So last week, with the exception of Denarius Moore, I was correct in my labeling of every player. I just missed how much they beat or missed their projections and ended up technically getting more wrong than right. Ah well. On another note, in one fantasy league, I made a horrible mistake. I tried to get cute with one of my rosters, and I paid for it dearly. There’s a lesson there for everyone: start your studs regardless. Sure, Antonio Gates had failed to find the end zone for 5 straight weeks, and hadn’t put up more than 6 points in a single game. And yeah, Heath Miller had a dream matchup and the most red zone targets of any TE during the first 5 weeks. But conventional wisdom says that Gates is the better start most every week over Miller. And in week 6, that was definitely true. Miller had an ok day, catching 6 passes for 67 yards, including a drop in the endzone, amounting to 6.7 fantasy points. But Gates went OFF, leading all TE’s in week 6. Like Miller, Gates also caught 6 passes, but they went for 81 yards and 2 scores, equaling 20.7 fantasy points. I literally lost my matchup on the decision to bench Gates in favor of Miller. I based it on matchup, and recent performance average, which doesn’t always work. It was me getting cute. Don’t get cute!
As I have mentioned before, these articles consider the ESPN and Yahoo standard scoring projections for players at each offensive position (QB, RB, WR and TE). I’m going to choose 2 players at every position to highlight: one as a "stud" and one as a "dud". A Stud is one who I think will significantly beat their projected total, and a Dud is one who I think will fall short of their projected total. It’s also worth mentioning that generally speaking, I’ll try to avoid players with injuries as it’s too easy to pick them as Duds if they’re unlikely to play. I will also keep a running tally at the end of the post each week to keep track of the accuracy of my predictions. If I can do better than 50% by season’s end, I’ll call it a success. So read on after the jump (still using it, so my user blog page is more manageable) to see who my picks are for Week 7.
QB Stud: Tom Brady vs NYJ
Why would anyone bet against Tom Brady? The Jets still have a great passing defense, even without Darrelle Revis. But Brady has been on fire the past 3 weeks, and Aaron Hernandez is back. Seattle has an even better defense and Brady just torched them for 359 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Even better, Brady is at home. The Pats love to beat up on the Jets in Foxboro. For some reason ESPN has him projected for only 16.6 points per game, despite the fact that Brady is averaging 20.1 points per game. Yahoo is a little better with a 17.41 projection. I get it, it’s a tough matchup, but this is Tom Brady we’re talking about. He’ll be fine. I think he’ll beat the ESPN projection by at least 3 points this week.
QB Dud: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs TEN
First off, Fitzpatrick has a great matchup, and it’s certainly possible he goes off. But the Titans are a mess both offensively and defensively, and consider this: Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for more than 208 yards only ONCE this season so far, and that was against the Patriots. I wonder why he threw for so many yards: maybe because they were behind in the second half and had to play catch up? The Bills have an excellent 2-headed rushing attack with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, and I don’t see them falling behind Tennessee to the point where they have to throw a lot. If you take the New England game out of the equation, Fitzpatrick is averaging 29 pass attempts, 172 yards and 1.6 TDs and 0.5 INT per game. It’s not totally fair to do that, but my point is, don’t get fooled into thinking Ryan Fitzpatrick has been airing it out this year. He hasn’t. He’s averaging 14.3 points per game (with the NE game) and is the 15th ranked QB. Yet, ESPN has him projected for 20.3 points this week. Yahoo isn’t a believer and has him projected for 14.36. I’m with Yahoo on this one. I think Fitzpatrick will fall short of his ESPN Projection by at least 4 points this week.
Other too high notables: Cam Newton and Matt Hasselbeck
RB Stud: Felix Jones vs CAR
Call it the fortune of opportunity, but I like Jones this week. There has been some hype about Tanner as well, but Jones has shown in the past that he’s capable of shouldering the load. He’s always an injury risk, and if the Cowboys fall behind early, they could abandon the run. But, Carolina has one of the worst run defenses in the league. They are allowing an average of 24 points to RB! Even if Jones fails to find the endzone, I think it’s pretty much a given that he’ll break the century mark in total yards and get double digit points. For some reason, ESPN and Yahoo are down on Jones. ESPN has him projected for 7.6 points and Yahoo is at 8.37. I think he’ll beat both projections, but specifically the ESPN projection by at least 3 points this week.
