At drinkfive, we like to think that trends of at least three games or more are something that should be a reliable indicator of future performance. That’s all fine and good, but how about we actually predict if the trends will continue or not and put our money (or beer in this case) where our mouth is.
Here are the predictions we made on last week’s show:
Matt Ryan: Wk 12 vs CLE – 16.52 pts, Wk 13 vs ARI – 21.84 pts, Wk 14 @ GB – 32.30 pts
Matt Ryan finds himself in a nice position of symmetry. He’s currently the 8th ranked QB in standard Yahoo leagues, and his ADP position was #8 in the preseason. He’s finally playing up to his expected level, but it’s only been a late run that has gotten him there. Ryan started off the season with 3 of 4 games over 20 points, but failed to reach the 20 point mark for the next 7 games. He’s gone over again the last two, so can his streak continue? Two things we look at: Is he your playoff starter the next two weeks (PIT, @NO) and will he score over 21 points in week 15.
Both of us said that Ryan would go over 21 points, and he did! 22.10 points total with 310 yards passing, 2 TD and 1 INT in the loss to PIT. I think most people expected a little better out of Ryan, but without the services of Julio Jones, you should be very happy with the 22 points he did get.
Demaryius Thomas: Wk 12 vs MIA – 26.70 pts, Wk 13 @ KC – 12.30 pts, Wk 14 vs BUF – 1.10 pts
Right off the bat, let’s get one thing straight. Demaryius Thomas is aMF’n stud and he belongs in your lineup each week. He is here mostly to illustrate that all of the Denver skill players are on a downward trend, at least those associated with the passing game. Thomas is not, of course, matchup proof, mostly because WR’s are so reliant on their QB. Week 14 saw his season low in targets (5), receptions (2) and yards (11). Thomas had a 7 game streak over 100 yards in the middle of the season and now has only 161 yards in the last 3 games – his 4 td’s over that time really save his fantasy value. The question here is: Will Denver get back on track? Will Demaryius Thomas scoring over 14 points against the Chargers be the indicator that yes, he and his team are back where we expect them?
Dave said he'd stay under 14 points, I said he'd go over 14. Seriously, Dave? You bet against Demaryius Thomas and you drink the consequences! Thomas had a ho-hum 6 receptions for 123 yards and 1 TD in the Broncos win at San Diego. While Peyton Manning didn't exactly light the world on fire, he is pointed back in the right direction and faces the Bengals on Monday night in week 16.
Malcom Floyd: Wk 12 vs STL – 3.00 pts, Wk 13 @ BAL – 8.50 pts, Wk 14 vs NE – 11.40 pts
It’s tough to pick a weekly receiver in the Chargers offense. It seems that no player is much more likely to go off than another guy, including Antonio Gates and last year’s phenomKeenan Allen. Floyd seemed to be the most recent flavor of the week, and did find the end zone against the Patriots and put up his second most points of the season. The problem here is that Floyd is very TD dependent, only making it into double digits when he finds pay dirt and has only made it over 100 yards receiving once this year. Is this a guy who is trending up that you want to count on the fantasy playoffs, or is this guy fantasy fool’s gold? He faces Denver in week 15 and we’ll set his line at 8.50 points.
Dave went with the over here, and I stayed under. Floyd had a typical game of 7 targets and 3 receptions, but he could only turn that into 34 yards and did not find the end zone. Floyd might have some increased value for week 16 as there have been whispers that Keenan Allen will land on the IR. Either way, the matchup with the 49ers is not a tempting one. Dave drinks five!
Joique Bell: Wk 12 @ NE – 4.60 pts, Wk 13 vs CHI –22.70 pts, Wk 14 vs TB – 25.30 pts
Bell has really excelled against poor opponents - all but one of his double digits games have come against below .500 teams. Luckily for Bell owners, he continues that through the fantasy playoffs, matching up against Minnesota this week and the Bears in week 16. Bell has seen no meaningful drop in his touches with Reggie Bush coming back, getting 23 touches just last week. With an easy matchup against the Vikings (the Jets ran for 168 yards against them on Sunday), it looks like Bell will continue trending up. We’ll set his line at a generously low 12 points (yahoo’s projection). If you think this line is too low, Bell has only gone over 12 points 4 times this season, so take that as you will.
We both said he'd go over 12 points, and while Bell had a decent game, he did not go over. His 62 yards on 15 carries and 4 receptions for 41 yards only nets him 10.30 points, which isn't bad for an RB2, but doesn't meet our projection, so we drink! Bell gets the Bears in Week 16, so fire him up against the most turbulent team in the league.
