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.

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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….