Whoops…I’m a day late. I usually like to get these out before the Thursday night game, but this week it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know about you, but I hate losing, especially in fantasy football. Take my own Blair Walsh Project team. They are an abysmal 4-8 this year, destined for a losing record with 14 regular season games. Of those 8 losses, 4 of them have been by 10 or less points, including this past week, which was a loss by a single point. This team just cannot catch a break and is a prime example of just how bad your luck can get. But, this is why I like to manage more than one team. Imagine if that was my only fantasy team? As bad as the BWP has been, my other two DN fantasy teams have been on fire, putting me in 1st and 2nd place in their leagues. I’ve also got a pair of non-DN leagues and I’m in 1st and 2nd place in those as well. So, as much as I have not enjoyed the heart-breaking defeats the Blair Walsh Project has endured, I’ve loved the winning of my other teams. If you’ve never controlled more than one fantasy team in a given year, I recommend trying it. It’s really not that much more time consuming, as you’re already invested in the NFL players to even play fantasy football in the first place. So, give it a try, and you may just turn your luck around!
As usual, I like to highlight some of the no-name players who excelled last week, as well as the household names who didn’t. Did you have the following guys in your lineup last week? Because they all scored 15 or more points: Bryce Brown, Shane Vereen, Chris Givens, and Mohamed Sanu. If you’re psychic, you benched the following guys for better prospects, because they all scored 5 or less points: Marshawn Lynch, Dwayne Bowe, Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Gates and Mike Wallace.
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 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 13.
QB Stud: Andrew Luck vs DET
Going with a rookie in fantasy football is always risky, but Luck has proven to be worthy of his #1 overall draft position in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is currently ranked as the 10th best fantasy QB this year, averaging 17.5 points per game. He’s up against Detroit and their 15th best fantasy defense against QBs. Detroit is a middle of the road defense that Luck shouldn’t have too much trouble against, and since Detroit never has trouble putting points on the board, this could be a shoot-out. Luck has been a little hot/cold this year as rookie’s tend to be, and he has thrown 5 picks and lost 2 fumbles in the last 3 games, while only throwing 3 TDs; oh, and he’s on the road this week. So, I understand the hesitation. But, I think ESPN has him projected too low, which is why he finds his way onto my Stud ranking.
ESPN Projection: 14.3
Yahoo Projection: 19.78
CCNorsemen: beats ESPN by at least 3 points.
QB Dud: Philip Rivers vs CIN
What is up with Philip Rivers? Was he just never that good of a QB to begin with? Was Vincent Jackson really that good of a WR that he made Rivers look better than he really was? I don’t know the answers to those questions, but the fact is, he’s only the 20th best QB in fantasy this year, and has averaged a paltry 13.2 fantasy points per game. This week he’s up against the Bengals, who have a surprisingly good pass defense, ranked 9th in fantasy, and only allow an average of 13.9 points to QBs. I haven’t trusted Rivers all year, and I’m not about to this week.
ESPN Projection: 10.9
Yahoo Projection: 17.02
CCNorsemen: falls short of Yahoo by 3 points or more.
RB Stud: CJ Spiller vs BUF
If you’re like me, and you’ve owned CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson on the same team most of the year, it’s been maddening trying to figure out which of the two to start. Well, I think we finally have some clarity, as coach Chan Gailey has spelled out a 60/40 timeshare in favor of CJ Spiller from here on out, which is what we got last week. And this week they get fantasy football’s 2nd worst rushing defense, so I expect big things. Call it a hunch, but Spiller is way overdue for a TD, as he hasn’t sniffed the endzone since week 6 (Fred Jackson scored twice in week 10 since then, but otherwise he hasn’t either). My pick here is a simple matter of, I like the matchup, and Spiller will get the majority of the work.
ESPN Projection: 18.4
Yahoo Projection: 10.6
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo by at least 4 points
RB Dud: Ryan Mathews vs CIN
Maybe I’m just down on the Chargers in general, but Mathews has scored double digit fantasy points in exactly 1 game this year. In games that he’s started, he’s averaging 9.3 points per game, and has found the endzone only once (the same week he scored double digit points). Don’t get me wrong, Mathews will score some points, but I’m not expecting elite numbers…ever. The past 4 weeks, he’s had great matchups, and could only muster an average of 60 yards per game. His matchup this week is similarly good, as the Bengals are allowing 19.4 points per game to RBs, but my expectation here is the same as it’s been pretty much all season for Mathews. That is, his average stat line: 16 carries for 66 yards and no score, and tack on 3 receptions for 24 yards. End result? About 8 or 9 fantasy points.
