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  • Traditional draft-style format
  • Play for free or cash stakes
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  • 16-player, 2-week events
  • Round 1: 4-player group play
  • Championship: 2 advance per group
  • Free, $10 and $20 entry levels
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IDP Insight – Week 12: Can’t Get Enough Chris Borland and Gary Says, “Screw Math”

S h a r e :
That's right, he said it. Screw math. What, I was going to post another picture of LB Chris Borland this week?

That’s right, he said it. Screw math. What, I was going to post another picture of LB Chris Borland this week?

It’s Chris Borland’s world. We’re all just living in it.

Since the rookie entered the starting lineup for the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks ago, all he’s done is average 16 total tackles a game, pick off two passes, recover a game-clinching fumble and rank as fantasy football’s top linebacker by a staggering margin.

Other than that though, the kid’s done spit.

Borland’s 13 stops and two picks in last week’s win over the New York Giants netted the former Wisconsin standout NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and drew raves from the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.

“He’s just dripping with instincts,” Jeremiah said. “We like to say in scouting, ‘You really want a linebacker to shoot his gun and make a decision.’ … And he does that.”

Unfortunately, there is but one Borland, so for those of us left sifting through mere mortals for our Week 12 IDP options, here’s a look at the top 10 players at each position and a couple of under-the-radar picks.

Who knows? Maybe one will be the next Chris Borland.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. CIN)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at SD)
  3. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (vs. MIA)
  4. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at DEN)
  5. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. NYJ)
  6. Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, NYJ (at BUF)
  7. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. DAL)
  8. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. GB)
  9. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (vs. DET)
  10. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at SEA)

Marcell Dareus – DT, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
Sunday’s Jets-Bills game (which may not be played Sunday thanks to the several feet of snow dumped on Western New York this week) may be light on offensive firepower, but it’s a bonanza on the defensive side. That includes Dareus, who has been propelled to the top spot among defensive tackles in Fantasy Throwdown Scoring by a huge margin with 10 sacks in as many games. Add in a matchup with a Jets team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen, and both Dareus and end Jerry Hughes are rock-solid fantasy options in Week 12.

Jacquies Smith – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CHI)
Calling Dareus an “under-the-radar” IDP option may be stretching it, but until last week Smith wasn’t even on the radar. However, after racking up a pair of sacks last week against Washington, it’s another story altogether. Head coach Lovie Smith told Pat Yasinskas of ESPN that Smith’s play has earned the 24-year-old journeyman a larger role moving forward. “He has continued to get more plays based on his play,” Smith said. “He’s come a long ways from being cut by the Bills and coming down here and now really being a factor.”

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at CHI)
  2. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. CLE)
  3. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (vs. WAS)
  4. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at NE)
  5. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (vs. DET)
  6. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at NO)
  7. Brandon Marshall – OLB, DEN (vs. MIA)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (vs. GB)
  9. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (at SD)
  10. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. TEN)

Christian Kirksey – ILB, Cleveland Browns (at ATL)
In Week 11 Karlos Dansby of the Cleveland Browns became the 28th top 25 linebacker (yes, you heard me – screw math) to get hurt in 2014, suffering an MCL sprain that will cost the veteran a month or more. Dansby insists he might still play against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but the odds of that actually happening are slim. That means full-time roles for Craig Robertson and Christian Kirksey against the Falcons, with the rookie having the higher IDP ceiling as the more dynamic and explosive player of the two.

Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
Rey has become the equivalent of the best pinch-hitters in baseball – a reserve who would start for more than a few teams across the NFL. Just as he did last year, Rey is putting up big numbers in 2014 in a relief role, this time in place of the injured Vontaze Burfict. In Week 12 that could make Rey a sneaky-great play against the Houston Texans, who have surrendered the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (at DEN)
  2. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (at IND)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. KC)
  4. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. GB)
  5. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at MIN)
  6. Antrel Rolle – FS, NYG (vs. DAL)
  7. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at NYG)
  8. Eric Berry – SS, KC (at OAK)
  9. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. STL)
  10. Antoine Bethea – SS, SF (vs. WAS)

Michael Griffin – FS, Tennessee Titans (at PHI)
Griffin is the poster child for the boom/bust defensive back, and has been throughout his eight-year NFL career. One week Griffin will explode and single-handedly win you a weekly matchup, the next he’ll completely disappear and cost your squad a loss. It makes Griffin a risky play, especially in weekly formats. However, while the 29-year-old may be all over the place Griffin also ranks as a top-five fantasy defensive back in most scoring systems this year, and no team has allowed more fantasy points to the position in 2014 than the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kemal Ishmael – SS, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CLE)
It pays to have a very short memory where defensive backs are concerned in fantasy football. In Week 10, it looked like Kemal Ishmael was falling out of favor in Atlanta, as the second-year pro lost snaps to Dezman Southward. William Moore is off short-term injured reserve and expected to return in Week 13, which could send Ishmael right back to the bench. However, for Week 12 at least Ishmael will be on the field as an every-down player, fresh off a Week 11 performance that saw him finish the week seventh among defensive backs with 12.5 fantasy points in Throwdown Scoring.

