Don’t Overreact to NFL Week 1 in Your Fantasy Football Leagues

bishop sankey

Don’t lose faith if the fantasy world doesn’t fall into this guy’s arms in Week 1. 

NFL Week 1 and the kickoff to the fantasy football season is always exciting. All of the research and preseason watching has come down to the ball getting kicked off and the truth being revealed in the reality of the box scores.

Is this true? Most of it. The guessing is over, the coaching tactics are revealed and the playing time becomes clear. But there are some things in Week 1 that are as anomalous as a Devery Henderson touchdown in Week Whatever in seasons past.

These are the two-touchdown receiving games from fourth receivers or a backup running back or fullback running three touchdowns in rather than the stud RB you took in the first few rounds of your draft. These empty touchdowns can cause havoc on a league’s waiver wire and tempt good fantasy owners down a path that leads to a season’s worth of overreaction, the ditching of a once-good fantasy roster construction strategy and the inevitable regret when someone else benefits from your impatience.

Calm Down, Don’t Tilt

The concept of tilting is explained in a few Daily Fantasy Sports books, including C.D. Carter’s “How to Think Like a Daily Fantasy Football Winner“. The temptation to ditch your entire draft/roster strategy can come to pieces when Sports happens. Over the course of 16 games, anything can happen and, sometimes, the right decisions and the right plays don’t come to pass on the real gridiron. When it happens in Week 10, after over two months of validation of your strategy, you wouldn’t think of making a move like releasing the rookie running back you believed in and drafted. But after Week 1 — after not immediately seeing the fruits of your labor blossom like Alfred Morris in 2012? Well, you might just be tempted to toss aside your guy and latch onto Mr. Twelve Yards, Three Touchdowns.

You have to tell yourself not to panic. Literally. Look in the mirror if you have to or write it down before the games and read it to yourself when you are poised to hit the submit button on the ridiculous notion that Johnny Fullback is going to score 20 more touchdowns like the ones he got in Week 1.

Patience Pays Off

2013 Example. Player X:

First Seven Games: 43 carries, 139 yards, 2 catches, 27 yards and zero total touchdowns. PPR Total: 18.7 points (2.67 PPG)

Boy, what a stinker, huh? Why in the world would you carry a dope like this one around for even one week, much less two months?

Last Nine Games: 77 carries, 420 yards, 18 receptions, 118 yards and four touchdowns. PPR Total: 95.8 points (10.64 PPG)

Now, he was only tied with Frank Gore in terms of production over those last nine games, but owners who held onto Montee Ball got some tasty reward. It’s not always the home run but significant fantasy value. If you invest in these lottery tickets, you have to be willing to wait for the numbers to be called. To give up after Week 1 on a player like Bishop Sankey if, say, Shonn Greene gets two touchdowns is kin to tearing up your lottery ticket after the first number is called.

An even better example of a more home run-ish patience:

2013 Example Player X, Take Two:

First Two Games: 3 receptions, 30 yards and zero touchdowns. PPR Total: 3.3 points (1.15 PPG)

Last 14 Games: 68 receptions, 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. PPR Total: 217.6 points (15.54 PPG)

Keenan Allen was the 21st best wide receiver in PPR leagues in 2013. He was the 14th best from Week 3 until the end of the season. Imagine the angst you’d have felt if you let him go after Week 1. Or imagine keeping him after Week 1 only to let him go after being convinced Allen was not going to work out after Week 2 and dumping him for Charger teammate Eddie Royal who, after scoring five touchdowns after the first two weeks, scored three more the rest of the way, gaining half the points per game from weeks three to 17 that Allen did as he took over. Now picture someone else with Allen beating you twice with the guy you liked, but lost patience with.

Roster Size Matters

I get it if your roster size is slim and you can’t hang on due to bye weeks. Allen doesn’t fall into that category last year but players that are carrying running backs with the hope of them taking hold during the season may be hard pressed to reserve patience when they are forced to start that guy because everyone else is on a bye week.

To this I say, first and foremost, add depth to your league. Challenge yourself beyond the top 100 players in football and you might find yourself with the roster spots to hang onto Montee Ball or, this season, DeVonte Freeman. It’s easy to add bench spots, so push whoever is setting up your leagues to do just that.

Now, that die has likely already been cast for this season so the RotoAdvice here is really weigh the point value of your guy versus the waiver wire pickup you’d be filling in that week with. You would feel like a real jerk if your guy, the guy you’ve been holding and believing in, ended up outscoring waiver wire fodder, leaving you lighting candles and asking for prayer that you get your guy back on next week’s wire. Take great caution in looking at the big picture before hitting submit. And then get on the project of more roster spots for 2015.

Summary

Take it easy. It’s one week. It’s likely that you didn’t miss Adrian Peterson 2 or the amazing reincarnation of the career of Jim Brown. You spent the offseason watching, scouting and researching and you landed the player you wanted. Don’t abandon ship the moment a wave arises to challenge the course you’ve chosen. Stay your course and reap the harvest your research seeded during the offseason.

