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East Coast Offense: 2013 Predictions and Vegas Player Props

Chris Liss

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

This is the eighth year of this column, the purpose of which is to share some of my observations of the NFL from the perspective of an industry analyst, fan, fantasy owner, sports bettor, survivor player and daily gamer, not necessarily in that order. It's my suspicion a fair number of you are similar to me in that your interest in the game isn't limited to any one of those facets, and so pretty much anything NFL-related is fair game here. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

One change: I won't be doing a full survivor section or a best bet ATS this year. The problem was the column went up Tuesday night, and it was too early in the week to publish anything to which I'd want to commit. And while I always wrote "I reserve the right to change my mind," it was torture deciding whether to go against my first instinct and already-published advice. In practice, I was making survivor and ATS choices on Tuesday, an unnecessary handicap. With the Thursday game, it's unavoidable to make picks too early (Wednesday night), but at least we've seen the initial injury report. I will talk plenty of survivor here still and of course handicapping. But I'm not going to make picks until Beating the Book, Survivor and Staff Picks come out.

For those of you in pools with early deadlines, you should consider joining ones that allow you to adjust until five minutes before kickoff. Given the variety of good Survivor and Office Pool Commissioner options (Yahoo!, ESPN,, Sportsline), there's no reason to be locked in mid-week.

Non-obvious Predictions for 2013

Rob Gronkowski returns in mid-to-late September and scores 12 TDs, making him more valuable than Jimmy Graham, when you factor in the 3-4 games of the replacement tight end you used while Gronkowski was out.

Maurice Jones-Drew is a top-10 back.

Reggie Bush gets off to a huge start, making him a top-5 PPR back through the season's first month, but injuries in October destroy his season.

Eli Manning is a top-10 QB.

Alex Smith throws 28 touchdown passes, 12 of which go to Dwayne Bowe.

One RB on the Jets, Cardinals or Steelers finishes in the top-20.

DeMarco Murray is a top-10 back on a per-game basis. If he plays 14-plus games, he's top-10 overall.

Antonio Gates finishes as a top-5 TE.

Neither the Falcons, nor the Saints win the NFC South.

Demaryius Thomas has a better year than Brandon Marshall or Julio Jones.

Josh Gordon returns from suspension to post a top-20 WR season.

Rod Streater leads the Raiders in receiving yards and TDs.

Mark Ingram scores 10-plus TDs.

LaMichael James is a factor for the fantasy playoffs.

Daryl Richardson outproduces DeAngelo Williams.

Cam Newton has a better fantasy season than Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens make the playoffs yet again.

Neither Eddie Lacy, Giovani Bernard nor Montee Ball is the top rookie RB.

The NFC East is the highest-scoring division in football.

Some of these predictions are wrong.

Last year's predictions can be found here. (Scroll down). For 2011, click here and scroll.

ADP vs. Year-End Results

Like last year, let's take a look at how well preseason ADP stacks up against year-end results:



QB ADP QB OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Aaron Rodgers 7.3 3 Drew Brees
2 Michael Vick 9.46 12 Cam Newton
3 Tom Brady 15.82 4 Aaron Rodgers
4 Drew Brees 18.22 1 Tom Brady
5 Philip Rivers 20.6 7 Matthew Stafford
6 Tony Romo 38.65 9 Eli Manning
7 Peyton Manning 44.83 NR* Philip Rivers
8 Matt Ryan 46.27 8 Matt Ryan
9 Matt Schaub 49.27 25 Tony Romo
10 Ben Roethlisberger 52.59 14 Mark Sanchez
11 Matthew Stafford 71.83 5 Ryan Fitzpatrick
12 Josh Freeman 79.53 13 Michael Vick

