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IDP Insight – Week 14: No Fantasy Playoffs? No Problem! Get Your IDP Fix

S h a r e :

The weekly IDP games offered here at Fantasy Throwdown are great fun for fantasy football enthusiasts, whether it’s September or December. However, at this time of year weekly play offers another benefit to fantasy owners.

In many “standard” leagues, Week 14 brings with it the beginning of the fantasy playoffs. That’s great for the teams who advanced to the postseason, but fantasy owners who struggled through a disappointing 2014 campaign are left out in the cold.

Weekly fantasy football leagues offer those fantasy freaks one final fix before the long, dark offseason sets in. It doesn’t matter that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict couldn’t stay on the field this season, or that Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen was a massive disappointment in his first year in the Windy City.

In weekly leagues, each new week brings with it chances for redemption and/or glory (not to mention the possibility of making a few bucks).

So, whether you’re looking to shake off the funk from a season gone awry or add another “trophy” to an imaginary mantle already brimming with them, here’s a look at both the top 10 IDP plays at each position in Week 14 and some matchup plays who could afford great value late in your Fantasy Throwdown drafts.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (at JAX)
  2. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (vs. BUF)
  3. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at WAS)
  4. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  5. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at TEN)
  6. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. BAL)
  7. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. KC)
  8. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at DEN)
  9. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN (vs. PIT)
  10. Cameron Jordan – DE, NO (vs. CAR)

Desmond Bryant – DE, CLE (vs. IND)
As Matthew Florjancic of WKYC-TV reports, to hear Bryant tell it he’s been slacking of late. “I can’t speak for everybody,” Bryant said, “but our mentality, for me, I’ve come out kind of flat in the beginning of games and kind of picked it up later in the games. (I’ve) got to build that fire all week.” Bryant’s self-criticism aside, the reality is that over the past month the sixth-year veteran has quietly posted 25 total tackles, three sacks, and top-10 fantasy numbers in Fantasy Throwdown scoring.

Damontre Moore – DE, NYG (at TEN)
With defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers both landing on injured reserve, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin conceded to Steve Serby of The New York Post that Moore will see additional playing time moving forward. “Guys who come along,” Coughlin said, “who have a chance at this point of the season to perform, to play, and they go into games and have an opportunity to participate at this level when, perhaps they had no snaps coming in before. Now they’re gonna get snaps, and they have a chance to prove their ability.” That opportunity to prove himself this week comes against a banged up Titans’ offensive line that’s had all sorts of problems protecting rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger of late.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (at NO)
  2. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. TB)
  3. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. SEA)
  4. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at OAK)
  5. Jelani Jenkins – OLB, MIA (vs. BAL)
  6. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at DET)
  7. Paul Worrilow – iLB, ATL (at GB)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  9. Sio Moore – OLB, OAK (vs. SF)
  10. Bobby Wagner – MLB, SEA (at PHI)

Vincent Rey – OLB, CIN (vs. PIT)
Although the Cincinnati Bengals continue to insist that Burfict is “day-to-day,” they’ve been saying that for a month now, and Burfict now hasn’t practiced (much less played in a game) since hurting his knee in October. There are now grumblings from the Queen City that the second-year pro may not play again this year, at least in the regular season. That means that for the foreseeable future Vincent Rey is locked into an every-down role, including this Sunday against a Pittsburgh Steelers team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to linebackers in 2014.

Avery Williamson – ILB, TEN (vs. NYG)
IDP owners who rolled Williamson out last week against the Houston Texans were left holding the bag, as despite playing every defensive snap in a favorable fantasy matchup the rookie managed only an assist and a pass defensed. It was a disappointing outing to be sure, but Week 14 sets up well as a shot at redemption for Williamson. The Titans host the New York Giants Sunday, and to this point in the 2014 season no team has allowed more fantasy points to linebackers than Big Blue.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (vs. ATL)
  2. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. SF)
  3. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. NE)
  4. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at CHI)
  5. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  6. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (vs. HOU)
  7. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. BAL)
  8. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (vs. TB)
  9. Kam Chancellor – SS, SEA (at PHI)
  10. Antrel Rolle – SS, NYG (at TEN)

Ryan Mundy – SS, CHI (vs. DAL)
Mundy is having a very similar season to the one turned in by his predecessor (Major Wright) a year ago. Much like Wright last year, Mundy has struggled from an NFL perspective, ranking 57th among safeties according to Pro Football Focus. However, much like Wright, Mundy has been solid from an IDP standpoint, ranking eighth among defensive backs in fantasy points. Mundy has thrown up big stat lines in three of the last four games, and there’s a good chance the 29-year-old makes it four weeks in five in a top-five IDP matchup with the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night.

