Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If the NFL Playoffs Started Today (Week 16)

Most fantasy football leagues are done. Champions have been crowned full-time fantasy players start concentrating on baseball. I actually enjoy Week 17 battles, which are generally ruled by the lesser known players. This year, almost every team has something to play for in Week 17. The exceptions are the Texans, Packers, Lions, and Falcons who have nothing to gain by playing their starters. Something in me thinks that Jim Schwartz will have his starters out there against the second-team Packers anyway. Here is how the standings look after Week 16. I've included every team with a possibility of making the playoffs.

NFC
1. Green Bay 14-1 (DET)
2. San Francisco 12-3 (stl)
3. New Orleans 12-3 (CAR)
4. New York Giants 8-7 (DAL)
5. Detroit 10-5 (gb)
6. Atlanta 9-6 (TB)
-----------------
7. Dallas 8-6 (nyg)

AFC
1. New England 12-3 (BUF)
2. Baltimore 11-4 (cin)
3. Houston 10-5 (TEN)
4. Denver 8-7 (KC)
5. Pittsburgh 11-4 (cle)
6. Cincinnati 9-6 (BAL)
-----------------
7. Oakland 8-7 (SD)
8. Tennessee 8-7 (hou)
9. New York Jets 8-7 (mia)

Yes, there are still four teams vying for the last two spots in the AFC. If Oakland wins and Denver loses, the Raiders win the AFC West. Both teams host AFC West rivals in late games. The Bengals hold the keys to their own destiny for the sixth seed. They will have to go through the Ravens to get it, and Baltimore needs to win to keep their AFC North lead over the Steelers, who head to Cleveland. If Cincinnati should lose, the Titans can make the playoffs by beating the suddenly very beatable Texans. If the Bengals and Titans lose, the Jets can still make the playoffs by beating the Dolphins in Miami. If all three teams lose, the Bengals are in. The Jets and Titans play in the early game, so Cincinnati will know if the game is meaningful by the time they play in the late afternoon.

There is less intrigue in the NFC. The Cowboys and Giants will play in the Meadowlands for the right to represent the NFC East, which I think is the worst division in football this year. The Saints can still get the second seed by beating the Panthers and having the 49ers lose to the Rams, which seems unlikely. The Rams are in the race for the first draft pick, but it would be interesting to see if they wanted Andrew Luck since they already have Sam Bradford. By the way, St. Louis has only scored 26 points over the last four weeks, although Bradford was shut down and played in just one of those games.

The current Wild Card games would feature the Falcons heading to New Orleans (where they got pasted last night) and the Lions going to New York. Drew Brees has nine TD's in his last two games and could be considered for the top pick. The Saints might have a tough time against the 49ers (if they can beat the Falcons again), but the Packer secondary might be ripe for some points in a potential New Orleans-Green Bay NFC Championship. I also like the Lions to put up some nice points against the Giants before heading to a third meeting with Green Bay.

I think Cincinnati would relish another shot at the Texans. The Bengals lost on a last second TD two weeks ago and would just need to convert some of those first half field goals into touchdowns for a fairly convincing win. The bloom may be off the rose for the Broncos who were beaten badly in Buffalo. The Bills had lost seven straight coming into the game and Tim Tebow had his worst game as a pro. While it would not be an easy win for Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger should be rested and ready to go.

Here is your top 20 list for the day:

1. Aaron Rodgers (1)
2. Drew Brees (2)
3. Tom Brady (3)
4. Frank Gore (4)
5. Ray Rice (5)
6. Calvin Johnson (12)
7. Rob Gronkowski (6)
8. Jordy Nelson (10)
9. Arian Foster (7)
10. Rashard Mendenhall (11)
11. Ben Roethlisberger (14)
12. Matthew Stafford (NR)
13. Michael Turner (8)
14. Jimmy Graham (16)
15. Marques Colston (NR)
16. Mike Wallace (NR)
17. Tim Tebow (13)
18. Eli Manning (NR)
19. Cedric Benson (NR)
20. Antonio Brown (20)

Fell out
Tony Romo (9)
Dez Bryant (14)
Roddy White (16)
Willis McGahee (17)
Shonn Greene (18)
Matt Ryan (19)

Also considered
Ahmad Bradshaw
Andre Johnson
Torrey Smith
Wes Welker
Joe Flacco
Santonio Holmes
Plaxico Burress
Julio Jones
Marques Colston
Pierre Thomas
Jake Ballard
Brandon Jacobs
Darren Sproles
Kevin Smith
Julio Jones
A.J. Green

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If the NFL Playoffs Started Today (Week 15)

We've just been to the NFL Playoffs optometrist and the scenario is getting clearer. There were a lot of surprise losers and I've decided to eliminate a number of teams that are still mathematically alive, but have a St. Louis Cardinals-level chance of making the playoffs. If they are still alive after next week, then I'll include them. Here's how things shake out.

