The Wide World of Fantasy Possibilities

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Behold the delicious dynamic of a fantasy championship won on the internet while sitting on your couch watching your commodities do all the gritty work.  I can understand why the Wall Street guys feel like they are on top of the world….

If you haven’t heard of fantasy sports you aren’t watching FX or checking out NY Times best sellers lately and that could very well be a good portion of the population.

The fake sports leagues have been rising in popularity for years to the point where even NFL.com hosts leagues.  They know that fantasy leagues are a great way to promote their product so that fans follow more than just the local team they support.

So if we all agree fantasy sports aren’t going away and are a pivotal point for promoting the product of NFL sports, let me put forward a few ideas to expand upon the basic head to head dominant structure of Fantasy Football leagues.

  1.  Rotisserie – How is it possible that this isn’t an option at the major hosting sites already?  Rotisserie is a mainstay in Basketball and Baseball but somehow hasn’t cracked into the scene in Football.  You could easily segue the other sports scenarios into a league with 10 categories of Passing Yards, Passing TD’s, Rushing Yards, Rushing TD’s, Receiving Yards and Receiving TD’s for Offenses with Sacks, Turnovers Forced and TD’s for Team Defense/Special Teams and Field Goals Made for Kickers. Now I don’t generally enjoy rotisserie leagues with the longer seasons of Basketball and Baseball but it might be possible that Football plays out with more up and down movement in rotisserie standings that creates a dynamism that the other sports lack.
  2. Huge Rosters - This is one that you can set up anywhere and this year I created this league as a ‘Selects League’ for previous champions.  If you had Doug Martin when he went for 272 yards and 4 touchdowns last year against the Raiders in week 9, you won.  It didn’t matter if your quarterback was Jake Locker… you won.  There’s an easy way to remedy this discrepancy and that is to enlarge the starting rosters.  That said I doubled traditional rosters and set up a league that starts 2 QB’s, 6 WR’s, 4 RB’s, 2 TE’s, 2 K’s and 2 Team Defenses.  The idea is that it will take a team to get a win not one superstar any given Sunday.  I know what your thinking though: rosters that deep in a regular league must look ugly at the bottom of starting lineups.  I went for a six team max and so should you.
  3. The Fantasy Horror Show - This one is a fresh one from my imagination to the attention of the non-typical sports fans who would like a strong aberration  from the standard fantasy league.  This league is a head to head league as typical as anything ever with one huge difference.  Each week one player off of an active roster is ‘Killed’.  The player goes to a ‘Zombie Team’ and after the 13 week regular season the ‘Zombie Team’ will have a complete roster.  Enter the playoffs:  take your pick for 5 or 3 teams making the playoffs and the other team in to round the league off at the traditional 6 or 4 team playoffs tournament will be the ‘Zombie Team’. Imagine the nerve wrecking prospects of matching up head to head with the ‘Zombie Team’ in the first week of the playoffs with your season on the line?  Keep your fingers crossed someone had Blaine Gabbert on their roster and that was the guy randomly selected to be the Zombie Team QB.
  4. The Team Survivor Series - Ideally a 16 team league where you don’t go head to head but leave the league wide open.  The lowest scoring team each week is eliminated. For instance the lowest scoring team in week one is done for the year with their roster locked.  Rinse and repeat for weeks 2 -16 until there is one team left standing.  The Survivor Series is complete week 16 with one team that slid through the full season without being the lowest scorer any week left on top of the pile as the Survivor Champion.
  5. The 2000-2001 Baltimore Ravens League - Basically the inverse of every league you have played in previously.  The Ravens won this championship with studs on defense and nobodies on offense.  Exhibit A – Trent Dilfer: widely considered the worst QB in the modern era to ever win a championship.  That said the inverse league I propose goes a little something like this: you draft a team offense and individual defensive players.  I know that your top pick might be the team offense that you want to roll with for a season but the pivotal point of a team will be your ability to draft a rotund defense similar to the one the Ravens rolled out in the 2000-2001 season.

