PSAS Open Forum #occupyPR

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 2 Picks


“[The Jackpot] was androgenic…. No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, how many of them there were, how they’d changed things just by being there. …”

- William Gibson, “The Peripheral”

Oh hey! Welcome to PSAS Week 2. Is it off color, trivializing—callous, even—to draw an analogy between the scoring malaise that afflicted fantasy football in Week 1 and a slow motion sci-fi apocalypse that feels all-too-relevant to our current geopolitical situation? You bet it is! But that won’t stop us from whistling in the graveyard of our collective human dysfunction.

Low scoring was the name of the game in Week 1, with only two franchises cracking the 100 point barrier (a statistic aided by a certain high-scoring running back being left on the bench). The fantasy landscape was, as Ed McDonnaugh would say and as the table below attests, “barren.”


Position
Players owned in Week 1 over 10 FPs (for QBs, over 20 FPs)
QB
2
RB
13
WR
11
TE
3
K
3
DEF
4

Zeroing in on the RBs and WRs, that left only 24 over-10-point performances spread thinly over 60 total RB-WR-Flex slots—a recipe for fantasy doldrums. It remains to be seen whether NFL trends toward backfield committees and diversified passing attacks have created a permanent Malthusian era in PSAS. Only time will tell…but in the meantime, on to this week’s picks (predicted winner in bold):

Bloodz vs. psych dog

On the Dachshunds side, Brees and Cooks have bullish outlooks as their teams go up against defenses lit up last week by Sam Bradford and Alex Smith, respectively. Meanwhile, question marks abound for the Bloodz at wide receiver, as Julio Jones faces a stout Packers D, Jeffery comes off a typically frustrating Jeffery performance, and Marshall remains mired in a Giants offense helmed by a decaying Eli Manning.

Dijoinnaise vs. Ferries

The Mustards’ prospects here are dampened by their RB situation, with McFadden, Coleman, and Jamaal Williams offering precious little upside. The upshot: Aaron Rodgers, in true Obi-Wan fashion, is their only hope of challenging the Ferries, even after Jeremy Hill’s (and the entire Cincy offense’s) no show on Thursday night. And if the Ferries dust of Jay Ajayi as their Flex option, this could turn into a blowout.

Girlz vs. Polk High

Tough skill position matchups up and down the line figure to doom Polk High in this Brooklyn vs. ATL showdown, while Monique may feast as Amari Cooper goes up against the tank-tastic Jets and the explosive Tyreek Hill looks to abuse/manhandle/smack around (no, we haven’t forgotten) the Eagles pass defense at home in Kansas City.

Hanging w Hooper vs. TTM

Last week’s high-scoring teams battle to remain undefeated, with the Mountain facing an uphill climb after a Hopkins lowball and Mr. Hooper's Bernardrick McKinney bonus in last night’s tepid Texans-Bengals affair. (Pausing here to acknowledge the greatness of the name “Bernardrick.”) Uncertainty clouds this matchup, as OBJ’s status remains questionable, Le’Veon Bell comes off a disappointing Week 1 performance, and Mike Gillislee plays another round of Belichick Game Plan Roulette. Hooper gets the edge based on higher upside.

Nauts vs. Pelicans

After losing by a nose to the Trichs following a two-front disaster at RB (benching Kareem Hunt’s 40-plus points and listening to the godz cackle as they broke David Johnson’s wrist), the Nauts hope to regain some mojo against the Pelicans, who suffered through underwhelming performances across the board last week. Although Gronk could potentially rebound and explode against a horrific Saints D, we’re betting on ourselves on the strength of marginally better matchups for our skill players overall.

Trichs vs. BDT

The Trichs are riding high following Week 1’s Stefon Diggs-fueled comeback win over the Nauts, and hope to keep the momentum going against BDT,  who were let down by Tom Brady’s aging arm and the absence of Mike Evans due to hurricane. Look for Brady and Beastmode to drive a resurgence that finds BDT dwelling in the win column, while the Trichs’ cloudy RB outlook leaves them just short of the promised land this time around.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

PSAS Week 1 2017 - League Dystopia Edition

Welcome to the 2017 season, gents. I'm hoping to post picks for each week's slate of PSAS contests here at least semi-regularly. For this week, though, I'm eschewing picks in favor of franchise profiles, and as tribute to the steadily advancing dystopia that surrounds us, these profiles will answer the burning question: which dystopian movie reboot is your franchise?

But before getting to it, a shout out to the Ferries for last year's championship victory over the Trichs and a stellar postseason run. And to BDT for winning the 2007 Patriots Award for a dominant regular season that ended in heartbreak.

Now, without further ado....

Nauts vs. Trichs

Nauts dystopian reboot: “Blade Runner” - David Johnson is a replicant (incept date: May 30, 2015) designed for four years of maximum-intensity rushing and receiving duties, after which he’ll die. Along with fellow replicants Christian McCaffrey and Kareem Hunt, he sets off to find his maker and demand more life. In a crowd-pleasing scene late in the movie, Johnson beats Roger Goodell in chess before gouging out Goodell’s eyes with his thumbs.

Trichs dystopian reboot: “RoboCop” – after top quarterback prospect Andrew Luck is murdered by his general manager and coach, his intact body parts are melded with a robot exoskeleton. RoboLuck returns to the field midseason only to realize that his new GM is a just a different breed of ass clown who wears sandals to work and hired an ex-military grifter as a “draft consultant”. Somewhere in RoboLuck’s cyberbrain, he wonders why he didn’t just become a lawyer.

TTM vs. BDT

TTM dystopian reboot: “12 Monkeys” – DeAndre Hopkins lives in a post-pandemic future. In hopes of eventually rewriting history to save billions of lives lost in the pandemic, Hopkins’ employers send him back in time to investigate the origins of the virus. His only clue is the name of the terrorist organization responsible: the “12 Osweilers.”

BDT dystopian reboot: “Escape from New York” – in a future NFL, Marshawn Lynch refuses to speak at a press conference and faces a thousand year sentence in a walled off New York City, which now serves as a federal prison for the entire U.S. But the authorities offer to commute his sentence if he agrees to infiltrate New York on a mission to rescue a kidnapped Peyton Manning. After locating Manning, Lynch threatens to let him die unless the NFL tacks a lifetime supply of Skittles onto his deal.

Hanging w Mr H vs. Ferries

Hanging w Mr H dystopian reboot: “The Fifth Element” – Odell Beckham, Jr. reprises Chris Tucker’s role of a motormouthed, high camp TV variety show host in the 23rd century. Improbably, OBJ gets roped into a quest to save an elemental, scantily clad, born-sexy-yesterday life force who is somehow necessary to save the universe from both a cosmic ball of misanthropy and Gary Oldman’s hardon for descruction.

Ferries dystopian reboot: “Soylent Green” – Russell Wilson unveils a new 4,800 calorie, nine meals per day diet, which quickly goes viral. But when a Seattle detective investigates the murder of Pete Carroll at Seahawks training camp, he discovers a horrible secret: the “Eight oz. protein (equivalent of two chicken breasts)” that Wilson eats actually consists of players cut from the Seahawks’ practice squad. 

psych dog vs. Dijonnaise

psych dog dystopian reboot: (going off script with a song here) “Diamond Dogs” – in a future U.S., year unspecified, Ezekiel Elliott is pulled out of an oxygen tent and into a nightmarish reality full of ten-inch stumps, silicon humps, and other weirdnesses—including LeSean McCoy, who lives on top of the Chase Manhattan building, throwing parties for “women who are 21 years old or older, have a photo ID and sign a confidentiality agreement.”

Dijonnaise dystopian reboot: “The Matrix” – Aaron Rodgers learns that “football” is a virtual reality/false consciousness fed to NFL players by nefarious robot overlords and awakens to his true identity as The One. In practice, this means that he transcends time and space and averages six Hail Marys and 40 fantasy points per game. As in the original “Matrix,” the “mind makes it real,” so all those concussion side effects are still there after he swallows the red pill.

Bloodz vs. Polk High

Bloodz dystopian reboot: “Waterworld” – in the world of the future, unchecked climate change has left 99.9999999% of the planet underwater. Leonard Fournette (whose hometown was one of the first major cities to submerge) is a mysterious loner who drinks his own filtered piss and must deliver a sacred football to one of the last remaining havens of dry land. Jameis Winston removes the PR concealer from his scumbag side to play the Dennis Hopper role.

Polk High dystopian reboot: “Snowpiercer” – After the climate change holocaust, the remains of humanity circle the globe in a high-speed train stratified by class. Ben Roethlisberger is the lower class insurrectionary from the squalid rear section of the train who leads a revolt against the elites in the front; in a chilling reveal [SPOILER ALERT], we learn that he ate other people to survive during his rookie season on the train.

Girlz vs. Pelicans

Girlz dystopian reboot: “The Terminator” – Matt Ryan is a rebel fighter in a dystopia where an artificial intelligence known as PatriotNet and its robot army rule the NFL. Ryan travels back in time in an attempt to prevent the Super Bowl loss that resulted in the final victory of PatriotNet over humanity, only to get stuck in a time loop where he bangs Tom Brady’s mom and thus fathers humanity’s betrayer.

Pelicans dystopian reboot: “The Running Man” – Cam Newton plays the Yaphet Kotto role and Gronk stars in the Schwarzenegger role. Gronk reveals heretofore unseen depths as he begins to awaken and rebel against the Powers That Be in a society that watches people kill each other for sport. In the movie’s climactic scene he puts Joe Buck on a rocket sled that shoots into an electronic Fox billboard and explodes.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

PSAS Longitudinal History and Parity



How can you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been?
Here's the history of the league:


Breaking down the data a little

12/12 (100%) of current franchises have been to the playoffs
10/12 (83%) of current franchises  have finished in the top 3
5/12 (41%) of current franchises have finished in the top 3 multiple times
7/12  (58%) of current franchises have won a championship
1/12 (08%) of current franchises have won multiple championships

Champions

4/8 made the playoffs with a 7-6 record or worse
4/8 made the playoffs with a 9-4 record or better
0/8 made the playoffs with a muthafuckin' 8-5 record

Narrative

Who can forget:
the psychdog's historic fall from grace and late return?
the Trich's high end run and playoff success?
the Tigers freakish record of early season dominance?
the Pelicans/Nauts running championship drought?
the Bloodz robo year running the table from Thanksgiving?
the Girlz wall to wall dominance in '14
the Ferries ending their "also ran" last year?






Thursday, December 24, 2015

PSAS Finals Breakdown




Another season down. This year the championship features a face off between commissioners and the first time a #1 and #2 seed have faced off in the finals. The teams took alternate paths to their byes. The Tigers roared into the season 4-0, and the Trichs wallowed in the mud at 1-3.  The Tigers got some dings and limped through the second half of the season with luck and lowball victories and were never challenged for the top seed.  The Trichs won four of their last five, scoring over 130 three times, including a 192 point game in the regular season finale.  That huge game pulled the Trichs season average up to 123.78.  The Tigers averaged 114.27, but only fell below 100 twice.  The Tigers got the most value from keeper steals Brown and Ingram. And the Trichs won a titanic QB trade Cam and John Brown for Tannehill and Stevie Johnson.


Quarterback  - Cam and Eli were actually pretty close in draft price this year going at 13 and 14 respectively. But one is the presumed MVP and the other is a high ceiling QB on a flailing franchise.  Cam is QB 1 by points with 351, and Eli is #7 with 262.  They're comparable on TD/INT ratios 33/10, 32/11.  But it's Cam's two way play that separates them.   That ground game has made him one of the most consistent options, topping 20 pts 11/14 weeks.  Without that dimension, Eli's numbers have been mercurial.  He's been under 10 4/14 times and over 20 4/14.  Cam goes on the road to Atlanta defending the undefeated season and trying to lock down a #1 seed.  Eli goes on the road to Minnesota with both teams trying to stave off elimination.

Advantage - Trichs - Cam obviously has the edge this season.  The degree of that advantage could easily determine the result.  As we saw last week, a dominant game by Cam can carry the Trichs.  Ron Rivera has insisted that all starters are playing at full speed this week, and there's no reason to disbelieve him. Still, the incentive for Cam to run the ball consistently has to be decreased. Eli certainly has more to play for, but if OBJ's suspension holds he could be in for major bust status.

Wide Receivers - The Tigers are built on their high end wide outs Brown and Hopkins are currently #1 and #6 by points. They are both high target, top skill players on their respective teams.  The main difference is that the Steeler's are considerably deeper and more efficient. The Texans have gone through a band of QBs and struggled to produce enough outside of Hopkins to keep him from double coverage.  The Trichs field Robinson as a WR1 and a host of pick em WR2 (Cooks, Brown and Tate).  Robinson has climbed all the way to #4 in points on the strength of a 2nd half surge by Bortles and the Jags.  Brown and Hopkins are both match up proof, but they will both field plus match ups with playoff implications.  Robinson gets the dream match up versus the Saints. Match ups should determine the other two starters for the General.

Advantage - TTM - Likewise, last week's semi final is a good illustration of TTM's best case scenario.  The two headed monster of Brown and Hopkins goes off, fielding 40 targets and multiple TDs.  Allen Robinson has the potential to match or exceed Brown's high end, but Hopkins is a fare bet to out perform the field.

Running Backs - A few weeks ago this was a considerably more marquee match up.  It doesn't look like Lynch will be back for the big game, so Ivory and Gurley will carry the load for the Far East. Ivory started the season hot, looking like he'd finally found the power running system he was built for.  Lately he's been losing carries to Powell and trended downward.  Gurley is #4 by points and one of the break out talents of the year. The Mountain will field Forte, who had a nice rebound game last week.  With Ingram out for the year, Ameer Abdullah must step up again. Last week was arguably his best game, but it still showcased his fumbling ways.  Ivory and Gurley face seriously tough match ups in New England and Seattle. Abdullah get's a plus match up in San Francisco and Forte's got a likewise tough opponent in Tampa.

Advantage - Push - There's no clear victor with a bunch of tricky games. It might come down to game flow to see who can cover projections.

Tight Ends - The Trichs hold two TE1 options in Walker and Gates.  The Tigers have gone streaming in recent weeks and currently hold Heath Miller.   Walker would  be catching passes from Mettenburger after Mariota went down last week.  Gates has been reliable this year as well.

Advantage - Trichs - No question. It's hard to bet on the field. The Tigers have struggled with TE since Bennett went down.

The Best of the Rest - The Trichs field couple Broncos and the team defense. They ought to eat the Bengals alive. In addition, they'll run brand Defensive Player of the Years like Watt and Keunchly.  TTM has been streaming on defenses but could sit pat on Pittsburgh who ought to annihilate the depleted Ravens.  Hauschka is as dependable as they come and a fair long range kicker.  If Seattle sends him to kick field goals or XPs could be a 10 point swing for the Tigers.

Advantage - Trichs - Underestimate Denver's defense at your peril. With lowered expectations on offense, the defense ought to take this one in hand. And in that case it will be hard for the


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Playoff Preview - Semifinal Round

This guy?



#1 TakingTigerMountain vs. #5 Cursed.

TTM's really? question - Is Ameer Abdullah going to start in a make or break game. The Tigers have spent all season benching talented rookie Abdullah who functions (sort of) on a broken Detroit run game. Then came the bye week news of Ingram's season ending injury. Worse waiver wire spend down Spencer Ware looks dinged up. Now it's a real question. If not Abdullah? Who? Crowell had a career game against the hapless Niners, but faces a serious negative match up in the Seahawks in week 15. Another option is passing game re-tread Darren Sproles who seems to have found some love in Kelley's floundering Philly system. Who does he face? oh just another prime time nightmare match up with the Cardinals on MNF.

TTM will win if - their dual WR1 wide outs go off. There's no defense against the ceilings of Brown and Hopkins.  There's reason to worry about both of them. Brown has been stellar but seen 2 of his last 3 week under 10 points with significant lowballs even as the Steelers offense charges ahead. DeAngelo Williams in the backfield  and the increasing development Bryant and Wheaton cut into Brown's volume and hence his week to week potential. Basically the Steelers' offense is functioning healthily and it brings a superstar like Brown into perspective. Hopkins is somewhat the opposite case. He's a man-apart in the dysfunctional Houston offense, but has made a season for himself on high target ratios. Those have been declining in recent weeks as the Texans offense has struggled to get their best play maker the ball consistently. Both players are beyond match up proof but Brown gets the league's toughest test in Denver and Hopkins gets one of the league's dream match ups against Indy. The Tigers badly need the dual threat team to at least cover their total points to cover for big questions on the rest of the field. If they exceed high expectations they'll be hard to beat. If they fall short the Tigers will be very vulnerable.

Cursed really? question - Is Fitzpatrick going to start over Stafford? The Jets quarterback is riding a nice streak of high scoring affairs, and faces an odd match up on the road in Dallas. Stafford has been mercurial to say the least and faces probably the league's worst pass defense on the road in New Orleans. There's a fair chance that New Orleans could just fold in this game relegating Stafford to clock management duties.  The same might be true of Fitzpatrick's squad but the Jets certainly have more to play for.

Cursed will win if - their keeper veterans step up. Alshon and Frank the Tank have been pushing league average all year. And they were a big reason that the Cursed Ones were on the bubble to advance in week 13.  Gore is getting the ball plenty. He'll face a mediocre Houston team and his total will almost certainly hang on whether he finds the endzone.  Alshon will play a medium tough Minnesota coverage with a lot to play for. His targets and receptions are bullet proof. Breaking that scoring potential  is a matter of seeing them spike the ball and little else.


Key match up - New York Giants vs. Carolina.  The Cursed Ones live and die with their best player (and well on his way to be the best LSU offensive player of all time) Odell Beckham Jr. He receives his passes from the Mountain's shot caller Manning the lesser. Generally, QB/WR1 counter-titrations favor the receiver, since big plays and TDs accrue additional bonuses. However, both Giants will have to face the undefeated Panthers DEF on the road.  Beckham has been reasonably consistent with huge games sprinkled in. Manning has been wildly inconsistent in the 2nd half, with likewise big games.  There's almost no way Beckham can misfire without hurting Manning's numbers more. They're unquestionably the two best skill players on the team.  TTM just has to hope that he finds the paint with another receiver at least once, Tye, Randle and Vereen are all minor pass vultures.

#2 Trichotilomaniacs vs. #3 psych dog


Trichs will win if - Cam Newton continues to play to his huge season. The Trichs have won their playoff stripes in no small part due to their QB playing to #2 by points. The undefeated Panthers have lived off of Cam's two way play and fourth quarter drives. Cam will go on the road to the Giants with technically very little to play for, having already clinched home field. Is there a chance Cam comes out of the game? Is there chance the Panthers aren't interested in fully engaging in smash mouth football in the Meadowlands?  That would be disastrous for the Trichs.

Trichs really? question - Are the Trichs really going to roll with a 3 WR set?  The Hair Pullers currently feature Robinson, Cooks and Tate in the 2 WR and flex positions. Robinson has been locked in at WR 1 but both Cooks and Tate have been up and down gambles. They are playing in potential aerial shootout, so they're high risk high reward.  But with options like Anderson and Gates offering some guaranteed points and lower risk, it looks betting the season on a few fourth quarter targets in the Superdome.


psych dog will win if - Adrian Peterson takes the game in hand against the Bears. Peterson is narrowly RB #2 in the total points ranking but is by far the highest draft pick in that top 10. Minnesota has everything to play for against the Bears at home. Psych dog needs the Purple Jesus to provide significant points to continue to cover the initial cost.

psych dog's really? question - Are the Dogs really going to start Latavius Murray in the flex counter to their Green Bay DEF. Murry has been a middling disappointment this year, as his efficiency rating has plummeted since his bye week and Oakland's offense looks more predictable.  Meanwhile, Green Bay's DEF has improved in recent weeks and could even contend for a bye with a couple more wins. Other options are Ted Ginn Jr, coming off back to back 2 TD games and facing the woeful Giants, and Allen Hurns, who has emerged as a prime red zone threat for the Jags.

Key match up - Denver vs. Pittsburgh. The psych dog holds probably the best offensive piece on the Broncos squad in Demaryius Thomas. Unfortunately, the Broncos passing projections have degraded over the year, turning him into the rare boom or bust WR1.   Meanwhile the General is a known Broncos supporter and stacked his squad with orange. Let's start with CJ Anderson, he's an interesting flex gamble with Hillman struggling going into a big match up with play off import. The gamble is that he's coming off an injury, hardly has the backfield to himself, and the Steelers have been tough on the run. The Bronco's DEF the vaunted Orange Crush of the first half of the season have become decidedly more pedestrian as the offense has slid to obsurity.  The Hair-Pullers triple down on the defense gamble by fielding two Broncos defensive players, Von Miller and Trevathan. Throw into that a QB controversy between a rookie that just shit the bed and the best of his generation and this one is a wild card of epic proportions. If Manning resurfaces in heroic fashion does that help Thomas? If Oz gets the nod does a ball management philosophy aide Anderson? Can the Denver corners keep the Pittsburgh wide outs from multiple long range scores either way?