Breakfast Table: Pianowski and Stopa Talk Football
Breakfast Table: Pianowski and Stopa Talk Football

This article is part of our Breakfast Table series.

From: scott pianowski
Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 3:16 PM
Subject: rivalry breakfast
To: Mark Stopa

All these blowouts lately, but America has the solution coming. Bills vs. Dolphins. Colts vs. Patriots. Roethlisberger vs. Mettenberger.

Stopa vs. Pianow.

One thing I love about the Stopa 10K league is the concept of drawing one playoff team from total points. Every league should do this. It's keeping you and I in the hunt despite ordinary W-L records. Granted, with the juggernaut that is Team Behrens, I don't think it much matters. You're shelling out 10K, amigo.

You'll have to force me to discuss Lions and Cardinals. I thought that was the fraud bowl even before Carson Palmer got hurt. Okay, there are a few things I like here (the coaching of Arians; Detroit's defense). But how many NFC contenders would you pick for an all-or-nothing bet right now (not considering odds) before you came back to Arizona and Detroit?

Green Bay-Philly looks like fun. I'd love to see them meet in the playoffs (Green Bay better get in). So let's talk about that game, too. Chip Kelly can fix anyone!

Game on. This Table better end with a prop.

From: stopa
Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: rivalry breakfast
To: pianow

It's hard to remember, but Mark Sanchez looked like he'd be good early in his career. Remember the AFC Championship Game after the 2010 season? The Jets beat Manning's Colts and Brady's Patriots to get there, then, after trailing 24-3 at the half, Sanchez pulled the Jets within 24-19 in Pittsburgh in bad weather against a terrific Steelers defense. He played so well the Steelers called a pass on a late third down, afraid to run clock and punt it back to Sanchez (even though he'd have to have gone the length of the field with two minutes left and no timeouts). Yes, with the Super Bowl on the line, the Steelers were afraid to punt it to Mark Sanchez. I remember talking to Mike Salfino after that game and agreeing Sanchez would have a better career than Matt Ryan.

So did Chip Kelly fix Sanchez? Did Rex Ryan ruin him? Did Sanchez just need to get out of New York? How much of a quarterback's development is a byproduct of the players and coaches around him? It makes me wonder how many quarterbacks were discarded as busts when they'd have succeeded in a different system. Somewhere, Akili Smith just nodded in agreement.

You're conceding the 10K to Behrens? You of all people should know better - my team last year was similarly dominant, yet you beat me in the playoffs with a poo-poo platter headlined by Matt Cassel and Jordan Todman. That's H2H in fantasy - crazy stuff happens. So you take Andy's team, I'll gladly take the field. I'm certain Chris Liss would agree.

Your team in Stopa is better than mine. Advantage Pianow. Yet I'll keep fighting, trying to choose the right scrub to start, a la Matt Asiata a couple of weeks ago. Owning the juggernaut is fun, but there's something uniquely cool about making the playoffs with waiver wire fodder. I was a whisker away from playing CJ Anderson last week - switched him out at the last minute. Sigh. Who are your breakout candidates for this week? Any minimum salary guys on the DraftKings Millionaire contest jump out at you? Choosing the right one is a huge first step to winning cash there - you know, if you like cash.

Here's how I rank the NFC teams if I were betting right now on which will make the Super Bowl: Packers, Eagles, Cowboys, Seahawks, Lions, 49ers, Saints, Cardinals.

The Packers have to be first, right? They'll beat Philly by double-digits this week. Green Bay's only weakness is run defense, and even with McCoy, Philly can't run.

Do I have the Seahawks too low? They just lost another D-lineman - I'm worried there.

Arizona is 8-1 now, but they'll be 10-6 in the blink of an eye. Book it. If I'm wrong, Bruce Arians better win Coach of the Year unanimously.

All this talk and no Colts-Patriots or Bills-Dolphins. Get us going there. My Bills play on my birthday - will I be crying into my cake?

From: scott pianowski
Date: Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 12:19 AM
Subject: lovesongs for overdogs
To: Mark Stopa

Talent is a wonderful thing, but the NFL is such a context-driven sport. Steve Young sucked on the Buccaneers. Matt Cassel has strong index numbers on the 2008 Patriots. There are a zillion examples, anyone can pull them up.