*NR = not in the top-30


QB ADP QB OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Aaron Rodgers 2.61 4 Drew Brees
2 Tom Brady 5.46 2 Tom Brady
3 Drew Brees 6.44 1 Cam Newton
4 Matthew Stafford 12.79 8 Aaron Rodgers
5 Cam Newton 13.52 3 Matt Ryan
6 Eli Manning 34.13 15 Peyton Manning
7 Matt Ryan 36.43 5 Tony Romo
8 Michael Vick 44.83 27 Matthew Stafford
9 Peyton Manning 46 6 Robert Griffin
10 Tony Romo 54.27 7 Andrew Luck
11 Philip Rivers 59.48 19 Russell Wilson
12 Robert Griffin 82.86 9 Andy Dalton

The first thing that jumps out is how reliable top quarterbacks have been the last two years. Of the top five in 2011, only Michael Vick failed to return a top-seven finish. In 2012, all five finished in the top eight. Also while in 2010, Michael Vick went from undrafted to top-five and in 2011 Cam Newton went from No. 25 to No. 2, last year no one outside the top 12 finished higher than 10th (Andrew Luck). Put differently, the top-nine QB finishes from last year were all by top-12 ADP QBs.

The data present a decent argument that you can win by taking a QB early - even if the difference in projected year-end points between Marshawn Lynch and a seventh round RB (say Ben Tate) is greater than the difference between Drew Brees and a seventh-round QB (say Tony Romo). Brees' projection is far more reliable than Lynch's, so you can bank on that positive differential over Romo with more certainty. Of course, Romo's projection is far more reliable than Tate's, but the reliability argument matters most at the top.

Running Backs


RB ADP RB OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Adrian Peterson 2.15 7 Ray Rice
2 Arian Foster 4.25 4 LeSean McCoy
3 Ray Rice 4.57 1 Maurice Jones-Drew
4 Chris Johnson 5.86 17 Arian Foster
5 Jamaal Charles 5.98 NR Marshawn Lynch
6 LeSean McCoy 8.21 2 Michael Turner
7 Maurice Jones-Drew 13.38 3 Adrian Peterson
8 Rashard Mendenhall 13.6 19 Darren Sproles
9 Darren McFadden 16.76 NR Ryan Mathews
10 Michael Turner 19.94 6 Michael Bush
11 Frank Gore 20.45 13 Steven Jackson
12 Matt Forte 22.04 15 Reggie Bush
13 Steven Jackson 22.93 11 Frank Gore
14 Peyton Hillis 25.69 NR Fred Jackson
15 LeGarrette Blount 35.43 29 Matt Forte
16 Ahmad Bradshaw 37.1 20 Beanie Wells
17 Felix Jones 38.46 NR Chris Johnson
18 Jahvid Best 40.16 NR Shonn Greene
19 Shonn Greene 45.39 18 Rashard Mendenhall
20 Ryan Mathews 47.18 9 Ahmad Bradshaw


RB ADP RB OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Arian Foster 2.6 3 Adrian Peterson
2 Ray Rice 4.27 6 Doug Martin
3 LeSean McCoy 5.19 21 Arian Foster
4 Chris Johnson 9.56 12 Marshawn Lynch
5 Darren McFadden 11.61 NR Alfred Morris
6 Matt Forte 14.04 13 Ray Rice
7 DeMarco Murray 18.54 25 C.J. Spiller
8 Maurice Jones-Drew 18.94 NR Jamaal Charles
9 Adrian Peterson 20.19 1 Trent Richardson
10 Marshawn Lynch 22.49 4 Frank Gore
11 Jamaal Charles 23.95 8 Stevan Ridley
12 Ryan Mathews 29.15 30 Chris Johnson
13 Steven Jackson 30.6 18 Matt Forte
14 Fred Jackson 32.73 NR Reggie Bush
15 Trent Richardson 33.08 9 Shonn Greene
16 Michael Turner 35.54 17 Ahmad Bradshaw
17 Darren Sproles 40.28 22 Michael Turner
18 Frank Gore 40.38 10 Steven Jackson
19 Ahmad Bradshaw 41.45 16 BenJarvus Green-Ellis
20 Doug Martin 43.8 2 Mikel Leshoure

In 2011, five of the top seven ADP RBs finished in the top seven, with only Jamaal Charles (torn ACL) and Chris Johnson missing the cut. If you expand it to the top-13 that year, Rashard Mendenhall (No. 19) and Darren McFadden (NR) were also busts, but everyone else finished in the top-15, i.e., nine of the top-13 ADP RBs finished in the top 15 in 2011, and 11 of the top 13 finished in the top 20.