RB Dud: Vick Ballard vs CLE
This one was almost too easy. Who the heck is Vick Ballard? Just because a guy is the default starter due to injury (and will see lots of opportunity) doesn’t automatically mean he’s in line for an awesome fantasy day. We need to see something from the guy first. Sure, he’s up against a bad Cleveland defense, and it’s possible that the Colts get up early at home and turn to the run. But Ballard looked like "just a guy" last week when he turned in 42 yards on 10 touches. Icky. ESPN has him projected for a laughable 12.6 points, while Yahoo is much more sensible at 6.4. I think he’ll fall short of the ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week.
WR Stud: Wes Welker vs NYJ
I really hate to put both Brady and Welker on the list, but I think too much is being made out of the Jets defense. Did you know that Welker has put up over 100 receiving yards in the past 4 games in a row, and scored in the last 2? He’s matchup proof at this point, and Brady will just keep feeding it too him. He might be banged up a little, but he’ll be out there Sunday catching the ball from Brady. ESPN has a conservative projection of 10 points, while Yahoo is even lower at 8.22. I think he’ll beat the Yahoo projection by at least 3 points this week.
WR Dud: Domenik Hixon
Hixon did very well in relief duty while Hakeem Nicks was out. But, he’s back, so Hixon is back to his #3 duties behind Cruz and Nicks. It’s really as simple as that. Yes he’s up against the league’s worst passing defense in fantasy, and there is certainly an opportunity for all 3 Giants WR to put up some points. But, let’s not go overboard. ESPN has Hixon projected for an eyebrow raising 14.3 points this week, while Yahoo has him at 5.37. I bet he falls short of the ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week, landing him somewhere in the middle.
TE Stud: Vernon Davis vs SEA
Vernon Davis started out the season on fire, but has been a little up and down the past 3 weeks. On the year he’s still #2 in targets behind Michael Crabtree, and this week Mario Manningham is banged up. It’s true that he gets Seattle, but they are playing in San Fran, so I’m not worried. Besides, Seattle has been just average defending the TE this year. ESPN has Davis projected for only 4.3 points! Yahoo is a little more respectable at 8.38. I think Davis beats the ESPN projection by at least 3 points this week.
Other too low notables: Heath Miller
TE Dud: Coby Fleener vs CLE
Fleener is something of an afterthought in the Indy offense. He’s 3rd in targets, and has gotten less than half of the targets that Reggie Wayne has gotten. He’s averaging only 5 targets per game and 3.6 fantasy points per game. The skill is there, but he’s still a rookie, and Luck is clearly looking to Wayne first and foremost as his safety blanket, not Fleener. It’s true that Cleveland has a terrible defense, but they’re actually pretty good at defending the TE, allowing an average of only 6.3 points per week. I’m not sure what ESPN sees in this matchup, but they have Fleener projected for 11.4 points, while Yahoo has him at only 4.06 points. I think he’ll fall short of the ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week.
Other too high notables: Rob Gronkowski
QB Stud: Christian Ponder (ESPN Projection: 11.6, My Call: 15.6+, Actual: 19.4)
WR Stud: Eric Decker (ESPN Projection: 6.5, My Call: 9.5+, Actual: 15.8)
TE Dud: Rob Gronkowski (ESPN Projection: 13.7, My Call: 9.7 or less, Actual: 6.1)
QB Dud: Tony Romo (ESPN Projection: 17.8, My Call: 13.8 or less, Actual: 16.4)
RB Stud: Willis McGahee (ESPN Projection: 7.6, My Call: 11.6, Actual: 9.8)
RB Dud: Alfred Morris (ESPN Projection: 14.8, My Call: 10.8 or less, Actual: 11.6)
WR Dud: Denarius Moore (ESPN Projection: 14.6, My Call: 11.6 or less, Actual: 16.4)
TE Stud: Heath Miller (ESPN Projection: 3.5, My Call: 8.5+, Actual: 6.7)
Overall Record: 26 – 22, 54% Accurate
Daily Norsemen Fantasy Teams
Death Star Vikings: 5-1
Team CCNorsemen: 3-3
Blair Walsh Project: 1-5