Got questions? Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back, check out our other quick entries and like us over on Facebook or Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto

RotoAdvice Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks

tigers-vmartinez-

Check out the Daily RotoAdvice Top Picks where we think the Tigers are great tonight at Chicago.

Player Profiles links from RazzballWeather and schedules courtesy of RotoGrinders, stats by FanGraphs. 

Dollar values found on Fantasy Alarm and on related game-specific sites.

The Daily goes through the top pitchers and hitters, their values and discounts for tonight’s action. As always, check weather and lineups before games.

The Slate (8/29):

 

Reds Pirates 7:05pm  
Twins Orioles 7:05pm  
Yankees Blue Jays 7:07pm
Red Sox Rays 7:10pm  
Phillies Mets 7:10pm  
Marlins Braves 7:35pm  
Indians Royals 8:10pm  
Tigers White Sox 8:10pm
Rangers Astros 8:10pm  
Cubs Cardinals 8:15pm  
Rockies D-backs 9:40pm  
Athletics Angels 10:05pm  
Dodgers Padres 10:10pm  
Nationals Mariners 10:10pm  
Brewers Giants 10:15pm

 

 

Weather Watch:

  • Detroit @ Chicago White Sox

  • Cleveland @ Kansas City

  • Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis

The Pitchers (8/29):

Top $$$$ Pick:

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners vs. Washington

 

FantasyAces $7,600
FanDuel $11,300
DraftKings $12,700
DraftDay $21,600
Swoopt $120,000
FantasyFeud $147,200
FanThrowDown $21,600

 

Felix has been the man and he’s at home. He stands to K the most, have the lowest runs against and has park effects in his favor. Sure, baseball is weird and things can happen to tear away from the aforementioned advantages, but do you want to bet against it? I don’t. Long live the King.

MID-TIER PICK:

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers @ Chicago White Sox

FantasyAces $6,100
FanDuel $7,500
DraftKings $6,700
DraftDay $13,550
Swoopt $81,000
FantasyFeud $84,000
FanThrowDown $13,050

 

Verlander is not the same as in his Cy Young prime, but he has a pretty tasty matchup, even on the road. The White Sox aren’t the scariest at home, as Carrasco proved in the DR last night. Verlander’s splits show he’s been better away from Comerica this season, for what that’s worth and his opponent is the ever-targetable Scott Carroll, so Verlander’s already got an inside track for the win. Jinx!

 

DISCOUNT RACK (IF YOU DARE): 

Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs

 

FantasyAces $6,000
FanDuel $5,600
DraftKings $5,900
DraftDay $11,100
Swoopt $63,000
FantasyFeud $81,300
FanThrowDown $11,050

Between Colby Lewis two nights ago and Carlos Carrasco last night, this Shelby Miller pick falls way more onto the Colby Lewis side, where I know the pitcher is flawed, but the numbers nudge me along to him anyway when it comes to the DR. Miller has struggled with control all season, but his home run rate is significantly better at home than otherwise. The Cubs whiff and they aren’t particularly patient. If Anthony Rizzo is still out with back pain, all the better.

 

Again, be sure to check lineups and weather changes as well before locking down your rosters.

 

The Hitters: (8/29)

TOP FOUR TEAMS TO TARGET FOR BATS:

fantasy-aces-logo

Top Hitters on Fantasy Aces :

TOP FIVE $$$$ PICKS (5.2K and higher):

TOP TEN MID-TIER PICKS (4.6K-5.15K)

TOP TEN(ish) DISCOUNT RACK PICKS (Below 4.6K):

  • Kennys Vargas, Twins, $4,400 (Price is rising and with good reason. Good matchup vs. RHP Gonzalez)
  • Jon Singleton, Astros, $4,400 (Really good matchup vs. RHP Baker, who really struggles vs. lefties on the road)
  • Avisail Garcia, White Sox, $4,350 (Cleanup hitting for DR prices, over 3ppg, good value no matter the matchup)
  • Delmon Young, Orioles, $4,300 (Batting middle of the lineup, good matchup vs. RHP May)
  • David Peralta, Diamondbacks, $4,300 (Can’t believe I left him off the first pass, great play tonight vs. RHP Bergman)
  • Marwin Gonzalez, Astros, $4,150 (Excellent value right now in the MI, leading off and great matchup vs. Baker)
  • Zach Walters, Indians, $4,100 (All or nothing power MI, very inexpensive)
  • Adam Rosales, Rangers, $3,950 (Good matchup for the production level, still qualifies at MI)
  • Danny Valencia, Blue Jays, $3,900 (vs. LHP specialist, batting sixth in what looks to be a good matchup in Toronto vs. LHP Capuano)
  • Marc Krauss, Astros, $3,950 (Pure power option at CI in that excellent Texas matchup)
  • Daniel Robertson, Rangers, $3,800 (Leading off tonight in decent matchup vs. LHP Oberholtzer)
  • Jose Ramirez, Indians, $3,700 (Indians have been trusting him in the #2 slot, has Vargas on the road tonight.