Bottom line is the game is drawing more and more popularity in the same old format as ever.  There are over 30 million people playing fantasy sports and the best options are standard or auction leagues, we can do better.  We live in an infinite world of infinite possibilities and it’s about time the fantasy world live up to it’s name.

Week 10 Crag Index

This week’s bye teams were Green Bay, Arizona, Cleveland and Washington. While those backs slept Arian Foster topped 100 in the Crag and still holds the reigns on this years charge to the finish line. Here’s how the running backs rank after ten weeks of play with last week’s rank in parenthesis:

  1. Arian Foster – 107.03         (1)
  2. Doug Martin – 85.14             (2)
  3. Ray Rice – 71.83                    (3)
  4. Marshawn Lynch – 63.21    (8)
  5. Adrian Peterson – 62.01       (4)
  6. Frank Gore – 58.40                (6)
  7. Trent Richardson – 51.11      (7)
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw – 50.93     (5)
  9. Willis McGahee – 50.43           (9)
  10. Shonn Greene – 45.67             (10)
  11. Andre Brown – 45.64              (13)
  12. Stevan Ridley – 44.26             (14)
  13. Mike Turner – 36.09                (11)
  14. Mikel LeShoure – 33.99         (12)
  15. C.J. Spiller – 31.75                  (16)
  16. Chris Johnson – 30.16           (21)
  17. Reggie Bush – 28.88               (15)
  18. Alfred Morris – 27.03           (17)
  19. Matt Forte – 24.40               (18)
  20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 22.29  (19)
  21. LeSean McCoy – 21.64           (20)
  22. Jamaal Charles – 18.86           (22)
  23. Felix Jones – 14.24                  (29)
  24. Fred Jackson – 13.95             (36)
  25. Chris Ivory – 13.30                 (38)
  26. Mike Bush – 12.73                   (23)
  27. Darren Sproles – 10.84          (24)
  28. Danny Woodhead – 10.21     (39)
  29. Jackie Battle – 9.91                  (25)
  30. Isaac Redman – 9.39                (28)
  31. Steve Jackson – 8.63               (46)
  32. Joique Bell – 8.25                    (27)
  33. Maurice Jones-Drew – 8.19    (31)
  34. Larod Stephens-Howling – 8.16    (32)
  35. Darren McFadden – 8.16              (26)
  36. DeAngelo Williams – 7.16            (30)
  37. Ryan Mathews – 6.52                    (33)
  38. Daniel Thomas – 6.38                      (49)
  39. Pierre Thomas – 5.87                      (34)
  40. Don Brown – 5.38                         (41)
  41. Vick Ballard – 5.11                      (43)
  42. Kendall Hunter – 4.93                (35)
  43. Demarco Murray – 4.28               (37)
  44. Kevin Smith – 4.15                      (40)
  45. Brandon Bolden – 4.13               (42)
  46. Jacquizz Rodgers – 3.77           (44)
  47. Mark Ingram – 3.66                   (51)
  48. Cedric Benson – 3.52                   (48)
  49. Ben Tate – 3.49                               (45)
  50. Jonathan Stewart – 3.16             (47)

If you drafted early on Darren McFadden, Demarco Murray or Maurice Jones-Drew it is distressing that this late in the season they are ranked among back up running backs on the index. You might get the ink ready for the official ‘BUST’ stamp.  The top seven have proved recession proof  with production against even some of the hardest match-ups. You’ve probably figured out by now they are must starts every week. The next group from 8-22 are solid second options for running backs and are consistent performers. Although they lack the big game that might win your whole week, like Doug Martin putting up over 50 in week 9, they should be started every week as well.  In the fortunate situation that you have three running backs with a Crag Index over 20, you might be in for some tough start/sit decisions. If your backs are all under 22, well you probably just missed the deadline for a trade and there’s nothing I can say that will help you now. Picking up a backup for a running back over 29 and hoping for the injury at this point might be your only hope.

Good luck in week 11!