ESPN Projection: 14.7
Yahoo Projection: 12.53
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 3 or more points
WR Stud: Pierre Garcon vs NYG
Garcon appears to be finally getting healthy enough to see production on the field, as he did well against Dallas last week catching 4 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. He’s been a big disappointment in fantasy this year due to a plethora of injuries, but this week he’s up against the Giants and their 27th ranked defense against WR. Garcon didn’t play against the Giants back in week 7, but the Giants allowed 153 yards and 2 TDs to wide receivers in that game. So, after last week’s Thursday night game I like Garcon’s chances after a long week of rest.
ESPN Projection: 13.8
Yahoo Projection: 7.29
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo projection by at least 3 points.
WR Dud: Larry Fitzgerald vs NYJ
It’s time to face facts. Larry Fitzgerald just isn’t going to be the elite option without a competent QB to get him the ball. Since week 7 (when Kevin Kolb went down), Fitzgerald has averaged 4 catches for 39 yards, and has only found the endzone once. These aren’t even flex-worthy numbers. Ryan Lindley (who?) is making his 2nd start of the year this week against the Jets. While the Jets have the 9th best fantasy defense against WR this week, I can understand the hope that Fitzgerald can overcome his poor QB play, as the Jets have allowed a staggering 8 TDs to WR in the last 3 weeks. But, if the Jets can manage what every other team has done (ie, double and triple team Fitzgerald), they should do fine. There’s a reason that Andre Roberts is the 21st ranked WR, while Fitzgerald is the 31st.
ESPN Projection: 12.2
Yahoo Projection: 7.27
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 3 points or more
TE Stud: Dallas Clark vs DEN
This is a risky pick, but hear me out. Denver has a great defense, and I expect them to focus on shutting down Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams with the likes of Champ Bailey. This should leave some room underneath for Freeman to hook up with Dallas Clark. Fact number 1: Dallas Clark has averaged 8.2 fantasy points the past 3 weeks. Fact number 2: Denver is ranked 32nd against the TE, allowing an average of 10.9 fantasy points per game on the year. If you’re looking for a high risk/high reward play, this is it.
ESPN Projection: 2.3
Yahoo Projection: 4.73
CCNorsemen: Beats ESPN by at least 3 points
TE Dud: Jermaine Gresham vs SD
Gresham has quietly had a great year with Dalton tossing him the ball, and he currently is the 7th best TE in fantasy this year. However this week, he faces the San Diego’s 4th best defense against TEs. Gresham has been good, but he has only topped 69 yards receiving once all year. He’s found the end zone 4 times, including twice in the past 3 weeks. If nothing else, the fact that he’s ranked 7th goes to show how poorly the rest of the TE class is doing in 2012. If last year was the "year of the TE", this has certainly been the opposite. I expect a few catches and maybe 30-40 yards, at best.
ESPN Projection: 4
Yahoo Projection: 6.46
CCNorsemen: Fall short of Yahoo by 3 points or more.
RB Dud Jamaal Charles (ESPN Projection: 17.3, My Call: 13.3 or less, Actual: 10.7)
WR Dud DeSean Jackson (ESPN Projection: 13, My Call 9 or less, Actual: 1.1)
TE Dud Scott Chandler (ESPN Projection: 9, My Call: 6 or less, Actual: 2.6)
QB Stud Josh Freeman (ESPN Projection: 15.7, My Call: 18.7+, Actual: 10.2)
QB Dud Mark Sanchez (ESPN Projection: 15.9, My Call: 11.9 or less, Actual: 12.2)
RB Stud Marcel Reece (Yahoo Projection: 7.8, My Call: 11.8+, Actual: 10.3)
WR Stud Danario Alexander (Yahoo Projection: 5.77, My Call: 9.77+, Actual: 7.4)
TE Stud Marcedes Lewis (ESPN Projection: 3.3, My Call: 6.3+, Actual: 5.6)
Overall Record: 42 – 46 (48% Accurate)
Daily Norsemen Fantasy Teams
Team CCNorsemen: 8-4 (1st place out of 10)
Death Star Vikings: 9-3 (2nd place out of 12)
Blair Walsh Project: 4-8 (7th place out of 8)