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DFS For IDP Fantasy Players – Week 8: No Surprise, Another Top LB Injured

October 23rd, 2014 by Gary Davenport
Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny sustained a torn pectoral muscle in Sunday's win over Cleveland and will be out the rest of the season.

As if the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t in bad enough shape as it is, they lost their defensive leader, LB Paul Posluszny, for the season last week with a torn pectoral muscle.

Injuries are a fact of life in football, whether it’s the NFL or the hobby we all enjoy so much. It’s a violent sport played by very large men in suits of armor crashing into one another as hard as they can. Guys are going to get hurt.

Still, when Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle last week, it continued a staggering rash of injuries that have ravaged the linebacker spot dating all the way back to training camp.

Of the Top 20 fantasy linebackers by virtue of Average Draft Position at My Fantasy League in 2014, 11 have either missed multiple games, are injured now or have been ruled out for the remainder of the season. That’s over 50 percent.

Needless to say, these injuries have had a massive impact on IDP leagues. In “standard” fantasy formats they have left teams scrambling to the waiver wire, sometimes to replace their entire starting lineup.

In Fantasy Throwdown, it means that knowing which rocks to turn over in what games to unearth hidden defensive gems can make the difference between a win and a loss.

With that in mind, let’s get to it – before someone else gets hurt.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t been drinking. Yes, the Dolphins and Jaguars aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts, and at first glance there doesn’t appear to be a ton of IDP talent either. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find some very nice under-the-radar IDP options, from Miami linebacker Jelani Jenkins to Jacksonville defensive end Chris Clemons. The Dolphins and Jaguars have also both been extremely generous to defensive players in 2014. Both teams rank in the Top 10 in fantasy points allowed to IDPs (Fantasy Throwdown scoring), and the Jaguars lead the NFL both in sacks allowed and in fantasy points surrendered to IDPs.

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
Nothing beats having a player or two starting for your fantasy team in the week’s primetime tilts. One last player to cheer for. One last chance at that miracle comeback. Not only does Sunday night’s big duel in the Big Easy meet that end, but there’s IDP talent at every level of the defense, including two of fantasy football’s top defensive backs in Kenny Vaccaro of the Saints and Morgan Burnett of the Packers. Throw in a pair of high-octane offenses capable of both long, sustained drives and quick scores and you have the recipe for fat stat lines on both sides of the ball.

Now that we’ve looked at a couple of games that should interest fantasy owners in Fantasy Throwdown IDP games in Week 8, let’s start flipping over rocks and see if we can’t unearth a potential “sleeper” play or two.

No-Name All-Stars

DEFENSIVE LINE

Olivier Vernon – DE, Miami Dolphins
Batterymate Cameron Wake may get all the headlines, but Vernon’s hardly chopped liver himself. Yes, the third-year pro threw up the dreaded IDP doughnut in Week 7, but the week before Vernon tallied 7 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. That latter stat line is much more likely this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed the most sacks in the National Football League (29) in 2014 by a sizable margin.

LINEBACKER

Josh Mauga – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mauga was thrust into the starting lineup for the Chiefs by the season-ending Achilles’ injury suffered by Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson back in September. Mauga, who leads the team in tackles heading into a matchup with a St. Louis Rams team giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year, told Matt Conner of SB Nation that starting has been an adjustment, but he has the hang of it now. “Each week,” Mauga said, “I feel I’ve gotten more comfortable and used to being on the field a lot more. I feel great.”

DEFENSIVE BACK

James Ihedigbo – SS, Detroit Lions
As Justin Rogers of MLive.com reported, after the Lions came back to defeat the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, Ihedigbo chided fans who left Ford Field early. “You know, people had the nerve to leave the stadium,” Ihedigbo said. “You’ve got to understand the type of football team you have here. You never leave the stadium. Never. We’re always going to fight and be resilient and we showed that today.” Meanwhile, I’m here to chide those who haven’t noticed that only two defensive backs have more fantasy points over the past four weeks than Ihedigbo.

FLEX

Jelani Jenkins – OLB, Miami Dolphins
According to Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report, Jenkins has been a revelation for the Dolphins in 2014. “If Jenkins can continue his ascension and high-level play,” Wharton said, “he can be a solid building block moving into the next decade. For an organization that’s been plagued by mediocrity, Jenkins represents hope that the future will be brighter.” Jenkins has also been something of a revelation for IDP owners. Despite cooling off the past two weeks, Jenkins still ranks among the Top 20 fantasy linebackers, and a tilt this week with a Jaguars squad allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year should help the second-year pro shake off his recent mini-slump.

 
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.

Three Keys To Victory – Week 8: With Or Without You, Palmer, Orton, Megatron and Alex Mack

October 22nd, 2014 by Tim Grinstead

Any type of change for a team or player can change their outlook on the field. A receiver clicks with a certain quarterback or a guy steps up when someone gets injured. Either way, it’s important to pay attention to ebb and flow of these changes during the season to see how it affects play on the field.

I looked at three different changes (quarterbacking, missing key players, and time of year) to see how it affects some key offensive weapons. Using these three keys may help you spot other good picks this week. Good luck and draft wisely in your Fantasy Throwdown games this week.

Where’s My Quarterback?