 
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 12: Block Strategy

S h a r e :
When I think football and block, former Seattle Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones sure comes to mind. Channel your inner Walter Jones when using the block playing Fantasy Throwdown.

When I think football and block, former Seattle Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones sure comes to mind. Channel your inner Walter Jones when using the block playing Fantasy Throwdown.

One of the best parts of Fantasy Throwdown is the “block” as a draft position. This unique aspect of the game is unlike any other fantasy draft that I know, and has an addicting appeal.

I wrote about blocking on the very first article I wrote for Throwdown, but I haven’t touched on it in a while. As Matt Waldman put it, use your block wisely and, “force your opponent to settle for a scrub.”

Related Reading:
Flex + Block
Strategy by awilde27

Setting up the Block

Limit the player pool

The first key to blocking in Fantasy Throwdown is setting yourself up during the NFL game selection process. The goal is to select matchups where there is one or two elite options surrounded by several average players. The best way to do this is by finding one or zero elite options (at one position) in the matchups that you choose.

The easiest positions right now to gain an advantage are QB, RB and TE.

  • Only five quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Jay Cutler) have gained 21 or more points in 70% of their games this season.
  • Conversely, there are 19 quarterbacks who have scored less than 16.25 points in 50% or more of their games.
  • Only three tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas and Greg Olsen have six games of 9 or more points. Gronkowski is far above any TE.
  • Likewise, Demarco Murray, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Mark Ingram, and Matt Forte are the only running backs to score 13 or more points in 70% of their games this season, and it’s no better than 50/50 for anyone else.

It’s possible to actually gain advantage in two positions by selecting the only solid option in one position, while blocking another. Select the, “choose the first two NFL games” option at the inception of your challenge to give you the best advantage in setting this up.

This strategy, of course, assumes that your opponent wasn’t left with the likes of a “Jonas Gray” surprise performance when you do block them.

TE example for Week 12: Select Pats-Lions and Browns-Falcons. With Rob Gronkowski, and no other legit option, odds are that there will be a very shallow pool of tight ends.

Evaluating the Block

Shallow vs. deep, and timing

The second key point in blocking effectively is correctly identifying:

  1. Which position is shallow and
  2. Which round is best for blocking

Evaluating this at the beginning of the draft is important, but this process is also fluid as positions become shallow through the drafting process. For instance, there may only be four good running backs, and you each have one. The next possible round look to grab one and then block the other.

Three other rules to remember:

  1. Wide receiver is the least valuable block at beginning of drafts – Almost every week there has been a different number one wide receiver, but if you’re in a draft with Antonio Brown, this could change.
  2. Don’t be afraid to draft a QB or TE first if it is the most shallow position – Remember you’re looking for a statistical advantage.
  3. Adjust your shallow/deep marks based on your lineup – If you’re playing in a massive game, shallowness of position will definitely change. Judge where the drop-off is for each position and plan accordingly.

Top values at each position (based on consistency + elite level performance): Andrew Luck, DeMarco Murray, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski

Putting It All Together

Here’s a real life example from last week in a battle between Mike and I. As you will see, we both used blocking effectively, but I was able to use the combination of a shallow position and an effective block to give myself an advantage.

STEP 1: Choose select first two NFL games and limit the player pool

I chose Texans-Browns and 49ers-Giants, which in my opinion had no automatic start at quarterback, a lot of question marks at running back, and only Larry Donnell at tight end.

STEP 2: Evaluate the shallow position (my ranks below based on average performance)

Quarterbacks Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends
Drew Brees Arian Foster (Q) A.J. Green Jimmy Graham
Colin Kaepernick Mark Ingram Odell Beckham Larry Donnell
Eli Manning Jeremy Hill DeAndre Hopkins Vernon Davis
Andy Dalton Rashad Jennings Brandin Cooks Jermaine Gresham
Brian Hoyer Frank Gore Anquan Boldin Jordan Cameron
Ryan Mallett Terrance West Mohamed Sanu Garrett Graham
Isaiah Crowell Andre Johnson
Reuben Randle
Marques Colston
(Browns Receivers)

Quarterback and Tight End are the most shallow, but possibly running back. I was oblivious to Arian Foster’s health status at the time of our draft. So, I left him in my evaluation but moved him further down the draft board.

