Newton is really a test of this trend theory. Everyone sees his play as being awful, but he’s actually trending up from his season low of 6.24 against the Seahawks. Newton also gets a bye coming up in Week 12, so is he going to stumble, or put it together for the rest of the season?
We all said that Newton would score over 13.34 points and he did, scoring 20.68 (292 passing yards, 2 td, 2 int). Both touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, which is sure to make fantasy owners nervous. That being said, we don’t care when the points come, just as long as they’re before the end of the game.
Julio Jones: Wk 7 @ BAL – 5.60 pts, Wk 8 vs DET – 5.80 pts, Wk 10 @ TB – 11.90 pts
Jones has really struggled this year compared to where his draft position was, making him a top 5 WR (preseason). Jones is still serviceable this season, but has just as many single digit games as he does double digit, which means he’s probably not as reliable as you’d like. Is this a product of Matt Ryan or Julio, and will he return to greatness or be cursed to NFC South obscurity?
Jones is making us all drink! 6 rec on 11 targets for 59 yards (that gives him 5.9 points, well below our predicted 12), Jones hasn’t found the end zone since week 3 and he’s really hurting from a fantasy perspective because of it. Jones will be going up against the Browns and Joe Haden this week, so it doesn’t get any easier!
Hopkins is stepping up (trying to anyway) as the number one guy in Houston. He’s trending up and has 3 100+ yard games under his belt this year and is averaging about 10 targets per game over the last 3 games. Will Hopkins continue his upward trend, or will the new QB in Houston ruin his party?
Hopkins found himself with a new QB in Ryan Mallet, and while he still had 8 targets, he only caught 4 balls for 80 yards. Hopkins is TD dependent and last week did not find the end zone. Dave & Jason called it with him going under 10 pts, Shawn will drink having said he would go over 10.
Le’Veon Bell: Wk 8 vs IND – 14.80 pts, Wk 9 vs Bal – 11.80 pts, Wk 10 @ NYJ – 6.90 pts
Bell has scored double digit points in every single week except for Week 10 now as the Steelers appear to have all but abandoned the run game. Now, these numbers aren’t disastrous, but he’s moved out of RB1 territory. Bell has only 21 carries over the last two weeks, after 24 the week before, two of those games being blowouts for the Steelers. With the passing game working so well lately, will Bell continue to be the odd man out on the Steelers?
Pretty obvious here. Bell went off for 204 yards and a TD on 33 carries in a game that his backup threw himself quite the temper tantrum. Bell will clearly be the guy going forward, and his 28.20 points in Week 11 point him firmly in the right direction.
Bradshaw is trending down, which was a surprise to me. He has 8 total TD’s this year, so he’s been putting up points and is clearly worth a start the rest of the year, right? With matchups against NE, Jax, Was, Cle, Hou and Dal to finish the year, it’s a mixture of good and bad run defenses. Bradshaw seems a bit too TD dependent, but can you really sit the top back on one of the best teams in the league?
This one isn’t quite fair. Bradshaw left the game on Sunday night against the Patriots with a fractured fibula. This will likely land him on the season ending IR, so we’ll drink to Ahmad’s future health and hope he’s better in 2015.
Alfred Morris: Wk 7 vs TEN - 5.40 pts, Wk 8 @ DAL - 14.50 pts, Wk 9 @ MIN - 22.90
Morris averaged 10.1 pts per game, first 6 games, and 14.3 pts per game last 3. He had a really rough stretch against SEA, ARI and TEN in there. Morris was on bye Week 10, so we will follow up on this next week, but we both say he will score a solid 14 points or more.
It was a rough Sunday for the Redskins and it’s already been a rough week for them, since both the QB and coach seem to be taking to the media to have a little pissing match. Morris has been better with RG3 back, last week scoring 13.20 points with 96 yards on 20 carries, adding 2 receptions for 36 yards. Morris is very close to our projection of 14, so we will have everyone drink for this one.
Branden Oliver: Wk 7 vs KC - 7.80 pts, Wk 8 @ DEN - 6.30 pts, Wk 9 @ MIA - 2.60 pts
Oliver scored just 16.7 pts in the last 3 weeks after putting up 48.6 points in the previous two weeks. With Mathews coming back off the bye, is Oliver relevant anymore? Oliver was also on bye Week 10 and both Dave and I see him continuing to fall into obscurity, especially with Ryan Mathews expected to return to the lineup against Oakland on Sunday.