The Best of MINIMUM SPECIAL(s) (3,500): 

Check back as lineups post as we may slide some more discount rack players in as surprise postings arise.

Got questions? Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back, check out our other quick entries and like us on Facebook or Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto

Where to Draft Percy Harvin in your Fantasy Football Draft

Mercy-Percy

After missing an entire season but holding a warehouse of football talent, where should you draft Percy Harvin in 2014?

Check out our previous What To Do/Where to Draft articles on:

Josh Gordon: First and Second Chapters

Trent Richardson

Rob Gronkowski

Le’Veon Bell (and LeGarrette Blount)

C.J. Spiller

Wes Welker

Ray Rice

The Question(s):

Where do you draft a player who is an impact guy when he’s on the field but you don’t know from week to week that he’ll be there? That’s the trouble around Percy Harvin, the uber-talented former Gator who was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last season, missed virtually the whole regular season but then touched the ball four times in the Super Bowl, gained 137 yards and scored twice?

It’s clear that the Seahawks are going to try to get him the ball whenever possible, but how many times will that be given his availability issues and where is a good place to draft him?

ADP:

Percy Harvin’s ADP, per Fantasy Football Calculator, in 12-team PPR leagues, is 4.09 and the 21st wide receiver off the board. This puts Harvin in the same receiving cul-de-sac as Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Crabtree and Julian Edelman. Interestingly, Harvin’s ADP is almost the same in standard leagues, which is surprising in that Harvin has perceived additional value in the volume of catches around the line of scrimmage than just straight yardage/touchdown leagues.

Perhaps it’s that players are believing in Seattle’s ability to score points and their interest in getting Harvin involved, as in the Super Bowl. But is that belief warranted and how much will that translate to fantasy points in 2014?

Projecting:

One thing to realize when looking at the values of all the Seahawks, such as Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and the cadre of solid, if not spectacular, wide receivers, is that Pete Carroll’s Seahawks teams are not high plays per game teams. Looking at the volume (or lack of) plays per game and the passing attempts therein, thanks to Pro Football Focus, we can see a consistent trend.

2010: 64 plays per game, 64% passing

2011: 64.25 plays per game, 58.5% passing

2012: 65.25 plays per game, 53% passing

2013: 65.31 plays per game, 55.6% passing

If you’re looking at this and thinking, hmmmm, doesn’t seem to be a lot of passes, you are correct. The trend here is real and the result is that Russell Wilson is not going to be attempting a lot of passes this season and given the amount of talent there in Seattle, one player getting an elite amount of targets will be hard to come by.

Looking further into the PFF database, let’s look at the leader in targets for the Seahawks over the same period of time.

2010: Mike Williams, 106

2011: Doug Baldwin, 85

2012: Sidney Rice, 75

2013: Golden Tate, 93

So, given this, even if Harvin’s achieves:

a. Total health

b. 100 Targets

c. 67% catch rate

…He’ll be on track for 67 catches, which at an average yards per catch of 12.0, would be 804 yards. That’s IF Harvin plays a full season, which he has done one time in his five year career. Even at Florida, Harvin was known for leaving the field or being questionable before gametime, leaving fans to mark him with the unofficial name of “Fragile Percy”.

Looking for a true numbers of games for Harvin is as reliable as looking deep into a Magic 8-ball. Shake it a few times and you’re as likely to be right as any educated guess. So what’s a reasonable assumption that we can live with as we look to nail down Harvin’s value and where we should take him in drafts?

Even with his reputation at Florida and the uncertainty regarding whether he would play, he did end up getting on the field almost all of the time. His availability in-game was sometimes limited, but he was there. This carried over to the Vikings, except for his last season there in 2012, where he missed half the season.

Migraine headaches have long plagued Harvin, but has been clean from those for a few years and missed last season from hip surgery, the recovery of which has not been an issue this preseason. So, if we are to assume that Harvin is back from his 2013 injury and that the migraine issues are a part of the way-past, then it’s just the wear and tear of the regular season against Harvin’s 5-11, 200 pound frame that could cause any concern. Even with this, there should only be a minor game deduction for Harvin given the facts right now, and a 15 game projection seems reasonable here.

So, given our above assumptions, Harvin should be good for 63 catches for 754 yards. His receiving TD rate, historically has been around 0.37 per game, which would be 5.55 here. He was used by Urban Meyer at Florida as a rusher a considerable amount of the time, and he average two per game as a Viking. Seattle showed in the Super Bowl that they were eager to use Percy’s skills as a rusher to beat the over-focus on Marshawn Lynch, so it would seem logical to project rushes for Harvin in Seattle.

