Friday, January 6, 2012

Perry's Playoff Prognostications

Like everyone else who puts their ramblings about the future on the ledger, I am usually wrong. Rather than trying to pick who is going to win each game in the Wild Card round of playoff, I decided to give the underdogs an upset percentage. Yes, I am hedging my bets. I am doing this not so much because I hate being wrong, but because I don't see much point in being sure about something that is untenable. Let's go from most likely to upset to least likely:

Denver 35% chance to beat Pittsburgh

The Steelers may be the best of the eight Wild Card teams, but they have been crushed by injuries on offense. Rashard Mendenhall is out, All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey will be sitting with an ankle injury, and Ben Roethlisberger is hobbled by a high ankle sprain. The team has adjusted to injuries along the offensive line well in the past and I think Isaac Redman is a decent enough running back. However, the Bronco defense has enough talent to take advantage of the Steeler problems. I don't see Denver scoring a lot of points on the potent Pittsburgh defense, even without safety Ryan Clark. This will likely be a low scoring affair and if Tim Tebow has any magic left in his much maligned left arm, I think the Broncos could pull off the upset at home.

Cincinnati 30% chance to beat Houston

The Texans eeked out a win over the Bengals in Week 14, which would turn out to be their last win of the regular season. They haven't had much to play for with the division wrapped up, but Houston is not good enough take weeks off. The return of Andre Johnson, even at less than 100%, will help the Texan offense. One interesting note about the Bengals: all seven of their losses were against teams that made the playoffs, while all nine of their wins were against non-playoff competition. They were 5-3 on the road and their earlier loss to Houston was in Cincinnati. This game will feature more running plays than any of the other three Wild Card games. Both teams have strong offensive lines and this will likely be another close game. I will now give you an insight that no one else could have thought of ever before: this game will hinge on turnovers. Andy Dalton had 13 interceptions in 16 games, and T.J. Yates had three in six games.

Atlanta 30% chance to beat the Giants

From Weeks 10 to 15, the Giants lost four of five games. Three of those losses came to eventual NFC playoff teams (San Francisco, New Orleans, and Green Bay), but they also lost to Philadelphia and Washington. The one team that it appears New York could beat every time is Dallas. The Giants were 4-4 at home. Atlanta, meanwhile, won five of their last seven games. All five wins came against non-playoff teams and both losses came to teams that are still playing (Houston and New Orleans). The clear key to the game is Michael Turner. If the Falcon offense can consistently gain yards on the ground, they will be able to use play-action to their benefit. Neither team features a strong defense, so I could see this game being the shootout that everyone expects the next game to be.

Detroit 7% chance to beat New Orleans

I have not forgotten what the Saints did to me last year. I was sure they would win in the Wild Card round over Seattle and drafted New Orleans' players heavily. That did not work out and I have not forgiven them. However, I like the Saints at home and I don't think the Lions are good enough to keep up with them. Detroit kept things respectable in their last visit to the Super Dome (which also hosts the Alabama-LSU championship game on Monday) with a 17-31 loss in which Nbamukong Suh did not play. Down the stretch, the Lions were able to beat up on non-playoff teams that made their offense seem more potent than it really is. They scored 41 points in a losing effort against the Packers' second team defense, which should tell you all you need to know about the Lion defense. The Saints, meanwhile, scored 90 points in their last two homegames and scored 42 points or more four times in their last six games. I think Suh is very good, but he'll be facing a pair of All Pro guards. I just don't see Detroit winning this game.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quarterback Rankings for Fantasy Postseason

The best way to win your Fantasy Postseason league is to get a quarterback on a team that outperforms its seeding. With the said, let's trot out a ranking of the quarterbacks. I think there are three tiers, so let's divide them this way:

