Rob Gronkowski has missed a full weeks worth of camp: The Fantasy Implications

New England tight end and fantasy football stud, Rob Gronkowski, has been quietly absent from The Patriots mandatory minicamp.

While according to both Gronkowski and Head Coach Bill Belichick he has been busy doing “other things“, ESPN’s Mike Reiss is reporting that the star is “working back from [an] undisclosed ailment that isn’t viewed as a long range concern”.

Gronk has had a rocky injury history, including a broken arm in 2012 that had him on the sideline for six games, a torn ACL in week seven 2013 that ended his season, and four surgeries on his forearm in 2013. Gronkowski also had a lot of people worried in 2015 when he suffered a hard hit to his previously ACL repaired knee. Though the hit looked nasty, Gronk was only out one game.

While his current injury is very likely and as report a minor one, it is worth noting for fantasy players. Bill Belichick is doing all he can to keep his stud player fresh, but being Tom Brady and The Patriots go-to-guy does take a toll on the body. It makes sense that Belichick would continue to keep a close eye and a tight leash on Gronk through the 2016 season as well. The Patriots already took a step in this direction by drafting former Chicago Bear TE Martellus Bennett, and Bennett isn’t just a pretty face. He was a consistent performer for The Bears and beat out even Gronk for receptions in 2014. It’s hard to imagine him not eating in to some of Gronkowski’s fantasy points.

Gronkowski is one of the best offensive weapons on the field and barring injury it’s hard to imagine him not cracking the top five most productive fantasy tight ends in 2016. However, I’m tempering my usually high expectations for Gronk this upcoming season. According to FantasyPros.com his current ADP is in the first round, and that’s just too steep a price to pay for me.

 

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I’m Back!

Hello Girls and Boys! I know The Football Femme has been silent for a while, but I’m now back in action. I know you all missed me but save your tears, I am returning a champion.

That’s right, I used my fantasy prowess to beat the boys at their own game…or whatever tagline my site uses. For those of you who don’t know, I participate every year in “The League” (clever name I know). It’s a 12 man keeper league $100 buy in. This was my fifth year playing so this win has been a long time coming, but I am the proud owner of Megatron. (quite possibly the most perfect trophy that has ever existed) I have to thank Cam Newton in particular for this epic win. I don’t think I could have done it without you. Though my team was decimated with injuries, I fought back, I played the waiver wire, I made the trades, and I clawed my way to victory. I also won $800 which is not so bad…

But enough about me, let’s talk about why I’m back. Dynasty Football.

Some of the fellows decided to get together and start a Dynasty League. This will be my first time participating in a Dynasty draft, so I have a pretty large learning curve to overcome. But why should I keep all this fantasy knowledge to myself? As I learn, so shall I teach. Or at least give you the best possible advice I can. My goal is to modify my drafting strategy “The Quick Shopping Method” to work for Dynasty drafting. The key I think will be deciding on a ranking system for players fantasy value.

So stay tuned guys and gals, especially if you’re in the market for some Dynasty Drafting tips and updates!

Cheers!

Is Andy Dalton is the real deal? Fantasy Football Implications

Andy Dalton’s hair is not the only thing on fire, his game is pretty on point too. Dalton is currently the top scoring fantasy player, beating out notable names like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck. Dalton went undrafted in many leagues, and is currently still unowned in 18% of leagues, and remaining benched in 46% of leagues. Veteran QB’s like Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees aren’t playing up to snuff, and the new recruits, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota aren’t consistent fantasy producers. It would seem like Andy Dalton would be rising in the ranks of fantasy quarterbacks. So what is stopping managers from playing Dalton on a weekly basis?

I think it’s just name recognition. Fantasy players are more likely to play a big name like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees over someone like Andy Dalton. Even though Dalton has been putting up some serious numbers, the media doesn’t paint him as an elite quarterback. In spite of that Dalton is making some serious headway into building an MVP resume.  Only two other quarterbacks in NFL history have started 5-0 with at least 1,500 pass yards and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of at least five. Those signal-callers were Aaron Rodgers in 2011, and Peyton Manning in 2013. Both went on to win MVP honors in those respective seasons.

Through his last five games, Dalton has 11 touchdowns, 1,518 passing yards, and a 67.5-percent completion percentage. He’s also gained 55 yards rushing and rushed for two touchdowns. He’s surrounded by talent, and has the support of his team his coaching staff, and his fans. If you’re not betting on Dalton, you should be.

 

Have Daily Fantasy Sites Gone Too Far?

