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Three Keys To Victory – Week 16: Player Rater Scale

S h a r e :

The fantasy season is closing out, along with my first full year of writing at Fantasy Throwdown. Thanks to those loyal Throwdown readers/challengers for a great season, and here’s hoping you’ll all see victory this weekend (except against tttimmyg).

Many of you have already notched a lot of victories this year on the backs of players like DeMarco Murray or Antonio Brown, who have been two of the most valuable players in fantasy football and on their respective teams this season. The keys to their success are simple and threefold: A) Their team feeds them the ball, B) they are making magic happen when they touch the ball, and C) they are doing this on a consistent basis.

OR, in other words, an MVP player is a person who is given a lot of opportunity, and he produces consistently on every opportunity.

Using metrics for each of these categories (opportunities per game, points per opportunity, and consistency per game), I created a “player rater scale” to show who the most valuable players have been this year. This scale is similar to a value based drafting (VBD) chart where players are rated in a matchup-absent box. The results are below:

Player Rater Scale – PPR

player_rater_scale-1

player_rater_scale-2

The number one thing I like about this scale is tells you just how much more valuable a player is based on a comparative search of opportunity + performance + consistency. For instance, you might look at the tight end chart and think “Why is Gronk so far above the rest?” or “Why is Greg Olsen considered more valuable than Jimmy Graham, who has a higher average?” A quick look at the stats clears it up:

Player Opp/G PPO Games
>10 FPts
Games
<10 FPts
Rob Gronkowski 8.6 2.1 13 0
Greg Olsen 8.4 1.8 11 3
Jimmy Graham 7.6 1.9 9 3

Gronk/Olsen have more targets/rushes per game, and they have higher consistency of top scoring. Olsen drops closer to Graham, though, due to the same amount of poor performances and an equal rate of points per opportunity.

Second Half Superstars

Grabbing top end players off the player rating scale has proved a very viable strategy in Throwdown games this year, and you should continue to grab these MVPs. If you apply the same rating scale to the second half only, you come up with some interesting trends that can push you over the top.

For instance, from the start of Week 10, Le’Veon Bell is the clear running back MVP, and outpaces the field by wide margin. His score is 100, of course, but the next closest running back scores out at 73. I won approximately 70% of games over the past two weeks with one strategy leading the way. Choose pick first option, ensure Steelers game is in the mix, and select Le’Veon Bell first. Knowing that opponent will select Antonio Brown next, I simply make sure there are as many 70+ rated receivers in the game, with very few running backs (if possible).

Another strategy is allowing fading players, like Emmanuel Sanders and Jeremy Maclin, to go first, while selecting a higher rated player, lower drafted player (ADP) like Julian Edelman later in the draft.

The chart below will give you insight into the last five games’ MVP at each position. A 5 game scale has higher gaps in it, but you will also notice that quarterback, for instance, has several viable options (including a fading Peyton Manning); whereas, running back and tight end, similar to value based drafting, have a clear top end and larger gaps from top to bottom.

Using these three keys (opportunity + performance + consistency) can aid in your victories over those top leaderboard fellows. Good Luck and Merry Christmas!

Player Rater Scale – PPR (weeks 10-15)

player_rater_scale-3

player_rater_scale-4

IDP Insight – Week 16: @IDPManor Signing Off For 2014; Return Probable

S h a r e :

Well folks, this is it.

In the vast majority of “standard” fantasy football leagues, Week 16 is Championship Week. After a long and arduous season, two teams remain. They have survived The Year of the Injured Linebacker, which claimed another victim in Week 15 when waiver wire darling Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers hurt his ankle.

Yeah, that about covers it.

Of course, in weekly IDP leagues such as those here at Fantasy Throwdown, every week is Championship Week. Sadly though, Week 16 also marks the end of the line for this column. I hope it was of at least some small value to those of you who like to live on the wild side by playing in the IDP leagues offered here at Fantasy Throwdown.

However, with any luck at all you’ll be seeing me again come September.

Oh, blow it out your Jingle Bells.

So, with a sad heart but two eyes firmly on the prize, here’s a look at the top 10 IDP options at the three “major” positions and a couple of less-than-household names who should be solid Week 16 matchup plays.

I hope that all of you and your families have a wonderful holiday season.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. BAL)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. NYG)
  3. Chandler Jones – DE, NE (at NYJ)
  4. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. MIN)
  5. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at STL)
  6. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. SEA)
  7. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at CIN)
  8. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at OAK)
  9. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at MIA)
  10. Ezekiel Ansah – DE, DET (at CHI)

Jurrell Casey – DE, TEN (at JAX)
Thursday night’s game between the two-win Titans and two-win Jaguars may be the single-worst matchup in the history of Thursday Night Football, which is saying something given some of the God-awful games we’ve seen since TNF became a weekly event. However, if there’s one thing worth watching Thursday night for IDP owners it’s probably Casey, who squares off with a Jaguars team that has allowed a staggering 62 sacks in 2014.

Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (vs. MIN)
After racking up a career-high 11.5 sacks a year ago, Vernon’s numbers are down in his third NFL season. Still, Vernon pledged to WQAM-Radio that he’s going to get after it in a favorable IDP matchup Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. “You have to be relentless out there man, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come up to make a big play and change the game,” Vernon said. “You have to take that mindset on every snap.”

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. CLE)
  2. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (vs. GB)
  3. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at CHI)
  4. Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (vs. ATL)
  5. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at NO)
  6. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at HOU)
  7. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at NYJ)
  8. D’Qwell Jackson – ILB, IND (at DAL)
  9. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at WAS)
  10. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (vs. NYG)

Christian Jones – OLB, CHI (at DET)
The Bears defense has been an injury-ravaged dumpster fire in 2014, but those injuries have meant significant playing time for Jones. According to John Mullin of CSN Chicago, head coach Marc Trestman thinks Jones has made the most of those opportunities. “He’s stepping up,” said Trestman. “He’s running to the football. You can see the growth in practice; the learning curve is getting much better. But he’s part of this young group of guys that we have that are getting opportunities and making the most out of them.”

Perry Riley – ILB, WAS (vs. PHI)
The Washington Redskins are a team littered with disappointments, and to be frank for most of the season Riley has been among them. However, there’s also no denying that Riley’s statistical production has spiked since Keenan Robinson got hurt, to the tune of 20 total tackles over the past two weeks. This week’s matchup with the Eagles isn’t especially favorable, but if Robinson sits again (and there’s no reason for Washington to rush him back) Riley’s a good bet for IDP LB2 production that can probably be had on the cheap.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. MIN)
  2. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at MIA)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. BUF)
  4. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at TB)
  5. Barry Church – SS, DAL (vs. IND)
  6. T.J. McDonald – SS, STL (vs. NYG)
  7. Kemal Ishmael – SS, ATL (at NO)
  8. Bradley McDougald – SS, TB (vs. GB)
  9. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (at CHI)
  10. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (at SF)

Bashaud Breeland – CB, WAS (vs. PHI)
There exists in the realm of IDP something known as the “Rookie Corner Rule.” Simply put, rookie cornerbacks sometimes see a spike in fantasy football because NFL quarterbacks like to make them cry. Breeland has been the poster child for this rule in 2014, and the former Clemson standout has posted big numbers more than once this season when the matchup was right. Well, Saturday’s matchup with an Eagles team giving up the most fantasy points to defensive backs is about as right as it gets.

George Wilson – SS, TEN (at JAX)
Wilson, who was pressed into the starting lineup when Bernard Pollard was lost for the season, has been riding a hot streak of late, ranking inside DB1 territory over the past three weeks. This week Wilson and the Titans face a Jaguars squad that’s been surprisingly kind to opposing defensive backs. As in top-five in fantasy points allowed to the position kind. Just please, for the love of God, don’t actually watch the game. I like you too much to ask you to do that.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

Best of the Best Tournament Round 1 Results

S h a r e :

medal_110x110Tournaments are larger scale, elimination competitions, with players split into groups, each attempting to advance from their group through a bracket to the Championship.

For our final tournament of the 2014 NFL season, we rounded up the top players from our Leaderboard, raised the stakes and called it the Best of the Best Tournament.

For more details, check the original Best of the Best Tourney post, plus the general Throwdown Tournament information page.

BotB (Weeks 15-16)

In this 16-team tournament started in Week 15, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 16. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 16, $30 plus a t-shirt and free entry in our forthcoming NFL Playoffs Challenge is awarded to the A-Champion, $15 plus a t-shirt to the B-Champion and a t-shirt for 3rd place. Champions, plus the 3rd place finisher (runner-up in A-Championship) each receive the medal icon plus 20, 10 and 5 achievement points, respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

The Round 1 group results are final. Detailed group standings and game results are shown below. Our A-Championship and B-Championship, to be played in Week 16, are as follows:

A-Championship
Luxuriousdusti vs. Bigchief37 vs. mikemar vs. laoch

B-Championship
Doclate vs. uswjnk85 vs. rhazes_darkk vs. thunder

Thanks to all of our participants, and congrats to each of our players advancing from Round 1 to the Championship round. The games can be found on your Game Manager or My Throwdown page soon. Good luck!