STEP 3: Attempt to grab Drew Brees, and use the block to create a bigger gap in another position

Again, these are my ranking assumptions. Statistically none of the other quarterbacks are stable.

This is the how the draft went:

  • I was able to select Drew Brees first and complete phase 1 of my plan (although after the fact, given his and other QB performances in this challenge, that seemed moot).
  • Mike went with Mark Ingram and Jimmy Graham, effectively swallowing out those two positions slightly.
  • I then grabbed the most stable wide receivers in a healthy A.J. Green and Odell Beckham.
  • Mike evaluated Frank Gore higher than me, but the block on Jeremy Hill was good strategy.
  • I was able to turn the deep position of wide receiver into a shallow one by grabbing my top three and blocking the fourth.
  • I got lucky that Donnell wasn’t blocked and he happened to outscore Graham.

tttimmyg-Mike

Sometimes, you can implement the best strategy and still lose, but hopefully, this gives you a better idea of how to use your blocks. Good luck and good blocking this week!

Week 11 Free Entry Tournament (TT5) 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.

#5 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 11-12)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 11, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 12. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 12, $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 12, are as follows:

A-Championship
gtrain vs. Wilforkisland vs. mikemar vs. Scott Kuff

B-Championship
@belaireric vs. Luxuriousdusti vs. Doclate vs. ShanePHallam

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 11 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. gtrain 3 0 446.9 349.1 97.8
2. @belaireric 1 2 378.5 398.1 -19.6
3. mkmayers 1 2 315.6 336.8 -21.2
4. patwat 1 2 340.4 397.4 -57.0

gtrain wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. @belaireric finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker.

@belaireric 123
gtrain 169.45

@belaireric 120.05
patwat 121.95

mkmayers 106.65
@belaireric 135.45

gtrain 166.65
patwat 127.85

gtrain 110.75
mkmayers 98.25

patwat 90.55
mkmayers 110.65

Group B

Wk 11 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Wilforkisland 3 0 265.3 221.4 43.9
2. Luxuriousdusti 2 1 248.0 187.9 60.1
3. rhazes_darkk 1 2 290.2 354.3 -64.2
4. thunder 0 3 275.1 315.0 -39.9

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

thunder 101.05
Luxuriousdusti 108.25

thunder 78.4
rhazes_darkk 78.55

Wilforkisland 128.15
thunder 95.65

Luxuriousdusti 139.75
rhazes_darkk 85.85

Luxuriousdusti DNF – 0
Wilforkisland DNF – 1

rhazes_darkk 125.75
Wilforkisland 136.15

Group C

Wk 11 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 2 1 343.3 380.5 -37.2
2. Doclate 2 1 442.2 347.2 95.0
3. Bigchief37 1 2 328.7 358.1 -29.4
4. uswjnk85 1 2 292.4 320.8 -28.4

mikemar wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over Doclate, who finishes second.

uswjnk85 128.95
mikemar 66.55

uswjnk85 69.35
Bigchief37 106.55

Doclate 147.65
uswjnk85 94.1

mikemar 131.25
Bigchief37 114.45

mikemar 145.45
Doclate 137.05

Bigchief37 107.65
Doclate 157.45

Group D

Wk 11 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Scott Kuff 2 1 386.1 313.3 72.8
2. ShanePHallam 2 1 350.5 354.1 -3.7
3. tttimmyg 1 2 324.5 382.1 -57.6
4. Mike 1 2 259.7 271.2 -11.5

Scott Kuff wins the using the head-to-head tie-breaker over ShanePHallam, who finishes second.

Mike 98.75
Scott Kuff 92.35

Mike 79.45
ShanePHallam 82.65

tttimmyg 96.15
Mike 81.45

Scott Kuff 152.25
ShanePHallam 108.65

Scott Kuff 141.45
tttimmyg 105.9

ShanePHallam 159.15
tttimmyg 122.4

Week 11 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.

We hosted four Throwdown Showdowns for Week 11, including an IDP Showdown by request. Check out the Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 10.