Taking his two per game average as a pro, that works out to 30 carries in his 15 games and with his career average of 6 ypc, that would be an additional 180 yards for Harvin. Rushing TD rates for wide receivers can vary, but Harvin has over 100 career carries and four touchdowns, so an additional TD can be factored in there. Harvin also averages a TD per season in the return game, so it’s fair to factor one for that facet of his considerable game as well.

This brings Harvin to a 7.5 TD projection which, when added to his rushing/receiving numbers, gives us the following projection:

63 catches

934 rushing/receiving yards

7.5 TDs.

All of which puts Harvin, in a PPR scoring format, on 201.4 points for the season, landing him, when factoring in a Replacement WR for the missing week, at WR30 territory.

Reaction:

Comparing this projection to Harvin’s current ADP tells us that Harvin is overvalued a bit throughout the industry. This could be because people are overlooking the low pace Seattle runs, overvaluing Harvin’s impact in such an offense or devaluing the players that surround him in the ADP.

WR30 would put Harvin squarely in the sixth round in a 12-team league, almost two whole rounds later than he is going now.

Summary:

There is danger in not looking at all the factors when it comes to a talent like Harvin. There may be visions of 10 catches per game dancing through some players’ heads, but the pace in Seattle and the distribution simply doesn’t portray that as a reasonable possibility. A sixth round grade looks good as a conservative base, and that’s the one with which we’re comfortable moving forward.

Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back and bring others with you! Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto

RotoAdvice Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks: Night Slate

Bud Norris

Check out the Daily RotoAdvice Top Picks where this guy in the Top Tier doesn’t happen very often.

Player Profiles links from RazzballWeather and schedules courtesy of RotoGrinders, stats by FanGraphs. 

Dollar values found on Fantasy Alarm and on related game-specific sites.

The Daily goes through the top pitchers and hitters, their values and discounts for tonight’s action. As always, check weather and lineups before games.

The Slate (8/28):

 

Rays Orioles 7:05pm  
Braves Mets 7:10pm  
Indians White Sox 8:10pm Danks (9-8)  
Twins Royals 8:10pm  
Rangers Astros 8:10pm  
Athletics Angels 10:05pm

 

 

 

Weather Watch:

  • Minnesota @ Kansas City

The Pitchers (8/28):

Top $$$$ Pick:

Bud Norris, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay

 

FantasyAces $5,700
FanDuel $7,100
DraftKings $6,900
DraftDay $12,700
Swoopt $85,000
FantasyFeud $92,500
FanThrowDown $12,700

Bud Norris. Top Tier pick. A short slate phenomenon and not likely save for the fact that it is HARD for visitors to knock the runs around in Camden Yards. Norris is solid enough to make it work, but you can see already that there is going to be a lot of hitting spending in the industry tonight.

MID-TIER PICK:

Jon Niese, New York Mets vs. Atlanta

FantasyAces $5,700
FanDuel $6,500
FantasyFeud $62,400
Swoopt $63,000
DraftKings $9,400
DraftDay $12,450
FanThrowDown $13,800

Another home phenomenon, since Niese’s K-work underwhelms, even against the Braves tonight. Park effects and that the Mets hit lefties better and they hit at home better provides the nod in the mid-tier to Niese tonight.

 

DISCOUNT RACK (IF YOU DARE): 

Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

 

FantasyAces $4,500
FanDuel $5,000
DraftKings $5,500
DraftDay $7,500
FantasyFeud $40,000
FanThrowDown $7,500
Swoopt $24,000

 

Got away with Colby Lewis last night in the rack, so we are going back to what worked last week with Carrasco, who has the K-rate and the matchup to rack up some whiff points tonight. He’s the bare minimum on Aces tonight, so he should be able to fare well even if Abreu, Ramirez and Dunn get to him a little.

Again, be sure to check lineups and weather changes as well before locking down your rosters.

 

The Hitters: (8/28)

TOP TEAMS TO TARGET FOR BATS:

fantasy-aces-logo

Top Hitters on Fantasy Aces :

TOP FOUR $$$$ PICKS (5.2K and higher):

TOP TEN MID-TIER PICKS (4.6K-5.15K)

TOP TEN(ish) DISCOUNT RACK PICKS (Below 4.6K):

  • Alcides Escobar, Royals, $4,450 (Good matchup vs. LHP Milone, good producer, even if bottom of lineup)
  • Jon Singleton, Astros, $4,400 (Been a while since Jon’s been listed here, but price is right tonight for good matchup vs. RHP Tepesch)
  • Avisail Garcia, White Sox, $4,350 (Cleanup hitting for DR prices, over 3ppg, even if we like Carrasco on the hill, Garcia’s good value here)
  • Juan Lagares, Mets, $4,300 (Small sample size, but good at home vs LHP, has Minor there tonight)
  • Robbie Grossman, Astros, $4,250 (Nice leadoff option w/some pop vs. Tepesch in Houston tonight)
  • Jonny Gomes, A’s, $4,250 (Starting to feel it as an Athletic again, good matchup vs. Wilson, who struggles vs. righties)
  • Marwin Gonzalez, Astros, $4,150 (All the Astros, save for Altuuuuuuve, are inexpensive and good plays vs. Tepesch in Houston)
  • Kennys Vargas, Twins, $4,100 (Ridiculous production. Ridiculous price. Good matchup vs. RHP Guthrie)
  • Craig Gentry, A’s, $4,000 (Mr. Efficiency in stealing bases, batting well and high in order vs. LHP, has Wilson tonight)
  • Zach Walters, Indians, $3,850 (All or nothing power MI, very inexpensive)
  • Eric Campbell, Mets, $3,700 (Always batting in the sweet spot in lineup vs. LHP, and at home tonight)