Group A

Wk 15 – BotB – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Luxuriousdusti 3 0 460.3 376.6 83.7
2. Doclate 2 1 382.9 365.4 17.6
3. Wilforkisland 1 2 277.0 313.8 -36.8
4. awilde27 0 3 227.3 291.8 -64.5

Luxuriousdusti wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. Doclate finishes second with a 2-1 record.

Wilforkisland 130.75
Doclate 143

Wilforkisland 145.25
Luxuriousdusti 170.75

awilde27 0
Wilforkisland 1

Doclate 105.25
Luxuriousdusti 133.4

Doclate 134.65
awilde27 101.2

Luxuriousdusti 156.1
awilde27 126.1

Group B

Wk 15 – BotB – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Bigchief37 2 1 376.1 343.1 33.0
2. uswjnk85 2 1 325.5 328.2 -2.8
3. JeffNFL 1 2 397.7 363.6 34.1
4. Ditka 1 2 303.8 368.0 -64.3

Bigchief37 wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over uswjnk85, who finishes second.

JeffNFL 108.95
uswjnk85 132.2

JeffNFL 141.95
Ditka 81.3

Bigchief37 150.1
JeffNFL 146.75

uswjnk85 111.5
Ditka 107.85

uswjnk85 81.75
Bigchief37 111.4

Ditka 114.6
Bigchief37 114.55

Group C

Wk 15 – BotB – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 3 0 435.0 305.3 129.7
2. rhazes_darkk 2 1 343.0 355.3 -12.3
3. tttimmyg 1 2 363.3 359.6 3.8
4. mkmayers 0 3 338.4 459.5 -121.2

mikemar wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. rhazes_darkk finishes second with a 2-1 record.

rhazes_darkk 86.25
mikemar 131.35

rhazes_darkk 115.8
tttimmyg 113.95

mkmayers 110
rhazes_darkk 140.95

mikemar 141.9
tttimmyg 92.55

mikemar 161.75
mkmayers 126.5

tttimmyg 156.8
mkmayers 101.85

Group D

Wk 15 – BotB – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. laoch 3 0 402.1 337.6 64.6
2. thunder 1 2 364.9 367.5 -2.6
3. kwinkelman07 1 2 327.2 340.8 -13.6
4. gtrain 1 2 362.2 410.5 -48.4

laoch wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. thunder finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker over kwinkelman07 and gtrain.

thunder 167.65
gtrain 123.1

thunder 112.95
laoch 130.9

kwinkelman07 113.45
thunder 84.25

gtrain 118.25
laoch 135.5

gtrain 120.8
kwinkelman07 107.35

laoch 135.7
kwinkelman07 106.35

tttimmyg and jeffNFL Sweep Free Tourney (TT9) A and B-Championships

S h a r e :

medal_110x110Tournaments are larger scale, elimination competitions, with players split into groups, each attempting to advance from their group through a bracket to the Championship.

Tournaments are usually run over a consecutive two, three or four week span, depending on the number of players involved. Tournaments are the toughest competitions to win given the larger field, and hence offer the most reward. If you want to join a new tournament, check the Throwdown Tournament information and sign up page.

#9 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 14-15)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 14, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 15. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 15, $10 is awarded to the A-Champion and $5 to the B-Champion. Champions, plus the 3rd place finisher (runner-up in A-Championship) each receive the medal icon plus 10, 5 and 2.5 achievement points, respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

A-Championship
tttimmyg vs. laoch vs. thunder vs. Doclate

The winner is . . .

tttimmyg

Wk 15 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. tttimmyg 3 0 377.3 276.6 100.7
2. thunder 1 2 329.9 316.3 13.6
3. Doclate 1 2 311.8 318.2 -6.4
4. laoch 1 2 251.5 359.4 -108.0

tttimmyg wins the A-Championship group with a perfect 3-0 record. thunder finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker over Doclate and laoch.

Congrats tttimmyg! He wins the $10 cash prize plus the medal icon and 10 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

thunder, as runner-up in the A-Championship, is our overall 3rd place finisher in the tournament. He earns the medal icon and 2.5 achievement points.

tttimmyg 127.2
laoch 88

tttimmyg 123.2
thunder 100.95

Doclate 87.6
tttimmyg 126.85

laoch 104.75
thunder 96.35

laoch 58.7
Doclate 135.85

thunder 132.6
Doclate 88.35

B-Championship
Coach vs. Luxuriousdusti vs. awilde27 vs. jeffNFL

The winner is . . .

jeffNFL

Wk 15 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. jeffNFL 3 0 334.4 263.2 71.3
2. awilde27 1 2 328.6 328.1 0.5
3. Coach 1 2 266.3 296.2 -30.0
4. Luxuriousdusti 1 2 302.6 344.4 -41.8

jeffNFL wins the B-Championship with a perfect 3-0 record.

