Wrong End of the Stick
Fortunately, my early hot streak paved the way for the season numbers to date to look good. But I can admit, I’ve become less and less confident as the weeks go by. How cold has it gotten? Let’s just say Buffalo looks like a summer vacation right now. To give you a more specific example, I liked Gonzaga to be a lock to go over 136.5 against St. Joe’s in this NCAA hoops opening week. The final? You guessed it… 136. Or you can look at the Thursday Night game, where I thought the Chiefs would crush the Raiders. Yes, I know the history between these two teams. But c’mon, really? First and Goal to take a commanding touchdown lead, and Jamaal Charles doesn’t even get a single touch? If you believe in superstitions, it all points back to me trying to create an algorithm to make my new system more user friendly. It came out of a good place, so hopefully that karma changes the tide. Here are my Top 5 to get your NFL Week 12 going. But first…
I was joined on this weeks podcast by Zach Law (@Zach_Law), who writes about fantasy football, but also interviews other analysts as well. With this being something I have incorporated into my weekly show, Zach is someone I look up to. The Waiver Wire is pretty barren these days, as owners should be preparing their playoff rosters. In addition to some background on Zach, we got into the Adrian Peterson drama, the waiving of Ben Tate, and the return of Josh Gordon (for which I made a special opening musical montage). There is plenty to listen to, and plenty to learn. I also addressed some recent controversy within the fantasy football community, hopefully laying any questions to rest. Learn some background on the biggest names and resources in the Fantasy Football world, and then get some useful knowledge from them to apply to your teams. It is a win-win for everyone! Good luck this week!
Season Record: 18-9
1.) Minnesota Vikings (+10) vs Green Bay, 1:00pm
Adrian Peterson captured most of the headlines this week, before the Vikings signing of Ben Tate shifted things. Neither of the two point to the obvious though: The Purple People Eaters are NOT that bad. I get it, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look like world beaters right now, and the last time these two teams met it was an abomination. But, the Vikes have remained competitive, and are still afloat in the playoff race – albeit not by much. Over their last 4 games Minnesota is 2-2, including a one point loss at Buffalo. Not only that, but they haven’t lost by a margin greater than 8 in that span. Additionally, they are in the upper half of the Defensive rankings against the pass, and even better at home. Rodgers should be fine, but it won’t be a cake walk either. Getting 10 points at home is too much to pass on.
2.) San Diego Chargers (-4.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:05pm
The Chargers have been up and down all year. A five game winning streak, followed by losing three straight, illustrates this point. Throughout this identity crisis, the Bolts have remained a tough team to beat at home, boasting a 4-1 record at Qualcomm. Their opponents this week have showed a pulse in recent games, but the end results have been much of the same for the Rams. They just are not having the year they had hoped for. Ryan Mathews, now back for his second week, will look closer to what we have come to expect from him. What might have been the upset of the year, and a game I called right last week, will prove too much for St. Louis to replicate. I expect the Chargers to take care of business, and comfortably at that.
3.) Washington Redskins (+9) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25pm
Quite honestly, I am not sure what to make of this Redskins team. They are all taking their turns firing shots at one another, head coach included, and the wheels could completely fall off… very quickly. Yet when the dust settles, their is a boatload of talent that remains. In order for the dust to settle, the chaos needs to come to an end. And therein lies the problem. San Francisco hasn’t exactly been making a case as a team that should be feared. At home they are ok, but again, nothing special. Call it optimism, narrative, or blind faith, but I think the ‘Skins were embarrassed enough by last weeks drubbing at home. I don’t necessarily think they will outright win it, but keeping it within one score, much less two, is a task they should be able to handle.
4.) Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) at Houston Texans, 1:00pm
The Texans have been a nice story this season, and maybe Ryan Mallett truly is the future. With Bill O’Brien, and some exciting young talent, Houston is certainly knocking on the door. The Bengals however, are a step ahead. You wouldn’t know it based on some of the historically poor performances they have put up, but the record shows they are still a tough out. The key to their entire offense, A.J. Green, is finally back to playing, proving that the win in NOLA last week was no fluke. I like the Bengals to go into the Lonestar State and win outright, so the 1.5 points is like finding an expected check in your birthday card. With or without Giovanni Bernard possibly returning, these two teams possess different talent. This is the time of year when the pretenders separate from the contenders. Ok, so that was definitely cliche, but it carries the message.
5.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) at Chicago Bears, 1:00pm
This game reeks of bad story lines, with both Lovie Smith and Josh McCown heading back to the Windy City. Even so, there is a bit of merit to this backdrop. It may be too little too late on the Bucs season, but they are starting to show glimpses of what they can do with an NBA sized front court of receiving options. The Bears have been pretty awful, and even worse at home. The Bucs only two wins this season have come when they are away from home. In the end, I think the Bears have too many weapons to not be able to score enough in this one. The only problem is the Bucs have just as much firepower to keep themselves in the game. A back and forth wild one could be in the works.