After the past 2 weeks of picks, I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment by continuing to post these articles. It’s been brutal (as my overall record below will show), but it’s still fun. Generally speaking if you look at the matchups, and average performances, you can easily spot trends. But, football players don’t always do what you expect them to. For example, last week, the following players all scored 12 or more points: Titus Young, Vick Ballard, Dexter McCluster, Mike Williams and Chris Givens. While the following players all scored 4 points or less: Vincent Jackson, Roddy White, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates and Jamaal Charles. You just never know how things are going to go, and yet, I’m still going to try and make my picks!
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. You will also see a list of other players I considered picking as my "notables". I will 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 … to see who my picks are for Week 9.
QB Stud: Tony Romo vs ATL
This one is a bit of a gamble, and it was a very difficult choice. Romo has been a little hot and cold all year, including being very turnover prone. But, during the past 3 weeks since the BYE he’s averaging just over 16 points per game, which is a lot better than his average of 11.7 before the BYE. If it weren’t for his 4 TD to 5 INT ratio during his most recent 3 games, his average would have been even higher. This uptick in his performance could be due to the fact that DeMarco Murray has been out (and Romo threw it over 60 times last week!). Keep in mind that Murray has a chance to return this week, so who knows how that might impact the Cowboy’s gameplan. But, you start Romo expecting high yardage totals and the chance at a couple of passing TDs, and take the turnovers with the good. Atlanta is pretty good against QBs, allowing an average of only 13.8 points per game, so I can understand the hesitation. But check out these huge differences between the ESPN and Yahoo projections below. I’m going to split the difference:
ESPN Projection: 11.3
Yahoo Projection: 20.18
CCNorsemen: Beats ESPN by at least 4 points
QB Dud: Josh Freeman vs OAK
I will admit that Freeman has been on a hot streak lately, averaging just over 25 points per game the past 3 weeks since the BYE. I understand that Oakland is a plus matchup, but they aren’t as bad as you think. They are allowing an average of 17.6 points per game to QBs. And the fact is, Freeman has faced some pretty bad defenses like New Orleans and Kansas City since the BYE. He faced much stiffer competition at the beginning of the year and didn’t look the greatest. I’m not buying the hype, and I think Yahoo’s projection is much closer to what I expect.
ESPN Projection: 18.6
Yahoo Projection: 15
CCNorsemen: Falls short of EPN by 3 points or more.
Other too high notables: Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan
RB Stud: Willis McGahee vs CIN
McGahee looked fantastic against the league’s worst rush defense last week, and he gets another great matchup against the Bengals, who are allowing an average of over 20 points per game to RB. This pick is really as simple as that. I think Yahoo has their projection a little too low this week.
ESPN Projection: 17
Yahoo Projection: 11.11
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo projection by at least 4 points.
RB Dud: Darren McFadden vs TB
There is something wrong with Darren McFadden and his offensive line, and I think it rhymes with stone locking, or maybe Darson Chalmer. He’s averaging only 10.4 points per game and is the 19th ranked RB in fantasy, which is a disappointment considering most people drafted him in the 1st or 2nd round. He’s topped 100 yards just twice this season, and found the end zone only twice, but hey at least he’s still healthy! Tampa Bay is not as bad of a rushing defense as you think (despite what Adrian Peterson just did to them last week), allowing an average of 16.6 points per game. I think ESPN has him a little over-projected this week.
ESPN Projection: 16.2
Yahoo Projection: 13.88
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 3 points or more.
WR Stud: DeSean Jackson vs NO
If we’ve learned anything so far this fantasy season it’s this: START EVERYONE AGAINST NEW ORLEANS. Their defense is bad folks. Like, embarrassingly bad, and there is no hope in sight. They have fantasy’s worst defense against QBs, RBs and WRs. That’s quite the triple threat! For some reason (cough, Michael Vick, cough), the pundits aren’t giving D-Jax any respect this week, but against this defense, and in the Superdome, I have a gut feeling that Jackson breaks loose for a long score.
ESPN Projection: 8.8
Yahoo Projection: 7.98
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo projection by at least 3 points.
WR Dud: Earl Bennett vs TEN
I don’t know where this projection is coming from, but ESPN has this one way off IMO. Sure, Alshon Jeffrey is out with a hand injury, and I suppose that moves Bennett up to #2 against a bad defense. But Jeffrey wasn’t doing all that much as the #2 guy as it was, and let’s not trick ourselves into thinking the Bears passing game is elite. Their passing game consists of Cutler throwing it to Marshall, and not much else. I’m going more with Yahoo on this one.
ESPN Projection: 12.5
Yahoo Projection: 3.94
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 5 points or more.
Other too high notables: Santana Moss, Sidney Rice
TE Stud: Jason Witten vs ATL
After a slow start with an injured spleen, it’s safe to say that Witten is back to his old self. The Falcons have a good defense, but with Dez Bryant banged up, and their running game not 100%, I think the Cowboys are going to have to throw it, and Romo looks for Witten frequently. I also think the Cowboys will be playing from behind, so there will be plenty of opportunity. For some reason, ESPN must disagree.
ESPN Projection: 7.6
Yahoo Projection: 10.65
CCNorsemen: Beats ESPN by at least 3 points.
Other too low notables: Owen Daniels
TE Dud: Brandon Pettigrew vs JAX
In a PPR league, I love Pettigrew, as he often gets the shallow crossing routes and dump-off passes, and he’s averaging 5.4 receptions per game. But in standard leagues, his yardage totals are capped, and he’s not the first red zone option (he only has 1 TD on the year). The Jaguars surprisingly don’t have the greatest defense this year, but they are stout against the TE, having not allowed a single TD all year, and allowing an average of only 4.8 fantasy points per game. Yet, ESPN somehow still has a high projection. I’m going with Yahoo on this one.
ESPN Projection: 11.6
Yahoo Projection: 5.04
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 4 points or more.
WR Dud: Calvin Johnson (ESPN Projection: 17.7, My Call: 13.7 or less, Actual: 4.6)
TE Dud: Jacob Tamme (ESPN Projection: 9.7, My Call: 6.7 or less, Actual: 3.3)
QB Stud: Philip Rivers (ESPN Projection: 14.9, My Call: 17.9+, Actual: 6.9)
QB Dud: Tony Romo (Yahoo Projection: 20.03, My Call: 17.03 or less, Actual: 19.5)
RB Stud: Ahmad Bradshaw (Yahoo Projection: 10.14, My Call: 13.14+, Actual: 5.8)
RB Dud: Doug Martin (ESPN Projection: 14.9, My Call: 10.9 or less, Actual: 33.4)
WR Stud: Jerome Simpson (Yahoo Projection: 3.04, My Call: 6.04+, Actual: 1.7)
TE Stud: Greg Olsen (Yahoo Projection: 3.61, My Call: 6.61+, Actual: 2.3)
Overall Record: 30 – 34, 47% Accurate
Daily Norsemen Fantasy Teams
Death Star Vikings: 6-2
Team CCNorsemen: 5-3
Blair Walsh Project: 2-6