Week 3 Fantasy: The danger of averages

This was started after the Thursday night game, just to keep it as fresh as possible as we look to week 3 and well week 2 was certainly interesting. In all I went 5-1, with the Gents teams going 3-1 again, so not bad really. This week I will again see who is available for no.2/flex positions and maybe share some suggestions on who to start, with a focus on hit and miss QBs. I will also be going into why looking at total scores going into week 3 is dangerous.

I am going to start on the danger of averages. We have had two games, so we have two scores. The total of these can be highly skewered because of one high score. So do not take total score as a justification for picking up or starting a player. Wait until after week 3 at least as then we have some idea of the variability (i.e. the consistency) of a player’s points. Variability is just the distribution of, say, 95% of points scored by a player around the mean (average) points scored. And this is better determined with a higher number of games. Of course this is no good really by the end of the season but after 3 weeks we can start having a look and will get an idea of what a player is likely to achieve. And talking of high variability or signs of hit and miss, let us look at QBs.

I am first going to cover the Peyton Manning Conundrum. After a poor show against a tough Ravens defence, all thoughts were that he would struggle against the Chiefs. And this did look the case until the two late touchdowns. His two week hit and miss actually puts him on par with Alex Smith as someone not showing consistency. So as much as it would seem you should have started Manning, some of you will have, as a sensible precaution of “not on the one game bandwagon” do not feel like you failed if you did sit him, he still did not look the Manning of old and I would expect more hit and miss. There are some match ups that are more favourable this week. He is up against Detroit this week who are likely to get picks off him as the Ravens and Chiefs did. He is a gamble again.

As is Alex Smith, Cam Newton, Colin Kapaernick, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck (at the moment) and Ryan Tannehill for example. Why hit or miss? Because they have all had one big or quite high scoring week and one week where they have scored under 15 points. You want your QB to really be hitting the 15 point mark most weeks (gives you 210 points overall in 14 weeks), to give you a chance of winning. An underscoring QB is quite often a handicap.

Which QB to start?

Yes at the moment quite a few of these QBs are appearing as top fantasy scorers. Actually Tyrod Taylor is available in nearly 80% of leagues. Against the Colts he scored 15pts, against the Patriots nearly 25pts. That is pretty good consistency. Blake Bortles had a good game against the Dolphins and I would think Taylor will have to. He is showing signs of some consistency and is likely to be a good pick and starter.

Of course you are going to start Rodgers, Big Ben, Brady and Carson Palmer. Probably give Andrew Luck another go, he is Luck afterall. I am not so certain about starting Stafford, and if you have a Peyton Manning/Matt Stafford bench, I would go with Peyton. Matt Ryan is a must start and I am even going to say, Marcus Mariota may not be a bad starter if you are not sure about say, Sam Bradford or Nick Foles. Andy Dalton I think is also a starter, he has been pretty solid so far. Joe Flacco is most definitely on the hit and miss list, as he does not even reach the top 25 scoring QBs (saying that neither does Andrew Luck). Flacco could score big, but it is unlikely. Start him only if you are in a deep deep league with no other options.

Picks and some starts

Continuing with a bit of a hit and miss theme, if C.J Anderson is on your roster, don’t bench him or even drop him quite yet. I do go on a three game rule and it seems the Chiefs are good at stopping the run, so maybe don’t run against them. The Lions did allow Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon to run over them. If anything start Anderson as a flex or maybe start Ronnie Hillman (available in 83% of leagues) instead at flex?

Karlos Williams, RB for the Bills is looking like a good prospect. He has been a solid fantasy prospect for the two games (11.5 and 9.7 ) so far, more as a no.2 (well that is who I am looking at) and I picked up in one league (I also picked up Emmanuel Sanders because someone decided to let him go). He is available in 95% of leagues and is up against the Dolphins who can be a bit miserly with only 12.8 points per game so far, but I think the Bills could probably get more. Not a bad match up, I’m not sure if I am going to start him, maybe flex.

Is Ameer Abdullah RB for the Lions, a one hit wonder? No I do not think so. I do think he may struggle against the Bronco’s and I will not deny that I am benching him this week. I need to see more, but if your options are narrow (such as a questionable Spiller or just having Frank Gore) then if you are confident with your Rb 1 and WR1 and 2 then start him as a flex. Your RB2 can be weak in this instance.

So an interesting trio of tight ends caught my eye. Heath Miller (available in 66% of leagues), Jordan Reed (89% availability) and Eric Ebron (91% availability) have had two weeks of consistency and I think are good prospects though in that order of preference. I am holding out a bit on Ebron but in two tough games where generally the Lions looked a bit of a mess, Ebron scored 11.8 and 10.8 points repsectively. Miller has 9 and 8, and Reed, 12 and 8 points over the first two weeks. Not outstanding but they make the top ten TEs of the last two weeks.  Miller is at the Rams, Reed scored 8 points against them last week, I think Miller could score more. Reed is at the Giants, with Falcons Jacob Tamme getting a score against them, Reed is one of Cousins main targets, I would expect him to get points. Ebron is at home against the Bronco’s, who allowed Travis Kelce to score only 5.2 points. Ebron is my only questionable starter here but I think you could do a lot worse and I think he may get points.  Probably start above the likes of Tamme, Charles Clay (of Buffalo) and possibly Jordan Cameron, who has not really scored many points.

I have not touched on receivers. The obvious is the Browns Travis Benjamin, who has generally topped the top available points scoring WRs for two weeks. He does not get many carries, but he gets long ones and he scores. If you get points for the return game, he is points gold. I like him against Oakland considering most of the Ravens also passed all over them. So I would risk starting him at the flex position.

Rishard Matthews of the Dolphins is an interesting one, because he has slipped past the radar somewhat with all the focus on Landry. The lad is available in 99%(!) of leagues and has scored 9.4 and 11.5 points including a touchdown in the first two games. The Bills are tough, but it is possible to pass against them, the focus will likely be on Landry and Cameron, Matthews could be the main target, if Tannehill can get the ball away. I am starting him in one of my teams.

Other starters, Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Donte Moncrief (probably over Hilton who needs to recover in my opinion), Stevie Johnson of the Chargers, Terrance Williams and Doug Baldwin. Yeah these are slightly different choices. Leonard Hankerson could be interesting as could the wonderful Steve Smith Sr. Finally a shout out to the Saints Willie Snead has been a week on week point scorer, with more points than T.Y Hilton, Markus Wheaton, Marvin Jones and Sammy Watkins. Seriously this guy has over 100 yds and a touchdown so far. If he can hold onto the ball he is a legitimate flex.

I am not going to cover IDPs this week, I seem to be having a bit of a nightmare selecting them so will wait until week 4 to come back to them. But the depth is pretty good so clear cut winners will hopefully become more apparent after three games.

That is enough from me for this week, if you have any questions ask us on Facebook, on Twitter (@Gridirongents) or via email at hellochaps@gridirongentlemen.com

Enjoy week 3, good luck to all in the Gridiron Gentlemen leagues, and to everyone else as well.

Toodle pip!