Last week I tried something new by analyzing another expert’s weekly picks. Some of you did not take very kindly to my approach. If I’m being honest, while you are entitled to your opinion, your comments did not phase me as I’m right back at it again. If you’ve read my posts, both here and on the baseball side of business, you will know that I like to mix it up with respect to post topics. Some weeks you will get an advice column while others will be more of a recap rant. Sometimes I’ll use my math and computer science background to try and analyze the numbers, and once in a while I like to go off the rails and hit you with a wild card. That is exactly what I did last week. If you didn’t like it, I’m not sorry. If you’d prefer to ignore what I have to say, then I’m pretty sure you know how to to not click the link when you see my name announced as the author. If you don’t, then I suggest you pick up the following book.
Please note that this post is meant to be read while taking a knee.
What several of you missed was that last week’s post was a bit of an experiment. How many of us trust an expert’s advice without factoring in how accurate said “expert” has been over time. This game can be a game of inches, dropped passes and unlucky bounces, but if you are going to rely on an “expert” for advice, shouldn’t you have some level of confidence in their ability to be right more than they are wrong? A good writer does not make a good advice giver.
I could have picked just about any fantasy football columnist as the subject for last week’s post. I picked Mr. Berry for two reasons. He is widely popular and I think his advice is mediocre. If you think he’s actually doing the number crunching prior to offering his weekly picks, you are kidding yourself. He has grunts for that. I prefer the advice of the grunts, not the messenger that can turn those stats into an entertaining column. He’s the comedian that doesn’t write his own jokes. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of skill required to do so, and Mr. Berry certainly knows more about fantasy football than your average joe, but he gets far too much credit for his subpar product.
You know who is awesome? Rudy Gamble. I’m not just saying this because he is part of Razzball, but because I have seen his work. Both behind the scenes and the finished product. The tools that he has developed for the fantasy community are first class. Go ahead and call me a homer, but what most impresses me most about Rudy’s work is the level of detail and granularity involved in his calculations. And while I haven’t seen as much in the football tools (doesn’t mean it’s not there), the baseball tools provide the numbers to represent the results so you can compare projections vs what the player actually did. That is what I’m talking about. It’s one thing to say “that was a bad call” the following week when you shit the bed, but in this day and age I just don’t think that’s enough. I want more precise accuracy stats on an analyst/advice giver. It’s time to start holding us all more accountable. This include the Berry brand.
In case some of you thought that last weeks comments would deter me from doing it again. Guess again. Let’s see how Mr. Berry did in week three.
The quarterbacks he loved.
Cam Newton – Did he mean Scam Newton? I just checked his stat line and Cam threw for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, did I say touchdowns, I meant interceptions. His 8.3 points put him 25th on the list of QBs for week 3. But I will say that I had no idea that the Saints secondary was known as Lake Minnetonka. (0-1)
Matthew Stafford – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. For the last two weeks Stafford has been in the “hate” column. He should have left here for a third time as he only managed 16.5 points. While that’s better than Newton, he still fell outside the top 15 for the week. Hardly the QB I want in my starting lineup. (0-2)
Carson Wentz – Can someone say oh and three! “I have no idea why I am the only ranker to have Wentz in the top 10 this week.” I know why. Because it’s you. Wentz ended the day with 13.2 points against the Giants, falling outside the top 20. (0-3)
The quarterbacks he hated.
Russell Wilson – I couldn’t make this shit up. After Tom Brady Wilson was the second best quarterback in week three with 373 and four touchdowns. Once again, he has hated the quarterback that finished in the number two spot. At least he’s consistent. (0-4)
Ben Roethlisberger – Hey, he got one! (1-4)
The running backs he loved.