#34 – mikemar vs. jeffNFL vs. patwat vs. thunder

Wk 11 – TS34 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. jeffNFL 3 0 444.3 280.5 163.8
2. mikemar 2 1 316.4 346.6 -30.2
3. patwat 1 2 252.2 337.3 -85.1
4. thunder 0 3 323.7 372.2 -48.5

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

mikemar 79.75
jeffNFL 133.7

mikemar 118.65
patwat 111.9

thunder 100.95
mikemar 117.95

jeffNFL 139
patwat 57.65

jeffNFL 171.55
thunder 143.1

patwat 82.65
thunder 79.65

#33 – thunder vs. mikemar vs. jeffNFL vs. rhazes_darkk

Wk 11 – TS33 – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 2 1 337.9 325.8 12.1
2. thunder 2 1 326.8 315.9 11.0
3. mikemar 1 2 291.1 311.4 -20.3
4. jeffNFL 1 2 317.1 319.9 -2.8

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

thunder 104.65
mikemar 78.55

thunder 121.45
jeffNFL 102.85

rhazes_darkk 134.45
thunder 100.7

mikemar 109.75
jeffNFL 91.95

mikemar 102.8
rhazes_darkk 114.75

jeffNFL 122.25
rhazes_darkk 88.65

#12 – Ditka vs. awilde27 vs. Luxuriousdusti vs. Wilforkisland

Wk 11 – TS12 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Wilforkisland 3 0 379.3 282.4 96.9
2. awilde27 2 1 317.9 304.5 13.5
3. Ditka 1 2 287.8 352.5 -64.7
4. Luxuriousdusti 0 3 297.7 343.3 -45.7

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

Ditka 91.15
awilde27 111.85

Ditka 99.45
Luxuriousdusti 87.95

Wilforkisland 152.65
Ditka 97.15

awilde27 130.2
Luxuriousdusti 100.35

awilde27 75.85
Wilforkisland 112.95

Luxuriousdusti 109.35
Wilforkisland 113.65

#37 (IDP) – awilde27 vs. jeffNFL vs. Kjhawkey vs. rhazes_darkk

Wk 11 – TS37 – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 3 0 598.1 512.6 85.5
2. Kjhawkey 2 1 557.5 567.6 -10.1
3. jeffNFL 1 2 559.0 552.4 6.7
4. awilde27 0 3 489.4 571.4 -82.0

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

awilde27 132.95
jeffNFL 165.05

awilde27 191.15
Kjhawkey 215.65

rhazes_darkk 190.65
awilde27 165.25

jeffNFL 188.95
Kjhawkey 199.45

jeffNFL 205
rhazes_darkk 219.95

Kjhawkey 142.35
rhazes_darkk 187.45

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

rhazes_darkk A-Champ, uswjnk85 B-Champ in Free Tourney (TT4)

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.

#4 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 10-11)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 10, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 11. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 11, $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
patwat vs. atcdav vs. rhazes_darkk vs. gtrain

The winner is . . .

rhazes_darkk

Wk 11 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 3 0 464.9 307.4 157.5
2. atcdav 1 2 363.6 380.0 -16.4
3. gtrain 1 2 347.8 399.1 -51.4
4. patwat 1 2 270.4 360.1 -89.7

rhazes_darkk wins the A-Championship group with a perfect 3-0 record. atcdav finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker.

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

atcdav, 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.

patwat 96.25
atcdav 87.75

patwat 94
rhazes_darkk 145.45

gtrain 126.85
patwat 80.1

atcdav 120.15
rhazes_darkk 156.05

atcdav 155.65
gtrain 127.65

rhazes_darkk 163.35
gtrain 93.25

B-Championship
mikemar vs. cconway vs. uswjnk85 vs. Bigchief37

The winner is . . .

uswjnk85

Wk 11 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. uswjnk85 3 0 327.7 254.9 72.8
2. mikemar 1 2 360.1 371.4 -11.3
3. cconway 1 2 330.8 345.1 -14.4
4. Bigchief37 1 2 347.6 394.8 -47.2

uswjnk85 wins the B-Championship group with a perfect 3-0 record.

Congrats! uswjnk85 wins the $5 cash prize plus the medal icon and 5 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

mikemar 137.7
cconway 102.2

mikemar 84.05
uswjnk85 125.65

Bigchief37 143.5
mikemar 138.35

cconway 78.55
uswjnk85 95.55

cconway 150
Bigchief37 111.85

uswjnk85 106.45
Bigchief37 92.25

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

IDP Insight – Week 11: LB Chris Borland Shines for 49ers and Fantasy Owners

S h a r e :
LB Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers

“That’s right Drew Brees – I’ve got the ball!” San Francisco 49ers LB Chris Borland is lighting up fantasy scoreboards since taking over for injured Patrick Willis.