Richard Sherman – CB, SEA (at PHI)
Sherman is the poster boy for the disconnect between “NFL good” and “IDP good” at the cornerback position. He’s a phenomenal football player, but the fact is that’s it hard to rack up fantasy points if opponents won’t throw in your direction. With that said, Sherman is coming off a two-interception effort against the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving, and no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown scoring this season than the Philadelphia Eagles.

 
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 14: Percentage of Team Touches, Efficiency, and Pie

S h a r e :
Posting an image of pie this week because Tim likes pie. Plus he looks at how big a slice of pie running backs and wide receivers are getting in their respective team's offense.

Posting an image of pie this week because Tim likes pie. Plus he looks at how big a slice of pie running backs and wide receivers are getting in their respective team’s offense.

Hope you Fantasy Throwdown enthusiasts enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving! Much of Thanksgiving was spent wondering who is going to get the biggest piece of the pie – and which pie. I’ll say this, “I’m thankful for Pumpkin pie…and Pecan Pie…well, I like pies.”

For us, fantasy footballers, figuring out which players are going to get the bigger portion of the pie on Sundays is a weekly ritual as well. I’ve broken down who has been dominating the pie chart this year so far, and which players are about take an even bigger portion. Suggestion: enjoy reading while eating some pie.

Wide Receiver Rocks

Two of the biggest key indicators for me when selecting players are: 1. opportunity in the offense and 2. production efficiency. If you can get these two within a high powered offense, then you have your bonus.

Opportunities for a wide receiver can be represented from targets, but more specifically, percentage of targets acquired per game. As you’ll see in the chart coming up, there is a high correlation between percentage of team targets and fantasy points per game. The problem comes when a player’s efficiency is poor, due to a number of reasons (i.e. short average depth of target, no red zone targets, poor QB accuracy, drops.)

If we can identify which players are currently making a leap in these areas, we can identify who to target in drafts. The left side of the chart shows entire season stats and where they rank in PPR formats on a per game basis. The right side shows only from Weeks 9 through 13 (or second half of the season).

Percentage of Team Targets Chart
Entire Season Week 9 – 13
Player % Team Tgt Pts/Tgt Team PA/G Rank Player % Team Tgt Pts/Tgt Team PA/G
A.Johnson 30% 1.30 26.85 33 C.Johnson 43% 1.59 40.25
D.Bryant 30% 2.06 27.00 7 A.Johnson 30% 0.97 33.75
A.Brown 28% 2.17 35.15 1 K.Benjamin 30% 1.48 35.00
J.Nelson 28% 2.22 29.38 3 A.Green 29% 1.85 30.80
D.Thomas 27% 2.07 36.08 2 A.Boldin 29% 1.97 30.40
J.Jones 27% 1.80 35.08 6 E.Decker 29% 1.46 24.50
K.Benjamin 25% 2.24 31.69 18 A.Brown 28% 2.05 42.25
V.Jackson 25% 1.25 30.85 47 K.Allen 28% 2.01 35.00
K.Allen 25% 1.67 30.62 23 D.Bryant 28% 2.57 29.00
A.Boldin 25% 1.86 28.46 21 J.Jones 28% 1.92 40.00
G.Tate 24% 1.91 34.38 12 A.Jeffery 27% 1.91 39.50
E.Sanders 24% 2.07 36.08 4 M.Evans 26% 2.60 35.20

Two quick notes from the left side:

  1. A player who is averaging less than 1.50 points per target (PPR scoring) suffers to achieve consistent high scores (rank).
  2. A player who has a big piece of the pie with a team that averages over 35 pass attempts a game is player you want (i.e. all top 10 guys in chart above).

Three quick notes from the right side:

  1. Anquan Boldin and Keenan Allen have respectively increased their shares of the team’s targets and increased their production level to similar production per target as Antonio Brown.
  2. Calvin Johnson has over 40% of targets since returning, but until last game, production was down due to quarterback inaccuracy. Stafford completed 75% of passes last game, and Megatron’s point per target rate shot up to 2.36. Back to a no-brainer fantasy play.
  3. Alshon Jeffrey and Mike Evans have passed up their counterparts, and their production levels are high.