Michael Floyd was picked by many as a breakout sleeper this year, and when he started off the season with a 5 catch, 119 yard performance, it looked to be true. His next game was poor though, and he has struggled with consistency.

A closer look tells us that Floyd’s success hinges on Carson Palmer‘s health. This season Floyd is targeted less when Palmer is on the field, but every other number is up. Palmer’s accuracy as a quarterback allows for a more efficient offense. According to Pro Football Focus’s measure of catchable balls throw, 81% of the balls are catchable when Palmer throws to Floyd. This is drastically different without Palmer this year, as only 40% of balls are catchable. In two career games vs. the Eagles, Floyd has scored in both games, and I look for a third this week.

Michael Floyd, 2014 Games Targets Rec Yards TD
With Palmer 3 5.7 4.0 71.0 0.7
With other QB 3 7.3 2.3 46.7 0.0

Speaking of inaccurate quarterbacks, E.J. Manuel is 30th in Pro Football Focus’s true accuracy percentages, while Kyle Orton is listed at 16th. The change at quarterback in Buffalo has led to better numbers for Sammy Watkins, similar as the Michael Floyd case.

In this case, though, Orton knows to target his best receiver, as he is averaging almost 10 targets a game with Orton (and approximately 80 yards and a touchdown per game.) Orton’s already passed Manuel’s passing yards and passing touchdowns in one less game, and organized a magnificent comeback last week finishing with a touchdown to Watkins. Facing a reeling Jets team, these two should continue their success this week.

Sammy Watkins, 2014 Games Targets Rec Yards TD
With Orton 3 9.7 6.0 78.7 0.7
With other QB 4 8.0 4.3 49.3 0.5

We’re Missing Something…

There is a very small number of games that Calvin Johnson has missed over the years, and thus, the sample size is small. But, based on that number, Matthew Stafford throws 3 less passing attempts per game, approximately 70 less yards, and about 1 less passing touchdown. This seems reasonable with a beast like Calvin off the field. His absence this season, coupled with the poor play of Reggie Bush, boosts the numbers of Joique Bell. In the two games Megatron has been absent, Bell has a significant increase in carries and yards. He scored in both of those games.

Calvin is unlikely to play this week again based on all reports and Bell is facing one of the worst rush defenses in the league in the Atlanta Falcons.

Joique Bell, 2014 Games RuAt RuYd TD
With Calvin 4 12.0 38.0 0.3
Without Calvin 2 18.0 61.0 1.0

Sometimes an entire offense simply suffers when a key piece is missing. Football is a team sport. You can’t pin everything on one guy, but Alex Mack made a big case for it on the Cleveland Browns this week. Isaiah Crowell said that “Alex Mack being hurt is a big hindrance in the running game. Weren’t as many holes.” This was evident in their entire running game, but specifically, I would be wary of Ben Tate this week despite a good matchup. Mack was rated as the third best overall lineman this year according to Pro Football Focus and fifth best run blocker. And based on stats below, Crowell may be right about not finding holes.

Ben Tate, 2014 Games RuAtt RuYd TD
With Alex Mack 3 17.7 81.0 0.7
Without Alex Mack 1 16.0 36.0 0.0

Quarterbacks or Fine Wine?

The other situation that is changing for all teams and players is the time of year. For each person, how they finish seasons is different, but since 2011, there are two quarterbacks in particular who have a track record of playing better towards the end of season than they started – Tony Romo and Tom Brady. These two, like fine wine, only get better with time.

Romo is infamous for late season collapses and failed playoff runs, but most of these memories we have of Romo are based on one or two memorable infamous plays in the fourth quarter and not his body of work. Using Rotoviz’s game splits app, I compared numbers in the first eight games of each season and the last nine games.

As you can see from the chart below, while his yards and attempts have stayed fairly similar, his touchdowns have increased. In addition, he has a history of finishing the season with a better touchdown to interception ratio. Since 2011, Romo has faced the Redskins 6 times and is averaging 267 yards and 1.8 touchdowns in those contests, and with the way these two teams are playing he could be really good this week.

Tony Romo Games PaAtt PaYd TD INT TD:Int Ratio
Weeks 1-8 25.0 36.5 277.3 1.8 1.1 1.6:1
Weeks 9-17 28.0 35.0 266.2 2.1 0.6 3.7:1

Tom Brady is even better towards the end of the season than Romo. He seems to be heating up early this year, with seven touchdowns in the last two games. The loss of Stevan Ridley is also forcing the team to rely on Tom a bit more. Since 2011, Brady has increased his statistics in every category during the final half of the season, and garnered an astounding 4.0 touchdown to interception ratio. The Chicago Bears are rated as the 7th worst team in pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus, and Brady has his team rolling right now. He should outduel smokin’ Jay Cutler.

Tom Brady Games PaAtt PaYd TD INT TD:Int Ratio
Weeks 1-8 29.0 38.2 277.0 1.8 0.7 2.8:1
Weeks 9-17 25.0 39.1 312.2 2.2 0.6 4.0:1

Week 7 Throwdown Showdown Results

October 21st, 2014 by Mike

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.

We hosted four Throwdown Showdowns for Week 7. Check out the new Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 7.