The Best of MINIMUM SPECIAL(s) (3,500): 

Check back as lineups post as we may slide some more discount rack players in as surprise postings arise.

Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back and bring others with you! Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto

Where to Draft Ray Rice in your Fantasy Football Draft

Ray Rice 7 24 14

With a two-game suspension and coming off a horrible 2013 campaign, where should you draft Ray Rice?

Check out our previous What To Do/Where to Draft articles on:

Josh Gordon: First and Second Chapters

Trent Richardson

Rob Gronkowski

Le’Veon Bell (and LeGarrette Blount)

C.J. Spiller

Wes Welker

The Question(s):

2013 was a miserable one across the board for the Baltimore Ravens and their offense. Their offensive line had two bright spots: Eugene Monroe, brought over from Jacksonville during the season, and Mashal Yanda. The rest of the line was epically awful, and thus, so was Ray Rice.

Rice couldn’t escape the clutches of the Can’t Get Right club, battling injuries and the aforementioned line work, winding up with a brutal 3.1 yards per carry and a statuesque 5.5 yards per reception.

Has anything changed from last season or is Rice simply a 27 year old back who suddenly turned 40 in football years?

ADP:

Surprisingly, Rice’s ADP in 12 team PPR leagues is a healthy 5.05  per Fantasy Football Calculator, and the 23rd running back being selected overall. His trending is up as well, rising a full round from late July. Peeking in at non-PPR leagues, the same is true…Ray Rice is being somewhat trusted in leagues, despite the results of 2013 and his suspension.

Projecting:

Rice was the worst last year. No really, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics, Rice was the worst overall running back who got 25% of the snaps for his team at his position. But that was last season — is there any reason to believe it will be different this year?

For one, there is Gary Kubiak. He’s in as the offensive coordinator after his run as head honcho in Houston. There is also that the Ravens locked up the solid Monroe and brought in another state of Florida football refugee by trading for the Bucs’ Jeremy Zuttah, who was solid, if middle-of-the-pack last season at center. The Ravens would salivate for middle of the pack in offensive line work this season.

So, there is hope that, with more talent and more competence in molding that talent, that the offense could improve. That said, let’s look at what that might mean for Rice.

Here’s Kubiak’s last five seasons in Houston and the running game percentages:

2013: 71.43 snaps per game, 35% rush

2012: 71.88 snaps per game, 44.8% rush

2011: 68.75 snaps per game, 49.6% rush

2010: 67.56 snaps per game, 38.7% rush

2009: 67.75 snaps per game, 37.9% rush

Kubiak ran the wheels off of Arian Foster, but pulled back in other seasons when he didn’t have a stallion to take the rock. Looking back in Denver, he was the same way under Mike Shanahan, with guys like Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis, and all the Mike Anderson types in between, Kubiak’s Broncos were consistently in the top 10 rushing teams in terms of attempts and yards per attempts.

What little bit you can tell during the preseason, only Rice has stood out among the backs for Baltimore, and his input has been a total of 11 plays. Well known is that Bernard Pierce is the second stringer behind Rice, but he was bad last season as well and hasn’t differentiated himself to the point where he is certain to muscle up next to Rice for equal share of the Ravens carries.

Last season, the Ravens ran 73.81 plays per game, slightly above Kubiak’s rate in Houston and slightly above the rate of John Harbaugh’s other Ravens teams. Given that and Kubiak’s established rates in Houston, we’ll estimate that the Ravens will run about 71 snaps per game.

Also, before last season (35%), the Ravens ran the ball closer to 40% when relative competence was closer to average, so we’ll figure that number again for team in 2014.

Rice ran on 57% of the team’s rushing snaps last season when he was active, despite battling injuries and ineffectiveness. He’ll miss at least two games this season so we’ll factor that in as well as taking the conservative approach that Rice will maintain that 57% share of the carries when he is active this season.

At 71 snaps per game and rushing the ball 40 percent of the time, the Ravens project to have 28.4 carries per game. At a 57% share of that, Rice is looking at 16.19 carries per game and 226.632 for the season. Rice ran a meager 3.1 ypc last season, so if you give him a slight bump for improved blocking, we can simultaneously be optimistic and conservative by using a 3.5 ypc as an estimate.

