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Survivor: Backing the Texans (Again)

Chris Liss

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

Surviving Week 12

Last week, the Texans were the only team to go down, and I would have used them - assuming Seattle and Denver weren't available.

In fact, I had a commenter (Canegator) ask whether he should use the Cardinals or Texans, given that Matt McGloin was starting for the Raiders, as Canegator had seen McGloin play well at Penn State in a pro-style offense. While I'm glad I didn't advise him unconditionally to take the Texans (I said it wasn't "crazy to take AZ"), I probably should have said: "If you have some special knowledge about Oakland's QB that makes you nervous about Houston, defintely take Arizona."

It's good to have the Vegas odds and rough polling data presented, but when it comes down to creating the inputs, that's only a starting point. Late in the year, the polling data has to be balanced with the teams available to the remaining entries in your league, and the Vegas odds are only the market's going rate. Especially where it's a close call between teams like the Cardinals and Texans last week, you should trust your instincts.

Okay - let's take a look at this week's slate:

Team Opponent %Taken Vegas ML** Vegas Odds
LIONS Buccaneers 52.10% 410 80.39
Saints FALCONS 17.60% 420 80.77
TEXANS Jaguars 14.90% 450 81.82
CHIEFS Chargers 4.80% 205 67.21
Panthers DOLPHINS 3.70% 200 66.67
RAVENS Jets 2.70% 185 64.91
49ers REDSKINS 1.50% 225 69.23
PACKERS Vikings 0.80% 205 67.21
Home team in CAPS
** Average of the two moneylines

It's clear from the numbers (and again, check team availablility in your particular pools among the remaining survivors) you should fade the Lions if you have the Saints or Texans available. I would only fade the Lions for one of the lesser teams if you thought at least two thirds of your pools would be on them rather than the 52 percent in the grid. (For the 49ers I'd have a slightly lesser threshold, maybe 60 percent).

My Picks

1. Houston Texans

Yes, I'm going back to the well, and I don't feel great about taking a team that's lost eight straight. But the Texans are merely bad, while the Jaguars are historically bad, and this game is in Houston. I give the Texans an 80 percent chance to win this game.

2. New Orleans Saints

I don't like the short week, or a road game against a rival, but the Falcons are a disaster, and the Saints are strong on both sides of the ball. I give the Saints a 79 percent chance to win this game.

3. Detroit Lions

I hate taking the heavily-picked team, and the Bucs are not the doormat they were a few weeks ago. But the Lions are at home, and their offense is far more explosive than Tampa's. I give Detroit a 77 percent chance to win this game.

4. San Francisco 49ers

If I had them available, I'd consider using them over Detroit if the Lions were above 60 percent taken. It's a road game against a quarterback with upside, but the 49ers defense is stout, and they should be able to move the ball against a weak Redskins unit. I give the 49ers a 68 percent chance to win this game.

5. Carolina Panthers

This isn't a great spot on the road against a decent defense - especially as it's a potential letdown game after two big wins. But you have to like the Carolina front seven against the Miami offensive line. I give the Panthers a 66 percent chance to win this game.

Notable Omissions:

Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs are back home, but unless they get the friendly turnover bounces they've had all season, it's hard to see them separating from a Charger team with a far better offense.

Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens have been better at home, and the Jets awful on the road, but Baltimore's offense is bad, and New York's defense could give them problems.

Green Bay Packers - The draw the Vikings at home, but Scott Tolzien is a wild card, and the defense isn't good enough to trust if he has a poor game.