Crag Index Week 9

First off, I have to apologize.  I have tried my best to maintain innovation and deliver the cutting edge in running back analysis through a statistical indexed rating of all running backs. There are many ways to examine the position but, unlike the quarterback which has it’s own singular rating as well as the Everyday Sports Paparazzi Network’s new rating, the running back is left to the rudimentary statistics. I strive for the cumulative rating that comprehends all the necessary facets of a top tier fantasy running back. All good, but my math was off the last couple weeks for Arian Foster.  He has been the top running back most of the season but he isn’t as far ahead of the league as his Crag has shown. Personally I see this as bush league but I did it and I’m not about to cover it up *cough*Benghazi*cough*.

To correct myself, his Crag for week 8 should have been 84.665 instead of 184.5, for week 7  and 8 (week 8 was his bye) which was still number 1, but week 6 should have been  60.113 instead of 120.55 – which means Ray Rice had him topped in week 6. Everything before week 6 was accurate to the best I can tell at this point (wait for future audits to prove otherwise) and I will attempt to push forward with the most innovative and credulous attempt to statistically analyze the running back position in a way that hasn’t yet been approached. I have been flooded with political mambo jambo so if this is unbearable then just know I am in a ‘battleground state’ and that I promise change for the better. Giddy up and HUZZAH! to week 9′s best try at honesty, the CRAG INDEX!!!!!

Keep in mind that St. Louis, New England, NY Jets and San Francisco held the same index through their bye weeks with no progression and to add to that and your fantasy football hopes you only have two more week of bye’s – almost there. Last week’s rankings are in parenthesis as usual.

The suspense on the Crag Index is back… Who will be the first to 100?!!?!???!

 

Here are the top 40 through 9 weeks -

  1. A. Foster – 98.04                (1)
  2. D. Martin – 84.71                (8)
  3. R. Rice – 70.19                    (3)
  4. A. Peterson – 56.82           (9)
  5. A. Bradshaw – 54.22          (2)
  6. F. Gore – 53.45                    (4)
  7. T. Richardson – 51.11        (5)
  8. M. Lynch – 48.31                 (11)
  9. W. McGahee – 46.67         (6)
  10. S. Greene – 43.43               (7)
  11. M. Turner – 40.90             (13)
  12. M. LeShoure – 37.97        (27)
  13. A. Brown – 37.09               (12)
  14.  S. Ridley – 36.50              (10)
  15. R. Bush – 33.05                  (16)
  16. C.J. Spiller  - 29.48            (14)
  17. A. Morris – 27.03              (15)
  18. M. Forte – 24.59                 (19)
  19. B. Green-Ellis – 22.64        (18)
  20. L. McCoy – 21.85                (17)
  21. C. Johnson – 21.66            (20)
  22. J. Charles – 12.66              (23)
  23. M. Bush – 12.26                  (21)
  24. D. Sproles – 12.24              (22)
  25. J. Battle – 11.95                (24)
  26. D. McFadden – 10.23        (25)
  27. J. Bell – 9.86                       (46)
  28. I. Redman – 9.34                (45)
  29. F. Jones – 9.34                   (29)
  30. D. Williams – 8.84            (35)
  31. M. Jones-Drew – 8.52      (26)
  32. L. Stephens-Howling – 8.16  (38)
  33. R. Mathews – 7.81                (29)
  34. P. Thomas- 6.38                (32)
  35. K. Hunter – 6.12               (31)
  36. F. Jackson – 5.68             (30)
  37. D. Murray – 5.33             (34)
  38. C. Ivory – 5.18                  (NR)
  39. D. Woodhead – 5.16       (36)
  40. K. Smith – 5.01                 (51)

Week 9 UPs and OUTs

Here are your Week 9 UPs and OUTs

UPs - 

  1. Matt Schaub – Facing the Bills, who have not been good, as he comes back from the bye. The risk with him is that they just run all day on the Bills.
  2. Jonathan Stewart – Getting the majority of the touches now with Deangelo on the outs which might be enough for him to get going against the Redskins
  3. Michael Bush – If you have Matt Forte you are definitely starting him but if the Titans falter and the Bears get up early the rumbling of Mike Bush might see pay dirt against a porous run defense.
  4. Denarius Moore – He has been better and better as the season wears on and he expands his route tree.
  5. Desean Jackson – The Eagles have their backs against the wall and Jackson should be ready to beat up on a tough Saints defense.
  6. Kyle Rudolph – The Seahawks are tough to score on all together but they can be soft up the middle for Rudolph to get going.
  7. San Diego Chargers Defense – Kansas City is a turnover waiting to happen whenever they have the ball.

