I’m a little tardy in posting this preview this week, which puts me in the awkward position of writing this and pretending that the games haven’t started, when the Houston @ New England game is already over. I had the Texans defense in that game, and my opponent had two running backs and a wide receiver, so a lot of this “preview” is speculating about things that may or may not happen, relative to a game that is already in the books. But play along with me as I take you through my thought process of setting my lineup in comparison to my opponent’s, and at the end I’ll break down where I stand after the first game of the week.
First, here’s the lines for my league this week.
Notice anything interesting?
Well, yes, my game is projected to be the closest of the six. I don’t love that, especially since my opponent is a strong player with a high projected point total. I’d be more reassured if I had more of a margin over him.
But wait – doesn’t that mean that – yes, I have a margin over him!
I’m projected to win this week, you guys!
It’s the first time that I’ve been favored in the lines going into the week. (It’s that new disciplined streaming strategy working for me!) Will it be my first win as well? I believe so. Before I break down why, take a look at the head to head projections for my matchup this week with the poetically named !!!!! Dream killer!!! (let’s call him DK, because I feel stupid typing that out).
Almost all of the position matchups are projected to favor me. Matt Stafford is a good-but-not-elite QB playing on the road in Green Bay this weekend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t hit his 16 point projection, whereas I’m putting my money behind Ryan Tannehill this weekend to exploit the Browns’ very exploitable defense. Advantage me.
Our two running backs (excluding Frank Gore, who I’ll consider separately as the flex position) are projected pretty close, 21 for him vs. 22 for me. But my running backs have overperformed every week so far, and both their matchups are soft enough that they can do it again, while both of his face tough defenses on a short week (he has one on each side of the Thursday night matchup). Advantage me.
Our two wide receivers (again excluding his flex, Will Fuller) are projected pretty close too, 18 for him vs. 19 for me. I don’t feel super confident in Randall Cobb, and I know Kelvin Benjamin is killing it, so this one may turn out to be advantage him. But I think my guys will keep it close. At least I’m hoping A.J. Green comes out on fire after his lackluster Week Two and buoys me.
The tight end position is an enigma. I know this screen shot lists DK’s tight end as projected higher than mine, 9 points vs. 7 points, but since this was taken, Antonio Gates’s projection has been dropped to zero. Notice that he’s indicated as questionable for Sunday. As far as I know, he hasn’t officially been called out, but it’s expected that he will be. Assuming my competitor isn’t an idiot and will address this before Sunday, he’ll fill in with either a streaming option or his benched TE, Dwayne Allen, projected for 7 points. I don’t see any free agents he could take that would be an improvement over Allen, so let’s assume he goes with his backup. That makes this a push. And anyway, if I can get anything out of the TE position I’ll be thrilled, as it’s been nothing but a black hole so far. And I chose Tamme this week because I believe he has an exploitable matchup and could overperform. I know the check mark is in DK’s column, but I’m confident where he has to be at least a little shaky… Slight advantage me.
Defense and kicker are basically projected as a push, though I think my kicker will do better than projected because I think Arizona will spend all day scoring on Buffalo. Still, we’ll say push.
Then there’s the flex. He’s got Will Fuller, Houston WR, playing on short rest against New England’s defense. I’ve got Frank Gore, who is Indy’s main running option against a San Diego defense that does a terrible job stopping the run. I’m projected to win this position by two points, and I expect it to be much more than that. Advantage me.
Overall: Advantage Me.
I have a great shot at this, y’all!
Okay, now that we’ve gone through that exercise, a dose of reality. The Thursday night game did not go how I (or anyone, really) expected. At all. I saw New England with their 3rd string QB with very limited time to prepare, and I saw a Houston defense that has been beating teams down so far, and I thought the Pats would struggle to get anything going. I thought all their weapons would score low, and this would be a lowscoring, grind-it-out type game.
That is not what happened.
New England won 27-0.
This was not in the plan.
Admittedly, if you’re going to play a Patriot tonight, the lead running back is the one you want, and it’s the one DK has in LaGarrette Blount. If you think a team’s QB isn’t prepared to pass the ball, bet big on the guy who’s going to run it. And that did come true. Blount way overperformed projections with over 100 yards and 2 TDs. 22 points, instead of the 9 he was projected at.
But to balance that, Houston’s offense, where my opponent DK had two representatives, way underperformed as a whole. Will Fuller only had 30 yards for 3 points. Not stupendous. Lamar Miller at least got close to his projection with 10 points, but it’s still under. Overall, DK was projected to earn 30 points tonight, and ended up with 35. Very good, but kind of a waste of the insanely good night that Blount had. And he really only has one other player on his roster, Kelvin Benjamin, with true overperforming ability. Hopefully.
As for me, the Texans defense finally came back down to earth. They could not do anything to stop New England, and it truly hurt to watch. At least they didn’t go negative? They were projected for 9 points, and in my heart I had them down for more than that – 12 or 15 at least, and maybe more, against such a seemingly weak matchup. Instead they had 3.
Not great, but not the worst thing that could happen.
On the bright side, I feel good about Julian Edelman’s lackluster performance. Not that I’m happy that a guy on my team had a rough night, but I am happy that he did it on a night when I had him on the bench. I thought he’d underperform, and he did, so at least that speaks well of my predicting powers.
I’m looking for silver linings here, guys, so play along.
So the swing tonight squanders my anticipated lead, but I’m keeping the faith. My opponent’s shot his best bolt, but mine is yet to come on Sunday. And with any luck, it’ll be a doozy!