2014 may go down in 2014 as the year of the injured linebackers in IDP leagues, but the theme song for the season may be the Ballad of Borland.

Since Patrick Willis went down with an injured toe a few weeks ago, rookie Chris Borland has drawn a pair of starts. All the former Wisconsin star has done in those two starts is rank as fantasy football’s top-scoring linebacker by a sizable margin while piling up an eye-popping 35 total tackles.

Borland’s play drew the praise of head coach Jim Harbaugh, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Fun to watch,” Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said of Borland. “He’s doing a great job. He does have a … he’s got a sense for the ball. I’ve been watching it in practice and you watch it in the games. He’s like a thief in the night. He’s going to get under somebody, get around somebody.”

Now, with Willis on season-ending injured reserve, Borland is locked into the starting lineup and the top 15 among fantasy linebackers. If your opponent in Fantasy Throwdown this week hasn’t kept up on the latest shakeups in San Fran, and the Niners’ tilt with the New York Giants is one of the games you’ll be selecting players from, be sure to snag Borland as one of your IDP starters. You won’t regret it.

Now, let’s take a quick look around the NFL in Week 11, from the top 10 Individual Defensive Players at each of the “major” IDP positions to a couple of under-the-radar plays you can use as late values to give you an edge on the opposition.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

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

Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills (at MIA)
Usually, I’m not a fan of recommending players on “Thursday Night Football.” More often than not, the game is just what you’d expect from tired players on a short turnaround – a slop-filled turd of a football game that results in lousy stat lines. However, Hughes is thriving in his first year as a 4-3 defensive end, with teammate Kyle Williams telling Sal Maiorana of The Democrat and Chronicle “If I had to give a crown to who I thought was playing the best football, I’d give it to Jerry. He’s had a great year.” Throw in a favorable matchup with a Dolphins team that just lost left tackle Branden Albert, and you have the recipe for IDP success.

Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. PIT)
Much like Hughes, Casey is making a positional switch in 2014. For Casey it’s from 4-3 tackle to 3-4 end, but unlike Hughes, Casey told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean that he hasn’t been satisfied with his progress. “For me to have nine games and only have four sacks, to me, personally, I don’t think that’s where I should be at,” Casey said. “That’s not good enough. I should have way more than that,” Casey has an excellent shot at increasing his sack total this week against Pittsburgh. For all the plays Ben Roethlisberger has made over his career by extending the action with his legs, holding the ball that long also means taking a lot of sacks.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, HOU (at WAS)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. ATL)
  3. Karlos Dansby – ILB, CLE (vs. HOU)
  4. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at CAR)
  5. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at IND)
  6. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at ARI)
  7. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at GB)
  8. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (at TEN)
  9. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at NYG)
  10. Brandon Marshall – OLB, DEN (at STL)

Josh Mauga – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SEA)
Mauga is one of the many reserve linebackers thrust into starting lineups across the NFL this year, thanks to the torn Achilles suffered back in September by star linebacker Derrick Johnson. Mauga has been a capable replacement both in NFL and IDP terms, emerging as a solid (if unspectacular) high-floor IDP LB3. This week the stage is set for even bigger and better things from the 27-year-old. The Seattle Seahawks have been as run-heavy as any team in the NFL of late, and last week that equated to 12 tackles for New York Giants middle linebacker Jameel McClain.

Avery Williamson – ILB, Tennessee Titans (vs. PIT)
Just like Mauga, it was an injury that forced Avery Williamson into the starting lineup in Nashville. However, whereas Mauga has been solid but unspectacular, Williamson has seemingly appeared to get better with every game. Williamson told Wyatt he’s only getting started. “That’s what I want to do every week,” he said.” I want every team to know that Avery Williamson is a legit linebacker — that is my goal until the end of the season. I want every NFL team to know who I am, no matter what the circumstances are.” IDP owners need to know who Williamson is, especially headed into a favorable fantasy matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at CHI)
  2. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (vs. PHI)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (at SD)
  4. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. BUF)
  5. Antrel Rolle – SS, NYG (vs. SF)
  6. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (at ARI)
  7. Eric Berry – SS, KC (vs. SEA)
  8. Antoine Bethea – SS, SF (at NYG)
  9. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. OAK)
  10. Donte Whitner – SS, CLE (vs. HOU)

Robert Blanton – SS, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI)
Mind you, in no way is Robert Blanton an elite talent, whether we’re talking NFL or IDP-wise. Blanton’s not in the same “weight class” as batterymate Harrison Smith from a talent standpoint, and he’s not going to post the sort of stat line that will single-handedly win you your Week 11 Fantasy Throwdown matchup. However, the odds of Blanton leaving your team swinging in the breeze are low as well – the 25-year-old has played the most snaps of any defender for the Vikings this year, and only once in 2014 has Blanton failed to notch at least six tackles in a game.

