Fantasy Football Position Streaming
Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
Above the Stream
– Bortles –
Mr. Bortles is playing Oakland and unlike the Chiefs, the Jaguars to do not have a running game that will keep Blake from needing to sling it. Oakland is allowing 28.3 to opposing QB’s. The Jags are at home and the oddsmakers tell us that 50 points will be scored in a pretty even fashion by these two teams. I like it. I’d play him over most of the week-to-week choices out there at QB
– Dalton –
At home against the Browns is a good place to be. These Cleveland Browns just made Marcus Mariota QB1 material. I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that Andrew Gregory Dalton is better at football that Marcus Mariota. Besides that the Bengals have a pretty respectable defense, and I think AJ Green will be able to drag Dalton with him to a decent game.
– Stafford –
Again we have a home favorite and a high over under. These are good things, this need not be too complicated. Stafford has thrown for over 300 years twice this year and has 3 or more touchdowns in 4 of his 6. Washington has really been waving the green flag for opposing running backs, but I don’t think we need to fear the Lions shifting to ground and pound. Even their running game involves short passes and screens, which is money in the bank for Stafford
Under the Stream
– Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson –
Misery loves company and that is what I expect out of these two, who are facing off against each other in Arizona. Neither team is allowing more than 20 points to opposing QB’s. The line is set at an unexciting 43.5. Both teams have a top 5 defense. The Seattle offense is hanging on to a top 10 offense ranked at exactly #10 (DAVE footballoutsiders.com), Arizoa is all the way down at 22. There are embers here from which an offensive fire could be kindled. There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but I wouldn’t want to bet my week on either team’s offense.
– Alex “The Floor Play” Smith –
That game in Oakland did not at all turn out to be what I thought it would be, but the end result was about what I had feared for Alex Smith. He didn’t really have to do much. The Chiefs were up early, and they ran the ball into the ground with what looks like a pretty dynamic duo going forward. And, if we count Dontari Poe, we could call it a trio, perhaps a foursome depending on how much we count Poe. If you saw that goal-line play, where he caught a lateral from Smith and bull-dozed his way in, then I think you’ll agree with me that Eddie Lacy looks like Theo Riddick standing next to Dontari Poe.
In week 7 we have Alex Smith playing host to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have been friendly for opposing QB’s allowing 21.5. According to the Harris Index, however, those same QB’s are actually scoring 0.8 points below their averages. Not scary, but the boost we might expect. Why, you might ask, isn’t there more there for the QB? How do these things add up? Well, the Saints have the 30th ranked run D and are allowing opposing RB’s to score 5.7 points above their averages. This will suit the Chiefs plans just fine if they are able to just run, and if this is the way it goes you might not get a lot of production out of Alex. But, the Saints also have a pretty good offense, ranked 13th in passing DVOA and 8th in rushing. If you’re starting Alex Smith you are saying that you believe that the Saints will have success offensively and the Chiefs will have to keep up, throwing the ball. The Raiders could be compared to the Saints offensively, but I think the fact that the Chiefs v Raiders game we just saw was a divisional game was a big deal. Andy Reid was coming off of a bye week and he knows their tricks. He is probably not quite so familiar with the trickery of Sean Peyton. So, although the Chiefs will likely look to establish the run just for the sake of keeping Brees at bay, the Saints may be able to score some points.
– Marcus “Ceiling” Mariota? –
If I am going to advocate for any sort of objective process in making these picks, Mariota has to be on the list. He is playing at home, in a game they are favored to win. The game is expected to be fairly high scoring with an over under set at 49. The opponents are allowing 23.2 fantasy points per game to QB’s. The Colts have the second worst passing defense. The only potential run on the the numbers parade is that the Colts’ run D is equally bad, and Tennessee might be happy to handing it off to Demarco and Derrick Henry in an attempt to keep Andrew Luck off the field. Mariota is even taking shots downfield. To this point in the season he is taking 5 per game, and he’s completing 40%, which is respectable.
Before Mariota suddenly became a QB1 against the Dolphins and the Browns, he put up 12.9 fantasy points in a 214 yard and no touchdown day against Oakland. In that he also contest he threw 2 picks and fumbled once. It’s true, and fair, to make the argument that things change in season. None of these players, or teams for that matter, are a constant. But, let’s try to keep in mind who Mariota has faced in these last two weeks. They are teams that are not only very weak defensively, but also teams that are not particularly strong offensively. The Titans defense was largely able to keep them quiet and give the their offense a lead to play with and ample opportunity to execute its scheme.
The results that we saw against the Raiders, a team with a strong offense and a weak defense, do not make me optimistic about what we’ll see against the Colts. I don’t think we are going to see Mariota put up good numbers in shoot-out situations. I think what he needs is total team domination for the engine of this Titans team to really hit full stride. The table below shows, in terms of DVOA, the similarities and differences between these four teams
|Team||Pass Off.||Rush Off.||Pass Def.||Rush Def.|
|MIA||-18.7 (31st)||-2.2 (12th)||15.8 (21st)||-6.9 (18th)|
|CLE||-3.2 (24th)||-6.9 (17th)||28.9 (28th)||-5.2 (22nd)|
|OAK||45.1 (4th)||7.0 (4th)||30.9 (29th)||-5.7 (21st)|
|IND||5.1 (21st)||1.4 (9th)||33.6 (30th)||3.9 (31st)|
The Browns and Dolphins are bottom ¼ pass attacks, middle of the road rushing teams, and roughly bottom ⅓ defenses overall. The Raiders and the Colts are not quite as similar, but both have an offensive strength while neither of the previous two do. I would expect the Titans defense to have their hands full. It’s going to eat into the Titans time of possession. It is going to affect the Titans’ play calling. It’s going to, I think, get them out of their comfort zone. It’s worth mentioning that the Colts are also the owners of the worst defense on this list. But, if their offense is able to score and put pressure on Mariota to do the same, I’m not sure what we’ll get. Mariota made some bad decisions against the Browns, he’s not a great QB. I really don’t think his coaching staff wants him slinging the ball trying to win the game. I don’t think that script works for him.
So, I think the real question here is about ranking. At what point do you roll the dice with Mariota? I would start Mariota this week over Wentz, Flacco, Kaepernick, Bradford, Tannehill, Fitzpatrick/ Geno, and Hoyer this week. I’m not a total doubter. This is the ceiling play. The light-bulb may have come on for Mariota, or something about the way this team is playing may really have changed. They did get Kendall Wright back. He isn’t so terrible that I would never go there.
Written By: Josh Crocker – Josh can be found on Twitter @jccrocker