Congrats! jeffNFL wins the $5 cash prize plus the medal icon and 5 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

Coach 87.95
Luxuriousdusti 86.65

Coach 95.75
awilde27 124.45

jeffNFL 85.1
Coach 82.55

Luxuriousdusti 128.4
awilde27 111.1

Luxuriousdusti 87.55
jeffNFL 145.35

awilde27 93.05
jeffNFL 103.95

Week 15 Throwdown Showdown Results

S h a r e :

sword_140x140Showdowns are 4-player, 1-week round robin, winner-take-all format events. They are essentially a mini-tournament, and a great way to play a trio of games in a single week and show off your skills winning a group beyond individual matches. Showdown winners also receive the sword icon and 2.5 achievement points towards their Leaderboard ranking for the win.

Check out the Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 16.

#49 – Ditka vs. Wilforkisland vs. jeffNFL vs. mikemar

Wk 15 – TS49 – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. jeffNFL 2 1 300.4 286.8 13.6
2. mikemar 2 1 329.4 332.3 -2.9
3. Ditka 1 2 333.3 295.1 38.3
4. Wilforkisland 1 2 302.0 350.9 -49.0

jeffNFL wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over mikemar.

Ditka 136.15
Wilforkisland 57.85

Ditka 96.95
jeffNFL 106.75

mikemar 130.45
Ditka 100.2

Wilforkisland 125.2
jeffNFL 80.5

Wilforkisland 118.9
mikemar 134.25

jeffNFL 113.15
mikemar 64.65

#50 – Ditka vs. gtrain vs. rhazes_darkk vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 15 – TS50 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 2 1 323.7 322.4 1.3
2. Wilforkisland 2 1 373.3 353.1 20.3
3. Ditka 1 2 334.4 358.2 -23.9
4. gtrain 1 2 336.0 333.7 2.3

rhazes_darkk wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over Wilforkisland.

Ditka 124.25
gtrain 119.9

Ditka 89.8
rhazes_darkk 94.15

Wilforkisland 144.15
Ditka 120.3

gtrain 122.4
rhazes_darkk 90.45

gtrain 93.7
Wilforkisland 119

rhazes_darkk 139.05
Wilforkisland 110.15

#53 – mikemar vs. thunder vs. Wilforkisland vs. rhazes_darkk

Wk 15 – TS53 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 2 1 388.1 337.4 50.7
2. rhazes_darkk 2 1 324.1 306.4 17.8
3. thunder 2 1 342.2 342.4 -0.2
4. Wilforkisland 0 3 313.1 381.3 -68.2

mikemar wins the group using the points differential tie-breaker over rhazes_darkk and thunder.

mikemar 165.45
thunder 109.9

mikemar 116.4
Wilforkisland 101.25

rhazes_darkk 126.25
mikemar 106.2

thunder 137.5
Wilforkisland 106.4

thunder 94.75
rhazes_darkk 70.5

Wilforkisland 105.4
rhazes_darkk 127.35

Thanks everyone for playing! Feel free to sign up in one of the next available Showdowns.

IDP Insight – Week 15: Ho Ho Ho, Your Top 10 DL, LB, DB

S h a r e :
I didn't picture Gary as the Clark Griswold of Christmas, but he appears to fit the bill. Oh, and apparently he isn't done decorating yet.

I didn’t picture Gary as a Clark Griswold of Christmas, but he appears to fit the bill. Oh, and apparently he isn’t done decorating yet.

The 2014 NFL season has entered its final month, and just as families far and wide are putting the finishing touches on their Christmas lights (that picture doesn’t do ours justice, and I’m not even finished yet) fantasy owners in “standard” leagues are putting the finishing touches on what they hope will be a championship run.

Of course, that isn’t the case in Weekly IDP leagues such as the ones at Fantasy Throwdown. Here, every week is Christmas – a season in and of itself.

With that in mind, let’s cast a fresh set of eyes toward Week 15. Sure, our standard teams may have come nowhere near the postseason, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find some holiday joy, by using these top-10 rankings and under the radar IDP plays to propel us to fantasy glory.

You know, if I’m going to ham-fistedly jam holiday references into this article, I ought to try to get some sort of corporate sponsorship. A nice big retail chain, maybe those light-up animal pillows.

This week’s IDP Throwdown is sponsored by Chia Pet.

