Articles by Keith Goldner

A listing of all the articles written by Keith Goldner for the RotoWire Blog.

numberFire March Madness $100K Challenge & Predictions

Since the NFL season we have been pent up, building out our NBA, MLB, and most significantly, March Madness products. You can create your own pool, challenge us, or just use our analytics to bolster your picks at MarchRadnessChallenge.com.

Now, onto the projections and sleepers.

Not surprisingly, Kentucky is our top team to take home the National Championship, and by a long shot; we currently have them at 22.6|PERCENT| to cut down the nets. Our No. 2 team, however, may take some people aback. Currently, Ohio State has the second best odds at 10.9|PERCENT|. OSU’s 88.6 points allowed per 100 possessions – after adjusting for strength of conference and opponents – is the fifth best in the nation and better than any of the No. 1 seeds. The least likely No. 1 seed to make the final four? Michigan State at 22.1|PERCENT|.

Some other teams we love include the New Mexico Lobos and Wisconsin Badgers who have the No. 4 and No. 3 opponent-adjusted defenses respectively. In fact, if the Lobos face the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite 8, it should be a coin flip, projected out at 65-65.

Look out for the first round upset from Virginia over Florida. We have the Cavaliers making it out of the first round 53|PERCENT| of the time. As for a 12 over a 5? Everyone has heard the stat that 24 out of the last 27 years at least one 12 seed has made it out of the first round. We’re looking at Harvard to take down Vanderbilt. Harvard dominated the Ivy League (which is not saying much), but they bring in one of the most consistent teams in Division I against a Vanderbilt team that has been utterly inconsistent. Vandy may be a hot team for many given their SEC Title win over Kentucky, but we have them at only a 52|PERCENT| chance to take down the Crimson. Give me those pot odds any day.

For more predictions and analysis, check out our bracket features and team analytics pages. You can create a pool or join any public pool, including this one where you’ll face off against myself and the other guys at numberFire

Then There Were Four: Conference Championship Prediction

And then there were four. The Patriots are the favorites to take home the Lombardi trophy, but at this point, it’s anyone’s game. The Pats dominate on offense, the Ravens and Niners dominate on defense, and Eli Manning is continuing his career year through the playoffs, getting hot at the right time. The highlight of the weekend doesn’t come from the Niners vs. Saints game (which was one of the most exciting playoff games in recent memory), but rather from the Patriots vs. Broncos game. Tom Brady unleashes a 48-yard punt on third down.

Overall: 22-13-1

Last Week’s Predictions:

Houston +7.5 at Baltimore: WIN

This game went as expected. Both teams have solid defenses and mediocre offenses that rely heavily on the running back. Jacoby Jones made a few costly mistakes for special teams, and the Texans suffered as a result. Baltimore will have their hands full in Foxborough this week.

Conference Finals Prediction:

San Francisco -2.5 vs New York

Don’t get it twisted, New York should not have beaten Green Bay. Were it not for the turnovers and dropped passes, we would be talking about the Niners going into Lambeau. But, c’est la vie. San Francisco showed that their No. 8 opponent-adjusted passing offense can actually put up points, but they face an even better Giants passing offense that ranks sixth in efficiency. The tipping point, however, is the 49ers defense. Justin Smith had a downright dominant game against the Saints and his Niners’ defense ranks fourth in the league, and the next best remaining defense in the playoffs behind Baltimore. Remember these two teams played earlier this year in a close, back-and-forth game. But, Justin Smith came up big, knocking down Eli Manning‘s pass attempt on fourth down and sealing a 27-20 victory. Interestingly enough, one of San Francisco’s top comparable teams is the 2005 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Give me San Francisco by a field goal.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.

Defensive Showdown In Baltimore: Divisional Round Prediction

Just a reminder that all Tebow does is win. Unfortunately, he looks to run into a buzz saw in New England this week. No one would be more embarrassed with a loss coming off a bye to the Tebownator than Bill Belichick.

Overall: 21-13-1

Last Week’s Predictions:

Detroit +10.5 at New Orleans: LOSS

This was looking like a great pick through three quarters. In fact, it was looking especially good as the Lions returned a fumble for a touchdown halfway through the second quarter, only to have it revoked on an inadvertent whistle. I lost a flag football game once on an inadvertent whistle. It sucks. That being said, the Saints are on a roll. They’ve won nine straight games and scored over 44 points per game over their last four contests. No one wants to face Drew Brees right now.