Running Back Rocks

For running backs, the key opportunity indicator is touches per game, or how much of the offense is run through that player. Again, using a similar chart below, you will see that there is a high correlation with opportunity, so long as production efficiency is also high.

Percentage of Team Offense Chart
Entire Season Week 9 – 13
Player % Offense Rec/G Pts/
Touch
Rank Player % Offense Rec/G Pts/
Touch
D.Murray 55% 3.67 0.81 3 D.Murray 56% 4.50 0.72
M.Forte 49% 6.50 0.98 2 J.Charles 49% 3.00 1.08
A.Ellington 46% 3.83 0.73 12 M.Forte 48% 5.00 0.82
L.Bell 44% 5.42 0.94 4 T.Mason 48% 2.00 0.78
A.Foster 43% 3.44 1.01 1 R.Jennings 48% 5.00 0.71
R.Jennings 41% 3.25 0.71 10 L.Bell 47% 5.75 1.03
M.Lynch 41% 2.33 0.94 6 M.Ingram 46% 3.00 0.60
L.McCoy 40% 1.92 0.60 15 A.Morris 45% 2.00 0.84
A.Morris 39% 1.17 0.70 17 M.Lynch 43% 2.20 0.98
E.Lacy 36% 2.58 0.96 8 J.Forsett 43% 2.25 1.02
J.Forsett 36% 2.92 0.94 7 A.Ellington 42% 3.60 0.68
J.Charles 34% 2.73 1.06 6 A.Foster 41% 3.50 1.01

Two quick notes from the left side:

  1. A player who is averaging less than 0.75 points per touch (PPR scoring) suffers to achieve consistent high scores (rank), although not as drastically as wide receivers. This is the difference between top 20 or top 10.
  2. For running backs, it appears that high workload (closer to 50%) can overcome some efficiency flaws (i.e. Andre Ellington)

Three quick notes from the right side:

  1. Andy Reid seems to have remembered he has Jamaal Charles, and he is now the number one target to grab in PPR formats, with the second highest efficiency rate to go along with workhorse opportunity.
  2. In the first half of the season, the St. Louis Rams had no idea who their running back was, and now it is apparent that Tre Mason has become a workhorse touching the ball 48% of Rams plays. And it showed up last week.
  3. All of these backs are getting high opportunity, but Mark Ingram and Andre Ellington’s production levels should be worrisome to drafters. Look for better options in coming weeks unless this changes.

If you’re curious: Of player’s with at least 20% of the workload, the three players with the worst points per touch are (0.50 range) – Frank Gore, Trent Richardson, and Darren McFadden.

Sleeping Giants

Now here are the guys that are on the verge, but did not make the list above (or what I like to call “the Sleeping Giants”). Keep these guys on your radar in coming weeks:

  • C.J. Anderson – A sleeper to the Top 3 only. Anderson only trails Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles in production per touch since Week 9, and they are running 38% of the offense through him since then. But touches have increased weekly, culminating at 34 last week. Behind Charles, he may be the number two back to own.
  • Ryan Mathews – Ryan Mathews is averaging 0.90 fantasy points per touch, but he is only receiving 28% of the offense and a little over 1 catch per game. If those two numbers come up, he could be a top running back.
  • Jarvis Landry – Miami is throwing the ball 36.20 times per game since Week 9, and Landry is the most targeted wide receiver on the team. He joins only Roddy White, Stedman Bailey, and Julian Edelman as guys that are receiving 14% of their team’s targets and catching 80% of the balls thrown their way.
  • Torrey Smith – Smith is averaging 2.65 points per target, and has passed Steve Smith as most targeted wide receiver. Currently, they are only throwing 31 times a game, though, but against Miami this week that may increase.

thunder A-Champ, mikemar B-Champ in $10 Tournament (TT6) Tourney

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.

#6 – $10 Entry Tourney (Weeks 12-13)

In this 12-team, $10 entry fee tournament started in Week 12, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 13. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 13, $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
thunder vs. Doclate vs. atcdav

The winner is . . .

thunder

Wk 13 – TT6 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. thunder 1 1 277.5 237.0 40.5
2. atcdav 1 1 268.5 248.3 20.3
3. Doclate 1 1 229.4 290.2 -60.8

thunder wins the A-Championship group using the points differential tie-breaker over atcdav and Doclate. atcdav finishes second.