[Editor’s note: like this?]

Yeah, that could work.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (at IND)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. ARI)
  3. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. GB)
  4. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at SD)
  5. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at DET)
  6. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (vs. MIA)
  7. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at STL)
  8. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. WAS)
  9. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at NE)
  10. Cameron Jordan – DE, NO (at CHI)

Jurrell Casey – DE, TEN (vs. NYJ)
After amassing 10.5 sacks last season for the Titans, Casey’s numbers are down in that department in his first year as a 3-4 defensive end. However, solid tackle numbers (59 stops so far this season) have helped the fourth-year pro maintain a degree of IDP value. With that said, there’s a good chance Casey will get to the quarterback this week against a New York Jets team allowing the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen in 2014.

Damontre Moore – DE, NYG (vs. WAS)
With both Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers landing on injured reserve, Moore saw his most extensive snaps of the season last week, piling up a pair of sacks in the process. Moore told Tom Canavan of The Associated Press, “Anytime an opportunity presented itself in the past, I’ve taken advantage of it. I’ve been waiting for it a long time. I’m just waiting to step up.” Moore will get another chance to step up at home in Week 15, when the Giants host a Washington team that’s been kind to defensive linemen stats in 2014.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at SEA)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. TB)
  3. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at CAR)
  4. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. MIN)
  5. Bobby Wagner – MLB, SEA (vs. SF)
  6. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. DAL)
  7. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (vs. JAX)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (at DET)
  9. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. PIT)
  10. Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (at CHI)

Danny Lansanah – OLB, TB (at CAR)
With first Lavonte David and now Mason Foster on the shelf, Lansanah has been forced into a three-down role the past few weeks. As Pat Yasinskas of ESPN reports, head coach Lovie Smith said that this week’s top-five IDP matchup with the Carolina Panthers could go a long way toward determining the third-year pro’s future with the team. “We’ll find out more these next three weeks, like we found out more about him each week he’s played,” Smith said. “I’ll just say he’s a player that’s a part of the foundation we’re building.”

Vincent Rey – OLB, CIN (at CLE)
The injury-marred fiasco that is Vontaze Burfict‘s 2014 season came to a fitting end last week, with the second-year pro landing on injured reserve thanks to his supposedly “minor” knee scope. If there’s a silver lining to Burfict’s injury it’s that IDP owners who have been rolling out his replacement in Rey have a clear path for the rest of the year, including this week’s favorable fantasy matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at BUF)
  2. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at PHI)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (at KC)
  4. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (at NE)
  5. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at DET)
  6. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. DEN)
  7. Rashad Johnson – FS, AZ (at STL)
  8. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (at BAL)
  9. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (vs. MIN)
  10. Antrel Rolle – FS, NYG (vs. WAS)

Ryan Mundy – SS, CHI (vs. NO)
Just like Major Wright before him, Mundy has been a mess at the back of the Chicago defense this year. But just like Wright, Mundy has been putting up fantasy numbers, to the tune of 10th among defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown scoring this season. There’s little reason to think Mundy won’t be among the top 10 fantasy options again this week, as the New Orleans Saints are surrendering the ninth-most fantasy points to defensive backs in 2014.

J.J. Wilcox – FS, DAL (at PHI)
Barry Church may get all the ink, but Wilcox has quietly emerged as a viable IDP option – when the matchup is right. Well, the matchup doesn’t get a whole lot better than Sunday night’s showdown in Philly against an Eagles team that’s giving up the most fantasy points to defensive backs this year. When the two teams met on Thanksgiving in Dallas, Wilcox finished third on the team with 10 total tackles.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

Best of the Best Throwdown Tournament

S h a r e :

medal_110x110Our final tournament of the season is underway, starting Week 15 with Championship games scheduled for Week 16.

For the final tourney I decided to make it a little more special event than usual. The following email just went out to our tourney participants about the event, aptly titled the Best of the Best Throwdown Tournament:

Gentlemen,

For our final tournament of the season at Fantasy Throwdown starting this week, I realized, albeit a little slow, that we really should do something special for this last tourney. Plus, from looking at the participants who signed up early in the week, it was a who’s-who of players from the top of our Leaderboard.

Therefore, I decided to explicitly invite players I felt were worthy to compete amongst our top players who weren’t already signed up to fill the final spots. And from that, I give you the…

Best of the Best Throwdown Tournament!

The format is the same as most of our tournaments, since I still want to run it over 2-weeks, Week 15 and 16. Players are in groups of four. The top player from each group advances to the A-Championship next week. The second place finisher advances to the B-Championship.

