America’s team hasn’t been America’s champion (or anyone else in the world’s champion) going on 27 years now. In fact, they have won only three playoff games in the last 25 years. That’s one less than the Houston Texans, and four less than the New York Jets if you’re keeping count.  It certainly isn’t for […]

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I remember it like it was yesterday. We had just finished Week 4 of the NFL season. By that point, we were all basking in the warm glow of Sam Darnold being QB5 on the season, averaging an amazing 24.44 fantasy points per game. All of the Darnold truthers up in Noo Yawk, of which there are tens, were rejoicing in their prognostications that “ALL HEEZ NEEDS TO DO IS MOVE ON FROM THAT BUM ADAM GASE!”

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Being a Buffalo Bills fan means you already have certain trigger words that cause severe mental anguish. Even the slightest mention of the words “wide right” is enough to make a Bills fan crash into the nearest folding table. If that wasn’t enough, after the 2022 playoffs you might as well add “13 seconds” and “squib kick” to the list of no-no, naughty words for Buffalonians. Then, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals had to go and rub it in during the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs. 

The Bills’ exit from the playoffs was equal parts exciting and heartbreaking. But their late-season offensive surge that continued into the playoffs taught us some valuable lessons as we ponder the 2022 fantasy football season. Who are we buying and selling on the Bills for next season? Why not start with a guy who had a performance never before seen in a playoff game. 

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I want to take you back about six months or so and give you $1,000 to bet on a few teams to make the NFL playoffs. I want you to bet on the sure things. Just some easy money for future you to enjoy.

On September 1, the Chiefs, Bills, and Bucs were all heavy favorites to make the postseason (and, surprise!, they did). Those teams were all greater than -400 to play past Week 18 and met expectations for those betting on their futures. But there was one more team that looked like a lock for the postseason based on their odds: The Baltimore Ravens.

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A lot of things, and I mean A LOT of things, went wrong for the Falcons in 2021. They were supposed to have one of the more dynamic aerial attacks in the league with Calvin Ridley and rookie mega-man Kyle Pitts leading the way. Matt Ryan led the world in pass attempts in 2020 and the Falcons were top-10 in passing rate per game. But when the dust settled on the season, all that offensive hope vanished into the humid Georgia air. 

The Falcons may have gone 7-10, but you wouldn’t know it to look at them. I swear to you, the season highlight video from their own team website prominently features a game where they needed a last second field goal to beat the freaking New York Giants:

With Calvin Ridley missing in action, Pitts hauling in just one score, and Mike Davis off somewhere trying to bribe other teams to sign free agent Cordarrelle Patterson, determining a buy and a sell for this sad sack franchise is a tall order. But I think I’ve cracked it. Let’s get into it for 2022.

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It’s the lasting, final image of the Arizona Cardinals’ season. The one fans have to live with for eight months. Kyler Murray throwing an interception that was so bad it drove The Rock to the bottle. lmaooooooo, the Rock hit the bottle after watching that Kyler Murray pick six pic.twitter.com/ihFsweDshv — CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 […]

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With one simple line of prediction, all the weeks of Air Yards analysis went down the crapper. Here it is, from the Week 16 Air Yards report:

“Antonio Brown might make the short list of 2021 playoff heroes after this week is over.”

Yikes. As one commenter pointed out, “that prediction did not wear well.” Brown also did not wear his jersey well, dropping it on the ground, and giving a farewell tour around the stadium just after halftime. At that point, his opportunity to help your fantasy team or his real life football team in the playoffs disappeared faster than the cannon smoke from Raymond James Stadium.

But Air Yards, like many other advanced stats, tells us what could (or perhaps should) happen given similar circumstances over time. Brown smashed in Week 16 with no Chris Godwin or Mike Evans. Given similar circumstances plus playing-time incentives in Week 17, we had every reason to believe Brown would manhandle the Jets. It was the process and in the process we trust. 

Until a potential mid-game retirement variable is introduced in to the Air Yards model, we will just have to rely on the data we have. What can 2021 air yards teach us for 2022? Let’s find out. 

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