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.

thunder 163.4
Doclate 95.25

Doclate 134.15
atcdav 126.75

atcdav 141.75
thunder 114.1

B-Championship
Ditka vs. mikemar vs. tttimmyg

The winner is . . .

mikemar

Wk 13 – TT6 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mikemar 2 0 249.8 195.6 54.2
2. Ditka 1 1 252.1 255.1 -3.0
3. tttimmyg 0 2 235.9 287.1 -51.2

mikemar wins the B-Championship group with a perfect 2-0 record.

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

Ditka 94.35
mikemar 120.35

mikemar 129.4
tttimmyg 101.2

tttimmyg 134.7
Ditka 157.7

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

mkmayers A-Champ, ljs44 B-Champ in Free Tourney (TT8) Championships

S h a r e :

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

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

#8 – Free Entry Tourney (Weeks 12-13)

In this 16-team, free entry tournament started in Week 12, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 13. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 13, $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
Rydawpark vs. kwinkelman07 vs. mkmayers vs. atcdav

The winner is . . .

mkmayers

Wk 13 – TT8 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. mkmayers 3 0 330.6 258.3 72.3
2. atcdav 2 1 429.3 342.7 86.6
3. kwinkelman07 1 2 336.0 324.2 11.9
4. Rydawpark 0 3 267.7 438.5 -170.8

mkamyers wins the A-Championship group with a perfect 3-0 record. atcdav finishes second with a 2-1 record.

Congrats mkamyers! 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.

Rydawpark 100.15
kwinkelman07 143.8

Rydawpark 76.25
mkmayers 107.75

atcdav 186.9
Rydawpark 91.3

kwinkelman07 70.65
mkmayers 93

kwinkelman07 121.55
atcdav 131

mkmayers 129.8
atcdav 111.35

B-Championship
uswjnk85 vs. ljs44 vs. Bigchief37 vs. raptors

The winner is . . .

ljs44

Wk 13 – TT8 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. ljs44 2 1 367.4 366.9 0.5
2. raptors 2 1 417.9 374.5 43.4
3. uswjnk85 1 2 307.7 302.1 5.6
4. Bigchief37 1 2 299.1 348.6 -49.5

ljs44 wins the B-Championship group using the head-to-head tie-breaker over raptors.

Congrats! ljs44 wins the $5 cash prize plus the medal icon and 5 achievement points towards his Leaderboard ranking.

uswjnk85 92.25
ljs44 108.9

uswjnk85 89
Bigchief37 56.85

raptors 136.3
uswjnk85 126.4

ljs44 118.15
Bigchief37 134.5

ljs44 140.3
raptors 140.15

Bigchief37 107.75
raptors 141.4

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

Week 13 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.

With the Turkey Day Challenge, we hosted just one Throwdown Showdown for Week 13. Check out the Throwdown Showdown page for rules, links to past results and to sign up for Week 14.

#36 – kwinkelman07 vs. Luxuriousdusti vs. gtrain vs. jeffNFL

Wk 13 – TS36 – $2 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. gtrain 3 0 395.5 374.2 21.4
2. kwinkelman07 1 2 372.3 346.5 25.8
3. jeffNFL 1 2 404.9 397.9 7.0
4. Luxuriousdusti 1 2 352.9 407.1 -54.2

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

kwinkelman07 134.45
Luxuriousdusti 79.25

kwinkelman07 109.3
gtrain 121.3

jeffNFL 145.95
kwinkelman07 128.55

Luxuriousdusti 136.9
gtrain 141.65

Luxuriousdusti 136.75
jeffNFL 130.95

gtrain 132.55
jeffNFL 127.95

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

Turkey Day Challenge IV Results – Ditka 1st, JeffNFL 2nd, uswjnk85 3rd

S h a r e :

turkey2_140x140Thanks everyone for competing in our fourth annual Turkey Day Challenge! We hope everyone had a super Thanksgiving weekend, including Black Friday shopping if that floats your boat.

Thanksgiving Thursday was a huge football day with three NFL games. Hey – perfect for some Fantasy Throwdown and our patented* three NFL game player pool weekly fantasy football format. From that simple connection, the first ever Turkey Day Challenge was born back in 2011.

