Hey readers, just finished my first draft of the season and I thought I’d post it for you all to see. Not too much analysis in this post… but just understand that if I picked someone, I liked their potential A LOT.
QB: Matt Ryan ATL
WR: Calvin Johnson DET
WR: Greg Jennings GB
RB: Willis McGahee DEN
RB: Mark Ingram NO
TE: Jimmy Graham NO
K: Matt Bryant ATL
FLEX: Jeremy Maclin PHI
BENCH: Andrew Luck IND, Pierre Garcon WAS, Laurent Robinson JAC, Donald Brown IND, Jacob Tamme DEN, Packers DEF, Rob Bironas TEN.
To my readers, I first feel like I must apologize for the way I ended last season’s postings… I left you high-and-dry after Week 11 and simply dropped off the map. See, sometimes things come up that just bog you down and interfere with all of your best intentions. Last year, I decided that I was going to do a semester abroad… and not just any regular semester abroad, a semester with Semester At Sea, where I literally traveled around the world on a ship. And my preparations for this trip coincided with the last few weeks of the football season, and instead of finding time for my regular research and writing, I was instead swamped with college finals, shopping/packing, and making time to say adequate farewells to my friends and family… and so, Sports Stock Radio fell into the cracks.
But it’s a new season… I’m signed up for a slew of fantasy leagues, and I’m ready to take on the game along side all of you. I don’t quite have my research completely ready to post, but I plan on having at least one draft special report before the beginning of the season. After that I’ll be returning to a format that is pretty similar to what I did last season: A Monday article reflecting on the games of Sunday. A shorter mid-week report on Wednesday looking ahead to any Thursday games and reviewing any big league updates. And a big Saturday post where I’ll try and inform you on any new injuries to watch out for, I’ll give you my Buys and Sells of the week, AND I’ll be including my winners for each game of the weekend including special notes regarding strategy for anyone in a Survival Pick League.
So I hope you’re all excited for this season of NFL football, I know I am. I really love writing these articles, it gives me a really interesting creative outlet while still focusing on things I’m passionate about: professional sports and games. So any and all readers are greatly appreciated.
Stay tuned for my first post of the season which should be coming in the next week or so. I have my own first draft this afternoon with a couple more coming this weekend, so once I get through those I’ll start gathering strategic ideas and opinions to pass along here.
Again, thanks for sticking with me though this exceptionally extended off-season… I’m very happy to say that his has been Sports Stock Radio.
We’re getting down to it folks! Play-offs are only 1 about a month away, and depending on your type of league, you could have only a few more match-ups left in order to get yourself into the post-season picture. What does this mean? It means you really need to work free agency if any holes in your line-ups still exist, and you need to look at who your backups are in case you have any number of certain players.
And that brings us to Thursday Night… This week will feature a match up between the Jets and the Broncos… and two QB’s who their coaches hate. I kid. But a lot has been made this week in the media about a few quotes by Rex Ryan and John Fox about their respective quarterbacks; Rex essentially calling his stupid, and Fox saying his isn’t fit to run an NFL offense. Yet somehow, both teams are finding ways to win. The Jets only stand 1 game behind the Pats, and Timmy Terrific has won all but 1 start this season. However, I think this might very well be the week where things begin to go south for which ever team loses. If the Jets lose, I think the whole team has a shot at imploding. Rex has been all over Mark Sanchez (and really the rest of his team) for not being the team he predicted they would be in the preseason. And should they lose this game against the Broncos… look for some drama. As for Timmy Terrific, if he loses this week, it will surely be because teams are finally getting enough tape on what he’s doing in the Option Offense, and now able to stop it. If there’s one thing to be said about Rex Ryan, it’s that he knows how to set up a defense. And with the all-star corners they have going for them, look for the passing game to be all but non-existent for the Broncos (again), allowing the Jets to really hone in on the run. I’m picking the Jets to win, but look for the Broncos to put up a nice fight.
This has been Sports Stock Radio and me, Jake. Thanks for reading.
Well readers… 9-7 isn’t too terrible. Which is where I should be after the Pack win tonight. This season has just been really unexplainable. I heard it on SportsScenter last night… the differences in teams from week to week is simply incredible. One week after what appeared to be a statement win over Pittsburgh, the Ravens come out and lose to the Seahawks. Two weeks after a HUGE win over Dallas, the Eagles get beat by a Cardnials team with a QB by the name of Skelton… AND even though I did predict the 49ers over the Giants, I think that’s still somewhat of a surprise win for most people. I’m riffing this idea off of the headline story on NFL.com today, which is the surprising fact that all 4 NFC West (or Worst) teams won this past weekend. Of course that’s not all that happened… The Pats took down the surging Jets, The Saints unfortunately beat the Falcons in OT, and Carolina only managed to put up 3 points against the Titans (the same Titans who have given up 16 to Jacksonville, 38 to Pitt, 41 to the Texans and 24 to the Bengals).
