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Staff Picks: Gunning for Stopa

Chris Liss

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

Every year we seem to have a ton of consensus picks in Week 1. Last year it was five, in 2011 it was four and this year it's a whopping six. Maybe it's because we all agree we don't know much yet. Usually we diverge more as the season goes on, and we accumulate what each of us considers actionable data.

In any event, the target is on Stopa's back this year as he's the defending champ.

Enjoy the games.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Ravens +7.5 at Broncos Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens
Patriots -10 at Bills Bills Patriots Bills Bills Bills
Titans +7 at Steelers Titans Titans Steelers Titans Titans
Falcons +3 at Saints Saints Saints Falcons Saints Saints
Buccaneers -3.5 at Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets
Chiefs -3.5 at Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars
Seahawks -3.5 at Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers
Bengals +3 at Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears
Dolphins pick'em at Browns Browns Browns Browns Dolphins Browns
Vikings +5 at Lions Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings
Raiders +10 at Colts Raiders Colts Raiders Raiders Raiders
Packers +4.5 at 49ers 49ers Packers 49ers Packers Packers
Cardinals +4.5 at Rams Rams Rams Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals
Giants +3 at Cowboys Cowboys Giants Giants Giants Cowboys
Eagles +3.5 at Redskins Redskins Eagles Redskins Redskins Eagles
Texans -3.5 at Chargers Chargers Texans Texans Chargers Chargers
Best Bet Browns Giants Vikings Bills Browns
2012 Record 110-140-6 124-126-6 121-129-6 143-107-6 123-127-6
2012 Best Bet Record 3-12-2 12-5 7-10 8-9 10-7
2012 Consensus Pick Record 23-30-1
2011 Record 121-128-7 134-115-7 124-125-7 123-126-7 127-122-7
2010 Record 129-122-5 134-117-5 126-125-5 136-115-5 134-117-5
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

This week we have six consensus picks: the Ravens, Jets, Jaguars, Panthers, Bears and Vikings. Last year we were 23-30-1 on consensus picks.


EricksonIt seems like I've always got an underdog-heavy slate early in the season, and this week is no different... Seeing the movement from the opening line in Week 1 always amuses me. Why did the Buffalo line move so much (from +4 to a range between +9 and +11 now)? Surely it couldn't have been because of Ryan Fitzpatrick's and Kevin Kolb's departures? Or is it re-trenching from a Jeff Tuel start to an EJ Manuel start and will be lower by kickoff? Detroit went from +1.5 to -5. Why? The Jets opened at -2.5 to +3 or more. Seems to me there's a lot of overreaction to the preseason, but then again, Vegas isn't in the business of losing money. Maybe these are traps, but more often than not I'm betting against that extreme movement... Toughest game for me was Seattle-Carolina - it appears that Seattle is an elite team, and the type that could legitimately give points on the road, given how they closed. Carolina isn't a particularly tough venue. But at the same time, I think they're better than their record and really don't like giving more than three points at home to them.
PianowskiGenerally I'm going to take the road points in NFC East games.
LissI love the Vikings, who made the playoffs last year, getting five at Detroit. Who the hell is Detroit? Also like the Steelers at home laying only seven against the Titans. Forget about their record, the Steelers still have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, head coach and defensive coordinator and led the NFL in pass defense (both yards and YPA) last year. If Seattle can cover 3.5-point spreads on the road against solid teams like Carolina, they'll win 14 games. I'm taking the under. The Redskins were great in the second-half last year, while the Eagles were a doormat - that line should be seven. Hated picking GB-SF and SD-HOU.
StopaWeek 1 is one of my favorites to bet. You'll find values if you accept two premises: (i) the preseason means nothing; and (ii) don't assume you know who's good and bad... The Bills, Jets, Raiders and Chargers had awful preseasons? So what? That just makes them values, particularly because their lines have moved significantly in their favor as every Joe Gambler wants to bet against them. Go ugly with all four dogs... The hype machine is on overdrive in Philly, which is now getting just 3.5 instead of 6.5 when the line opened. But what's really changed in Philly? Nada. Take the Skins... I'm not sure why the Lions are now -4.5 when they opened +1.5. Maybe the public is buying into Reggie Bush and the flashy Lions offense, maybe it's fading Christian Ponder, or maybe it's a combination. Whatever the reason, nothing has changed with these teams - certainly not six points worth. Take the Vikings... The Ravens should be getting less than a TD in Denver, not more. Baltimore might be that much worse than last year, but we don't really know that. Plus, we can't assume Denver will be the same - they might be worse, especially on a Von Miller-less defense. Take the Ravens... The Chiefs have been a preseason darling, while nobody wants to bet the Jags. Let's see KC - the worst team in the entire NFL just last year - do something on the field before we lay more than a FG on the road... With division rivalries like DAL/NYG, home field doesn't mean much to me, so I'll take the Giants... The Bills are my best bet because that game has both themes I believe in. One, the Bills were trashed for their preseason, but who cares? Two, we don't know how good EJ Manuel is, nor do we know how good the Patriots are without Gronk and Hernandez (and with Amendola replacing Welker). I want to see it on the field before I assume NE is a double-digit favorite on the road.
Del Don I'm sure saying this will result in a poor performance from me, but I continue to believe Week 1 is the easiest to go ATS perennially, and this year doesn't look any different. Having said that, while I settled with the Browns as my best bet, there were a handful of others I strongly considered, so it didn't exactly jump out. Teaser of the Week: Patriots, Steelers and Colts (seven points).

The players:

Jeff Erickson: RotoWire Senior editor, 2001, 2008 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Value Meter. Covers and roots for the Bengals.

Scott Pianowski: Fantasy expert for Yahoo! Sports, and also contributes to 2009 and 2011 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Patriots.

Chris Liss: RotoWire Managing Editor, 2000, 2002, 2006 Staff Picks Champ, 2003, 2004 co-champ. Writes East Coast Offense, Beating the Book and Surviving the Week in addition to Staff Picks. Covers and roots for the Giants.

Mark Stopa: Staff Writer, 2010, 2012 Staff Picks Champ, Writes Working the Wire. Roots for the Bills.

Dalton Del Don: Fantasy Expert for Yahoo! Sports, 2007 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the 49ers.