NFC
1. Green Bay 13-1 (CHI, DET)
2. San Francisco 11-3 (sea, stl)
3. New Orleans 11-3 (ATL, CAR)
4. Dallas 8-6 (PHI, nyg)
5. Atlanta 9-5 (no, TB)
6. Detroit 9-5 (SD, gb)
-----------------
7. New York Giants 7-7 (nyj, DAL)

AFC
1. New England 11-3 (MIA, BUF)
2. Baltimore 10-4 (CLE, cin)
3. Houston 10-4 (ind, TEN)
4. Denver 8-6 (buf, KC)
5. Pittsburgh 10-4 (STL, cle)
6. New York Jets 8-6 (NYG, mia)
-----------------
7. Cincinnati 8-6 (ARI, BAL)

In the AFC, the Patriots were the only of the top four teams to win and now control their own destiny. With home games against the Dolphins and Bills, who have less wins combined than New England, my guess is that the road to the Super Bowl flows through Foxboro. In the win against the Broncos, the Patriot defense looked susceptible to running attacks. Their offense, however, is in the same league as the Packers and Saints.

The Ravens, Texans, and Steelers all lost on the road. Because the Ravens swept the Steelers and beat the Texans, Baltimore will have to lose again to lose their spot. The Week 17 game against the Bengals will be a big game for both games. The Steelers have the easiest schedule, but will likely remain the five seed. The Texans have the least to play for since they are pretty settled into the three-seed, at least.

There will also be a good fight for the six-seed. The Bengals have to hope that the Ravens have nothing to play for in Week 17, which seems unlikely. If the Jets lost to Philadelphia, they are susceptible to losing to the Giants and the Dolphins who have won five of seven. Either Wild Card winner could go to Houston and win. The Texans are 5-2 on the road and home. The Denver-Pittsburgh game would also be very intriguing.

In the NFC, the Packers proved human. It was odd that the Packers lost and the Colts won in the same week. The Dolphins (and Lions) can pop their champagne. Sadly, Green Bay won't lose next week against Caleb Hanie, Kahlil Bell, and Dane Sanzenbacher, and should get the top seed through the playoffs.

I still think the Saints could move past the 49ers for the second seed. As good as San Francisco was last night, they are not a shoo-in to beat Seattle next week on the road. The Saints passed their road tests in Weeks 14 and 15. They come home for the Falcons and Panthers.

Speaking of Atlanta, the Falcons look like they have settled into the Wild Card slot next to the Lions. The intrigue in the NFC lies in the mediocre East. Dallas hosts Philadelphia before heading to New York for what looks like a playoff game. The Giants and Jets should be a pseudo-playoff game as well. I don't think Detroit matches up well with New Orleans in Round One. I'd give them a better shot in San Francisco to turn out the 49ers' lights. Atlanta and Dallas (or the Giants) would be a good game as well.

Here is the list of this week's top 20:

1. Aaron Rodgers (1)
2. Drew Brees (2)
3. Tom Brady (3)
4. Frank Gore (5)
5. Ray Rice (6)
6. Arian Foster (4)
7. Rob Gronkowski (9)
8. Michael Turner (11)
9. Tony Romo (NR)
10. Jordy Nelson (9)
11. Rashard Mendenhall (8)
11. Calvin Johnson (13)
12. Tim Tebow (17)
13. Ben Roethlisberger (10)
14. Dez Bryant (NR)
15. Jimmy Graham (15)
16. Roddy White (NR)
17. Willis McGahee (20)
18. Shonn Greene (18)
19. Matt Ryan (NR)
20. Antonio Brown (NR)

Fell out
Eli Manning
Ahmad Bradshaw
Andre Johnson
Mike Wallace

Also considered
Torrey Smith
Wes Welker
Joe Flacco
Santonio Holmes
Plaxico Burress
Julio Jones
Marques Colston
Pierre Thomas
Jake Ballard
Miles Austin
Laurent Robinson
Felix Jones

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If the NFL Playoffs Started Today (Week 14)

I don't know why I waited (and maybe waded) through the Monday game. After giving it some more thought, I decided to only include teams that had won more games than they have lost. If the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Chargers continue to charge up the standings, perhaps I'll include them next week. Things are getting very intriguing. Nothing is settled except for the top spot in the NFC, and that has been fairly well settled for the last few weeks.

