Rudy is the man behind our Pigskinonator and DFSBot football projections and is also behind the baseball ‘bots (Streamonator, Hittertron, etc.) and NFL/MLB player pages. This weekly piece will focus on players where the Pigskinonator diverge from the popular consensus.
Before I starting raving/railing on some players, let me get the tool and player page updates out of the way first:
- We’ve launched the FanDuel and DraftKings NFL lineup optimizers – powered by our pals LineupLab. While it isn’t free (!) through Week 4 like the Pigskinonator and DFSBot projections, you can try both optimizers out for only $2.99/week for the next 2 weeks. It’s super easy and we’ve got a ton of the Pigskinonator projections baked into the optimizer!
- The football player pages (see Matt Forte) now h ave two news sources – FantasyPros and Rotoballer. We’ve worked hard to make the Game Logs as useful as possible and to put the most important stuff (this week’s projections) right at the top.
Okay, with that out of the way, I’m going into Week 3 with a little more confidence.
This is my first season at fantasy football projections and, while I knew there’d be a learning curve, finishing third from the bottom in the FantasyPros Week 1 accuracy test (out of 138 ‘experts’) still stung like a mofo. I figured I had to perform better in Week 2 – even if it was just the kindly nudge of regression. And I did – I finished fourth from the top in Week 2. Or is third from the top if you finish 4th? I don’t know but sure feels a lot better (as did finishing 1st in RB!).
Let’s get to the players. Just note that these rankings will likely shift a bit between the time I write the post vs you reading it. I will only go back and note if an injury leads to a dramatic change (e.g., my TY Hilton projection went from 2nd to 10th after he was marked down as questionable).
Ryan Tannehill (4th – consensus 12th) vs Cleveland – I start off this with an Aggie? Gah. Can’t Kirk Cousins go away and let Longhorn Legend Colt McCoy throw 7 yard crossing routes to DeSean Jackson and hope he takes them to the house? Tannehill’s had a nice stretch going back into last year with 65% completion rates and 300+ yards in 3 of his last 4 starts albeit with a 4/3 TD/INT ratio. Some positive factors in this matchup: Home vs a crappy defense with an active roster more conducive to passing than rushing (Arian Foster is questionable). Plus he’s a good runner/scrambler.
Matthew Stafford (26th – consensus 13th) @ Green Bay – I admit this feels low for a QB that I have projected as the 4th most passing attempts and it’s doubtful the Lions will build up a lead at Lambeau and try to run out the clock. I’m always leery of dome QBs going on the road (think Rockie hitters on the road) and the scattered thunderstorm forecast won’t help. I will be watching this one to see if Pigskinonator really should have gone this far out on the ledge on this one.
LeSean McCoy (1st – consensus 11th) vs Arizona – As a Giants fan, I don’t like McCoy but I respect the (admittedly past peak) skills. With Reggie Bush tethered to the bench, McCoy will get a ton of touches in this game and a healthy number of targets as well. The Arizona defense has a great reputation which gives me some pause on this one but their best run-stuffing DL (Calais Campbell) is questionable and their inside LBs (Kevin Minter & Deone Bucannon) are nothing great against the run. Plus a Phoenix to Buffalo flight is loooong. Looking for McCoy to get 100+ total yards here as Rex tries to keep the ball out of Carson Palmer’s hands.
Devonta Freeman – (23rd – consensus 13th) @ New Orleans – I am not buying the Saints’ defense – last week’s performance at NYG feels like a fluke – and it is absolutely not shocking that this game has the highest Over/Under on points for the week (~53). Freeman burned me in Week #1 (he was my #1 RB) and I could see some optimism creeping back in because of his 17 rush / 93 yard performance at Oakland. That said, Tevin Coleman also got 12 carries so this feels like a time-share and I wouldn’t bank on another 30 or so carries in Week 3.
Tyrell Williams (18th – consensus 39th) @ Indianapolis – This one isn’t terribly hard to explain. This one is projected as a shoot-out and Rivers’ will be throwing a lot. The Chargers don’t have a deep stable of WRs and I project Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams to get nearly 50% of the targets against a thin Colts secondary. At 6’4″, Williams will likely compete with Antonio Gates for red-zone TDs.
Allen Robinson (24th – consensus 5th) vs Baltimore – I’m not sure if Chris Ivory’s debut will change the Jaguary offense much. I see them throwing the ball a lot but they have a number of options (Allen Hurns, Marquis Lee, Julian Thomas) and Pigskinonator projects he gets about 18% of the targets whereas his big 2015 numbers were fueled by 25-30% target rates.
Jimmy Graham (6th – consensus 21st) vs San Francisco – What? This ranking stinks of “reputation” and Pigskinonator is supposed to be the opposite of that. It had Aaron Rodgers 22nd last week. But now this? Jimmy Graham has been sooo ordinary since leaving New Orleans. He averaged 13 TDs in his last two years in New Orleans and has 2 in 13 games with Seattle. That said, his target percentages are due for a boost near his 2015 levels (~15%) and the Seahawks have to score at some point, right? One positive note here is the 49ers are weak in LB/Safety pass coverage.
Julius Thomas (15th – consensus 5th) vs Baltimore – Damn, faded Gronk and Bennett successfully for the Thursday night game. Gotta move up the deadline on this. I like Thomas fine but his Yards Per Catch are due for some regression vs the first 2 weeks. Baltimore has solid Safety pass coverage. Pigskinonator sees an unexciting 3 catch / 30 yards / 30% of a TD game.
Tennessee (16th – consensus 27th) vs Oakland – I’m not on the Titan bandwagon but I have them as about a league-average defense and 27th seems awfully low for a home game. Oakland has some weapons but will they show up for an East Coast game?