Divisional Round Prediction:

Houston +7.5 at Baltimore

The Texans took out the Bengals in the same fashion they’ve been winning all year: defense. They own the third best defense remaining in the playoffs and their pass defense – the same pass defense that ranked dead last in 2010 – prevents five points per game from being scored that a league-average defense would surrender. Unfortunately for Houston, they are going up against the best remaining defense in the playoffs after adjusting for strength of opponents. Both offenses are fairly average so we expect a low scoring game. Houston lost in Baltimore in Week 6, 29-14 and Baltimore should win again, but I like Houston with the points to cover about two-thirds of the time.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.

What I Miss About The Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Predictions

Enter the playoffs. There are definitely some quality first round matchups, including a rematch of the Saints/Lions Week 13 Sunday Night showdown. The Broncos host a playoff game at home bye default (Thanks Oakland!) and the Bengals sneak in as the six seed since no one else wanted it – everyone eligible but Tennessee lost last week. But, as we approach the playoffs, I’m praying NFL network will bring back these commercials. Never was there so great a commercial campaign.

Overall: 21-12-1

Last Week’s Predictions:

Denver -3 vs Kansas City: LOSS

Tim Tebow‘s magic has clearly faded but the Broncos find themselves as AFC West Champions nevertheless. In one of the most boring games of the year, Kyle Orton served up an extremely thin slice of revenge. Broncos host the Steelers next week.

New Orleans -7 vs Carolina: WIN

Drew Brees has been ballin’ by nature recently, putting up better numbers than anyone (except maybe Matt Flynn). The Saints are no doubt upset they could not get a first-round bye, but they have a Week 13 rematch against Detroit this week – whom they beat 31-17 in that last matchup.

Wild Card Round Prediction:

Detroit +10.5 at New Orleans

In a rematch of Week 13, Detroit will have to stop the league’s third most efficient passing team. Last week, the Detroit secondary was torched by Packer legend Matt Flynn, who set multiple passing records. That being said, Detroit still owns the league’s best opponent-adjusted passing defense, having prevented over 7 points per game that a league-average defense would have given up.

Drew Brees is as hot as anyone in the league right now (except Tom Brady), but Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford are near impossible to defend. It should be a shootout in New Orleans – we have the Saints by 5.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.

Revisiting Preseason Predictions & Week 17 Predictions

Before getting into this week’s picks, I want to evaluate some preseason claims.

First predictions:

After going 8-8, Jacksonville will not win 5 games: TRUE

New England will win at least 12 games again: TRUE

Neither of these were extremely bold predictions, but both went against expectation.

Second predictions:

Seahawks will not win more than 5 games: FALSE

San Diego will win at least 12 games: FALSE

After the Seahawks lost their first few games, this looked like a solid prediction, but thanks to a drastic improvement on defense, Seattle is looking at a 7-8 record going into Week 17. On the other side, the Chargers crumbled due to extreme inconsistency on offense. Philip Rivers did not play like Philip Rivers until late in the season, and they wind up missing the playoffs as a result.

Third predictions:

New York Jets will miss the playoffs: TBD

Minnesota Vikings could make the playoffs: FALSE

The Jets have only a 10-15|PERCENT| of making the playoffs going into Week 17; they will need to win and the chips to fall in the right places. As for the Vikings, after blowing extensive leads in their first 4 games, they gave up on their season, releasing McNabb and giving rookie Christian Ponder some experience at the helm. That being said, I was way off on this one.

Overall: 20-11-1

Last Week’s Predictions:

San Francisco -2 at Seattle: PUSH

I thought this game would come down to the league’s No. 2 opponent-adjusted run defense versus Marshawn Lynch, and Lynch did a solid job rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown. That being said, the 49ers’ offense was lifted onto the shoulders of David Akers and his four field goals to defeat the Seahawks. Oh, and the line moved to SF -1 throughout the week, so we could consider that a win as well.

Cincinnati -4 vs Arizona: WIN

Finally, Arizona lost a game it was supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, Cincinnati is a league average team; but, they are still fighting for a wildcard spot. We had the Bengals favored by 7 and that is how much they won by thanks to a ridiculous play from Jerome Simpson. The Bengals are looking like they may just find themselves as the 6-seed come January.

Week 17 Predictions:

Denver -3 vs Kansas City

Tim Tebow was the anti-Tebow on Sunday against Buffalo, throwing 4 interceptions. While his magic seems to have faded, Denver is still in prime position to capture the AFC West. Fighting for their lives against a subpar Kansas City squad, the Broncos will host a home playoff game with a win or Oakland loss. Tebow will need to limit the turnovers and control the ball with his run game to assure January football.