Oliver did get 13 carries and 1 reception, but only turned it into a measly 3.90 points. With Mathews back, we got Oliver’s prediction just right. He’s not really rosterable in most leagues at this point. Everyone else drinks for this one!
Now let’s change gears and look at some trends that we can see after week 11 and make some more predictions. Remember, for all the ones we get wrong, we will drink five on the podcast. For all the ones we get right, you guys drink!
Make sure to listen to our podcast to get our predictions and discussion of the trends into week 12 and we will recap the results next week.
Matthew Stafford: Wk 8 @ ATL – 20.90 pts, Wk 10 vs MIA – 18.10 pts, Wk 11 @ ARI – 6.32 pts
Over the last three weeks, Stafford has gone up against one poor defense and two excellent ones. Stafford isn’t really putting up the numbers this year that we’ve come to expect out of him, but his team is also rather weird (as is tradition in Detroit) and he’s had some injury issues to the WR group. Stafford might have another tough matchup on Sunday in New England, but his matchups for the rest of the season look awesome. Home vs CHI, TB and MIN, then @ CHI for week 16.
Golden Tate: Wk 8 @ ATL – 21.10 pts, Wk 10 vs MIA – 10.90 pts, Wk 11 @ ARI – 4.90 pts
OK, so this one should be obvious, right? Tate obviously did well with Megatron out, and now that he’s back he’ll be on the back burner. But then why did he get 13 targets Week 10? So then you say: “Yes of course, it’s because Stafford has been struggling”. But then does that mean Tate will rebound? As I said earlier, the Lions have a rather cushy schedule going forward, including next week for Tate, since Calvin Johnson will be spending the weekend on Revis Island. We’ll have to see if said island is a retreat or a place with no refuge. The latter ought to benefit Tate a lot.
Torrey smith has put up his 4 highest scoring games during the last 5 games he’s played. Of course, the odd game out was a goose-egg, which nobody likes to see. The question here is definitely about Torrey’s trend though, will it continue in the double digits, or will he lost ground to Steve Smith like at the beginning of the season. Steve has really struggled, putting up less than 10 points over the last 3 games (combined total!). There’s no lack of targets for Steve Smith, which isn’t great for Torrey, but Torrey is finding the end zone and is amazing at drawing DPI penalties, which means that Flacco will keep throwing it deep to him, at least a couple of times per game.
Andre Ellington: Wk 9 @ DAL – 19.40 pts, Wk 10 vs STL – 10.20 pts, Wk 11 vs DET 6.60 pts
Ellington has had a few rough matchups the last couple of weeks, and his schedule does not get any easier. While Ellington IS the de facto #1 RB on a team that is 9-1, he is clearly not matchup proof like a Demarco Murray or Jamaal Charles. Ellington has matchups coming up @Sea, @Atl, vs KC, @ Stl and vs Sea. There’s only one defense that’s not in the top 10 in there. Just for icing on the cake, he faces San Francisco in week 17 for those of you who are still going then. If your trade deadline hasn’t passed yet, this may be a guy to consider selling.
Mark Ingram: Wk 9 @ CAR – 23.00 pts, Wk 10 vs SF – 13.90 pts, Wk 11 vs CIN – 9.70 pts
Ingram has been the beneficiary of injuries to other RB’s on his team and it’s translated directly into touches. Ingram has averaged 26 carries per game over the last four games and he’s definitely produced during that time. The problem here may lie with the team. When the Saints are winning, they are running the ball a lot more effectively, though clearly they will run the ball whether or not they are winning. Assuming Robinson and Thomas are out again this week, Ingram will see his usual workload facing a Ravens defense that gives up the fewest points to opposing RB’s. The rest of Ingram’s schedule is much kinder, with games @ Pit, vs Car, @ Chi and vs Atl in week 16.
Make sure to listen to our podcast to get our predictions and discussion of the trends into week 11 and we will recap the results next week.
Week 6 rolls along with some serious shake-ups in the league, including the demolition of the Giants' passing offense (Marshall and Beckham both out for the season and Shepard in a walking boot). We're still seeing some offensive weapons in fantasy that are remaining stagnant, and now is the time to consider cutting bait with them and moving on. Let's focus on the players that should provide your team with a boost this coming week - some of those guys include: Derek Carr, Mark Ingram, Elijah McGuire, Emmanuel Sanders, Amari Cooper, Austin Hooper, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Welcome to Statistically (in)Significant, the place to find great stats that probably only matter at the water cooler (or bar). Each week I'll dig through the stats of the week gone by and deliver you some choice conversation starters.
