PSAS Open Forum #occupyPR

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?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Playoff Preview - Wildcard Round

The wildcard round should provide two competitive games by projection, despite featuring dual 100 pt total score gaps.

Cursed. (1407.32 pts)  vs. ThePelicanBrief  (1599.67 pts)

The Grisham-ites hung the high score in 2015, based largely on a three-headed monster of Patriots (Brady, Edleman and Gronk, with supporting cast from Patriots DEF and Ghostface Kicker).  But with Gronk on the Sunday night slot and still questionable. Brady might have to roll solo. And that alone makes the high-scoring Legal Eagles vulnerable in week 14.

Famous for aggressive use of waiver funds and trades, the Pelicans made positive gains in both to draft a successful second half squad. RBs Charcandrick West cost $56 but has been worth it so far. West is tempting fate with a RBBC, but still can be RB2 productive. A canny trade acquired Devonte Freeman who's missed time of late, but saw his touches back in the double digits this week.  The Falcons ability to stay in the game against the Panthers could prove the difference between a b345t and bust game for Freeman.

Cursed. won five in a row during the bye weeks and chipped in a few clutch wins in the closing weeks to book a playoff spot.  Odell Beckham is the star here #3 by points at wide out.  A narrow win on a $52 wire pick up of DeAngelo Williams gives their backfield some power game as well. Both Alshon and Frank the Tank have underperformed this year.  Fitzpatrick is a wildcard at QB, he's been QB1 - 16 depending on the week, but a plus match up against the Titans could see him throwing multiple TDs.

A late wire pick up of Hightower is an intriguing flex gamble. Hightower is sure to get work, but the Saints have looked like a broken offense in recent weeks.  Tampa's defense has been improving all season, and with an outside shot at the playoffs they should be swarming all over the hapless New Orleans o-line.

psych dog (1489.23) vs. Polk High Panthers  (1381.39 pts)

Returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, psych dog checked in at 8-5 with the third highest total score.  Adrian Peterson has been worth his high draft price, staying healthy and running to RB #2 by points. The surprise has been Carson Palmer at QB #4 by points. He's got a +20 TD/INT count and the Cardinals have been dismantling the NFC squads.  A quick Thursday night game between the Vikings and Cardinals could determine whether this game will be competitive or not.

Keepers Demaryius Thomas and Jeremy Hill are both boom or bust gambles. Demaryius clearly still has top five WR talent but with QB uncertain in Denver and the defense playing at a high level, he's been an expensive decoy in more than a few games.  Probably no one in the league has been more mercurial in his performance than Hill. Sharing time with Nio-Gio he's been invisible some weeks and a highlight reel in others. Luckily for PD he's been more of the latter lately. A late season $62 bid for Jarvorius Allen could kick psych dog to the next round. Allen has been ridden hard the last few weeks, but faces a resilient Seahawks DEF in week 14.

Al Bundy's old squad backed their way into the playoffs with a week 13 loss (helped by 6 win team losses beneath them). Left for dead after the loss of highest draft price Jamaal Charles, the Panthers found a way to eeek out enough heroic victories. Coming on hard in the 2nd half Jonathan Stewart has approached the top 10 in RB points as Carolina plays from a big lead every week.  Likewise Matavius Bryant has erupted big time after returning from injury on a Steelers team that is over-matching everybody they face on the edges.

They bid and won on Ryan Matthews just this week. He's probably the better choice, even facing a tough Buffalo front 7 and coming off an injury. But if there ever was a week to start CJ Spiller it's got to be this week. The Saints have been unwilling to use him as an everydown back all year, but he seems certain to get more work than usual with Ingram out of the way.  Polk's fate likely rests almost solely in Drew Brees' performance. Brees has set records and shat the bed this year.  The Saints are out of playoff contention and missing their top offense piece in a road game. That sounds like a disaster but there's zero doubt that Brees has a higher ceiling than any of the wire scrubs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Brief History of Playoff Seeding

Next on Ow My Balls

Now that we have the six playoff teams set, check out what those seed positions have meant in the past.

2008 - the facebook year, didn't play so I don't have the data.

2009  - Pysch dog won from the #3 seed in the 3 "school" or division era.   At 7-6 the Dogs won the weakest Eleatic division then bashed their way through three rounds of playoffs, aided by a lowball win the quarterfinals.

Seed     Finish

1           2             Sunset Park Mastiffs  

2           3              Brooklyn Bashers      

3           1             psych dog                  

4            4            JGsthePelicanBrief

5            6            Discerning Nostrils

6            5            TX_WILDCATTER

2010 - won the memorable "robo" victory without setting a line up as they sneaked into the playoffs  at 6-7 wildcard and rocked the #1 Phat Girlz in the finals allegedly totally unaware of their memorable exploit.

Seed     Finish

1            2          Phat Girlz

2            4           BDT

3            5          Int'l Necronauts

4            6          el mundo pequeno

5             3         PelicanBrief

6             1

2011  - #1 all the way TTM blew out both opponents after winning a then record 10 games in the (2 school/division era).