New Orleans -7 vs Carolina

Drew Brees is downright filthy; the guy slings the ball like only a few can and leads the league’s No. 2 opponent-adjusted offense. Heading into Week 17, the Saints still have a shot at the coveted first round bye. If San Francisco rolls over against St. Louis and the Saints take down the mighty Carolina Cam Newtons, Sean Payton will get some much-needed rest for his torn ligaments. We have the Saints favored by 10 at home.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.

The Runaway Cart: Week 16 Predictions

What a crazy week in the NFL. The Packers lose to the Chiefs, the Colts beat the Titans, and Tim Tebow actually lost. If the Packers can lose, I can surely post an 0-2 week. I felt like a high school football coach in Cowboys Stadium.

Overall: 18-11-1

Houston -6.5 vs Carolina: LOSS

Houston owns the 4th best defense in the league after adjusting for strength of opponents but Carolina made them look silly. I said the game would come down to the Texans forcing turnovers, but Cam Newton was squeaky clean. He is now 0-9 when turning the ball over at least once, yet 5-0 in mistake-free games.

Baltimore -2.5 at San Diego: LOSS

Baltimore is winning games on defense, but the surging Chargers have been producing in their last few games. Philip Rivers has finally turned it around and is putting up the kind of season everyone expects of him.

Week 16 Predictions:

San Francisco -2 at Seattle

San Francisco dominated the Steelers on Monday Night, thanks to a hefty dose of defense and a mistake-free offense. The key matchup will be Marshawn Lynch versus the 49ers defense. San Fran ranks 2nd in the league in opponent-adjusted run defense and have yet to allow a TD on the ground this season. Lynch has 12 TDs in his last 10 games, including at least one touchdown in each game. Might be time to bust out the king size bag of Skittles.

Cincinnati -4 vs Arizona

Once again, I’m picking against Arizona. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and I’ll be marginally perturbed. Don’t get me wrong, Cincinnati is a league average team; but, they are fighting for a wildcard spot and the game is in Cincy. Despite their few recent wins, Arizona still has the 4th worst passing offense in the NFC. I have the Bengals favored by 7.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.

Tebow Mania: Week 15 Predictions

Tim Tebow is great for the game of football. No matter which side of the Tebow debate you are on, nobody has ever made fans feel so invested in a team that wasn’t their own during the regular season. As expected, the media is going nuts, but it is exciting. A good friend of mine took this picture just a few minutes ago: Tebow Mania

Overall: 18-9-1

San Francisco -3.5 at Arizona: LOSS

The 49ers were winning the whole game, but the Cardinals got me again. San Francisco’s 2nd best run defense held the Cardinals to 55 yards on the ground, but John Skelton found Larry Fitzgerald 7 times for 149 yards and a touchdown, and took down their division foe 21-19.

Jacksonville +1 vs Tampa Bay: WIN

Jacksonville’s offense is unbelievably bad – their passing offense ranks 31st in the league, only ahead of St. Louis. But, they only needed MJD and their defense to dominate Tampa Bay. Their defense ranks 7th overall (7th in both opponent-adjusted rushing and passing D) and turned around a 14-point deficit at home on Sunday.

Week 15 Predictions:

Houston -6.5 vs Carolina

Houston owns the 4th best defense in the league after adjusting for strength of opponents and it turns out T.J. Yates can actually ball. Conversely, Carolina owns the 2nd worst defense in the league, having allowed 70 more points than a league-average defense would. If the Texans can force Cam Newton to turn the ball over, it should be an easy victory for them. Cam is 0-9 when turning the ball over at least once, yet 4-0 in mistake-free games.

Baltimore -2.5 at San Diego

Baltimore is winning games on defense per usual. Their defense has prevented over 10 points per game from being scored that a league-average defense would surrender. Philip Rivers has finally been improving – better late than never – but his turnover-prone nature lends itself to the Ravens’ defensive prowess. San Diego is marginally above average thanks to drastic improvement on offense, but Baltimore is fighting for a first round bye, which is a lot to play for.

The most accurate weekly projections from numberFire.com based on wall-street style analytics. numberFire outpredicted two of the most trafficked fantasy sites 70|PERCENT| of the time and are 54-55|PERCENT| against the spread over the last 3 seasons.