OUTs -

  1. Matt Ryan – The Cowboys have been rough lately and the Falcons are going home where strangely Julio Jones disappears.
  2. Eli Manning – Only averaging 11.46 points per game in the last 3 and will face the Steelers who have been decent despite injuries.
  3. Chris Johnson – He has been coming on lately and has had good games against the Steelers and Texans but Chicago will be a different beast for Johnson to tame.
  4. Adrian Peterson – While he has made the best recovery from a significant knee injury perhaps ever, he will find the running rough in Seattle where they have only allowed one 100 yard rusher and most not named Frank Gore closer to 50 yards.
  5. A.J. Green – Champ Bailey put a blanket on Colston for most of the game last week and their Defense seems to be clicking.
  6. Julio Jones – He put the hurt on Asomugha last week but the Cowboys have been more disciplined against the pass and again his numbers at home are poor.
  7. Antonio Gates – He might be aging before our eyes as he seems to struggle to get open lately and couldn’t put up points on the Browns last week.
  8. New York Giants Defense – The Giants have the most takeaways in the league but the Steelers have the least giveaways.

Here is a recap from week 8 -  QB’s should score over/under 15, RB/WR’s over/under 10, TE’s over/under 8 and Defense over 8…

UPs that were UP - Shonn Greene at 10.6 points.

UPs that were OUT - Andrew Luck – 17.68, Alex Green – 8.2, Josh Gordon – 4.6, Kenny Britt – 3.4, Jermichael Finley – 2.4 and Atlanta Defense at 4 points.

UPs for week 8 = 1-6.                                   UPs record for the season = 26-25

OUTs that were OUT - Eli Manning – 6.98, Sam Bradford – 11.5, Alfred Morris – 5.9, Steven Jackson – 4.5, Calvin Johnson – 4.6, Victor Cruz – 2.3, and Vernon Davis at 3.4 points.

OUTs that were UP - Green Bay Packers Defense at 13 points.

OUTs for week 8 = 7-1                                  OUTs record for the season = 29-25

Overall record for the season = 55-50  at 52%

If half your team is on the outs and the other half is on the ups then you might just be alright if I’m going to stay around 50%….

 

 

Patriot’s 2012 – Re-branding Offense?

There has already been plenty of talk about what the Patriots have been able to do with a new hurry up offense. The side stories and conspiracies about Wes Welker not getting the ball in the first couple weeks have been swept well under the rug as Welker is now second to only Reggie Wayne in passing yards.  Rob Gronkowski just went American werewolf in London with 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ridley has held up as a top back and sits at 4th in rushing yards with 716 and a Crag Index continually in the top 15. There’s no surprise that this three headed monster fed by Tom Brady added to a stable of capable and hungry running backs as well as Brandon Lloyd coming on in recent weeks that the Patriots are leading the NFL in scoring per game at 32.8.

What might surprise you is a stat that isn’t often mentioned, that the Pats are averaging 76.625 plays per game.  Only four other teams, Detroit (72.57), New Orleans (71), Indianapolis (71) and Kansas City (70.43) are over 70.

The Patriots have separated from the best teams and are well above the league average of 64.81 plays per game. Interestingly these five teams have seven of the top fifteen targeted wide receivers on the season. It should go without saying that Welker, Lloyd, and Gronk are looking to be must plays along with Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe from these teams. It’s unfortunate that Bowe doesn’t have a better quarterback as he has the lowest completion per target rate on this list.  Clearly the opportunity is there though with these guys.