NFC
1. Green Bay 13-0 (kc, CHI, DET)
2. San Francisco 10-3 (PIT, sea, stl)
3. New Orleans 10-3 (min, ATL, CAR)
4. New York Giants 7-6 (WAS, nyj, DAL)
5. Atlanta 8-5 (JAX, no, TB)
6. Detroit 8-5 (oak, SD, gb)
-----------------
7. Chicago 7-6 (SEA, gb, min)
8. Dallas 7-6 (tb, PHI, nyg)

AFC
1. Houston 10-3 (CAR, ind, TEN)
2. Baltimore 10-3 (sd, CLE, cin)
3. New England 10-3 (den, MIA, BUF)
4. Denver 8-5 (NE, buf, KC)
5. Pittsburgh 10-3 (sf, STL, cle)
6. New York Jets 8-5 (phi, NYG, mia)
-----------------
7. Tennessee 7-6 (ind, JAX, hou)
8. Cincinnati 7-6 (stl, ARI, BAL)
9. Oakland 7-6 (DET, kc, SD)

The only question with Green Bay is whether they will go for the undefeated season. They still need to win this week to ensure their homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, so they should be able to pull off the win in Kansas City. The Packers' second team could probably beat the Bears now. Ho hum.

The top of the AFC holds the most intrigue. There are four teams at 10-3 and it appears that strength of victory will determine the standings if everyone wins out. The Steelers are the only one of the four teams that has three conference losses (two to Baltimore) so they are on the outside looking in with a pretty tough game this weekend at San Francisco. The Texans may be hurt by their weak schedule to conclude the season, although Tennessee could help matters by winning a few games (as they should).

In the NFC, there are three tiers. The Packers are a tier by themselves. The Saints and 49ers are fighting out for the second seed. Either way, the Saints will host one game and should be a good source of points. They would probably not travel as well as the 49ers to Green Bay. The third tier is the rest of the teams fighting for spots four through six. The Giants won an unbelievable game to take the lead in the NFC East. The Falcons and Lions also won their way into the top six, while the Bears and Cowboys fell out. Atlanta should be able to take care of Jacksonville at home this week, but their game at the Superdome in Week 16 should be an interesting one. The Raiders looked horrible this weekend at Green Bay, but Detroit is not a lock to win any game.

The Jets also won their way into the playoffs with a nice win over the Chiefs. They have road games against the Eagles and Dolphins with a semi-road game against the Giants in Week 16. Tennessee and Cincinnati could slide up to the sixth spot if the Jets should lose.

The Wild Card match ups currently have the Lions visiting New Orleans and Falcons head to New York in the NFC. The Saints spanked Detroit 31-17 in Week 13 and that would be a good match up for the home team. The Giants are just 3-3 at home and the Falcons are 4-3 on the road, so Atlanta would have a good shot at pulling the upset in that one (weather permitting).

I don't know if you realize this (I certainly didn't), but the Patriots have not won a playoff game since 2007. Last year, they lost to the Jets in the Divisional round and two years ago they were beaten by Baltimore in the Wild Card game. They are currently slated to face the Jets for the third time this year and second straight year in the playoffs. In the regular season, New England won both match ups handily. The Steelers and Broncos are still set to play. I'll be very interested to see what the Patriots do in Denver this weekend.

Since I forgot to put up a top ten player list last week, I'll go for a top 20 list this week:

This week's top ten players:

1. Aaron Rodgers (1)
2. Drew Brees (2)
3. Tom Brady (3)
4. Arian Foster (5)
5. Ray Rice (4)
6. Frank Gore (7)
7. Rob Gronkowski (9)
8. Rashard Mendenhall (8)
9. Jordy Nelson
10. Ben Roethlisberger (5) - I am not sure he can hold up
11. Michael Turner
12. Eli Manning
13. Calvin Johnson
14. Ahmad Bradshaw
15. Jimmy Graham
16. Andre Johnson - assuming he comes back
17. Tim Tebow
18. Shonn Greene
19. Mike Wallace
20. Willis McGahee

Also considered
Torrey Smith
Wes Welker
T.J. Yates
Joe Flacco
Antonio Brown
Santonio Holmes
Plaxico Burress
Roddy White
Matt Ryan
Julio Jones
Marques Colston
Pierre Thomas
Jake Ballard

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011-2012 College Bowl Fantasy Projections and Rankings

Following are Fantasy Postseason's top College Bowl Fantasy projections by position:

Quarterbacks

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1Robert Griffin IIIQBBAY39.69
2Case KeenumQBHOU36.27
3Chandler HarnishQBNO-ILL36.25
4Collin KleinQBKSU34.60
5James FranklinQBMIZZ32.18
6Denard RobinsonQBMICH31.93
7Alex CarderQBW-MICH30.45
8Ryan AplinQBARK-ST29.59
9Tyler TettletonQBOHIO29.58
10Brandon WeedenQBOKST28.57
11Kellen MooreQBBSU28.57
12Brett SmithQBWYO28.16
13Russell WilsonQBWISC27.93
14Andrew LuckQBSTAN27.80
15Landry JonesQBOKLA27.79
16Ryan TannehillQBTX-A&M27.70
17Cody FajardoQBNEV27.59
18Tajh BoydQBCLEM27.50
19Austin DavisQBSO-MISS26.23
20Geno SmithQBWVA25.75