* not really

In this year’s Turkey Day Challenge, each member who signed up played three Throwdown games. Each game included two NFL games from Thursday, and the player chose the third game they wanted included in the challenge. The opponents were Mike (yours truly), tttimmyg (Tim Grinstead of Three Keys to Victory fame) and Throwdown1.

Surprise: Throwdown1 was actually expert consensus rankings from FantasyPros for Week 13, so essentially a computer player without any real draft strategy other than selecting straight down the list of players from the QB-flex cheatsheet. Note, the rankings may have changed slightly since I downloaded them earlier in the week.

We offered up a 100% payout prize pool, plus t-shirts on top of that, and capped the contest at 15 entries. We had 13 entries, which I believe means some overlay, not that my first priority is all of the daily fantasy sports lingo. We’re in this for the fantasy football! Okay, plus some cash in this case. 1st place wins $150, 2nd $75, 3rd $50 and 4th $25, while 1st through 6th win a t-shirt.

Players earn 2 points for a win, plus 0.5 bonus for winning a game by 21 or more points. The tie-breaker after these points is total point differential for the three Throwdown games. Check the original TDC post for full rules. Finally, lets get to the results.

W L +21 Pts PF   PA   Dif  
1. Ditka 3 0 3 7.5 517.4 355.9 161.6
2. jeffNFL 3 0 3 7.5 468.0 384.2 83.8
3. uswjnk85 3 0 2 7 483.1 425.2 57.9
4. thunder 3 0 1 6.5 456.8 386.8 70.0
5. mikemar 2 1 1 4.5 416.1 359.7 56.4
6. rhazes_darkk 2 1 1 4.5 461.0 409.4 51.6
7. Luxuriousdusti 2 1 1 4.5 865.0 839.8 25.3
8. Luxuriousdusti #2 2 1 1 4.5 423.6 411.6 12.0
9. Wilforkisland 1 2 1 2.5 842.4 826.4 16.0
10. Kjhawkey 1 2 1 2.5 400.9 385.1 15.8
11. Wilforkisland #2 1 2 1 2.5 422.0 435.0 -13.0
12. Doclate 1 2 1 2.5 426.9 457.1 -30.3
13. raptors 0 3 0 0 371.5 466.0 -94.5

Congrats Ditka for being crowned our Turkey Day Champ! He clearly hammered all three games earning the half point bonus in each. Here are the three games so we can see what worked for him:

Mike vs. Ditka

Mike vs. Ditka

tttimmyg vs. Ditka

tttimmyg vs. Ditka

Throwdown1 vs. Ditka

Throwdown1 vs. Ditka

A heavy dose of Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery in the first pair of games did the trick. Paying early at the QB position coupled with Tony Romo’s dud of a game, plus winning at tight end and defense, pushed him past the consensus rankings player Throwdown1.

JeffNFL continued his season-long Throwdown dominance going 3-0, including all three wins by 21+, but loses out on the points differential tie-breaker to finish 2nd.

uswjnk85 finishes 3rd with a 3-0 record and two games won by 21+.

thunder closes out the 3-0 performances to finish 4th.

We had four entries with 2-1 won-loss records, including a single 21+ point win for 4.5 points. mikemar and rhazes_darkk finish 5th and 6th, respectively, based on the points differential tie-breaker.

Congrats to all of our winners and thanks again to all of our players! We hope you enjoyed the 2014 Turkey Day Challenge!

IDP Insight – Week 13: Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Day IDP Stars

S h a r e :

We have much to be thankful for in IDP leagues this year.

We’ve seen studs like linebackers Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers and Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who is sadly nursing a sore hammy and questionable for Week 13) post the big numbers we expected. Youngsters like Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen and Washington Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson have exceeded expectations and then some.

And Chris Borland? Don’t even get me started on Chris Borland.

However, most importantly of all we have friends and family who haven’t had us committed for pursuing our little hobby with a passion that (for some) borders on the maniacal.

Of course, they may enjoy all that time off they get from having to actually talk to us from September to December. That’s possible, too.

In any event, Happy Thanksgiving!