Last year was a different story. Of the top-eight ADP RBs, two finished outside the top-30, four finished outside the top-20 and only one (Arian Foster) finished in the top-5.

Chances are 2013 will fall in between the extreme results of the last two seasons in terms of RB reliability, but it's a safe bet 3-4 backs in the top-10 won't finish in the top-20.

Wide Receivers


WR ADP WR OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Andre Johnson 11.04 NR Calvin Johnson
2 Calvin Johnson 14.25 1 Jordy Nelson
3 Roddy White 15.34 8 Wes Welker
4 Larry Fitzgerald 17.44 5 Victor Cruz
5 Greg Jennings 22.5 17 Larry Fitzgerald
6 Hakeem Nicks 23.46 12 Steve Smith
7 Vincent Jackson 24.76 10 Percy Harvin
8 Mike Wallace 28.43 9 Roddy White
9 DeSean Jackson 31.59 NR Mike Wallace
10 Miles Austin 31.96 NR Vincent Jackson
11 Reggie Wayne 34.26 29 Marques Colston
12 Dwayne Bowe 36.6 20 Hakeem Nicks
13 Dez Bryant 42.68 19 Brandon Marshall
14 Wes Welker 44.04 3 A.J. Green
15 Mike Williams 44.61 NR Laurent Robinson
16 Brandon Marshall 46.26 13 Nate Washington
17 Marques Colston 50.1 11 Greg Jennings
18 Brandon Lloyd 51.62 25 Julio Jones
19 Santonio Holmes 52.14 NR Dez Bryant
20 Anquan Boldin 57.87 NR Dwayne Bowe


WR ADP WR OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Calvin Johnson 7.63 1 Calvin Johnson
2 Larry Fitzgerald 21.19 NR Brandon Marshall
3 Julio Jones 22.5 9 Dez Bryant
4 Andre Johnson 22.71 8 A.J. Green
5 Wes Welker 28.63 12 Demaryius Thomas
6 Greg Jennings 28.79 NR Vincent Jackson
7 A.J. Green 31.14 4 Eric Decker
8 Roddy White 31.32 11 Andre Johnson
9 Victor Cruz 32.99 13 Julio Jones
10 Jordy Nelson 34.52 29 Marques Colston
11 Brandon Marshall 34.94 2 Roddy White
12 Hakeem Nicks 39.77 NR Wes Welker
13 Mike Wallace 44.1 25 Victor Cruz
14 Dez Bryant 47.14 3 Michael Crabtree
15 Marques Colston 47.68 10 Reggie Wayne
16 Steve Smith 49.99 19 James Jones
17 Percy Harvin 52.24 NR Randall Cobb
18 Demaryius Thomas 55.02 5 Mike Williams
19 Eric Decker 59.88 7 Steve Smith
20 Brandon Lloyd 60.3 28 Lance Moore

Judging from the last two years, receivers have been the least reliable of the big-three positions. In 2011, the No. 1 WR (Andre Johnson) failed to crack the top-30, and last year, the No. 2 (Larry Fitzgerald) did the same despite staying healthy all year.

Looking deeper, in 2011, the top-10 ADP WR produced five top-10 year-end finishes, but Nos. 2 (Jordy Nelson) and 4 (Victor Cruz) weren't even in the top-30 ADP.

In 2012, four of the top-10 ADP WR finished in the top-10, while three of the top-10 failed to crack the top-25. Last year, the sweet spot was 11-20, where there were five top-10 finishes, more than in the 1-10 range. But in 2011, slots 11-20 were a disaster at WR, with one top-10 finish and five outside the top-20.