Seed      Finish

1             1              TakingTigerMountain

2              4             AEthernauts

3              2            BuildingDwellingThinking

4             6            ThePelicanBrief

5             3             SanFranciscoFerries

6             5             TuskenRaiders

2012  - BDT won 10 games in the two division system to claim the #1 seed. They then won two laughers to claim the crown.

Seed     Finish

1              1          BuildingDwellingThinking

2              3          TakingTigerMountain

3              2          HomespunNeckBloodz

4              5         AEthernauts

5               4           Phat Girlz

6              6         SanFranciscoFerries

2013  -  The Trichs sneaked in on points in the first mono-division league at #6 seed. Then, they ran the table in three high scoring games, including a micro decision in the quarters with the then Commish.

Seed     Finish

1              4       SanFranciscoFerries

2              3       GrossmanSachs

3              5        Polk High Panthers

4              2        Goslings

5              6        Phat Girlz

6              1        Trichotilomaniacs

2014  -  Phat Girlz breezed through on two mediocre scores as they took went 10-3 and bested a 4 and 6 seed on the way to a championship.

Seed      Finish

1              1           Phat Girlz

2              4           Aethernauts

3              5           TakingTigerMountain

4              3            Dijonaise All Stars

5              6            BldgDw3llingTh1nking

6              2           SanFranciscoFerries

Some data on the seeds

#1 seed - has advanced to 5/6 finales and won 3/5 championship games.  Only one #1 seed has exited in the quarter final round (a 3 point loss by the Ferries in 2013 to the Goslings).

#2 seed - has never advanced to the championship game. 6 of 6 #2 seeds have lost in the quarter final round.  The #2 seed has lost to the #6 six seed twice in the quarter finals. On both occasions the #6 seed went on to win the championship.

#3 seed - has advanced to 3/6 finals and won 1/3. The #3 seed is 3/6 in the opening round game versus the #6 seed.

#4 seed - has advanced to 1/6 finals and never won. The # 4 seed is 3/6 in the opening round game versus the #5 seed.

# 5 seed has never advanced to the finals. The #5 seed is 3/6 in the opening round game versus the #4 seed.

#6 seed has advanced to the finals 3/6 times and won 2/3 championship games. Only one #6 seed has exited in the quarter final round.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Week 13 Playoff Picture

The General has a prime opportunity to skip the dangerous week 14 melee 

The First Bye

TTM - the Tigers have secured the bye and the #1 seed by virtue of two separate four game win streaks. They live and die with their dual WR1 Brown and Hopkins (#1 and #3 by points).  A match up against last year's champ PG is purely exercise.

The Second Bye

Trichs - the hairpullers have the inside track to the bye by virtue of a 40 point total score lead over the other 7 win teams. A win and they are very likely sitting out week 14 in a good way. A loss and one of the other 7 winners will take a free ride to the quarterfinals. Either way the #2 point total means that the General will be in the mix.

Psychdog - with the third highest points total the Old Commish is also likely safe and ready to hit the playoffs for the first time since 2009.   Fighting fellow seven win squad (and Cinderella) Polk the Dawgs don't have a guaranteed win, but if the Trichs are upset they would be the prime suspect to steal the #2 bye.

The 4-5-6 slots

Cursed - Up and down the Cursed ones have had a roller coaster season. With just 8 points separating their points for vs. against, there's more than a little fortune a foot.   Cursed is a aerial team with Beckham and Jeffrey out wide. Wire gamble Williams has paid dividends bringing them back into the race at RB.  With a match up against spoiler HSNB they need a win to assure their spot. A loss and they could be at the mercy of daily points if Nauts or BDT take Ws in week 13.

Polk - I personally counted Polk out when Jamaal Charles went down. But they won 5 of 7 to move into prime position to extend their season. How'd they do it? Some monster games from returnee Bryant and a revival of Jonathan Stewart. Still, as the lowest of the seven win teams (by 12 points behind Cursed) they're the most likely to be knocked out of the playoff picture.  They need a win in a tough game against the Dogs or some help from the insurgent 6 win field.  Currently running at least one doubtful player at a skill position, Bundy has a history of last second course corrections.

Pelican - the league's high scorer's are on the hot seat at 6 wins and 6th place, but not as much as it might seem. They've drive a +80 lead in total points by a big Pats investment. With Gronk week to week, and Amendola still questionable, they are technically vulnerable. Luckily for them they draw the auto-pilot Dijonaise.  Freeman and West's dual return should signal the god's distaste for excluding this top dog from the six.

BDT - BDT is in the best position to steal a spot in the top 6. If they can pull off a win vs. Trichs then either a loss by Cursed or Polk should hand them the six spot. The problem is that the game is a do or die, there's no scenario where they loose and move up into the playoff spot since they're down nigh 100 points the next six win team.

Aethernauts - the Nauts are the dark horse of the playoff race because they need a win and multiple forms of help. All those forms are still eminently possible, but still. They are right with Cursed and Polk in points scored, so if both teams lost and the Nauts won there's a simple scenario to Aether victory. The Nauts have a tough road, playing a lame-duck but hardly toothless Ferries franchise.