As for my Quarterbacks post that I did a few days back, my predictions turned out ok. Tebow and Palmer both went for double digits this week, and both won their respective match-ups. Tebow put up about 100 total yards, and 1 passing and rushing TD against the Chiefs (who, may I remind you, defeated the Chargers on Halloween pretty handily). And Carson threw for about 300 yards, 2 TD’s an a pick. And as a side note, when you look at those numbers and think who had the better fantasy game, you’d surely be thinking Palmer… but that would be incorrect. Tebow got 1 more point than him on both ESPN and Yahoo! Which I think goes to show again, how much value a running QB has, even if he’s not great in real life terms. I also talked about the rookies, Gabbert and Ponder. Gabbert had a pretty pedestrian game this week: 8.5 points on Yahoo!, 6 on ESPN. This though is especially disappointing in a way similar to the Chris Johnson a couple weeks back… look, Indianapolis is BAD. If you have a fantasy player going against Indy, the rule of thumb is START him. But in these two instances, Gabbert and CJ, two questionable guys have proved a lot to me in a loss. If you can’t get it done against the Colts this year, who are you going to get it done against? Ponder is yet to play, finding Green Bay in the game tonight. The general idea is that his numbers should be down against a Defense like that of the Packers… but don’t forget that it was those same Packers who gave the struggling Philip Rivers his best fantasy game of the season. In fact, ESPN has the Packers ranked 28th in the league against opposing QB’s, having only 1 game all season where they held them to less than double digits. I’m not saying Ponder is going to have a break out game, I don’t even think the Vikings are going to win… But like I said before, there is a small bit of value in him during crunch time situations.
Now, that last topic already got into tonight’s game a little bit, but let me finish up with the rest of the players that should be featured tonight. For the Vikings, the only other real fantasy impact player is, of course, Adrian Peterson. AP has always been on that short list of fantasy players where the biggest question about him… is whether you should take him as the first pick in the draft. He’s been a producer week in and week out for years now. Overall, he’s 3rd in ESPN’s RBs but that should change after tonight’s game needing only 15 points to take over the #1 spot. The thing with Peterson, is that he’s a work-horse. He gets those tough yards, and is an incredibly valuable asset to middle of the road QB’s like the Vikings have had the last few seasons. This is great to fantasy owners because it simply means that he gets the ball a lot. For the Packers, what more is there to say about Aaron Rodgers? He’s having an incredible season this year, one of the best I’ve ever seen. I was able to watch him in detail two weeks ago against the Chargers… and some of the throws he was making, were simply incredible. It’s interesting because on Yahoo! Brees is actually beating him for the top spot by 1 point (which will surely be overtaken after tonight) but on ESPN Rodgers is blowing Brees away, and will probably have around a 60 point lead after tonight. One thing I do want to mention about the Packers offense though is something that I think about a few offenses out there today… and that is that they tend to spread the ball around too much for my fantasy taste. Yes, this is great for real world results… but in fantasy, unless you draft Rodgers who is at the helm of all of the plays (or Kicker Mason Crosby who is kicking out of his shoes with all their scoring), the question of who else to take (or start on any given week) is a bit of a difficult one. Greg Jennings is the safest bet, who is going for double digits nearly every week… but their next best receiver, Jordy Nelson,is only averaging 10.5 points with plenty of stinkers to go around. Their best running back, James Starks, is behind Chris Johnson in fantasy points this year. If it weren’t for a 26 point game against the Bears, TE Jermichael Finley would be the epitome of average. And their “lock down defense” is only 8th in the league behind the likes of the Bengals, Texans, and 49ers.
Granted a few of these ranks will go up after getting some points tonight, but there have always been those offense who spread the ball around too much for my liking… The Packers, Saints, Patriots, Chargers, Eagles (and the Bengals, Cowboys, Giants and Jets to lesser degrees) are all good examples for this. And what do these teams have in common (except maybe the Bengals and Jets)? They all have amazing fantasy QBs: Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Rivers, Vick, Romo, and Manning. Why is this? Because they hog all of the teams points. Even though they might get the ball to 7 different receivers in a game, they’re still the ones throwing all of the passes, and other than themselves, it makes it difficult for fantasy owners to figure out who might have a big week in any given game. So with all of that said, I obviously love Aaron Rodgers, and if you have him on one of your fantasy teams this season, then you’re probably loving life right now. But as far as the rest of the Packers go, I’m a bit hesitant to make them weekly starters. Proceed with caution readers.