The bottom five teams for plays are Jacksonville (58.57), Seattle (58.75), St. Louis (59.5), Carolina (59.714) and Tennessee (59.75) have only four receivers in the top fifty for targets. Those five teams are also in the bottom five for points per game but then again so are the Colts and Chiefs.

My favorite stat of the year though would be that the Chicago Bears defense has as many receptions for touchdowns as the Chiefs and one more than Dolphins and Panthers offenses. I know it’s a bit of non-sequitur but I just couldn’t resist pointing this out.

As a New England resident, I might just be another guy looking for a reason to like the home team, but if the Patriot’s defense can get in a rhythm and keep this pace on offense they will be tough to stop in the second half of the season.

Week 8 Crag Index

The only fantasy rating to add perspective to your running back concerns – the Crag Index. Week 8′s teams on the bye were Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Houston and their backs held at their previous index. Here are your top 50 backs through seven weeks with their rankings from last week in parenthesis:

  1. Arian Foster – 184.50       (1)
  2. A. Bradshaw – 55.47         (2)
  3. R. Rice – 53.70                     (4)
  4. F. Gore – 53.45                      (3)
  5. T. Richardson – 44.89        (8)
  6. W. McGahee – 43.79           (12)
  7. S. Greene – 43.43                  (5)
  8. D. Martin – 42.84                   (18)
  9. A. Peterson – 36.92             (7)
  10. S. Ridley – 36.50                     (14)
  11. M. Lynch – 35.68                  (11)
  12. A. Brown – 31.03                  (10)
  13. M. Turner – 30.71                (6)
  14. C.J. Spiller – 30.29              (9)
  15. A. Morris – 25.65                 (13)
  16. R. Bush – 23.77                     (15)
  17. L. McCoy – 20.90               (20)
  18. B. Green-Ellis – 19.04        (16)
  19. M. Forte – 15.91                 (26)
  20. C. Johnson – 13.64            (21)
  21. M. Bush – 13.53                 (17)
  22. D. Sproles – 13.05             (24)
  23. J. Charles – 12.94             (19)
  24. J. Battle – 11.75                  (22)
  25. D. McFadden – 11.66        (23)
  26. M. Jones-Drew – 8.77       (25)
  27. M. LeShoure – 8.55             (27)
  28. F. Jones – 8.37                     (41)
  29. R. Mathews – 7.60              (28)
  30. F. Jackson – 6.19                (30)
  31. K. Hunter – 6.12                  (29)
  32. P. Thomas – 5.82               (31)
  33. D. Thomas – 5.64              (49)
  34. D. Murray – 5.49             (32)
  35. D. Williams – 5.2              (33)
  36. D. Woodhead – 5.16       (38)
  37. D. Brown – 4.97               (35)
  38. L. Stephens-Howling – 4.88    (36)
  39. B. Bolden – 4.63                (37)
  40. B. Tate – 4.34                    (40)
  41. J. Rodgers – 4.06            (42)
  42. S. Jackson – 3.91            (39)
  43. C. Benson – 3.74            (43)
  44. L. Blount – 3.74             (45)
  45. I. Redman – 3.58           (44)
  46. J. Bell – 3.45                  (47)
  47. V. Ballard – 3.42          (NR)
  48. J. Stewart – 3.17           (46)
  49. S. Vereen – 2.70           (57)
  50. R. Mendenhall – 2.55     (48)

No one has come closer to 70 let alone nearing to Arian Foster.  Even without playing he stays a level above all the other backs.  It will be interesting to see Ray Rice come back from his bye and see if he can gain some ground with Gore going into his bye. Doug Martin had the biggest game of the week and climbed ten spots with an index increase of 26 points. When the Crag comes out early hopefully it can be followed by further analysis as the season rolls into it’s second half.  This is go time for fantasy you should be entering the final third of your fantasy season and maneuvers for playoff positioning are going to get intense.

 

Week 8 UPs and OUTs

Starting as usual with a recap from week 7 -  QB’s should score over/under 15, RB/WR’s over/under 10, TE’s over/under 8 and Defense over 8…

UPs that were UP – Chris Johnson – 31.8, Fred Jackson – 18 and NY Giants D at 11 points.

