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!

Week 7 Crag Index

Re-inventing the way we evaluate fantasy football running backs – the innovative Crag Index. This was a big week for byes as Atlanta, KC, Denver, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego rested 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. A. Foster – 184.50   (1)
  2. A. Bradshaw – 62.53   (4)
  3. F. Gore – 59.07      (3)
  4. R. Rice – 53.70      (2)
  5. S. Greene – 41.78   (6)
  6. M. Turner – 38.60   (5)
  7. A. Peterson – 31.70   (15)
  8. T. Richardson – 31.64   (8)
  9. C.J. Spiller – 30.29     (7)
  10. A. Brown – 30.02      (13)
  11. M. Lynch – 28.40     (10)
  12. W. McGahee – 27.85    (9)
  13. A. Morris – 25.87      (14)
  14. S. Ridley – 24.26     (11)
  15. R. Bush – 23.67      (12)
  16. B. Green-Ellis – 19.04     (16)
  17. M. Bush – 16.88       (17)
  18. D. Martin – 16.49     (22)
  19. J. Charles – 14.10     (18)
  20. L. McCoy – 13.83      (19)
  21. C. Johnson – 12.66    (NR)
  22. J. Battle – 12.27     (20)
  23. D. McFadden – 10.95   (23)
  24. D. Sproles – 10.58       (26)
  25. M. Jones-Drew III – 9.15    (21)
  26. M. Forte – 8.66       (25)
  27. M. LeShoure – 7.80    (27)
  28. R. Mathews – 6.69      (24)
  29. K. Hunter – 6.41         (30)
  30. F. Jackson – 6.19       (46)
  31. P. Thomas – 6.18       (NR)
  32. D. Murray – 5.98     (29)
  33. D. Williams – 5.85     (28)
  34. K. Smith – 4.89      (34)
  35. D. Brown – 4.82     (31)
  36. L. Stephens-Howling – 4.80    (53)
  37. B. Bolden – 4.63      (33)
  38. D. Woodhead – 4.63     (36)
  39. S. Jackson – 4.62      (NR)
  40. B. Tate – 4.34    (40)
  41. F. Jones – 4.08     (41)
  42. J. Rodgers – 4.03    (39)
  43. C. Benson – 3.84     (35)
  44. I. Redman – 3.77    (38)
  45. L. Blount – 3.49      (32)
  46. J. Stewart – 3.15      (44)
  47. J. Bell – 3.08         (43)
  48. R. Mendenhall – 3.05     (37)
  49. D. Thomas – 2.47    (49)
  50. D. Wilson – 2.42    (45)

As usual just the stats but I will follow up with a breakdown of player movement up and down the ladder.  At first look though one thing is obvious, if you drafted Arian Foster you are a happy owner.

Deeper Look at the Crag Index

The teams that have lowered a running backs Crag Index ( Find your Week 6 Crag Index Here) the most by average are:

  1. Pittsburgh @ -5.414
  2. NY Giants @ -4.469
  3. Arizona @     -1.89
  4. NO Saints @ -1.461
  5. NE Patriots @ -1.097
  6. Houston  @ – 0.365
  7. Minnesota @ -.21

I still think the jury is out on the Saints so far but the rest of these teams have solid against opposing backs. The Broncos, Bears, Eagles, Seahawks, Miami and Cincinnati follow with an increase of Crag allowed under 1.

Now the part we all salivate over, what teams allow the highest Crag Index gains.

  1. Indianapolis @ 10.02
  2. Green Bay @ 9.7822
  3. Buffalo @ 9.1541
  4. Carolina @ 8.2819
  5. Jacksonville @ 6.9932
  6. Cleveland @ 6.6792
  7. NY Jets @ 6.0035

The outlier here is Green Bay getting smoked for a 52.367 Crag Index increase by Arian Foster. Aside from that they have held every other player to under 5 points of an increase  with 3 of their other 5 opposing backs gaining less than 1 on the index. Indy, Buffalo, Carolina and the Jets have given up a gain over ten twice while only the Browns have twice given up gains of twenty.

If I was going to make some gambles off this list I would think the Patriots would unleash the hurry up and run on the Jets with some success while Shonn Greene and Alfred Morris would find tough running in their week 7 matches. As a sly bridge to a piece I’ll have coming in the next weeks….

It’s time to start finding a running back that plays Indy or Cleveland in your fantasy playoffs – good luck out there and stay lucky in week number 7.

Week 7 UPs and OUTs

Here’s the wrap up from an ugly week of picks from Week 6 – QB’s should score over/under 15, RB/WR’s over/under 10, TE’s over/under 8 and Defense over 8… Here comes the ugly.

UPs that were UP – Andy Dalton – 22.74 and Doug Martin – 13.1 points…ouch.

UPs that were OUT – Andrew Hawkins – 3.7, Michael Crabtree – 2.6, William Powell – 7.8, Coby Fleener – 4.2 and Patriots D – 6 points.

UPs scoring 2-5   UPs score on the year – 22-15

OUTs that were OUT – Marshawn Lynch – 5.2, Rob Gronkowski – 6.1 and 49ers Defense – 2 points.

OUTs that were UP – Tom Brady – 21.8, Tony Romo – 17.44, Jordy Nelson – 30.1, Victor Cruz – 11.8 and Alfred Morris – 11.6 points.  Jordy Nelson…  it just burns saying the name on the list after that week… my picks put the Frank Thomas on me this week.