So with 226.632 carries and 3.5 ypc, Rice lands on 793 yards rushing for the season. Now on the receiving side of things, Rice has long been a favorite target when Joe Flacco goes into Mr. Checkdown mode. Rice has had 6.19, 5.0 and 4.67 targets per game over the past three seasons, and has had catch rates of 75, 75 and 83% over the same period.

As mentioned previously, he was practically tagged down whenever he caught the ball last season, having only 4 missed tackles after receptions last season on 58 catches. Rice has never been particularly elusive, but the last two seasons he’s been better than 2013 in that category. Also, Rice caught the ball more behind the line of scrimmage last season than in the previous two seasons. So now the less elusive Rice had to run further to get yards per catch than he had to previously, explaining the precipitous drop from 8-9 ypc in 2011/12 to 5.5 last season.

It’s fair to say that Flacco is going to keep using Rice as a safety valve, so we’ll figure a 5 target per game and 75% catch rate on those passes. We’ll increase the YPC slightly, factoring in an improvement in pass pro and Rice being able to get back into a pattern that will take him beyond the line of scrimmage. But a rise back to 2011/12 doesn’t ring proper, so we’ll target a 7.5 YPC for Rice in 2014.

At those rates, Rice would project to 52.5 catches and 393.75 yards for his 14 game season. Combined with his rushing numbers, Rice would have 1186.75 combined yards from scrimmage, a 118.75 point number in standard leagues.

Despite being bad last season, Rice still got the bulk of the goal line work, getting 16 attempts, fifth most in the NFL and nine more than Pierce. He converted at a rate of 25% and had conversion rates of 38% and 30% the previous two seasons. Considering his breakaway abilities have declined each season since 2011, we have to figure that his TD rate of .27 last season isn’t far from his scoring abilities this season. So for 14 games, a TD rate of 0.3 would give Rice 4.2 touchdowns this season rushing. Giving a receiving TD among his 53 catches, and Rice lands on 5.2 TDs,

Adding his catches (52.5) and his TDs (5.2) to his yards total, and Rice winds up with 202.45 points in PPR leagues. This would put Rice in RB30 territory, and with a bump for adding in a Replacement RB for the two games, a Rice/Replacement RB comes in at RB25.

Reaction:

An RB25 season puts Rice just slightly lower than his ADP, but not far. Considering this, it looks like you’d have to spend a fifth round pick, about the 58th pick overall, to get Rice in a 12-team PPR league and get equal value. After all of what we wrote above, does it seems like he’s worth it?

Summary:

Being conservative with these numbers sets the floor for Rice in-line with his current ADP. But the decline he’s shown and the impotence of the 2013 Baltimore Ravens shows why there’s hesitancy in drafts to pull the trigger. But opportunity is a huge factor for Rice, and he will get it. The team has treated him like his old Pro Bowl self, right down to limiting his preseason snaps. We’ve been cautious in the numbers and his stock seems solid at that point. A fifth round pick looks like fair value.

With the par level established, if you believe in Rice or that we’ve undersold the coming improvements, then you can do as the high outlier drafts shown in Fantasy Football Calculator and take Rice a round earlier. On the other side, his low pick is mid-sixth round for those leagues who simply feel there’s no traction left on Ray Rice.

Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back and bring others with you! Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto

RotoAdvice Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks

colby lewis

Check out the Daily RotoAdvice Top Picks where we’re conflicted in the Discount Rack tonight.

Player Profiles links from RazzballWeather and schedules courtesy of RotoGrinders, stats by FanGraphs. 

Dollar values found on Fantasy Alarm and on related game-specific sites.

The Daily goes through the top pitchers and hitters, their values and discounts for tonight’s action. As always, check weather and lineups before games.

The Slate (8/27):

 

 
Rays Orioles 7:05pm
Smyly (8-10)
Gausman (7-5)
 
Nationals Phillies 7:05pm
Fister (12-4)
Kendrick (6-11)
 
Red Sox Blue Jays 7:07pm
Kelly (2-3)
Stroman (7-5)
 
Yankees Tigers 7:08pm
Greene (3-1)
Price (12-9)
 
Braves Mets 7:10pm
Teheran (12-9)
Wheeler (9-8)
 
Cubs Reds 7:10pm
Turner (4-7)
Latos (4-3)
 
Indians White Sox 8:10pm
Kluber (13-7)
Noesi (7-9)
 
Twins Royals 8:10pm
Hughes (14-8)
Hendriks (1-0)
 
Athletics Astros 8:10pm
Pomeranz (5-4)
Peacock (3-8)
 
Brewers Padres 9:10pm
Gallardo (8-7)
Despaigne (3-5)
 
Dodgers D-backs 9:40pm
Kershaw (15-3)
Miley (7-9)
 
Marlins Angels 10:05pm
Alvarez (10-5)
Santiago (3-7)
 
Rockies Giants 10:15pm
Morales (5-7)
Hudson (9-9)

 

 

Weather Watch:

  • Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati

  • Minnesota @ Kansas City

  • Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets

The Pitchers (8/27):

Top $$$$ Pick:

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers @ Arizona

 

FantasyAces $7,800
FanDuel $12,100
DraftKings $14,100
DraftDay $22,400
Swoopt $134,000
FantasyFeud $163,200
FanThrowDown $22,400

 

 

He’s that good. Almost negligent to fly any other Ace Airline right now.

