Welcome to week 12 everyone. This is where I usually lament the speediness in which the NFL season has flown by but I’ll try to refrain (as I type through the uncontrollable sobbing) and get straight to the fantasy footballness. We are so close to the fake football playoffs that we can taste it and today’s games are pretty darn important for a lot of us (and taste a little garlicky). It’s do or die! Raaagh!! Ok, you’ll probably live, seeing how this is “fake” football, but it still sucks to lose, so let’s do this!
I’ll throw some names out there that I like for this week and then link you up to some stuff I’ve been reading. Take a look see and best of luck to all your teams!
I’m looking forward to Sunday’s games since I missed many of them last week while going all East Bound and Down Jerry Reed style. But thankfully my butt groove is still intact and I feel like I can get right back into it Stella style.
Here are some guys I think won’t suck too bad:
Vince Young: The quarterbacks that have passed for over 300 yards against the Patriots are many. And those that have thrown less than 300 yards are few. Mark Sanchez, Eli Manning and Tyler Palko are the 3 that haven’t. Of course no QB has thrown over 2 touchdowns against them either. Many of the yards come after the Patriots get a lead and the opponent needs to pass often but the Patriots pass defense is in shambles. Vince Young will most likely get 250+ yards passing and 1-2 touchdowns. Not a huge number but the upside for more is certainly there if Brady and company can get a lead and get them in even more pass mode than usual.
Brandon Lloyd: The Glendale Cardinals love to give up big yardage to #1 wide receivers. Well, maybe not love, but they do it anyway for some reason. Last week was Michael Crabtree for 120 yards. They’ve also given up big yards to Lloyd himself with 80 yards, Anquan Boldin 145, Mike Wallace 118, Antonio Brown 102, Devin Aromashodu 81, Hakeem Nicks 162, Victor Cruz 98, Sidney Rice 109 and Steve Smith 179. Lloyd leads the league in targets since he became a Ram and should have a big game.
Brandon LaFell: It looks pretty likely that Legedu Naanee will be out against Indianapolis and the Colts have been dreadful against the pass (32nd in DVOA to WR2 as well). The only reason they don’t give up a billion yards passing per game is because no teams need to score that many when the Colts offense is about as putrid as their defense. LaFell is a much more talented receiver than Naanee but Naanee is more seasoned and the coaches rather have him out there with rookie Cam Newton. But as far as making catches LaFell can do that much better and as long as Naanee is out I really like LaFell to LaBeAmesome this week.
Chris Johnson: And your sleeper play of the week is Chris Johnson! Well, more like it’s ok to start him even though he sucks oh so bad because Tampa Bay is worse than him. They have faced some good running backs of late but have just been decimated by them and they’ve been giving up a lot of receiving yards to running backs and Johnson has been at least getting work in the receiving game. He’s not going to hit the holes hard like he has in the past but should have enough room to roam in the passing game.
Rashard Mendenhall: The Steelers have gone to a pass heavy attack which has hurt Mendhenhall who has averaged 5 yards a carry on carries 21 through 25 for his career. He has only topped 20 carries once this season and went for 143 yards that game. On Sunday night there is a decent chance we’ll see Mendenhall get more carries. With the Chiefs still being led by Tyler Palko they will have trouble scoring and the Steelers may want to limit Ben Roethlisberger with his thumb fracture.
Kevin Boss: Carson Palmer is proving his worth but Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore are hurting and the Bears have given up a league high 8 touchdowns to tight ends. This leads me to believe Boss will get his shot this week.
Jeff Brubach and I have been trying our hand at podcasting. You can check us out here.
Join me in this 20 team FanDuel League
If you lost Jahvid Best or Fred Jackson maybe grab one of these guys if they are available.
There are only a handful to maybe two handfuls of good quarterbacks out there and the rest are either too old, too young or too crappy. Let’s take a look at them shall we?
I’m not a Tebow hater and I think a quarterback can help his team win games in other ways than pure passing but I just don’t see how he can stay healthy in the NFL without more of a passing threat. Of course I could be wrong and often am. It will be interesting to see what happens. Here are a couple articles looking at his stats: A Statistical Analysis of the Miracles of Tim Tebow and Tim Tebow and the Narrative Fallacy is a great look at why Tebowmania has gotten a tad out of control.
The Cold Hard Football Facts look at all of today’s games.
Fantasy-o-Matic takes a look at some guys who might be able to help you in the fantasy playoffs.
Here are some links to some free stat services I use to wrap my brain around some of this stuff. Take a look.
NFL.com is an obvious one but it is a good one. In fantasy matchup research we often rely on stats for defenses because that’s what our players are facing each week. Here are the stats for defenses against the rush.
I often like to look at situational and split stats for players. Like the Mendenhall note above about how he does in carries 21-25 in a game which I found at Yahoo here.
The stats I like the most are those that help narrow down how individual positions fare against defenses. Say you want to know what the worst defense against tight ends is or who gives up the most fantasy points to kickers? There are quite a few sources for this. Here are a few: CBS Sports, ESPN, FFToday, and KFFL. You need to sign up for KFFL but it’s free and worth it. They are much more customizable/sortable than the others and also have target stats.
I mentioned this one in a game day post before but ESPN updates their stats very quickly on game days which include targets.
Football Outsiders has some nice free info looking at their DVOA stats on the season against individual positions (scroll down) which I love.
Team Rankings has a ton of team stats. They are similar to NFL.com’s but are more extensive.
The following source won’t help too much in your day to day fake football needs but I just found it and am looking forward to digging in. It’s the Play Index Tool at Pro Football Reference. If you have any statistical question about NFL history you’ll find it here.
These are just a few that are out there and even though I hate paying for stuff here are a couple pay sites that I like quite a bit, Pro Football Focus and Football Guys. They have a ton of awesome stats. And if you have any that you really like put them in the comments. I’m always looking for more.