George Iloka – SS, Cincinnati Bengals (at NO)
While highly-drafted young safeties like Kenny Vaccaro of the Saints continue to disappoint, Iloka is quietly becoming a very good NFL safety in his third year in the league. That improved play has equaled improved statistical production as well, with Iloka racking up 13 tackles and an interception over his past two games. That production places Iloka eighth among defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown Scoring over the past two weeks. Look for that top-10 streak to hit three weeks in a row Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, who rank third in fantasy points per game allowed to defensive backs so far this season.

 
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 11: Running Back Matchup Analysis Spotting Plus Opportunities

S h a r e :
Fantasy Throwdown players love drafting running backs early and often. Tim finds some plus matchups this week at RB, including Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy. I just can't quit McCoy, even after another solid game by teammate Darren Sproles.

Fantasy Throwdown players love drafting running backs early and often. Tim finds some plus matchups this week at RB, including Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy. I just can’t quit McCoy, even after another big game by teammate Darren Sproles.

Based on average draft position this year, the running back position is the most coveted roster slot in all Fantasy Throwdown games. Locking this down seems to be of the highest priority. If you look at the top 10 highest ADP in the last four weeks, the rundown (8/10, 7/10, 5/10, 7/10) shows this preference among Throwdown drafters.

This week is dedicated solely to helping drafters know when to snatch a guy early, or wait for a running back later. To do this, I took a look at how each running back in the league performs above average versus each team. This is a little different than just simply fantasy points allowed. Instead, I took a look at percentage increase or decrease running backs have against each team in particular categories (rushing averages, attempts, touchdowns, receptions, fantasy points.)

Example: Denard Robinson is averaging 4.8 yards per rush on the season. Against the Bengals in week 9, he averaged 5.5 yards per rush – a 15 percent increase over his season average. The composite average shows us how running backs are doing versus certain teams.

Nothing is guaranteed but this gives us a good idea of what to expect. If you had simply applied the performance percentages to Justin Forsett‘s attempts and yardage prior to last week’s game, you would have come up with an estimated increase in carries and yards to 20/116. Forsett finished with 20 carries and 112 yards. The formula is not that accurate, of course, but the approximation gives us a more educated projection.

Increased Carry Opportunities

On average, running backs are averaging 22% more carries per week against the Cincinnati Bengals. For evidence of this, you have to look no further than last week’s Cleveland Browns. Terrance West carried 26 times and Isaiah Crowell 12, both of which were above their season averages of 13 and 7 respectively. Mark Ingram is running as strong as any running back in the league, and he comes in averaging 19 carries a game. Jeremy Hill has been a popular pick, but you’d be wise to ride Mark Ingram like the New Orleans Saints are doing. He is now top five in average standard fantasy points per game at 16.3 ppg.

Maybe due to their teams having leads, running backs are carrying the ball 31% this year when facing the Oakland Raiders. This has also led to better production when facing the Raiders. The San Diego Chargers have the Raiders on tap this week, and Ryan Mathews is expected back. The reports are that he is to assume lead back duties, but may have to work his way back in. According to Rotoworld, Mathews says “My legs feel good. My body feels good. I feel fast.” I would expect both him and Branden Oliver to have good days versus the Raiders, especially coming off a bye week.

Running backs with plus attempts matchups: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Ryan Mathews, Branden Oliver, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, Frank Gore, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, Charles Sims, Matt Forte, Jerrick McKinnon, Jonathon Stewart, Steven Jackson

Increased Production Opportunities

San Francisco showed a renewed dedication to the ground game last week, and Frank Gore was the beneficiary. Gore had his second highest attempts of the year, and he faces the New York Giants this week who just gave up four touchdowns to Marshawn Lynch. On the year, the Giants have allowed a 45% average increase in yards and a 16% increase in fantasy points to all running backs. This would put Gore safely at about 80 yards and 10 standard fantasy points, with a chance for more. Selecting this matchup limits the player pool a little as Andre Williams vs. San Francisco is not as enticing.

