Right, Wrong or Indifferent? Lessons from Week 3
When looking back at week 2, it was a mess. In week 3, we look back with redemption like Andy Dufresne & Red Redding in the 1994 classsic movie Shawshank Redemption.
After Week 2, the collective fantasy sports community was treated like they were inmates. Everyone was predicting that Luck, Bradford, Brees and other quarterbacks would excel and that money would flow from the one-week fantasy football faucet. Well, like Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, sometimes it takes a slew of human acts of simple decency in order to set up your redemption. We looked at what had happened. We reviewed the numbers, the systems and the gameplans and got back to work for you guys as we trudged through five hundred yards of crap to find freedom...to find redemption. It is easy to blame the so-called experts in fantasy sports, but like Andy, who is trying to find his way to freedom, you need to find the right advice, mix it with your own knowledge, insights plus and feels and turn it into a steel box under a shady oak tree that leads to a trip to the beach!
So, this week, Colton & The Wolfman will break down the Week 3 predictions from Jeff Mans in his DFS Playbook. Glenn writes these every week, but I volunteered to write this one since, if Glenn is Andy doing taxes and structuring business deals for the guards, I am Red Redding, sourcing all the good stuff. This week is 90-percent good stuff, so Red is on the case.
So here are mostly right with a couple of wrong and indifferent for week 3 in the NFL.
RIGHT - “Well, I’ll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you’re a Rembrandt!!”
Cam Newton – Interestingly enough, I think many believed that this was a good start this week. However, not many had the guts to go with it since Cam has burned us so many times in the past. Jeff Mans pointed out that Cam was facing the 31st ranked cover defense and 31st DVOA (-53%). It is always about the system when you play SMART. Cam ranked third among quarterbacks this week throwing for 315 yards and two touchdowns plus adding a rushing score. On the season, he leads all quarterbacks in rushing with 144 yards and two scores.
Aaron Rodgers – When I watched the game last night, the great part was to watch a magician get out of complicated situations and make a play. He displayed all ranges of emotions as he threw for five touchdowns and 333 yards. Not hard to predict this, but when you invest in the most expensive quarterback, you have to be right on less expensive options at the other positions which leads us to a couple of three touchdown scorers.
Devonta Freeman – Like Col. Nathan R. Jessup said in a Few Good Men, “I’d appreciate it if you’d just say thank you and be on your way.” Well, that is what I will do. Studying the players and coming across the fact that Tevin Coleman was out made Freeman a “player of interest”, but I didn’t put him in ALL my lineups until I read this from Jeff Mans, “He'll catch a fair share of passes, carry the ball 12+ times and receive all goal line touches as well”. Well, how about 28 carries for 135 yards with three rushing touchdowns plus five catches for 52 yards in the air. Don’t get crazy as every week won’t be like this, but be thankful.
Latavius Murray – The pundits will now follow the Browns. Jeff Mans wrote, “The Browns have given up most rushing yards already this season and rank last in DVOA Vs run as well.” Latavius Murray had only had a 4.2 YPC in the first two games, but it ballooned to 5.3 versus the hapless Cleveland Browns. He rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown. Interesting that in the first two weeks he had 10 catches while only managing one this week even with Derek Carr registering his second straight three hundred yard game. Murray has tons of talent and it is beginning to emerge.
Mike Evans – In both seasonal and daily, not everyone knew what was going to happen with playing time for the injury riddled Evans. He played and performed well enough to be your WR2. Mike Evans had an incredible rookie year with over 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had a crazy 17 targets yesterday. This is a clear indication that Winston loves him with only four targets going towards Vincent Jackson. Winston needs to get more accurate. Evans also needs to knock off some rust, but good call by Mans with Evans over V-Jax. I started Evans in leagues that I didn’t have V-Jax, but in the one league I had both, I should have listened to the Mans. On the right is how they cheer for Evans in Tampa Bay!
Randall Cobb – Jeff Mans wrote, “What I really want here is whichever Packers WR is lining up again Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming who is the worst cover guy in the NFL currently according to PFF.” This shows you the power of the system. Watching the game last night we saw many different coverages and Fleming was not on Cobb every time, but BAM when he was. Cobb was elusive after the catch as well and had one touchdown called back on a holding call where he knifed through the Kansas City defense to score from the 13 yard line. Now Cobb will not score three times each week, but you can draw the line now on how they will use him and he will see 6-to-10 catches per week which should be good for big-scoring in PPR leagues.
DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins has 17 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns at home. The production is more likely the lack of defense in both cases. We saw what Green Bay did to Kansas City last night and Hopkins torched them in week 1 and as Jeff Mans said “…the Buccaneers have no pass rush or coverage ability.” Well, tell us how you really feel. Hopkins looks primed to have a huge season and Jeff was right on this one!
Greg Olsen – For seasonal players, this prediction may not matter unless you are trading for Olsen. I targeted him and own him in three leagues and just missed him in a fourth. For one-week players Jeff Mans wrote, “This is a rare high floor/high upside play with a massive savings from Gronk”. This is a critical strategy point that if you are not playing one-week fantasy football you NEED to understand. Having players who have a high floor makes them GREAT for cash games (tournaments where ½ the players get doubled up on the entry fees). Players who have a high floor can be depended on to give you value even if they don’t have their best week. Well, Olsen did. He had eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He is the go-to guy in Carolina for the entire season!
WRONG - “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Justin Forsett – If you follow the equation of talent plus system plus no competition equals huge success, then you were wrong on this one too. Mans opined. “The Bengals defense gives up a heap of receptions to running backs and Marc Trestman's system is all about checking down to the backs.” True, right? Forsett does have 12 catches, but all the short passes are going to Steve Smith and after that Flacco is spreading the ball around. The good news is that the schedule gets soft with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and San Francisco in the next three games. If after three more games, Forsett is not on track, it is time to cut bait.
John Brown – Many thought that coverage would be heavy on Larry Fitzgerald leaving success to John Brown. Brown caught three passes for 62 yards which is not awful, but that is about all you can expect from him. Carson Palmer threw for 311 yards, his second 300-plus yard game. The problem for Brown is that of the 56 completions for 803 yards that Palmer has thrown, Fitzgerald has caught 23 passes for 333 yards or about 41-percent of all the passing game production. John Brown will have some big games when the gameplans work for other teams to shut down Fitzgerald, but predicting that is impossible.
INDIFFERENT - “Rehabilitated. Well, now let me see. I don’t have any idea what that means.”
Joseph Randle – Better to be lucky than good. Just saying that the number of carries and performance of Randle should not have produced all these points. It was three touchdowns that did most of the work and we cannot expect that every week. If you looked at the body of work for Joseph Randle so far this year, it would be easy to see that he had been getting the chances but simply not getting into the end zone. He did get the three touchdowns so the analysis looks smart. When Jeff Mans wrote, “Look for the Cowboys to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible thereby limiting the opportunities for Brandon Weeden to make mistakes. “, he meant that Randle would carry the ball a lot of times but he only had 14 carries. Instead the Cowboys tried to limit Weeden mistakes by passing the ball 10 times to Lance Dunbar who had more than 100 yards receiving. Weeden did complete 22-of-26, but 10 of those were to Dunbar on swings, screens and slants. This now creates more confusion to figure out game plans and how to play these Cowboy running backs. It worked out for all three backs this time as each scored for their fantasy owners, but it makes me indifferent on this one.
Allen Robinson – Colton and I made lineups on Fanduel.com this weekend and both of them had Robinson. We believed that it would be garbage time that we make Robinson the hero in this affair and New England gets soft with big leads. Well, not happening. Blake Bortles only completed 17 passes and Robinson caught four of them for 68 yards. Not a shut out, but thought that he would have had twice the production in garbage time.
Blake Bortles, Russell Wilson and Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fifteen quarterbacks scored more than these three touted players. This means about 12 scored less including Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford, Phillip Rivers and with the injury to Ben Roethlisberger, a lot of people got burned. That is clearly something to be indifferent about.
REDEMPTION IS NOT EASY
“Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to.”
For me, personally, I think the more information, film and opinions that are in and available, the easier it gets to predict the stars each week in the NFL. We are seeing some of this epic movie play out in Week 3 and the story will get stronger. The more information, film and trends we have to analyze, the more accurate we will get with our predictions.
So, every week at FantasyAlarm.com, we look at information, trends, statistics and most importantly systems plus the expected game plans and individual matchups for receivers to determine who we will be looking to start in seasonal and one-week contests. If you want to listen to Andy & Red tonight (Colton & The Wolfman), we are on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio at 10pm ET (XM87/S210). Tonight we will have Liz Matthews to talk about the Seahawks and their backfield situation. Thanks to Glenn for giving me the opportunity to put one of my favorite movies on the pages of Fantasy Alarm.