This has been Sports Stock Radio. I am of course Jake, your Fantasy Sports Broker… and I am picking the Pack tonight over the Vikings.
I’ve been on family vacation this weekend, in celebration of Veterans Day. So let me take this opportunity to give an enormous thank you to all of our nation’s soldiers past, present, and future. Personally, I’m not a fan of all of our wars, but I have the utmost respect for those who fight in them, and those who give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms at home.
With that said, there’s 10 minutes til kickoff, so here are my picks of the week:
Lots of tough picks this week reader, there are honestly about 6 that I could go either way on. So we’ll see what happens.
So who’s excited for the second Thursday Night game of the season? Ya, it shouldn’t exactly be as entertaining as that 42-38 Packers v Saints game to start off the year… but you know that as a Charger fan, I’m rooting for my Bolts to finally put it together. But there are a couple other things I want to talk about before we get to that.
When thinking about a topic for today, I realized that I haven’t really talked about one of the biggest stories of the whole season so far, Timmy Terrific. I’ve picked a few of his games, but I haven’t discussed his real impact on the NFL and Fantasy Football. So I thought I’d take today and talk about Tebow, along with 3 or 4 other new QB’s that have entered the league mid-season and what, if any, fantasy value they have.
And that brings us to Thursday night. Can I just say that the commercial that the NFL network has circulating has me more excited for the game, than the real potential of how it’s going to turn out. Have you seen it readers? The one with the surfer Charger fans, and punk skateboarding Raider fans riding into their homes to watch the game? I thought that was pretty cool. I wish I could find a link for you guys… but I just can’t seem to get it. Anyway, in reality the game is looking to be between two teams who are currently struggling a little bit, with first place in the AFC West on the line. The teams are both on a short rest/study week which is likely to hurt the Raiders more than the Chargers, seeing as how they’re still working on incorporating a new QB into their system. I’ve already talked a bit about the various Raiders skill players and their fantasy impacts, so lets briefly cover the Chargers a little bit. The popular topic with the Chargers this week is that Philip Rivers is seriously struggling. And as a Charger fan, I think the trouble goes a little deeper, possibly up to the level of the play calling ability of Norv Turner. But none of that really matters in the fantasy arena. As much as Rivers has been catching heat recently, he’s still putting up pretty nice fantasy numbers. He’s only had 2 single digit games, and is the 11th ranked fantasy QB. He’s an absolute starter in pretty much any line up unless you lucked out with picking someone like Stafford or Cam as a back up. In the run game, San Diego has the 13th and 17th ranked RB’s with Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert. Matthews is listed as probable for tomorrows game with a groin injury, though his time could very likely be split with Tolbert who tends to get goal line opportunities anyway. If I had to pick between the two, I’d probably go with Tolbert this week, but Matthews’ owners should be fine next week when Ryan gets a long week of rest after this Thursday game. I’ve already written a couple times about Antonio Gates… basically saying that I’m not a huge buyer with that nagging foot/leg injury that he’s been dealing with for some time now. He seems just as likely to get 0 points as he is to get 10-15. In the receiving core, the only real WR of value on the team is Vincent Jackson, who is the 6th ranked fantasy WR. The thing with Jackson though is that, like Gates, he seems just as likely to have a terrible game as a great one. He’s a little too unstable for me, but if you have him on your team, he’s probably worth the start.
For the game I’m picking the Chargers, I think the Raiders are still figuring things out, and Rivers and the rest of the team are likely going to come out with something to prove. I’ll get to the rest of my picks later in the week, but for now, that’s what I got.
This has been Sports Stock Radio. I am Jake your Fantasy Sports Broker. Thanks for reading.
Well… it was a strange weekend for me readers. My fantasy projections panned out pretty well, but I couldn’t pick a game to save my life. On one hand, it makes for excellent television. Does anyone else out there have DirectTv? Isn’t it a beautiful thing readers? 8 channels of NFL on one screen where you can flip back and forth at will… Combine that with the apparent parity of the league this year, and it makes for some awesome Sundays. BUT, on the other hand, it’s making me look like a bit of a chump on this lovely blog here. I’ll learn readers, I will.