#16: Kjhawkey vs. Wilforkisland vs. rhazes_darkk vs. jeffNFL

Wk 7 – TS16 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 2 1 343.6 278.8 64.8
2. jeffNFL 2 1 341.2 305.2 36.0
3. Kjhawkey 2 1 384.0 401.4 -17.4
4. Wilforkisland 0 3 282.5 365.9 -83.4

rhazes_darkk finishes 1st using the points differential tie-breaker over jeffNFL and Kjhawkey.

Kjhawkey 135.15
Wilforkisland 128

Kjhawkey 132.65
rhazes_darkk 126.95

jeffNFL 146.4
Kjhawkey 116.15

Wilforkisland 61.35
rhazes_darkk 120.75

Wilforkisland 93.15
jeffNFL 110

rhazes_darkk 95.85
jeffNFL 84.75

#17: kwinkelman07 vs. Bigchief37 vs. Wilforkisland vs. jeffNFL

Wk 7 – TS17 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. kwinkelman07 2 1 400.9 329.1 71.8
2. jeffNFL 2 1 345.5 322.3 23.2
3. Bigchief37 1 2 322.8 395.7 -72.9
4. Wilforkisland 1 2 325.6 347.7 -22.1

kwinkelman07 finishes 1st using the head-to-head tie-breaker over jeffNFL.

kwinkelman07 171.6
Bigchief37 93.5

kwinkelman07 111.15
Wilforkisland 142.05

jeffNFL 93.55
kwinkelman07 118.1

Bigchief37 113.85
Wilforkisland 94.8

Bigchief37 115.45
jeffNFL 129.25

Wilforkisland 88.75
jeffNFL 122.65

#18: Mike vs. awilde27 vs. patwat vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 7 – TS18 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Wilforkisland 3 0 421.3 350.0 71.3
2. awilde27 1 2 399.0 397.6 1.4
3. Mike 1 2 369.9 391.6 -21.7
4. patwat 1 2 328.0 379.0 -51.0

Wilforkisland finishes 1st with a perfect 3-0 record.

Mike 136.15
awilde27 164.35

Mike 127.35
patwat 92.95

Wilforkisland 134.25
Mike 106.35

awilde27 109.55
patwat 116.5

awilde27 125.1
Wilforkisland 144.95

patwat 118.55
Wilforkisland 142.05

#19: tttimmyg vs. awilde27 vs. j0eo1s vs. laoch

Wk 7 – TS19 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. j0eo1s 3 0 378.0 313.9 64.2
2. awilde27 2 1 376.5 376.1 0.5
3. tttimmyg 1 2 362.8 386.7 -24.0
4. laoch 0 3 314.1 354.8 -40.7

j0eo1s finishes 1st with a perfect 3-0 record.

tttimmyg 132.7
awilde27 148.05

tttimmyg 103.4
j0eo1s 130

laoch 108.65
tttimmyg 126.65

awilde27 112.05
j0eo1s 136.3

awilde27 116.4
laoch 107.05

j0eo1s 111.7
laoch 98.4

Week 7 Throwdown League Results

October 21st, 2014 by Mike

trophy_105x105A league is usually an 8-player, 8-week event, with players playing a 7-week double header regular season. The top two teams after the regular season compete in the eighth week in a triple header championship. A league gives some flexibility to have a little fun with the format, implementing neat twists and turns from regular Throwdown matches over the course of the regular season. Some examples include, “bench only challenges”, or “#RaceToTheBottom” (must pick all uninjured starters, but lowest points wins).

We currently have only one official Throwdown League running, but that should change once sign ups and results become more automated. Then people can even start and run their own league, which would be pretty cool, but we’re not there yet. The payout for this $10 entry fee league is $50 for 1st place and $22 for 2nd place. Each player who placed in these spots also receives the trophy icon and achievement bonus points of 10 and 5 respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

This one started in Week 3, so there are only two weeks to go in the 7-week regular season after the conclusion of Week 7. The games this week used a dual-flex lineup, and QB is included in the flex. There were some real dog QB performances this week, so some of our players might have been attracted to using a QB in the flex spot, but ultimately to their own detriment.

Throwdown League #1 (reg. season week 5)

Wk 7 – TL1 – 10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. jeffNFL 8 2 1,014.8 807.3 207.5
2. Wilforkisland 7 3 900.4 860.1 40.4
3. Bigchief37 6 4 876.5 826.6 49.9
4. TheKommish 6 4 974.7 992.8 -18.1
5. mikemar 4 6 877.0 960.7 -83.7
6. Luxuriousdusti 4 6 799.4 909.8 -110.4
7. tttimmyg 3 7 930.3 937.7 -7.4
8. rhazes_darkk 2 8 815.3 893.5 -78.3

In a continuous flip-flop battle, jeffNFL pulled back into first place this week ahead of Wilforkisland, as Jeff won both of his matches and Wilfork dropped both of his. TheKommish won his pair of games, Luxuriousdusti went 0-2, and everyone else split. We’ve got quite the battle brewing for those top two playoff spots amongst our top four teams.

