Week 15: Fantasy Football Studs and Duds



My apologies to my “ones” of readers for the delay in getting this posted. We’re in the thick of the fantasy playoffs, and this has been a pretty successful fantasy season for me thus far. I hope it has been for you as well! I’m pumped to have made the playoffs in 2 out of 3 Daily Norsemen leagues, and I finished in 1st place for the regular season in both of my 2 other friend leagues. With 4 out of 5 teams in the playoffs, odds are good that I could come away with a league championship in one of them. Unfortunately, I was knocked out in the first round of the vannoboyz league after I put up the lowest point total of the year by more than 25 points! Figures…the one week when it matters most! I’ve got 3 more teams still alive, but enough about me, how did those fantasy stars do last week? Did you start any of these guys? Because they all scored 15 or more fantasy points: David Wilson, Montell Owens, DeAngelo Williams (fantasy zombie!) and Brandon Gibson. Hopefully you avoided the following guys, because they all scored 5 or less fantasy points: Miles Austin, AJ Green, Marques Colston, Mark Sanchez, Chad Henne, Amhad Bradshaw, and Greg Jennings. After a stellar week of picks 2 weeks ago, last week was pretty rough. It’s going to be quite the challenge to finish the year better than 50%, as next week will be my last article of the year (most fantasy seasons are done after week 16). So, my fingers are crossed for some good picks this week and next!

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 15.

QB Stud: Matthew Stafford vs ARI

I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because I put Stafford here last week, and while he beat the projection, it just wasn’t by as much as I thought. He suffers from a lack of a true #2 WR with Young and Broyles on IR, and Pettigrew is banged up now too, but I think with another week in practice to work with the remaining WR on the roster, he’ll figure out how to get the ball to guys not named Calvin Johnson. Arizona looks like an imposing fantasy defense to QBs on paper, as they’ve only allowed an average of 11.2 points on the year. But look at this crop of QBs they’ve faced: Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford (twice), Christian Ponder, Michael Vick, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson (twice), Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s not really a who’s who of the NFL is it? The fact is, when a good QB faces them, they have struggled. Tom Brady threw for 316 yards and a TD against them in week 2. Aaron Rodgers threw for 218 yards and 4 TDs against them in week 9. Tannehill even threw for over 400 yards (he also had some picks to lower his fantasy total) in week 4. Matt Ryan topped 300 yards (but also threw 5 picks) in week 11. The point is they can be beat when they face a good QB, and I’d rate Stafford as a good QB. I’m not as worried about this matchup as some. Stafford has thrown for more than 230 yards in every game this year, and that includes his pretty mediocre early season games. Nobody has more passing attempts than Stafford this year, so I like his chances.

ESPN Projection: 13.9
Yahoo Projection: 16.88
CCNorsemen: Beats ESPN by at least 3 points

QB Dud: Tony Romo vs PIT

Romo has been having an ok fantasy season, ranked as 13th best. It’s not spectacular, but after a rough start to the year, he’s put up 15 points or more every week since the BYE, except for last week. What’s significant about last week’s dud? It was the first game in December! Romo traditionally sucks in December, and the Cowboys almost always tank their playoff chances this time of year. When you also factor in that he’s facing Pittsburgh, this matchup has red flags all over it. Pittsburgh is a tough defense who has held RGIII, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco (twice) all under 200 yards. Only Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers have found elite fantasy success against this team. I just wouldn’t trust Romo this week.

ESPN Projection: 11.5
Yahoo Projection: 17.1
CCNorsemen: Falls short of Yahoo by 3 points or more

RB Stud: Darren McFadden vs KC

This is a bit of a risk, and Mr. Glass McFadden is a huge risk to re-injure himself (as he did last week) in every game he plays. Last week was his first game back after 4 weeks off. But, he’s been a full participant in practice all week and, since last week’s game was on a Thursday, he should have had some extra rest. Kansas City is a terrible team, and their fantasy run defense is ranked 24th, giving up 19.2 points a game. McFadden scored 13.7 points the last time these two teams faced off in week 8, and he had 114 yards on the ground. McFadden may not be 100%, but I love the matchup with even a 90% McFadden.