FanDuel and DraftKings. Those are the two heavy hitters in Daily Fantasy Sites. If you hadn’t heard of them before, I’m sure you’ve heard of them by now. It’s estimated that the two sites have pumped more than $150 million into the radio and airwaves in order to boost awareness and participation. The ads are everywhere. A simple word like “beer” or “pretzels” can earn you up to $600 in deposit matching from the sites. They show success stories of average people turned millionaires with the click of a button. People who have won hundreds of thousands of dollars and risked pennies on the dollar. It’s a good ad, though slightly misleading. (more on that later) But what I’m concerned with is the possibility that these sites have shot themselves in the foot. That they’ve gone too far with the ad campaigns.

This is too much.

Screenshot 2015-10-05 at 7.19.10 PM - Edited

This is what you’re greeted with when you are trying to access your ESPN fantasy team. It’s a full on ad explosion of FanDuel madness. I literally had to search before I was able to find the link for my teams. I was overwhelmed. This was far more annoying than the average 45 second commercial blitz. People coming to this particular part of the ESPN site are likely already fantasy sport fans, and as such, have probably heard of Daily Fantasy Sites and FanDuel. So is this necessary?

Ironically the crowd that seems to be complaining the loudest are fantasy fans.

I think as fantasy players, we can see how misleading the ads are. The sites are trying to turn something that many devote a large portion of their time to, into something less that what it is. Turning it into a game of luck. Being good at fantasy sports isn’t luck, it’s a skill. To be an exceptional fantasy player requires time, effort, and research. Do you think Matthew Berrys just fall off the turnip truck every day? No. It takes years of time and energy to get to a level where you can predict the production of teams and players. Often, it’s fantasy players who are the ones profiting from daily leagues. They already have a basic knowledge and skill set that puts them ahead of the curve. Are there fantasy players out there that aren’t the best daily league players? Absolutely. Are there daily league winners out there that possess only a basic knowledge of football or fantasy sports? It’s possible. But the majority of winners are coming from a select group of people. In fact,

“Sports Business Journal reported that 91 percent of the winnings at daily fantasy sports sites are claimed by just 1.3 percent of players — the so-called sharks. These winners, some of whom play full time, rely on sophisticated algorithms, trend data and knowledge of the games and matchups to invest heavily in optimal lineups for each 24-hour period.”

So these average joes flashing their hard earned checks are the exception not the rule.

Speaking of Daily League sharks deadspin.com has just released an article about possible insider betting.

Winning a contest like Millionaire Maker, which has hundreds of thousands of participants, is less about buying up the best players than about finding market inefficiencies and selecting players who will help the fewest amount of your competitors while running cheap relative to their production. (This is basic tournament strategy; it’s the same reason you’re discouraged from picking all chalk in a large March Madness pool.) Thus, when you select a lineup, you have to try, blindly, to determine both the bargain value and how under-the-radar your lineup will fly.

Of course, if you have this data ahead of time—as certain DraftKings employees evidently do, or did—you have a massive advantage over your competitors. There’s no guesswork, only algorithmic scheming. You can remove the behavioral uncertainty from the equation and play knowing all opposition strategies.

Pretty much a DraftKings employee had access to information that he used to win a high stakes league at FanDuel. New information suggests that the employee may not have had access to the information until after he had formed his lineup, but the reporting of the story has cast quite the shadow over the DFS sporting world. Currently, there isn’t much oversight with Daily League Sites. If stories like this keep popping up you can bet this will change. Read the full article here:

http://deadspin.com/draftkings-employee-with-access-to-inside-info-wins-35-1734719747?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

Overall, I feel like the media blitz, and the misrepresentation by the sites, kind of cheapen the product they are trying to sell. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great product. I love fantasy football, and have participated in leagues on both sites. But in my opinion, it’s all become too much. I hope that in the future DraftKings and FanDuel can turn their image around, because right now they’re turning off a lot of fantasy players, as opposed to recruiting their business.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-daily-fantasy-sports-blize-perspec-0916-20150915-column.html

 

Julius Thomas Injury Update

Julius Thomas and the Jacksonville coaching staff are still mum on a timetable for for the return of their pricey tight end. The Jaguars certainly didn’t expect for Thomas to be sidelined going into week four after signing the tight end in March to a five year $46 million dollar deal. Thomas has been dealing with a broken finger that he sustained on his only catch during The Jaguars preseason. He underwent surgery on September 2nd after his healing wasn’t progressing as the Jacksonville coaching staff would like. He was originally set to return in week four, but obviously that’s not going to happen. He has received a check up as recently as Tuesday which Thomas said was positive. “The good news [from the surgeon] was no bad news”. Coaching staff has speculated that he should be back in time for their London game against Buffalo Bills, October 25th.