Note, the standings, for simplicity are sorted by record and then points differential, but head-to-head is still the first tie-breaker if needed to decide playoff spots at the end of the season. Each player should play every other player twice over the course of the season.

mikemar 121.3
TheKommish 143.15

Bigchief37 89.4
Luxuriousdusti 81.55

Wilforkisland 101.2
tttimmyg 168

rhazes_darkk 94
jeffNFL 122.15

Wilforkisland 126.3
mikemar 148.1

rhazes_darkk 163.3
Bigchief37 130

Luxuriousdusti 126.4
jeffNFL 163.6

tttimmyg 124.7
TheKommish 140.65

Daily Fantasy Sports For IDP Fantasy Football Players – Week 7: When To Draft IDPs

October 16th, 2014 by Gary Davenport
Luke Kuechly of the Panthers in action during the regular season play between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. September 7, 2014; Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Draft Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly or your RB2 next? Gary gives some guidelines when to pull the trigger on your IDP picks.

If there’s one question I get asked more than any other (except maybe, “are you Brad Pitt?”) it has to be, “when should I start drafting IDPs?”

It’s a loaded question, and one that can have very different answers depending on a particular league’s scoring and lineup requirements. However, for those of you planning to incorporate individual defensive players into your Fantasy Throwdown games, here’s a general rule of thumb.

The same fantasy points scoring used for Fantasy Throwdown is used for the player stats at DraftBuddy.com. This allowed me to examine last year’s top fantasy options in this scoring.

The top scoring defensive player of 2013, Karlos Dansby (then of the Arizona Cardinals), tallied 196.5 fantasy points. That would have ranked Dansby just inside the top 20 at running back using PPR scoring.

So, you can guesstimate that the fantasy value of an elite linebacker (such as Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers) in this scoring is that of a mid-level fantasy RB2. Players a bit farther down the list (such as St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree) would have value comparable to a “flex” option.

There are, of course, exceptions. For instance, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt ranked as the top overall IDP two years ago, and ranks number one in point per game this year (minimum two games). His overall production is similar to Dansby’s.

But, much like Jimmy Graham‘s dominance of tight ends, the gap between Watt and the number two ranked defensive lineman is staggering. That added edge at his position bumps his value, to the point that Watt merits a look early in Throwdown drafts, perhaps even in the first two rounds.

Defensive backs, on the other hand, should be waited on. It’s a ridiculously deep and unpredictable position in fantasy football. Play your cards right and identify the proper matchup plays, and you can wait until the end of your Throwdown draft and still acquire defensive backs capable of generating a solid box score.

With that said, the point of all this is simple – don’t overpay for your IDPs. You can wait, grab running backs and receivers (and maybe even a quarterback) and then hit the defense without digging a hole. It’s partly to do with a solid amount of depth at the linebacker and defensive back spots, and partly a function of knowing how IDPs compare to their offensive brethren.

Now that you know (in a very broad-strokes sense) when to draft your IDPs, let’s look at which games and players to target in Fantasy Throwdown for Week 7.

Games of the Week

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

Granted, this game would be quite a bit more appetizing if Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner wasn’t battling turf toe, but even if Wagner misses the game there’s plenty to like IDP-wise. Not only do both of these teams feature more than a little fantasy-relevant talent, but both teams have also been kind to opposing individual defensive players. Both the Rams and Seahawks rank inside the top 10 in fantasy points per game allowed to linebackers, and no team has allowed more fantasy points per game to IDPs overall in Fantasy Throwdown scoring in 2014 than the Rams.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Admittedly, this game is a little light on the pass-rushers, with New York’s Jason Pierre-Paul easily the top option available. However, the Giants and Cowboys are top 12 fantasy matchups for both linebackers and defensive backs in 2014. Even better, in players such as linebackers Jon Beason of the Giants and Rolando McClain of the Cowboys, and safeties like New York’s Antrel Rolle and Dallas’ Barry Church, the teams have talent capable of taking advantage of those favorable matchups.

Now that we’ve hit the when and the where of Fantasy Throwdown IDP drafts in Week 7, let’s put some lipstick on this pig with a look at some under-the-radar players who are set for big things this week.

No-Name All-Stars

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

Everson Griffen – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at BUF)
Griffen’s been riding something of a hot streak of late, with eight total tackles and a pair of sacks over his last two games. The 26-year-old has an excellent shot at keeping that positive momentum going this week, as the Bills have allowed the most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen this year in the NFL.

LINEBACKER

Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at IND)
This is something of a conditional add, but if both Emmanuel Lamur and Rey Maualuga miss Sunday’s big game in Indy (a real possibility) then that means a three-down role at middle linebacker for Rey in a top five IDP matchup with the Colts. The last time Rey had that gig, over a three-game stretch in 2013, he was the top scoring linebacker in all of fantasy football.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Quintin Demps – SS, New York Giants (at DAL)
Demps has played well since taking over for the ineffective Stevie Brown, with the 29-year-old telling Dan Graziano of ESPN, “It’s an opportunity for me, so I just take advantage of the chance to be the best I can be for this team and go from there.” This week, Demps represents an excellent opportunity for IDP owners as well, as the Cowboys have been very generous to opposing defensive backs in 2014.

FLEX

K.J. Wright – OLB, Seattle Seahawks (at STL)
As we stated earlier, Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Rams after injuring his toe last week against the Cowboys. If Wagner can’t go, Wright will kick inside against a Rams team allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year. Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton told Clare Farnsworth of the team’s website he trusts Wright to get the job done. “K.J. is a guy that we know is very capable of stepping in and doing a fantastic job,” Norton said. Should Wagner miss the game, IDP owners should trust Wright in Week 7 as well.

