Friday, August 15, 2014

Pre-season Fantasy Football Rankings

Pre-season Fantasy Football Rankings as of 8/15/2014

QB Key:                                                                        RB Key: 
Green: QB1 that can be started every week                      Green: RB1 that should be started every week
Yellow: QB2 to start in favorable matchups                       Yellow: RB2 that should be started most weeks
Other: QB's I would only start if I had to                            Other: Flex plays or backup RB's

Quarterbacks                                                                Running Backs

WR Key:                                                                           TE Key:
Green: WR1 that should be started every week                     Green: TE that should be started every week
Yellow: WR2 that should be started every week                     Other: TE to be started in favorable matchups
Orange: WR3 that is more of a flex play                        
Other: Backup WR to use in favorable matchups
Wide Receivers                                                                 Tight Ends

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Busts

These are players that are being drafted way too low.

1.  Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota
Patterson is everyone's favorite sleeper, and for good reason.  Over the last 5 weeks of the 2013 season, Patterson scored 6 TDs and no team could figure out how to stop him.  Now, Norv Turner is the Offensive Coordinator for the Vikings, which should really help the Vikings offense, and I expect Patterson to be the biggest beneficiary.  He has a ton of speed and any time he touches the ball, he is a threat to take it all the way.  Minnesota would be smart to give him 100+ touches this season.  He is currently being drafted in the 6th round, and should end up being a high-end WR2 or even a low-end WR1.

2.  Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia
People seem to be forgetting about Maclin in drafts, and I'm not sure why.  He was arguably the best WR on the Eagles before he tore his ACL last year and he was Nick Foles' favorite target when he took over for Michael Vick in the 2nd half of the 2012 season.  Maclin has never had 1,000 receiving yards in a season, but in 2010 he had 964 yards and 10 TDs, and if he is Foles' main target again, he could have a monster season.

3.  Stevan Ridley, RB, New England
Another player people seem to be forgetting about is Stevan Ridley.  He had a terrible 2013 season because of fumbling issues and was benched in favor of LeGarrette Blount.  Blount is now with the Steelers, leaving the RB duties to Ridley, Shane Vereen, and rookie James White.  Vereen will catch a ton of passes but shouldn't take too many carries away from Ridley, and if Ridley can hold onto the ball, he should keep James White on the sidelines.  The Patriots run the ball more than any other team inside the 5 yard line, so double digit TDs for Ridley seems fairly probable.

4.  Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans
Drew Brees loves to dump the ball off to RBs more than any other QB in the league, and Pierre Thomas had 77 catches for 513 yards with Darren Sproles on the team.  Sproles had 71 catches for 604 yards, and now Sproles is in Philadelphia.  Someone is going to have to catch these extra passes, and I don't think it's going to be Mark Ingram or Khiry Robinson.  100 catches seems possible for Thomas, which should give him about 1,200 total yards and about 5-8 TDs, making him extremely valuable in a PPR league.

5.  Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo
Every year, people write off Fred Jackson because he's too old, or he's just a backup to future all-star CJ Spiller.  Well each year, Fred Jackson ends up outperforming CJ Spiller, with the exception of 2012, when Jackson only played in 10 games.  Spiller is definitely the faster, more talented player, but he is also injury-prone, and the Bills coaching staff continues to give Jackson plenty of touches.  I would be happy to get Jackson in the 10th round and use him as my RB2 or flex player while passing on Spiller, who is being drafted 6 rounds earlier.

6.  Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
I'm not sure how Andy Dalton, who finished as the 5th best QB in fantasy last year, is being ranked between 15th and 20th among QBs, depending on which rankings you use.  He didn't lose any weapons from last year; in fact, you could argue his weapons should be even better this year.  AJ Green is one of the best WRs in the league and is only getting better, Gio Bernard is lightning-quick and should be good for about 70 catches and 600 receiving yards in only his second season, Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham form one of the league's best TE tandem, and Marvin Jones is more than capable of catching whatever passes are left.  Jones will miss the first 3 to 4 weeks of the season after breaking his foot in the preseason, but his absence should not be a huge issue, as Mohamed Sanu can fill in.  Dalton likely won't replicate last year's numbers, but 4,000 passing yards and 30 TDs is definitely possible, making him a solid starting fantasy QB.

