Bad Beats - Part II
Last week, I wrote about bad beats, so it's only fitting I would take one. You tell me whether this qualifies:
My RotoWire Vegas League team was down by 16.5 heading into Monday night, thanks in part to a last second switch to Alex Smith from Eli Manning, and sitting Lamar Miller for Mark Ingram as well as Mike Wallace for Josh Gordon and/or Mike Evans.
Still, I had both Julius and Demaryius Thomas going in standard non-PPR. I was down 2.5 when Demaryius caught a championship-winning 35-yard pass. At least I thought it was before an alleged face-mask penalty even the obsequious Mike Tirico had trouble spotting from multiple replay angles. Julius Thomas caught a seven-yard pass to bring my deficit to 1.7, but that was as close as I ever got. Congrats to hockey writer Paul Bruno on the win.
Reviewing my Predictions
Let's review my *non-obvious* predictions from before the season:
• Victor Cruz will catch 95 passes in the team's new offense, and the Giants will make the playoffs.
Even had Cruz stayed healthy, I doubt he would have topped 80 catches. As for the playoffs, not even close. (0-for-1)
• At least one of RGIII, Andrew Luck or Nick Foles will outscore one of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning.
Luck outscored all of them. (1-for-2)
• Michael Floyd will outproduce Larry Fitzgerald.
In non-PPR, he actually did, in PPR he did not. Both were horrible though, so I'll call this a tie. (1-for-2)
• Hakeem Nicks will outproduce Reggie Wayne.
• Percy Harvin will be a top-12 WR.
• Kenny Stills will outproduce Brandin Cooks in non-PPR.
I got bailed out by Cooks' injury, but correct: (2-for-5)
• One of last year's final four (Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks, 49ers) will miss the playoffs.
Correct, the Niners didn't make it. (3-for-6)
• Andre Johnson will be a top-10 receiver.
• Johnny Manziel will be a top-12 QB from his first start until either the end of the year or he gets hurt.
He barely played, but wrong. Wasn't going to happen even had he stayed healthy. (3-for-8)
• Alex Smith will be a top-12 QB.
Wrong, he was 18th. (3-for-9)
• C.J. Spiller will eclipse 1,500 yards from scrimmage.
Wrong, even had he stayed healthy. (3-for-10)
• Julian Edelman will not catch 70 passes.
Wrong - he caught 92 in 14 games. (3-for-11)
• One of Ryan Tannehill, Geno Smith or EJ Manuel will be a top-15 QB.
Correct, Tannehill was No. 10. (4-for-12)
• Alfred Morris will outproduce Marshawn Lynch.
• Tom Brady and Matt Ryan will outproduce Matthew Stafford.
• Either Ben Tate, Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, Toby Gerhart or Rashad Jennings will finish as a top-7 RB. At least two will be outside the top 40.
Wrong and right. But the latter prediction was easier. Call it wrong. (5-for-15)
• Aaron Dobson will be a top-20 WR.
Playing would have helped. (5-for-16)
• At least one of Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler will fail to be a top-15 QB.
Correct. Kaepernick was the 16th-best QB. (6-for-17)
• At least one of these teams - Raiders, Browns, Bills, Redskins, Vikings, Jaguars, Buccaneers or Rams - will make the playoffs.
• I will regret not having Andre Ellington on any of my teams for at least a few weeks.
I mildly regretted it early in PPR leagues after he fell due to the foot injury, but not really. (6-for-19)
• Some of these predictions will be wrong.
My Early 2015 Board
I'll assume a 12-team, 1-QB, 2-RB, 3-WR, 1-TE, 1-FLEX league with PPR scoring, i.e., NFFC style. Here's how I'd draft the top two rounds:
1.1 Le'Veon Bell, RB, PIT - the whole package, catches passes, gets goal-line work, young, durable.
1.2 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN - highest floor of the WR, assuming Peyton Manning returns and is healthy heading into 2015.
1.3. Dez Bryant, WR, DAL- coin flip vs. Thomas.
1.4 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE - Health risk is the only thing keeping out of No. 2 overall slot.
1.5 Julio Jones, WR, ATL - As good as anyone when not nagged by injuries.
1.6 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC - fought through injuries, none of them serious, was a letdown in the playoffs, but still a monster when he's out there.
1.7 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET - Big receivers tend to get hurt a bit more and age poorly. But when healthy, Johnson is still arguably the best in the league.
1.8 DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL - Arguably the top player this year, but huge workload/injury history pushes him down slightly.
1.9 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT - Consistency of a RB, but qualifies at WR.
1.10 Eddie Lacy, RB, GB - Young, big and in a good situation, but lacks breakaway speed; decent, but not great receiver.
1.11 Matt Forte, RB, CHI - Age, state of the franchise and career workload go against him.
1.12 Jordy Nelson, WR, GB - Could put him as high as No. 7.
2.1 Odell Beckham, WR, NYG - The sample of his work is small, but the magnitude is large.
2.2 A.J. Green, WR, CIN - Injuries derailed his 2014, but still a size/speed freak at the peak of his powers.
2.3 Arian Foster, RB, HOU - Nagging injuries again, but no sign of performance decline. QB situation can only improve.
2.4 Andrew Luck, QB, IND - Forget the playoff no-show, he's the rare QB who throws the ball 600 times and also gets significant rushing production.