 
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.

Three Keys To Victory – Week 7: We’re Going Streaking!

October 15th, 2014 by Tim Grinstead

Streaks are hard to believe sometimes, and too many times, we hop on board after the streak has already passed us by. Knowing who’s hot (and who’s cold) can help you win some games. Forgetting about the name value and just plugging in a hot player can win you some games. Below are some teams and players that have current streaks you should pay attention to this week when drafting and watching games.

Quarterback Streaks

Philip Rivers now has a touchdown pass in 22 straight games, the longest current streak of any NFL quarterback. In addition to that, he is tied for the longest current streak of games with over 250 yards passing and 1 touchdown at five. The only other guys that come close to his performance this season are Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck (currently on 4 straight games with 300 yards and 1 TD). If his line can stop the Kansas City Chiefs pass rush, their secondary is beatable, and they have given up at least 1 touchdown to every quarterback they’ve faced.

The other quarterback who is tied with Rivers with five straight games of 250 yards passing and 1 touchdown is Kirk Cousins. He’s also fourth on the current streak of games with 30+ passing attempts with eight straight (games played). Cousins is facing the Tennessee Titans this week, who in their last three games have given up two 300+ yard passing games and two 3+ touchdown games to quarterbacks. Two of those three games were against Blake Bortles and Brian Hoyer. Cousins is rated as the number two best quarterback on play action according to Pro Football Focus (premium access required), and I expect Alfred Morris to run effectively against Tennessee setting up good play action for Cousins all day. He’s a good sleeper pick this week at Tennessee.

Receiving and Running Streaks

I mentioned Kirk Cousins chances this week vs. Tennessee, and that success may trickle down to DeSean Jackson this week as well. DeSean and Demaryius Thomas are coming off back-to-back games of at least 3 receptions and 100 receiving yards. Jackson has performed like this against two of the league’s best in Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson. Jackson is a good bet to make it three in a row this week. Cousins has the second highest Yards Per Attempt (YPA) on play action this year; which means he is throwing deep a lot. Jackson is the deep guy, and if they get the run game working with play action, as mentioned, he should have success.

Everyone is aware now that DeMarco Murray is tied with Jim Brown for most 100 yard rushing games to start a season, and Le’Veon Bell is the current leader with 12 straight games with at least 50 yards rushing (Murray second with 6). But only Arian Foster and Branden Oliver have 2 straight games with at least 100 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.

Everyone knows that Foster is a beast when healthy, but Branden Oliver has been a revelation for the San Diego Chargers. Oliver and Murray are the only players in the NFL this year to have two or more games with at least 100 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving and a touchdown in the same game. With a middle of the road matchup at KC, Oliver should continue to find success this week and can easily be grabbed after Jamaal Charles with a chance to outscore him.

Only the Houston Texans (at PIT), New York Jets (at NE), Carolina Panthers (at GB) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given up 20 or more passes in five straight games. This increases the odds of high passing and receiving stats. Tampa is on a bye, but the rest have matchups that you will want to exploit. The matchup I like best is New England Patriots versus the Jets. Stevan Ridley is out, and I think Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will lead the way to a higher passing game.

Touchdown and PPR Streaks

Only one guy in the NFL has 10 receptions in back-to-back games this season and he has a chance to do it again this week. Surprisingly, it’s not a receiver, its Matt Forte. He’s currently sitting on three straight games of 150 total yards and two straight 10 reception games. At this point, he’s a PRR goldmine, and, according to DraftBuddy.com, Miami is giving up the 9th most receptions per game to running backs and the 14th most fantasy points per game to running backs (PPR scoring). Matt Forte has a chance to repeat against the Dolphins this week.

Antonio Brown has now upped is streak of 5+ receptions to 22 straight games. The next four on that list are T.Y. Hilton (9), Golden Tate (7), Matt Forte (6) and Steve Smith (6). But, Antonio Brown also has at least 50 receiving yards in every game in that streak, and T.Y. Hilton is the only other player to have a current streak of five or more games with at least 5 receptions and 50 yards. Hilton has now done it in five straight games. Pair that with Andrew Luck’s streak mentioned above, and this streak should last for a while.

Julius Thomas currently has five straight games with a touchdown and nine total on the year. He’s a no-brainer high draft pick, but the only other player who currently has four straight games with a touchdown is Antone Smith. I rarely write about a guy in this column two weeks in a row, but this guy is playing amazing right now. At 3.8 touches per game, this streak has to eventually end, but there is a measure of consistency now scoring in five out of six and four straight.

Week 6 Throwdown Showdown Results

October 14th, 2014 by Mike

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.