Carlos Hyde – That’s two. Good call on Hyde (not sarcasm). (2-4)
Frank Gore – So here’s the deal, he was right about Indy not relying on Brissett to throw the ball and Gore getting his chances to run, but Gore mostly shit the bed with his opportunities. “Expect another heavy workload and a top-20 finish from Gore in Week 3.” Gore carried 25 times for 57 yards. While the Browns have allowed an average of 4.49 yards per carry since last year, Gore only mustered 2.28. Even with a touchdown Gore finished outside the top 20 running backs with 12.7 points. (2-5)
Theo Riddick – “Expect Riddick to be used enough to be worthy of a top-20 play in PPR leagues.” Riddick ended the day with four catches for 38 yards, which was good enough for 34th best RB in PPR leagues. He was targeted 9 times so the intent to use Riddick was there. (2-6)
The running backs he hated.
Jordan Howard – I realize the Tarik Cohen is the shiny new toy in Chicago, but let’s not forget how great Howard was last year. He was second in the league in rushing, averaging 5.21 yards per carry. That’s pretty freaking good. I can’t say I was thoroughly confident in Howard after his week two performance, but was he really a hate candidate? Howard rushed for 138 and two scores. He caught five of five targets for another 26 yards, totaling 164 yards. His 31.4 points was second only to Todd Gurley. (2-7)
Bilal Powell – This was an easy one to sit last week. I can’t imagine anyone was putting him in their starting lineups. And while he did manage to punch one in from one yard out, he still should not have earned the trust of anyone. I’ll count this, but I’m inclined not to. (3-7)
Adrian Peterson – Once again, was anyone starting him before he hit the hate column? (not counting this pick since I gave him Powell)
Wide receivers he loved.
A.J. Green – Good call, but was anyone sitting him? I guess in DFS formats this might have helped you pick between him and another top tier WR, but I don’t believe that is his target audience. (not counting a must start in the love column)
Kelvin Benjamin – “Benjamin is a top-20 play for me.” Two catches for eight yards. This is a call that could hurt people. Kelvin is far from the lineup lock that Green is, so if anyone read this and decided to go with him because of it, they likely walked away with a sour taste in their mouths. Perhaps he meant Travis Bejamin?! (3-8)
Golden Tate – I’m going to call this one a push. He ended the day with 7 receptions for 58 yards and a score. Not quite top ten, but top twenty with 18.8 points might suffice. Like I said, it’s a push. (3-8-1)
Wide receivers he hated.
Alshon Jeffery – Considering he failed to break double digits in fantasy points I’m going to give him credit on this call. (4-8-1)
Tight ends he loved.
Jack Doyle – I’d be lying if I said I thought this was a bad call coming into the week. But the results were not there. Doyle had two catches for 16 yards. His 3.6 points in PPR leagues would not make many happy. (4-9-1)
Charles Clay – Finishing with a line of 6 for 39 and a score is all you really want from your tight end. He’s actually had a few winners this week. (5-9-1)
Austin Hooper – Sorry but Hooper did not bounce back. Not unless you call one catch for nine yards a bounce back! (5-10-1)
Tight ends he hated.
Jason Witten – Well played. (6-10-1)
Martellus Bennett – Seems he knew which tight ends to avoid in week three. However, considering Bennett was not a top twenty tight end coming into the week, this doesn’t seem like a call that would help many. (not counting this one)
Another week, another subpar display.
However, to prove to you all that I am an equal opportunity asshole, I am going to complete the same exercise on myself. Here are the players I like in week four. Next week I will tear them apart.
Quarterbacks I like.
Russell Wilson – Wilson gets the Indianapolis Colts this week. The Colts have given up an average of 297 passing yards per game in their first three games and at least one passing touchdown in each game, including two last week against the 0-3 Browns. Wilson is coming off of a 373 yard, 4 touchdown game and now has an average of 243 yards per game. I think we could be looking at a 260 yard, 2 touchdown game for about 20 fantasy points. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran for a score as well.
Eli Manning – Coming off his best fantasy game of the season (22.6 points), Eli faces the Buccaneers in week four. In their first two games this year the Bucs have given up 670 yards passing. The held Mike Glennon (the guy in jeopardy of losing his job three games into the season to Mitch Trubisky) to just 12 points, but Case Keenum lit them up for 28.5 last week. Eli has a healthy Odell Beckham Jr ready to catch some touchdown passes and help Eli post another solid week.