Tier 1: Quarterbacks you want

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady
3. Drew Brees

The difference between these three quarterbacks is not as great as perhaps as it may seem with the Packers running out to a 15-1 record. Rodgers is the most valuable player and had an unbelievable season, but for our purposes Brees and Brady are right there. Brees has the possibility of playing an extra game, but only gets one home game. Rodgers and Brady get two home games (if they win). The Saints were able to win their last three road games against Atlanta, Tennessee and Minnesota (after losing at Tampa and St. Louis). Brees' inside/outside splits are more important than his home/road splits. He played five games outside and had 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He did have three TD's, no interceptions, and 419 yards against the Packers in Week 1, but the game at San Francisco scares me. Because of that, I am putting Brady slightly ahead of Brees. Because of Rodgers and Brees, Brady's excellent season was somewhat overlooked. He had 5235 yards and 39 TD's for the second best season of his career. Because the AFC and NFC East posted just one playoff team, the Patriots only played three playoff teams this season. They lost to the Steelers and Gaints, but beat Denver badly a couple of weeks ago. He actually had more TD's (23) on the road than at home (16). I'd be happy with any of the three quarterbacks and check your league settings because if you can get two of these guys, you should.

Tier 2: Quarterbacks you can live with

4. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Eli Manning
6. Matthew Stafford
7. Matt Ryan

Roethlisberger would be higher if he were healthy and had Rashard Mendenhall behind him. He hasn't thrown a TD pass since Dec. 8 and only had 21 scores this year. On the road, Big Ben only had seven TD's and ten interceptions. Even though the Broncos didn't win in the last two weeks, their defense looked pretty decent against the Chiefs (ok, whose defense didn't look against Kansas City?). Of the four quarterbacks in Tier 2, I think Roethlisberger has the best chance of playing two games. Manning and Stafford have the highest upsides. Manning had a remarkable season. For people with short term memories, the Giants have been playing well (they did lose to the Redskins in Week 15). Somehow, he had 4933 yards with 29 TD's. He had 900 fewer yards last year and two more TD's last year. I think Stafford is going to be overrated. He had a huge game last weekend against the Packers' second string defense. The Green Bay first string defense wasn't all that great. He did have 408 yards against New Orleans in Week 13, but only had one TD. The Saints are pretty good at home and the noise will affect the Lion offensive line. For a dome QB, Ryan had pretty good stats on the road. He had 600 more yards away from home with 12 TD's and seven of his 12 interceptions. In outdoor games, he had nine TD's and three picks. The Giants are favored against Atlanta, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Matty Ice (and more importantly, Michael Turner) get a win in the Meadowlands.

Tier 3: Quarterbacks you aren't going to win with

8. Joe Flacco
9. Alex Smith
10. Andy Dalton
11. Tim Tebow
12. T.J. Yates

In his four years in the league, Flacco has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks. He has through for 3600 yards the last three seasons (2971 in his rookie season) with 20 TD's and 10-12 picks. In six games against teams in the playoffs, he threw eight TD's and two interceptions. He won't wow you like Ray Rice, but Flacco is fairly close to a Tier 2 QB. Last year in the playoffs, Flacco had three TD's and a pick with 390 yards in two games. He has already played in seven playoff games. That is seven more than the other QB's in Tier 3. The Bengals, 49ers, Broncos and Texans are run-first teams. The Final Four QB's will be asked not to lose their games. I have Smith rated atop the four because his team has the best chance of playing in two games. The first pick of the 2005 draft did throw for 3150 yards in his career-best season, but did not top 291 yards in any one game. He threw just five picks. The 49ers will likely play the Saints and Packers - two teams with sub par passing defenses, but Smith doesn't have the ability to take advantage. Dalton had a nice rookie season, but only had two 300-yard games (both against playoff teams - Denver and Baltimore - in losses). He had 189 yards and one TD against the Texans in Week 14. Tebow looked pretty bad against the Bills and Chiefs, but he comes with the ability to get some rushing yards. Yates will have Andre Johnson back for the playoff game, but Johnson may not be 100%. The Texan QB is battling a shoulder problem of his own. I expect Houston to blast away with Arian Foster and Ben Tate behind one of the better offensive lines against the Bengals.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Feature: Multiple Teams Per Fantasy Owner

At the request of users, we have added the ability for an owner to have multiple teams in a given fantasy league.  This will allow someone to have multiple "entries" in a player pool contest.

This feature is current only for "Pick N' Root" Off-line leagues where no free agency or trades exist.

To enable this feature league commissioners need to set the 'Allow Managers to Own Multiple Teams' setting to 'Yes'.  The default value is 'No'.

Users can create multiple teams by simply joining their given league again - or clicking on the 'Click To Create Another Team' button which is available on their league home page if this feature is enabled.