We hosted three Throwdown Showdowns for Week 6. Check out the new Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 7.

jeffNFL vs. Mike vs. rhazes_darkk vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 6 – TS – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 2 1 320.7 296.9 23.8
2. Wilforkisland 2 1 350.9 340.8 10.1
3. Mike 1 2 282.6 339.4 -56.8
4. jeffNFL 1 2 376.0 353.2 22.9

rhazes_darkk finishes 1st using the head-to-head tie-breaker over Wilforkisland.

jeffNFL 98.6
Mike 105.4

jeffNFL 145.05
rhazes_darkk 105.95

Wilforkisland 141.8
jeffNFL 132.35

Mike 67.95
rhazes_darkk 115.55

Mike 109.25
Wilforkisland 125.2

rhazes_darkk 99.15
Wilforkisland 83.85

rhazes_darkk vs. jeffNFL vs. mikemar vs. Ditka

Wk 6 – TS – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Ditka 2 1 398.7 320.1 78.6
2. rhazes_darkk 2 1 355.2 374.3 -19.1
3. mikemar 1 2 355.6 398.7 -43.1
4. jeffNFL 1 2 370.7 387.2 -16.5

Ditka finishes 1st using the head-to-head tie-breaker over rhazes_darkk.

rhazes_darkk 123.95
jeffNFL 104.05

rhazes_darkk 126.4
mikemar 120.3

Ditka 149.9
rhazes_darkk 104.85

jeffNFL 141.75
mikemar 144.95

jeffNFL 124.9
Ditka 118.25

mikemar 90.35
Ditka 130.55

awilde27 vs. j0eo1s vs. mikemar vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 6 – TS – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. j0eo1s 3 0 349.4 337.6 11.8
2. Wilforkisland 1 2 339.4 331.0 8.4
3. awilde27 1 2 368.3 369.7 -1.4
4. mikemar 1 2 368.0 386.7 -18.8

j0eo1s finishes 1st with a perfect 3-0 record.

awilde27 131.65
j0eo1s 138.85

awilde27 131.75
mikemar 108.45

Wilforkisland 122.4
awilde27 104.9

j0eo1s 124.1
mikemar 119.85

j0eo1s 86.45
Wilforkisland 86.1

mikemar 139.65
Wilforkisland 130.85

Week 6 Throwdown League Results

October 14th, 2014 by Mike

trophy_105x105A league is usually an 8-player, 8-week event, with players playing a 7-week double header regular season. The top two teams after the regular season compete in the eighth week in a triple header championship. A league gives some flexibility to have a little fun with the format, implementing neat twists and turns from regular Throwdown matches over the course of the regular season. Some examples include, “bench only challenges”, or “#RaceToTheBottom” (must pick all uninjured starters, but lowest points wins).

We currently have only one official Throwdown League running, but that should change once sign ups and results become more automated. Then people can even start and run their own league, which would be pretty cool, but we’re not there yet. The payout for this $10 entry fee league is $50 for 1st place and $22 for 2nd place. Each player who placed in these spots also receives the trophy icon and achievement bonus points of 10 and 5 respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

This one started in Week 3, so we are past the halfway mark of the 7-week regular season after the conclusion of Week 6. The games this week restricted our players to using three of only four NFL games on the schedule. Those games were Jaguars-Titans, Lions-Vikings, Chargers-Raiders and 49ers-Rams.

Why these games? They were calculated as the lowest combined points scored of all NFL games on the Week 6 schedule, so our players have to dig deep to find some fantasy success from these NFL rosters. As expected, it resulted in some close matches, included a 1.4 point win by tttimmyg over jeffNFL and a 2.3 point win by Wilforkisland over rhazes_darkk.

Throwdown League #1 (reg. season week 4)

Wk 6 – TL1 – 10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Wilforkisland 7 1 672.9 544.0 129.0
2. jeffNFL 6 2 729.1 586.9 142.2
3. Bigchief37 5 3 657.1 581.8 75.4
4. TheKommish 4 4 690.9 746.8 -55.9
5. Luxuriousdusti 4 4 591.5 656.8 -65.3
6. mikemar 3 5 607.6 691.2 -83.6
7. tttimmyg 2 6 637.6 695.8 -58.3
8. rhazes_darkk 1 7 558.0 641.4 -83.4

Wilforkisland won both of his matches to jump to 7-1 and sit all alone in first place through four weeks. The only other 2-0 week goes to tttimmyg, giving him his first two wins of the season and pulling him out of the basement.

There were four players who split their games this week, but still some separation in the standings based on head-to-head record when all was said and done. jeffNFL holds 2nd place with a 6-2 record. BigChief37 is a game behind in 3rd at 5-3, while TheKommish and Luxuriousdusti are in 4th and 5th with an even 4-4 record.

Note guys, the standings, for simplicity are sorted by record and then points differential, but head-to-head is still the first tie-breaker if needed to decide playoff spots at the end of the season. Each player should play every other player twice over the course of the season.

mikemar 74.15
jeffNFL 112.85

Bigchief37 83.85
TheKommish 98.85

Wilforkisland 110.45
Luxuriousdusti 60.15

rhazes_darkk 80.75
tttimmyg 103.35

Bigchief37 109.45
mikemar 80.65

rhazes_darkk 86.25
Wilforkisland 88.55

Luxuriousdusti 99.05
TheKommish 88.45

jeffNFL 97.75
tttimmyg 99.15

Daily Fantasy Sports For IDP Fantasy Football Players – Week 6: Get Hooked on IDP

October 9th, 2014 by Gary Davenport
Tell everyone you know - fantasy football players who love using IDP can play weekly FF too, right here at Fantasy Throwdown. Who wouldn't want the chance to add Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt to their fantasy team?