Tight Ends


TE ADP TE OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Antonio Gates 38.77 7 Rob Gronkowski
2 Jermichael Finley 48.06 5 Jimmy Graham
3 Jason Witten 50.93 6 Aaron Hernandez
4 Dallas Clark 59.52 NR Tony Gonzalez
5 Vernon Davis 63.33 8 Jermichael Finley
6 Jimmy Graham 75.7 2 Jason Witten
7 Owen Daniels 79.05 16 Antonio Gates
8 Rob Gronkowski 99.67 1 Vernon Davis
9 Marcedes Lewis 100.24 NR Dustin Keller
10 Kellen Winslow 108.48 15 Brent Celek


TE ADP TE OV ADP Actual Finish Year-End Leaders
1 Jimmy Graham 19.51 1 Jimmy Graham
2 Rob Gronkowski 20.12 2 Rob Gronkowski
3 Antonio Gates 51.92 12 Tony Gonzalez
4 Aaron Hernandez 52.6 16 Heath Miller
5 Vernon Davis 59.84 15 Jason Witten
6 Jermichael Finley 63.97 17 Greg Olsen
7 Jason Witten 88.09 5 Dennis Pitta
8 Brandon Pettigrew 90.2 21 Owen Daniels
9 Tony Gonzalez 95.51 3 Kyle Rudolph
10 Fred Davis 98.86 NR Brandon Myers

In 2011, the top-10 ADP TE took six of the top-10 year-end slots, but because Nos. 6 and 8 (Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski) had such historically great seasons, and TEs are typically cheap after the top few are off the board, it's hard to call the preseason ADP accurate. Put differently, the top-five ADP TE had only one top-five finish, and it was Jermichael Finley at No. 5.

Last year, the market got Graham and Gronkowski right, but was otherwise largely off base.

This is only two years of data, and it's possible the results are anomalous over that span. But from this sample it seems the reliability of preseason ADP is strongest at QB, then RB, then WR and then TE. That's not surprising when you consider those positions are also ordered in descending number of attempts. Fewer opportunities mean a smaller sample and, as such, more volatility.

Heading to Vegas for the NFFC

After Thursday's SXM show, I'm heading to Vegas to host the NFFC $10,000 buy-in Diamond league on Friday morning (I have assurances from both Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich that if someone fails to show, I'll take his spot, but it's not too often someone bails after paying 10K).

After that, I'm drafting in the NFFC Main Event and picking seventh, which was my preferred slot given the third-round reversal. I figure once Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles are off the board, I'll get either C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson, Calvin Johnson or Ray Rice, any of whom I'm happy with. Then I get a mid-round pick in both Rounds 2 and 3.

But both of those events are on Friday, so I get to watch the Broncos-Ravens game from a sports book - will be taking the Ravens plus 7.5 and looking for other random props for the game.

I also might head down to the LVH for some season-long props. Here are a couple I found online:

(It's worth reading through all of them to see how the sports books essentially rank players for fantasy purposes and how those rankings differ from ADP or your own personal rankings)

NFL MVP J.J. Watt 50:1

Demaryius Thomas to lead NFL in receiving yards 16:1

Steven Jackson over 7.5 rushing TDs (-130)

Torrey Smith over 1,000 receiving yards

Josh Gordon over 825.5 receiving yards

Jason Witten under 92.5 receptions

Wes Welker under 7 receiving TDs

Calvin Johnson over 10 receiving TDs

Reggie Wayne under 5.5 receiving TDs

Maurice Jones-Drew over 1,000.5 rushing yards

Alex Smith over 3350 passing yards

Alex Smith over 19.5 TD passes

Dwayne Bowe over 1,000.5 receiving yards

Dwayne Bowe over six TDs.

Stevan Ridley over 10 rushing TDs

Mark Ingram over 6.5 rushing TDs

Eli Manning over 4100 passing yards

Doug Martin over 8.5 rushing TDs

Mike Williams over six receiving TDs

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