2.5 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB - Still at his peak, and will help out with his legs.
2.6 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO - Biggest concern is declining state of Drew Brees and the offense.
2.7 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI - Eagles were better in 2013 when he was more involved in passing game, plus Darren Sproles is a year older. Decent chance McCoy bounces back.
2.8 Randall Cobb, WR, GB - Rodgers targets him in the red zone like a big WR.
2.9 T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND- Luck's top target, makes up for in quickness/deep speed what he lacks in size.
2.10 Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI - Brandon Marshall's healthy return will cut into targets, and there's risk if Marc Trestman is let go. Still, Jeffery's massive catch radius guarantees downfield and red-zone looks.
2.11 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN - Peyton Manning's version of Randall Cobb.
2.12 Josh Gordon, WR, CLE - He'll be available later than this, but assuming no off-field incidents, that would be a mistake. Arguably most physically gifted receiver in the NFL now that Calvin Johnson is aging.
Honorable mentions: Marshawn Lynch (status/team unknown), Adrian Peterson (status/team unknown), Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson.
Week 16 Observations:
• If A.J. Green isn't healthy, the Bengals are in trouble. While the defense played well, and Jeremy Hill looks like a star, they have no downfield passing game when Green's out.
• The Broncos offensive line needs to play better because if John Fox turns them into a running team to protect Manning, they've already lost.
• Julius Thomas turned out to be a bad pick. Even though he was great early on, it was impossible to drop him after he got hurt, and it was hard not to start him in the playoffs.
• Last year Julian Edelman was a poor man's Wes Welker. This year, Welker was a stray dog's Julian Edelman.
• I know what I was thinking taking the Cardinals and the points, but that thinking was wrong. Rooting for Arizona was like playing roulette by covering 1-34 with $100 bills and hoping not to get burnt by 35-36, 0 or 00. Eventually, Seattle was going to hit one of its big plays and wipe you out. And once you're chasing, forget it.
• Marshawn Lynch missed almost half the game with a stomach ache, but still got 113 yards and two TDs against one of the league's best run defenses.
• I actually faded the Giants this week, thinking the Rams would stop the rush and get to Eli. Instead, Manning had time, was as sharp as he's been all year, and of course is throwing to the reincarnation of Jerry Rice.
• The Rams hit Beckham late (and out of bounds) at least twice, and you have to wonder what kind of bounty defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had on him.
• The Raiders have to be responsible for thinning out more survivor pools than any other team. After taking down the Chiefs and 49ers, they got the Bills, all of which were viable and popular options the weeks they faced them.
• Sirius XM had a poll they circulated for listeners on what player was the fantasy MVP this year. Beckham was on the list, while Luck was not. I mocked the poll, arguing many more playoff teams had Luck than Beckham. Maybe they knew something I didn't. What an utter disaster for a Week 16 game for Luck.
• I love that Donte Moncrief was a flop. Even though I recommended him too in the event T.Y. Hilton were scratched, it was such a Captain Obvious play, and you know everyone would have claimed credit if he went off.
• It annoys me Tony Romo was still in the game up 28-0 even after the Colts removed Luck. That's because he threw a gratuitous 25-yard TD to Jason Witten that also cost me the league title (see above.)
• There were four of us left in my survivor pool (re-buy through Week 6), and while one died with the Eagles Saturday, the other three of us had the Dolphins, Lions and Pats (me). I can honestly say any of the eight possible win-loss permutations between those three teams was about equally likely in the closing minutes of those games, i.e., any of us could have won it outright or been the only one to lose.
• I didn't watch much of Houston-Baltimore because I had BAL minus 5.5, and every time I checked in Joe Flacco was throwing an interception or Randy Bullock was kicking a field goal. If I could go back and change one thing about my life it would be to have put Bullock in 100 DFS lineups.
• It's not that you were wrong about Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Rueben Randle or Zach Ertz this year; you were just 16 weeks early.
• I know word was out about the Saints vaunted home field suddenly being worthless, but it's still hard for me to process. How does Drew Brees manage only 6.7 YPA or Mark Ingram 2.9 YPC against that defense?
• Pretty strong showing by Julio Jones after being iffy all week. I was expecting quite a bit less.
• Sad to see Satan's Tebow get hurt in the Carolina game. I know it's only a game and a half or so, but I now think Johnny Manziel will be lucky to have Matt Leinart's career.
• Despite cosmetically poor numbers (4.6 YPA), Jimmy Clausen played a decent game against a tough Detroit defense and would have put up substantially better stats but for seven or eight drops by his receivers. Alshon Jeffery caught a touchdown, but was responsible for at least four of them.
• The biggest problem with the Chargers-Niners game is the false hope it gives you for the 999 out of 1,000 others where you're rooting for a team that gets down big, and you end up wasting two hours of your life for no reason.