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. TEN)
  2. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at NYJ)
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at JAX)
  4. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at ATL
  5. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at KC)
  6. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. CLE)
  7. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. OAK)
  8. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. CAR)
  9. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (at GB)
  10. Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (at NYJ)

Jared Allen – DE, CHI (at DET)
We’re going all- Turkey Day with our “under-the-radar” picks this week. With Allen that’s apt, because for most of the year he’s been a big fat turkey. However, Allen does have seven tackles and a sack over his last two games, and if ever there was a time for him to break out it’s against a Lions team that was having all sorts of problems protecting Matthew Stafford before left tackle Riley Reiff got hurt.

Justin Smith – DE, SF (vs. SF)
Smith finally broke out of a long sackless streak in Week 12, notching his first takedown of a quarterback since Week 2 in the Niners win over the Washington Redskins. Granted, a lone sack doesn’t necessarily spell a rebound, but Smith draws a favorable fantasy matchup this week in their hated rivals from Seattle. The same Seahawks who allowed three sacks to defensive end Calais Campbell a week ago.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (at MIN)
  2. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (vs. SEA)
  3. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. CHI)
  4. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. ARI)
  5. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (vs. SD)
  6. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at GB)
  7. Bobby Wagner – ILB, SEA (at SF)
  8. Keenan Robinson – ILB, WAS (at IND)
  9. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at DAL)
  10. Jelani Jenkins – OLB, MIA (at NYJ)

Connor Barwin – OLB, PHI (at DAL)
I will freely admit that I’m generally a huge fan of pass-rushing outside linebackers. However, there’s no denying the impact Barwin has made, both for the Eagles and in Fantasy Throwdown IDP games. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis chalked Barwin’s big year up to increased familiarity with the scheme while speaking with Reuben Frank of CSN Philadelphia. “Really, they got a feel for each other now,” Davis said. “They know who they’re rushing with, what the guy’s strengths and weaknesses [are], what they do well. So I think Connor has just got a second year in the system and second year with his teammates.”

K.J. Wright – OLB, SEA (at SF)
Wright has been manning the middle for the Seahawks with Bobby Wagner sidelined by a toe injury, but with Wagner back in the fold it’s back to the outside for the fourth-year pro. Yes, that switch outside (and Wagner’s return) knocks quite a bit of the meat off Wright’s IDP drumstick. But, all is not lost – in gravy matchups (such as Thursday night’s showdown in San Fran) Wright still maintains more than a little fantasy value.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

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

Antoine Bethea – SS, San Francisco 49ers (vs. SEA)
On its surface, the 49ers matchup with a Seattle Seahawks team that ranks 30th in fantasy points per game allowed to defensive backs wouldn’t appear to be one that would behoove rolling Bethea out there. Of course, the veteran has been proving people wrong his entire career, including pundits who said Bethea’s fantasy production would fall off a cliff in his new digs in San Francisco this season. What can I say? Hard as it is to believe, I am occasionally wrong.

Kam Chancellor – SS, Seattle Seahawks (at SF)
According to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times, Chancellor gave an impassioned pre-game speech a week ago that teammate K.J. Wright credited with helping propel the team past the Arizona Cardinals. “It was probably the best one I’ve ever heard in my life,” Wright said. “Usually guys are just talking to talk, but I actually felt him and he just spoke from the heart.” Hopefully Chancellor has another one of those in his hip pocket, because the Seahawks need this win every bit as much as last week’s.

 
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 13: Something Called Optimal Prime Strategy

S h a r e :
No, not Optimus Prime - even though he is beyond cool - but Tim is telling us about his Optimal Prime strategy.

No, not Optimus Prime – even though he is beyond cool – but Tim is telling us about his Optimal Prime strategy.

Fantasy Throwdown may be one of the only times you get to draft from a pool of six NFL teams. As discussed last week, the “pick the first two games” option can give you an advantage, but the wisest of wise fantasy players play Fantasy Throwdown, so they are constantly looking for ways to thwart your plans.

Last week, we discussed block strategy in Fantasy Throwdown and limiting the player pool. This works great providing your opponent allows it, but what happens when your opponent attempts to add more good swimmers to the pool and maximize the talent? This is where I employ some strategy to ensure I get the best of that available talent.

Like any theory, it only works when the players on the field play like they should, but like they say, “that’s why we play the game.”

Optimal Prime Strategy

That’s Optimal Prime and not Optimus Prime, although that is much cooler. I’ll give you the first steps of this strategy and how to employ.