MID-TIER PICK:

Zach Wheeler, New York Mets vs. Atlanta

FantasyAces $5,700
FanDuel $7,700
DraftKings $8,200
DraftDay $14,800
Swoopt $88,000
FantasyFeud $100,200
FanThrowDown $14,800

 

He’s at home and he’s in position to rack up the Ks against the Braves, who are the 10th most whiffy among road teams and among the bottom 10 in creating runs away from home.

 

DISCOUNT RACK (IF YOU DARE): 

Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers @ Seattle

 

FantasyAces $5,750
FanDuel $6,900
DraftKings $5,400
DraftDay $10,750
Swoopt $74,000
FantasyFeud $74,400
FanThrowDown $10,750

Hoo boy, so much not to like about this. One is that I like Seattle lefties when they are at home, especially Kyle Seager, who I will play liberally despite this tepid endorsement of Lewis. Lewis had struggled against lefties but has somewhat righted the ship there. Seattle does strike out a good bit and hasn’t been putting up the numbers lately. Definitely a dare-day if you go this route.

Again, be sure to check lineups and weather changes as well before locking down your rosters.

 

The Hitters: (8/27)

TOP FOUR TEAMS TO TARGET FOR BATS:

fantasy-aces-logo

Top Hitters on Fantasy Aces :

TOP FIVE $$$$ PICKS (5.2K and higher):

TOP TEN MID-TIER PICKS (4.6K-5.15K)

TOP TEN(ish) DISCOUNT RACK PICKS (Below 4.6K):

  • Brock Holt, Red Sox, $4,550 (Leading off in a hitter’s park vs. RHP Stroman)
  • Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays, $4,450 (Cheap power option in Rogers Centre, vs. RHP Kelly)
  • Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers, $4,400 (Lefty hammer, batting middle-of-the-order when playing, good matchup vs. LHP Miley)
  • Wilson Ramos, Nationals, $4,350 (Batting low in lineup but batting well, cheap catching option in good lineup)
  • Josh Reddick, A’s, $4,300 (Cheap HR option vs. RHP Peacock tonight.)
  • Robbie Grossman, Astros, $4,250 (Nice leadoff option w/some pop vs. LHP Pomeranz in Houston tonight)
  • Jeff Baker, Marlins, $4,150 (Good, low cost MI option vs. LHP, has Hector Santiago)
  • Kennys Vargas, Twins, $4,100 (Ridiculous production. Ridiculous price. Good matchup vs. RHP Hendriks)
  • Kendrys Morales, Mariners, $4,000 (Hasn’t hit as expected, but still batting cleanup between Cano and Seager, has RHP Lewis tonight)
  • Zach Walters, Indians, $3,850 (All or nothing power MI, very inexpensive)

The Best of MINIMUM SPECIAL(s) (3,500): 

Check back as lineups post as we may slide some more discount rack players in as surprise postings arise.

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Where to Draft Wes Welker in your Fantasy Football Draft

Wes Welker

With the current health concerns, but with the possibility of still playing this season, where should you draft Wes Welker?

First of all, a disclaimer. We, like many in the industry, are hopeful that not only Wes Welker is in good health after another concussion, but that he has a long, lengthy healthy life after football. But we also respect his own choices in his life, just like folks want to respect other life choices. This piece is in case Welker does decide to continue playing football, despite the possible long term effects of concussions.

Check out our previous What To Do/Where to Draft articles on:

Josh Gordon: First and Second Chapters

Trent Richardson

Rob Gronkowski

Le’Veon Bell (and LeGarrette Blount)

C.J. Spiller

The Question(s):

The question is, assuming Wes Welker is cleared to play and uses his right to continue playing football, how many games can we count on him playing? There are many concerns around this, considering his third concussion in 10 months. First, and foremost, is Welker and his own health. It can be a long time before the true effects of concussions can manifest itself outwardly, so the hope is that Welker is weighing all of his options thusly. Secondly is the league — they are going to be verrrry sure they do everything they can to protect and reveal as much to Welker so that, whatever decision he makes, he is well informed.

One of the last super concussed players to have to retire due to that health problem is former Lions RB Jahvid Best, who had three concussions with the Lions and two at California before calling it quits. Best has sued the NFL for deliberately concealing information regarding the risks of concussions and you can expect the NFL will be doing everything it can to make sure that Welker does not feel the same way when he makes his decision whether or not to resume his career. The league may even make sure Welker takes extra time for the league’s concussion protocol due to the regularity of the occurrence in regards to Welker and the risks involved.