ESPN Projection: 5.9
Yahoo Projection: 12.53
CCNorsemen: Beats ESPN by at least 3 points

RB Dud: Michael Turner vs NYG

Anyone that has watched any Falcons games this year has seen the writing on the wall. Turner is burned out. He is averaging a paltry 3.7 YPC. The only thing giving his fantasy season any relevance is the short yardage red zone carries, and he has 8 TDs on the year. Turner is a flex play this year where you’re hoping for 40-50 yards and a score, because he’s also only averaging 53 yards per game. The Giants still have a pretty good defense, 9th best against RB, and have only given up 5 rushing TDs to RB all year.

ESPN Projection: 11.8
Yahoo Projection: 6.93
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 4 points or more

WR Stud: Danario Alexander vs CAR

Carolina has a better pass defense than run defense, but Alexander is about the only reliable fantasy option the Chargers have at the moment. Rivers is looking his way often, as he’s averaged 10 targets a game the past 4 weeks. Carolina has the 10th best defense against the WR, but they still allow an average of 19.7 points per game to wideouts. Split that number between Alexander and Floyd and you still get almost 10 fantasy points. I like his chances this week.

ESPN Projection: 13.3
Yahoo Projection: 8.01
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo projection by at least 3 points

WR Dud: Torrey Smith vs DEN

Smith is the prototypical hot/cold, deep threat receiver. He makes for a great flex option, because you’ll reap the rewards of his big days, but not suffer too badly on the cold ones. This pick is all about the matchup though. I think he’ll struggle to get open against the likes of Champ Bailey in this one, as I expect Joe Flacco to struggle as well.

ESPN Projection: 12
Yahoo Projection: 6.88
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 3 points or more

TE Stud: Martellus Bennett vs ATL

With Nicks banged up this week, I am expecting Manning to look to Bennett a little more. In what has turned out to be a pretty disappointing year for tight ends in fantasy, Bennett is averaging 6.7 fantasy points per game and is the 11th ranked TE this year, which isn’t great. But, he’s scored a TD the past two weeks and caught 10 passes for 114 yards. The Falcons aren’t that good at defending the TE, allowing an average of 8 points per game. I snagged Bennett off the wire in a shallow league and have my fingers crossed for more fantasy goodness.

ESPN Projection: 5.8
Yahoo Projection: 4.96
CCNorsemen: Beats Yahoo projection by at least 3 points

TE Dud: Scott Chandler vs SEA

I’ve put Chandler here a few times before this past season, and I’ve been right every time. For some reason ESPN is really high on Chandler this year, but the fact is, he’s only the 12th best TE in fantasy, averaging 6.4 points per game. If it weren’t for his 4 TDs in the first 4 weeks of the season, I doubt he’d be on too many starting rosters right now. Oh, and this week he faces the 8th best fantasy defense against the TE, allowing an average of only 6.8 points per game.

ESPN Projection: 10.2
Yahoo Projection: 4.51
CCNorsemen: Falls short of ESPN by 3 points or more

Week 14

Correct Calls
WR Dud Steve Smith (ESPN Projection: 15.2, My Call: 12.2 or less, Actual: 10.9)
TE Dud Antonio Gates (ESPN Projection: 10.4, My Call: 7.4 or less, Actual: 3.1)

Incorrect Calls
QB Stud Matthew Stafford (ESPN Projection: 15.2, My Call: 18.2+, Actual: 17.5)
QB Dud Jake Locker (ESPN Projection: 17.8, My Call: 14.8 or less, Actual: 15.6)
RB Stud Jonathan Dwyer (ESPN Projection: 6.3, My Call: 9.3+, Actual: 5)
RB Dud Reggie Bush (ESPN Projection: 12.9, My Call: 8.9 or less, Actual: 10.3)
WR Stud Golden Tate (Yahoo Projection: 6.12, My Call: 9.12+, Actual: 0.6)
TE Owen Daniels (Yahoo Projection: 6.71, My Call: 10.71+, Actual: 2.4)

Overall Record: 51 – 53 (49% Accurate)

Daily Norsemen Fantasy Teams
Death Star Vikings: 10-4 (1st place out of 12 in regular season, made playoffs)
Team CCNorsemen: 9-4 (1st place out of 10 in regular season, 0-1 in playoffs…knocked out in 1st round!)
Blair Walsh Project: 5-9 (6th place out of 8 in regular season, missed playoffs)

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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