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Staff Picks: Backing the Bills and Steelers

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

We're happy to have the same crew back for the Staff Picks again this year including defending champ Scott Pianowski. We've made a couple changes to the feature - scrapping both the "Break Points" and "Majority Record." The former was essentially a tedious task that didn't add much, and the latter was more or less deducible from the cumulative records of the players, give or take a few games. We are still keeping track of consensus picks, however. This week we have two: the Steelers and the Bills.

Worth noting: Stopa is the sole backer of the Broncos, Colts, Cowboys and Chargers.

Enjoy the games.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Vikings +5.5 at Saints Saints Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings
Broncos +2.5 at Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Broncos Jaguars
Raiders +6 at Titans Raiders Raiders Titans Raiders Titans
Bengals +4.5 at Patriots Patriots Bengals Patriots Bengals Bengals
Browns +3 at Buccaneers Browns Buccaneers Buccaneers Browns Buccaneers
Colts -2 at Texans Texans Texans Texans Colts Texans
Lions +6.5 at Bears Lions Lions Bears Bears Lions
Falcons -2 at Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers
Dolphins -3 at Bills Bills Bills Bills Bills Bills
Panthers +6.5 at Giants Giants Giants Panthers Panthers Panthers
Packers -3 at Eagles Eagles Packers Eagles Packers Eagles
Cardinals -4 at Rams Rams Rams Cardinals Rams Rams
49ers -3 at Seahawks 49ers Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks 49ers
Cowboys -3.5 at Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Cowboys Redskins
Ravens +2.5 at Jets Jets Jets Ravens Jets Jets
Chargers -4.5 at Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chargers Chiefs
Best Bet Bills Bengals Bills Rams Rams
2009 Best Bet Record 8-8-1 9-8 10-7 7-10 7-8-2
Consensus Pick Record 19-23-1
2009 Record 123-130-3 132-121-3 131-122-3 130-123-3 126-127-3
2008 Record 132-114-10 128-118-10 124-122-10 125-121-10 130-116-10
2007 Record 127-120 118-129 127-120 N/A 130-117
2006 Record 118-129 N/A 139-108 N/A N/A
2005 Record 121-126 N/A 127-120 N/A N/A
2004 Record 124-124 N/A 130-118 N/A N/A
2003 Record 121-126 118-129 124-123 N/A N/A
2002 Record 113-136 123-126 141-108 N/A N/A
2001 Record 124-113 117-120 118-119 N/A N/A
2000 Record 123-117 134-106 141-99 N/A N/A

Consensus Picks

We have two consensus picks this week: the Steelers and the Bills.

We finished the year 19-23-1 on consensus picks for the year, and were 24-19-2 on them in 2008.


EricksonI hate making the picks so early in the week whenever there's an early game, before the initial injury reports come out. That's doubly true in Week 1, when there are so many unknowns already. But when in doubt, I'll take the points for the early part of the season. I especially like the Bills, a team that I think was undervalued last year. The perception is that the Dolphins are a team on the rise and that the Bills are going nowhere. That might very well be true. But teams change considerably from year-to-year, and even week-to-week. Moreover, home field means a lot in an intra-divisional matchup, even in September... Games I struggled the most with include IND-HOU, CIN-NE and SF-SEA. I understand the reasons why it ended up that way, but I can't help but think getting points backing Pittsburgh at home against Atlanta is still an opportunity.
PianowskiIt's Week 1. We're throwing darts. Look at all the low numbers; this looks like a wide-open season.
LissEspecially like the Bills, Bucs and Vikings
StopaRemember last year how some teams (Bills, Chiefs, and I believe one more) changed offensive coordinators in the middle of the preseason? Those teams all had losing streaks to start the year. This year, the Cardinals just changed QBs and are now giving points on the road. I see the Cardinals as a 5-11 type of team, and it will take a few weeks for Vegas to adjust to their suckitude sans Kurt Warner. Take the home dog... I felt like the Texans were the value pick, but when the line is less than three, does it really matter? (Loyal readers will recall heated debates between me and Liss about that topic last season - how I argued that when the line is less than three, the points matter so infrequently that it's not worth considering - just pick who you think will win the game.) Anyway, Indy always seems to start every year 10-0, so they're my choice... If the Jags have a home game, but nobody is there to watch it, is it really a home game? (Quick aside: You want to know how bad things are for the Jags? I have a foreclosure defense law firm in Tampa. I opened a virtual office in Jacksonville to generate more business. Within a week of doing so, some guy from the Jaguars media team called me, totally unsolicited, trying to get me to buy advertising in the Jaguars official media guide. I declined, and then he basically begged me, telling me to offer whatever I was willing to pay because they had to fill the empty pages of the media guide. When the Jaguars are that hard up for sponsors, I refuse to believe they have a home field advantage.)
Del DonAfter the Vikings clearly outplayed them in the NFC Championship game, I'm surprised so much money is going on the Saints...The Falcons being favored by two points in Pittsburgh essentially says Vegas views Ben Roethlisberger as a 5-7 point player, which is massive...The Packers could easily win the Super Bowl this season, but giving three points in Philadelphia is a lot to ask. The line opened at Eagles -1... Seems like a lot of good value with home dogs in Week 1, including the Rams. Still, I don't feel great making a bad team with a QB making his first ever start as a "best bet."

The players: