The Montee Ball Problem is Solved
Do you want what's behind Door No. 1, Door No. 2 or Door No. 3? It seems obvious at first, but the obvious choice turns out to be wrong. The key is you need to Know More.
The traditional problem was presented as a choice of three doors, you pick one and then the host opens up an empty one and says - you can have $100 to keep the door you've chosen, or you can turn down the $100 and switch. Most people assume you should take the cash in hand because there's a 50/50 chance of the prize being behind either the door you've chosen or the one they're offering you in trade. But actually that's not true. There's a 2/3 chance it's behind the other door and only a 1/3 chance it's behind yours.
That's because the host Knows More than you, and he's never going to open the door with the prize behind it. He's always going to open the empty one. That means the 2/3 chance that it's one of the other two doors remains intact even after one is open. If you still don't grasp this consider if you were choosing among a million doors, you pick one and the host opens 999,998 other empty doors - all except one - and asks you if you want to trade yours for it. You can see the chance you picked the right one is still just 1 in one million, not 50/50 just because he opened up so many empty doors.
Bottom line, Know More is a top-five back right now with a league-leading seven rushing TDs and 20 receptions despite being in timeshare for much of the season. Moreno is strong in blitz pickup, takes care of the ball and is averaging 4.7 YPC, so he's not lacking in explosiveness, either. You can take Marshawn Lynch over him if you like, but you'll be giving up catches and downgrading offensive environment. Ronnie Hillman is perfect in a change-of-pace role, supplying speed, quickness and pass-catching ability, while Ball is a high-upside backup who hasn't proven reliable as a blocker or pass catcher. He's also had ball-security issues.
It's also easy to forget Moreno was the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, the same slot the Bills used on Lynch two years earlier. It's worth noting Lynch didn't put together a great year until 2012, his sixth in the league. Running back production is highly situation-dependent, and we usually know who's good only after the fact.
The Randomness of Fantasy Football
My Yahoo! Friends and Family team is horrible. I had the third pick and took Doug Martin (only because the Martin-loving guy with the second pick was late to the draft and auto-picked Arian Foster). Had that not happened, I could have taken Jamaal Charles, but the draft happened during the three-day scare over his foot injury, so I probably would have taken C.J. Spiller. In any event, I got Martin at 1.3, and in the second round, I just missed my target, Julio Jones, by one pick, so naturally I took Lamar Miller. On the turn in the third I took Roddy White.
While I got the serviceable Torrey Smith in Round 4, I landed another gem, Ahmad Bradshaw, in Round 5. It wasn't until Round 6 (Josh Gordon) that I made my first - and only - profitable pick.
And it doesn't get better: Round 7 was Matt Ryan (good so far, but now without receivers), Round 8 was Bernard Pierce, Round 9 Coby Fleener, Round 10 Stepfan Taylor, Round 11 Rod Streater, Round 12 Nick Toon, Round 13, the Giants D, Round 14, Zach Miller.
Somehow that team is 4-2 even though it has scored the second fewest points in the league.
And while I doubt it'll make the playoffs, keep in mind the teams with DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones and Randall Cobb just got significantly worse. And maybe Martin or Miller or even White will eventually be good, and I'll go on a run.
Noteworthy Facts Through Week 6
• Joe Flacco leads the NFL in passes of 20-plus yards (28) and 40-plus yards (8).
• Michael Vick is barely second to Peyton Manning in YPA with 8.98. Nick Foles is fourth at 8.89. Both Eagles' QBs are well ahead of No. 5 Philip Rivers (8.28) and No. 6 Drew Brees (8.26). Even after the impressive comeback win Tom Brady's YPA stands at 6.19, below that of Chad Henne, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Thaddeus Lewis, among many others.
• New York quarterbacks Eli Manning (15), Geno Smith (10) and Curtis Painter (1) have combined for 26 INTs already. That's as many as Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer and Jay Cutler combined.
• Wes Welker leads NFL wideouts with 13 red-zone targets. Four players (Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal) are tied for second with eight. TE Tony Gonzalez has 14, and Jordan Cameron has 13.
• Torrey Smith leads the NFL in receptions of 20-plus yards with 14. He's tied for second in catches of 40-plus with three. DeSean Jackson leads with four catches of 40-plus, and is second with 12 for 20-plus.
• Among wideouts with 30 or more targets, Jordy Nelson leads the NFL with 12.1 YPT. He also destroyed the league in this category in 2011. Demaryius Thomas is second with 10.8, DeSean Jackson is third with 10.7 and Keenan Allen (31 targets) is fourth with 10.7. Nelson's teammate James Jones is just behind him with 12.0 YPT, but on 29 targets.
• Among TEs with 30 or more targets, Vernon Davis is first with 11.5 YPT and Jimmy Graham second with 10.1. Charles Clay is third with 9.6, Antonio Gates fourth with 9.5.
• Matt Prater leads the NFL in PATs with 34. Dan Bailey is second with 19, David Akers third with 18. Stephen Gostkowski has made the most FG with 16. Prater has also made all three of his 50-yard FGA as has the Bills' Dan Carpenter.
• The Texans have given up only 131 passing yards per game. The Seahawks are a distant second at 188.3. The Broncos are last at 338 per game. The Giants, Jaguars and Cowboys have each given up 14 TD passes. The Steelers and Panthers have yielded only four (in five games), while the Chiefs, Seahawks and Colts have yielded only five in six.
• The Jets allow only 3.0 YPC to opposing rushers, while the Broncos are second at 3.2. The Lions are last at 5.4. Keep in mind while the Chiefs are 30th at 5.1 YPC, they gave up 99 yards on four carries to Michael Vick in Week 3. They're still allowing 4.55 YPC, but have only allowed two rushing TDs.
• The Browns have allowed eight rushing TDs, the Bucs and Ravens only one.
Week 6 Observations
• Brandon Jacobs ran well through wide open lanes against the Bears, but it was hard to keep from wondering how monstrous a day David Wilson would have had should he have stayed healthy. The Giants offensive line has been incapable of blocking anyone this year, so it shows how much the Bears defensive brand has deteriorated. News that Wilson is out only 3-4 weeks with a neck injury might be worse than him going on season-ending IR. Now you can't drop him and free up the spot, and the Giants won't have much of an incentive to rush him back. Moreover, Andre Brown should be back by then too.
• Hakeem Nicks is a free agent after this year, and now it makes sense to deal him. If that happens both he and Rueben Randle could see a nice boost in value. Nicks looks completely healthy at this point.
• If Cecil Shorts gets healthy, the Jaguars arguably have a top-5 NFL receiving tandem, along with other winless teams like the Giants and Bucs.
• What a gut punch Sunday's games were for those (like me) who had the Cardinals, Packers and Saints ATS. At least I can feel better about losing with the Texans (my best bet).
• Eddie Lacy is a top-10 back in non-PPR.
• RGIII doesn't look like the player from last year. It's not just the tentative running, but the poor pocket awareness, the missed throws and the locking in on Pierre Garcon. He might get better as the year goes on, but right now, he's not a top-10 QB.
• Vernon Davis is healthy again, and that makes him the No. 2 TE right now, given the uncertainty over Rob Gronkowski's health. Davis' health also puts Colin Kaepernick back on the map as a top-10 QB.
• The Colts-Chargers game was low-scoring and close by design. It was like both coaches had a tacit agreement not to get a big lead by throwing downfield. As long as the other guy's punting, kicking field goals and running the ball into the line, you have cover to do it too.
• Chris Johnson looks like a poor man's DeAngelo Williams now - no goal-line carries, not much as a receiver.
• Without Julio Jones and Roddy White, Matt Ryan will get a chance to show how good he is as a quarterback. I would temper expectations.
• There are only a handful of real-life quarterbacks better than Ben Roethlisberger - Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees might be all of them.
• Thaddeus Lewis held his own against one of the league's top defenses, despite not having Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller being less than completely healthy. The presence of Matt Flynn all but guarantees his success.
• Cam Newton was a great buy-low heading into last week. He's a top-four QB, behind only Manning, Brees and Rodgers. Of course, it would have been more helpful had I written that last week.
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