Tell everyone – fantasy football players who love IDP can play weekly FF with IDP, right here at Fantasy Throwdown. Who wouldn’t want the chance to add Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt to their fantasy team?

One of the things that sets Fantasy Throwdown apart from other daily fantasy sports websites, and weekly fantasy football games in particular, is the fact that it offers you the opportunity to use Individual Defensive Players (IDPs). Much like weekly games, which add a whole new twist to the hobby we all love, IDPs add a new level of strategy and excitement to fantasy football.

Just as in the NFL, defense can finally make a difference. However, many fantasy enthusiasts eschew the IDP route, fearful of voyaging into uncharted waters. Fear not, intrepid reader! We have you covered.

Each week for the rest of the season, we’ll be providing you with valuable tips and information you can use to gain an advantage over the competition.

So if you’re already into IDP, read on and prepare to dominate. If you aren’t, perhaps the info contained here will inspire you to give IDP a try. Once you do, you’ll be hooked.

Games of the Week

Another one of the things that makes Fantasy Throwdown unique is the manner in which players are selected. With fantasy owners picking from only a few games, the games you choose are almost as important as the players.

With that in mind, here’s a look at a couple of contests in Week 6 that are brimming with tasty IDP goodness.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

This AFC East matchup is worth a look for the pass-rushers alone. The Patriots’ defensive line features a pair of IDP studs in Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, while the Buffalo Bills have one of the most loaded fronts in the National Football League.

The Bills and Patriots also offer more than a little linebacker talent, headlined by New England’s Jerod Mayo. However, be warned that the secondaries of these clubs don’t offer a whole lot from a fantasy perspective, with Buffalo safety Aaron Williams headlining a weak group.

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams may not be much to look at NFL-wise, but when looking at the Rams through IDP goggles it’s a different story. Led by defensive end Robert Quinn and linebackers James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree, the Rams’ front seven is stacked. Conversely, the Rams are also very friendly to opposing IDP’s, allowing the most fantasy points to defensive players in Fantasy Throwdown IDP Scoring in 2014.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers may still be without the services of linebackers Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, but from defensive end Justin Smith to inside linebacker Patrick Willis and strong safety Antoine Bethea, the Niners have fantasy-relevant talent at every level of the defense.

No-Name All-Stars

If one of the games you’ve selected is this week’s AFC South showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, I hope I don’t have to tell you that grabbing J.J. Watt early is a pretty good idea. The fourth-year end doesn’t suck, that’s for sure.

However, if you can pull the proverbial rabbit out of your hat, and field a less-than-household defensive name who puts up Watt-like numbers, then you’ll be well on the way to a Week 6 win.
To help you in that regard, here’s one recommendation at each position for Week 6, with an extra “flex” option thrown in for good measure. These players may not have their own commercials yet, but this quartet should be available late in your draft and have the potential for a fat stat line this week.

DEFENSIVE LINE

DE Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers (at STL)
After posting at least one sack in each of the 49ers’ first two games of the season, Smith has now gone three straight games without one. However, the odds are good that dry spell ends this week against a Rams team that’s been very generous to opposing defensive linemen in 2014. Besides, there’s something to be said for having someone to cheer for on Monday night.

LINEBACKER

ILB Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans (vs. JAC)
After coming out on the wrong end of the biggest road comeback in NFL history, Woodyard told ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky he’s “pissed off.” With any luck the 28-year-old will take out some of the frustrations over his pitiful two tackles a week ago on the Jaguars Sunday, as Jacksonville is allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers by a significant margin.

DEFENSIVE BACK

SS Ryan Mundy, Chicago Bears (at ATL)
Mundy’s hardly a well-known name, but he’s quietly posted Top 20 fantasy numbers among defensive backs through the season’s first five weeks. There’s little reason to think the sixth-year veteran can’t keep that up in Week 6, when the Bears travel to face an Atlanta Falcons squad surrendering over 40 fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2014.

FLEX

MLB Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys (at SEA)
McClain has been a pleasant surprise for the Dallas defense in 2014, playing well after sitting out all of last year. The fourth-year veteran appears to be more-or-less fully recovered from his groin injury but now is nursing a leg issue, but with the Cowboys set to travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks there should be no shortage of tackle opportunities in Week 6 assuming McClain plays.

 
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.

Three Keys To Victory – Week 6: Unheralded Yet Productive Bench Players

October 8th, 2014 by Tim Grinstead
Atlanta Falcons RB Antone Smith is turning into a specialist coming off the bench and busting off 40-yard plays. Conventional wisdom says that can't keep up. Tim says maybe not, but maybe yes. Embrace the bench players.

Atlanta Falcons RB Antone Smith seems to be a specialist coming off the bench and busting off long plays. Conventional wisdom says that can’t keep up. Tim says maybe it can. Embrace the bench players.

In every week this season, a bench running back, a player considered the number two option on his team going into the week, has finished inside the Top 12 for the week (standard fantasy points scoring). Here is the list: Isaiah Crowell (Week 1), Darren Sproles (Weeks 1 and 2), Jeremy Hill (2), Joe McKnight (3), LeGarrette Blount (3), Jerick McKinnon (4), Andre Williams (4), Branden Oliver (5), Pierre Thomas (5), and Antone Smith (5).