OUTs scoring 3-5      OUTs scoring for the season – 20-18

Week 6 overall 5-10             Season overall – 42-33  – 56%  

Thought I had some good options last week but they just didn’t play out as I saw it.  Let’s try it again and see what we can do…..here goes nothing

Week 7 UPs –

  1. Joe Flacco – As Houston puts points up on the injury plagued Ravens D they will rely on Flacco to follow the Packers template to abuse Houston in the air.
  2. Hakeem Nicks – Washington has been very generous to opposing wide receivers and the Giants will likely try to get him back into form.
  3. Denarius Moore – The Jags have let up a hundred yards AND a touchdown to a wide out in the last three weeks.  The Raiders have been looking for more Moore and it should continue.
  4. Chris Johnson – A great head to head match of a Swiss cheese defense vs a sieve defense.
  5. Fred Jackson – Will be running for the sieve team.
  6. Martellus Bennett – The Redskins have let up points to tight ends and Bennett will get a few looks in the red zone as the Giants move the ball.
  7. NY Giants Defense – The Giants defensive line efforts against opposing offenses has resembled a 80’s Tyson fight, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Week 7 OUTs 

  1. Robert Griffin III –   Giants have hit the opponents early and often and are athletic enough to keep Griffin within the tackles until he gets sacked.  The key here is that they can keep him from gaining yards on the ground by dominating up front.
  2. Percy Harvin – As the only go to wide out for Minnesota he should attract plenty of attraction from Peterson which could spell trouble.
  3. Calvin Johnson – Averages 79.4 yards per game in Chicago and in five games has only scored 1 touchdown there….in 2008. In that stretch he only has two games with either a touchdown or 100 yards out of five.
  4. Michael Crabtree – Manningham is out and the top corners for Seattle have wiped out wide outs.
  5. Marshawn Lynch – Although the game will likely be close with opportunity to run they didn’t get it done against the Patriots on the ground and San Francisco shouldn’t be any easier.
  6. Frank Gore – Similar to Lynch, he didn’t get it done vs. the Giants and the Seahawks swallowed up Ridley last week. To add another hint to these guys struggling, the Vegas over/under for this game is a couple points lower than any other league matchup for week 7. The ground at Candlestick should play like mud.
  7. Shonn Greene – New England took Lynch out of the game to force Wilson to beat them last week. Seemed like a good idea before the game and they should look to force Sanchez to throw while taking Greene out of the game this week.
  8. Houston Texans – It’s a copy cat league and the Ravens aren’t bird brained. Houston got burned in the air last week and the Ravens will likely need to put up some points to win.

Week 6 Crag Index

Why are Quarterbacks the only skill players with a rating system?  It’s a quarterback’s league but this is Craig’s rating system.  Here are the top 50 running backs listed by their Crag Index with last weeks rankings in parentheses…behold the week 6 Crag Index!

  1. A. Foster 120.55   (2)
  2. R. Rice 71.62    (3)
  3. F. Gore  50.50   (1)
  4. A. Bradshaw 49.06   (5)
  5. M. Turner 38.60    (4)
  6. S. Greene 36.62   (31)
  7. C.J. Spiller 31.91    (9)
  8. T. Richardson  30.12   (7)
  9. W. McGahee  27.85   (10)
  10. M. Lynch 26.69     (8)
  11. S. Ridley  24.41    (11)
  12. R. Bush  23.67   (12)
  13. A. Brown  22.91   (6)
  14. A. Morris  22.59    (14)
  15. A. Peterson  17.64   (13)
  16. B. Green-Ellis  17.00   (18)
  17. M. Bush  16.41   (16)
  18. J. Charles  14.10   (17)
  19. L. McCoy  13.83   (19)
  20. J. Battle  12.27    (15)
  21. M. Jones-Drew  11.48    (20)
  22. D. Martin 9.86    (28)
  23. D. McFadden  9.82    (35)
  24. R. Matthews  7.59    (22)
  25. M. Forte  7.39     (23)
  26. D. Sproles  7.33     (25)
  27. M. LeShoure  6.96    (27)
  28. D. Williams  6.57     (30)
  29. D. Murray  6.27     (29)
  30. K. Hunter  6.22     (21)
  31. D. Brown  5.79     (24)
  32. L. Blount  5.45     (47)
  33. B. Bolden  5.22    (37)
  34. K. Smith  5.09     (32)
  35. C. Benson  4.71    (33)
  36. D. Woodhead  4.62    (38)
  37. R. Mendenhall  4.50    (26)
  38. I. Redman  4.43      (39)
  39. J. Rodgers 4.03    (36)
  40. B. Tate  3.30    (34)
  41. F. Jones  3.05   (NR)
  42. M. Ingram 3.04    (40)
  43. J. Bell  2.96   (43)
  44. J. Stewart 2.91    (41)
  45. D. Wilson  2.77    (44)
  46. F. Jackson  2.70     (NR)
  47. D. Thomas  2.47    (42)
  48. S. Draughn  1.62    (45)
  49. L. Miller  1.45    (46)
  50. M. Tolbert   .98    (48)

Arian Foster is the first to crack 100, the guy is good.  Ray Rice follows giving reassurance for his high draft price and it should be noted that if the Crag Index was up and running he would have had the highest of 2011.  Shonn Greene just took a big jump after a huge three touchdown afternoon against Indy.  He should level out against New England who held Marshawn Lynch in check in week 6.

I’ll check back shortly with what teams are allowing the most increase or decrease in Crag Index soon.

Good luck out there….