Posts Tagged ‘alex smith’

Three Keys To Victory – Week 1: Hot Starts, Bad Defenses

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
RB Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

Expect Matt Forte to continue his trend of a big Week 1 performance, this time at the expense of the Buffalo Bills defense.

The NFL season is finally here!

The first week for fantasy footballers brings those same feelings of a seven year old waking up on Christmas morning. We’re all excited to play with our new toys. Just don’t let the shiny new toys distract you from sound judgment. There’s a reason the “start your studs” mantra echoes from every fantasy football expert, particularly for Week 1.

It’s true for Fantasy Throwdown as well, but I don’t think you need me telling you to draft Peyton Manning or Demaryius Thomas in Week 1. Your studs will most likely do well, but I’m going to give you some information to help you spot some other Week 1 performances that may help you win your games this weekend. There are three profiles from recent history that may help you spot a gem or feel better about picking the stud.

Slow Starting Defenses

There are some defenses that have been very generous to teams in Week 1 in recent years. For instance, here is a graph of four quarterbacks that have faced the Green Bay Packers in the past four seasons.

qb_performances_vs_packers_week_1

Even the cautious side arm of Alex Smith had a successful opening day against the Packers defense. It was Colin Kaepernick’s best game of the entire year, and guess who gets to face them first this year – Russell Wilson.

Odds are that history will repeat itself, on Thursday Night, in a rematch of the Fail Mary. For those looking forward to Sunday games, don’t fret. Green Bay is not the only team with interesting trends on opening day. Here are three position profiles that are trending in the past two seasons.

week_1_fantasy_performances_2012-2013

I’ll start with running backs. Two Top 5 running backs have chopped up the Jacksonville Jaguars in the past two years, and this year, their first week they face LeSean McCoy. I’d say that’s a safe bet for a three-peat.

Buffalo Bills are squaring off against the Chicago Bears, and have given up big weeks to number two receivers the past two years. That’s enough to make me take Alshon Jeffrey over Brandon Marshall to see if the trend continues.

Ryan Fitzpatrick does not fit the profile of Drew Brees or even Michael Vick, but there’s a good chance he has an above average start versus the Washington Redskins this week.

Hot Start Players

Just like certain defenses start slow, there are certain players that have been trending towards hot starts.

I’ll start with quarterback first. For the past three consecutive years, there are only four quarterbacks who, when active and healthy, have averaged 20 fantasy points per opening day and Top 10 performances. The first three are Brees, Peyton Manning (injured one year) and Aaron Rodgers.

The fourth guy is Robert Griffin III. According to DraftBuddy.com (4 points per TD scoring), Griffin has finished 2nd and 10th in Week 1 each of the past two seasons, with a low of 24.9 points. He now pilots Jay Gruden’s high flying attack, plus has a fully healthy Pierre Garçon, Jordan Reed, and a new weapon in Desean Jackson at his disposal. Despite the porous preseason, Griffin could easily keep his trend going.

At running back, outside of Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte is the most consistent opening day starter in the past three years. He has breached 15 standard fantasy points for three consecutive years. He’s an underrated stud who should be the best running back in the Bears-Bills matchup.

Finally, at wide receiver, if you get stuck with the Broncos-Colts game, don’t fret if you lose out on consistent opening day freak Demaryius Thomas. The third most consistent opening day wide receiver in the past three years is playing for Indianapolis. His name is Reggie Wayne. Every year, people suggest Wayne is done, and every year he produces near 100 receiving yards and 1 TD in Week 1. In fact, his lowest yardage output in the past three is 96 yards, and one year he didn’t score (but did get 136 yards).

Dismal Defenses Ready to Get Lit Up

This happened at a profound level last season when Baltimore Ravens faced Denver. They lost several key players in the offseason, including future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. They were strong up front with Elvis Dumervil and Haloti Ngata, but struggled at linebacker and secondary. Pair that with the greatest offense the NFL has ever seen, and you get Peyton Manning with seven touchdowns (and almost every other Broncos player with a career day).

I’ll give you one defense this year that is struggling with almost identical issues to start the season, and they are located in Texas – the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is reeling on defense right now. They lost DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher this offseason, and they lost Sean Lee (again) and Orlando Scandrick to injury. Pair this with an unheralded, unproven secondary, and you have another recipe for disaster.

Luckily, they’re not playing against Manning, but they are playing a very good offense in San Francisco. I’d say this is a huge advantage in Fantasy Throwdown, as most Cowboys, based on August Average Draft Position, will be picked before 49ers. But I could easily see Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis outscoring Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten this week. As sloppy as the 49ers have looked, coupled with the losses of Navarro Bowman and Aldon Smith, this game could produce a lot of fantasy superstars.

Hope you have a good start to the fantasy season, and maybe one of these profiles will help you spot other gems in Week 1.

NFL Playoffs Challenge Wild-Card Weekend Results

Monday, January 6th, 2014

We kicked off a new format special event for the NFL Playoffs, and everyone who took the plunge and signed up appears to be very into it given the quick pace at which we got 44 challenges drafted last week. It is called the NFL Playoffs Challenge, and is played from Wild-Card Weekend through the Super Bowl, with each participant playing two games of Fantasy Throwdown per week against a representative from FT (most likely, me).

The more you win, and win big, the more points you score in the standings to rise up the ranks of the competition. We are excited to offer this event, because it is one method by which we can scale Fantasy Throwdown to allow more people to play in a combined competition than the leagues or tournaments we’ve run throughout the year.