Note, I would have included Fred Jackson for Week 3, but he has quietly out-snapped C.J. Spiller all season.

[Editor's Note: I finally decided to give Jackson some props and moved him into the "starter's" role on the Buffalo Bills depth chart this week, albeit a shared role with C.J. Spiller.]

This same trend has occurred with wide receivers as 11 bench wide receivers, per the depth charts at DraftBuddy.com and Fantasy Throwdown, finished inside the Top 20 at week’s end this year. Did you know that there are two top backup running backs and one bench wide receiver in the Top 20 at their respective positions this year? And did you know that Jeremy Hill is averaging more standard PPG than C.J. Spiller and LeSean McCoy?

I’m not saying you should be seeking out Hill over McCoy every time out, but knowing when to pick a bench guy towards the end of a Throwdown draft instead of a starter can win you some weeks. Last week this strategy helped me win a couple of games drafting guys like Andre Williams and Antone Smith. Since this strategy is generally more effective to spot in running backs and wide receivers, I’m giving you three keys to finding RB/WR gems late in your drafts.

Consider these keys especially if you feel you have lost the first part of the draft. Then you may want to take a high upside sleeper and allow your opponent to waste a pick blocking a player you don’t care about. It is higher risk, but ultimately very rewarding when you strike gold on the right player while your opponent is left wondering, “how did he know to draft that guy?”

Running Back Bench Sleepers

Atlanta Falcons have allowed a player listed as bench (for fantasy) to score in the Top 12 for three out of five weeks this season (Jeremy Hill, Jerrick McKinnon and Andre Williams), and in Week 1 they allowed all three New Orleans running backs to score in the Top 30. They are currently giving up the most points per game to running backs, and this week they face the Chicago Bears. Matt Forte should be huge, but two weeks ago, the Bears gave the ball to Ka’Deem Carey to the tune of 14 carries and 72 yards. It’s possible that both backs score well in this game.

Jeremy Hill and Darren Sproles (listed as a starter now) have both had Top 24 finishes twice this year, and they both have plus matchups. Sproles is matched up with the New York Giants who are tied with the Falcons for most Top 24 games allowed to backup running backs, and McCoy is not running well. Sproles was getting drafted higher at Throwdown after his stellar opening two weeks, but the shine wore off a bit since. This could be another big week for Sproles. Hill is taking on the Carolina Panthers, who allowed Top 24 finishes to LeGarrette Blount and Lorenzo Taliaferro in Weeks 3 and 4. Don’t select a Panther RB before Jeremy Hill.

Wide Receiver Bench Sleeper

There are ten teams that have allowed a bench wide receiver to score in the Top 36 at least 2 times this year (Chiefs, Seahawks, Broncos, Redskins, Titans, Saints, Vikings, Chargers, Falcons and Jaguars). Jacksonville is the only team that has allowed this with four different bench players. Taking a closer look, three of these were by the team’s slot receiver, with the one exception being Hakeem Nicks. Kendall Wright is in the slot, while Justin Hunter is most likely to score on the outside, but if there was ever a week that Nate Washington will score this year, Week 6 is most likely it. Justin Hunter was bench material until last week, and I think he is worth a play this week.

Washington Redskins are matched up with the Arizona Cardinals this week. They allowed a Top 10 finish to Jordan Matthews in Week 3 and a Top 30 finish to Jermaine Kearse last week. Both of these players lined up primarily in the slot during those matchups. John Brown is the slot receiver for the Cardinals and has been impressive this year. He is one of nine bench players to have repeat performances inside the Top 36, and this is a prime matchup for him.

Finally, Eddie Royal has the most bench finishes inside the Top 36, but the Seattle Seahawks have had a least one bench receiver inside the Top 36 in four out of five weeks. Ricardo Lockette finished 25th and 26th in Weeks 1 and 3, and Jermaine Kearse finished near 30th in Weeks 2 and 5. Russell Wilson spreads it around, and although facing a tough matchup for receivers with the Cowboys, there’s a good chance one of these two scores this week as tight ends are not scoring the touchdowns for the Seahawks.

Not Getting Enough Credit

In that Chicago vs. Atlanta game, Antone Smith will be playing. Smith has scored as a Top 20 running back in four out of five weeks of the season, and he is currently 16th in standard scoring. He has four touchdowns of over 30 yards (no other player has three), and he is tied for the most 40-yard plays in the league. He’s done all of this on the fourth most snaps at running back on the team. This week bodes well for Antone as the Bears are tied for third most 40-yard plays allowed. Of players with at least 15 carries, Smith and Mark Ingram are the only two to have higher than .60 standard fantasy points per touch. I’d strongly consider taking Smith towards the end of this matchup.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Devin Hester are two (bench) slot guys that are seeing increased playing time and are who have performed well in a limited role. They are both ranked inside Pro Football Focus’s Top 15 rated wide receivers this year. Beckham played 50% of the snaps in his first week back from injury and saw 5 targets, turning one into a touchdown. Tom Coughlin said Beckham will see increased playing time.

Devin Hester has seen increased snaps each week of the season, not to mention he is a return threat. His .38 points per target would put him in the Top 10 in the league along the same level as Terrance Williams, Brian Quick and Randall Cobb. Although that would likely drop with more targets, it is possible he has another big week against Chicago this week.