Deshaun Watson – The Titans have given up 7 passing touchdowns this season and an average of more than 20 points per game. They have given up 57 yards rushing to opposing quarterbacks, which is the fourth most. Watson leads all QBs in rushing yards with 124 and a score. The Titans just got manhandled by Wilson, and Watson just put up solid numbers against the Pats. I like the two directions of momentum.
Cam Newton – This is more of a long shot, but something tells me Cam has a shot to right the ship. At least for the week anyway. The Patriots have given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. This includes the most post passing yards (1025) and touchdowns (8). If Cam can’t make it happen in week four, I think his owners are in for a long season.
Running Backs I like.
Ezekiel Elliot – This is an obvious play here. He’s a must start, but I felt the need to include him in my list. The Rams have given up the most rushing touchdowns (5) this season and over 30 points per game to opposing running backs. If Carlos Hyde can manage 84 and 2, what can Zeke do?
LeSean McCoy – Another guy you are starting whether or not he’s listed here. While McCoy has had back-to-back subpar games, he gets Atlanta this week, another team that has given up over 30 points per game to opposing backs. Through the first three weeks McCoy leads all running backs in receptions (18). During that same span, the Falcons have given up the second most receptions to opposing running backs (26). While he might only rush for 50 yards, I see a touchdown and at least 6 receptions in his future as well. A receiving TD would be the icing on the cake.
LeGarrette Blount – I considered Wendell Smallwood here, but I think Blount is the play. The Chargers have given up the most yards rushing this season (411). While 171 of those yards did come last week against Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs, they have still allowed more than 100 yards in each game thus far. With Sproles out Smallwood’s role will undoubtedly increase, but I can see Blount, who is averaging 4.3 yards per carry to rack up 70 and a touchdown. My confidence is middle of the road on this call, but I wanted to throw it out there.
Javorious Allen – This is a PPR only play. Pittsburgh held Isaiah Crowell and Dalvin Cook in check in weeks one and two, but Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen ran wild on them in three. Allen has had 5 catches in each of his last two games. The Steelers have allowed 23 receptions to opposing running backs. Only the Falcons and Saints have allowed more. Seems like a decent play.
Wide Receivers I like.
Odell Beckham Jr – I don’t think there’s much I need to say here to convince anyone to start him. Tampa has given up over 50 points per game to opposing wide receivers. I like Eli and I like Odell in this one.
DeAndre Hopkins – I doubt anyone is benching him, but I wanted to give him a shout out. While I’m a little concerned about the potential for Watson to spread out the targets after last week’s game, Hopkins has seen 37 of the teams 93 targets. The Titans have given up 42 receptions, 502 yards and 5 touchdowns to wide receivers year to date. I can see Hopkins with a line 6 for 65 and a score.
Alshon Jeffery – The Chargers have given up 5 receiving touchdowns this season. That ties them with Cardinals, Titans and Jets for the most. This call is based on him finding the end zone, but I like his chances. My confidence is a medium here however.
Marqise Lee – Marquise has failed to score a touchdown this season, but he does have back to back double digit fantasy point games. He’s gonna need a TD to justify this call. Luckily he faces the Jets who have allowed five to opposing WR.
Golden Tate/Marvin Jones – One of these guys is likely to have good day. No team has given up more receiving yards (644) than the Vikings. The Vikes have also given up the second most points to opposing wide receivers with more than 40 per week.
Robert Woods – This is a low confidence call, but for some reason I like him. Perhaps it’s because the Cowboys have given up at least 40 points to wide receivers that last two weeks, including two touchdowns in each game. In week one they played an OBJ-less Giants.
Tight ends I like.
Travis Kelce – No brainer. Aside from the obvious, the Redskins have given up a league leading 250 yards to tight ends. Look for Kelce to bounce back after last week’s disappointment.
Jared Cook – The Broncos have given up a touchdown to the opposing tight end the past two weeks. Tight ends have averaged 8.5 receptions for about 85 yards during those games. Cook has had at least 4 catches in every game this season. I can see 6 for 45 and a score. This is a risky pick, but I kinda like it.
Jesse James – I like his chances of scoring a touchdown.
See you next week.
Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney.