FIWK the NFL: Week 13

Another good week last week. Somewhere between not sucky and back up to even for the year. If I can just keep this momentum going...and the Chargers can win out to get to 9-7, things will be looking good. Where did that come from? The Chargers win out to get to 9-7? Is that supposed to be some unconscious calculation of what the Chargers and Raiders need to do to make the playoffs? Why am I doing this? Why am I checking the Raiders schedule? Oakland is 7-4. The Chargers are 4-7. I want Norv Turner demoted to offensive coordinator and Bill Cowher hired. But the Raiders play the favored Dolphins this week and still have to play the Packers and the Lions. Those three losses puts them at 8-7 or 7-8 (if they also lose to the Chiefs) going into the last game of the year against the San Diego. STOP IT!! I CAN'T HELP MYSELF!! AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! As for the sane/objective analysis of everyone else...

Tennessee (+1.5) over BUFFALO: I kind of miss my bold and not-so-bold predictions. I thought I'd give it a try this column. Especially since I've been skimping on my normal analysis and going pure quant. Tennessee should actually be favored by 2.5 or so. NSB prediction: Chris Johnson has more rushing yards than Fred Jackson. Six weeks ago, this would have been a HUGE Bold prediction. But that's what tearing your ACL will do to you. I wonder if Fred Jackson will be drafted next year? I mean, he was a huge performer this year, especially for being drafted as low as he was...but he's 31 this year. And he doesn't have as much time to heal as Jamaal Charles or Kenny Britt (huge draft choice for the three weeks you got to use him). I'm gonna say he gets drafted in a 12 team league, but not a ten. And he is the most dropped player after week 2. Bold prediction: Chris Johnson gets over 100 yards. It's so sad that that has to be a bold predictions.

I thought about inserting this extra aside down by Drew Brees, but I'll do it here. I honestly can't remember if I have discussed my father's first fantasy football team. His new office recruited him, and he correctly came to me for advice. The first thing I did was analyze the leagues's scoring. Very unusual. See if you can follow me here. + will mean a positive point or fractional point because I can't remember every exact detail. In addition to the normal fantasy scoring, and two Individual Defensive Players, + for pass attempts and completions, - for incompletions, +.25 for rushing attempts, +.75 for receptions, +1 for every 10 return yards. Kickoff return, punt return, interception/fumble return, etc. That means the return guy getting 1400 return yards scores as many points as the running back rushing for 1400 yards. So, going in, the draft strategy I designed for him was 1) a running back who gets 300+ carries and also some catches (Chris Johnson in the middle of the first round) 2) Drew Brees, who regularly leads the league in pass attempts AND completion percentage, so he won't be hurt by the negative for incomplete passes. 3) Another RB (Ahmad Bradshaw) 4) Darren Sproles. This guy was a top five player in this scoring for most of the season, still top 15. The rest would be primary return guys (taking kickoffs AND punt returns) who are also starters on offense. Devin Hester, Josh Cribbs, Antonio Brown, Jacoby Ford, etc. Drew Brees and Darren Sproles have carried my dad to first place. You need to start getting your loved ones involved in fantasy football. It genuinely gets them interested in watching NFL games.

CHICAGO (-7) over Kansas City: But Chicago is starting a backup quarterback who screwed up the last play of the game. [Yep, here's another aside [and a tangent within an aside: I liked using links to published Google Word docs, but that takes just a little more time than I really want to spend on it. Quick poll: should I use the links, or just type it in here] Caleb Hanie did something that was kind of stupid, but totally understandable. With 4 seconds on the clock, after signaling his team to spike, he took the snap and faked the spike. This in itself can be an effective move as Peyton Manning has shown many times. But from a philosophical point of view, spiking the ball should be intentional grounding. There is a specific rule that makes spiking the ball to stop the clock an exception. As soon as he doesn't spike the ball and drops back a step, this exception no longer applies and it goes to normal intentional grounding rules. Technically, he should have thrown an incomplete pass towards an eligible receiver, but by obviously spiking the ball, it was intentional grounding. And when the clock is running, a penalty that stops the clock requires a 10 [or 5, I forget] second run off, and with only 4 seconds left in the game, the game was over. Looks really stupid, but kind of understandable.] That's ok, because the Chiefs are countering with their own inept backup quarterback. So I guess since the two backup quarterbacks cancel each other out, my normal quantitative analysis still applies. NSB prediction: One of these quarterbacks throws an interception or two. Bold prediction: Devin Hester gets a touchdown.

Oakland (+3) over MIAMI: The 3-8 Dolphins actually have a positive point differential. They are playing like a 5.6-5.4 team. They have the dubious distinction of being the only team with a losing record and a positive point differential. While the Raiders are the only 7-4 or better team with a negative point differential. So why did I pick the Raiders? Because this spread should be less than 3 (but greater than 2.5, go figure). I'm actually confidently picking the Dolphins to win outright. (And just so you know, confidently picking them to win means they have a 57% chance of winning. There's a difference between confidently picking the Patriots to win outright with their 97% chance of winning and confidently picking the the Dolphins. I guess the former means you would be stupid to pick the underdog and the latter means I don't have to hem and haw when making my decision.)

Denver (+1) over MINNESOTA: I feel like I've been working on this for an hour and I only have three games done. And I forgot to add a bold and not-so-bold prediction to the last game. And now I remember why I stopped doing them in the first place. They add time and I'm not 100% sure they are worth it. Especially when I added the time of trying to track how well my predictions did. Denver should be favored in this game by 2.5 or 3. Not so bold prediction: Tim Tebow thanks Jesus. Bold prediction: Tebow actually is Jesus.

Indianapolis (+20) over NEW ENGLAND: The spread is just too big. I saw a few articles talking about the 4 or 5 times there has been a spread of 20 or greater and how the underdogs dominate ATS and even won once SU. NSB prediction: The Patriots win. Bold prediction: Peyton Manning suits up, just to scare the living bejeezus out of the Patriots defenders who had been planning for...who is the Colts current starting quarterback , again?...Dan Orlovsky!

Cincinnati (+6.5) over PITTSBURGH: Apparently I didn't learn my lesson three weeks ago. But the Bengals only lost by 7. That could easily be 6 and all of a sudden the Bengals are covering Linkand I look like a genius for sticking to my guns. And where is Royce and all of his aphorisms? This spread should be three. You know, like it was three weeks ago when the Bengals lost by seven? Shit.

Carolina (+3.5) over TAMPA BAY: Carolina should be favored by three, not getting three points. Sometimes I like to use the Not-so-bold prediction as a joke (You the Reader, "only sometimes?"), and by this I mean something that may not actually happen, but happens a lot and should be called attention to. This game's NSB prediction: Cam Newton runs for a touchdown. Usually a quarterback running for a TD should be a bold prediction (or I'll use a misleading statement as a bold prediction, when it actually occurs more than you think), but Cam Newton has 10 rushing touchdowns in 11 games. He's third in the league in rushing touchdowns after LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. 10!!! Bold prediction: Carolina's quarterback runs for a touchdown. (Now you don't know where I'm coming from.)

Nyj (-3) over WASHINGTON: Matthew Berry tells better jokes about the ineptitude of the Redskins than I have about the ineptitude of the rest of the NFL combined. Maybe that's because he's a professional comedic writer with such credits as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. I originally wrote Crocodile Dundee II because I didn't even realize there was a third one made. That's hilarious.

HOUSTON (+3) over Atlanta: Remember, Houston's success this year has been primarily due to their defense (even without Mario Williams) [I miss Wade Phillips as a defensive coordinator] and the great running combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Andre Johnson is still a super stud in need of a nickname, and I could probably throw up a few balls that he would come down with. With Schaub, the Texans would be favored by 7. Their third quarterback, TJ Yates, doesn't cost them 10 points. NSB prediction: Either Foster or Tate scores a TD. Bold prediction: Derrick Ward gets a touchdown.

Baltimore (-6.5) over CLEVELAND: The Ravens should be favored by 11. They really are a good team, but it feels like they themselves don't believe me. The 49ers are good and the Ravens handled them. I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick them every week because I'll keep getting value on the points. I just have to suffer through the few times they lose outright as a 7-10 point favorite.

Green Bay (-7) over NYG: The Packers stand alone as the best team in the NFL by any metric I care to use and the Giants are a 4.9-6.1 team masquerading as a 6-5 team. Green Bay could give away another couple points and I would take them. NSB prediction: Aaron Rodgers throws or runs for at least 2 TDs. Bold prediction: Eli Manning scores more fantasy points than Aaron Rodgers.

Dallas (-4.5) over ARIZONA: Ummm....DeMarco Murray looks like a stud, doesn't he?

SAN FRANCISCO (-13) over St. Louis: The Rams are worse than the Packers are good. Wait, no, that's the Colts. The Rams can't even be a record bad, they're just a normal bad. I have the Patriots beating the Colts 96.9% of the time and the 49ers beating the Rams 96.5% of the time. So, either this line is too low or the Patriots line is too high. I say both and I'm taking the middle on both games. NSB Prediction: Frank Gore gets a touchdown. Bold prediction: Kendal Walker ALSO gets a touchdown.

Detroit (+9) over NEW ORLEANS: Man, I really don't want to go against the Saints. My gut tells me they are the second best team in the NFC and therefore better than the 49ers. But my numbers say this spread should be closer to 3. Should be an interesting game between two good passing offenses. First to 50 wins!

San Diego (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE: If the Chargers lose and the Raiders win, that still doesn't officially eliminate them from the let's go for hope. Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things.


  1. $50 on Ten +1.5, Det +9, Cin +6.5, Den +1. $100 on Chi -7, Car +3.5, Hou +3, Bal -6.5.

  2. Tebow is Jesus. High-larious!

    $50 on Texans +3
    $50 on Saints -9
    $1 on Niners -13

    Answer to poll: hell yes you should use links; much more potential and higher entertainment value.

  3. WOOT WOOT! Up $101 this week. Back up to $1,061.

  4. I am jealous that I forgot to jump on this week's money train. Did the Niners really push the -13 line? Hm.

  5. I'm taking Pittsburgh analysislessly.

  6. If analysislessly was actually a word, I used it correctly.