I did however add a Flex spot to the lineups (was tempted for two, stuck with one). We might go QB-Flex for the Championship matches.

More importantly, players are assigned to their groups by Leaderboard ranking! Here are the groups:

Group A
#1 Wilforkisland
#8 Doclate
#9 Luxuriousdusti
#29 awilde27

Group B
#2 JeffNFL
#7 uswjnk85
#10 Ditka
#25 Bigchief37

Group C
#3 rhazes_darkk
#6 mikemar
#11 tttimmyg
#19 mkmayers

Group D
#4 thunder
#5 gtrain
#14 laoch
#18 kwinkelman07

As you can see we have every player ranked #1-11 from the Leaderboard. Even some of the lower rankings are deceiving, as awilde27 was #3 in the first half of the season, and Bigchief37 has numerous special event titles under his belt from last year.

In terms of prizes, we’re going to need something a little more special than the originally planned $10 for 1st, $5 for 2nd. Lets triple it to $30 and $15. (Sorry, no Millionaire Maker here.) I still have some t-shirts but they are XL or XXL, so those are available if the size fits. I will also give a free entry in our final special event of the season, the NFL Playoffs Challenge, to 1st place.

If anyone cannot participate for whatever reason please let me know right away so I can find a replacement. If there are any questions then fire away.

Thanks!

Cheers,

Mike

If I missed anyone who felt they should have been included, I apologize. There were only 16 spots available, and I know we have many worthy competitors. It was a subjective call for the final few spots, and everyone accepted, so there wasn’t a ton of opportunity to get in unless you were already ranked at the top of the Leaderboard for the second half. You can make up for my oversight in the forthcoming NFL Playoffs Challenge!

Best of luck to our players, and everyone thanks for playing and supporting the website this season!

Three Keys To Victory – Week 15: Quarterback Faders As The Season Hits Quarter Pole

S h a r e :
Are fantasy football players taking a bath relying on Peyton Manning late in the season? Tim says… maybe.

Are fantasy football players taking a bath relying on Peyton Manning late in the season? Tim says… maybe.

Is Peyton Manning the Benjamin Button of football? Will he continue last week’s putrid performance? It’s hard to bet on a guy like Peyton Manning putting up two stinkers in a row, but I’ll lay out a good case for it below.

Matchups and player performance are important, naturally, but other factors (shifting game plans, weather, injuries) can and do play a factor in how each player will produce in each game. This week, I looked at whether each active starting quarterback has a tendency to finish seasons strong or paltry. Only 25 current starters have played at least 8 games in the final quarter of a season, and those were the only quarterbacks used in the study.

Viable strategies last week included: 1. Passing on Peyton Manning for a “lesser” quarterback or 2. Selecting Andy Dalton over Ben Roethlisberger. These two are just examples, but the key is knowing performance histories and sometimes taking the risk of passing on name talent for a better performance history. My three keys to evaluate for quarterbacks this week are: career performance history over the course of a season, current team reliance on pass vs. run, and recent performance bias.

The Curious Case of Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning’s Week 14 implosion was astounding, but was it surprising? Manning has become synonymous with fading in the playoffs and having better starts than ends to his seasons. This conclusion is not necessarily wrong, but not easily reached by a quick study of facts.

Since 2001, using Weeks 14-17 as the final quarter of the season, Peyton Manning has decreased his fantasy points per game from 24.3 PPG to 21.3 PPG (a 12% drop-off in production). In a similar vein, his total touchdowns per game has seen an 18% drop from 2.3 to 1.9. In the time since 2001, his PPG trajectory by quarter (2nd quarter = Weeks 5-9) looks like this: 1st – 24.9 PPG, 2nd – 25.1, 3rd – 22.8, and 4th – 21.3). So, as you can see, there is a clear peak at the beginning and drop at the end.

For those that may feel like the drop-off in production is insignificant at 12%, here is a list of the only active starters with a steeper decline in production in the final quarter of the season: Mark Sanchez, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derek Anderson and Andrew Luck. Romo is slightly better with an 11% drop off.

The story of Manning is the tale of two teams, and the Denver Broncos side of the story has shown different results. He is averaging 2.4 passing touchdowns in the final quarter since coming to Denver, and he finished the season lights out last year, scoring three of his top six final quarter games of his career in 2013.

So, what should we expect this year based on his past? Answer: Something similar to his career performance and not 2013. The most common predictors in Peyton’s late season declines that I could find are: cold weather, strong rushing game, and, in early career, reduced playing time on dominant teams. Last year, Peyton did not have a C.J. Anderson run game. So what has been his best quarter of the season so far? The answer is the 2nd quarter with a 29 point average. This is followed by a subsequent drop in the third quarter of the season and what appears to be further drop in the fourth.