Running Backs

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1Montee BallRBWISC34.33
2Trent RichardsonRBALA28.54
3LaMichael JamesRBOREG27.46
4Bernard PierceRBTEMP26.80
5Ronnie HillmanRBSD-ST26.48
6Joseph RandleRBOKST26.01
7Robert TurbinRBUTAH-ST25.33
8Adonis ThomasRBTOL23.98
9Doug MartinRBBSU22.93
10Chris PolkRBWASH22.58
11Giovani BernardRBUNC21.52
12Cyrus GrayRBTX-A&M21.26
13Marcus CokerRBIOWA21.22
14Rex BurkheadRBNEB20.92
15John WhiteRBUTAH20.59
16Terrance GanawayRBBAY20.41
17Isaiah PeadRBCINC20.28
18Cameron MarshallRBASU20.21
19Charles SimsRBHOU19.48
20Michael HayesRBHOU19.12
 
Wide Receivers

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1Jordan WhiteWRW-MICH27.23
2Kendall WrightWRBAY24.74
3Justin BlackmonWROKST23.40
4Patrick EdwardsWRHOU23.12
5Marvin McNuttWRIOWA20.31
6Sammy WatkinsWRCLEM20.26
7Eric PageWRTOL19.58
8B.J. CunninghamWRMSU19.55
9Rishard MatthewsWRNEV19.15
10Chris GivensWRWAKE18.81
11Jeremy EbertWRNW18.78
12Stedman BaileyWRWVA18.27
13Tyler ShoemakerWRBSU18.26
14Jarius WrightWRARK18.22
15Dwight JonesWRUNC18.21
16Ryan SwopeWRTX-A&M18.14
17Quinton PattonWRLATECH17.82
18Michael FloydWRND17.78
19Keenan AllenWRCAL17.72
20Mohamed SanuWRRUTG17.60

Tight Ends

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1Ladarius GreenTELA-LAF14.39
2Gavin EscobarTESD-ST13.65
3Coby FleenerTESTAN11.73
4Tyler EifertTEND10.82
5Dwayne AllenTECLEM9.98
6Jake StoneburnerTEOSU9.76
7Colt LyerlaTEOREG9.64
8Austin Seferian-JenkinTEWASH9.27
9Orson CharlesTEUGA9.10
10Drake DunsmoreTENW9.03
11Joseph FauriaTEUCLA8.86
12Clay SearsTETULSA8.85
13David PaulsonTEOREG8.53
14Jacob PedersenTEWISC8.03
15Philip LutzenkirchenTEAUB7.78
16Dallin RogersTEUTAH7.76
17Rory AndersonTESCAR7.64
18Michael EgnewTEMIZZ7.56
19Zach ErtzTESTAN7.54
20Chris GraggTEARK7.38

Defenses

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1AlabamaDEFALA15.08
2CincinnatiDEFCINC14.67
3South CarolinaDEFSCAR14.33
4RutgersDEFRUTG13.92
5UtahDEFUTAH13.92
6LSUDEFLSU13.54
7Arkansas StateDEFARK-ST13.42
8GeorgiaDEFUGA13.08
9MichiganDEFMICH12.83
10Penn StateDEFPSU12.75
11Michigan StateDEFMSU12.54
12Florida StateDEFFSU12.42
13Virginia TechDEFVT12.31
14LouisvilleDEFLOU11.67
15Boise StateDEFBSU11.67
16WisconsinDEFWISC11.54
17Oklahoma StateDEFOKST11.50
18Florida InternationalDEFFLA-INTL11.17
19Mississippi StateDEFMISS-ST11.08
20North Carolina StateDEFNCST10.92


Kickers

RankNamePositionTeamPrj Score
1Quinn SharpKOKST11.36
2Randy BullockKTX-A&M10.58
3Mike HunnicuttKOKLA10.09
4Danny HrapmannKSO-MISS9.78
5Jordan WilliamsonKSTAN9.44
6Matt HoganKHOU9.08
7Matt WellerKOHIO9.00
8Mathew SimsKNO-ILL8.92
9Zach HockerKARK8.92
10Dustin HopkinsKFSU8.67
11Drew AllemanKLSU8.46
12Chandler CatanzaroKCLEM8.38
13Jeremy ShelleyKALA8.33
14Caleb SturgisKFLA8.27
15John PotterKW-MICH8.25
16Tyler BitancurtKWVA8.25
17Jack GriffinKFLA-INTL8.17
18Grant ResselKMIZZ8.14
19Anthony CanteleKKSU8.08
20Allen HardisonKNEV8.00