UPs that were OUT – Joe Flacco – 8.58, Hakeem Nicks – 5.3, Denarius Moore – 9.6 and Martellus Bennett at 7.9 points.

UPs for week 7 = 3-4   Close on Moore and Bennett but so were the Jets…     UPs Season Wins – Losses = 25 – 19

OUTs that were OUT - Calvin Johnson – 3.4 and Michael Crabtree – 3.1 points… when you’re right you’re right tough going for them but when you’re wrong you’re….

OUTs that were OUT - RGIII – 24.22, Percy Harvin – 10.7, Marshawn Lynch 11.6, Frank Gore – 18.2, Shonn Greene – 14.8 and Houston D at 20 points.

OUTs for week 8 = 2-6                       OUTs Season Wins-Losses = 22 – 24

Season Wins – Losses = 47-43  that’s  52%

I don’t think I’ll be betting against RGIII again this year – with the success he has had running the ball he might have the highest floor of anyone week in and week out.

On to Week 8 -

UPs 

  1. Andrew Luck – Tennessee has been vulnerable in the passing game and they have allowed around 19 points per game by quarterbacks.  The risk here is a close ugly game with little offensive skill on either side but I would think Luck would prevail likely after Chris Johnson puts the Titans into a lead… hopefully it comes early.
  2. Shonn Greene – Miami has been decent versus the run but as a division game it should be ugly and close which will give Greene more touches to put up some points.
  3. Alex Green – Green means go right? It looks like he is the clear back of choice in GREEN Bay (terrible, I know, but I did it anyways) and this will be the week he lives up to his waiver add that you might be questioning after he put up 35 yards on 20 carries last week. The Jags defense can be run on and he is due.
  4. Josh Gordon – The over-sized rookie has been going off lately and should see plenty of targets after the Chargers hit the scoreboard early on the struggling Browns defense which is in the bottom ten for rushing and receiving yards allowed.
  5. Kenny Britt – The Colts have limited opposing quarterbacks to few yards but allowed plenty of rushing yards.  If the Titans can move the chains with Johnson then they might be able to punch it in with big ole Kenny Britt…. you think it’s a reach?  Well he’s on my fantasy team and I not only want him on that wall, I need him on that wall!
  6. Jermichael Finley – He hasn’t put up decent numbers most of the season but with Jennings and potentially Nelson out against the  Jaguars, he might be due for a day full of targets.  Let’s just hope he catches them.
  7. Atlanta Falcons Defense – They are tied with the third most interceptions so far this year and facing Vick who has thrown the most in the NFC.

OUTs

  1. Eli Manning – Only put up 12 points on the ‘Boys in week 1.  It’s been a long 7 weeks since then but Dallas hasn’t let a QB go for more than 18 fantasy points against them all year.
  2. Sam Bradford – As sexy as it is to pick against the Pat’s secondary, the Boston team will represent the American Yanks in Britain well and might even roll into the bye looking decent.
  3. Alfred Morris – Pittsburgh’s pass heavy offense should put a lead on early against the Redskins which might limit Morris’s touches if they can get up a few scores and stay there.
  4. Steven Jackson – He might be banged up or just plain old, after all he is over 29, either way the Pat’s have been tough up front lead by Wilfork and a disciplined core of linebackers.
  5. Calvin Johnson – He is still limited in practice, which might mean nothing, but he will be facing the Seattle corners which should mean something – a struggle.
  6. Victor Cruz – He struggled against the Cowboys in week one and the Ryan’s like to take away the quarterbacks safety valve on defense and he has been Eli’s go to guy.
  7. Vernon Davis – He only had one catch for thirty-two yards in Arizona last year.  The Card’s defense has improved and they have been solid against tight ends.
  8. Green Bay Packers Defense – As much as they should outmatch the Jaguars they will be without their big play maker in Charles Woodson and Jacksonville has taken care of the rock this year with only six teams turning it over less than them.

Let’s get the season record back closer to 60%  -  Good luck out there Fantasy Fanatics….

Huzzah!