After I’ve laid out this blueprint, you can be assured that Manning will throw 6 touchdowns this weekend. The point is knowing trends like this could help in upcoming Throwdown matches for knowing when to let a Peyton Manning type of player slide in drafts. So, what other quarterbacks struggle or succeed towards the end of the season?

Frequent Flyers in December

Matt Ryan – Three of Matt Ryan’s Top 5 games in his career have come in Weeks 14-17. He has been the opposite of Manning at the end of the regular season, with a 6% increase in points per game. And he increases touchdown production by 23% averaging 2.0 touchdowns per game in the final four games each season. For what it’s worth, Mike Smith appears optimistic about Julio Jones playing, and Jones appeared upset about not going back in last game. I expect the Falcons to soar on the back of Jones and Ryan, and he should outplay the much higher drafted Big Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday.

Jay Cutler – Cutler is smokin’ in December. With slightly less of an increase than Ryan in each category, he is a similar finisher with an increase in production. Matt Forte has been struggling to succeed as of late, and that will put more onus on Jay Cutler to air it out. Unfortunately, Drew Brees also finishes strong, so not much pool-limiting in this matchup unless you consider Brees’ slump to continue. I wouldn’t bank on it.

Bonus Notorious Strong Finisher Sleepers: Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson

Declining Duds

Tony Romo – Romo was mentioned earlier in that same category as Manning. For his career, he has performed the poorest in the final quarter of the season than the rest of the year. He did have a decent performance last week in touchdowns, but his yardage has dropped off significantly from middle of the season to the last two weeks. And, hopefully, you remember his Thanksgiving Day performance as a symbol of buyer beware.

Eli Manning – Let’s just say that the Manning boys don’t seem to like December and are typically just ready to get to the playoffs. Eli has dropped almost three points over the course of his career from the first three quarters to the last quarter of the season. He is playing the worst pass defense in the league this week, and this will be a true test of how he will finish the season. He’s only averaging 19.6 PPG this season, but for his career has only averaged closer to 15 PPG in the final four regular season matchups. For those tempted to take him as a sleeper, just keep this in mind with the turnover-prone Giant.

Bonus Notoriously Bad Season Enders to Be Wary of: Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick

Week 14 Free Entry Tournament (TT9) Results

S h a r e :

medal_110x110Tournaments are larger scale, elimination competitions, with players split into groups, each attempting to advance from their group through a bracket to the Championship.

Tournaments are usually run over a consecutive two, three or four week span, depending on the number of players involved. Tournaments are the toughest competitions to win given the larger field, and hence offer the most reward. If you want to join a new tournament, check the Throwdown Tournament information and sign up page.

#9 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 14-15)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 14, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 16. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 16, $10 is awarded to the A-Champion and $5 to the B-Champion. Champions, plus the 3rd place finisher (runner-up in A-Championship) each receive the medal icon plus 10, 5 and 2.5 achievement points, respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

The Round 1 group results are final. Detailed group standings and game results are shown below. Our A-Championship and B-Championship, to be played in Week 16, are as follows:

A-Championship
tttimmyg vs. laoch vs. thunder vs. Doclate

B-Championship
Coach vs. Luxuriousdusti vs. awilde27 vs. jeffNFL

Thanks to all of our participants, and congrats to each of our players advancing from Round 1 to the Championship round. The games can be found on your Game Manager or My Throwdown page soon. Good luck!

Group A

Wk 14 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. tttimmyg 2 1 513.8 352.2 161.7
2. Coach 2 1 329.8 368.0 -38.2
3. rhazes_darkk 1 2 327.8 446.0 -118.2
4. Ditka 1 2 399.4 404.6 -5.3

tttimmyg wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over Coach, who finishes second.

Coach 91.55
rhazes_darkk 75.35

Coach 111.75
tttimmyg 190.35

Ditka 102.25
Coach 126.45

rhazes_darkk 91.55
tttimmyg 206.15

rhazes_darkk 160.85
Ditka 148.25

tttimmyg 117.3
Ditka 148.85

Group B

Wk 14 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. laoch 3 0 382.9 329.3 53.6
2. Luxuriousdusti 2 1 389.5 369.0 20.5
3. mikemar 1 2 350.1 379.9 -29.8
4. uswjnk85 0 3 263.0 307.3 -44.3

laoch wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. Luxuriousdusti finishes second with a 2-1 record.