In spite of not having played a single down of football and still having no set timeline for his return, Thomas is owned in over 55% of fantasy football leagues. Fantasy owners, and the Jacksonville coaching staff alike, are eager to see him take the field. The Jaguars are desperately in need of a offensive weapon. They are currently tied for 29th as the lowest scoring team in the NFL, ahead of only the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, fantasy owners have him stashed in a valuable roster spot, in the hopes that their sacrifice will pay off. Thomas was very successful in his last two seasons with the Denver Broncos where he averaged 54 receptions, an 11.8 YPC average, and 12 touchdowns. With the Jaguars desperate need of an offensive boost, it’s likely that once Thomas returns, he’ll put up strong fantasy numbers. At least this is what his owners are banking on. Expect his fantasy stock to rise as we get closer to week seven. My advice is to pick him up early week six if you have the roster space.

What Happened to Sammy Watkins?

I started Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins week one, and I wasn’t the only one. Watkins had an impressive rookie campaign, knocking on the door of 1,000 yard and scoring six touchdowns. One a team with out many elite receiver options, Watkins was expected to shine early. Unfortunately for many fantasy players, he did not. In fact, he put up a big ol’ goose egg. Instead, it was preseason addition Percy Harvin who racked up the yards and fantasy points.

So what should we expect going forward? In my opinion, not much. While Watkins may have some outstanding games, as he’s a very talented player, I just don’t see him performing at a fantasy starter’s level consistently. While his talent is exceptional, he currently has two things holding him back; Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan.

While it’s true that Taylor’s week one performance was impressive (with a 73% completions, including six passes over 20 yards out of his 19 attempts) I doubt that will be the norm in Buffalo. In previous season where Taylor attempted more than five passes, his completion percentage average was 39%. Where Taylor will excel is with his legs, not his arm. In game one against the Indianapolis Colts he had 41 rushing yards. The Bills offensive line looks much improved from last season, which will benefit both Taylor and the Bills Rushers.

His biggest hinderance to his fantasy produciton however, is Head Coach, Rex Ryan. Ryan is known for two things; His killer defenses, and his ground and pound rushing game. Rex has been quoted as saying, “whatever you do best, we’re going to take away from you” in reference to his defensive philosophy. His love of the run game has never been a secret either. Want a cleverly inserted quote? “We prefer to ground and pound it. We’ll run fifty times a game if we can on you” -Rex Ryan. It’s just how he coaches, and how he prefers to run his team.

This week Watkins may surprise us against the New England Patriots. He’s currently predicted to score about eight points this week in standard leagues. My advice would be to wait for a break out game and and trade him for someone more reliable. If you’re dead set on keeping him, watch your defensive match ups, and play him when they’re favorable.

Arian Foster Injury Update: Foster Returns to Practice

Foster owners rejoice! We have our first Arian Foster practice spotting since suffering his groin injury back in August. So does this mean Spring is just around the corner?

While Foster’s participation is certainly good news for the Texan’s and his fantasy owners, it’s likely we won’t see him take the field for at least another week, and more likely two. Even so Foster is making good progress in his recovery. Originally it was thought that Foster’s groin injury, and subsequent surgery would have him sidelined for the majority of the season. The Houston Texan’s coaching staff seems motivated as well, with Coach Bill O’Brien saying he expects Foster back, “sooner rather than later”.

So when Foster returns, what sort of fantasy production can we expect to see? In seasons where Arian Foster participated in more than eight games, he averaged over 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns. The most encouraging stat is that every season, even those where Foster missed multiple games due to injury, he never dropped below a 4.1 YPC average. The take away from this is that as long as Foster is on the field, he’s a fantasy producer.

The one area where we may expect less production from Foster is in the passing game. Last season Foster recorded 38 receptions, for five touchdowns. The Texans need a reliable runner. Anyone that watched the Texans last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs will agree. Alfred Blue just doesn’t cut it as an every down back. However, they don’t lack for passing targets. DeAndre Hopkins, Nate Washington, and Cecil Shorts III all look to contribute to the passing game. The addition of Nate Washington in particular as a possession receiver should really help take some strain off the running game, and off of Foster. The Texans are going to want to keep Foster healthy, and while they can’t cut out too many of his rushing possessions, they can cut back on passing possessions.

So maybe Foster doesn’t see as many receptions on passing downs. He will still produce impressive numbers on the ground, and is the go to guy for the Texans in the endzone. Even if Foster sees a passing reduction, he should remain a fantasy RB1, and produce for his owners every week.

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