Check the rules for details about the competition, but the basics are we had 22 entrants, they earn 2 points per win plus an extra half point if they win by 21 or more points. The first tie-breaker is points differential. The overall winner after the Super Bowl wins $300, and the Top 5 earn a prize. Plus there is a weekly $50 prize.

From what I would consider a somewhat bad drafting week – I drafted Jamaal Charles at every opportunity, then Jimmy Graham, plus I was high on Marques Colston, and had very few drafts with Alex Smith, Andrew Luck or T.Y. Hilton – the Throwdown1 account went 8-14. No surprise there. However the Throwdown2 account somehow produced a record of 15-7 for a combined record of just over .500.

As for our competitors, only four players went 2-0 for Wild-Card Weekend. Two of those four earned both blowout bonuses for winning by 21 plus fantasy points, so the weekly prize of $50 came down to the tie-breaker and was awarded to raptors, just edging out mr_punisher.

I have to give special recognition to member Haysie. Not only because it was his first ever game of Fantasy Throwdown, but because he recorded the biggest lopsided victory of the week. He won vs. Throwdown1 by 104.4! Damn! Luck to Hilton! Where was that Chiefs defense? The closest game of the week, Throwdown1 wins by 0.8 points over Wilforkisland.

Below are the weekly and overall standings after one week.

W L W by 21+ Pts  Dif  
1. raptors 2 0 2 5.0 132.9
2. mr_punisher 2 0 2 5.0 90.8
3. spridlewv 2 0 1 4.5 73.1
4. Luxuriousdusti 2 0 0 4.0 22.3
5. Haysie 1 1 1 2.5 43.0
6. rhazes_darkk 1 1 1 2.5 32.0
7. atcdav 1 1 1 2.5 29.5
8. eddieprobro 1 1 1 2.5 19.4
9. NiteHawk55 1 1 0 2.0 4.0
10. awilde27 1 1 0 2.0 -0.8
11. BeastModeCV 1 1 0 2.0 -6.8
12. Airbus79 1 1 0 2.0 -10.0
13. Bigchief37 1 1 0 2.0 -13.7
14. jeffNFL 1 1 0 2.0 -15.2
15. ffrittle 1 1 0 2.0 -18.1
16. Kjhawkey 1 1 0 2.0 -18.9
17. j0eo1s 1 1 0 2.0 -19.9
18. Wilforkisland 0 2 0 0.0 -43.8
19. Scott Kuff 0 2 0 0.0 -45.2
20. Fantasytaz 0 2 0 0.0 -51.5
21. Doclate 0 2 0 0.0 -93.7
22. robmcangus 0 2 0 0.0 -121.5

Its still early, because there are two more games to be played for each of Divisional Playoffs and Conference Championships, plus one for Super Bowl worth double points, so everyone is still in it, and don’t forget there is a weekly prize up for grabs every week.

The game results from Wild-Card Weekend are included below. The Divisional round games will go in later today so we can get rolling with those. The lineups are similar to last week with one challenge a QB Flex option, and the other a Flex RB/WR/TE.

Thanks to everyone who is playing in the NFL Playoffs Challenge, and good luck the rest of the way!

 
Game 1 Results (QB/RB/WR/TE Flex)

atcdav 106.15
Throwdown1 111.85

Doclate 84.15
Throwdown1 123.95

Wilforkisland 106.95
Throwdown1 107.75

Scott Kuff 99.5
Throwdown1 120.15

robmcangus 72.45
Throwdown1 101.55

Bigchief37 100.8
Throwdown1 89.6

rhazes_darkk 144.85
Throwdown1 94.15

spridlewv 168.05
Throwdown1 106

eddieprobro 107.1
Throwdown1 84.5

Luxuriousdusti 111
Throwdown1 101.25

ffrittle 83.65
Throwdown1 103.65

BeastModeCV 109
Throwdown1 97.35

mr_punisher 144.15
Throwdown1 95.95

raptors 168.35
Throwdown1 79.8

Haysie 182.85
Throwdown1 78.45

awilde27 107.7
Throwdown1 93.8

Airbus79 94.2
Throwdown1 86.7

Kjhawkey 109.35
Throwdown1 106.85

j0eo1s 87.35
Throwdown1 108.85

jeffNFL 98.75
Throwdown1 94.85

Fantasytaz 93.05
Throwdown1 104.15

NiteHawk55 105.65
Throwdown1 91.55

 
Game 2 Results (RB/WR/TE Flex)

atcdav 144.85
Throwdown2 109.65

Doclate 77
Throwdown2 130.85

Wilforkisland 77.45
Throwdown2 120.45

Scott Kuff 87.05
Throwdown2 111.55

robmcangus 80.75
Throwdown2 173.15

Bigchief37 105.35
Throwdown2 130.2

rhazes_darkk 87.4
Throwdown2 106.15

spridlewv 105.8
Throwdown2 94.75

eddieprobro 132.7
Throwdown2 135.95

Luxuriousdusti 105.95
Throwdown2 93.45

ffrittle 110.25
Throwdown2 108.3

BeastModeCV 85.2
Throwdown2 103.65

mr_punisher 155.3
Throwdown2 112.75

raptors 143.85
Throwdown2 99.55

Haysie 82.55
Throwdown2 144

awilde27 97.3
Throwdown2 112.05

Airbus79 94.05
Throwdown2 111.55

Kjhawkey 99
Throwdown2 120.35

j0eo1s 123.95
Throwdown2 122.35

jeffNFL 94.1
Throwdown2 113.15

Fantasytaz 108.25
Throwdown2 148.65

NiteHawk55 121.45
Throwdown2 131.55