It would have been difficult for any quarterback to thrive on the Rex Ryan Jets, and Sanchez especially had no chance when the area turned on him, and he had the confidence beaten out of him. Kelly's first job was to convince Sanchez that he actually has talent and can be successful in the league - Sanchez's summer play was important in this area.

The dirty little secret of Patriots-Colts is it doesn't matter. I'm going overdoes, man. The Broncos are such an AFC lock. I'll take them for the conference against the field if you want. Their soft schedule will drive them to home field, where the altitude and officiating favor are difficult to beat. I know, the Ravens had their miracle. But Denver's already the best team on a neutral field to begin with.

You can't play the Asiata Underdog card - that's my card. I think most fantasy players want a no-decision roster that simply stomps over people, and while I can see the charms in that, I derive more joy in the decision making, the pickups, the short-term rentals, the unloved, the Wiggys. It's ridiculously satisfying when you can cobble together a win from players most people don't want. Money won, twice as sweet as money earned.

That all said, let's not let the brains fall out of our minds. Behrens has 1720 points in your league, then it drops down to Evans at 1466. That's a ridiculous gap. If it were an All-Play league, Behrens would be 89-21. With the understanding that I will certainly do everything I can to make the playoffs and advance in them, yes, we're certainly propping this (but we can do the specific negotiating backstage).

Arizona is plus-12 on the turnover table, despite an ordinary veteran QB and a backup no one likes. That's screaming for correction. And the defense, somehow, has become grossly overrated. They didn't stop the Broncos, of course. The Eagles rolled up 521 yards on them. I can't take the win at Dallas seriously when Tony Romo didn't play.

There's no dodging in the playoffs. Green Bay will get in, and they're an offensive nightmare. The Saints have their problems, but they can still score. I'm over the moon for everything Chip Kelly. And the Cardinals will have to pray Drew Stanton can play two clean games. It's not going to happen.

I'm going to try to skip the Buffalo-Miami game - the Thursday games are killing me softly - but I love Buffalo as an ATS selection. Doesn't a six-point spread seem high when you also factor in the 42.5 total? Are we there yet on Ryan Tannehill, or the Miami receivers? The Dolphins couldn't cover Sammy Watkins in the previous meeting (Manuel missed him a few times), and given Sammy's snap count last week, I think he's healthy.

Ah, screw it, it's your birthday. Buffalo springs the upset.

From: Mark Stopa
Date: Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: lovesongs for overdogs
To: scott pianowski

The Bills D has owned Tannehill in recent matchups, including Week 2. But Massey-Peabody has Miami six points better on a neutral field, and the short week typically favors the team that didn't have to travel. It's a bad time for Miami to have just lost its stud left tackle (Buffalo's front four is dreamy), but Dolphins 24-17.

Vontae Davis can cover Brandon LaFell, but how is Indy slowing down Gronk? (Not that anyone else can, mind you). I see the Pats opening up a big lead and Andrew Luck going over 400 yards in a comeback that falls just short. Patriots 34-31.

Crazy that predicting 400 yards for Luck doesn't even feel like a big deal. He and Peyton are co-MVPs right now, a half notch above everyone else. (Brady and Gronk split the NE vote, while Rodgers' Packers aren't in first place.)

Texans "upset" pretender Browns. Lions over Cardinals by two scores. Stopa over Pianow ... what? You thought I'd bet against myself on my birthday? Let's call it a Montee Ball special - I know how much you'll enjoy losing to Ball.

From: scott pianowski
Date: Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Subject: Re: lovesongs for overdogs
To: Mark Stopa

Josh McCown is beating you this week. We'll talk props backstake.

Cake over pie? I think I lean that way, but I also see more variance with pies.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Scott Pianowski
Scott Pianowski writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
Mark Stopa
Mark Stopa has been sharing his fantasy insights for Rotowire since 2007. Mark is the 2010 and 2012 Staff Picks champion (eat your heart out, Chris Liss) and won Rotowire's 14-team Staff League II in consecutive seasons. He roots for the Bills and has season tickets on the second row, press level to the Rays.
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