Eddie Lacy is averaging more than 3 ppg than either LeSean McCoy or Darren Sproles in standard leagues. But he should be drafted after these two this week, as Green Bay is allowing an average increase of 48% in running back yardage and 53% increase in fantasy points per running back. The Eagles are a pass happy team, but McCoy and Sproles could be in for a feast this week vs. the Pack. The Eagles have allowed five rushing touchdowns as well. So, if you want a lot of juicy running backs in your pool, this is your matchup.

Running backs with plus yardage matchups: Alfred Morris, LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Frank Gore, Ryan Mathews, Branden Oliver, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Jerrick McKinnon, Lamar Miller, Jonathon Stewart, Alfred Morris

Increased Reception Opportunities

Marshawn Lynch is the top back in this matchup in PPR formats, averaging almost exactly four more points per contest than Jamaal Charles. Coming off a four touchdown game, he is still hot, and he is actually averaging slightly more receptions per game than Charles.

Despite that, I’ll be choosing Jamaal Charles in this matchup for two reasons. Primarily, running backs are averaging 50% more receptions above their season averages against Seattle. They’ve had a running back catch at least 5 balls in almost every game this season, and even “stone hands” Andre Williams caught five last week. Secondly, the Chiefs have allowed 0 rushing or receiving touchdowns to running backs this season. As long as Andy Reid doesn’t pull an “Andy Reid”, Charles is the better back this week.

Ahmad Bradshaw is the most exciting PPR play this week as he faces the New England Patriots. Bradshaw is sixth in the league in receptions per game (3.78), but that number is set to skyrocket this week. Running backs average 18% boost in receptions versus the Pats, and New England has given up the most receiving touchdowns to running backs this year (6.) Trent Richardson‘s 2.63 receptions per game could see a boost as well, and both running backs may compete with Shane Vereen for best PPR running back in this matchup. In what proves to be a shootout, you may want to have these guys this week.

Running backs with plus reception matchups: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles, Ahmad Bradshaw, Trent Richardson, Darren McFadden, Tre Mason, Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Eddie Lacy, Lamar Miller

Week 10 Free Entry Tournament (TT4) 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.

#4 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 10-11)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 10, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 11. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 11, $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 11, are as follows:

A-Championship
patwat vs. atcdav vs. rhazes_darkk vs. gtrain

B-Championship
mikemar vs. cconway vs. uswjnk85 vs. Bigchief37

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 10 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. patwat 3 0 431.1 356.2 74.9
2. mikemar 2 1 356.4 379.3 -22.9
3. Luxuriousdusti 1 2 425.5 411.5 14.0
4. mkmayers 0 3 380.8 446.8 -66.1

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

patwat 163
mkmayers 133.05

patwat 132.8
mikemar 92

Luxuriousdusti 131.15
patwat 135.3

mkmayers 113.95
mikemar 122

mkmayers 133.75
Luxuriousdusti 161.8

mikemar 142.4
Luxuriousdusti 132.5

Group B

Wk 10 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. atcdav 2 1 431.6 350.9 80.8
2. cconway 2 1 402.5 412.9 -10.4
3. kwinkelman07 1 2 368.2 421.4 -53.2
4. rayrayl 1 2 351.4 368.5 -17.2

atcdav wins the group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over cconway, who finishes second.

rayrayl 132.85
atcdav 101.8

rayrayl 112.7
kwinkelman07 139.9

cconway 126.8
rayrayl 105.8

atcdav 164.95
kwinkelman07 86.05

atcdav 164.85
cconway 131.95

kwinkelman07 142.25
cconway 143.75

Group C

Wk 10 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 3 0 365.0 307.1 57.9
2. uswjnk85 2 1 419.1 384.8 34.3
3. thunder 1 2 369.8 391.2 -21.4
4. tttimmyg 0 3 323.5 394.2 -70.7

rhazes_darkk wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. uswjnk85 finishes second with a 2-1 record.

thunder 109.4
tttimmyg 104.35

thunder 142.4
uswjnk85 167.25

rhazes_darkk 119.55
thunder 117.95

tttimmyg 127.75
uswjnk85 154

tttimmyg 91.35
rhazes_darkk 130.75

uswjnk85 97.8
rhazes_darkk 114.65

Group D

Wk 10 – TT4 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. gtrain 3 0 439.1 359.1 80.0
2. Bigchief37 1 2 407.7 402.5 5.2
3. Doclate 1 2 385.4 422.9 -37.5
4. @belaireric 1 2 398.6 446.4 -47.8

gtrain wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. Bigchief37 finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker over Doclate and @belaireric.