Shane Vereen: Wk 12 vs DET – 6.00 pts, Wk 13 @ GB – 3.20 pts, Wk 14 @ SD – 3.10 pts
Vereen has all but disappeared in the Patriot’s backfield confusion. First Jonas Gray puts up a 40 spot, then he is essentially replaced by Blount who was basically kicked off the Steelers for pouting. We surmised that this would leave Vereen in a good situation as the Patriots typically love the short passing game, and he excels in that game. I suppose our error then lies with us assuming the Patriots will typically do anything. The ONLY thing you can count on from them is that Gronk will SMASH (either the opponent or his own bones). So, can you count on Vereen at all going forward, or does he belong on the bench barring any injuries to others in the New England backfield? We’ll set his over/under at 8 points against a Dolphins team that is in the middle of the pack when defending RB’s.
Both of us went with the trend here (Dave actually did with every one of them) and technically, we win! Vereen had 5 rushing yards, a TD and 12 yards receiving. He's clearly not in the mix enough to be fantasy worthy, and his 7.70 points keep him just below the line we had set. His 7 total touches in this game make him a must-sit, even with a decent matchup against the Jets.
Finally, we bet on a bomber for the next show. I bet that my guy, Donte Moncrief, would score over 8 points. He finished the game with 0 points on 4 targets. Good times, drink up, Dave!
Now let’s change gears and look at some trends that we can see after week 14 and make some more predictions. Remember, for all the ones we get wrong, we will drink five on the podcast. For all the ones we get right, you guys drink!
Andrew Luck: Wk 13 vs WAS - 33.80 pts, Wk 14 @ CLE - 25.46 pts, Wk 15 vs HOU - 16.28 pts
It's the last week of fantasy football, so who cares about the little guys? We want to know about the best of the best, the guys who got us here! Luck has been trending down, technically. He's averaging just over 25 points per game on the season, and last week against a mediocre Houston defense, he only managed to get his team in the end zone twice on 13 possessions. This week he goes to Dallas, a team that needs this win a lot more than the Colts do. We'll set Luck's line at his average points for the season - 25 points.
Emmanuel Sanders: Wk 13 @ KC - 7.30 pts, Wk 14 vs BUF - 6.90 pts, Wk 15 @ SD - 5.30 pts
Sanders is another guy who you are generally starting if you have made it this far, but his numbers are starting to be alarming. Not only is he trending down, but he is consistently low while doing it. In fact, he's on a slow decent for the last 6 games. This may be proof that there actually isn't room for multiple receivers if the Broncos' passing game isn't firing on all cylinders. This is doubly true when the running game is working as well as it is right now. So, is this the Broncos finding another way to win that they're going to stick with, or are they going to bounce back somehow against the team that gives up the 2nd fewest points to opposing WR's. Sanders is averaging 12.5 per game this year and the Bengals give up about 17 pts per game to all WR's. Let's just set the line at our base we agreed upon last week of 10 points.
Odell Beckham Jr.: Wk 13 @ JAX - 9.40 pts, Wk 14 @TEN - 19.90 pts, Wk 15 vs WAS - 30.30 pts
Beckham is trending up, what a surprise. Let me take this moment to gush over his numbers. Over only 10 games, he has 71 receptions on 97 targets, catching 73.2% of the passes thrown his way. He has 972 yards and 9 touchdowns. This makes him the 2nd best player in terms of points per game (15.27). Beckham has been awesome this year, and while the Rams seem scary, their pass defense isn't that great. As long as Manning stays upright, Beckham should be ok. We'll set his target right as his average of 15 points.
Jeremy Hill: Wk 13 @ TB - 5.20 pts, Wk 14 vs PIT - 6.70 pts, Wk 15 @ CLE - 27.20 pts
Hill is a product of the work he gets, plain and simple. In 5 games with 15 or more carries, he has at least 15 points in all of those games. 1 point per touch is a damn nice average if you ask me. Hill is once again trending up after Giovani Bernard returned from injury, but was ineffective. It appears that Hill is slated to be the starter down the stretch, which should mean lots of work for him, but it's not guaranteed. 2 questions - Do you start him over Gio, and will he break his season average of 11 points?
Make sure to listen to our podcast to get our predictions and discussion of the trends into week 16 and we will recap the results next week.