1.38 Yards per Carry
Thursday night's game was another slogfest, and while the games have been more competitive this year than they have in past years, the poor quality of play really shines through. This week, the leading rusher in the game, Adrian Peterson, with 29 yards on 21 carries, had a whopping 1.38 yards per carry. He beat out both of the Seahawks rushers, who finished with 27 yards (Thomas Rawls) and 26 yards (J.D. McKissic). Of course, the big story in this game is the achilles injury that Richard Sherman. Sherman had been previously critical of the NFL regarding Thursday night games, and he was battling this injury all season. The numbers of injuries may not be significantly higher than on Sundays, but it's clear that the quality of play on short rest is affected nearly every single week.
6 Rushing Touchdowns
The Saints set a franchise record with 6 rushing touchdowns on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. They also rushed for 298 yards on the day behind impressive performances from Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, who combined for over 50 points. Ingram and Kamara were the 1st and 4th highest scoring fantasy RBs on the week, mixed in with the 3 TD DeMarco Murray and the unknown Austin Ekeler. The Saints improved to 7-2, and it's really surprising that Drew Brees has only thrown for 300+ yards once in those wins, and only twice overall. The Saints run game was really by far the most impressive aspect of this game, peaking with a 10-play 94 yard TD drive that was all rushes of 15 yards or less. The Saints averaged 6.2 yards per carry on the day, just shy of Drew Brees's 7.4 yards per passing attempt.
208 Consecutive Starts
Congrats to Eli Manning, who tied his brother Peyton with 208 consecutive starts on Sunday - good for second on the list behind Brett Favre. This start, like most this year, was very forgettable for Eli. Going in to Sunday's game in San Francisco, this was the first time in 33 years that two teams met this late in the season with only 1 victory between them. Clearly, the stage was set for mediocrity and this game delivered. The Giants managed to make C.J. Beathard look great, putting up the 4th most points this week among QBs - 26.02 points. This was the 49ers first win against a team that wasn't the Rams in 708 days. On the other side, the Giants gave up yet another touchdown to an opposing TE, making it one in every game this season, and this streak goes back into last season. Looks like a good sign for Travis Kelce and the Chiefs against the Giants next week.
297 Passing Yards
It was strange seeing Mitchell Trubisky on the passing leader boards all afternoon and evening. His 297 yards is easily a career high (the previous was last week's 164). He completed 60% of his passes with 21 completions on 35 attempts. One TD and no picks are a good way to show that you can take care of the ball, ok, Coach? I didn't really write about Trubisky for his sake, though congrats to the rookie on a solid outing, but to poke at head coach John Fox. In the 2nd quarter, Fox threw a challenge flag on a play where Benny Cunningham was called out of bounds short of the goal line. Upon review, it was determined that Cunningham did not, in fact, step out of bounds. Great news? Nope, it was then determined that he lost control of the ball before it struck the pylon, thus ruling it a fumble out of the end zone and a touchback for the Packers. This play is kind of a microcosm of Fox and the Bears over the last couple of years. There's always been flashes of good things happening, but it all winds up looking mismanaged and it's never the desired outcome. Here in Chicago, it's pretty clear that he's going to be on the hot seat before too long.
4-60+ Yard TD Passes
If you read this column, you know I'm a sucker for milestones that haven't been reached in a while. On Sunday, Jacoby Brissett threw a pair of 60+ yard touchdowns against the Steelers' formerly league leading passing defense. It's been over 50 years since a Colts QB had 4-60 yard touchdown passes in a single season. Johnny Unitas did it back in 1966, and both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck were not able to reach that mark, not even with all of the great receivers they have had. Brissett has 4 on the season now, and has improved as the year has gone on and is one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal season in Indy. The Colts are only 3-7, but did hang in there against a Steelers team that is tied for the best record in the AFC. If the Colts could figure out a run game, they would have something for Andrew Luck to look forward to when he comes back. Right now, Brissett's league leading 35 sacks has to be alarming for a guy who is probably not nearly as mobile. Get well soon, Andrew!
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!
Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards with five interceptions. Wow, Buffalo. Nice work. In this episode, we'll be touching on the Bills' and NFL fantasy players going forward as well as the other highs and lows of Week 11 and what they mean to your fantasy squad.