Here’s what I got right, and what I got wrong:
Whew… that was a much longer “Wrong” list than I would have liked, but oh well there’s always next week. Let’s now look ahead to the MNF game tonight, that is looking like it’s going to be a good one. On paper, it looks like it’s the classic Power O vs. Power D type game, however both of these teams have had their down weeks on the side of the ball where they’re supposed to dominate. Chicago has given up 30 to the Saints, 27 to Green Bay, 29 to Carolina, and 24 to the Lions… and we all know Vick has had his share of poor QB mistakes. Everyone at ESPN seems to be talking about Vick starting to be able to “read the field”. It’s like the buzz term of the week. I still think they’re a small finesse team that has a real weakness with turnovers. But we’ll have to see. I don’t feel a huge need to go into great detail about the fantasy impact here… Everyone owns Vick, everyone owns McCoy, and Avant, and Celek, and Maclin, and Forte and Hester (in return points leagues)… It should be a nice match up of stars tonight with points to be had all around. I say enjoy the game, because the NFL is really showing why it has become America’s sport with thrilling match ups week in and week out. Every game seems more important than the last. I have the Eagles tonight, in a lower scoring game than you might imagine… Let’s just hope that this week doesn’t end up at 7-7. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for reading folks. This is Jake at Sports Stock Radio.
Here are my picks for this lovely Sunday:
With 8 weeks under our belt, I decided that I’d borrow an idea from the awesome guys at NFL Live, and have our own version of the Mid-Season Awards. Now, I didn’t watch their version, but just like everything else here at Sports Stock Radio, these awards are going to be fantasy centered. I know Saturdays are supposed to be video days, but I missed my post yesterday and I think this should be a pretty good combination/substitute. So lets get right to it.
Best Quaterback: I’m giving this award to the one and only Cam Newton. While the Panthers are only 2-6, you’ll remember that these awards are fantasy centered. And real life wins don’t always translate to fantasy points (just ask Andy Dalton: 5-2, yet only 84 fantasy points) and, as with Mr. Newton, the opposite is also quite true. The rookie has scored more points than any other player in the whole NFL up to this point. And while this era’s NFL is trending towards the strong passing game (the top 5 fantasy scorers are all QB’s: Newton, Rodgers, Brees, Stafford, Brady), Cam might not be winning games, but he’s putting up points. He’s 2nd in the league in passing yards, T7th in passing TD’s, T3rd in passing plays of 40+ yards, and T3rd in rushing TD’s (all positions included). Cam has surpassed all expectations set of him… at least as far as fantasy value is concerned.
Best Running Back: I literally wrote an entire paragraph for Adrian Peterson to get this award… but I had to delete it. AP leads RB’s in rushing yards, TD’s, and total fantasy points… But there is one stat that I simply can’t get past, and it’s the one that cost him the title. Through reading my articles you know that one thing I love above almost anything in fantasy football is consistency. And that is the one area where Peterson is getting beaten. So, my best running back of the season is: LeSean McCoy of the Eagles. What was the stat that tipped the scales in his favor? McCoy is averaging over 20 fantasy points per game, whereas Peterson is only at 18. But what attracts me more is that Peterson has had 3 games where he hasn’t reached the double digit mark, and McCoy has yet to do so. From week 1 to 8, McCoy has scored at least 10 points. Of course that means that for AP to be beating him, McCoy’s highs aren’t as high as AP’s. But his lows are much better. And that’s something I love in fantasy. Avoiding the bad games. And McCoy simply doesn’t have them.
Best Wide Receiver: I believe this is likely the biggest blow out position. It’s not even close. Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions has taken himself (and Matt Stafford by connection) to an entirely different level. He has the highest total fantasy points of all WR’s, trailing only the top 5 QB’s and the two RB’s I just mentioned, in overall rankings. But the shocking thing is that it isn’t even close. He has nearly 30 more total points than #2 Wes Welker. He only has the 3rd most yards, but has 5 more TD’s than any other WR, and is 2nd in plays of over 40 yards. Megatron is a beast. Plain and simple. The Lions seem to be really pulling it together this year, and many of their players are hot fantasy commodities.
Best TE: The second biggest blow out is here at the tight end position. It seems to be a struggling position over all this season in all but 1 or 2 cases. Perennial powerhouse Antonio Gates only has about 25 points on the year. Generally strong Vernon Davis is outside the top 10. And only 4 TE’s in all have 60 or more total points. So much like Megatron leads the receivers, so does Jimmy Graham lead the TE’s. He leads in total fantasy points by about 20, leads receiving yards by 200, and is only second in TD’s (to a player he leads in yards by nearly 600).