Bigchief37 150.45
Doclate 112.35

Bigchief37 114.65
gtrain 145.2

@belaireric 144.9
Bigchief37 142.55

Doclate 126.75
gtrain 136.4

Doclate 146.3
@belaireric 136

gtrain 157.5
@belaireric 117.7

Week 10 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.

We hosted three Throwdown Showdowns for Week 10. Check out the Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 10.

#24 – awilde27 vs. mikemar vs. Wilforkisland vs. jeffNFL

Wk 10 – TS24 – $5 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 2 1 379.6 323.5 56.1
2. jeffNFL 2 1 441.2 388.3 52.9
3. Wilforkisland 2 1 379.2 391.0 -11.8
4. awilde27 0 3 323.5 420.7 -97.2

mikemar finishes 1st using the points differential tie-breaker over jeffNFL and Wilforkisland.

awilde27 98.4
mikemar 113.85

awilde27 98.2
Wilforkisland 137.75

jeffNFL 169.05
awilde27 126.85

mikemar 156.1
Wilforkisland 89.6

mikemar 109.65
jeffNFL 135.5

Wilforkisland 151.8
jeffNFL 136.65

#30 – kwinkelman07 vs. thunder vs. rhazes_darkk vs. patwat

Wk 10 – TS30 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. rhazes_darkk 3 0 423.8 365.8 58.0
2. patwat 1 2 407.8 391.5 16.3
3. thunder 1 2 441.4 478.1 -36.7
4. kwinkelman07 1 2 343.8 381.4 -37.6

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

kwinkelman07 130.9
thunder 147.2

kwinkelman07 102.95
rhazes_darkk 126.15

patwat 108
kwinkelman07 109.95

thunder 147.6
rhazes_darkk 162.65

thunder 146.6
patwat 184.55

rhazes_darkk 134.95
patwat 115.25

#31 – mikemar vs. Bigchief37 vs. jeffNFL vs. thunder

Wk 10 – TS31 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. jeffNFL 3 0 454.6 384.8 69.8
2. Bigchief37 2 1 361.7 378.1 -16.4
3. thunder 1 2 382.3 381.1 1.3
4. mikemar 0 3 350.7 405.3 -54.7

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

mikemar 111.3
Bigchief37 113.3

mikemar 143.2
jeffNFL 170.75

thunder 121.25
mikemar 96.15

Bigchief37 103.35
jeffNFL 144

Bigchief37 145.05
thunder 122.8

jeffNFL 139.85
thunder 138.25

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

thunder Claims $10 Tournament (TT2) A-Championship; Luxuriousdusti B-Champ

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.

#2 – $10 Entry Tourney (Weeks 9-10)

In this 12-team, $10 entry fee tournament started in Week 9, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 10. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 10, $60 is awarded to the A-Champion, $30 to the B-Champion, and $18 to the 3rd place finisher (runner-up in A-Championship). Each of the winners also receive the medal icon plus 10, 5 and 2.5 achievement points, respectively, towards their Leaderboard ranking.

A-Championship
atcdav vs. rayrayl vs. thunder

The winner is . . .

thunder

Wk 10 – TT2 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. thunder 2 1 314.3 233.9 80.4
2. atcdav 1 2 272.9 235.6 37.3
3. rayrayl 0 3 207.5 325.2 -117.7

thunder wins the A-Championship group with a 2-1 record.

Congrats thunder! He wins the $60 cash prize plus the medal icon and 10 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

atcdav, as runner-up in the A-Championship, is our overall 3rd place finisher in the tournament. He earns the $18 cash prize plus the medal icon and 2.5 achievement points.

atcdav 171.45
rayrayl 75.05

rayrayl 132.45
thunder 153.75

thunder 160.5
atcdav 101.4

B-Championship
Wilforkisland vs. rhazes_darkk vs. Luxuriousdusti

The winner is . . .

Luxuriousdusti

Wk 10 – TT2 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Luxuriousdusti 2 1 286.9 227.0 59.9
2. Wilforkisland 1 2 247.9 218.2 29.7
3. rhazes_darkk 0 3 214.7 304.3 -89.6

Luxuriousdusti wins the B-Championship group with a 2-1 record.

Congrats! Luxuriousdusti wins the $30 cash prize plus the medal icon and 5 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

Wilforkisland 138.75
rhazes_darkk 96.8

rhazes_darkk 117.85
Luxuriousdusti 165.5

Luxuriousdusti 121.4
Wilforkisland 109.15

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