uswjnk85 80
Luxuriousdusti 93.65

uswjnk85 98.8
mikemar 116.05

laoch 97.6
uswjnk85 84.2

Luxuriousdusti 156.15
mikemar 128.55

Luxuriousdusti 139.65
laoch 160.4

mikemar 105.45
laoch 124.9

Group C

Wk 14 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. thunder 3 0 447.1 290.8 156.4
2. awilde27 2 1 400.2 426.0 -25.8
3. gtrain 1 2 399.9 459.4 -59.6
4. Wilforkisland 0 3 383.7 454.7 -71.1

thunder wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. awilde27 finishes second with a 2-1 record.

thunder 139.85
gtrain 90.15

thunder 142.7
Wilforkisland 115.75

awilde27 84.85
thunder 164.55

gtrain 162.75
Wilforkisland 153.45

gtrain 146.95
awilde27 166.1

Wilforkisland 114.45
awilde27 149.25

Group D

Wk 14 – TT9 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Doclate 2 1 394.6 419.7 -25.2
2. jeffNFL 2 1 424.9 308.3 116.6
3. mkmayers 1 2 406.6 432.8 -26.2
4. Bigchief37 1 2 317.5 382.7 -65.3

Doclate wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker (by, get this, 0.95 points!) over jeffNFL, who finishes second.

mkmayers 132.05
Doclate 155.55

mkmayers 152.85
Bigchief37 124.55

jeffNFL 152.65
mkmayers 121.65

Doclate 97.85
Bigchief37 147.45

Doclate 141.15
jeffNFL 140.2

Bigchief37 45.45
jeffNFL 132

Week 14 Throwdown Showdown Results

S h a r e :

sword_140x140Showdowns are 4-player, 1-week round robin, winner-take-all format events. They are essentially a mini-tournament, and a great way to play a trio of games in a single week and show off your skills winning a group beyond individual matches. Showdown winners also receive the sword icon and 2.5 achievement points towards their Leaderboard ranking for the win.

Check out the Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 15.

#43 – jeffNFL vs. thunder vs. mikemar vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 14 – TS43 – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. thunder 3 0 366.2 309.2 57.0
2. Wilforkisland 2 1 400.7 382.3 18.5
3. mikemar 1 2 370.1 328.1 42.0
4. jeffNFL 0 3 305.1 422.5 -117.4

thunder wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record.

jeffNFL 73.75
thunder 87.55

jeffNFL 100.4
mikemar 150.05

Wilforkisland 184.85
jeffNFL 130.95

thunder 125.85
mikemar 121.45

thunder 152.75
Wilforkisland 114

mikemar 98.55
Wilforkisland 101.85

#46 – rhazes_darkk vs. jeffNFL vs. thunder vs. tttimmyg

Wk 14 – TS46 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. tttimmyg 3 0 512.5 375.8 136.8
2. rhazes_darkk 2 1 411.2 437.5 -26.3
3. thunder 1 2 417.7 479.2 -61.5
4. jeffNFL 0 3 456.2 505.2 -49.0

tttimmyg wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record.

rhazes_darkk 173.95
jeffNFL 171.55

rhazes_darkk 118.8
thunder 118.45

tttimmyg 147.45
rhazes_darkk 118.4

jeffNFL 161.55
thunder 165

jeffNFL 123.1
tttimmyg 166.2

thunder 134.25
tttimmyg 198.85

#48 – kwinkelman07 vs. mikemar vs. Wilforkisland vs. rhazes_darkk

Wk 14 – TS48 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 2 1 412.6 387.9 24.7
2. Wilforkisland 2 1 385.1 332.6 52.5
3. rhazes_darkk 1 2 247.1 273.7 -26.6
4. kwinkelman07 1 2 374.8 425.4 -50.7

mikemar wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over Wilforkisland.

kwinkelman07 206.5
mikemar 146.15

kwinkelman07 106.4
Wilforkisland 171.65

rhazes_darkk 107.6
kwinkelman07 61.85

mikemar 166.2
Wilforkisland 101.85

mikemar 100.25
rhazes_darkk 79.55

Wilforkisland 111.55
rhazes_darkk 59.95

#38 – Ditka vs. gtrain vs. thunder

Wk 14 – TS38 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. gtrain 1 1 344.2 310.7 33.5
2. Ditka 1 1 284.3 292.4 -8.1
3. thunder 1 1 318.4 343.8 -25.5

gtrain wins the group using the points differential tie-breaker over Ditka and thunder. Close one! Think these three had better have a rematch this week!

Ditka 109.05
gtrain 175.6

gtrain 168.55
thunder 201.6

thunder 116.75
Ditka 175.25

Thanks everyone for playing! Feel free to sign up in one of the next available Showdowns.