Best Defense: Depending on which fantasy system you use, the Lions and Ravens defense flip flop as to which has the most fantasy points so far (ESPN likes Baltimore, and Yahoo! likes the Lions). So for my pick, I’m going to look at their divisions. I believe in looking at divisions when considering wide spanning stats like overall defense or offense. The Ravens have to play the Steelers and the surprisingly good Bengals twice each this season, whereas the only potent offense in the Lions division is the Packers. This means the Lions are generally in the better position to put up points against fewer powerhouse offenses. The truth of the matter is that defenses are scoring surprisingly well with 11 over the 60 point mark (on Yahoo!), as compared to only 4 TE’s. So make sure you keep everything in perspective while considering the value of different pieces within trades; generally speaking a good defense will set you up better than a good TE.
Lastly I want to include a section to help those out who aren’t exactly feeling like mid-season is any time to celebrate, and are getting killed by byes and injuries. These are the best value picks as I see them.
Best Value Picks at Each Position:
QB: Matt Hasselbeck. I believe I mentioned him a while back as having an extremely quiet, yet productive, season. He’s the 13th ranked QB on ESPN and is only owned in 55% of leagues, and only starting in 17%. His stock is extremely low for being statistically so high. There are plenty of big name QB’s who aren’t playing up to expectations this year (Rivers anybody?), and Hasselbeck is not only out scoring Rivers, he’s out averaging him, and has only 1 single digit game, to Rivers’ 2. Colt McCoy is another great example of the Hasselbeck situation, and has nearly identical numbers, but has much lower own/start percentages.
RB: The problem with RB’s is that the best are almost always owned. Therefore, the only value I can really comment on is those who are only being started in small numbers. There aren’t generally many great options you can pick up in free agency, but trades are still possible options. The best example of this is Darren Sproles of the Saints. While he is owned in 100% of leagues, he’s only starting in just under 70% of them. That is still a high number, but he might still be tradeable if you have excess value at another position. I generally shy away from having Saints players because of their extremely spread out offense. But with Mark Ingram out with injury, Sproles has one less guy to fight against for touches. Granted, he’s not my favorite back out there… but he has value that you might actually be able to get.
WR: My man for this category is one that I know I’ve talked about before, and that is AJ Green of the Bengals. For specific stats read this post, but also be aware that even though he’s owned at 100%, he’s only getting the start around 70% like Sproles. And with there being 3 Wide Receiver positions per team in most leagues… that tells me that 3 out of 10 people don’t even think he’s in their top 3 options. That screams trade value. Maybe sneak a trade with a big name TE, and see if you can get any bites.
TE: I’m going to have to be pretty liberal with how I define value here… but there has been one name that has been popping up in my stat checks tonight… and that is Scott Chandler, TE for Buffalo. Now, we know the big 3 in Buffalo are all producing out of their shoes (Fitzpatrick, Johnson, and Jackson), but don’t forget about this generally no-name TE. He’s ranking towards the top TE’s this season (which isn’t saying a whole lot), but he’s only owned at 28%. The problem with Chandler is consistency. He’s not a yards guy (barely over 100 on the year), but he seems to be a big red zone target. He actually leads all tight ends with 6 TD’s, but it’s extremely hit and miss. If he doesn’t find the end zone, then he doesn’t nearly get enough yards to make up for it… But if he does, then there’s a quick 6 points. If you’re really desperate, #1 remember that all TE’s are slacking this year, and #2 give Chandler a look. He’s basically a roll of the dice, but sometimes that’s the best you can ask for.
DEF: Just like the surprising AJ Green and Andy Dalton, you might be surprised to find out that the Bengals D is ranking 4th in fantasy points on ESPN. They’re 2nd in rush D, and 9th in pass D, both in yards allowed. And they’re again ranked 4th in points allowed per game. They are averaging about 12 fantasy points per game, but they have had a few stinkers against the likes of the Bills, the Orton-Broncos, and Browns, but I don’t think there’s a defense in the league that has been completely safe this season considering the way that offenses have been dominating the game.
Alright, well I guess that’s it for this brief awards article. I was going to try to get quirky with things… maybe stuff like “Most likely to double their score” or “Defense most likely to get the most picks on Brady” but… the Game of the Century is on, and I’m human. I’m also Jake, your Fantasy Sports Broker. Thanks for reading Sports Stock.