ADP:

So far Welker’s ADP hasn’t gone into freefall, holding steady as a 4.11 pick in 12-team PPR leagues, per Fantasy Football Calculator. It’s a five slot drop from the day he had a concussion, but not the 6-7 round drop that some outlying drafts are seeing him being drafted. Welker is tied with Michael Floyd for the 20th wide receiver off the board in that format.

Projecting:

The reason why Welker is so popular is the same reason First Citywide Change Bank could make money: Volume.

Welker was targeted 9.07 times per game, a rate of 145 targets per 16 game season. With a 68% catch rate, Welker would have been knocking on the door of 100 catches, if he had played all 16 games last season. Welker’s three missed games last season were the only ones missed in the last three seasons, but with the concussions piling up, the trend would seem to indicate that the 16 game season for Welker is history.

So what, then? How many games can we project based on concussions? If he is cleared to come back Week 1, how do you forecast further missed games? It’s true, he could come back and play all 16 games. Much like the Gronkowski forecast, the 16 game scenario has to be on the bell curve. However, with recent history and the nature of his injuries, this isn’t a hangnail injury or something fluky that can be dismissed as aberrant. Better to be on the cautious side than to overestimate the games Welker will play. Find the conservative in your forecast, then you can adjust to take on more risk.

So, what’s a reasonable estimate for missed games, again assuming Welker chooses not to retire and come back? Let’s take the one game on/one game off approach with Welker, giving him a week off between games for safety. What does an eight game season look like under those circumstances?

For one, we can assume that unless there is any disruption during the game he’s playing in his rate stats should remain in tact. The routes run by Welker are well rehearsed from the time he was a wee lad at Texas Tech and should translate easily to the field no matter the rust or games off. Also, we can safely forecast that the Broncos aren’t changing their pace or style of offense this season from last, so Welker’s target rate should stay somewhat static. Emmanuel Sanders has emerged this preseason, but he’s likely to absorb Eric Decker’s former targets rather than Welker’s.

So with same pace and likely targets, to be conservative, as we stated we wanted to find earlier, let’s drop Welker’s targets per game to eight, an 11% decrease. Given his usual catch rate, we’ll factor in a 70% success rate on those targets @ a YPC of 10.0. This gives Welker a total of 5.6 catches per game for 56 yards per game. Welker had a .77 TD rate last season, his first with the Broncos and Manning. Dropping him down to a rate of .50 would give him four TDs in those eight games.

So, for an 8-game season, Welker’s conservative projection looks like this: 45 catches, 450 yards and four TDs. That’s a 114 points for a half-season in a full point PPR league. This puts Half Season Welker at WR80 for the season.

As we’ve did with the others we’ve looked at with missed games projection, let’s add in eight weeks of Replacement WR to couple with Welker to understand what that looks like for the full season. Our Replacement WR logs 3.5 catches for 46 yards and .25 touchdowns per game. That’s an average of 9.35 fantasy points per game or 74.8 for eight games.

Added with Half Season Wes Welker at we get a total of 188.8 points for the season, which would land our two-headed slot receiver at around WR42 territory. That receiver is currently being drafted in the ninth round of 12-team PPR leagues and the 104th pick overall.

Reaction:

This is considerably lower than his current ADP. If you are skeptical of a full season of Welker, then you certainly can’t draft him at the current 4.11 ADP. If you figure he’ll play but miss regular time, then the ninth round is probably a reasonable target for Welker. How far up the draft board would you creep Welker until you feel like, if he missed the season, it would be very detrimental to your fantasy team?

Summary:

It’s reasonable to be concerned about Welker. The next hard hit he takes to the head might be the last he’ll take in the NFL, if he didn’t just take that hit already. As with Gordon, we theorized that at the 100th or so pick, taking the upside risk on a player of impact is a measured risk. Welker certainly qualifies as a top 20 WR, especially in the high snap, high passing percentage offenses he’s been rostered with since he left Miami for New England.

If you are less concerned than I, redo the numbers for four games missed and see where he lands. Last season he missed three games and was still the WR21 for the season in PPR leagues.

He’s worth the risk, though he could call a press conference the day after you draft, so bear that in mind also. As with waiting for the Josh Gordon news, what pick would it take for you to be willing to watch it all go away if he does, in fact, play zero games this season? For me, a ninth round, 104th pick seems very reasonable for that risk.

Wherever that point is for you, figure it out. You don’t have to take our numbers as gospel, but you should understand where that is for you and be willing to strike when that moment presents itself to you. Punting or simply not wanting to deal with Welker means you are gift-wrapping that opportunity for the rest of the league.

My estimate might be too low to get Welker in most league (that’s true, in fact, for all the ones that FFC shows in their chart from 8/25 – linked at the top of the article), but I know where I am comfortable with the value for Welker. Do the same, empower yourself with knowledge and confidence and then be ready to draft Wes Welker. Good luck!

Like what you see on RotoAdvice? Keep coming back and bring others with you! Hit us on Twitter @HeyRotoAdvice or @JasonWalkerRoto