Optimal Prime Strategy is simply adopting the best path to getting a premium grade player at every position by limiting your opponent’s choices. To put it another way, you want to allow yourself the opportunity to have the best player at every position. And, as you will see below, this strategy works best when your opponent is aware of pool-limiting and block strategies.

The key point is, how can you throw off your opponent’s plan and trick him into giving you more of what you want?

The steps to ensure optimal prime picks are:

  1. Identify the correct top picks

  2. Attack your opponent’s counter attacks (i.e. he takes your running back, keep wiping out another position.)
  3. Know your opponent’s most likely move and limit their choices
  4. Don’t emotionally deviate from your strategy or panic.

Identifying the Top Tier Correctly

In order to appropriately gauge your course of attack, you need to correctly identify who are the most likely candidates for the top spot. Who are the juggernauts in this draft?

Regular readers know I like to find baseline measurables. In this case, I’m using the top average at each position, and how many times players have crossed the highest average at their respective positions. For example, Andrew Luck is averaging 29.0 PPG and is the highest average quarterback. Luck has scored higher than 29 points in 6 games this season, the most of any quarterback.

This gives us a good idea of the consistent top scorers at the position, and those who are not. Below is a list of players in the four major offensive positions that have crossed that barrier (PPR scoring).

Quarterbacks Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends
A. Luck (6) D. Murray (6) A. Brown (5) G. Olsen (6)
A. Rodgers (5) M. Forte (5) J. Nelson (4) J. Graham (5)
P. Manning (3) M. Lynch (4) J. Maclin (4) J. Thomas (4)
T. Brady (3) E. Lacy (4) E. Sanders (4) M. Bennett (4)
J. Charles (3) D. Thomas (4) R. Gronkowski (3)
A. Foster (3) R. Cobb (3) A. Gates (3)
L. Bell (3) G. Tate (3) D. Walker (3)
D. Bryant (3) Tim Wright (3)
S. Watkins (3)
B. Lafell (3)
B. Marshall (3)
M. Evans (3)
T. Hilton (3)

These are the players that are truly the high class at their positions. They are the only ones consistently scoring big. In many drafts, there are players getting selected above some of these players based on past years’ performance.

Frank Gore is an example of a running back drafted too high many times. Gore has only performed as a number one PPR running back in 10% of his games this year, and he is 39th in average points per game (1 spot below Steven Jackson and tied with Darren McFadden). He’s in many drafts this weekend playing Thursday night on Thanksgiving, and guys like Shane Vereen and Joique Bell should be drafted ahead of him, especially against Seattle.

Likewise, Matthew Stafford is the 21st ranked quarterback in average PPG, now below Kyle Orton, Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles. His failing accuracy and play have diminished returns on Calvin Johnson’s play as well. The point is draft the players that are playing like top tier this year and not just a good-looking name. The more accurate you are on this evaluation, the more effective your strategy will be.

Attacking the Counter Attack

You only get to pick a maximum of two NFL games in a Fantasy Throwdown challenge, so limiting the pool can be difficult against better players. They are looking to counter what you are doing. This is where optimal prime strategy kicks in. Let me explain.

In a game last week, I attempted to limit the quarterback pool by selecting Packers-Vikings and Cowboys-Giants. In hindsight, Romo’s performance nullified this approach, but in theory, Aaron Rodgers was the only elite option. My opponent then countered by selecting Broncos-Dolphins, which inserts another elite option into the ring with Peyton Manning.

Instead of abandoning my initial approach, I stuck with it and employed what I believed was the best course to getting to the best players.

STEP 1: Select Aaron Rodgers (my top rated QB based on recent play)

  • If opponent does not select Manning, I can block next round

  • If opponent does select Manning, he is only able to select one other player allowing more good players to fall to me

STEP 2: Select top options in position opponent left

  • Opponent selected Manning and DeMarco Murray

  • Select optimal wide receivers – Jordy Nelson and Demaryius Thomas
  • Opponent’s optimal choice: chase wide receivers or limit pool of running backs for me.

STEP 3: Snag prime running backs

  • Opponent actually split RB/WR, which was least optimal and allowed more good players to fall

  • Select Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson – two prime backs.
  • Opponent most likely takes two WR and leaves one more good one for me.

STEP 4: Remaining receiver and limit other positions

  • Should have selected Odell Beckham here and a TE, but the theory was still correct.