7.  Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans
Cooks showed that he has great hands and elusiveness by compiling 128 catches and 1,730 receiving yards in his last season at Oregon State.  Playing in the slot, Cooks should be one of Drew Brees' favorite targets and is capable of taking a quick screen 80 yards for a TD.  He should be especially valuable in a PPR league, as I expect him to challenge for the team lead in catches.

8.  James Jones, WR, Oakland
Jones should be Oakland's #1 WR, which should actually mean something this year.  Matt Schaub is the new starting QB for the Raiders, and while he certainly had a down year last season, he is a capable starting QB.  As long as he was healthy, he was pretty much a lock for 4,000 passing yards and 20+ TDs with the Texans.  He's going to have to throw passes to someone, and James Jones is a deep threat who showed in 2012 what he can do if given the chance when he caught 14 TDs with the Packers.  Jones should be a solid WR3, and since he is currently being drafted as the 52nd WR in ESPN leagues, he should have great value.

These are players that I either do not want on my team at all or players that are being drafted way too high.

1.  Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
RG III should be better than last year, but I still don't want him on my team.  When he couldn't run last year, he showed that he is a below-average pocket passer, and as teams gameplan to prevent him from running, this should really hinder his performance.  He has great weapons in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but it doesn't matter how good your WRs are if you can't get the ball to them consistently.  RG III is being ranked as about the 7th or 8th best fantasy QB, but I would only want him as a backup.

2.  Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland
Ben Tate is currently being drafted in the 3rd round of most drafts and is about the 15th RB taken.  If you can get him as a flex option, then that's great because he should get enough touches to be serviceable most weeks.  But Tate has never played 16 games and has struggled to stay healthy his entire career, so if you are relying on him as one of the players to carry your team, you're in trouble.

3. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego
Mathews had a great season last year and played 16 games for the first time in his career, but the Chargers brought in Donald Brown in the off-season, and he is bound to take some touches away from Mathews.  Woodhead and Brown should be the primary pass catchers, meaning Mathews likely won't see the field at all on 3rd down.  I don't want to rely on an injury-prone player who will be competing with two other RBs for touches as anything more than a flex option.

4.  TY Hilton, WR, Indianapolis
Hilton is your classic boom or bust WR.  In 2 games (against Seattle and Houston) he had 261 receiving yards (130.5 yards/game) and 5 TDs.  In the other 14 games, he had 822 receiving yards (58.7 yards/game) and 0 TDs.  Hilton is clearly the 2nd WR on the Colts yet he is being drafted about 2 rounds before Reggie Wayne.  Wayne should rack up the catches and get a decent amount of TDs, while Hilton will have to rely on big plays for his fantasy points.  Hilton will hurt you more than he helps you most weeks, so he should only be drafted as a flex player.

5.  Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee
I actually think Sankey will be a great player in the NFL, but I don't know if he will get enough touches in his first season to be a significant fantasy contributor.  I think Shonn Greene will get the majority of the carries and will surely be the goal-line back, limiting Sankey's value.  Sankey is currently being drafted ahead of many other RBs that I like, including Stevan Ridley, Pierre Thomas, Fred Jackson, and Knowshon Moreno, so I think Sankey is being considerably overvalued in his rookie season.

Friday, August 8, 2014

MLB Projected End-of-Year Standings as of August 8

MLB Win-Loss records can be estimated using the Pythagorean expectation formula developed by Bill James.  The formula is as follows:

Projections as of August 8:

RS = Runs Scored
RA = Runs Allowed
Pyth = Winning percentage calculated using the Pythagorean expectation formula
Proj W = Projected wins
Proj L = Projected losses