Below is the completed draft, but as you can see this works with a good opponent who maximizes pools that you tried to limit. I ended up winning despite the ODB mistake, as you can see. This strategy allowed me to grab two of the top three running backs and the top wide receiver along with a top tier quarterback. Hopefully, you can use this or block strategy in your Throwdown games this week, and earn a victory.

tttimmyg-opponent

Perfect 3-0 for gtrain and @belaireric in Free Tourney (TT5) Championships

S h a r e :

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

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

#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.

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

The winner is . . .

gtrain

Wk 12 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. gtrain 3 0 391.8 352.1 39.7
2. Wilforkisland 2 1 399.1 330.3 68.9
3. mikemar 1 2 343.4 386.0 -42.6
4. Scott Kuff 0 3 326.4 392.4 -66.0

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

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

Wilforkisland, 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.

gtrain 126.95
Wilforkisland 118.9

gtrain 135.35
mikemar 120.85

Scott Kuff 112.35
gtrain 129.45

Wilforkisland 152.05
mikemar 87.8

Wilforkisland 128.15
Scott Kuff 115.5

mikemar 134.75
Scott Kuff 98.55

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

The winner is . . .

@belaireric

Wk 12 – TT5 – $0 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. @belaireric 3 0 387.6 286.5 101.1
2. Doclate 2 1 300.8 325.7 -24.9
3. ShanePHallam 1 2 352.8 353.0 -0.3
4. Luxuriousdusti 0 3 324.3 400.3 -76.0

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

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

@belaireric 117.05
Luxuriousdusti 103.75

@belaireric 127
Doclate 79.9

ShanePHallam 102.85
@belaireric 143.55

Luxuriousdusti 110.65
Doclate 121.35

Luxuriousdusti 109.9
ShanePHallam 161.85

Doclate 99.55
ShanePHallam 88.05

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

Week 12 $10 Entry Tournament (TT6) 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.

#6 – $10 Entry Tourney (Weeks 12-13)

In this 12-team, $10 entry fee tournament started in Week 12, the winner of each 4-player group from Round 1 advances to the A-Championship in Week 13. The second place finisher in each group advances to the B-Championship. After Week 13, $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.

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 13, are as follows:

A-Championship
thunder vs. Doclate vs. atcdav

B-Championship
Ditka vs. mikemar vs. tttimmyg

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 12 – TT6 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. thunder 3 0 378.0 323.8 54.3
2. Ditka 1 2 398.5 352.5 46.0
3. Wilforkisland 1 2 314.1 360.4 -46.4
4. Luxuriousdusti 1 2 340.6 394.5 -53.9

thunder wins the group with a perfect 3-0 record. Ditka finishes second using the points differential tie-breaker over Wilforkisland and Luxuriousdusti.

Ditka 115.65
thunder 121.85

Ditka 128.15
Wilforkisland 131.25

Luxuriousdusti 99.4
Ditka 154.65

thunder 122.2
Wilforkisland 76.95

thunder 133.95
Luxuriousdusti 131.15

Wilforkisland 105.85
Luxuriousdusti 110.05

Group B

Wk 12 – TT6 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. Doclate 2 1 390.5 409.1 -18.6
2. mikemar 2 1 354.7 242.9 111.8
3. Jessect6 1 2 364.7 453.0 -88.3
4. rhazes_darkk 1 2 355.1 360.0 -4.9

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

Doclate 171.15
Jessect6 146.35

Doclate 107.35
mikemar 97.25

rhazes_darkk 165.45
Doclate 111.95

Jessect6 76.35
mikemar 151.35

Jessect6 141.95
rhazes_darkk 130.45

mikemar 106.05
rhazes_darkk 59.15

Group C

Wk 12 – TT6 – $10 W L PF   PA   Dif  
1. atcdav 2 1 402.3 405.9 -3.6
2. tttimmyg 2 1 380.4 368.4 12.0
3. EyeoftheGator 1 2 429.5 439.9 -10.4
4. raptors 1 2 409.8 407.8 2.1

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

raptors 170.15
atcdav 131.35

raptors 99.7
tttimmyg 125.45

EyeoftheGator 150.95
raptors 139.95

atcdav 123.55
tttimmyg 102.35

atcdav 147.35
EyeoftheGator 133.35

tttimmyg 152.55
EyeoftheGator 145.15